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The world elite occupies high positions, is beautiful and inferior: how did the long-standing noble clans in history form?

Nobility, also known as "family", "family", "family", etc., refers to a prominent family that has been an official for generations. From Eastern Han Dynasty to Southern and Northern Dynasties, nobles monopolized China's official career for 400 years. Even in Tang Dynasty, when imperial examination system came into being, nobles still had an absolute advantage in society. Three kingdoms, Jin Dynasty, Northern and Southern Dynasties were established with support of nobility. How did such a nobility appear, which ruled China for a long time?

1. The emergence of a class of scientists

It is generally accepted that nobles originated during Eastern Han Dynasty and descended from generations of ministers and powerful landowners during Eastern Han Dynasty. But origins of nobility began to emerge as early as Spring and Autumn period and Warring States Period. In Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties, bloodline nobles ruled China, and they controlled public power by virtue of their hereditary privileges. During Spring and Autumn Period, rituals collapsed, music broke down, and aristocratic political system was destroyed, so power of the aristocrats began to decline and a new class of "scholars" began to form.

The world elite occupies high positions, is beautiful and inferior: how did the long-standing noble clans in history form?

The so-called "shi" is name of lower nobility or intellectuals during Spring and Autumn Period. During Spring and Autumn period, state monopoly on education was broken, and many scientists began to open private schools. Gradually, a school of thought and culture arose, core of which were scientists, that is, "Hundred Philosophical Schools". ". During Warring States period, in order to fight for hegemony, various countries created a "scientist education style", and many intellectuals were reused and began to rise to upper class of society. Of course, a group of scholars are not only intellectuals, but also warriors, advisors and even "thieves".

The world elite occupies high positions, is beautiful and inferior: how did the long-standing noble clans in history form?

During Warring States period, old official "Shiqing shilu" system was broken and a new selection system based on military merit emerged. Many scientists received high titles and fiefdoms due to military exploits and became a new class of landowners. We call them "military landlords". For example, Shang Yang, who went to Qin to reform law, was enfeoffen in Shangyi. Thus, scientists and earth began to unite. From Warring States period to early Western Han Dynasty, this was stage of rise of Chinese landowning class, and these early landowners were mainly military landowners.

In fact, throughout history of ancient China, scholars and landowners were basically same type of people. After rise of nobility, it replaced former blood aristocrats and became new ruling basis of entire society. It is recorded in history books that politics of early Western Han Dynasty was "a bureaucracy of commoners and ministers", meaning that Western Han Dynasty was basically a dynasty founded by an emerging class of scholars.

Secondly, during Han Dynasty, formation of aristocratic families

At beginning of establishment of Han Dynasty, a large-scale meritorious deed was committed, so a group of new military worthy landowners (bureaucrats) and royal landowners was formed throughout country. After that, Han Dynasty adopted a policy of recuperating and running country by doing nothing, which led to rapid development of industry and trade. Many businessmen, having become rich, bought land from farmers, and a new class of landowners was formed. The three main powers of royal family, bureaucrats, and merchants continued to expand, so tendency to annex land intensified. Dong Zhongshu said that Shang Yang "reformed emperor's system, removed well fields, and people could buy and sell. The rich were tied to fields, and poor perished.”

Towards end of Western Han Dynasty, a large number of powerful landowners formed throughout country. The annexation of land also resulted in many peasants becoming dependent people or even serfs and slaves. In Chinese history, era with largest number of slaves was Han Dynasty. These peasants produced powerful landlords for them on estates, while they themselves barely escaped suffering of war and famine. Like high-ranking officials of Warring States period, powerful landowners recruited large numbers of guests to serve themselves. Powerful land crossed fields, and walls were erected around it, forming a manor economy. In Shui Jing Zhu, it is recorded that Fan Zhong's estate in Huyang is "a wide hut, tall buildings connected to pavilions, ponds, bamboo and wood in forests, six grazing animals, pear fish, sandalwood lacquer tree and mulberry hemp, behind closed doors. City, soldiers and crossbow equipment, capital is huge.”

The world elite occupies high positions, is beautiful and inferior: how did the long-standing noble clans in history form?


The reason why Liu Xiu was able to establish Eastern Han Dynasty was inseparable from support of powerful landowners in Nanyang. After founding of Eastern Han Dynasty, emperors of all dynasties could not restrict development of powerful. For example, Liu Xiu once promoted “dutian” around country, that is, to measure amount of land and determine a new tax standard. However, Dutian was resisted by Nanyang landowners, and in end it was nothing. Throughout Eastern Han Dynasty, power of powerful landowners flourished without restraint.

The "system of inspection" and "exclusive respect for Confucianism" promoted by Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty accelerated transformation of powerful landowners into aristocratic families. The vetting and referral system is designed to encourage local officials to recommend talents to central government. Scholarship and filial piety are main subjects of recommendation. However, powerful landowners have a lot of influence in area, and their family members are often targets of recommendations and thus advance official careers. In order to improve their political status, powerful landowners were also forced to organize education by inviting famous teachers and scholars to estate to teach their children. In Eastern Han Dynasty, inspection system was mainly controlled by powerful landowners, so powerful landowners began to turn into aristocratic families, from generation to generation they were officials and even became ministers from generation to generation.

The world elite occupies high positions, is beautiful and inferior: how did the long-standing noble clans in history form?

Estate formation

The tyrants of Eastern Han Dynasty began to acquire military forces again. At turn of Han Dynasty, Red Eyebrow and Green Forest Rebellion broke out, so powerful landowners began to form a private military force to protect estate, which we later called this Buqu private military force. At end of Eastern Han Dynasty, world plunged into chaos, and military forces of powerful landowners were further improved. However, throughout Eastern Han Dynasty, power of powerful landowners was suppressed by eunuchs and foreign relatives. for excellence.

Third, Wei and Jin dynasties, advent of noble era

At end of Eastern Han Dynasty, Yellow Turban Rebellion broke out, rule of Eastern Han Dynasty completely collapsed, and whole country fell into hand-to-hand combat between warlords. And all these warlords, big and small, were founded with support of local aristocratic families. For example, Cao Cao himself was a powerful family. After he established political power, he tried his best to win over large families in Central Plains, such as Xiahou clan, Xun clan, and Sima clan. Eastern Wu, founded by Sun Quan, was jointly supported by Jiangdong nobles led by Gu, Lu, Zhu, and Zhang Sun Quan had to marry into four main families to stabilize his position. However, Liu Zhang and Liu Bei in Yizhou were never able to resolve tension between foreign scholars and tyrants in Shu, causing Shu Han's ruling base to be unstable.

The world elite occupies high positions, is beautiful and inferior: how did the long-standing noble clans in history form?

When Cao Pi proclaimed himself emperor, in order to further enlist support of aristocratic family, he implemented Jiuping Zhongzheng system, which was supposed to give aristocratic family right to monopolize official careers. The story says that “Gaomenhuabao has worldwide fame; people with poor surnames have no way to progress”, these aristocratic families were popularly called “ancestral clans” and “clothing crowns”, which were relatively famous at that time. Notable families include Xun family in Yingchuan, Chen family in Yingchuan, Hua family in Pingyuan, Wang family in Donghai, Xi family in Gaoping, Pei family in Hedong, Su family in Fufeng, and Fu family in Beidi. The power of these families lasted for a long time, and later continued until Tang Dynasty.

After Yongjia Rebellion, chaos reigned in north, so a large number of aristocratic families migrated south and founded Eastern Jin Dynasty. The main families of Eastern Jin dynasty were Wang family of Langya, Xie family of Chenjun, Huan family of Qiaojun, and Yu family of Yingchuan. After fall of Eastern Jin Dynasty, Liu Yu, a poor family, founded Song Dynasty and created Southern Dynasty, and since then, status of nobles in Southern Dynasty began to be attacked. After Nanliang Huujing Uprising, Jiangdong Manor's economy was dealt a devastating blow, and nobility fell into decline.

The world elite occupies high positions, is beautiful and inferior: how did the long-standing noble clans in history form?

In north, due to reasons such as peasant uprisings and movement of nomads inland, there was a long occupation, and many aristocratic families were destroyed. However, after unification of Northern Wei Dynasty, Xianbei people had to reuse large families in Central Plains, and powerful forces emerged, led by four large families of Cui, Lu, Zheng, and Wang. These family powers were still very prosperous until Tang Dynasty. For example, Cui family in Qinghe was one of ten families with seven family names of Tang Dynasty and had 12 prime ministers. The power of Cui family was formed back in Spring and Autumn period, and family life expectancy was longer than that of dynasty.

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