Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors

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Chinese historiography
Timeline of Chinese history
Dynasties in Chinese history
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The Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors (Chinese: 三皇五帝; pinyin: Sānhuáng wǔdì; Wade–Giles: San-huang wu-ti) were partially mythological rulers and a mix of culture heroes from ancient China during the period from circa 3500 BC to 2000 BC.[1] This period preceded the Xia Dynasty.[2]

Contents

Variations

Depending on the source, there are many variations of who classifies as the three sovereigns or the five emperors. There are six to seven known variations.[3] Many of the sources listed below were written from much later dynasties.

Three sovereigns variation

The Three Sovereigns, sometimes known as the Three August Ones, were said to be god-kings or demigods who used their magical powers to improve the lives of their people. Because of their lofty virtue, they lived to a great age and ruled over a period of great peace. The Three Sovereigns are ascribed various identities in different Chinese historical texts. The Yellow Emperor is supposedly the ancestor of all Huaxia race of people.[4] The Mausoleum of the Yellow Emperor was established in Shaanxi Province to commemorate the ancestry legend.[4]

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