Shang Yang

▪ Chinese statesman
original name (Pinyin)  Gongsun Yang  or  (Wade-Giles romanization)  Kung-sun Yang 
born c. 390, Wei state, China
died 338 BCE, China

      Chinese statesman and thinker whose successful reorganization of the state of Qin paved the way for the eventual unification of the Chinese empire by the Qin dynasty (221–207 BCE). Shang Yang believed that the integrity of a state could be maintained only with power and that power consisted of a large army and full granaries.

      Entering into the service of Duke Xiao, head of the state of Qin, Shang Yang replaced the feudal division of the country with a system of centrally appointed governors. He instituted compulsory military service and a new system of land division and taxation and insisted on strict and uniform administration of the law. He unified the measures for length, capacity, and weight. He is also said to have forced all persons into “productive occupations,” such as farming or soldiering (but not commerce), and to have set up a system of mutual spying among the people. His reforms violated the interests of Duke Xiao and other nobles. When Duke Xiao died and Shang Yang fell into disgrace in 338 BCE, he was tied to chariots and torn apart.

      The work Shangjun shu (“Book of the Lord of Shang”) probably contains writings and ideas of Shang Yang, although the exact authorship of the book is in doubt. It is one of the major works of the highly pragmatic and authoritarian Legalist school of Chinese philosophy.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Shang Yang — (zh tspw|t=商鞅|s=商鞅|p=Shāng Yāng|w=Shang Yang, d. 338 BC) was an important statesman of Qin in the Warring States Period of ancient China. With the support of Duke Xiao of Qin, Shang enacted numerous reforms (in accordance with his legalist… …   Wikipedia

  • Shang Yang — (chinesisch 商鞅) Shang Yang (chinesisch 商鞅) († 338 v. Chr.) war ein bedeutender chinesischer Staatsmann der Zeit der Streitenden Reiche. Auch Wei Yang oder Gongsun Yang genannt, trat er zuerst in die Dienste des Staates Wei ein, ging… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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