Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wei Wen

Wei Wen was an official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a during the reigns of and Emperor Zhongzong's son . He was trusted by Emperor Zhongzong's powerful wife , who was his cousin, and after she was killed in a coup after Emperor Zhongzong's death, he was also killed.


It is not known when Wei Wen was born. His father was Wei Xuanyan , who served as a prefectural prefect late in the reign of . Wei Wen's -- the daughter of Wei Xuanyan's younger brother Wei Xuanzhen -- was the wife and crown princess of Emperor Gaozong's son the Crown Prince, and on that account was quickly promoted. After Emperor Gaozong's death in 683, Li Zhe took the throne , but soon ran afoul of his mother , who retained power as regent, partly over his desire to promote Wei Xuanzhen to be . In spring 684, she deposed Emperor Zhongzong to be the Prince of Luling and exiled him and his wife. Wei Wen thus, for the time being, received no help from his relationship with his cousin, and when he served as a probationary official, he was accused of receiving bribes and removed from his office.
Meanwhile, though, under a plan drafted by Emperor Zhongzong's sister Princess Taiping and concubine , Emperor Zhongzong's son by another concubine, would be named emperor. Empress Wei would serve as empress dowager and regent, while Emperor Zhongzong's younger brother the Prince of Xiang, himself a former emperor, would serve as coregent; Consort Shangguan subsequently formalized this in a will she drafted posthumously for Emperor Zhongzong. Wei Wen and another chancellor, Ji Chuna, however, opposed this plan on the grounds that this would require her and Li Dan to frequently confer, which violated Confucian principles that a brother-in-law and a sister-in-law should not converse with each other. Under Ji's and Wei Wen's insistence, the other chancellors did not dare to oppose their will, and Li Dan was not made coregent. Li Chongmao soon took the throne , with Empress Wei serving as empress dowager and regent.

Wu Sansi

Wu Sansi , formally Prince Xuan of Liang , was an official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty and his aunt Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, becoming an imperial prince and during the reign of Wu Zetian and subsequently, while only briefly chancellor during the second reign of Wu Zetian's son and his cousin , becoming very powerful due to both the trust Emperor Zhongzong had in him and his affair with Emperor Zhongzong's powerful wife . He was killed in a rebellion by Emperor Zhongzong's son Li Chongjun the Crown Prince in 707.


It is not known when Wu Sansi was born. His father Wu Yuanqing was a half-brother of Wu Zetian -- both had, as father, the early Tang Dynasty general Wu Shihuo , but Wu Yuanshuang and his brother Wu Yuanshuang were born of Wu Shihuo's first wife Lady Xiangli, while Wu Zetian and her two sisters were born of Wu Shihuo's second wife Lady Yang. After Wu Zetian became empress to in 655, despite previous intrafamily unpleasantries -- Wu Yuanqing and Wu Yuanshuang, as well as Wu Shihuo's nephews Wu Weiliang and Wu Huaiyun were often disrespectful of Lady Yang previously -- Empress Wu's brothers and cousins were often promoted by Emperor Gaozong, with Wu Yuanqing promoted to ''Zongzheng Shaoqing'' , the deputy minister of imperial clan affairs. However, sometime before 666, Empress Wu, angry that her brothers and cousins did not appreciate the promotions, had them all demoted, with Wu Yuanqing demoted to be the prefect of Long Prefecture . After he arrived at Long Prefecture, he, in fear that Empress Wu had further retaliation in the works, died. It is not completely clear, but it was likely that Wu Sansi went to Long Prefecture with his father Wu Yuanqing. He was later made a commanding general of the imperial guards.

During Emperor Zhongzong's and Emperor Ruizong's first reigns

Emperor Gaozong died in 683, and was initially succeeded by his and Empress Wu's son the Crown Prince , but Empress Wu retained power as empress dowager and regent. In spring 684, after Emperor Zhongzong showed signs of independence, she deposed him and replaced him with another son, the Prince of Yu, but wielded power even more tightly thereafter. Sometime during her regency, Wu Sansi became minister of defense . Both he and his cousin Wu Chengsi advised Empress Dowager Wu to find excuses to kill two senior members of the imperial Li clan -- Emperor Gaozong's uncles Li Yuanjia the Prince of Han and Li Lingkui the Prince of Lu due to their senior status. Wu Sansi and Wu Chengsi were also said to be often advocating that Empress Dowager Wu take over the throne herself as "emperor."
In [, Wu Sansi was given the designation ''Tong Fengge Luantai Sanpin'' , making him a chancellor ''de facto'', but about a month later, he was stripped of the chancellor designation. It was said that he and Wu Chengsi both had designs on being crown prince, and often had their associates try to persuade Wu Zetian that in ages past, there had never been an emperor who had, as his heir, someone with a different family name. In 698, however, at the suggestion of the chancellor Di Renjie, concurred in by Wang Jishan and Wang Fangqing, as well as Wu Zetian's close advisor Ji Xu and her lovers Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong, Wu Zetian recalled Li Zhe the Prince of Luling from exile and soon, after Li Dan offered to yield the position of crown prince to him, created him crown prince and changed his name to Li Xian and then to Wu Xian.

During Emperor Zhongzong's second reign

Wu Zetian was overthrown in a coup in 705 led by the officials Zhang Jianzhi, Cui Xuanwei, Jing Hui, Huan Yanfan, and Yuan Shuji. Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong were killed in the coup, and Emperor Zhongzong was restored to the throne; Wu Zetian was sent to a secondary palace under heavy guard, and while she also retained the title of "emperor," no longer had power. By that time, Wu Sansi had been carrying out an affair with Wu Zetian's secretary and Emperor Zhongzong's concubine . Through her introduction, Wu Sansi began an affair with Emperor Zhongzong's wife as well and also became a trusted advisor to Emperor Zhongzong who, while he was restored through the efforts of Zhang Jianzhi and his colleagues, feared them. In addition, Wu Sansi's son Wu Chongxun had been married to Emperor Zhongzong's and Empress Wei's daughter Li Guo'er the Princess Anle, who also had much power in her father's administration.

Meanwhile, the coup leaders initially did not of Wu Sansi as a threat, and they brushed aside suggestions by two lower level officials participating in the coup, Xue Jichang and Liu Youqiu. However, they soon realized that Wu Sansi's power was on the rise, and they unsuccessfully suggested Emperor Zhongzong to kill some of the more powerful Wu clan members or to demote them -- and indeed, he made Wu Sansi ''Sikong'' and chancellor again with the designation ''Tong Zhongshu Menxia Sanpin'' , although Wu Sansi declined the titles. Meanwhile, Emperor Zhongzong designated 16 officials, including the coup leaders but also Wu Sansi and his cousin Wu Youji , as contributors to his return to the throne and gave them iron certificates that were supposed to guarantee that they would be spared of death penalties 10 times except for treason.

Jing, fearful of Wu Sansi's power, retained the mid-level official Cui Shi to watch for Wu Sansi's moves -- but Cui Shi, realizing that Emperor Zhongzong trusted Wu Sansi and feared the coup leaders, instead became Wu Sansi's associate, along with Zheng Yin, who suggested that Wu Sansi find some way to remove the five coup leaders, now all chancellors, from their posts. Wu Sansi and Empress Wei, in turn, argued to Emperor Zhongzong that the five coup leaders were overpowering in the government and should be given honorific titles but be removed from office. At their suggestion, Emperor Zhongzong created the five coup leaders princes and awarded them much wealth, but removed them from governmental posts, including chancellor positions -- and soon sent Zhang Jianzhi and Cui Xuanwei out of the capital. Wu Sansi, now in power, had much of Wu Zetian's policies, which the five coup leaders had reversed, reinstated. Meanwhile, to diffuse some of the popular sentiment against the Wu clan, Emperor Zhongzong demoted their titles slightly, and Wu Sansi's title was reduced from Prince of Liang to the lesser title of Prince of Dejing. As Emperor Zhongzong also trusted Wei Yuanzhong , when Wu Zetian died in late 705, Wu Sansi tried to ingratiate Wei by writing into Wu Zetian's will a provision giving Wei an additional fief of 100 households. Wei, in gratitude, did not oppose the Wu clan further from that point.

In spring 706, Wu Sansi, fearful that Jing, Huan, and Yuan were still in the capital, sent them out of the capital to serve as prefectural prefects. Meanwhile, an incident occurred that allowed Wu Sansi to act further against the five coup leaders -- as Emperor Zhongzong's son-in-law Wang Tongjiao , himself a participant in the coup, was accused of plotting with Zhang Zhongzhi , Zu Yanqing , and Zhou Jing to kill Wu Sansi and deposing Empress Wei. The alleged plotters were all killed, and Wu Sansi and Empress Wei thereafter accused the five coup leaders of having been part of Wang Tongjiao's plot, and the five were demoted further, to more distant prefecture, with no possibility of return from exile. Meanwhile, Wu Sansi, knowing that Emperor Zhongzong was very sensitive about any accusation of adultery by Empress Wei, intentionally had people post public accusations that she had been involved in adultery -- and then framed the five coup leaders of doing so, and the five coup leaders, already in exile, were stripped of all of their titles and honors. Wu Sansi, at Cui Shi's suggestion, then sent the secret police official Zhou Lizhen to the Lingnan region, where the five had been exiled, to survey the area, but with instructions to have the five killed. When Zhou reached Lingnan, Zhang Jianzhi and Cui Xuanwei had already died, but he killed Huan, Jing, and Yuan in cruel manners. It was said that after news of the five coup leaders' deaths reached Wu Sansi, he commented, "I do not know who are good people and who are bad people on this earth. I only know that people who are good to me are good, and people who are bad to me are bad."
Meanwhile, Emperor Zhongzong had created his son Li Chongjun, by a concubine, crown prince, as Empress Wei's only son Li Chongrun had been killed by Wu Zetian in 701, but Li Guo'er, encouraged by Wu Chongxun, had designs on becoming crown princess, and repeatedly asked Emperor Zhongzong to make her crown princess. Both she and Wu Chongxun also repeatedly insulted Li Chongjun, sometimes calling him "slave." In fall 707, Li Chongjun, in anger, started a rebellion with the generals Li Duozuo, Li Sichong , Li Chengkuang , Dugu Yizhi , and Shazha Zhongyi , as well as Emperor Zhongzong's cousin Li Qianli the Prince of Cheng and LI Qianli's son Li Xi the Prince of Tianshui. They attacked Wu Sansi's mansion and killed Wu Sansi, Wu Chongxun, and some of their relatives. Li Chongjun's subsequent attempt to reach the palace and arrest Consort Shangguan, Empress Wei, and Li Guo'er, however, were unsuccessful, and his troops collapsed; he was killed. Li Chongjun was beheaded, and his head was presented to Wu Sansi's and Wu Chongxun's caskets. Wu Sansi and Wu Chongxun were buried in grand funerals, and Wu Sansi was posthumously recreated the Prince of Liang with the posthumous name of Xuan . After Emperor Zhongzong's death in 710, a coup lead by Princess Taiping and Li Dan's son the Prince of Linzi overthrew Empress Wei and restored Emperor Ruizong to the throne, and Wu Sansi's tomb was destroyed.

Wu Youning

Wu Youning , formally the Duke of Jiang , was an imperial prince during the reign of Wu Zetian and served as both during her over her son Emperor Ruizong of Tang and her own reign.

Xu Yuanlang

Vacillating submissions

In spring 618, after another major rebel leader, Li Mi the Duke of Wei, achieved a great victory over the Sui general Wang Shichong and approached the Sui eastern capital Luoyang, Xu Yuanlang, along with several other key rebel leaders, nominally submitted to him and requested that he take imperial title, but Li declined. After Wang defeated Li in 619, Xu submitted to the Sui emperor Yang Tong, then at Luoyang, although he also offered submission to Emperor Gaozu of Tang and was created the Duke of Lu. After Wang had Yang Tong yield the throne to him later that year, ending Sui and establishing a new state of Zheng, Xu also nominally submitted to Zheng. In winter 619, after another rebel leader, Dou Jiande the Prince of Xia, conquered the Tang territory north of the Yellow River, Xu submitted to Xia. In 621, when Zheng was under attack by the Tang general , Dou requisitioned troops from Xu to aid Wang. Later that year, Dou was defeated and captured by Li Shimin, and Wang also surrendered to Li Shimin. Xu then submitted to Tang as well and was made the commandant of Yan Prefecture and again created the Duke of Lu.

Resistance against Tang and death

Later in 621, Dou's general Liu Heita, supported by a group of Dou Jiande's supporters angry that Tang had executed Dou Jiande , rose against Tang rule, and quickly captured most of Dou's former territory. In doing so, he was in communication with Xu, and Xu also rose, capturing the Tang general Sheng Yanshi and receiving support from eight prefectures. He ordered Sheng to write a letter to Sheng's brother, who was the county magistrate of Yucheng , to get Sheng's brother to surrender, but Sheng instead wrote a letter that told his brother to be faithful and not betray Tang. Xu, after seeing the letter, laughed and said, "General Sheng has integrity and honor, and I shall not kill him." Liu gave Xu a general title, and in winter 621, Xu claimed the title of Prince of Lu as well.

Yan Zhenqing

Consolidating period

This period ranges from Yan Zhenqing’s fifties to sixty-five. During these years, he wrote some famous pieces like ''Guojia Miao Stele'' and ''Magu Shan Xiantan Ji'' . Having experienced An Lushan Rebellion and frequent vicissitudes in his civil career, Yan Zhenqing’s style was maturing. He increased the waist force while wielding the brush, and blended the techniques from '''' and '''' Scripts into his own style, making the start and ending of his brushline gentler. For individual stroke, he adopted the rule of “thin horizontal and thick vertical strokes”; strokes’ widths were varied to show the curvature and flow, and the dots and oblique strokes were finished with sharp edges. For character structure, Yan style displays squared shape and modest arrangement, with spacious center portion and tight outer strokes; this structure resembles more to the more dated ''Zhuan'' and ''Li'' Scripts. And for the allocation of the blank, characters are compact vertically, leaving relatively more space in between lines. Hence, the emerging ''Yan'' style had abandoned the sumptuous trend of early Tang calligraphers: it is rather upright, muscular, fitting, rich and controlled; than sloped, feminine, pretty, slim and capricious.

Yitewushi Khan

Yitewushi Khan , personal name Duomozhi , was the last of Xueyantuo.

Zhang Changzong

Zhang Changzong , formally the Duke of Ye , nickname Liulang , was an official of Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty who, along with his brother Zhang Yizhi, became a lover of Wu Zetian and became very powerful late in her reign. Both he and his brother were killed in a coup that overthrew Wu Zetian in 705.


It is not known when Zhang Changzong was born. It is known that his father Zhang Xizang had, at one point, served as the census officer of Tang Dynasty's capital prefecture Yong Prefecture and was a distant nephew of the Zhang Xingcheng. His mother might be Lady Wei or Lady Zang.

As Wu Zetian's lover

In 697, Zhang Changzong was referred to Wu Zetian, then ruling with the title of emperor -- the only woman in the history of China recognized for doing so -- by Wu Zetian's daughter Princess Taiping, to be Wu Zetian's lover. Zhang Changzong further told Wu Zetian that his older brother Zhang Yizhi was even more skillful than he was, and so Wu Zetian took Zhang Yizhi as a lover as well. Both were repeatedly promoted -- Zhang Yizhi as senior consultant at the examination bureau of government -- and both were said to often put makeup on their faces and dressing in a beautiful manner. Their mother or mothers were given titles as grand ladies, and Wu Zetian further ordered the chancellor Li Jiongxiu to serve as the lover for one of them. Even the most powerful officials flattered them, and referred them by endearing nicknames -- Zhang Yizhi as Wulang and Zhang Changzong as Liulang .
By 701, Wu Zetian, then 76 years old, had been largely entrusting the affairs of state to Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong -- a situation that her grandson Li Chongrun disapproved and had discussed with his sister Li Xianhui the Lady Yongtai and Li Xianhui's husband, Wu Zetian's grandnephew Wu Yanji the Prince of Wei. When the Zhangs became aware of the conversation, they reported this to Wu Zetian, who saw this discussion as an implicit criticism of herself, and she ordered Li Chongrun, Li Xianhui, and Wu Yanji to commit suicide.
By 703, the Zhangs were displeased with the chancellor Wei Yuanzhong, as Wei had repeatedly rebuffed the promotion of their brother Zhang Changqi and had publicly humiliated another brother, Zhang Changyi . When Wu Zetian suffered a minor illness, the Zhangs became concerned that if Wu Zetian had died, they would be killed by Wei, and therefore falsely accused Wei and a favorite of Princess Taiping, Gao Jian , of having speculated about Wu Zetian's death. They persuaded the official Zhang Shuo to falsely corroborate the accusations against Wei, although, once Zhang Shuo was brought into Wu Zetian's presence, he not only recanted the accusation against Wei but further accused the Zhangs of suborning perjury from him. As a result, Wei, Gao, and Zhang Shuo were all exiled, but none of the three suffered death. Zhang Yizhi further accused eight people who held a send-off feast for Wei of treason, but was not successful in getting the eight men executed.

Zhang Guangfu

Zhang Guangfu was an official and general of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as during the first reign of .

It is now known when Zhang Guangfu was born, but it is known that he was from the Tang capital Chang'an. He was said to be intelligent and good at rhetoric in his youth, and also capable as an official. He was eventually promoted to the posts of deputy minister of agriculture and then ''Wenchang Zuo Cheng'' , one of the secretaries general of the executive bureau of government . In 687, he was made ''Fengge Shilang'' , the deputy head of the legislative bureau of government , and given the designation ''Tong Fengge Luantai Pinzhangshi'' , making him a chancellor ''de facto''. In 688, when Emperor Ruizong's uncle the Prince of Yue rebelled against the rule of Emperor Ruizong's powerful mother and regent , Empress Dowager Wu commissioned Zhang to command the troops against Li Zhen, assisted by fellow chancellor Cen Changqian and Qu Chongyu . Li Zhen was quickly defeated. Thereafter, Empress Dowager Wu gave him the greater chancellor designation of ''Tong Fengge Luantai Sanpin'' .

In 689, Empress Dowager Wu made Zhang acting ''Nayan'' -- the head of the examination bureau and a post considered one for a chancellor. Later that year, she made him acting ''Neishi'' -- the head of the legislative bureau and a post also considered one for a chancellor. He was considered capable at both positions. However, his fall would come in the fall of that year. Xu Jingzhen , the younger brother of the Duke of Ying, who had led an unsuccessful rebellion against Empress Dowager Wu in 684, had been exiled to Xiu Prefecture , but fled from the place of exile and intended to flee north to Eastern Tujue. When he went through the eastern capital Luoyang, the officials Gong Siye and Zhang Siming gave him money to use in flight. When Xu went through Ding Prefecture , he was captured and brought back to Luoyang for interrogation. Gong committed suicide, but both Xu and Zhang Siming, in interrogation, implicated many officials, hoping that by doing so they could ingratiate Empress Dowager Wu and her secret police officials so that they could be spared. Zhang Siming, in particular, claimed that when Zhang Guangfu was attacking Li Zhen, he secretly consulted fortunetelling books to try to see what the future might hold, and intentionally slowed down to see whether Li Zhen's rebellion had any hope. As a result of Zhang Siming's claims, Zhang Guangfu was arrested and executed with Xu and Zhang Siming, and his assets were seized.

Zhang Xun (Tang Dynasty)

Zhang Xun was a general of the Tang Dynasty. He was known for defending Yongqiu and Suiyang during the Anshi Rebellion against the rebel armies of , and thus, his supporters asserted, he blocked Yan forces from attacking and capturing the fertile Tang territory south of the Huai River. However, he was severely criticized by some contemporaries and some later historians as lacking humanity due to his encouragement of cannibalism during the Battle of Suiyang. Other historians praised him for his great faithfulness to Tang.


Zhang Xun was born in 709, during the reign of Emperor Zhongzong of Tang. The official histories ''Book of Tang'' and ''New Book of Tang'' disagreed about the location where Zhang's family was from, with the ''Book of Tang'' indicating that the family was from Pu Prefecture and the ''New Book of Tang'' indicating that the family was from Deng Prefecture .

Battle of Suiyang

Yin Ziqi launched repeated attacks on Suiyang, each time repelled by Zhang Xun. Meanwhile, though, the food supplies — which Xu Yuan had initially gathered plenty of in anticipation of a siege but which Li Ju had forced Xu to partially give to two other commanderies, Puyang and Jiyin — began to run out. By summer 757, Suiyang was in desperate straits, with the soldiers forced to eat a mixture of rice, tea leaves, paper, and bark. Many suffered from illnesses. Despite this, Zhang continued to fight off attack after attack. He also divided the defense zones with Xu, with him defending the northeast side and Xu defending the southwest side, both spending the days and nights with the soldiers in defending the city. He often called out to the Yan troops, trying to persuade them that the Tang cause was righteous, and it was said that often, Yan soldiers would be touched by his words and surrender and join his troops.
After Emperor Suzong returned to Chang'an, he posthumously honored a large number of officials who stayed faithful to Tang and died fighting the Yan forces. However, the matter of whether to honor Zhang and Xu became an immediately controversial matter due to the cannibalism that had occurred at Suiyang. A friend of Zhang's, Li Han, wrote a biography of Zhang's in an impassioned defense of Zhang, arguing that without Zhang's actions, Tang would have lost the war entirely. Li Han was joined in his opinion by several other officials, including Li Shu , Dong Nanshi , Zhang Jianfeng , Fan Huang , and Zhu Juchuan . Emperor Suzong accepted their defense of Zhang's, and honored Zhang, Xu, and Nan in particular, as well as the other officers who died in the siege. He also gave their families great rewards. A temple was built at Suiyang to honor Zhang and Xu, known as the Double Temple .

Zhao Yanzhao

Zhao Yanzhao , courtesy name Huanran , was an official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, serving as a during the reigns of , , and .

During Emperor Zhongzong's second reign

In 709, during the reign of Wu Zetian's son , Zhao Yanzhao was promoted to be ''Zhongshu Shilang'' , the deputy head of the legislative bureau of government and given the designation ''Tong Zhongshu Menxia Pingzhangshi'' , making him a ''de facto''. He was also made an imperial scholar at the Xiuwen Pavilion .

During Emperor Shang's reign and Emperor Ruizong's second reign

During Emperor Xuanzong's reign

In 712, Emperor Ruizong passed the throne to Li Longji, who took the throne as Emperor Xuanzong, but Emperor Ruizong retained actual powers as ''Taishang Huang'' . In 713, locked in a rivalry with Princess Taiping, Emperor Xuanzong carried out a purge of her party and forced her to commit suicide, and Emperor Ruizong yielded powers to him. Two of the officials involved in Emperor Xuanzong's purge who served chancellors, Guo Yuanzhen and Zhang Shuo, were friendly with Zhao Yanzhao, and they claimed that he was part of the plot as well. Zhao was therefore made the minister of justice and created the Duke of Geng. It was around this time that Zhang, who feared that another official, , might be made chancellor as well, asked Zhao to submit an indictment against Yao, but Emperor Xuanzong summarily dismissed the indictment. Yao was subsequently made chancellor, and Zhang was demoted. Zhao was himself made a commanding general to the north of the capital.

Li Yuanji

After Emperor Yang was killed in a coup at Jiangdu in 618, Li Yuan had Emperor Gong yield the throne to him, establishing Tang Dynasty as its Emperor Gaozu. He made Li Xiaogong the commandant at Xin Prefecture . As Li Xiaogong's territory was contiguous with another rebel ruler, Xiao Xi the Emperor of Liang, he offered Emperor Gaozu suggestions on destroying Liang. Emperor Gaozu created him the Prince of Zhao Commandery and, in spring 621, made the general Li Jing his assistant and strategist, preparing a major assault on Liang. He commissioned the sons of many of the non- chieftains of the area as officers, both as a way to placate the chieftains and to hold them as collateral for their loyalty.

Campaign against Xiao Xi

In fall 621, Emperor Gaozu commissioned Li Xiaogong, with Li Jing as his assistant, to launch a major attack on Xiao Xi's Liang state, with a cousin of Li Xiaogong's, Li Yuan the Prince of Lujiang and the other generals Tian Shikang and Zhou Faming attacking on other fronts. At that time, the Yangtze River had a high water level and was flowing rapidly. While many officers under him suggested delaying the campaign, Li Xiaogong, perhaps with Li Jing's suggestion, decided that indeed, the rapid water was a good opportunity to launch a surprise attack on Xiao Xi's capital Jiangling . After defeating the Liang general Wen Shihong , he put Jiangling under siege, cutting off Xiao Xi's communications with the armies in the rest of his territory. He, again possibly with Li Jing's suggestion, floated the Liang ships that he captured down the Yangtze, to confuse the approaching Liang relief forces into believing that Jiangling had fallen already. Xiao, not knowing that the relief forces were only a few days away, surrendered to Li Xiaogong. By the suggestion of Xiao's official Cen Wenben, who had persuaded Xiao to surrender, Li Xiaogong strictly prohibited pillaging and retribution against Liang generals. The Liang provinces, upon hearing the news of Jiangling's fall, soon largely submitted to Tang. Li Xiaogong delivered Xiao to Chang'an, where Emperor Gaozu executed him.
He drank the blood-water with ease, impressing and calming his generals. He then sailed down the Yangtze, attacking and defeating the Song generals at multiple battles. Fu ordered his generals Feng Huiliang and Chen Dangshi to take up position at Mount Bowang , preparing for the assault, instructing Feng and Chen not to engage Li Xiaogong, but to wear him down. However, Li Xiaogong cut off their supply route, and when Feng and Chen's food supplies ran low, they challenged Li Xiaogong. Against suggestions by some officers that he bypass Feng and Chen and attack the Song capital Danyang directly, Li Xiaogong, perhaps with Li Jing's suggestion, confronted Feng and Chen, initially using the weaker segment of his forces to battle Feng and Chen and, after initial losses, draw Feng and Chen in deeper, and then attacked them, defeating them decisively, with the aid of Li Fuwei's subordinate general Kan Leng . After the victory, Li Xiaogong and Li Jing attacked Danyang. Fu, in fear, abandoned Danyang and fled east, but was captured by the local men and delivered to Danyang.
Li Xiaogong was one of the few Tang generals who achieved great independent success without being associated with Emperor Gaozu's talented son , and he enjoyed great reputation among the soldiers. As he was put in charge of the lower Yangtze region after defeating Fu, he rebuilt the important Southern Dynasties fortress of Shitou , which led to accusations that he was planning treason himself. Emperor Gaozu recalled him to the capital and had him interrogated, but after insufficient evidence was shown against him, released him and made him the minister of imperial clan affairs -- a high level position that however had relatively little power. He later successively served as the commandant at Liang Prefecture and prefect of Jin Prefecture . After Li Shimin became emperor in 626 , his title was changed to Prince of Hejian, and he was made the minister of ceremonies.


Narsieh or Narseh , was a Persian-Chinese general stationed in the military garrison. He was son of prince Pirooz and grandson of Yazdgerd III, the last .

Pei Ji

Pei Ji , courtesy name Xuanzhen , formally the Duke of Hedong , was an important official and one-time of Tang Dynasty. He initially served as an official of Sui Dynasty and was one of the driving forces in persuading the general to rebel against Emperor Yang of Sui. He eventually assisted Li Yuan in founding Tang Dynasty as its Emperor Gaozu and was greatly honored in Emperor Gaozu's reign. After Emperor Gaozu's son became emperor in 626, Pei began to be accused of corruption and associations with witchcraft and was exiled. Emperor Taizong soon remembered Pei's contributions to Tang's founding and tried to recall him, but Pei died before he could do so.
Later in 617, Li Yuan was attacking Hedong but could not capture it quickly, and there were rumors that Eastern Tujue and a rebel ruler it supported, Liu Wuzhou the Dingyang Khan, would attack Taiyuan. At that time, Pei advocated withdrawing back to Taiyuan and defend it. Li Shimin and another son of Li Yuan, Li Jiancheng, however believed that retreat would lead to inevitable defeat and therefore successfully persuaded Li Yuan not to retreat. Instead, per Pei's suggestions, after Li Yuan subsequently defeated Sui forces at Huoyi , he left part of his army to siege Hedong, while himself crossing the Yellow River into Guanzhong . After Li Yuan captured Chang'an later that year and declared Emperor Yang's grandson the Prince of Dai emperor , he himself served as regent, and he awarded Pei with fields, a mansion, and the title of Duke of Wei.

During Emperor Gaozu's reign

In 618, Emperor Yang was killed in a coup at Jiangdu led by the general Yuwen Huaji. When news of Emperor Yang's death reached Chang'an, Li Yuan had Emperor Gong yield the throne to him, establishing Tang Dynasty as its Emperor Gaozu. When he took the throne, he stated to Pei Ji, "The person who brought me here is you, Duke." He made Pei the Right ''Shangshu Pushe'' , one of the two deputy heads of the executive bureau of the government -- a post that was considered a post for a , and bestowed Pei with great treasures. He also commissioned Pei and Liu Wenjing to revise the Sui laws. Soon, however, Pei and Liu, who were previously friends, became enemies over their conflicting suggestions, and Liu was dissatisfied that he was ranked below Pei. Subsequently, Liu was accused of using witchcraft to try to change his situation, and while Li Shimin and the officials Xiao Yu and Li Gang all argued that Liu was not committing treason and should be spared, Emperor Gaozu, at Pei's suggestion, nevertheless executed Liu.

In 619, Liu Wuzhou captured Taiyuan, forcing Emperor Gaozu's son Li Yuanji the Prince of Qi to flee. Liu then advanced south deep into Tang territory. Pei volunteered to lead the army against Liu. However, when he engaged Liu's general Song Jin'gang at Dusuo Plain , Song cut off his water supplies and then defeated him, and he lost most of his soldiers. He had to flee to Pingyang . He sent a submission to Emperor Gaozu, requesting to be punished, but Emperor Gaozu did not punish him and continued to keep him in command of the forces in the region. However, Pei, who was described to be fearful and not a capable general, was reduced to ordering the people into fortified cities, leaving the countryside for Liu to control and causing the dissatisfied people to rebel against Tang. The situation became sufficiently severe that Emperor Gaozu considered abandoning the entire modern Shanxi region. Li Shimin, however, argued that was inadvisable, and he led an army against Liu and Song, gradually fighting back and defeating Liu in 620, forcing Liu to flee to Eastern Tujue. Meanwhile, Emperor Gaozu summoned Pei back to Chang'an and put him under arrest briefly, but soon released him and continued to honor him. When Emperor Gaozu was away from Chang'an, he often had Pei in charge of the capital in his absence. In 621, when Emperor Gaozu began minting new coins, he bestowed one mint press on Pei, allowing Pei to mint his own money, and he also took a daughter of Pei's to be the wife and princess of his son Li Yuanjing the Prince of Zhao. During the years, Pei offered several times to retire, and in 626, Emperor Gaozu granted him the honorific title of ''Sikong'' and allowed him to effectively retire, but further continued to set up rotations of junior officials from the executive bureau who would attend to Pei on a daily basis.

Pei Judao

Pei Judao was a general and official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a during the first reign of .

During Emperor Ruizong's reign

As of 685, during the reign of Emperor Gaozong's son , Pei Judao was serving as the minister of justice, when Emperor Ruizong's mother, the regent gave Pei the designation of ''Tong Fengge Luantai Sanpin'' , making him a ''de facto''. Later that year, he was made ''Neishi'' -- the head of the legislative bureau of government and a post considered one for a chancellor. In 687, he was made ''Nayan'' -- the head of the examination bureau of government , also a post considered one for a chancellor. Around the new year 689, Empress Dowager Wu, who had by that point taken up permanent residence in the eastern capital Luoyang, made Pei the official in charge of the capital Chang'an. Sometime during his service as chancellor, she created him the Duke of Yi.

Princess Pingyang

Participation in Tang's founding

In 617, Li Yuan, then the general in charge at Taiyuan was planning to rebel against Emperor Yang of Sui. He sent messengers to his daughter and son-in-law Chai Shao, then at the Sui capital Chang'an, summoning them back to Taiyuan. Chai worried that they would not be able to escape together easily, and when he consulted her, she told him to go and that she, as a woman, would be able to hide more easily. He therefore secretly headed for Taiyuan and, after first meeting Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji, whom Li Yuan had similarly recalled from Hedong , reported to Taiyuan. Meanwhile, she hid initially, but then distributed her wealth to several hundred men, receiving their loyalty, so she rose in support of Li Yuan. She sent her servant Ma Sanbao to persuade the agrarian rebel leader He Panren to join her, and then also persuaded other rebel leaders Li Zhongwen , Xiang Shanzhi , and Qiu Shili to join her as well. She attacked and captured some of the nearby cities, and she gathered a total of 70,000 men.

Qin Shubao

Qin then followed Li Shimin in defeating Liu's major general Song Jin'gang , contributing to Li Shimin's final victory over Liu later in 620. Emperor Gaozu awarded Qin with a large supply of gold and silk. Later that year, Li Shimin launched a major attack against Wang, who by this point had deposed Yang Tong and declared himself emperor of a new state of Zheng. During the campaign, Li Shimin selected some 1,000 elite soldiers, clad in black uniform and black armor, commanded by Li Shimin himself, to serve as the forward advance corps, with Qin, Cheng Zhijie, Yuchi , and Zhai Zhangsun as his assistants. This corps subsequently accomplished much during the campaign against Wang and Dou Jiande the Prince of Xia, who came to Wang's aid. During initial engagement against Xia troops, Qin, Yuchi, and Li Shiji were able to defeat Xia forward troops, and Li Shimin subsequently wrote Dou, citing the battle as a reason why he should stop his campaign to aid Wang. Dou did not relent, and in summer 621, his and Li Shimin's troops engaged at the Battle of Hulao. Qin contributed much during the battle, which ended with Dou's being captured by Tang forces. Wang subsequently surrendered, and both Zheng and Xia territory were seized by Tang . For his achievements against Zheng and Xia forces, Qin was created the Duke of Yi. In 622, he also followed Li Shimin in fighting against Liu Heita.

Suo Yuanli

Less than a month later, believing that Empress Dowager Wei would act against them, Emperor Zhongzong's sister Princess Taiping and nephew the Prince of Linzi rose in rebellion, killing Empress Dowager Wei and Li Guo'er. Li Longji's father the Prince of Xiang, himself a former emperor, became regent instead, and the popular sentiment at the time called for Li Dan to return to the throne. When eunuchs and attending to the young Emperor Shang requested that one of the coup leaders who became a chancellor immediately after the coup, Liu Youqiu, draft an edict to let Emperor Shang to honor his mother as empress dowager, Liu refused and hinted that Li Dan should be emperor, and while Li Longji publicly told Liu not to speak any further, Li Longji, his brother Li Chengqi the Prince of Song, and Princess Taiping were trying to persuade Li Dan to take the throne. Several days later, Li Dan agreed, and he took the throne, displacing Emperor Shang, who was still sitting on the throne during the ceremony and whom Princess Taiping grabbed by the collar to pull down from the throne. He was again given the title of Prince of Wen.

Wang Hongyi

Wang Hongyi was a secret police official during the dynasty Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty.
As of 690, Wu Zetian, then empress dowager and regent over her son , was poised to take the throne herself, and by that point, she had given Wang a general title, and then made him an assistant censor. On one occasion, when Wang Anren the commandant at Sheng Prefecture was accused of treason, Empress Dowager Wu sent Wang Hongyi to investigate. Wang Anren put himself in stocks to try to show his loyalty, but Wang Hongyi was not persuaded, and had Wang Anren beheaded even as he was in the stocks; he also beheaded Wang Anren's son. As he was returning to the eastern capital Luoyang, he went through Fen Prefecture , where the military advisor to the prefect, a man named Mao, held a feast for him. For reasons unknown, however, during the feast, he ordered Mao to leave the table and beheaded Mao. He put Mao's head on a spear and entered Luoyang with it, and everyone who saw the sight shivered. At that time, the prison for political prisoners were inside the Lijing Gate , and as political prisoners entering that gate would thus rarely be able to leave alive, Wang jokingly referred to the Lijing Gate with two different characters, 例竟, also pronounced Lijing but meaning "the end."

Wang Jishan

Wang Jishan , formally Duke Zhen of Xing , was an official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, serving as a during Wu Zetian's reign.


Wang Jishan was born in 618, around the time of the founding of Tang Dynasty. His family was from Ming Prefecture . His father Wang Jun'e had, at the end of Tang's predecessor Sui Dynasty, served under the agrarian rebel leader Wang Junkuo , and after Tang was founded, surrendered to Tang with Wang Junkuo and subsequently served as a Tang general. Wang Jun'e participated in 's , and died in 645 during the Battle of Mount Zhubi . Emperor Taizong posthumously created him the Duke of Xing. After Wang Jun'e's death, Wang Jishan inherited the title of Duke of Xing and was given the additional honorific title of ''Chaosan Daifu'' .

During Emperor Gaozong's reign

During the reign of Emperor Taizong's son , Wang Jishan served on the staff of his son and crown prince Li Hong. Once, Li Hong gathered his staff members for a gave of ''zhidao'' . When Wang's turn was up, he opined that there were people whose responsibilities were to entertain the crown prince, and that it was inappropriate for staff members to be participating in the game. Li Hong thanked him and excused him. When Emperor Gaozong heard this, he awarded Wang with silk and made him a commanding general of the imperial guards, commenting, "I know that you are faithful and diligent, and that is why I give you an office of the third rank. Other people need to be searched before they could enter the palace, but you are allowed to holster a large sword to be by my side. Do you understand the honor that this is?" Soon thereafter, however, Wang was dismissed on account of illness, but later on was made the minister of military supplies .

During Wu Zetian's reign

In 690, Empress Dowager Wu had Emperor Ruizong yield the throne to her, and she took the throne as "emperor," establishing a new Zhou Dynasty and interrupting Tang. During a Khitan attack in 697, Wu Zetian requested Wang Jishan to come out of retirement to serve as the prefect of Hua Prefecture , stating to him, "The thieves on the border have rebelled. Even though you are ill, you can head slowly to your post 30 '''' a day ) with your wife and children. Even if you can only govern the prefecture while lying on your bed, you can cut off the Yellow River for me." She then inquired him as to his opinion on a number of central government affairs. He gave her some 10-odd items of opinion. She, in turn, responded, "A prefecture is unimportant compared to the important matters of the central government. You must not leave." She then made him ''Neishi'' , the head of the legislative bureau of government and a post considered one for a . Later that year, when her secret police official Lai Junchen were accused of crimes warranting death and yet she considered pardoning Lai on account of his contributions to her in the past, Wang pointed out that Lai had falsely killed many virtuous officials and that he must be killed. Wu Zetian agreed and executed Lai.
It was said that Wang was not well-studied, but was honest and upright in his acts. Around 699, at imperial feasts, Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong were often not acting in accordance with proper regulations for imperial subjects, and Wang often counseled Wu Zetian not to allow them to carry out these actions. This displeased her, and she told Wang, "You are old. It is not right that you be required to attend so many feasts. From now on, just tend to the matters of the legislative bureau." Wang, in turn, claimed illness and requested sick leave. After taking leave for a month, Wu Zetian had not yet tried to see him. He sighed and stated, "How can the Son of Heaven not see someone as important as the head of the legislative bureau on a daily basis? This shows how unimportant I am viewed." He then requested retirement, but she did not approve of it. Instead, she made him ''Wenchang Zuo Xiang'' , one of the heads of the executive bureau , and gave him the designation of ''Tong Fengge Luantai Sanpin'' , having him still serve as a chancellor ''de facto''. He died a month later and was buried with honors, near the tomb of Emperor Gaozong, where Wu Zetian herself would eventually be buried as well.

Fu Gongshi

Du Fuwei , known during service to Tang Dynasty as Li Fuwei , was an agrarian leader who rose against the rule of Emperor Yang of Sui at the end of the dynasty Sui Dynasty. At one point, he had ambitions to take over the region south of the Yangtze River for himself, but he later chose to submit to Tang, receiving the title of Prince of Wu. In 622, fearing that Emperor Gaozu of Tang might doubt his loyalty, he went to the Tang capital Chang'an to pay homage to Emperor Gaozu and stayed at Chang'an. In 624, his general Fu Gongshi rose against Tang rule, claiming to have his blessing, and he subsequently died at Chang'an unexpectedly; after Fu's defeat, Emperor Gaozu, believing him to be complicit with Fu's rebellion, posthumously stripped his honors and made his wife and children servants. After Emperor Gaozu's son became emperor in 626 , he knew that Du had not been complicit in Fu's plot, and therefore posthumously restored his honors and reburied him accordingly.

Struggle for control of lower Yangtze region

Meanwhile, Du was contending for the control of the region with Chen Leng, who took over Jiangdu after Yuwen's departure; Li Zitong, then at Hailing ; and Shen Faxing, then at Piling and who claimed the title of Prince of Liang. In fall 619, Li was sieging Chen at Jiangling, and Chen sought help from both Shen and Du. Shen sent his son Shen Guan with an army to assist Chen, along with Du. However, Li tricked Shen Guan and Du into attacking each other, and neither was able to assist Chen. Li was able to capture Jiangdu, and then defeated Shen Guan in battle. Both Shen Guan and Du withdrew, and Li took over the Jiangdu region. Li declared himself the Emperor of Wu. With Yang Tong's regime having fallen earlier that year when Yang Tong's official Wang Shichong forced Yang Tong to yield the throne to him, ending Sui and establishing a new state of Zheng, Du decided to submit to Tang Dynasty. Emperor Gaozu of Tang commissioned Du as the commandant of He Prefecture and the commander of the forces south of the Huai River. He also continued to have Du hold the title of Prince of Chu.
Meanwhile, in fall 623, Fu, after tricking Wang into surrendering his command and killing him, rebelled, claiming that Li Fuwei had been detained and had secretly ordered him to rise against Tang. Fu soon declared himself the Emperor of Song. In spring 624, Li Fuwei died suddenly -- with official sources suggesting that he was poisoned by the substances he was taking as a part of alchemical exercises, but also, in a veiled manner, leaving open the possibility that he was assassinated on Emperor Gaozu's orders. After Li Xiaogong the Prince of Zhao Commandery, a son of a cousin of Emperor Gaozu, defeated and killed Fu later that year, Li Xiaogong believed Fu's declaration that he was rebelling under Li Fuwei's orders, and therefore reported it to Emperor Gaozu. Emperor Gaozu ordered that Li Fuwei's titles be posthumously stripped, and that his wife and children be arrested and made slaves. After Li Shimin became emperor in 626, he knew that Li Fuwei was not part of Fu's plot, and therefore restored Li Fuwei's titles, released his wife and children, and reburied him with honor, albeit not with the honor due to a prince, but only of a duke.

Gao Lishi

Gao Lishi , formally the Duke of Qi , was a eunuch official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty and Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty, becoming particularly powerful during Emperor Xuanzong of Tang's reign. He is believed to have have been in charge of many decisions that were supposed to be the emperor's responsibility during Emperor Xuanzong's later years, and was believed to have been richer than many of the nobility of the era. Despite this, however, he was often viewed as a positive example of eunuch participation in politics for his personal loyalty to Emperor Xuanzong, which withstood despite its putting himself in personal danger later, during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong's son as it drew jealousy from fellow eunuch Li Fuguo. Further, during the years of his highest power, he was also said to make no improper influences on governance, and therefore drew no anger from the intelligentsia. Late in Emperor Suzong's reign, he was exiled upon Li Fuguo's urging. After a pardon in 762, he was returning from exile, when he heard of Emperors Xuanzong's and Suzong's deaths. Mourning Emperor Xuanzong bitterly, he grew ill and died.


Gao Lishi was born in 684, when was successively regent over her sons and . He was from Pan Prefecture . His original family name was Feng , and he was reportedly a great-grandson of the early Tang local government Feng Ang . In 698, a local official, Li Qianli , submitted two young eunuchs to Wu Zetian, who had by that point taken the throne as "emperor," as tribute; one was Lishi , and one was named Jin'gang . Wu Zetian favored Lishi for his intelligence and kept him as an attending eunuch. Later, however, Lishi committed a minor fault, and she had him battered and expelled from her presence. An older eunuch, Gao Yanfu , took Lishi as an adoptive son , and as Gao Yanfu had previously served Wu Zetian's powerful nephew Wu Sansi the Prince of Liang, he had Gao Lishi serve Wu Sansi. After about a year, Wu Zetian summoned him back to her palace, and he again attended her. He eventually grew to be exceedingly tall. As he was careful, he was put in charge of announcing imperial edicts, and was eventually promoted to be ''Gongwei Cheng'' , a highly ranked eunuch.

During Emperor Xuanzong's reign

In 712, Emperor Ruizong passed the throne to Li Longji, who took the throne as Emperor Xuanzong. However, Emperor Ruizong retained most of the imperial authority as ''Taishang Huang'' , and Princess Taiping, through him, continued to exert great influence on governance. As of 713, it was said that five of the seven chancellors at the time -- Dou Huaizhen, Cen Xi, Xiao Zhizhong, Cui Shi, and Lu Xiangxian -- were recommended by her . With Emperor Xuanzong and Princess Taiping locked into a power struggle, Zhang Shuo, from his post at Luoyang, had a messenger present Emperor Xuanzong with his sword -- meaning to tell him that it was time to take decisive action. Meanwhile, it was said that Princess Taiping, Dou, Cen, Xiao, and Cui; along with other officials Xue Ji, Li Jin the Prince of Xinxing , Li You , Jia Yingfu , Tang Jun ; the generals Chang Yuankai , Li Ci , and Li Qin ; and the monk Huifan , were plotting to overthrow Emperor Xuanzong. It was further said that they discussed, with the lady in waiting Lady Yuan to poison an aphrodisiac that Emperor Xuanzong took regularly known as ''chijian'' ). When this alleged plot was reported to Emperor Xuanzong by Wei Zhigu, Emperor Xuanzong, who had already received advice from Wang Ju , Zhang Shuo, and Cui Riyong to act first, did so. He convened a meeting with his brothers Li Fan the Prince of Qi, Li Ye the Prince of Xue, Guo, along with a number of his associates — the general Wang Maozhong , the officials Jiang Jiao and Li Lingwen , his brother-in-law Wang Shouyi , Gao Lishi, and the military officer Li Shoude — and decided to act first. On July 29, Emperor Xuanzong had Wang Maozhong take 300 soldiers to the imperial guard camp to behead Chang and Li Ci. Then, Jia, Li You, Xiao, and Cen were arrested and executed as well. Dou and Princess Taiping committed suicide. Emperor Ruizong turned over imperial authority to Emperor Xuanzong and thereafter was no longer involved in important decisions. As a result of Gao's participation in this action against Princess Taiping and her party, Emperor Xuanzong awarded him by making him a general of the imperial guards, as well as the acting head of the eunuch bureau . Gao's general commission made Gao the first eunuch in Tang history to carry the third rank in Tang's nine-rank system, and this was viewed as the start of the rise of eunuchs.
In 730, when Emperor Xuanzong was beginning to be apprehensive about Wang Maozhong's power and arrogance, it was Gao who suggested that he act first, and in spring 731, Emperor Xuanzong exiled Wang and his associates, and subsequently forced Wang to commit suicide. Thereafter it was said that Gao was particularly trusted by Emperor Xuanzong, who remarked, "If Gao Lishi is here, I can sleep securely." Gao therefore rarely returned to his own home, and the petitions submitted to Emperor Xuanzong were first screened by Gao before he would pass them on to Emperor Xuanzong -- and Gao ruled on the less important matters himself, causing his power to rise immensely. He spent much effort to support his adoptive parents Gao Yanfu and Gao Yanfu's wife. He also had the commander of Lingnan Circuit locate his birth mother Lady Mai and send her to the capital Chang'an, so that he could support her. When Lady Mai died, the general Cheng Boxian and the official Feng Shaozheng , who had sworn to be brothers with Gao Lishi, both mourned her deeply. Gao Lishi's father-in-law Lü Xuanwu was promoted quickly, as were his brothers and sons, and when Gao Lishi's wife Lady Lü died, the officials and the ordinary citizens all mourned her, to impress Gao. However, it was said that while Gao was powerful, he was careful and modest, and therefore continuously drew trust from Emperor Xuanzong. Among officials and generals who ingratiated him and had him help their advancements were Yuwen Rong, Li Linfu, Li Shizhi, Gai Jiayun , Wei Jian , Yang Shenjin , Wang Hong , Yang Guozhong, An Lushan, An Sishun, and Gao Xianzhi. The intelligentsia at the time blamed him for the advancement of some of the more power-hungry officials, but also recognized that whenever officials associated with him were charged with crimes, he would not improperly intercede to save them.

In 737, Emperor Xuanzong's favorite concubine , trying to have her son Li Mao the Prince of Shou made crown prince, made false accusations against Li Ying the Crown Prince, as well as two other princes, Li Yao the Prince of E and Li Ju the Prince of Guang. Li Ying, Li Yao, and Li Ju were deposed and then forced to commit suicide. Consort Wu died later that year, but Li Linfu, who was then chancellor and who was allied with her, continued to lobby on Li Mao's behalf. Instead, Emperor Xuanzong was considering an older son, the Prince of Zhong, but could not decide quickly, and was depressed over the matter as well as his killing of three of his own sons. He could not sleep well or eat well. Gao asked him the reason, and he responded, "You are my old servant. Can you not tell?" Gao responded, "Is it that the position of young master has not been decided?" He responded, "Yes." Gao responded, "You do not need to trouble your heart. Just select the oldest one, and no one would dare to dispute it." Emperor Xuanzong therefore made up his mind, and he selected Li Yu as crown prince.
In 752, when associates of Wang Hong's brother Wang Han plotted treason and rose in rebellion inside Chang'an, the troops commanded by Yang Guozhong and Wang Hong were initially unable to crush Wang Han's associates, but Gao then arrived with reinforcements and crushed the rebellion decisively. In the aftermaths, when Wang Hong hesitated at asking for punishment for his brother, Yang Guozhong accused Wang Hong of being complicit, and both Wang Hong and Wang Han were executed. Later that year, when Emperor Xuanzong, seeing that Geshu Han, the commander of Longyou Circuit , had poor relations with An Lushan, then the commander of Fanyang Circuit and An Sishun , then the commander of Shuofang Circuit , and wanted to improve relations between these three key border troop commanders, he summoned all three to the capital and had Gao host a feast for the three of them, trying to get them to resolve their unpleasantries. However, instead, at the feast, Geshu and An Lushan got into an argument, which only stopped after Gao gazed at Geshu, stopping him from responding to An Lushan's insults.

By 754, Yang Guozhong, who was then chancellor, was beginning to repeatedly accuse An Lushan of plotting rebellion, claiming that if Emperor Xuanzong summoned An to the capital, An would surely not come. Instead, when Emperor Xuanzong summoned An to the capital in early 754, An came. Emperor Xuanzong considered making him chancellor as well -- even having the official Zhang Ji draft an edict to that effect -- but eventually did not do so. When An was set to return to Fanyang, Emperor Xuanzong had Gao hold a feast for An to send him off. After the feast, Gao observed to Emperor Xuanzong that An was somewhat displeased, perhaps because he had found out that he was originally set to be made chancellor but was not. Emperor Xuanzong, believing Zhang Ji and his brothers Zhang Jun and Zhang Shu to have leaked the news, demoted all of them. Meanwhile, there was a war in the southwest between Tang forces and Nanzhao, which was not going well for Tang, and 200,000 soldiers had died in the conflict. Yang Guozhong, however, was hiding the truth from Emperor Xuanzong and declaring that there had been numerous victories. In response, Emperor Xuanzong told Gao:
Meanwhile, Yang Guozhong repeatedly tried to provoke An into rebelling, including arresting and executing staff members at An's mansion in Chang'an. In 755, An finally did. In 756, after Geshu was defeated by An's forces, after being forced by Yang Guozhong to engage An, Tong Pass, the last major defense against An's forces, fell to An. Yang Guozhong suggested fleeing to Chengdu, the capital of Jiannan Circuit, of which Yang Guozhong was commander. On July 14, Emperor Xuanzong, keeping the news secret from the people of Chang'an, took the imperial guards to escort him, Consort Yang, her family, and his immediate clan members, and exited Chang'an, heading toward Chengdu. Attending him were Yang Guozhong, his fellow chancellor Wei Jiansu, the official Wei Fangjin , the general Chen Xuanli , and some eunuchs and ladies in waiting close to him, including Gao.

On July 15, Emperor Xuanzong's train reached Mawei Station . The imperial guards were not fed and were angry at Yang Guozhong. Chen also believed that Yang Guozhong provoked this disaster and planned to carry him -- and reported his plans to Li Heng through Li Heng's eunuch Li Fuguo, but Li Heng was hesitated and gave no approval. Meanwhile, though, Tufan emissaries, who followed Emperor Xuanzong south, were meeting with Yang Guozhong and complaining that they were also not fed. The imperial guard soldiers took this opportunity to proclaim that Yang Guozhong was planning treason along with the Tufan emissaries, and they killed him, along with his son Yang Xuan , the Ladies of Han and Qin, and Wei Fangjin. Wei Jiansu was also nearly killed, but was spared at the last moment with severe injuries. The soldiers then surrounded Emperor Xuanzong's pavilion, and refused to scatter even after Emperor Xuanzong came out to comfort them and order them to scatter. Chen publicly urged him to put Consort Yang to death -- which Emperor Xuanzong initially declined. After Wei Jiansu's son Wei E and Gao Lishi spoke further, Emperor Xuanzong finally resolved to do so. He therefore had Gao take Consort Yang to a Buddhist shrine and strangle her there. After he showed the body to Chen and the other imperial guard generals, the guard soldiers finally scattered and prepared for further movement. The imperial guards eventually escorted Emperor Xuanzong to Chengdu. Gao continued to attend to him there. For Gao's faithfulness, Emperor Xuanzong created him the Duke of Qi.
After Emperor Xuanzong's return to Chang'an, he took residence at Xingqing Palace , which was converted from his residence as an imperial prince. Gao and Chen Xuanli attended to him, as did Emperor Xuanzong's younger sister Li Chiying the Princess Yuzhen, the lady in waiting Ru Xianyuan , and the eunuchs Wang Cheng'en and Wei Yue . Meanwhile, Li Fuguo had become very powerful, but these attendants of Emperor Xuanzong did not respect him. To retaliate, Li Fuguo began to try to convince Emperor Suzong that Emperor Xuanzong and his attendants were plotting to seize power back. In 760, with Emperor Suzong's tacit, although not explicit, approval, on one occasion when Emperor Xuanzong was out riding, Li Fuguo intercepted him and forced him to move back to the main palace. Even on that occasion, however, Gao would not submit to Li Fuguo, and even yelled at Li Fuguo to force him to get off his horse and to escort Emperor Xuanzong on foot, along with Gao. Soon after Emperor Xuanzong was forcibly moved, Li Fuguo forced Chen to retire, Li Chiying to return to her temple , and exiled Gao, Wang, Wei, and Ru. In Gao's case, he was exiled to Wu Prefecture .


In spring 762, Emperor Suzong, then seriously ill, declared a general pardon. Gao Lishi was therefore allowed to return to Chang'an, and he began to undertake the journey. While he was on the way back to Chang'an, however, on May 5, Emperor Xuanzong died, followed by Emperor Suzong on May 16. When Gao reached Lang Prefecture , he heard of the two emperors' deaths, and he, mourning Emperor Xuanzong bitterly, spit up blood and died soon afterwards.

Hou Junji

Hou Junji was a major general and of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, particularly known for his campaigns against Gaochang and Tuyuhun. In 643, he was implicated in a plot by 's crown prince Li Chengqian to overthrow Emperor Taizong, and he was executed.
In 634, Emperor Taizong, sending the senior general Li Jing to command the campaign against Tuyuhun's Busabo Khan Murong Fuyun, made Hou and Li Daozong the Prince of Rencheng Li Jing's assistants on the campaign. By spring 635, Tang forces achieved initial victories, but Tuyuhun forces then burned the grazing grass to cut the food supplies to Tang horses. Most Tang generals wanted to withdraw, but Hou advocated continued advance, and Li Jing agreed, eventually allowing complete victory, as Murong Fuyun was killed by his subordinates, allowing his son Murong Shun, whom Tang supported, to become khan . Around the new year 636, after Murong Shun was assassinated by his subordinates, Emperor Taizong sent Hou with an army to try to secure the throne for Murong Shun's son Murong Nuohebo.


Hou Junji was resentful that, despite his great achievement, he was put under arrest, albeit briefly, and in spring 643, when fellow general was sent out of the capital to serve as the commandant at Luo Prefecture , Hou tried to instigate him by asking him, "Who squeezed you out?" Zhang, in jest, responded, "Other than you, who can squeeze me out?" Hou responded, "I conquered a kingdom, but I ran into someone throwing a tamper tantrum big enough to overturn a house. What strength do I have to squeeze you out?" He then rolled up his sleeves and yelled, "I am so unhappy that I would rather die. Do you want to commit treason? I will commit treason with you!" Zhang secretly reported this exchange to Emperor Taizong, but Emperor Taizong pointed out that this was a private conversation with no corroboration, and took no action on it.
Around the same time, however, Emperor Taizong's crown prince Li Chengqian was becoming fearful because Emperor Taizong had greatly favored another son, Li Tai the Prince of Wei, and Li Tai was making designs on the crown prince position. Li Chengqian therefore gathered a group of men around him to consider overthrowing his father, including his uncle Li Yuanchang the Prince of Han, his cousin Zhao Jie , and brother-in-law Du He . Hou's son-in-law Helan Chushi , the commander of Li Chengqian's guards, was also part of the plot, and through Helan, Li Chengqian invited Hou to join the plot as well, as Hou agreed. However, he was deeply disturbed by his own involvement, and he developed insomnia. His wife sensed that something was wrong, and told him, "You, Duke, are an important official of the state, so why are you acting like this? If there is something you are doing wrong, you should report yourself so that your life can be spared." However, Hou did not do so.

Eventually, however, Li Chengqian's plot was betrayed by his guard Gegan Chengji , and after an investigation ordered by Emperor Taizong and conducted by Zhangsun Wuji, Fang Xuanling, Xiao Yu, Li Shiji, as well as responsible officials from the supreme court and the legislative and examination bureaus of government, Li Chengqian was deposed. The other conspirators, including Hou, were sentenced to death. Emperor Taizong initially considered commuting Hou's death sentence because of his accomplishments, but the other officials opposed, and Emperor Taizong stated to Hou, "I have to bid you, Duke, farewell. From now, I can only see your portrait!" Both he and Hou wept. As Hou was about to be beheaded, he stated to the general overseeing the execution, "I, Hou Junji, am not the type to commit treason, but I stumbled many times and reached this point. But as I destroyed two kingdoms as a general, please speak for me to His Imperial Majesty to request for me to have a son remaining to carry the lineage, on the basis of my accomplishments." Emperor Taizong, when he heard this, pardoned Hou's wife and children but exiled them to the modern Guangdong region, and confiscated his properties.

It was said that years earlier, after Emperor Taizong ordered Li Jing to teach Hou strategies, Hou reported to Emperor Taizong, "Li Jing is about to commit treason." When Emperor Taizong asked him why, Hou responded, "Li Jing only teaches me basic principles and does not teach me the best strategies, keeping them for himself." When Emperor Taizong asked Li Jing about this, Li Jing responded, "This is proof that Hou Junji will commit treason. China is secure right now, and the empire is united. What I taught him is sufficient to use against barbarians. If not for treasonous purposes, why would Hou want to learn all of the strategies?" At one point, Li Daozong also spoke to Emperor Taizong, stating, "Hou Junji has too much ambition and too little talent. He overvalued his achievements and found it shameful to be lower in position than Fang Xuanling and Li Jing. Even though he serves as a minister, he finds the position insufficient. I believe one day he will create a disturbance." Emperor Taizong responded, "Hou Junji is very talented and capable of serving in any position. It is not that I am unwilling to give him the highest post; it is just that it is not yet his turn. How can I distrust him and believe that he will commit treason?" After Hou was put to death, Emperor Taizong apologized to Li Daozong.

Ji Chuna

Ji Chuna was an official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a during the reign of and Emperor Zhongzong's son . He was a member of the faction of Emperor Zhongzong's powerful wife , and was killed after she was killed in a coup in 710.
In 707, there was a major drought, and Emperor Zhongzong summoned Ji to discuss the matter with him. The next day, Wu Sansi had the acting director of the imperial astronomical conservatory, Jiaye Zhizhong submit a report stating that the night before, that the star ''Sheti'' had entered the constellation ''Taiwei Palace'' , symbolizing that a faithful official had entered the palace and met the emperor. Emperor Zhongzong was convinced that it involved his meeting with Ji, and issued an edict that praised Ji for great faithfulness that caused the stars to reflect him, and awarded him with clothes and silk. Later that year, when Emperor Zhongzong's crown prince Li Chongjun, by a concubine, who had been repeatedly insulted by Empress Wei's powerful daughter Li Guo'er the Princess Anle, whose husband was Wu Sansi's son Wu Chongxun , and could not bear such insult, rose in rebellion, killing Wu Sansi and Wu Chongxun and then attacking the palace, Ji was described as one of the officials leading forces to defend against the attack on the palace. Li Chongjun was subsequently defeated and killed in flight. Thereafter, Ji and a associated with Wu Sansi, Zong Chuke, made repeated attempts to implicate the senior chancellor Wei Yuanzhong in the plot, and were eventually able to get Emperor Zhongzong to exile, but not execute, Wei Yuanzhong. Meanwhile, Ji was given the designation ''Tong Zhongshu Menxia Sanpin'' , making him a chancellor ''de facto'', and soon thereafter, he was made ''Shizhong'' -- the head of the examination bureau of government and a post considered one for a chancellor.

In 708, Ji was involved in an incident that would cause Suoge , the chieftain of the Tuqishi , to rebel. Suoge had in 706 succeeded his father Wuzhile , and Wuzhile's subordinate Juechuo Zhongjie had been unwilling to submit to Suoge. Juechuo was, however, unable to prevail over Suoge, and he was set to give up his forces and go to the Tang capital Chang'an, when the Tang general Zhou Yiti suggested to him the idea of bribing Zong and Ji to launch an attack against Suoge. Juechuo did so, and Zong, after Juechuo's bribery, proposed to Emperor Zhongzong the idea of attacking Suoge in alliance with Tufan, which Emperor Zhongzong agreed despite opposition by the general Guo Yuanzhen. Suoge heard of this plan and acted first, successfully attacking several Tang outposts and then sending an envoy to Chang'an to demand that Zong be executed. Subsequently, Guo reported the facts of the situation to Emperor Zhongzong, and Emperor Zhongzong sent a peace envoy to make peace with Suoge and creating him Shisixing Khan. Subsequently, in 709, the censor Cui Wan submitted articles of impeachment against Zong and Ji for corruption that led to disaster on the borders. The protocol at that time required that, as the articles of impeachment were read, that the accused officials step out of the palace and await imperial instructions, but Zong did not do so and, in anger, spoke to Emperor Zhongzong and stated that he was faithful and being falsely accused. Instead of investigating, Emperor Zhongzong ordered Zong and Cui swear to brotherhood with each other, causing the people to give Emperor Zhongzong the semi-derogatory epithet of "Peacemaking Son of Heaven."


In summer 710, Emperor Zhongzong died suddenly -- a death that traditional historians believed to be a poisoning carried out by Empress Wei and Li Guo'er, so that Empress Wei could eventually become "emperor" like Wu Zetian, and Li Guo'er could become crown princess. Meanwhile, however, another son of Emperor Zhongzong's, the Prince of Wen, was named emperor , but Empress Wei retained power as empress dowager and regent. She sent a number of her associates to survey the circuits to make sure that no one would dare rise against her, and Ji Chuna was sent to survey Guannei Circuit . After Ji left the capital Chang'an, a coup led by Emperor Zhongzong's sister Princess Taiping and nephew the Prince of Linzi killed Empress Wei and Li Guo'er, along with a number of their associates. At that time, Ji had reached Hua Prefecture , and was arrested and executed.

Jiang Ke

Jiang Ke , formally the Duke of Yong'an , was an official and general of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as for several years during the reign of .


Despite Jiang Ke's high status, little is firmly established about his background or career except for the years that he served as -- as, unusual for a chancellor, he did not have a biography in either the ''Book of Tang'' or the ''New Book of Tang''. Little is known about Jiang Ke's career prior to his becoming chancellor in 665, although it was noted in the biography of his colleague Yan Liben that he was a renowned general who was promoted for his battlefield achievements. The only real record of his military accomplishment came in 662, when he served as the deputy of the general Qibi Heli in a campaign to pacify the Tiele tribes -- a successful one, as Qibi was able to persuade the tribes to give up the chieftains who had rebelled against Tang and to resubmit to Tang.

Li Chongjun

Li Chongjun , formally Crown Prince Jiemin , was a crown prince of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, during the second reign of his father . He was made crown prince because the only son of his father's wife , Li Chongrun, had been killed before his father's return to the throne, but on account of his mother's low birth, he was often humiliated by Empress Wei's daughter the Princess Anle and her husband Wu Chongxun . In 707, in anger, he started a coup and killed Wu Chongxun and his father Wu Sansi the Prince of Dejing, but his subsequent attempt to arrest Empress Wei, Li Guo'er, and was thwarted, and he was killed in flight.
Meanwhile, because Li Chongjun was not born of Empress Wei, she disliked him. Further, Wu Chongxun and Li Guo'er both often humiliated Li Chongjun, sometimes even calling him "slave" on account of his mother's lower birth. Li Guo'er, Emperor Zhongzong's favorite daughter, also often suggested to Emperor Zhongzong that he depose Li Chongjun and make her crown princess. In fall 707 , Li Chongjun's anger erupted, and he, the ethnically Mohe general Li Duozuo, and his father's cousin Li Qianli the Prince of Cheng rose in rebellion, along with other generals Li Sichong , Li Chengkuang , Dugu Yizhi , and Shazha Zhongyi . They took a group of imperial guards and attacked Wu Sansi's mansion, killing him and Wu Chongxun. They then attacked the palace, seeking to arrest Empress Wei, Li Guo'er, and Emperor Zhongzong's concubine . The imperial guards at the palace defended against the attack, and Li Chongjun hesitated -- hoping to be able to converse with Emperor Zhongzong himself to plead his case. The eunuch Yang Sixu took the opportunity to counterattack and kill Li Chongjun's forward commander, Li Duozuo's son-in-law Ye Huli . Emperor Zhongzong then spoke to Li Chongjun's soldiers, urging them to desert. The soldiers thereafter turned against Li Chongjun and killed Li Duozuo, Li Chengkuang, Dugu, and Shazha; in a separate attack, Li Qianli and his son Li Xi the Prince of Tianshui were killed in battle. Li Chongjun fled with some 100 soldiers toward the Qinling Mountains, but soldiers deserted on the way, and by the time he reached Hu , he only had several soldiers with him. As they were resting under a tree, the soldiers killed him and surrendered.

Emperor Zhongzong presented Li Chongjun's head to the imperial ancestral temple , and then also presented it to the caskets of Wu Sansi and Wu Chongxun. He then hung Li Chongjun's head on the government wall. None of Li Chongjun's staff members, fearful that they would be accused of treason themselves, dared to approach Li Chongjun's body, but the secretary general of Yonghe County , Ning Jiaxu , took off his own shirt, wrapped Li Chongjun's head in it, and wept bitterly -- and as a result was demoted to be the secretary general of the distant Xingping County . After Emperor Zhongzong's death in 710, Empress Wei was overthrown in a coup led by Li Chongjun's cousin the Prince of Linzi and Li Chongjun's aunt Princess Taiping, and Li Longji's father and Li Chongjun's uncle the Prince of Xiang became emperor . Emperor Ruizong restored Li Chongjun's title as crown prince, reburied him with honors due a crown prince, and gave him the posthumous name of Jiemin .

Li Fuguo

Li Fuguo , né Li Jingzhong , known from 757 to 758 as Li Huguo , formally Prince Chou of Bolu , was a eunuch official during the reign of of the dynasty Tang Dynasty. He had served Li Heng while Li Heng was crown prince under Li Heng's father and later supported Li Heng in ascending the throne during Anshi Rebellion, when Emperor Xuanzong's realm was thrown into confusion. He later became exceedingly powerful, in alliance with Emperor Suzong's wife , but broke with her and killed her in 762 when Emperor Suzong died. He briefly became the paramount figure in the administration of Emperor Suzong's son and successor , but was removed and then killed by assassins sent by Emperor Daizong later that year.

During Emperor Suzong's reign

After Emperor Suzong took the throne, while he did not at that point make his oldest son the Prince of Guangping crown prince, he gave Li Chu the title of supreme commander of the armies, and he gave Li Jingzhong dual titles on Li Chu's staff -- serving as the head of the crown prince's household and acting assistant of military affairs to the supreme commander . Emperor Suzong entrusted Li Jingzhong with the important secrets, and Li Fuguo became in charge of receiving important reports, as well as distributing military command seals and signs. He also changed Li Jingzhong's name to Huguo . By this point, Li Huguo ate a vegetarian diet and often acted as Buddhist monks did; further, when he was taking a break, he would often hold prayer beads, and people believed at that point he was benevolent. Later, when Emperor Suzong, while still fighting Yan forces, moved his headquarters from Lingwu to Fengxiang in spring 757, he gave Li Huguo a slightly greater title as the head of the crown prince's household , and changed his name again to Fuguo .
After joint Tang and Huige forces recaptured Chang'an later in 757 under Li Chu's command, Emperor Suzong returned to Chang'an. He bestowed on Li Fuguo a number of titles that gave him responsibility over a number of financial affairs of the state. He also gave Li Fuguo the honorific title of ''Kaifu Yitong Sansi'' and created him the Duke of Cheng. The officials' reports continued to go through Li Fuguo, and Li Fuguo established a bureau with a number of agents with the responsibility of secretly finding out officials' faults. Even criminal cases were ruled on by Li Fuguo, and he was often making orders, in Emperor Suzong's name, reversing officials' decisions. No official dared to speak against him or even to refer to him by official title, instead addressing him as "Master Five," using a form of address from a servant to a master. Even the chancellor , who was from a highly honored household, paid him respect as a son or a nephew would, calling him, "Father Five." Emperor Suzong also gave Li Fuguo, despite his eunuch status, the grandnephew of the deceased official Yuan Xisheng as his wife, and promoted Lady Yuan's uncle.
After Emperor Xuanzong's return to Chang'an, he took residence at Xingqing Palace , which was converted from his residence as an imperial prince. Gao Lishi and the general Chen Xuanli attended to him, as did Emperor Xuanzong's younger sister Li Chiying the Princess Yuzhen, the lady in waiting Ru Xianyuan , and the eunuchs Wang Cheng'en and Wei Yue . These attendants of Emperor Xuanzong did not respect Li Fuguo. To retaliate, Li Fuguo began to try to convince Emperor Suzong that Emperor Xuanzong and his attendants were plotting to seize power back. In 760, with Emperor Suzong's tacit, although not explicit, approval, on one occasion when Emperor Xuanzong was out riding, Li Fuguo intercepted him and forced him to move back to the main palace. Even on that occasion, however, Gao would not submit to Li Fuguo, and even yelled at Li Fuguo to force him to get off his horse and to escort Emperor Xuanzong on foot, along with Gao. Soon after Emperor Xuanzong was forcibly moved, Li Fuguo forced Chen to retire, Li Chiying to return to her temple , and exiled Gao, Wang, Wei, and Ru. Emperor Suzong had his daughters Princesses Wan'an and Xianyi attend to Emperor Xuanzong, but Emperor Xuanzong, depressed over his forced movement and the exile of his attendants, began to be ill. Emperor Suzong regretted this and considered killing Li Fuguo, but feared the fact that Li Fuguo had command of the imperial guards, and therefore did not act.
Throughout the years, Empress Zhang and Li Fuguo's alliance held. However, as of spring 762, when both Emperors Xuanzong and Suzong were seriously ill, Empress Zhang and Li Fuguo had begun to be rivals. She summoned Li Chu and tried to persuade him to join her in killing Li Fuguo and his ally Cheng Yuanzhen. Li Yu declined, and she instead tried to persuade his younger brother Li Xi the Prince of Yue, to join her. Li Xi agreed. She and Li Xi thereafter had the eunuch Duan Hengjun selected some 200 strong eunuchs, ready to ambush Li Fuguo and Cheng. On May 14, Empress Zhang issued an order in Emperor Suzong's name, summoning Li Yu. Cheng found out and informed Li Fuguo, who intercepted Li Yu at the palace gate and then escorted him to the camp of the imperial guards under Li Fuguo's command. The guards under Li Fuguo's command then entered the palace and arrested Empress Zhang and Li Xi; the other eunuchs and fled, leaving Emperor Suzong without care. On May 16, Emperor Suzong died, and Li Fuguo thereafter executed Empress Zhang and Li Xi, as well as Li Xian the Prince of Yan, and then declared Li Yu emperor .

Li Jingye

Li Jiancheng , formally Crown Prince Yin , nickname Pishamen , was a crown prince of the dynasty Tang Dynasty. He was the oldest son of the founding emperor and therefore was designated crown prince after the founding of the dynasty in 618. However, although he himself was fairly capable as a general, he was overshadowed by the contributions of his younger brother the Prince of Qin, and the brothers contended for power for years, with Li Jiancheng aided by another younger brother, Li Yuanji the Prince of Qi. In 626, Li Shimin, fearing that Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji were about to kill him, laid an ambush for them at outside the palace and killed them. Li Shimin then effectively forced Emperor Gaozu to yield the throne to him .
Li Yuan made both Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin key generals, and in nine days, they captured Xihe Commandery , impressing their father. Subsequently, Li Yuan divided his forces into six armies, having Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin command three each. He also created Li Jiancheng the Duke of Longxi and Li Shimin the Duke of Dunhuang. Subsequently, Li Yuan advanced toward Chang'an, but when he got near to Hedong, his army could not advance due to torrential rains. With rumors running rampant that Liu Wuzhou and Eastern Tujue were about to attack Taiyuan, Li Yuan began ordering a retreat back to Taiyuan; it was only at Li Jiancheng's and Li Shimin's urging that Li Yuan changed his mind and stayed, and Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin then captured the fortress of Huoyi , eventually convincing Li Yuan to bypass Hedong and directly advance toward Chang'an. After he crossed the Yellow River into Guanzhong , he sent Li Jiancheng with Liu Wenjing east to guard Tong Pass and Yongfeng Storage and to stop any potential Sui reinforcements from the eastern capital Luoyang. Once Li Yuan himself approached Chang'an, he summoned both Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin to Chang'an to join him in sieging Chang'an. In winter 617, Li Yuan captured Chang'an and declared Yang You emperor . He had himself created the Prince of Tang, become the regent over Emperor Gong.

Rivalry with Li Shimin

Meanwhile, an intense rivalry had developed between Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin, who carried the title of Prince of Qin, as while Li Jiancheng had some contributions toward Tang's reunification of China, a number of the more major contenders, including Xue Rengao the Emperor of Qin, Wang Shichong the Emperor of Zheng, and Dou Jiande the Prince of Xia, were all defeated and/or captured by Li Shimin, causing him to possess the greater reputation among the army. Li Yuanji, who was also often relied on by Emperor Gaozu as a general and had been created the Prince of Qi, supported Li Jiancheng in this rivalry, and often pushed Li Jiancheng toward a more hardline position against Li Shimin, wanting to be crown prince when Li Jiancheng would become emperor. Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji had better relations with Emperor Gaozu's favored young concubines than Li Shimin did , and those concubines helped rehabilitate Li Jiancheng's standing before Emperor Gaozu, causing him to no longer consider making Li Shimin crown prince instead, as he considered at one point.

By winter 622, Liu Heita the Prince of Handong, previously a Xia general who rose against Tang after Emperor Gaozu had executed Dou Jiande, posed the only remaining major threat against Tang rule even though he had been defeated by Li Shimin earlier in the year. At the suggestion of his staff members Wang Gui and Wei Zheng, who argued that Li Jiancheng needed some victories himself to establish his reputation, Li Jiancheng volunteered to command the army against Liu Heita. Emperor Gaozu thus sent Li Jiancheng, assisted by Li Yuanji. Around the new year 623, with Liu's forced bogged down while attacking Tang's Wei Prefecture , Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji engaged him at Guantao , crushing him. Liu fled north toward Eastern Tujue, but was ambushed and captured by his own official Zhuge Dewei , who delivered him to Li Jiancheng. Li Jiancheng executed Liu. China was by this point almost completely unified by Tang.
In 624, Li Jiancheng requisitioned a number of soldiers from the general the Prince of Yan, to supplement his guard corps, against Emperor Gaozu's regulations. When this was revealed to Emperor Gaozu, Emperor Gaozu rebuked Li Jiancheng and exiled his guard commander Keda Zhi . When, subsequently, Li Jiancheng nevertheless requested the commandant at Qing Prefecture , Yang Wen'gan , to conscript troops, presumably to guard against Li Shimin, the officers Erzhu Huan and Qiao Gongshan informed Emperor Gaozu that Li Jiancheng was encouraging Yang to start a rebellion so that they could seize power together. Emperor Gaozu, then at Renzhi Palace , was incensed, and summoned Li Jiancheng, then at Chang'an, to Renzhi Palace. Li Jiancheng briefly flirted the idea of occupying Chang'an and not accepting the order, but eventually reported to Renzhi Palace to request forgiveness. Emperor Gaozu put him under arrest. When Yang heard this, Yang rebelled, and Emperor Gaozu, after promising Li Shimin that he would be made crown prince, sent Li Shimin to attack Yang. Once Li Shimin left, however, Li Yuanji, Emperor Gaozu's concubines, and the chancellor Feng Deyi, all spoke on Li Jiancheng's behalf, and Emperor Gaozu changed his mind, released Li Jiancheng, and allowed him to return to Chang'an and remain as crown prince. Instead, Emperor Gaozu only blamed the discord between his sons on Li Jiancheng's staff members Wang Gui and Wei Ting , and Li Shimin's staff member Du Yan, exiling them. Yang was subsequently assassinated by his own subordinates.
In summer 626, Eastern Tujue was making another attack, and under Li Jiancheng's suggestion, Emperor Gaozu, instead of sending Li Shimin to resist Eastern Tujue as he first was inclined, decided to send Li Yuanji instead. Li Yuanji was given command of much of the army previously under Li Shimin's control, further troubling Li Shimin, who believed that with the army in Li Yuanji's hands, he would be unable to resist an attack. Li Shimin had Yuchi summon Fang and Du back to his mansion secretly, and then on one night submitted an accusation to Emperor Gaozu that Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji were committing adultery with Emperor Gaozu's concubines. Emperor Gaozu, in response, issued summonses to Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji for the next morning, convening the senior officials Pei Ji, Xiao Yu, and Chen Shuda to examine Li Shimin's accusations. As Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji approached the central gate leading to Emperor Gaozu's palace, Xuanwu Gate , Li Shimin carried out the ambush he had set. He personally fired an arrow that killed Li Jiancheng. Subsequently, Yuchi killed Li Yuanji. Li Shimin's forces entered the palace and, under the intimidation of Li Shimin's forces, Emperor Gaozu agreed to create Li Shimin crown prince, and two months later passed the throne to him . Li Jiancheng's five sons were all executed as well.

Li Kaigu

Li Kaigu , formally the Duke of Yan , was a general during the reign of Wu Zetian. He was of Khitan ethnicity.

In 696, the Khitan rose against Chinese hegemony under the leadership of Li Jinzhong and Li Jinzhong's brother-in-law Sun Wanrong. Li Kaigu was then a general under Li Jinzhong. By 697, Li Jinzhong had died and Sun had been defeated and killed. Li Kaigu and fellow Khitan general Luo Wuzheng surrendered to Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty. Initially, Zhou generals wanted to put Li Kaigu and Luo to death, in retaliation for their victories over Zhou forces previously, but the Di Renjie intervened and persuaded Wu Zetian to make them her generals. Li Kaigu was subsequently able to suppress the remaining Khitan forces who were still resisting Zhou forces, and in 700 was created the Duke of Yan and bestowed the surname of Wu. However, he was unable to defeat , who eventually established the kingdom of Balhae. It is not known when Li Kaigu died.

Li Tan

Li Tan , known by his princely title of Prince of Jianning , posthumously honored as the Prince of Qi and then Emperor Chengtian , was an imperial prince of the Tang Dynasty. He was a son of who was credited with suggesting to his father the idea of fleeing to Lingwu during the Anshi Rebellion, allowing Emperor Suzong to eventually reestablish a power base and defeat the rebellion. He was also credited with protecting his father on the way to Lingwu. However, he offended Emperor Suzong's favorite concubine and the powerful eunuch Li Fuguo by accusing them of crimes; in turn, they accused him of having designs on the life of his older brother the Prince of Guangping, causing Emperor Suzong to order him to commit suicide. After Li Chu became emperor in 762 , he posthumously honored Li Tan, first as the Prince of Qi, and then as Emperor Chengtian, to recognize him for his contributions.

During Anshi Rebellion

In 755, the general An Lushan rebelled against Emperor Xuanzong's rule, and by 756 was approaching the Tang capital Chang'an, forcing Emperor Xuanzong to flee with his family and close associates. Emperor Xuanzong intended to flee to Jiannan Circuit , but as he reached Mawei , the imperial guards escorting him, blaming An's rebellion on Emperor Xuanzong's favorite concubine Consort Yang Yuhuan and her cousin, the , Yang Guozhong, slaughtered the Yang household and forced Emperor Xuanzong to execute Consort Yang. After the incident, Emperor Xuanzong was intent on continuing to Chengdu . Li Heng did not follow Emperor Xuanzong, and initially remained at Mawei in response to the people of the region's request that he remain to fight against An. Li Heng initially stated that he wished to follow Emperor Xuanzong to Chengdu, but Li Tan convinced him to stay, saying:

Posthumous recognition

In 762, Li Chu succeeded Emperor Suzong as emperor . He posthumously honored Li Tan as the Prince of Qi. In 768, Emperor Daizong and Li Mi discussed further posthumously honoring Li Tan, and Li Mi initially suggested posthumously honoring Li Tan as a crown prince, citing the example of Emperor Xuanzong honoring his younger brothers in that manner. Emperor Daizong, believing that Li Tan's contributions far exceeded those princes, decided instead to posthumously honor Li Tan as emperor and rebury him with ceremony due an emperor. He also Lady Zhang, the daughter of his aunt Princess Xinxing, to Li Tan, honoring her as Empress Gongshun. He had Li Tan worshipped at the same temple that Emperor Suzong had dedicated to his older brother Li Cong, whom Emperor Suzong posthumously honored as an emperor as well.

Chen Yuanguang

Joining the army

At the age of 13, he accompanied his father Chen Zheng , commander of the Southern China military expeditionary force, on a march to Fujian, for the purpose of setting up a regional administration. In April of the second year of the Emperor Gaozong of Tang , Chen Zheng died in the line of duty, Chen Yuanguang took over his father's duties, and led the troops in place of his father. At this time, the emperor granted him the title "General of the left guard, and jade bell defender of the county seat". He then proceeded to quell uprisings by local ruffians such as Chen Qian of Guangdong, as well as Miao Zicheng and Lei Wanxing , both of whom were leaders of a bandit gang named the "savage colleagues" . As a result, the southern Fujian region was pacified, and Chen Yuanguang was promoted to the rank of senior magistrate of upright character, and granted the title of commander of the Southern China military expeditionary force.

Settling Zhangzhou

Respect and admiration from his descendants

Chen Yuanguang's efforts at developing the regions near Zhangzhou and Chaozhou, received praise from numerous succeeding emperors. In the first year of the Emperor Xuanzong of Tang , the emperor granted Chen Yuanguang the title of "the great general, and defender of the leopard scabbard". He also gave him the title of "Marquis of Zhangzhou, the serene, loyal, resolute, and beneficent". Later he also gave him the title "Marquis of the Ying River", and ordered a great shrine built in his honor. The donated a horizontal inscription which read, "Temple of Awesome Kindness" . The Emperor Xiaozong of Song granted Chen Yuanguang the title "Defender Prince of Guangdong and brilliant spirit who accommodates brightness and ferocity". In the Ming Dynasty, his title was again changed, this time to "Marquis of brightness and ferocity". The people of the Zhangzhou region call him the "Sacred Prince, Developer of Zhangzhou." Temples dedicated to him have proliferated in Fujian, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. There are more than 100 "Sacred Prince Temples" in Zhangpu County alone. There are also more than 100 temples dedicated to Chen Yuanguang in Taiwan. Many people still burn incense at temples dedicated to him. In recent years, the Zhangzhou municipal government commemorated Chen Yuanguang by naming one of its main city streets Yuanguang North Road.

Cui Zhiwen

Cui Zhiwen , courtesy name Liren , was an official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a during the reign of .

Local government service

During 's ''Linde'' era , Cui Zhiwen became the military advisor to the prefect of Ling Prefecture . At that time, within the boundaries of the prefecture were two nomadic tribes, the Hun and the Huxue , who were submissive to the Tang, but nevertheless were pillaging the residents of the prefecture. As a result, the residents could not spend their time on agriculture, and had to take up riding and archery to defend against Hun and Huxue pillages. Cui proposed that the Hun and the Huxue be moved north of the Yellow River -- a proposal that the Hun and the Huxue were unwilling to agree to, because they did not want to relocate, and the non-Han general Qibi Heli spoke on their behalf, and so Emperor Gaozong initially rejected Cui's proposal. Cui resubmitted the proposal 15 times, and eventually it was approved. When the Hun and the Huxue reached the new location, they found the pastures fertile and appreciated them. On one occasion, when the Huxue chiefs were going to the capital Chang'an to greet Emperor Gaozong, they visited Ling Prefecture and thanked Cui for his proposal, as it in fact benefited the tribes.

At a later time, Cui served as the prefect of Lan Prefecture . On one occasion, Dangxiang forces were attacking Lan Prefecture, and there were few Tang forces within the prefecture capital, causing a great panic. Cui opened up the city gates and acted as if nothing was happening, and this caused the Dangxiang forces to believe that there were troops hidden within, and therefore went past Lan Prefecture. Later, the general Quan Shancai arrived with a relief force and defeated the Dangxiang. Much of the Dangxiang army surrendered, and Quan initially wanted to slaughter them, stopping only after Cui pointed out that it was unfair to slaughter them all and also that this may cause a violent reaction. Quan, thankful for the suggestion, wanted to give 500 of the surrendered households to Cui as personal property, and Cui declined, pointing out that his proposal was for the state's benefit, not personal benefit. Later, because of this, the remaining Dangxiang submitted to Cui.