Sima Dezong, born in the year AD 382, and was the oldest son of Sima Yao. He ascended to the throne at the age of 15 after his father was killed by one of his own concubines. Early in his reign, though much of the country was under Jin’s control, it was divided into two factions: one of them led by his uncle, Sima Daozi, and another led by a general named Wang Gong who had previously been dispatched by Sima Yao to kill Sima Daozi. Eventually, Wang Gong was assassinated by one of his followers, a relative of Sima Daozi. Wang Gong’s followers elected a general named Huan Xuan to be their next leader.
Sima Daozi later lost a conflict with his son, Sima Yuan Xian, who would later control the Jin Empire. Two generals named Sun En and Lu Xun led two separate rebellions against the Jin Dynasty, but Huan Xuan eventually killed them both. In the year AD 402 he attacked and defeated Sima Yuan Xian at the capital of Jianking.
Instead of restoring the emperor to power Huan Xuan continued in the line of Sima Daozi and his son, making all decisions of the empire himself. In AD 403 he usurped the Jin throne and proclaimed himself the emperor, placing Sima Dezong under house arrest. One year later a general named Liu Yu killed Huan Xuan and took control of the empire for himself. In the year 418 A.D., Liu Yu had Sima Dezong poisoned by Wang Shaozhi, and arranged for his brother, Sima Dewen, to take the throne. After his death, Sima Dezong was posthumously named “Andi” meaning “Tranquil or Peaceful Emperor”.
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