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|Other Titles:||The Selection and Appointment of Imperial Counselors during the Western Han Dynasty|
National Taiwan Normal University Department of History
During the Western Han dynasty, the position of the Imperial Counselor (御史大夫) was second only to that of the Imperial Chancellor (丞相). The Imperial Counselor also often served as a standby Imperial Chancellor. But how were Imperial Counselors chosen? What were their qualifications? To answer these and similar questions, this paper examines the careers of government officials who eventually reached the position of Imperial Counselor. Its main findings are as follows. In the first half of the Western Han (from the reign of Emperor Gaozu to that of Emperor Wu) Imperial Counselors were most frequently officials with a distinguished military career. In addition, Marquises (列侯), Nine Ministers (九卿), Governors (郡守), and Royal Chancellors (王國相) were often promoted to the position of imperial counselor. During the latter half of Western Han (starting with the reign of Emperor Zhao), experience and ability became the main criteria for choosing candidates for Imperial Counselor. A sequence was established whereby one could be promoted from Royal Chancellor or Governor to become one of the Nine Ministers, and from Nine Minister to Imperial Counselor. During the reign of Emperor Jing, officials without an outstanding military career could also be promoted to Imperial Counselor. During the reign of Emperor Wu, new selection criteria emerged, which became firmly established in the reign of Emperor Xuan. From then on, Imperial Counselors were chosen from among two main types of officials. The first type consisted of officials who were promoted to the position of Nine Ministers by virtue of their outstanding performance as Governors, Royal Chancellors or Three Prefects of the Capital Region (三輔長官). These officials can be classified as “governor type” (地方大吏型) officials. The second type consists of officials who never served as governors, but were promoted to the position of Nine Minister from high-ranking positions within the imperial palace. These officials can be classified as “palace post type” (宮內官型) officials.
|Appears in Collections:||臺灣師大歷史學報|
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