The gentlest Gong Dou in history has a rare ending

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For a while, Liuxiu, Emperor Guangwu of the Han Dynasty, was annoyed. Ever since he became emperor, he has been invincible on the battlefield. He often feels distressed about his family affairs.

On one side is his wife yinlihua, and on the other side is his new wife guoshengtong.

Liu Xiu sat down to enjoy the happiness of the whole people, but she was in a dilemma. She didn’t know who should be the queen, so she had to postpone the establishment of the empress and named them “noble people” together. This is probably the trouble of happiness.

Yin Lihua has just experienced a long-distance love affair with Liu Xiu for three years, and they are in their first love. It is reasonable to say that they will not lose out in the competition with guoshengtong.

However, when Liu Xiu asked Yin Lihua to make her queen, she refused.

At the refusal of Yin Lihua, the matter of lihou was postponed until the second year of Jianwu (26th year). Guoshengtong became the biggest winner, and Yin Lihua was still a noble man.

Yin Lihua took the overall situation of the world as her priority and stepped back. Her temporary forbearance also opened the prelude to the most peaceful “palace fight” in history.


The encounter between Liu Xiu and Yin Lihua is a romantic story through the ages.

During the period of Xinmang Tianfeng (14-19 years), Liu Xiu, who was weak in his youth, left Nanyang for rural life and went to Chang’an to study.

While feeling excited about her dream, a young girl who had met unexpectedly also appeared in Liu Xiu’s mind.

Before coming to Chang’an, Liu Xiu often visited her brother-in-law Dengchen in Xinye and heard about the reputation of yinlihua, a famous local beauty.

The Yin family is a local rich man. There are more than 700 hectares of fertile land in the family, thousands of chariots, horses and servants. They are comparable to princes and even more famous. There is also Yin Lihua, the daughter of the Yin family.

It is said that Yin Lihua is beautiful and talented. People who have met her praise her. There are an endless stream of matchmakers. She is probably the image of a perfect goddess.

Scholars who have never seen her in the future have spontaneously turned to passers-by to imagine her astonishing beauty. For example, Li Bai, a poet, wrote poems such as “the beauty of beauty is beautiful, the beauty of Han women is beautiful”, “hearing and Yin is beautiful, and the wind and smoke connects with the neighborhood”.

Liu Xiu is an aspiring young man. She has never been confused by treasure and beauty in her life, but she falls in love with Yin Lihua at the first sight and never forgets it, which shows her excellence.

During this happy “college life” in Chang’an, Liu Xiu devoted herself to studying, familiarized herself with the book of history, and also found her life goal.

One day, Liu Xiu saw that zhijinwu led a team of people to swagger through the market. They were very popular. She just thought the scene was very handsome. She set a small goal for herself. One day, she would be satisfied to be zhijinwu.

Zhijinwu is equivalent to the garrison commander of the capital. He is responsible for leading the imperial army to defend the capital. Of course, young people envy such a powerful official position.

Liu Xiu firmly made a wish: “an official should be the king of the state, and a wife should be Yin Lihua.” For this reason, Liu Xiu has been unmarried.



? portrait of Liuxiu, Emperor Guangwu of Han Dynasty. Source: Network

In 23 A.D., 29 year old Liu Xiu finally married yinlihua as his wife on the way of continuous struggle. Among the Chinese emperors who have clearly recorded the age of marriage, Liu Xiu is a typical late married man.

Liu Xiu and Yin Lihua are both talented and beautiful. Their combination with Nanyang giants also helps to unite the generals of Nanyang and Yingchuan hometown groups. Among the meritorious heroes in the early years of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Dengyu, Jiafu, Mawu, etc. were all fellow townsmen of the Liuxiu family and the yinlihua family.

However, in troubled times, the couple were forced to separate after a short sweet time.


The year liuxiuying married Yin Lihua, his reform regime was in the midst of civil strife.

In order to consolidate the throne, the narrow-minded reformed emperor Liu Xuan killed Liu Xiu’s brother Liu Yan while Liu Xiu was leading troops.

Liu Xiu lost her father when she was young. Thanks to her brother’s careful care, she was able to grow up. Later, she set up an army to overthrow Xinmang. Liu Xiu followed her brother. It happened that at this time, Liu Yan was suspected by Liu Xuan and suffered a disastrous accident.

Liu Xiu, who learned the sad news, did not dare to mourn for her brother, and even refused to accept the condolences of her close friends. She forced herself to bear the grief and repented to Liu Xuan, confessing her mistake, and attributed all her contributions to other generals. Only then could she save her life.

This was the darkest time of Liu Xiu’s life. Only his newly married wife yinlihua accompanied him and gently soothed his wounds.



? Liu Xiu and Yin Lihua. Source: film and television stills

In these uncertain days, Liu Xiu knew that she would die at any time, so she made an important decision to send Yin Lihua back to Shino’s mother’s house.

Liu Xiu may hope that once he is killed, Yin Lihua can also escape smoothly. The reason why Yin Lihua failed to give birth to her eldest son with Liu Xiu was precisely because of the new marriage.

Escorted by her own soldiers, Yin Lihua, who had been married to Liu Xiu for less than three months, returned home to Xinye with worry.

This is three years.


After taking charge of Luoyang, the restless and kind Liu Xuan began to find a way to clean up Liu Xiu.

The collapse of Xinmang, great chaos in the world, and the occupation of land by separatist forces around the country are the king. Jizhou, which is close to the northern part of the reform regime, is a big threat.

Liu Xuan said, let Liu Xiu go.



? emperor Gengshi Liu Xuan. Source: film and television stills

The outcast Liu Xiu had to accept the appointment and crossed the Yellow River with Feng Yi and other cronies and hundreds of troops to deal with the separatist forces in Hebei.

Liu Xiu had no relatives and no army in Hebei. It can be said that he did not have a single person in the right time, place or people.

Liu Xiu went north with the consciousness of death, but after he arrived in Hebei, he still did not forget to observe the people’s conditions, investigate the administration of officials, and punish a large number of corrupt officials. When the local people heard that such a hero had come, they came to meet him, and Liu Xiu’s reputation gradually spread.

Liu Xiu and his party came to Handan. Geng Chun, a local Haozu, heard about Liu Xiu’s reputation and became a loyal fan of him. He led his hometown soldiers to surrender.

After Geng Chun, the powerful and powerful in Zhaoxian, lunu and Zhongshan also came to surrender. Only Liu Yang, a Han clan clan who was entrenched in Zhending, did not come to surrender.

Liu Xiu, the king of Zhending, had 100000 people under his command. Liu Xiu did not want to fight against him, but had to outwit him. He sent people to lobby in the name of his kindred. We are all relatives. We may have to call you uncle if we have a good relationship.

Unexpectedly, Liu Yang was also very fond of Liu Xiu and agreed to submit. However, he did not want to be a mere subordinate of Liu Xiu. He offered to marry Liu Xiu and let him marry his niece, guoshengtong, a local aristocrat.

The marriage system of the Han Dynasty implemented the monogamy and multiple concubines system. Liu Yang obviously wanted Liu Xiu to abandon Yin Lihua and marry his niece.

Liu Xiu was naturally unwilling to marry a hundred times. At that time, he had been separated from Yin Lihua for more than a year. He looked forward to seeing each other every day. How could he marry another wife?

Between the Warlord’s scuffle and the political marriage, Liu Xiu, taking the overall situation into account, reluctantly chose the latter and avoided the unprovoked disaster of war with a marriage.

After receiving Liu Yang’s army, Liu Xiu became the strongest separatist power in Hebei. Later, he swept through the heroes and pocketed the territory of Tongma, Gaohu, chonglian and other armies. His sphere of influence has exceeded that of his nominal “boss”, the reformed emperor Liu Xuan.



? the political marriage between Liu Xiu and guoshengtong. Source: film and television stills

The young and beautiful guoshengtong made Liu Xiu feel a rare tenderness in the war. Although history books have not stated clearly, Liu Xiu and guoshengtong should love each other very much in their married life.

After falling into the gentle village involuntarily, Liu Xiu and guoshengtong soon had their first child, the later abandoned crown prince Liu Qiang.

Liu Xiu had a total of 11 sons in her life, among which guoshengtong and Yin Lihua each gave birth to five princes. Only Liu Ying, the king of Chu who later rebelled, was born to Xu Meili. This shows Liu Xiu’s love for Guo and Yin.


Liu Xiu managed his subsidiary well in Hebei, but Liu Xuan was unlucky. The red eyebrow army, which established Liu Penzi as emperor, has surrounded Chang’an City, which was held by the emperor of Gengshi.

Liu Xiu, Liu Xuan’s most capable general, was in Hebei. He had to swallow the bitter fruit of his own actions when he lifted a stone and hit himself in the foot. Shortly after he surrendered to the red eyebrow army, Liu Xuan was hanged.

The situation in Henan suddenly changed. Liu Xiu made a decisive decision and became emperor in Baixiang, Hebei Province. He led a large army assembled in the past three years to the South and established the Eastern Han Dynasty.

The first thing Liu Xiu did after he made Luoyang his capital was to send people to Xinye to meet his wife yinlihua. At this time, it had been three years since the couple met last time.

Yin Lihua’s mood when she saw Liu Xiu must be very complicated. After all, Liu Xiu had another wife at that time, and she was forced to get involved in the battle for the queen with guoshengtong.

Guoshengtong not only has a son, but also has the support of his uncle Liu Yang’s 100000 troops. Yin Lihua and Liu Xiu met at Weishi, and they are deeply in love. It is not easy for Liu Xiu to have a bowl of water.

At this time, an accident happened. Guoshengtong’s uncle and Zhending Wang Liu Yang even rebelled in Hebei.

Hebei is Liu Xiu’s base camp. Once something happens, the consequences will be unimaginable.

Fortunately, Geng Chun, who had previously defected to Liu Xiu in Handan, reacted quickly. Geng Chun’s mother came from the Zhending royal family. In fact, her relatives were also Liu Yang’s nephew. He took this opportunity to deceive Liu Yang into trusting him. He invited Liu Yang to meet him at the museum and discuss important matters.

Liu Yang thought that his nephew would not turn his elbow out, so he took his brother to the meeting.

Just as Liu Yang walked into the door, Geng Chun immediately ordered people to close the door. The swordsmen and axes who had ambushed in advance picked up their swords and fell, killing Liu Yang and his brothers.

After that, Geng Chun’s army came to a decision, and Liu Yang’s army became headless flies and did not dare to fight it. The rebellion of King Zhending was put down.

Liu Xiu did not forget her past kindness, and in the face of guoshengtong, she did not investigate the responsibility of the Zhending royal family, and ordered liude xijue, the son of Liu Yang, to be the Zhending king.

Guoshengtong was the most worried about the king’s rebellion. Originally, Yin Lihua repeatedly refused to be the queen. Guoshengtong was only a short distance away from the empress. With his uncle making such a fuss, it was estimated that the matter would become yellow.

Who knows, Yin Lihua didn’t fall into the trap. Instead, she insisted on resigning to the latter position. In the end, guoshengtong won unexpectedly.

Later generations praised Yin Lihua’s virtue of humility, but ignored her outstanding political consciousness.

Yin Lihua knew that the political situation at that time was extremely unfavorable to the new Eastern Han regime.

There are separatist forces everywhere. Liu Xiu will continue to fight everywhere, and there is a danger of sacrifice at any time. Yin Lihua separated from Liu Xiu shortly after her wedding, and she has no son, while guoshengtong has given birth to her eldest son.

The establishment of Guo Shengtong as the successor and the appointment of Liu Qiang as the crown prince is a necessary measure to stabilize the national foundation and appease the people.

In addition, guoshengtong and Liu Xiu came together because of the political marriage of Hebei giants. After Liu Yang was killed in the rebellion, his son still knew the truth and could set off a storm in Hebei at any time.

Yin Lihua’s painstaking intention to withdraw from the post race is to help Liu Xiu achieve the great cause of reunification.


The empress is a “little gentleman in the sea”, and her mother is in the world, while the noble is the concubine of the emperor. Although her name is only inferior, her status is very different.

Yin Lihua and guoshengtong are in the Luoyang palace. It is inevitable that they will be embarrassed. Liu Xiu, out of guilt, or to avoid another rift between the two, often took Yin Lihua with her when she went on a campaign and tried to accompany her as much as possible.

Opening the history books, you will find an interesting phenomenon. After Liu Xiu declared himself Emperor, he led the troops to fight. Yin Lihua often accompanied him.

Yin Lihua and Liu Xiu’s first son was born in the army. In AD 28, during Liu Xiu’s conquest of Peng Chong, Liu Zhuang, later the emperor of the Han and Ming Dynasties, was born in the middle army in Yuanshi County, Changshan County.



? Liuzhuang, emperor of the Han and Ming Dynasties. Source: Network

The birth of Liu Zhuang marks the second round of the battle between Yin Lihua and guoshengtong.

On the issue of heirs, Liu Zhuang is obviously more popular with Liu Xiu than Prince Liu Qiang.

Prince Liu Qiang inherited Liu Xiu’s military talent, liked reading military books, and threatened to rule the country by force and expand territory.

Liu Xiu takes the world on horseback, but after calming the world, he should recuperate. Liu Qiang’s violent tendency makes Liu Xiu very dissatisfied.

In contrast, Liu Zhuang is gifted and gentle. At least he is a qualified monarch.

In AD 39, Liu Xiu ordered the whole country to check the household registration.

In the materials presented by various places, Liu Xiu accidentally found that the slips of Chen Liuli read: “Yingchuan and Hongnong can be asked, but Henan and Nanyang can not be asked.”

Liu Xiu attached great importance to the issue of Du Tian. Before that, he had issued a series of edicts to local officials to make a thorough investigation. Why are they both the land of the Han Dynasty and some places still unable to investigate?

Liu Xiu asked Chen Liuli what he meant. Chen Liuli didn’t dare say it was picked up from Changshou street in Luoyang. This statement sounds like a joke to you.

Liu Xiu was furious and questioned all the ministers. For a moment, he was silent.

Liu Zhuang couldn’t help interrupting: “this note is to remind the officials who handle affairs. Luoyang is the imperial capital, and there are high-ranking officials everywhere. Nanyang is the imperial Township, and there are royal relatives everywhere. Even if their affairs exceed the system, they can’t be managed.”

After hearing this, Liu Xiu suddenly realized that he ordered the matter to be dealt with strictly and sent people to investigate. If so, he could not help praising Liu Zhuang for his wisdom.


Liu Xiu was full of praise for Liu Zhuang. Guoshengtong’s resentment accumulated for many years gradually broke out, and a smell of gunpowder filled the palace.

As early as 33 A.D., guoshengtong felt his position was in jeopardy from an imperial edict written by Liu Xiu.

At that time, Yin Lihua was invaded by a gang of thieves in Xinye’s family home. Yin Lihua’s old mother and brother Yin Xin were killed.

The poor security measures of the Yin family may be related to Yin Lihua and her brothers’ repeated humility and rejection of the marquis.

Liu Xiu wanted to make Yin Xing, Yin Lihua’s brother, Hou. Yin Xing said, “I didn’t take the credit for charging the front. I won’t let the world complain if I was granted the title of Lord. I don’t want this to happen.”

The descendants of the Yin brothers were not granted Marquis, so naturally there were no guards to protect them. This made it easy for the robbers to succeed.

When the bad news came, Yin Lihua was so sad that she cried all day. In order to soothe his wife’s pain, Liu Xiu also remembered the family ties of the two families in the past, and specially issued an imperial edict to express her sadness:

When I was humble, I married the Yin family. Because of the conscription, I left each other. Lucky to be safe, we are all out of the tiger’s mouth. As a noble man has the beauty of a mother’s instrument, he should be the queen, and he should be a concubine. I praise his righteousness and grant him titles. Before the knight, he suffered misfortune and misfortune. His mother and son had the same fate and were hurt in his arms

The two meanings in the imperial edict made guoshengtong’s five tastes mixed and deeply stimulated her inner sensitivity.

First, Liu Xiu still kept in mind his relationship with Yin Lihua in the imperial edict.

The second is to make public the “abdication” of Yin Lihua, which is like telling the world that empress Guo’s seat was given by Yin nobles.

Although Liu Xiu’s imperial edict is an outpouring of true feelings, it must not deepen family conflicts.


With the world calming down, guoshengtong and his family behind him no longer have the deterrent to Liu Xiu, and Liu Xiu is no longer constrained in dealing with family affairs.

After the abolition of the past dynasties, there are often good reasons, and guoshengtong was abolished only because of minor disturbances.

In the last few years of guoshengtong’s career as Queen, she quarreled with people all day, and had a particularly bad attitude towards the prince and Princess born to other concubines. She was like a resentful woman, hysterically venting her dissatisfaction, or simply losing her temper.

In the 17th year of Jianwu (the 41st year of Jianwu’s reign), Liu Xiu finally could not bear it. After the imperial edict was abolished, Yin Lihua was made queen.

Liu Xiu’s reason is somewhat far fetched, but he criticizes guoshengtong for “having nothing to do with the virtue of Ju, but the style of Lu and Huo”. He subjectively surmises that he may not be able to trust young orphans after a hundred years.

Until this moment, guoshengtong realized that he had lost everything. But she didn’t know what fate she would have to wait for as an abandoned queen, whether she would be exiled or forced to commit suicide and lose both her mother and son.



? guoshengtong and Prince Liu Qiang. Source: film and television stills

In fact, guoshengtong’s ending was not bad. She was the only abandoned empress in ancient China who was not relegated to the cold palace, but more respected. The Guo family was not relegated, but the whole family was promoted to the rank of nobility.

In order to reassure guoshengtong and the Guo family, Liu Xiu promoted guoshengtong’s second son Liufu to the title of king of the mountains and granted a new county. All the income from this county was used as the living expenses of empress Guo. She was renamed “Empress Dowager of the mountains” by the queen and had the right to leave the palace to live with her son.

Later, Liu Xiu renamed Liu Fu King of Pei, allowing guoshengtong to live in a more fertile Peidi.

Guokuang, guoshengtong’s brother, was also more honored and favored than before. He was granted another fief and was granted the Marquis of Yang’an. His son guohuang became a son-in-law and married Princess Fuyang, the daughter of Yin Lihua.

Liu Xiu often visited her brother-in-law’s house, and each time she asked other public secretaries to accompany her to show her honor. Liu Xiu lived frugally, but he was not stingy with Guo Kuang’s rewards, giving him a lot of gold, silver and silk. Guo Kuang later became a rich man in Luoyang with the reward of the emperor. People in the capital called his family “golden cave”.

Guojingjing, guoshengtong’s cousin, and guokuang, his cousin, also became Marquis successively. Her uncle Guoliang had no children, and Liu Xiu simply made Guoliang’s son-in-law marquis.

A son is valued by his mother, and a mother by her son. After guoshengtong was abolished, Liu Qiang, who advocated force, felt weak, pitiful and helpless.

Two years after guoshengtong was abolished, the uneasy Liu Qiang made a wise decision and took the initiative to abdicate the crown prince, requesting to hand over to Yin Lihua’s eldest son Liuzhuang. Later, Liu Qiang was renamed as the king of the East China Sea and went to the fief.

The fate of an abandoned Prince is often more miserable than that of an abandoned queen. In the Guangwu Dynasty, Liu Qiang successfully jumped out of this rule.

In order to appease his eldest son, Liu Xiu generously expanded his fief, so that he actually owned two fiefs. The total number of fiefs was 29 counties, of which Lu county was specially added because there was a gorgeous palace Lingguang hall for Liu Qiang to live in.

In order to take care of the abandoned crown prince, Liu Xiu also specially arranged for Liu Qiang’s cousin Guo to be appointed as the State Minister of the East China Sea to show her trust in the Guo family.

Liu Xiu doesn’t want his family to be tainted with bloodshed. He just hopes that the eldest son who quits the heirs’ contention won’t have to be afraid any more, and he can live a better life.

In the first Imperial battle of the Eastern Han Dynasty, there were neither winners nor losers. There was only a family that tried its best to resolve contradictions, a loving father and a gentle husband.


[Southern Song Dynasty] Fan Ye: the later Han Dynasty, Zhonghua Book Company, 2007

[song] Sima Guang: Zizhi Tongjian, Yuelu publishing house, 2009

Louxuqing: the emotional world of Emperor Guangwu of Han Dynasty, master’s thesis of central China Normal University, 2008

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