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  • Print publication year: 1986
  • Online publication date: March 2008

5 - The fall of Han

The Han dynasty fell because the concept of dynastic change had made its way from the people to influential circles in Ts'ao Ts'ao's entourage. Weak emperors, or eunuchs, empresses, and the Yellow Turbans are blamed for the decline of Han, but until a thousand years after its fall efforts were still being made to restore the dynasty. For some, the creation of the Wei dynasty remained an unlawful act which tainted those emperors and their successors with illegitimacy. Liu Yuan had a detailed knowledge of the vicissitudes of Later Han history and the events accompanying its fall. In AD 338, a new Han dynasty was proclaimed in the same city that had served as Liu Pei's capital, in the southwestern corner of China. When the Chinese dynasties were driven to the southeast after 316 by non-Chinese invaders from the north, it was important for them to know that they were the true holders and inheritors of the mandate.
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The Cambridge History of China
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