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ref:topbtw-1370.html/ 27 Agosto 2018/A

Il primo imperatore cinese..
Qin Shi Huangdi, first emperor of China

Cina: da un posto qualsiasi..

On the 10th September, 210 BC, over 2000 years ago, a man called Qin Shi Huangdi passed away.

He was the first emperor of China and had a very eventful life from when he was born on the 18th of February to his death over 2000 years ago.

He created the first, unified Chinese empire.

Ying Zheng (which is Qin Shi Huangdi's personal name) was the son for the Qin dynasty's king, who ruled over the Qin state which was accumulating power.

Ying Zheng became king at 13 after his father's death, and the prime minister Lu Buwei (whom some rumor to be Ying Zheng's real father) became his regent for eight years.

Ying Zheng finally became the official king at the age of 22.

His first goal was to unify all the states which were previously separate, most of them at war.

He knew that a united force was better than just one area trying to prevail over others, and so he successfully subjugated the other Chinese states and created a centralized empire.

With his newfound control over all China, he created a new title for himself, Qin Shi Huangdi, which in Chinese means 'first emperor'.

Commanding a whole new kingdom proved difficult at first, but Ying Zheng tried his best to create a centralized governmental system with laws merging the Qin political views with other states'.

He reformed the government by dividing the country into 36 districts with officials appointed because of merit instead of hereditary rights.

This meant that the emperor could easily rule the large area.

Ying Zheng worked to standardize China, from coin types to same-width paths, to writing.

Especially with the written word, he made sure that there was only one type so that his people could easily communicate over the country without difficulty.

He is also most-known for building the Great Wall of China, a symbol of the country and a historical monument and

Despite these victories, the king had many enemies:
in 227 BC two Yan assassins tried to kill him but he fought them off with a sword, another time a musician tried to choke him to death using a lute.

Ying Zheng became suspicious about everyone around him, paranoid, and started killing everyone who didn't agree with him:
460 scholars were killed because they didn't follow his views.

As new intellectual practices emerged such as Confucianism, he became afraid that their philosophies went against his and ordered all books which didn't directly relate to his reign be burnt.

He became obsessed with death, which led him to start searching for the mythical 'elixir of immortality'.

The legend claimed that it was an enchanted potion able to lengthen one's life to infinity, so he could feel that the enemies he made because of his harsh rule couldn't hurt him.

As the emperor was searching for the elixir, he ordered to start building an enormous tomb for himself with thousands of unique clay soldiers protecting him in case he didn't find the elixir.

Sound familiar?
It was the now-famed Terracotta Army in Xi'an, the one with over 8,000 people, horses with chariots and real weapons.

He wanted to feel as safe as possible in the afterlife.

The scientists of his court eventually succeeded in creating the elixir and instructed the king to take it every day.

However, ironically enough, the 'elixir' was made from mercury, a poisonous substance that we now know can shorten someone's life, not make them immortal.

Ying Zheng died because of it less than a year later while on tour of China, and his kingdom crashed about four years later.

After having narrated and shared this bitter story of a king killed by what was meant to keep him alive forever, let me say that Ying Zheng, as in Qin Shi Huangdi, is now remembered as a king who, though harsh, and obsessive, unified China, standardized the writing and monetary system, and created historical monuments.

Cortesia di L.B.

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