Emperor Han Zhidi 漢質帝

Emperor Han Zhidi 漢質帝 (r. 145-146 CE)

Personal name Liu Zuan 劉纘, courtesy name Liu Ji 劉繼, was an emperor of the Later Han dynasty 後漢 (25-220 CE). He was a grand-grandson of Emperor Zhang 漢章帝 (r. 76-88 CE) and succeeded Emperor Chong 漢沖帝 (r. 144-145 CE). When Emperor Chong died, Defender-in-chief (taiwei 太尉) Li Gu 李固 suggested enthroning an adult person from the imperial family, but the powerful Liang Ji 梁冀 contradicted and consulted his sister, Empress Dowager Liang 梁太后, the widow of Emperor Shun 漢順帝 (r. 125-144).

They first ennobled the eight years old commoner Liu Zuan as Marquis of Jianping 建平侯 and the same day enthroned him as emperor of the Han dynasty. Because he was so young, the Empress Dowager took over regency for him. During his reign, three rebels proclaimed themselves emperor:

  • Ma Mian 馬勉 in Jiujiang 九江 (modern Shouxian 壽縣, Anhui)
  • Hua Meng 華孟 in Liyang 歷陽 (modern Hexian 和縣, Anhui)
  • Fu Zhi 服直 in Bajun 巴郡 (modern Chongqing 重慶).

All these rebellions were suppressed. In the same year, a selection of applicants (classicists, mingjing 明經) for the National University (taixue 太學) was proclaimed in order to gain fresh candidates for the state offices. At that time, more than 30,000 students were enrolled at the the National University.

During an audience, Emperor Zhi insulted Liang Ji. The latter took revenge and poisoned the emperor. He is buried in the tomb mound Jingling 靜陵 and was succeeded by Emperor Huan 漢桓帝 (r. 146-167).

Reference:

Chen Quanli 陳全力, Hou Xinyi 侯欣一 (ed. 1988), Diwang cidian帝王辭典 (Xi’an: Shaanxi renmin jiaoyu chubanshe), p. 47.

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