On This Day
221 – Liu Bei, Chinese warlord, proclaims himself emperor of Shu Han, the successor of the Han dynasty.
Liu Bei (About this soundpronunciation (help·info); Mandarin pronunciation: [ljou pei]; 161 – 10 June 223), courtesy name Xuande, was a warlord in the late Eastern Han dynasty who founded the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period and became its first ruler. Despite early failings compared to his rivals and lacking both the material resources and social status they commanded, he gathered support among disheartened Han loyalists who opposed Cao Cao, the warlord who controlled the Han central government and the figurehead Emperor Xian, and led a popular movement to restore the Han dynasty through this support. Liu Bei overcame his many defeats to carve out his own realm, which at its peak spanned present-day Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Hunan, and parts of Hubei and Gansu.
Culturally, due to the popularity of the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei is widely known as an ideal benevolent, humane ruler who cared for his people and selected good advisers for his government. His fictional counterpart in the novel was a salutary example of a ruler who adhered to the Confucian set of moral values, such as loyalty and compassion. Historically, Liu Bei, like many Han rulers, was greatly influenced by Laozi. He was a brilliant politician and leader whose skill was a remarkable demonstration of Legalism. Liu Bei’s somewhat Confucian tendencies were also dramatized compared to his rival states’ founders, Cao Pi and Sun Quan, who both ruled as pure Legalists. His political philosophy can best be described by the Chinese idiom “Confucian in appearance but Legalist in substance” (儒表法里; 儒表法裡; rú biǎo fǎ lǐ; ju2 piao3 fa3 li3), a style of governing which had become the norm after the founding of the Han dynasty.[a]
Born On This Day
1759 – Maria Theresia von Paradis, Austrian pianist and composer (d. 1824)
Maria Theresia von Paradis (also von Paradies) (May 15, 1759 – February 1, 1824), was an Austrian musician and composer who lost her sight at an early age, and for whom Mozart may have written his Piano Concerto No. 18 in B-flat major.
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