The “Emperor’s Edict” and the Emperor’s power in the Southern Song Dynasty

Abstract

“Emperor’s Edict" refers to the writing of emperor himself. In the context of serving as official document, it refers to the special writ issued by emperor for sake of administering national affairs. In the official document system of Song Dynasty, "Emperor’s Edict" had always been an attention of the scholars and officials at that time due to its unusual functions in terms of drafting, promulgation and power. The Southern Song Dynasty was generally conceived by academic circles as a period when the "Administration by Emperor’s Edict" was gradually phased out. We did observe, however, with “Emperor’s Edict” placed in historical panorama of the early years of Southern Song Dynasty, an ever-strengthened power and prowess of “Emperor’s Edict” as backlit by several historical incidents such as Emperor Gaozong’s controlling and manipulating by “Emperor’s Edict” of the national armies. It reflects the political truth of strengthened imperial power in the Southern Song Dynasty. Hence, we can have access to another facet of the politics of the Southern Song Dynasty.