History UsefulNotes / QinShiHuangdi

1st Jul '16 12:27:28 PM Anddrix
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Traditionally told in children's tales as an extreme caricature of a corrupt tyrant, it is only until recently that history has approached a fair perspective of his rule. Since then, he is now a walking BaseBreaker, ranging from TheCaligula who is DrunkOnPower and obsessed with immortal life, to the paragon of a ruler who, albeit grandiose and extravagant, nonetheless created China out of a bunch of squabbling, fractured states, and whose staggering casualty rate is but the natural result of sweeping reforms that ended up benefiting thousands of generations after at the cost of the current one.

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Traditionally told in children's tales as an extreme caricature of a corrupt tyrant, it is only until recently that history has approached a fair perspective of his rule. Since then, he is now a walking BaseBreaker, divisive figure, ranging from TheCaligula who is DrunkOnPower and obsessed with immortal life, to the paragon of a ruler who, albeit grandiose and extravagant, nonetheless created China out of a bunch of squabbling, fractured states, and whose staggering casualty rate is but the natural result of sweeping reforms that ended up benefiting thousands of generations after at the cost of the current one.
10th Nov '15 7:16:01 PM NoxCaelis
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* ''Manga/Kingdom'' starred him in his endeavor to unify China with the help of [[IdiotHero Xin]], a Qin General.

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* ''Manga/Kingdom'' The manga ''{{Manga/Kingdom}}'' starred him in his endeavor to unify China with the help of [[IdiotHero Xin]], a Qin General.
10th Nov '15 7:15:02 PM NoxCaelis
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Manga/Kingdom'' starred him in his endeavor to unify China with the help of [[IdiotHero Xin]], a Qin General.
13th Oct '15 7:20:20 PM EvangelosKamikaze
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He ruled China with an iron fist and ruthlessly crushed any opposition, applying the precepts of Legalism, which holds that a monarch must reign through fear and that the law must be enforced without pity in order to scare the populace into submission. While certainly ruthless, however, it should be noted that Ying Zheng was not corrupt or inept: A workaholic, he implemented a series of policies standardizing currency, language, weights and measures, and even the width of carriage axles, and in so doing created 'China' as we would know it. He also adopted He ordered the construction of the Great Wall to protect the empire's northern frontiers against barbarian attacks. To abolish history, he had all books burnt save those containing useful technical information[[note]]he did actually keep a copy of each in his own library for the ruler's use; unfortunately, in the chaos of the Qin Dynasty's fall a generation later, this too was destroyed[[/note]], and then ordered a mass execution of scholars for good measure.

to:

He ruled China with an iron fist and ruthlessly crushed any opposition, applying the precepts of Legalism, which holds that a monarch must reign through fear and that the law must be enforced without pity in order to scare the populace into submission. While certainly ruthless, however, it should be noted that Ying Zheng was not corrupt or inept: A workaholic, he implemented a series of policies standardizing currency, language, weights and measures, and even the width of carriage axles, and in so doing created 'China' as we would hence know it. He was also adopted responsible for the Qin Empire abolishing feudalism and adopting a state bureaucracy based on law more than a thousand years before the first European kingdom ever did so. He ordered the construction of the Great Wall to protect the empire's northern frontiers against barbarian attacks. To abolish history, he had all books burnt save those containing useful technical information[[note]]he did actually keep a copy of each in his own library for the ruler's use; unfortunately, in the chaos of the Qin Dynasty's fall a generation later, this too was destroyed[[/note]], and then ordered a mass execution of scholars for good measure.
measure.

Traditionally told in children's tales as an extreme caricature of a corrupt tyrant, it is only until recently that history has approached a fair perspective of his rule. Since then, he is now a walking BaseBreaker, ranging from TheCaligula who is DrunkOnPower and obsessed with immortal life, to the paragon of a ruler who, albeit grandiose and extravagant, nonetheless created China out of a bunch of squabbling, fractured states, and whose staggering casualty rate is but the natural result of sweeping reforms that ended up benefiting thousands of generations after at the cost of the current one.
13th Oct '15 7:07:00 PM EvangelosKamikaze
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Qin Shi Huangdi (259-210 BC) is the founder of the [[UsefulNotes/DynastiesFromShangToQing Qin Dynasty]], [[TheEmperor first Emperor]] of China, and one of the most ruthless despots in history.

to:

Qin Shi Huangdi (259-210 BC) is the founder of the [[UsefulNotes/DynastiesFromShangToQing Qin Dynasty]], [[TheEmperor first Emperor]] of China, and depending on who you ask, either one of the most ruthless despots in history.
history, or the exemplary Emperor who united the fractured, warring states and brought a standardized system of letters, measurement and language, amongst other sweeping reforms, and lay the groundwork of the millenia of stability and prosperity that brought China to the forefront of world powers. The very poster boy of AlternativeCharacterInterpretation, as it were.



He ruled China with an iron fist and ruthlessly crushed any opposition, applying the precepts of Legalism, which holds that a monarch must reign through fear and that the law must be enforced without pity in order to scare the populace into submission. A series of policies standardized currency, language, weights and measures, and even the width of carriage axles. He ordered the construction of the Great Wall to protect the empire's northern frontiers against barbarian attacks. To abolish history, he had all books burnt save those containing useful technical information[[note]]he did actually keep a copy of each in his own library for the ruler's use; unfortunately, in the chaos of the Qin Dynasty's fall a generation later, this too was destroyed[[/note]], and then ordered a mass execution of scholars for good measure.

Just a small caveat: the so-called "Confucians" that were buried alive, grisly as that act was, were actually wizards (fangshi) who were put in charge of concocting an elixir of immortality, according to some other sources. Needless to say, such an endeavour was doomed from the start, but it would remain a fascination for many emperors and occultists to come. Official Chinese historiography always tended to sing the praises of the predecessor dynasty's early rulers, while then painting the later ones in the darkest colours possible. This was used to justify the incumbent dynasty's rule or ownership of the Mandate of Heaven; as the Qin was so short-lived and set a precedent, later historians would vilify its founder right away. New archeological findings (such as legal codes) show the Qin dynasty to be much more "mainstream" than the crypto-totalitarian legalistic dystopia it has been depicted as. In more recent years, Shi Huangdi has been increasingly depicted as the founding father of China who forged an orderly unified state out of chaos through force and foresight by the official state propaganda in both the KMT state of the Republic of China and the CCP-ruled People's Republic.

to:

He ruled China with an iron fist and ruthlessly crushed any opposition, applying the precepts of Legalism, which holds that a monarch must reign through fear and that the law must be enforced without pity in order to scare the populace into submission. While certainly ruthless, however, it should be noted that Ying Zheng was not corrupt or inept: A workaholic, he implemented a series of policies standardized standardizing currency, language, weights and measures, and even the width of carriage axles. axles, and in so doing created 'China' as we would know it. He also adopted He ordered the construction of the Great Wall to protect the empire's northern frontiers against barbarian attacks. To abolish history, he had all books burnt save those containing useful technical information[[note]]he did actually keep a copy of each in his own library for the ruler's use; unfortunately, in the chaos of the Qin Dynasty's fall a generation later, this too was destroyed[[/note]], and then ordered a mass execution of scholars for good measure.

Just a small caveat: the so-called "Confucians" that were buried alive, grisly as that act was, were actually wizards (fangshi) who were put in charge of concocting an elixir of immortality, according to some other sources. Since Confucianism and Legalism were polar opposites(the former declares that education and cultural immersion should be the way to achieve state order and prosperity, while the latter emphasizes that the law should be upheld in absolute terms for the same thing to happen) and thus political rivals, as one of Legalism's greatest champions Qin Shihuangdi was essentially subject to a massive HistoricalVillainUpgrade. Needless to say, such an endeavour was doomed from the start, but it would remain a fascination for many emperors and occultists to come. Official Chinese historiography always tended to sing the praises of the predecessor dynasty's early rulers, while then painting the later ones in the darkest colours possible. This was used to justify the incumbent dynasty's rule or ownership of the Mandate of Heaven; as the Qin was so short-lived and set a precedent, later historians would vilify its founder right away. New archeological findings (such as legal codes) show the Qin dynasty to be much more "mainstream" than the crypto-totalitarian legalistic dystopia it has been depicted as. In more recent years, Shi Huangdi has been increasingly depicted as the founding father of China who forged an orderly unified state out of chaos through force and foresight by the official state propaganda in both the KMT state of the Republic of China and the CCP-ruled People's Republic.
18th Aug '15 1:10:11 PM HeraldAlberich
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Qin Shi Huangdi (259-210 BC) is the founder of the [[DynastiesFromShangToQing Qin Dynasty]], [[TheEmperor first Emperor]] of China, and one of the most ruthless despots in history.

to:

Qin Shi Huangdi (259-210 BC) is the founder of the [[DynastiesFromShangToQing [[UsefulNotes/DynastiesFromShangToQing Qin Dynasty]], [[TheEmperor first Emperor]] of China, and one of the most ruthless despots in history.
4th Aug '15 9:13:14 PM phoenix
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!!Tropes associated with Qin Shi Huangdi:

* AncientTomb: The famous terra-cotta warriors were only the guardians stationed outside it. His tomb itself has never been excavated because of concerns over preserving the contents against oxidization.
* BadassArmy: The Qin armies that conquered the lands that would become China were larger, better trained, and better equipped than any of its rivals.
* TheCaligula
* AChildShallLeadThem: He was only 13 when he became the King of Qin.
* TheConqueror: He conquered all rival states in the region and created a brand new empire--China.
* DespotismJustifiesTheMeans
* TheEmperor: Literally.
* TheEmpire: He founded it.
* EvilOverlord: The TropeCodifier for all of East Asia.
* FounderOfTheKingdom: He was the first de facto ruler of a unified Chinese state, the rulers of all China before him being, at best, nominal suzerains with little or no effective control--assuming they actually existed. This was downplayed for much of Chinese imperial history because of his reputation as a tyrant, but Chinese governments of 20th and 21st centuries are playing this up more and more.
* HobbesWasRight: The basis of Legalism.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Mercury was believed to be a key ingredient in the immortality elixir by Chinese alchemists. The Emperor of All Under Heaven was dead before he was 50 of mercury poisoning.
* ProperlyParanoid
* TakeOverTheWorld: From his perspective, he succeeded, as he ruled ''Tian Xia'', "All under Heaven".

-----

to:

!!Tropes associated with Qin Shi Huangdi:

* AncientTomb: The famous terra-cotta warriors were only the guardians stationed outside it. His tomb itself has never been excavated because of concerns over preserving the contents against oxidization.
* BadassArmy: The Qin armies that conquered the lands that would become China were larger, better trained, and better equipped than any of its rivals.
* TheCaligula
* AChildShallLeadThem: He was only 13 when he became the King of Qin.
* TheConqueror: He conquered all rival states
%%!!Tropes as portrayed in the region and created a brand new empire--China.
* DespotismJustifiesTheMeans
* TheEmperor: Literally.
* TheEmpire: He founded it.
* EvilOverlord: The TropeCodifier for all of East Asia.
* FounderOfTheKingdom: He was the first de facto ruler of a unified Chinese state, the rulers of all China before him being, at best, nominal suzerains with little or no effective control--assuming they actually existed. This was downplayed for much of Chinese imperial history because of his reputation as a tyrant, but Chinese governments of 20th and 21st centuries are playing this up more and more.
* HobbesWasRight: The basis of Legalism.
* HoistByHisOwnPetard: Mercury was believed to be a key ingredient in the immortality elixir by Chinese alchemists. The Emperor of All Under Heaven was dead before he was 50 of mercury poisoning.
* ProperlyParanoid
* TakeOverTheWorld: From his perspective, he succeeded, as he ruled ''Tian Xia'', "All under Heaven".

-----
fiction:
4th Aug '15 5:12:04 AM Morgenthaler
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* The ''HistoryBites'' episode "The Not-So-Great Wall of China"

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* The ''HistoryBites'' ''Series/HistoryBites'' episode "The Not-So-Great Wall of China"
30th Jul '15 3:35:42 PM Shenwang
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He ruled China with an iron fist and ruthlessly crushed any opposition, applying the precepts of Legalism, which holds that a monarch must reign through fear and that the law must be enforced without pity in order to scare the populace into submission. A series of policies standardized currency, language, weights and measures, and even the width of carriage axles. He ordered the construction of the Great Wall to protect the empire's northern frontiers against barbarian attacks. To abolish history, he had all books burnt save those containing useful technical information, and then ordered a mass execution of scholars for good measure.

to:

He ruled China with an iron fist and ruthlessly crushed any opposition, applying the precepts of Legalism, which holds that a monarch must reign through fear and that the law must be enforced without pity in order to scare the populace into submission. A series of policies standardized currency, language, weights and measures, and even the width of carriage axles. He ordered the construction of the Great Wall to protect the empire's northern frontiers against barbarian attacks. To abolish history, he had all books burnt save those containing useful technical information, information[[note]]he did actually keep a copy of each in his own library for the ruler's use; unfortunately, in the chaos of the Qin Dynasty's fall a generation later, this too was destroyed[[/note]], and then ordered a mass execution of scholars for good measure.
12th Jul '15 6:48:11 AM Troper9
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Qin Shi Huangdi (259-210 BCE) is the founder of the [[DynastiesFromShangToQing Qin Dynasty]], [[TheEmperor first Emperor]] of China, and one of the most ruthless despots in history.

He was born Ying Zheng, the son of a young concubine given as a present to the king of Qin by the scheming merchant Lü Buwei (who may have been his biological father, at least according to Han Dynasty propaganda). China was at the time in the throes of the Warring States era, when the impotent Zhou Dynasty had disintegrated into several rival kingdoms, and the state of Qin had emerged as a power to be reckoned with. He became king in 247 BCE and, advised by Legalist philosopher Li Si, he turned Qin into a quasi-totalitarian military powerhouse and embarked on a campaign of conquest to reunify all of China under his rule. He annexed other kingdoms one after the other and, in 221 BCE, Ying Zheng declared himself First August Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (Qin Shi Huangdi).

to:

Qin Shi Huangdi (259-210 BCE) BC) is the founder of the [[DynastiesFromShangToQing Qin Dynasty]], [[TheEmperor first Emperor]] of China, and one of the most ruthless despots in history.

He was born Ying Zheng, the son of a young concubine given as a present to the king of Qin by the scheming merchant Lü Buwei (who may have been his biological father, at least according to Han Dynasty propaganda). China was at the time in the throes of the Warring States era, when the impotent Zhou Dynasty had disintegrated into several rival kingdoms, and the state of Qin had emerged as a power to be reckoned with. He became king in 247 BCE BC and, advised by Legalist philosopher Li Si, he turned Qin into a quasi-totalitarian military powerhouse and embarked on a campaign of conquest to reunify all of China under his rule. He annexed other kingdoms one after the other and, in 221 BCE, BC, Ying Zheng declared himself First August Emperor of the Qin Dynasty (Qin Shi Huangdi).
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