Monday, July 24, 2006

The Great Wall of China – The Builders of the Great Wall

Continued from: The Great Wall of China – Some benefits of the Great Wall.

During Ch’in’s reign as many as 1.5 million[1] men were involved in the emperor’s project. By Ch’in’s law every male citizen aged between 15 to 60 had to do a certain amount of hard labour each year on public service, and in one rare document it is written that: ‘At the present time, out of each peasant family of five persons, at least two are taken away by official press-gangs for state work’ [2]. Furthermore, anyone politically undesirables were also sent, together with jobless citizens, peasants and slaves to build the wall. In the Han period, over 1698 articles of law carried the penalty of servitude; consequently, anyone who committed even a minor crime was sent to the wall. And in 607 A.D. during the Sui dynasty the construction of 500 km of wall involved again a million labourers, of whom less then half returned to their homelands, thus the saying: ‘The Great Wall was ten thousand li of human bones and earthwork’[3] . For whoever had died while building the wall was buried bricked into the wall or thrown into its foundation.


[1] Cheng Dalin, The Great Wall of China, New China News LTD., China, 198.

[2] Jonathan Fryer, The Great Wall of China, New English Library, London, 1975, p. 62.

[3] Cheng Dalin, The Great Wall of China, New China News LTD., China, 1984.

8 Comments:

Blogger Talamasca said...

Hmmm... I wonder which was more laborsome back then: the Great Wall or the pyramids?

Anyway, neat info you got there. Thanks for sharing. :-)

8:56 AM  
Blogger Leon said...

The Great Wall of China - a testament to human determination and ingenuity.

3:23 PM  
Blogger melinda said...

there it is - them bones. ban ri no chou jou was a cruel, subsuming mistress.

kyou no (today's) tenki (weather) ga ii (is good) kara (so) dekakeyou to omou (i think i'll go out).

alla prossima!

1:06 AM  
Blogger flic said...

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12:37 PM  
Blogger flic said...

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12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

COOL! I used it in a report:-)

2:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This info on the Great Wall of China was very helpfull because i am doing a report on it!!! So thanks!!!

5:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This website was very helpful since i am doing a report on the Great Wall of China!!! Thanx!!!

5:17 PM  

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