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Dead Qin Shi Huang takes on the Twittersphere!

Editorial Note: Images are currently missing from this post due to the change from Wordpress (the site on which this was originally published) to Squarespace. Images will be reattached by January 2017.

The title says it all. One of the craziest, most powerful rulers in the History of China tries his hand at micro-blogging in his..... tomb. 7 days after his death (10 Sept, 210 BCE), Qin Shi Huang starts tweeting and freaking out as he finds out... his worst fear has come true - he has died.

Qin Shi Huang had an intense fear of dying and was obsessed with searching for the fabled Elixir of Life. He wanted to live forever (hence, the corny 4eva in his twitter name haha). This was one of his weaknesses because it was so easy for him to fall prey to anyone who promised they had the secret to the Elixir of life.

Most of the potions and pills his doctors and alchemists created contained "mercury" - which would cause serious eurological malfunctions. He is believed to have died from mercury poisoning. Eek, looks like this "Elixir of Life" ironically shortened his life :(

The Ancient Chinese believe that the Mandate of Heaven is bestowed upon emperors - this gave them the right to rule over the people and the sacred Mandate of Heaven was given based on their ability to rule wisely and well.

About a year before Qin Shi Huang's death, a large meteor fell from the sky. This didn't bode well for Qin Shi Huang, it was an ominous sign. Qin Shi Huang, the tyrant, had his fair share of haters and someone etched "The First Emperor will die and his land will be divided." Many people saw this as a sign that Qin Shi Huang has lost the Mandate of Heaven.

Qin Shi Huang then destroyed the meteor and pounded it into powder and because he was unable to find the person who wrote the words, he killed every man in the vicinity.

Author's Thoughts: I find it so strange and spooky that there are always "omens" before someone dies. When I was doing my research for post 2, where I wrote on the death of Julius Caesar, there were some scary omens too! On the day he was assassinated, Caesar’s horses wept, a bird flew into the Theater of Pompey with a sprig of laurel but was eaten by a larger bird, Calpurnia had a dream of him bleeding to death And someone warned him to beware of danger no later than the Ides of March. Ahhhh! Scary. I wonder what I will encounter just before I die.

As he got older, he grew more paranoid and worried about his death. Qin Shi Huang built a huge tomb for himself, with 8,000 unique, life-sized soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. There were also officials and his entertainers. These figures were made to resemble the ones he had in real life! Poor Emperor even built rivers of Mercury (his Elixir of Life remember?), thinking it would keep him immortal when he rose again. This army was to ensure that when he became immortal, he would still have his strong army and trusty officials with him. In the tomb, there were replicas of his palaces too. Man... he really did not know how to let go.

About 2 millenniums later, on the 29th of Mar 1974, farmers digging a well found this huge tomb! Historians and archaeologists were all so intrigued and they excavated the site to search for more. However, they found that the paint on these soldiers were slowly flaking and fading off once they were exposed to the dry air...  hence, they decided not to open Qin Shi Huang's tomb in fear that they may not be able to preserve the artifacts.

Our fearful Emperor is left in his tomb, lonely and frustrated. But I guess he don't have to worry about being forgotten, or not being immortal. More than 2,000 years later, his legacy still lives on.


Qin Shi Huang, First Emperor of China, Asian History

Terracotta Army, Wikipedia

The fake tweets were made from

Qin Shi Huang's picture on his Twitter profile is taken from

The picture Qin Shi Huang tweeted is By Jmhullot - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Seeing death, a necessary end, will come when it will come


...and it did, premature for our Great and Powerful Julius Caesar. This post was inspired by a short discussion we had in class on whether Brutus was a villain in Roman History for assassinating the charming Julius Caesar. I stood on the side of BRUTUS = A VILLAIN because you know, murdering a friend is just wrong - Caesar loved Brutus so much and considered him his son. When I started writing drafts for this post, I was intending to blame Brutus and hoping to paint Brutus in an evil light but I failed. You and I both know that it is silly to speak in absolutes.

Busts of Marcus Junius Brutus ( left, by Michelangelo, 1539) and Gaius Cassius Longinus.

To be fair, the video we saw in class was biased towards Caesar to a rather large extent. Oh Caesar, you lucky lucky man – I guess death always makes someone more honourable than they really are. for thought….

The "Tusculum portrait", one of two surviving busts of Julius Caesar made during his lifetime.

Julius Caesar was the Roman’s people hero, we all know he had some really impressive credentials but all these credentials really did something to his head. Caesar was really arrogant! He refused to rise (as an sign of respect) to other members of the Senate and got mad when people did not rise for him, he made his birthday a holiday and even named a month after himself! During his processions, a statue of him was often carried along with the statues of the other gods. He had a denarius coin with this title and his face on one side, the goddess Ceres and and his title, Pontifex Maximus (the most important position in the Ancient Roman religion) on the other side.

Vercingetorix throws down his arms at the feet of Julius Caesar

Because of Caesar’s accomplishments, he was revered and found it hard to dissociate himself with Kingship and it seemed like the people saw him as a God, rather than, just a powerful man.

Well, we know Caesar was the dictator of the Roman Republic at that time. But do we know how he became the dictator of the Roman Republic? Remember the reading from class 16 – the History of Rome? Prof Heather mentioned that a dictator wouldn’t be a dictator for long but in 44 BCE Caesar, declared himself the dictator perpetuo (dictator in perpetuity). This really angered some members of the senate because he disregarded the usual time restrictions. Caesar's dictatorship now became a monarchy, he was the only one in power. The other members of the senate feared not having any say in decision making and was determined to kill off Caesar, thinking that the only way the Roman Republic could be saved, was through Caesar death.

The death of Julius Caesar as depicted by Vincenzo Cammuccini, 1804-5 CE. (National Art Gallery, Moderna, Italy)

In a way, Brutus and his team of conspirators did it for the good of the Roman Republic. When Caesar declared himself the dictator perpetuo, he disregarded the republic. Caesar had too much power. To save the republic, and the power of the collective people, they did what they had to do - hide a dagger in their togas and stab him until he dies.

Unfortunately for them, this was the fall of the Roman Republic.