The Three Lords and Nine Ministers system (Chinese :三公九卿) was a central administrative system adopted in ancient China that was officially instituted in the Qin dynasty (221 BC – 206 BC) and was replaced by the Three Departments and Six Ministries (Chinese :三省六部) system since the Sui dynasty (AD 589–618).
Three Lords referred to three highest rank officials in the imperial government, namely:
Nine Ministers comprised all the ministers of importance in the central government. They were:
Liu Bian, also known as Emperor Shao of Han and the Prince of Hongnong, was the 13th emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty in China. He became emperor around the age of 13 upon the death of his father, Emperor Ling, and ruled briefly from 15 May to 28 September 189 before he was deposed, after which he became known as the "Prince of Hongnong". His emperor title, "Emperor Shao", was also used by other emperors who were in power for very short periods of time. In 190, he was poisoned to death by Dong Zhuo, the warlord who deposed him and replaced him with his younger half-brother, Liu Xie.
Zhu Jun, courtesy name Gongwei, was a military general and official who lived during the Eastern Han dynasty of China.
Qiao Xuan, courtesy name Gongzu, was an official who lived during the Eastern Han dynasty of China.
The grand chancellor, also translated as counselor-in-chief, chancellor, chief councillor, chief minister, imperial chancellor, lieutenant chancellor and prime minister, was the highest-ranking executive official in the imperial Chinese government. The term was known by many different names throughout Chinese history, and the exact extent of the powers associated with the position fluctuated greatly, even during a particular dynasty.
The Three Ducal Ministers, also translated as the Three Dukes, Three Excellencies, or the Three Lords, was the collective name for the three highest officials in ancient China. These posts were abolished by Cao Cao in 208 AD and replaced with the position of Imperial Chancellor.
The Censorate was a high-level supervisory agency in ancient China, first established during the Qin dynasty.
Cao Song, courtesy name Jugao, was an official who lived during the Eastern Han dynasty of China. He was the foster son of the eunuch Cao Teng and the father of the warlord Cao Cao, who rose to prominence in the final years of Eastern Han and laid the foundation of the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period. Cao Song was posthumously honoured as "Emperor Tai" by his grandson Cao Pi in 220 when the latter ended the Han dynasty and founded the Cao Wei regime.
Hua Xin, courtesy name Ziyu, was a government official who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty and Three Kingdoms period of China. He initially served directly under the central government of the Eastern Han dynasty. Later, he served under the warlord Sun Ce and then under the warlord Cao Cao. He continued to serve in the Cao Wei state during the Three Kingdoms period.
Wang Xiang (185–269), courtesy name Xiuzheng, was a Chinese politician who lived through the late Eastern Han dynasty (25–220), the Three Kingdoms period (220–280), and the early Western Jin dynasty (265–316) of China. He served among the highest positions in the government, including Minister of Works (司空) and Grand Commandant (太尉) in the Cao Wei state during the Three Kingdoms period, and Grand Protector (太保) during the Western Jin dynasty. He was also one of The Twenty-four Filial Exemplars.
Cao Jie, courtesy name Hanfeng, was a eunuch-official who lived in the Eastern Han dynasty and rose to power during the reign of Emperor Ling. He was involved in a power struggle against a rival faction led by Dou Wu and Chen Fan during the reign of Emperor Huan and early reign of Emperor Ling. His son-in-law Feng Fang later became one of the 8 colonels of the Army of the Western Garden.
The Han dynasty of ancient China was the second imperial dynasty of China, following the Qin dynasty. It was divided into the periods of Former Han and Later Han, briefly interrupted by the Xin dynasty of Wang Mang. The capital of Western Han was Chang'an, and the capital of Eastern Han was Luoyang. The emperor headed the government, promulgating all written laws, serving as commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and presiding as the chief executive official. He appointed all government officials who earned a salary of 600 bushels of grain or more with the help of advisors who reviewed each nominee. The empress dowager could either be the emperor's actual or symbolic mother, and was in practice more powerful than the emperor, as she could override his decisions. The emperor's executive powers could also be practiced by any official upon whom he bestowed the Staff of Authority. These powers included the right to execute criminals without the imperial court's permission.
The Three Departments and Six Ministries system was the main central government structure in imperial China from the Sui dynasty (581–618) to the Yuan dynasty (1271–1368). It was also used by Balhae (698–926) and Goryeo (918–1392) in Manchuria and Korea, and very likely the Lý dynasty (1009–1225) and the Trần dynasty (1225–1400) in Vietnam as well.
The Nine Ministers was the collective name for nine high officials in the imperial government of the Han dynasty, who each headed a specialised ministry and were subordinates to the Three Councillors of State.
Sima Fang (149–219), courtesy name Jiangong or Wenyu, was an official who lived during the Eastern Han dynasty of China. Through his second son Sima Yi, he was an ancestor of the ruling Sima clan of the Jin dynasty (265–420) of China.
Xun Shuang (128–190), courtesy name Ciming, was a Chinese essayist, politician, and writer who lived during the Eastern Han dynasty of China. Born in the influential Xun family of Yingchuan Commandery, Xun Shuang, for most of his life, distanced himself from politics because he perceived the political arena to be corrupt and dangerous. He repeatedly turned down offers to serve in the government, and spent his time producing numerous writings and giving lectures. However, in late 189, he was forced to join the civil service and became an official. Within a span of only 95 days, he rose through the ranks quickly from his initial status as a commoner to the highly prestigious office of Minister of Works (司空). Prior to that, within the 95 days, he had held the appointments of Chancellor of Pingyuan (平原相) and Minister of the Household (光祿勳). He died of illness in 190 while secretly making plans with Wang Yun, He Yong and others to eliminate the tyrannical warlord Dong Zhuo, who had hijacked and controlled the Han central government.
The Ministry of Ceremonies was one of the nine ministries of Han China. The Minister of Ceremonies, also known as Grand Master of Ceremonies, was the chief official in charge of religious rites, rituals, prayers, and the maintenance of ancestral temples and altars. The role's title was changed to Upholder of Ceremonies from 195 to 144 BC before reverting to the original title. Although his main concern was to link the emperor with the supernatural world and Heaven, he was also given the task of setting educational standards for the Imperial University and the academic chairs who specialized in the Five Classics, the canon of Confucianism.
Cao Biao, courtesy name Zhuhu, was an imperial prince of the Cao Wei state in the Three Kingdoms period of China.
Meng Guang, courtesy name Xiaoyu, was an official and scholar of the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period of China.
Han Ji, courtesy name Gongzhi, was a government official who served in the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He previously served under the warlords Liu Biao and Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han dynasty.
The political systems of Imperial China can be divided into a central political system, a local political system, and a system for the selection of officials. There were three major tendencies in the history of the Chinese political system: the escalation of centralisation, the escalation of absolute monarchy, and the standardisation of the selection of officials. Moreover, there are the ancient supervision system and the political systems created by ethnic minorities, as well as other critical political systems which may be mentioned.
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