Episode 13: The Widening Gyre

Spheres of domination, intrafamilial betrayal, and tangled alliances are the markers of the second portion of the Spring and Autumn period, called the Age of Encroachments. All of this leading to the major powers of the Zhou Empire to engage in decades-long draw out proxy-wars along their borders… all leading toward war outright and the near-destruction of Chu by a new player from the southeast, Wu.

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2 thoughts on “Episode 13: The Widening Gyre

  1. While divulging the account of the ⚔️Battle of Chengpu, @ around the 12:12 mark, you take a moment to encourage us listeners to check out a companion section which provides some visual info pertaining to the battle. Um, well, I looked for it &, erm, couldn’t find it. 😟Perhaps it got deleted somehow, or perhaps you’d forgotten to put it up, or perhaps I’m a dum dum😋looking in the wrong place (in which case, I apologize), but I just thought it would be helpful to you for me to alert you of that (btw, 🤗this isn’t meant as a criticism in any way. I didn’t mind not seeing the companion piece; the podcast info on the issue was more than sufficient to satisfy. Just merely wanted to bring it to your attention, in case you weren’t aware of it).

  2. The Eastern Zhou dynasty was so bizarre in how insignificant its rulers were. And (at least from the impression I have of it) it’s totally different from, say, the last decades of the Han dynasty, when warlords like Guo Si & Cao Cao possessed & utilized the powerless Han ruler as their own puppet & a tool to help legitimize their own actions, decisions, policies, & decrees: W/the Eastern Zhou rulers, it’s like not only were they powerless, but nobody even cared about them (In fact, in this entire episode, 🤔I don’t happen to recall your mentioning the name(s) of ANY of the Zhou rulers who (nominally) wore the Middle Kingdom’s top crown during the whole timespan covered in this episode. And why on earth would you?). They were all total nobodies. Nobody cared about them or even took notice of them. They didn’t even hold enough respectability to have any kind of “puppet power” for others to exploit, lol😆! These East Zhou guys WISH that they could be as blessed in their reign as the likes of rulers such as Han Shaodi, Han Xiandi, Wei Yuandi, or, heck, even Jin Mindi*: At least these unfortunate rulers had names that actually MATTER to history & actually got NOTICED by other people in the world they lived in, unlike the kings of Eastern Zhou, who may as well have had names like “King NobodyCaresAboutMe” or “King NobodyIsTakingMeSeriously” or “King WhyDoIEvenBotherTryingAnymore?” or “King If IDieRightNowHowLongUntilSomeoneFinallyNotices?”. It really makes for a strange political dynamic & a very unique time within the long timeline of China’s history…

    *Note: I was nearly about to include Liu Song Shundi to the list, but even I had to draw the line there. His fate was so heartbreaking😔, so sad😢, so gut wrenchingly tragic 😣, I just simply couldn’t go there (even w/the quasi-jestful writing tone I was utilizing to make my point).

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