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Counties, Hamlets and Cities in the Han Dynasty


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I'm trying to understand the administrative levels of Han China and what the heads of each level are called.

http://en.wikipedia...._and_rural_life very briefly mentions the levels: commandery, county, district, hamlet. It says that the "hamlet" has about a 100 households. http://en.wikipedia....isions_of_China also lists the province as a Han level above the commandery.

From Wikipedia, it looks like the hierarchy is like this, with the heads of each level in parentheses:

州 = province (州知事 or 州長 =? governor)

郡 = commandery (郡守, later 太守 =?)

县 = county (县长 = magistrate)

The Japanese page http://ja.wikipedia....rg/wiki/漢代の地方制度 says that below the county (县), a hundred households made up a 里, and 10 里 made up a 郷. So I think it's safe to say that:

郷 = district (head of administration: 嗇夫 =?, head of public safety: 游徼 =?)

里 = hamlet (里正 or 父老 =?)

It appears that the basic household was called a 亭 (as per http://ja.wikipedia....ia.org/wiki/郷里制).

Can anyone supply the missing English (corrections welcome as well, of course!)

Also, there were many walled cities. Were walled cities a part of this commandery-county system, or were they administratively separate? (Also, did walled cities have farms in them?)

Any help greatly appreciated.

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"Han Dynasty" (http://books.google.com/books?id=t8OhOgm-RUQC&pg=PA27&dq=%22han+dynasty%22+%22governor%22+%22zhou%22&hl=en&sa=X&ei=K7fBUI7lN8iP0QG3nYGoCA&ved=0CDwQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=%22han%20dynasty%22%20%22governor%22%20%22zhou%22&f=false) provides some answers:

  • The title for the head of a province changed several times during the Han dynasty between governor and inspector (but do these correspond to 州知事 and 州長?)
  • The commandery was headed by an administrator
  • Counties were headed by a magistrate, which could be called a prefect for a large county and chief for a small one.

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"The Death of Woman Wang" by Jonathan D. Spence (copyright 1976, ISBN 0-670-26232-3) is set in the seventeenth century and so may not be relevant.

On page 93, the word "village headman" is used. It's not clear whether village means 里 or 郷.

Page 94 has mention of "market towns out in the countryside" and page 95 mentions "the market town of Ma-t'ou." This appears to be 馬頭鎮.

Also, page 86 mentions village walls: "When he reached the robbers' lair, which was in a large village they had captured, he tethered the mare outside the village and climbed in over the wall."

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"Official Titles of the Han Dynasty" (a PDF at http://library.uoregon.edu/ec/e-asia/read/titles.pdf) provides Chinese and English for Han Dynasty titles and administrative districts in an attempt at terminology standardization.

This brings a great deal of clarification, though it's not clear what the leader of level four is to be called and the placement of magistrate is unclear.

Here they are by level:

1. 州 province

州長 chief of a division (or province)

州宰 governor of a province

2. 郡 commandery (郡守, later 太守 =?)

郡守 commandery administrator (title changed to 太守 in 148 BCE)

太守 grand administrator

3. 縣 (simplified 县) prefecture

縣長 chief of a prefecture

4. 鄉 district

鄉嗇夫 village bailiff [why is this village instead of district?]

鄉侯 marquis of a district

5. 里 hamlet or village

里魁 heads of hamlets


市長 market chief

亭長 chief of a canton

宰 magistrate [level?]

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Concerning level 4, 鄉 district, In the Japanese Wiki article at http://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/%E6%BC%A2%E4%BB%A3%E3%81%AE%E5%9C%B0%E6%96%B9%E5%88%B6%E5%BA%A6 says that the head was called a 三老, which "Official Titles of the Han Dynasty" glosses as "Thrice Venerable."

Also, the Japanese article says that 10 里 composed a 亭, which was a unit for police organization (警察組織). (It also says there is a different theory that 里 was under 亭, which was under 鄉.)

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