Emperor Gao(256/247 BC – 1 June 195 BC), commonly known within China by his temple name, Gaozu (Chinese: pinyin: Gāozǔ), personal name Liu Bang (Wade-Giles: Liu Pang), was the first emperor of the Han Dynasty, ruling over China from 202 BC to 195 BC. Liu Bang was one of the few dynasty founders in Chinese history who emerged from the peasant class (another major example being Zhu Yuanzhang of the Ming Dynasty). In the early stage of his rise to prominence, Liu was addressed as "Duke of Pei", with the "Pei" referring to his hometown of Pei County. He was also granted the title of "King of Han" by Hegemon-King of Western Chu Xiang Yu, when Xiang split the former Qin Empire into the Eighteen Kingdoms, and he was known by this title before becoming Emperor of China. (SiMa, 1961)
Liu was born in a humble farming household somewhere in Pei County at Zhongyang, Fengyi ( Feng County, Jiangsu Province nowadays) . His extraordinary birth is depicted as a destined miracle, here is the story: before Liu Bang came to this world, his mother, whose name remained unknown in history and who is respectfully called Old Madam Liu by later generations, was sleeping one afternoon and dreamed of an immortal, just at that time the sky turned dark and lightning and thunder pervaded the small county. Shocked by the unusual weather, Liu Bang’s obscure father, reverently named Old Sir Liu later, hurried in to check his spouse and was stunned to find a dragon appear near her bed. Before long, Liu’s mother got pregnant and gave birth to him.( Wang Yao and Si Le,2008) Liu’s face, with a high nose as well as neat whiskers, looked very much like that of a dragon. He also got 72 dark specks on his left leg. When he was young, he developed several favorable personalities such as frankness, personal charm, and ability to bear pains and sufferings. Nevertheless, he preferred idling away time instead of reading or taking part into farming. Regardless of his father’s madness at him, Liu remained his idle lifestyle and lived in his brother’s family without doing anything. Several years later, he was assigned to be a patrol officer, it was then that he built up intimate connections with the officials in this county and thus earning a bit fame around. When his pals drank with him in the local pubs, they would see a shadow of a dragon round him as he got drunk. As a result, the pub holders all thought Liu as an extraordinary person and allowed him to order drinks on credit. One day, as a famous squire named Lord Lü had recently moved in town, a great many prestigious people came to visit him. Though having no money on him, Liu still went on the scene. He was caught by Lord Lü at the first sight. Thinking highly of Liu, Lord Lü even married off his own daughter, Lü Zhi to him. (Yi, 2007)
In September 209BC, which was the first year of Qin the second, Liu Bang was supported by Xiao He and Cao Shen. Then, he announced an uprising with 3000 people, and called himself Pei Gong. In April 208BC, Liu Bang joined Xiang Liang with his army, when he usually fought with Xiang Yu. After the death of Xiang Liang, Liu Bang was entitled Wuan Hou and the master of County Dang. In September, he followed the order and assembled some army from Chen Sheng and Xiang Liang. With only thousands of people, he started from County Dong. Half year later, he had more than ten thousand soldiers under his control. In July 206BC, Liu Bang conquered the city of Wan (now Nanyang), since when he performed both attack and defense, and arrived at Bashang (now the south of Annan) successfully. In October 206BC (the first year of Emperor Han), he entered Xianyang, and ended Qin Dynasty. He signed an agreement with people of Qin. Meanwhile, his army guarded garrisons and Liu Bang wanted to become King of the country. Considering that Xiang Yu governed 400 thousand soldiers attempting to enter Shanhai Guan, Liu Bang had to went to Hong Men (now the...
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