Only six books can cover a dynasty in all fields

author:Ziyu Shiyuan
Only six books can cover a dynasty in all fields

Wen / Ziyu

Decision-making is a matter for a small number of people, but execution is a huge institution, covering all aspects of a dynasty, such as the six departments of Shangshu Province after the Sui and Tang dynasties.

Qin Han was designed by the Third Duke Jiuqing, and all the affairs of the world were handled by Jiuqing and Zhu Cao, including Lang Zhongling, Dianke, Imperial Lieutenant, Zhisu Neishi, etc.

At that time, the executive body was divided into two departments: Fengchang, Langzhong Ling, Weiwei, Imperial Servant, Shaofu, and Zongzheng belonged to court politics and served the emperor; The court lieutenants, dianke, and zhisu inner history belong to the foreign dynasty system and are under the administration of the prime minister's house.

It can be seen from this that in the Qin and Han Dynasties, there was a huge gap between imperial power and phase power, and the coverage of the prime minister was actually larger than that of the emperor. The conflict between Prime Minister Cao Shen and Emperor Liu Ying can be seen as a game between imperial power and Xiangquan, and Prime Minister Cheng wins.

Therefore, the bright sword of imperial power to phase power is definitely inevitable, so there is a process of Emperor Wudi of Han developing the inner dynasty to use the Shangshu group to balance the foreign dynasty's prime ministers. After the transition of several generations of emperors, the Shangshu group has developed into the decision-making body of the Han Dynasty, and the real power figures at that time, if they do not have the label of "record Shangshu affairs" on their heads, then no matter how high their positions are, they have no real power. For example, when Sima Qian's son-in-law Yang Chang was prime minister, the power was actually in the hands of Huo Guang, a general and leader of the secretary.

After the continuous accumulation of time, Shangshu Province not only monopolized the decision-making power, but also the ministries under its jurisdiction also carried out large-scale penetration of Jiuqing's business at the executive level, and it has become inevitable for Shangshu Province to replace Jiuqing.

In the Sui Dynasty, the ministries of Shangshu Province were independent, and six ministries were set up, namely: the Ministry of Officials, the Ministry of Rites, the Ministry of Soldiers, the Ministry of Punishment, the Ministry of Household Affairs, and the Ministry of Engineering, and the six-part system of three provinces was officially released. However, due to the penetration of Zhongshu and Menxia, Shangshu Province actually only had the implementation of decision-making, and until the Ming and Qing Dynasties, this pattern was the case.

However, due to the different political weights and the management of affairs, the status of the six ministries is also different.

The first in line is definitely the official, because he is in charge of the personnel power of the empire. Therefore, after the local heavyweight supervisors are transferred to the Beijing division, they will generally serve as shangshu or attendants of the bureaucracy, which is a level-level transfer, and even the attendants of the bureaucracy have the opportunity to enter the military aircraft department.

Under the Ministry of Officials, there are four divisions: "Selection of Literature", "Department of Meritorious Examination", "Department of Auditing and Honoring", and "Department of Sealing", which are respectively responsible for the selection, appointment and removal of officials, appraisal, reward and punishment, management of official files, management of knighthood and pension, and other personnel-related business.

Although the coverage of the bureaucracy is all officials, the emperor has to decide on the finalization of important candidates such as local superintendents, political envoys, and inspectors, and the officials only have the power to investigate and nominate.

This is very understandable, the emperor can only achieve absolute control over the empire by controlling the appointment power of the governor level in his own hands, and Emperor Wen of Sui once clearly stipulated that officials below the sixth rank were appointed by the ministry, and the officials above the sixth grade were under the management of Shangshu Province, and the Shangshu Ling at that time still belonged to the group of prime ministers. During the Tang Dynasty, although Li Zhi hid behind the scenes, the power to appoint and remove officials above the third rank was in his hands, and Wu Zetian could only decide the selection of middle and lower-level officials.

Only six books can cover a dynasty in all fields

▲ Cixi Source/Stills

That is, the appointment and dismissal of the positions of "Selection of Literature" and "Examination of Merit" within the Ministry of Officials were under the control of the emperor.

To put it bluntly, the emperor realized the extension of imperial power through the layout of key posts. Therefore, the only space left for the officials to play is the appointment and dismissal of middle-level and low-level officials.

Of course, the files of large and small officials and the procedures for entering and leaving the office are handled by the Ministry of Officials.

In addition to the four divisions, the Ministry of Officials also has some administrative and logistics departments such as the Department of Secretaries, the Department of Clearing Files, the Main Office, the Rice and Silver Office, and the Supervision Office, which are responsible for logistics work and some chores.

The second only to the Ministry of Officials is the Hubu, because after all, it manages the money bags of the empire, and the Hubu is responsible for the country's finance, civil affairs, population registration, mineral resources, customs, taxation, auditing and other operations.

The household department has set up fourteen departments at the provincial level to manage the business of one or more provinces, and also to manage a national special business. For example, the Yunnan Division not only manages Yunnan's finances, but also manages transportation.

In addition to the 14th Division, the household department also has some important departments: the "Eight Flags Salary Office" is in charge of the Eight Flags children; "Qianfatang", which specializes in coinage.

At the same time, the silver warehouse, ribbon warehouse, and pigment warehouse of the imperial court were also managed by the Hubu, but the officials of the three libraries were all Manchus.

Since his status is second only to the Ministry of Officials in the Six Ministries, the attendants of the household department may also enter the military aircraft. He had previously been in charge of the household department.

Only six books can cover a dynasty in all fields

▲ Hejun Source/Stills

In third place is the Ministry of Ceremonies. The Ministry of Rites was responsible for the ceremonial law, culture and education, and imperial examinations of the imperial court. The Ministry of Rites has four divisions: "Ceremonial Department", "Ancestral Priest", "Host-Guest Division" and "Fine Food Department", which are respectively responsible for the ceremonies, sacrifices, tribute, and various celebrations of the imperial court.

At the same time, the Ministry of Rites also has a "Casting and Printing Bureau", which is specially responsible for the casting of official seals of various departments.

Then there is the Criminal Department, which is in charge of judicial and prison affairs. It is important to note that the Criminal Department, like the Ministry of Officials, cannot provide nationwide coverage of its own business, and the power to try major cases and sentence death sentences is in the hands of the emperor, and in many cases, the emperor will also order the Criminal Department, Dali Temple and the Supervision Office to conduct "triage by three divisions".

No way, "punishment" and "reward" are the two most important cards in the hands of the emperor, and the emperor will not completely let go of Shangshu Province to completely control it.

Moreover, the criminal department will also try the cases of the clan and the Baqi disciples together with the Zongrenfu, and the criminal department will also try the cases involving ethnic minorities in conjunction with the court of the Li Domain.

Like the Ministry of Household Affairs, the Criminal Department has 17 departments at the provincial level, each in charge of judicial cases in one or more provinces, and also in charge of a special national business. For example, the Sichuan Division is also responsible for the writing of the "autumn review".

At the same time, the Criminal Department is also responsible for legislation.

After the Criminal Department is the Military Department. Generally speaking, the military is an important card of a dynasty, and the status of the military department should be higher, but in the process of historical development, military business has been subdivided into three major sections: decision-making and transfer power, military command power, and military and political management power. Just like the Privy Council of the Song Dynasty, its functions were only in the transfer of troops and military and political management, and the daily management of the army was handled by the three-way system.

Therefore, the military department of the Ming and Qing dynasties was only responsible for military and political affairs, and the transfer and command of troops belonged to the category of imperial power, and after the emperor made a decision, a general was temporarily sent to command the war, and the military of each province was also managed by generals and governors directly responsible to the emperor.

Only six books can cover a dynasty in all fields

▲Qing Dynasty general Source/Stills

At the same time, the military department also continued the practice of civilian management of military institutions in the Song Dynasty, avoiding the simultaneous infiltration of professional military personnel into the army and military and government. More importantly, the literati were used to restrain the group of military generals.

The military department also has four divisions: the "Military Selection Department", the "Vehicle Driving Division", the "Functional Division" and the "Armament Department", which respectively manage the appointment and dismissal of officers, military horse stations, officer evaluation, rewards and punishments, ordnance management, and other businesses.

At the bottom of the list is the Ministry of Work, which differs from the other five in that it is purely technical, while the other five are political. Due to the huge difference in attributes, the Ministry of Works is also ranked last, of course, most people are not willing to go to work in the Ministry of Work, because it is too difficult to promote.

The business scope of the Ministry of Engineering is: responsible for the engineering construction of the empire, ship and other machinery manufacturing, weights and measures, etc. Similarly, the Ministry of Works also has four departments: Yingji Division, Yuheng Division, Dushui Division, and Tuntian Division, which are respectively responsible for project cost repair, unified weights and measures, road and bridge water conservancy and other engineering construction, and the emperor's mausoleum repair.

However, in terms of the use of money, the Ministry of Works did not have much room to play, and the Qing Dynasty stipulated that all projects with a cost of more than 50 taels of silver and a material price of more than 200 taels of silver must be approved by the emperor. If the cost of the project is more than 1,000 taels of silver, the emperor will also send ministers to supervise.

The refinement of the system reduced the power of Shangshu of the Ministry of Works to a minimum.

How to say, the business scope of the six departments has actually covered the entire field of the empire, read the job responsibilities of the six departments, and also read the connotation and organizational structure of a dynasty, and can also read the rise and fall of a dynasty.

Therefore, the institutional level is also an important part of history and cannot be ignored.

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