Cover image for Medieval Chinese warfare, 300-900
Medieval Chinese warfare, 300-900
Graff, David Andrew, 1962-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London ; New York : Routledge, [2002]

Physical Description:
viii, 288 pages : maps ; 24 cm.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS747.43 .G73 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Shortly after 300 AD, barbarian invaders from Inner Asia toppled China's Western Jin dynasty, leaving the country divided and at war for several centuries. Despite this, the empire gradually formed a unified imperial order. Medieval Chinese Warfare, 300-900 explores the military strategies, institutions and wars that reconstructed the Chinese empire that has survived into modern times.
Drawing on classical Chinese sources and the best modern scholarship from China and Japan, David A. Graff connects military affairs with political and social developments to show how China's history was shaped by war.

Author Notes

David A. Graff is Assistant Professor of History at Kansas State University. He received his PhD in East Asian Studies from Princeton University in 1995.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

This excellent survey of Chinese military history covers six tumultuous centuries, from the collapse of the Western Jin dynasty (265-316 CE) through the disintegration of the Tang empire (618-907). The first chapter is particularly valuable for its succinct and cogent discussion of the early developments in military technology, strategy, and philosophy that served as important resources for commanders in medieval China. This reviewer has never seen as effective an introduction to the military arts in ancient China. Subsequent chapters chronicle the rise and fall of numerous Chinese states, with attention given to key battles as well as to transformations in military organization, such as the substitution of professional (for conscript) armies in Tang times. Graff (Kansas State Univ.) demonstrates strong continuities in Chinese military history, presenting evidence that commanders were often influenced by their knowledge of past warfare and military classics, such as Sunzi's Art of War. He also draws interesting comparisons with Byzantine military history. Fans of Mulan (the legendary early medieval woman warrior) will be disappointed that the role of women in warfare is one of many topics left unexplored in this brief survey. Nevertheless, it is meticulous, readable, and altogether a remarkable achievement. All general and academic collections. K. E. Stapleton University of Kentucky

Table of Contents

List of mapsp. vi
Preface and acknowledgmentsp. vii
Introductionp. 1
1 The legacy of antiquityp. 17
2 The fall of Western Jinp. 35
3 The north under barbarian rulep. 54
4 The south under emigre rulep. 76
5 From Northern Wei to Northern Zhoup. 97
6 North versus southp. 121
7 The Koguryo War and the fall of the Sui dynastyp. 138
8 Li Shimin and the military consolidation of the Tang dynastyp. 160
9 The early Tang military and the expeditionary armiesp. 183
10 The price of professionalismp. 205
11 Consequences of the An Lushan rebellionp. 227
Conclusionp. 252
Bibliographyp. 258
Indexp. 275