The Cretan civilization is earliest civilization in Europe, also known as dynasty of Minos. It almost exists side by side with Xia Dynasty described in Chinese literature. The strange thing is that ancient Europeans hardly believed in Minoan dynasty, and now they do; whereas ancient Chinese firmly believed in existence of Xia Dynasty, but are now beginning to doubt themselves. What is causing this? I'm trying to be objective.1. Comparison of literary records
The history of Xia Dynasty first appeared in records of Zhou people. Because Zhou people claimed to be descendants of Xia people, they mentioned some things about Xia dynasty when they traced their ancestors. But these entries are very limited, even a few words, and entries are mainly focused on two kings Dai and Jie. The earliest systematic reference to Xia Dynasty in Chinese literature may be general history of Warring States Chronicles, an ancient book called Bamboo Book Chronicles, unfortunately this book has been lost and only fragments have survived.
Historical Records, which appeared during Western Han Dynasty, is most comprehensive history book that records Xia Dynasty. Of course, as a book of great authority, entries in Historical Records are very trustworthy. For example, until beginning of last century, Westerners did not believe in existence of Shang dynasty, because at that time ruins of Yin ruins were not discovered. However, "Historical Record" clearly recorded deeds of Shang Dynasty and Wang Biao. Later, Wang Biao were discovered in ruins of Yin, recorded in inscriptions on bones of oracle and in "Historical Records". Order of Two Kings in Do - Shang bloodline is reversed and everything else is correct. This certainly proves that "Historical Records" deserves a lot of credit.
As far as Minoan dynasty is concerned, there are no systematic records left in ancient Europe, only fragmentary records that were brought about by Dorians' invasion of "Dark Ages". The earliest mention of Minoan dynasty is famous "Homeric epic", which says:
There was a place called Crete, in midst of a vine-purple sea, a good and fertile place, surrounded by water, and there were many inhabitants, so many that they could not be counted, and there were ninety cities ... among cities The largest city was Knossos, where King Minos ruled from age of nine. ——“Homeric epic”
The image of king on frescoes of Minoan Palace
After all, "Homeric epic" has a relatively strong legendary component, so for thousands of years Europeans did not consider it as a real story, but only as legends and stories. But there is also a real part in legend: when we remove deified part of epic, we can find prototype of history. For example, in Fengshen Yanyi, defeat of Zhou by King Wu is real. During classical era, some history books also mentioned Minos from time to time. Thucydides, whom West considered representative of truth-seekers, wrote: "Minos was first to organize fleet." Herodotus, father of Western historiography, wrote: “In ancient times, Galicians were subjects of King Minos. They were called Lelegs and lived on island.
In terms of literary records, corresponding records of Xia Dynasty are much more numerous than those of Minos. For same reason, ancient Europeans did not believe in Minos, and Chinese firmly believed in Xia dynasty.2. Archaeological discoveries of Aegean civilization
Since present, development of archeology has opened up new areas for study of human history. Acquainted with archeology, Chinese masters of sinology proposed famous method of double evidence for study of ancient Chinese history. He said: “We were born today, fortunately we have new materials from earth, in addition to materials on paper. From this material, we can use materials to correct materials on paper, and we can also prove that some parts of ancient books All documents are genuine.
At end of Chronicle 19, most Westerners still didn't believe in Milos and Mycenae, but a German named Schliemann believed it very strongly. In 1870, Schliemann discovered ruins of Troy in Asia Minor, and a large amount of gold and silver jewelry and bronzes were unearthed, proving that city had entered an era of civilization in 2300 BC. This discovery proves existence of Trojan War in Homer's epic. So when did this war start? The ancient Roman scholar Pliny recorded that under king of Egypt, Ramses, city of Troy was captured. Archaeologists have discovered in Egypt inscriptions from time of Ramses III, which say that around that time "the islands were very restless." This is confirmed by literary and archaeological data.
Ruins of Troy
Subsequently, Schliemann discovered ruins of Mycenae in Peloponnese, and in 1884 discovered ruins of Tiryns, very similar to palaces of Odysseus and others described in epic. A large amount of gold was discovered at these sites, and Homer, as expected, called Mycenae "Golden Mycenae". Most importantly, a large number of Linear B clay tablets have been found and deciphered. In 1900, British archaeologist Evans conducted archaeological excavations at Knossos and discovered ruins of famous Minoan palace. A large number of gold and silver jewelry, bronzes and ceramics, as well as thousands of clay tablets were discovered. Hieroglyphs, Linear A and Linear B. Linear A is Minoan and Linear B is Mycenaean. Here, around 1400 BC. dynasty of Milos was conquered by Mycenae, so rulers of the kingdom began to use Linear B.
Gold and silver found in ruins of Crete
Since then, archaeological discoveries have continued and more and more ruins have been discovered. After a series of discoveries and sortings, we finally managed to figure out timetable of Aegean civilization. Entering Neolithic age about 8,000 years ago, relevant archaeological discoveries include agricultural sites, Neolithic tools, animal bones, pottery, etc. Around 3000 B.C. entered Eneolithic era, a small number of bronzes appeared, initially cities appeared, and society moved into era of classes. Around 2300 BC mid-term Bronze Age, that is, birth of civilization, began, with large cities, palace buildings, 4000 clay tablets and a large number of bronze weapons. Around 18th century BC, Knossos unified Crete. Between about 1450 and 1400 BC, Crete was conquered by Mycenaean dynasty.
Clay books3. Archaeological discoveries in early China
In 1928, ruins of Yin were discovered, and a large number of large bronze inscriptions and oracle bone inscriptions were discovered, which caused a sensation in world. This not only proved existence of Shang Dynasty, but also proved relative maturity and development of Shang Dynasty. This incident inspired archaeological circles in China, and then, one after another, new archaeological discoveries appeared in China. In 1950, archaeologist Han Weizhou discovered Zhengzhou Shangcheng, which was site of early Shang Dynasty and its time was from around 1500 BC. to 1465. Subsequently, Erligang culture was discovered in Zhengzhou, and an early form of oracle bone inscriptions was discovered. In 1983, ruins of Yangshi Shangcheng in Luoyang were discovered. These Shang Dynasty ruins have passed test and can be traced back to 1509 BC. According to ancient book Bamboo Book Chronicles, Western Zhou Dynasty was 257 years old, Shang Dynasty was 496 years old, and the Xia Dynasty was 471 years old. Then in 1522 BC. which is fairly close to archaeological time.
Bronze items discovered at Yangshi Shangcheng
Earlier than Zhengzhou malls and Yanshi malls, Erlitou site. In 1959, large-scale excavations began at Erlitou site. After verification, age of this cultural layer should be between Shandong Longshan and Yangshi Shangcheng cultures, and is most likely Xia Dynasty. caused general concern in society. A large amount of pottery, a small number of small bronzes, and a relatively primitive palace complex have been found at Erlitou site, but no writing has been found (only inscriptions on pottery). According to discovery, Erlitou's time is probably from 1735 B.C. before 1530 BC Some historians and scholars believe that it is a relic of Xia Dynasty after the rebirth of Shaokang.
Bronze items found at Erlitou site
However, current academic controversy is huge. Some people think that Erlitou is site of Xia Dynasty, or even site of capital of Xia Dynasty. To promote tourism, Luoyang directly established Xia Dynasty Capital Museum. However, there is no evidence that Xia dynasty is Erlitou, and historical records of Xia dynasty capitals Yancheng and Zhenfeng are unknown where they are now. Therefore, some scholars believe that since Erlitou is located between Longshan culture and seat of Shang dynasty, it must belong to early Shang culture, because Shang dynasty was also founded by Dongyi people. Thus, a context was established between Longshan culture and city of Yinxu.
No Bronze Age sites have been found before Erlitou site in China. The monument closest to Bronze Age belongs to transitional period, these are monuments of late Neolithic, such as Longshan culture (2500-2000 BC), Liangzhu culture (3300-2300 BC), Taoxi site (2300-1900 BC), Simao (mǎo) site (2200-1900 BC), etc. same as grinding stone tools, but materials used are different, so it is also Neolithic. However, some sacrificial and city ruins were discovered at this site, as well as stone axes or jade axes were found, which indicates that this period belongs to era of military democracy of copper and stone period. The Five Emperors and Abjuration System in books of ancient history date almost to this era.
Totem symbols of Liangzhu site
Therefore, a large number of pre-Xia Dynasty ruins have been discovered in China, and many Shang Dynasty ruins have also been discovered, but Xia Dynasty ruins have not yet been discovered. This is why some Chinese are now beginning to doubt existence of Xia Dynasty. However, there is an archaeological gap of about 500 years between Late Neolithic and establishment of Shang Dynasty (currently only Erlitou site exists). I think this period must be time of Xia Dynasty, but archeology has not done so. yet discovered it. Of course, there is another possibility that Shang Dynasty civilization did not inherit Xia Dynasty, but Longshan (Dongyi) Culture - Erlitou Culture (before Shang) - Yanshi Shang City and other early Shang sites - Yin Ruins It was developed, as evidenced by discovery of early inscriptions on oracle bones from Erligan culture.
Model of cultural spread of Neolithic China
The editor believes that Xia Dynasty described in Historical Records and ancient Bamboo Book Chronicles exists, but its original form requires further archaeological research. Maybe Xia Dynasty did not use oracle bone inscriptions, maybe its location is very different from what we know at its core, maybe there was a cultural gap between it and Shang Dynasty (just like relationship between Crete and Mycenae), maybe even Xia Dynasty was just a tribal alliance. In any case, until large-scale archaeological discoveries appear, we cannot draw any conclusions.