Sīmǎ Qiān: The First Emperor of Qín
Dramatis Personae Praecipuae
ZHÀO Gāo by modern cartoonist Tián Héngyù 田恒玉
- King Zhuāngxiāng 庄襄 = the king of the state of Qín 秦, father of the First Emperor
- Prince Yíngzhèng 嬴政 (also known as ZHÀO Zhèng 赵政, the name used here) = King Zhuāngxiāng’s son, a prince of the state of Qín 秦, destined to become the First Emperor of the Qín Dynasty (Qín Shǐ Huángdì 秦始皇帝)
- LǏ Sī 李斯 = Zhào Zhèng’s right-hand man, China's most important advocate of "legalism" or the rule of rigid law
- ZHÀO Gāo 赵高 = an evil and unscrupulous eunuch, the court rival of Lǐ Sī
XIÀNG Yǔ (Míng Dynasty painting)
- XÚ Shì 徐市 of Qí 齐 = a scholar sent to find the fairy islands called Pénglái 蓬莱 and bring the emperor the elixir of immortality
- Prince Fúsū 扶苏 = the first emperor’s eldest son, executed by Lǐ Sī and Zhào Gāo
- Prince Húhài 胡亥 = the first emperor’s favorite son, a student of Zhào Gāo, the illegitimate Second Emperor of the Qín Dynasty, assassinated on orders of Zhào Gāo
LIÚ Bāng (Míng Dynasty painting)
- Prince Zǐyīng 子婴 = another prince, selected by Zhào Gāo to be the Third Emperor after Zhào Gāo executes Prince Húhài
- MÉNG Tián 蒙恬 = one of Qín's greatest generals, executed with Prince Fúsū
- XIÀNG Yǔ 项羽 (also known as Xiàng Jí 项籍) = the high marshal of the Chǔ 楚 region, a troublesome rebel leader
- LIÚ Bāng 刘邦, the lord of the Pèi 沛 region = a brilliant warrior destined to found the next (Hàn 汉) dynasty and to become Emperor Hàn Gāozǔ 汉高祖 (reign 06b-1)
Most of the action is centered at the Qín capital of Xiányáng 咸阳 located not far from modern Xī’ān 西安 in Shǎanxī 陕西 Province.
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The cartoon of ZHÀO Gāo is from the cover of WANG Yongsheng & CAI Sheng 1994 Chinese Eunuchs: Inside Stories of the Chinese Court, vol. 1. Singapore: Asiapac.