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Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Culture Vs. Civilization; The Battle of Zhuolu

The battle of Zhuolu (涿鹿之戰) was not between culture and civilization (as the title of this post might suggest); but it marked the birth of the Chinese Han culture and civilization. The battle was between the Huaxia and Jiuli tribes, in conflict for the fertile valley of the Yellow River. Everything was noted in the so-called Records of the Grand Historian (史記), a Magnum Opus written from 109 to 91 BC. The battle took place sometime by 2500 BC (or should we say rather BCE, anyway Chinese culture is far away from the Judeo-Christian world and its issues with BC versus BCE). Let me mention here that recent historical research pushes the date of the battle two centuries later than 2500.

For such remote times, the whole story is wrapped by myth, of course. So we'll never know for sure whether the Yellow Emperor did use a compass or not, to counter the fog. As we'll never know whether Fang Bo crafted the compass or it was someone else. To say nothing that the compass was actually a fancy South-pointing chariot.

What we know though is that at the end of the day the Huaxi were victorious. It was the beginning of the Han civilization.

First page of the Records of the Grand Historian

(A Life in Books)



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