Wednesday, September 5

Consult  A List of Significant Dates and Names for the Spring & Autumn Period to make the names & dates of the Spring & Autumn period easier to untangle and remember.

As the course chronology grows more complex, consult the website Timeline to help keep things straight.

Reading assignment: Spring and Autumn China (parts IV-VI), pp. 22-42

Our focus today will be on the rising power of states in the south and southeast during the later Spring and Autumn Period. Among these states, Chu, in the central Yangzi Valley region, had been a major force throughout the civil war era, and would continue to play that role in the coming Warring States era as well. But during the late sixth and early fifth centuries BC, the two Yangzi Delta states of Wu and Yue suddenly emerged as dominant military powers, and the story of their rise and decline is the headline political event of the time. Wu and Yue were latecomers to the cultural realm of Eastern Zhou China, and their influence on art, thought, and religion is a factor that historians are only now beginning to appreciate.

Once again, the political events of the period are illustrated in your reading through retellings of well-known narratives drawn largely from the Zuozhuan text. The story of Wu Zixu is particularly famous, and a good reading strategy would be to compare his tale to that of Guan Zhong, narrated in the earlier reading on Qi (see question #3 on p. 41).