Han Shundi

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Han Shundi (漢 順帝)
Family name : Liu (劉; liú)
First name : Bao (保, bǎo)
Temple name: Jingzong (敬宗, jìng zōng)
Posthumous name:
Xiaoshun (孝順, xiào shùn)
literally: "childlike and friendly"
Posthumous name:
Shun (順, shùn)

Emperor Shun von Han ( Chinese  漢 順帝  /  漢 顺帝 , Pinyin hàn shùn dì , W.-G. Han Shun-ti ), birth name Liu Bao (* 115 ; † 144 ) was the seventh emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty . He ruled from 125 to 144.

Liu Bao was the only son of Emperor An , and after his death in 125, Empress Mother Yan Ji was determined to keep power. She forced Prince Bao to cede the throne to Liu Yi , the Marquis of Beixiang. Liu Yi died after a reign of less than seven months, and the loyal eunuchs , led by Sun Cheng, overthrew the Empress Mother and installed Prince Bao as emperor.

The people had high expectations in Emperor Shun, for his father had ruled clumsily and violently. Emperor Shun was mild, but generally just as incompetent as his father. Corruption was rampant among officials and eunuchs. He also entrusted government too much to his father-in-law, Liang Shang, who resembled him in character and skills. He later relied on Liang Shang's son Liang Ji , a corrupt and domineering person. Emperor Shun's reign was an improvement on his father's, but the dynasty's decline was unstoppable.

Emperor Shun died after 19 years of reign at the age of 29. His son Liu Bing became Emperor ( Emperor Chong ).

Family background

The then Prince Liu Bao was born in 115 as the son of Emperor An and his concubine Li, shortly after the Emperor had elevated his wife Yan Ji to Empress . The empress herself had not given birth to a son and poisoned the concubine out of jealousy. Although her crime went unpunished, she still harbored grudges against the young Prince Bao.

Emperor An made Liu Bao crown prince in 120 because he was still his only son.

Deposition as Crown Prince and coronation

In 124 a crisis broke out at the court. The eunuchs Jiang Jing (江 京) and Fan Feng (樊 豐) as well as the nurse Wang Sheng (王聖), all of them imperial confidante, slandered Liu Bao's nurse Wang Nan (王 男) and his cook Bing Ji (邴 吉). Emperor An had the two executed and banished their families. The nine-year-old crown prince was deeply saddened and the eunuchs feared his revenge. Therefore they conspired with the Empress against him and also slandered him. The emperor believed them and demoted Liu Bao to prince of Jiyin .

In 125 Emperor An died unexpectedly on a trip to Wancheng (in what is now Nanyang , Henan ). Although Liu Bao was the legal heir as the only son, Empress Yan Ji chose to appoint a younger emperor whom she could more easily control. That is why she chose Liu Yi (劉 懿), the Marquis of Beixiang, as her successor. Prince Bao was excluded from the line of succession and was also not allowed to attend his father's funeral procession. From then on, the Empress Mother and her brothers determined the political scene.

But in the same year the young emperor fell ill. Faithful eunuch Sun Cheng saw the opportunity and conspired with Prince Bao's administrator Changxiang Qu (長興 渠) and other eunuchs to bring Prince Bao to power. They stormed the palace, killed Jiang Jing, and forced his colleague Li Run (李 閏) to join them. Then they called Prince Bao to the palace and proclaimed him emperor. For a few days, the eunuchs and the palace guards had to grapple with the troops of Empress Mother Yan Ji, but they eventually defeated her and her brothers. The Yan kin was wiped out and the Empress Mother was placed under house arrest in her palace until her death in 126.


Early government

At the beginning of his government, the people hoped that Emperor Shun would tackle reforms against the corrupt conditions. The emperor showed himself to be good-natured but weak, which is why he trusted not only reliable officials, but also many corrupt eunuchs who soon seized power. Sun Cheng tried in 126 to persuade the emperor to undertake fundamental reforms, but he was banished from the capital for his boldness. Even after his return in 128 he was unable to influence the emperor accordingly. Furthermore, the nurse Song E (宋 hatte) had influence on the emperor, but she too could not do anything about the decline.

Shortly after Emperor Shun's accession to the throne, Ban Yong, the son of Ban Chao , also succeeded in subjugating the Xiyu tribes (in present-day Xinjiang and Central Asia ). However, he was slandered in 127 and removed from his post. From then on, the power of the imperial court in Xiyu began to disintegrate.

Apart from these incidents, the political conflicts of the Han Empire rested under Emperor Shun's government. Although he was unable to control corruption, the people lived in peace under his rule.

When Emperor Shun decided to raise an empress , he did not want to favor a concubine and therefore decided to distribute lots. After the officials advised against it, he finally elevated his concubine Liang Na to empress because he considered her the most gifted and intelligent. The Kaiser and Empress were 19 and 16 years old at the time. Liang Shang (梁 商), the father of the empress, was continuously promoted to higher and higher official posts.

Late government

Two major political changes occurred in 135: the marquise among the eunuchs were allowed to bequeath titles and land to their ( adoptive ) sons, and Liang Shang became commander in chief of the army; thus he was the most powerful man in the imperial government. Although none of these events were considered significant at the time, they would shape the following decades: the eunuchs could now systematically increase their power, and the Liang family could determine the government of the empire.

Like his son-in-law, the Emperor, Liang Shang was a kind but politically inadequate man, even if he was reliable and pure. For example, he asked forgiveness for a gang of eunuchs who had conspired against the emperor in 138 and had been exposed. The trust that Liang Shang's corrupt and brutal son Liang Ji had in Liang Ji from all sides later turned out to be fatal.

In southern China there were between 136 and 138 riots by various tribes. They were directed against the (mostly corrupt) imperial officials, who largely replaced Emperor Shun and who soon stifled the unrest. However, the south of the empire would develop into a major military problem in the decades that followed. The Qiang rose again in 139 and could not be suppressed by the emperor until the end of his life. They even destroyed an army under General Ma Xian (馬 賢) in 141 and burned the tombs of many Western Han emperors in the Chang'an area. The Qiang uprising was accompanied by peasant uprisings in the provinces of Jing (in present-day Hunan , Hubei and southern Henan ) and Yang (present-day Jiangxi , Zhejiang and in central and southern Jiangsu , Anhui ).

Liang Shang died in 141. For some inexplicable reason, the emperor handed over the command of the armed forces to his son Liang Ji, whose post passed to his younger brother Liang Buyi (梁 不 疑). Liang Ji tried to gain more power at all times, and his brother's requests for moderation fell on deaf ears.

When the emperor fell ill in 144, he named his son Liu Bing (劉炳), who was just a few months old, crown prince. He died that same year, and the Crown Prince succeeded him as Emperor Chong . Empress mother Liang served as regent, but despite her personal abilities, her blind trust in her brother Liang Ji caused the final demise of the Han dynasty.

Era names

  • Yongjian (永 建, yong jìan) 126–132
  • Yangjia (- 嘉, yáng jīa) 132-135
  • Yonghe (永和, yong hé) 136-141
  • Hanan (漢 安, hàn ān) 142–144
  • Jiankang (建康, jìan kāng) 144


  • from his wife, Empress Liang Na :
    • no
  • from his concubine Yu:
    • Liu Sheng (劉 生), 138 Princess Wuyang
    • Liu Bing (劉炳), * 143, 144 Crown Prince, later Emperor Chong
  • from other concubines:
    • Liu Chengnan (劉 成 男), 138 Princess Guanjun
    • Liu Guang (劉廣), 141 Princess Ruyang
predecessor Office successor
Shao Emperor of China