Erlitou-Shang Chinese

Erlitou-Shang Chinese

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Historical Overview Section

The Erlitou culture was an Early Bronze Age urban society in China from 2000 BCE to 1500 BCE. The culture was named after the site discovered at Erlitou in Yanshi, Henan Province. The culture was widely spread throughout Henan and Shanxi Province, and later appeared in Shaanxi and Hubei Province. Most Chinese archaeologists (who are generally encouraged to show continuity between each successive Dynasty) identify the Erlitou culture as also being tha the site of the Xia Dynasty, while most Western archaeologists remain unconvinced of the connection between the Erlitou culture and the Xia Dynasty since there are no written records linking Erlitou with the official history.

The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty to be described in ancient historical chronicles. According to Warring States to Western Han Chinese Dynasty texts, the Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great. Just before his death, instead of passing power to the person deemed most capable to rule, Yu passed power to his son, Qi, setting the precedence for dynastic rule or the Hereditary System. The Xia Dynasty began a period of family or clan control until Jie, the last ruler, was overthrown by Tang, the first king of the Shang dynasty in the Battle of Mingtiao.

The Shang ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper", in the Yellow River valley. According to the chronology based upon calculations by Liu Xin, the Shang ruled between 1766 BC and 1122 BC, however according to the chronology based upon the Bamboo Annals, it is between 1556 BC and 1046 BC. Shang troops fought frequent wars with neighboring settlements and Early Horse Nomad herdsmen from the inner Asian steppes.

Shang Zhou, the last Shang king, committed suicide after his army was defeated by the Early Zhou Chinese. Legends say that his army and his equipped slaves betrayed him by joining the Zhou rebels in a decisive battle that took place.

Shang Military Forces

Shang infantry were armed with a variety of stone or bronze weaponry, including máo spears, yuè pole-axes, ge pole-based dagger-axes, the composite bow, and bronze or leather helmets. Their western military frontier was at the Taihang Mountains, where they fought the ma or "horse" barbarians, who might also have used chariots. The Shang themselves likely only used chariots as mobile command vehicles or elite symbols, which is a shame really although they reportedly amassed over a thousand chariots to overthrow the Xia Dynasty - handily represented in the list by 6-18 bases of Light Chariots.

Although the Shang depended upon the military skills of their nobility, the masses of town dwelling and rural commoners provided the Shang rulers with conscript labor as well as military obligation when mobilized for ventures of defence or conquest. The subservient lords of noble lineage and other state rulers were obligated to furnish their locally kept forces with all the necessary equipment, armor, and armaments, while the Shang king maintained a force of about a thousand troops at his capital, and personally led this force into battle.

A rudimentary military bureaucracy was needed in order to muster troops of three to five thousand troops in border campaigns, while it was recorded that up to thirteen thousand troops were mustered in order to suppress uprisings of insolent states to Shang authority. However, even after the Shang integrated the chariot into their military forces, the nobility were still largely amassed in infantry form, as the chariot was mostly associated with transportation, ceremonies, and large-scale royal hunting expeditions. Chariots in the Shang period generally carried three men, the driver placed at the center, an archer on the left, and a warrior armed with a dagger-axe on the right. It had a rectangular frame, with two large spoked wheels, and was driven by two horses, although some of the chariots had teams of four horses.

Using the army in FoG

  • In this period any Superior troops are worth their weight in gold - so take the maximum number of superior drilled MF - you get stacks in this army
  • Many of your opponents will be wielding crossbows, so being unprotected bowmen may not be as bad as it first seems.
  • Any of your own suggestions add in here. It looks neater if you do it with bullet points. Just put each new suggestion on a new line, starting with an "*"

Tournament Results with this army

Have a look for them on the Official FoG Database on the FoG site

User-contributed links about this army:


  • Early Northern Barbarians - Undrilled Impact foot, the troop type of choice in a period with no armoured infantry. Heavy Chariots are nice too but hard to co-ordinate under just one allied general.

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

Image Image Image Image

Army Lists

Sample army lists for this army
Name of Army / Date

  • 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

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Created by admin. Last Modification: Tuesday 12 of November, 2019 18:58:45 GMT by admin. (Version 3)
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