State and Mutiny in the Northern Song, 1000-1050
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This dissertation uses the Northern Song state’s response to mutinies as a prism through which to view different aspects of the government’s response to crisis. To this end, I focus on the suppression of five mutinies in the first half of the eleventh century, a time when the Song government was stable and the army posed little threat to the central government. I look closely at how officials and the emperor understood mutinies and the proposals officials made to suppress them in order to learn more about the nature of Song governance. Through an investigation of the individuals sent to direct and oversee campaigns against the mutineers, I show the qualities the court sought in men sent to put down unrest. In addition, I seek to understand how the physical and human geographies of the regions where mutinies broke out shaped the government’s actions. When sizing up the resources of the Song state and the mutineers, both in terms of people and wealth, it is clear that the Song held an overwhelming advantage. However, the mutineers often took steps which challenged the Song’s legitimacy, forcing the dynasty to react in kind by denouncing them. With a study of the punishments and rewards distributed to mutineers and the Song’s officials and soldiers, we can learn more about the concerns of the state. While the mutineers’ leaders were usually executed, their followers could and did receive pardons. The rewards and especially the punishments handed out to officials were intended to clarify what the state expected of its officials. Finally, once the mutiny was over, the government sought to restore order, both in clean-up campaigns to root out supporters of the mutiny and by trying to rebuild the state’s relationship with society.
- History