Beginner’s Guide to Chinese History #1: The Periodization of Ancient Chinese History

Hi everyone. I’m creating this podcast for Chinese learners who want to learn a bit about Chinese history. Each podcast provides a concise, easy-to-understand introduction to a particular aspect of Chinese history. It is also a useful resource for listening practice, as I’ve asked my friends to speak clearly and at a slow pace. I promise that no “big words” will be used – all the content is in layman’s terms, and is considered common knowledge in China. Enjoy!

 

中国历史新手指南

Beginner’s Guide to Chinese History

 

第一集:中国古代历史的阶段划分

#1: The Periodization of Ancient Chinese History

Listen to this episode of the podcast here:
Beginner’s Guide to Chinese History: #1: The Periodization of Ancient Chinese History

 

 

Episode Transcript

历史学家,为了便于研究和撰写历史,通常把中国历史划分为不同时期。中国历史有各种各样的划分法,一个方法,就是划分为上古、中古、近世和现代,这四个时期。这就是该指南所采取的方法。在每一时期内,文化社会各个方面都有特点,而且中国疆域也因各民族之间的活动而有所变化。

To aid in the research and writing of history, historians often divide Chinese history into different periods. There are various ways one can periodize Chinese history; one way is to divide it into four phases, namely: high antiquity, middle antiquity, modern history and contemporary history. This is the method adopted in this guide. Each period has its own characteristics in terms of culture, society and so on, and there were changes in the territory of China due to the movement of various ethnic groups.

 

学生应该知道,中国具有悠久的历史,至少有三千多年,甚至四五千年历史。这个简介,主要讲的是中国古代历史。出于简明的需要,关于中国史前时期,以及清朝灭亡之后的历史,没有给予详细介绍。请听众朋友们包涵。

Students should know that China has a long history of at least 3,000 years, or even more than 4,000 or 5,000 years. This introduction is mainly focused on Chinese ancient history. For the sake of brevity, detailed information about the prehistory of China, as well as history after the fall of the Qing dynasty, is not included. Apologies to listeners.

 

上古期:史前时期~公元前3世纪初

中国历史第一大时期,是上古期。上古期,是从史前时期到秦朝以前,也就是公元前3世纪初以前。中国上古期包括三大时代:史前时期、夏朝、商朝和周朝。周朝还分为西周和东周这两个时代。

High Antiquity: from Prehistory to 3rd Century BC

The first major period of Chinese history is known as high antiquity. High antiquity ranges from prehistory to before the establishment of the Qin dynasty in the 3rd century BC. Chinese high antiquity includes four major periods – prehistory, the Xia Dynasty, the Shang Dynasty and the Zhou Dynasty. The Zhou Dynasty is further divided into two periods: the Western Zhou Dynasty and the Eastern Zhou Dynasty.

 

夏朝

史料记载,中国历史上第一个王朝叫夏朝,大约在公元前21世纪到公元前16世纪。夏朝的疆域,因为文献比较少,地图也没有被发现,所以不能明确界定。虽然传世文献有明确记载,但是至今没有足够的考古证据可以证明它的存在和具体位置。

Xia Dynasty

Historical records state that the first Chinese dynasty was the Xia dynasty, which lasted from approximately 21st century BC to 16th century BC. The territory of the Xia dynasty cannot be clearly determined due to a scarcity of historical documents and the fact that no maps have been found. Although there are clear records of this time in extant documents, to date there is insufficient archaeological evidence to prove its existence and specific location.

 

商朝

中国第二个王朝叫商朝,大约在公元前16世纪到公元前11世纪。20世纪初,在河南省安阳市发现了商朝晚期的王都遗址。刻写文字的甲骨被大量发现,以及成功释读,证明了商王朝的存在。

Shang Dynasty

The second dynasty of China, the Shang dynasty, spanned from approximately 16th century BC to 11th century BC. In the beginning of the 20th century, the royal capital of the late Shang Dynasty was discovered in Anyang, Henan province. The discovery of large numbers of oracle bones with text inscribed on them, as well as their successful interpretation, proved the existence of the Shang dynasty.

 

周朝

大约五百年后,生活在今天陕西中部的周族发展和壮大,并消灭了商朝,进入了中国历史第三个王朝——周朝。

Zhou Dynasty

Approximately 500 years later, the Zhou people who lived in the central part of modern-day Shaanxi province developed and expanded, eventually wiping out the Shang court and ushering in the third dynasty in China’s history – the Zhou dynasty.

 

周朝还分了两个时代,第一个时代,因为国都在西边,所以称之为西周。当时,周王将征服的土地和人民,一部分交给周族的贵族们统治和管理,一部分交给帮助周朝建立的功臣们,另外承认一些酋长对原有土地和人民的统治。

The Zhou dynasty is further divided into two periods. The first period is known as the Western Zhou period as its capital was located in the west. During this time, the Zhou kings gave some parts of its subjugated land and people to the Zhou family nobles to rule and manage, and some parts to outstanding subjects who assisted with the establishment of the Zhou dynasty. They also recognised the original rule of land and people by some tribal chiefs.

 

周朝的版图覆盖今天的河南、山东、河北、陕西、山西、江苏、安徽、浙江、江西的大半,以及四川和湖南湖北的一部。当时文化进步的地域集中于河南的大部,以及陕西、山西、河北、山东、安徽、湖北的一部分。

The territory of the Zhou dynasty covered modern-day Henan, Shandong, Hebei, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Jiangsu, Anhui, Zhejiang and most of Jiangxi, as well as parts of Sichuan, Hunan and Hubei. The culturally developed area of the time was concentrated in most of Henan, as well as Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hebei, Shandong, Anhui and parts of Hubei.

 

周朝第二个时代,因为国都迁徙到东边,所以称之为东周。东周的前半期叫做春秋时代,那个时候诸侯争相称霸的现象特别普遍。东周的后半期叫做战国时代,那个时候周天子名存实亡,而各诸侯常常相互征伐。同时,文化比较落后的民族,逐渐被中原民族同化。

The second period of the Zhou dynasty is known as the Eastern Zhou dynasty as its capital was moved to the east. The first half of the Eastern Zhou dynasty is known as the Spring and Autumn period. During this time, a number of different vassal states fought for total domination. The second half of the Eastern Zhou dynasty is known as the Warring States period. During this time, the Zhou emperor existed in name only, and feudal lords frequently launched military expeditions against each other. Meanwhile, relatively undeveloped ethnic groups gradually assimilated themselves with the people of the Central Plain of China.

 

中古期:公元前3世纪初~公元17世纪中

中国历史第二大时期,是中古期。中古期,是从公元前3世纪初到公元17世纪中。它包括以下六大时代:一、秦汉;二、六朝时代;三、隋唐五代;四、两宋辽金西夏;五、元代;六、明代。

Middle Antiquity: from 3rd Century BC to mid-17th Century AD

The second major period of Chinese history is known as middle antiquity. Middle antiquity lasted from 3rd century BC to mid-17th century AD. It includes the following six major periods: 1) the Qin and Han dynasties; 2) the Six Dynasties period; 3) the Sui, Tang and Five Dynasties period; 4) the Northern and Southern Song, Liao, Jin and Western Xia dynasties; 5) the Yuan dynasty; 6) the Ming dynasty.

 

秦汉

中国历史上第一个统一的封建王朝是秦朝,它的建立结束了诸侯割据的局面,也完成了中国版图的扩充。但秦朝的生命很短暂,只存活了16年左右,而很快就被汉朝所取代。汉朝是中国历史上一个十分重要的朝代,它大约有422年的历史,也是当时世界上最强盛的国家之一,对中国历史上以后各个朝代的发展有着深远的影响。

The Qin and Han Dynasties

The first unified imperial dynasty in Chinese history was the Qin dynasty. Its establishment brought feudal separatism to an end, and completed the expansion of China’s territory. The Qin dynasty, however, was short-lived, lasting only about 16 years, and was abruptly superseded by the Han dynasty. The Han dynasty, with a lifespan of approximately 422 years, is an extremely important dynasty in the history of China, and was also one of the most powerful states in the world at the time. It had far-reaching impacts on the development of each and every dynasty that followed it.

 

在汉代极盛的时期,东北达到今天辽东半岛和朝鲜半岛的大半部分地区;北边到长城,西边到甘肃,而新疆和中亚部分国家向汉朝称臣;南边到云南、贵州、广东和越南北部。跟周代类似,汉代也分两个时代——西汉和东汉,也可以说前汉和后汉。我们把西汉和东汉分开来,是因为汉代中期有一位官员叫王莽篡位,建立名叫“新”的朝廷,但新朝很短暂,只存活了16年。

During its zenith, the Han dynasty reached, in the northeast, large areas of modern-day Liaodong and Korean peninsulas; in the north, the Great Wall of China; in the west, Gansu, and Xinjiang and some states of Central Asia which swore allegiance to the Han dynasty; and in the south, Yunnan, Guizhou, Guangdong and Northern Vietnam. The Han dynasty, like the Zhou dynasty, is also divided into two periods – the Western Han dynasty and the Eastern Han dynasty, also known as the Former Han dynasty and the Later Han dynasty. We distingush the Western Han dynasty from the Eastern Han dynasty because in the middle of the Han Dynasty an official named Wang Mang usurped the throne and established a new dynasty called the Xin dynasty. The Xin dynasty however was short-lived, lasting only 16 years.

 

秦汉时期是中华帝国形成的初期。这一时期建立起一系列制度——如皇帝制,郡县制等,奠定了接下来两千多年的基本政治制度。汉朝的版图也基本是今天汉族最主要的聚集地区,除了东北地区和台湾地区之外。同时,汉朝与周边例如北方的匈奴族,南方的南越族,西方的羌族等族在冲突和交流中进行融合,为接下来的六朝时代的民族大融合埋下伏笔。

The Qin and Han dynasties were the beginning stages of the formation of the Chinese empire. The period established a number of institutions, such as the imperial system and the prefecture and county system, and founded the basic political system for the following 2,000 years. The territory of the Han dynasty is also essentially the main area in which the Han ethnic group are concentrated today – apart from Northeast China and Taiwan. At the same time, the assimilation that took place during the conflict and exchange between the Han ethnic group and the non-Han people on the frontier – for example, the Xiongnu in the north, the Nanyue in the south and the Qiang in the West – foreshadowed the major ethnic assimilation that would take place during the Six Dynasties period.

 

六朝时代

东汉以后,中原地区处于分裂状态,这一时代称之为六朝时代,因为它由六个短暂的朝廷组成。这六个朝廷是:三国的吴、东晋和南朝的宋、齐、梁、陈,它们相继建都在建康——今天的南京市。学生应该注意,从东汉末年到隋朝统一这四百年间,也被称之为魏晋南北朝时期。

The Six Dynasties Period

After the Eastern Han dynasty, the Central Plain of China was in a fragmented state. This period is known as the Six Dynasties period, because it was made up of six short-lived dynasties, namely Wu of the Three Kingdoms, Eastern Jin and, of the Southern Dynasties, Song, Qi, Liang and Chen. They successively established their capitals at Jiankang, present-day Nanjing. Students should note that the 400 years following the end of the Eastern Han dynasty until the unification of China under the Sui dynasty is also called the Wei-Jin-Nanbeichao period.

 

当时,中国分裂成魏,蜀,吴三个割据政权。西晋短暂地统一,但北方少数民族突破了长城,灭亡了西晋政权。北方中原地区进入了混乱的十六国时期,而中国大部分地区被少数民族统治。

China at the time was divided into the Wei, Shu and Wu states. For a period of time, China was unified under the Western Jin dynasty, but an ethnic minority in the North broke through the Great Wall and destroyed the Western Jin regime. This ushered in the Sixteen Kingdoms period in which the northern part of the Central Plain of China was in total chaos, and most of China was ruled by ethnic minorities.

 

汉族世家大族纷纷南下,在建康——那就是今天的南京市,重建了晋朝,历史上成为东晋,为了区别于之前在洛阳建都的晋朝。东晋与中原地区建立的十六国,相互对峙达一百多年。随后,游牧在今天东北和内蒙古的鲜卑族崛起,统一了北方,建立了北魏。后来它分裂为北周和北齐两个政权。

Aristocratic Han families migrated to the south and, at Jiankang – that is, modern-day Nanjing – reestablished the Jin dynasty, known by historians as the Eastern Jin dynasty to distinguish it from other dynasties named Jin that established capitals at Luoyang. The Eastern Jin dynasty and the Sixteen Kingdoms established in the Central Plain were in parallel opposition for over 100 years. Soon after, the Xianbei people who roamed modern-day Northeast China and Mongolia rose to power, unified the North and established the Northern Wei dynasty. Afterwards it split into the Northern Zhou dynasty and the Northern Qi dynasty.

 

同时,南方东晋灭亡了了,取而代之的是宋,齐,梁,陈四个小朝廷。这一时期有被称为南北朝时期。这一时期突出特点是战争频繁,社会混乱。但依然有几个大的时代主题值得学习。

At the same time, the Eastern Jin dynasty in the South came to its demise, and was replaced by the four minor dynasties of Song, Qi, Liang and Chen. The period, which is also known as the Southern and Northern Dynasties period, is characterised by frequent conflict and social disorder. Yet, just as before, there are some major themes during the period that are worth learning about.

 

在北方,民族大融合,汉族,匈奴,鲜卑等各个民族进行长期的融合,导致逐渐消除民族间的仇视,技术和习俗方面互相学习。此外,少数民族统治者逐渐接受汉族的统治,实现封建化。在南方,随着人口的大规模南迁,长江流域得大量的劳动力和生产技术。南方经济水平大大提高,而经济发展和民族融合为后来繁荣的隋唐帝国奠定基础。

In the North, there was a major assimilation of the different ethnic groups, as the Han, Xiongnu, Xianbei and other groups assimilated with each other over a long period of time, resulting in a gradual decline in hostility, and an exchange of technologies and customs. Furthermore, the rulers that came from the ethnic minorities gradually came to accept Han rule, leading to the formation of a feudal system. In the South, as large populations arrived from the North, there was an influx into the Yangtze River Basin of large amounts of labour and production technologies. The economy in the South improved significantly, and economic development and ethnic assimilation laid the foundation for the future prosperity of the Sui and Tang empires.

 

隋唐五代

北方的隋朝取代了北周,并统一了北齐和南朝。强大而繁荣的唐王朝取代了短命的隋朝。中国的版图再次实现了统一。唐代极盛的时期,北边到今天的蒙古国,西边到今天的伊朗,南边到今天的越南北部。

The Sui, Tang and Five Dynasties Period

The Sui dynasty in the North replaced the Northern Zhou dynasty and unified the Northern Qi and the Southern Dynasties. The powerful and prosperous Tang dynasty superseded the short-lived Sui dynasty. Once again, China achieved unification. During its zenith, the Tang dynasty extended to the following regions: in the North, to modern-day Mongolia; in the West, to modern-day Iran; and in the South, to modern-day Northern Vietnam.

 

唐朝是汉朝以后第二个对东亚政治、经济和文化产生深渊影响的时期。北方的突厥和契丹,以及西北的回鹘和吐蕃,这些人与唐王朝有着密切的文化和经济交流。他们将中国的瓷器,丝绸,茶叶和先进技术传到了中东地区。东边和南边的朝鲜,日本,越南等国,大量学习和采纳唐代的先进的技术、制度、文字、法律、习俗等。对它们影响直到今天都是显而易见。

The Tang dynasty was the second period after the Han dynasty to have profound effects on the politics, economies and cultures of East Asia. The Turks and the Khitan in the North, as well as the Uighurs and Tibetans in the Northwest, had a close cultural and economic relationship with the Tang court. They played a role in the passing on of China’s porcelain, silk, tea and advanced technologies to the Middle East. Countries to the East and South such as Korea, Japan and Vietnam learnt and adopted much of the advanced technology, institutions, writing system, laws and customs of the Tang dynasty. This influence can be clearly seen even today.

 

由于唐朝强大的影响力,唐人在世界获得前所未有的尊崇。所以,今天的华人常常被成为“唐人”。公元755到763年,一场巨大的叛乱差点埋葬了唐朝。之后,叛乱的后遗症依然存在,部分地区不再服从中央政府。这一情况一直延续到唐朝的灭亡。

Due to the significant influence of the Tang, they received an unprecedented amount of veneration the world over. Thus, today overseas Chinese are also commonly known as Tangren (“Tang people”). From 755 to 763 AD, an immense rebellion almost toppled the Tang dynasty. That some regions refused to obey the authority of the central government demonstrates its after-effects. This situation continued right up until the end of the Tang dynasty.

 

唐朝灭亡后,中国的版图再次分裂,这一时期称为五代十国,或者简称五代。与六朝时期类似,北方先后有五个割据政权——后梁,后唐,后晋,后汉,后周存在,它们几乎都建都在汴梁——今天河南省开封市。南方也陆续出现十个小国与北方对峙。这是唐代后期诸侯割据状况的延续。

After the fall of the Tang dynasty, the territory of China fell into fragmentation once more. This period is known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, or simply the Five Dynasties period. Similar to the Six Dynasties period, five successive independent regimes operated in the North – the Later Liang, Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han and Later Zhou. Nearly all of them set up their capital at Bianliang, modern-day Kaifeng, Henan province. In the South, 10 minor states emerged in opposition to the North; this was a continuance of the feudal fragmentation of the late Tang Dynasty.

 

两宋辽金西夏

约八十年后,宋朝取代了后周政权,进而统一了中原和南方地区。可是,相对于唐朝的疆域而言,北宋王朝所控制的领土大大缩小。中国其他地区被游牧民族所占据。河北北部,为契丹所占据,归属辽朝;甘肃和陕西北部,为党项所占据,归属西夏。

The Northern and Southern Song, Liao and Jin and Western Xia Dynasties

After about 80 years, the Song dynasty replaced the Later Zhou regime, thereby unifying the Central Plain and Southern China. However, the territory under the control of the Northern Song dynasty was much smaller than that of the Tang dynasty. Other parts of China were occupied by nomadic peoples. Northern Hebei was occupied by the Khitan, under the Liao dynasty; Gansu and Northwestern Shaanxi by the Tanguts, under the Western Xia dynasty.

 

12世纪上叶,女真族——今天满族人的祖先崛起。女真人消灭了契丹王朝,随后也灭亡了北宋帝国,迫使中原王朝再次南迁。此时,女真人在黄河流域建立了金朝,与占据淮河以南的南宋王朝以及占据甘肃的西夏王朝相对峙。

During the first half of the 12nd Century, the Jurchen – ancestors of today’s Manchu people – rose to power. The Jurchens annihilated the Khitan dynasty, and then destroyed the Northern Song empire, forcing the Central Plain dynasty to move again to the South. At this time, the Jurchen established the Jin (金 Jīn, as opposed to晉/晋 Jìn) Dynasty at the Yellow River Basin, in parallel opposition to the Southern Song dynasty, which occupied the southern part of the Huai River, and the Western Xia dynasty, which occupied Gansu.

 

元代

随着中原人口再次大规模向南迁徙,长江和珠江流域得到了巨大的开发。12世纪末,蒙古族在草原崛起。随着成吉思汗和他的子孙们对外扩张,蒙古帝国的地域直抵东欧。统治中国的蒙古汗国被称之为元朝。

Yuan Dynasty

As large populations from the Central Plain once again migrated to the South, the Yangtze River and Pearl River basins were opened up for large scale development. At the end of the 12th century, the Mongolians rose to power in the steppes. As Genghis Khan and his descendants expanded their territory, the Mongolian Empire extended all the way to Eastern Europe. The Mongolian khanate which ruled China is known as the Yuan dynasty.

 

元代的国内交通,包括陆路和海路对外交通十分通畅,中外交流频繁。大都——今天北京、杭州、泉州等城市的繁华,超越了之前的朝代。元朝和罗马教廷建立联系。

During the Yuan dynasty, there was free-flowing transportation both inside China and out – including foreign transportation by land and sea – and frequent exchange between China and the outside world. The prosperity of Dadu – present-day Beijing, Hangzhou, Quanzhou, and other cities in China surpassed that of previous dynasties. The Yuan dynasty established contact with the Vatican.

 

意大利商人马可·波罗大约在1275年通过丝绸之路到达元大都,在中国居住了17年,曾被忽必烈任命为元朝官员。他写下的《马可·波罗游记》,对中国繁华的都市、社会状况、风俗、信仰、土特产等作了细致的描述。元代经济文化的发展,以及中外交流的空前拓展,对世界历史进程产生了重大影响。

In approximately 1275, the Italian merchant Marco Polo arrived at Dadu via the Silk Road. He lived in China for 17 years, and was appointed as an official of the Yuan court by Kublai Khan. The book he wrote entitled the Travels of Marco Polo described China’s prosperous cities, society, customs, beliefs and local products in great detail. Economic and cultural development during the Yuan dynasty, as well as unprecedented exchange between Chinese and foreigners, had considerable impact on the course of world history.

 

明代

十三世纪中叶,汉人赶走了蒙古人,建立了明朝。明代的疆域虽然远远不如元朝,但极盛时期,东北达到今天俄罗斯的阿穆尔地区,北部达到蒙古高原,西部达到甘肃,西南达到西藏,南部达到今天越南北部。

Ming Dynasty

In the middle of the 13th century, the Han Chinese drove out the Mongolians and established the Ming dynasty. Although the territory occupied by the Ming dynasty was no where near as large as the Yuan dynasty, during its zenith, it extended to the following regions: in the Northeast, to modern-day Amur, Russia; in the North, to the Mongolian steppes; in the West, to Gansu; in the Southwest, to Tibet; and in the South, to modern-day Northern Vietnam.

 

民族方面,随着几次外族人占据中原,中原文化和游牧文化再次实现大融合。文化方面,外来的印度文明的思想经过上千年的传播,基本上实现了本土化,佛教是最典型的例子。社会经济依然以农业经济为主,同时手工业和商业逐渐发展和繁荣起来。

In terms of its ethnic composition, there was once again a major assimilation of the Central Plain and nomadic cultures in the wake of several non-Han occupations of the Central Plain. In terms of culture, ideologies from the Indian civilisation spread for over a thousand years and became more or less localised, with Buddhism being the most typical example. It was still mainly an agricultural-based society and economy. At the same time, handicraft and commercial industries gradually developed and flourished.

 

近世期:公元17世纪中期~20世纪初

中国历史第三大时期,是近世期,那就是公元17世纪中期到20世纪初,涵盖明末到清末。在清代全盛时,中国的疆域,在东北达到今天俄罗斯的远东地区,在南方达到今天台湾地区。韩国、越南、缅甸、泰国、冲绳都是清朝的藩属国。

Modern History: from Mid-17th Century AD to Early 20th Century

The third major period of Chinese history is the modern history period – that is, from the middle of the 17th century AD to the beginning of the 20th century, covering the end of the Ming dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty. At the peak of the Qing dynasty, China’s territory in the Northeast extended to the far-east part of modern-day Russia, and the South to modern-day Taiwan. Korea, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand and Okinawa were all tributary states of the Qing court.

 

十九世纪中期,鸦片战争以后,清朝对外战争屡次失败,国力大大削弱。俄国抢占阿穆尔河以北地区,而日本强行占领台湾。中国的藩属国也先后被英国、法国和日本等国所殖民。

During the mid-19th century, after the Opium Wars, the Qing dynasty was defeated repeatedly in engagements with foreign powers, and its power diminished greatly. Russia seized the region to the north of the Amur River, and Japan forcibly occupied Taiwan. China’s tributary states were successively colonised by Britain, France, Japan and other countries.

 

满洲人统治中国两百多年后,满族逐渐被汉族所同化,满语也渐渐被大部分满洲人遗忘了。蒙古族、回族、维吾尔族、藏族、苗族等少数民族也接受中国政府的统治。在这个时期,西方文化逐渐传入中国。

After more than 200 years of Manchu rule, gradually the Manchus were assimilated into Han Chinese culture, and the Manchu language forgotten by most Manchu people. The Mongolians, Hui, Uighurs, Tibetans, Miao and other ethnic minorities also accepted the rule of the Chinese government. During this period, Western culture gradually found its way into China.

 

现代期:公元1912年以后

中国历史第四大时期,是现代期。现代期是从1912年中华民国成立后到现在。它结束了两千多年的皇帝专制,建立了民主共和的新政体。1949年,毛泽东主席宣告中华人民共和国中的成立。

Contemporary History: from 1912 to Present Day

The fourth major period in Chinese history is the contemporary history period. Contemporary history is reckoned from the founding of the Republic of China in 1912 up until the present time. The period put an end to over two thousand years of imperial autocracy, and established a new system of government – the democratic republic. In 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong declared the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

 

中国历史歌诀

这是一首歌诀,可以帮你记得中国历史的时期划分。

Chinese History Mnemonic

The following is a mnemonic to help you remember the different periods of Chinese history.

 

三皇五帝始,尧舜禹相传;

Firstly, the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors,

Then, legend has it, Yao, Shun and Yu;

 

夏商与西周,东周分两段;

The Xia, Shang and Western Zhou dynasties,

The Eastern Zhou, split into two periods;

 

春秋和战国,一统秦两汉;

The Spring and Autumn period, the Warring States,

Then unification under the Qin and the Former and Later Han dynasties;

 

三分魏蜀吴,二晋前后沿;

The Three Kingdoms of Wei, Shu and Wu,

The Western and Eastern Jin dynasties, one after the other;

 

南北朝并立,隋唐五代传;

The Northern and Southern dynasties side-by-side,

The successive Sui, Tang and Five dynasties;

 

宋元明清后,皇朝至此完。

After the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties,

The imperial dynasties comes to an end.

1 Comment to "Beginner’s Guide to Chinese History #1: The Periodization of Ancient Chinese History"

  1. bob's Gravatar bob
    09/04/2017 - 5:50 am | Permalink

    This is a great find! Really easy to understand, makes me feel like I can actually understand Chinese. Thanks!!!

Leave a Reply