Peasants, landlords, warriors, and the state: war and the military culture of North China, 1040-1140


ACLS Fellowship Program



Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


Historians have long identified the primacy of civil over military values and institutions as one hallmark of the Song Dynasty (960-1279). But long after the Song founding, a robust military culture persisted in North China that Song officials sought to harness in the century from 1040 to 1140, when events on Song China's northern frontier obliged the court to revive the careers of northern military men, conscript northern peasants out of the fields, and empower wealthy landlords to serve as their drill sergeants. This revival of North China's military culture ended only with the loss of the region to the Jurchen Jin in 1127-1141, after which the literocentric values of the south that historians associate with Song "civilism" finally came to dominate Song culture in general.