Empress Teng Fanglan

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Empress Teng
Empress of Eastern Wu
Born (Unknown)
Died (Unknown)
Names
Traditional Chinese 滕皇后
Simplified Chinese 滕皇后
Pinyin Téng Huánghòu
Wade–Giles T'eng Huang-hou
Other names Teng Fanglan (traditional Chinese: 滕芳蘭; simplified Chinese: 滕芳兰; pinyin: Téng Fānglán; Wade–Giles: T'eng Fang-lan)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Teng.

Empress Teng (birth and death dates unknown), personal name Teng Fanglan,[1] was an empress of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period. She was married to Sun Hao, the fourth and last emperor of Wu.

Life[edit]

Lady Teng was the daughter of Teng Mu (滕牧) and a distant relative of Teng Yin, a high ranking minister in Wu. When Teng Yin was killed in a failed attempt to overthrow the Wu regent Sun Chen in 256, Teng Mu and his family were exiled to the border. However, after Sun Xiu ascended the throne in 258 and eliminated Sun Chen, he granted amnesty to those who were condemned by Sun Chen, so Teng Mu and his family were allowed to return to the Wu capital Jianye (建業; present-day Nanjing, Jiangsu). Teng Mu became a zhonglang (中郎; a type of official) in the "Bureau for All Purposes" (五官曹). When Sun Hao was enfeoffed as the "Marquis of Wucheng" (烏程侯), he took Lady Teng as his concubine and instated her as the empress later when he ascended the throne in 264. He enfeoffed Teng Mu as the "Marquis of Gaomi" (高密侯), appointed him as the "General of the Guards" (衞將軍) and granted him authority over the Imperial Secretariat (尚書).[2]

Sun Hao turned out to be a cruel and superstitious tyrant. His subjects were hesitant in attempting to persuade him to mend his ways, but due to Teng Mu's honoured status, they often asked Teng to help them present their proposals to Sun Hao because the emperor might be offended if they gave him advice directly. Sun Hao eventually grew tired of Teng Mu's suggestions and Empress Teng fell out of her husband's favour as a consequence. In 266, Sun Hao suddenly ordered Teng Mu to move to Cangwu (蒼梧; in present-day Wuzhou, Guangxi) — effectively sending the latter into exile — even though he did not strip the latter of his titles. Teng Mu died of distress on the journey to Cangwu. Sun Hao considered deposing Empress Teng as well but his superstitious beliefs worked in the empress's favour — his sorcerers (whom he trusted) told him that replacing the empress would lead to disaster for him. Sun Hao's mother, Empress Dowager He, also intervened by protecting and speaking up for Empress Teng. Empress Teng lived with her mother-in-law and rarely saw Sun Hao again but retained her authority as the empress. At the same time, Sun Hao gave empress signets to many of his other concubines.[3]

Little else is known about Empress Teng. When Wu was conquered by forces of the Jin Dynasty in 280, she accompanied Sun Hao to the Jin capital Luoyang. It is not known what happened to her after that.[4]

Empress Teng's personal name was not recorded in her biography in the Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi), the authoritative source of the history of the Three Kingdoms period. However, the Jiankang Shilu mentioned that her personal name was "Fanglan", hence she was also known as "Teng Fanglan".[1]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b (追諡父和為文皇帝, ... 立夫人滕氏為皇后。后諱芳蘭,太常滕胤族女。) Jiankang Shilu vol. 4.
  2. ^ (孫皓滕夫人,故太常胤之族女也。胤夷滅,夫人父牧,以踈遠徙邊郡。孫休即位,大赦,得還,以牧為五官中郎。皓旣封烏程侯,聘牧女為妃。皓即位,立為皇后,封牧高密侯,拜衞將軍,錄尚書事。) Sanguozhi vol. 50.
  3. ^ (後朝士以牧尊戚,頗推令諫爭。而夫人寵漸衰,皓滋不恱,皓母何恒左右之。又太史言,於運歷,后不可易,皓信巫覡,故得不廢,常供養升平宮。牧見遣居蒼梧郡,雖爵位不奪,其實裔也,遂道路憂死。長秋官僚備員而已,受朝賀表疏如故。而皓內諸寵姬,佩皇后璽紱者多矣。) Sanguozhi vol. 50.
  4. ^ (天紀四年,隨皓遷于洛陽。) Sanguozhi vol. 50.
Chinese royalty
Preceded by
Empress Zhu
Empress of Eastern Wu
264 – 280
Dynasty ended
Empress of China (Southeastern)
264 – 280
Succeeded by
Empress Yang Zhi of Jin