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oracle bone

an animal bone or turtle shell used by the Shang kings of China to communicate w/ and influence the gods


a picture or drawing that represents a word or an idea in an early

system of writing

the writing system that the Chinese used to trade and communicate-everyone could speak different languages but everyone used the same writing/alphabet

dynastic cycle

the pattern of the rise and fall of dynasties

Mandate of Heaven

an ancient Chinese belief that a good ruler has the gods' approval


an investigation of basic truths about the universe, based on logical reasoning


the belief that a ruler should use the legal system to force people to obey laws


a philosophy based on the teaching of Confucius (551-479 B.C), as recorded in the collection called the Analects

filial piety

respect for one's parents and ancestors-an important teaching of Confucianism

Daosim (Taoism)

a belief system said to have begun with the sixth-century-B.C. philosopher Laozi. Daoism emphasizes living in harmony w/ nature


a state of ancient China

Shi Huangdi

a Chinese ruler who came to power in 221 B.C. and unified and expanded China by ending internal battles and conquering rival states

Han Dynasty

a Chinese dynasty begun in 202 B.C. by Liu Bang, which reunified China


a system of organized government departments staffed by appointed officials

Silk Roads

the overland trade routes along which silk and other Chinese goods passed to Mesopotamia and Europe


involving the continents of Europe and Asia

cultural diffusion

the spread of ethnic ideas and customs to other areas of the world

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