Ziying

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Ziying
子嬰
ruler of Qin
Reign October – December 207 BC
Predecessor Qin Er Shi
Born Unknown
Died January 206 BC
Full name
Family name: Ying (贏)
Clan name: Zhao (趙)
Given name: Ziying (子嬰)
Posthumous name
Emperor Shang of Qin (秦殤帝)
House Qin dynasty
Father Unknown (no firm consensus; candidates include Fusu, Zhao Chengjiao)
Ziying
Traditional Chinese 子嬰
Simplified Chinese 子婴
Literal meaning Infant son
Qin Sanshi
Chinese 秦三世
Literal meaning Qin Third Generation

Ziying[a] (died January 206 BC) was the third and last ruler of the Qin dynasty. He ruled over a fragmented Qin Empire for 46 days from mid-October to early December in 207 BC. He is referred to in some sources with the posthumous name Emperor Shang of Qin (秦殤帝), despite Qin abolishing the practice of posthumous names. (In Chinese tradition, someone who even though never held a ruling title while alive might be given the posthumous title "emperor" after his death.)

Identity[edit]

There is no firm consensus on what Ziying's relationship to the Qin royal family really is. He is mentioned in historical records as the son of Fusu, the eldest son of Qin Shi Huang. However, historian Professor Wang Liqun suggested that he was probably one of Qin Shi Huang's brothers. While Records of the Grand Historian does not specify Ziying's age, it implies that he had at least two sons, whom he consulted. According to Prof Wang's analysis, the maximum possible age of Ziying when he assassinated Zhao Gao was 19. Therefore, his sons would have probably been around the ages of 1–2, and hence it was not possible for him to consult them. It seems more likely that Ziying was an uncle of Qin Er Shi (and hence a brother of Qin Shi Huang) instead of Fusu's son. Some historians, including Li Kaiyuan and Ma Feibai, have also suggested that Ziying might be a son of Chengjiao, Qin Shi Huang's younger half-brother.

Life[edit]

After Qin Er Shi's death, Zhao Gao chose Ziying to be successor, and changed the ruling title "emperor" back to "king" because the Qin Dynasty at that time was as weak as the former Qin State, which no longer ruled the whole of China, but held onto only Guanzhong.

Ziying was the only person within the Qin imperial court to defend and try to persuade Qin Er Shi against the wrongful executions of Meng Tian and Meng Yi. He lured Zhao Gao, the regent who assassinated Qin Er Shi, into a trap and killed him. Ziying later surrendered to Liu Bang, the leader of the first group of rebel forces to occupy Xianyang, the Qin capital. He was eventually killed along with his family by another rebel leader, Xiang Yu.

Legacy[edit]

Ziying sometimes appears as a door god in Chinese and Taoist temples, usually paired with his successor, Emperor Yi of Chu.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Although the last Qin ruler is often referred to as "Ying Ziying" according to modern Chinese naming conventions, it was not customary to combine family names with given names in ancient China.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Baxter, William & al. "Baxter–Sagart Reconstruction of Old Chinese Archived April 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.", pp. 6 & 148. 2011. Accessed 10 December 2013.
Third Generation of Qin
 Died: 206 BC
Regnal titles
Recreated
Title last held by
Qin Shi Huang
King of Qin
207 BC
Extinct