Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Shang Dynasty


Recommended Posts


About in B.C.1675, a person named Shang conquered the whole China (but it was much smaller than it is now) and started a new dynasty after Xia. It ended in the hand of an emperor named Zhou(). Because he was so in love with a woman named Daji. Daji was really evil, she seduced Zhou() kill the queen and all the best loyal officials in very cruel ways. And after the queen’s death, she became the queen herself. And they treated the common people cruelly. So a governor of one of the state fought back. After his death, his son, Zhou(-)wu continued his job. And in B.C. 1029, he succeeded and started a new dynasty named Zhou(-), (his surname). People now found a lot of oracles (I mean, bones carved with characters) of Shang Dynasty and we know now, at that time, prophet was very popular and widely believed, and also, martial arts and commerce were thriving too

Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.


... I thought the family name of the royal family of the Shang Dynasty was 殷 (Yin) and that of Zhou Dynasty's was 姬 (Ji) ...

... the first emperor of Zhou, 姬昌 (Ji Chang), was called Zhou Wenwang (周文王), whereas his son 姬發 (Ji Fa), was called Zhou Wuwang (周武王) ...

... but I could be wrong ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

come to think of it, isn't it interesting that those "emperors" before 秦始皇 did not proclaim themselves (or were not called) "皇" or "帝" ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

thats becuase before 秦始皇, "王" means the topest ruler of a state. but after destroyed of the other six kingdoms, 秦始皇 wanted to invent a new word to describe himself as the ruler of other rulers. so according to the legend of ancient 三皇五帝 he called himself 皇帝, and we call him 始皇帝 in history, it means "the first 皇帝".

Link to post
Share on other sites

hehehe, what is this thread about? But I couldn't help but tell about something, because I like anicient history very much. People were so much more nobler those days.


商Shang (in ancient Chinese reconstructed *?in), 商 stands for power, and hereditary ceremonies bring held on a platform. They are also referred to as 殷Yin (*?in). They surnamed themselves 子Zi, 有商You Shang. They are part of the 夷越 Yi Yue (*i *ie)tribes. Their true origins are part of a myth(even a myth then). They are supposedly the descendants of 有(女戎)You Rong (*hwin). Their tribes were in constant fighting with the 华夏Huaxia tribes, their fall was probably much more than merely the terrible acts of 帝辛(nicknamed "纣").

周Zhou surnamed themselves 姬Ji (*?i), 有夏You Xia (*?ia). They are part of the 华夏Huaxia tribes that were defeated by the 夷越 Yi Yue (*i *ie) tribes of Shang. Retreated to the western highlands, and reconqueored the north china plains.


新人 that migrated out of the plateaus in Iran separated into two branches. A 北支Northern branch and a 南支Southern branch. The Southern branch migrated through the millenias from Iran down to the Indus river valley, Thar desert, Ganges river plains, the Indian subcontinent, south to Sri Lanka, to Thailand, Myanmar, Malayasia, onto the Indonesian archipelago, Papua, Australia, Polynesia, Hawaiian archipelago, Santa Barabara, California, Melanesia, Micronesia, Easter Island, Peru, the Andes mountains, Patagonia, Brazil, Ecuador. To the north they migrated through Myanmar to Vietnam, Hainan, Yunnan province, eastern Sichuan province, southern China, Changjiang (Yangtze river) plains, and upwards to Anhui province, Shangdong peninsula, Liaodong peninsula, Korean peninsula, Japan, Ryukyu, Taiwan, the Philippines...

The Northern branch that migrated out of Iran, went to the Central Asian steppes, divided into two more branches, the eastern branch went through the Taklimakan basin (it was forested then), into Qinghai, Gansu provinces. One that stayed in Qinghai, eventually migrated into the Tibetan mountains, another went eastwards into the Huanghe(Yellow river) plains, the North China Plains. The northern, the herders that stayed in Central Asia spread far and wide into Mongolia, the Gobi(grasslands), north to Siberia, to northern China, to Hokkaido, to the Bering strait(last glacial maximum still connecting the two continents), Canada, and entered the Mississippi plains, Mexico from the north when the last Ice Age maximum ended...

"North Asia" The Northern branch then northern branch are the Altaic speaking 胡狄Hu-Di. Mongolia, north of northeastern China. *all differnt kinds of names, and starts with a consonant or double consonant.

"East Asia" The Northern branch then eastern branch are the Sino-Tibetan speaking 氐羌 Di-Qiang (*thia-khia). Tibet to north China plains, Huanghe (Yellow river). Named *i, *a, *ia, *kh-, *th-, *ph-.

"South Asia" The Southern branch in China are South Asian(Tai-Kadai, Austronesian, Austroasiatic) speaking 夷越 Yi-Yue(*i-ie).South China, land between the two rivers (Yellow and Yangtze), east China. Named *in, *en, *aen.

The two Northern branches later combined into 华夏Huaxia (*va *ia), when 有熊 from the "north asia" branch defeated both south asia and east asia. Moving his 胡狄Hu-Di tribes from north asia, the herders moved into the north China plains and intermixed with the farmers of 氐羌Di-Qiang. 华夏Huaxia was formed with Sino-Tibetan and Altaic elements. Hostilities continued between 华夏Hua-Xia and 夷越 Yi-Yue.

-Shibo :mrgreen:

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shibo, how did 夏朝 fit into the picture?

... OK, I have this whole set of 中華文明傳真, and it says -

"剛剛進入國家政權時代不久的夏王朝,始終面臨著來自周邊方國的侵擾。當時夏、商、周已先後成為方國之君,政治上出現群雄逐鹿的局面 ..."




Link to post
Share on other sites

From books!

Right! Just some additions:

When 汤Tang destroyed the 夏Xia, he named his court 商Shang, which stands for power. Naturally the people of 周Zhou who succeded the 商Shang cannot refer to them as 商Shang"power", instead they liked to name the countries/city states according to their city name, often capital city. The capital city of 商Shang was 殷Yin at the time of their defeat. 周Zhou simply referred to them as 殷Yin from then on, and later historians simply referred to them as 殷Yin. But it was not used by the 商Shang themselves, they only refrred to themselves as 商Shang, or "power and authority".

有(女戎)Yourong tribe lived on the banks of 黄河Huang He (the Yellow river), which then entered the ocean through the 渤海Bo Sea. Xie's mother was of the 有(女戎)Yourong tribe, his father was of the 高辛Gaoxin tribe. Whole tribes were represented as a single entity. Also that lineage was passed from the mother's side then. Many stories(later tales) were made of 有(女戎)Yourong. Swallows from the north dropped an egg, which 有(女戎)Yourong swallowed, and Xie was born. 有(女戎) then travelled north and north. Until all vestiges of her tribe was gone, and only at night could you see their beauty in the skies(aurora borealis). Durinng the Shang dynasty, most of the tribes in China proper made a change from 母系maternal lineage to 父系paternal lineage. People started to make up 姓(女生 Nü Sheng -born of women)surnames for their tribes without the particle "有you (not pronounced in names then)". Worshipping of their common maternal ancestor, the 有(女戎)Yourong, was lost, and their stories became tales and eventually into myths as swallows and auroras. While their paternal ancestor's tribe, the 高辛Gaoxin, was much remembered. With good reason, because it is the famous tribe that led a tribal alliance, with "帝喾King Ku". Basically, the later Shang viewed themselves as 高辛帝喾Gaoxin's King Ku and 有(女戎)Yourong's descendants. From their son, 契Xie, the Shang claimed ancestry and worshipped. They lived on the banks of the 黄河Huang He (Yellow river), so naturally they took part in the 治水flood fighting... But I'm not sure if they received land as a gratitutde. «史记 Shiji -the Book of Records» does say that he was given office by 帝舜King Shun. But even that is doubtful.

Back to the old story.

夏ia surnamed 姒Si, were 华夏Hua-Xia. 阿尔泰/汉藏 Altaic/Sino-Tibetan, more Altaic than Sino-Tibetan. Assimilated Altaics who rode on horses(Altaic, 胡狄Hu-Di) but farmed (Sino-Tibetan, 氐羌Di-Qiang) at the same time. Pottery work at its best. Several tribes enter the Bronze Age.

商?in surnamed 子Zi, were 夷越Yi-Yue. 南亚/南岛 Austroasiatic/Austronesian. Austroasiatic/Austronesian in a northern environment. Farming northern crops, but knew how to farm rice (southern crop, 夷越Yi-Yue) as well. Mostly bird decorations (夷越Yi-Yue). Fished (夷越Yi-Yue). Bronze work at its best. Most of China had entered into the Bronze Age.

周kho surnamed 姬Ji, were 华夏Hua-Xia. 汉藏/阿尔泰 Sino-Tibetan/Altaic. More Sino-Tibetan than Altaic. This 700year period was mostly intermixing in culture, languages... But the 周Zhou court was Sino-Tibetan/氐羌Di-Qiang with great influences from 夷越Yi-Yue because Shang was 夷越Yi-Yue, and probably much more advanced than either 胡狄Hu-Di or 氐羌Di-Qiang. Hostilities between 华夏Hua-Xia and 夷越Yi-Yue disappeared, except the southern tribes tat reside in the mountains of southern China. Which was mostly looked upon as "barbarians". Enters Iron Age. Steel forged. Ideas flourished...

-Shibo :mrgreen:

Link to post
Share on other sites
周Zhou simply referred to them as 殷Yin from then on, and later historians simply referred to them as 殷Yin. But it was not used by the 商Shang themselves, they only refrred to themselves as 商Shang, or "power and authority".

I think towards the latter half of the Shang/Yin Dynasty, the Yin term was also used as the name of the kingdom, and that's how the Zhou people called them that as well. Historical documents state that the family of the Yin Dynasty after their fall changed their surname from 字 Zi to the name of their fallen country, 殷 Yin.



There's a movement to use the term Shang Dynasty 商代 over Yin Dynasty 殷代 recently in China, but I think 殷 Yin/In/Eun is still widely used in referring to the dynasty in Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

From Wikipedia about the Shang/Yin:

"Both Korean and Chinese legends state that a disgruntled Yin prince named 箕子 Qizi (Korean: Kija), who refused to cede power to the Zhou, left China with his garrison and founded 朝鲜 (chaoxian; Choson) near modern day Pyongyang to what would become the Korean state."

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...