China’s First Empire (Chapter 7, pages 208 – 212)
Later Han (25 – 220)
Han Thoughts & Religion
- first dictionary, 100 CE – helping to unify communication
- scholars learned the classics by heart, wrote commentaries
- believed a virtuous emperor would order society & nature
- nature was a single interrelated system
- As summer follows spring, one color follows another, one number follows another, etc.
- yin & yang
- OPPOSITION: Everything has two opposite aspects. Yin & Yang struggle
with and control each other.
- INTER-DEPENDENCE: Yin & Yang define each other and therefore one cannot exist without the other. (If there is no down, which way is up?)
- 5 elements: Fire, Water, Earth, Metal, Wood
- Emperors & citizens must act in accord with Heaven’s natural system, then all would go well
- If not in accord, Heaven would send a warning: a blue dog, an eclipse, a comet
- If not heeded, misfortunes would follow
- Confucian scholars claimed to understand nature’s messages & advised emperor
- Advances in Han “science” – seismograph, astronomy, music & medicine
- Inventions: paper, wheelbarrow, rudders, compass
- Wrote more history than any other civilization, and more accurate too
- History seen as a lesson book or mirror
- Used first hand accounts & primary sources in writing history

Neo-Taoism (mysterious learning)
- Admired inner spontaneity – defied convention
- sought immortality: explored alchemy, dietary, abstinence or orgies, meditation

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