Three Excellencies

Three Excellencies

The Three Excellencies (zh-t|t=三公) or the Three Lords was the collective name for the three highest officials in the Han Dynasty. They were the Chancellor (丞相), the Imperial Secretary (御史大夫), and the Grand Commandant (太尉) in the Western Han Dynasty; [Wang, 150.] in the Eastern Han Dynasty the names of the Three Excellencies were changed to Grand Commandant, Minister over the Masses (司徒), and Minister of Works (司空). [de Crespigny, 1221.] Each was responsible for different areas of government, but the boundaries were often blurred. Together, the Three Excellencies were the emperor's closest advisors. Toward the end of the dynasty, the positions were often sold to men of wealth to raise state revenue. The Three Excellencies were abolished by Cao Cao in 208 and replaced with the position of Imperial Chancellor.


In Han Dynasty civil service officials were classified in twenty grades (reduced to sixteen after 32 BC) expressed by the official's annual salary in terms of so many "dan" (石) or Chinese bushels of grain [probably of wheat, the core of the Chinese Empire of the times being mainly in the north China Plain, north of the Yangzi river(). Rice came later in this area.] , extending from the ten-thousand-bushel at the top to the one-hundred-bushel at the bottom. Under this system, the Three Excellencies all held the highest rank of ten-thousand-bushel. [Wang, 137.]

ee also

* Nine Ministers
* Government of the Han Dynasty



*. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0

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