Errata

Please let me know factual mistakes you’ve noticed the program has made! Comment in this post, providing the:

1) Episode

2) Incorrect fact presented

3) Your correction

4) Your sources for the correction

I’ll be sure to update this post with corrections as they come in and are verified, and put them in episodic order.

Many thanks and cheers!

Recurrent/Several Episodes:

  • Error: The podcast states that it is merely academic convention to call pre-Qin rulers “kings” rather than “emperors”.
    • Correction: Pre-Qin rulers are indeed “kings” (Wang). The title of “emperor” (Huangdi) was invented by Qin Shi Huang.  The title of wang was henceforth demoted to the highest rank below emperors, and was usually translated as “prince” instead of “king”, even though it’s still the same character in Chinese.
    • Contributor: Uli
  • Error: The podcast repeatedly calls posthumous names “regnal names”.
    • Correction: Chinese rulers did not use regnal names. Names like “King Wu of Zhou” are English translation of his posthumous name “Wu”. Posthumous names are descriptive words given posthumously by official historians. (e.g. “Wu” denotes martial accomplishments) As such they cannot possibly be chosen by the rulers themselves.  Chinese rulers did, however, use era names, which are loosely similar to western regnal names. However, this did not start until the Han dynasty. And before Qing dynasty, most Chinese emperors had multiple era names. Therefore era names were rarely used to identify the emperor.
    • Contributor: Uli

______________________________________

Episode 09:

  • Error: The podcast states that counts are similar to marquesses, but held interior fiefs and have less military authority. This was true for early European counts and marquesses, but are not applicable at all to Chinese Hou and Bo.
    • Correction: “Marquess” and “Count” are convenient translations of the Chinese titles. The Chinese titles otherwise do not relate in any way to the European ones.  Interestingly, there are scholars who believe Zi (viscount) and Nan (baron) are equal ranks, and that the so called “five ranks” are actually start from Tianzi (son of heaven) -> Gong -> Hou -> Bo -> Zi=Nan.
    • Source: You can see the title and geographical distribution of Zhou fiefs here:
      https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%91%A8%E6%9C%9D%E8%AB%B8%E4%BE%AF%E5%9C%8B%E5%88%97%E8%A1%A8
    • Contributor: Uli
  • Error: The podcast states that the Shi class started out similar to the European knightly class. This assertion is simply unfounded.
    • Correction: The Chinese Shi were, from the start, a kind of gentry or lower aristocracy. Their main occupations were administrative and pedgagogical, and though they may take up arms, the class was never defined by military pursuit.  Indeed China never developed a native, distinct and hereditary military class analogous to knights or samurais.
    • Source: Can’t prove a negative, but here’s a good overview of Shi:
      https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/士大夫
    • Contributor: Uli
  • Error: The podcast states the “Shang” merchant class has nothing to do with the Shang dynasty; that they are mere accidental homophones
    • Correction: The two characters are in fact the same 商.  Indeed it is commonly believed that the meaning of “merchant” derived from the principal occupation of the people of the Shang state.
    • Source: http://baike.baidu.com/subview/68721/18158612.htm#2
    • Contributor: Uli
  • Error: The podcast states that merchants never gained political power until the Ming dynasty.
    • Correction: There are already merchants who reached significant positions as early as the Zhou dynasty. Lü Buwei of Qin is probably the most prominent example.
    • Contributor: Uli
Advertisements

16 thoughts on “Errata

  1. Episode 09: Confusion between Chinese and European rank titles.

    Error: The podcast states that counts are similar to marquesses, but held interior fiefs and have less military authority. This was true for early European counts and marquesses, but are not applicable at all to Chinese Hou and Bo.

    Correction: “Marquess” and “Count” are convenient translations of the Chinese titles. The Chinese titles otherwise do not relate in any way to the European ones.

    Interestingly, there are scholars who believe Zi (viscount) and Nan (baron) are equal ranks, and that the so called “five ranks” are actually start from Tianzi (son of heaven) -> Gong -> Hou -> Bo -> Zi=Nan.

    Source: You can see the title and geographical distribution of Zhou fiefs here:
    https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E5%91%A8%E6%9C%9D%E8%AB%B8%E4%BE%AF%E5%9C%8B%E5%88%97%E8%A1%A8

  2. Episode 09: Confusion between Chinese and European classes.

    Error: The podcast states that the Shi class started out similar to the European knightly class. This assertion is simply unfounded.

    Correction: The Chinese Shi were, from the start, a kind of gentry or lower aristocracy. Their main occupations were administrative and pedgagogical, and though they may take up arms, the class was never defined by military pursuit.

    Indeed China never developed a native, distinct and hereditary military class analogous to knights or samurais.

    Source: Can’t prove a negative, but here’s a good overview of Shi:
    https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/士大夫

  3. Episode 09: Confusion of the “Shang” character

    Error: The podcast states the “Shang” merchant class has nothing to do with the Shang dynasty; that they are mere accidental homophones

    Correction: The two characters are in fact the same 商.

    Indeed it is commonly believed that the meaning of “merchant” derived from the principal occupation of the people of the Shang state.

    Source: http://baike.baidu.com/subview/68721/18158612.htm#2

  4. Episode 09: Status of merchants

    Error: The podcast states that merchants never gained political power until the Ming dynasty.

    Correction: There are already merchants who reached significant positions as early as the Zhou dynasty. Lü Buwei of Qin is probably the most prominent example.

  5. Episode 0? (sorry don’t remember which episode exactly): King vs. Emperor

    Error: The podcast states that it is merely academic convention to call pre-Qin rulers “kings” rather than “emperors”.

    Correction: Pre-Qin rulers are indeed “kings” (Wang). The title of “emperor” (Huangdi) was invented by Qin Shi Huang.

    The title of wang was henceforth demoted to the highest rank below emperors, and was usually translated as “prince” instead of “king”, even though it’s still the same character in Chinese.

  6. Many episodes: Confusing posthumous names with regnal names

    Error: The podcast repeatedly calls posthumous names “regnal names”.

    Correction: Chinese rulers did not use regnal names. Names like “King Wu of Zhou” are English translation of his posthumous name “Wu”. Posthumous names are descriptive words given posthumously by official historians. (e.g. “Wu” denotes martial accomplishments) As such they cannot possibly be chosen by the rulers themselves.

    Chinese rulers did, however, use era names, which are loosely similar to western regnal names. However, this did not start until the Han dynasty. And before Qing dynasty, most Chinese emperors had multiple era names. Therefore era names were rarely used to identify the emperor.

    1. Hi Uli,

      Thanks once again for your input and encouraging the creation of this page! Your corrections are much appreciated, and now posted as such within the page. If (let’s be real, *when*) you find other, please do not hesitate to let me know.

      Much obliged!

  7. 1) Episode: #69 – S&N 13: The Ransom of the Boddisatva Emporer

    2) Error: You stated that of the Julio-Claudian dynasty in Rome only Tiberius was a natural son.

    3) Correction: Emperor Tiberius was the natural son of Tiberius Claudius Nero and Livia. He Augustus’ step-son whom he adopted as an adult.

    4) Source: Suetonius – The Lives of the Twelve Caesars – Tiberius Nero Caesar

    1. Right, I should have ben more clear about that. As far as I understand, though, he was the only successor who was related by blood to the previous emperor. He was adopted, as per custom, but from within the Claudian clan, right? Or did I just botch that interpretation completely?

      1. Caligula was Augustus’s great grandson through his daughter. Tiberius had no blood relation and as far as I can discern it only gets harder to tell from there.

  8. Episode 22: Zhao Gao’s bio

    Error: The podcast states that Zhao Gao belonged to the Zhao royal house, and was castrated in order to end the Zhao line. The podcast also strongly implies that Zhao Gao bore a grudge against the Qin house due to his Zhao lineage.

    Correction: While Zhao is indeed related to the royal Zhao clan, he was only a distant relation and essentially a commoner. He is also presumably born as a Qin subject, as there was no record of his relation to the Zhao state. He certainly was educated in Qin. Further, whether he was a eunuch was also disputed, as he was recorded as having children.

  9. Episode 1?: Hegemon

    Error: The podcast states that the title of Hegemon was conferred to the state rather than the lord.

    Correction: This is exactly the opposite. Hegemons was an ad-hoc office given to the lords who had the strength to claim it; it was never an inherited title. And there was no hegemon when no lord was dominant enough.

  10. Not really an error, but a 2 points that I thought worth mentioning:

    1. The podcast repeatedly state that Qin was considered a semi-barbarian state. This is true, but Chu was considered even more foreign. Indeed Chu had a very distinct language, art and literature, legal and governmental system, and arguably religious practice. Chu was also the first state to claim full independence from Zhou and assume the title of king, about 370 years before any other state.

    This was especially worth mentioning due to its long-lasting influence — both Liu Bang and Xiang Yu hailed from former Chu territory, and Chu’s influence can be seen in early Han.

    2. The podcast mentioned the folktale of Liu Bang’s slaying of the “white emperor” snake by the “red emperor”. According to the classical Chinese elemental theory, white was the colour of the west, while red was the colour of the south. So the subtext of this tale was basically that Liu Bang, hailing from the south, would end the Qin house, who originate from the west.

    3. The podcast briefly mentions Liu Bang’s initial feigned reluctance to assume the imperial throne. While the modesty was clearly disingenuous, there was a real debate on whether it was appropriate to assume the recently-invented “Emperor” (Huangdi) title rather than other alternatives.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s