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Was Qinshihuang an illegitimate emperor?


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#1 General_Zhaoyun

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Posted 08 January 2005 - 07:22 PM

Most chinese sources (esp. Sima Qian's Record of the Grand Historian) mentioned that Qinshihuang's real father is Lu Buwei 吕不韦 (Prime Minister of Qin kingdom) .

Qinshihuang's mother is Zhao Ji 赵姬, who was the wife of Lu Buwei before Lu Buwei gave his wife to Zichu 子楚, the hostage Prince of Qin in Zhao kingdom. Lu Buwei helped Zichu escape from Zhao kingdom and later after Zichu became the king of Qin and Lu Buwei became the prime minister of Qin. Zichu had always thought that Qinshihuang was his own blood.

It was said that after Qinshihuang grew up and after consolidating his power, he eliminated Lu Buwei by forcing him to commit suicide (through drinking poison wine). If that's so, isn't he the 1st emperor in China to kill his own father? Isn't that considered morally decadent?

Was Qinshihuang's real intention of killing his own father due to the fact that he wanted to conceal his illegitimate background? This is b'cos if someone found out that he was not from the "Qin royalty" (i.e. Zichu's real blood), does that make him illegitimate emperor?

Also, was Zhao Ji (Qinshihuang's mother) a former prostitute? It was also said that she also had an affair with Lao Ai (who staged a rebellion against Qinshihuang) and even gave birth to a 'B******' child from Lao Ai.

(It seems that Qinshihuang's family is really a moral complication)
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#2 Sephodwyrm

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Posted 09 January 2005 - 01:09 PM

There's many arguments in this. But personally, I think that Qin Shihuang is of royal blood (hence not sired by Lu Buwei). Many modern TV shows, serials etc and even history by Sima Qian like to say that Qin Shihuang is illegitimate to give the idea that he came to power through illegal means and hence should be eliminated.

Hence questions about Shi Huangdi's bloodlines could be raised due to:
1. Power struggles between the Lu clan and the Liu clan in the early Han era. The Lu clan says that Shi Huangdi is the illegitimate child of Lu Buwei and hence they have the rightful claim to the empire.
2. The power struggles between Lu Buwei and Yin Zheng himself. Lu Buwei is overbearing and trying to give more weight to his claim to power.
3. To make the Qin dynasty look as ridiculous as possible

I personally felt that Qin Shihuang if of royal blood because:
1. His mother did have 280 day pregnancy to bear him (and not 280 + 56...that'll be outrageous in medical terms but not unheard of. In this case we should assume normality instead of the exception)
2. His father Yi Ren is portrayed as a weakling in many cases and thus could not be the father of Yin Zheng (which is already ridiculous in my opinion since there's no hardline connection between a father's personality to the son's personality). At the same time I don't think any weakling would have survived being a hostage in Zhao for so long, and making a drastic decision to abandon your wife and child in Zhao while claiming your throne. His father is a ambitious Qin prince in my opinion.
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#3 Daniel

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Posted 11 January 2005 - 07:24 PM

In The Cambridge History of China Derk Bodde says simply that Qin Shihuang banished Lu to Shu (modern Chengdu). Lu committed suicide on the way there in 235 B.C. Thus it is not clear that Qin Shihuang ordered Lu's death. Once in Shu, Lu would have been far from the emperor's reach, so it is possible he committed suicide simply to spare himself the disgrace and loss of face from being dismissed as chancellor and banished.

Bodde also strongly doubts that Sima Qian wrote the passage in the Shiji describing Qin Shihuang as Lu's son. More likely that was an interpolation added by a later author. The reasons are described thus on page 95:

The reasons for doubting the account of the First Emperor's peculiar birth (see pp. 42-43) have been detailed elsewhere (Bodde, Statesman, pp. 15-18) and hence need only be summarized here.  The first is that the passage in question is only one of several curious passages in Lu Pu-wei's biography (SC 85), strongly suggesting that extensive portions of this chapter may have suffered from tampering.  Second, the parallel section on Lu Pu-wei in the Chan-kuo ts'e (17 [Ch'in 5], pp. 275f.; tr. Crump, Chan-kuo ts'e, no. 109, pp. 137-39) differs from the Shih-chi in many respects and omits the story of the B****** birth entirely.  Third, the Shih-chi's story of bastardy rests on a single sentence whose peculiar and ambiguous wording readily suggests that an interpolator has been at work.  Finally and most significantly, the story is closely paralleled by that of another royal bastardy recorded in the Chan-kuo ts'e (17 [Ch'u 4], p. 575; tr. Crump, Chan-kuo ts'e, no. 227, pp. 274-77); and in Shih-chi 78, pp. 2396f.  According to these texts, King K'ao-lieh of Ch'u (262-38), being childless, was presented with the already pregnant concubine of a prominent Ch'u statesman whose position in Ch'u was very comparable to that of Lu Pu-wei in Ch'in.  The son subsequently born to the former concubine was then recognized by the Ch'u king as his legitimate heir and eventually succeeded him on the throne, though of course he was in actual fact the son of the statesman.  It seems quite plausible that whoever devised the story about the First Emperor's birth was inspired to do so by the tale of his Ch'u contemporary.


To put it more briefly, Qian's chapter on Lu has been altered several times, the other contemporary sources don't corroborate the story, the story rests on one sentence that looks fabricated, and the story isn't original.

However, the part about the Emperor's mother having an affair with Lao Ai is borne out by Bodde. Lu may have introduced her to Lao Ai in order to cover up the fact that he had resumed his own affair with her. In fact, it was precisely this scandal that led to Lu's banishment.
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#4 Rom1

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Posted 20 September 2005 - 01:44 AM

I've heard in many sources of a younger brother of Ying Zheng, named Chang'An Jun, who was a general and rebelled against his brother in - 237 or - 238. Have you more informations about that, cause it's very strange... At this date, Zheng was not 20 years old so how a younger brother could be a general ? Why did he turn against the Qin ? Who are his parents (is he the son of Zichu and a concubine ?) ?

Thanks for your lights !

#5 Rom1

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 07:59 AM

Nobody knows ? :(

Here are the sites :

http://www.uglychinese.org/qin.htm

In 239 BC, Prince Chang'anjun (Cheng-Jiao), while under order to attack Zhao Principality, rebelled against his half brother Qin King.

http://www.illuminat...atures/qin.html

The greatest threat to his power in these early years came in his eighth (239 BC), when his younger brother, Lord Chang'an, revolted after leading his troops on an attack on Zhao. When he was killed that same year, vengeance was terrible: all of his officers were killed, and when the people of a town revolted in support, they were all killed as well. The following year, King Zheng went through a ceremonial transition to manhood and, now a man, assumed control of the state.


Edited by Rom1, 22 September 2005 - 08:07 AM.


#6 Sephodwyrm

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 09:18 AM

Chen Jiao rebelled by stating how his brother Ying Zheng was an illegitimate son of Lu Buwei (to add more substance to his rebellion). Didn't work too well IMO. He was defeated, hanged himself, but was decapitated. His general Fan Yuqi fled to Yan where he would work against Qin.
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#7 Rom1

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Posted 22 September 2005 - 10:28 AM

Thanks for this answer ! :)
OK but this "brother", who were his parents ? The former King and a concubine ? Was he older or younger ? When did his rebellion take place ? (i saw on - 239 but Zheng was young at this time) How did this rebellion affect the statut of Lu Buwei ?
What are the sources easily findables on the net about this Chen Jiao ?

#8 28th of Ying

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Posted 12 December 2005 - 10:59 PM

This in my family history, Ying Zheng was the bloodline of Lu. If this rumor was not true, maybe it was something to do with my Qin Ancestor, the 7th of Ying. QinShi was also 7th of Ying. However as illegitimate emperor, this dream up by confucius historian such as Sima Qian, to make history the way they fit. The Qin political system was very complex, it was design not one man control everything but number of group of people interact to make political system. I don't think my Qin Ancestor care much about if QinShi was Lu. As the story go, I believe my Qin Ancestor would never allow QinShi to become the King of Qin. If he was not super leader as they train and hope he would be. As about Lu Buwei dead, it heroic to go, if he stay alive much allies of Qin would disappear. My Qin Ancestor would send in Qin Army take care of business. The Qin Army alway been royal bloodline of Ying. But if you judge history base on your confucius morality and logic. You would put Ying bloodline in doubt, that was dangerous for China, that mostly what happened to my Song Ancestor, got there a** kick by Mongol. I think the secret of Ying bloodline are very important part Chinese history. Is this true or dream up ego or is this possible for one bloodline?

#9 28th of Ying

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 12:24 PM

7th of Ying and I am 28th Ying

Basically Ying Zheng's mother was concubine of Lu Buwei, she pregnant before leaving from (Chu) to Qin. She was about two mouth in her pregnancy. It was Lu Buwei gift to new king of Qin. I assume to become the King of Qin, it is not first son, but elected by family members. Ying Zheng's father was 57th son of king of Qin. Ying Zheng child name was two chinese character, and he got married, it change to one character. This was part my family tradition as well, I don't know this part Chinese tradition. I don't read and write Chinese, I am educated in Canada. I assume the 7th of Ying, refer all my ancestor 700th Hundreds years. I am 28th of Ying, 28-7=21, Qin was about 2100 or 2200 hundred years ago. Correct me if I am wrong. My ancestor was the Lord of Qin, but no name was gaven. He was great teacher of his time, he taught most kings in his days. About most other kingdoms king was his student. I assume that why Qin attracted so many schoolars from other kingdom. I believe the plan created one china was not product of First Emperor but it was my 7th of Ying Ancestor and Lu Buwei, and there was other. I believe they are called "Noble" just like confucius, he was noble line. I assume they bloodline Kings of kings since the time Yellow Emperors or Yu of Great. Why so much doubt about this part history? It was too dangerous for Ying decendant to fully open Ying family history. Because myth of secret contain in the " Art of War" was Ying ancestor experience. It contain strategic , logistic thories. You just have to ask how difficult to organized million man army, and get than place to place.

#10 urofpersia

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 01:17 PM

I assume the 7th of Ying, refer all my ancestor 700th Hundreds years. I am 28th of Ying, 28-7=21, Qin was about 2100 or 2200 hundred years ago. Correct me if I am wrong.


If you are implying about a hundred years seperate each generation, I sincerely doubt so.
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#11 28th of Ying

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 09:58 PM

If you are implying about a hundred years seperate each generation, I sincerely doubt so.


It was way to simply a few generation into one, so you can tell success and failure in few sentences. If you ancestry date back Yellow Emperor, that was where everything started. You have to develop a time line to identify who you were.

#12 urofpersia

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Posted 13 February 2006 - 11:00 PM

It was way to simply a few generation into one, so you can tell success and failure in few sentences. If you ancestry date back Yellow Emperor, that was where everything started. You have to develop a time line to identify who you were.


When you consider that even the existence of the person known as the Yellow Emperor is very much in doubt, where does that leave us genealogically? Just because folks shared the same family name today, does not mean they are related by blood at all.
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#13 升斗小民

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 01:24 AM

i heard the descendants of qingshihuang living in japan today.
they were named 功满王 and soso.....

#14 Chow Yun-Fat, PhD

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 03:12 AM

Yellow Emperor is real; various deeds attributed to him are not

#15 fcharton

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Posted 19 February 2006 - 05:59 AM

When you consider that even the existence of the person known as the Yellow Emperor is very much in doubt, where does that leave us genealogically? Just because folks shared the same family name today, does not mean they are related by blood at all.


You could look at it the other way, though... A generation is about 20-25 years long, so there are 4-5 generations per century. Let us say 4 (out of prudence), if you look at the number of ancestors you have at the n-th generation, it is : 2^n, 2000 years is 80 generations, 2^80 is, well a lot : 10e24. Of course, no one had 10e24 ancestors, it just shows how interbred we are. Yet, the figure is so high that the surprising fact would be to find a chinese *not* related to Qin Shihuang (and btw the same would go for Li Shimin...).

Francois




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