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Most non-medical and non-divinatory books were destroyed.

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Chinese sources often date events only to a dynasty or only to a reign, so having a convenient code avoids the inaccuracy of translating such dates into rough centuries, as we normally do in English.

Early dates differ considerably in their correlation with the western calendar, but the numeral designations help overcome that.

In a few cases of very short and regionally circumscribed "dynasties," I have lumped them under a single number and appended letters to it.

When only a gross designation is necessary, I have confined myself to a number (from 00 to 23).

Formerly the Jìn (08) was spelled "Tsin" and the Jīn (18) was spelled "Chin" to avoid a homonym without using a tone mark.

Today in toneless Pinyin, Jìn (08) is spelled "Jin" and Jīn (18) is usually spelled "Kin" for the same reason.

This brief and brutal dynasty is important because it ended feudalism and established the imperial state, headed by a totalitarian emperor with the right to intervene in all aspects of private and public life.

The famous first emperor of Qín standardized everything from axle lengths and weights and measures to written characters.

There is no entirely convincing archaeological evidence of a dynastic state that would precisely correspond with the Xià, which was therefore long assumed to be a "dummy dynasty" postulated by traditional Chinese historians to refer to the post-mythical, pre-state Neolithic society of China. Modern Chinese sources tend to date this period as extending from about the XXIInd or XXIst century BC. Majority opinion at this time associates it with the archaeological site of Èrlǐtóu First examples of writing come from this period: inscribed ox scapulae and tortoise carapcaces constituting "oracle bones"; they seem to involve queries to ancestors or gods, often about weather.

Royal tombs (with human sacrifices) but only modest palaces.

) as "Medieval," with all before this being ancient and all after this modern.