Formal Name: Sima Rui Zhongzong Yuan Jin (司馬 睿 中宗 元)
Parents: Sima Jin, prince of Langye, and Xiahou Wenji
Date of Birth: 276
Royal House: Jin
Spouse: Yu Mengmu Yuanjing
Reign: 318 – 323
Predecessor: Min of Jin
Summary: Yuan rose to prominence during the reign of Emperor Huai when he was appointed military general of the Yang Province south of the Yangtze River. Since he was new to the region, he appointed two local politicians as his chief advisors and Yuan eventually earned the respect of the populace. When Huai was captured in 311, Yuan took in all the politicians who had fled from Luoyang, the imperial capital. Seeing an opportunity, he began consolidating power south of the Yangtze River. This upset the local population and Yuan spent many years attempting to pacify his realm. When Emperor Huai was executed in 313, the new emperor, Min, accepted Yuan as Prime Minister, thereby keeping an uneasy truce between the two powers. In 316, Min was captured and Yuan did little to help him. Instead, Yuan took the title "Prince of Jin" and set up his son as his heir. A few months later, Min was executed and Liu Cong, a member of a rival family, declared himself emperor of China. Yuan disagreed and declared himself emperor as well.
As emperor, Yuan had a hard time unifying China and never succeeded in it. In the north, the Later Zhao dynasty set up shop, deposing Yuan's distant Jin cousins who had ruled China for fifty years. Over the course of the subsequent years, sixteen rival dynasties would divide up China between them. Eastern Jin was the senior among them at the start, but quickly faded into obscurity. Yuan's final years were fraught with infighting between his advisors that led to the deaths of many of them and the virtual autonomy of another.
Date of Death: 3 January 323
Successor: Ming of Jin
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