Here is a very complicated Chinese passage about the Sprint and Autumn period in China which occurred between 476 to 770 BC. The post below is difficult to understand if you do not already have any familiarity with this time period but fear not! There are many useful words and idioms to be learnt which do not require a history degree to put to use. Work your way through slowly but do not let yourself be bogged down in the details, there are quite a few things in this text that can be considered superfluous (unless you have a deep interest in history of this time). Let’s look at some key words.

Key Words

改革 – Reform or to reform. 经济改革 means economic reform.

实行 – To implement. We can combine that with reform to make 实行改革 which of course means to carry out reforms.

攻占 – To attack and occupy. This word comes from taking 攻 to mean attack and 占 which can mean to occupy or seize.

出现 – To appear or to arise. 出现了新情况 means “a new situation arose”.

The Spring and Autumn Period

(Hover over the Chinese for pinyin)

前770年,由于遭到北方游牧部落犬戎的侵袭,周平王东迁黄河中游的雒邑(今河南洛阳),东周开始。此后,周王朝的影响力逐渐减弱,取而代之的是大大小小一百多个小国(诸侯国和附属国),史称春秋时期。春秋时期的大国共有十几个,其中包括晋、秦、郑、齐及楚等。这一时期社会动荡,战争不断,先后有五个国家称霸,即齐、宋、晋、楚、秦(又有一说是齐、晋、楚、吴、越),合称春秋五霸。

第一个称霸的国君齐桓公任用管仲,在国内施行改革,使当时阶级矛盾十分激烈的齐国安定下来,并逐渐强盛,许多诸侯都朝拜齐国。齐国率九个盟国之师攻伐威胁周朝的楚国,楚成王被迫将和。齐桓公死后,他的五个儿子争做国君,齐失其霸业。宋襄公曾经试图称霸,后为楚军所败。

晋国公子重耳在一场内乱后登上君位,是为晋文公。晋文公实行改革,使晋国的势力发展到中原,与南方大国楚国产生摩擦。后楚国出兵围攻宋国首都帝丘,晋文公联合秦、齐、宋三国之师大破楚军于城濮,成为中原霸主。与晋国为盟的秦国国君秦穆公在晋文公死后起了称霸的野心,与晋文公之子晋襄公屡次发生战争,最后以晋国的胜利告终,于是往西发展,把西边的一些戎国灭掉,使秦穆公成为西戎的霸主。

楚成王的孙子楚庄王即位后,再次与晋国争霸,楚国围攻宋、郑,晋国几次派兵来救,都大败而归。许多中原国家背晋向楚。楚庄王成为中原的霸主。庄王死后,楚经灵王、平王两代渐弱。东南方的吴国阖闾趁势兴兵伐楚,并大败楚军,攻占楚国国都寿春,后平王之子昭王联盟秦国攻吴,吴兵退出楚境。定都会稽(今浙江绍兴)的越国趁吴军远征时攻击吴国,大败吴军,吴王阖闾被射死,后阖闾之子夫差又报仇攻越,大获全胜,俘虏越王勾践。吴国又出兵齐国,与鲁国联合将齐国打败,又攻晋国,但在黄池被晋军打败,越王勾践趁这时袭击吴国,九年后兼并吴国,夫差自杀而死。随后北上,与齐、晋等诸侯会盟。勾践死后,越国衰弱,战国时为楚威王所灭。

春秋时期确定二十八宿;后期则产生古四分历。

而且能制造精良的战车与骑兵,同时此时中国的冶金也十分发达,能制造精良的铁器,在农业上出现各种灌溉机械,大大提高生产效率,从而为以后人口大大膨胀奠定基础。历史上出现春秋(左传),国语,战国策等史事记叙。

春秋战国时期学术思想比较自由,史称百家争鸣。出现多位对之后中国有深远影响的思想家(诸子百家),例如老子、孔子、墨子、庄子、孟子、荀子、韩非等人。出现很多学术流派,较出名的有十大家,即道家(自然)、儒家(伦理)、阴阳家(星象占卜)、法家(法治)、名家(修辞辩论)、墨家(兼爱非攻)、杂家(合各家所长)、农家(君民同耕)、小说家(道听途说)等。

文化上出现了中国最早的诗歌总集诗经。战争史上出现的杰出兵法家有孙武(孙子兵法)、司马穰苴(司马法)、孙膑(孙膑兵法)、吴起(吴子兵法)、尉缭(尉缭子)等等。

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