An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Jin Midi 金日磾

Sep 22, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Jin Midi [read Mìdī, not Ridi!] 金日磾 (d. 86 BCE), courtesy name Wengshu 翁叔, was a high minister of the mid-Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE). He was of Xiongnu 匈奴 origin and was a son of the Prince of Xiutu 休屠王.

In 121 he fled to the court of the Han dynasty when the Prince of Hunya 渾邪王 had killed his father. In the empire of the Han empire, Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安, Shaanxi), he was made made overseer of the imperial stables and soon attracted the admiration of Emperor Wu 漢武帝 (r. 141-87 BCE) for his excellent knowledge in horse breeding. He was promoted to attendant gentleman (shilang 侍郎), Commandant of the escort (fuma duwei 駙馬都尉) and finally Grand Master for Splendid Happiness (guanglu dafu 光祿大夫).

Jin Midi's son Nong'er 弄兒 became an intimate companion of Emperor Wu and even dared to enter the imperial harem. For this indecent behaviour Jin Midi killed his own son and was from then on a highly appreciated minister of Emperor Wu. This kind of trust by the empeor even grew when Jin Midi discovered Mang Heluo's 莽何羅 attempt to kill the emperor, and Jin Midi was appinted General of chariots and cavalry (cheji jiangjun 車騎將軍) in 87 BCE.

The successor of Emperor Wu was a young boy, Emperor Zhao 漢昭帝 (r. 87-74 BCE). Jin Midi counted to the four regents, together with Shangguan Jie 上官桀, Huo Guang 霍光 and Sang Hongyang 桑弘羊.

In 86 he was given the title of Marquis of Du 秺侯 and died in the same year. His posthumous title is Marquis Jing 敬侯.

Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. (1996). Hanshu cidian 漢書辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 397.