Chinese Emperor


The emperors of ancient China had tremendous power and responsibility. Called the 'Son of Heaven', he (and once she) was given a divine right to rule over all people but was expected to promote their best interest and not his own. An absolute monarch, although in practice dependent on an inner circle of advisors, the mystique of the emperor was enhanced by his invisibility to ordinary people, secluded as he often was in the imperial palace. To gain a personal audience with the emperor, even if he still remained hidden behind a screen while he sat on his golden dragon throne, was the highest of honours. Perhaps no other ancient ruler was ever as remote or as revered as the Emperor of China.

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