The role of the poisonous empress Lu in the success of Wen Jingzhi’s rule in the Han Dynasty

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Recently, because I wrote an article about empress Lu, I also read empress dowager Lu’s biography, Volume IX of the historical records, and Gao Hou Ji, Volume III of the Hanshu, as well as other contents about empress Lu in the two books.

Historical records is followed by Empress Dowager Lu’s Benji. The book of Han has Huidi Ji. It seems that Ban Gu is trying to maintain orthodoxy. Sima Qian respected the reality of political history. Empress Dowager Lu called emperor Hui of the Han Dynasty to watch the so-called “human drama jackals” (a poem in Liu Yun’s “xuanqu”) after she mutilated Mrs. Qi. When Emperor Hui of Han Dynasty learned that it was Mrs. Qi, he burst into tears. “Due to illness, he could not get up at the age of more than years. He asked the Empress Dowager to say, ‘this is not human. Being the Empress Dowager’s son, he could not rule the world’. Thus, “drinking on this day is immoral pleasure, not listening to politics.” In fact, in the reign of emperor Hui of the Han Dynasty, the old lady Lu pheasant was still in charge of government affairs.

There is a paragraph in gaohou Ji, Volume III of the book of Han Dynasty: “in the first month of the spring of the first year, the imperial edict said: ‘the emperor Xiaohui said that he wanted to eliminate the crimes of the three ethnic groups the day before yesterday, and the evil words and orders, but the discussion was pending and collapsed, and now he will eliminate them’.” According to Yan shigu’s note, “the most serious crimes are the killing of the three ethnic groups. The wrong words are regarded as evil words. Now they are called” heavy coolness “, and they are all eliminated.” This can be seen as a measure of legal reform, but also as a way to bring order out of chaos for Qin government. However, wangmaohong of the Qing Dynasty thought in his Bai Tian miscellany that “this is the intention of benefiting the emperor, and Tongjian does not contain this imperial edict. It is not the beauty of benefiting the emperor, but instead it is transferred to empress Lu.” In fact, if we know who was the real ruler in the reign of emperor Hui of Han Dynasty, we can understand that the “beauty of emperor Hui” can actually be attributed to empress dowager Lu.

Interestingly, the imperial edict of Emperor Wen of the Han Dynasty also said that “there is a crime of slandering words in the current law, which is to make all officials dare not enjoy it, and there is no reason to hear about the mistakes” and “since now, there is a saying that those who commit this crime should not listen to the rule” (historical records volume 10 Xiaowen Benji). Yan shigu noted: “in the first year of the reign of Emperor Wen of the Gao Dynasty, there was a crime of slandering words, which was repeated in the middle.” It seems that the reform of the law has been repeated.

Some of the policy designs made by Empress Lu during his reign can be said to have guiding significance for the historical success of Wen Jingzhi. Sima Qian praised the Empress Dowager Lu at the end of the book of Empress Dowager Lu in the form of “Taishi gongyue”: “when Emperor Hui and empress Gao were filial, the people suffered from the Warring States period, and all the monarchs and officials wanted to rest and do nothing. Therefore, Emperor Hui bowed the arch, and empress Gao was the female leader of the system. The government did not leave the house, and the world was calm. Punishment was rarely used, and the sinner was hope. The people were responsible for farming and food and clothing.” “Zanyue” at the end of “Gao Hou Ji” in Volume III of the Hanshu also made similar comments, but the words and sentences were slightly different.

Hu Guang, a scholar of the Ming Dynasty, pointed out in Hu wenmu’s miscellany that there was an event recorded in two places in the Hanshu, but the plot was different. He cited the story recorded in Ji Bu’s biography that the Hun Shan Yu wrote a letter to empress Lu, and fan Gu said that “the minister wished to get 100000 people to run amok among the Huns”, which was refuted by Ji bu. The Xiongnu biography records the specific words of the Xiongnu’s letter, and Ji Bu’s words are more specific. In the reply letter, there was a saying that “you can’t get rid of the sun, get old, lose your hair and teeth, and lose your step. It’s not enough to pollute yourself if you just listen to it.”. Huguang said that Ji Bu’s words were different. The former was based on the historical records, and the latter said that he didn’t know where to get out. In particular, the “two books in the middle, especially the filthy ones”, should be “printed and cut, and should not leave dirty bamboo slips”. The relevant records in the historical records are relatively simple, “here we can see the advantages and disadvantages of the historical records and the Han Dynasty”. However, those of us who read history today generally think that the records of the Hanshu are more valuable.

The second volume of the notes of secret Zhai written by Xie Caibo of the Song Dynasty noted that after the biography of the Huns, the biography of relatives in the Hanshu thought that the reason was that empress Lu and others had done more harm to the country than the threat of the Huns. It is not possible for them to attach themselves to the emperor’s order because they “negate the patriarchal clan and mislead the state”. Mr. Xie said, “a million people are better than a woman.” He thought that other official histories did not place Waiqi Zhuan after Xiongnu Zhuan, which reflected the superiority of Ban Gu’s Hanshu. I am afraid that many friends who care about history and Han may not agree with this analysis.

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