SONG DYNASTY (960 – 1279 AD) – Part 2/6

I’ve read many criticisms that the Chinese today cannot innovate without the level of freedom that exists in America and other Western republics and democracies.

If that were true, explain how the Chinese were so far ahead of the West for two thousand years while being ruled by autocratic, imperial governments where the law was often swift and harsh under legalism.

For example, during the Song Dynasty in 1092 AD, Su Song was the inventor of a hydraulic water powered astronomical clock tower. He was also known as a statesman, calligrapher and botanist.

In addition, fifteen hundred years ago, famous mathematician Zu Chongzhi calculated that the approximate value of pie was 3.1415926.

It would take a thousand years for a foreigner to break that record. In fact, China led the world in astronomy for more than a thousand years.

The world’s largest and earliest star chart is carved on a stele in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. Today’s astronomers find it incredible because it is so accurate and detailed.

During the Song Dynasty, a calendar was created that was as accurate as the Gregorian calendar used today—four centuries before the Gregorian calendar.

During the Song Dynasty, a new type of canal lock was invented. Four hundred years later in 1373 AD, a similar lock was invented in Europe.

Astronomical observations were used to help agriculture. Due to this, the Song Dynasty grain yield was ten to twenty times that of Medieval Europe.

Return to the Song Dynasty – Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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