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Persons in Chinese History - Sun Hao 孫皓

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Sun Hao 孫皓 (r. 264-280), courtesy name Sun Yuanzong 孫元宗, also called Sun Pengzu 孫彭祖, was the last emperor of the Wu dynasty 吳 (222-280). He was the son of Prince Sun He 孫和 and followed Emperor Jing to the throne. He was Marquis of Wucheng 烏程侯 and only had the chance to become emperor because Emperor Jing's son Sun Wan 孫{雨/單} was only a small boy. At that time the empire of Shu 蜀漢 (221-263) had just been destroyed by the empire of Wei 曹魏 (220-265), so that the court of the Wu empire was deeply shaken by anxiety. Sun Hao was influenced by Commander of the Left Army Control (zuo dianjun 左典軍) Wan Yu 萬彧 who slandered the Counsellor-in-chief (chengxiang 丞相) Puyang Xing 濮陽興 and general Zhang Bu 張布. Empress Dowager Zhu 朱太后 feared for he survival of the dynasty. Sun Hao is known as a very cruel person and took a cruel revenge on all persons he formerly had problems with, and that was a great part of all princes and ministers. The bloody excesses during the Southern Dynasties period 南朝 (420~589) were already adumbrated during these years. In 264 Sun Gao killed Puyang Xing and Zhang Bu, a year later Empress Dowager Zhu and her son, Sun Wan. He moved the capital from Jianye 建業 (modern Nanjing 南京, Jiangsu) to Wuchang 武昌 (modern Echeng 鄂城, Hubei), but the court already returned in the following year. Sun Hao was known for his luxurious and friviolous life. He proclaimed an edict that all great families had to deliver girls to the court for inspection, and without this procedure they were not qualified for marriage. A lot of these girls were put into the imperial harem and were allowed to wear the most precious and expensive clothes and jewellery. Adorning his concubines became one of the emperor's most important hobbies, so that he bestowed greatest favour to the Leader of the court gentleman in control of the capital market (sishi zhongliangjiang 司市中郎將) Chen Sheng 陳聲. Yet Chen Sheng was a righteous person and wanted to punish some of the concubines that had stolen commodities on the market. Deeply enraged, the emperor had him executed and the corpse mutilated. In 267 Sun Hao had erected a new palace, the Zhaoming Palace 昭明宮, for which he consumed a tremendous amount of money. All remonstrating memorials by the ministers were ignored. In 269 the emperor's son Sun Jin 孫瑾 was proclaimed heir apparent. Sun Gao was influenced by fortune-tellers that promised him that he would reunify China. He therefore undertook several military campaigns against the Jin empire 晉 (265-420) that had meanwhile replaced the Wei in the north, but was deafeated each time. In 279 the Jin generals Wang Xun 王濬 and Du Yu 杜預 attacked the state of Wu. All ministers of Wu, exhausted by the year-long humiliation by their emperor, left him alone, so that Wang Jun smoothly advanced from Wuchang 武昌 to the capital Jianye. Sun Hao could not but submit to the general of the Jin empire, and so ended the Wu dynasty. He was settled down with his family in the capital of Jin, Luoyang 洛陽 (modern Luoyang, Henan), and was given the title of Marquis of Guiming 歸命侯 (a humiliating title meaning "submitting to the Heavenly Mandate", i.e. the emperor of Jin). He died in 283 in Luoyang and was buried there.

Source: Chen Quanli 陳全力, Hou Xinyi 侯欣一 (ed. 1988), Diwang cidian 帝王辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin jiaoyu chubanshe), p. 57.

January 12, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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