Why is the Chinese political system so precocious? The crossbow has played a great role!

Today, the interesting history editor brings you the precocious political system of the integration of China and the country. Interested readers can take a look with the editor.


Compared with other regions, China has established a mature national organization system for more than 2,000 years, and its control over the people and its ability to mobilize resources are amazing.

To be able to mobilize resources across the country, the people must cooperate. To put it bluntly, it is the common people who identify with this country and recognize that there is a country and a home, and the home country is one. When an enemy invaded, the common people took up their arms and ruled against the foreign enemy.

This is something that seems commonplace today, and it didn't happen much later in the rest of the world. Even in Europe, this can only be achieved in modern times. Before that, Europe was a castle country, and its ability to mobilize people was extremely poor.


The nine major families in Quanyou, a family is a castle, a castle is a kingdom, except for those family members, no one cares about the destruction of the kingdom

Why is China's home country political system so precocious?

German-American scholar Karl August Weitff is a well-known expert in the study of Chinese society and history. He has put forward a point that the eastern society relies on farming, which requires irrigation. It is impossible to complete large-scale water conservancy construction. This requires a strong central government to organize. This is the source of the so-called "Oriental despotism."

Weitff's point is that irrigation technology gave birth to the Chinese political system, and the people needed the government to build canals, so the people naturally agreed with the country because it was a community of interests.


One of the four ancient Chinese water conservancy projects in Luzhou-its weirs are still playing a role

But Chinese historians disagree with Weitff's explanation.

There are two reasons:

First, agricultural civilization does require irrigation, but it mainly depends on rivers, not water conservancy facilities. In history, China's authoritarian monarchy appeared earlier than water conservancy facilities. Both Zheng Guoqu and Dujiangyan, the vast project, were built in the late Warring States Period. Prior to this, the Seven Warlords of the Warring States Period had completed the reform.

Secondly, the earliest birthplace of Chinese civilization was the Loess Plateau, where dryland crops were planted, which mainly depended on small canals rather than large water conservancy facilities.

So Weitff's theory is not very tenable.


If it wasn't for irrigation technology, what gave birth to China's political system?

Some domestic scholars believe that this is a crossbow, a crossbow. This invention allowed Chinese society to enter the centralized system of home and country as early as possible.


Basic structure of a crossbow

What is the difference between a crossbow and a bow and arrow?

Bows and arrows require people to pull away, so the requirements for arm strength are particularly high.

For the crossbow, there is a trigger. You can use the pedal or waist strength to wind the string. When you want to fire, you can pull the trigger, so the crossbow is slower to shoot than the bow.

But crossbow has a huge advantage that ordinary people can easily master it.

Load the arrow and gently pull the trigger. No special practice is required. As long as the IQ is normal, you can master it in a long time.


The use of crossbow in ancient China is much more developed than in Europe. As early as the Warring States Period, craftsmanship has been very mature.

Therefore, the use of crossbows in ancient Chinese wars is also much more extensive than in the West.

For example, there are two articles in the book " Mozi ": "Preparing the City Gate" and "Preparing for the High", and there are many types of crossbow mentioned in it.

There are "bow crossbow" for individual soldiers, heavy crossbow called "reflector", heavier and more complex "crossbow car", and "nine-foot crossbow" in various intermediate states. Two-step wooden crossbow. "

In a civilization, whether an object is developed or not is a very important indicator. It depends on how many types it has differentiated. The book "Mozi" was written in the middle and late period of the Warring States Period, indicating that the Chinese made crossbow skills at that time, and the use of crossbow was common.


Crossbow in Terracotta Army


So why do you say that crossbow will affect China's institutional evolution?

Let's look at another piece of historical material that is less relevant.

In the early Middle Ages , the Welsh and English Longbowmen were famous for their combat effectiveness.

In medieval times, the training of archers was highly dependent on hunting customs.

Therefore, in order to ensure the superiority of the longbowman's arms, the medieval English government issued a "longbow decree", which stipulates that people can not exercise outside the longbow on Sunday, otherwise it is illegal.

However, with the rise of muskets and the widespread installation of guns in the army, many people have called for the long bow to be gradually phased out, and this decree will have no substantial effect.

So by 1595, the British Parliament had a fierce debate on whether to abolish the Long Bow Act.


In this debate, the factions supporting the Longbow and the factions supporting the Musketeer each cited many arguments.

Among them, most of the arguments are "trigger bow", because according to the development of technology at the time, the long bow has a longer range, stronger firepower and more stable performance than a musket. The most important thing is that the rate of fire is far better than that of a musket. The musket is slow to load, the fire rope is easy to get wet, and the lethality is not enough.

However, in the end, this debate was won by the "gun gun faction" for one reason: the musket was too simple and convenient to use.

Training a shooter may take years or even ten years, but training a musketeer only takes a few weeks, which made it possible for the British government to train civilian organizations into a combatable army in a short period of time.


Practicing archery is a noble activity

The role of the crossbow in ancient warfare is very similar to that of a musket: allowing the government to organize a large number of civilians or prisoners in a short period of time and become a combat force that can compete with the regular army. This made the scale of war mobilization in ancient China huge.

"Mozi" also mentioned that the defensive battle at that time was a national mobilization battle.

In the "Mozi" defense plan, not only adult men, but also women, old people, and children. This is obviously not just a defensive battle involving the standing army, but a general battle that mobilized the entire population.

The Europeans proposed a general war for all people, but it was still during World War I, but China achieved it during the Warring States Period.

The reason why Chinese civilization can complete the strengthening of the state organization so early and mobilize the resources of the entire nation on such a large scale and in depth is probably related to the technology of crossbow.


In the movie "Hero", Qin Jun attacked Zhao: With a crossbow, ordinary people can be organized to participate in war on a large scale.


Whether in China or the West, in the early days, participating in war was a high-end job, civilians were not eligible to participate in the war, and women in the aristocracy were not.

When we look at the game of power, there are no female knights. Although Brienne is tall and powerful, her combat effectiveness is amazing, but her female rider's identity has not been recognized.



Because fighting is a technical job, you have to be able to pull bows, swordsmanship, martial arts, horse riding, driving ...

It takes a lot of time to practice these skills, and your ancestors did n’t have a family property and could n’t do it.

Therefore, it can only be aristocratic warfare, civilians can honestly plant food, or be a logistic team. They don't understand anything on the battlefield, but they are burdensome.

But in China's war, a crossbow unexpectedly appeared.

With this weapon, it is much easier for civilians to fight. Even old and weak women and children can pull the crossbow by pulling the trigger.

Large-scale civilians participated in the war, and civilians gained military knighthood through military exploits.

Then in the war of the country, the civilians have interests, and there is a country and a home, and a political system of family and country emerges.


The war in the country has also affected everyone in the country.

For example, in the war before the Spring and Autumn, only the nobles died, and the common people did not feel. After the war, most of the civilians died. The enemy killed his relatives, friends, neighbors, how could he not grit his teeth to the enemy. Naturally, he is fighting the enemy with the ruler of the country.

Until the invention of a musket that everyone could use in modern times in Europe, civilians could not participate in the war.

The proliferation of crossbow technology has two consequences:

First, the vassal states could quickly mobilize large-scale troops, which led to an increase in the severity of the war during the Warring States Period.

Second, from another perspective, civilians have the opportunity to participate in the army because of the invention of the crossbow, and complete class promotion by accumulating military merit, which breaks the traditional monopoly of social resources by nobles.


These two consequences lead to a final consequence, that is, the formation of a unified political system of royal power in China.

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