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Shentu Jia 申屠嘉

Sep 16, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Shentu Jia 申屠嘉 (d. 155 BCE), also written 申徒嘉, was a high official of the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE).

He came from Liang 梁 (modern Shangqiu 商丘, Henan) and became an officer of Liu Bang's 劉邦 (the future Emperor Gaozu of the Han 漢高祖, r. 206-195 BCE) crossbow troops when the latter rose against the Qin dynasty 秦 (221-206 BC). He soon became Commander-in-chief (duwei 都尉) and participated in the war against the hegemonial king Xiang Yu 項羽.

During the reign of Emperor Hui 漢惠帝 (r. 195-188) he was appointed governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Huainan 淮南. Emperor Wen 漢文帝 (r. 180-157 BCE), made him a Marquis within the passes (guanneihou 關內侯) in 179 and transferred him to the office of Censor-in-chief (yushi dafu 御史大夫).

In 162 he was made Counsellor-in-chief (chengxiang 丞相) and was given the title of Marquis of Gu'an 故安侯. Shentu Jia was very displeased with the behaviour of Emperor Jing's 漢景帝 (r. 157-141 BCE) favourite ministers Deng Tong 鄧通 and Chao Cuo 晁錯. Both surpassed the limits of appropriate behaviour and had a greater influence of the Emperor's decisions that himself, the counsellor. When his suggestion to execute Chao Cuo because of his frivolous comportment against the ancestral altar of the dynasty was refused by the Emperor, Shentu Jia became so angry that he spit blood and died.

Pang Pu 龐樸, ed. (1997). Zhongguo ruxue 中國儒學 (Shanghai: Dongfang chuban zhongxin), Vol. 2, 188.