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The School of Social Development Successfully Held the Academic Lecture of “the Tragic Life of Haihun Hou Liu He”

On the afternoon of May 22, 2019, at the invitation of Prof. Zhang Jin from the Department of History of the School of Social Development of Nanjing Normal University, Lv Zongli吕宗力, Professor of Harbin Institute of Technology (Shenzhen) and Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, gave an academic lecture entitled “The Tragic Life of Haihun hou海昏侯Liu He刘贺” in Room 213, Building 400, Suiyuan Campus. Bi Yun from the School of Humanities of Southeast University, Xue Haibo from the School of Social Development of Nanjing Normal University, and Lu Shuai as well as many postgraduate students attended the lecture, including many foreign teachers and students. The conference room was packed, and the teachers and students were enthusiastic.


Prof. Lv began with the archaeological discovery of the tomb of Haihun hou in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province. He used a large number of beautiful pictures to show the students the unearthed cultural relics of the tomb, such as inner and outer coffins, horseshoe golds, belt hooks, distiller, Qilun《齐论》remains and portraits of Confucius, and explained some cultural relics. According to the reign title of “Changyi昌邑” and the seal with the word “Liu He”, combined with the handed-down documents, the tomb owner can be judged as Haihun hou Liu He of the West Han. Liu He was adopted by Hanzhao Emperor as the prince. He was only 27 days in place. His life had experienced four identities of king, emperor, civilian, and hou. His personal affairs are rarely recorded in history books, the legendary ups and downs constitute his tragic life.


Prof. Lv quoted Marx Weber’s discourse of the legitimacy of political rule, explaining the legitimacy of the succession of the monarchy in the Han Dynasty from three aspects: First, the successor should have the blood lineage of the eldest branch , and illustrating the principle of legitimacy was widely recognized by the elites of the ruling in the Han Dynasty; the second is virtue of filial piety to ancestors and respect for Heaven and traditions, mainly reflected in the aspect of filial piety, that is, the ability to respect the ancestral patriarchal system and inherit the idea of the founding emperor; the third is the disaster verification, check whether the successor is in line with the destiny. Based on the above three principles of legitimacy, Prof. Lv compares the process and performance of Liu He’s succession to Han Wendi’s from Liu He’s own conditions , listing the loss of morality of Liu He, the immature things in politics and leave or not according to the heaven. Finally, it is concluded that Huo Guang’s defamation of Liu He is justified. The process of dethroning Liu He was terrifying, and it became the best exposition of the ruling ministers for legitimacy of“dethroning the stupid monarch and supporting the wise monarch”. This paradigm was used by political ambitions as an excuse for ordering the world to maintain the value rationality and wider acceptance of its rule as much as possible.


In the interactive session, teachers and students presented their own questions and thoughts. Lu Shuai mentioned that Prof. Xin Deyong of Peking University regards Huo Guang as a powerhouse and asked Prof. Lv for his views. Prof. Lv believes that Huo Guang can not be regarded as a strategist, but also as a politician judging from his governance of the country. Liu Wenchao paid attention to the unearthed classics in the Liu He’s tomb. He asked Prof. Lv whether Liu He had self-improved to increase his academic accomplishment after the dethroning. Prof. Lv explained that these classics may be from Changyi, which had been used.It can not indicate that Liu He studied hard after the dethroning. Hu Wei proposed that the use of gold gradually decreased after the Han Dynasty based on the horseshoe gold unearthed from the tomb of Haihun hou, is it related to cast Buddha statues with golds in later generations? Prof. Lv believes that it is not entirely true because gold varies from region to region and has a certain relationship with its source. In addition, Guan Jianyun, Huang Weiju, Guo Miaomiao, Bao Jiaming and other students also asked Prof. Lv for their doubts. Prof. Lv’s wonderful answers benefited the students, and the interesting narrative style added a lighter atmosphere to the lecture. Finally, the lecture ended successfully with warm applause.

 (translatorZhang Tianjiao