My source is the book, ‘Ancient Civilizations’ published in 2006 by McGraw Hill and National Geographic.
One of China’s earliest dynasties, the Shang, ruled from 1750 B.C. The people worshiped gods, spirits of the earth, and their ancestors. Shang kings believed they received power and wisdom from the gods and spirits.
The kings would ask for the gods’ help by having priests scratch questions on animal bones, then place hot metal rods inside the bones, causing them to crack. They believed that the pattern of the cracks formed answers from the gods. The scratches and cracks were the basis of the first form of Chinese writing.
The next dynasty, the Zhou, ruled from 1045 B.C. The Zhou rulers claimed to have a ‘Mandate of Heaven’, giving them the right to rule. This went both ways, though, a good king in prosperous times could claim the Mandate of Heaven, but if things went bad, such as a natural disaster or bad harvest, the people had the right to overthrow the king.
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