Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou
Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou, personal name Yuwen Yong, nickname Miluotu, was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. As was the case of the reigns of his brothers Emperor Xiaomin and Emperor Ming, the early part of his reign was dominated by his cousin Yuwen Hu, but in 572 he ambushed Yuwen Hu and seized power personally, he thereafter ruled ably and built up the power of his military, destroying rival Northern Qi in 577 and annexing its territory. His death the next year, ended his ambitions of uniting China, under the reign of his erratic son Emperor Xuan, Northern Zhou itself soon deteriorated and was usurped by Yang Jian in 581. Yuwen Yong was born as the fourth son of the Western Wei paramount general Yuwen Tai, his mother was Yuwen Tai's concubine Lady Chinu. He was born at Yuwen Tai's then-headquarters at Tong Province, he was considered filially pious and intelligent in his youth. In 554, Emperor Fei of Western Wei created him the Duke of Fucheng. Yuwen Tai died in 556, in spring 557, Yuwen Yong's cousin Yuwen Hu, entrusted with the governing authority by Yuwen Tai, forced Emperor Gong of Western Wei to yield the throne to Yuwen Yong's older brother Yuwen Jue, ending Western Wei and establishing Northern Zhou.
Yuwen Jue took the throne as Emperor Xiaomin, but used the alternative title of "Heavenly Prince". Yuwen Hu served as regent, that year, when Emperor Xiaomin tried to seize power from him, Yuwen Hu deposed Emperor Xiaomin and killed him, replacing him with another older brother of Yuwen Yong's, Yuwen Yu, who took the throne as Emperor Ming. Emperor Ming created Yuwen Yong the greater title of Duke of Lu and consulted Yuwen Yong on important matters. Although Yuwen Yong did not speak much, Emperor Ming made the observation, "He did not speak, but whatever he spoke was always right." In 559, Yuwen Hu formally returned his authorities to Emperor Ming, Emperor Ming began to formally rule on governmental matters, but Yuwen Hu retained the command of the military. In 560, Yuwen Hu, apprehensive of Emperor Ming's abilities, had the imperial chef Li An poison him with sugar cookies. Emperor Ming, realizing that he was near death, designated Yuwen Yong as his successor, after he soon died, Yuwen Yong took the throne as Emperor Wu.
However, the control of the government again fell into Yuwen Hu's hands. Emperor Wu was said to be a silent emperor early in his reign, giving Yuwen Hu free rein over the government, although he appeared to start cultivating a group of officials who would be loyal to him as the years went by, he formally bestowed Yuwen Hu with not only the military authorities, but authority over all six ministries. With the Liang Dynasty general Wang Lin and the throne claimant that he supported, Xiao Zhuang, having been defeated by Chen Dynasty in spring 560 and having fled to Northern Qi, Northern Zhou contended for control of Xiao Zhuang's former territory with Chen, precipitating a confrontation. Starting in winter 560, the Northern Zhou generals Heruo Dun and Dugu Sheng began a drawn-out stalemate with the Chen general Hou Tian being successful in thwarting Hou's attacks. Around the new year 561, Dugu was forced to withdraw, Heruo was isolated. In spring 561, Hou agreed to let Heruo withdraw if Heruo would yield, so Heruo withdrew.
In 561, Emperor Wu honored his mother Lady Chinu empress dowager. In spring 562, to foster a peaceful relationship with Chen, Northern Zhou returned the brother of Emperor Wen of Chen, Chen Xu, as well as Chen Xu's wife Liu Jingyan and son Chen Shubao, to Chen. In exchange, Chen gave the city of Lushan to Northern Zhou. In summer 562, Emperor Wu, seeing that nobles were not receiving any material benefits from their titles, began to have the nobles receive stipends based on the size of their fiefs. In spring 563, while on a visit to Yuan Province, Emperor Wu returned to the capital Chang'an without explanation. One of his attendants, Houmochen Chong the Duke of Liang, speculated to his associates that Yuwen Hu had died; when Houmochen's speculations became known, Emperor Wu publicly rebuked Houmochen, the same night, Yuwen Hu sent troops to surround Houmochen's mansion, forcing him to commit suicide. Soon thereafter, he publicly bestowed Yuwen Hu the honor of having his name be subject to naming taboo, an honor that Yuwen Hu declined.
In spring 563, Emperor Wu promulgated a new 25-volume criminal code drafted by the official Tuoba Di, which divided the criminal punishment into 25 classes. In fall 563, Northern Zhou entered into an alliance treaty with Tujue against Northern Qi, part of which involved a promise that Emperor Wu would marry the daughter of Ashina Qijin, Tujue's Mugan Khan. In winter 563, the joint forces of Northern Zhou and Tujue launched a two-prong attack on Northern Qi, with the northern prong attacking Northern Qi's secondary capital Jinyang and the southern prong attacking Pingyang; the northern prong, commanded by the general Yang Zhong, put Jinyang under siege, but was soon defeated by the Northern Qi general Duan Shao and forced to withdraw. In response, the southern prong, commanded by Daxi Wu withdrew. Still, the attack demonstrated the growing Northern Zhou strength—as in the winter months, Northern Zhou forces would break t
The Northern Qi was one of the Northern dynasties of Chinese history and ruled northern China from 550 to 577. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Wenxuan, it was ended following attacks from Northern Zhou; the Chinese state of Northern Qi was the successor state of the Chinese/Xianbei state of Eastern Wei and was founded by Emperor Wenxuan. Emperor Wenxuan had a Han Chinese father Gao Huan, a Xianbei mother, Lou Zhaojun; as Eastern Wei's paramount general Gao Huan was succeeded by his sons Gao Cheng and Gao Yang, who took the throne from Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei in 550 and established Northern Qi as Emperor Wenxuan. Northern Qi was the strongest state of the three main Chinese states. Northern Qi however was plagued by violence and/or incompetent emperors, corrupt officials, deteriorating armies. In 571, an important official who guide the emperors Emperor Wucheng and Houzhu, He Shikai, was killed. Houzhu attempted to strengthen the power of throne, instead he triggered a series of purges that became violent in late 573.
In 577, Northern Qi was assaulted by a kingdom with poorer resources. The Northern Qi, with ineffective leadership disintegrated within a month, with large scale defections of court and military personnel. Both Houzhu and the last emperor Youzhu were captured, both died in late 577. Emperor Wenxuan's son Gao Shaoyi, the Prince of Fanyang, under protection by Tujue declared himself the emperor of Northern Qi in exile, but was turned over by Tujue to Northern Zhou in 580 and exiled to modern Sichuan, it is a matter of dispute whether Gao Shaoyi should properly be considered a Northern Qi emperor, but in any case the year 577 is considered by historians as the ending date for Northern Qi. Northern Qi ceramics mark a revival of Chinese ceramic art, following the disastrous invasions and the social chaos of the 4th century. Northern Qi tombs have revealed some beautiful artifacts, such as porcelain with splashed green designs thought to have been developed under the Tang dynasty. Markedly unique from earlier depictions of the Buddha, Northern Qi statues tend to be smaller, around three feet tall, columnar in shape.
A jar has been found in a Northern Qi tomb, closed in 576, is considered as a precursor of the Tang Sancai style of ceramics. Brown glazed wares designed with Sasanian-style figures have been found in these tombs; these works suggest a strong cosmopolitanism and intense exchanges with Western Asia, which are visible in metalworks and relief sculptures across China during this period. Cosmopolitanism was therefore current during the Northern Qi period in the 6th century before the advent of the notoriously cosmopolitan Tang dynasty, was associated with Buddhism; the Northern Qi, although founded by a ruler of mixed Han/Xianbei origin asserted their Xianbei ethnic cultural identity. They regarded surviving ethnic Tuoba and non-Chinese of the Northern Wei court and as well as literati of all ethnicities as near Chinese, referring to them as Haner; however they made use of sometimes Central Asian courtiers. While some Qi elite families had expressed anti-Chinese sentiments, they may lay claim to Chinese elite origin.
Emperor Wenxuan's father Gao Huan himself, reported as having said to his soldiers in the Xianbei language: "The Chinese are your slaves", was descended from the Han Chinese Gao family of Bohai in what is now modern Hebei. He had become Xianbeified as his family had lived for some time in Inner Mongolia after his grandfather was relocated from Bohai. A Chinese scholar translated the Buddhist text Nirvana Sutra text into a Turkic language during this era; some Zoroastrianism influences that went into previous states continued onto the state of Northern Qi court, such as the love for Persian dogs as they were taken as pets by nobles and eunuchs. The Chinese utilized a number of Persian products. Faced with the threat of the Göktürks from the north, from 552 to 556 the Qi built up to 3,000 li of wall from Shanxi to the sea at Shanhai Pass. In 552, the Great Wall was built, starting at the northwest frontier, starting from Lishi and expanding towards west Shuoxian, with total length of over 400 kilometers.
In 555, Emperor Wenquan commanded to rebuild the existing Great Wall of Northern Wei. Over the course of the year 555 alone, 1.8 million men were mobilized to build the Juyong Pass and extend its wall by 450 kilometres through Datong to the eastern banks of the Yellow River. In 557 a secondary wall was built inside the main one, starting from east of Pianguan, passing Yanmen Pass, Pingxing Pass, continuing to Xiaguan in Shanxi Province. In 563, Emperor Wucheng built a section of frontier wall along the Taihang Mountains on the border of Shanxi and Hebei provinces; these walls were built from local earth and stones or formed by natural barriers. Two stretches of the stone-and-earth Qi wall still stand in Shanxi today, measuring 3.3 metres wide at their bases and 3.5 metres high on average. In 577 the Northern Zhou in 580 made repairs to the existing Qi walls; the route of the Qi and Zhou walls would be followed by the Ming wall west of Gubeikou. Buddhism in China
Western Liang (555–587)
The Liang called the Western Liang or Later Liang to distinguish it from the Liang dynasty, was a small puppet state during the Northern and Southern dynasties period, located in the middle Yangtze region in today's central Hubei province. From 555 to 557 it was subservient to the Western Wei, from 557 to 581 to the Northern Zhou, from 581 to 587 to the Sui dynasty before the Sui annexed it; the Western Liang's founding emperor Xiao Cha was a grandson of the Liang dynasty founder Emperor Wu of Liang, as a result Western Liang is considered a rump state of the Liang dynasty after 557. From 555 to 557 the two states existed simultaneously: Xiao Cha ruled from Jiangling, while the Liang dynasty emperors Xiao Yuanming and Xiao Fangzhi ruled from Jiankang. Before 555, Emperor Yuan of Liang ruled from Jiangling before he was captured and executed by Xiao Cha and his Western Wei backers, but he is considered a Liang dynasty emperor rather than a Western Liang emperor because, among other things, he controlled a much larger territory.
The Western Liang had 3 emperors, Xiao Cha, Xiao Kui, Xiao Cong. From 617 to 621, Xiao Cha's great-grandson Xiao Xian occupied the former Western Liang territory and proclaimed himself King of Liang, but his short-lived state is considered separate
The Liang dynasty known as the Southern Liang dynasty, was the third of the Southern Dynasties during China's Southern and Northern Dynasties period. It was located in East China and South China, replaced by the Chen dynasty in 557; the small rump state Western Liang, located in Central China, continued until its annexation in 587. During the Liang dynasty, in 547 a Persian embassy paid tribute to the Liang, amber was recorded as originating from Persia by the Book of Liang. Tombs of a number of members of the ruling Xiao family, with their sculptural ensembles, in various states of preservation, are located near Nanjing; the best surviving example of the Liang dynasty's monumental statuary is the ensemble of the Tomb of Xiao Xiu, a brother of Emperor Wu, located in Qixia District east of Nanjing. Tombs of the Liang Dynasty Lý Nam Đế King of Liang Chen dynasty Book of Liang Book of Zhou History of Northern Dynasties History of Southern Dynasties Zizhi Tongjian Media related to Liang Dynasty at Wikimedia Commons
Emperor Xuanwu of Northern Wei
Xuanwu was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty of Northern Wei. He is known within China as Beiwei Xuanwudi, he was born Tuoba Ke, but changed his surname so that he became Yuan Ke. During Xuanwu's reign, Northern Wei appeared, outwardly, to be at its prime, but there was much political infighting and corruption by Xuanwu's uncle Gao Zhao. Xuanwu was an avid Buddhist and personally lectured on the Buddhist sutras. During his reign, Buddhism became the state religion. Tuoba Ke was born as the second son of Emperor Xiaowen, his mother was Xiaowen's concubine Consort, Gao Zhaorong. Little is known about his childhood. In 496, Xiaowen changed the name of the imperial clan from Tuoba to Yuan, thereafter he would be known as Yuan Ke. In fall 496, Yuan Xun, crown prince, but who could not endure the hot weather of the capital Luoyang after Xiaowen moved the capital there from Pingcheng in 494, plotted to flee back to Pingcheng with his followers, but his plot was discovered. Xiaowen deposed him, in 497 created Yuan Ke crown prince to replace Yuan Xun.
That year, in Pingcheng, travelled south to rejoin her son in Luoyang, but she died on the way. Historians believe that she was murdered by Xiaowen's wife, Empress Feng Run, who wanted to raise Yuan Ke herself. Whether she was able to do so is unclear, but after she was discovered to have carried on an affair with her attendant Gao Pusa in 499, she was put under house arrest, Xiaowen ordered Yuan Ke to have no more contact with her. In 499, while on a campaign against rival Southern Qi, grew ill and died. Xiaowen's brother Yuan Xie the Prince of Pengcheng was put into command of the withdrawing army on an emergency basis, Yuan Xie kept Xiaowen's death a secret while summoning Yuan Ke to join the army. Yuan Ke's attendants suspected Yuan Xie of wanting to take the throne himself, but Yuan Xie, once he met Yuan Ke, showed great deference to Yuan Ke, convincing Yuan Ke of his loyalty. Yuan Ke, at age 16 took the throne as Xuanwu at Luyang, before the army could return to Luoyang. Xuanwu wanted to make Yuan Xie, popular and well-regarded, prime minister, but Yuan Xie refused, was made a provincial governor instead.
The governmental affairs were in the hands of six officials: Xiaowen's brothers Yuan Xi the Prince of Xianyang and Yuan Xiang the Prince of Beihai, Xiaowen's cousin Yuan Cheng the Prince of Rencheng, Xiaowen's distant uncle Yuan Jia the Prince of Guangyang, the officials Wang Su and Song Bian, although Yuan Cheng was soon stripped of his post because he falsely arrested Wang on suspicion of treason. By 500, Xuanwu recalled Yuan Xie to be prime minister. Xuanwu, once he returned to Luoyang, posthumously honored his mother Gao as an empress, he created his maternal uncles Gao Zhao and Gao Xian, as well as his cousin Gao Meng, none of whom he had met, dukes. Gao Zhao, in particular, became powerful during Xuanwu's reign. In 500, with Southern Qi in disarray because of the tyrannical rule of its emperor Xiao Baojuan, Northern Wei annexed the important city of Shouyang when the Southern Qi general Pei Shuye surrendered the city to Northern Wei in fear of adverse actions by Xiao Baojuan. However, Northern Wei did not take further actions when Southern Qi was subsequently thrown into civil war during the rebellions of the generals Cui Huijing and Xiao Yan.
In 501, the general Yu Lie and Yuan Xiang warned Xuanwu that Yuan Xi was growing corrupt and Yuan Xie was growing too popular, suggested that they be relieved of their posts. Xuanwu did so, formally took over governmental matters, but at his age, he could not properly handle governmental affairs himself, so his trusted attendants and Gao Zhao began to become more powerful and corrupt. Traditional historians regard this as the starting point of Northern Wei's decline. Late in 501, Yuan Xi, displeased that his power wa being stripped and fearful that he would be killed, plotted a rebellion to secede with the provinces south of the Yellow River, his plot was discovered, he was executed. From this point on, Xuanwu grew suspicious of members of the imperial clan. In 501, Xuanwu created Yu Lie's niece, Consort Yu, empress; that year, with Xiao Yan's forces crushing Xiao Baojuan's, Xuanwu's general Yuan Ying suggested that a major attack be launched against Southern Qi to take advantage of Southern Qi's civil war.
However, Xuanwu only authorized small scale attacks, which were fruitless. Xiao Yan soon defeated Xiao Baojuan and by 502 had overthrown Southern Qi and established Liang Dynasty as its Emperor Wu; the Liang general Chen Bozhi subsequently tried to surrender Jiang Province to Northern Wei, but Liang forces defeated both Chen and the Northern Wei forces sent to reinforce him, Chen fled to Northern Wei. For the next few years, there would continually be war between the two rivals with Northern Wei creating Southern Qi's prince Xiao Baoyin, who fled Southern Qi as Xiao Yan was beginning to kill members of the Southern Qi imperial clan, as the Prince of Qi and announcing that it would help him reestablish Southern Qi. I
The Eastern Wei followed the disintegration of the Northern Wei, ruled northern China from 534 to 550. As with Northern Wei, the ruling family of Eastern Wei were members of the Tuoba clan of the Xianbei. In 534 Gao Huan, the potentate of the eastern half of what was Northern Wei territory following the disintegration of the Northern Wei dynasty installed Yuan Shanjian a descendant of the Northern Wei as ruler of Eastern Wei. Yuan Shanjian was a puppet ruler. Several military campaigns were launched against the neighboring Western Wei in an attempt to reunify the territory once held by the Northern Wei, however these campaigns were not successful, in 547 Gao Huan died, his sons Gao Cheng and Gao Yang were able to pursue his policy of controlling the emperor, but in 550 Gao Yang deposed Yuan Shanjian and founded his own dynasty, the Northern Qi. The Buddhist art of the Eastern Wei displays a combination of Greco-Buddhist influences from Gandhara and Central Asia, together with Chinese artistic influences.
Book of Wei History of Northern Dynasties Zizhi Tongjian
Liu Song dynasty
The Song dynasty, better known as the Liu Song dynasty known as Former Song or Southern Song, was the first of the four Southern Dynasties in China, succeeding the Eastern Jin and followed by the Southern Qi. The dynasty was founded by Liu Yu, whose surname together with "Song" forms the common name for the dynasty, the Liu Song; this appellation is used to distinguish it from a dynasty of the same name, the Song dynasty. Although the Liu Song has at times been referred to as the "Southern Song", the name is now used to refer to the Song dynasty after 1127; the Liu Song was a time. A number of emperors were incompetent and/or tyrannical, which at least led to many military revolts; these rulers include Liu Shao, Emperor Xiaowu, Emperor Qianfei, Emperor Ming, Emperor Houfei. Emperor Ming was vicious, murdering a large number of his brothers and other male relatives — many of them children; such internal instability led to the dynasty's destruction. However, its founder Emperor Wu was considered one of the greatest generals during the Southern and Northern Dynasties period, the reign of its third emperor, Emperor Wen, is known for its political stability and capable administration, not only of its emperor but its strong and honest officials.
This is known as the Reign of Yuanjia and one of the relative golden ages for the Southern Dynasties. Note: Naming conventions of people and places in this article assume modern Mandarin pronunciation, known to not have bene spoken at that time. Therefore, all names are exonyms. A peasant of modest origins, Liu Yu joined the army at a young age and soon distinguished himself in the army and was promoted to the command of an army, the Beifu corps. Liu Yu was instrumental in fighting the rebel Huan Xuan. After Huan Xuan's fall, Liu Yu gained control of the Jin dynasty; the Han dynasty founder, Emperor Gaozu of Han's younger brother, Liu Jiao was an ancestor of Liu Yu. Regarded as one of the best generals of the Northern and Southern dynasties, Liu Yu started off by reclaiming much of the territory the Chinese had lost during the Sixteen Kingdoms era, he started off his career by conquering Southern Yan, which bordered Jin to the north and had adopted a policy of aggression and kidnapping citizens from the Jin.
By spring of 410, he had captured the southern Yan capital at Guanggu. Afterwards, he campaigned against western Shu in modern Sichuan. Using a brilliant military manoeuver mentioned in the Art of War, Liu Yu instructed his generals to attack the capital of Shu by the Min River rather than the short route by the Fu river. Surprising the Shu forces, he captured Chengdu and re-annexed that area back into Jin. Following the death of the Later Qin Emperor Yao Xin, Liu Yu attacked the state of Later Qin, which controlled the valuable lands of Guanzhong, lands which had once housed the capital of the Qin and Jin dynasties before the barbarian uprisings. After defeating the Later Qin army in several battles, as well as an army of Northern Wei troops which had crossed to assist the Later Qin, Liu Yu recaptured the vital cities of Chang'an and Luoyang, the former capitals of the Jin Empire, it is recorded that he engaged the Wei army by the use of spears launched by crossbows, panicking the Wei cavalry and allowing him to score a decisive victory.
After this success, it seemed that Jin would exterminate the remaining barbarian states in the north and reunify China. However, fortunes began to change for the Jin forces. Liu Mengzhi died and in order to secure his power, Liu Yu left for Jiankang, abandoning the management of the North to his general Wang Zhen'e. After his departure, the state of Xia attacked Guanzhong and reoccupied it, the loss of these lands prescribed Jin's frontier at the Yellow River. However, Jin retained Luoyang, as well as most of the Chinese heartland. Following his return to Jiankang, Liu Yu ended the rule of the Jin and became emperor himself in 420, establishing the Liu Song dynasty, he died in 422, was succeeded by the incompetent Shaodi, removed. His eventual successor would be Wendi. Under Emperor Wen, the Liu Song economy prospered during the rule of Yuanjia, a period noted for its prosperity in the 400 years of conflict between the Han and Tang dynasties; the emperor's diligence caused the Liu Song to prosper.
However, the emperor's martial abilities were not equal to his father, his inability to crush the remaining barbarian states allowed Northern Wei to complete the unification of the North, to the detriment of Liu Song. Afterwards, Northern Wei would remain a permanent threat to the Liu Song. Emperor Wen continued the campaigns of his father. In 422, the first year of his reign, he lost three commandries to the Wei. Under the able general Dao Yanzhi, Liu Song recovered the four cities of Luoyang, Hulao and Qiao'ao south of the Yellow River. However, the emperor's unwillingness to advance past this line caused the destruction of the empire's ally, Xia, by the Wei; the emperor was to repeat this mistake as several barbarian states who had offered to ally with Liu Song against Wei were declined leading to Wei's unification of the North in 439, to the detriment of the Chinese. Towards the part of his reign, Emperor Wen was less than able, he wrongfully executed the general Tan Daoji, who had hitherto commanded the Song armies, took charge himself.
The empire's decline was shown in 450, where the