The title of Tianzi literally means Son of Heaven and was used by many sovereign rulers of China regardless of rank. The term, which first appeared in the Zhou dynasty, is based on the concept of the Mandate of Heaven , which should not be confused with the European concept of God's Grace, as it legitimizes rule only as long as it is good or successful. Tianzi as a ruler title also symbolized the claim to rule over the Tianxia (literally [everything] under heaven), that is, the world.
Jìnyáng was built in 497 BC and has a history of over 2500 years. Under its present name Taiyuan, it is the capital of Shanxi Province in the People's Republic of China and is located at an altitude of 780 meters on the Fen He River. The Jinci Temple complex located in Tàiyuán has been on the list of monuments of the People's Republic of China since 1961.
The nobility in Imperial China underwent a transformation that lasted several thousand years. Earlier than in Europe, a feudal system, a sedentary administration and finally a state system developed, which shaped the culture and social structure of the empire. Despite internal and external upheavals, typical forms remained the same, such as patriarchy, the primogeniture of numerous titles, and the central power of the supreme ruler and his court. Only with the abolition of the empire was the social power of the Chinese nobility broken.
The nobility system of China was formed in the 1st millennium BC during the Zhou Dynasty. Confucius, in his work on Zhou rites shortly after the birth of Christ, codified the traditional Zhou dynasty nobility system, which became the basis for the nobility levels in China, although the system continued to evolve.
Emperor of China
Before Qin Shihuangdi, the terms Huang for god-king/sublime and Di for ancestor-king/emperor were used. Both terms can also be translated differently, but show the worship of the superhuman or semi-divine being that is designated by them. Qin Shihuangdi drew on this existing conceptual material from the myths of the eight primordial emperors of China (Three Huang and Five Di) when he introduced the title of Huangdi in 221 BC, after defeating all the competing Wang. By doing so, he showed his claim to be a greater ruler than any wang before him; his title also included the shi, showing his ranking as First Huangdi. The word component Di also symbolized his attachment to the divine concept of Shangdi. The title of Huangdi should not be confused with the Yellow Emperor.
All rulers with a claim to overall rule over China bore the title of huangdi after the end of the Qin dynasty, until the abdication of the Puyis in 1912. Dynasties that emerged from foreign rulers, such as the Yuan dynasty of the Mongols, bore the title of huangdi alongside their foreign titles. As in Europe, for example with popes and counter-popes, it was not unusual for several huangdi to hold office simultaneously.
In Western translation, the title Huangdi is usually translated as Emperor of China (English Emperor), the literal meaning is roughly paraphrased as exalted divine.