Little Help, Civil Ranks

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Unread postby Jimayo » Wed Dec 18, 2002 7:11 pm

Carp's Tail wrote:Yeah, I see that part in the SGZ bio.

Hm, but if he was lieutenant-chancellor by rank, then he could not have been "chengxiang" because the latter title literally means prime minister, and Zhuge Liang had not reached the prime ministerial rank until Liu Bei declared himself hanzhong wang, the Prince of Hanzhong.

It would be helpful if the original Chinese text (not the romanized hanzi) were available to see. That would make things much easier to determine, I think.


Don't ask me. I got the text from Jon, and I believe he got it from Lady Wu.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Sat Dec 21, 2002 8:46 am

Chengxiang literally means "Lieutenant Chancellor".

Late Han ranks are very confusing. Ranks are sometimes invented by people and do not correspond to anything in the system. Some titles are recycled to mean different things. The local warlords also invented positions for their own officers, so a list of rank hierarchy is impossible to make.

To give one example, chengxiang underwent many meaning changes. In early Han, the post chengxiang was in charge of civil affairs, one of the 3 Dukes, the three men who are directly responsible to the emperor and who effectively ran the country in a balance of power. Later the position was renamed situ (if I remember correctly; would those people with access to SGZ/ZZTJ Ci Dian check this? *eyes Great Deer and Cai Yan*), and the term chengxiang was obsolete. When Dong Zhuo came to power, he created for himself the post of xiangguo -- "Chancellor" -- who is above the 3 dukes and practically holds all power. The post was scraped after his downfall. When Cao Cao came to power, he revived the title chengxiang, and made it above the 3 dukes again, so that he could control everything. In that way, the position is similar to a Prime Minister in today's terms. I doubt there was any period of time when both a Chancellor and a Prime Minister coexisted.

Junshi -- "Directing Instructor" in Carp's Tails' terms -- was a relatively low position and was mainly used by local warlords.
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Unread postby Starscream » Sat Dec 21, 2002 9:58 am

By Lady Wu's request, here's the information I've gotten from a dictionary (it's not my fault that I have a dictionary! :? ):
丞相 chengxiang: This is also referred to as 相国 xiangguo. It was established during the Warring States era and was a rank above all others. After the Qin Dynasty, it became a senior position for aiding the emperor and managing state affairs. During the Western Han era, 丞相, 太尉 taiwei and 御史大夫 yushidaifu were together known as 三公 sangong. During the end of Western Han, chengxiang was changed to 大司徒 dasitu but during Eastern Han period, it was renamed to chengxiang again. Usually, despite all the changes that took place in history, this rank was nevertheless a rank of power. It is also commonly known as 宰相 zaixiang in the later times till today.
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Unread postby Jimayo » Sat Dec 28, 2002 10:19 pm

Thanx guys, preciate your help, but no need no more. I asked rafe and he sent me a document on it.
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Sun Dec 29, 2002 2:50 am

Jimayo Oyamitch wrote:Thanx guys, preciate your help, but no need no more. I asked rafe and he sent me a document on it.


Kindly post Rafe's document here if possible, whenever you're free so that all of us can learn something new. :D
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Unread postby Jimayo » Sun Dec 29, 2002 8:40 pm

Later Han Civil Administration
Rafe de Crespigny
[An Outline of the Civil Administration of the Later Han Empire. Based on the Introduction to: Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling: being the Chronicle of Later Han for the years 157 to 189 AD as recorded in Chapters 54 to 59 of the Zizhi tongjian of Sima Guang, translated and annotated by Rafe de Crespigny. Asian Studies Monographs, New Series No. 12, Faculty of Asian Studies, The Australian National University, Canberra 1989 ISBN 0 7315 0655 3]
In the Introduction to Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling, I gave a summary account of the civil administration of Later Han, which I now present in Internet form. More recently, however, I have adopted slightly modified renderings for a number of titles, which vary from the system established by H H Dubs and followed by Hans Bielenstein in The Bureaucracy of Han Times [Cambridge UP, 1975]. As appropriate I indicate the forms used by Dubs and/or Bielenstein.

The Emperor [huangdi] was the formal head of state and head of government, and also the sacred link between man and the forces of the universe. In theory, all power within the empire was in his hands.
The regular bureaucracy and civil service of the empire was headed by Three Excellencies [san gong: Three Dukes], who were the Grand Commandant [taiwei], the Excellency over the Masses [situ: Minister over the Masses] and the Excellency of Works [sikong: Minister of Works]. Their chief responsibility was as counsellors of the Emperor, but they also had authority to supervise the conduct of the administration as a whole. Their rank was expressed in terms of the nominal salary of Ten Thousand shi of grain.
Below the Three Excellencies were Nine Ministers [jiu qing], with rank/salary of Fully Two Thousand shi [zhong erqian shi]. These were the Minister of Ceremonies [tai chang: Grand Master of Ceremonies], responsible for ritual and ceremonial; the Minister of the Imperial Household [guangluxun: Superintendent of the Imperial Household], responsible for the immediate security of the Emperor and for his attendants at the court; the Minister of the Guard [wei wei: Commandant of the Guard], responsible for the security of the imperial palaces; the Minister Coachman [tai pu: Grand Coachman], responsible for the horses and carriages of the Emperor and for the mounts of the army; the Minister of Justice [ting wei: Commandant of Justice], responsible for court cases at high level and appeals from lower local jurisdictions; the Minister Herald [da honglu: Grand Herald], responsible for relations with non-Chinese states; the Minister of the Imperial Clan [zong zheng: Director of the Imperial Clan], responsible for the registration and for the conduct of members of the Liu house; the Minister of Agriculture [da sinong: Grand Minister of Agriculture], responsible for the general finances of the empire and the public grain supply; and the Minister of the Privy Treasury [shao fu: Privy Treasurer], responsible for the household of the Emperor including, formally speaking, the imperial harem and the offices of the Imperial Secretariat and the Imperial Censorate, on which, however, see below.
Some other posts at the capital were not ministries but had comparable status, with rank/salary varying between Fully Two Thousand shi and Equivalent to [bi ] Two Thousand shi. Among these were the Bearer of the Mace [zhi jinwu: Bearer of the Gilded Mace], responsible for security in the capital outside the palace grounds; the Colonel of the City Gates [chengmen xiaowei], responsible for the guards at the gates of Luoyang; the Court Architect [jiangzuo dajiang], responsible for the imperial and other state buildings, and also for two groups of convict labourers.
Beside this formal structure, however, a critical unit of the government at the capital was the office of the Masters of Writing, the Imperial Secretariat [shangshu]. Though the Prefect [shangshu ling] had rank/salary of only One Thousand shi, and the Secretariat was formally under the Minister of the Privy Treasury, the Masters of Writing had a special position. They were responsible for the drafting of the imperial edicts, receiving instructions direct from the highest level of government, and they also served on occasion as an investigative body in cases of impeachment or accusations of lese-majesty. So important was the office, that the essential qualification for the office of a regent was to hold authority over the affairs of the Imperial Secretariat [lu shangshu shi: "Intendant of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing"], a designation attached to some other high substantial office.
Also formally under the Privy Treasurer, but again largely independent during Later Han, were the offices of the eunuchs who served the imperial harem. The highest eunuch positions were the Regular Attendants [zhong changshi: Regular Palace Attendants], with rank/salary at One Thousand shi, while most other eunuch officials were defined as serving within the Yellow Gates [huang men] of the harem apartments. Huangmen changshi was a common abbreviation for the senior eunuch officials, whose access to the Emperor, even at the most intimate moments, gave them great potential influence and indeed actual power.
The Empress [huanghou] could be chosen from among any of the ladies of the harem, and she could also be deposed for any good cause. Ideally, she was the mother of the eldest son, and he was named Heir [taizi: Heir-Apparent], but during the second century of Later Han this rule was observed rather in the breach than in reality. Should an emperor die leaving an Heir too young for government, his Empress, now Dowager [huang taihou: Empress-Dowager], was entitled to take authority in the court [lin zhao]. She was normally advised by the senior male member of her own family, who generally took the title of General-in-Chief [da jiangjun], held authority over the Imperial Secretariat, and ranked with the Three Excellencies. If the ruler should die without having named an heir, moreover, his Dowager had the right to choose the next emperor from among the male members of the imperial clan.
At the beginning of each reign, therefore, the Dowager, formal mother of the new ruler, and her senior male relative, who was the effective head of government, held considerable influence. And there was also appointed a Grand Tutor [tai fu: Senior Tutor], essentially an honour awarded to an elder statesman, but again a position of great titular authority to whom even the Emperor should pay respect.
Outside the central government, the empire was divided into thirteen provinces [zhou] or circuits [bu], supervising some hundred commanderies [jun], kingdoms or states [guo] and dependent states [shuguo].
The province about the capital was headed by the Director of Retainers [sili xiaowei: Colonel Director of Retainers], with rank/salary Equivalent to Two Thousand shi, and with the authority not only to investigate the administration of his subordinate commanderies but also to impeach officials of the imperial central government. The other provinces were supervised by Inspectors [ci shi], with rank/salary of only Six Hundred shi. They had authority to enquire into the government of the commanderies and kingdoms within their territory, and they could report wrongdoing to the throne, but they could not normally take action on their own initiative. There were two exceptions to this limitation: in the far south of the empire, the Inspector of Jiaozhi [later known as Jiao province] had special executive rights on account of the distance and the difficulties of adequate communications; and on occasions when rebellion and banditry became sufficiently troublesome to require military forces from more than one commandery unit, the Inspector took command of the provincial levies and co-ordinated operations.
The Inspector of a province was assisted by a number of locally-recruited Provincial Officers [congshi: Attendant Clerks], including the head of the Bureau of Headquarters [chizhong cao], responsible for local appointments and nomination for commissioned office in the civil service (see Flourishing Talent below); an Aide-de-Camp [biejia congshi] and a Secretary [zhubu: Master of Records]. Other Officers were sent out to check on the administration of the various commandery units in the province.
Below the provinces, and at the core of the local administration of the empire, were commandery units. A commandery was headed by an Administrator [tai shou: Grand Administrator] with rank/salary of Two Thousand shi. The Administrator had a civil Assistant [cheng] and a military Commandant [wei], who were both commissioned officials appointed by the central government. The Commandant was responsible not only for military activities within the commandery but also for the recruitment and training of local militia and the provision of conscripts for the army. In frontier commanderies, and in territories where there was serious problem of banditry or rebellion, the Commandant was designated as a Chief Commandant [duwei] and had enhanced powers.
Below the commissioned ranks of the commandery were locally-appointed officers, including a Secretary [zhubu: Master of Records], and the Officer of Merit [gongcao: Officer of the Department of Merit] who, like the officer of the Bureau of Headquarters in a province, was responsible for local recruitment and recommendation of worthy men for civil commissions. There were also a number of Investigators [duyu] who supervised the subordinate counties of the commandery in the same fashion as Provincial Officers checked upon the commanderies.
Because of its particular responsibility for the territory about the imperial capital, the commandery of Henan was governed by an Intendant [yin: Governor], and the three commanderies about the Former Han capital of Chang'an, sometimes described as the Three Adjuncts [san fu], also had special designations: Jingzhao was headed by an Intendant, Zuopingyi and Youfufeng by officials who took their titles from their territories, rendered as "Eastern Supporter" and "Western Sustainer". The rank/salary of all four officers was the same as that for a regular Administrator.
A number of commandery units, generally smaller ones in the eastern part of the empire, were identified as kingdoms [or states], each administered by a Chancellor [xiang] with rank/salary of Two Thousand shi. Under Later Han the only difference between a commandery and a kingdom was that a kingdom had been designated as the title of a royal fief awarded to a son or descendant of an emperor. The King himself had no political power, and the administration of his nominal territory was carried out in the same manner as a commandery, with formal variations in title for the Chancellor and one or two other senior officials. A King was normally required to live within his designated fief, and could come to the capital only if he was summoned to court.
Below the commanderies and kingdoms were counties [xian], each headed by a magistrate, whose title as Prefect [ling] or Chief [zhang] and rank/salary varied from One Thousand to Three Hundred shi depending on the population. As with commanderies and kingdoms, some counties were designated as fiefs of Marquises [hou], the highest rank of nobility which could be awarded to a commoner, and in that case the title of the Prefect or Chief was likewise changed to Chancellor. Other county units were allocated as Estates [yi] for imperial Princesses [gongzhu] and other favoured females. In most cases the holder of the honour had no direct relationship with the territory, but was simply allocated a pension based upon tax revenues. In case of disapproval or disgrace, however, the incumbent could be exiled to reside on his or her fief.
A contrast may be observed between the high rank/salary of Administrators and Chancellors and that of the Inspectors, whose formal position was lower than that of the magistrate of a large county. This apparent contradiction was designed to prevent the high-ranking heads of commanderies and kingdoms from dominating local government and establishing an effective independence. Though they held chief executive power, they were subject to the threat of investigation and report from the Inspector who, for his part, was too low in rank to unite the whole province under his own rule.
In this respect, the Inspectors may be looked upon as part of a censorate system, and a similar office may be found at the capital. The Imperial Censorate was headed by the Palace Assistant Imperial Clerk [yushi zhongcheng], with rank/salary of One Thousand shi, who was nominally under the Privy Treasurer but in fact controlled an independent body of officials, the Imperial Clerks [shiyushi: Attending Secretary or Attendant Imperial Clerks], with rank/salary of Six Hundred shi, and others associated with the archives library of the Orchid Terrace [lantai]. In theory the Palace Assistant Imperial Clerk and his subordinates were trusted agents of the ruler, with wide authority to check all aspects of administration, and they served on occasion as special investigators and envoys.
Towards the end of each year, annual reports were forwarded from the provinces, commanderies and kingdoms, together with recommendations of candidates for commissions in the civil service. The most common candidacy was that of Filial and Incorrupt [xiaolian: Filially Pious and Incorrupt], a nomination from the commandery level. This admitted the candidate to one of three corps of Gentleman Cadets [lang] under a General of the Household [zhonglangjiang: General of the Gentlemen of the Household], where he served a probationary period of some three years as a nominal guard at the palace before substantive appointment in the bureaucracy.
The Excellencies, the Minister of the Imperial Household and the heads of provinces had the right and duty to submit nominations of candidates of Abundant Talent [moucai/maocai], who were then appointed to office without need for probation. There were also a number of special routes of access, including summons by imperial edict, which might be issued for a named individual or for a special category of nomination, a grant to the kinsman of a high official or meritorious subject and, to a limited degree, entry by examination from the Imperial University [taixue: Academy]. Besides these, a number of promising men were invited to serve in the offices of the Excellencies at the capital and could thereafter be promoted into the commissioned bureaucracy.
Along the frontiers there were established a number of Dependent States, headed by Chief Commandants [duwei], and some of these, as we have noted, had status equivalent to commanderies. During the first century AD the northern confederation of the Xiongnu had divided into two parts. The Northern Xiongnu were driven away and destroyed in a series of great campaigns at the end of the first century, and the Southern Xiongnu became dependents upon the Chinese imperial government. An Emissary to the Xiongnu [shi Xiongnu zhonglangjiang: General of the Gentlemen of the Household Emissary to the Xiongnu] was resident at the court of the Southern Shanyu to supervise his conduct.
To the west, the non-Chinese Qiang people, who lived both inside and beyond the frontiers in the region of present-day Gansu province, were supervised by a Protector of the Qiang [hu-Qiang xiaowei: Colonel Protector of the Qiang], and in the northeast a Protector of the Wuhuan was similarly appointed to control not only that people but also the growing power of the Xianbi. These imperial agents were responsible for a balance of political and military policy, and also for the arrangement of markets where non-Chinese from beyond the frontier might trade for commodities produced within the empire.
In principle, all citizens of the empire were liable to conscript service, first in training, then in specific guard posts, and thereafter for general militia recruitment in time of need. In practice, this was regularly enforced only in frontier commanderies and, apart from the local militia, defence of the empire was entrusted to regular troops. The General on the Liao [du-Liao jiangjun: General Who Crosses the Liao] held camp north of the great loop of the Yellow River, guarding the frontier against the nomads of the north, notably the growing power of the Xianbi, but the central strategic reserve of the empire was the Northern Army [bei jun], with five regiments each under a Colonel [xiaowei], which was normally stationed at the capital, Luoyang. When a member of the imperial distaff clan was appointed General-in-Chief, he held formal command over these troops.
No general survey of the formal administrative structure of the empire, however, whether summary or detailed, can fully present the multitude of vectors which affected the balance of political power. For much of Later Han three particular groups, outside the formal structure of the bureaucracy, competed for real authority: the ruler himself, the imperial relatives by marriage, and the eunuch officials of the harem. And in the last resort it must be observed that the rendering "Emperor" for the Chinese phrase huangdi, despite false echoes of Roman military tradition in the West, is not entirely inappropriate; for the government of Han was maintained just so long as the armies of the empire continued to obey their appointed rulers.
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Unread postby Carp's Tail » Sun Dec 29, 2002 9:08 pm

That's pretty cool and it fills in the rest of the picture set up by the Military Organization document that he wrote.
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Unread postby Kingdom of Cheng » Sat Mar 29, 2003 6:42 pm

wow......many words.....
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