One of the most important implications of the primary sources for pre-Imperial history is that the states which emerged following the political collapse of Jou in 0771 were not uniform in language, culture, or political structure. There were first what we may call the Sinitic group, which with local variants more or less shared the Jou culture, and whose founding ancestors tended to have real and not fictive connections with the first Jou Kings and to share the cJou lan name Ji. But in addition, there were also major representatives of the non-Sinitic cultures located to the south and east of the original Jou domain: Chu in the south, and Wu and Ywe to the east. (The ethnic status of Chin, the western power which displaced the Jou from its original northwestern location to the middle Yellow River, is itself debated during the Warring States and later). The process of cultural assimilation in this culturally mixed area proceeded in a Sinitic direction throughout the pre-Imperial period, mediated through diplomatic contact and especially through that most intimate of relations, warfare. That assimilation process is itself one of the two most important events of the period (the other being the revolution in state structure which marks off the Warring States from the preceding Spring and Autumn). The process had reached a situation of perceived cultural commonality already in the Warring States, though it must be said to be still technically incomplete at the present time (for a survey of modern linguistic diversity, see Ramsey).
In addition, then, to the general chronological and linguistic data which has been assembled elsewhere in the Results section, it is useful for some purposes to consider the states separately (For the larger linguistic picture, including languages from outside the mixed Sinitic region, see the separate Languages section). The chronologies here given are tentative, both in themselves and as preliminary to a general chronology. These and other types of information are posted here to invite comment and correction from viewers.
3 Feb 2007 / Contact The Project / Exit to Results