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美版知乎:古代中国有多强大

How powerful was ancient China?

古代中国有多强大?

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以下是Quora读者的评论:

Matt Riggsby, MA Archaeology, Boston University

It varied a lot. For chunks of antiquity and into the early modern period it was the most populous, most technologically advanced, and wealthiest country on Earth, except when it wasn’t. Early China (say, the Han dynasty) was reasonably comparable to the Roman empire in terms of reach, wealth, population (in the general vicinity of 60 million), and technology. After the Han collapsed in 220 AD, China fragmented into a variety of successor states, much as Rome did not long thereafter. At that point, it’s hard to speak of “China” as such until the Sui reunified the country in the 580s. At that point, China resumed its place as the most powerful country in the world (the population topped 100 million by the 12th century) until they were taken over by the Mongols and incorporated into Ghengis Khan’s empire. That only lasted a few generations until the Chinese reasserted themselves with the Ming dynasty, who were in turn displaced by the Qing. During all of this, they were either the most powerful nation in the world or part of the most powerful nation, but around the seventeenth or eighteenth century, things changed. Chinese technology fell behind, and the power of smaller but more technologically advanced nations eclipsed it. By the nineteenth century, China was entirely subjugated to a loose alliance of smaller nations on the other side of the planet.

中国的变化很大。从古代到近现代的大部分时间,它一直是地球上人口最多、技术最先进、最富有的国家。早期的中国(比如汉朝)在地域、财富、人口(大约6000万)和科技方面与罗马帝国不相上下。公元220年汉朝灭亡后,中国分裂成多个国家,就像罗马在那之后不久遭遇的那样。在当时,很难称中国为“中国”,直到隋朝在公元580年重新统一了这个国家。那时,中国重新成为世界上最强大的国家(12世纪,人口超过了1亿),直到被蒙古人接管且并入成吉思汗的帝国。这种情况只持续了几代人,随后中国又进入了明朝时期,而明朝后来又被清朝所取代。在这期间,他们要么是世界上最强大的国家,要么是最强大国家的一部分,但在17或18世纪左右,情况发生了变化。中国的科技水平落后了,更为先进的小国的实力超越了中国。到了19世纪,中国完全被地球另一边的小国组成的松散联盟所征服。

While China was certainly powerful, it was also subject to certain limitations. A large part of its power was based on being large and being able to mobilize the surplus of large numbers of people. Its technological advantages, while real, weren’t leaps and bounds ahead of other regions. Better stuff was available, but that ultimately didn’t make the kinds of order-of-magnitudes differences between, say, the use of water power in 18th century Europe vs. 18th century China. China’s military capabilities were also underdeveloped; the order-loving Confucians who governed China didn’t like soldiers and were delighted to spend millions on tribute instead of pennies on defense. Its broad borders meant that it faced multiple potential threats which often sapped its strength, and China exhibited the same kinds of chronic weakness against steppe-living horse archer-heavy armies which plagued other settled societies. China could muster a bigger army than anyone they’d be likely to fight, but might have to fight on multiple fronts. Likewise, their naval capabilities, both militarily and in terms of merchant shipping, were underdeveloped for its size, particularly in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

中国固然强大,但也有一定的局限性。它的实力很大程度上是建立在地域广阔和能够调动大量人口的基础上的。它的科技优势虽然真实存在,但并没有超越其他地区。虽然有更好的材料,但这最终并没有使18世纪的欧洲和18世纪的中国之间出现数量级的差异。中国的军事能力也不发达;统治中国的偏爱秩序感的儒家不喜欢士兵,他们乐于花费数百万元进贡,而不是把钱用于防御。辽阔的疆界意味着中国面临着多重潜在威胁,而这些威胁往往会削弱中国的实力,而中国在对付困扰其他定居社会的草原骏马、重弓箭手方面也表现出同样的弱点。中国可以召集一支比任何人都要强大的军队,但可能要在多条战线上作战。同样,他们的海军能力,无论是在军船还是在商船方面,规模都不发达,尤其是在明清时期。

 

Patrik Sakai

Ancient China was probably the most powerful civlization on earth they had gears for mechanics way before probably any other civilization, and they were ahead in all forms of technology. Gunpowder agricultural technology paper water mines giant ships that they reached America with before colombus.

古代中国可能是地球上最强大的文明,他们的机械装置可能比任何其他文明都要早,而且他们技术处于领先地位。火药、农业技术、造纸、水、矿山、巨轮,在哥伦布之前就到达了美洲。

 

Choi Wonseok, Korean Canadian living in the US, ROK Army Released Reserve

As a student of history, I will just state this fact from the Book of Sui.

作为一名历史系的学生,我就举《隋书》为例陈述一下。

Between 598 - 614AD, the Sui dynasty launched a series of campaigns against the Koreanic kingdom of Koguryo (‘Koreanic’ is a historical syntax term by the way. If you don’t know what that is, just ignore).

公元598年至614年,隋朝对高句丽王国发动了一系列战争(“Koreanic”是一个历史语法术语)。如果你不知道那是什么,就忽略它吧。

Including, supply trains, reinforcements, laborers, and camp followers, 1,100,000 Chinese were involved in the campaigns.

包括补给车、援军、劳工和营地追随者在内,110万中国人参加了这场战争。

This is the largest military campaign in human history until World War I.

这是第一次世界大战前人类历史上最大规模的军事行动。

 

Chen Yankai, Inner Asia History Lover

If one likes China, he’ll take every big battle the Chinese won in the history. If someone hates China, he’ll just write what he can write to slander China. My answer is only for men who are rational and at a neutral place.

如果一个人喜欢中国,他就会留意到中国历史上赢得的每一场大战。如果一个人讨厌中国,他就会尽力描写诽谤中国的东西。我的回答只适用于理性和中立的人。

You can point out ANY wrong points in my answer. Thanks.

我的回答中要是有任何错误的地方,欢迎指正。谢谢。

China as a country lasting for more than 3000 years, of course, have some fallings and risings. It’s not so simple to say whether it was powerful.

中国作为一个存续了3000多年的国家,当然也有过兴衰起伏。很难定义它究竟强不强大。

Now, I’ll start writing something about its lucky/good days.

Lucky days:

现在,我先说说中国的幸运/好日子。

幸运时期:

No. 1: 133BC—91 AD

Han dynasty won the hundreds of years’ war between Xiongnu and Han.

No. 1: 公元前133年至公元91年

汉朝打赢了和匈奴之间持续数百年的战争。

Though suffering the great loss at the Battle of Baideng and admitting the Xiongnu Empire as the dominant power and being a tributary to it for more than 60 years, the Han Empire never forgot that insult. They were peasants, farmers and businessmen. Yet, they built a powerful cavalry that had the ability to defeat the Xiongnu deep in the heart of their own homeland—the great steppe of Mongolia.

汉朝虽然在白登之围中遭受了巨大损失,承认匈奴帝国为主宰者,并作为其附属国隐忍了60多年之久,但汉朝从未忘记这一耻辱。他们虽然只是农民和商人。但他们建立了一支强大的骑兵部队,有能力在匈奴的家乡——蒙古大草原的腹地击败匈奴。

The whole process is quite complicated. The Han Empire actually developed to the West in order to counter Xiongnu in two directions. I’m not going to write that process in a detailed way. Here I will only take three important battles:

整个过程非常复杂。汉朝实际上是为了在两个方向上对抗匈奴而向西发展的。我不打算详细地描写这个过程。我只讲三个重要的战役:

a.Battle of Mobei, 119 BC.(Note: before that, Han and Xiongnu had already fought several large battles, mainly on the borders and in the western regions)

a.漠北之战,公元前119年。(注:在此之前,汉族和匈奴已经打过几次大战,主要是在边境和西部地区)

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