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Extra resources for Ancient Chinese Dynasties
Now that the Silk Road was under one 48 Marco Polo Describes Kublai Khan’s China M uch of what is known about the court of Kublai Khan comes from the writings of Marco Polo, a merchant from Venice who traveled to China and stayed to become a part of Kublai Khan’s retinue for seventeen years. ” He told of mansions with four hundred rooms and chambers so large that six thousand people could dine at the same time. He described a garden created on a man-made pile of dirt 328 feet (100 m) high, crowned by a beautiful pavilion and covered with trees taken from different parts of China.
Hongwu’s strong leadership breathed new life into China’s farming and food production. The same forcefulness he brought to that task shaped his 61 overall style of governance. Hongwu valued power, and he did not hesitate to use it. As emperor, he abandoned the system of checks and balances that had existed in earlier dynasties, opting instead for consolidation of power under his own personal control. While he publicly advocated for Confucian restraint and respect, he displayed his power in a most un-Confucian way by treating lesser officials in his government harshly and subjecting them to unpredictable punishments and public beatings.
That period lasted from 907 to 960. Out of this chaos arose another of the golden age dynasties: the Song Dynasty. The Rise of the Song Dynasty The first Song emperor came to power as a result of a coup against the short-lived later Zhou Dynasty in 960. The coup leader, a general named Zhao, and a group of military commanders wrested control of the government from the hands of an infant emperor and a distrusted dowager empress. Zhao agreed to become emperor only after military leaders pledged unconditional obedience to him.