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No.2114- gukou case of Emperor Wen of Han Dynasty
Drawn by: Sun LV / edited by: yangleduo
On December 14, the exact location of the mausoleum of Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty was confirmed by the State Administration of cultural relics. Jiangcun tomb, located on Bailuyuan in Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, is the “pa mausoleum” of Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty. With the development of archaeological excavations, the deeds of Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty have aroused widespread concern.
The location of the mausoleum of Emperor Wen of Han Dynasty ?
In history, the evaluation of Emperor Wen of Han Dynasty has always been less controversial. His diligence and thrift, light corvee and small taxes, lenient punishment and cautious killing, and open-minded admonition have been widely praised by later generations. However, Emperor Wen’s handling of the rebellion of Liuchang, the king of Huainan, was controversial. Moreover, the history books are vague about the case itself, so this big case should have a deep secret.
Before uncovering the mystery case, let’s first understand the life experience of Huainan King Liu Chang.
Huainan Wang Liuchang
Liu Chang was the seventh son of Liu Bang, Emperor Gaodi of Han Dynasty. Before long Liu was born, his mother Zhaoji was involved in a conspiracy and put in prison. Long Liu was born in prison. Zhao Ji committed suicide shortly after giving birth. Liu Bang asked empress Lu to raise her child and enfevered him as king of Huainan.
During the reign of empress Lu, Liu Chang was not harmed because of his special relationship with empress Lu. When Liu Chang became an adult, he was so powerful that he could carry the bronze tripod. After Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty ascended the throne, Liu Chang became his only living brother.
Liu Chang often relied on his close relationship with Emperor Wen to commit lawlessness. When he went to the pilgrimage to meet Emperor Wen, he was arrogant and rude. He hunted with the emperor, took the same car, and called him “big brother”. Emperor Wen often pardoned Liu Chang for his mistakes.
Liu Chang resented empress Lu’s favorite minister, Shen Shiqi, for not rescuing his mother, so he beat Shen Shiqi to death with his own hands. According to the law of the Han Dynasty, killing a Marquis was a felony, but Liu Chang was eloquent and listed his sins one by one. Emperor Wen still did not punish him.
Since then, Liu Chang has become more arrogant and illegal. His etiquette and standards are better than those of the same emperor. Even empress dowager Bo, the prince and the courtiers are not afraid of him. Minister yuan ang admonished Emperor Wen: “if the princes and kings are too arrogant, there will be disasters.” But Emperor Wen did not listen.
During the spring and Autumn period, Duke Zhuang of Zheng constantly connived at his brother Gong shuduan’s violation of etiquette and law and continued to expand his power. A minister exhorted Zheng Zhuang to bind his uncle to the treaty. Zheng Zhuang said, “if you do more injustice, you will die.” It means that when Uncle Duan makes a big mess, he will have an excuse and opportunity to clean him up at one fell swoop. The Emperor Wen of Han Dynasty indulged the king of Huainan just like Zheng Zhuang.
Later, Liu Chang did many extraordinary things in Huainan, such as expelling officials sent by the imperial court, appointing officials on his own, enacting laws on his own, and executing prisoners without authorization. Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty did not even issue an imperial edict to reprimand him. Instead, he asked his uncle Bo Zhao to write a letter to Liu Chang, urging him to turn evil into good.
If Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty really loved his brother, he would severely stop him from making mistakes. However, Emperor Wen on the surface admonished him, but in fact he continued to connive at him and waited for him to take a dangerous step. Shortly after Bo Zhao sent a letter to Huainan Wang, a conspiracy case broke out
In the sixth year of Emperor Wen (174 BC), the prime minister, the censor, Zongzheng, Tingwei and other ministers said that Liuchang, the king of Huainan, sent people to collude with Chaiqi, the son of Jipu houchaiwu, in an attempt to use 40 chariots to rebel in gukou. In the memorials, the ministers listed at length various illegal acts of Liu Changping, but gave a brief account of the rebellion itself.
The “chariot” mentioned in the memorials is a kind of rickshaw, which is mainly used to transport supplies to the army on rugged roads. On some rugged roads, carriages cannot pass, so they can only be transported by this kind of rickshaw.
Gukou refers to gukou County in the Western Han Dynasty. It is located in the south of Chunhua County, Shaanxi Province, and in the northwest of Jingyang County. It is the northern edge of Guanzhong Plain. In the north of gukou County, there is a high mountain range in the east-west direction – jiugu [z ? Ng] mountain. The Jingshui River carved a canyon in the jiugu mountain and flowed into the Guanzhong Plain. The so-called valley mouth actually refers to the valley mouth of jiugushanjing River Valley.
Starting from Chang’an, passing through gukou, entering Jingshui River Valley, and then going upstream along the river valley, you can reach Ganquan palace, the most important summer palace of the royal family of the Western Han Dynasty, which is located on Ganquan mountain in Chunhua County today.
From Chang’an to Ganquan Palace ?
So the truth of the gukou rebellion may be that on the way to Ganquan palace or from Ganquan palace to Chang’an, Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty blocked the rugged Canyon and mountain road with 40 chariots, and then took the opportunity to attack the emperor’s chariot.
It is thought-provoking that Chai Qi, the son of chaiwu, the prince of Jipu, who was another mastermind of the rebellion, was mentioned only in the memorial. According to the law of the Han Dynasty, those who participated in the rebellion should be sentenced to death. In the book of Han Dynasty, the list of meritorious officials of Gao HuiGao’s later writings also clearly records that Chai Qi was killed for conspiracy.
But chaiwu did not seem to be implicated in this case. According to the records of history, Chai Wu died in the first year of the Yuan Dynasty (163 BC) after Emperor Wen. That is to say, Chai Wu lived more than ten years after the gukou rebellion. What’s more strange is that chaiwu can still keep the title of Jipu Marquis until chaiwu’s death. Because his family participated in the rebellion, they didn’t let his descendants inherit the marquis.
Although Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty abolished Lian Zuo, his son rebelled and was killed, and his father could continue to enjoy the rank of marquis in the imperial court. It is also very rare to look at the historical records of all dynasties. This only shows that Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty did not want or could not involve chaiwu.
The reason for this is that Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty was obviously inclined to deal with the whole case. Liu Chang and Chai Qi, the two main conspirators of the rebellion, were punished differently. Liuchang, the king of Huainan, was not only convicted, but also his subordinates and confidants were caught and executed; Chaiqi, on the other hand, had not even suffered the slightest impact on his father’s title.
There may be two reasons why Emperor Wen did this. First, Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty only wanted to overthrow the arrogant and lawless Liu Chang and eradicate the Huainan country that did not obey the central government’s decrees. As long as this goal was achieved, there was no need to implicate others. Second, there are very complex forces behind Chai Wu. If we want to investigate thoroughly, it is bound to affect the whole body. If the attack is too wide, it will affect the stability of the court. Therefore, we can only kill Chai Qi who is directly involved in this case, so as to achieve the purpose of knocking down the mountain and shaking up the tiger.
So, what was chaiwu’s special position at that time that made Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty dare not touch him lightly?
According to historical records, Chai Wu made great achievements in both the Chu Han war and the Western Han Dynasty after the founding of the people’s Republic of China. Later, Chai Wu served as a general. After the coup against Lu, he, together with Zhou Bo, Chen Ping and others, established Liu Heng, the acting king, as Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty.
It can be seen that in the early years of Emperor Wen, chaiwu was the leader of the military group second only to Zhou Bo, Chen Ping and Guanying. When Chen Ping and Guan Ying died, Zhou Bo was convicted and lost power, and chaiwu became the highest ranking leader of the military group.
After Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty came to power, in order to consolidate his own power base and continuously weaken and suppress military achievement groups, many military achievement groups without actual official positions were driven out of the capital and returned to their own fiefs, becoming rich men with no power but only pay.
On the other hand, the martial arts groups that have been constantly attacked by Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty will not sit idly by and be willing to serve as fish and meat. Therefore, the gukou plot is likely to be an unsuccessful counterattack by the military group against Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty. Behind Chaiqi is chaiwu, and behind chaiwu is probably the whole military group.
According to the records of the historical records, Chai Qiqi’s plot was discovered by the imperial court, and the relevant departments investigated and punished him, implicating Liu Chang, the king of Huainan. Therefore, the imperial court recruited the king of Huainan to Beijing.
This revealed two major messages: first, Liu Yuanchang was in Huainan when the gukou rebellion occurred. According to the system of the Han Dynasty, the princes stayed in their own country for most of the year, and only made a pilgrimage at the beginning of the year. Secondly, Chai Qicai, the son of Chai Wu, was the specific executor of the rebellion. After the incident, the judicial department interrogated Chai Qi and questioned his accomplices, which implicated the king of Huainan.
The location of the premeditated attack on Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty was chosen in gukou County, Guanzhong. If Liu changlai, who was far away in Huainan, commanded it remotely, it would be very inconvenient. So the real mastermind of the case should be Chai Qi, who is near Chang’an, and the forces behind him, that is, the military group headed by Chai Wu.
At that time, Liu Chang was very powerful in Huainan, and he had the power of life and death. He was also very likely to control the domestic army. Generally speaking, except for joining the imperial court once a year, the imperial court will not recruit princes and kings to the capital alone unless it wants to deal with them. If Liu Chang really colluded with chaiwu and others to rebel, then the imperial court sent people to recruit him. Why didn’t Liu Chang suspect the east window incident and take advantage of it to rebel? But obediently followed the officials of the imperial court to Chang’an and arrested them.
Many rebellions of the princes in the Gaodi era were triggered by the imperial court’s conscription – the princes themselves had ghosts in their hearts, worried that they would never return, and simply rebelled. If Liu Changzhen is really connected with Chai Qi and others, with his personality, he will not be caught without a hand. This proves that Mr. Liu may have no knowledge of the gukou rebellion.
So how did Liu Chang get involved in this conspiracy? Assuming that the military group succeeded in assassinating Emperor Wen of Han Dynasty, it is bound to think of the next plan, that is, who will be the emperor. It’s hard to avoid settling accounts with Prince Liu Qi in the autumn. It’s better to set up another vassal king as the emperor, just like the previous LV coup. Liu Chang, Liu Bang’s only living son, is obviously the most suitable candidate. Therefore, the first step of the whole rebellion plan was to destroy Emperor Wen of Han Dynasty, and the second step was to support Liu Chang as emperor.
So, how many people in the military merit group participated in this case? If only chaiwu and Chaiqi were involved in the case, Emperor Wen would not hesitate to put them to death. After all, he even dared to move Zhou Bo.
But in fact, Emperor Wen only moved Chai Qi, not Chai Wu. This just shows that the people involved in the case are not only the Chai family and son, but also many people of the military merit group; If chaiwu is moved, a large number of heroes will be implicated. In this case, the strike area is too wide and it will not end well. Because the nature of this incident is too serious, all those involved will be executed according to the law. Although the military group has been suppressed, its influence is still very large.
Even if Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty wanted to further crack down on martial arts groups, he would not catch them all, because excitement would lead to change. His usual way is to simmer slowly, constantly divide and destroy one by one.
Therefore, when Chai Qi presented the whole plan and plan, what interested Emperor Wen of Han Dynasty was that Liuchang, king of Huainan, was involved in it. He has been looking for an opportunity to implicate his arrogant and illegal brother Liu Chang in a conspiracy case, and then wipe out the power of Huainan at one fell swoop. And Chaiqi’s confession is providing an excellent opportunity.
Judging from the life story of Liu Chang, he should be a simple minded and reckless young man, who repeatedly violated the etiquette and law by virtue of his brother’s favor and connivance. Such a person should not plan to assassinate his brother and take his place. He has neither such ambition nor such a mind.
Although the courtiers suggested that Liu Chang should be beheaded, Emperor Wen was forced by public opinion to send him to Shu. However, Liu Chang had a strong temper and died on a hunger strike on the way, leaving Emperor Wen with a bad name for killing his brother. Although Emperor Wen tried his best to deal with the aftermath, people all over the world saw his hypocrisy and cold-blooded. Later, the people made up a ballad to satirize him: “a foot of cloth can still be sewn; a bushel of millet can still be pounded; the two brothers cannot be compatible.”
Originally, Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty, after eradicating Huainan, returned its fief to the central government. However, influenced by this song, Emperor Wen divided the former Huainan kingdom into three and granted them to Liu Chang’s three sons. The three princes who had a grudge against the royal family brought great hidden dangers to the country.
It is particularly noteworthy that the eldest son, Liu’an, is different from his reckless father. Liu’an likes reading, is good at buying people’s hearts, and has won over a group of scholars to write books for him, posing a major threat to the imperial court in public opinion. Liu An has a smart and eloquent daughter, Liu Ling. Liu An gives her money to make friends with dignitaries in Chang’an and spy on the internal information of the imperial court. When Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty arrived, Liu An also committed suicide due to the rebellion.
1. Sima Qian’s historical records
2. Han Shu by Ban Gu
*The content of this article is provided by the author and does not represent the position of the earth knowledge Bureau