Bandits, Eunuchs, and the Son of Heaven: Rebellion and the Economy of Violence in Mid-Ming China

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University of Hawaii Press, 2001 - History - 283 pages
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"On a spring afternoon in 1509, a local bandit found himself in the emperor's private quarters deep within the Forbidden City and in the presence of the Son of Heaven himself. This bizarre meeting was the doing of the eunuch Zhang Zhong, the emperor's personal servant and companion. In time, court intrigue between competing palace eunuchs would lead to the death of this bandit-turned-rebel, setting off a massive uprising that resulted in China's largest rebellion of the sixteenth century. To understand how this extraordinary meeting came about requires a consideration of the economy of violence during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Here, for the first time in any language, is a detailed look at the role of illicit violence during the Ming." "Drawing on court annals, imperial law codes, administrative regulations, private writings, and local gazetteers, David Robsinson recreates in vivid detail a world where heavily armed highwaymen and bandits raided the boulevards in and around the Ming capital, Beijing." "Bandits, Eunuchs, and the Son of Heaven reveals how illicit, armed violence formed a critical, and until now largely unexplored, facet of late-imperial Chinese history. It offers important new insights into the nature of the late-imperial state, the structure of emperorship, the role of the military, and the place of force in everyday life in early-modern China."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
 

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Contents

Introduction The Economy of Violence
1
The Capital Region
27
Banditry during the MidMing Period
45
The Management of Violence
69
Men of Force and the Son of Heaven
99
From Banditry to Rebellion and Back Again
121
Conclusion Implications for the Study of Late Imperial China
163
Notes
173
Character Glossary
241
References
247
Index
279
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About the author (2001)

David Robinson is assistant professor of history at Colgate University.

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