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loess

yellow-brown soil

dike

a protective wall that controls or holds back water

extended family

closely related people of several generations

Confucius

551BC-479BC; a Chinese philosopher and teacher whose beliefs had a great influence on Chinese life

philosophy

a system of beliefs and values

civil service

the group of people whose job it is to carry out the work of the government

Silk Road

an ancient trade route between China and Europe

silk

a valuable cloth, originally made only in China from thin threads spun by caterpillars called silkworms

Sima Qian (sih-MAH-chen)

a Chinese scholar, astronomer, and historian; author of the most important history of ancient China, 'Historical Records'

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