Emperor Houshao of Han

Emperor Houshao of Han (190 BC – 14 November 180 BC), personal name Liu Hong, was the fourth emperor of the Han Dynasty in China. He was a son of Emperor Hui, likely by a concubine—although there is some controversy on the subject—and adopted by Emperor Hui's wife, Empress Zhang Yan. At the instigation of his grandmother, Empress Dowager Lü, Empress Zhang had Emperor Houshao's mother put to death.

Very little about Emperor Houshao's life and personality is known. There are only a few major important events in his life that are documented (which does not even include the year of his birth). In 188 BC, his father Emperor Hui died, and his brother Liu Gong succeeded to the throne as Emperor Qianshao. In 187 BC, he was made the Marquess of Xiangcheng. In 186 BC, after his brother Liu Buyi (劉不疑), the Prince of Hengshan, died, he was made the Prince of Hengshan, and his name was changed to Liu Yi, likely because it was considered inappropriate to have one's name (or one's male ancestors' names) share characters with one's titles.

Some time during or before 184 BC, Emperor Qianshao discovered that he was not, in fact, now-Empress Dowager Zhang's son and that his mother, like Prince Hong's mother, had been put to death. Emperor Qianshao made the mistake of publicly making the remark that when he grew up, Empress Dowager Zhang would pay for this. Grand Empress Dowager Lü, once she heard of this, had Emperor Qianshao secretly imprisoned within the palace and publicly announced that he was severely ill and unable to receive anyone.

After some time, Grand Empress Dowager Lü told the officials that he continued to be ill and incapable of governing, and that he had also suffered a psychosis. She proposed that he be deposed and replaced. The officials complied with her wishes, and he was deposed and put to death. Prince Hong then succeeded his brother to the throne as Emperor Houshao and in effect as Grand Empress Dowager Lü's puppet. Because Grand Empress Dowager Lü was actually the ruling figure, one thing that is normally done when a new emperor succeeds to the throne—the resetting of the calendar year to one—was not done; rather, the calendar continued from the start of Emperor Qianshao's reign.

In the autumn of 180 BC, Grand Empress Dowager Lü died of an illness. Emperor Houshao, however, still had few actual powers, because power was still largely controlled by the Lü clan. Indeed, the grand empress dowager's will required him to marry the daughter of her nephew Lü Lu (呂禄) and make her empress. The officials of the imperial government, led by Chen Ping and Zhou Bo, however, formed a conspiracy against the Lü clan, and they were successful in surprising the Lü clan and slaughtering them. Afterwards, the conspirators met and made the assertion that none of the sons of Emperor Hui was actually his. Admitting that they were concerned that these imperial children, when they grew up, would take vengeance on the officials, the conspirators resolved to find a replacement emperor.

After a period of disagreement, they settled on Emperor Houshao's uncle, Prince Liu Heng of Dai. Prince Heng soon arrived in the capital Xi'an and was declared emperor, and Emperor Houshao was deposed. Initially, one of the officials involved in the conspiracy, Emperor Houshao's cousin, Liu Xingju, the Marquess of Dongmou, merely expelled Emperor Houshao from the palace and had him stay at the Ministry of Palace Supplies. Some of the imperial guard still wished to resist the coup d'etat but were eventually persuaded by the officials to desist. Some time later that year, Emperor Houshao was executed. Historians are of the view that his wife, Empress Lü, was also executed, but there is no explicit evidence to support this view.

Emperor Houshao, considered to be a mere puppet of Grand Empress Dowager Lü, is often omitted from the official list of emperors of the Han Dynasty.

Liu Hong
Emperor of the Han Dynasty
Reign184–180 BC
PredecessorLiu Gong
SuccessorEmperor Wen
Died14 November 180 BC
ConsortsLady Lü
Full name
Family name: Liu (劉 liú)
Given name: Hong (弘 hóng)
Posthumous name
None
FatherEmperor Hui

Family

  • Parents:
    • Liu Ying, Emperor Xiaohui (孝惠皇帝 劉盈; 210 BC – 188 BC)
  • Consorts:
    • Empress, of the Lü clan (皇后 呂氏; d. 180 BC), second cousin

See also

  1. Family tree of the Han Dynasty

References

Emperor Houshao of Han
 Died: 180 BC
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Qianshao of Han
Emperor of China
Western Han
184–180 BC
with Empress Dowager Lü (184–180 BC)
Succeeded by
Emperor Wen of Han
Bobby Au-yeung

Bobby Au-yeung Tsan-wah (born 28 July 1960) is a Hong Kong actor best known for his comedic roles in many TVB television dramas. He gained wide public attention in the 1990s for his portrayal of Ben Yu in the 1991 legal drama File of Justice, appearing in all five seasons. Au-yeung is also known for his lead roles in several of TVB's most successful television series franchises, including Armed Reaction, Witness to a Prosecution, and Forensic Heroes. He is most recognised by TV audiences for his shaved head.

Au-yeung graduated from TVB's Artiste Training Academy in 1982 and began appearing in many television dramas as background extras, to roles with minor speaking parts, and later to major supporting roles. He landed his first lead role in the legal drama File of Justice, which premiered in 1992. File of Justice was a major success and spawned five seasons, turning Au-yeung into a major breakout star. Au-yeung won Best Actor at the 2000 TVB Anniversary Awards for his portrayal as Sung Chee in Witness to a Prosecution. In 2007, he became the first Hong Kong actor to receive a nomination for Best Actor at the International Emmy Awards for his performance in Dicey Business.

Emperor Qianshao of Han

Emperor Qianshao of Han (Chinese: 漢前少帝, 193 BC – 15 June 184 BC), personal name said to be Liu Gong (Chinese: 劉恭), was the third emperor of the Han Dynasty in China. He was a son, likely the oldest son, of Emperor Hui, likely by a concubine—although there is some controversy on the subject—and adopted by Emperor Hui's wife, Empress Zhang Yan. At the instigation of his grandmother, Empress Dowager Lü, Empress Zhang had Emperor Qianshao's mother put to death.

Very little about Emperor Qianshao's life and personality is known. There are only a few major important events in his life that are documented (which does not even include the year of his birth). In 188 BC, his father Emperor Hui died, and he, who had been previously made Crown Prince, succeeded to the throne. However, his grandmother, now Grand Empress Dowager Lü, publicly presided over all government affairs.

Sometime in or before 184 BC, Emperor Qianshao discovered that he was not in fact now-Empress Dowager Zhang's son and that his mother had been put to death. He made the mistake of remarking that when he grew up, those who killed his mother would pay for this. Grand Empress Dowager Lü, once she heard of this, had him secretly imprisoned within the palace and publicly announced that he was severely ill and unable to receive anyone. After some time, she told the officials that he continued to be ill and incapable of governing, and that he had also suffered a psychosis. She proposed that he be deposed and replaced. The officials complied with her wishes, and he was deposed and put to death. He was succeeded by his brother Liu Yi, whose name was then changed to Liu Hong.

Emperor Qianshao, considered to be a mere puppet of Grand Empress Dowager Lü, is often omitted from the official list of emperors of the Han Dynasty.

Emperor Shao

Emperor Shao may refer to:

Emperor Qianshao of Han (reign: 188–184 BC), personal name Liu Gong (Qian means "Former")

Emperor Houshao of Han (reign: 184–180 BC), personal name Liu Hong (Hou means "Later")

Emperor Shao of Han (reign: 125), better known as the Marquess of Beixiang, personal name Liu Yi

Emperor Shao of Han (reign: 189), better known as the Prince of Hongnong, personal name Liu Bian

Emperor Shao of Liu Song (reign: 422–424)

Emperor Shao of Tang (reign: 710), the Emperor Shang of Tang (Shang also refers to the minority in age of the emperor)

Emperor Shao of Later Jin, better known by his personal name Shi Chonggui

Emperor Wen of Han

Emperor Wen of Han (202 BC – 6 July 157 BC) was the fifth emperor of the Han dynasty of ancient China. His personal name was Liu Heng.

Liu Heng was a son of Emperor Gao of Han and Consort Bo, later empress dowager. When Emperor Gao suppressed the rebellion of Dai, he made Liu Heng Prince of Dai.

After Empress Dowager Lü's death, the officials eliminated the powerful Lü clan, and deliberately chose the Prince of Dai as the emperor, since his mother, Consort Bo, had no powerful relatives, and her family was known for its humility and thoughtfulness. His reign brought a much needed political stability that laid the groundwork for prosperity under his grandson Emperor Wu. According to historians, Emperor Wen trusted and consulted with ministers on state affairs; under the influence of his Taoist wife, Empress Dou, the emperor also sought to avoid wasteful expenditures.

Historians noted that the tax rates were at a ratio of "1 out of 30" and "1 out of 60", corresponding to 3.33% and 1.67%, respectively. (These rates are not for income taxes, but property taxes, as the only ancient Chinese attempt to levy an income tax would come in the time of Wang Mang.) Warehouses were so full of grain that some of it was left to decay.

Emperor Wen was said by Liu Xiang to have devoted much time to legal cases, and to have been fond of reading Shen Buhai, using Xing-Ming, a form of personnel examination, to control his subordinates. In a move of lasting importance in 165 BC, Wen introduced recruitment to the civil service through examination. Previously, potential officials never sat for any sort of academic examinations. Their names were sent by local officials to the central government based on reputations and abilities, which were sometimes judged subjectively.

Empress Lu (disambiguation)

Empress Lü (呂雉, 241–180 BC), of the Han dynasty, was the first empress in Chinese history.

Empress Lu or Empress Lü may also refer to:

Empress Lü (Houshao) (呂皇后, died 180 BC), wife of Emperor Houshao of Han

Empress Lu (Liu Song dynasty) (路皇后, fl. 465), wife of Emperor Qianfei of Liu Song

Empress Lu (Tang dynasty) (陸皇后, fl. 710), wife of Emperor Shang of Tang

Empress Lü

Empress (Dowager) Lü Zhi (241–180 BC), commonly known as Empress Lü (simplified Chinese: 吕后; traditional Chinese: 呂后; pinyin: Lǚ Hòu) and formally Empress Gao of Han (simplified Chinese: 汉高后; traditional Chinese: 漢高后; pinyin: Hàn Gāo Hòu), was the empress consort of Gaozu, the founding emperor of the Han dynasty. They had two known children, Liu Ying (later Emperor Hui of Han) and Princess Yuan of Lu. Lü was the first woman to assume the title Empress of China. After Gaozu's death, she was honoured as Empress Dowager during the short reigns of Emperor Hui and his successors Emperor Qianshao of Han and Liu Hong (Emperor Houshao).

Less than a year after Emperor Hui's accession to the throne in 194 BC, Lü had Concubine Qi (one of the late Emperor Gaozu's consorts), whom she deeply hated, put to death in a cruel manner. She also had Concubine Qi's son Liu Ruyi poisoned to death. Emperor Hui was shocked by his mother's cruelty and fell sick for a year, and thereafter no longer became involved in state affairs. Lü dominated the political scene for 15 years until her death in 180 BC.

History of the Han dynasty

The Han dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), founded by the peasant rebel leader Liu Bang (known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu), was the second imperial dynasty of China. It followed the Qin dynasty (221–206 BCE), which had unified the Warring States of China by conquest. Interrupted briefly by the Xin dynasty (9–23 CE) of Wang Mang, the Han dynasty is divided into two periods: the Western Han (206 BCE – 9 CE) and the Eastern Han (25–220 CE). These appellations are derived from the locations of the capital cities Chang'an and Luoyang, respectively. The third and final capital of the dynasty was Xuchang, where the court moved in 196 CE during a period of political turmoil and civil war.

The Han dynasty ruled in an era of Chinese cultural consolidation, political experimentation, relative economic prosperity and maturity, and great technological advances. There was unprecedented territorial expansion and exploration initiated by struggles with non-Chinese peoples, especially the nomadic Xiongnu of the Eurasian Steppe. The Han emperors were initially forced to acknowledge the rival Xiongnu Chanyus as their equals, yet in reality the Han was an inferior partner in a tributary and royal marriage alliance known as heqin. This agreement was broken when Emperor Wu of Han (r. 141–87 BCE) launched a series of military campaigns which eventually caused the fissure of the Xiongnu Federation and redefined the borders of China. The Han realm was expanded into the Hexi Corridor of modern Gansu province, the Tarim Basin of modern Xinjiang, modern Yunnan and Hainan, modern northern Vietnam, modern North Korea, and southern Outer Mongolia. The Han court established trade and tributary relations with rulers as far west as the Arsacids, to whose court at Ctesiphon in Mesopotamia the Han monarchs sent envoys. Buddhism first entered China during the Han, spread by missionaries from Parthia and the Kushan Empire of northern India and Central Asia.

From its beginning, the Han imperial court was threatened by plots of treason and revolt from its subordinate kingdoms, the latter eventually ruled only by royal Liu family members. Initially, the eastern half of the empire was indirectly administered through large semi-autonomous kingdoms which pledged loyalty and a portion of their tax revenues to the Han emperors, who ruled directly over the western half of the empire from Chang'an. Gradual measures were introduced by the imperial court to reduce the size and power of these kingdoms, until a reform of the middle 2nd century BCE abolished their semi-autonomous rule and staffed the kings' courts with central government officials. Yet much more volatile and consequential for the dynasty was the growing power of both consort clans (of the empress) and the eunuchs of the palace. In 92 CE, the eunuchs entrenched themselves for the first time in the issue of the emperors' succession, causing a series of political crises which culminated in 189 CE with their downfall and slaughter in the palaces of Luoyang. This event triggered an age of civil war as the country became divided by regional warlords vying for power. Finally, in 220 CE, the son of an imperial chancellor and king accepted the abdication of the last Han emperor, who was deemed to have lost the Mandate of Heaven according to Dong Zhongshu's (179–104 BCE) cosmological system that intertwined the fate of the imperial government with Heaven and the natural world. Following the Han, China was split into three states: Cao Wei, Shu Han, and Eastern Wu; these were reconsolidated into one empire by the Jin dynasty (265–420 CE).

List of Chinese monarchs

This list of Chinese monarchs includes rulers of China with various titles prior to the establishment of the Republic in 1912. From the Zhou dynasty until the Qin dynasty, rulers usually held the title "king" (Chinese: 王; pinyin: wáng). With the separation of China into different Warring States, this title had become so common that the unifier of China, the first Qin Emperor Qin Shihuang created a new title for himself, that of "emperor" (pinyin: huángdì). The title of Emperor of China continued to be used for the remainder of China's imperial history, right down to the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912. While many other monarchs existed in and around China throughout its history, this list covers only those with a quasi-legitimate claim to the majority of China, or those who have traditionally been named in king-lists. The following list of Chinese monarchs is in no way comprehensive.

Chinese sovereigns were known by many different names, and how they should be identified is often confusing. Sometimes the same emperor is commonly known by two or three separate names, or the same name is used by emperors of different dynasties. The tables below do not necessarily include all of an emperor's names – for example, posthumous names could run to more than twenty characters and were rarely used in historical writing – but, where possible, the most commonly used name or naming convention has been indicated.

These tables may not necessarily represent the most recently updated information on Chinese monarchs; please check the page for the relevant dynasty for possible additional information.

Follow these links to see how they are related:

Family tree of ancient Chinese emperors → Chinese emperors family tree (early) → Chinese emperors family tree (middle) → Chinese emperors family tree (late)

List of consorts of rulers of China

The following is a list of consorts of rulers of China. This is a list of the consorts of Chinese monarchs. China has periodically parted in kingdoms as well as united in empires, and there has been consorts with the title Queen as well as Empress. The title Empress could also be given posthumously. Note that this is a list for the main consort of the monarch and holder of the title Empress or Queen.

List of emperors of the Han dynasty

The emperors of the Han dynasty were the supreme heads of government during the second imperial dynasty of China; the Han dynasty (202 BC – 220 AD) followed the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC) and preceded the Three Kingdoms (220–265 AD). The era is conventionally divided between the Western Han (202 BC – 9 AD) and Eastern Han (25–220 AD) periods.

The Han dynasty was founded by the peasant rebel leader (Liu Bang), known posthumously as Emperor Gao (r. 202 –195 BC) or Gaodi. The longest reigning emperor of the dynasty was Emperor Wu (r. 141–87 BC), or Wudi, who reigned for 54 years. The dynasty was briefly interrupted by the Xin dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang, but he was overthrown in 23 AD and the Han dynasty was reestablished by Liu Xiu, known posthumously as Emperor Guangwu (r. 25–57 AD), or Guangwu Di. The last Han emperor, Emperor Xian (r. 189–220 AD), was a puppet monarch of Chancellor Cao Cao (155–220 AD), who dominated the court and was made King of Wei. In 220 AD, Cao's son Pi usurped the throne as Emperor Wen of Wei (r. 220–226 AD) and ended the Han dynasty.

The emperor was the supreme head of government. He appointed all of the highest-ranking officials in central, provincial, commandery, and county administrations. He also functioned as a lawgiver, the highest court judge, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and high priest of the state-sponsored religious cults.

Liu Hong

Liu Hong may refer to:

Emperor Houshao of Han (died 180 BC), personal name Liu Hong (劉弘), Western Han emperor

Liu Hong (astronomer) (劉洪; 129–210), Eastern Han astronomer

Emperor Ling of Han (156–189), personal name Liu Hong (劉宏), Eastern Han emperor

Liu Hong (minister) (fl. 189) (劉弘), minister of works in 2 months during the reign of Emperor Ling of Han

Liu Hong (劉弘), Liu Bei's father

Liu Hong (Jin dynasty) (劉弘; 236–306), courtesy name Shuhe (叔和), Western Jin official

Liu Hong (Liu Song) (劉宏; 434–458), courtesy name Xiudu (休度), Liu Song dynasty prince

Liu Hong (politician) (刘洪), former director of the National Bureau of Statistics of China

Liu Hong (racewalker) (刘虹; born 1987), race walker

Liu Hong (cyclist) (born 1969), cyclist

Liu Xiang, Prince of Qi

Liu Xiang (Chinese: 劉襄; died 179 BC), formally King Ai of Qi (Chinese: 齊哀王) was a key player during the Lü Clan Disturbance (180 BC). He was the grandson of Emperor Gaozu of Han and the eldest son of Liu Fei, Prince of Qi by Consort Si. With Liu Fei's death in 189 BC, Emperor Hui allowed Liu Xiang to inherit the title of "Prince of Qi".

During the Lü Clan Disturbance, Liu Xiang led the Qi forces and also seized the forces of the nearby Principality of Langye, and was ready to march to the capital Chang'an to claim the imperial throne for himself, assisted by his brothers Liu Zhang and Liu Xingju. After the officials in the capital overthrew the Lü clan and deposed Emperor Houshao of Han, however, they instead invited his uncle Prince Liu Heng of Dai (later Emperor Wen) to be emperor. Liu Xiang acquiesced and did not fight Emperor Wen for the throne, and he withdrew his forces back to his territory, though in fact he should be the heir presumptive after the extinction of the male line of Emperor Hui of Han. Before he had died, Liu Xiang had hundreds of Tiny Terracotta Warriors made to protect him in the afterlife just like Qin Shi Huangdi.

Lü (surname)

Lü (Mandarin: [ly˧˩˧]) is the pinyin (Lǚ with the tone diacritic) and Wade–Giles romanisation of the Chinese surname written 吕 in simplified character and 呂 in traditional character. It is the 47th most common surname in China, shared by 5.6 million people, or 0.47% of the Chinese population as of 2002. It is especially common in Shandong and Henan provinces.The surname originated from the ancient State of Lü. Lü Shang (fl. 11th century BC), the founder of the State of Qi, was the first person known to have the surname. Lü is the 22nd surname listed in the Song Dynasty classic text Hundred Family Surnames.

Song Jing

Song Jing (宋璟) (663 – November 21, 737), formally Duke Wenzhen of Guangping (廣平文貞公), was an official of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, serving as the chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Ruizong and Emperor Xuanzong. He was praised by historians for his insistence on being morally upright, and for being a just administrator of the law during his time as Xuanzong's senior chancellor.

Timeline of Chinese history

This is a timeline of Chinese history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in China and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of China. See also the list of rulers of China, Chinese emperors family tree, dynasties in Chinese history and years in China.

Dates prior to 841 BC, the beginning of the Gonghe Regency, are provisional and subject to dispute.

Timeline of Vietnamese history

This is a timeline of Vietnamese history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Vietnam and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Vietnam.

Timeline of the Han dynasty

This is a timeline of the Han dynasty (206 BC–220 AD).

Emperors of the Han dynasty
Western Han
(Xin dynasty)
Lülin & Chimei
Eastern Han

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