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Historical Periods of Shang Dynasty

Shang Dynasty (17th to 11th cent. BC)

The Shang Dynasty (also called Yin 殷 after the last capital) is the second of the Three Holy Dynasties (San Dai 三代) of Chinese historiography (Xia 夏, Shang 商, and Zhou 周). It is said to have been founded by Tang the Great 大湯, the last ruler was the depraved King Zhou 紂王. Since all the events of this historical period, reported by sources written many hundred years later, can not be taken seriously, many scholars thought the Shang Dynasty to be purely mythical. Only the discovering of oracle bones and their inscriptions proved that at least the last part of the Shang was a historical period.

But the kings of Shang were not the center of the Chinese world. Around them, many other cities and states - Chinese and Non-Chinese - presented a world full of cultural diversity. Marxist historians define the Xia and Shang economy as that of a slaveholder society (nulizhu shehui 奴隸主社會, following the obligatory sequence of social systems defined by Marx.

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