By David M. Robinson
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Extra info for Bandits, Eunuchs and the Son of Heaven: Rebellion and the Economy of Violence in Mid-Ming China
99 The rotation system was intended to ensure rigorous training for provincial forces and to distribute more equitably the responsibility for defending the empire’s capital. 100 The large number of military personnel passing through the Northern Metropolitan Area on their way to and from Beijing often involved lapses in discipline, intimidation of civilian populations, and plundering by soldiers (see chapter 3). Because the Ming military influenced such a great percentage of the population in the capital region, a few general observations about the conditions of the hereditary households are useful to understand the dynamics of local society.
The central protagonists of this study remain silent and elusive in the imperial records that form my documentary base. Men of force such as Liu the Sixth and Tiger Yang did not bequeath their memoirs to descendants. Supporters did not leap to their defense in pamphlets. They did not even make depositions to imperial inquisitors; they died in battle. What we know of them and their role in society must be gleaned from a historical record compiled by and for the imperial government, its local representatives, and a literati elite deeply vested in the imperial system.
117 One of the principal leaders of the 1510 Rebellion, Tiger Yang, worked as a military retainer for a censor responsible for eliminating banditry in North China (see chapter 5). 118 Local Security When assessing opportunities for and local response to banditry and rebellion, one must bear in mind the resources devoted to providing security for the local society. The organization of these resources varied with time and region. The following description is based primarily on conditions in the capital region during the mid-Ming.