Sun He (Zixiao)
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|Prince of Eastern Wu|
|Died||253 (aged 29)|
|Style name||Zixiao (Chinese: 子孝; pinyin: Zǐxiào; Wade–Giles: Tzu-hsiao)|
|Posthumous name||Emperor Wen (Chinese: 文皇帝; pinyin: Wén Huángdì; Wade–Giles: Wen Huang-ti)|
Sun He (224–253), style name Zixiao, was a prince of the state of Eastern Wu in the Three Kingdoms period. He was a son of Sun Quan, the founding emperor of Wu. In 241, he became the crown prince after the death of his eldest brother, Sun Deng, the first heir apparent to Sun Quan. In the 240s, a power struggle broke out between Sun He and his younger brother, Sun Ba (the Prince of Lu), with both of them fighting for the succession to their father's throne. The conflict ended in 250 when Sun Quan forced Sun Ba to commit suicide, deposed Sun He from his position as the crown prince and replaced him with Sun Liang (Sun Quan's youngest son). Three years after his downfall, Sun He was demoted from the status of a prince to a commoner and was forced to commit suicide. In 264, Sun He's eldest son, Sun Hao, became the Wu emperor and he granted his father the posthumous title "Emperor Wen".
Sun He was born in 224, to Sun Quan's then-favorite Consort Wang. Because of the favours enjoyed by Consort Wang, Sun He was also favoured. He was given a staff in 236, at age 13, and he became known for studiousness and humility. After his eldest brother Sun Deng, Sun Quan's first crown prince, died in 241, Sun He, as Sun Quan's eldest surviving son, was appointed as the crown prince.
Almost immediately after he became the crown prince, however, trouble began to brew for him. Sun Quan also favoured his other son by Consort Wang, Sun Ba (孫霸), and he initially had these two sons live together and share staffs, which was considered improper based on tradition. In 245, Sun Quan separated their staffs and their residences, which, however, further strained their relations, and Sun Ba began to have ambitious of taking over as crown prince. He befriended a number of officials, and quickly the government became divided between a Sun He faction and a Sun Ba faction. Due to Sun Ba's false accusations, a number of officials who supported Sun He were executed or deposed; even the senior general Lu Xun died in anger after being repeatedly rebuked by Sun Quan over his defence of Sun He. Sun He's position became even more tenuous after his mother Consort Wang died in fear after Sun Quan blamed her for the discord between her sons.
By 250, Sun Quan tired of Sun Ba's constant attacks on his brother. Under the advice of his daughter Sun Luban and his personal assistant Sun Jun, he forced Sun Ba to commit suicide and deposed Sun He, then appointed his youngest son, Sun Liang, as the crown prince to replace Sun He. Sun He was reduced to the status of a commoner and exiled to Guzhang (in present-day Huzhou, Zhejiang). In 252, as Sun Quan neared death, he instated Sun He as the "Prince of Nanyang" with his princedom in Changsha. He died soon thereafter, and Sun Liang succeeded him under the regency of Zhuge Ke.
Zhuge Ke was the uncle of Sun He's wife Princess Zhang, and there were soon rumours that Zhuge was considering restoring Sun He and making him emperor. After Zhuge Ke was assassinated and replaced by Sun Jun in 253, Sun Jun, who had been instrumental in Sun He's deposal, decided to end the threat once and for all. He first again demoted Sun He back to commoner status and exiled him to Xindu (in present-day Hangzhou, Zhejiang), and then sent messengers to force Sun He to commit suicide. Princess Zhang also committed suicide. Sun He's four sons Sun Hao, Sun De (孫德), Sun Qian (孫謙), and Sun Jun (孫俊) were raised by Sun Hao's mother, Consort He, who was offered the chance to commit suicide but declined, reasoning that someone needed to raise the children.
After Sun Hao became the emperor of Wu in 264, he posthumously honored Sun He as "Emperor Wen" and had him reburied with full honours. Sun He also had a daughter born by Princess Zhang and married Lu Jing, the second son of Lu Xun.
- Chen, Shou. Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
- Pei, Songzhi. Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).