China’s First Empire
Michael Loewe looks at the dynastic, administrative and intellectual background of the Qin empire, which defined how China would be run for more than 2,000 years, and at the life and achievements of the First Emperor Shi Huangdi, one of the greatest state-builders of history, whose tomb was guarded by the famous terracotta army.
This change was something more than a mere formality, and in what is known as the Warring States period (481-221 BC) six other rulers – Chu, Qi, Yan, Hann, Wei and Zhao – in different parts of China likewise adopted the title of king. The new title indicated that these men did not accept that the kings of Zhou enjoyed a position superior to their own; and it reflected the steady growth of their powers. For Qin, this process of expansion reached its culmination after 250 BC, notably in the reign of Ying Zheng (r.246-210).