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Draenin
10-13-2005, 01:09 PM
Recently, I have been listening to lectures, doing tests, etcetera, for my World Civilizations class. Although not all of it is particularly useful, It is very good to know regardless. So, I was sitting in class a few days ago when we happened to get into our next subject - ancient eastern cultures, including China and Japan, when all of a sudden I was struck with an idea. I could take my notes from each day's lecture and probably post them here in order to give people of Samurai more ideas for ways to roleplay in their ideal society. Granted, Samurai is not a china-based kingdom, but the development of neighboring countries is just as important as the development of the country itself. Compiled below is a small bit of information which I may likely expand, depending on how effective it is, and upon the response to this endeavor. Enjoy.



Area Geography and Its Effects.
Ancient China, in its beginning, never had one central language. In fact, at one time, it was rumored to have nearly 200 different languages. This is due to the fact that China has a great number of mountain ranges criss-crossing one another, which divides the land up into small kinds of valleys. In these valleys, there were villages, and one village of people did not typically traverse the mountains to visit another due to the moderately harsh conditions. And so, from this isolation, languages formed within villages. From this trend, dozens of languages emerged. While one village spoke a certain language, another one 50 miles away (give or take) might have spoken another. (At this point in time, I don't think it necessary to explain how use of rivers gave emperors control of China, though I might if it seems useful later on. I am not sure how this section would help out with Samurai, since the mountain rances are different, but perhaps a few simple words native to each village would help to spice up the lingo Samurai members use.)

The Yellow Emperor
The first real emperor of China was actually one accredited with dozens of accomplishments. Not only was he the first to have supposedly invented 'cash' and the compass, but he was also known as the first to somewhat unify China. Each of the villages under his rule were bestowed their own smaller groups of governing. Each individual area was required to do two things - Pay tribute, and occasionally report things going on in that village. Later on, when the wellfield system was created, many smaller issues with the emperor's government were resolved. The emperor's wife was credited with the creation of Sericulture (Silk) when a silkworm cocoon fell into her teacup one day as she was drinking beneath a tree. She unraveled the cocoon and the silk from it got on her fingers. She had her servants weave much of it together with other cocoons to form silk cloths.

Yao & Shun
Yao was emperor for a great deal of time, and (if I am not mistaken) had an heir to the throne. However, he gave it up to a peasant (Shun) because he saw him as being the most virtuous man throughout his entire kingdom. Both Yao and Shun were held in society as model emperors, and cultural heroes.

Ancestor Worship
In China, families held their ancestors in high honor. When a relative died, their spirit stayed with that particular family, rather than going to another place. They were treated as part of the family, even after their decease, even up to the point where the family would include them in their activities, including eating, amongst other things.

Silk Economy
Much of China's economy thrived on the production of silk goods. It was actually such a precious commodity that it was used constantly in major issues. Peace treaties would actually be signed with silk, promising another country or region their fair share of the material. Before the much later years, when synthetic materials were formed, silk was the strongest material to use, and therefore proved to be particularly useful in the creation of tapestries, clothing, etcetera.

Oracle Bones
These were animal or human bones that would be held above a fire for long periods of time. During this time, a question would be presented to the gods to be answered. When heated to a high degree, the bones would afterward be dipped into water, causing them to crack and split. The cracks would be read and interpreted to decipher the answer to the question presented to them. This was a form of early divination. Questions often imposed would be simple ones, such as, "Will there be a high yield of wheat this month?" or "Will our village have more children born this year?"

Dragon Bones
These were also animal or human bones, but were ones inscribed with ancient chinese characters. They were particualrly rare, until people began to try creating duplicates of them themselves. They were used for medicinal purposes, and were said to hold mystic healing powers. Eventually, the emperor caught wind of them being in circualtion, and sometime later found a cave where literally thousands of them were being stored. The people responsible became quite rich because of their sales, but were quickly punished for their deeds once discovered. (Fun fact: When an emperor dies, his spirit is said to mount a dragon and ride off to the heavens.)

The Wellfield System
Basic principles of the wellfield system:

1. All land belongs to the Emperor.
2. Villages must occasionally pay tribute to the emperor with crops, goods, etc. These goods are used for maintenance of the kingdom.
4. The emperor may inspect any property. (Might not be wise for Graal Kingdoms. ^^)
5. Emperor may reduce any lord's rank and land ownings.
6. Each lord must report to the emperor regularly on the status of their village.

Villages were typically set up in the way a 3 x 3 grid would be. Each tile in the grid would be a certain amount of land owned by villagers. In the center of that grid would be the village's lord. Around him in the other 8 positions would be the lower-class citizens. Lower-class citizens presented goods to the lord, who in turn presented them to the emperor who ordered for them to be used for upkeep of China. There are two theories as to why the wellfield system is called what it is. One is that the grid, without its edges, would look remarkably similar to the chinese character for 'well.' The other is that the center of the village had a well, and the lord's residence was closes to the well. Social rank and status was rumored to depend on the family's distance from the village's well.

The Five Ranks of the Emperor
When an emperor came to the throne, his oldest son was given the status as heir. If that son died, it would go to the next oldest in line. When that son became emperor, his younger brothers moved up a rank. However, if the new emperor had children, his oldest child became the new heir, and his younger brothers lost their status of nobility. This system was basically developed to keep the numbers of nobility down.

Emperor Yu's Bonfire System
I've saved the best for last. Emperor Yu created a system where if something happened to him or his family within the palace, signal fires would be lit up from the towers so that soldiers on the hillside could see them blazing. (If you've ever seen the Lord of the Rings series, you will know what I'm getting at.) The soldiers on the hillside would then light up their signal fires, and so forth until all of them were lit. After that, they'd all march toward the palace to try to protect the emperor and his family.


I hope this has been useful. It took me a while to type it, so I certainly hope it is.

Morinya
10-13-2005, 06:04 PM
The Samurai were from fuedal Japan not China
so it would be better if you posted things about Japan I think ;)
But it's not a bad idea.

Crono
10-13-2005, 06:28 PM
The Samurai were from fuedal Japan not China
so it would be better if you posted things about Japan I think ;)
But it's not a bad idea.

But the Samurai kingdom itself isn't 100% Japan, or so the staff/people say on GK :rolleyes:

Googi
10-13-2005, 07:22 PM
Not another one of these "make Samurai like Japan" crusades...

Draenin
10-13-2005, 08:34 PM
The Samurai were from fuedal Japan not China
so it would be better if you posted things about Japan I think I kind of said that already...
Granted, Samurai is not a china-based kingdom, but the development of neighboring countries is just as important as the development of the country itself.

A lot of the citizens of Japan originally came from China via migration. China was the first to start eastern feudalism, and I think that's pretty important to know. I know Japan is cool and everything, but you have to remember that people weren't just put there, and feudalism didn't always exist there.

Also, I will try to see what I can't find on the Shang. (Pronounced "Sha") I kind of stopped paying attention for a bit on that part. His period of rule can't really be verified anyway, so I dunno if it will be important.

Crono
10-13-2005, 11:09 PM
Not another one of these "make Samurai like Japan" crusades...

It is like Japan, hell Samurai itself is very japan-like.

BUT YOU KNOW, SINCE LIKE ITS CALLED SAMURAI BUT HAS NO IRL COUNTERPART WE MIGHT AS WELL GIVE THEM HAND CANNONS LIKE THE TURKS ON AGE OF EMPIRES!!11

(wasting my 1 post a day on this)

Damix2
10-13-2005, 11:10 PM
It is like Japan, hell Samurai itself is very japan-like.

BUT YOU KNOW, SINCE LIKE ITS CALLED SAMURAI BUT HAS NO IRL COUNTERPART WE MIGHT AS WELL GIVE THEM HAND CANNONS LIKE THE TURKS ON AGE OF EMPIRES!!11

(wasting my 1 post a day on this)


I could light those things up with long bowmen =(

Draenin
10-14-2005, 01:10 AM
BUT YOU KNOW, SINCE LIKE ITS CALLED SAMURAI BUT HAS NO IRL COUNTERPART WE MIGHT AS WELL GIVE THEM HAND CANNONS LIKE THE TURKS ON AGE OF EMPIRES!!11That's completely different. The cultures of China and Japan were not that different from each other, in most respects, until their cultures developed and Japan started to prosper more economically.

Damix2
10-14-2005, 01:37 AM
They saw each other as Heathens. If we brought back a feudal japanese person, he would be appaled if we ever compared them.

Draenin
10-14-2005, 04:09 AM
I am trying to put forth some ideas, not say, "LOLOL WE SHLD CHNAGE SAMRI TO CHINEEZE." Whether it be in China or Japan, feudalism between the two is still nearly identical.

Now really, who even cares which country Samurai was based off of? Are the principles not the same?

Damix2
10-14-2005, 04:10 AM
I never said that.

Draenin
10-14-2005, 04:16 AM
Well, bringing out the point that they hated each other really doesn't make much of a difference when we're only talking about similarities in the cultures, rather than how they felt about each other, doesn't it?

I am not posting here to reminisce on how these cultures eventually grew to hate each other. I am posting this because I think some of these things might be neat to adopt in order to make things seem more authentic in Samurai, regardless of what country they come from.

Damix2
10-14-2005, 04:55 AM
Work behind the scenes, thank you for the suggestions though.

Draenin
10-14-2005, 05:01 AM
It's not really my style to work in the scenes. I'm probably gonna still try to expand this stuff if you think it'd be helpful. Do whatever you want with this.

Luigi1
10-17-2005, 01:16 AM
I could light those things up with long bowmen =(
In AOE II, try destroying a castle with just long bowmen. Takes damn forever. D: