Which dynasty is better Tang or Song

Song Dynasty China, the period from 960 to 1279

The Song Dynasty China appeared after the great Tang Empire fell apart in 906. The Tang Empire was divided into two kingdoms or was conquered by invaders. Large parts of the west and north were taken over by the other empires or by the nomadic tribes, and in the east there were eight small kingdoms in 923. In 960, Emperor Taizu conquered the area and the Song Dynasty began. The Song Dynasty era is divided into two periods of roughly equal length called the Northern Song (960-1127) and the Southern Song (1127-1279) era.

The capital of the Northern Song Dynasty was in Kaifeng. But the Jin Empire conquered the capital and the northeastern regions. Therefore, the Song Court moved to Hangzhou. The Song Dynasty ruled a relatively wealthy empire south of the Yangtze River that lasted for more than 300 years. Rice cultivation and trade were important in their economy. During her reign, the region's population is believed to have more than doubled, from approximately 50 million to 100 million people. To this end, science and technology have also evolved and the customs and traditional ways of life have evolved that are still followed into modern times.

The economy was booming everywhere. Rice cultivation in the south went so well as to support a doubling of the population. International trade was very important and big economic cities grew as Hangzhou grew, which Marco Polo later marveled at when he saw them. The private trading firms sent large merchant ships to Arabia, India, and other regions to trade in Chinese tea, silk, and the goods produced. Iron foundries produced about as much iron as 100 million kg of iron a year for weapons and tools. Some business people say that the Song era was a time when business and technology were revolutionized.

Most of the Song Dynasty culture that has survived comes from the cities of Kaifeng and Hangzhou, as these two cities served as the capitals of the Northern Song Dynasty. Some of the historical relics in Hangzhou City include the tombs of Yuefei, Song Dynasty City, and Hefang Street.

History of song time

Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127)

Emperor Taizu began his rule over the entire region in 960. His capital was Kaifeng. One of the reforms of its courts and later courts was to streamline the administration and fill the positions in the court with scholars who had passed the imperial test. The Liao empire in the northeast was a military threat and the Song Court sought repossession of the land from the western Xia in the northeast. The empire had also come into conflict with the Viets in the southeast. In the various campaigns against these three countries, the Northern Song Dynasty usually lost. However, they maintained integrity over their territories until 1127. The trade and production of rice enabled the rapid growth of the port cities, the cities of the vendors, and the rapid growth of the population. Everywhere the government was responsible for stability, prosperity, and technological and industrial progress.

During the Song Dynasty, the imperial test was important, because knowledge of the contents of the new Confucian classic was very important for candidates who wanted to take up positions in government. It was thought that the government's bureaucracy would be equipped with educated people and that they would be even more loyal to the court than officials who rule entire regions or areas under their own rule. The officials generally depended on the courts for pay and their position. The leading writers who passed the tests were considered very intelligent and friendly.

In the wars against the western Xia Kingdom, the Liao Empire, and the Viet Kingdom, the result was only a stalemate. They couldn't conquer their neighbors, but neither did they lose much territory to them. The Tanguts had a small kingdom in the northwest with which they controlled access to the strategically important Gansu Corridor, which was an important link to the Silk Road and the trade route. The Tanguts tribe were part of the Tang Empire, but they became a kingdom when the emperor expelled them. As the Song empire expanded, they resisted them in the late 900s. They thought that if they could claim this area, they could reestablish the lucrative Silk Road and trade there, as in the Han and Tang dynasties. The Song Dynasty organized to achieve several of the military victories against the Tanguts in the early eleventh century. Then a leading scientist and scholarly writer named Shen Kuo (1031-1095) who wrote a scholarly book called The Dream Collected Scriptures led an army against them, but they lost. The Tanguts regained the territory they lost earlier. The Liao Empire was an aggressive enemy in the northeast. They forced the Northern Song Dynasty to give them some power in 1005. From 1075 to 1077 the Ly Dynasty fought against them in Vietnam. The war also ended in a stalemate. Conquered and occupied lands were exchanged for one another.

The Northern Song Dynasty ended when they were attacked by the Liao Empire along with the Jurchen who were the servants of the Liao Dynasty. They defeated the Liao empire, but then the Jurchen attacked the Song empire and captured Kaifeng, which was the capital of the Song empire, along with the emperor and many of the tribes of leaders in 1129. A member of the emperor's tribe became the new emperor and he established a new capital in Hangzhou. The Jurchen made Kaifeng their capital and founded the Jin Empire.

Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279)

The Song leaders kept their area south of the Yangtze River along with most of the former population. They also kept the major southern sales towns. The government designed ships and built buildings for the port. Quanzhou, Guangzhou, and Xiamen were major seaports and the government built a navy to protect the merchant ships. The ships used for trade by the Song Empire sailed as far as India or Arabia. The Song empire continued to grow with its wealth. They put down attacks from the Jin Empire. They had a better marina than the Jin, and the great, wide Yangtze River was a natural frontier for defense.

However, the Mongols attacked both the Jin Empire and the Western Xia Empire. At the end of their era, the southern Song Empire formed an alliance with the Mongols to attack the Jin Empire. Your attack was successful. When the Song claimed the ancient cities of Kaifeng and Beijing, the Mongols, led by Kublai Khan, attacked them. After about two decades of war, the Song capital was captured in 1279 and the empire ended. The Song Dynasty was first crushed by the Jin Empire and then conquered by the Mongols. Every time she formed alliances with other people in an aggressive campaign against a powerful neighbor, they were attacked and put down by the alliance partner himself.

Philosophy, religion and political science

The Chinese empires had a common language for writing for over 2000 years. It didn't matter what their spoken language was, most of the educated people in all ages from the Han Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty were able to read the ancient texts from the end of the Zhou Dynasty (1045-255 BC) and were also able to write in the written language. By identifying candidates for official positions by passing the test of knowledge of the new Confucian texts, the court ensured that their officials were particularly intelligent and could communicate even in the very difficult language of literature. They wanted to make sure that the officials understood the ordinary political philosophy that supported the projects of the emperor and his leader and followed the main rules of life defined as tradition. That was progress in keeping a unit under the court and making sure the empire was functioning well.

Almost all of the leaders of the bureaucrats needed to know the new Confucian classics in depth. Those who came out with the best degrees in the tests could remember all of the texts by heart. The new Confucian classics were four books and five classics (四書五經) that incorporated the political and religious philosophy of Confucius and others. These nine books were compiled and coded in the era of the song. The five classics are believed to have been originally written by Confucius himself and the four books are said to contain the more closely related material of Confucian teaching, but these were amalgamated during the Song Dynasty.

The five classics and the four books were written in the classical language for writing. The five classics include: The Book of Changes, Classical Poetry, The Records of the Rites, which was a revision from the originals entitled Classic of the Rites of Confucius, which was lost in the Qin purge. Then there was the classic of history and the spring and autumn records, which contain most of the historical records of the constitution of Confucius of Lu. The four books include: The Analects of Confucius, which is a book of succinct statements attributed to Confucius and records of his disciplines. Mencius is a collection of political dialogues attributed to Mencius. The Doctrine of Meaning and Great Learning, which is a book on Education, Self-Education and the Dao. For foreigners who want a taste of this Confucian philosophy, reading the Analects of Confucius is a good introduction, as the statements are very simple and read like ordinary opinions.

This system of government has its advantages and disadvantages. The bureaucrats have all learned the same work on social behavior and philosophy and this promotes a unity and normality about behavior throughout the empire through and also over the times of dynasty changes. The educated bureaucrats had a common base of understanding and they brought these political and philosophical ideals to the people below them so that the whole empire might have a common philosophy to live by. A disadvantage of this system was that innovative reforms and political criticism could easily be stifled by the leaders. Innovation and personal freedom have been suppressed.

During the Song Dynasty, the religions of Buddhism and Daoism became less popular among the class of leaders than in previous times. The new Confucian thought became the dominant philosophy of life. New Confucianism was the main religious belief and political philosophy of the bureaucrats for most of the time, until the end of the Qing era (1912), except during the Yuan Dynasty.

Achievements in Science

The Song era scientists and inventors made a very rapid advance in knowledge compared with that of other times of the other dynasties. The Song Era and the Hand Era were the most advanced dynasties in science and technology. The inventors of the Song Dynasty were particularly good at developing various types of firearms that were used for various purposes. Shen Kuo, the scientist whose campaign against the Western Xia failed, was a very successful scientist. Chinese scientists quickly advanced the knowledge of the geography of the empire, astronomy and mechanical development, and other subjects.

Shen Kuo (1031-1095)

Shen Kuo (1031-1095) wrote scientific texts about his research and about the various fields that testify to advanced knowledge. He was a court official, as was a general. Shen Kuo's collected scriptures dream of 1088 was a rich scientific composition that can be said to have the forefront of knowledge on astronomy, magnetism, and other fields. He is said to have discovered the concepts of true north and the magnetic property towards the north pole. Either way, he didn't invent the compass himself. It is known that magnetic compasses were used as early as the Han era. But he was the first to describe the magnetic needle in a compass. This knowledge is dated before the European discovery.

Movable characters

Shen Kuo (1031-1095) also wrote about how to make a consolidated printer and use movable characters with it. However, he did not describe that the person invented the technology. In his collected scripture dream from 1088, Shen Kuo says that the prints are made from thin ceramic characters. Then he arranged them in a block. He says this method is not very useful for printing just a few sheets of text, but for hundreds of sheets that can be printed quickly and efficiently using this method.

Movable characters for printing were not an important invention for China as it was in Europe. The Chinese written language used tens of thousands of characters. It was boring to make so many characters and it was much easier to just carve blocks out of wood to print with. The technique of using the blocks of wood is believed to have been invented during the early Tang Dynasty. Since the European alphabet only uses a few characters, the movable character system is much more efficient here. European literature and culture grew enormously and very quickly.


Another group of revolution in the Song era was the invention of gunpowder weapons, bombs, and a variety of gunpowder products. A weak form of gunpowder was known during the early Tang Dynasty, but its use in weaponry was of no relevance until the Song Dynasty. But during the Song Dynasty a number of types of gunpowder were invented for use in missiles, pistols, chemical weapons, and bombs. Gunpowder became powerful enough to make it a dangerous weapon. Zeng Gongliang and Yang Weide wrote a treatise called “Wujing Zongyao in 1044, which describes various formulas for making powerful explosives with a high percentage of nitrate. At the end of the Song Dynasty in 1277, the Song Army was using landmines against the Mongols. When the Mongols invaded China, they used land mines and various types of gunpowder weapons to attack other countries.

Some of the advanced knowledge was not known or not used in the later dynasties. In later times, such devices as complex mechanical clocks or mechanical odometers were not very useful. Perhaps when the dynasties changed and new emperors came, the scientists who are normally servants of the imperial court fled or left the court and lost their scientific texts from the imperial courts or they were simply no longer used. In the empires, the imperial courts set the scientific course. In the hierarchies, the leaders were in control of what the scholars did and where they lived and what salaries they received.

Culture and society

The Song Empire experienced economic and industrial growth and progress that did not exist in the earlier times of the dynasties. They built some of the largest cities in the world. There was relative stability and peace and the growing economy, urbanization and industrialization progressed. Techniques for cultivating rice advanced and rice became the staple food. For the urban elite, eating was fun. According to Marco Polo's records, people in the largest cities ate surprisingly large amounts of fresh meat and fish. Marco Polo thought that the cities were richer than the European cities. During the Song era, the cultural traditions considered important into modern times emerged, including the large urban environment, eating rice, and binding the feet.

During the Tang era and before, the empires mainly cultivated wheat and millet. The early empires developed around the Yellow River and in the north. But the later empires expand south and people migrated south. During the Song era, most of the people lived in the south, using developed techniques for growing rice. That made the population explode.

Based on the census made during the Western Hand Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, the population of the two empires is estimated to be around 50 or 60 million people. This means that after about 800 years, the regional population has not grown. Scholars think the population in the area first grew to 100 million during the Song era. During the Song era, people learned how to live in some of the largest urban areas in the world, such as the cities of Kaifeng and Hangzhou. These cities did not have walls around them for protection and were more like modern cities.

The higher classes and richer people began to tie the girls' feet. They seriously crippled the girls for life. It is thought that this contributed to their submissiveness and the status of the family. The custom of foot-tying spread to the lower classes and even to the farmers, although the girls treated were then less able to do the work on the farm. In the Qing era, most of the women were treated with the ankle, except for those from the minority ethnic groups. It was thought that the little feet would simply look more beautiful.