A comparison between Tian Qi and Ying Qin

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The characteristics of Qin Culture: centralization of power, agricultural thought and cultural autocracy. Because the state of Qin unified the world, Qin culture has been running through Chinese history for twothousand years. The unification of Qin was inevitable, but the possibility of the six Eastern countries to complete the great cause of reunification did not exist. Wei, Qi and Chu were all powerful for a time, especially Qi was always the biggest obstacle for Qin to unify China. In the late Warring States period, the state of Qi was very powerful through the three dynasties of King Wei, King Xuan and King min. at that time, it was not impossible for deer to die together. In 353 and 341 BC, the state of Qi defeated the state of Wei in the two campaigns of Guilin and Maling (this is the story of the struggle between Sun Bin and pangjuan), ending the reign of the state of Wei. Since then, the state of Qi was the only big Eastern power. Later, the state of Qi defeated the state of Yan. In 288 BC, King min of Qi and King Zhao of Qin had the title of “Eastern and Western Emperors”. Later, Qi attacked the Song Dynasty, cut off the Huaibei area of Chu, invaded the three Jin Dynasties, and wanted to merge with the Zhou Dynasty, but the emperor did it himself. At this time, the state of Qi was on the road of unifying the world by force, only 65 years from the last unification of Qinshihuang. Later, although Qi was defeated by the Allied forces of the six countries, it was in decline. However, people at that time thought that Qi was as powerful as Qin, so until the Qin and Han Dynasties, people still called Qi the eastern Qin.

Qi’s prosperity is not without roots. If you go back to the spring and Autumn period, Duke Huan of Qi was even more arrogant, ranking first among the five hegemonic powers. He once united the nine princes and ruled the world. In the late Warring States period, the king of Qi paid attention to the princes, which was just a manifestation of the revival of the vitality of Qi culture. Although the state power of Qi evolved to the Tian clan during the spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, the Qi culture did not break down. Since the state of Qi has the possibility of unifying the world, if this possibility becomes a reality, will the process of Chinese history be a little different? This first depends on whether Qi culture is different from Qin culture. Traditionally, the state of Qin is always opposed to the six Eastern countries, because all the six countries died in Qin. However, from a cultural point of view, the state of Qi should be distinguished from the six western countries. In particular, the cultural differences between Qin and Qi are extremely obvious. If Qi culture is spread to all over the world, the history of the next 2000 years may be a little different. These differences can be analyzed from five aspects.


1? Political system


[centralized power and county system]

During the Warring States period, various countries developed centralized political systems. The main symbol of centralization is the implementation of the county system. The system of prefectures and counties is a negation of the feudal system. Its essence is that the monarch gradually concentrated the land in his own hands in various forms, and established a two-level management organization of prefectures and counties, instead of dividing the land to the doctors as in the past. Among the seven kingdoms, Qin had the most perfect county system. Through directly appointed prefects and county officials, the monarch firmly controlled the state power in his hands. Among the seven states, only the state of Qi has not implemented the county system.


[decentralization and five capital system]

A country has only one capital, but the state of Qi, in particular, divided the country into five parts under the management of the five capitals, so as not to over centralize local administrative power. The chief executive of each city has greater power. Even if the monarch doesn’t take care of things, he can manage and operate independently. The military power is also scattered, and there are soldiers in the five capitals. The following structure is not clear. Although there are counties, they are small. Unlike the larger counties in the state of Qin, they came from the combination of villages. Qi county has not undergone this transformation, so it is speculated that the city system is implemented.

The implementation of the system of prefectures and counties throughout the country has created 2000 years of centralized power. If we unify the world, the situation may be different.


2? Economic thought

Qin’s agricultural thought. Guanzhong, where Qin was located, was the best agricultural area under the production conditions at that time. This is the geographical basis of agricultural thought. In the ancient world, agriculture was the industry that directly created wealth, and developed agriculture made the country prosperous and strong. This kind of thinking has solidified in China and occupied a dominant position. It has become a national policy that has remained unchanged for twothousand years and a shackle that hinders social development. The reason why China has never had an industrial revolution or a commercial revolution is related to this unchanging agricultural thought. The agriculture based thought also has the function of fixing farmers on the land in order to achieve long-term stability.

Qi’s geographical environment is different. Saline alkali land near the sea is not suitable for farming. Adjust measures to local conditions, “through the business of Commerce and industry, it will benefit fish and salt.” Through industry and commerce to develop the economy, the state of Qi became strong and agriculture developed.

Promote circulation with commerce, promote production with consumption, and accumulate social wealth (the state-owned handicraft industry established in the Han Dynasty, that is, most of the officials of salt, iron and clothing were in the territory of the former state of Qi, which shows the industrial development of the state of Qi). The heavy and heavy skills and extravagance reflected in Guan Zi are in sharp contrast to the emphasis on agriculture and the suppression of the end in Shang Jun Shu, representing two different economic thoughts in ancient China. Unfortunately, the latter ruled China for more than 2000 years.


3? Academic culture

Qin’s policy of fooling the people. Fools are for the sake of national stability and maintaining autocratic rule. During Shang Yang’s reform, the emperor of Qin Shihuang burned books and scholars, which was just the continuation and development of this practice. The common people can neither criticize state affairs nor sing praises at will. The state of Qin has never formed any official and non-governmental academic groups.

Qi was more open-minded in politics and free in speech. There is Jixia school. “Talk without cure”. “Because of its vulgarity, its etiquette is simplified”. Qin was forced to change customs.


4? Religious belief

The Heavenly Emperor of Qin is the only one. Although many gods are worshipped, the emperor of heaven is respected. The main sacrificial sites are in the capital, namely, Xi county, Yong county and Xianyang. Yong county has been the capital for 350 years, with more than 100 shrines. The sole respect of the Heavenly Emperor and the concentration of shrines are the embodiment of a totalitarian society. The shrine is closely related to the mountain.

On the contrary, the religion of Qi was characterized by equality of gods and scattered shrines. The most important eight gods were distributed in the four directions of the state of Qi. Related to the concept of decentralization. The shrine and customs are relatively large.


5? Customs and habits

The customs of Qin were frugal and simple. Based on agriculture, food is the most important thing for the people, and food and clothing are the most important. More than enough food and clothing is a luxury. Simple music and simple clothes. The funerary objects are simple. The state of Qi was extravagant and luxuriously dressed, and “the crown, the clothes and the shoes were all over the world”. Life is colorful, and there is a heavy burial after death. Industrial and commercial development stimulates consumption desire, and consumption promotes production.



The spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period were the most brilliant period in Chinese history, showing the advantage of multicultural development. Among them, Qin and Qi have the greatest cultural differences. A large number of small-scale peasant economies can give full play to their production and tax efficiency only by relying on centralized power. The deep-rooted agricultural thought will inevitably lead to the centralized system. In order to ensure the operation of the centralized system, the loyalty of the ruled is also required. Therefore, we must adopt the policy of fooling the people and cultural absolutism. This is the characteristic of Qin culture. On the contrary, the collective and large-scale handicraft production, the communication between the production and consumption sectors, and the commercial activities around the world need to be opened up and the decentralization of local and departmental powers. Correspondingly, ideology and culture are not easy to be conservative.

However, the state of Qin unified the world, and the multiculturalism melted into the monistic culture of the small-scale peasant economy. If the state of Qi unified the world and Qi culture prevailed, would the historical process be different?

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