The Age of Confucian Rule

The Song Transformation of China

Ranked #52 in Confucianism, Ranked #73 in Chinese History

Just over a thousand years ago, the Song dynasty emerged as the most advanced civilization on earth. Within two centuries, China was home to nearly half of all humankind. In this concise history, we learn why the inventiveness of this era has been favorably compared with the European Renaissance, which in many ways the Song transformation surpassed.

With the chaotic dissolution of the Tang dynasty, the old aristocratic families vanished. A new class of scholar-officials--products of a meritocratic examination system--took up the task of reshaping Chinese tradition by adapting the...

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