Sun He (Zixiao)

Sun He (224 – 253), style name Zixiao (子孝), formally known as Emperor Wen (文皇帝), was a son and crown prince of Eastern Wu's founding emperor Sun Quan during the three kingdoms period of Chinese history. He never ascended to the throne, and in fact was removed from his position as crown prince by his father, but after his son Sun Hao became emperor, he was posthumously honored with an imperial title.

Sun He was born in 224, to Sun Quan's then-favorite Consort Wang. Because of the favor that Consort Wang enjoyed, Prince He was also favored. He was given a staff in 236, at age 13, and he became known for studiousness and humility. After his older brother Sun Deng, Sun Quan's first crown prince, died in 241, Sun He, as Sun Quan's oldest surviving son, was appointed crown prince.

Almost immediately after he became crown prince, however, trouble began to brew for him. Sun Quan also favored his other son by Consort Wang, Sun Ba (孫霸), and he initially had these two sons live together and share staffs, which was considered improper based on tradition. In 245, Sun Quan separated their staffs and their residences, which, however, further strained their relations, and Sun Ba began to have ambitious of taking over as crown prince. He befriended a number of officials, and quickly the government became divided between a Sun He faction and a Sun Ba faction. Due to Sun Ba's false accusations, a number of officials who supported Sun He were executed or deposed; even the senior general Lu Xun died in anger after being repeatedly rebuked by Sun Quan over his defense of Sun He. Sun He's position became even more tenuous after his mother Consort Wang died in fear after Sun Quan blamed her for the discord between her sons.

By 250, Sun Quan tired of Sun Ba's constant attacks on his brother. Under the advice of his daughter Sun Dahu (孫大虎) and his personal assistant Sun Jun, he forced Sun Ba to commit suicide and deposed Sun He, then appointed his youngest son, Sun Liang, as crown prince to replace Sun He. Sun He was reduced to the status of a commoner and exiled to Guzhang (in present-day Huzhou, Zhejiang ). In 252, as Sun Quan neared death, he appointed Sun He as Prince of Nanyang, with his fief at Changsha. He died soon thereafter, and Sun Liang succeeded him under the regency of Zhuge Ke.

Zhuge was the uncle of Sun He's wife Princess Zhang, and there were soon rumors that Zhuge was considering restoring Sun He and making him emperor. After Zhuge was assassinated and replaced by Sun Jun in 253, Sun Jun, who had been instrumental in Sun He's deposal, decided to end the threat once and for all. He first again demoted Sun He back to commoner status and exiled him to Xindu (in present-day Hangzhou, Zhejiang ), and then sent messengers to force Sun He to commit suicide. Princess Zhang also committed suicide. Sun He's four sons Sun Hao, Sun De (孫德), Sun Qian (孫謙), and Sun Jun (孫俊) were raised by Sun Hao's mother, Consort He, who was offered the chance to commit suicide but declined, reasoning that someone needed to raise the children.

After Sun Hao became emperor in 264, he posthumously honored Sun He as Emperor Wen and had him reburied with full honors.

Sun He also had a daughter born by Princess Zhang and married Lu Jing the second son of Lu Xun.

Last update 02-06-2012

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