Han (state)

(Redirected from State of Han)

Han was an ancient Chinese state during the Warring States period of ancient China. Scholars frequently render the name as Hann to clearly distinguish it from China's later Han dynasty.[1]

403 BC–230 BC
StatusState → Kingdom
CapitalYangzhai (before 375 BC)
Xinzheng (after 375 BC)
Chinese folk religion
ancestor worship
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
"State of Han" in small seal script (220 BC)
Traditional Chinese韓國
Simplified Chinese韩国

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 aristocrats of the Ji () family ancestral temple who rose to power as a ministerial family in the state of Jin, and whose power eventually eclipsed that of the Jin ruling house. The partition of Jin which resulted in the states of Han, Wei, and Zhao, marked the beginning of the Warring States period.

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]: 45 

Qin invasion of Han's Shangdang Commandery in 260 BC resulted in the Battle of Changping and was allegedly the bloodiest battle of the Warring States period where up to 400,000 soldiers died.[5]: 38[6]

History edit

Founding edit

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.[7]

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

Spring and Autumn period edit

During the Spring and Autumn period, members of the Han family slowly gained more and more influence and power within Jin.[2] In 453 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 Period edit

In 375 Han defeated the neighboring state of Zheng (founded in 806 by the Zhou dynasty). Han conquered and annexed Zheng, thus expanding its territory. Han also moved its capital there, and assimilated Zheng's heritage. This included that of the young politician Shen Buhai (400-337).[8][9]

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 (r. 332–312 BC), Han declared itself an independent kingdom.

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

Defeat edit

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" (韓王) 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 society edit

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-emperor, 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.[5]: 11–16

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.[5]: 12

Rulers edit

Title Name Reign Alternative Title(s)
Pre-State sovereigns
Hán Wàn
Hán Jiǎn
Hán Yú
Hán Jué
Hán Qǐ
Hán Xū
Hán Bùxìn
Hán Gēng
Hán Hǔ
Hán Qǐzhāng
424 BC – 409 BC
State sovereigns
Marquess Jing
Hán Qián
408 BC – 400 BC
Marquess Lie
Hán Qǔ
399 BC – 387 BC Marquess Wu (韓武侯)
Marquess Wen
unknown 386 BC – 377 BC
Marquess Ai
unknown 376 BC – 374 BC
Marquess Gong
Hán Ruòshān
374 BC – 363 BC Marquess Zhuang (韓莊侯)
Marquess Yi (韓懿侯)
Marquess Xi
Hán Wǔ
362 BC – 333 BC Marquess Zhao (韓昭侯)
King Xuanhui
unknown 332 BC – 312 BC King Xuan (韓宣王)
Marquess Wei (韓威侯), before 323 BC
King Xiang
Jì Cāng
311 BC – 296 BC King Xiang'ai (韓襄哀王)
King Daoxiang (韓悼襄王)
King Xi
Hán Jiù
295 BC – 273 BC
King Huanhui
unknown 272 BC – 239 BC
King An
Hán Ān
238 BC – 230 BC

Rulers family tree edit

Han state
Mu of Jin 晉穆侯
Marquis of Jin
812–785 BC
Wen of Jin 晉文侯
Marquis of Jin
780–746 BC
Huan Shu of Quwo
745–731 BC
Zhao of Jin 晉昭侯
Marquis of Jin
745–739 BC
Hán Wàn 韓萬
Wuzi of Han 韩武子
Ruler of Han
Zhuang Bo
of Quwo
731–716 BCE
Qiubo of Han
Ruler of Han
Hán Jiǎn 韓简
Dingbo 韓定伯
Ruler of Han
Hán Yú 韓輿
Ziyu 子舆
Ruler of Han
Hán Jué 韓厥
Xianzi of Han 韓獻子
Ruler of Han
Hán Qǐ 韓起
Xuanzi of Han 韓宣子
Ruler of Han
Hán Xū 韓須
Zhenzi of Han 韓貞子
Ruler of Han
Hán Bùxìn 韓不信
Jianzi of Han 韓簡子
Ruler of Han
Hán Gēng 韓庚
Zhuangzi 韓莊子
Ruler of Han
Hán Hǔ 韓虎
Kangzi of Han 韓康子
Ruler of Han
Hán Qǐzhāng 韓啓章
Wuzi of Han 韓武子
Ruler of Han
424–409 BC
Hán Qián 韓虔
Jing of Han 韓景侯
Marquess of Han
Hán Qǔ 韓取
Lie (Wu) of Han
Marquess of Han
399–387 BC
Wen of Han
Marquess of Han
386–377 BC
Ai of Han 韓哀侯
Marquess of Han
376–374 BC
Hán Ruòshān 韓若山
Gong of Han 韓共侯
Marquess of Han
374–363 BC
Hán Wǔ 韓武
Xi of Han 韓厘侯
Marquess of Han
362 BC–333 BC
Xuanhui of Han
King of Han
332–312 BC
Xiang of Han 韓襄王
King of Han
311–296 BC
Hán Jiù 韓咎
Xi of Han 韓釐王
King of Han
295–273 BC
Jǐ shī 虮虱
Huanhui of Han
King of Han
272–239 BC
Xin of Han
King of Han
205–196 BC
Hán Ān 韓安
An of Han 韓王安
King of Han
?–238–230–226 BC

Famous people edit

Han in astronomy edit

Han is represented by the star 35 Capricorni[10] 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.[11]

References edit

  1. ^ Loewe, Michael (1999). Michael Loewe; Edward L. Shaughnessy (eds.). The Cambridge History of Ancient China: From the Origins of Civilization to 221 B.C. Cambridge University Press. p. xxv. ISBN 0521470307. OCLC 37361770.
  2. ^ a b c Watson, Burton (2003). Han Feizi: Basic Writings. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 2. ISBN 9780231521321. OCLC 796815905.
  3. ^ David R. Knechtges (2014). "Shenzi 申子". In Knechtges, David R; Chang, Taiping (eds.). Ancient and early medieval Chinese Literature: A Reference guide. Vol. 2. Leiden: Brill. pp. 874–875. doi:10.1163/9789004201644_002. ISBN 9789004191273. OCLC 649419201.
  4. ^ Derk Bodde (1986). "The State and Empire of Chʻin". In Fairbank, John K; Twitchett, Denis (eds.). The Cambridge History of China. Vol. 1: Chʻin and Han. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 21–98. ISBN 9780521243278. OCLC 2424772.
  5. ^ a b c Lewis, Mark Edward (2007). The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han. Cambridge, MA: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. pp. 11–16, 38. ISBN 9780674024779. OCLC 71189868.
  6. ^ Zhang, Qizhi (2015). An Introduction to Chinese History and Culture. Springer. pp. 231–232. doi:10.1007/978-3-662-46482-3_8. ISBN 9783662464823. OCLC 907676443.
  7. ^ Shiji, vol. 45.
  8. ^ Herrlee G. Creel, Shen Pu-hai (University of Chicago 1974), 7-10, 15, 24-25.
  9. ^ Li Feng, Early China (Cambridge University 2013), pp. 162-163, 171, 175, 191.
  10. ^ Ian Ridpath. "Capricornus the Sea Goat". Ian Ridpath's Startales. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  11. ^ Chen Huihua (陳輝樺), ed. (24 Jun 2006). 中國古代的星象系統 (55): 天市右垣、車肆. Activities of Exhibition and Education in Astronomy 天文教育資訊網 (in Chinese).