Linzi (Chinese: 臨淄; pinyin: Línzī), originally called Yingqiu (Chinese: 營丘), was the capital of the ancient Chinese state of Qi during the Zhou Dynasty. The ruins of the city lie in modern day Linzi District, Shandong, China. The city was one of the largest and richest in China during the Spring and Autumn Period. With occupying Linzi in 221 BC, King Zheng of Qin completed his conquest of the Chinese rival states and declared himself the first emperor of China shortly afterwards. The ruins of the ancient city were excavated in 1926 by Japanese archaeologists and in 1964 by Chinese archaeologists.
The city was surrounded by a 14 km perimeter wall of rammed earth. The city consisted of an outer city and an inner city. The outer city wall reached a maximum of 43 meters in base width, averaging between 20 to 30 meters in width. The inner city wall reached a maximum of 60 meters in base width. The city had a sewer and water works system.
The palace was located in the inner city, located in the southwestern corner of Linzi. A large rammed earth platform was found inside the inner city, commonly referred to as the Duke Huan platform. The remains of the platform measure 86 by 70 meters and are 14 meters high.
"Seven broad avenues, some 20 m wide and over 4,000 m long, ran north-south and east-west, roughly forming a grid pattern. Four major avenues met in the northeast section of the city. It is no coincidence that this area yielded the richest cultural remains from the Western Zhou to the Han."
In the Records of the Grand Historian, the population of Linzi in the fourth and third centuries B.C. was said to be 70,000 households, with at least 210,000 adult males. Scholars today believe this was somewhat exaggerated.
The kings of Qi and the Qi state acted as patrons of the Jixia Academy (ca 315-285 B.C.) in Linzi, the earliest and largest (in its time) center of learning in China. The Academy, possibly named after the city gate (Ji) nearby, was made up of chosen scholars who received a handsome stipend from the government in return for advising the king on government, rites and philosophy. Among the Jixia Academy scholars were Mencius, Xun Zi (who taught Han Fei Zi and Li Si, among others), and Shen Dao.
The ruins of the city are surrounded by over 100 tumulus, some as far as 10 km away. Many of the tombs around Linzi had been looted in antiquity. Over 600 horses were sacrificed in two rows, found in a tomb pit, near what is considered the tomb of Duke Jing of Qi. The sacrificial horse pit is now the site of a museum, the Museum of the State of Qi.
- Wu, Hung; Michael Loewe and Edward L. Shaughnessy (1999/2007). The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 BC.. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. p. 663.
- Sima, Qian; William Nienhauser (1994). The Grand Scribe's Records, vol. 7: "The Memoirs of Pre-Han China", 69. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 2257.
- Allan, Sarah (ed), The Formation of Chinese Civilization: An Archaeological Perspective, ISBN 0-300-09382-9