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The Three Ducal Ministers (), also translated as the Three Dukes, Three Excellencies, or the Three Lords, was the collective name for the three highest officials in ancient China. These posts were abolished by
Cao Cao Cao Cao (; ; ; – 15 March 220), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere ...
in 208 AD and replaced with the position of Imperial Chancellor.


Overview

Each minister was responsible for different areas of government, but the boundaries were often blurred. Together, the Three Ducal Ministers were the emperor's closest advisors. Toward the end of a dynasty, the positions were often sold to men of wealth to raise state revenue. Starting in the late
Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty (), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (), was a Chinese dynasty Dynasties in Chinese history, or Chinese dynasties, were hereditary monarchical regimes that ruled over China during much of its history. From ...

Shang dynasty
and
Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China ( ...
, the top three were: *
Grand Preceptor Grand Preceptor, also referred to as Grand Master, Section Cp2:192 C was the senior-most of the top three civil positions of the Zhou dynasty. The other two were Grand Tutor (太傅) and Grand Protector (太保), respectively. These three posts w ...
(); * Grand Tutor (); * Grand Protector (). During the Western
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
, the three positions were: * Chancellor () *
Grand Secretary The Grand Secretariat (; Manchu The Manchu (; ) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym and endonym, exonym for a historical and geographic region of Russia and C ...
(); *
Grand CommandantGrand Commandant () is the title referring to the supreme military commander in ancient China, Vietnam and Korea Peninsula. The earliest recording is on the Lüshi Chunqiu, Master Lü's Spring and Autumn Annals in 205 BC. References

Gover ...
(). In the Eastern Han dynasty, the names of the Three Ducal Ministers were changed to: *
Minister of War A defence minister or minister of defence is a cabinet official position in charge of a ministry of defense, which regulates the armed forces A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force ...
(); * Minister of the Masses (); * Minister of Works (). Because all three titles contain the word "司" (''sī'') at the time of the Eastern Han, the Three Ducal Ministers were also called "Sansī" (三司).


Rank

During the Han dynasty, civil service officials were classified according to twenty grades (reduced to sixteen after 32 BC), expressed by the official's annual salary in terms of number of ''dàn'' (石) or Chinese bushels of grain. This ranged from the ten-thousand-bushel rank at the top to the one-hundred-bushel at the bottom. Under this system, the Three Ducal Ministers all held the highest rank of ten-thousand-bushel.


See also

*
Government of the Han dynasty The Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the sho ...
*
Nine MinistersThe Nine Ministers or Nine Chamberlains () was the collective name for nine high officials in the imperial government of the Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of C ...
*
Translation of Han dynasty titles The translation of Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preced ...


Notes


References


Citations


Sources

* * Gong (Duke) Han dynasty politicians {{gov-stub