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The Role of Monarchs in Asia. “Gender and Power in Early Imperial China: Conflicting Narratives on Empress Lǚ “. The first Chinese emperor of Qin dynasty — Qin Shihuang (259 BC---210 BC). Sima Qian (145 BC—87 BC). A great historian and writer. As a father of Chinese

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the role of monarchs in asia

The Role of Monarchs in Asia

“Gender and Power in Early Imperial China: Conflicting Narratives on Empress Lǚ“



(145 BC—87 BC)

A great historian and


As a father of Chinese



Records of the Grand Historian

(Shi Ji) 史記

The first systematic Chinese historical text, influenced Chinese historiography and


Five sections:

1. Benji( Basic Annals)

2. Shijia (Genealogies)

3. Liezhuan (Biographies)

4. Biao (Tables)

5. Shu: (Treatises)


Records of the Grand Historian: Han Dynasty I.

Translated by Burton Watson. Rev. ed.

New York: Columbia University Press, 1993.


Empress Lǚ

呂雉 ( L üZhi)

241 BC—180 BC

The first Female

empress from commoner status.

the summary of the basic annals of empress l
The summary of The Basic Annals of Empress Lǚ (呂后本紀)

Empress Lǚ married Emperor Gāozǔ of Hànwhen Emperor Gāozǔ of Hàn was still a civilian. She gave birth to a son and a daughter. When her husband became the emperor, her son was made crown prince. Nevertheless, as Emperor Gāozǔloved Consort Qidearly, once, he intended to change the crown prince, and gave up this idea after the ministers pleaded for rectification andintervened him. When Emperor Gāozǔ passed away, the crown prince was enthroned as Emperor Hui. Owing to the experience in the past, Empress Lǚ, the Grand Empress, abhorred Consort Qī. She imprisoned Consort Qīin Yǒngxiàng(privy) and made her the Human Pig. When kindhearted Emperor Huìlearned about the conduct of Empress Lǚ, he cried over the cruelty of his mother. Thereafter, he indulged in sexual pleasure and ignored government affairs. He passed away a few years later. However, except for Emperor Huì, Empress Lǚ did not have any other son. As a result, in an attempt to strengthen her power and status, she offered official posts to clan members of Lǚ, and made almost all the courtiers in the court her relative. Furthermore, she murdered and cruelly killed the courtiers who were unfavorable to her, and also weakened the power of some people. Thus, within just a few years, the Kingdom of Liú (Hàn Dynasty) was fully controlled by clan members of Lǚ. In the imperious time of Empress Lǚ, although people were unwilling to accept the ruling, no one dared to rise against her aboveboard. Not until Empress Lǚ passed away did the meritorious ministers round up all the clan members of Lǚ to overthrow the regime and recapture the legitimate political power. Eventually, under the deliberation of meritorious ministers and old officers, the imperial power returned to the Liú family.



The first emperor Qin ShiHuang went to westward to the Mt. Kuaiji and then ordered people to erected a stone and carve the stone to eulogize and virtuous power of Qin.

The calligraphy of the final inscription on Mt. Kuaiji were by Li Si


(stone inscription on Mount Kuaiji)


Emperor Wu of Han 漢武帝

156BC -- 87BC

He adopted the principles of Confucianism as the state philosophy and code of ethics for his empire and started a school to teach future administrators the Confucian classics.


Liu Xiang

LienüZhuan列女傳(Biographies of Exemplary Women)

Ban Zhao

NüJie女誡 Lessons for Women (also translated as Admonitions for Women)


The Five Dynasties History


Finished in 974 AD.

Compiled by the Song dynasty official-

scholar XueJuzheng. It is one of the Twenty-Four Histories recognized through Chinese history.


WǔZétiān武則天 624 -705 AD

The only female emperor

She broke all precedents when she founded her own dynasty in 690 and ruled personally from 690 to 705

Her rise and reign has been criticized harshly by Confucian historians.


Emperor Taizōng of Táng 599—649 AD s

The second emperor of the Tang Dynasty.

His "Reign of Zhenguan" (貞觀之治ZhēnguānZhīZhì) was considered a golden age of Chinese history and required study for future crown princes.


The Oath of White Horse 白馬之盟

“The whole country would send a punitive expedition against him who is not Liú 's clansmen and proclaims himself as the king of the country.”



QianSima. Records of the Grand Historian. Edited by LongchyanGuitailang. [Taiwan: Wenshizhe publisher, 1997




Hànshū(The Book of Hanor The Book of Former Han)

Finished in AD 111

Covering the history of China from 206 BC to 25AD.

Hòuhànshū(The Book of Later Han)

Complied by Fan Ye in the 5th century.

Covering the history from 25 to 220 AD.



A pioneering reference work in Chinese historiography, published in 1084.

Exposes Chinese history from -403 BCE to 959 CE,