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Old January 11th, 2018, 11:50 AM   #1
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Best last emperor of Chinese dynasty


Of the last emperors of dynasties, who do you think was best?
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Old January 11th, 2018, 01:21 PM   #2
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I know it is out there - but Puyi might have a good case for being a good last emperor.

If not that how about Wu Zetain - first and last of the Later Zhou, though there was suspicions that her daughter Princess Taiping was toying with the idea of being the second Emperor of the Later Zhou - that is why she was ordered to commit suicide.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 02:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
Of the last emperors of dynasties, who do you think was best?
How far back can we go?
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Old January 11th, 2018, 02:57 PM   #4
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Two smartest would be Liu Xie, Han Emperor Xian/Duke Shanyang & Yang Guang, Sui Emperor Yang.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 07:34 PM   #5
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If I may point out, the last emperors are so because they fail to meet the challenges facing the dynasties at the end. In short, they are, by definition, bad emperors.
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Old January 11th, 2018, 08:30 PM   #6
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If I may point out, the last emperors are so because they fail to meet the challenges facing the dynasties at the end. In short, they are, by definition, bad emperors.
Depends.

Is Xiandi necessary a bad emperor? Most historians don't think so.
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Old January 17th, 2018, 07:16 AM   #7

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I suggest the Yongle emperor as a candidate. Personally, I prefer him because of the Yongle Encyclopedia, which is supposedly the largest paper-based encyclopedia. And as we know, knowledge is power.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yongle_Encyclopedia

I am not a historian so I don't know what may lie within the apparently largest paper-based encyclopedia, but I suspect variations of early editions of the Huolongjing.

Of course, there are many more fascinations during his reign, including the famous treasure fleet and the restoration of the grand canal. Part of me also wondered what it'd be like for the Ming Dynasty to build towers everywhere similar to that of the porcelain tower of Nanjing under the Yongle emperor. Imagine, during the night, looking at all the towers with lamps shining at every level. Crazy thought.

"The tower was built with white porcelain bricks that were said to reflect the sun's rays during the day, and at night as many as 140 lamps were hung from the building to illuminate the tower."

If only...
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Old January 17th, 2018, 07:35 AM   #8

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Yongle wasn't the last emperor of his dynasty though.
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Old January 17th, 2018, 07:38 AM   #9

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Yongle wasn't the last emperor of his dynasty though.
Yeah, it's a very interesting period, it got to me :/
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Old March 2nd, 2018, 04:57 PM   #10
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Regarding Puyi, Behr concluded that: “It is difficult to avoid the impression that Puyi, in an effort prove himself a ‘remolded man’, displayed the same craven attitude towards the power-holders of the new China that he had shown in Manchukuo towards the Japanese.” Hardly a solid candidate for best last emperor.

As said above, it's often difficult to praise last emperors because it is, by definition, during their reign that the dynasty ends, and so they usually get blamed for it. However, in terms of emperors that are relatively sympathetic, I'd like to bring up the portrayal of Chongzhen, the last Ming emperor, in Frederic Wakeman's The Great Enterprise.

One gets the impression that Chongzhen did try his best to save the dynasty, but, facing a bankrupt economy and betrayal by his generals, could do little. Chongzhen's death was also relatively tragic, and is described as such:

"Finally, in 1644 several of Chongzhen’s eunuch generals betrayed him, and Li Zicheng, one of the rebel leaders, captured the capital city, Beijing. As Li’s forces approached the city, the emperor struck a bell, signaling his ministers to appear for a conference. When no one came, he climbed to the top of Meishan (Coal Hill), next to his palace, and hanged himself."

This was after several of his key generals failed to answer the summon to come and defend Beijing.
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