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Han (Chinese: , Old Chinese: *[g]ˤar) was an ancient Chinese state during the Warring States period of ancient China. It is conventionally romanized by scholars as Hann to distinguish it from the later Han dynasty (漢).[1]

Han

 or 
*Gar
403 BC–230 BC
EN-HAN260BCE.jpg
StatusKingdom
CapitalYangzhai (before 375 BC)
Xinzheng (after 375 BC)
Religion
Chinese folk religion
ancestor worship
GovernmentMonarchy
King 
Chancellor 
Historical eraWarring States period
403 BC
• Conquered by Qin
230 BC
Currencyspade money
other ancient Chinese coinage
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Jin (Chinese state)
Qin dynasty
Han
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
State of Han
(small seal script, 220 BC)

It was located in central China (modern-day Shanxi and Henan) in a region south and east of Luoyang, the capital of the Eastern Zhou. It was ruled by a royal family who were former ministers in the state of Jin that had slowly gained power from the Jin royal family until they were able to divide Jin into the three new states of Han, Wei and Zhao with the assistance of two other ministerial families.[2]

The state of Han was small and located in a mountainous and unprofitable region.[2] Its territory directly blocked the passage of the state of Qin into the North China Plain.[citation needed]. Although Han had attempted to reform its governance (notably under Chancellor and "Legalist" Shen Buhai who improved state administration and strengthened its military ability)[3] these reforms were not enough to defend itself and it was the first of the seven warring states to be conquered by Qin in 230 BC.[4]

Qin invasion of Han's Shangdang Commandery in 260 BC was the bloodiest battle of the Warring States period with the supposed death of 400,000 soldiers (at Changping).[5][6]

HistoryEdit

FoundingEdit

According to chapter 45 of the Records of the Grand Historian, the royal family of Han was a cadet branch of the royal family of the state of Jin. The founder of the Han clan Wuzi of Han was the uncle of Duke Wu of Jin.

Members of the family became ministers in the powerful state of Jin and were granted Hanyuan (modern Hancheng in Shaanxi).

Spring and Autumn periodEdit

During the Spring and Autumn period, members of the Han family slowly gained more and more influence and power within Jin.[2] In 403 BC, Jing of Han, along with Wen of Wei and Lie of Zhao partitioned Jin among themselves. In Chinese history, this Partition of Jin is the event which marks the end of the Spring and Autumn period and the beginning of the Warring States. Subsequently, Han was an independent polity. King Lie eventually recognized the new states in 403 BC[2] and elevated the rulers to (hou, "marquess").

Warring States PeriodEdit

Han's highest point occurred under the rule of Marquess Xi. Xi appointed Shen Buhai as his chancellor and implemented his Legalist policies. These reforms improved state administration and strengthened its military capability. Under King Xuanhui (332–312 BC), Han declared itself an independent kingdom.

However, Han was disadvantaged in the competition of the Warring States because Jin's partition had left it surrounded on all sides by other strong states – Chu to the south, Qi to the east, Qin to the west, and Wei to the north. It was the smallest of the seven states and, without any easy way to expand its own territory and resources, it was bullied militarily by its more powerful neighbors.

DefeatEdit

During its steady decline, Han eventually lost the power to defend its territory and had to request military assistance from other states. The contest between Wei and Qi over control of Han resulted in the Battle of Maling, which established Qi as the pre-eminent state in the east. In 260 BC, Qin's invasion of Han led to Zhao intervention and the Battle of Changping.

During the late years of the era, in an attempt to drain Qin's resources in an expensive public works project, the state of Han sent the civil engineer Zheng Guo to Qin to persuade them to build a canal. The scheme, while expensive, backfired spectacularly when it was eventually completed: the irrigation abilities of the new Zhengguo Canal far outweighed its cost and gave Qin the agricultural and economic means to dominate the other six states. Han was the first to fall, in 230 BC.

In 226 BC, former nobility of the Han launched a failed rebellion in former capital Xinzheng, and King An, the last king of Han, was put to death the same year.

Han Xin was made a "Prince" or "King of Han" (韩王) by Liu Bang after the establishment of the Han dynasty (漢朝). He was removed to Taiyuan Commandery and the territory of the kingdom of Dai, where he defected to the Xiongnu and led raids against the Han Dynasty until his death.

Culture and societyEdit

Before the state of Qin unified China in 221 BC, each region had their own unique customs and culture, although they were all dominated by an upper class that shared a largely common culture. In the Yu Gong (Tribute of Yu), a section of the Book of Documents which was most likely composed in the 4th century BC, the author describes a China that is divided into nine regions, each with its own distinctive peoples and products. The core theme of this section is that these nine regions are unified into one state by the travels of the eponymous sage, Yu the Great and by sending each region's unique goods to the capital as tribute. Other texts also discussed these regional variations in culture and physical environments.[7]

One of these texts was Wuzi (The Book of Master Wu) which was a Warring States military treatise written in response to a query by Marquis Wu of Wei on how to cope with the other states. Wu Qi, the author of the work, declared that the government and nature of the people were linked to the physical environment and territory they live in.[8]

RulersEdit

Title Name Reign Alternative Title(s)
Pre-State sovereigns
Wuzi
韓武子
Hán Wàn
韓萬
Qiubo
韓赇伯
unknown
Dingbo
韓定伯
Hán Jiǎn
韓简
Ziyu
韓子輿
Hán Yú
韓輿
Xianzi
韓獻子
Hán Jué
韓厥
Xuanzi
韓宣子
Hán Qǐ
韓起
Zhenzi
韓貞子
Hán Xū
韓須
Jianzi
韓簡子
Hán Bùxìn
韓不信
Zhuangzi
韓莊子
Hán Gēng
韓庚
Kangzi
韓康子
Hán Hǔ
韓虎
Wuzi
韓武子
Hán Qǐzhāng
韓啓章
424 BC – 409 BC
State sovereigns
Marquess Jing
韓景侯
Hán Qián
韓虔
408 BC – 400 BC
Marquess Lie
韓烈侯
Hán Qǔ
韓取
399 BC – 387 BC Marquess Wu (韓武侯)
Marquess Wen
韓文侯
unknown 386 BC – 377 BC
Marquess Ai
韓哀侯
unknown 376 BC – 374 BC
Marquess Gong
韓共侯
Hán Ruòshān
韓若山
374 BC – 363 BC Marquess Zhuang (韓莊侯)
Marquess Yi (韓懿侯)
Marquess Xi
韓厘侯
Hán Wǔ
韓武
362 BC – 333 BC Marquess Zhao (韓昭侯)
King Xuanhui
韓宣惠王
unknown 332 BC – 312 BC King Xuan (韓宣王)
Marquess Wei (韓威侯), before 323 BC
King Xiang
韓襄王
unknown 311 BC – 296 BC King Xiang'ai (韓襄哀王)
King Daoxiang (韓悼襄王)
King Xi
韓釐王
Hán Jiù
韓咎
295 BC – 273 BC
King Huanhui
韓桓惠王
unknown 272 BC – 239 BC
King An
韓王安
Hán Ān
韓安
238 BC – 230 BC

Rulers family treeEdit

Famous peopleEdit

Han in astronomyEdit

Han is represented by the star 35 Capricorni[9] in the "Twelve States" asterism, part of the "Girl" lunar mansion in the "Black Turtle" symbol. Han is also represented by the star Zeta Ophiuchi in the "Right Wall" asterism, part of the "Heavenly Market" enclosure.[10]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Loewe, Michael (1999). The Cambridge history of ancient China : from the origins of civilization to 221 B.C. Co-edited by Edward L. Shaughnessy. Cambridge University Press. pp. xxv. ISBN 0521470307. OCLC 37361770.
  2. ^ a b c d Watson, Burton (2003). Han Feizi : basic writings. New York City: Columbia University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780231521321. OCLC 796815905.
  3. ^ R Knechtges, David (2014). Ancient and early medieval Chinese literature : a reference guide. Co-edited by Taiping Chang. Leiden, Netherlands: Brill. pp. 874–5. ISBN 9789004191273. OCLC 649419201.
  4. ^ Fairbank, John K (1986). The Cambridge history of China. Co-edited by Denis Twitchett,. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 45. ISBN 9780521243278. OCLC 2424772.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  5. ^ Edward Lewis, Mark (2007). The Early Chinese Empires : Qin and Han. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 38. ISBN 9780674024779. OCLC 71189868.
  6. ^ Qizhi, Zhang (2015). An introduction to Chinese history and culture. Springer. pp. 231–2. ISBN 9783662464823. OCLC 907676443.
  7. ^ Edward Lewis, Mark (2007). The Early Chinese Empires : Qin and Han. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. pp. 11–16. ISBN 9780674024779. OCLC 71189868.
  8. ^ Edward Lewis, Mark (2007). The Early Chinese Empires : Qin and Han. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. p. 12. ISBN 9780674024779. OCLC 71189868.
  9. ^ Ian Ridpath's Startales - Capricornus the Sea Goat
  10. ^ Activities of Exhibition and Education in Astronomy. "天文教育資訊網". 24 Jun 2006. (in Chinese)