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Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China$
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N. Harry Rothschild and Leslie V. Wallace

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780824867812

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824867812.001.0001

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“Wolves Shepherding the People”

“Wolves Shepherding the People”

Cruelty and Violence in the Five Dynasties

(p.189) 11 “Wolves Shepherding the People”
Behaving Badly in Early and Medieval China

Hongjie Wang

University of Hawai'i Press

This essay examines notorious crimes perpetrated by the military men during the chaotic Five Dynasties and Ten States period (907–979) based on both official histories and biji筆記‎ accounts. Rapidly shifting political rule, contested boundaries, an excessively premium on martial values, and tensions between the military (wu武‎) and the civil (wen文‎) all contributed to the violence and instability of the day. The unending wars and volatile politics fostered an environment wherein a widespread contempt for human life became commonplace, particularly among the military men who rose to power through combat and slaughter.

Keywords:   cruelty, violence, Five Dynasties, the military (wu 武) and the civil (wen 文)

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