Famine and war in the Han Dynasty led to cannibalism. Guanzhong was once eaten into a no man’s land

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Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty refused to save the victims

Eating live monkeys is the business of those people who are extremely cruel, and these people are very few after all. However, in a specific period, the way people “eat” with human goals has become one of the deepest pains in Chinese history.

People eat people, sometimes in literary works. For example, Liangshan hero ripped out the enemy’s heart and fried specific organs. In addition, it is also a habit left over from ancient times that people eat the same kind. Therefore, some tribes in Africa still have the custom of cannibalism. Thinking of the latter point may relax people’s mood.

If we try to link the event of people eating the same kind with collective eating and drinking in Chinese history, it is inevitable to involve Emperor Wu of Han Dynasty, who is considered to be a great emperor. During his 54 year reign (141-87 BC), the unfortunate “cannibalism” incident occurred in the third and twenty seventh years of his accession to the throne. He issued the imperial edict of “Da Lin Wu Ri” three times, namely in the eighth, fifteenth and thirty eighth years of his reign. What is the relationship between the “cannibalism” disaster and the “big five-day” policy is still unclear. There is one thing we can know: the implementation of the policy of indulging the people to eat and drink for five days is related to the celebration of the country. For example, the “big five days” in the third year of Yuanshuo (126 BC) was because the country suspended the “Fa Ba Shu Zhi Nan Yi Road” that has been going on for five years, that is, the huge project of developing the southwest, and the formal completion of the construction project of Shufang city.

The “big house” policy is personnel, which can be determined by the likes and dislikes of the supreme ruler, but the inducement of “cannibalism” is the way of heaven, which is beyond human will. The first “cannibalism” incident during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty was triggered by the bursting of the Yellow River. It was the spring of the third year of Jianyuan (138 BC). In that season, the people’s grain storage was the lowest period in a year, which is often said to be a time of famine, resulting in “great hunger”.

The result of “great hunger” is “people eat each other”.

Now imagine the situation at that time: the state did not lack enough food to relieve the people in the plains affected by the Yellow River burst, because the “rule of culture and scenery” left a reserve of “Taicang millet overflowing and lying outside”. It is estimated that Liu Che is unwilling to use the national reserves and ignores the victims. Most conservatively, it may be the limitation of transportation conditions that the food cannot be delivered.

24 years later (the third year of the reign of emperor Ding of the Yuan Dynasty, 114 BC), another “cannibalism” event was triggered by hail. The hail disaster led to “more than ten hungry counties in Kanto”. However, the hail disaster can only destroy crops (in summer and April) and it is impossible to destroy all the grain stored in people’s homes and can’t eat, which shows that people generally have less grain stored. The lack of food for the people was due to the lack of harvest caused by the withdrawal of agricultural labor, which was forced to participate in the foreign war of Emperor Wu and the construction of national projects. In addition, the hail disaster will not affect transportation, and food can also be transported from the capital Chang’an to the nearby Kanto region by land and water, which shows that Liu Che is still unwilling to help the affected people.

What is the greatness of such a monarch?!

Prophecy of Wang Mang

Wei magic spell

If Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty faced the question of “why not save the victims”, he would find an excuse for himself, especially for the second “cannibalism” incident. Can I blame Liu Che? It’s God who doesn’t do good! In the midst of two vicious incidents, I was not lucky enough to have carried out the “five-day” policy of benefiting the people twice!

In terms of rescuing the people, Emperor Wu of the Han Dynasty was far inferior to Wang Mang, who later seized his Han Liu regime. For the famine caused by the locust plague in the summer of the third year of the new emperor (A.D. 22), Wang Mang ordered to open the official warehouse to relieve the victims. In this way, the death rate of the victims who poured into the vicinity of the capital was still “sevenoreight out of ten”, and there was an event of cannibalism.

In terms of eating and drinking politics, Wang Mang is indeed a much better monarch than Liu Che. If the reason why Liu Che is “great” is established, then Wang Mang is “extremely great”!

From Liu Che to Wang Mang and later the leader of ZTE, Liu Xiu, all lived in an era of extreme superstition. In terms of academic discourse, Confucian classics Theology (also known as “theological classics”) is highly developed, and predicting the future and divining become part of the mainstream ideology. Wang Mang invited experts in this field to see the photos. The experts didn’t say the full results in front of him, but ran outside to rumor that it was Mang’s bad appearance, “if you can eat people, you should also be eaten by people”. Wang Mang killed the expert after getting feedback. However, this unfortunate prophecy, which may be called “the prophecy of Wang Mang”, fell on the people.

After Liu Xiu opened the Second Empire of Han and Liu, the prophecy of Wang Mang still haunted Han and Liu politics like a magic spell. Although it does not happen frequently, it is more tragic than in the previous dynasty. It also happens infrequently. Its unpredictability and fatalistic factors make people feel afraid and helpless.

In the early days of Liu Xiu’s claim to the throne, in the second year of Jianwu (AD 26), the red eyebrow army entered Chang’an for two times, “the three auxiliary forces were hungry, people ate each other, the city outline was empty, and white bones covered the wild”. At the end of the destiny of the dynasty founded by Liu Xiu, there were three peaks of “cannibalism”:

For the first time, Dong Zhuo drove millions of people in the vast area centered on Luoyang to Chang’an. Food was extremely scarce on the road. It became a necessary condition for living people to eat the dead and eat fruits to win their stomachs;

The second time, after Dong Zhuo’s death, his ministry fought a scuffle in Chang’an area, causing food prices to soar thousands of times. People who could not afford or buy food began to eat the same kind, “people eat each other, bones accumulate, and the road is full of stink”;

The third time, Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty returned his capital to Luoyang from Chang’an. The original residents of Chang’an were afraid of being forced to migrate, and the strong fled, leaving the weaker people to compete again. As a result, the weakest part was eaten, “in two or three years, there was no trace of people in Guanzhong”.

The history of “cannibalism” was not annihilated by the complete disappearance of the Second Empire of Han and Liu dynasties. It developed tenaciously with the flow of the river of history. The author of this book has no intention of writing a “history of Chinese people eating each other”, because it is too tragic. The narration stops here. More historical materials are collected by the readers themselves!

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