Episode 30 Companion: Two and a Half Emperors

Just in case you need a reminder, the (approximate) extent of the Han Empire (orange) during this period:

Under Emperor Zhao, the Empire would reach it’s apogee in terms of physical size.

han map


Emperor Zhao of Han (漢昭帝, Han Zhaodi):

Personal name: Liu Fuling (劉弗陵),

Born: 94 BCE

Beginning of reign: 87 BCE (age: 7), Regent Huo Guang ruled in his name

Death: 74 BCE (age: 20)



Empress Shangguan (上官皇后):

Personal name: unknown

Born: 89 BCE

Empress Consort of Han: 83-74 BCE (age: 6-14)

Empress Dowager: 74 BCE (27 days)

Grand Empress Dowager: 74-37 BCE (age at death: 55) Empress Shangguan


The Imperial Regent, Huo Guang (霍光):

Born: unknown

Marquis of Bolu (r. 87–68 BCE)

Regent of Emperor Zhao: 87-74 BCE

Regent of Emperor Xuan: 73-68 BCE

Death: 68 BCE




The Loulan Kingdom

In 77 BCE, the new King of Loulan began to resist Han authority in favor of the Xiongnu.  Their King Angui was assassinated by Han Imperial Messenger Fu Jiezi and replaced with the more cooperative King Weituqi.


Another view of the Western Regions (西域, Xiyu) and neighboring kingdoms: Western_Regions_1st_century_BC(en)


Emperor Xuan of Han (宣帝)

Personal name: Liu Bingyi (劉病已), later changed to Liu Xun (劉詢) to facilitate the traditional naming taboo on the Emperor’s name (病 and 已 being in far too common usage to declare taboo)

Born: 91 BCE Beginning of reign: 74 BCE (age: 17)

Death: 49 BCE (age: 42)


Xu Pingjun (許平君): r. 74-71 BCE (murdered by poison)

Huo Chengjun (霍成君): r. 70-66 BCE (deposed), d. 54 BCE (suicide)

Empress Wang (王皇后) personal name unknown: r. 64-49 BCE, as Empress Dowager: 49-33 BCE, as Grand Empress Dowager: 33-16 BCE (death) 200px-HanXuanDi


One thought on “Episode 30 Companion: Two and a Half Emperors

  1. Good companion piece, but I was kinda hoping to see a picture or further info concerning the briefly reigning Emperor, Liu He. There are figures in Chinese history who I love because I’m respectful of them & think they were truly great & worthy champions who did good things &/or had good philosophies & ideas (ex: Wu Zetian, Han Wendi, the Trưng sisters, Liu Bei, Wang Mang, Wang Anshi, etc…). Then there are those figures in Chinese history who I love (probably even more than the aforementioned group) for all the wrong reasons, such as: Despots, clowns, goofballs, tyrants, nincompoops, failures, simpletons, depraved sex-fiends, monsters, & other bad stuff (ex: Wu Zetian, most Liu Song emperors & princes, Dong Zhou, Jin Huidi, Ran Min, Sun Hao, etc…). Liu He fits into that latter category, & I do ever so love him.

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