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Contents and Summaries No.3 September 2023
September 15, 2023  

The Activities of Commercial Gangs Along the Grand Canal During the Ming and Qing Dynasties

FAN Jinmin

During the Ming and Qing dynasties, the Grand Canal, which connected the north and south of China, was the most important north-south cargo channel in the country. Commercial gangs from various regions were extremely active along the canal, and the commercial taxes collected by the canal customs became an important source of national finance. These regional commercial gangs played an indispensable and important role not only in the circulation of goods from north to south across the country, but also in the creation of commercial guilds, sponsorship of cultural activities, promotion of traditional Chinese opera culture, and the rise of the trend of garden masonry, thereby creating regional culture, inheriting folk culture, and showing a rich atmosphere of commercial culture.

Household Economic Management During the Middle Kingdom of Ancient Egypt–Based on the Heqanakht Papyrus

GUO Dantong and CHEN Jiaqi

Although the economic system of ancient Egypt was a redistributive economy dominated by the state, private economic activities still existed, and the household economy was the main component of the private economy, effective household economic management could promote the orderly operation of the social economy in ancient Egypt. The Heqanakht Papyrus was one of the few important documents that record the household economy during the Middle Kingdom. In order to provide a case study of social and economic development of ancient Egypt, we based on the Heqanakht Papyrus, focused on the household economic management, explored how Heqanakht, as the head of his family, used the limited human and material resources to coordinate family resources and maximize their effectiveness.

The Locust Plague and its Control in the Assyrian Empire

GUO Honggeng

During the Assyrian Empire, locust plagues were regarded as quite frightening disasters. Locusts not only had an astonishing number, but also had a wide range of harms. Kings of Assyria not only valued the elimination of locust eggs, but also took the quantity of collecting and killing locusts as a standard to assess officials. At the same time, making locusts into delicious food and birds’ pecking at them also contributed to control locusts. Exorcists around the king also used incantations to participate in the control of locusts. They regarded various abnormal celestial phenomena as omens of outbreaks of locust plagues, and believed that gods could take away filed pests such as locusts. Therefore, they sacrificed to the relevant gods, while others burned eggs and statues of locusts and other field pests. Under the guidance of the king from top to bottom, the Assyrian Empire achieved partial victory in locust control. However, they attributed the success to the gods, which may interfere with normal locust control activities.

The Centennial “Westernization” Process and the End of the Ottoman Empire

WANG Sanyi

With the aim of promoting the development and progress of the Empire and advancing with the time, the Ottoman government chose the path of Westernization. The reforms in specific areas were effective, but not sufficient to achieve social transformation. The institutional change was conducive to adjusting local interests, and the changes on the surface of society were also obvious. However, there was a gap between the expectation and result in the practice of industrialization. The process of westernization of the Empire was difficult and tortuous, and both in the early and late stages, it failed in the transformation of ideological concepts, and the influence of religious factors was underestimated. Therefore, the reform of adopting the Western political and economic model was abandoned halfway. The diplomacy had shifted from learning from and relying on Britain and France to learning from and relying on Germany, regarding Germany as a model for quickly making the Empire prosperous and building up a strong military. The close relationship with Germany brought obvious benefits to the Empire, but choosing to side by Germany in World War I led to the collapse of the Empire.

The Early Dissemination of the Magna Carta


The documents for the dissemination of the Magna Carta include the writs of 19 June, the letters of the twenty five barons and the Magna Carta. The letters of the twenty five barons, the core document for the implementation of the Magna Carta, specified a detailed operation plan. The writs of 19 June, issued from the King’s administrative system, ostensibly ordered the sheriff to implement the Magna Carta, but were actually sent to the rebel baron’s followers, the barons themselves and the pro-baronial bishops. The Magna Carta was then distributed directly or indirectly to the bishops, and the bishops and cathedral churches were responsible for its custody and exhibition. The mechanism for the dissemination of the Magna Carta was a new attempt at church-state cooperation. The Magna Carta not only limited the king’s power, but also stipulated the rights of nobles and free individuals, which was the reason why the Magna Carta had been widely disseminated. The writs of 19 June and the letters of the twenty five barons, confirmed the justice of the right to resistance.

On the Aristocracy and Innovation of the British Highway System in Modern Times

ZHANG Xunshi

The ancient British highway inherited the Roman road system, and underwent the development of the so-called via regia in the Middle Ages, and evolved into “the parish repair system” in the early modern times. The traditional highway system had a drawback of conflicting rights of “used for public” and “governed by local”, which had been improved in the early modern times. The main purpose of aristocratic participation in the reform of the highway system was to obtain economic benefits, enhance regional industrial value, and consolidate their social and political status. They actively promoted road legislation in parliament, invested manpower and financial resources, and even land in promoting road construction and improving road construction technology. The modern road transportation system was built in Britain in the 18th century, and the efforts of the aristocracy were indispensable. This grand reform had achieved a win-win situation for individuals, regions, and countries, promoting the progress of industrialization.

On the Professionalization of Royal Judges in the Reign of Edward I in England

ZHU Jian

The period of Edward I was a critical stage in the professionalization of royal judges in England. The royal judges, who became more professional and further secularized, transformed from part-time administrative officials to full-time judicial work, and was selected from professional lawyers. The regular salary system was established, and the professional ethics had also moved towards concretization. Edward I expanded the jurisdiction of the royal courts, promoted its professionalization of functions, and laid the foundation for the professionalization of royal judges. He issued a series of decrees that directly influenced the professionalization of royal judges. Edward I inherited the “rule of law” model of governance and relied on professional judicial institutions and professional judicial officials to reinforce his power, which was the fundamental reason for the professionalization of royal judges.

The Investigation of Grain Requisition in Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region From 1941 to 1944

SHANG Nana & KANG Peizhu

From 1941 to 1944, the CPC carried out an investigation of grain requisition in Shaanxi-Gansu-Ningxia Border Region, with a view to achieving a reasonable distribution of public grain burden and successfully completing the task of grain requisition, and dealing with the economic blockade imposed by the Kuomintang government on the border region. One immense problem faced by the Communist Party in this process was the resistance of traditional forces in rural society to the investigation. Faced with sophistication of rural society, the Communist Party of China had used its skilled experience in mass work to solve the problems. At the same time, in terms of investigation methods and handling of investigation materials, it had also to the greatest extent aligned with the traditional behavioral habits and standards of rural society, thus opening up a path for the carrying out and implementation of the grain requisition investigation. The reason why the CPC could successfully carry out the grain requisition investigation and implement the policy of the Agricultural Tax Paid in Grain to Save the Nation, was inseparable from the correct control and rational use of rural social relations.

The Discourse Expression of Nationalism in Historical Textbooks During the period of Anti-Japanese War

ZHANG Xuzhong

During the Anti-Japanese War, many intellectuals actively participated in the compilation of historical textbooks and became leaders in historical education of the times. They narrated the glorious history of Chinese civilization, exposed the crimes of Japanese aggression, paid attention to the narrative of national humiliation, praised the national heroes, highlighted the main theme of resistance against Japan, and issued a call for national self-improvement. These discourse expressions had become important force in saving the nation from subjugation and ensuring its survival, highlighting the theme of national rejuvenation and playing an important role in historical education. Different from the past, the historical textbooks during the anti-Japanese War carried more wills of the nation and state, and were full of nationalistic discourse expression.


Institute of European Civilazation