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Chinese History - Shang Dynasty 商 (17th-11th cent. BCE)

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The Shang dynasty 商 (17th-11th cent. BCE), in Chinese sources also often called Yin 殷, was a house ruling over a substantial part what is today northern China. From capital near the modern city of Anyang 安陽, Henan, the kings of the Shang exerted power and cultural influence on polities and statelets as far as south of the Yangtze River.
The history of the Shang state is only known from much later sources that counted the Shang among one of the Three Dynasties of anquity (Sandai 三代: Xia 夏, Shang and Zhou 周). According to historiography, the Shang dynasty was founded by Tang the Prefect 成湯, and it found its end under the depraved King Zhou 紂. Chinese scholars of the late imperial period doubted the authenticity of historiographic accounts and dubbed them myths and tales. Only the discovery of inscribed oracle bones near Anyang in the early twentieth century proved that the Shang and their kingdom had a historical fact. Yet contrary to historiography, where the Shang are described as a single dynasty ruling over China, the Shang were but one of many states, albeit the most powerful one. In the eleventh century the Shang kingdom was conquered by the Zhou, a family ruling over the western fringes of the Shang kingdom.

2000 ff. © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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