Mandate of Heaven

(ca. 475–221 BCE)

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The Mandate of Heaven was invoked by Chinese emperors from the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty. Depending on the kind of statement or announcement, the audience was composed of a very small group of literati and of the army. Nevertheless, the process of legitimizing imperial power was naturally promulgated widely and known by all the population. The Mandate of Heaven remained a key concept of power legitimation both for scholars and for ordinary people.