* In the Shang Dynasty the highest on the social ladder was definitely the Royal Family and the aristocracy (chief landowners that often served as officials). * Warriors also held a very high power. * A majority of the people during the Shang Dynasty were peasants who worked for the aristocrats. Also a small number of merchants, artisans, and slaves. All of which were at the bottom of the “social ladder”. * Slaves most often used as sacrifices for the Gods. Political: * The Shang Dynasty was a monarchy, meaning it was ruled by a king.
There were about 29 kings throughout the rise and fall of the Shang Dynasty, starting from King Tang. * The Shang king ruled from the capital city, which changed about five times before settling in Anyang, just north of the Yellow River. * His kingdom was sectioned into territories controlled by aristocratic military leaders, a. k. a warlords, chosen by the king. * As for the military, the ancient Chinese armies were known to be ruthless. The king controlled the armies, which in protecting the kingdom came runner up to the protective geography of China.
Interaction / Human-Environment: * The Shang Dynasty was well known for their use of bronze. Mostly in weaponry. * A very popular human-environment interaction source of ancient Chinese Civilizations was the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers. The Yellow River carried its rich silt from Mongolia all the way to the Pacific Ocean. Since the Yellow River would flood every year the Chinese had to figure out ways to control flooding. * The Taklamakan Desert served as a protective barrier for China because of its several species of poisonous snakes.
As did the Himalayan mountains, not only physically but climatologically the Himalayas would experience extreme heat in the summer and extreme cold in the winter because of its inland geography. * The geography of ancient China, mostly mountains and deserts, has played a great role in protecting the civilization. Culture: * The Chinese believed in super natural forces that could help the rulers in worldly affairs. * They believed in Oracle Bones, on which priests scribed questions asked by the rulers most often about worldly affairs. Heated metal rods were stuck in these bones to make them crack.
Then the priests would observe the shapes of the cracks and evaluate the answers. * Ancestor Worship: The Chinese believed it was important to treat the spirits of their ancestors well because the spirits could bring good or bad fortune. * The Chinese were well advanced in mathematics, creating the first decimal system and using calendars. * Religion: Worshipped many Gods, such as weather and sky gods, but believed in one supreme God who ruled all others called Shang-Ti. Ancestor Worship was a big part of the ancient Chinese religion, sacrificing people for the gods. It was a tradition to bury early Chinese kings in royal tombs, having the corpses of their most faithful servants beside them.
Economics: * During the Shang Dynasty the economy was based mostly on agriculture and animal husbandry. * Many farmers knew how to cultivate silkworms to make silk, which later became China’s main export and was highly popular for its beautiful quality. * Artisans manufactured weapons, jewelry and other items of interest. * A big creation they based their economy on was Bronze. Mixing copper and tin to make Bronze would bring their economy a great boost by using the Bronze to make weapons, trade and sell, etc.