The Emperor, or the Ten Attendants?

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Which was more directly responsible for Han demise?

Eunuchs corrupting power in the court.
Empire restoring ability to have personal armies.
Other...please explain.
Total votes : 18

Unread postby Starscream » Sun Nov 24, 2002 3:58 am

Jimayo Oyamitch wrote:And I can name others who have tried and failed to do the same(Emperor Xian springs to mind, twice he tried and failed to eliminate Cao Cao).

At least Emperor Xian did try and he did have a small impact on the supporters of Han. How about others? I would think that Emperor Xian was far more capable than his ancestors of few generations earlier, I would attribute the downfall of Han not to Xian but his forefathers. They were the ones responsible for rocking the foundation of Han. Hence, my stand as always, is that emperors who did not have a firm grasp of their power and depended solely on their subordinates to rule the country and brought in the wrong people into the court were solely responsible for the downfall on their empire.
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Unread postby Jeffro » Sun Nov 24, 2002 4:57 am

well, the empire is responsible. The pathetic powers of Xian (although unfortunate that he never had a good chance) were detrimental... He relied on the other powers to seek his ambitions. had he fled to Liu Bei's court maybe he woulda mattered... but his dependence on hegemony led to the fall of the Han.
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Unread postby Iznoach, Legendary Dragon » Mon Nov 25, 2002 8:29 am

Sorry it took so long, but I found the source finally. This is support for the case against the emperor as primary cause of Han downfall...

Dr. Rafe de Crespigny wrote:In normal times, banditry and lesser disturbances were dealt with by the local authorities. The head of each county had a small police or para-military force at his disposal, and the commandery unit above him could bring reinforcements if necessary. Should the problem be too great for the commandery to handle, the Inspector of a province had authority to raise troops from all the region. At nominal salary of Six Hundred shi, an Inspector ranked below a Grand Administrator or Chancellor (Two Thousand shi), and was normally entitled to do no more than report on their conduct to the capital. For the central government, however, there was always a threat that the head of a commandery unit might seek to extend his power, and local troops were therefore forbidden to operate independently outside the borders of their territory. Should it become necessary to levy troops on a larger scale, the Inspector took command and the heads of commanderies and kingdoms came under his orders for the duration of the emergency.

In 188, in the aftermath of the Yellow Turbans rebellion, the government of Emperor Ling restored an earlier system, so that in some provinces Inspectors were replaced by Governors (mu). These were selected from men of ministerial rank, higher than that of the heads of commanderies, and they held executive rather than supervisory authority over the province. In the civil war which followed, therefore, the province rather than the commandery became the chief unit of military and civil power, and when Inspectors were appointed during this period they were usually lieutenants of a major warlord who had taken title as Governor in a neighbouring province.

Below this administrative superstructure, recruitment of troops in the provinces was haphazard. Officially, all male citizens were liable to conscription: as each man came to the age of twenty-three he served one year in a local training battalion, then spent one year on guard at the capital or in his home territory; and thereafter, until his middle fifties, he could be called up in time of emergency. In practice, however, within the empire the two-year service was not intensive, it was often commuted by scutage, and there was no provision for an effective militia. In effect, the rulers of Later Han preferred to have their people untrained for war rather than face the possibility that competent forces could be raised in local rebellion or mutiny.

I have highlighted the important parts...
"Armed and dangerous, ain't too many can hang wit us
straight up weed no angel dust, label us Notorious..."--Biggie
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Unread postby Iznoach, Legendary Dragon » Mon Nov 25, 2002 8:39 am

And here we have support for the argument saying the palace attendants (a.k.a. the eunuchs) were the main cause. By the way, I believe the good Doctor got most of his info translating the ZZTJ...

Dr. Rafe de Crespigny wrote:, the private areas of the palace, notably the harem, were guarded by eunuchs, who were officially under the Privy Treasurer (shaofu), one of the Nine Ministers, but were in practice independent. The eunuch guards and servants were arranged in many separate divisions, with no formal lines of authority, but during Later Han the most senior eunuchs, the Regular Palace Attendants (zhong changshi), with rank/salary Equivalent to Two Thousand shi, were recognised as leaders of their colleagues, while Junior Attendants at the Yellow Gates (xiao huangmen), rank/ salary of Six Hundred shi, gained authority from their position as confidential messengers, and the Prefect of the Yellow Gates (huangmen ling), rank/salary also Six Hundred shi, had disciplinary command over all eunuch servants of the emperor.

And within this apparatus of protection, it was the eunuchs who were in the best position to affect the politics of the empire with a well-timed coup. For the person of the Emperor was the key to government, and the eunuchs controlled access. In 125 they played a leading role in placing Emperor Shun upon the throne, in 159 Emperor Huan relied on eunuch supporters to eliminate the General-in-Chief Liang Ji, and in 168 the eunuchs acted on their own to destroy Dou Wu. Each operation was carried out with light forces, applying pressure at a critical point: the attack on Liang Ji used no more than a thousand men, Gentlemen of the Feathered Forest and Rapid As Tigers with grooms from the imperial stables; and the first move against Dou Wu required an even smaller number. Once the Emperor gave his support, whether deliberately or through deceit, nothing could stand against his authority.
"Armed and dangerous, ain't too many can hang wit us
straight up weed no angel dust, label us Notorious..."--Biggie
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Unread postby Iznoach, Legendary Dragon » Mon Nov 25, 2002 8:45 am

Here's all I could glean from the same source, concerning the Empress' power. It does clearly show that the person who was placed in charge of the main Imperial forces at the capital Luoyang was the senior male member of the Empress family...

Dr. Rafe de Crespigny wrote:The men of the Northern Army were professional, skilled soldiers, who could be sent to any point of danger or disturbance as stiffening to forces recruited locally... The Captain of the Centre of the Northern Army, as his rank implies, had no authority to give orders to colonels of regiments: his position was that of an adjutant and supervisor. Officially, command of the force was in the hands of a General (jiangjun), usually the General-in-Chief (da jiangjun).

The General-in-Chief, however, was not a professional soldier: during Later Han the position was given to the senior male of the imperial relatives by marriage, father or brother of the Empress.
By the latter part of the second century, particularly in the time of Liang Ji at the beginning of the reign of Emperor Huan, and of Dou Wu at the beginning of the reign of Emperor Ling, these men held effective power of regency, they ranked with the Excellencies as the highest officials of the empire, and they had authority over the imperial secretariat and the government as a whole. Command of the Northern Army was designed to confirm and consolidate their political power at court and in the capital. From 184, the position was held by He Jin, brother of the Empress He of Emperor Ling.

In light of these, I am still inclined to say that the Emperor putting military authority back in the hands of the local Governors was the main downfall. Apparently, from further reading by myself, the powers were mainly given back because of the rise in banditry, and troubles from the non-Chinese peoples about Liangzhou province. Notice that the eunuchs had been in a prominent position for awhile, but as long as the control of the military was centralized they were able to keep tight reigns on local leaders. As soon as they relinqueshed control of centralized authority, boom!! Local warlords started to gain know the rest. :wink:
"Armed and dangerous, ain't too many can hang wit us
straight up weed no angel dust, label us Notorious..."--Biggie
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Unread postby dengai » Sun Jul 18, 2004 6:18 pm

THe Eunuch's power lead to a series of rebelions, which among them the yellow scarves where themost powerful. A lot of heroes like Cao Cao gained a lot of power by smiting the scarves. Power equal ambition, ambition equal tyranity, tyranity equals usurpation of the throne, and usurpation of the throne equals the end of han dynasty.
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