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Chinese History - Later Qin Dynasty 後秦 (384-417)

Periods of Chinese History
The Later Qin Dynasty Houqin 後秦 (384-417) ruled over one of the so-called Sixteen Barbarian States 五胡十六國 (300~430) that dominated northern China during the early Southern and Northern Dynasties period 南北朝 (300~600). It was founded by Yao Chang 姚萇 who belonged to the people of the Qiang 羌. The empire included the region of the modern province of Shaanxi, as well as part of Gansu, Ningxia, Shanxi and Henan.
During early fourth century, native tribes migrated to the east, among them the chieftain Yao Yizhong 姚弋仲 who led his tribe from Chiting 赤亭 (modern Longxi 隴西, Gansu) to Shumi 隃糜 (modern Qianyang 千陽, Shaanxi). Shi Hu 石虎 (r. 334-349), ruler of the Later Zhao dynasty 後趙 (319-350), moved these people from the metropolitan region farther to the east. In 333 Yao Yizhong was made area commander-in-chief (da dudu 大都督) of the Western Qiang 西羌 that were to move to the region of Nitou 灄頭 (modern Zaoqiang 棗強, Hebei). After the death of Shi Hu, Yao Yizhong sent an envoy to the court of the Eastern Jin dynasty 東晉 (317-420) and offered his submission. He died in 352 and was succeeded by his son Yao Xiang 姚襄 as chieftain of the Qiang. He wanted to lead back his people to the west but met the resistance of the Former Qin dynasty 前秦 (351-395). He died in the battle of Sanyuan 三院 in 357. His brother Yao Chang submitted to the Former Qin and was reinstated as head of the Qiang. As a military leader of the Former Qin, Yao Chang earned laurels. After the defeat of Fu Jian 苻堅 (r. 356-385), ruler of the Former Qin, in the battle of Feishui 肥水, when Murong Hong 慕容泓 (see Western Yan 西燕, 384-394) rebelled against the Former Qin, Yao Chang was defeated by the rebel and fled to the region of Weibei 渭北. With the support of the Qiang people and Yin Xiang 尹詳, a local potentate of Xizhou 西州, he also began to turn against the Former Qin. In 384 he called himself General-in-chief (da jiangjun 大將軍), adpoted the title of Great Khan (da shanyu 大單于) and proclaimed himself King of Qin 秦. He settled down in Beidi 北地 (modern Yaoxian 耀縣, Shaanxi) and was acknowledged by the inhabitants of the whole region, Chinese as well as non-Chinese. In 385 he captured Fu Jian and executed him. At that time, Murong Yong 慕容永 left the region of Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安, Shaanxi), so that Yao Chang could move into the metropolitan area and take residence in the old, venerated city of Chang'an. He also proclaimed himself emperor of the Qin (Emperor Zhaowu 後秦昭武帝, r. 384-393).
Yao Chang died in 393, succeeded by his son Yao Xing 姚興 (Emperor Wenhuan 後秦文桓帝, r. 393-415). Yao Xing defeated the last princes of the Former Qin and also occupied the territory of Hedong 河東 after the demise of the Western Yan. He conquered the city of Luoyang 洛陽 (modern Luoyang, Henan), until then part of the territory of the Eastern Jin empire 東晉 (317-420), defeated the Western Qin dynasty 西秦 (385-431) and subdued the Later Liang empire 後涼 (386-403). When Yao Xing died and his son Yao Hong 姚泓 (r. 415-417) mounted the throne, general Liu Yu 劉裕 of the Eastern Jin empire took the chance to reconquer Luoyang. The ensuing internal struggles at the Later Qin court helped him to invade the metropolitan region, and in 417 he took Chang'an. Yao Hong submitted.
According to the custom of many steppe tribes, people from conquered regions were regarded as slaves and were settled down in the metropolitan area or at militarily importand points where they had to do construction work. The administration of the Later Qin retained the normal bureaucratic institutions of the earlier dynasties, but also exerted power from military garrisons. The officer corps of these garrisons came from the imperial family or those of high state officials, while the common troops were recruited from specialized military households (yinghu 營戶). For the central government, Yao Xing made use of competent advisors. He declared all persons formerly sold as slaves to be liberated. Instead of ruling by threat, he is said to have used the penal law more sparingly than his contemporaries, and instead rewarded loyalty and incorruptibility. He had collected all books and ledgers of adminstrative law in order to establish a more bureaucratized government. He also promoted Confucian scholars and allowed them to open schools in the capital. Yao Xing also protected Buddhism and highly venerated the translator Kumārajīva 鳩摩羅什 who dwelled at his court. In his later years, Yao Xing imposed new taxes because the state income did not meet the expenditure. Market transactions were taxed, the production of salt, bamboos and forestry products.

Rulers of the Later Qin Dynasty 後秦 (384-417)
Capitals: Beidi 北地 (modern Yaoxian 耀縣, Shaanxi), Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安, Shaanxi)
Ethnicity: Qiang 羌 (Tanguts)
dynastic title {temple name}
-----reign periods
personal name
Houqin Jingyuandi 後秦景元帝 {Shizu 始祖} Yao Yizhong 姚弋仲
Wei Wuwang 魏武王 Yao Xiang 姚襄
Houqin Zhaowudi 後秦昭武帝 (Wuzhaodi 武昭帝) {Taizu 太祖} r. 384-393
-----Baique 白雀 384-385
-----Jianchu 建初 386-393
Yao Chang 姚萇
Houqin Wenhuandi 後秦文桓帝 {Gaozu 高祖} r. 393-415
-----Huangchu 皇初 394-398
-----Hongshi 弘始 (洪始) 399-415
Yao Xing 姚興
The Last Ruler (Houzhu) 後秦後主 r. 415-417
-----Yonghe 永和 416-417
Yao Hong 姚泓
417 Later Qin conquered by Eastern Jin 東晉.

Sources: Lu Caiquan 魯才全 (1992), "Houqin 後秦", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 375. ● Zhongguo lishi da cidian bianzuan weiyuanhui 中國歷史大辭典編纂委員會 (ed. 2000), Zhongguo lishi da cidian 中國歷史大辭典 (Shanghai: Shanghai cishu chubanshe), Vol. 2, pp. 3321, 3323.

October 30, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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