It is said that the Chinese Empire is one of the longest-lasting and most powerful in the history of humanity. Now, this is slightly misleading, as the Chinese Empire has actually come into being several times (and is sometimes confused with the Mongol Empire that covered much of China's territory thanks to conquest by Genghis Khan). China as an idea has been around for a couple thousand years. Chinese Empires have sort of come and gone in that time.
First, there was the Han Dynasty, which made it about 400 years. Then there was a period of disunity and war known as the Six Dynasties and 16 Kingdoms, which interestingly sort of matches the European Dark Ages after the Roman Empire fell, showing you that classical times were more interlinked than people think. This was followed by... another united China! The Sui and then the Tang Dynasties ruled for another 300 years. Then came more disunity, and another unification under the Song dynasty, though this was not as cohesive as prior unifications.
The Mongols blew it all up in the 1200's but only held their ground 100 years or so. After that came the Ming Dynasty, whose control was never absolute either. This brings us to the Qing Dynasty, which pretty much leads up to the Chinese Revolution, a period of warlords and then... communism (of a sort).
All this is to say, there were a few imperial courts out there, and a smart person could probably make a good living in most of them. It was all about what you could do, who you knew, and what you were willing to do to protect your position. Tell us such things about yourself, and we'll see where you would have belonged!
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