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Eicher, Sebastian (2019): FAN YE'S (398-446) DEPICTION OF THE GENGSHI YEARS (23-25 CE) Some Thoughts on the Narration of Legitimate and Illegitimate Rule. In: Monumenta Serica-Journal of Oriental Studies, Vol. 67, No. 1: pp. 85-109
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Abstract

The Gengshi emperor's two-year-long reign (23-25) has posed a problem to historians of the Later Han dynasty (25-220). As the member of the Liu family who defeated Wang Mang (r. 9-23) became emperor and was, for some time, the superior of the later dynastic founder Guangwu (r. 25-57), Gengshi and his role in the transferal of the Mandate of Heaven needed to be explained. The official history of the Later Han, the Dongguan Hanji, painted a picture of an illegitimate puppet emperor who never possessed the Mandate of Heaven. However, the establishment of a state-sanctioned narrative did not completely stop the controversy surrounding Gengshi's legitimacy. Our sources indicate that the discussion was not settled until the Tang dynasty and that the controversy only vanished with the rise to prominence of Fan Ye's Hou Hanshu, which closely followed the Dongguan Hanji version and portrayed Gengshi as an illegitimate ruler and a puppet of his generals. This article is an attempt to retrace the reception of the Gengshi emperor and to analyse Fan Ye's narrative.