User:PericlesofAthens/Sandbox Cambridge2

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Here are my article drafts:

The Conduct of Government and the Issues at Stake[edit]

Loewe, Michael. (1986). "The Conduct of Government and the Issues at Stake (A.D. 57–167)," in The Cambridge History of China: Volume I: the Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 B.C. – A.D. 220, 291-316. Edited by Denis Twitchett and Michael Loewe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521243270.

The Reigns of Mingdi and Changdi (57–88 AD)[edit]

  • Page 292: We are told by Han writers such as Zhongchang Tong (c. 180–220) that Emperor Guangwu of Han set a bad precedent for the Eastern Han Dynasty, who was QUOTE: "angered at the way in which powerful ministers of state in the past had acquired and used power. He had therefore seen to it that, although the senior posts of the three excellencies (san kung) were duly established, real government was exercised by the secretariat. Authority was in fact transferred to members of the consorts' families, although there were many who enjoyed the favors of the privileged."
  • Page 292-293: Diwu Lun, the Minister of Works in 75 AD, sent a memorial arguing that Emperor Guangwu had inherited bad practices of Wang Mang's regime, in that his government was too strict and ferocious in its punishments. Emperor Ming of Han was known to be strict, and he himself once struck an official with a stick when he was angered. When Zhongli Yi, an official in the secretariat, protested that officials were being too rigorous in punishing other civil servants, Emperor Ming had him removed from his position. When Liu Ying (c. 70–77) and his adherents were charged with offenses, roughly 250 of his followers were allegedly flogged to death in prison.
  • Page 294: After the new Emperor Zhang of Han took the throne, Chen Chong, a member of the secretariat, made a protest that officials at court were too oppressive and zealous in punishing others, and too often used political positions to advance private interests. Although this made somewhat of an impression, it was not until 84 AD that a new law was made to limit the severity of flogging during criminal investigations.
  • Page 295: Emperor Ming of Han seems to have wanted to evoke the frugal reputation of the earlier Emperor Wen of Han, who was hailed for sparing the people undue expenses on and unnecessary labor on palace expansions and elaborate tomb construction. Emperor Ming gave instructions that QUOTE: "he did not wish to be buried in a specially constructed tomb with its own shrine; he would rather be laid to rest in one of the apartments built as a robing room that was attached to the tomb of Kuang-wu-ti's empress Yin, his own mother."
  • Page 296: Emperor Guangwu of Han desired to repair the dikes which were heavily damaged by the flooding of the Yellow River and Bian River during the reign of Emperor Ping of Han (r. 1 BC – 6 AD), but he lacked the appropriate funds and manpower at the time. After more inundations and complaints of flood waters, the court under Emperor Ming of Han had Wang Jing oversee a massive engineering project using several hundred thousand conscripts to repair dikes and build new flash lock gates at intervals of every ten li (some four km) from Xingyang to the coast of the East China Sea in Qiancheng commandery.
  • Page 297: The reign of Emperor Zhang of Han saw greater consolidation of communication networks in southern China. Seven commanderies of Jiaozhi, or Annam (Chinese province), sent periodic goods by sea route through the South China Sea which arrived at Dongye, the only settlement at that time located along the coast of Fujian. In 83 AD the Supterintendant of Agriculture (Da sinong) had his transportation plan accepted at court which opened a new path through the mountains of the Lingling and Guiyang commanderies, a system still in place by the time the Book of Later Han was compiled.

The Reigns of Hedi, Shangdi, and Andi (88–125 AD)[edit]

  • Page 297-298: Not all were content with the 89 AD campaign of Dou Xian against the Xiongnu. The Minister of Works Ren Wei and the Minister of Finance Yuan An argued that such a campaign squandered resources at a time when the Northern Xiongnu were powerless to truly challenge the Han Empire. The Xiongnu had just suffered a defeat by the Xianbei and retired a long distance which would necessitate the Han forces to seek them out on a long-distance campaign. Attendant Secretary Li Gong (who later became Minister of Finance in 107) argued that the campaigns of Dou Xian should be suspended on humanitarian grounds, arguing that such campaigns were too much of a burden on the people. He Chang argued against the campaigns as well, alluding in his argument that the Dou family should have no business partaking in costly affairs while building extravagant buildings for themselves. Empress Dowager Dou rejected all of this advice.
  • Page 298: In 101 AD, a quota reform was implemented which allowed proportionately more candidates from the north, northeast, and northwest to be assessed for civil service.
  • Page 298: In 102 AD, Minister of Works Xu Fang submitted a proposal which would reform the examination system. He stressed that a standard interpretation of the Five Classics should trump any others which he considered heterodox and that students should be taught the literal and explicit meanings of the Classics; any candidate who strayed from the standard interpretation come test time would be given poor marks. Hsu's proposal was accepted.
  • Page 300: Until the reign of Emperor An of Han (r. 106–125), the most senior officials of state and regional commissioners (mu) were not allowed to follow and were not expected to observe the Confucian moral of leaving office altogether for a solid three year period of mourning in the case of a parent's death. Even in other offices, there was not a strict adherence to the rule of being absent from office for a three year mourning period. Empress Dowager Deng decided to reverse this trend in 116 AD when she had a law enacted which required those of high office to withdraw completely from their position for three years in the case of a parent's death. Liu Kai, who had been Superintendant of Ceremonial in 107 and was Minister of Works since 112, supported this reform. When complaints were made that it was too impractical for regional commissioners and commandery governors to simply leave office for three years, Liu Kai shot their arguments down and told them that they should set a moral example to all by following this fundamental Confucian principle. QUOTE: "This was in fact the first occasion when senior ministers of state were required to follow the practicee of three years in mourning."
  • Page 300-301: However, this law requiring officials to observe the three year mourning period was not stable, as it was abolished and then reinstated during Eastern Han. The Director of the Secretariat argued in 121 that the practice of observing the three year mourning period was not accepted by Emperor Guangwu of Han, thus his precedent should be adhered to and the law should be repealed. Chen Zhong, who was recommended to office by Liu Kai, argued that Guangwu was acting upon circumstance of times of crisis and needed to QUOTE: "reduce the administration to its simplest terms." Chen argued that by observing the three year mourning period the cultural and moral integrity of the government would be intact. However, the eunuchs, who were rising to power, rejected the law as being too inconvenient. With the lack of eunuch support, the law was abolished in 121 and officials were not allowed to observe the three year mourning period. Yet in 154 AD the law was reinstated and high officials once more required to withdraw from office for three years of mourning in the case of a parent's death. In 156 this law was extended to officials of a lower grade. However, the law was suspended for senior officials in 159.
  • Page 301: During the reign of Emperor He of Han (r. 88–105), various measures of thrift were made which were intended to reduce hardship for the peasantry. This included the reduction in exotic foods and delicacies delivered and served to the court, the reduction in ballet dances, the reduction in musical drummers and pipe-players at the Yellow Gates (to fill vacancies in guard units), the reduction in fooder fed to horses other than those actually used to transport imperial carriages, and QUOTE: "All manufacture by the palace agencies of goods that were not required for the ancestral shrines or tombs was brought to a halt."

The Reign of Shundi (126–144 AD)[edit]

  • Page 306: QUOTE: "In 132, perhaps in order to discourage nepotism, orders were given that candidates for office who were recommended from the provinces should be limited to men of forty years or more; they should all be trained in the literal exposition of the approved texts; and in filling vacancies attention should be paid to ability to draft memorials addressed to the throne. Youngsters who showed evidence of exceptional talent, however, were not to be debarred simply on account of their age."
  • Page 307-308: When Liu Ju, the Superintendant of Agriculture, was reprimanded for dereliction of duties, he was shamed with a flogging. Zuo Xiong, Director of the Secretariat, protested against this treatment, calling it an inappropriate punishment for someone holding a dignified high office. Moreover, Zuo Xiong noted that there was no precedent in ancient times where officials were flogged as part of their punishment, and that the practice had only begun during the reign of Emperor Ming of Han (r. 57–75). His protests proved successful, and Liu was not beaten.
  • Page 308: Luoyang was struck by a massive earthquake in 133 AD. The emperor convened with his officials and asked all to provide comments on how to appease Heaven. The official Li Gu criticized Shun's granting of a noble title to his foster mother Song E, making her the Mistress of Shanyang. He also criticized ennobling Liang Ji with a marquisate. He pointed to the fact that Emperor Gaozu of Han had set the precedent that only members of the Liu family would be conferred kingdoms and only people of proven merit should be given marquisates. Li Gu conceded that Shun's foster mother Song E may have done some good for the emperor, but this should have only been rewarded with monetary compensation, not a conferment of territory, which defied tradition. With the scandalous discovery of Song E's involvement in a eunuch plot, Shun finally caved in and had her dismissed and sent back to her original residence. Li Gu earned the hatred of the eunuchs, who then plotted to bring him down.
  • Page 309: The scientist and seismological inventor Zhang Heng (78–139) also used the earthquake as an excuse to criticize the government. QUOTE: "He entered a plea for the restoration of authority to the palace where it belonged: that is, the Son of Heaven."
  • Page 309: Zhang Gang also criticized the eunuchs in 135, mostly for their right to gain noble titles and pass them on to adopted sons. Supreme Commander Wang Gong, who was appointed in 136, was another official who openly criticized the eunuchs. After he tried to indict the eunuchs for offenses, they retaliated by bringing up charges against him, which was only dropped when Li Gu intervened on his behalf.
  • Page 310-311: There were some revolts during Shun's reign, but the court was able to quell them. However, trouble stirred towards the end of his reign and shortly after. Three months after he died on September 20, 144 AD, a rebel force attacked Hefei in what was Jiujiang Commandery (modern Anhui). In that same year Shun's imperial tomb was desecrated soon after he was interred. Rebel armies which were several thousand strong besieged and occupied cities in Guangling and Jiujiang commanderies. Meanwhile the Xianbei raided Daijun in the north. Acts of banditry became widespread in Lujiang. A rebel leader named Hua Meng of Liyang named himself the Black Emperor and killed the Han governor of Jiujiang. When the latter rebellion was finally quelled and peace restored to the southeast, the government counted 3,800 dead rebels and 700 captured rebels.

The Reign of Huandi (146–168 AD)[edit]

  • Page 313: When the Liang family was ousted from power in 159, Huang Qiong was made Supreme Commander. He then had investigations made to find those responsible for corruption and oppression in the provinces, leading to some executions and exiles.
  • Page 313: At around this time, the palace attendant Yuan Yan advised Emperor Huan of Han that he should trust men such as Chen Fan over that of the eunuchs in order to restore the reputation and dignity of the throne. Chen Fan had been a governor of Qiancheng Commandery and then an official in the secretariat. However, his blunt advice got him transferred to be governor of Yuzhang Commandery, in essence a political exile. However, he managed to gain the office of Superintendant of State Visits and then Superintendant of the Imperial Household. He oversaw the examinations of candidates for office with a zealous attitude of showing no bias in favor of the rich and powerful. In 159 Chen Fan had protested the idea that marquisates should be conferred on those who were favorites of the emperor and that the palace should have less women due to fiscal constraints. His input must have carried some weight, since some 500 women were removed shortly after. Chen Fan also complained about the emperor's elaborate hunting expeditions as more resources could be devoted to agriculture and filling up granaries, but this complaint was not heeded by Emperor Huan.
  • Page 314: After Chen Fan became Supreme Commander in 165, he gained the ire of the eunuchs after coming to the rescue of those they brought charges against, but the eunuchs could not touch Chen Fan as he was too powerful now. When Emperor Huan died, Chen Fan was made Grand Tutor to the next emperor. When Emperor Ling of Han assumed the throne, Chen repeatedly refused the honor of a marquisate.
  • Page 314: In 154 AD, the law of the three year mourning period for officials was restored, after being abolished in 121 AD. However, in 159 AD the law was once again abolished.
  • Page 315: When a large scale earthquake came in 156 in Luoyang, followed by a solar eclipse in 157 and a plague of locusts, the emperor called on his ministers to make suggestions of reforms.
  • Page 315-316: A Gongsun Ju led a rebellion in Shandong in 154 AD, where several local officials were killed. The rebellion spread and involved some 30,000 people before being quelled in 156 AD. Victims of this rebellion were exempted from taxation.

The Fall of Han[edit]

Beck, Mansvelt. (1986). "The Fall of Han," in The Cambridge History of China: Volume I: the Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 B.C. – A.D. 220, 317-376. Edited by Denis Twitchett and Michael Loewe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521243270.

The Crisis of 168[edit]

The Choice of Lingdi[edit]

  • Page 317-318: When Emperor Huan of Han died on January 25, 168 AD without an heir, Empress Dou Miao (d. 172) was made Grand Empress Dowager and consulted with her father Dou Wu on which one of Emperor Zhang's young descendants should be placed on the throne. Dou Wu called together a conference comprising the heads of various court cliques, including the senior member of the Yuan clan, Yuan Feng (d. ca. 180), the Supreme Commander (Taiwei) Zhou Jing (d. 168), the Palace Attendant Liu Shu (d. 168), and Cao Jie (eunuch) (d. 181) who largely represented the empress dowager.
  • Page 318: At the meeting, Liu Shu suggested that 12-year-old Liu Hong, Marquis of Jieduting and great-great-grandchild of Emperor Zhang, should assume the throne. This proposal was accepted by Dou Wu, who told Empress Dowager Dou Miao. The Empress Dowager agreed and sent out an edict proclaiming that no one in the empire was Liu Hong's equal; although only twelve, the edict said, he had the virtues of King Cheng of Zhou. While Liu Shu traveled to Jieduting (which was 500 miles northeast of Luoyang) with a thousand eunuchs and bodyguards to deliver the news, the Empress Dowager promoted Dou Wu as General-in-Chief (Da Jiangjun) on January 30, 168 AD, a position that all senior members of an empress dowager's clan received.
  • Page 318: Also in this interregnum period, the Empress Dowager, who was not the favored wife of the late Huan, killed one of Huan's nine favorite concubines out of jealousy and spite. The other eight were spared only when eunuchs interceded.
  • Page 318-319: On February 16, Liu Hong arrived at Luoyang with the imperial retinue, and on the following day, February 17, was enthroned as Emperor Ling of Han. At the same time, Chen Fan (c. 90–168), being an old ally of Dou Wu, was granted the position of Grand Tutor (Taifu). Chen Fan, Dou Wu, and Hu Guang (91–172) were then placed in charge of the Privy Secretariat, QUOTE: "thus creating a regency triumvirate, so common during the Han dynasty."

The Struggle for Power[edit]

  • Page 319-320: From the onset, the eunuchs, allied with the Jieduting clique, were political rivals of Chen Fan and Dou Wu, using their influence to challenge them at court. Chen Fan proposed that all the eunuchs should be killed, which Dou Wu was hisitant at first to accept, but in time came to agree with this plot. Dou Wu had supporters in the Secretariat and obtained the loyalty of one of the generals commanding one of the five regiments of the army stationed at Luoyang.
  • Page 320: With the bad omen of a solar eclipse on June 23, Chen Fan used this to urge Dou Wu into action. Dou Wu read a memorial at court which called for the execution of leading eunuchs, alleging that they had placed corrupt cronies in positions of power throughout the empire. The Empress Dowager refused these demands, but she did hand over two eunuchs who had barred her attempts to kill those eight concubines who Emperor Huan had favored the most.
  • Page 320: At first this was a political success for the Dou faction; on August 8 he and his son, nephews, Yuan Feng, Cao Jie, and four supporters were given noble honors for their support of the new emperor. One of Dou Wu's nephews was put in charge of a regiment of the standing army, thus making two of the five regiments loyal to him as of this point.
  • Page 320-321: Chen Fan, dissatisfied still, ratcheted up the pressure in a new memorial which called for the heads of eunuchs such as Hou Lan and Cao Jie, while at the same time indicting the Jieduting clique as traitors in the same game. The Empress Dowager refused to this demand. Seeing that this was a failure, Dou Wu then plotted to have specific judicial cases brought against them (which by law the court couldn't ignore) and had many of his lackeys placed in civil and judicial administrative posts. He then had a faithful eunuch Shan Bing appointed as Director of the Yellow Gates (Huangmen ling), which was the head eunuch position. All of this transpired by October, when a showdown was imminent.
  • Page 321: Shan Bing had one eunuch arrested and tortured to gain confessions from him that eunuchs Cao Jie and Wang Fu (d. 179) were traitors to the court. Chen Fan wanted this jailed eunuch killed immediately, but Dou Wu wanted to extract all the confessions out of him that he could, so he allowed him to live.

The Crisis[edit]

  • Page 321: Director of the Yellow Gates and eunuch Shan Bing had a memorial composed which called for the arrests of Cao Jie, Wang Fu, and many other eunuchs. On the night of October 24-25, he had the memorial delivered to the court by Liu Yu, a fortune teller expert in astronomical portents. It does not seem that Dou Wu or Chen Fan were completely aware of this, since they were surprised to learn later that the eunuchs at court secretly opened the memorial and discovered the plot. A gang of seventeen eunuchs swore an oath to kill Dou Wu. After this Cao Jie was awoken, who in turn woke the emperor, gave him a sword, escorted him to a safe place, and placed the wetnurse by his side. He barred the gates and forced the secretariat to draft an edict proclaiming Wang Fu the head eunuch with orders to kill the present head eunuch, Shan Bing.
  • Page 321-322: Wang Fu had Shan Bing killed and rescued the tortured eunuch that was under his investigation. He then had Empress Dowager Dou Miao incarcerated and took her imperial seals so that the eunuchs could use them with authority issue orders to the guards. They issued an order for Dou Wu's arrest, which caught him by surprise. He then fled to his nephew, the commander of one of the regiments of the capital's standing army.
  • Page 322: With eighty followers, Chen Fan entered the palace and confronted Wang Fu, where a shouting match was exchanged between the two sides. However, Wang Fu's eunuch guards began pouring into the location and surrounded Chen Fan, subduing him and taking him into custody. He was trampled to death in prison later that day. His eighty followers were presumably unharmed.
  • Page 322: Wang Fu convinced the general Zhang Huan, who had just returned from a victorious campaign and was up to this point neutral in the contention between eunuchs and the Dou clan, to join him and the eunuchs in their manhunt for Dou Wu. The forces of Zhang Huan and Dou Wu met at dawn in front of the palace gates, where another shouting match was held. Over the course of the day, the soldiers from Dou Wu's side slowly deserted him and joined Zhang Huan's troops, until there were hardly any followers on Dou Wu's side. By midday he committed suicide, followed by the execution of his family and much of his followers. It should be noted that in these confrontations involving Chen Fan and Dou Wu, not a single fight actually broke out.
  • Page 322: The Empress Dowager was held under house arrest in the Southern Palace; three days later on October 28 the eighteen high eunuchs were all ennobled for their services in punishing Dou Wu and Chen Fan. It should be noted that Hu Guang, who stayed neutral during this crisis, was actually rewarded and promoted to Grand Tutor (left vacant by Chen Fan).

The Reign of Lingdi (AD 168-189)[edit]

  • Page 323: QUOTE: "Under the rule of the eunuchs, the structure of imperial government changed. First, a career in the bureaucracy was closed to all but allies of the eunuchs; subsequently it became something that was bought and sold. The eunuchs themselves penetrated into the military. Never-ending rebellions forced the court to delegate some of its powers to provincial governors, and squabbles over the succession created rifts within the palace itself. This was the last period of orderly Han government."

The Court in May 189[edit]

  • Page 323: After the Empress Dowager, Empress Dou Miao, was locked up in the Southern Palace following the crisis of 168 AD, Emperor Ling of Han's real mother was brought to the capital in 169 AD and made Empress Dowager Dong (d. 189 AD). She was at odds with Ling's wife, Empress He (Ling), the butcher's daughter. In 176 AD she bore Ling a first son named Liu Bian (176–190 AD), which earned her the right to become empress later in 181 AD. She was on shaky grounds, though, since another lady, Lady Wang (d. 181 AD), had bore Ling a son, Liu Xie (181–234), who Ling admired and thus posed a threat. Empress He then had Lady Wang poisoned just in case, but she was unable to assassinate Liu Xie, since he was immediately placed into the care of Empress Dowager Dong. Emperor Ling was furious and planned to divorce Empress He, but the eunuchs convinced him to retain his marriage.
  • Page 323-324: When Emperor Ling died on May 13, 189 AD, the question of who should succeed him, Liu Bian or Liu Xie, was still unresolved as he did not pick a successor. Empress He's candidate was obviously Liu Bian; if he became emperor, she would become Empress Dowager. Empress Dowager Dong's candidate was Liu Xie; if he becahme emperor, she would become Grand Empress Dowager. Empress Dowager Dong was allied to a nephew who was in high commmand over some one thousand soldiers. The Empress He was allied to her half-brother He Jin (d. 189), who had been made General-in-Chief since the Yellow Turban Rebellion in 184, yet he only had true military powers in times of crisis and did not command permanent troops. However, Empress He's half-brother He Miao (d. 189) was General of the Chariots and Cavalry (Juji Jiangjun); he not only commanded troops on a permanent basis, but he also was just one rank below Empress Dowager Dong's nephew.
  • Page 324-325: Both Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling were unpopular rulers, even in their own times, and had gained unsavory reputations for decadence, moral depravity, and allowing eunuchs to dominate the government. In 184 a massive rebellion and propaganda began which convinced hundreds of thousands of peasants that the time of Han was over; this was the Yellow Turban Rebellion, so named because its followers wrapped yellow cloth around their heads.

Military Organization[edit]

  • Page 325: By May of 189, many of the military titles that were given hastily to Han loyalists in the 184 Yellow Turban Rebellion had still not been rescinded, including He Jin's General-in-Chief position. He Miao's title of General of the Chariots and Cavalry and titles like General of the Rear given to Yuan Wei (d. 190) were revived after 150 years of laying dormant since the restoration of Han by Guangwu. All of these titles deviated from the normal military hierarchy of Eastern Han, and served not only to quell the Yellow Turban Rebellion and others, but also to appease the ambitious relatives of those already in power at court.
  • Page 325-326: He Jin's General-in-Chief title, which Dou Wu had briefly held in 168, was the most rare in this case, as there had only been six men of the Han Dynasty who held such a title before He Jin. All six of these men had died violent deaths except one. Before the year 188, the title of General-in-Chief was the highest civilian title that could be granted (besides Grand Tutor), a title which He Jin could use to overpower the eunuchs if there was the excuse of an emergency. Emperor Ling must have foreseen this trouble when he appointed a eunuch, Jian Shi (d. 189) as the Commander-in-Chief of a new standing army in September 188.
  • Page 326: This wholly new army was called Army of the Western Garden, a creation based on the emperor's fears of the Yellow Turbans. Emperor Ling appointed seven non-eunuch officers to be colonels of this new army under General Jian Shi. These colonels were either men who made a name for themselves during the Yellow Turban Rebellion or belonged to the influential Yuan family. The soldiers of these colonels QUOTE: "had probably served under their command previously, and this may have been the third motive behind the creation of the new army. In defense against rebels, many private individuals had begun to recruit their own armies. The Western Garden Army provided some sort of legality for these armies, and ensured that they would fight on the side of the emperor."
  • Page 326: QUOTE: "The appointment of a eunuch as commander-in-chief was the last logical extension of a process that had started right after the Tou Wu crisis, the extension of eunuch power into all branches of the imperial government."
  • Page 326: While seated under an umbrella observing his new army, Emperor Ling declared himself the Supreme General, the only time during Eastern Han that an emperor gave himself an additional title.
  • Page 326-327: Yet the whole purpose of this Army of the Western Garden, to fight off rebellions, was not fulfilled. Instead, recurrent rebellions in the end of Ling's reign were put down by auxiliary deputies and ministers raising their own private armies.
  • Page 327: When Dong Zhuo was recalled to the capital (to assume a new civilian post) in 189 while fighting rebels, he claimed that his soldiers would not let him come. However, he contradicted this by heading straight for the capital. Emperor Ling scolded him in writing, but this was ignored by Dong; when Ling died, Dong was 80 miles northeast from the capital, waiting for things to transpire.

The Great Proscription, 169-184[edit]

  • Page 327: By the year 189, the major eunuchs in power were Jian Shi (d. 189), Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Western Garden, Zhao Zhong (d. 189), who was General of the Chariots and Cavalry for four months in 186, and Zhang Rang (d. 189), who was a mastermind of finances for the empire. These men were so close that Emperor Ling called Zhao Zhong his "mother" and Zhang Rang his "father".
  • Page 328: By now it was common for eunuchs to be ennobled and to pass on titles to adopted sons. It was also common for them to be ennobled in large groups all at once, a sign that they worked together to improve their status. Zhao Zhong and Zhang Rang belonged to a group of twelve eunuchs who were ennobled in 185 after Emperor Ling was led to believe they had aided Han Dynasty forces in crushing the Yellow Turbans.
  • Page 328: In 175, the variety of eunuch titles was increased and it was also decreed that any office in the palace headed by a Director would from then on be headed only by a eunuch, and all of his Assistants had to be eunuchs as well.
  • Page 328-329: Following the downfall of Dou Wu and Chen Fan and the death or exile of their family members, eight officials were accused by the eunuchs of forming a clique against the emperor's interests. The eunuchs decreed in a great proscription of 169 that not only were these men now barred from holding any office, but also anyone who shared a common great-great-grandfather as these eight men were barred from obtaining any office. When an official called for the abolition of this proscription in 176, the eunuchs responded harshly by extending the proscription to anyone even slightly connected to the "clique" of people already listed on the proscription notice hung in the office of the superintendant of trials. By 179, Wang Fu and Hou Lan were dead, so the proscriptions were allowed to be narrowed a bit, but were not abolished until 184 with the breakout of the Yellow Turbane Rebellion, when the eunuchs lost their power of appointment.
  • Page 329: In the early years of the dynasty, there were only fourteen eunuchs reported, but by the end of Emperor Ling's reign there were over two thousand.
  • Page 330: Since the beginning, the eunuchs had traditionally only held power within the confines of the palace, but during the age of proscriptions from 169 to 184, they built up a vast network of clients and proteges in the capital and the entire empire. Even after the proscriptions, the power of the eunuchs was paramount. There are many more examples of eunuch success than eunuch failure; perhaps the ultimate example of their influence can be seen in the decision of Emperor Ling right before he died to place his younger and favorite son Liu Xie under the charge of Jian Shi, the eunuch Commander-in-Chief.

The State of the Bureaucracy in May 189[edit]

  • Page 331: When the Grand Tutor Hu Guang died in 171 AD, the most powerful civil officials left standing were the three excellencies, followed by the nine ministers, and eight secretaries who made salaries equal to the ministers. Although these offices stayed in place, a significant change occurred in 178 AD when candidates for office were made to purchase their office with cash and were no longer drafted on the basis of their merits, thus favoring the very wealthy and elite.
  • Page 331: The power and political significance of the three excellencies eroded after the turn of the 2nd century; whenever a calamity occurred, the emperor would avoid the judgment of Heaven by exonerating himself and shifting the blame to one of the three excellencies, removing him from office, thus damaging the institution of the three excellencies. By the time of Dou Wu the secretariat had become the most dominant institution in government, but after his death this power was shifted to the eunuchs.
  • Page 332: On a smaller scale and only in brief moments in 109 and 161 AD were offices sold to meet financial needs. However, the new edicts of 178 sold off the highest offices of state to the highest bidder. QUOTE: "It was the political insignificance of the three excellencies that made the sale of office possible, it was corruption in high circles that rendered it attractive."
  • Page 332: The headquarters for managing the sale of offices was the Western Quarters of the Western Garden. Anyone who offered 10 million cash could become one of the three excellencies. Anyone who offered 5 million cash could secure a post as one of the nine ministers. To secure a post as governor of one of the hundred or so commanderies you had to submit 20 million cash. If one had a good reputation at court, these costs could be reduced to half in light of special circumstance. In order to rake in more money for the state in 187 AD, Emperor Ling allowed the sale of lesser marquisates. The money gained from all of this was labeled the "courtesy money" of Emperor Ling and stored in his private treasury in the Western Quarters. It was the same storage place where he kept all the gifts from people throughout the empire hoping to advance their position.
  • Page 332: While all of this money flowed in, he overtaxed the populace at a rate of 10 cash per mǔ (市亩, 畝), which means 10 cash per 0.113 acres. With this money he built a new palace for himself in 185 AD. In that same year he abolished all differences between the private and public treasury. He then proceeded to build another treasury house called the Hall of Ten Thousand Cash where annual taxes were to be stored. The Western Garden was only of use to the empire in one noticeable event, when in 184 the emperor gave up horses stored there to the armies which fought the Yellow Turbans.
  • Page 333: The official Cao Song (d. 194), the adopted son of a eunuch, purchased the office of one of the three excellencies for a whopping 100 million cash in 188 AD! HOLY FUCKING GOD!
  • Page 333: QUOTE: "An official was not allowed to serve in the commandery or county in which he had been born; he was also excluded from serving in the domicile of his wife." This, along with the Great Proscriptions and the alienation of many who refused to pay money in order to obtain an office, led to many vacancies in office throughout the country and in the capital. In 176 the court took drastic measures to solve this serious crisis by appointing one hundred elderly university students after a summary examination. In 177, even some merchants were given titles as "filial son" and were given minor positions. In 178 an entirely new university was established, the School at the Gate of the Vast Capital (Hongdu men xue); the students form this academy were guaranteed an appointment to office. Students of the other academy were considered politically liable, since in 172 over a thousand students there had been imprisoned by eunuch command after a political power struggle. Officials protested against the emperor's favoritism towards the new academy, but these complaints were ignored.
  • Page 334: As Emperor Ling's reign went on, open rebellion against him became more frequent and sometimes embarrassed the court when commandery forces were overpowered by rebels. The court was fearful of sending out ever larger armies as their commanders would become more powerful while away in the provinces. A court official was made a permanent commander of a provincial army in 179, but this proved unsuccessful. In 188, the court made a fateful decision to establish Regional Commissioners (Mu, literally "Shepherds") in the regions (zhou) where there were rebellions. QUOTE: "These commissioners were to be stationed in their areas; they held full ministerial rank, and took precedence over all other local officials. In other words, relatively independent provincial power centers had been created. One of them was to develop into a fully independent empire, taking upon itself the mandate of Han and claiming to be its only legitimate successor." --> ??? I believe he is talking about the later Shu Han kingdom here.
  • Page 334: When Emperor Ling was on his deathbed, his last two appointments were given to regional commissioners. Meanwhile, the court granted the successful northern regional commissioner Liu Yu (d. 193) the title of Supreme Commander. During the end of Ling's reign, he appointed one of the three excellencies who were at the time outside the capital; this type of act had happened only one time before during the Han Dynasty.
  • Page 334: When the Han officer Dong Zhuo (d. 192) refused to disband his troops on imperial order, messengers were sent to him to promote him to Regional Commissioner, in hopes that this would appease him and entice him to take his army back to his own area. Even after granted the title of Regional Commissioner, he disobeyed the court once more and kept heading for the capital. He was 80 miles northwest of Luoyang when Emperor Ling died on May 13, 189 AD.

Rebellions and Wars[edit]

  • Page 334-335: QUOTE: "Four kinds of wars beset Ling-ti's reign: there were raids and incursions into Chinese territory by foreign peoples; there were uprisings of foreign peoples within Chinese territory; there were revolts and mutinies pitting Chinese against Chinese, usually for reasons of material distress; and there were rebellions with religious, antidynastic overtones."
  • Page 335: From 168 onwards, the Wuhuan and Xianbei set off every winter into the northeastern frontier areas of the Han Empire, sacking and looting towns as they went. Only once, in 177, did the court respond with a significant amount of force by sending a large army north. Even at that, much of this army was composed of Xiongnu cavalrymen (descendants of those who were settled within the Great Wall of China by Emperor Guangwu of Han in 50 AD), the old tactic of "using barbarians against barbarians." This army was defeated and from that point on the local officials in the north were forced to fend for themselves against further incursions. The Xiongnu leadership loyal to the Han had their own internal power struggle; the loser of this appealed to Emperor Ling for help but found none. Disillusioned, this Xiongnu leader joined Chinese rebels right before Emperor Ling died.
  • Page 335-336: As the Yellow Turban Rebellion broke out in 184, the "proto-Tibetan" (as Beck calls them) Qiang people rose up against the Chinese with Chinese rebel allies, threatening the old capital of Chang'an in 185 and 187. The situation looked hopeless for the Han until March of 189 (two months before Ling's death), when the combined Qiang and Chinese rebel army was defeated. Yet this defeat only splintered the group into three; one of the Chinese rebel leaders proclaimed himself a king and would not be dislodged until three decades later. Earlier, the indigenous Man people of the south rebelled against Han authority and were only defeated after a protracted conflict lasting from 178 to 181.
  • Page 337: A "religious rebellion", as first described in Chinese historiography in 132 AD, is a rebellion against a current dynastic house by "magic rebels" who can better be defined as "rebels who use signs and miracles in order to support their cause." By using portents in cosmology, rebel groups would claim that the house of Han, symbolized and indeed represented cosmically by the element of fire, was ailing and would be replaced by a new element and hence a new house and new leader (i.e. the leader of their rebel faction). The house of Han certainly did appear to be ailing, since Liang Ji (d. 159) poisoned Emperor Zhi of Han and installed Emperor Huan of Han on the throne. After this event, religiously-tinted rebel groups sprang up everywhere, with three rebels proclaiming themselves emperor in 145 alone, while one rebel emperor after another appeared in 147, 148, 150, 154, 165, 166, 172, and 187. In the year 188 alone there were nine rebels proclaiming themselves emperor and had huge followings.
  • Page 337-338: When the Yangming Emperor (i.e. Emperor of the Light of the Sun) of southern China established a rebellion in 172, it was the first "magic rebellion" of Emperor Ling's reign and took three years to quell. At the same time, in northern China, a family of physicians led by Zhang Jue (also known as Zhang Jiao, d. 184) gained a following after teaching that miracle cures for diseases would follow once people confessed their sins. He believed that the year 184 would be the starting point of a new 60-year cycle which would supplant the house of Han with his own. This was picked up by the Han court as early as 181 AD, which was relayed in a warning message to the court by the Minister of Finance. However, his message and warning was ignored after a sudden fire broke out in the imperial harem, which the court saw as a sign of displeasure from Heaven and blamed the Minister of Finance, who was dismissed.
  • Page 338: Despite the court's dismissal of the Minister of Finance and his warning about impending rebellion, one of Zhang Jue's own followers deserted camp and warned the Han court that an uprising was planned for April 3, 184 AD. The court sent out an immediate investigation and Zhang Jue realized that he needed to act before this designated date. It was immediately learned that hundreds of people, even some of the palace guards, were involved in the Yellow Turban Rebellion, and soon after this discovery a flow of dismal reports came in describing a sudden rebellion which sprang up in no less than 16 different commanderies across the empire. These commanderies formed a huge territorial belt stretching south, east, and northeast of the capital Luoyang.
  • Page 339: Surprising enough, historians still do not know the exact date in which the rebellion broke out. Since reports of the rebellion reached the throne by April 1, 184 AD, it is obvious that it was some day in March 184. Immediately He Jin (d. 189), half-brother to the empress, was given the title of General-in-Chief. He Jin was given the authority to temporarily command not only the standing army but the palace guards as well. To quote the Book of Later Han, this was to QUOTE: "preserve the calm in the capital." Eight newly created commandants were positioned in a first defense line south of the capital. Three officials were given troops, one ordered to move north, and the other two south into the countryside.
  • Page 339: Although the Yellow Turbans succeeded in capturing cities, defeating commandery armies, and kidnapping kings, they suffered a significant defeat in February 185. Yet this did nothing to stop subsequent insurrections working within the Yellow Turban framework, with one movement called Black Mountain which was so successful that its rebel leaders had to be appeased by the Han court with positions as local officials and the right to send Black Mountain candidates to the Han court for appointment. However, their demands were too much, so the Han court sent a warlord with a private army against them, as the imperial army was hopeless to stamp out this rebellion.
  • Page 339-340: One again, in 188 a private army, not imperial, had to be used to crush the rebellion in Sichuan of a self-described Yellow Turban (although he had no affiliation with the original movement) who had proclaimed himself the new Son of Heaven. Perhaps not only this but the long-fought rebellion in the north were the reasons the court decided that regional commissioners had to be established to keep order and suppress regional rebellions which sprang up rapidly throughout the country. In the north a Chinese ex-official convinced the Wuhuan in 187 that the Han court had been mistreating them and he was installed not only as their rebel leader, but also as a new Son of Heaven. This rebellion in the north was not put down by imperial forces but by a regional commissioner in April 189, just weeks before Emperor Ling's death.

Culture and Scholarship under Lingdi[edit]

  • Page 340: Initiated in 175 and completed by 183, the stone slabs featuring in full the Confucian Five Classics at the capital of Luoyang was the most important work of scholarship under Ling's reign. It was commissioned in part by the eminent scholar Cai Yong (133–192). Fragments of these Han stone slabs still survive today.

The Collapse of Dynastic Power[edit]

  • Page 341: QUOTE: "The somewhat complex series of events in which the Han dynasty came to an end may be summarized in the following terms. The leading families of officials massacred the eunuchs, but lost the emperor. Tung Cho then manipulated the imperial succession, and in the east a coalition was formed against him. Thanks to its pressure, the Han emperor and Tung Cho were driven westward, but the coalition broke up with its members destroying one another until only seven remained. Meanwhile, Tung Cho had died, and the Han emperor was wandering over the face of the earth until he was received by Ts'ao Ts'ao. Ts'ao Ts'ao then overcame all but two of his rivals, and his son set himself up as emperor of Wei in place of the Han emperor. His two rivals claimed equal rank, and for forty years China was to have three emperors."

The He Family Takes Control[edit]

  • Page 341: When Emperor Ling died, in May 189, it would be either 13-year-old Liu Bian or 8-year-old Liu Xie who would succeed him. Liu Bian was favored by the current Empress He (Ling) and her party, while Liu Xie was favored by Emperor Ling's mother and the eunuch commander-in-chief Jian Shi who was charged by Ling to take care of him after his death. The issue was resolved by May 15, 189 when Liu Bian became Emperor Shao, but better known to history as the Prince of Hongnong. His already empress mother became Empress Dowager He and the regent while Yuan Wei (d. 190) was chosen as the Grand Tutor. Yuan Wei and He Jin (d. 189), the General-in-Chief and half-brother to the Empress Dowager He, both controlled the secretariat.
  • Page 341-342: Liu Xie was given the title of a prince but taken out of the care of Jian Shi. The latter was uneasy about his standing after this, but since he was still commander-in-chief of the Army of the Western Garden, he attempted to unite his eunuch brethren against He Jin. Their plot was leaked to the court, however, and Jian Shi was arrested and executed on May 27, 189. After this, the Army of the Western Garden was placed under the command of He Jin.
  • Page 342: He Jin moved swiftly to neutralize the influence of Emperor Ling's mother. She lost her right to reside in the palace six weeks after Jian Shi's execution and soon after her nephew, general of the agile cavalry, committed suicide due to the pressure exerted by He Jin. Emperor Ling's mother finally died on July 7, allegedly due to grief and fear.
  • Page 342: MAP: A great map showing the contending warlords c. 200 AD, with Cao Cao in command of east-central China, Yuan Shao in command of northeastern China, Sun Ce in command of southeastern China, Liu Biao in command of south-central China, Yuan Shu in command of central China, Zhang Lu in command of west-central China, Liu Zhang (warlord) in command of southwestern China, and various rebels in control of northwestern China in the region of Shaanxi.
  • Page 342-343: The main participants in the political struggle at the capital at this point: Yuan Shao (d. 202), a colonel of the Army of the Western Garden who wanted to eliminate the eunuchs as soon as possible; He Jin (d. 189) who disliked the eunuchs but did not want to displease his half-sister the Empress Dowager He and so delayed; the Empress Dowager He who wanted to preserve the eunuchs since their elimination meant domination of the government by Yuan Shao and He Jin; and finally the eunuchs who obviously wanted to preserve themselves and looked to the Empress Dowager for her support. He Jin's brother, He Miao, was bribed by the eunuchs and thus was on their side, further strengthening the Empress Dowager's resolve to preserve the eunuchs.

The Appeal for Outside Help and Massacre of Eunuchs[edit]

  • Page 343: Yuan Shao and He Jin feared a downfall similar to that of Dou Wu's. In an effort to change that course, Yuan Shao and He Jin decided to persuade the Empress Dowager by show of force to give up the eunuchs. Yuan Shao used He Jin's permission to call several private army commanders to march towards the capital. He Jin called on Dong Zhuo (d. 192), general of the van who was still encamped 80 miles from the capital, to descend on Luoyang. He Jin then sent one of his officers into the country to loot and pillage and create fires that could be seen from the capital. Despite all of this, the Empress Dowager He would not budge.
  • Page 343-344: He Miao called on his brother He Jin to make a truce with the eunuchs; after all, they were the ones responsible for lifting his half-sister to prominence first as Empress and then as the Empress Dowager. He Jin considered this and wavered, sending message to Dong Zhuo to halt his advance. Dong Zhuo obeyed but he did so reluctantly. Meanwhile, Yuan Shao was given a new position with judicial powers by He Jin so that Yuan Shao could urge Dong Zhuo and the private army leaders to send in petition after petition and memorial after memorial slandering the eunuchs and calling for their dismissal.
  • Page 344: Beck states that this "psychological war" of petitions finally broke the Empress Dowager's resolve; she dismissed all of the eunuchs. However, the eunuchs acted swiftly, using members of the He family to have the order rescinded. On September 22, 189 AD He Jin feigned illness but met with Empress Dowager He anyway; an informer rushed over to the eunuchs to reveal the content of the conversation between these two. The eunuchs were shocked: just like the attempt of Dou Wu two decades before, He Jin plotted to have all of the eunuchs executed.
  • Page 344: The eunuchs acted quickly. They had a message sent to He Jin that, although the Empress Dowager He had disagreed with him, she had something more to tell him and required his presence once more. While He Jin came into the hall and sat on the floor, armed eunuchs hid in the antechamber to the empress dowager's apartments. Zhang Rang (d. 189), the chief eunuch in charge of Ling's finances, pleaded with He Jin that the He family should be grateful to the eunuchs as it was they who saved Empress He when Emperor Ling had tried to divorce her in 181 AD. Right after this, the eunuchs rushed in and chopped He Jin's head off. The eunuchs then demanded of the imperial secretaries that they draft an edict dismissing Yuan Shao. The secretaries refused to draft the edict and asked for general-in-chief He Jin's permission first. The eunuchs answered this by showing the secretaries He Jin's severed head, which compelled them to comply with the eunuchs' demand.
  • Page 344-345: There was one essential difference between the struggle against the eunuchs in 168 and the struggle against the eunuchs in 189: in the former, the eunuchs had troops in the capital who were loyal to them, while in the latter the eunuchs had no military allies.
  • Page 345: Upon news of He Jin's assassination, Yuan Shao immediately moved with his troops to the Northern Palace while his half-brother Yuan Shu led troops to the Southern Palace. Yuan Shu's forces and the eunuchs began a bloody fight which lasted until sundown, until Yuan Shu decided to burn down one of the gates of the Southern Palace to break through. After this, the eunuchs decided to flee to the Northern Palace via the covered passageway that connected both the Northern Palace and Southern Palace. The eunuchs took with them the Empress Dowager He, the Emperor Shao (Prince of Hongnong), and his half-brother Liu Xie. The Empress Dowager escaped during the confusion though. She was also unaware the she was almost the only one of her family left standing, since her half-brother, the General of Chariots and Cavalry who was under the eunuch's pay, was cut down in front of the Northern Palace by the troops of Yuan Shao. The He family was virtually neutralized. The eunuch Zhao Zhong, who Emperor Ling fondly called his "mother", also perished in the fight on this day.
  • Page 345: The fighting at the Northern Palace continued until September 25, 189 when Yuan Shao finally broke into the palace and ordered his soldiers to kill every eunuch within it. Over two thousand eunuchs were reportedly killed. The eunuch Zhang Rang (d. 189) managed to flee this and took with him the young Emperor Shao and his half-brother Liu Xie; he escaped outside of the city and headed towards the Yellow River. He was persued by the Yuan brother's troops, who met him at the river, but Zhang Rang jumped into the torrents and drowned. After his death, the eunuchs were taken out of the political equation.

The Emergence of Dong Zhuo[edit]

  • Page 345-346: Dong Zhuo saw the fires in the capital and hurried there to get his share of the spoils. When he reached the city and heard that the Emperor Shao was off wandering in the mountains somewhere north of the city, he took with him senior officials and went on a manhunt for the emperor. Dong finally found the emperor but the reception was chilly as Emperor Shao was afraid of Dong's troops. Dong tried to get the emperor to explain what happened, but Emperor Shao did not give a clear answer. It was only when Dong Zhuo questioned his younger half-brother Liu Xie that the story was revealed: the two had wandered on foot through the night where they came upon an open cart at a farmer's home. The boys used the cart to start riding, whereupon they came across Dong Zhuo.
  • Page 346: When Dong Zhuo arrived back in the capital with the emperor and his brother on that day, September 25, he faced a difficult situation as he had no formal standing at court. Dong Zhuo did not come from a prestigious clan like Yuan Shao and Yuan Shu, and the amount of forces he brought were not very impressive, but he used intimidation and political coerciveness to get what he wanted. In the end, Yuan Shao was forced to flee the capital on September 26, while the scholars of the capital, including Cai Yong (d. 192), reluctantly formed around Dong Zhuo, who was technically made the Minister of Works.
  • Page 346: Against much protest and counterarguments, Dong Zhuo nonetheless forced the Empress Dowager He to depose Emperor Shao and make him the Prince of Hongnong on September 28 and replace him with Liu Xie as Emperor Xian of Han. Two days later Empress Dowager He was poisoned to death by order of Dong Zhuo.
  • Page 347: Beck says it is hard to understand Dong's intentions here; was he trying to imitate the great Huo Guang (d. 68 BC) who deposed one emperor and installed another? Or did he simply appoint Liu Xie as Emperor Xian simply out of a greater sentiment he had for him than he did Liu Bian?

The Coalition in the East[edit]

  • Page 347: Among the prominent members of a later coalition to flee the capital Luoyang, the first was Yuan Shao, who fled just days after Dong Zhuo's arrival. Yuan Shao's half-brother Yuan Shu did not flee the capital until later in the year of 189. Cao Cao, a colonel in the Army of the Western Garden, also fled the capital near the end of 189. A coalition was formed amongst these men and others (mainly commanders, ex-officials, soldiers of fortune, etc.) who desired to rid the capital of Dong Zhuo.
  • Page 347: As long as the former Emperor Shao (now the Prince of Hongnong) was alive, Dong Zhuo realized that he would be the greatest excuse for potential rebels to rally against him. Therefore, he had the Prince of Hongnong killed on March 3, 190 AD. Dong Zhuo also assaulted the Yuan family when two months later he had the Grand Tutor Yuan Wei killed along with all remaining members of the Yuan family in the capital on May 10, 190 AD. Beck writes that with this act, QUOTE: "reconciliation was forever impossible."
  • Page 347-348: Dong Zhuo viewed Luoyang as a trap if he stayed there long enough as a coalition formed against him in the east. Although there was opposition to move his court west, Dong Zhuo crushed this dissent and on April 4, 190 AD he had the Emperor Xian of Han, his entire court, and the entire populace of Luoyang migrate west towards Chang'an while burning Luoyang to the ground behind him. Countless court documents from the imperial library are said to have been destroyed since they were cut up and used as bags and canopies for the move.

The Eclipse of the Han Court[edit]

  • Page 348-349: This move to Chang'an gave Dong Zhuo a temporary victory over the coalition, as peace overtures and surprise attacks followed but nothing decisive. There was discussion amongst the coalition leaders that they should establish their own emperor to oppose Dong Zhuo, and thus members of the coalition began to desert. Continued attacks made by the coalition against Dong Zhuo forced him to retreat to Chang'an in May 191 and gather strength there. Of Dong Zhuo, Beck simply says QUOTE: "a year later he was killed," neglecting to say anything about Lu Bu. Strange.
  • Page 349: For four years, Emperor Xian of Han passed through the hands of a number of prominent people vying for power. During this time, Beck says that Emperor Xian QUOTE: "was without influence." The only thing that kept the rising warlords from claiming the title of "Emperor" themselves was the fact that Emperor Xian still held the formal title and the semblance of a court. Emperor Xian married in May 195, fled Chang'an in August 195, and reached Luoyang in August 196. Across the countryside there were many local officials acting independently, some who were installed during Ling's reign, others who were nobodies who rose to the occasion. Above this on a macro level, an eightfold division was forming. In the eastern half of the empire, there was Yuan Shao in the northeast, Cao Cao to the south of Yuan Shao, Yuan Shu located west of Cao Cao and south of the capital, Liu Biao located south of Yuan Shu, and Sun Ce in the southeast. In the western half of the empire, there was Liu Zhang to the southwest, Zhang Lu to the immediate north ruling Hanzhong, and north of him the territory known as Liang, which was inhabited by rebel groups who had earlier rebelled against Emperor Ling in 184.
  • Page 349-350: Zhang Lu was a religious leader; each of his followers QUOTE: "paid five pecks of rice to his religious superior, who in turn provided safety and cursed disease by making the patient confess his sins. Although this latter practice is reminiscent of the Yellow Turbans, there are no known connections between the Yellow Turbans and the Five Pecks of Grain."
  • Page 350: Beck writes that this Five Pecks of Rice society arose as an independent movement in Hanzhong and apart from the Yellow Turban Rebellion. In fact, the Book of Later Han (Beck's footnote #88) claims its roots could be found as far back as the reign of Emperor Shun of Han. While Zhang Lu became the opponent of Liu Zhang in the west, to the east Cao Cao, Yuan Shao, and Yuan Shu had all become enemies.

The Court in Cao Cao's Hands (AD 196-200)[edit]

  • Page 350: Beck compares Emperor Xian's relatively uninfluential position in Luoyang to that of the late Zhou Dynasty kings who merely performed ritual duties at the capital while warlords carved out their own territories and fought each other over territory. He adds QUOTE: "The Han emperor, however, stood at the apex of a cosmic-religious system far more complex than any that had obtained in the Chou period. Despite some hesitation, emperorship had come under question, and the duration of the dynasty had become the subject of prognostication and speculation."
  • Page 350-351: Yuan Shu, Yuan Shao, and Cao Cao, although regional warlords at this point, all claimed fealty to the Han Dynasty. When Yuan Shao heard news that the emperor was approaching Luoyang, he decided not to act; this was perhaps due to the exaggeration of his advisors who told him not to approach the emperor, as this might be too hasty and it might bode ill for him if he appeared too aggressive.
  • Page 351: But when Cao Cao heard of the emperor's move to Luoyang in August 196, he immediately took to the field and visited the emperor there. He convinced the emperor, QUOTE: "with a mixture of promises and threats to repair to his own base," which was then the city of Xuchang. The emperor, his court, and Cao Cao arrived at Xuchang on October 16, 196. Meanwhile, Yuan Shu realized he had been bypassed by Cao Cao, who would not relinquish the emperor or his court at this point. Yuan Shu thus decided to establish his own dynasty in 197, the Zhong (仲) Dynasty, yet this drove many of his followers to desert him. Just before he died penniless in 199, he attempted to sell the title to his brother Yuan Shao, but the latter would have nothing of it. Yuan Shu's former territory thus became contested grounds between Yuan Shao and Cao Cao.
  • Page 351: During this time, Cao Cao created a new agro-martial system whereby soldiers were given plots of land to till if they regularly handed over a specified amount of grain as tax to the state. With a steady and growing amount of provisions, Cao Cao built up an impressive force for his decisive showdown with Yuan Shao at the Battle of Guandu in 200 AD. Sun Ce died just before this battle, but he was quickly replaced by his brother Sun Quan. Liu Biao managed to steer clear of the direct fight between Cao Cao and Yuan Shao, and thus was able to maintain peace in his base of Xiangyang. Zhang Lu and Liu Zhang initiated open warfare in the west between their two sides. The rebel-inhabited northwest is hardly mentioned in historical sources until Cao Cao turned his sights there following the Battle of Guandu in 200.

Consolidation (200-208)[edit]

  • Page 352: Cao Cao's forces won the Battle of Guandu, which put Yuan Shao to flight. He never regained his power, died in 202, and his two sons fought over the inheritance of his properties. By 206, Cao Cao controlled all of his former enemy's territory and the Yuan family was no longer in the equation. A large force of Wuhuan cavalry were defeated by Cao Cao's troops in 207, thus he gained the entire northeastern corner of the empire.
  • Page 352: In the south, Liu Biao fell ill in 208 and did not have a worthy successor to take his place. Some speculated that it was the rising star and soldier Liu Bei (161–223), who served one warlord to another, would take over Liu Biao's position. Cao Cao took the initiative by focing Liu Biao's son to surrender Liu Biao's former lands. This convinced Liu Bei and Sun Quan that Cao Cao intended to suppress them next. They formed a coalition against Cao Cao. The latter sent a large navy against this coalition but it was burned and destroyed in the Battle of Red Cliffs. This battle marked the end of Cao Cao's southward advance.

Cao Cao's last years (208-220)[edit]

  • Page 352: Although Cao Cao's loss at the Red Cliffs meant he lost the chance to take Liu Biao's territory, the courtly scholars of Liu Biao's former court fled his land and flocked around Cao Cao instead.
  • Page 352-353: From 196 to 208, under Cao Cao's stewardship, the offices of the Three Excellencies were no longer sold off at the highest bidder. However, in 208 Cao Cao abolished these offices and created two new ones in their place, th Chancellor and the Imperial Secretary. Cao Cao took the position of Chancellor of China for himself.
  • Page 353-354: Before this point, starting in 196, Cao Cao had merely taken the title and office of Minister of Works as well as General of the Chariots and Cavalry (the latter which he relinquished in 199). He accepted the title of Regional Commissioner in 204, yet this did not confer power but merely recognized the power he already had. A failed attempt on Cao Cao's life by leading officials was foiled in 200, so in 203 he appointed a spy to keep an eye on the bureaucracy.
  • Page 354-355: In 212 Cao Cao was exempted from "hurrying while approaching the emperor," a right which was only reserved for elderly statesmen. He received the title of Duke of Wei in 213 while at the same time presenting three of his daughters to the emperor. Cao Cao forced Emperor Xian to depose and divorce his wife Empress Fu Shou in 214, after he had been married to her since 195. Cao Cao then had the two children of theirs, imperial princes, killed in order to ensure that they would not rise against him. Cao Cao did not kill any more members of the Liu house, though, since far to the southwest Liu Bei warned Cao Cao by openly mourning the two princes' deaths. Cao Cao's daughter was made Empress Cao Jie in 215. In the following year of 216 Cao Cao took on the title King of Wei, which broke a sacred unwritten law and precedent that only a person of the Liu family could hold the title of a king.
  • Page 355: Although his southward advance was checked in 208, Cao Cao advanced westward and captured Chang'an in 211. Cao Cao squashed the resistance of a self-styled king who had held out in the west since Ling's reign, capturing him. The religious leader Zhang Lu surrendered to Cao Cao in 215, thus providing Cao Cao with the path to a southwestern expansion. However, Liu Bei had wrested control of Regional Commissioner Liu Zhang's territory of Yizhou by ruse and by force. With this a threefold division formed within the Han Empire between Sun Quan, Cao Cao, and Liu Bei.
  • Page 355: In 218 a plot against Cao Cao by Han loyalists failed. Although he had this victory, in 219 Liu Bei invaded and conquered the of Yizhou formerly held by Zhang Lu, which Cao Cao had recently held but was now evicted by force. In that year, Liu Bei proclaimed himself a King as well, thus upsetting Cao Cao's prestige. The latter died on March 15, 220.

The Abdication of Han Xiandi (November-December AD 220)[edit]

  • Page 355-356: When Cao Cao died, his eldest son and heir apparent Cao Pi (186–226) took over his titles of Regional Commissioner, Chancellor, and King of Wei. Without observing the three year mourning period, Cao Pi soon after made a tour of the southern part of his domain in a show of strength to both Liu Bei and Sun Quan. Sun Quan was impressed and offered his allegiance, along with a general who was once loyal to Liu Bei and a non-Chinese tribal king on the border between Cao Pi and Liu Bei's territories.
  • Page 356: A courtier came forth in 220 to announce that, since 213, he had known that Cao Pi would mount the throne due to ancient prognostications. This sparked a discussion in November and December of 220 of whether or not the Liu family of the Han Dynasty had lost the Mandate of Heaven. Cao Pi and Emperor Xian reached an agreement that this was so, and on December 11, 220 AD Emperor Xian abdicated to Cao Pi, thus ending the Han Dynasty and initiating the Cao Wei Dynasty led by its first ruler Emperor Wen.

Immediate Consequences[edit]

  • Page 356: Although Cao Pi had given Emperor Xian titles, riches, and privileges after his abdication, Liu Bei nonetheless stated to all that Emperor Xian had been murdered, and so went into a period of mourning. Members of Liu Bei's staff sent in memorials calling for him to take up the mantle of Han by proclaiming himself emperor. His principle strategist Zhuge Liang (181–234) joined in and supported such a move, which Beck says must have been the final straw which convinced Liu Bei to proclaim himself emperor on May 15, 221. He called his dynasty "Han", but it is better known to history as Shu Han.
  • Page 356-357: When Liu Bei proclaimed himself emperor, he had a unique calendar made for Shu Han in 221 so that it differed from the Wei calendar. Sun Quan made a similar move in 222 when he pronounced that his territory would follow a different calendar than that of Cao Wei's. Yet Sun Quan did not yet proclaim himself emperor, since he was not a scion of the Liu house and Emperor Xian made no mention of abdicating to him. It was not until March 23, 229 AD that Sun Quan became convinced by frequent signs and miracles that heaven favored him, and so proclaimed himself Emperor of Eastern Wu on that day. Liu Bei had died in 223 and Cao Pi in 226, but Sun Quan now battled with their successors as three emperors claimed the right to rule China.

Han Foreign Relations[edit]

Yü, Ying-shih. (1986). "Han Foreign Relations," in The Cambridge History of China: Volume I: the Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 B.C. – A.D. 220, 377-462. Edited by Denis Twitchett and Michael Loewe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521243270.

The World Order of Han China: Theory and Practice[edit]

Zou Yan's Theory[edit]

  • Page 377-378: In the theory posited by philosopher Zou Yan (305–240 BC), there are nine continents in the world, each divided into nine regions. The nine continents are separated by vast oceans while the nine regions in each are isolated from one another by seas. He believed that China represented only the Red Region of the Spiritual Continent, thus China made up only 1/81 of the entire world, and his theory is not explicit in naming China as the center of the world. Although the Chinese continued to call their realm "all under heaven", QUOTE: "such a usage was made mainly on political grounds—to justify the emperor as Son of Heaven; it cannot be taken as an indication that Ch'in or Han Chinese still subscribed to the view that China embraced the whole world." China was referred to as the land "within the seas" by historical texts, while other known lands were labeled differently. In the theory of the Huainanzi, there are eight extensions and eight extremities which form the world, showing influence from Zou Yan's theory that China made up only a small part of the entire world.
  • Page 379: As the Han Chinese became more familiar with the outside world to the west and acknowledged civilizations as advanced as their own, they discovered that the Roman Empire existed, and called it Great Qin (Daqin). The Book of Later Han even explicitly says the Roman Empire was called "Daqin" because the people of it were comparable to the Chinese.

The Five Zone Theory[edit]

  • Page 379-380: In ancient China, the "five zone theory" was ascribed to, which stated that ever since the Xia Dynasty the Chinese realm was divided into five hierarchic zones or areas. The central zone was the royal domain which was ruled by a king. The zone surrounding this was the lords' zone, which comprised states established by the king. Beyond this was the pacified zone which comprised conquered Chinese states that the ruling dynasty had subjected. Beyond this was the controlled zone where barbarian nomads lived but pledged a loose loyalty to the Han Chinese empire under a system of suzerainty. Beyond this was the wild zone, where potentially enemy nomads roamed and remained hostile and where the sinocentric world naturally ended.
  • Page 380-381: Yü asserts that the five zone theory, although incorporating some ideal elements, should not be dismissed and should be taken seriously since there is some historical truth to its order. And it certainly shaped the foreign policy of the Han Dynasty, as it was explicitly mentioned by Han Dynasty emperors and Wang Mang.
  • Page 381: For example, when the Xiongnu Shanyu called Huhanye wanted to pay homage to the Han court in 51 BC, the minister Xiao Wangzhi urged Emperor Xuan of Han should be treated as a head of state of rival status since he lived in what the Chinese considered the wild zone and should only be expected to pay tribute once and not on regularized, periodic terms.

The Tributary System[edit]

  • Page 381: QUOTE: "It is true that certain prototypical tributary practices can be traced back even to the Shang period. But there can be little doubt that the institutionalization of such practices and their systematic application in the realm of foreign relations was a unique Han contribution."
  • Page 381: QUOTE: "To begin with, it is important to point out that the tributary system must not be understood only in its narrow sense, as a normative pattern by which Chinese foreign relations were regulated. In its broader sense, the idea of tribute (kung) was a universal principle of the Han empire, applied to the Chinese people as well. For instance, it was required that local products be presented to the court as tribute from various regions. In theory, then, it may be justifiable to say that the difference between the Chinese and the non-Chinese under the tributary system was a matter of degree."
  • Page 382: The five zone theory also fit well with the tributary system, since there were varying degrees of zones paying tribute to the center. The center zone was the area "within the passes" or Guanzhong, separated from the other zones of the world by four strategic passes which were the only inlets into the central zone. Guanzhong was heavily guarded throughout Western Han, so much so that travellers attempting to enter through one of the four gates had to show proof of passport. The zone outside of this consisted of the commanderies of the empire which were divided into two categores: inner commanderies and outer commanderies (according to the theory of the 3rd century scholar Wei Zhao, 204–273). The commanderies closest to the central zone of the capital were the inner commanderies (or close commanderies), while the commanderies located on the frontiers were the outer commanderies (or remote commanderies).
  • Page 382: Yu says that the inner commanderies and outer commanderies represent the five zone theory's lords' zone and pacified zone, respectively. Just like the controlled zone and wild zone of the five zone theory, the Han Dynasty government classified foreign barbarian groups into two categories: inner barbarians and outer barbarians. The outer barbarians were not under Chinese control since they lived beyond the frontiers. The inner barbarians lived within the Han frontiers and had obligations to guard them (a frequently applied term for the inner barbarians' role in the Han Dynasty was "border guarding"). Thus there were the frontier-guarding Wuhuan, the frontier-guarding Qiang, etc.
  • Page 382-383: In the Han administrative system, the Dependent State was one that existed in the wild zone or area of the outer barbarians. The Dependent State was a state of outer barbarians who submitted to Han. An official was appointed to look after their affairs, but these outer barbarians remained totally independent and autonomous. Although technically they were referred to as subjects, they were free to do what other outer barbarians did. This is in contrast to the surrendered inner barbarians who were forcefully organized into "divisions" and were placed under the direct control of the Han court. Over time these "divisions" could be made into districts or even entire commanderies.

The Xiongnu[edit]

Modu Shanyu's Confederacy[edit]

  • Page 384: In 209 BC, Modu Shanyu took the throne of the Xiongnu by murdering his father. In his reign, he managed to unite the various Xiongnu tribes on the northern steppe and build from the bottom up an enormous confederacy stretching across the entire northern span of the Chinese empire. His forces destroyed the Donghu nomads of eastern Mongolia and western Manchuria. He was victorious over the Yuezhi who then had occupied the Gansu Corridor; the Yuezhi were his mortal enemies since he was once sent to their camp as a hostage by his father. He conquered the Dingling people of southern Siberia. Earlier, the Qin Dynasty Chinese general Meng Tian had driven the Xiongnu out of the Ordos Desert region, but with the collapse of Qin and a defense system there Modu found his chance to reoccupy the Ordos as Xiongnu lands once more.
  • Page 384: Modu established the annual meeting place of the Xiongnu at Longcheng (蘢城) in what is now Outer Mongolia, and thus became the capital of the Xiongnu Confederacy where religious and governmental matters were dealt with every autumn. It was here that an annual census of people and animals was taken.
  • Page 384-385: Beneath the Shanyu were the Wise King of the Left and Wise King of the Right (the one on the left was considered more powerful than the one on the right). The former administered an eastern portion of the Xiongnu Confederacy, while the latter administered a western portion of the Xiongnu Confederacy. The large central portion was administered by the shanyu, the supreme ruler of the Xiongnu.
  • Page 385: The Xiongnu posed a dual threat to the new Han Empire: on one hand their incursions and raids into Chinese territory weakened border defenses and hampered efforts to build up the frontier, while they posed a serious political threat with Chinese kings and ministers turning traitor and defecting over to the Xiongnu side. In the early Western Han, the defectors included such high profile people as Liu Xin (King of Han), Lu Wan (King of Yan), and Chen Xi (Chancellor of Dai).
  • Page 385-386: With the Liu Xin's recent surrender and other considerations in mind, Emperor Gaozu of Han launched a military campaign against the Xiongnu in the winter of 200 BC, personally leading an army of allegedly 300,000 troops. He pursued the Xiongnu all the way to Pingcheng (near modern Datong in Shanxi), but he was ambushed here by the Xiongnu who allegedly employed an army of 400,000. They cut off Emperor Gaozu from his main force and supplies and besieged him at Pingcheng for seven days until he narrowly escaped. This was the Battle of Baideng.

The Marriage Treaty System[edit]

  • Page 386: After the Battle of Baideng in 200 BC, Emperor Gaozu of Han realized that he would have to negotiate with the Xiongnu in order to bring about peace and stability, so he adopted the policy suggestion of Liu Jing (劉敬). This was the marriage treaty system called heqin or "harmonious kinship". Liu Jing was sent to the Xiongnu as an ambassador in 198 BC, where the terms of this treaty were negotiated. The first settlement that was reached involved the four following clauses: (1) a Han princess would be given in marriage to the Xiongnu's leader, the shanyu; (2) the Han government would send periodic gifts in fixed quantities several times a year, which included silk, liquor, rice, and other foodstuffs; (3) the two states, Xiongnu Confederation and Han Dynasty, would refer to each other as "brotherly states" and treat each other with equal status; (4) the Great Wall of China would be the great demarcator between the Han and Xiongnu realms, and that both parties would not betray the other's soveriegn boundaries by crossing this line.
  • Page 386: Also, as both sides understood the terms, each time a new ruler on either side succeeded to the throne, a new Han princess would be sent to the Xiongnu's shanyu.
  • Page 387: From 192 BC to 135 BC, the heqin treaty was renewed a total of nine times, and with each new treaty a new (and larger) quota of Han gifts to the Xiongnu could be implemented.
  • Page 387: As his power increased, Modu Shanyu's stance against China became more arrogant. He even called for the hand of Empress Lü Zhi in marriage in a letter sent to the Han court in 192 BC. The enraged Empress Lü wanted to assault the Xiongno over this, but her anger subsided once she was reminded of the Pingcheng disaster in 200 BC; she decided to write back saying that she was too old for him (telling him that even her teeth and hair were falling out), and asked him politely not to invade China.
  • Page 387-388: Before Modu Shanyu died in 174 BC, he drove the Yuezhi out of the Gansu Corridor and asserted his dominance in the Western Regions of Central Asia. After his successes, he sent a threatening message to the Han court that Emperor Wen of Han should address him as "great shanyu of the Xiongnu, established by Heaven," which sparked a debate in Chang'an on whether military force should be used against him or if they should accept his new terms. After debating the readiness for war and the relative strengths of both sides, Emperor Wen chose peace.
  • Page 388: Modu Shanyu was succeeded by his son Jizhu, known in Han records as Shanyu Laoshang (174–160 BC). Like his father, he successfully expanded the Xiongnu realm, pursuing the fleeing Yuezhi into the Ili River region. He negotiated new treaty terms with the Chinese which included border trade. He sent spies as far as Chang'an.
  • Page 388: From a memorial of Jia Yi, it is known that in Emperor Wen's reign, a large-scale government-sponsored market system at the border first came into existence. QUOTE: "This is certainly consistent with his general theory that the Hsiung-nu could be controlled through the use of Han China's superior material culture." Ban Gu, in the Book of Han, also mentioned this new border trade system opened by Emperor Wen.
  • Page 388-389: Even after an open market were meant to appease the general Xiongnu population (as imperial gifts showered on the shanyu and nobility did not affect everyone), the Xiongnu still did not take the peace pact seriously and often raided China. In 166, Shanyu Laoshang himself led a force of 140,000 Xiongnu cavalry into Anding (modern Gansu) and reached as far as Yong (where the later Han summer retreat would be built). Laoshang's successor Shanyu Junchen (r. 160–126) sent 30,000 cavalry into Shang Commandery (in modern Inner Mongolia and northern Shanxi) and 30,000 other cavalry to Yunzhong (Inner Mongolia).

War with the Xiongnu[edit]

  • Page 389: Emperor Wen of Han realized that the treaty was ineffective and an armed confrontation with the Xiongnu was inevitable. Although he wore a military uniform and practiced shooting and horse-riding with his imperial guards, he was cautious and frugal. He also understood that the internal disorder within the Han realm would not allow him to mount any offensive military campaign.
  • Page 389-390: In 135 BC the Xiongnu called for a renewal of the heqin treaty. When a court conference was called into session to debate the matter, the majority opinion still held that peace should be chosen over war. Emperor Wu of Han accepted the majority opinion of his ministers. At a court conference a year later in 134 BC, a frontier merchant devised a plot to ambush and trap the Xiongnu shanyu at Mayi (in Yanmen Commandery, in what is now modern Shanxi), in what was to become the Battle of Mayi. Emperor Wu accepted this idea. However, the plot was foiled, yet the intended effect was achieved: the break of the marriage alliance and open hostility towards the Xiongnu.
  • Page 390: Open warfare, however, was not initiated until 129 BC. In the autumn of that year, 40,000 Chinese cavalrymen made a surprise attack against the Xiongnu at a border market. Even after the breaking of the treaty, the Xiongnu still came in large numbers to trade with Chinese merchants at the border.
  • Page 390: In 127 BC, the prominent Han general Wei Qing (d. 106 BC) led an army from Yunzhong towards Longxi and recaptured the entire Ordos Desert region from the Xiongnu. Afterwards 100,000 Chinese were settled into two newly created commanderies of Shuofang and Wuyuan. This was the first major defeat the Xiongnu suffered by a Chinese army since General Meng Tian had pushed them out of the Ordos and Modu Shanyu rose to power.
  • Page 390: In 121 BC, General Huo Qubing (140–117 BC) struck another decisive blow against the Xiongnu when, with a force of light cavalry, he fought against five Xiongnu kingdoms and captured the regions of the Yanzhi Mountains and Qilian Mountains from them. He forced the Xiongnu King Hunye to surrender with 40,000 of his men.
  • Page 390: In 119 BC, Huo Qubing and Wei Qing, leading a combined force of 50,000 cavalry and 30,000 to 50,000 infantry, assaulted the Xiongnu along different routes and forced the shanyu and his court to flee north of the Gobi Desert.
  • Page 390: Despite these successes, it is recorded that both sides lost 80,000 to 90,000 men and out of 140,000 horses used by the Han armies in their desert campaigns, only about 30,000 came back alive.
  • Page 390-391: The Han also faced logistical problems of long-lasting campaigns. QUOTE: "On average, for a three hundred days' journey one soldier would consume 360 liters of dried rice, which had to be carried by ox. But the food for each ox meant an additional 400 liters of weight. Past experience indicated that the ox would die within one hundred days in the desert, and the remaining 240 liters of dried rice would still be far too heavy for the soldier to carry. Secondly, the weather in the Hsiung-nu lands also presented insurmountable difficulty to the Han soldiers, who could never carry enough fuel to meet the killing cold of the winter season. These wto difficulties explain, as the analyst rightly pointed out, why no single Han expedition against the Hsiung-nu had ever lasted one hundred days."
  • Page 391: After the surrender of the Hunye King in 121 BC, the Xiongnu evacuated an area which stretched from Hexi Corridor to Lop Nur, thus paving the way for the Han Dynasty to extend its reach of influence into the Western Regions of Central Asia. The Han established four commanderies in this corridor, those being Qiuquan, Zhangyi, Dunhuang, and Wuwei. These became known as the "Four Commanderies West of the Yellow River," or in Chinese "Hexi Sijun". By settling here, the Han also separated the Xiongnu from their Qiang allies to the south. The Hexi Corridor became the main base for Han military operations into the Western Regions.

The Struggle for Leadership of the Xiongnu[edit]

  • Page 391-392: Between the years 115 BC and 60 BC, the Han and Xiongnu engaged in a war of inlfuence over the Western Regions, which resulted in a total victory for Han and the collapse of the Xiongnu Confederation into a power struggle by 60 BC, along with the submission of the shanyu to Han in 53 BC.
  • Page 392: From the very beginning since Modu Shanyu's reign, the Wise Kings on the Left and Right had their own regional bases where they enjoyed political autonomy to a fair degree. These regional kings could appoint their own officials and officers, thus some historians consider the Xiongnu system as incorporating elements of feudalism. As the Xiongnu realm expanded, more kingdoms were established.
  • Page 392: Two powerful kings, Hunye and Xiuchu, came to power in the western portion of the Xiongnu realm, yet they were not assigned to the right group according to the dualistic principle of right and left. The shanyu had little control over their actions. One of these kings, Hunye, surrendered to the Han in 120 BC with 40,000 of his followers. Thus, this illustrates how non-cohesive the Xiongnu realm was, and how easy it was to switch alliances.
  • Page 392: By the 1st century BC, QUOTE: "the growth of regionalism became even more visible." During this time, some local kings refused to attend the annual meeting with the shanyu. Several shanyu developed power bases in regions which were originally under their control before they seized the throne of the shanyu. When five self-appointed shanyu all fought for the throne in 57 BC, all of them had their own regional followings.
  • Page 392-393: There was also a leadership crisis between the years 114 and 60 BC, as six out of the seven shanyu appointed in this time period did not last longer than 10 years on the throne. This stands in stark contrast to the long reigns of Modu Shanyu (r. 209–174 BC) and Junchen Shanyu (r. 160–126 BC). When Zhanshilu Shanyu (r. 105–103 BC) and Huyanti Shanyu (r. 85–69 BC) took the thrones, they were still children. This was due to the fact that the Xiongnu Shanyu was succeeded by one of his sons, who could all still be children by the time he died; when one of them assumed the throne, they would be too young and unable to deal with a crisis. This pattern was broken when Xuluquanqu Shanyu (r. 68–60 BC) took the throne after his brother Huyanti Shanyu had ruled. Finally, Huhanye Shanyu (r. 58–31 BC) made it an official Xiongnu law that the heir apparent had to pass the throne on to a younger brother, not a son. Looking at the shanyu from this period to the middle of the 2nd century AD, the new succession practice of fraternal succession indeed became the norm (as opposed to passing on the throne to an eldest son).
  • Page 393-394: Tuqitang, the Wise King of the Right, became shanyu in 60 BC, his title being Wuyanjuti Shanyu. He had a strong regional bias and began purging all of the high-level members of the previous shanyu's administration because they came from the Left group. This caused a schism with the Left, who put up their own leader, Huhanye Shanyu, in 58 BC.
  • Page 394: Wuyanjuti was defeated in battle by Huhanye and was forced to take his own life. However, Huhanye Shanyu was not able to unify all the kingdoms, as five different regions in 57 BC established their own shanyu. By 54 BC this had been reduced to two contendors, the brothers Huhanye Shanyu and Zhizhi Shanyu (d. 36 BC at the Battle of Zhizhi). Since Huhanye was decisively defeated by Zhizhi, the former fled towards Han China in hopes of negotiating a new peace and alliance.
  • Page 394: As Yu notes, Huhanye was not the first Xiongnu shanyu to seek peace with the Han Dynasty following the breaking of the heqin treaty in 134 BC. Yichixia Shanyu (r. 126–114 BC) sent a request to the Han court for another marriage alliance. The Han court responded with the demand that they be made an out vassal, which infuriated Yichixia. After this, Wuwei Shanyu (r. 114–105 BC) halted all raids into China to show that he was serious about renewing a marriage alliance and peace treaty. However, the Han demand that Wuwei Shanyu send his heir apparent to Chang'an as a hostage so that he would make good on the deal compelled Wuwei to halt the negotiations and continue hostilities. Several other attempts in the 1st century BC failed because the Han would accept nothing less than a tributary relationship with China being the dominant partner receiving tribute.

Tributary Relations with the Han[edit]

  • Page 395: With the Han being the dominant partner, there were new tributary terms exacted on the Xiongnu. First, the shanyu or his representatives were required to pay homage to the Han court by actually showing up to the Han court in person. Second, the shanyu had to send the Han a hostage prince, preferably the heir apparent. Third, in return for imperial gifts, the shanyu was required to give the Han court annual tribute. With this new process, the Xiongnu no longer had "brotherly status" with the Han; they were now an outer vassal, and thus would be placed in the wild zone of the Han Empire in terms of the five zone theory.
  • Page 395: When the terms of the treaty were being debated in Huhanye's court in 53 BC, a faction of Xiongnu nobles opposed the treaty on the grounds that the Xiongnu would lose their leadership among the various peoples outside China if they submitted themselves as a simple vassal of the Han. Yichizi, Wise King of the Left, argued that the Han Dynasty's power was at its peak, walled states like Wusun had become vassals of the Han already, the Xiongnu power had been steadily declining since the reign of Judihou Shanyu (r. 101–97 BC), and the only way to secure tranquility once more was to accept the Han Dynasty's terms. Huhanye accepted this view, and so accepted the terms demanded by the Han court.
  • Page 395: Huhanye sent his son, Wise King of the Right Shuluqutang, to the Han court as a hostage and in 52 BC announced to officials at the border in Wuyuan Commandery that he intended to pay homage to the Han court on Chinese New Year of 51 BC. When this occurred, it was the significant shift in history towards tributary relations.
  • Page 396: The Han court treated the shanyu more as the head of a rival state than a vassal, since he was seated at a higher place than all the lords and princes at the imperial audience. The Master of Ceremonies did not introduce the shanyu by his personal name, but by his official title. He was also exempted from making the ritual prostration before the throne of the emperor. Simply for showing up, Huhanye was rewarded richly with 5 kg of gold, 200,000 cash coins, 77 suits of clothes, 8,000 bales of silk fabric, 1,500 kg of silk floss, 15 horses, and when he returned home, 680 kiloliters of grain were sent to him.
  • Page 396: Due to this generous treatment by the Han court, the shanyu requested for another act of homage in 50 BC so that he could personally present tribute to the throne in the following year of 49 BC. In that year, the imperial gifts given to him amounted to 110 suits of clothing, 9,000 pieces of silken fabrics, and 2,000 kg of silk floss. On page 397, the following table shows how the imperial gifts given to the shanyus increased dramatically in quantity over a fifty year period:
Imperial Gifts Received Personally by the Shanyu during Trips of Homage to Chang'an
Year (BC) Silk floss (catties) Silk fabric (bales)
51 1,500 8,000
49 2,000 9,000
33 4,000 18,000
25 5,000 20,000
1 7,500 30,000
  • Page 396-397: The long period between 49 BC and 33 BC that Huhanye did not pay homage to the Han court was explained to the Han court as Huhanye's decision to keep a watchful eye on his own defenses lest his brother and rival to the throne, Zhizhi Shanyu, should assault his realm. Yu says there may have been some truth to Huhanye's excuses, since Zhizhi was not eliminated until 36 BC in the Battle of Zhizhi. The Han General Chen Tang enlisted the aid of Gan Yanshou, Protector General of the Western Regions, in defeating Zhizhi and sending his head as trophy to Chang'an, an act which was initiated by these two and not ordered by the Han court. It even employed the use of a forged imperial edict and was done without authority. They were slightly recognized for their achievement once news reached Chang'an, a fact which made the two generals uneasy.
  • Page 397: When Fuzhulei Shanyu succeeded Huhanye in 31 BC, he sent a hostage prince to Chang'an immediately but did not immediately pay homage to the Han court in person. Instead, he sent a Xiongnu king to pay homage to the Han court in 28 BC. The circumstances of Fuzhulei's succession was somewhat suspect, so he was not secure enough in his throne to travel abroad. He did not personally pay homage to the Han court until 25 BC.
  • Page 397: As can be seen in the table above, the Xiongnu were encouraged to pay homage to the Han court, due to the increasing amount of gifts given to them after each trip. Yu says this became more expensive than the earlier heqin agreement, citing the event in 89 BC when the shanyu asked the Han court for renewal terms of increasing annual tribute to 400 kiloliters of wine, 100 kiloliters of grain, and 10,000 bales of silk, indicating that payments in earlier treaties were below these figures (since these were the increased amounts which were demanded).
  • Page 397-398: Ban Gu was of the opinion that the marriage treaty failed because it did not satisfy the Xiongnu needs and thus they resorted to raiding. Despite some ministers in 3 BC calling for the rejection of the tributary system since it was such a drain on the treasury, it was retained because it was deemed politically superior than the heqin agreement, since the latter did not include homages and hostages.
  • Page 398: It should be noted that Zhizhi Shanyu, once he learned about his brother's submission to China, attempted to form the same relationship with the Han by sending a hostage of his own in 53 BC, and then envoys to deliver tribute in both 51 and 50 BC. However, since Zhizhi failed to personally pay homage at the Han court, he was not accepted into the tributary system.
  • Page 398: It should be noted that the Xiongnu maintained their territorial integrity even as vassals. When the Han asked the Xiongnu in 8 BC for a valuable piece of land near Zhangyi Commandery, the Xiongnu refused and explained that this land was not only controlled by them for many generations, but that Emperor Xuan of Han and Huhanye Shanyu had come to an agreement that all lands north of the Great Wall of China would continue to be Xiongnu lands.
  • Page 398: Besides accepting vassal status instead of brotherly status, the Xiongnu's political status was also lessened by the fact that the Han no longer accepted a marriage alliance. When Huhanye asked for a marriage alliance and to become an imperial son-in-law on his homage trip in 33 BC, he was not given a princess but merely a lady-in-waiting named Wang Qiang (i.e. Wang Zhaojun), who Yu says was one of the most famous beauties in Chinese history. Despite this compliment, Yu says that under the tributary system there would be no Han princess sent to marry the shanyu ever again.

Northern and Southern Xiongnu[edit]

  • Page 398-399: During the reign of Huduershi Shanyu (r. 18–48 AD), China went through a stage of political chaos with the downfall of Wang Mang and his Xin Dynasty. The Han was restored as the Eastern Han Dynasty by Emperor Guangwu of Han. However, it was in this period that the Xiongnu were able to discontinue their tributary status, regain control over the Western Regions, and dominate the Wuhuan.
  • Page 399: When Emperor Gengshi of Han (r. 23–25) called upon the Xiongnu shanyu to resume tributary relations, Huduershi Shanyu responded by saying that since the Xiongnu had attacked Wang Mang's forces, the restored Han Dynasty should in turn show the Xiongnu respect. In 25 AD, Huduershi went as far as promoting a rival Han emperor named Lu Fang, a frontier magnate who falsely claimed to be a descendant of Emperor Wu of Han. Huduershi even compared himself to Modu Shanyu. Despite this, Emperor Guangwu treated his envoys with respect, used humble language in their presence, and granted them gifts. Huduershi posed a real threat to Han China as well, since his forces had made major inroads into former Han territory and found powerful allies amongst the local warlords in Han China's borderlands.
  • Page 399-400: Huduershi attempted to break the fraternal tradition established by Huhanye when he asserted that the heir apparent would not be one of his brothers but would be one of his own sons. This outraged Huhanye's nephew Bi, the Rizhu King of the Right, who refused to attend the annual meeting with the shanyu. Bi had developed his own power base in the southern portion of the Xiongnu realm.
  • Page 400: Huduershi's son Punu succeeded to the throne in 46 BC. However, in 48 BC eight Xiongnu tribes from the southern portion of the empire, totalling a military force of 40,000 to 50,000 men, hailed Bi as their new shanyu. Thus a split in the realm of the Xiongnu occurred, with the Southern Xiongnu and Northern Xiongnu. Since the Northern Xiongnu posed a serious threat to him, Bi took the example of his grandfather Huhanye and sent word to the Han court in 50 AD that he was willing to become a tributary vassal. With this he sent a hostage prince and prostrated himself before the Han envoy in order to receive the imperial edict. The Southern Xiongnu Bi Shanyu was thus honored by the Han court with an official seal of gold as well as 10,000 bales of silk fabrics, 2,500 kg of silk, 500 kiloliters of rice, and 36,000 head of cattle.

Later Han and the Southern Xiongnu[edit]

  • Page 400: Whereas in the Western Han the Xiongnu shanyu was considered an outer vassal (in the wild zone) who could send tribute when he pleased, during the Eastern Han the Xiongnu shanyu was made a direct vassal (in the controlled zone) and thus had to send tribute bearers and a hostage prince to the Han court at the end of each year in a more regularized system. Then an imperial messenger woudl escort the previous hostage back to the shanyu's court. Yu says that when the Han rotated hostages on an annual basis, the Han probably had in mind the idea that sinicizing the future Xiongnu leaders would be to their benefit.
  • Page 400-401: Also, no longer would the Xiongnu receive increasing amounts of gifts each year they sent tribute, as this too was regularized at fixed quotas. The amount of silk fabric given to the Xiongnu shanyu's envoys each year was fixed at 1,000 bales while the Xiongnu nobility received 10,000 bales. A Chinese court official's memorial of 91 AD stated that the total amount of goods given annually to the Xiongnu shanyu and nobility combined totalled 100,900,000 cash in value.
  • Page 401: To further control the Southern Xiongnu, a new office of the Prefect of the Gentleman of the Household in Charge of the Xiongnu was created so that a Han official could participate in Xiongnu legal decisions and disputes, as well as monitor their activity and movements by accompanying the shanyu whereever he went. This was not the political autonomy that Huhanye had earlier enjoyed.
  • Page 401: The Xiongnu were settled into eight different Han commanderies stretching from Shanxi, Gansu, and Inner Mongolia. The Han court then had large numbers of Chinese migrate to these commanderies to make mixed settlements. In the winter of 50 AD, Emperor Guangwu had the shanyu settle his court at Meiji District of Hexi Commandery (Shanxi), which was overseen by a Han imperial directorate and 2,000 cavalry. As proven even by a Xiongnu memorial to the throne in 88 AD, the Southern Xiongnu became entirely dependent on the Han for food as well as millions of gifts.
  • Page 402: There was a Southern Xiongnu rebellion in 140, but after this was quelled the Han court filled the vacant shanyu throne with a Xiongnu prince that had resided at Luoyang. Thus, the Han had the power to appoint successors to the Southern Xiongnu throne.
  • Page 402: Despite the Han controls, the Southern Xiongnu periodically rebelled against Han authority. Besides the case mentioned in 140 AD above, the Anguo Shanyu rebelled in 94 AD after he joined forces with newly surrendered Xiongnu from the north, who were not entrenched in the more sedentary culture of the mixed Xiongnu-Han settlements. In 109 AD, the Chinese frontier advisor Han Zong convinced the shanyu that the time was ripe for attacking Han since a recent flood in China's interior had killed many and forced others into starvation; the shanyu agreed and rebelled.

The Policy of Divide and Rule[edit]

  • Page 403: The Han court was determined to keep the Southern and Northern Xiongnu from reuniting, so they chose not to acknowledge the Northern Xiongnu at all (except as a de facto military and economic force) and placed the Southern Xiongnu into a rigid tributary system while considering the Southern shanyu to be the only legitimate successor of Huhanye Shanyu.
  • Page 403: The Northern Xiongnu under the leadership of Punu Shanyu suffered hardship of epidemic and famine, so attempts to create a renewed peace treaty and marriage alliance with the Han were made in 46, 51, 52, and 55 AD, yet all of these were unsuccessful.
  • Page 404: Yu states that relations between Han and Northern Xiongnu alternated between trade and war. Whenever the Northern Xiongnu sent tribute to Han, this was rewarded with an equal value of imperial gifts. In terms of private trade, there was open trade at the border between Northern Xiongnu and Chinese merchants. After Xiongnu attacks in 63 AD, the Han court reluctantly opened border markets. In 84 AD, the Northern shanyu sent several princes and nobles in a trade caravan to Wuwei Commandery bringing more than ten thousand heads of cattle and horses. For this gesture, the Han government bestowed gifts on the Northern Xiongnu, thus highlighting the importance of private trade in their shaky relationship.
  • Page 404-405: The major conflicts with the Xiongnu during Eastern Han were few and far between in comparison to Western Han, and in the two major engagements of 73 and 89 AD, respectively, the Xiongnu were defeated. This was due to Han military power and the fact that the Northern Xiongnu suffered a crisis in manpower due to large-scale desertion. Many Xiongnu fled their allotted territories due to power struggles, epidemic, and famine. Some Xiongnu submitted to Han authorities while others joined the Southern Xiongnu or even sought refuge with the Wuhuan, Xianbei, and Dingling. To highlight this massive desertion, the Southern Xiongnu's population grew from 50,000 in 50 AD to 230,730 in 90 AD, while the Book of Later Han showed that by 85 AD some seventy different Northern Xiongnu groups led by chieftains submitted to Han and an even greater amount to the Southern Xiongnu.
  • Page 405: The Northern Xiongnu were also assaulted on all flanks by the Southern Xiongnu to the south, the Dingling from the north, the Xianbei from the east, and the Western Regions states on the right. The Xianbei inflicted a great defeat on the Northern Xiongnu in 87 AD and killed their shanyu, causing a massive exodus of 58 tribes consisting of 200,000 people to surrender to Han in the four frontier commanderies of Yunzhong, Wuyuan, Shuofang, and Beidi. In 91 AD the Northern Xiongnu were forced to move west to the Ili River Valley and gave up their control over Outer Mongolia and Central Asia.

The Western Regions[edit]

  • Page 405: QUOTE: "The expansion of Han China to the Western Regions was a direct result of military confrontations with the Hsiung-nu."
  • Page 407: By 177 BC, the Xiongnu succeeded in forcing the Yuezhi of the Zhangyi (Gansu) area to submit. After this, they subjugated all the small states in the Western Regions. The extent of their influence stretched from Loulan (west of Lop Nur) to Wusun (in the Ili River valley north of the Tarim Basin). This became the "right arm" of the Xiongnu Empire, an "arm" which the Han was determined to sever by sending their diplomat Zhang Qian (with an embassy of 100 men) into the west in 138 BC, to strike a deal and make alliances with the western states.
  • Page 407: Zhang's objective was to gain the allegiance of the Greater Yuezhi (Da Yuezhi), since they had suffered a great defeat at the hands of the Xiongnu during Modu Shanyu's reign. However, Zhang was captured and detained by the Xiongnu for ten years. When Zhang finally reached the Yuezhi territory, he was disappointed to find that they were too insignificant a force to deal with the Xiongnu. Only Zhang and one other man out of 100 survived this mission and returned to Chang'an in 126 BC. Although he failed to meet the mission's objective, it provided the Han court with the regional information it needed in order to open relations with the small states of the Western Regions.

Access to the Western Regions: Zhang Qian's Initiative[edit]

  • Page 407-408: After King Hunye of the Xiongnu surrendered to Han in 121 BC, the court forced him and his 40,000 tribesmen to move from the Hexi Corridor to the northern border. With the Hexi Corridor abandoned, it cleared the path for Han to reach the Western Regions. At this moment, diplomat Zhang Qian memorialized the throne asking for official relations to be established with the states of that region. He suggested that the Wusun people should be coerced with bribes and gifts to occupy the Hexi Corridor, securing an alliance with them to cut off the right arm of the Xiongnu, and then appeal to states as far away as Daxia (Bactria).
  • Page 408: This proposal was accepted. Zhang Qian, with a party of 300 men, departed in 115 BC carrying large quantities of cattle, sheep, gold, and silk as gifts to western rulers. Despite this appeal, the Wusun aristocracy refused to move to the Hexi Corridor, yet Zhang succeeded in opening direct relations between the Han Empire and the Wusun, Dayuan (Fergana), Kangju (Sogdiana), Daxia (Bactria), and Yutian (Khotan). These states became interested in forming ties with China, so they sent their own envoys to the Han capital. Alliance with the Wusun was critically important, as they had a population of 630,000 and 188,000 men who were able to bear arms.
  • Page 408-409: In between 115 BC and 60 BC (i.e. from Zhang Qian's second mission to the establishment of the Protectorate of the Western Regions), the Han and Xiongnu battled for control over the Western Regions, yet not all of this conflict entailed violence. After failing to sway the Wusun with their luxurious wealth and goods, the Han court decided to give the Wusun leader, the kunmo, a Han Chinese princess bridge to cement a marriage alliance. As a "betrothal gift," the Wusun kunmo sent the Han a thousand horses in return. However, the Xiongnu shanyu soon learned of this and presented the Wusun kunmo with a Xiongnu bride. The kunmo accepted this, so he made his Chinese bride the Wife on the Right and the Xiongnu bridge the Wife on the Left. In Xiongnu culture, the bride on the left was superior, thus the Han court lost in this diplomatic struggle.
  • Page 409: The state of Loulan, hard-pressed by both Han and Xiongnu, was forced to send a princely hostage to each in 108 BC. The same happened again when a new Loulan king came to the throne in 92 BC. When this king died, the Xiongnu immediately jumped on the ball and rushed the hostage prince back to manipulate the succession. This coup made Loulan a strong ally of the Xiongnu against Han, a spell which was not broken until the Han General Fu Jiezi had this pro-Xiongnu king assassinated in 77 BC.

Military Conquest[edit]

  • Page 409: Han military action in the Western Regions began in 108 BC when an attack was made on Loulan and Turfan. Loulan was the first major trade settlement along the Silk Road after one departed from Dunhuang, thus it was the QUOTE: "key to Han expansion in Central Asia." The Turfan Depression, controlled by the settlement of Turfan, was the Xiongnu's southern access point into the Western Regions and blocked Han efforts to reach the Wusun of the Ili River and Dayuan (Fergana) of the Syr Darya and Amu Darya river regions.
  • Page 410: Zhao Ponu was the Han commander who in 108 BC defeated Turfan and brought Loulan under submission as well, and for the first time in history a Han military presence was made in the Western Regions. Three years later, in 105 BC, the Wusun king asked for a Han princess in marriage.
  • Page 410: By 101 BC, the Han officer Li Guangli conquered and subjugated Fergana. This took four years to achieve, which included unsuccessful attacks by the Xiongnu to sully Li's mission and the necessity of returning to Dunhuang for reinforcements at one point. This was by far the most expensive military campaign in the history of the dynasty, simply due to the logistical difficulty of subjugating a state so far away simply for its fabled horses. The Book of Han says that this move shocked and frightened the states of the Western Regions, who immediately sent envoys with tribute to the Han capital.
  • Page 410-411: By 90 BC, the state of Turfan formally surrendered to Han, after a long conflict involving the Xiongnu. In tht year Cheng Wan, marquis of Kailing and former Xiongnu king who had submitted to Han, led troops of six western states, including Loulan, Weili (Kalgan), and Karasahr, to attack Turfan. This was to prevent it from allying with the Xiongnu. Turfan submitted to Han, but the Xiongnu regained the same ground later. However, another coalition in 72-71 BC of the Han Dynasty, Wusun, Dingling, and Wuhuan inflicted a major defeat against the Xiongnu. By 67 BC the Han Dynasty regained control of Turfan, where it began to establish agricultural garrisons in the fertile lands there.

Administrative Arrangements[edit]

  • Page 411: From a very early date, the Xiongnu had ruled over the states of the Western Regions with a Xiongnu administrator known as a Commandant in Charge of Slaves, which was under the jurisdiction of the Rizhu King. This Xiongnu Commandant collected taxes and raised corvée labor services from the western states. However, the Rizhu King surrendered to the Han officer Zheng Ji (Han Dynasty general) in 60 BC, thus this Xiongnu office was abolished. In the place of the Commandant, Zheng Ji was made the Protector General of the Western Regions, the first time in Han history that this office appeared. His headquarters were established at Chadir (Wulei), which was close to where the old Commandant's headquarters were. Chadir was 125 km (85 mi) east of Kalgan.
  • Page 412: The Wuji Colonel was established at Turfan in 48 BC; despite his martial title, his office was mostly concerned with financial management and logistical concerns of the agricultural garrisons stationed there. There was an earlier office attached to the Protector General called the Colonel of Agricultural Garrisons; it is possible that the Wuji Colonel's position was a reorganization of that earlier office. The Wuji Colonel could also be responsible for other tasks, such as road-building, law enforcement, and aiding Han attacks on enemy states in the region.
  • Page 412: A line of rammed earth walls and watchtowers stretched as far west as Dunhuang.

Relations During the 1st century AD[edit]

  • Page 413: Yu asserts that Emperor Guangwu of Han refrained from reestablishing tributary relations with the Western Regions because he was too preoccupied with internal struggles in China and was already using too much of his resources in dealing with those struggles. Therefore, he rejected the requests of some of the western states to reestablish the Protectorate of the Western Regions. The Northern Xiongnu pounced on this situation by reconquering the Western Regions, a dominance which was not challenged by the Han until 73 AD. In the meantime, the Northern Xiongnu exacted heavy taxes on the Western Region states, thus rebuilding a formidable nomadic empire to challenge Han.
  • Page 413-414: In addition to the dominance asserted by the Northern Xiongnu, the state of Yarkand also became a major player, whereas they were but a small state in the Western Han. During the early Eastern Han, the Yarkand king known as Kang united with neighboring states in order to resist the Xiongnu. He also offered protection to Chinese officials and their families who were formerly attached to the Protector General but were left stranded in the region after the fall of Wang Mang. Since King Kang of Yarkand offered the Chinese protection, Emperor Guangwu of Han gave him the title "Great Commandant of the Western Regions" in 29 AD. QUOTE: "The appointment was no more than recognition of a de facto situation, but it invested in Yarkand with the authority to act as the leading state in the Western Regions."
  • Page 414: King Kang was succeeded by his younger brother Xian in 33 AD. King Xian was an ambitious ruler who subjugated all the states east of the Pamir Mountains. In 41 AD he sent an envoy to Luoyang requesting that he be made Protector General of the Western Regions. Although this was granted, it was changed soon after to the honorary title of "Great General of the Han." After this, he grew defiant of Han authority.
  • Page 414: King Xian of Yarkand was able to maintain control over the Western Regions despite numerous Xiongnu attacks, but he made the fatal mistake of overtaxing the states that he had subjugated. The Chinese refused to get involved, so the western states turned to the Northern Xiongnu for help. These included Khotan, Turfan, Kucha, Karasahr, and Cherchen (aka Loulan or Shanshan), an alliance which seriously threatened Yarkand. In 61 AD Khotan managed to conquer Yarkand and capture Xian, thus ending his rule over the Western Regions. This was followed by a breakup of the alliance members, who started fighting each other over who would be the hegemon over all the Western Regions. However, the Northern Xiongnu acted quickly, conquering the region and exacting levies. They were now prepared to attack the Han Dynasty; starting in 63 AD, the major Chinese towns of the Hexi Corridor were forced to keep their gates closed even during the daytime.
  • Page 414-415: The Han general Dou Gu (d. 88 AD) was sent on a punitive military campaign against the Northern Xiongnu in the spring of 73 AD. Dou Gu inflicted a crushing blow against the Xiongnu and chased them as far as Barkul Nur (Lake Pulei). On his return from this chase, he reestablished the agricultural garrisons in the Hami Desert (at Kumul).
  • Page 415: In 74 AD Dou Gu defeated the Xiongnu once more and then occupied Turfan, the main southern access point into the Western Regions for the Northern Xiongnu.
  • Page 415: However, in 77 AD the Northern Xiongnu and its satellite states interrupted the renewed tributary relations between Han and the Western Regions. This necessitated another Han expedition by Dou Xian (d. 92 AD) in 89 AD. General Dou inflicted a heavy defeat against the Xiongnu at Qile Mountain in Outer Mongolia, reportedly killing 13,000 Xiongnu and forcing the surrender of 200,000 Xiongnu in 81 tribes. Dou sent an assault force of 2,000 cavalry to make a surprise attack on the Xiongnu base at Hami, where the Han agricultural garrison had to withdraw back in 77 AD. These victories paved the way for Ban Chao (d. 102) to dominate the Western Regions in 91 AD, and for Han to reestablish the offices of the Protector General of the Western Regions in Kucha and Turfan, respectively. Ban Chao was made Protector General of the Western Regions from 91 to 101 AD, a period where Han solidly controlled the region. More than fifty states sent hostages to Luoyang with tribute in the year 94 AD.

Later Han Successes[edit]

  • Page 415: After the achievements of his father Ban Chao, Ban Yong (班勇 Bān Yŏng) started his field career in the Western Regions in 107 AD. Ban Yong was eventually made chief officer of the Western Regions in 123 AD, and by 126 AD Ban Yong led the offensive that allowed Han to regain control of the Turfan Depression. This severed the ties between Xiongnu and Turfan for good.
  • Page 416: In 127 AD Ban Yong subdued Yuanmeng, King of Karasahr, which led to the submission of Kucha, Khotan, Yarkand, and all the other major states in the Western Regions. Later, in 131 AD, the agricultural garrisons at Hami were expanded thanks to the earlier military efforts of Ban Yong.
  • Page 416: When the Han court, the Protector General, or the Wuji Colonel sent imperial gifts of gold and silk to the Western Regions' states, they were obligated to send envoys bringing tribute in return, such as Fergana horses, Khotan jade, and wine. This tributary reciprocity was largely politically symbolic and the items exchanged were not of the greatest value to either side. The states of the Western Regions desired to establish tributary relations simply as a cloak for valuable trade relations. An official during the reign of Emperor Cheng of Han pointed out that the "tribute" coming from Kashmir was not handled by their diplomats but by Kashmir merchants looking for trade. Sogdiana wanted to join the Han tributary system, but the Han replied that they did not show Han authorities due respect; their desire for tributary relations was purely based on desires for commercial transaction.
  • Page 416-417: From 108 BC till the end of Han in 220 AD, the states of the Western Regions sent hostages to the Han court (with some interruptions). Since so many hostages were offered, the Han court had special residences built to accomodate all of them. Hostages were subject to Chinese laws and punishment. Some of these hostage princes became culturally sinicized and some were even given a Chinese education (such as the future King of Yarkand during Emperor Yuan of Han's reign). Yu says QUOTE: "Since all the hostage princes were potential royal successors, it is probable that the Han court made deliberate efforts to promote pro-Han sentiments among them."
  • Page 417: The Han also manipulated the rulers of tributary states by giving them official titles, such as marquis. These rulers' assistants could be styled as chancellors, generals, and commandants as well, all of which were accompanied by Han official seals and credentials. A total of 376 such titles were conferred on people of the Western Regions by the end of the Western Han. This practice was continued and expanded by Eastern Han, while some tributary officials received official stipends from the Han court. Some Han Chinese were even sent to the Western Regions to work as officials, such as a Chinese named Qin Mu, who during Emperor Huan of Han's (r. 146–168) reign served as a Master of Records for the King of Jumi; another Chinese named Liu Pingguo was appointed as General of the Left for the state of Kucha.
  • Page 418: It should be noted that the Protector General had the right to confer titles on a Western ruler's assistants; if they did not perform their duties as assigned, their titles and seals could be taken away.

The Growth of Colonies[edit]

  • Page 419: During the Western Han, the states of the Western Regions complained that the Han had placed a heavy financial burden on them by forcing them to provide food and provisions to Han's traveling embassies (some of which could travel in caravans of several hundred members). To ease relations and provide better logistical support for its own venturers into the Western Regions, the Western Han established its first agricultural garrisons at Bugur and Korla (east of Kucha and along the south side of the Tian Shan range).
  • Page 419: Sang Hongyang (d. 80 BC) proposed that the agricultural garrisons in the Bugur area should be expanded to meet the growing demands of military expeditions into the region, a proposal adopted by Emperor Zhao of Han (r. 87–74 BC). During the reign of Emperor Xuan of Han (r. 74–49 BC), the first Protector General Zheng Ji (Han Dynasty general) (d. 49 BC) increased the amount of farming soldiers at Korla to 1,500. These soldiers produced enough grain to feed the Han army that assaulted Turfan, a strategic location then under the control of the Xiongnu. QUOTE: "It is interesting to note that on at least two occasions Han forces had to wait until after autumn harvests to launch their attacks." Protector General Zheng Ji immediately established agricultural garrisons in the fertile lands of Turfan once it was captured. The Xiongnu understood how vital this area was and repeatedly attacked it in hopes of driving the Han out of Turfan.
  • Page 419-420: In 77 BC, the King of Cherchen (Loulan or Shanshan in Chinese) offered the Han his fertile lands of Miran (China) to settle. The Han accepted, only dispatching forty farming soldiers at first, but it was soon expanded and placed under a commandant (duwei). The Han officer Suo Mai of Dunhuang was sent to Miran with a thousand soldiers who were assisted by over three thousand local soldiers from Cherchen, Karasahr, and Kucha. Suo Mai had his large force of men build canals and dikes to transfer river water to the newly-established irrigation network of Miran. In three years time as commandant of Miran, he was able to produce 20,000 kiloliters of grain. Traces of this irrigation network can still be found at Miran along with ruins of canal lock gates and one canal as long as 2 km (1.24 mi).
  • Page 420: At Hami (modern Kumul, Hami Prefecture in the Hami Desert), the Han built agricultural garrisons in 73 AD following their victory over the Northern Xiongnu. It was placed under the command of a Commandant in Charge of Corps. However, Han presence here was interrupted by an allied attack in 77 AD of Northern Xiongnu and their allies. A Han agricultural garrison was not reestablished until Ban Chao quelled the area in 91 AD. Hami was expanded when the officer Suo Ban led a thousand working troops there in 119 AD, yet their work on cultivation was cut short by another Xiongnu attack. Again in 131 AD, the Han revived the Hami agricultural garrison and placed it under the command of a major. After 153 AD, however, Han power declined and rebellions frequently broke out in the region until Hami was gradually abandoned.
  • Page 421: The reason the Eastern Han court ever engaged in campaigns as far as the Western Regions was their conflict with the Xiongnu which drew them to the region. Otherwise, ministers of Eastern Han regularly cited fiscal constraints as a reason to curtail any involvement in the region (with the common phrase of "Closing the Jade Gate"). Although the Western Regions were reopened to Han in 73 AD, there were two long eras in Eastern Han where Chinese forces withdrew after Xiongnu attacks, those being 77–90 AD and 107–122 AD. Each time this happened the office of the Protector General of the Western Regions was abolished, and never appeared in the Han Dynasty again after 107 AD. After Ban Chao's son Ban Yong convinced the court to resume relations with the Western Regions in 123 AD, the Protector General's office was replaced by a chief clerk ranked at 1,000 shi (or bushels of grain), a downgrade in rank. Ban Yong's memorial in 119 AD calling for the reopening of the Western Regions reveals that the court did not pursue reopening relations from 107 to 122 AD due to the financial burdens of maintaining the colonies. This is exactly the same reason why during the time Zheng Ji (Han Dynasty general) was Protector General (59–49 BC) the Western Han court turned down his proposal to expand the colonies; the court had financial concerns. Reestablishing tributary relations was also a liability, since the tributary states would call for financial aid.

The Qiang[edit]

  • Page 422: The Qiang, who came from the west and are perhaps related to the Tibetans, are attested to by both literary and archaeological records. They frequently battled with the Shang Dynasty. They were partly responsible for the Zhou Dynasty shift of capitals from Hao (Chang'an or Xi'an) to Luoyang. The Qiang expansion was not put in check until the efforts of Duke Mu of Qin (d. 621 BC) who defeated them.

A Border People: Tribal Organization[edit]

  • Page 422: By the Western Han period, the Qiang were largely concentrated in the areas of what is now Tibet and Qinghai, although scattered groups existed in Gansu, Sichuan, and the Western Regions. Some of the Qiang tribes, over 150 in all, were quite large and could muster fighting forces of over 100,000 men. It is possible that the Qiang even had more manpower than the Xiongnu, yet unlike the latter they were not united under an overarching federation.
  • Page 423-424: The nomadic Qiang economy relied on herding of sheep, although there were reports that Han armies also captured oxen, horses, donkey, and camels when they fought the Qiang. Some Qiang were sedentary farmers as early as the Warring States Period, with references to Qiang farmers in the 1st century BC by General Zhao Chongguo and others. Wheat appears to have been the staple crop of the sedentary Qiang. When a Han army attacked the Qiang in 94 AD they came across a huge storage of wheat. The Book of Later Han also says that the Qiang cultivated other cereal crops by the 2nd century AD at the latest.

Alliance with the Xiongnu[edit]

  • Page 424: The Xiongnu were allied with the Xiongnu at the beginning of the Han Dynasty. The Han expansion into the Hexi Corridor was not only a measure to cut off the Xiongnu from the Western Regions, but also from the Qiang. Before the Han secured the Western Regions, it was the main meeting grounds of the Xiongnu and Qiang.Some Qiang tribes also chose to ally with the Xiongnu during the Eastern Han period, in 122, 138, and 140 AD.
  • Page 424-425: The Chuo Qiang, a powerful Qiang tribe who inhabited the mountains southeast of Lop Nur during the Western Han, switched alliances by abandoning the Xiongnu and joining the Han Dynasty after the latter moved into the northwest during Emperor Wu of Han's reign. The Chuo Qiang were instrumental to the Han, aiding in attacks on the Xiongnu as well as other Qiang tribes.

Han Attempts at Settlement[edit]

  • Page 425-426: Ever since the reign of Emperor Jing of Han (r. 157–141 BC), the Qiang were settled in parts of the Han frontier. The Qiang who settled in Han territory and offered to guard their frontiers were often abused and victimized by the Han Chinese officials who chose at times to rob them, thus enraging the Qiang who would rebel against Han authority. Although the roots of this problem were found in Western Han, by the 2nd century AD in Eastern Han this became a serious threat.
  • Page 426: A large-scale Qiang migration into Han China's northwestern territories occurred in the time between the end of Wang Mang's reign and the beginning of the Eastern Han. Some of the Qiang were settled in the empire's heartland, including Guanzhong and the metropolitan area. This resettlement away from the northern borderlands may have been prompted by the need to separate the Xiongnu from the Qiang, who often became natural nomadic allies. Also, since some Qiang were sedentary farmers, and to settle more of them would encourage their assimilation with Han Chinese.

Han Administrative Systems[edit]

  • Page 427: A Colonel Protector of the Qiang was established in 111 BC, shortly after the Han quelled a massive Qiang rebellion. His job was to handle Qiang grievances and complaints and find out what they needed through tours of inspection. He also supervised interpreters who were sent several times a year to the Qiang living across the border in order to uphold communication. He was also tasked with establishing agricultural garrisons along the Qiang-Han border so that Qiang rebellions could be dealt with locally, an idea first proposed by Zhao Chongguo in the 1st century BC. By 102 AD, the Eastern Han upheld thirty-four such garrisons in the Jincheng area bordering the Qiang realm.
  • Page 427-428: The Qiang grew suspicious of these agricultural garrisons, and when one was established too close to their homeland in 130 AD the Qiang prepared to rebel; it was only after Protector General Ma Xu abandoned these agricultural garrisons that the Qiang were appeased and laid down their arms. Although some diplomatic and peaceful means were used to settle conflicts, open warfare was sometimes inevitable. Four Colonel Protectors of the Qiang actually died fighting the Qiang on the battlefield during Eastern Han, those being Fu Yu in 87, Ma Xian in 141, Zhao Chong in 144, and Ling Zheng in 184.
  • Page 428-429: The Commandant of Dependent States also upheld diplomatic affairs with the Qiang ever since the first Qiang dependent state was established in Jincheng in 60 BC. By the Eastern Han there were many Qiang dependent states which stretched from the Ordos Desert, to Gansu, to Sichuan. During the Eastern Han period a massive migration of Qiang people entered western China, perhaps due to population pressures. A flurry of new dependent states had to be established to accomodate them all, while Emperor An of Han had two new commandant offices created to deal specifically with the Qiang settlements in Guanzhong.
  • Page 429: To be accepted as inner subjects of the Han Empire, the Qiang had to provide labor or military services to the Han government and were liable for taxation. The Qiang had a very strong presence amongst the Han ranks that quelled tribal rebellions along the frontiers.

Policies of Withdrawal[edit]

  • Page 430: When the Qiang led a massive rebellion against Han in Liangzhou in 110 AD, the Han court debated on whether or not the entire northwestern area of Liangzhou should be evacuated and abandoned. The General-in-Chief (regent) Deng Zhi was in favor of evacuating and abandoning Liangzhou, even more so when he was persuaded by the frontier officer Pang Can's reports (Pan Ceng was supervisor of military colonies in Guanzhong) about the financial constraints and logistical nightmare of staying in Liangzhou to fight the Qiang. Pang suggested that the frontier Chinese in Liangzhou be resettled in the arable territory of Guanzhong.
  • Page 431: Although withdrawal from the northwest did not occur immediately in 110 AD, the Han court did allow four northwestern commanderies to pull out of the region during the following year and have their people settle within the interior of the empire; those commanderies were Longxi, Anding, Beidi, and Shangjun.
  • Page 431-432: Some Han Chinese in the Liangzhou region refused to be resettled in the interior of China, so the local government restored to drastic measures of burning their homes and destroying their food stores to drive them out. This led many Han Chinese to revolt and even join the Qiang. This is exactly what the Han court feared would happen, which is why they did not sponsor a full withdrawal of the Liangzhou region.
  • Page 432: In fact, during Emperor An of Han's reign, the Han court had spent a whopping 24,000,000,000 wushu coins in the defense of Liangzhou against the Qiang, yet their victories were minimal and often temporary. In 129 AD the court realized that it could not abandon something it had spent so much resources on, and so reestablished the commanderies of Anding, Beidi, and Shangjun. However, a decade later these commanderies were once again abandoned. The Qiang began large scale attacks against Guanzhong and the metropolitan area, which became the new frontier.

The Liangzhou Rebellion, 184-221[edit]

  • Page 433-434: The Chinese of the interior became fearful about the mixed Han-Qiang settlements of the Liangzhou region. Even Chinese women became warlike and fierce warriors due to heavy Qiang influence. Dong Zhuo, a native of Longxi Commandery, had built a Chinese-Qiang powerbase in Liangzhou prior to dominating the court from 189 to 192. He was on good terms with many Qiang tribal leaders while Qiang soldiers formed the backbone of his army. He was unlike many Chinese; in fact, Liangzhou was seen as a region out of touch with mainstream Chinese culture and intellectual traditions.
  • Page 434: The massive rebellion of Liangzhou in 184 AD is demonstrative of a growing cultural difference between Liangzhou and the rest of China, for it was a joint rebellion of Chinese, Qiang, Xiongnu, and Yuezhi against Han Chinese authority. Two leaders in the rebellion were Pian Zhang and Han Sui, powerful Chinese magnates from the Jincheng region. In Fuhan, Longxi Commandery, a powerful Chinese rebel named Song Jian created a rival Chinese-Qiang kingdom called Pinghan ("Pacifying Han"), which was not crushed until three decades later by a military campaign of Cao Cao in 214.
  • Page 435: When Dong Zhuo gained complete control of the court in 190, he moved it from Luoyang to Chang'an so that he could be positioned closer to his powerbase in Liangzhou. After Wang Yun orchestrated Dong Zhuo's death in 192, a conflict between the Guandong group of Yuan Shao the Liangzhou faction once loyal to Dong Zhuo was inevitable.
  • Page 435: QUOTE: "There can be little doubt that Liang-chou played a key role in the decline and fall of the Han empire. However, the rise of Liang-chou as a political force of the first magnitude in the last quarter of the second century cannot be understood purely in terms of the internal development of the empire. In the final analysis, it resulted directly from the cultural and social transformation of the region following the migration of the Ch'iang. Viewed in this way, Han relations with the Ch'iang produced more immediate consequences of historical importance for China than those with the Hsiung-nu, in spite of the latter's more conspicuous place in the history of the period."

The Eastern Barbarians: Wuhuan and Xianbei[edit]

  • Page 436: In the Warring States Period, the Wuhuan and Xianbei were collectively known to the Chinese as the "Donghu" or "Eastern Barbarians," because they were originally located east of the Xiongnu (according to the 2nd century scholar Cui Hao). Their home was in Inner Mongolia, which they dominated in the 3rd century BC. In fact, until the time of Modu Shanyu, the Donghu made successful attacks against the Xiongnu. Modu Shanyu conquered the Donghu, thus destroying their federation (as the "Donghu" name ceased to be used as a political entity). Unlike the Xiongnu and Qiang, the Wuhuan and Xianbei had very little contact with Chinese before the Han Dynasty. The Wuhuan made contact first during the reign of Emperor Wu of Han, while the Xianbei did not uphold contacts with China until the Eastern Han period.

Resettlement of the Wuhuan[edit]

  • Page 436-437: The Xiongnu forced the Wuhuan to pay them tribute of oxen, horses, sheep, and furs until the crushing defeat of the Xiongnu by the Han general Huo Qubing in 119 BC, which forced them to flee from Inner Mongolia. In order to ensure that the Wuhuan would discontinue their relations with and handing over their resources to the Xiongnu, the Han court moved the Wuhuan across five northern and northeastern commanderies of Shanggu, Yuyang, Yu Beiping, Liaoxi, and Liaodong.
  • Page 437: By doing this, the Han court brought the Wuhuan into the tributary system, requiring them to pay annual homage, and established a Colonel Protector of the Wuhuan to oversee their affairs (headquartered near today's Beijing). This office was the first of its kind and predated the Colonel Protector of the Qiang by eight years. It served as the administrative model for the Protector General of the Western Regions. Although the Colonel's office was created to ensure the Wuhuan and Xiongnu remained separated, the Wuhuan were actually expected to monitor the Xiongnu's movements.
  • Page 437-438: The Xiongnu still considered the Wuhuan their vassals. As late as 8 AD they sent envoys to collect "taxes" of tribute items from the Wuhuan. The latter killed the Xiongnu emissaries and seized the women, horses, and oxen of the Xiongnu merchants who came along in a caravan. The Xiongnu retaliated by attacking and kidnapping over a thousand Wuhuan women and children. Later, some two thousand Xiongnu relatives of those kidnapped came with a ransom of furs, animals, and cloths to free their relatives, but the Xiongnu kept their ransom and also kidnapped these two thousand as well! This episode highlights the fact that the Xiongnu and Wuhuan upheld private and official relations after 119 BC.
  • Page 438: The Wuhuan sometimes fought and rebelled against the Western Han, but the Wuhuan were put in debt to the Chinese when the interregnum Xin Dynasty of Wang Mang negotiated with the Xiongnu to have those three thousand kidnapped Xiongnu released from captivity. This improved relations between Chinese and Wuhuan, the latter joining the Han military system as garrisoned troops in Dai Commandery. These Wuhuan had to send their families to China as hostages though, and when the Wuhuan deserted, the Chinese had their hostage families executed. This forced the Wuhuan to renounce Han, revolt, and join the Xiongnu.

Wuhuan Under the Tributary System: Archaeological Evidence[edit]

  • Page 438-439: In 49 AD, Emperor Guangwu of Han enticed 922 Wuhuan chieftains and leaders from Liaoxi back into the tributary system with promises of imperial gifts including silk and money. The Wuhuan renewed their tributary payments and trips of homage bringing slaves, oxen, horses, bows, and furs. Later that year the emperor made 81 Wuhuan leaders marquises and princes after they requested to become inner subjects (which allowed them now to settle in the commanderies of the northern frontier). With their new status, the Wuhuan were granted food and clothing, granted that they fulfill the duty of guarding the frontier against Xiongnu and Xianbei attacks.
  • Page 439: The office of the Colonel Protector of the Wuhuan was reestablished with headquarters at Ningcheng. This office gained more power in Eastern Han, as it not only handled Wuhuan affairs but also that of the Xianbei. He handled gifts and provisions, arrangements for seasonal trade, and the escort of hostages.
  • Page 439: Two mural paintings in an Eastern Han tomb (dated between 145 and 200 AD) found at Holingol (within modern Hohhot), Inner Mongolia shows the Colonel Protector making tours of duty amongst the Wuhuan. Matching descriptions in historical texts, one of the paintings shows Wuhuan and Xianbei guests at the main hall of the Colonel's headquarters having reddish-brown clothing and shaved heads with the occasional small tuft on the top.
  • Page 440-441: For about half a century a relatively peaceful relationship existed between Han and Wuhuan, as the latter kept to their end of the bargain by joining Han in resisting the Xoingnu and Xianbei incursions. The Wuhuan were also used as soldiers in putting down other rebellions such as the Man people's rebellion in Lingling (Hunan) and Cangwu (Guangxi) in the year 165, when 26,000 Wuhuan infantry and cavalry from Yuzhou and Jizhou were used. Supreme Commander Zhang Wan sent 3,000 Wuhuan cavalry from Yuzhou to help put down the Liangzhou Rebellion in 187 AD.
  • Page 441: Some Wuhuan cavalry even served as palace guards for the emperor. Cao Cao had Wuhuan cavalry placed within his personal army (although he required his Wuhuan soldiers and officers to hand over family hostages to him just as Wang Mang had done).
  • Page 441: Former Han officials from Yuyang (modern Hebei), Zhang Chun and Zhang Ju, had an alliance made with the Wuhuan leaders of Yuyang in order to set off a widespread rebellion in 187 that stretched from Yuzhou, Jizhou, Qingzhou (Shandong), and Xuzhou (also Shandong). Zhang Ju believed their alliance would be assured by the fact that the Han had conscripted many Wuhuan who had suffered many casualties and were ready to revolt; Yu says that this illustrates the close link between Wuhuan and Han at this point. This is buttressed by the fact that when Cao Cao came to invade the northern frontiers in 205, more than 100,000 Chinese families in Yuzhou and Jizhou fled to the Wuhuan for protection. The thriving trade between Wuhuan and Han Chinese at the border led to warm relations, the barbarian market in Nincheng making Yuzhou one of the wealthiest commanderies in the empire. This is the reason why more than a million Chinese migrated to Yuzhou (from Qingzhou and Xuzhou) during the Yellow Turban Rebellion.
  • Page 441-442: Like the Qiang, the Wuhuan also began practicing agriculture during the Eastern Han. Wuhuan households became regular registered and taxed households under Chinese local administration by the Cao Wei period. By using evidence from the Book of Later Han that the Wuhuan had 16,000 settlements in China during the reign of Emperor Ling of Han, Yu estimates the size of the Wuhuan population at that time was roughly three million, not an unreasonable number considering they were able to capture over 100,000 Chinese households in the last decade of the 2nd century (let alone the 100,000 others which fled to them).

The Xianbei and Han[edit]

  • Page 442-443: After their defeat by Modu Shanyu, the Xianbei people fled far away from the Liaodong frontier, perhaps into Manchuria, thus separated from China by Wuhuan territory for the entire Western Han era. During the early Eastern Han, they joined in on Xiongnu and Wuhuan raids along Han's northeastern borders, mostly in Liaodong.
  • Page 443: Relations between Xianbei and Han were not established until 49 AD when Governor Cai Tong of Liaodong Commandery enticed the chieftain of the powerful Pianhe tribe of the Xianbei with trade prospects and gifts of money if he allied with Han. The Pianhe tribe then accepted their tributary status as well as their duty in fighting against the Wuhuan and Xiongnu in the name of Han. However, the Han court was forced to dish out imperial gifts to the Xianbei which were worth twice the value of horses and sables the Xianbei presented as tribute. They were given additional rewards for every decapitated Xiongnu head.
  • Page 443: In 58 AD the Xianbei allied with Han made major contributions in maintaining stability in the north by reducing the Wuhuan of Chishan, who had remained outside the border and periodically raided Shanggu Commandery. The Han court rewarded them handsomely by making annual payments to all the loyal Xianbei chieftains east of Dunhuang (which totalled 270,000,000 in cash value, three times the amount given to the Southern Xiongnu in the same period). This forking out of cash paid off, as the region was relatively peaceful for three decades to come.
  • Page 443-444: After Dou Xian inflicted a major defeat against the Northern Xiongnu in 91, forcing them to flee west, the Xianbei's power was greatly enhanced in terms of new territory and manpower. The Xianbei simply occupied all the deserted territories formerly controlled by the Xiongnu while absorbing the remnant 100,000 Xiongnu households which were left in the region. The Xianbei began raiding the northern Han border once more, forcing the Han to make better trade terms by 110 AD as the Colonel Protector of the Wuhuan in Nincheng extended their trading privileges at the barbarian market. However, the Han tactfully had all the trading Xianbei tribes send hostages to China. To accomodate hostages from 120 different Xianbei tribes, two large hostage hostels were built at Ningcheng.
  • Page 444: However, the Xianbei revolted against Han soon after these agreements and became the greatest threat to the Han Empire. The Han court now had to heavily rely on Southern Xiongnu and Wuhuan allies to keep the Xianbei at bay. By the middle of the 2nd century AD, a new Xianbei steppe federation was created by the ambitious ruler Tanshihuai which stretched from northern China to Dingling in southern Siberia, east to the borders of the Buyeo Kingdom in Manchuria, and west to the borders of the Wusun territory in the Ili River region. Just like Modu Shanyu's federation, Tanshihuai divided his realm into three parts, the central one ruled directly by him from his court in the Tanhan Mountains.
  • Page 444-445: Emperor Huan of Han (r. 146–168) offered Tanshihuai the honorary title of a king, but Tanshihuai rejected this and refused any tributary relations with Han. The Xianbei regularly attacked Han during the reign of Emperor Ling of Han (r. 168–189), defeating Han forces in about a dozen occasions between 168 and 170.
  • Page 445: In a memorial written in 177 AD, Cai Yong (d. 192) stated that the reason the Xianbei gained such strength is not only due to the fact that the Northern Xiongnu had fled west, but also due to the fact that Chinese officials at the frontier passes were being lax in their supervision of trade, allowing refined iron to fall into the hands of the Xianbei, thus allowing them to craft quality weapons. He also said that Han Chinese deserters who fled to the camp of the Xianbei became their advisers in how to fight Han. It is known elseswhere from other sources besides Cai Yong's memorial that the Xianbei were eager to buy as much Han iron as they could.
  • Page 445: Tanshihuai died in 180 at the relatively young age of forty-five, which led to a crisis. A struggle for power ensued, causing the collapse of the federation. Another Xianbei leader would attempt to form another great Xianbei federation in the 3rd century, but he was not as successful as Tanshihuai.
  • Page 445-446: The Xianbei remained outside of Han China's borders throughout Eastern Han, which is contrasted by the Qiang, Southern Xiongnu, and Wuhuan peoples. Judging from historical records about the barbarian market at Ningcheng and archaeological finds of Han luxury goods in Xianbei tombs of Inner Mongolia, the Xianbei were very interested in trading with Han, but not interested enough to move onto Chinese land and lose their identity as a northern nomadic people. Their actions of trade and plunder in regards to Han can be QUOTE: "characterized alternately by submission and rebellion."

The Korean Peninsula[edit]

Early Contacts[edit]

  • Page 447: Although there is no lack of legends involving early Sino-Korean relations (allegedly as far back as the Shang Dynasty), perhaps the first meaningful encounters took place during the 4th century BC when the ruler of the State of Yan assumed the title of a king in 323 BC. Located in the northeast, Yan was the neighbor of the peoples then inhabiting Manchuria and Korea. Chinese coins minted in the State of Yan have been found in archaeological excavations in Korea, proving an active commercial trading network spanned from Yan to the Korean Peninsula.
  • Page 447-448: It is said that the Yan prince Wei Man fled to Korea after Lu Guan made an unsuccessful uprising in 195 BC against the new Western Han. Wei Man is said to have led a thousand followers into Korea and established his own state at Chaoxian, which is close to modern Pyongyang. The native Koreans at this point made their own iron, but Wei Man brought with him the refined iron and iron-smelting techniques of China.
  • Page 448: It is written that the Han made a temporary attempt to colonize Korea in 128 BC when Nanlu, leader of the Weimo tribes, submitted with 280,000 followers, and thus Canghai Commandery was born. However, it was abandoned just two years later, at a time when the Han court was heavily vested in defeating the Xiongnu.

Han Expansion[edit]

  • Page 448-449: The Han sent another expedition into Korea in 109 BC, QUOTE: "on the pretext that Wei Man's descendants had been harboring too many Chinese deserters." Despite complications of the two forces by land and sea acting in a non-coordinated manner, the Han were able to force the local leaders to surrender in 108 BC. Thus four commanderies were established to administer Han's new territory, those being Lintun Commandery, Chenpan Commandery, Xuantu Commandery, and Lelang Commandery.
  • Page 449: The territorial extent of the influence of these commanderies is still questionable. Chenpan and Lintun were disbanded in 82 BC and their populations withdrawn. By 2 AD, the two remaining commanderies of Xuantu and Lelang had only three and twenty-five counties, respectively. One of the counties of Xuantu was called Gaogouli, which th ename "Korea" is derived from. Lelang also had a county named Chaoxian, which the Korean name Joseon is derived from.
  • Page 449: Unlike other parts of the empire, there was no grave military threat facing Han in the Korean Peninsula, so there was no need to establish Dependent States.
  • Page 449: In regards to archaeological finds, remnants of the headquarters of Lelang have been excavated as well as a number of Han tombs built for senior officials and gentry near Pyongyang.

Relations During Later Han[edit]

  • Page 450: During the final years of Wang Mang's reign from 20 to 23 AD, the native Koreans raided Lelang Commandery, making off with 1,500 Chinese settlers as slaves. By the time Han reasserted its authority in 30 AD, it had to reluctantly acknowledge the authority of some local Korean leaders.
  • Page 450: At around this time, the new state of Goguryeo was coalescing to the north along the Yalu River. Goguryeo gradually built strength throughout the 1st century AD before making an attack on the Han commanderies in Korea in 106 AD. In this assault, Goguryeo managed to drive Han forces as west as the Commandery of Liaodong (Liaodong Peninsula). However, the Han regained their lost territories in 132 AD.
  • Page 450: In 175, the secessionist Gongsun Du, son of an official who served in Xuantu Commandery, established his own state and gained the acceptance of his neighbors Goguryeo and even the Buyeo Kingdom further north. However, just before the fall of Han, Gongsun's kingdom was conquered by Cao Cao, who established the new Daifang Commandery that had its headquarters near what is now modern Seoul.
  • Page 450-451: Meanwhile, the native Samhan confederacies of Byeonhan confederacy, Jinhan confederacy, and Mahan confederacy had formed in the southern portion of Korea. They became quite powerful and perhaps controlled the territories which the first Japanese envoys traveled through to reach the Han court of Luoyang in 57 AD and 107 AD. Emperor Guangwu of Han had given the Japanese emissaries of 57 AD a golden seal, which was later discovered and identified in 1784 in Shiga (Chikuzen).

The South (Nanyue)[edit]

Chinese Expansion[edit]

  • Page 451-452: Not long after the Qin Dynasty had established the commanderies of Guilin, Nanhai, and Xiang to the southwest, a local leader named Zhao Tuo (whose family came from Zhending in Northern China) proclaimed himself an independent king of Nanyue. This position and title were confirmed by Emperor Gaozu of Han in 196 BC.
  • Page 452: However, he was not exactly on friendly terms with Han, as he proclaimed himself a "di" or emperor and openly resented Empress Lü Zhi's ban on exports of metal wares and female stock animals to Nanyue. Diplomat Lu Jia visited his kingdom again in 180 BC and through his negotiating skills convinced Zhao Tuo to drop the "di" from his title and pay homage to Han as a nominal vassal.
  • Page 452: After the Han made a prompt effort to help Nanyue in fending off an attack from Minyue in 135 BC, King Wen of Nanyue must have been impressed with Han, for he sent a son to serve at Chang'an, not as a princely hostage, but as serve duties at the palace. Nonetheless, the Nanyue Kingdom did not pay regular homage to the Han court as promised, but the Han court was not anxious to call them out on this and wanted to avoid conflict.
  • Page 452-453: In 113 BC, there was a move at the court of Nanyue by the queen dowager (who was Chinese and whose son was that same prince who went to Chang'an) to have Nanyue become a regular kingdom under Han and thus formally integrated into the Han Empire. However, the high ministers of Nanyue balked at the idea and her initiative was nipped in the bud.
  • Page 453: The main Nanyue official in opposition to the queen dowager was Lü Jia. He and his supporters had the queen dowager executed in 112 BC, a move which provoked Han into action. In 111 BC, a Han naval force led by generals Lu Bode and Yang Pu made their way to Panyu (Canton) and forced it to surrender. After defeating Nanyue, they established nine new commanderies in the south, which included modern Guangdong, Guangxi, Hainan Island, and northern Vietnam. It should be noted that the Han court eventually abandoned its two commanderies on Hainan Island though, one in 82 BC andthe other in 46 BC.

Han Control: Loyalty and Rebellion[edit]

  • Page 453: The Book of Han tells of a maritime kingdom named Huangzhi beyond Rinan that could only be reached by sea, and had allegedly been sending tribute since the time of Emperor Wu of Han but the only precise reference was in 2 AD with rhinoceros tribute. Scholars still debate where Huangzhi was located: Africa? India? Malaysia? It most likely refers to a kingdom of the Malay Peninsula. In any case, it reveals the Chinese by the Han period already had knowledge of seafaring people (on non-Chinese ships) who came through the South China Sea to China.
  • Page 454: The people of the nine commanderies in what was formerly Nanyue were not fully assimilated into Chinese culture even by the reign of Wang Mang, and spoke a flurry of different languages.
  • Page 454: In 40 AD, the Trưng Sisters (in Chinese known as the 徵 Zheng sisters) rebelled against Han authority. The general Ma Yuan (Han Dynasty), with 10,000 soldiers, was charged with putting down the rebellion, which culminated in the execution of the Trưng Sisters, Zheng Ce and Zheng Er. Ma Yuan was a decorated veteran who had also put down revolts of Qiang tribes further north.
  • Page 454: For the most part the commanderies of former Nanyue were peaceful and the tribal leaders there paid regular homage and tribute to Luoyang during Eastern Han. However, between 100 and 184 AD there were seven major outbreaks of rebellion.

The Southeast (Minyue)[edit]

  • Page 455-456: Various chieftains (calling themselves kings) ruled the southeast and traced their descent to Goujian, a famous Yue king who lived in the 5th century BC. When the Han Dynasty was established, so was Minyue in 202 BC and Donghai in 192 BC, which was also called Dongou. During the Rebellion of the Seven States against the Han in 154 BC, the Donghai Kingdom sided with the rebel King of Wu but soon switched sides when they accepted a bribe to kill the King of Wu.
  • Page 456: When Minyue attacked Donghai in 138 BC, Donghai looked to Han for aid. Although Supreme Commander Tian Fen opposed sending aid, Zhaung Zhu supported it. Before the Han force could arrive in the southeast, Minyue backed off and withdrew from the war effort. On request of the Donghai king to the Han court, the Donghai kingdom was moved into the Han interior between the Yangzi River and Huai River.
  • Page 456-457: The Han government interceded in a Minyue attack on Nanyue in 135 BC, following which a Minyue crisis at court allowed Han to set up a puppet king on the Minyue throne. Furthermore, the Han established the new kingdom of Dongyue which was ruled by the younger brother of the Minyue king that had just been deposed by Han. However, Dongyue attacked and killed some Han officials in 112 BC while Dongyue's king took on the title of a Chinese emperor. The Han sent armies by land and sea, conquering Dongyue, killing its king, and forcing the populace to surrender. Although the histories say that the Han thereafter evacuated the undeveloped area, it is known that the only great settlement built there to begin with was the town of Dongyue which was located along the Min River (Fujian). It is known that by 83 AD this town served as a shipping seaport for ocean-going ships carrying tribute from the far south. It is possible that some new counties were created in the late 2nd century, but nothing is entirely confirmed about the colonization of this region.

The Southwest[edit]

  • Page 458: There was some sort of trade route that existed in the southwestern frontier, for when Zhang Qian visited Bactria in Central Asia in 122 BC, he noted that goods from Shu (Sichuan, this name from the old State of Shu) were on sale in their markets by Chinese merchants. The Han court sent explorers to find a route to India, but the ruler of the Dian Kingdom detained these travelers in Kunming for possibly four years.
  • Page 458-459: Despite this, after the Han court established Yizhou Commandery in what is now Yunnan in 109 BC, they acknowledged the King of Dian with a king's title. A Han royal seal conferred onto this king has recently been discovered in an excavation of Shizhaishan. Also found at the site were a plethora of goods proving Dian was a crossroads of different cultures, including items from the Scythians, Dong Son culture, and China.
  • Page 460: Tribute from local leaders in the southwest to Luoyang included musicians and entertainers who claimed to be from the Mediterranean world.

Contacts with the Mediterranean World[edit]

  • Page 460-461: Yu says that the Book of Later Han says emissaries from beyond Rinan claimed to come from Daqin, ruled by Andun, and brought gifts of ivory, rhinoceros horn, and tortoise shells. Yu says they may have been from the Roman Empire and Andun could be interpreted as Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, but nothing is confirmed. The Chinese had ventured into Central Asia ever since the travels of Zhang Qian and discovered lands as far west as Anxi (Parthia), which was Parthia. The Book of Later Han says that the Parthians were determined from keeping the Chinese from traveling to Rome, and prevented Gan Ying from doing so in 97 AD when sent by Ban Chao. It is known that Chinese silk reached the Roman world while Roman objects of ornaments and precious metals reached China.
  • Page 461-462: However, Dr. Manfred Rashke argues that there is no surmountable evidence to suggest that the Han upheld a large export trade of silk and that Roman funds were not drained away by purchasing Chinese silk to the extent that some scholars have asserted.

Qin and Han Law[edit]

Hulsewé, A.F.P. (1986). "Ch'in and Han law," in The Cambridge History of China: Volume I: the Ch'in and Han Empires, 221 B.C. – A.D. 220, 520-544. Edited by Denis Twitchett and Michael Loewe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521243270.

General principles[edit]

  • Page 523: QUOTE: "Ancient texts assume unambiguously the existence of strictly hierarchical principles whereby Chinese society was organized and shaped, as it were, like a pyramid. This type of organization continued to prevail during the empires, and although the god-kingship of a distant past had many centuries ago been transmuted into rule by secular princes, the person of the ruler continued to be surrounded by religious awe. Consequently, undertakings against his person or his government were considered to be heinous crimes. The same atmosphere surrounded his dwelling place and his tomb, as well as places more directly concerned with religion; untoward events there were taken more seriously than when they happened on less sacred soil. In the same way the hierarchic principle remained in force within the family, resulting in a difference in the appreciation of acts by descendants againsts ascendants and by seniors against juniors; maltreatment of parents and, of course, patricide and matricide fell under the category of heinous and hence unpardonable crimes. The same standards were applied to governors and the persons they governed, teach and pupils, owner and slaves."
  • Page 523: QUOTE: Another archaic phenomenon was the undivided responsibility of the group for acts committed by one of its members. Especially in the case of heinous crimes, family members of the evildoer also suffered punishment, sometimes death, sometimes enslavement. An outgrowth of this originally archaic trait in later ages was the dismissal of government personnel whose appointment had been due to the guilty party.
  • Page 523: Already in the pre-imperial period, judges differentiated between murderous killings (with malice and foresight), wittingly killing, killing by mistake, and killing by accident.
  • Page 523-524: QUOTE: "Notwithstanding the archaic traits, the main body of laws was rational and political, consisting of specific regulations aimed at the smooth functioning of government and the maintenance of its stability by the preservation of law and order in society. These rules represent a great step in the process of secularization of Chinese society. They are far from archaic and are no longer based only on "natural law" or on time-hallowed custom and usage; they are quite clearly expressions of the will of the ruler."
  • Page 524-525: Hulsewe says that the hierarchic principle should not be confused with status, at least during the Han period. He says that the orders of honor gave people privileges such as exemption and reduction of punishments for crimes. There is also the distinction between free people and slaves. However, during the Han great magnates and manor families had people work for them who weren't entirely free commoners or slaves, but something in between, the serflike tenants who became unfree servants. It should be noted that the slave population never reached great proportions, while C. Martin Wilbur asserts that in the Western Han the slave population could not have exceeded 1% of the entire population of 60 million. Slaves could be privately owned or owned and managed by the government.
  • Page 525: QUOTE: "It is characteristic for the whole of traditional Chinese law as embodied in the codes that it is solely concerned with public matters, being administrative and penal. Private law, pertaining to the family and to trade and commerce other than the state monopolies, remained outside the field of regimentation by public authority and continued to be ruled by custom and usage. Part of the custom regarding the family was enshrined in the texts which belonged to the Confucian canon, especially the Li-chi (Book of Rites), but the Confucianization of society, and of the law codes, was a slow process which found only partial fulfillment in the T'ang code in the seventh century A.D. As a result of this concern with public law, our sources provide much data on administrative and penal regulations, but very little on family and commercial usage."

The Codes[edit]

  • Page 525-526: There are a few myths about the first lawgivers in China (during the age of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors), but aside from this the Chinese did not attribute their written laws to some divine lawgiver; they viewed laws as rules of correct behavior which could be crafted by intellects. Law codes predating the Han have been found; for example, a Qin State law code of 30 selected statutes regarding a subordinate local official of the 4th century BC was found in 1975.
  • Page 526: The first law code of the Han Dynasty was compiled by Chancellor Xiao He (d. 193 BC) in 200 BC. It is said that he expanded an already existing Qin law code of six chapters to nine chapters. These chapters were concerned with criminal matters, while two dealt with procedure specifically. It was thus a criminal code consisting strictly of statutes (lu), but after the Han Dynasty the law codes of subsequent dynasties used ordinances (ling), rulings (gu), models (shih), and decrees (zhi). The latter four subdivisions of law did not exist during the Han Dynasty.
  • Page 527: We do not know exactly how large the entire Han law code of the "nine statutes" was, but there are hints at how large it was in the 6th century Book of Wei (Hulsewe's footnote #23 here). The latter work says that the entire Han law code consisted of 960 rolls. There were 490 articles on the death penalty which entailed 1,882 different offenses and 3,472 analogies or pieces of case law. In addition, it says there were 26,272 articles in 7,732,200 words that were used to decide punishments. As described in the Book of Han, there were complaints made in the 1st century BC that the Han law code in its entirety filled tables and cubboards to the brim and often confounded scholars of law who did not know how to apply the law in many situations. It continues by saying QUOTE: "the legal texts gathered dust and became moth-eaten on the shelves, as nobody was able to peruse them all."
  • Page 527: The enormous size of the Han criminal law code can be compared to the Jin Dynasty criminal law code of 1,522 articles, the Liang Dynasty criminal law code of 2,529 articles, the Northern Wei criminal law code of 832 articles, the Sui Dynasty criminal law code of 500 articles, and the Tang Dynasty criminal law code which retained the same number of 500 owing to the classical amount of articles from the Book of Documents.

The Judicial Authorities[edit]

  • Page 528: In ancient and traditional China, there was no distinction between the administrator and the judicial official. The county magistrate was the county judge, and the commandery governor was the commandery judge. The jurisdictions of these two overlapped but did not cause friction or conflict; the commandery governor encouraged his county magistrates to be diligent with keeping law and order so that he would not have to step in and handle matters as judge. Whoever arrested the culprit of a crime first would be the first to judge him.
  • Page 528: Since the Superintendant of Ceremonial (taichang, also Minister of Ceremonies, one of the Nine Ministers) was in charge of the counties where imperial tombs and their attached settlements were located, he was the judge of these counties.
  • Page 528-529: One of the other Nine Ministers was the Superintendant of Trials, or rather the Commandant of Justice (tingwei); he was the supreme judge and final authority of appeal, with the theoretical exception of the emperor. He often dealt with cases of attempted regicide and rebellion, most often when kings, marquises, or high-ranking officials were involved. The so-called "doubtful cases" were also referred to him; these were cases in which administrators could not find a correct verdict. It should be noted that he had no regular jurisdiction over the emperor's servants, high-ranking ministers and their staffs, and governors and marquisates of the provinces. Judicial cases involving all of the latter were handled by a subordinate of the Chancellor of China.
  • Page 529: Above the Commandant of Justice was the emperor, the supreme judge and lawgiver. His will could override any existing regulations or immunities. He could order any official to act as a judge in a law case, even of those who normally did not function as judges. The nobility of kings and marquises had no judicial authority in theory, but in the early Western Han Dynasty encroachments in this sphere by kings were tolerated by the emperors (however, marquises never acted as judges, and were always simply entitled to stipends from taxes collected in their county). However, after the Rebellion of the Seven States in 154 BC, they lost all of their powers and were rigorously excluded from judicial activities.
  • Page 529: Although the governors and county magistrates were considered the only judges in the areas they governed, there was a staff (of law professionals) to assist them in this daunting task.
  • Page 530: The head of a household could also act as a judge of family members. However, this pater familias was not allowed to kill or mutilate members of his family as punishment. The meting out of capital punishment was the sole right of the official county magistrate, commandery governor, commandant of justice in the capital, or the emperor. Revenge was hailed in the classics as a sacred duty of the filial son and loyal subject, but the official authorities in reality frowned upon it and did everything they could to prevent it. During the course of the Han Dynasty, QUOTE: "punishment of persons guilty of taking revenge grew heavier."
  • Page 530: In cases of private property disputes brought before a county magistrate, he seems to have acted more as an arbiter than a judge.

The Judicial Process[edit]

  • Page 531: Suspects and criminals were arrested by county police or the posthouse chiefs. These men were often retired military servicemen. In their new job they were subordinates of the county chief of police. Some arrests were made by using careful detective work, such as reading of footprints. Suspects would be incarcerated and eventually interrogated. Sometimes torture by the use of a bastinado was carried out to gain a confession. Han judges often warned against torture and beatings of suspects, while court conferences in the capital were sometimes centered on how many strokes should be allowed against a suspect in interrogation. Also, laws specified that the sticks used in the beatings should be of a prescribed weight and size so that severe harm would not be inflicted.
  • Page 531-532: It seems that Han county magistrates had the right to dish out the death penalty to criminal offenders. It was only in later centuries after Han that the central government reserved the right to decide capital punishment and county magistrates had to seek its permission first before administering the death penalty. However, it is known that in the Han there was one exception to the county magistrate's rights to decide capital punishment. If he wanted to execute members of a particular social group, such as those holding noble titles, high-ranking officials, or even members of the gentry class, he had to gain permission from the throne first.
  • Page 532: Regardless of rank, if one committed a heinous crime they were not given a privilege of escaping punishment. This included attacking the emperor, desecrating his palace or imperial tombs, or committing bizarre acts such as incest. QUOTE: "Persons guilty of such crimes were invariably put to death, often under horrible tortures; their close relatives were beheaded, and other relatives and dependents were enslaved or banished."
  • Page 532: When people such as young children and the eldery were jailed, they were supposed to be treated leniently, meaning they were not to be fettered, their punishment mandated by law could be decreased, and they could avoid being prosecuted if their crime was not a heinous one. Women are also another privileged group. When condemned to do hard labor, they did not have to do the same back-breaking stuff that men did. Women could also hire someone to do their convict labor for them! Given that their labor period was only a few months. If longer, they were not allowed to hire a substitute.

Forms of Punishment[edit]

  • Page 532: QUOTE: "Early traditional China knew three types of punishment: the death penalty, the mutilating punishments, and hard labor. Imprisonment as a punishment was unknown; prisons served to lodge suspects and convicts during the hearings, and pending the execution of the verdict."
  • Page 532-533: QUOTE: "The death penalty normally consisted of beheading, called 'casting away in the marketplace'; this could be rendered more shameful by the exposure of the corpse or by mounting the head on a pole. Then there was 'the cutting into two at the waist,' executed by means of a blade hinged on a block. And finally there was 'the application of the five punishments,' whereby the victim was horribly mutilated before being killed. This cruel punishment was often applied to persons who had committed one of the heinous crimes. Around the sixth century of our era, strangling came to be added to the death penalties, whereas 'cutting in two at the waist,' although maintained in the text of the codes, was no longer applied."
  • Page 533: QUOTE: "The mutilating punishments originally consisted of tattooing the face, cutting off the nose, and amputation of one or both feet, but these mutilations tended to disappear. Already by 167 BC they had been formally abolished and replaced by a varying number of strokes of the bastinado, and even these were gradually decreased. The names of these punishments continued in use, whereas their form was completely changed. Another mutilating punishment that was occasionally used was castration, sometimes in commutation of the death penalty."
  • Page 533: QUOTE: "The punishment most frequently inflicted was hard labor, for a varying number of years, and this was normally preceded by the bastinado. Here also, archaic terms were used which no longer referred to actual practice, such as 'spirit firewood,' explained as 'cutting firewood to be used in the sacrifices to the spirits,' or 'wall dawn,' which supposedly meant that the convict had to build defense walls and stand guard from early dawn. In actual fact, convicts were condemned to hard labor for periods varying from one to five years; the latter could be aggravated by shaving the head and the beard, and sometimes by the application of leg irons and an iron collar, whence there arose the colloquial expression 'collar man'."
  • Page 533: QUOTE: "In general, hard labor convicts worked on public works inside China proper, building roads and embankments and digging canals, and also occasionally preparing imperial tombs; they were rarely sent to the borders, although there are instances when the government dispatched amnestied capital offenders to join the frontier defense forces. Sometimes hard labor convicts were employed, together with government slaves, in the state foundries and mining offices."
  • Page 533: QUOTE: "Women could likewise be condemned to hard labor, but their tasks were different; originally they seem to have been made to hull and sift grain, and the Ch'in rule, describing in detail the quantities of refined grain obtained by pounding, may well have been applicable to them. Later developments are unknown."
  • Page 533-534: QUOTE: "Amnesties were sometimes proclaimed. No details are known for Ch'in, but in Han this was usually done on the occasion of happy events, such as enthronements. Amnesties either extended to all condemned persons, often including even capital cases, or they were restricted to certain groups or even to certain areas. For capital cases, punishment was commuted to 'the death penalty decreased by one degree,' the heaviest form of hard labor. Others were "freed from their prisoner status," but were still obliged to finish their term by working for the government; however, they were no longer chained and made to wear 'russet clothes.'"
  • Page 534: QUOTE: "Redemption of punishment was common practice during both the Ch'in and the Han periods; the technical term, shu, is also used for slaves buying their freedom. Redemption must have been frequently allowed, in view of the number of times it is mentioned in the Ch'in laws, which permit it for banishment, hard labor, mutilating and tattooing, castration, and even the death penalty. For the Han period, the documentation is not so clear."
  • Page 535: QUOTE: "Redemption is not to be confused with the fine. As far as the material allows us to observe, fines under the Ch'in were of two types. In the first place, fines were imposed on officials for misdemeanors in the official sphere. The amounts of such fines were not expressed in money; they consisted of arms one or two suits of armor, one or two shields, or several tens of sets of laces used to string scale armor together. In the second place, commoners could be 'fined' with shorter or longer periods of corvée labor or military service. During the Han period this situation continued, but both the name and the amount were changed: 'fine' was no longer tzu but fa, and instead of armor, other items, ounces of gold had to be paid."
  • Page 535-536: QUOTE: "Banishment appears to have been a normal punishment under Ch'in, when exiles were sent to the newly conquered region of Shu in the west. In Han times, however, it was used far less. Deposed kings were punished by forced residence in the interior provinces, whereas persons whose death penalty had been commuted and relatives of persons executed for heinous crimes were banished to the frontiers, either to the northwest (Tun-huang), or to the deep south (present-day Kwangtung province or northern Vietnam). It is to be noted that, in contrast to the practice in ancient Greece, but similar to that in tsarist Russia, Chinese exiles were escorted to their destination inside the empire; they were handed over to the local authorities there and remained subject to official control. So far, no information has become available concerning the further fate of these exiles; we do not know whether they were made to work or held in prison."

Administrative Rules[edit]

  • Page 536: Although many records have been lost regarding administrative rules in Han China, historians can piece together enough documents to construct a satisfactory outline for administrative rules. This includes the rules and regulations regarding appointment, promotion, and dismissal of officials, the ordinances followed by all men, and the regulations regarding different government agencies.
  • Page 536-537: It is known that up until the Tang Dynasty (618–907), QUOTE: "all adults paid a poll tax in cash or in kind (usually certain lengths of silk or hemp cloth), depending on the period. Merchants were assessed at a higher rate, while the owners of slaves had to pay twice the normal amount for each slave. Again, depending on the period, women, and sometimes younger male members of the household, paid less, as did children. Besides this personal tax, which during the Han period was established at a theoretical 120 cash, there was the land tax, fixed at one-fifteenth of the harvest at the beginning of the Han dynasty, around 200 B.C., to be reduced to one-thirtieth a few decades later and remaining unchanged for several centuries. Besides these major taxes there existed a sales tax, and in times of financial stress, a capital levy."
  • Page 537: QUOTE: "The land tax was paid in kind, being part of the harvest; the poll tax was paid in cash during the Former Han period, but since at least the middle of the first century A.D. this tax came increasingly to be paid in kind. This was usually in lengths of hempen tissue, but it was sometimes paid in silk or in quantities of silk floss."
  • Page 537: QUOTE: "It is to be noted that the growing number of tenants of the landed gentry paid neither poll tax nor land tax to the government, but a land rent to their landlords. Land rents were always quite high, averaging half or two-thirds of the harvest, even on government-held land during periods of strong central power."
  • Page 537: QUOTE: "In principle, all males of a certain age, which varied in the course of the centuries between fifteen and twenty-three years, down to a theoretical limit at fifty-six or sixty, had to perform corvée labor in their home county during a fixed period. This labor was mostly used in public works that often included the maintenance of government buildings, such as offices or storehouses, and sometimes building roads and canals or repairing dikes. In case of flood, the corvée laborers were called up to fill the breach, sometimes being kept longer than the statutory period until the dike was repaired. As the statutes permitted the hiring of a substitute, it is evident that the system required conscription of only a certain portion of the available manpower."
  • Page 538: QUOTE: "Another duty which was likewise imposed on all males was that of military service, but it seems that in this case also only a fraction of those who were available were drafted. Those drafted served the first year in their home commanderies and then a second year either in the armies garrisoned around the capital or on the frontier; conscripts of kingdoms performed their whole service within its borders...This system was in force for the first two centuries of the dynasty's existence, but under the Later Han military conscription fell into disuse. It was revived again temporarily under the following dynasties. During these later periods the armies consisted mostly of volunteers and of hired foreign tribesmen. But regardless of whether the troops were foreign or native, a multitude of rules and regulations applied to the army, although only a few items are mentioned in our sources."
  • Page 538: QUOTE: "It is among the archaeological material that many rules have been found, as well as numerous examples of their application in practice. These finds demonstrate the demand for exact bookkeeping, including the maintenance of lists of stores and equipment, and for annual and semi-annual reports. They include unexpected rules such as those for annual archery tests, awarding merit for good results, certificates of blameless conduct needed for obtaining a passport, documents granting leave of absence to persons to go and bury their parents, and tax returns, as well as circulars demanding the arrest of counterfeiters and fugitives from jusstice. In short, theyshow, albeit in fragmentary form, the working of a bureaucratic machinery governed by a host of rules and regulations."

Private Law[edit]

  • Page 542: QUOTE: "The early ritual handbooks depict a clan system in which the eldest member of the senior branch possessed considerable power. This system continued to prevail in imperial times, but it had to contend with the rules bequeathed by the Legalist Ch'in government (221–210 BC) that had been taken over unchanged by the early Han rulers. As a result, for example, adult married sons were compelled to have a household separate from that of their father, in contrast with the Confucian ideal of having all generations living under the same roof."
  • Page 542: QUOTE: "Marriage was monogamous insofar as a man could have only one official wife; in theory, however, he could have an unlimited number of concubines. Marriages between slaves were recognized by law, although we know nothing about the way in which slaves found, or were given, partners. We hear about marriage presents, such as dowries, but from this early period nothing is known about their disposal in case of divorce. We do happen to know that the dowry of a criminal wife was ceded to her husband."
  • Page 542-543: QUOTE: "The Confucian rules for marriage insisted not only on a very strict clan exogamy, resulting in the prohibition of taking a woman of the same surname as wife or concubine, but also excluded a considerable number of blood relations as possible marriage partners. In Han times, however, these rules were applied far less strictly, at least among the higher strata of society (the only group about which we are somewhat well informed.) In later times, the initiative for divorce could be taken only by the husband, but for the Han period there are several attested instances of women taking the decision to separate."
  • Page 543: QUOTE: "For the marquisates (or nobilities) of the Han period, only a son born from the chief wife was allowed to succeed to his father's title and estate; if no such son existed, and in spite of the existence of sons and concubines, the incumbent was said to have 'died without posterity' and the fief reverted to the state. In the other strata of society, no difference is known to have been made between the sons or wives and concubines; they seem to have been entitled to equal shares in the inheritance. Testamentary disposal of property seems to have been unknown."
  • Page 543: QUOTE: "Commerce was actively pursued, in spite of opposition to tade in the prevalent philosophies, as is fully apparent from the texts. Thus, the Shih-chi and Han shu enumerate different types of business which could lead to the accumulation of great riches. Merchants traded all over China and even with the people outside its borders at officially controlled markets, but little is known about overseas trade and nothing at all about maritime law. The only certain evidence left is archaeological, consisting of deeds of sale of land, and a few deeds for the sale of clothing; these latter concern expensive gowns traded between men serving on the distant northwestern frontier. The contracts contain a description of the goods transferred, the amount paid, the names of the buyer and seller, the date of transfer and the signatures of witnesses."
  • Page 543-544: QUOTE: "In the case of sales of land, the location is given in relation to the neighboring properties. Often there is mention of the price of the wine with which the deal was sealed. The land deeds mostly contain clauses transferring the standing growth and possible treasure trove to the buyer. The buyer is likewise freed from the former owner's inherent right of redemption; this feature is apparently peculiar to the Chinese concept of sale. It has been shown that ownership of land was always relative, never constituting an absolute right in rem; in the end, ownership remained vested in the state, which could always claim its rights. Under these conditions, the land tax may be considered as land rent, paid in respect of the usufruct."