Episode 10: The King Who Cried “Barbarian!”

This episode, we start at the mid-point of the Western Zhou period, and follow it all the way down to its conclusion with the shattering of Royal authority, the sacking of the capital, and the vengeance of the White Wolf Clans on the Zhou. By the end of the episode, though a Zhou king will remain on the throne, we’ve seen the end (for now) of a unified state in anything but name…

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4 thoughts on “Episode 10: The King Who Cried “Barbarian!”

  1. Great episode! I appreciated the mention of the story about the mechanical human, cause I’ve read a lot of Daoist and Confucian texts and it was interesting to have the historical context (like last episode with the Duke of Zhou. They sure love their Duke of Zhou)

  2. Hi,

    First of all, I enjoyed your podcast a lot. Keep up the good works. Secondly, I’ve been translating Shiji and had problems dissecting the pre-Eastern Zhou period, such as which part was style, which was ideology, what were the myths, and what was plausible, e.t.c… I was amazed by the richness of information you were able to gather on Western Zhou and prior. Could you tell me your sources or direct me to a few books? Mucho appreciate.

    1. Hi there! glad you’re enjoying it!

      And oh yes, Sima Qian is the best frenemy ever for pre-Spring and Autumn. There’s tons of info contained in that book… but it’s, as you said, pretty much inextricable from the myths, ideology, etc. So to supplement that, I was looking at David N. Keightley’s of Shang History: The Oracle Bone Inscriptions of Bronze-Age China, as well as his more recent publications. Additionally I found good information from Robert Bagley, and Chan Kwang-Chih. There were others as well, but those were the main sources.

      Going back to the Xia, I was forced to agree with pretty much everyone I found (and what I related in ep. 1) that we’re certain that someone lived in the Yellow river valley, and they had some kind of a culture… but beyond that all, there is to go on is myth and legend… and the Shiji’s 2000-years after the fact dodgy “reconstruction”> So I simply tried to present it as that: here’s the story as it’s remembered and told by the only sources that survived. I included the dragons, giant turtles, and ox-emperors to remind everyone that, hey, it’s just a fable at this point.

      Hope that answers your question, but if not let me know and I’ll happily dredge up my old notes to find out more sources for you.


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