Ancient China Vocabulary

Ancient China Vocabulary
Loess – a fine yellow soil that is easily carried away by wind and rain; found in China
Levee – a wall built along a river bank to prevent flooding
Erosion – the gradual wearing away of soil and rock by wind, glaciers or water
Famine – a widespread lack of food resulting in hunger or starvation
Steppe – a dry, grassy, treeless plain found in Asia and Eastern Europe
Dynasty – a line of rulers who belong to the same family
Nobles – a member of a ruling family or one of high rank
Oracle bones – in ancient China, a cattle or sheep bone used to predict the future
Emperor – the supreme ruler of an empire
Province – a division of land within an empire
Confucianism – in China, a system of beliefs and behavior based on the teaching of Confucius
who said that people should lead good lives by studying ancient traditions; it stressed the
importance of respecting one’s family and ancestors
Mandate of Heaven – the belief that the Chinese emperor’s right to rule came from the gods
Grand School – a school begun by Confucian scholars in China that trained students for
government jobs
Seismograph – a scientific device that could detect earthquakes hundreds of miles away;
invented during the Han dynasty
Silk – a natural fiber that can be woven into textiles (cloth); produced by certain insect larvae
China – also called the People’s Republic of China; a sovereign state located in East Asia; the
world’s most populous country
Civil Service System – a branch of governmental service in which individuals are employed on
the basis of professional merit as proven by competitive examinations
Huang He – a river in northern China
Beijing – the capital of China
Han Dynasty – one of the greatest dynasties; started in 202 BC and lasted for more than 400
years; China became strong and rich during the Han Dynasty
Great Wall of China – made of stones, bricks, tampered earth, wood and other materials;
generally built along an east to west line across the historical northern borders of China