The Northern Wei or the Northern Wei Empire known as the Tuoba Wei, Later Wei, or Yuan Wei, was a dynasty founded by the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei, which ruled northern China from 386 to 534 AD, during the period of the Southern and Northern Dynasties. Described as "part of an era of political turbulence and intense social and cultural change", the Northern Wei Dynasty is noted for unifying northern China in 439: this was a period of introduced foreign ideas, such as Buddhism, which became established. During the Taihe period of Emperor Xiaowen, court advisers instituted sweeping reforms and introduced changes that led to the dynasty moving its capital from Datong to Luoyang, in 494; the Tuoba renamed themselves the Han people surname Yuan as a part of systematic Sinicization. Towards the end of the dynasty there was significant internal dissension resulting in a split into Eastern Wei and Western Wei. Many antiques and art works, both Taoist art and Buddhist art, from this period have survived.
It was the time of the construction of the Yungang Grottoes near Datong during the mid-to-late 5th century, towards the latter part of the dynasty, the Longmen Caves outside the capital city of Luoyang, in which more than 30,000 Buddhist images from the time of this dynasty have been found. The Jin Dynasty had developed an alliance with the Tuoba against the Xiongnu state Han Zhao. In 315 the Tuoba chief was granted the title of the Prince of Dai. After the death of its founding prince, Tuoba Yilu, the Dai state stagnated and remained a partial ally and a partial tributary state to Later Zhao and Former Yan falling to Former Qin in 376. After Former Qin's emperor Fu Jiān was defeated by Jin forces at the Battle of Fei River in his failed bid to unify China, the Former Qin state began to break apart. By 386, Tuoba Gui, the son of Tuoba Shiyijian, reasserted Tuoba independence as the Prince of Dai, he changed his title to the Prince of Wei, his state was therefore known as Northern Wei. In 391, Tuoba Gui defeated the Rouran tribes and killed their chief, forcing the Rouran to flee west.
Northern Wei was a vassal of Later Yan, but by 395 had rebelled and by 398 had conquered most of Later Yan territory north of the Yellow River. In 399 Tuoba Gui he declared himself Emperor Daowu, that title was used by Northern Wei's rulers for the rest of the state's history; that same year he defeated the Tiele tribes near the Gobi desert. Early in Northern Wei history, the state inherited a number of traditions from its initial history as a Xianbei tribe, some of the more unusual ones, from a traditional Chinese standpoint: The officials did not receive salaries, but were expected to requisition the necessities of their lives directly from the people they governed; as Northern Wei Empire's history progressed, this appeared to be a major contributing factor leading to corruption among officials. Not until the 2nd century of the empire's existence did the state begin to distribute salaries to its officials. Empresses were not named according to imperial favors or nobility of birth, but required that the candidates submit themselves to a ceremony where they had to forge golden statues, as a way of discerning divine favor.
Only an imperial consort, successful in forging a golden statue could become the empress. All men, regardless of ethnicity, were ordered to tie their hair into a single braid that would be rolled and placed on top of the head, have a cap worn over the head; when a crown prince is named, his mother, if still alive, must be forced to commit suicide. As a result, because emperors would not have mothers, they honored their wet nurses with the honorific title, "Nurse Empress Dowager"; as Sinicization of the Northern Wei state progressed, these customs and traditions were abandoned. Five families formed a neighborhood Five lin formed a village Five li formed a commune At each of these levels, leaders that were associated with the central government were appointed. In order for the state to reclaim dry, barren areas of land, the state further developed this system by dividing up the land according to the number of men of an age to cultivate it; the Sui and Tang Dynasties resurrected this system in the 7th century.
During the reign of Emperor Daowu, the total number of deported people from the regions east of Taihangshan to Datong was estimated to be around 460,000. Deportations took place once a new piece of territory had been conquered; as the Northern Wei state grew, the emperors' desire for Han Chinese institutions and advisors grew. Cui Hao, an advisor at the courts in Datong played a great part in this process, he introduced Han Chinese administrative methods and penal codes in the Northern Wei state, as well as creating a Taoist theocracy that lasted until 450. The attraction of Han Chinese products, the royal court's taste for luxury, the prestige of Chinese culture at the time, Taoism were all factors in the growing Chinese influence in the Northern Wei state. Chinese influence accelerated during the capital's move to Luoyang in 494 and Emperor Xiaowen continued this by establishing a policy of systematic sinicization, continued by his successors. Xianbei traditions were aba
Western Turkic Khaganate
The Western Turkic Khaganate or Onoq Khaganate was a Turkic khaganate formed as a result of the wars in the beginning of the 7th century after the split of the Göktürk Khaganate into the Western khaganate and the Eastern Turkic Khaganate. The Western Turkic Khaganate was subjugated by the Tang Empire in 657 At its height, the Western Turkic Khaganate included what is now Kazakhstan and parts of Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Russia; the ruling elite or the whole confederation was called Onoq or "ten arrows" from oğuz, a subdivision of the Turkic tribes. A connection to the earlier Onogurs, which means'ten tribes', is questionable; the khaganate's capitals were Navekat and Suyab, both situated in the Chui River valley of Kyrgyzstan, to the east from Bishkek. Tong Yabgu's summer capital was near his winter capital Suyab. Turkic rule in Mongolia was restored as Second Turkic Khaganate in 682. Summary: The first Turkic Khaganate was founded by Bumin in 552 in Mongolia and spread west toward the Caspian.
Within 35 years the western half and the Eastern Turkic Khaganate were independent. The Western Khaganate reached its peak under Tong Yabghu Qaghan. After Tong's murder there were conflicts between the Dulu and Nushibi factions, many short-lived Khagans and some territory was lost. From 642 the expanding Tang dynasty Chinese began interfering; the Tang destroyed the Khaganate in 657–659. 552-575: Western expansion: The Gokturks and Mongols were the only two empires to rule both the eastern and central steppe. The Gokturks were the first steppe empire to be in contact with three great agrarian civilizations: Byzantium and China, their expansion west from Mongolia is poorly documented. Gumilyov gives the following. Bumin gave the west to his younger brother Istami. 1. The campaign began in the spring of 554 and met little resistance, they took Semirechye and by 555 had reached the Aral Sea on a line from the lower Oxus, across the Jaxartes, north of Tashkent to the western tip of the Tian Shan. They drove before them various peoples: Xionites, Uar and others.
These seem to have merged into the Avars whom the Gokturks drove across the Volga in 558. 2. The Turks turned southeast. At this time the Ephthalites held the Tarim Basin, Sogd and Merv, with the Persians at their present border. Khosrow I turned on the Ephthalites. Fighting started in 560 after the Ephthalites murdered a Turk ambassador to the Shah; the Persians won. In 565 the Ephthalites were defeated at Qarshi and withdrew to Bactria where fragments remained until the Arab conquest; the Turks demanded the tribute paid to the Ephthalites and when this was refused, crossed the Oxus, but thought better of it and withdrew. In 571 a border was drawn along the Oxus, the Persians expanding east to Afghanistan, while the Turks gained the Sogdian merchant cities and their control of the silk road. 3. Around 567-576 the Turks took the area between the Black Seas. 4. In 568 they took part of Bactria. 575-630: Ishtami was followed by his son Tardush. About 581 he intervened in the eastern Gokturk civil war. In 588/89 Turks were defeated by Persians near Herat.
In 599-603 he gained the eastern half of the Khaganate, but after his death the two halves were split. Heshana Khagan was driven out of Dzungaria and defeated by Sheguy, Tardush's grandson, who conquered the Altai, reconquered Tashkent and raided Ishfahan, his brother Tong Yabghu Qaghan was the greatest Khaghan. He ruled from the Tarim basin to the Caspian, met Xuanzang, sent men to fight the Persians south of the Caucasus and sent his son Tardush Shad to fight in Afghanistan. In the year of his death the Chinese overthrew the Eastern Khaganate in Mongolia, he was murdered by his uncle Külüg Sibir with Dulo support. The Nushibi put Tong's son Irbis Bolun Cabgu on the throne; the Nushibi rebelled and enthroned Dulu Khan, followed by his brother Ishbara Tolis. There was a Dulu-Nushibi conflict and Yukuk Shad, son of the final eastern Khagan, was brought in; the factions quarreled and the Nushibi and Emperor Taizong of Tang enthroned Irbis Seguy. The Chinese demanded part of the Tarim Basin and seized part of it until the war was stopped by Taizong's death.
Irbis was overthrown by Ishbara Qaghan who, after about six years of war, was captured by the Chinese. See Conquest of the Western Turks. After this there were several puppet Khagans. In 679-719 the old Gokturk capital of Suyab was one of the Four Garrisons of Anxi; the Chinese remained in the area until the time of An Lushan's rebellion. During the late 6th century, the Turks consolidated their geopolitical position in Central Asia, as the lynchpin in trade between East Asia and Western Asia – in which Persia and Byzyantium were the dominant powers. For much of this period, Istämi ruled the Khaganate from a winter camp near Karashar. A timeline of the westward expansion of the Turks under Istämi might be reconstructed as follows: 552 Mongolia.
The Ming dynasty was the ruling dynasty of China – known as the Great Ming Empire – for 276 years following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty. The Ming dynasty was the last imperial dynasty in China ruled by ethnic Han Chinese. Although the primary capital of Beijing fell in 1644 to a rebellion led by Li Zicheng, regimes loyal to the Ming throne – collectively called the Southern Ming – survived until 1683; the Hongwu Emperor attempted to create a society of self-sufficient rural communities ordered in a rigid, immobile system that would guarantee and support a permanent class of soldiers for his dynasty: the empire's standing army exceeded one million troops and the navy's dockyards in Nanjing were the largest in the world. He took great care breaking the power of the court eunuchs and unrelated magnates, enfeoffing his many sons throughout China and attempting to guide these princes through the Huang-Ming Zuxun, a set of published dynastic instructions; this failed when his teenage successor, the Jianwen Emperor, attempted to curtail his uncles' power, prompting the Jingnan Campaign, an uprising that placed the Prince of Yan upon the throne as the Yongle Emperor in 1402.
The Yongle Emperor established Yan as a secondary capital and renamed it Beijing, constructed the Forbidden City, restored the Grand Canal and the primacy of the imperial examinations in official appointments. He rewarded his eunuch supporters and employed them as a counterweight against the Confucian scholar-bureaucrats. One, Zheng He, led seven enormous voyages of exploration into the Indian Ocean as far as Arabia and the eastern coasts of Africa; the rise of new emperors and new factions diminished such extravagances. The imperial navy was allowed to fall into disrepair while forced labor constructed the Liaodong palisade and connected and fortified the Great Wall of China into its modern form. Wide-ranging censuses of the entire empire were conducted decennially, but the desire to avoid labor and taxes and the difficulty of storing and reviewing the enormous archives at Nanjing hampered accurate figures. Estimates for the late-Ming population vary from 160 to 200 million, but necessary revenues were squeezed out of smaller and smaller numbers of farmers as more disappeared from the official records or "donated" their lands to tax-exempt eunuchs or temples.
Haijin laws intended to protect the coasts from "Japanese" pirates instead turned many into smugglers and pirates themselves. By the 16th century, the expansion of European trade – albeit restricted to islands near Guangzhou like Macau – spread the Columbian Exchange of crops and animals into China, introducing chili peppers to Sichuan cuisine and productive corn and potatoes, which diminished famines and spurred population growth; the growth of Portuguese and Dutch trade created new demand for Chinese products and produced a massive influx of Japanese and American silver. This abundance of specie remonetized the Ming economy, whose paper money had suffered repeated hyperinflation and was no longer trusted. While traditional Confucians opposed such a prominent role for commerce and the newly rich it created, the heterodoxy introduced by Wang Yangming permitted a more accommodating attitude. Zhang Juzheng's successful reforms proved devastating when a slowdown in agriculture produced by the Little Ice Age joined changes in Japanese and Spanish policy that cut off the supply of silver now necessary for farmers to be able to pay their taxes.
Combined with crop failure and epidemic, the dynasty collapsed before the rebel leader Li Zicheng, defeated by the Manchu-led Eight Banner armies who founded the Qing dynasty. The Mongol-led Yuan dynasty ruled before the establishment of the Ming dynasty. Explanations for the demise of the Yuan include institutionalized ethnic discrimination against Han Chinese that stirred resentment and rebellion, overtaxation of areas hard-hit by inflation, massive flooding of the Yellow River as a result of the abandonment of irrigation projects. Agriculture and the economy were in shambles, rebellion broke out among the hundreds of thousands of peasants called upon to work on repairing the dykes of the Yellow River. A number of Han Chinese groups revolted, including the Red Turbans in 1351; the Red Turbans were affiliated with a Buddhist secret society. Zhu Yuanzhang was a penniless peasant and Buddhist monk who joined the Red Turbans in 1352. In 1356, Zhu's rebel force captured the city of Nanjing, which he would establish as the capital of the Ming dynasty.
With the Yuan dynasty crumbling, competing rebel groups began fighting for control of the country and thus the right to establish a new dynasty. In 1363, Zhu Yuanzhang eliminated his archrival and leader of the rebel Han faction, Chen Youliang, in the Battle of Lake Poyang, arguably the largest naval battle in history. Known for its ambitious use of fire ships, Zhu's force of 200,000 Ming sailors were able to defeat a Han rebel force over triple their size, claimed to be 650,000-strong; the victory destroyed the last opposing rebel faction, leaving Zhu Yuanzhang in uncontested control of the bountiful Yangtze River Valley and cementing his power in the south. After the dynastic head of the Red Turbans suspiciously died in 1367 while a guest of Zhu, there was no one left, remotely capable of contesting his march to the throne, he made his imperial ambitions known by sending an army toward the Yuan capital Dadu in 1368; the las
Hanyu Pinyin abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, written using Chinese characters; the system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters; the pinyin system was developed in the 1950s by many linguists, including Zhou Youguang, based on earlier forms of romanizations of Chinese. It was published by revised several times; the International Organization for Standardization adopted pinyin as an international standard in 1982, was followed by the United Nations in 1986. The system was adopted as the official standard in Taiwan in 2009, where it is used for international events rather than for educational or computer-input purposes, but "some cities and organizations, notably in the south of Taiwan, did not accept this", so it remains one of several rival romanization systems in use.
The word Hànyǔ means'the spoken language of the Han people', while Pīnyīn means'spelled sounds'. In 1605, the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci published Xizi Qiji in Beijing; this was the first book to use the Roman alphabet to write the Chinese language. Twenty years another Jesuit in China, Nicolas Trigault, issued his Xi Ru Ermu Zi at Hangzhou. Neither book had much immediate impact on the way in which Chinese thought about their writing system, the romanizations they described were intended more for Westerners than for the Chinese. One of the earliest Chinese thinkers to relate Western alphabets to Chinese was late Ming to early Qing dynasty scholar-official, Fang Yizhi; the first late Qing reformer to propose that China adopt a system of spelling was Song Shu. A student of the great scholars Yu Yue and Zhang Taiyan, Song had been to Japan and observed the stunning effect of the kana syllabaries and Western learning there; this galvanized him into activity on a number of fronts, one of the most important being reform of the script.
While Song did not himself create a system for spelling Sinitic languages, his discussion proved fertile and led to a proliferation of schemes for phonetic scripts. The Wade–Giles system was produced by Thomas Wade in 1859, further improved by Herbert Giles in the Chinese–English Dictionary of 1892, it was popular and used in English-language publications outside China until 1979. In the early 1930s, Communist Party of China leaders trained in Moscow introduced a phonetic alphabet using Roman letters, developed in the Soviet Oriental Institute of Leningrad and was intended to improve literacy in the Russian Far East; this Sin Wenz or "New Writing" was much more linguistically sophisticated than earlier alphabets, but with the major exception that it did not indicate tones of Chinese. In 1940, several thousand members attended a Border Region Sin Wenz Society convention. Mao Zedong and Zhu De, head of the army, both contributed their calligraphy for the masthead of the Sin Wenz Society's new journal.
Outside the CCP, other prominent supporters included Sun Fo. Over thirty journals soon appeared written in Sin Wenz, plus large numbers of translations, some contemporary Chinese literature, a spectrum of textbooks. In 1940, the movement reached an apex when Mao's Border Region Government declared that the Sin Wenz had the same legal status as traditional characters in government and public documents. Many educators and political leaders looked forward to the day when they would be universally accepted and replace Chinese characters. Opposition arose, because the system was less well adapted to writing regional languages, therefore would require learning Mandarin. Sin Wenz fell into relative disuse during the following years. In 1943, the U. S. military engaged Yale University to develop a romanization of Mandarin Chinese for its pilots flying over China. The resulting system is close to pinyin, but does not use English letters in unfamiliar ways. Medial semivowels are written with y and w, apical vowels with r or z.
Accent marks are used to indicate tone. Pinyin was created by Chinese linguists, including Zhou Youguang, as part of a Chinese government project in the 1950s. Zhou is called "the father of pinyin," Zhou worked as a banker in New York when he decided to return to China to help rebuild the country after the establishment of the People's Republic of China in 1949, he became an economics professor in Shanghai, in 1955, when China's Ministry of Education created a Committee for the Reform of the Chinese Written Language, Premier Zhou Enlai assigned Zhou Youguang the task of developing a new romanization system, despite the fact that he was not a professional linguist. Hanyu Pinyin was based on several existing systems: Gwoyeu Romatzyh of 1928, Latinxua Sin Wenz of 1931, the diacritic markings from zhuyin. "I'm not the father of pinyin," Zhou said years later. It's a lo
The Rouran Khaganate, Ruru, or Tantan was the name of a state of uncertain origin, from the late 4th century until the middle 6th century. Rouran is a Classical Chinese transcription of the endonym of the confederacy. Ruanruan and Ruru remained in usage despite being derogatory, they derived from orders given by the Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei, who waged war against the Rouran and intended to intimidate the confederacy. According to René Grousset, Ju-juan – an alternate Chinese name for the Rouran – was a "disparaging pun" derived from Juan-Juan: "unpleasantly wriggling insects"; the power of the Rouran was broken in 555 by an alliance of Göktürks, the states of Northern Qi and Northern Zhou, tribes in Central Asia. It is hypothesized that the Rouran are identical with the Pannonian Avars – known by names such as Varchonites and "Pseudo Avars" – who invaded the territory of modern Hungary around the 6th century; the Rouran were a confederation led by Xianbei people who remained in the Mongolian steppes after most Xianbei migrated south to Northern China and set up various kingdoms.
They considered the Rourans to be descended from common ancestors. Some contemporary historians studying the history of Northern Wei, like Kwok Kin Poon, proposed that the Rouran descended from Xianbei of Donghu heritage, they were first noted as having defeated the Tiele and establishing an empire extending all the way to the Hulun, an alliance in eastern Inner Mongolia. During the reign of Yujiulü Shelun, Rouran became a powerful empire. To the west of the Rouran Khaganate was the Hephthalite Empire, a vassal of the Rouran until the beginning of the 5th century; the Hephthalites and Rouran had close contact, although they had different languages and cultures, the Hephthalites borrowed much of their political organization from the Rouran. In particular, the title "Khan", which according to McGovern was original to the Rouran, was borrowed by the Hephthalite rulers; the reason for the migration of the Hephthalites southeast was to avoid pressure from the Rouran. Further, the Hephthalites defeated the Yuezhi in Bactria and their leader Kidara led the Yuezhi to the south.
The Rouran controlled the area of Mongolia from the Manchurian border to Turpan and the east coast of Lake Balkhash, from the Orkhon River to China proper. Their ancestor Mugulu is said to have been a slave of the Tuoba tribes, situated at the north banks of Yellow River Bend. Mugulu's descendant Yujiulü Shelun is said to be the first chieftain, able to unify the Rouran tribes and to found the power of the Rouran by defeating the Tiele and Xianbei. Shelun was the first of the steppe peoples to adopt the title of khagan in 402 a title of the Xianbei nobility; the Rouran Khaganate arranged for one of their princesses, Khagan Yujiulü Anagui's daughter Princess Ruru, to be married to the Han Chinese ruler Gao Huan of the Eastern Wei. The Rouran and the Hephthalites had a falling out and problems within their confederation were encouraged by Chinese agents. In 508, the Tiele defeated the Rouran in battle. In 516, the Rouran defeated the Tiele. Within the Rouran confederation was a Turkic tribe noted in Chinese annals as the Göktürks.
After a marriage proposal to the Rouran was rebuffed, the Göktürks joined the Western Wei, successor state of the Northern Wei, revolted against the Rouran. In 555, they beheaded 3,000 Rouran. A better date for their defeat may be 552; some scholars claim that the Rouran fled west across the steppes and became the Avars, though many other scholars contest this claim. The remainder of the Rouran fled into China, were absorbed into the border guards, disappeared forever as an entity; the last khagan fled to the court of the Western Wei, but at the demand of Tujue, Western Wei executed him and the nobles who accompanied him. Little is known of the Rouran ruling elite, which the Book of Wei cited as an offshoot of the Xianbei; the territory of the Rouran Khaganate comprised Mongolia, Zabaykalsky Krai, southern Irkutsk Oblast, Altay Republic, Altay Krai, northern Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, eastern Kazakhstan, southern Siberia and Northeast China from the late 4th century. Their frequent interventions and invasions profoundly affected neighboring countries.
Though they admitted the Ashina of Göktürk into their federation, the power of the Rouran was broken by an alliance of Göktürk, the states of Northern Qi and Northern Zhou, the Central Asian tribes in 555. The Northern Wei, for instance, established the Six Garrisons bordering the Rouran, which became the foci of several major mutinies in the early 6th century. Alexander Vovin considers the Ruan-ruan language to be an extinct non-Altaic language, not related to any modern-day language, is hence unrelated to Mongolic. Vovin notes that Old Turkic had borrowed some words from an unknown non-Altaic language that may have been Ruan-ruan; the Rouran language itself has remained a puzzle, leading linguists consider it a possible isolate. The Rourans were the first people who used the titles Khagan and Khan for their emperors, replacing the Chanyu of the Xiongnu, whom Grousset and others assume to be Turkic. Yujiulü Mugulü, 4th century Yujiulü Cheluhui, 4th century Yujiulü Tunugui, 4th century Yujiulü Bati, 4th century Yujiulü Disuyuan, 4th century Yujiulü Pihouba, 4th century Venheti, 4th century Yujiulü Mangeti, 4th century Yujiulü Heduohan, 4th century Yujiulü Shelun, 402–410 Yujiulü Hulü, 410–414 Yujiulü Datan, 414–429 Yujiulü Wuti, 429–4
Middle Chinese or the Qieyun system is the historical variety of Chinese recorded in the Qieyun, a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by several revised and expanded editions. The Swedish linguist Bernard Karlgren believed that the dictionary recorded a speech standard of the capital Chang'an of the Sui and Tang dynasties. However, based on the more recovered preface of the Qieyun, most scholars now believe that it records a compromise between northern and southern reading and poetic traditions from the late Northern and Southern dynasties period; this composite system contains important information for the reconstruction of the preceding system of Old Chinese phonology. The fanqie method used to indicate pronunciation in these dictionaries, though an improvement on earlier methods, proved awkward in practice; the mid-12th-century Yunjing and other rime tables incorporate a more sophisticated and convenient analysis of the Qieyun phonology. The rime tables attest to a number of sound changes that had occurred over the centuries following the publication of the Qieyun.
Linguists sometimes refer to the system of the Qieyun as Early Middle Chinese and the variant revealed by the rime tables as Late Middle Chinese. The dictionaries and tables describe pronunciations in relative terms, but do not give their actual sounds. Karlgren was the first to attempt a reconstruction of the sounds of Middle Chinese, comparing its categories with modern varieties of Chinese and the Sino-Xenic pronunciations used in the reading traditions of neighbouring countries. Several other scholars have produced their own reconstructions using similar methods; the Qieyun system is used as a framework for the study and description of various modern varieties of Chinese. Branches of the Chinese family such as Mandarin, Yue and Wu can be treated as divergent developments from it; the study of Middle Chinese provides for a better understanding and analysis of Classical Chinese poetry, such as the study of Tang poetry. The reconstruction of Middle Chinese phonology is dependent upon detailed descriptions in a few original sources.
The most important of these is its revisions. The Qieyun is used together with interpretations in Song dynasty rime tables such as the Yunjing and the Qieyun zhizhangtu and Sisheng dengzi; the documentary sources are supplemented by comparison with modern Chinese varieties, pronunciation of Chinese words borrowed by other languages, transcription into Chinese characters of foreign names, transcription of Chinese names in alphabetic scripts, evidence regarding rhyme and tone patterns from classical Chinese poetry. Chinese scholars of the Northern and Southern dynasties period were concerned with the correct recitation of the classics. Various schools produced dictionaries to codify reading pronunciations and the associated rhyme conventions of regulated verse; the Qieyun was an attempt to merge the distinctions in six earlier dictionaries, which were eclipsed by its success and are no longer extant. It was accepted as the standard reading pronunciation during the Tang dynasty, went through several revisions and expansions over the following centuries.
The Qieyun is thus the oldest surviving rime dictionary and the main source for the pronunciation of characters in Early Middle Chinese. At the time of Bernhard Karlgren's seminal work on Middle Chinese in the early 20th century, only fragments of the Qieyun were known, scholars relied on the Guangyun, a much expanded edition from the Song dynasty. However, significant sections of a version of the Qieyun itself were subsequently discovered in the caves of Dunhuang, a complete copy of Wang Renxu's 706 edition from the Palace Library was found in 1947; the rime dictionaries organize Chinese characters by their pronunciation, according to a hierarchy of tone and homophony. Characters with identical pronunciations are grouped into homophone classes, whose pronunciation is described using two fanqie characters, the first of which has the initial sound of the characters in the homophone class and second of which has the same sound as the rest of the syllable; the use of fanqie was an important innovation of the Qieyun and allowed the pronunciation of all characters to be described exactly.
The fanqie system uses multiple equivalent characters to represent each particular initial, for finals. The categories of initials and finals represented were first identified by the Cantonese scholar Chen Li in a careful analysis published in his Qièyùn kǎo. Chen's method was to equate two fanqie initials whenever one was used in the fanqie spelling of the pronunciation of the other, to follow chains of such equivalences to identify groups of spellers for each initial or final. For example, the pronunciation of the character 東 was given using the fanqie spelling 德紅, the pronunciation of 德 was given as 多特, the pronunciation of 多 was given as 德河, from which we can conclude that the words 東, 德 and 多 all had the same initial sound; the Qieyun classified homonyms under 193 rhyme classes, each of, placed within one of the four tones. A single rhyme class may contain multiple finals differing only in the medial or in so-called chongniu doublets; the Yunjing is the oldest of the so-called rime tables, which p
The Tang dynasty or the Tang Empire was an imperial dynasty of China spanning the 7th to 10th centuries. It was followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Historians regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Tang territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, rivaled that of the Han dynasty; the Tang capital at Chang'an was the most populous city in the world in its day. The Lǐ family founded the dynasty, seizing power during the collapse of the Sui Empire; the dynasty was interrupted when Empress Wu Zetian seized the throne, proclaiming the Second Zhou dynasty and becoming the only Chinese empress regnant. In two censuses of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Tang records estimated the population by number of registered households at about 50 million people, yet when the central government was breaking down and unable to compile an accurate census of the population in the 9th century, it is estimated that the population had grown by to about 80 million people.
With its large population base, the dynasty was able to raise professional and conscripted armies of hundreds of thousands of troops to contend with nomadic powers in dominating Inner Asia and the lucrative trade-routes along the Silk Road. Various kingdoms and states paid tribute to the Tang court, while the Tang conquered or subdued several regions which it indirectly controlled through a protectorate system. Besides political hegemony, the Tang exerted a powerful cultural influence over neighboring East Asian states such as those in Japan and Korea; the Tang dynasty was a period of progress and stability in the first half of the dynasty's rule, until the An Lushan Rebellion and the decline of central authority in the half of the dynasty. Like the previous Sui dynasty, the Tang dynasty maintained a civil-service system by recruiting scholar-officials through standardized examinations and recommendations to office; the rise of regional military governors known as jiedushi during the 9th century undermined this civil order.
Chinese culture further matured during the Tang era. Two of China's most famous poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, belonged to this age, as did many famous painters such as Han Gan, Zhang Xuan, Zhou Fang. Scholars of this period compiled a rich variety of historical literature, as well as encyclopedias and geographical works; the adoption of the title Tängri Qaghan by the Tang Emperor Taizong in addition to his title as emperor was eastern Asia's first "simultaneous kingship". Many notable innovations occurred including the development of woodblock printing. Buddhism became a major influence with native Chinese sects gaining prominence. However, in the 840s the Emperor Wuzong of Tang enacted policies to persecute Buddhism, which subsequently declined in influence. Although the dynasty and central government had gone into decline by the 9th century and culture continued to flourish; the weakened central government withdrew from managing the economy, but the country's mercantile affairs stayed intact and commercial trade continued to thrive regardless.
However, agrarian rebellions in the latter half of the 9th century resulted in damaging atrocities such as the Guangzhou massacre of 878–879. The Li family belonged to the northwest military aristocracy prevalent during the Sui dynasty and claimed to be paternally descended from the Daoist founder, Laozi the Han dynasty General Li Guang and Western Liang ruler Li Gao; this family was known as the Longxi Li lineage. The Tang Emperors had Xianbei maternal ancestry, from Emperor Gaozu of Tang's Xianbei mother, Duchess Dugu. Li Yuan was Duke of Tang and governor of Taiyuan, modern Shanxi, during the Sui dynasty's collapse, caused in part by the Sui failure to conquer the northern part of the Korean peninsula during the Goguryeo–Sui War, he had prestige and military experience, was a first cousin of Emperor Yang of Sui. Li Yuan rose in rebellion in 617, along with his son and his militant daughter Princess Pingyang, who raised and commanded her own troops. In winter 617, Li Yuan occupied Chang'an, relegated Emperor Yang to the position of Taishang Huang or retired emperor, acted as regent to the puppet child-emperor, Yang You.
On the news of Emperor Yang's murder by General Yuwen Huaji on June 18, 618, Li Yuan declared himself the emperor of a new dynasty, the Tang. Li Yuan, known as Emperor Gaozu of Tang, ruled until 626, when he was forcefully deposed by his son Li Shimin, the Prince of Qin. Li Shimin had commanded troops since the age of 18, had prowess with bow and arrow and lance and was known for his effective cavalry charges. Fighting a numerically superior army, he defeated Dou Jiande at Luoyang in the Battle of Hulao on May 28, 621. In a violent elimination of royal family due to fear of assassination, Li Shimin ambushed and killed two of his brothers, Li Yuanji and Crown prince Li Jiancheng, in the Xuanwu Gate Incident on July 2, 626. Shortly thereafter, his father abdicated in his favor and Li Shimin ascended the throne, he is conventionally known by his temple name Taizong. Although killing two brothers and deposing his father contradicted the Confucian value of filial piety, Taizong showed himself to be a capable leader who listened to the advice of the wisest members of his council.
In 628, Emperor Taizong held a Buddhist memorial service for the casualties of war, in 629 he ha