This is What it was like Growing up in Ancient China
This is What it was like Growing up in Ancient China

This is What it was like Growing up in Ancient China

Larry Holzwarth - December 29, 2018

This is What it was like Growing up in Ancient China
A collection of oriental coins including from ancient China, where copper coins were needed to evade corporal and capital punishments. Wikimedia

18. The ancient Chinese could buy their way out of even the death penalty

All of the prescribed sentences in ancient Chinese society could be avoided through the payment of fees to the court, which ultimately went to the emperor. The payment was cash in the form of copper coins. Even the death penalty could be averted by the payment of a fine in copper. That even capital crimes could be resolved by the transfer of the equivalent of hard currency is a clear indication of the lack of hard cash at all levels of Chinese society. The amount of the fines charged to avoid corporal and capital punishment varied with each crime, and changed over the years. Thus in ancient China, wealthy criminals escaped the courts and the consequences of their crimes far more readily than the poor.

Even for the wealthier Chinese, the amounts of the fines were huge for the day, and the majority of those convicted from all classes suffered the physical punishments, rather than the financial. It was a harsh and brutal life. A child born into Chinese society entered into it unaware that he or she was limited by circumstances over what could be accomplished during life, and many lived their entire lives within a few hundred feet of the place where they had been born, dying many years later as a venerated elder, to be worshiped by succeeding generations in the same house for centuries. In many Chinese families, they remain venerated today, despite the many changes to China and its people.

 

Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“Confucius”. Melvyn Bragg, In Our Time, BBC Online. November 1, 2001.

“Daily Life in Ancient China”. Emily Mark, Ancient History Encyclopedia. April 27, 2016

“Marriage in Ancient China”. Ray Erwin Baber, The Journal of Educational Sociology. November, 1934

“Ancient China’s Education System”. Julie Kromenacker, Prezi. November 25, 2014

“Why Footbinding Persisted in China for a Millennium”. Amanda Foreman, Smithsonian Magazine. February, 2015

“China’s long history of female infanticide”. The Times of India, June 14, 2016

“Ancient China”. Anne Kinney, Children and Youth in History. Online

“Archaeologists have found proof that an ancient Chinese dynasty used foreign slaves”. Ilaria Maria Sala, Quartz. June 22, 2017. Online

“China: A History”. John Keay. 2009

“The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han”. Mark Edward Lewis. 2010

“Ancient China Law”. Alyce Miles, Prezi. October 3, 2013

“Life in a Golden Age: The Status of Women in China’s Tang Dynasty”. Alexis Rapozo. 2016. Online

“The Story of China: Women in the Song”. Public Broadcasting System, Learning Media. Online

“Reconciling Taoism and Confucianism”. Shawn Ford, Horizons Magazine. 1998

“Confucius and the Scholars”. Charlotte Allen, The Atlantic. April 1999

“The Great Wall of China is Under Siege”. Brook Larmer, Smithsonian Magazine. August, 2008

“Crime and Punishment in Ancient China and its Relevance Today”. X. Zhang, et al. November, 2017

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