The Earliest “Great Wall”? The Long Wall of Qi Revisited

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Yuri Pines

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Abstract




This article explores textual, paleographic, and archeological evidence for the “Long Wall” of Qi, arguably one of the earliest long walls erected on Chinese soil. It analyzes the possible dates of the Wall’s constructions, its route, its defensive role, and its relation to military, political, economic, and administrative developments of the Warring States period (453–221 BCE). I argue that the Long Wall played a significant role in Qi’s military strategy in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, bolstering its defensive capabilities. In the long term, however, the Wall might have inadvertently hindered Qi’s southward expansion, placing it in a disadvantageous position versus its rivals.




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