Meaning of WU-TI in English

born 156 BC died March 29, 87/86 BC Pinyin Wudi, original name Liu Ch'e autocratic Chinese emperor (141/14087/86 BC), who vastly increased the authority of the Han dynasty and extended Chinese influence abroad. He made Confucianism the state religion of China. Wu-ti was probably the 11th son of Emperor Ching-ti, the fifth ruler of the Han dynasty. Not being the eldest son, he would normally not have ascended the throne, but relatives of the emperor secured his designation as heir apparent at age seven. From his relatives and his teachers, the future emperor absorbed influences from two basically antagonistic schools: the Taoists, inclined to the legalist philosophy favouring an autocratic ruler guided by the rules of expediency, and the Confucianists, who sought through rituals and other means to check the growing power of the Han monarchs. Emperor Wu-ti began his reign in 141 or 140 BC. During its early years he was under the moderating influence of relatives and court officials; however, by the late 130s he had decided that the essentially defensive foreign policy of his predecessors was not going to solve his foreign problems. In 133 he launched attacks on the nomadic Hsiung-nu people, who constituted China's principal threat on the northern frontier, and thereafter he committed his realm to the expansion of the empire. By 101 Wu-ti's troops, spurred by an emperor heedless of their hardships and intolerant of defeat, had extended Chinese control in all directions. Southern China and northern and central Vietnam were incorporated into the empire. Northern and central Korea, which had slipped from Chinese control in 128 BC, were reconquered and again administered by imperial governors. Imperial troops were also sent across the Gobi (Desert) in unsuccessful attempts to eliminate the threat from the nomadic people known as the Hsiung-nu. Han armies were farthest from home when they marched west to Fergana (now in Uzbekistan). The first expedition, in 104 BC, was a failure, but the emperor refused to accept defeat. His intransigence stemmed from pride and his desire for horses. The horses Wu-ti wanted from Fergana were not principally intended for his war machine (although the Han armies suffered a chronic shortage of horses); rather, they were blood sweating horses (infected by a parasite causing skin hemorrhages), which for the emperor had a mystical significance in that possession of them was considered a mark of Heaven's grace. The second expedition returned in 101 BC with some of the famous horses and the head of the ruler of Fergana; furthermore, the small states between China and Fergana had been humbled. Wu-ti had brought to submission all but the most distant parts of the world known to the Chinese. His wars and other undertakings exhausted the state's reserves and forced him to look for other sources of income. New taxes were decreed and state monopolies on salt, iron, and wine were instituted. Yet, by the latter part of his reign, his regime was in financial difficulties and confronted by popular unrest. The emperor's economic controls were paralleled by his rigid control of the state apparatus. He created institutions for close supervision of the bureaucracy and drew into his personal service men who were outside the normal bureaucratic ranks and who made the bureaucracy more responsive to his will. He usually selected men whose behaviour was much like his own: harsh, demanding, and merciless. In spite of his aggressive policies, Emperor Wu-ti is also known for making Confucianism the state orthodoxy. Although he was unimpressed with the image of the ideal Confucian ruler as a benevolent father figure, he nevertheless appreciated the literary grace of the Confucianists and particularly the Confucian emphasis on ritual, which complemented his religious interests. Most of the rituals performed by Emperor Wu-ti had a dual function; although of dynastic political and religious significance, they frequently manifested his ceaseless search for immortality. He richly rewarded men who he believed could introduce him to immortals who would reveal their secrets to him. He sent men in search of the islands of the immortals and constructed elaborate palaces and towers designed to attract the spirits to him. At great expense he had conquered much of the world, and he invested heavily in the ardent hope that he would not have to leave it. The last four years of Emperor Wu-ti's life were a time of retreat and regret. His empire could no longer afford an aggressive foreign policy, and he was forced to begin a period of retrenchment. The deeply suspicious emperor suffered intense personal loss when, in 91 BC, his heir apparent was falsely accused by an imperial confidant of practicing witchcraft against the emperor. In desperation, the son led an uprising in which thousands of people were killed and in which the heir committed suicide. Shortly before Emperor Wu-ti's death, he designated an eight-year-old son as heir apparent; then, anticipating his own death, he had the youth's mother accused of a crime and imprisoned. Reportedly she died of grief, but Emperor Wu-ti condoned her death, and perhaps caused it, to avoid having the young emperor dominated by relatives as he himself had been. He died in 87 BC. Emperor Wu-ti is best remembered for his military conquests; hence, his posthumous title Wu, meaning martial. His administrative reforms left an enduring mark on the Chinese state, and his exclusive recognition of Confucianism had a permanent effect on subsequent East Asian history. Jack L. Dull born 236, China died 290, Lo-yang Pinyin Wudi (posthumous name, or shih), personal name (hsing-ming) Ssu-ma Yen, temple name (miao-hao) (hsi-chin) Shih-tsu founder and first emperor of the Western Chin dynasty (265316/317), which briefly reunited China during the turbulent period following the dissolution of the Han dynasty (206 BCAD 220). Ssu-ma Yen was the scion of the great Ssu-ma clan to which the famous Han historian Ssu-ma Ch'ien belonged. He became the most powerful general of the Wei dynasty (220265/266), the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms into which China had divided at the end of the Han. In 263/264 the Wei kingdom absorbed the second of the Three Kingdoms, the Shu Han. In 265 Ssu-ma usurped the Wei throne, proclaiming the Chin dynasty. In 280 he conquered Wu, the third of the Three Kingdoms, thus reuniting China. Ssu-ma attempted to reform the government, disbanding his armies to reduce expenses. He tried to regain control of taxation and to reduce the usurious rent that powerful landowners were extracting from the people. He never really broke the power of the great local families, however, and his reduction of the army left China prey to invasion from foreign tribes. Moreover, he divided his domains into principalities for each of his 25 sons. The son who succeeded him was unable to control his brothers, and Ssu-ma Yen's dynasty came apart in a civil war known as the Revolt of the Eight Kings. Ssu-ma Yen himself was given the posthumous title of Wu-ti (Martial Emperor). born 464, China died 549, China Pinyin Wudi (posthumous name, or shih), personal name (hsing-ming) Hsiao Yen, temple name (miao-hao) (nan-liang) Kao-tsu founder and first emperor of the Southern Liang dynasty (502557), which briefly held sway over South China. A great patron of Buddhism, he helped establish that religion in the south of China. Wu-ti was a relative of the emperor of the Southern Ch'i dynasty (479502), one of the numerous dynasties that existed in South China in the turbulent period between the Han (206 BCAD 220) and T'ang (618907) dynasties. He led a successful revolt against the Southern Ch'i after his elder brother was put to death by the emperor. He proclaimed himself first emperor of the Liang dynasty in 502, and his reign proved to be longer and more stable than that of any other southern emperor in this period. A devout believer, Wu-ti diligently promoted Buddhism, preparing the first Chinese Tripitaka, or collection of all Buddhist scripts. In 527 and again in 529 he renounced the world and entered a monastery. He was persuaded to reassume office only with great difficulty. In 549 the capital was captured by a barbarian general, and Wu-ti died of starvation in a monastery. Additional reading The annals of his reign have been critically translated and annotated by Homer H. Dubs, The History of the Former Han Dynasty, vol. 2 (1944). The foreign policies of the Han rulers are surveyed in Ying-shih Yu, Trade and Expansion in Han China: A Study in the Structure of Sino-barbarian Relations (1967). Michael Loewe, Crisis and Conflict in Han China, 104 BC to AD 9 (1974), studies contemporary reactions to Wu-ti's government.

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