Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An Army On Parade For 2000 Years Part.V

Shi Huang Di knew that his regime was harsh. In 213 BC, to protect himself from unfavorable comparisons with earlier rulers, he ordered the burning of any books that might inspire dissent, including not only political treatises and histories, but also poetry and other fine literature. Only practical manuals on agriculture, medicine, and divination were to be spared.
 In the atmosphere of suspicion and fear that followed, Shi Huang Di came to distrust his scholars, and personally selected 460 of them for execution. They were buried alive. Indirectly, this barbarous act brought about the downfall of his dynasty, for his able eldest son, Prince Fu Sa, ventured to oppose him, and was banished. When the emperor died, he was succeeded by his indolent and self indulgent younger son Er-Shi.
And all this time, work had proceeded on the funerary on the funerary city the emperor was creating for himself, with more than 70000 laborers conscripted to this mammoth task alone. According to Chinese historian Sima Qian, Shi Huang Di’s tomb represented the Qin Empire in miniature. Through it ran shimmering trails of mercury symbolizing the Huang H and Chang Jiang, flowing into a silver ocean. The ceiling mimicked the heavens, recording the constellations of the night sky. When completed, a massive copper sarcophagus containing the emperor’s body lay at its heart, surmounted by a tumulus 115m high. To guard against robbers, Shi Huang Di ordered traps to be set, including cross bows ready to shoot anyone who entered the tomb. Nobody knows how effective these deterrents were, since the immense mound covering the burial chamber has not opened. The treasures described by Sima Qian, which include pine trees carved out of jade and birds crafted in silver and gold, may still be there, waiting to be discovered. 

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