We pick back up our narrative thread with Emperor Huan of Han (漢桓帝, Hàn Húan Dì) “The Diligent”
née: Liu Zhi
Born: 132 CE
Death: 168 CE (Age: 36)
Reign: 146-168 (22 years; age at ascension: 13)
Huan managed to defeat his power-mad uncle and remain in power with the help of five eunuchs, and his gratitude ushered in the era of eunuch-marquis and, ultimately, the downfall of his dynasty.
Emperor Ling of Han was Huan’s successor, though not his son. Since Huan did not have a suitable heir, his distant cousin was selected by his wife, the Empress Dowager Dou.
née: Liu Hong, Marquis of Jieduting
Born: 156 CE
Death: 189 CE (Age: 32-33)
Reign: 168-189 (21 years; age 12-13 at time of ascension)
He took all of Huan’s bad ideas and turned them up to 11….
The Yellow Turban Rebellion
Beginning as anew sect of Daoism called 太平道 (taiping dao), meaning The Way of Great/Eternal Peace, the sect has led by the trio of brothers, Zhang Jue, Zhang Bao, and Zhang Liang. Zhang Jue, the eldest brother would come to the fore of the movement as its’ “Great Teacher”, urging his followers to spread his message.
Zhang Jue supposed receives his books of divine knowledge from an immortal saint.
His thoroughly apocalyptic message would find a wide audience in the tumultuous and corrupt late Eastern Han society, and spread far and wide, all anticipating the Time of the Yellow Sky
It spread across huge areas of northern and central Han China, requiring enormous imperial efforts to contain and counteract
in yellow, regions controlled or contested by the Yellow Turbans at its greatest extent.
Leading the charge against the rebels was the Imperial officers Cao Cao (曹操) a brilliant commander who would be instrumental in grinding down the religious sect’s rebellion and restoring the Han Dynasty’s hegemony. He will be the father of Cao Pei, the eventuaFirst Emperor of Wei, and posthumously honored as Emperor Wu of Wei.
(155-220; age: 65)
With Emperor Ling’s death in 189, his two sons Liu Xie and Liu Bian existed in the eye of swirling conspiracies over which would succeed their father. It would wind up being the younger brother, Liu Bian would would become…
Emperor Shao, The “Little Emperor”
aka the Prince/King of Hongnong
But he would last less than a year, poison by his savior-turned-murderer, the power-hungry General Dong Zhuo
seen below hurling a spear at his adopted son and bodyguard Lü Bu, in the middle of a temper tantrum…
“dodge, duck, dip, dive, and…dodge!”
“Worst. Game. Ever. Dad.”
Lü Bu – Dong Zhou’s top soldier… adoptive son… spear target… and betrayer…
He would be the one to bring the mad warlord’s reign to an end in 192…
“dude… teamkiller… not cool, man.”