Qin Shi Huangdi was the first Emperor of China. He unified the Chinese people. He built an empire that lasted thousands of years. He left behind a legendary tomb. This documentary explores the man and the legend. It will be a challenge to separate fact from fiction but Professor Jeffrey Reigel takes on that challenge. How did Qin create an empire? How could such a person exist? Why is he such a legendary man?
The historians only had official documents about Qin Shi Huangdi. However, in 1974 his tomb was discovered and it was guarded by thousands of terracotta warriors. Terracotta figures were known from other cities. Qin Shi Huangdi’s tomb had thousands of figures. This discovery provided some insight into China’s first emperor. Only 180 separate pits were found so far. The emperor’s tomb itself has not been discovered. The only thing visible to the people was the large mound the emperor was built under. It is larger than the Egyptian pyramids. What will finding the rest of the tomb tell us about the Emperor?
The legend begins when Qin Shi Huangdi at thirteen. The king is dead and he is now the new king. His mother and the king’s former advisor already want to take advantage of the situation. The pair have been lovers for years. Unknown to the pair a revolution is coming.
The revolution is in the form of Lee Su, a scholar. He joins Qin Shi Huangdi’s court. He joins the staff of the prime minister. Lee Su already has an idea of what goes on in court and starts making plans. Qin Shi Huangdi has an audience with the scholar. They talk about uniting the individual Chinese kingdoms. He flatters the young king and believes that the time to unify China is now. Over the next decade, Qin Shi Huangdi strengthens his position and desire to create a new nation. He becomes the youngest king to lead a nation into war.
Qin Shi Huangdi celebrates his coming of age. His mother has a new lover and had two sons by the new lover. There are plots to put one of these boys on the throne. Qin Shi Huangdi has his suspicions about his mother and takes matters into his own hands to protect his throne. The coup is on, however, Qin anticipates this and crushes the rebellion. The boys are killed. The prime minister is sent into exile for failure to protect his king. The king will rule with his empire with an iron fist.
Lee Su will be the power behind the throne and will impose a totalitarian state on the unified empire. More of the minor kingdoms fall to Qin. Yen is next to fall, but they send a mission to Qin Shi Huangdi. However, the men who bring the Qin gifts are trained assassins. The plot fails and Qin defends himself ably. Since the attempted coup, Qin’s biggest fear is assassination. Now he has assassins in his court. Paranoia grows in Qin’s mind. Death haunts his dreams, and he is nervous about facing the souls he sacrificed.
Since he became king, Qin started planning his tomb. He is starting to plan for a massive tomb. Each figure measures six feet tall and were armed with real weapons. Over 7,000 Terracota warriors have been found. This army demonstrated Qin Shi Huangdi’s power and was laid out in the tomb with great precision.
If you need to have a documentary on Ancient China this would be an excellent documentary to show to a high school history class. If you have an independent study student then this documentary would be good for a student to listen to.
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