Emperor Guangwu of Han

Liu Xiu
Portrait of Emperor Guangwu from Sancai Tuhui
Emperor of the Eastern Han Dynasty
Reign5 August 25[1] – 29 March 57
Predecessornone, Gengshi Emperor as Emperor of Yuan Han
SuccessorEmperor Ming
Born13 January 5 BC
Jiyang County, Chenliu Commandery, Han Empire
Died29 March 57 (aged 62)
Luoyang, Han Empire
Full name
Family name: Liu (劉)
Given name: Xiu (秀)
Courtesy name: Wenshu (文叔)
Era dates
Jianwu (建武): 25–56
Jianwuzhongyuan (建武中元): 56–58
Posthumous name
Short: Emperor Guangwu (光武帝)
Full: Emperor Guangwu[2] (光武皇帝) "continuator and martial"
Temple name
Shizu (世祖)
DynastyEastern Han
FatherLiu Qin (劉欽)
MotherLady Fan
Emperor Guangwu of Han
Traditional Chinese漢光武帝
Simplified Chinese汉光武帝
Literal meaning"The Bright and Martial Emperor of Han"

Emperor Guangwu (born Liu Xiu; 15 January 5 BC – 29 March 57),[3] courtesy name Wenshu, was an emperor of the Chinese Han dynasty, restorer of the dynasty in AD 25 and thus founder of the Later Han or Eastern Han (the restored Han Dynasty). He ruled over parts of China at first, and through suppression and conquest of regional warlords, the whole of China was consolidated by the time of his death in 57.

Liu Xiu was one of the many descendants of the Han imperial family. Following the usurpation of the Han throne by Wang Mang and the ensuing civil war during the disintegration of Wang's short-lived Xin Dynasty, he emerged as one of several descendants of the fallen dynasty claiming the imperial throne. After assembling forces and proclaiming himself emperor in the face of competitors, he was able to defeat his rivals, destroy the peasant army of the Chimei, known for their disorganization and marauding, and finally reunify the whole of China in AD 36.

He established his capital in Luoyang, 335 kilometers (208 mi) east of the former capital Chang'an, ushering in the Later/Eastern Han Dynasty. He implemented some reforms (notably land reform, albeit not very successfully) aimed at correcting some of the structural imbalances responsible for the downfall of the Former/Western Han. His reforms gave a new 200-year lease on life to the Han Dynasty.

Emperor Guangwu's campaigns featured many able generals, but curiously, he lacked major strategists. That may very well be because he himself appeared to be a brilliant strategist; he often instructed his generals as to strategy from afar, and his predictions generally would be accurate. This was often emulated by later emperors who fancied themselves great strategists but who actually lacked Emperor Guangwu's brilliance—usually to great disastrous results.

Also unique among emperors in Chinese history was Emperor Guangwu's combination of decisiveness and mercy. He often sought out peaceful means rather than bellicose means of putting areas under his control. He was, in particular, one of the rare examples of a founding emperor of a dynasty who did not kill, out of jealousy or paranoia, any of the generals or officials who contributed to his victories after his rule was secure.

Family background

Liu Xiu was the sixth generation descendant of Emperor Jing of the Former (or Western) Han. He was the son of Liu Qin (劉欽), magistrate (i.e., head official) of Nandun county (南頓令). Liu Qin was the son of Liu Hui (劉回), vice governor in charge of military affairs for Julu commandery (鉅鹿都尉). Liu Hui was the son of Liu Wai (劉外), governor of Yulin commandery (鬱林太守). Liu Wai was the son of Liu Mai (劉買), known posthumously as Marquess Jie of Chongling (舂陵節侯). Liu Mai was the son of Liu Fa (劉發), known posthumously as Prince Ding of Changsha (長沙定王). The prince of Changsha was a brother of Emperor Wu, a famous emperor of the Former Han, and he was the son of Emperor Jing. (This made Liu Xiu third cousin to Gengshi Emperor, who was also descended from Liu Fa.)

Liu Qin was married to the daughter of one Fan Chong (樊重), and he and his wife had three sons – Liu Yan, Liu Zhong (劉仲), and Liu Xiu. Liu Qin died early, and the brothers were raised by their uncle Liu Liang (劉良). Liu Yan was ambitious, and ever since Wang Mang usurped the Han throne in 8 and established the Xin dynasty, Liu Yan was constantly considering starting a rebellion to restore the Han Dynasty. Liu Xiu, in contrast, was a careful man who was content to be a farmer. However, his brother-in-law Deng Chen (鄧晨), the husband of his sister Liu Yuan (劉元), who believed in a prophecy that a man named Liu Xiu would be emperor, constantly encouraged him to be more ambitious.

Other Languages
Bân-lâm-gú: Hàn Kong-bú-tè
español: Liu Xiu
français: Han Guang Wudi
한국어: 후한 광무제
Bahasa Indonesia: Kaisar Guangwu dari Han
italiano: Liu Xiu
Mìng-dĕ̤ng-ngṳ̄: Háng Guŏng-ū-dá̤
Nederlands: Han Guangwudi
日本語: 光武帝
português: Guang Wudi
русский: Гуан У-ди
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Car Guangwu od Hana
svenska: Han Guangwudi
Türkçe: Guangwu
українська: Ґуан У
Tiếng Việt: Hán Quang Vũ Đế
吴语: 刘秀
粵語: 劉秀
中文: 汉光武帝