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Author Topic: Chapter 15: China II  (Read 2714 times)
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« on: January 10, 2016, 01:27:15 PM »

Chap. 15-Heroes of the Hellensitic Age (2016) Charles N. Pope

The youthful Emperor Hui (Liu Ying), successor of Gao-zu (Liu Bing), was characterized as weak, withdrawn, effeminate and not engaged in ruling.  Like his alter ego, Ptolemy V, he was eventually removed as Emperor, not so much for his personality, but for not having (as yet) produced an heir.  The throne of China remained in limbo until a prince named Liu Heng was raised up in 180 BC as the new emperor of Han China under the throne name of Wen. This was the same year that he became pharaoh of Egypt, as a boy of only about six.  The throne names of Ptolemy IV, Ptolemy V and Ptolemy VI all begin with Iwaen-netjer-, “Heir of the Two Gods,” however the birthdate of Emperor Iwaen/Wen is considered to have been 202 BC, which is closer to that of Ptolemy V than Ptolemy IV or Ptolemy VI.  It appears, then, that after a period of confusion and continued lack of qualified heirs, the former Emperor Hui was restored to the throne in China under a different name.  180 BC is the same year that Ptolemy V was removed as pharaoh in Egypt.  The reign of Wen in China lasted until 157 BC, which about the time that Ptolemy V finally produced his first royal son!  Wen was replaced at that time by Emperor Jing, whose birthdate corresponds to that of Ptolemy VI (188/187 BC).

Note:  The combination of Hui and Wen also makes an interesting allusion to an earlier Emperor, Huiwen (338 BC), the Chinese throne name of Seleucus.  Perhaps, this was a way of encoding that Hui and Wen were one person.

During the early Han dynasty, China was ruled by a series of Grand Empresses, therefore it was of little consequence that most of the Emperors were children upon their crowning.  And as noted previously, the Greek Period represented a “Return of the Queen” as the central figure of the royal court.  There was perhaps no better place than China for a young prince to learn the bearing of a God-to-be, and under the watchful eye of the royal women.  This was however the kind of scenario in which an older prince (such as Antiochus IV or Alexander Balas) could have (and perhaps should have) usurped the throne from the Great Queen and started a new dynasty.  However, a succession of Great Queens somehow held the Empire together during a period of 100 years without any discernible male dynasty.

Unlike his two predecessors, Wen did not see fit to relinquish the throne of China when he became older and more powerful in the West.  This can be attributed to not having a young son of his own to place on the throne of China.  Emperor Jing, who succeeded him in 157 apparently did not have a true son of his own by that time, either.  In Chinese history, this period that spanned nearly the entire 2nd Century BC is called “The Reign of Wen and Jing” and considered a Golden Age of peace and prosperity (and something of a Chinese “United Kingdom of David and Solomon).  Jing stepped aside in 141 BC in order to allow the son of the former Emperor Wen to become Emperor (as Wu-di)!

The birth of Wu-di is linked directly to the succession of Jing (and the “death” of Emperor Wen (former Ptolemy V).  In fact, it was said to have occurred on the very same day (in 154 BC).  This suggests that Wen would not appoint Jing as his successor in China until he had produced a suitable heir of his own.  However, the opposite seems to be the case.  Jing became successor when Wen produced his first heir!  And Jing (the former Ptolemy VI) in turn appointed Wu-di (Aristobulus) as successor in 141 BC when this younger prince came of age, but still had no heir of his own.  The accession of the 13 year-old Wu in 141 BC coincided with the end of another youthful king, Antiochus VI in Syria, and the two may be one and the same.  In other words, this prince surrendered claim to one throne in order to accept the other (ala Ptolemy V before him).

Emperor Jing (Ptolemy VI/Mithridates I) did not die before 138 BC.  However, his dynastic hopes were effectively over by that date.  After the death/retirement of Emperor Jing, the nominal Great King became the former Ptolemy VII (John Hyrcanus).  However, he did not have a qualified royal son of his own, and was obliged to recognize three other princes as his potential heirs (Aristobulus, Antigonus and Alexander Jannaeus).  Unlike his predecessors Wen and Jing, Emperor Wudi (Aristobulus) did not turn the throne of China over to a younger prince.  Instead, he retained the throne well into his old age (87 BC).  Wu-di would in fact rule the longest of any Chinese Emperor until modern times.
The falling out of the two highest-ranking sons of John Hyrcanus, namely Aristobulus and Antigonus, is captured in the contemporary history of China.  As early as 122 BC, Emperor Wudi was required to acknowledge Liu Ju (“Julius”) as his Crown Prince.   The succession remained fixed until 91 BC when Liu Ju was framed and compelled to take his own life.  There had already been a strained relationship between Emperor Wu and the Crown Prince Liu Ju (“Julius”), who was said to have had populist (versus aristocratic) sympathies.  The actual source of friction was more due to Ju being an heir that was imposed upon Wu rather than one sired or chosen by him.  A court conspiracy was formed against Liu Ju and Emperor Wu eventually agreed to eliminate the Crown Prince.  
Although he was a capable ruler and significantly expanded the Han Chinese empire, Wu (ala Sulla) was not especially successful in producing heirs.  At the end of his reign, there are only a handful of princes that were considered candidates for succession.  This is similar to the earlier situation facing John Hyrcanus at the end of his life, at which time only five “sons” are eligible.   After forcing out Liu Ju and Liu Jin, Emperor Wu-di subsequently dismissed the claims of four other senior princes in favor of a son born in his old age, Liu Fuling.  

The contrived death of Liu Ju and exile of his “son” Liu Jin effectively excused them from the burden of ruling China in order to focus their attentions on the more critical Middle Eastern portion of the Empire, as well as the rapidly emerging power of Rome.   Liu Ju corresponds to the Roman Cinna and the Hasmonean Antigonus, who was the choice of John Hyrcanus as successor should the elder prince Aristobulus fail to produce a royal son.  Antigonus produced a royal son through Alexandra-Salome, who was called Hyrcanus II (Crassus).  About ten years later, Alexandra-Salome gave birth to Aristobulus II (Pompey).  Although the elder prince was initially next in line to become the next Great King, that changed upon the birth of Aristobulus II and the remaining two Hasmonean princes, Alexander II (Julius Caesar/Juyilshou) and Antigonus II (Octavius/Augustus).  Aristobulus II (Pompey) trumped Hyrcanus II by virtue of being the eldest son of Alexander Jannaeus, who was chosen successor by the Great Queen Cleopatra III upon the death of John Hyrcanus.  Liu Jin corresponds to the seven-time Consul of Rome, Marius the Elder, and Hasmonean Alexander Jannaeus .  Liu Jin is named in the Chinese history as the actual father of Liu Bingyi (future Emperor Xuan), who appears to be an heir (such as Marcus Licinius Crassus II) produced for Hyrcanus II and/or Aristobulus II by Alexander Jannaeus (Liu Jin).  The birth of Liu Bingyi is dated to 91 BC, and the birth of his “son” is placed in 74 BC, which is the year that Pompey’s son (also named Pompey) was born.
Liu Ju (Roman “Julius”), the “grandfather” of Emperor Xuan (Pompey), had been accused of sorcery and plotting a coup (as Antigonus/Ptolemy IX was in the West), and was forced to commit “suicide.”  The future emperor was only a child at the time, but was banished from the court and brought up as a veritable commoner.  With Liu Ju (Antigonus) and his “son” Liu Jin (Alexander Jannaeus) out of the way, Emperor Wudi designated a son of his old age, Liu Fuling (Faustus), as his successor, who became Emperor Zhou.  Within about four years of the actual death of Wu-di/Aristobulus/Sulla (78 BC), Emperor Zhou (the former Liu Fuling) was himself deposed.  The son of Liu Jin named Bingyi (Aristobulus II/Pompey) had survived and was in 74 BC placed on the throne as Emperor Xuan.  After becoming king in 74 BC, Xuan was then celebrated for his humble upbringing.  Xuan had a newborn son of his own by this time, named Liu Shi, who became the heir apparent to his father.  However, the mother of Shi was not of the highest standing and the Chinese matriarch refused to let her remain as queen.  

Similarly, Pompey (a member of the Julian clan) emerged seemingly out of obscurity to become the most powerful figure in Rome.  The royal family had a similar problem in the Far East as it did in the Wild West – the need to cultivate a hero figure that would be accepted as a native to the region.  However, unlike in China, it was especially critical in Rome to avoid any appearance of a kingly dynasty.  Yet, a dynasty was what they were after!  

TOC: http://www.domainofman.com/boards/index.php?topic=151.0

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