Saturday, August 22, 2009

Meet the New August Emperor, Same as the Old August Emperor

It is one of the ironies of history that the dynasty of the first Chinese emperor Qin Shi Huang, who banished the Confucian "Hundred Schools of Thought," burned books, and who buried hundreds of scholars alive in order to found a uniform state doctrine, would come to an abrupt end after the emperor's death. The location of Qin's grandiose tomb, built by an estimated 700,000 slaves of the state, would be so neglected by historians that its location would remain a mystery for centuries until being literally unearthed by shovel-wielding peasants in 1974 (that's "change" for you!).

A slightly creepy shovel-ready job from ancient China
The terra cotta warriors found within the tomb are a grim reminder of the dehumanizing viewpoint of autocrats. Qin's burial complex, which is over 22 square miles, is located near the city of Xi'an in China's Shaanxi Province. (Source and photo: National Geographic)

The Portentous Epitaph

An inscription by Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of All Under Heaven (221 BC-210 BC) [From ReaganX: The Emperor that Brought CHANGE (We Need)]:

The August Emperor mounted the throne, issuing edicts, clarifying laws, which his subjects observe and obey.

In the twenty-sixth year [221 BC] of his rule he first united the world; there were none who did not come to him in submission.

In person he visited the people of distant regions, ascending Mt. Tai, surveying the eastern extremity all around.

The ministers in his retinue, mindful of his deeds, seeking the source of his achievements, reverently praise his merits and virtue.

The way of good government is implemented, the various occupations obtain what is needful, all is gauged by law and pattern.

His great principles are noble and pre-eminent, to be bestowed on future generations, who will receive and honor them without change.

The August Emperor, sage that he is, has brought peace to the world, never neglectful of his rule.

Early rising, late to retire, he takes measures to bring lasting benefit, devoting himself earnestly to instruction and precept.

His admonitions circulate, his proclamations spread abroad, so that near and far alike are properly ordered, and all bow to the will of the sage.

Eminent and humble are clearly distinguished, men and women are observant of ritual, cautious and attentive to their duties.

Inner and outer concerns are carefully demarked, uniformly faultless and pure, to be passed on to future heirs.

His transforming influence is unending, in ages after his decrees will be honored, handed down forever with gravest caution.

Prologue: The Global Ever-Lasting Empire of His Majesty collapsed three years after his death.

(Hat tip to ReaganX for the epitaph).

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