Ziying of Qin

Ziying, King of Qin[a] (Chinese: 秦王子嬰; pinyin: Qín-wáng Zǐyīng, died January 206  BC) was the third and last ruler of the Qin dynasty. He ruled over a fragmented Qin Empire for 46 days from mid-October to early December in 207  BC. He is referred to in some sources with the posthumous name Emperor Shang of Qin (秦殤帝), despite Qin abolishing the practice of posthumous names. (In Chinese tradition, even someone who never held a ruling title while alive might be given the posthumous title "emperor" after his death.)

Ziying, King of Qin
秦王子嬰
ruler of Qin
ReignOctober – December 207 BC
PredecessorQin Er Shi
BornUnknown
DiedJanuary 206 BC
Names
Ancestral name: Ying (嬴)
Clan name: Qin (秦) or Zhao (趙)
Given name: Ziying (子嬰)
Posthumous name
Emperor Shang of Qin (秦殤帝)
HouseQin dynasty
FatherUnknown (no firm consensus; candidates include Fusu, Chengjiao, Qin Shi Huang, King Zhuangxiang of Qin)
Ziying
Traditional Chinese子嬰
Simplified Chinese子婴
Literal meaningInfant son
Qin Sanshi
Chinese秦三世
Literal meaningQin Third Generation
Qin Shangdi
Chinese秦殤帝
Literal meaningQin Emperor Who Died Young

IdentityEdit

There is no firm consensus on what Ziying's relationship to the Qin royal family really is.

He is mentioned in historical records as either:

  1. A son of Qin Er Shi's elder brother (who, according to Yan Shigu's commentaries,[2][3] was Fusu);[4]

    二世三年,赵高杀二世后,立二世之兄子公子婴为秦王。
    In the third year of [Qin] Er Shi (207 BCE), Zhao Gao, after killing [Qin] Er Shi, created [Qin] Er Shi's elder brother's son Prince Ying as the King of Qin.

    — Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian, "Records of Qin Shi Huang"
  2. An elder brother of Qin Er Shi;[5]

    三赵高反,二世自杀,高立二世兄子婴。
    In the third year [of Qin Er Shi], [Zhao] Gao made a coup d'etat, [Qin] Er Shi committed suicide, and [Zhao] Gao crowned [Qin] Er Shi's elder brother Ziying.

    — Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian, "Chronology of the Six States"
  3. A younger brother of Qin Shi Huang;[6] or

    叙述赵高杀二世后,引皇帝玺自佩,有篡位的意图,左右百官都不跟从,于是高自知天弗与,群臣弗许,乃召始皇弟,授之玺。子婴即位,患之,乃称疾不听事,与宦者韩谈及其子谋杀高。
    It is said that Zhao Gao, after killing [Qin] Er Shi, took the Emperor's [Heirloom] Seal and had the intention to usurping the throne, but the courtiers did not join his cause, and [Zhao] Gao, knowing that his actions were not accepted by the heavens and did not gain any support from the courtiers, summoned [Qin] Shi Huang's younger brother to give him the [Heirloom] Seal. Ziying, having ascended [the throne], did not enjoy this situation and conspired with the eunuch Han Tan [zh] to assassinate [Zhao] Gao.

    — Sima Qian, Records of the Grand Historian, "Chronicle of Li Si"
  4. A son of a younger brother of Qin Shi Huang.[7]

    乃召始皇弟子婴,授之玺。
    ... summoned [Qin] Shi Huang's younger brother's son Ying to give him the [Heirloom] Seal.

    — Xu Guang [zh], Commentaries on Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian, "Chronicle of Li Si"

While Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian does not specify Ziying's age, it implies that he had at least two sons, whom he consulted.

Being Qin Er Shi's nephewEdit

According to historian Professor Wang Liqun's analysis,[which?] the maximum possible age of Ziying when Zhao Gao assassinated Qin Er Shi was 19. Therefore, his sons would have probably been around the ages of 1–2, and hence it was not possible for him to consult them.

For Ziying's sons to be old enough to be consulted, a traditional age for them should have been around 14–16. Them being 14–16 in 207 BC when their supposedly great-grandfather (i.e. three generations apart from them) Qin Shi Huang (born 259 BC), if he had been alive, could only have been 52 is highly improbable.

It seems unlikely that Ziying was either Fusu's son or any other grandson of Qin Shi Huang.

Being Qin Er Shi's brotherEdit

Ziying being another elder brother of Huhai (Qin Er Shi) was as unlikely as a grandson of Qin Shi Huang. Since Huhai showed no restraints killing at least twenties of his siblings after ascending to the throne, sparing one elder brother is not impossible but rather incredible.

Being Qin Shi Huang's brotherEdit

Li Kaiyuan in his study[8] stated that Qin Shi Huang only had three brothers of any kinds: one paternal half-brother (Chengjiao) and two maternal half-brothers (sons of Lao Ai), therefore Ziying, if indeed being another brother of his, would have had more mentions in Chengjiao's supposedly betrayal.

Being Qin Shi Huang's nephewEdit

Ziying being Chengjiao's son bore no threats to Huhai's reign, being neither one of Qin Shi Huang's direct descendants nor in higher position in succession to Huhai. Ziying was also said to have tried to persuade Huhai to not killing Qin Shi Huang's other sons and daughters, which could be a difficult task if he was among them.

This theory was more likely to be true than the other three.

LifeEdit

After Qin Er Shi's death, Zhao Gao chose Ziying to be successor, and changed the ruling title "emperor" back to "king" because the Qin Dynasty at that time was as weak as the former Qin State, which no longer ruled the whole of China, but held onto only Guanzhong.

Ziying was the only person within the Qin imperial court to defend and try to persuade Qin Er Shi against the wrongful executions of Meng Tian and Meng Yi. He lured Zhao Gao, the regent who assassinated Qin Er Shi, into a trap and killed him. Ziying later surrendered to Liu Bang, the leader of the first group of rebel forces to occupy Xianyang, the Qin capital. He was eventually killed along with his male family members by another rebel leader, Xiang Yu.

LegacyEdit

Ziying sometimes appears as a door god in Chinese and Taoist temples, usually paired with his successor, Emperor Yi of Chu.

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Although the last Qin ruler is often referred to as "Ying Ziying" according to modern Chinese naming conventions, it was not customary to combine ancestral names (姓; xìng) with given names in ancient China.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Baxter, William & al. "Baxter–Sagart Reconstruction of Old Chinese Archived April 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine", pp. 6 & 148. 2011. Accessed 10 December 2013.
  2. ^ Ban, Gu. Yan, Shigu (ed.). Book of Han (in Chinese).
  3. ^ Sima, Qian. Yan, Shigu (ed.). Records of the Grand Historian (in Chinese).
  4. ^ Sima, Qian. "Records of Qin Shi Huang". Records of the Grand Historian (in Chinese).
  5. ^ Sima, Qian. "Chronology of the Six States". Records of the Grand Historian (in Chinese).
  6. ^ Sima, Qian. "Chronicle of Li Si". Records of the Grand Historian (in Chinese).
  7. ^ Sima, Qian. "Chronicle of Li Si". In Xu, Guang (ed.). Records of the Grand Historian (in Chinese).
  8. ^ Li, Kaiyuan (李开元) (2006-07-16). "秦王子婴为始皇弟成蟜子说——补《史记》秦王婴列传" (in Chinese). 象牙塔网络. Archived from the original on 2018-03-25.
Third Generation of Qin
 Died: 206 BC
Regnal titles
Recreated
Title last held by
Qin Shi Huang
King of Qin
207 BC
Extinct
Preceded by
Qin Er Shi
Ruler of Qin
207 BC
Ruler of China
207 BC
Succeeded by
Xiang Yu and the Seventeen Kings