Emperor Cheng of Han

Han Chengdi
Emperor Cheng of Han, Northern Wei painted screen.jpg
Emperor Cheng riding a palanquin, Northern Wei painted screen (5th century)
Emperor of the Han Dynasty
Reign33 – 7 BC
PredecessorEmperor Yuan of Han
SuccessorEmperor Ai of Han
Born51 BC
Chang'an, Han Empire
Died7 BC (Aged 44)
Chang'an, Han Empire
Full name
Family name: Liu ()
Given name: Ao ()
Posthumous name: Xiaocheng (孝成) "filial and successful"
Posthumous name: Cheng () "successful"
HouseHan dynasty
Emperor Cheng of Han
Traditional Chinese漢成帝
Simplified Chinese汉成帝
Literal meaningThe Accomplished Emperor of Han
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese劉驁
Simplified Chinese刘骜
Literal meaning(personal name)

Emperor Cheng of Han (51 BC – 17 April 7 BC) was an emperor of the Chinese Han Dynasty ruling from 33 until 7 BC. He succeeded his father Emperor Yuan of Han. Under Emperor Cheng, the Han dynasty continued its slide into disintegration while the emperor's maternal relatives of the Wang clan continued their slow grip on power and on governmental affairs as promoted by the previous emperor. Corruptions and greedy officials continued to plague the government and as a result rebellions broke out throughout the country. Emperor Cheng died childless after a reign of 26 years (both of his sons by concubines died in infancy, one of them starved to death) and was succeeded by his nephew Emperor Ai of Han.

Birth and career as Crown Prince

Emperor Cheng was born circa 51 BC to then-Crown Prince Liu Shi (later Emperor Yuan) and one of his consorts, Consort Wang (later more commonly known as Grand Empress Dowager Wang). He was Emperor Yuan's first-born son.

In 47 BC, Emperor Yuan created him Crown Prince Ao.

Emperor Yuan was a relatively non-womanizing emperor, but he did have two favorite concubines in addition to Empress Wang—Consort Fu and Consort Feng Yuan, each of whom bore him one son. Empress Wang apparently tried to maintain a cordial relationship with both, and she was largely successful, at least as far as Consort Feng was concerned. However, a struggle between Empress Wang and Consort Fu for their sons' heir status would erupt.

As Crown Prince Ao grew older, Emperor Yuan became increasingly unhappy with his fitness as imperial heir and impressed with Consort Fu's son, Prince Liu Kang of Shanyang (山陽王劉康). Several incidents led to this situation. One happened in 35 BC, when Emperor Yuan's youngest brother Prince Liu Jing of Zhongshan (中山王劉竟) died, Emperor Yuan became angry when he felt that the teenage Crown Prince Ao was insufficiently grieving—particularly because Princes Ao and Jing were of similar age and grew up together as playmates—and showing insufficient respect to Prince Jing. Prince Ao's head of household Shi Dan (史丹), a relative of Emperor Yuan's grandmother and a senior official respected by Emperor Yuan, managed to convince Emperor Yuan that Crown Prince Ao was trying to stop Emperor Yuan himself from overgrieving, but the seed of dissatisfaction was sown.

As the princes further grew, several things further led to an endearment between Emperor Yuan and Prince Kang. They shared affection and skills in music—particularly in the playing of drums. Prince Kang also showed high intelligence and diligence, while Crown Prince Ao was known for drinking and womanizing. When Emperor Yuan grew ill circa 35 BC—an illness that he would not recover from—Consort Fu and Prince Kang were often summoned to his sickbed to attend to him, while Empress Wang and Crown Prince Ao rarely were. In his illness, apparently encouraged by Consort Fu, Emperor Yuan reconsidered whether he should make Prince Kang his heir instead. Only the intercession of Shi Dan led Emperor Yuan to cease those thoughts. When Emperor Yuan died in 33 BC, Crown Prince Ao ascended the throne (as Emperor Cheng).

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Hàn Sêng-tè
Deutsch: Han Chengdi
français: Han Chengdi
한국어: 전한 성제
Bahasa Indonesia: Kaisar Cheng dari Han
italiano: Han Chengdi
日本語: 成帝 (漢)
polski: Han Chengdi
português: Cheng de Han
русский: Чэн-ди
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Car Cheng od Hana
українська: Лю Ао
Tiếng Việt: Hán Thành Đế
吴语: 汉成帝
粵語: 劉驁
中文: 汉成帝