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Persons in Chinese History - Liu Shan 劉禪, the Later Ruler of Shu-Han 蜀漢後主

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Liu Shàn 劉禪 (a special reading instead of Liu Chan, r. 223-263 CE), courtesy name Liu Gongsi 劉公嗣, childhood name Adou 阿斗, was the second and last ruler of the Han empire in the province of Shu 蜀 (modern Sichuan) during the Three Kingdoms period 三國 (220-280) , the empire of Shu-Han 蜀漢 (221-263). He is therefore also called Houzhu "The later or last ruler" 後主. He was a son of Liu Bei 劉備 (r. 221-222), the "First ruler" (xianzhu 先主) and Empress Gan 甘皇后 and succeeded his father to the throne of the Shu-Han empire. Liu Shan was appointed heir apparent when his father proclaimed himself King or Prince of Hanzhong 漢中 (modern Hanzhong, Shaanxi) in 219 CE. In 223 CE, when he mounted the throne, he took the daughter of General of the cavalry (qi jiangjun 騎將軍) Zhang Fei 張飛 as his empress. He entrusted all government affairs to Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮, Marquis of Wuxiang 武鄉侯, who had already served his father. After Zhuge's death Jiang Wan 蔣琬 and Fei Hui 費禕 were made counsellors and perpetuated the kind of politics formed by Zhuge Liang. In 238 CE Liu Shan's son Liu Rui 劉璿 was named crown prince. Later on Liu Shan was influenced by the eunuch Huang Hao 黄皓, and the Shu-Han dynasty suffered a growing decline. Liu Shan did not care for government at all. General Jiang Wei 姜維 was continuously beaten in his campaigns against the empire of Wei 魏. In 267 CE Sima Zhao 司馬昭, the potentate of the Wei empire, sent out general Deng Ai 鄧艾 with a large army to conquer Shu. The capital Chengdu 成都 (modern Chengdu, Sichuan) was encircled, and Liu Shan surrendered. He was forced to move to the capital of Wei, Luoyang 洛陽 (modern Luoyang, Henan) and was enfeoffed as Duke of Anle 安樂公. One day, when Liu Shan was banqueted by the all-powerful general Sima Zhao, the host had performed dances of Shu in order to please his guest. While his entourage was deeply moved, Liu Shan alone laughed out of joy. The former emperor said that he was delighted by the music and did not think of his ancient empire at all. In later ages he was therefore named with his childhood name Adou in order to express his silly and irresponsible character. He died in Luoyang in 271 CE and was also 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. 55.

December 29, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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