Two of the last emperors of the Western Han dynasty were Pingdi and Ruzi.
Quick Facts about Emperor Pingdi
- Emperor Pingdi was born in 9 BCE.
- His name at birth was Liu Jizi.
- He was the great-grandson of the Western Han dynasty emperor, Yuandi, and half-nephew of Emperor Chengdi.
- His father was Liu Xing, a grandson of Emperor Yuandi.
- His mother was Liu Xing’s concubine, Wei.
- Upon the death of his cousin, Emperor Aidi, in 1 BCE, Liu Jizi became the eleventh emperor of the Western Han dynasty.
- Pingdi (P’ing-ti) means “Peaceful Emperor”.
How Emperor Pingdi became Emperor
After the death of Emperor Aidi, the Wang family once again inserted their power over the government of the Western Han dynasty. Placing Liu Jizi on the throne, gave them much control. Being only eight when he became emperor, Pingdi required a regent to act on his behalf. His great-grandmother, the dowager empress Wang, took control and chose her nephew, Wang Mang, to run the government.
Death of Emperor Pingdi
Emperor Pingdi had one wife who was a daughter of Wang Mang. Pingdi died at fourteen in 6 CE. A family member, Ruzi, succeeded him as emperor of the Western Han dynasty.
Quick Facts about Emperor Ruzi
- Emperor Ruzi was born in 5 CE.
- His name at birth was Liu Ying.
- He was the great-great-grandson of the Western Han dynasty emperor, Xuandi.
- Upon the death of, Emperor Pingdi, in 6 BCE, Liu Ying became the twelfth emperor of the Western Han dynasty. He was only one year old.
- Ruzi means “Young Ziying”.
The Rise and Fall of Emperor Ruzi
After the death of Emperor Pingdi, Wang Mang continued as regent. He chose the successor to Pingdi; choosing an infant to be emperor assured that Wang Mang would have no opposition from the emperor.
The imperial family, Liu, that had begun with Emperor Gaodi and had seen over 200 years of imperial life, were not happy with Wang Mang or of his choice of Ruzi as emperor. They rebelled and tried to take control of the government. They were defeated and with the support of government officials, Wang Mang, declared himself emperor.
Emperor Ruzi had one wife who was a granddaughter of Wang Mang. Ruzi was removed as emperor in 9 CE but was allowed to live. Wang Mang succeeded him as emperor of what historians continue to call the Western Han dynasty or sometimes also call, the Wang Mang Interregnum (period), but what Wang Mang called the Xin (Hsin) dynasty.