Simplified Chinese characters
Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language; the government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore. Traditional Chinese characters are used in Hong Kong and the Republic of China. While traditional characters can still be read and understood by many mainland Chinese and the Chinese community in Malaysia and Singapore, these groups retain their use of simplified characters. Overseas Chinese communities tend to use traditional characters. Simplified Chinese characters may be referred to by their official name colloquially; the latter refers to simplifications of character "structure" or "body", character forms that have existed for thousands of years alongside regular, more complicated forms.
On the other hand, the official name refers to the modern systematically simplified character set, which includes not only structural simplification but substantial reduction in the total number of standardized Chinese characters. Simplified character forms were created by reducing the number of strokes and simplifying the forms of a sizable proportion of Chinese characters; some simplifications were based on popular cursive forms embodying graphic or phonetic simplifications of the traditional forms. Some characters were simplified by applying regular rules, for example, by replacing all occurrences of a certain component with a simplified version of the component. Variant characters with the same pronunciation and identical meaning were reduced to a single standardized character the simplest amongst all variants in form. Many characters were left untouched by simplification, are thus identical between the traditional and simplified Chinese orthographies; some simplified characters are dissimilar to and unpredictably different from traditional characters in those where a component is replaced by a simple symbol.
This has led some opponents of simplification to complain that the'overall process' of character simplification is arbitrary. Proponents counter that the system of simplification is internally consistent. Proponents have emphasized a some particular simplified characters as innovative and useful improvements, although many of these have existed for centuries as longstanding and widespread variants. A second round of simplifications was promulgated in 1977, but was retracted in 1986 for a variety of reasons due to the confusion caused and the unpopularity of the second round simplifications. However, the Chinese government never dropped its goal of further simplification in the future. In August 2009, the PRC began collecting public comments for a modified list of simplified characters; the new Table of General Standard Chinese Characters consisting of 8,105 characters was implemented for use by the State Council of the People's Republic of China on June 5, 2013. Although most of the simplified Chinese characters in use today are the result of the works moderated by the government of the People's Republic of China in the 1950s and 60s, character simplification predates the PRC's formation in 1949.
Cursive written text always includes character simplification. Simplified forms used in print are attested as early as the Qin dynasty. One of the earliest proponents of character simplification was Lufei Kui, who proposed in 1909 that simplified characters should be used in education. In the years following the May Fourth Movement in 1919, many anti-imperialist Chinese intellectuals sought ways to modernise China. Traditional culture and values such as Confucianism were challenged. Soon, people in the Movement started to cite the traditional Chinese writing system as an obstacle in modernising China and therefore proposed that a reform be initiated, it was suggested that the Chinese writing system should be either simplified or abolished. Lu Xun, a renowned Chinese author in the 20th century, stated that, "If Chinese characters are not destroyed China will die". Recent commentators have claimed that Chinese characters were blamed for the economic problems in China during that time. In the 1930s and 1940s, discussions on character simplification took place within the Kuomintang government, a large number of Chinese intellectuals and writers maintained that character simplification would help boost literacy in China.
In 1935, 324 simplified characters collected by Qian Xuantong were introduced as the table of first batch of simplified characters, but they were suspended in 1936. The PRC issued its first round of official character simplifications in two documents, the first in 1956 and the second in 1964. Within the PRC, further character simplification became associated with the leftists of the Cultural Revolution, culminating with the second-round simplified characters, which were promulgated in 1977. In part due to the shock and unease felt in the wake of the Cultural Revolution and Mao's death, the second-round of simplifications was poorly received. In 1986 the authorities retracted the second round completely. In the same year, the authorities promulgated a final list of simplifications, identical to the 1964 list except for six changes (including the restoration of three characters, simplified in the First Round: 叠, 覆, 像.
Dong Zhuo, courtesy name Zhongying, was a military general and warlord who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He seized control of the capital Luoyang in 189 when it entered a state of turmoil following the death of Emperor Ling of Han and a massacre of the eunuch faction by the court officials led by General-in-Chief He Jin. Dong Zhuo subsequently replaced him with the puppet Emperor Xian of Han. Dong Zhuo's rule was brief and characterized by tyranny. In the following year, a coalition of regional officials and warlords launched a Campaign against Dong Zhuo. Failing to stop the coalition forces, Dong Zhuo sacked Luoyang and relocated further west to Chang'an, he was assassinated soon after in 192 by his subordinate Lü Bu in a plot orchestrated by Interior Minister Wang Yun. Dong Zhuo was born in Longxi Commandery, he was said to be a chivalrous youth, physically strong and excelled in horseback archery in his early days. He befriended many men of valor; when he became an adult, he returned and started farming in the countryside, where he incidentally discovered a blade which had obscure inscription fading from it, reading "slash the kings like logging."
When he took the sabre to the scholar Cai Yong for appraisal, the latter claimed that it was the blade of the Hegemon-King of Western Chu, Xiang Yu. Dong Zhuo became an imperial guard and joined Zhang Huan's campaign against Qiang rebels in Bing Province as a Major, he was rewarded with 9,000 rolls of fine silk for his performance, all of which he distributed to his colleagues and subordinates. Dong Zhuo was sent to quell the Yellow Turban Rebellion in the early 180s after a few subsequent promotions but he was defeated by the rebels and demoted; when the Liang Province Rebellion occurred and the barbarians rebelled with local gentries Han Sui and Bian Zhang, Dong was reinstated and sent to suppress the rebels. During a battle with the Qiang tribes, Dong Zhuo's outnumbered army was driven to a river which sealed his escape. To prevent his army from being routed by the enemy, Dong ordered his troops to dam the river and pretend to fish in the artificial reservoir; when they escaped enemy notice, he sent his men to cross the drained lower stream and break the dam in order to thwart any subsequent pursuits by the enemy.
Despite failing to defeat the rebels, Dong's unit was the only one. Dong Zhuo was henceforth promoted to General of the Inspector of Bing Province. However, he refused to take up his new post as he was unwilling to leave his troops and subordinates back in Liang Province. Realizing that the power of the Han dynasty was waning, Dong chose to settle in Liang Province and build up his power. At the time, a Han military officer, Sun Jian, suggested to his superior that Dong's arrogance and insubordination to the court warranted a death sentence, but his advice went unheeded. Following the death of Emperor Ling of Han in 189, General-in-Chief He Jin ordered Dong Zhuo to lead troops into Luoyang to aid him in eliminating the eunuch faction known as the Ten Attendants. Before Dong could arrive, He Jin was assassinated by the eunuchs and the capital city fell into a state of turmoil; the eunuchs took Liu Bian fled from Luoyang. Dong Zhuo's army brought the emperor back to the palace. At the same time, He Jin's half-brother, General of Chariots and Cavalry He Miao, was killed by his subordinates after they accused him of colluding with the eunuchs.
Before arriving in Luoyang, Dong Zhuo realized that he was an unpopular candidate for regent among the city gentry, so to make himself seem more powerful than he was, Dong ordered his army to march out at night and re-enter the city at noon. Thus making it seem as though he had doubled his army. Dong took command of the leaderless forces of He Jin and He Miao. Dong Zhuo proposed to replace Liu Bian with his younger brother, Liu Xie, but the Imperial Commandant of Capital Guards, Ding Yuan, disagreed with him. In retaliation, Dong convinced Lü Bu, to kill his foster father. Henceforth, Lü Bu became Dong's adopted son and trusted aide, assisting him in taking total control of the imperial capital of Luoyang. In 190, Dong replaced him with the Emperor Xian of Han. Dong became the head of court in Luoyang, he was given special permission to carry his sword to the Imperial Court while others were forbidden to do so, a privilege not granted to anyone since Xiao He in the time of Emperor Gaozu of Han.
The Chancellor was allowed to enter the court without removing his footwear. His control over the city was so total that he was able to order the army to massacre all the male inhabitants under the pretext of eliminating a rebel army, it was said that Dong Zhuo slept on the emperor's bed and with the palace maids. In the same year, regional officials and warlords around the country formed a coalition force and launched a punitive campaign against Dong Zhuo. In response, he sent a detachment to intercept the coalition vanguard led by Sun Jian, ordered his son-in-law, Niu Fu, to supply the fortress of Mei with 30 years' worth of rations. After his subordinates Hua Xiong, Hu Zhen, Lu Bu were defeated by Sun Jian at Yangren, Dong Zhuo sent Li Jue to propose a marriage between Sun's son and Dong's daughter, split the empire between the two families. Sun Jian prepared to attack Luoyang. Dong moved them to Chang ` an in the west. Before the relocation, Dong ordered his troops to ransack the tombs of the late Han emperors for treasures, seize valuables from
Yuan Shao, courtesy name Benchu, was a warlord who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He occupied the northern territories of China during the civil wars that occurred towards the end of the Han dynasty, he was an elder half-brother of Yuan Shu, a warlord who controlled the Huai River region, though the two were not on good terms with each other. One of the most powerful warlords of his time, Yuan Shao spearheaded a coalition of warlords against Dong Zhuo, who held Emperor Xian hostage in the imperial capital, but failed due to internal disunity. In 200, he was defeated at the Battle of Guandu, he died of illness two years in Ye. His eventual failure despite his illustrious family background and geographical advantages was blamed on his indecisiveness and inability to heed the advice of his advisers. Yuan Shao was from Ruyang County, Runan Commandery, in present-day Shangshui County, Henan, his family had for over four generations been a prominent force in the Han civil service, having produced numerous members in high positions since the first century CE.
Descended from Yuan An, who served during the reign of Emperor Zhang, Yuan Shao's exact parentage was the source of some controversy, being one of the primary points of contention between himself and his half-brother, or cousin, Yuan Shu. Yuan Shao was a son of Yuan Feng and the eldest sibling to the ire of Yuan Shu. Both Yuan Shao and Yuan Shu are recognised as great-grandsons of Yuan An, as recorded in Wang Shen's Book of Wei. Yuan Shao's mother was a servant of Yuan Feng. Since Yuan Feng lacked male heirs, the birth of Yuan Shao elevated his mother to the status of a concubine; the Records of the Three Kingdoms contend that Yuan Shao was in fact an older cousin of Yuan Shu, was adopted by the elder brother of Yuan Feng, Yuan Cheng, who lacked male heirs. The act of adopting Yuan Shao would have infuriated Yuan Shu, because his own mother, a concubine of Yuan Feng, held a higher status than that of Yuan Shao's mother. Yuan Shao enjoyed more privileges than Yuan Shu, despite the latter being a blood-related member of the clan.
When Yuan Shao and Yuan Shu became involved in disputes Yuan Shu used Yuan Shao's mother as an excuse to claim that he was not a "true son" of the Yuan family. When compared to Yuan Shu, Yuan Shao had a more serious appearance and respected men of talent regardless of their background; when Yuan Shao was young, he participated in saving some of the "partisans" from death or other terrible fates during the second of the Disasters of Partisan Prohibitions. After he entered the civil service, Yuan Shao served as an aide to General-in-Chief He Jin, who trusted him. After the death of Emperor Ling in 189, He Jin and Yuan Shao plotted to eliminate the eunuch faction, but Empress Dowager He was against their idea, he Jin summoned Dong Zhuo to lead troops into the imperial capital, Luoyang, to pressure the empress dowager. The eunuchs became fearful and they forged an edict in the empress dowager's name, summoning He Jin into the inner palace. Yuan Shao cautioned He Jin, reminding him that he should order an attack on the eunuchs instead of entering the palace.
After He Jin refused to accept his advice thrice, Yuan Shao and Yuan Shu led 200 elite troops to wait outside. On 22 September 189, inside the palace, He Jin was ambushed and assassinated by the eunuchs, who tossed his severed head over the wall, he Jin's angered followers set fire to the palace and charged in, slaughtering every person without facial hair. Over 2,000 people were killed in the massacre, while the young Emperor Shao and Prince of Chenliu escaped during the chaos; the resulting power vacuum provided Dong Zhuo, who found and rescued the emperor and prince, with an opportunity to seize control of the imperial capital when he arrived. Dong Zhuo discussed with Yuan Shao about his plan to depose Emperor Shao and replace him with the Prince of Chenliu, but Yuan Shao disagreed. Relations between the two deteriorated and Yuan Shao fled from Luoyang to Ji Province. At the time, Yuan Shao just got out through the city gates of Luoyang, Dong Zhuo thought about sending men after him, but Zhou Bi, Wu Qiong and He Yong secretly helped Yuan Shao by convincing Dong Zhuo to let him go.
As suggested by the three men, Dong Zhuo appointed Yuan Shao as the Administrator of Bohai Commandery in a bid to appease him. By early 190, Yuan became hostile. A coalition of regional officials and commanders from the eastern provinces, including Cao Cao, Yuan Shu, Han Fu, Zhang Miao and Bao Xin, formed up behind him in a campaign to oust Dong Zhuo. Yuan Shao declared himself General of Chariots and Cavalry and camped at Henei, near a ford on the Yellow River just north of Luoyang. Dong Zhuo ordered the execution of all members of the Yuan clan in Luoyang, sent out emissaries with imperial edicts ordering the regional officials to disband. However, members of the coalition listened to Yuan Shao, had all the emissaries executed instead. Dong Zhuo sent Hu Zhen, Lü Bu and Hua Xiong to deter the coalition vanguard led by Sun Jian. Despite initial success, Sun was able to capitalise on the internal conflict between Hu Zhen and Lü Bu and defeated them at Yangr
Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River in the west of Henan province. Governed as a prefecture-level city, it borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, Jiaozuo to the northeast; as of the final 2010 census, Luoyang had a population of 6,549,941 inhabitants with 1,857,003 people living in the built-up area made of the city's five urban districts, all of which except the Jili District are not urbanized yet. Situated on the central plain of China, Luoyang is one of the cradles of Chinese civilization, is one of the Four Great Ancient Capitals of China; the name "Luoyang" originates from sunny side of the Luo River. Since the river flows from west to east and the sun is to the south of the river, the sun always shines on the north side of the river. Luoyang has had several names over the centuries, including "Luoyi" and "Luozhou", though Luoyang has been its primary name.
It has been called, during various periods, "Dongdu", "Xijing", or "Jingluo". During the rule of Wu Zetian, the city was known as Shendu The greater Luoyang area has been sacred ground since the late Neolithic period; this area at the intersection of the Luo river and Yi River was considered to be the geographical center of China. Because of this sacred aspect, several cities – all of which are referred to as "Luoyang" – have been built in this area. In 2070 BC, the Xia dynasty king Tai Kang moved the Xia capital to the intersection of the Luo and Yi and named the city Zhenxun. In 1600 BC, Tang of Shang defeated Jie, the final Xia dynasty king, built Western Bo, a new capital on the Luo River; the ruins of Western Bo are located in Luoyang Prefecture. In the 1036 BC a settlement named Chengzhou was constructed by the Duke of Zhou for the remnants of the captured Shang nobility; the Duke moved the Nine Tripod Cauldrons to Chengzhou from the Zhou dynasty capital at Haojing. A second Western Zhou capital, Wangcheng was built 15 km west of Chengzhou.
Wangcheng became the capital of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty in 771 BC. The Eastern Zhou Dynasty capital was moved to Chengzhou in 510 BC; the Eastern Han Dynasty capital of Luoyang would be built over Chengzhou. Modern Luoyang is built over the ruins of Wangcheng, which are still visible today at Wangcheng Park. In 25 AD, Luoyang was declared the capital of the Eastern Han Dynasty on November 27 by Emperor Guangwu of Han. For several centuries, Luoyang was the focal point of China. In AD 68, the White Horse Temple, the first Buddhist temple in China, was founded in Luoyang; the temple still exists, though the architecture is of origin from the 16th century. An Shigao was one of the first monks to popularize Buddhism in Luoyang; the ambassador Banchao restored the Silk Road in Eastern Han dynasty and this has made the capital city Luoyang the start of Silk Road In 166 AD, the first Roman mission, sent by "the king of Da Qin, Andun", reached Luoyang after arriving by sea in Rinan Commandery in what is now central Vietnam.
The late 2nd century saw China decline into anarchy: The decline was accelerated by the rebellion of the Yellow Turbans, although defeated by the Imperial troops in 184 AD, weakened the state to the point where there was a continuing series of rebellions degenerating into civil war, culminating in the burning of the Han capital of Luoyang on 24 September 189 AD. This was followed by a state of continual unrest and wars in China until a modicum of stability returned in the 220s, but with the establishment of three separate kingdoms, rather than a unified empire. In 190 AD, Chancellor Dong Zhuo ordered his soldiers to ransack and raze the city as he retreated from the coalition set up against him by regional lords all across China; the court was subsequently moved to the more defensible western city of Chang'an. Following a period of disorder, during which warlord Cao Cao held the last Han emperor Xian in Xuchang, Luoyang was restored to prominence when his son Cao Pi, Emperor Wen of the Wei dynasty, declared it his capital in 220 AD.
The Jin dynasty, successor to Wei, was established in Luoyang. When Jin was overrun by Xiongnu forces in 311 AD, it was forced to move its capital to Jiankang; the Xiongnu warriors sacked and nearly destroyed Luoyang. The same fate befell Chang'an in 316 AD. In winter 416, Luoyang fell to Liu Yu's general Tan Daoji. In 422, Luoyang was captured by Northern Wei. Liu Song general Dao Yanzhi took the city back. In 493 AD, Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei dynasty moved the capital from Datong to Luoyang and started the construction of the rock-cut Longmen Grottoes. More than 30,000 Buddhist statues from the time of this dynasty have been found in the caves. Many of these sculptures were two-faced. At the same time, the Shaolin Temple was built by the Emperor to accommodate an Indian monk on the Mont Song right next to Luoyang City; the Yongning Temple, the tallest pagoda in China, was built in Luoyang. When Emperor Yang of Sui took control in 604 AD he founded the new Luoyang on the site of the existing city using a layout inspired by his father Emperor Wen of Sui's work in newly rebuilt Chang'an.
During the Tang dynasty, Luoyang was Dongdu, the "Eastern Capital", at its height had a population of around one million, second only to Chang'an, which, at the t
End of the Han dynasty
The end of the Han dynasty refers to the period of Chinese history from 189 to 220 AD, which coincides with the tumultuous reign of the Han dynasty's last ruler, Emperor Xian. During this period, the country was thrown into turmoil by the Yellow Turban Rebellion. Meanwhile, the Han Empire's institutions were destroyed by the warlord Dong Zhuo, fractured into regional regimes ruled by various warlords, some of whom were nobles and officials of the Han imperial court. One of those warlords, Cao Cao, was able to reunify the empire, ostensibly under Emperor Xian's rule, but the empire was controlled by Cao Cao himself. Cao Cao's efforts to reunite the Han empire were rebuffed at the Battle of Red Cliffs in 208 / 209, when his armies were defeated by the allied forces of Sun Quan and Liu Bei; the Han dynasty formally ended in 220 when Cao Cao's son and heir, Cao Pi, pressured Emperor Xian into abdicating in his favour. Cao Pi became the emperor of Cao Wei. A year in response to Cao Pi's usurpation of the Han throne, Liu Bei declared himself emperor of Shu Han.
The period from Emperor Xian's abdication in 220 to the partial reunification of China under the Jin dynasty in 265 was known as the Three Kingdoms era in Chinese history. Towards the end of the reign of Emperor Ling of Han, many officials in the imperial court foresaw chaos in the political scene as soon as Emperor Ling died. One of those officials, Liu Yan, suggested to Emperor Ling in 188 that the root of the agrarian revolts during that time, including the most serious Yellow Turban Rebellion of 184, was that Inspectors lacked substantial administrative powers. Emperor Ling, convinced by Liu Yan, changed the Inspectors' titles to "Governor" and granted them the authority to levy taxes and command armed forces within the borders. Liu Yan was commissioned as the Governor of Yi Province, while several other important officials became Governors, including Liu Yu, appointed Governor of You Province; the increased influence of these provincial governors formed the basis on which warlords would control large regions of the Han empire.
Emperor Ling died in 189 and was succeeded by his 13-year-old son, Liu Bian, who became known as Emperor Shao. Empress He, now empress dowager, became regent to the young emperor, while her older brother, General-in-Chief He Jin, became the most powerful official in the imperial court, he Jin and Yuan Shao plotted to exterminate all the Ten Attendants, a group of ten influential eunuch officials in the court, but Empress Dowager He disapproved of their plan. In a fateful move, He Jin summoned Dong Zhuo, a warlord controlling the battle-tested Liang Province, to march on the capital Luoyang to threaten Empress Dowager He into eliminating the Ten Attendants. After the eunuchs discovered He Jin's plot, they murdered him. In response, Yuan Shao led the imperial guards on an indiscriminate massacre of the palace eunuchs; the surviving eunuchs kidnapped Emperor Shao and his younger brother, the eight-year-old Prince of Chenliu, fled north towards the Yellow River, but were forced to commit suicide by throwing themselves into the river.
Dong Zhuo found Emperor Shao and the Prince of Chenliu. The young emperor appeared nervous and fearful, while the prince remained calm and composed, gave orders to Dong Zhuo to escort them back to the palace. Dong Zhuo used the opportunity to bring his army into the capital. Not long Dong Zhuo deposed Emperor Shao and replaced him with the Prince of Chenliu, who became known as Emperor Xian. Dong Zhuo dominated the imperial court and named himself "Chancellor of State", a title not held by anyone since the Western Han dynasty statesman Xiao He. In the spring of 190, several provincial officials and warlords formed a coalition against Dong Zhuo, claiming that he was set on usurping the throne and had kidnapped Emperor Xian. Yuan Shao, Administrator of Bohai, was nominated to be the leader of the coalition; the coalition armies appeared to be ready to move on the capital Luoyang. However, the coalition was rather disorganized, Yuan Shao did not have effective command over the entire alliance. Besides, the coalition members were hesitant to directly confront Dong Zhuo and his strong Liang Province military.
Still, Dong Zhuo was anxious and chose to move the capital to Chang'an in the west to avoid the coalition. About a month Dong Zhuo forced Emperor Xian and the imperial court to move to Chang'an, along with Luoyang's residents, in the process, he ordered the former capital to be destroyed by fire. During the move, Dong Zhuo remained near Luoyang. In 191, the coalition tried to further de-legitimize Dong Zhuo's position by offering to enthrone Liu Yu, eligible to be Emperor since he was a member of the royal clan. Liu Yu remained faithful to Emperor Xian and declined to take the throne; as the coalition members continued to bicker over battle plans, a minor general under Yuan Shu, Sun Jian, took a calculated risk and attacked Dong Zhuo directly near Luoyang. After scoring a number of victories over Dong Zhuo's forces, Sun Jian forced Dong to
Emperor of China
Emperor or Huangdi was the imperial title of the Chinese sovereign from 221 BCE to the early 20th century. It was established by Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor, after the reunification of the lands of the Zhou dynasty, it replaced the Zhou's own title of wáng, appropriated by numerous warlords during the Warring States Era. The Chinese title is not grammatically gendered, but the only empress to bear it was Wu Zetian, who replaced the Tang dynasty with her own in the years 690–705 CE. Use of the title is considered to have ended with the abdication of Puyi in 1912 following the Xinhai Revolution and the establishment of the Republic of China, although there were two failed attempts to reestablish an imperial government in China in 1915 and 1917; the Chinese emperor was considered the autocrat of All under Heaven. Under the Han dynasty, Confucianism replaced Legalism as the official political theory and succession theoretically followed Salic primogeniture; the Chinese emperors who shared the same family were classified into historical periods known as dynasties.
The absolute authority of the emperor was notionally bound with various obligations. In practice and heirs sometimes avoided the strict rules of succession and dynasties' ostensible "failures" were detailed in official histories written by their successful replacements; the power of the emperor was often limited by the imperial bureaucracy staffed by scholar-officials and eunuchs and by filial obligations to surviving parents and to dynastic traditions, such as those detailed in the Ming dynasty's Ancestral Instructions. During the Zhou dynasty, Chinese feudal rulers with power over their particular fiefdoms were called gong but, as the power of the Shang and Zhou kings waned, the dukes began to usurp that title for themselves. In 221 BCE, after the then-king of Qin completed the conquest of the various kingdoms of the Warring States period, he adopted a new title to reflect his prestige as a ruler greater than the rulers before him, he called himself the First Emperor. Before this, Huang and Di were the nominal "titles" of eight rulers of Chinese mythology or prehistory: The three Huang were godly rulers credited with feats like ordering the sky and forming the first humans out of clay.
In the 3rd century BCE, the two titles had not been used together. Because of the god-like powers of the Huang, the folk worship of the Di, the latter's use in the name of the God of Heaven Shangdi, the First Emperor's title would have been understood as implying "The Holy" or "Divine Emperor". On that account, some modern scholars translate the title as "thearch". On occasion, the father of the ascended emperor was still alive; such an emperor was titled the Tai Shang Huang, the "Grand Imperial Sire". The practice was initiated by the First Emperor, who gave the title as a posthumous name to his own father. Liu Bang, who established the Han dynasty, was the first to become emperor while his father yet lived, it was said he granted the title during his father's life because he would not be bowed to by his own father, a commoner. Owing to political fragmentation, over the centuries, it has not been uncommon to have numerous claimants to the title of "Emperor of All China"; the Chinese political concept of the Mandate of Heaven legitimized those claimants who emerged victorious.
The proper list was considered those made by the official dynastic histories. As with the First Emperor, it was common to retroactively grant posthumous titles to the ancestors of the victors; the Yuan and Qing dynasties were founded by successful invaders. Thus, Kublai Khan was Khagan of the Mongols and Emperor of China. On one count, from the Qin dynasty to the Qing dynasty, there were 557 emperors including the rulers of minor states. Some, such as Li Zicheng, Huang Chao, Yuan Shu, declared themselves the Emperors, Son of Heaven and founded their own empires as a rival government to challenge the legitimacy of and overthrow the existing Emperor. Among the most famous emperors were Qin Shi Huang of the Qin dynasty, the Emperors Gaozu and Wu of the Han dynasty, Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty, Kublai Khan of the Yuan dynasty, the Hongwu Emperor of the Ming dynasty, the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty; the Emperor's words were considered sacred edicts and his written proclamations "directives from above".
In theory, the Emperor's orders were to be obeyed immediately. He was elevated above all commoners and members of the Imperial family. Addresses to the Emperor were always to be formal and self-deprecatory by the closest of family members. In practice, the power of the emperor varied between different emperors and different dynasties. In the Chinese dynastic cycle, emperors founding a dynasty consolidated the empire through a
The Han dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms period. Spanning over four centuries, the Han period is considered a golden age in Chinese history. To this day, China's majority ethnic group refers to themselves as the "Han Chinese" and the Chinese script is referred to as "Han characters", it was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han, interrupted by the Xin dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang. This interregnum separates the Han dynasty into two periods: the Western Han or Former Han and the Eastern Han or Later Han; the emperor was at the pinnacle of Han society. He presided over the Han government but shared power with both the nobility and appointed ministers who came from the scholarly gentry class; the Han Empire was divided into areas directly controlled by the central government using an innovation inherited from the Qin known as commanderies, a number of semi-autonomous kingdoms.
These kingdoms lost all vestiges of their independence following the Rebellion of the Seven States. From the reign of Emperor Wu onward, the Chinese court sponsored Confucianism in education and court politics, synthesized with the cosmology of scholars such as Dong Zhongshu; this policy endured until the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 AD. The Han dynasty saw an age of economic prosperity and witnessed a significant growth of the money economy first established during the Zhou dynasty; the coinage issued by the central government mint in 119 BC remained the standard coinage of China until the Tang dynasty. The period saw a number of limited institutional innovations. To finance its military campaigns and the settlement of newly conquered frontier territories, the Han government nationalized the private salt and iron industries in 117 BC, but these government monopolies were repealed during the Eastern Han dynasty. Science and technology during the Han period saw significant advances, including the process of papermaking, the nautical steering ship rudder, the use of negative numbers in mathematics, the raised-relief map, the hydraulic-powered armillary sphere for astronomy, a seismometer employing an inverted pendulum that could be used to discern the cardinal direction of distant earthquakes.
The Xiongnu, a nomadic steppe confederation, defeated the Han in 200 BC and forced the Han to submit as a de facto inferior and vassal partner, but continued their military raids on the Han borders. Emperor Wu launched several military campaigns against them; the ultimate Han victory in these wars forced the Xiongnu to accept vassal status as Han tributaries. These campaigns expanded Han sovereignty into the Tarim Basin of Central Asia, divided the Xiongnu into two separate confederations, helped establish the vast trade network known as the Silk Road, which reached as far as the Mediterranean world; the territories north of Han's borders were overrun by the nomadic Xianbei confederation. Emperor Wu launched successful military expeditions in the south, annexing Nanyue in 111 BC and Dian in 109 BC, in the Korean Peninsula where the Xuantu and Lelang Commanderies were established in 108 BC. After 92 AD, the palace eunuchs involved themselves in court politics, engaging in violent power struggles between the various consort clans of the empresses and empresses dowager, causing the Han's ultimate downfall.
Imperial authority was seriously challenged by large Daoist religious societies which instigated the Yellow Turban Rebellion and the Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion. Following the death of Emperor Ling, the palace eunuchs suffered wholesale massacre by military officers, allowing members of the aristocracy and military governors to become warlords and divide the empire; when Cao Pi, King of Wei, usurped the throne from Emperor Xian, the Han dynasty ceased to exist. According to the Records of the Grand Historian, after the collapse of the Qin dynasty the hegemon Xiang Yu appointed Liu Bang as prince of the small fief of Hanzhong, named after its location on the Han River. Following Liu Bang's victory in the Chu–Han Contention, the resulting Han dynasty was named after the Hanzhong fief. China's first imperial dynasty was the Qin dynasty; the Qin unified the Chinese Warring States by conquest, but their empire became unstable after the death of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang. Within four years, the dynasty's authority had collapsed in the face of rebellion.
Two former rebel leaders, Xiang Yu of Chu and Liu Bang of Han, engaged in a war to decide who would become hegemon of China, which had fissured into 18 kingdoms, each claiming allegiance to either Xiang Yu or Liu Bang. Although Xiang Yu proved to be a capable commander, Liu Bang defeated him at Battle of Gaixia, in modern-day Anhui. Liu Bang assumed the title "emperor" at the urging of his followers and is known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu. Chang'an was chosen as the new capital of the reunified empire under Han. At the beginning of the Western Han known as the Former Han dynasty, thirteen centrally controlled commanderies—including the capital region—existed in the western third of the empire, while the eastern two-thirds were divided into ten semi-autonomous kingdoms. To placate his prominent commanders from the war with Chu, Emperor Gaozu enfeoffed some of them as kings. By 157 BC, the Han court h