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Eicher, Sebastian (2018): Yuan Hong's Evaluation of the Han-Wei Transition. In: Toung Pao, Vol. 104, No. 5-6: pp. 511-536
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The early depictions of the transition from the Han (25-220) to the Wei dynasty (220-265) are surprisingly diverse. Within a span of less than two hundred years, several historians arrived at different views on the event's legitimacy and as a result described it in widely varying tones. This is still visible in the dynastic histories: while Chen Shou's (233-297) Sanquo zhi paints the picture of the establishment of a legitimate dynasty, Fan Ye (398-446) in his Hou Han shu describes a ruthless overthrow of the Ilan court by Cao Cao (155-220) and his son Cao Pi (187-226). Through an essay written by Xi Zuochi (316-04) we know that doubts about the legitimacy of the Wei dynasty began to be appear in the Eastern Jin dynasty. An often -neglected voice from these times is that of Yuan Hong (328376). In his Hou Han ji he describes the abdication as a mistake committed by a well-meaning but shortsighted Emperor Xian (r.190-220). The placement of the emperor at the center of its narrative sets Yuan Hong's history-far apart from the other sources. In this essay, I will analyze his depiction and opinion and compare it to the other versions available. This will shed more light on the role of the Eastern Jin dynasty in shaping our perception of the abdication.