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The Regional State of Jin 晉
Jin 晉 was one of the large regional states of the Zhou period 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE). It was located in modern Shanxi. During the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent.), Duke Wen 晉文公 (r. 636-628) acheived supremacy over the other regional states and was elected hegemonial lord (ba 霸).
Three sidebranches of the house of Jin, Han 韓, Wei 魏,and Zhao 趙, became more powerful and finally divided the territory of Jin among themselves. The official appointment of the lords of these three countries as as marquesses (hou 侯) by the king of Zhou in 403 is seen as the beginning of the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE), or alternatively their destruction of the noble houses of Fan 范, Zhonghang 中行 and Zhi 知 in 454 BCE.
The ruling dynasty of Jin was founded by Kang Shu Yu 唐叔虞, a son of King Wu 周武王, founder of the Zhou dynasty, and a brother of King Cheng 周成王 (r. 1116-1079 BCE). His state of Tang 唐 had originally been ruled by descendants of the mythological emperor Yao 堯, yet these rebelled under King Cheng and were executed. The young king thereupon bestowed the territory upon his younger brother Yu 虞 to whom he had promised a state when playing with him. This was the statelet of Yu 虞.
Yu's son Xie Fu 燮父 moved the seat of this state southwards to the banks of the River Jin 晉 (Fen River 汾河). Xie Fu was therefore the first to be called "Marquis of Jin" 晉侯. The exact reign dates of the marquesses of Jin are known from the rule of Marquis Jing 晉靖侯 (r. 859-841) on.
Western Jin Empire (265–316)
From 265 onwards, the court of the new Jin Empire concentrated on consolidating their control of the area around Sichuan and building up an army. The last big state of the former Han Empire that still resisted them was Dong Wu in the southeast.They prepared to attack.
In 269, the Jin Dynasty started construction of a navy to control the Yangtze River and ferry troops across to attack Dong Wu. This invasion came in 279 after ten years of preparation.
In 280, Emperor Sun Hao of Dong Wu surrendered. In this way, the Jin Dynasty controlled the region of the former Han Empire.
Later Events of the Western Jin Dynasty
In 290, Emperor Wu died. There was a struggle for succession among the princes and a major civil war among the member of the ruling Sima clan that lasted until the year 307.
During the civil war, their empire north of the Yangtze River was devastated. It is said that the battles depopulated the north and greatly weakened the Jin Dynasty and the Jin Empire. The winner of these battles was the surviving prince named Sima Yue.
Then a surprising event happened. During the Three Kingdoms Period, Xiongnu tribes who had been a major threat for centuries since the Qin Empire were brought into the region to be used as slave laborers.
The Xiongnu rebelled in 304 while the Jin Dynasty was still weak from the civil war. With comparatively few troops, they killed millions of the people and forced many more to move south.
In 316, some remaining clan members fled south to Jiankang (today's Nanjing). The Yangtze River was a natural barrier against further tribal attacks. The Jin court fled the Xiongnu uprising and moved to Jiankang. This event marked the end of the Western Jin Empire era, and the beginning of the Eastern Jin Empire.
Decline and Ruin
In late years of the Western Jin, not only did domestic people roused to revolt against the tyranny, but also the exotic ethnic groups such as Huns and Xianbei were covetous of the Jin Court.
In 308, Da Chanyu (the monarch) of Huns, Liu Yuan began to carry out his plan to ruin the Jin Court. He sent his army into Jin's capital Luoyang and captured Emperor Huai. Soon officials of Jin Court hurriedly enthroned a new monarch - Emperor Min in Chang'an (currently Xi'an). However, Chang'an City was encircled by the Hun troops in 316. Immediately after this, Emperor Min surrendered, putting Western Jin to an end.
Who is Wu Zetian?
For some, she’s a brilliant statesman slandered by Confucian misogyny for others, she’s a blood-soaked usurper who schemed her way to power. “All fell before her moth brows,” says contemporary poet Luò Bīnwáng 骆宾王. “She whispered slander from behind her sleeves, and swayed her master with vixen flirting.” No tradition was too strong, no convention too entrenched for her to mold or break according to her needs.
Her first steps toward power came from her family. Unlike other dynasties, the Tang tolerated the education of women. That meant her father, a Duke and general, ensured her active mind was fueled with the Confucian classics and practiced music, poetry, and public speaking. She was also lucky to have been born incredibly pretty: only the fairest in the kingdom gained entry into the imperial harem, as Wu did around 636 AD, aged 14. The Emperor Tàizōng 太宗 named her Měiniáng 美娘, “The Charming Lady.”
Although just a maidservant, Wu managed to corner the emperor while changing his bed and impressed him with her wit and knowledge of Chinese history. He promoted her to be his secretary, winning the admiration of numerous male courtiers, including the Prince of Jin, the ninth son of Taizong, benign but considered too weak by his father. It’s likely he became her new lover.
It was this relationship that got her out of the monastery she’d been cast into at the death of Taizong, coming back as the consort to the prince, the newly crowned Emperor Gāozōng 高宗. She returned to a crowded court: Gaozong already had two women competing for his affections — Empress Wang and Consort Xiao. Both were suddenly removed from their positions by Gaozong when he believed Wu’s claim that the two had murdered her newborn daughter. Later historians accused her of killing the baby herself, using its corpse for her first coup d’etat.
With that, Wu became Gaozong’s empress in 655, gradually entrusted with all affairs of state, especially after the emperor suffered a paralyzing stroke in 660. Gaozong sat enthroned before his ministers as usual while they counseled him, but Wu would be parked behind a screen, listening in. “Promotion or demotion, life or death, were settled by her word,” according to Song dynasty historian Sīmǎ Guāng 司马光 in the Zizhi Tongjian.
Perhaps she had a ruthless streak. One story from the Zizhi Tongjian features Wu remembering the days of Taizong, who’d been given a tribute horse no one could break in. “I can control it,” she said. “But I need three things: an iron whip, an iron mace, and a dagger. If the iron whip is not obeyed, then the head will be struck with the iron mace, and if that is not obeyed, then the throat will be cut with the dagger.” Power, it seems, came from fear and dominance — with little time for people she couldn’t use.
The court was soon tamed. A niece whom Gaozong had been attracted to died of poisoning in 666. Her eldest son, who supported her enemies, died mysteriously in 675. When Gaozong died in 683 (unobserved and alone, a strange abnormality for Chinese emperors), Wu installed her second son Zhongzong on the throne. She deposed him after two months when he started showing signs of independence, installing her younger son, Ruizong. But she executed his wife on charges of witchcraft, and then turned on him. In 690, at the behest of numerous courtiers and even the emperor himself, Wu ascended the throne and launched a new dynasty — the Zhou.
A woman ruling an empire was a shocking idea when Confucian ethics believed they were capable of little more than making babies. But (perhaps with an eye on her own position) Wu championed greater equality for women — bereaved children were to mourn their parents equally, not just their father. She commissioned an anthology of biographies on prominent historical women. In 666, during the first Feng Shan ceremony at Mount Tai since the Han dynasty, Wu convinced Gaozong to let her lead the feminine “Shan” part of the ceremony, flanked by a cohort of women.
But resistance was staunch and unyielding. She crushed numerous revolts throughout her tenure, mainly from disgruntled Tang courtiers. According to the Zizhi Tongjian, 36 ministers were killed in the 690s, a thousand members of their families enslaved. According to one legend — which Mao told a member of his staff — a minister raised a problem with Wu: who would dare apply to be an official when she killed so many of them? Wu waited until nightfall and ordered a bonfire lit — hundreds of moths were attracted to the light and incinerated. She explained that as long as there was something (a large salary) to attract candidates, these positions would never be empty for long.
The cumbersome Tang family weren’t spared either, with Wu eradicating 12 minor branches after a plot was uncovered in 684. Toward the end of her reign she even ordered her own grandson and grandson-in-law to commit suicide after they were overheard criticizing her methods.
Her power base came from elsewhere: the people. Enacting policies that were appreciated by the populace would ensure they stayed on side. Copper boxes stood in the capital, into which her subjects could place their suggestions and criticisms — the box leap-frogged the numerous bureaucratic tiers, its contents read by the empress herself.
She resorted to continuity amidst all her change. Her dynasty was meant to be a return to the 790-year stability of the earlier Zhou dynasty, even recasting the Nine Tripod Cauldrons, lost during the Warring States Period. One Buddhist sutra delivered to her prophesied that the Boddhisatva Maitreya would return to Earth and bring universal peace, ruling as a woman. Under her, “harvests will be bountiful, joy without limit. The people will flourish, free of desolation and illness, of worry, fear, and disaster.” She promptly declared herself Maitreya’s incarnation, established Buddhism as the state religion, and commissioned statues of a female Buddha in the great cave systems at Dunhuang and Luoyang.
But her interest in Buddhism seemed to wane upon the death of her former long-term lover, an uppity Buddhist abbot (who she likely had killed). By 700 she had reverted to the Daoist Feng Shan ceremonies.
Emperor Wu of Jin - History
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Wudi, Wade-Giles romanization Wu-ti, personal name (xingming) Sima Yan, temple name (miaohao) (Jin) Shizu, (born 236, China—died 290, Luoyang, Henan province, China), posthumous name (shi) of the founder and first emperor (265–290) of the Xi (Western) Jin dynasty (265–316/317), which briefly reunited China during the turbulent period following the dissolution of the Han dynasty (206 bc – ad 220).
Sima Yan was the scion of the great Sima clan to which the famous Han historian Sima Qian belonged. He became the most powerful general of the Wei dynasty (220–265/266), the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms into which China had divided at the end of the Han. In 263 the Wei kingdom absorbed the second of the Three Kingdoms, the Shu-Han. In 265 Sima usurped the Wei throne, proclaiming the Jin dynasty. In 280 he conquered Wu, the third of the Three Kingdoms, thus reuniting China.
Sima attempted to reform the government, disbanding his armies to reduce expenses. He tried to regain control of taxation and to reduce the usurious rent that powerful landowners were extracting from the people. He never really broke the power of the great local families, however, and his reduction of the army left China prey to invasion from foreign tribes. Moreover, he divided his domains into principalities for 17 of his 25 sons and other relatives. The son who succeeded him was unable to control his brothers and the relatives, and Sima Yan’s dynasty came apart in a civil war known as the Revolt of the Eight Kings. Sima Yan himself was given the posthumous title of Wudi (“Martial Emperor”).
TIL that late in his reign as Emperor of China, Wu of Jin had over 5000 wives and concubines. Given this gluttony of choice, he let his goats decide whom he should spend the night with. He would ride on a cart drawn by the goats, and wherever the goats would stop, that's who he would have.
The number included every female in the palace. The servants to each of the queens and concubines numbered in tens or even hundreds. Since the emperor can fuck any woman he wanted, they all counted as his harem.
The actual queens and concubines are not that many. But this guy did have a lot.
Lots of women, lots of goats. But did he have any kids?
Yea, sounds like a lot of rapes.2
The South China Morning Post has a great infographic on the whole selection process for Imperial concubines. https://multimedia.scmp.com/culture/article/2154046/forbidden-city/life/chapter_01.html
Fascinating, thanks for sharing the link
One of the most interesting articles I've read in a long time. Thanks for sharing!
What a wonderful link you have provided. Thank you.
For anyone else, you can click the arrow on the edge and it will give you a display concerning the eunuchs and the emperor also.
They sure spend a lot of time managing the Emperor’s sex life
Great read and well-designed media!
that was fascinating thanks
Completely ignorant here, but if he was able to amass such a mass of ass I'm betting the process isn't too stringent.
Thank you, that was awesome to read! So organized and joyless
Thanks! That was very interesting
3 & 11 More
His followers noticed that although random, over time a pattern emerged where Emperor Wu would end up shagging one in particular out of the 5,000 concubines
Eventually he was asked about this
"Emperor Wu, why do you sleep with her more often than the others?"
He thought for a while and then replied "I like all of them, but she is my goat-to girl"
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Jin dynasty, Wade-Giles romanization Chin, Chinese dynasty that comprises two distinct phases—the Xi (Western) Jin, ruling China from ad 265 to 316/317, and the Dong (Eastern) Jin, which ruled China from ad 317 to 420. The Dong Jin is considered one of the Six Dynasties.
In ad 265 a Sima prince, Sima Yan, deposed the last of the Cao emperors and established the Xi Jin dynasty. Sima Yan, known by his posthumous title, Wudi, appears to have been an able and energetic monarch. His court established one of China’s earliest legal codes (268). After he overthrew the ruler of Wu (280), China was reunited under one monarch. Wudi held most of his domains together, and such was his fame that he may have received envoys from as far away as the Roman Orient. Buddhist philosophy, art, and architecture influenced this dynasty’s culture.
After Wudi’s death (290), his successors proved incompetent, plunging the empire into much civil strife. The country was divided among the family, with regional princes behaving as autonomous satraps. Particularly after 300, regicides and abdications were common. As the empire crumbled into decay, it followed the pattern of decline of previous dynasties. Society was feudalistic, essentially controlled by great landowning families, each with hordes of serfs and their private armies. The Xiongnu and other northern nomad groups took advantage of the central government’s instability to attack the frontier. In 311 the Xiongnu sacked the Jin capital of Luoyang, killing the Jin emperor. The Jin government reorganized under a new emperor in the ancient capital of Chang’an (now Xi’an), but this proved only a temporary respite from foreign invasions. In 316 the Jin emperor, a grandson of Wudi, surrendered to a chief of the Xiongnu, abdicated, and was later put to death.
The capture and destruction of the Jin capitals sent shock waves throughout the Chinese world. For more than two centuries after Jin’s collapse, China was divided into two different societies, northern and southern, with a proliferation of would-be dynasties.
A prince of the Sima family established a court at Jiankang (now Nanjing) in 317, and this dynasty became known as the Dong Jin, one of the so-called Six Dynasties. Much of the population of this kingdom consisted of refugees from the north who had fled the barbarian invasions. The Dong Jin was racked by revolts, court intrigues, and wars with the northern states. Nor did it have any more success than the Xi Jin in controlling the power of huge landowners.
But whatever the political difficulties, the Jiankang court was producing a society of some cultural brilliance. Buddhism exerted a strong influence in this dynasty. It is generally agreed that China’s first great genius in painting was Gu Kaizhi (c. 348–c. 409), who embellished the Dong Jin court at Jiankang. He is praised as a portraitist and the master of the brushstroke line. Another luminary at this court was Wang Xizhi (c. 303–c. 361), the greatest early master of grass script. His son, Wang Xianzhi (344–386), is considered second only to his father in this art.
The Dong Jin dynasty was ably served by its generals, which proved both its salvation and its undoing. The kingdom was able to resist attacks in the north, and in 347 it reconquered Sichuan. Huan Wen, the general responsible for this victory, deposed the reigning emperor and put a puppet ruler on the throne, but both the new ruler and the general died soon after. In 383 the Dong Jin turned back invading armies of the northern nomads at the battle of Fei River. An uprising led by disaffected landowners started in 400. While the revolt was crushed (402), it led to increasing powers being granted to army leaders. The dynasty followed up the military successes by pushing northwestward (415–417), thereby regaining access to Central Asian trade routes. But the kingdom, weakened by court intrigues, was ripe for a military coup. The first usurper was Huan Xuan, who was soon overthrown by Liu Yu, a general whose victorious campaigns against the northern kingdoms had won him great popularity. Liu Yu had the reigning emperor killed and set up a puppet ruler, whom he also had killed, finally setting himself on the throne and founding the short-lived Liu-Song dynasty—the first of the Southern Dynasties (Nanchao) of the Six Dynasties period.
The Northern Dynasties (386-581)
Confronting the Southern Dynasties (420-589) in the history of China, the Northern Dynasties (386-581) lasted for 150 years (from 439 to 589), and consisted of the North Wei (386-557), the East Wei (534-550), the West Wei (535-556), the North Qi (550-577) and the North Zhou (557-581) dynasties.
All the Northern Dynasties (386-581) were established by the Xianbei people except for the North Qi Dynasty (this was established by the Sinicized barbarians).
The Longmen Grottoes were started to buit.
With the state of Dai as its predecessor during the Sixteen Kingdom Period, the North Wei Dynasty (386-557) was established by Tuoba Gui in 386, who became Emperor Daowu later. Emperor Daowu was very cruel and was murdered by his own son, Tuoba Shao.
Tuoba Si (Tuoba Gui's eldest son) ascended the throne as Emperor Mingyuan of the North Wei Dynasty (386-557) in 387. He conquered Henan of the Liu Song Dynasty (420-479) and died soon afterwards, and he was succeeded by his son, Tuoba Tao (later Emperor Taiwu).
Tuoba Tao made every effort to improve his kingdom, greatly increasing the strength of the North Wei Dynasty (386-557). He ordered attacks on the Liu Song Dynasty repeatedly and also launched a series of wars against the North Liang Dynasty (401-439), Rouran and Shanshan (a state in the West Region), and he even proscribed Buddhism after suppressing the Gai Wu (Buddhist follower) Rebellion. He carried out cruel punishments in his later life, leading to his assassination by the eunuch, Zong Ai, in 452.
After Emperor Taiwu's death, the Empress Dou held court from behind a screen, and she set up Tuoba Yuanhong as Emperor Xiaowen of the North Wei Dynasty (386-557). Greatly influenced by his mother (Empress Dou, a Han woman), the Emperor Xiaowen thought that the Xianbei people should be Sinicized owing to the advanced Han civilization. He moved the capital from Pingcheng to Luoyang to learn the Han culture, and even ordered Xianbei nobles to move into Luoyang, leaving some (who didn't want to move) in Pingcheng.
Emperor Xiaowen carried out a series of social reforms aimed at enabling the Xiaobei nobles to conform to the Han cultural standards, including adopting the Han bureaucratic establishments, banning Xianbei costumes and advocating donning the Han costume at court, learning the Han language, encouraging the inter-marriage between Xianbei people and the Han people, and adopting a one-character Chinese surname among the Xianbei people, which greatly improved national reunification in his kingdom.
After the Sinicization movement, the economic and military strength was greatly improved in the North Wei Dynasty (386-557). Emperor Xiaowen also launched a series of wars against the Southern Qi Dynasty (479-502), but ended up with failure each time. The nobles who didn't want to move into Luoyang gradually lost favor in the sight of Emperor Xiaowen, resulting in a split in the North Wei Dynasty (386-557).
Tuoba Yuanxiu succeeded to the throne as Emperor Xiaowu of the North Wei Dynasty in 532, and the North Wei Dynasty was split into the East Wei (534-550) and the West Wei (535-556) dynasties in 534 owing to internal strife among nobles.
Confrontation between the East Wei and the West Wei
The East Wei Dynasty (534-550) was established by Tuoba Shanjian (later Emperor Xiaojing) in 534 with Yecheng (presently Anyang of Henan and Linzhang Counties of Hebei Province) as the capital, and the East Wei Dynasty (534-550) was set up by Tuoba Baoju (later Emperor Wen) in 535 with Chang'an (presently Xi'an of Shaanxi Province) as the capital. As a matter of fact, the power of the East Wei (534-550) and the West Wei (535-556) dynasties were wielded by Gao Huan and Yu Wentai respectively, and a series of wars resulted in a stalemate between the two states.
The East Wei Dynasty (534-550) was dominated by the Sinicized Xianbei people, who highly relied on Xianbei nobility politically. Gao Huan advocated the personnel policy of "only using the talented", so many famous court officials became his friends. Gao Huan ordered General Dou Tai to crusade against the West Wei Dynasty (535-556) in 536, but ended up with being defeated by the East Wei Dynasty's (534-550) troops, and Dou Tai killed himself out of shame.
As the West Wei Dynasty (535-556) was visited by a great drought in 538, Gao Han seized the chance to attack the West Wei Dynasty (535-556), and ended up with failure in the battle of Shayuan. He led 100,000 troops to attack the West Wei Dynasty (535-556) in 546, but he lost the war for the third time, leaving over 70,000 soldiers dead and wounded.
Gao Huan was consumed with great grief in 548, and his son, Gao Cheng, inherited his title. Gao Cheng was assassinated soon afterwards his brother, Gao Yang, inherited his title and killed Emperor Xiaojing and the royal members in 550. Gao Yang established the North Qi Dynasty (550-577) in 550, claiming himself to be Emperor Wenxuan of the North Qi Dynasty.
Under the assistance of eight generals (Yu Wentai, Yuan Xin, Li Hu, Li Bi, Zhao Gui, Yu Jin, Du Guxin and Houmo Chenchong), the West Wei Dynasty (535-556) effectively resisted a series of attacks from the East Wei Dynasty (534-550). At that time, the economy and culture of the West Wei Dynasty (535-556) was not as prosperous as that of the East Wei Dynasty (534-550), and Yu Wentai ordered Su Chuo to make reforms in order to strengthen the nation.
The reforms, such as setting up the Fubing System (a local militia system existing in China between 6th century and 8th century) and advocating militarism, greatly enhanced the military strength of the West Wei Dynasty (535-556), which also had a great influence on the political and military systems of the Sui (581-618) and the Tang dynasties (618-907).
During the Hou Jing Rebellion, Yu Wentai seized the opportunity to attack the Liang Dynasty (502-557) and captured Shu (presently Sichuan Province) and Jiangling (presently Jiangling of Hubei Province). After the death of Yu Wentai, Yu Wenhu (Yu Wentai's nephew) arrogated all powers of the West Wei Dynasty (535-556) to himself in 556, and deposed Emperor Gong and set up Yu Wenjue (son of Yu Wentai) as Emperor Xiaomin of the North Zhou Dynasty (557-581) in 558, symbolizing the demise of the West Wei Dynasty (535-556).
Confrontation between the North Qi and the North Zhou (557-581)
As the successor of the East Wei Dynasty (534-550), the North Qi Dynasty (550-577) was established by Gao Yang (Emperor Wenxuan) in 550. Emperor Wenxuan defeated the Kumoxi people, the Qidan people, the Rouran people and the Shanhu people (a branch of the Huns) one after another he even conquered the territorial area to the south of the Hurai River, and great progress was made in agriculture, salt and iron trade, and porcelain trade during his early reign.
Emperor Wenxuan became licentious and cruel during his late reign, even ordering the slaughter of the Han nobilities in favor of the Xianbei nobilities, and the common people rebelled against him owing to his oppression, greatly reducing the strength of the North Qi Dynasty (550-577). Gao Yin ascended the throne as Emperor Fei of the North Qi Dynasty (550-577) after the death of Emperor Wenxuan, and he was assisted by his uncle, Gao Yan.
Gao Yan soon usurped the throne and became Emperor Xiaozhao of the North Qi Dynasty (550-577), during whose reign the national strength was restored gradually, and he died during the 2nd year of his reign and was succeeded by his brother, Gao Zhan (later Emperor Wucheng).
Emperor Wucheng was very unprincipled and licentious he died of excessive indulgence in sex and he was soon succeeded by his son, Gao Wei. As the old saying goes, "like father, like son”. Gao Wei was also unprincipled and licentious he even had General Hulu Guang killed out of jealousy, resulting in great chaos in his kingdom, and the North Qi Dynasty (550-577) was conquered by the North Zhou Dynasty (557-581) in 577.
As the successor of the West Wei Dynasty (535-556), the North Zhou Dynasty (557-581) was established by Yu Wenjue (Emperor Xiaomin) in 550, but the political power was wielded by his cousin, Yu Wenhu. Emperor Xiaomin intended to ally with Zhao Gui and Gu Duji to kill Yu Wenhu, but their scheme was soon discovered.
Yu Wenhu had Emperor Xiaomin deposed and had Zhao Gui and Gu Duji beheaded after a fierce battle, and he set up Yu Wenyu as Emperor Ming of the North Zhou Dynasty (557-581) and poisoned him in 560. Later, Yu Wenhu set up Yu Wenyong as Emperor Wu of the North Zhou Dynasty (557-581). By adopting a stratagem of concealing his true intentions, Emperor Wu successfully had Yu Wenhu killed after being used as a puppet for 12 years, and he came into real power of the North Zhou Dynasty (557-581).
Emperor Wu had great talent and bold vision, carrying out a series of reforms during his reign, which greatly reinforced the strength of the North Zhou Dynasty (557-581). Emperor Wu even conquered the North Qi Dynasty (550-577) in 577, and he was succeeded by his eldest son, Yu Wenyun (later Emperor Xuan of the North Zhou Dynasty), in 578. Emperor Xuan was very tyrannical and licentious, and even killed Yu Wenxuan (an official with meritorious records) and took away his wife. Emperor Xuan was succeeded by his son, Yu Wenchan (later Emperor Jing of the North Zhou Dynasty (557-581). Emperor Jing was deposed by Yang Jian in 581, thus ending the North Zhou Dynasty (557-581).
The Jin Dynasty (晋朝 or 晉朝), also known as Western Jin (西晋) formed at the end of the Three Kingdoms period. Though it unified Han China under one ruler, its prosperity was short-lived and gave birth to another period of civil conflicts.
The Dynasty Warriors games has the faction symbolized by a light blue color and a qilin Dynasty Warriors 9 associates them with white. The Online adaptation uses the linggui as their animal guardian. Other merchandise surrounding the series may associate members with a dog instead. In Romance of the Three Kingdoms their color varies. Most of Koei's titles tend to prefer mentioning the dynasty via historical mentions or encyclopedia entries for detailing the end of the era.
The Western Jin Dynasty has its roots with Sima Yi, who served Wei during Cao Cao's time. After the ruler's death, he offered his services to Cao Pi and Cao Rui. By the time Cao Pi had obtained the Nine Bestowments, the Sima family's reputation had grown exponentially. Sima Yi's efforts in dealing with the Wu army invasions, Zhuge Liang's Northern Campaigns, Gongsun Yuan's revolt, and other pivotal events forged a mighty reputation for him. When others in Wei warned the emperor that Sima Yi was monopolizing his position, the latter distanced himself from political affairs. Combining the forces of his own supporters and that of his sons, Sima Shi and Sima Zhao, Sima Yi eventually led a coup d'état on the influential regent who was suspicious of him, Cao Shuang.
Sima Yi's influence was passed down to Sima Shi and then onto Sima Zhao in 255. Sima Zhao continued to expand the influence of the Sima family, which reacted negatively with several officers in Wei. After dealing with Zhuge Dan's rebellion as well as Jiang Wei and Zhong Hui's attempt to oppose the empire, he eventually became the King of Jin. After his death, his son, Sima Yan, used a similar tactic as his father to force Cao Huan to abdicate the throne and became the first emperor of Jin. With two empires down, Sima Yan eventually led troops to cause Wu's end in 279. Sun Hao surrendered the following year and was demoted as Marquis of Guiming.
In 290, Sima Yan died and power went to Sima Zhong. Unlike other figures of the Sima family, however, Sima Zhong was known for his infamous stupidity and clumsiness (now thought to be a learning disability). He was married to Empress Jia Nanfeng, best known as a malicious woman who manipulated her husband's position and her status for her own desires, but at the same time managed the goverment with effecient progress. Due to the improper balance, Jin's government began to fall into decline and developed into an ugly power struggle between Empress Jia Nanfeng, Empress Dowager Yang, Sima Liang (Sima Yi's third son) and Sima Wei (Sima Yan's fifth son). Their animosity escalated into a civil war known as the War of the Eight Princes. During their struggle, the Sixteen Kingdoms began as a result.
On top of this, a prior general sent to the north by Jia Nanfeng named Wang Jun was to control the Xiongnu tribes, but instead managed to gain their influence. Soon he managed to have a near-whole nation of armies under his control, and while safe from several of the affairs that occurred within the Jin kingdom's struggles, Wang Jun and his new Xiongnu allies managed to pillage the northern nations one by one and managed to slowly absorb several of the rest, causing a few of the other Sima clan members to attempt to hold them back with no avail (and at the cost of their lives).
Though the civil war eventually had its final survivor, Jin's influence had declined greatly and northern China was ravaged from their fighting and eventual surprise-conquering by Wang Jun's influence. Sima Chi was enthroned by Sima Yue and Jin struggled to recover. Liu Yuan, a pivotal figure during the War of the Eight Princes, declared independence from Jin. In 311, his son, Liu Cong invaded Jin's weakened Luoyang with the aforementioned Xiongnu people and captured Sima Chi, later called the Yongjia Rebellion. Allowed to live for a time in the Han Zhao capital, Sima Chi was eventually executed in 313. Following his death, Sima Ye -one of Sima Yan's sons- was still alive in Chang'an and hastily appointed. However, his reign was short lived when Chang'an fell in 316.
Sima Rui fled east to Jiangnan, the south of Yangtze River which led to the beginnings of Eastern Jin.