Historical Geography Research ›› 2022, Vol. 42 ›› Issue (2): 50-60.

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A Textual Research on the Time Limit and Related Problems of the Renaming of Marquis City to Marquis State in Western Han Dynasty

Zhao Hailong   

  1. School of Social Development and Public Management, Suzhou University of Science and Technology, Suzhou 215009, China
  • Received:2021-07-31 Online:2022-05-20 Published:2022-08-31


The name of the Marquises in Western Han Dynasty went through a process of evolving from “Houyi” (marquis city) to “Houguo” (marquis state). Based on comprehensive use the materials of county of handed down documents, seals, clay-sealed materials, bamboo slips, it can be inferred that the time when marquis cities changed their names to marquis states was around the third year during Emperor Wen’s Reign. The main reasons for the change were the gradual decline of the status of the marquises in the Western Han Dynasty, and the indistinction between the Houyi and Tangmuyi, and the increase in numbers of counties bearing the same name. The change of marquis city to marquis state was not only a change of name, but also reflected the changes of the nature of the marquises in the Western Han Dynasty. The marquises gradually lost their relatively independent status. Clarifying the difference between Houyi and Tangmuyi can provide a reliable basis for judging the nature and age of the county materials in the unearthed literature, and further promote in-depth studies on the county in Han dynasty.

Key words: Western Han Dynasty, marquis city, marquis state, county, the marquises

CLC Number: 

  • K928