marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

Sanctioned Violence in Early China

Sanctioned Violence in Early China by Mark Edward Lewis

This is a study of forms of violence such as warfare, hunting, execution, sacrifice, and revenge. Rather academic in tone.

A complex structure. One began to make war by making the appropriate sacrifices. One offers one's war captives to the temples -- in the beginning, to make sacrifices of them. One made covenants with other nobles by making a sacrifice; a mere oath needed the blood. (On the other hand, one minister got an heir executed by falsifying evidence that an oath he had taken had a sacrifice, which would prove he had been conspiring against the throne.)

The rising importance of military tactics, which led to military treatises (and legends of such treatise being given by heavenly beings). The tension between conquest and reigning after. The regulation of revenge, and the frequency that it was treated leniently. Kickball, not only military training but of cosmological significance. And more.
Tags: history reviews: far east

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