The First Emperor leaves behind a controversial legacy—he was a leader willing to kill in the name of unification.
He is also known for stunning innovations that consolidated his rule through modernization. During his reign, he introduced the standardization of currency, writing, measurements and more. He connected cities and states with advanced systems of roads and canals. He is also credited with continuing the construction of the Great Wall, which is perhaps the most widely-known symbol still associated with China to this day.
Sword, 475–221 BCE. China. Bronze. Baoji Municipal Institute of Archaeology, Shaanxi, EX 2013.1.033.
He is regarded as a military genius, and while his methods included massacre and destruction, some claim that his ultimate success at bringing the states together justifies the violence, a necessary cost of nation-building. We will also see, under the Archaeology
theme, incredible advancements that represent the first assembly-line style production in the creation of his terracotta warriors, horses and chariots.