Emperor Shao of Liu Song

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(Liu) Song Shaodi ((劉)宋少帝) or
Yingyang Wang (營陽王)
Family name: Liu (劉; liú)
Given name: Yifu (義符, yì fú)
Posthumous name: None

Emperor Shao of (Liu) Song ((劉)宋少帝) (406-424), also known by his post-removal title Prince of Yingyang (營陽王), personal name Liu Yifu (劉義符), nickname Chebing (車兵), was an emperor of the Chinese Liu Song dynasty. He was the oldest son of the founding emperor, Emperor Wu of Liu Song, and was born when his father Liu Yu was already a paramount general of the Jin Dynasty (265-420) and effectively regent. His mother was Liu Yu's concubine, Consort Zhang. Although Liu Yifu was only a child, Liu Yu began to bestow increasing authority on him, though his responsibilities were actually carried out by Liu Yu’s subordinates. In 415, he was officially made heir apparent of Liu Yu's dukedom of Yuzhang and made the governor of Yan Province (兗州, then modern central Jiangsu). In 416, he was made the governor of Yu Province (豫州, then modern central Anhui). Later that year, he was again made the governor of Yan Province, but also the governor of Xu Province (徐州, modern northern Jiangsu). Then, in the fall, as Liu Yu launched a major campaign to attack Later Qin, Liu Yifu was made the defender of the capital Jiankang, even though it was Liu Muzhi (劉穆之) who had actual authority.

Contents

In 422, when he became seriously ill, Emperor Wu heard that Liu Yifu was spending his time with wastrels and considered making his second son heir instead, but decided against it. The officials that his father left in charge of the government became convinced that he was unfit to govern, and deposed and killed him in 424, making his more-capable younger brother Liu Yilong emperor as Emperor Wen.

Background : The Liu Song Dynasty

Liu Song Dynasty (宋朝, Pinyin: Sòng cháo Wade-Giles: Sung) (420–479) was first of the four Southern Dynasties in China, followed by the Southern Qi Dynasty. It was founded by Liu Yu 劉裕 (363–422), whose surname together with "Song" forms the most commonly used name for the dynasty, the Liu Song 劉宋. This appellation is used to distinguish it from a later dynasty of the same name, the Song Dynasty 宋 (960–1279), which is much more famous and significant.

Emperor Wu of (Liu) Song

Emperor Wu of (Liu) Song ((劉)宋武帝) (363-422), personal name “Liu Yu” (劉裕), courtesy name “Dexing” (德興), nickname “Jinu” (寄奴), was the founding emperor of the Chinese Liu Song dynasty. He came from a humble background, but became prominent after leading a rebellion in 404 to overthrow Huan Xuan, who had usurped the Jin throne in 403. After that point, using a combination of political know-how and military ability, Liu Yu gradually concentrated power in his own hands while expanding Jin's territory. In 420, he forced Emperor Gong of Jin to yield the throne to him, thus ending Jin and establishing Song. He ruled only briefly, for two years, before dying and passing the throne to his son, Emperor Shao of Liu Song.

During the Jin Dynasty

Liu Yifu was born in 406, when his father Liu Yu was already a paramount general of the Jin Dynasty (265-420) and effectively regent. His mother was Liu Yu's concubine, Consort Zhang. Liu Yifu was Liu Yu's oldest son.

As Liu Yu consolidated his power, he began to bestow increasing authority on Liu Yifu, though his responsiblities were nominal, as his duties were actually carried by by Liu Yu’s subordinates. In 415, he was officially made heir apparent of Liu Yu's dukedom of Yuzhang and made the governor of Yan Province (兗州, then modern central Jiangsu). In 416, he was made the governor of Yu Province (豫州, then modern central Anhui). Later that year, he was again made the governor of Yan Province, but also the governor of Xu Province (徐州, modern northern Jiangsu). Then, in the fall, as Liu Yu launched a major campaign to attack Later Qin, Liu Yifu was made the defender of the capital Jiankang, even though it was Liu Muzhi (劉穆之) who had actual authority.

In 417, after Liu Yu had destroyed Later Qin and annexed its territory, Liu Muzhi died. Liu Yu then withdrew, leaving the former Later Qin capital Chang'an in the hands of Liu Yifu's younger brother Liu Yizhen (劉義真) the Duke of Guiyang, but again with generals and officials actually in charge. In 418, after he had reached Pengcheng (彭城, in modern Xuzhou, Jiangsu), he considered making Liu Yifu the governor of Jing Province (荊州, roughly modern Hubei), but following the counsel of Zhang Shao (張邵) that Liu Yifu, as the heir, should not be sent away from Jiankang, that post was given to Liu Yilong instead. When Liu Yu accepted the greater title of Duke of Song that year, Liu Yifu became the heir apparent to his dukedom, and in 419, after he was created the Prince of Song, Liu Yifu was given the special honor of being known as Crown Prince of Song. Around this time, he married Emperor Gong of Jin's daughter Sima Maoying, the Princess Haiyan.

During Emperor Wu's reign

In 420, after Liu Yu seized the throne from Emperor Gong and established Liu Song, proclaiming himself Emperor Wu, he created Liu Yifu Crown Prince.

By 422, Emperor Wu was ill. His official, Xie Hui, warned Emperor Wu that Crown Prince Yifu was often spending time with people lacking in abilities and virtue. Emperor Wu considered making Liu Yizhen, the Prince of Luling, Crown Prince instead. Xie, however, met with Liu Yizhen and formed an even worse opinion of him, and so Emperor Wu decided against it.

As Emperor Wu grew seriously ill later that year, he entrusted Crown Prince Yifu to Xu Xianzhi, Fu Liang, Xie Hui, and Tan Daoji. At the same time, however, he secretly warned Crown Prince Yifu that Xie was such a quick thinker that he could not be completely trusted. As soon as he died, Crown Prince Yifu took the throne as Emperor Shao.

Reign

Emperor Shao honored his step-grandmother Empress Dowager Xiao Wenshou as Grand Empress Dowager, and he created his wife Crown Princess Sima Maoying as Empress. Matters of the central government were largely in the hands of Xu Xianzhi, Fu Liang, and Xie Hui.

On hearing of Emperor Wu's death, Emperor Mingyuan of Northern Wei launched a major attack on Liu Song and crossed the Yellow River. In the winter of 422, Northern Wei forces captured Huatai (滑台, in modern Anyang, Henan). In the spring of 423, they captured Luoyang. Tan Daoji was dispatched to try to save the northern cities, and he was able to prevent Shandong Peninsula from falling, but by the summer of 423, the last major Liu Song outpost on the Yellow River, Hulao (虎牢, in modern Zhengzhou, Henan), had fallen, along with Xuchang. Only then did Northern Wei stop its advances.

In fall of 423, Emperor Shao honored his mother Consort Zhang as Empress Dowager.

By 424, Xu, Fu, and Xie had grown increasingly dissatisfied with Emperor Shao as a ruler. Emperor Shao had failed to observe the proper behavior during the three-year mourning period for his father, and spent most of his time on games and pleasure rather than on studies and important matters of state, despite encouragement from his deputy Fan Tai (范泰). They considered deposing him, but they were also dissatisfied with the next-ranked son of Emperor Wu, Liu Yizhen, who was talented but whose behavior was even more frivolous than that of Emperor Shao. He often spending time with other talented but frivolous men, including Xie Lingyun and Yan Yanzhi (顏延之), and frequently requested the imperial government to supply him with more and more money. They therefore stoked the rivalry between Emperor Shao and Liu Yizhen, and then accused Liu Yizhen of crimes. Emperor Shao reduced Liu Yizhen to commoner status and exiled him to Xin'an Commandery (新安, roughly modern Hangzhou, Zhejiang).

With Liu Yizhen out of the way, Xu, Fu, and Xie prepared to remove Emperor Shao as well. Because they were apprehensive about the powerful armies of Tan and Wang Hong, they summoned Tan and Wang to the capital and informed them of the plot. They then sent soldiers into the palace to arrest Emperor Shao, after first persuading the imperial guards not to resist. Before Emperor Shao could get out of bed in the morning, the soldiers were already in his bedchamber; he made a futile attempt to resist, but was captured and sent back to his old palace. The officials then declared Emperor Shao's faults, in the name of Empress Dowager Zhang, and demoted him to Prince of Yingyang, offering the throne to his younger brother Liu Yilong the Prince of Yidu instead.

After Removal

Liu Yifu was exiled to Wu Commandery (吳郡, roughly modern Suzhou, Jiangsu) and kept under a secure guard. One month later, Xu Xianzhi sent the assassin Xing Antai (邢安泰) to assassinate the former emperor. Liu Yifu was a strong man, and he fought his way out of the capital of Wu Commandery, but he was eventually chased down and knocked to the ground with a doorknob, and then killed.

Emperor Wen of Liu Song

Emperor Wen of Liu Song ((劉)宋文帝) (407-453), personal name Liu Yilong (劉義隆), nickname Che'er (車兒), was the third son of Emperor Wu (Liu Yu). Liu Yilong was born at Jingkou (京口, in modern Zhenjiang, Jiangsu) in 407, to Liu Yu and his concubine Hu Dao'an (胡道安), as Liu Yu's third son. For reasons lost to history, in 409, Liu Yu put Consort Hu to death. Liu Yilong's maternal grandmother, Lady Su, was involved in his upbringing, and he was particularly close to her as he grew up. In 410, while the Jin capital Jiankang was under attack by the warlord Lu Xun (盧循), Liu Yu had his assistant Liu Cui (劉粹) accompany the three-year-old Liu Yilong to serve as the defender of Jingkou. In 415, he was created the Duke of Pengcheng. In 417, while Liu Yu was attacking Later Qin, he had Liu Yilong, again assisted by his staff, remain at Pengcheng to serve as the governor of Xu Province (徐州, modern northern Jiangsu and Anhui), to guard his rear. In 418, after Liu Yu conquered Later Qin, Liu Yilong was made the governor of the important Jing Province (荊州, modern Hubei and Hunan), and commander of armed forces of the western empire. Those who served on his staff included Dao Yanzhi (到彥之), Zhang Shao (張邵), Wang Tanshou (王曇首), Wang Hua (王華), and Shen Linzi (沈林子), with Zhang actually in charge of headquarters due to Liu Yilong's young age. After Liu Yu seized the Jin throne in 420, establishing himself as Emperor Wu of Liu Song, he created Liu Yilong the Prince of Yidu. Around this time, he gained a reputation for being an excellent student of the Confucian classics and histories, and also a good calligrapher.

After deposing Emperor Shao in 424, the high level officials Xu Xianzhi, Fu Liang, and Xie Hui, believing Liu Yilong to be capable and lenient, personally went to Liu Yilong's headquarters at Jiangling and offered him the throne. Liu Yilong's associates, hearing of the deaths of Emperor Shao and Liu Yizhen, were suspicious and suggested that he not go east to the capital Jiankang to accept the throne. However, Wang Hua pointed out that the coup leaders were in a collective leadership, and the balance of power ensured that they could not commit treason. Wang Tanshou and Dao also agreed, and Liu Yilong decided to accept the throne, taking the throne later that year as Emperor Wen.

In his 28 years of rule, Emperor Wen largely continued the grand plan of his father and some of the land policies of the Jin Dynasty. The period, called the "Yuanjia administration" (元嘉之治), is seen as a period of prosperity and strength, because of the emperor's diligence and ability to find capable and honest officials to serve in his administration. However, Emperor Wen was faulted for making repeated failed attempts to attack rival Northern Wei, employing strategies that weakened his state toward the end of his rule. In 453, angry because he believed that his Crown Prince, Liu Shao, was using witchcraft to curse him, he planned to depose Liu Shao; when Liu Shao heard of these plans, he staged a coup and assassinated him, replacing him on the throne. Less than a year later, Liu Shao's younger brother, Liu Jun, defeated him and took the throne as Emperor Xiaowu.

Era Name

  • Jingping (景平 jǐng píng) 423-424

Personal information

  • Father
    • Emperor Wu of Liu Song
  • Mother
    • Consort Zhang
  • Wife
    • Empress Sima Maoying

References


Preceded by:
Emperor Wu of Liu Song
Emperor of Liu Song
422-424
Succeeded by:
Emperor Wen of Liu Song
Emperor of China (Southern)
422-424
Emperor of China (Henan)
422-423
Succeeded by:
Emperor Mingyuan of Northern Wei

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