Early Zhou Chinese

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Historical Overview Section

The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history—though the actual political and military control of China by the dynasty only lasted during the Western Zhou. In the Chinese historical tradition, the Zhou defeated the Erlitou-Shang Chinese Dynasty and oriented the Erlitou-Shang Chinese system of ancestor worship toward a universalized worship away from the worship of Di and to that of Tian or "heaven". They legitimized their rule by invoking the Mandate of Heaven, the notion that the ruler (the "Son of Heaven") governed by divine right but that his dethronement would prove that he had lost the mandate. Such things that proved the ruling family had lost the Mandate were natural disasters and rebellions. The doctrine explained and justified the demise of the Early Horse Nomad Xia and Erlitou-Shang Chinese Dynasties and at the same time supported the legitimacy of present and future rulers. Before conquering the Shang, Zhou was a state in Shaanxi. Gernet describes the Zhou state as a "city" which was in contact with the barbarian peoples of the western regions and more warlike than the Shang.

The early Western Zhou supported a strong army split into two major units: “The Six Armies of the west” and “The Eight Armies of Chengzhou”. The armies campaigned in the northern Loess Plateau, modern Ningxia and the Huanghe floodplain. The military prowess of Zhou peaked during the 19th year of King Zhao's reign, when the Six Armies were wiped out along with King Zhao on a campaign around the Han River. Early Zhou kings were true commanders-in-chief. They were in constant wars with barbarians. Charles Hucker noted that Zhou had 14 standing royal armies, with 6 stationed in Haojing, near today's Xian, and 8 armies stationed in the east along with others in the west. Zhou Zhaowang (r. 1052–1001 BC) was famous for repeated campaigns in the Yangtze areas and died in his last action. Zhou Muwang (r. 1001–946 BC) was a legendary figure famous for fighting in the west and maybe today's Central Asia where he met on Kunlun Mountain with so-called Xi Wang Mu, namely, Queen Mother of the West, rumored by some western historians, including Charles Hucker, to be Queen of Sheba. Later kings' campaigns were less effective. King Liwang (r. 878–7 BC) led 14 armies against barbarians in the south but failed to achieve any victory. King Xuanwang (r 827–782 BC) fought the Jiangrong nomads in vain. King Youwang was killed by Quanrong, and capital Haojing was sacked. Although chariots had been present in China since the Shang Dynasty, the Zhou period saw the use of massed chariots in battle, a technology imported from Central Asia.

The latter half od the Dynasty saw a decline ine central authority ans is known as the The Eastern Zhou which has two subperiods. The first, from 722 to 481 BC, is called the Spring and Autumn Period, after a famous historical chronicle of the time; the second is known as the Warring States Period (403 to 221 BC), after another famous chronicle. The Warring States to Western Han Chinese lists extend slightly past the 256 BC end date of the Eastern Zhou; this discrepancy is due to the fact that the last Zhou king's reign ended in 256, 35 years before the beginning of the Warring States to Western Han Chinese Qin dynasty which ended the Warring States period. The dynasty was ended in 256 BC, before Qin Shi Huang's Warring States to Western Han Chinese unification of China in 221 BC, when the last king of Zhou died and his sons did not proclaim the nominal titles of King of China.

Using the army in FoG

  • In the Early Zhou list there is a requirement that the ratio of dagger axe to "Archer" elements not exceed 2-1 and vice versa. This applies to both the supporting bow and the separate MF and LF. The end result is that you can either have all mixed units with few restrictions on numbers, all separate units and few restriction, or a bit of both but a very restricted choice of army composition. clarified on Slitherine site
  • It looks neater if you do it with bullet points. Just put each new suggestion on a new line, starting with an "*"

UK Tournament Results with this army

User-contributed links about this army:


  • Chinese, Early Zhou Dates/restrictions - Any Book & Page Empires of the Dragon , 4 compulsary Chariots, and at least 2 units of fairly generic EoD foot, optionally LF.
  • Di, Rong or Yi - Early Northern Barbarians Dates/restrictions - Before 622 Book & Page Empires of the Dragon , 4 optional chariots, up to 24 Impact Foot and 24 bowmen (can be LF). Chunky!

Painting and Collecting the Army

  • Paint schemes, insignia, shield designs? Put it here.

15mm Manufacturers supplying figures for this army

This is a full listing of 15mm manufacturers for all "early" Chinese armies. A full listing of who supplies what can be found in my 15mm Suppliers directory. You can see some of the figures in the Ancients Photo Gallery also on this site

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Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
900 AP list used at Usk 2010

  • 6 Poor LF Bow
  • 6 Poor LF Bow
  • 6 Average LF Bow (allies)
  • 8 LMI, Bw, Poor Unprotected
  • 6 Armoured Drilled Average Bw/Halberd unit
  • 6 Armoured Drilled Average Bw/Halberd unit
  • 6 Armoured Drilled Average Bw/Halberd unit
  • 8 Protected Undrilled Poor Bw/Halberd unit
  • 4 Superior Bow armed Chariots (allied)
  • 8 Average Undrilled protected swordsmen
  • 6 Average Armoured Offensive Spearmen
  • 4 Superior Bow armed Chariots
  • 4 Superior Bow armed Chariots
  • 4 Superior Bow armed Chariots
  • IC, TC, TC, allied TC

  • Using asterisks inthe edit mode creates a bulleted list in the actual site
  • This is a lot easier to do than easier than setting up tables
  • For FoG I suggest listing your army in order or march
  • with troop desctiptions on each line, for example
  • 4 HF Armoured Average Drilled Impact Foot Swordsmen
  • 8 LG Undrilled Unarmoured Poor Bowen
  • Dont forget to include your Generals !!!

Include any notes you want here, including comments on how to use - or play against - the army.

Remember to leave a line before you copy the above section as a template for your own list

eBay Listings

UK Bookstore

You can make the bookstore show only the books for the army you are setting up the page for. You need to change the line above where it says "node=0"by replacing the number "0" with the right code. You can find that by going to the Bookshop page, navigating to the right page, and holding your mouse over link to that army on the right hand menu. The node number you need to replace "0" with will show up in the bar at the bottom of your screen! Don't worry if you can't find it - I'll get round to sorting it out eventually

Created by admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 12 of November, 2019 18:58:45 GMT by admin. (Version 14)
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