Chapter

Constancy and Discontinuity of Structures

Paul U. Unschuld

in What Is Medicine?

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780520257658
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520944701 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520257658.003.0041
Constancy and Discontinuity of Structures

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This chapter looks at how things continued in China after antiquity. The Han dynasty existed at almost the same time as the Roman Empire but it fell in the early third century. The Han Empire broke up in China but the resulting individual parts basically continued the same culture that had served as the foundation for the Han dynasty. It would continue until the beginning of the twentieth century. Northern people of the steppe, nomads, repeatedly managed to conquer a China that was no longer militarily fit and to set up their own dynasties. But each time, the foreign rulers eventually became even more Chinese than the Chinese themselves. Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism, in all their more or less profound reformulations and conceptual extensions, always oriented themselves toward their roots. The Mongolian rule from the thirteenth into the fourteenth century and the following Ming and Qing dynasties were markedly more autocratic than earlier eras.

Keywords: Han dynasty; Roman Empire; Buddhism; Daoism; Mongolian rule; Qing dynasties

Chapter.  838 words. 

Subjects: Medical Anthropology

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