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China, a History

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Author Topic: China, a History  (Read 3117 times)
Bee Cha
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« on: August 05, 2007, 07:02:52 am »

The Five Emperors

The Five Emperors were legendary, morally perfect sage-kings. According to the Records of the Grand Historian they were:
•   The Yellow Emperor (黄帝)
•   Zhuanxu (顓頊)
•   Emperor Ku (帝嚳)
•   Emperor Yao (堯)
•   Emperor Shun (舜)
Yao and Shun are also known as the Two Emperors, and, along with Yu the Great (禹), founder of the Xia dynasty, were considered to be model rulers and moral exemplars by Confucians in later Chinese history. The Shangshu Xu (尚書序) and Diwang shiji include Shaohao (少昊) instead of the Yellow Emperor.
The Song of Chu (楚辭) identifies the Five Emperors as directional gods:
•   Shaohao (east)
•   Zhuanxu (north)
•   Yellow Emperor (center)
•   Shennong (west)
•   Fuxi (south)
The Book of Rites (禮記) equates the Five Emperors with the Five Lineages (五氏), which comprise:
•   Youchao-shi (有巢氏)
•   Suiren-shi (燧人氏)
•   Fuxi (伏羲氏)
•   Nüwa (女媧氏)
•   Shennong (神農氏)

In one sense of the word, the first historical Emperor of China was Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇), who coined a new term for "Emperor" (huangdi 皇帝) by combining the titles of "sovereign" (huang 皇) and "god-king" (di 帝).

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