Gao Huan

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Gao Huan () (496–547), nickname Heliuhun (賀六渾), formally Prince Xianwu of Qi (齊獻武王), later further formally honored by Northern Qi initially as Emperor Xianwu (獻武皇帝, literally "the wise and martial emperor"), then as Emperor Shenwu (神武皇帝, literally "the unnamable and martial emperor") with the temple name Gaozu (高祖), was the paramount general of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei and Northern Wei's branch successor state Eastern Wei.Though being ethnically Han, Gao was deeply affected by Xianbei culture and was often considered more Xianbei than Han by his contemporaries. During his career, he and his family became firmly in control of the government of Eastern Wei, and eventually, in 550, his son Gao Yang forced Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei to yield the throne to him, establishing the Gao clan as the imperial clan of a new Northern Qi state.

Background

Gao Huan was born in 496, at Northern Wei's northern garrison Huaishuo (懷朔, in modern Baotou, Inner Mongolia). He was ethnically Han, but his family, having resided at Huaishuo ever since his grandfather Gao Mi (高謐) was exiled there for faults while serving as a Northern Wei official, had largely been acculturated in the Xianbei ways. (Gao Huan's nickname Heliuhun was a Xianbei name.) His father was named Gao Shu (高樹), and his mother was Lady Han, probably Gao Shu's wife, who died soon after his birth, and he was raised at the house of his...
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