6. The Qin period

6. The Qin period

(221 BC – 206 BC)


- Meanwhile:

Middle East: the rise of the Parthian Empire

Mediterranean region: The Second Punic War, the defeat of Hannibal

Carpathian Basin: the heyday of Celtic culture in the Carpathian Basin


After conquering the last of the resistance states, Ying Zheng chose a self-invented title: huángdi. With this he referred to his mythical predecessor, the Yellow Emperor, whose cult was very popular in the Warring Stated period. Thus, his regnal name became Qin Si Huángdi. [Si means 'first'].  Following his victory, he extended the reforms he had begun earlier to the newly conquered territories. He sought to unify the administrative systems of the various regions of China, the units of weights and measures, and even writing.

He demolished the centuries-old sections of walls that served as defence lines between the former small states and initiated the construction of a new unified defence system along the northern borders, with the purpose of preventing incursions by the nomadic barbarian tribes of the north and thus ensuring China’s security. This was the basis for the Great Wall of China that would later become world famous.  To make a symbol of his achievements and power, and out of his desire for immortality, he ordered the construction of a vast complex of tombs decades before his death. At the centre of this structure was an underground mausoleum, in which, according to later sources, many extraordinary treasures were brought together. In order to “protect” his tomb, he created a replica of his army out of clay, which counted as the finest of all craftsmanship, weaponry, and art of the time, and is known today as the Terracotta Army.