Episode 50: Splinters

The Jin Dynasty has lost the north, and now hides on the southern banks of the Yangtze River, trying to pull themselves together.  Meanwhile the Xiongnu-led tribal coalition calling itself Northern Han will discover that defeating Jin was the easy part, and it’s the stresses of governing that will either make or break with tenuous coalition

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4 thoughts on “Episode 50: Splinters

  1. Another quality podcast, thank you!. When listening to this episode, I was wonder how culturally homogeneous was China at this time? Was it as similar as the states of the US or as different as the countries of modern Europe? And while emperors lived a good life, it was often short. Do you happen to know how long a life someone of a lesser station could expect to live? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Eduardo,

      I really sorry I apparently didn’t get back to you with your question in anything remotely approaching a “timely manner”! Definitely not intentional!

      Culturally, Chinese civilization was (and remains!) centered around the culture of the Han – i.e. the group that coalesced in the Yellow River Valley and then spread outward.

      Yours is a very interesting – and complex – question because what does it “mean” to be culturally Chinese? Certainly at this point the North Plains of China had been re-settled by the Five Tribes – Mongol-Turkic tribal steppe peoples with very different cultures… very similar to the Mongols, or even with broad similarities to the Great Plains Native Americans of the US West and Southwest. But the thing about CHinese culture being as powerful a force as it was was that it seemed to inevitably “bleed into” it neighbors… so what you had on China’s preiphery were a bunch of kingdoms, tribes, and peoples who the “true” Chinese all thought of as barbarians, but in actuality were semi-Chinese themselves. But it was very much a factor of how close one was to the “central hub” of China – which was at this point still Chang’an/Luoyang, i.e. the North. But by the end of this period, the centerpoint of Han Chinese culture will have irrevocably been moved south with the flight of the Jin Dynasty and the majority of the Han peoples, down to the Southern banks of the Yangtze to what is today Nanjing.

  2. I am greatly enjoying your podcast, especially the perfect seasoning of humor you spice the episodes with. In particular, the appearance of the opening crawl to the Empire Strikes Back was a brilliant fit.

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