Emperor Taizong of Tang

Emperor Taizong of Tang

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Emperor Taizong of Tang ' onMouseout='HidePop("94674")' href="http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Wade-Giles">Wade-Giles
Wade-Giles
Wade–Giles , sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a romanization system for the Mandarin Chinese language. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Wade during the mid-19th century , and was given completed form with Herbert Giles' Chinese–English dictionary of 1892.Wade–Giles was the most...

: T'ai-Tsung) (January 23, 599 – July 10, 649), personal name Lǐ Shìmín , was the second emperor of the Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

, ruling from 626 to 649. As he encouraged his father, Li Yuan
Emperor Gaozu of Tang
Emperor Gāozǔ of Táng , born Lǐ Yuān , courtesy name Shūdé , was the founder of the Tang Dynasty of China, and the first emperor of this dynasty from 618 to 626. Under the Sui dynasty, Li Yuan was the governor in the area of modern-day Shanxi, and was based in Taiyuan.In 615, Li Yuan was assigned...

 (later Emperor Gaozu) to rise against Sui Dynasty
Sui Dynasty
The Sui Dynasty was a powerful, but short-lived Imperial Chinese dynasty. Preceded by the Southern and Northern Dynasties, it ended nearly four centuries of division between rival regimes. It was followed by the Tang Dynasty....

 rule at Taiyuan
Taiyuan
Taiyuan is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province in North China. At the 2010 census, it had a total population of 4,201,591 inhabitants on 6959 km² whom 3,212,500 are urban on 1,460 km². The name of the city literally means "Great Plains", referring to the location where the Fen River...

 in 617 and subsequently defeated several of his most important rivals, he was ceremonially regarded as a co-founder of the dynasty along with Emperor Gaozu.

He is typically considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, emperors in Chinese history. Throughout the rest of Chinese history, Emperor Taizong's reign was regarded as the exemplary model against which all other emperors were measured, and his "Reign of Zhenguan" was considered a golden age of Chinese history and required study for future crown prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

s. During his reign, Tang China flourished economically and militarily. For more than a century after his death, Tang China enjoyed peace and prosperity. During Taizong's reign, Tang was the largest and the strongest nation in the world. It covered most of the territory of present-day China, Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 and much of Central Asia
Central Asia
Central Asia is a core region of the Asian continent from the Caspian Sea in the west, China in the east, Afghanistan in the south, and Russia in the north...

 until eastern Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan , officially the Republic of Kazakhstan, is a transcontinental country in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. Ranked as the ninth largest country in the world, it is also the world's largest landlocked country; its territory of is greater than Western Europe...

. It laid the foundation for Xuanzong's reign, which is considered Tang China's greatest era.

In 630, Emperor Taizong sent his general Li Jing
Li Jing
Li Jing , né Yaoshi , formally Duke Jingwu of Wei , was a general and one time chancellor of the Chinese Tang Dynasty...

 against Eastern Tujue (proto Turks)-- to which Tang had once submitted—defeating and capturing its Jiali Khan Ashina Duobi and destroying Eastern Tujue power. This made Tang the dominant power in East and Central Asia, and Emperor Taizong subsequently took the title of Tian Kehan
Tian Kehan
Tian Kehan also translated as Heavenly Khagan, Celestial Khagan or Tengri Khagan, was a title addressed to Emperor Taizong of Tang by various Turkic nomads...

("Heavenly Khan").

Unlike many of the nobility of the time, Emperor Taizong was a frank rationalist, openly scorning superstitions and claims of signs from the heavens. He also modified important rites in order to ease the burden of agricultural labour. The modern Chinese historian Bo Yang
Bo Yang
This article is about the Chinese writer. His name in Western languages is homonymic with Bó Yáng .Boyang , also sometimes called Baiyang, was a Chinese language writer based in Taiwan...

 opined that Emperor Taizong achieved greatness by enduring criticism which others would find difficult to accept whilst trying hard not to abuse his absolute power (using Emperor Yang of Sui
Emperor Yang of Sui
Emperor Yang of Sui , personal name Yang Guang , alternative name Ying , nickname Amo , known as Emperor Ming during the brief reign of his grandson Yang Tong), was the second son of Emperor Wen of Sui, and the second emperor of China's Sui Dynasty.Emperor Yang's original name was Yang Ying, but...

 as a negative example), as well as through his employment of capable chancellors such as Fang Xuanling
Fang Xuanling
Fang Xuanling , formal name Fang Qiao but went by the courtesy name of Xuanling, formally Duke Wenzhao of Liang , was the lead editor of the Book of Jin and one of the most celebrated chancellors of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, and he and his colleague Du Ruhui, both serving during the reign...

, Du Ruhui
Du Ruhui
Du Ruhui , courtesy name Keming , formally Duke Cheng of Lai , was one of the most celebrated chancellors of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, and he and his colleague Fang Xuanling, both serving during the reign of Emperor Taizong, were often asserted to be ideal models for chancellors.- During...

 and Wei Zheng
Wei Zheng
Wei Zheng , courtesy name Xuancheng , formally Duke Wenzhen of Zheng , was a Chinese politician and the lead editor of the Book of Sui, composed in 636...

. Emperor Taizong's wife Empress Zhangsun
Empress Zhangsun
Empress Zhangsun , formally Empress Wendeshunsheng or, in short, Empress Wende , was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty. She was the wife of Emperor Taizong and the mother of Emperor Gaozong...

 also proved to be a capable assistant.

Background


Lǐ Shìmín was born in 599 at Wugong (武功, in modern Xianyang, Shaanxi). His father Li Yuan
Emperor Gaozu of Tang
Emperor Gāozǔ of Táng , born Lǐ Yuān , courtesy name Shūdé , was the founder of the Tang Dynasty of China, and the first emperor of this dynasty from 618 to 626. Under the Sui dynasty, Li Yuan was the governor in the area of modern-day Shanxi, and was based in Taiyuan.In 615, Li Yuan was assigned...

 the Duke of Tang was a general of the Sui Dynasty
Sui Dynasty
The Sui Dynasty was a powerful, but short-lived Imperial Chinese dynasty. Preceded by the Southern and Northern Dynasties, it ended nearly four centuries of division between rival regimes. It was followed by the Tang Dynasty....

 and a nephew, by marriage, to Sui's founding emperor Emperor Wen
Emperor Wen of Sui
Emperor Wen of Sui — personal name Yang Jian , Xianbei name Puliuru Jian , nickname Naluoyan — was the founder and first emperor of China's Sui Dynasty . He was a hard-working administrator and a micromanager. As a Buddhist, he encouraged the spread of Buddhism through the state...

, as Li Shimin's grandmother Duchess Dugu was a sister of Empress Dugu Qieluo
Empress Dugu Qieluo
Empress Dugu Qieluo , formally Empress Wenxian , was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty...

 -- both were daughters of Dugu Xin (獨孤信), a major general during Sui's predecessor dynasty Northern Zhou
Northern Zhou
The Northern Zhou Dynasty followed the Western Wei, and ruled northern China from 557 to 581. It was overthrown by the Sui Dynasty.Northern Zhou's basis of power was established by Yuwen Tai, who was paramount general of Western Wei, following the split of Northern Wei into Western Wei and...

. Li Shimin's mother was Li Yuan's wife Duchess Dou, who was a daughter of Dou Yi (竇毅) the Duke of Shenwu and Dou Yi's wife, Northern Zhou's Princess Xiangyang. Duchess Dou bore Li Yuan four sons—an older brother to Li Shimin, Li Jiancheng
Li Jiancheng
Li Jiancheng , formally Crown Prince Yin , nickname Pishamen , was a crown prince of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty. He was the oldest son of the founding emperor Emperor Gaozu and therefore was designated crown prince after the founding of the dynasty in 618...

, and two younger brothers, Li Xuanba (李玄霸, who would die in 614) and Li Yuanji
Li Yuanji
Li Yuanji , formally Prince La of Chao , more commonly known by the title of Prince of Qi , nickname Sanhu , was an imperial prince of the Chinese Tang Dynasty...

 -- and at least one daughter (the later Princess Pingyang). Li Yuan named Li Shimin "Shimin" as a shortened form of the phrase "save the earth and pacify the people" (濟世安民, jishi anmin). Li Shimin apparently showed talent early in his life, and in 613, the official Gao Shilian
Gao Shilian
Gao Shilian , formal name Gao Jian but went by the courtesy name of Shilian, formally Duke Wenxian of Shen , was a chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty...

, impressed with him, gave him a niece (the later Empress Zhangsun
Empress Zhangsun
Empress Zhangsun , formally Empress Wendeshunsheng or, in short, Empress Wende , was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty. She was the wife of Emperor Taizong and the mother of Emperor Gaozong...

) in marriage as his wife; he was 14 and she was 12. In 615, when Emperor Wen's son and successor Emperor Yang
Emperor Yang of Sui
Emperor Yang of Sui , personal name Yang Guang , alternative name Ying , nickname Amo , known as Emperor Ming during the brief reign of his grandson Yang Tong), was the second son of Emperor Wen of Sui, and the second emperor of China's Sui Dynasty.Emperor Yang's original name was Yang Ying, but...

 was ambushed by Eastern Tujue forces at Yanmen (雁門, in modern Xinzhou, Shanxi
Shanxi
' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

), a general call was made for men to join the army to help rescue the emperor. Li Shimin answered that call and served under the general Yun Dingxing (雲定興), apparently doing so with distinction. In 616, when Li Yuan was put in charge of the important city of Taiyuan
Taiyuan
Taiyuan is the capital and largest city of Shanxi province in North China. At the 2010 census, it had a total population of 4,201,591 inhabitants on 6959 km² whom 3,212,500 are urban on 1,460 km². The name of the city literally means "Great Plains", referring to the location where the Fen River...

, Li Shimin followed his father to Taiyuan, while leaving at least three other sons—Li Jiancheng, Li Yuanji, and Li Zhiyun (李智雲, by Li Yuan's concubine Lady Wan) -- at the ancestral home Hedong (河東, in modern Yuncheng, Shanxi
Shanxi
' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

).

Participation in the rebellion against Sui rule


Emperor Yang was soon dissatisfied with Li Yuan and Wang Rengong (王仁恭), the governor of Mayi Commandery (馬邑, roughly modern Shuozhou
Shuozhou
Shuozhou is a city in the north of Shanxi Province in North China, located on the upper reaches of the Fen River. As of 2004, its population is approximately 1.25 million, and the city has an area of approximately 5,737 square kilometres. Administratively, Shuozhou is a prefecture-level city, with...

, Shanxi
Shanxi
' is a province in Northern China. Its one-character abbreviation is "晋" , after the state of Jin that existed here during the Spring and Autumn Period....

), over their inability to stop Eastern Tujue incursions and the growing strengths of agrarian rebels, particularly the Eastern Tujue-support Liu Wuzhou
Liu Wuzhou
Liu Wuzhou was a rebel leader who rose against the rule of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty late in the dynasty's history, and he took imperial style -- although it was not completely clear whether the title he took was khan or tianzi...

 the Dingyang Khan, who soon rose against Wang and killed him and soon captured Emperor Yang's secondary palace near Taiyuan. Li Yuan also became fearful that there had been prophecies throughout the empire that the next emperor would be named Li—and that Emperor Yang had killed another official, Li Hun (李渾) and Li Hun's clan over his fears that Li Hun's nephew, Li Min (李敏, the son-in-law of Emperor Yang's sister Yang Lihua
Empress Yang Lihua
Empress Yang Lihua was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou, and later a princess of Sui Dynasty. Her husband was Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou , and her father was Emperor Wen of Sui ....

, the Princess Leping), would seize the throne.

In fear, Li Yuan considered rebellion, and at that point, he did not know that Li Shimin had also been doing so—secretly discussing such plans with Li Yuan's associates Pei Ji and Liu Wenjing
Liu Wenjing
Liu Wenjing , courtesy name Zhaoren , formally the Duke of Lu , was an important official and one-time chancellor of Tang Dynasty. He initially served as an official of Sui Dynasty and was one of the driving forces in persuading the general Li Yuan to rebel against Emperor Yang of Sui...

. Once Li Shimin's plans matured, he had Pei inform Li Yuan of them—and also had Pei warn Li Yuan that if it were revealed that Li Yuan had had sexual relations with some of Emperor Yang's ladies in waiting
Lady in Waiting
Lady in Waiting is the 2nd album by American southern rock band Outlaws, released in 1976. -Track listing:#"Breaker-Breaker" – 2:59#"South Carolina" – 3:05#"Ain't So Bad" – 3:48...

 at the secondary Jinyang Palace (晉陽宮, which Pei was in charge with and had allowed Li Yuan to do so), all of them would be slaughtered. Li Yuan agreed to rebel, and after secretly summoning Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji from Hedong and his son-in-law Chai Shao
Chai Shao
Chai Shao was a Chinese military leader of the Tang Dynasty.He was the son of Chai Shen, Duke of Julu. He married the Princess Pingyang, a daughter of the Emperor Gaozu, founder of the Tang dynasty, and distinguished himself as a general against the Turkic invaders...

 (柴紹) from the capital Chang'an
Chang'an
Chang'an is an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an literally means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese. During the short-lived Xin Dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; yet after its fall in AD 23, the old name was restored...

, he declared a rebellion, claiming to want to support Emperor Yang's grandson Yang You
Emperor Gong of Sui
Emperor Gong of Sui , personal name Yang You , was an emperor of the Chinese Sui Dynasty. Traditionally, he was considered the last emperor of the dynasty because he was the one who formally yielded the throne to the founding emperor to the succeeding Tang Dynasty, Emperor Gaozu of Tang ,...

 the Prince of Dai, nominally in charge at Chang'an with Emperor Yang at Jiangdu (江都, in modern Yangzhou
Yangzhou
Yangzhou is a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu Province, People's Republic of China. Sitting on the northern bank of the Yangtze River, it borders the provincial capital of Nanjing to the southwest, Huai'an to the north, Yancheng to the northeast, Taizhou to the east, and Zhenjiang across...

, Jiangsu
Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

), as emperor. He made both Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin major generals and advanced southwest, toward Chang'an. He created Li Shimin the Duke of Dunhuang. After defeating local Sui forces loyal to Yangdi, he defeated a Sui army of 30,000 men under the command of a veteran general of the wars in Korea outside of modern-day Beijing.

However, when Li Yuan arrived near Hedong, his army was bogged down by the weather. With food running out, there were rumors that Eastern Tujue and Liu Wuzhou would attack Taiyuan. Li Yuan initially ordered retreat, but at the earnest opposition by Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin, continued to advance. After defeating Sui forces at Huoyi (霍邑, also in modern Yuncheng), he decided to leave a small contingent to watch over Hedong while advancing across the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 into Guanzhong
Guanzhong
Guanzhong , or Guanzhong Plain, is a historical region of China corresponding to the lower valley of the Wei River. It is called Guanzhong or 'within the passes' to distinguish it from 'Guandong' or 'east of the pass', that is, the North China Plain. The North China Plain is bordered on the west by...

 (i.e., the Chang'an region). Once he did, he headed for Chang'an himself, while sending Li Jiancheng to capture the territory around the Tong Pass region to prevent Sui forces at Luoyang from reinforcing Chang'an and Li Shimin north of the Wei River
Wei River
The Wei River is a major river in west-central China's Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. It is the largest tributary of the Yellow River and very important in the early development of Chinese civilization....

 to capture territory there. Meanwhile, Li Shimin's sister (Chai's wife) had also risen in rebellion in support of him, and she was able to gather a sizable army and capture some cities. She joined forces with Li Shimin and her husband Chai Shao. Soon, Li Yuan reconsolidated his forces and put Chang'an under siege. In winter 617, after defeating a large Sui army, he captured Chang'an from imperial forces and declared Yang You emperor (as Emperor Gong). He had himself made regent
Regent
A regent, from the Latin regens "one who reigns", is a person selected to act as head of state because the ruler is a minor, not present, or debilitated. Currently there are only two ruling Regencies in the world, sovereign Liechtenstein and the Malaysian constitutive state of Terengganu...

 (with the title of grand chancellor) and created the Prince of Tang. (Meanwhile, most of the Sui territories and armies did not recognize Emperor Gong as emperor and continued to recognize Emperor Yang as emperor and not as retired emperor.) He created Li Shimin the Duke of Qin.

Li Yuan's control of the Chang'an region became almost immediately contested by the rebel ruler Xue Ju
Xue Ju
Xue Ju , formally Emperor Wu , was the founding emperor of a short-lived state of Qin at the end of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty, whose state was eventually destroyed by Tang Dynasty...

 the Emperor of Qin, who sent his son Xue Rengao
Xue Rengao
Xue Rengao , also known as Xue Renguo , was an emperor of the short-lived state of Qin, established by his father Xue Ju at the end of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty...

 toward Chang'an. Li Yuan sent Li Shimin to resist Xue Rengao, and Li Shimin defeated Xue Rengao at Fufeng (扶風, in modern Baoji
Baoji
Baoji is a prefecture-level city in Shaanxi province, China.-Geography:The prefecture-level city of Baoji has a population of 3,716,731 according to the 2010 Chinese census, inhabiting an area of . The city itself has a population of approximately 800,000. Surrounded on three sides by hills,...

, Shaanxi
Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

), temporarily causing Xue Ju to toy with the idea of surrendering to Li Yuan, although Xue was subsequently dissuaded by his strategist Hao Yuan (郝瑗) from doing so.

In spring 618, with Sui's eastern capital Luoyang
Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...

 (where the officials in charge did not recognize Li Yuan's authorities) under attack by the rebel ruler Li Mi the Duke of Wei, Li Yuan sent Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin to Luoyang, ostensibly to aid the Sui forces at Luoyang but instead intending to test whether Luoyang might submit to him. The officials at Luoyang rebuffed his attempt at rapprochement, and Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin, not wanting to fight either them or Li Mi for control of Luoyang at this stage, withdrew. Li Yuan subsequently changed Li Shimin's title to Duke of Zhao.

In summer 618, when news arrived at Chang'an that Emperor Yang had been killed at Jiangdu in a coup led by the general Yuwen Huaji
Yuwen Huaji
Yuwen Huaji was a general of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty who, in 618, led a coup against Emperor Yang of Sui, killing him. He subsequently declared Emperor Yang's nephew Yang Hao led Emperor Yang's elite Xiaoguo Army north, but was then repeatedly defeated by Li Mi, Li Shentong , and...

, Li Yuan had Emperor Gong yield the throne to him, establishing Tang Dynasty
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was an imperial dynasty of China preceded by the Sui Dynasty and followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period. It was founded by the Li family, who seized power during the decline and collapse of the Sui Empire...

 as its Emperor Gaozu. He created Li Jiancheng crown prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

 but created Li Shimin the Prince of Qin, also making him Shangshu Ling (尚書令), the head of the executive bureau of the government (尚書省, Shangshu Sheng) and a post considered one for a chancellor, while continuing to have Li Shimin serve as a major general as well.

The campaign to reunify the empire


The first thing that Li Shimin had to deal with was another incursion by Xue Ju, as Xue attacked Jing Prefecture (涇州, roughly modern Pingliang
Pingliang
Pingliang is a prefecture-level city in eastern Gansu Province in China. Pingliang is famous for a local mountain range that includes Kongtong Mountain, a site sacred to Taoism and mythical meeting place of the Yellow Emperor and Guangchengzi, an immortal....

, Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

) and Emperor Gaozu sent Li Shimin to resist Xue. Li Shimin established his defenses and refused to engage Xue to try to wear Xue Ju out, but at that time, he was afflicted with malaria, and he let his assistants Liu Wenjing and Yin Kaishan (殷開山) take command, ordering them not to engage Xue Ju. Liu and Yin, however, did not take Xue Ju seriously, and Xue Ju ambushed them at Qianshui Plain (淺水原, in modern Xianyang), crushing Tang forces and inflicting 50%-60% casualties. Li Shimin was forced to withdraw back to Chang'an, and Liu and Yin were removed from their posts. (This would be Li Shimin's only defeat recorded in historical records until the Goguryeo
Goguryeo
Goguryeo or Koguryŏ was an ancient Korean kingdom located in present day northern and central parts of the Korean Peninsula, southern Manchuria, and southern Russian Maritime province....

 campaign of 645.) Xue Ju, in light of his victory, was ready to launch an assault on Chang'an itself, under Hao Yuan's advice, but suddenly died of an illness in fall 618 and was succeeded by Xue Rengao. Emperor Gaozu then sent Li Shimin against Xue Rengao. Three months after Xue Rengao took the throne, Li Shimin engaged him, and after a fierce battle between Li Shimin and Xue Rengao's major general Zong Luohou (宗羅睺), Li Shimin crushed Zong's forces, and then attacked Xue Rengao. Xue Rengao was forced to withdraw into the city of Gaozhi (高墌, in modern Xianyang as well), and once he did, his soldiers began surrendering to Li Shimin in mass. Xue Rengao was himself forced to surrender. Li Shimin had him delivered to Chang'an, where he was executed. Around new year 619, Emperor Gaozu made Li Shimin Taiwei (太尉, one of the Three Excellencies
Three Excellencies
The Three Ducal Ministers , also translated as the Three Dukes, Three Excellencies, or the Three Lords, was the collective name for the three highest officials in ancient China...

) and made him in charge of Tang operations east of the Tong Pass.

In spring 619, Liu Wuzhou launched a major offensive against Tang. He captured Taiyuan in summer 619, forcing Li Yuanji, who had been in charge there, to flee, and then continued his offensive south. Emperor Gaozu sent Pei Ji against him, but by winter 619, Liu had crushed Pei's forces and taken over nearly all of modern Shanxi. Emperor Gaozu, shocked at the development, considered abandoning the region altogether. Li Shimin opposed doing so and offered to lead the army against Liu. Emperor Gaozu agreed and commissioned him with an army. He crossed the Yellow River and approached Liu's major general Song Jingang (宋金剛) but did not engage him, choosing to try to wear Song out, only having his subordinates Yin Kaishan and Qin Shubao
Qin Shubao
Qin Shubao , formal name Qin Qiong but went by the courtesy name of Shubao, formally Duke Zhuang of Hu , was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty whose bravery later caused him to be incorporated into Chinese folk religion as a door god, along with Yuchi Jingde.-During Sui Dynasty:It is...

 engage the other Dingyang generals Yuchi Jingde
Yuchi Jingde
Yuchi Jingde , formal name Yuchi Gong but went by the courtesy name of Jingde, formally Duke Zhongwu of E , was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty whose bravery later caused him to be incorporated into Chinese folk religion as a door god, along with Qin Shubao.-During Sui Dynasty:Yuchi...

 and Xun Xiang (尋相) in relatively low-level engagements. Eventually, in spring 620, when Liu and Song ran out of food supplies, they retreated, and Li Shimin gave chase, dealing Song a major defeat. Yuchi and Xun surrendered, and after Li Shimin chased further, both Liu and Song fled to Eastern Tujue. All of Dingyang territory fell into Tang hands.

In summer 620, Emperor Gaozu again commissioned Li Shimin against a major enemy—the former Sui general Wang Shichong
Wang Shichong
Wang Shichong , courtesy name Xingman , was a general of the Chinese Sui Dynasty who deposed Sui's last emperor Yang Tong and briefly ruled as the emperor of a succeeding state of Zheng...

, who had Sui's last emperor, Emperor Yang's grandson Yang Tong
Yang Tong
Yang Tong , known in traditional histories by his princely title of Prince of Yue or by his era name as Lord Huangtai , posthumous name Emperor Gong , courtesy name Renjin , was an emperor of the Chinese Sui Dynasty...

, yield the throne to him in 619, establishing a new state of Zheng as its emperor. When Li Shimin arrived at the Zheng capital Luoyang, Wang offered peace, but Li Shimin rebuffed him and put Luoyang under siege. Meanwhile, his subordinates took Zheng cities one by one. By winter 620, most of Zheng territory, other than Luoyang and Xiangyang, defended by Wang Shichong's nephew Wang Honglie (王弘烈), had submitted to Tang. Wang sought aid Dou Jiande
Dou Jiande
Dou Jiande was a leader of the agrarian rebels who rose against the rule of Emperor Yang of Sui near the end of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty...

 the Prince of Xia, who controlled most of modern Hebei
Hebei
' is a province of the People's Republic of China in the North China region. Its one-character abbreviation is "" , named after Ji Province, a Han Dynasty province that included what is now southern Hebei...

. Dou, reasoning that if Tang were able to destroy Zheng, his own Xia state would be next, agreed. He sent his official Li Dashi
Li Dashi
Li Dashi , born in Anyang, Henan, was a Chinese historian, and an officer during the Sui and Tang dynasties. He began the History of Northern Dynasties and History of Southern Dynasties, which were completed by his son, Li Yanshou.-See also:...

 to try to persuade Li Shimin to withdraw, but Li Shimin detained Li Dashi and gave no response. Meanwhile, during the campaign, Li Shimin chose some 1,000 elite soldiers(玄甲軍), clad in black uniform and black armor, commanded by himself, to serve as advance troops, with Qin, Cheng Zhijie (程知節), Yuchi, and Zhai Zhangsun (翟長孫) as his assistants.
By spring 621, Luoyang was in desperate situation, and Xia forces had not yet arrived, but Tang troops had also suffered serious casualties, as Luoyang's defenses, aided by powerful bows and catapults, were holding. Emperor Gaozu, hearing that Dou had decided to come to Wang's aid, ordered Li Shimin to withdraw, but Li Shimin sent his secretary Feng Deyi
Feng Deyi
Feng Deyi , formal name Feng Lun but went by the courtesy name of Deyi, formally initially Duke Ming of Mi , later Duke Miao of Mi , was an official of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty who served as a chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Gaozu of Tang and Emperor Taizong of Tang...

 to Chang'an to explain to Emperor Gaozu that if he did withdraw, Wang would recover and again be a major threat in the future. Emperor Gaozu agreed and allowed Li Shimin to continue to siege Luoyang. When Xia forward troops arrived first, Li Shimin surprised and defeated them, and then sent Dou a letter suggesting that he withdraw. Dou would not do so, and, against the advice of his wife Empress Cao
Empress Cao (Dou Jiande)
Empress Cao was the wife of Dou Jiande, an agrarian rebel leader who claimed the title of Prince of Xia at the end of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty.Nothing is known about her personal background...

 and secretary general Ling Jing (凌敬) that he should instead attack Tang's prefectures in modern southern Shanxi, he marched toward Luoyang. Anticipating Dou's maneuver, Li Shimin left a small detachment, commanded by Li Yuanji, at Luoyang, while marching east himself, taking up position at the strategic Hulao Pass
Hulao Pass
Hulao Pass is a mountain pass northwest of Xingyang, Henan, China. It is the site of many historical battles, being the eastern guard for the capital Luoyang for several dynasties. With Mount Song to the south, the Yellow River to the north, the pass holds up a formidable defense...

. When the armies engaged at Hulao, Li Shimin defeated Dou and captured him. He took Dou back to Luoyang and displayed him to Wang Shichong. Wang, in fear, considered abandoning Luoyang and fleeing south to Xiangyang, but as his generals pointed out that his only hope was Dou, he surrendered. Xia forces, after initially fleeing back to the Xia capital Ming Prefecture (洺州, in modern Handan
Handan
Handan is a prefecture-level city located in the southwestern part of Hebei Province of China.- History :Handan was the capital of the State of Zhao during the Warring States period , after the capital moved from Zhongmu. The city was conquered by the State of Qin after the virtual annexation of...

, Hebei
Hebei
' is a province of the People's Republic of China in the North China region. Its one-character abbreviation is "" , named after Ji Province, a Han Dynasty province that included what is now southern Hebei...

), also surrendered. Zheng and Xia territory were Tang's. Li Shimin returned to Chang'an in a grand victory procession, and, to reward Li Shimin, Emperor Gaozu awarded both him and Li Yuanji three mints so that they could mint money of their own. He also bestowed on Li Shimin the special title of "Grand General of Heavenly Strategies" (天策上將, Tiance Shangjiang). Meanwhile, Li Shimin's staff, already full of generals and strategists, were now being supplemented with a number of literary men.

The former Xia territory did not remain in Tang hands for long, as in winter 621, the Xia general Liu Heita
Liu Heita
Liu Heita was an agrarian rebel leader during China's transition period from Sui Dynasty to Tang Dynasty, who initially successively served under Hao Xiaode , Li Mi, and Wang Shichong. He eventually followed Dou Jiande the Prince of Xia...

 rose against Tang rule, claiming to be avenging Dou, whom Emperor Gaozu had executed after Li Shimin took him back to Chang'an (against the latter's wishes). He was allied with Xu Yuanlang
Xu Yuanlang
Xu Yuanlang was an agrarian rebel leader who rose against the rule of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty late in the reign of Emperor Yang of Sui. After doing so, he did not initially claim any royal title, instead successively submitting nominally to Li Mi the Duke of Wei, Emperor Yang's grandson...

, a former agrarian rebel general who was nominally under Wang Shichong and who had submitted to Tang after Wang's defeat. Liu dealt successive defeats to Emperor Gaozu's cousin Li Shentong (李神通) the Prince of Huai'an, Li Xiaochang (李孝常) the Prince of Yi'an, and Li Shiji
Li Shiji
Li Shiji , né Xu Shiji , later known in the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang as Li Ji , courtesy name Maogong , formally Duke Zhenwu of Ying , was one of the most celebrated generals early in the Chinese Tang Dynasty...

. Emperor Gaozu sent Li Shimin and Li Yuanji against Liu. In 622, after some indecisive battles with Liu, who had by that point taken over almost all of former Xia territory and claimed the title of Prince of Handong, Li Shimin defeated Liu by flooding his army with water from the Ming River (洺水, flowing near Ming Prefecture), and Liu fled to Eastern Tujue. Li Shimin then headed east and attacked Xu, defeating him. After leaving Li Shiji, Li Shentong, and Ren Gui (任瓌) to continue to attack Xu, Li Shimin returned to Chang'an.

The struggle against Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji


By this point, Li Shimin and his older brother Li Jiancheng, who was created crown prince
Crown Prince
A crown prince or crown princess is the heir or heiress apparent to the throne in a royal or imperial monarchy. The wife of a crown prince is also titled crown princess....

 in 618, reportedly after Emperor Gaozu first offered the position to Li Shimin due to his contributions, were locked in an intense rivalry, as Li Shimin's accomplishments caused people to speculate that he would displace Li Jiancheng as crown prince, and Li Jiancheng, while an accomplished general himself, was overshadowed by his younger brother. The court became divided into a faction favoring the Crown Prince and a faction favoring the Prince of Qin. The rivalry was particularly causing problems within capital, as the commands of the Crown Prince, the Prince of Qin, and the Prince of Qi (i.e., Li Yuanji) were said to have the same force as the emperor's edicts, and the officials had to carry conflicting orders out by acting on the ones that arrived first. Li Shimin's staff was full of talented men, but Li Jiancheng was supported by Li Yuanji, as well as Emperor Gaozu's concubines, who had better relationships with Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji than they did with Li Shimin.

Late in 622, when Liu Heita returned to former Xia domain after receiving aid from Eastern Tujue, defeating and killing Li Shimin's cousin Li Daoxuan (李道玄) the Prince of Huaiyang, he again regained most of former Xia territory. Li Jiancheng's staff members Wang Gui
Wang Gui
Wang Gui , courtesy name Shujie , formally Duke Yi of Yongning , was a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang...

 and Wei Zheng
Wei Zheng
Wei Zheng , courtesy name Xuancheng , formally Duke Wenzhen of Zheng , was a Chinese politician and the lead editor of the Book of Sui, composed in 636...

 suggested that Li Jiancheng needed to enhance his own reputation in battle, and so Li Jiancheng volunteered for the mission. Emperor Gaozu thus sent Li Jiancheng, assisted by Li Yuanji, to attack Liu. Li Jiancheng defeated Liu around the new year 623, and Liu was subsequently betrayed by his own official Zhuge Dewei (諸葛德威) and delivered to Li Jiancheng. Li Jiancheng killed Liu and returned to Chang'an in triumph. China was, by this point, roughly united under Tang rule.

For the next few years, the rivalry intensified, although during the meantime both Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin served as generals when Eastern Tujue made incursions. In 623, when the general Fu Gongshi
Fu Gongshi
Fu Gongshi was an agrarian rebel leader who served as Du Fuwei's lieutenant during the disintegration of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty, who later followed Du in submitting to Tang Dynasty...

 rebelled at Danyang (丹楊, in modern Nanjing
Nanjing
' is the capital of Jiangsu province in China and has a prominent place in Chinese history and culture, having been the capital of China on several occasions...

, Jiangsu
Jiangsu
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located along the east coast of the country. The name comes from jiang, short for the city of Jiangning , and su, for the city of Suzhou. The abbreviation for this province is "苏" , the second character of its name...

), Emperor Gaozu briefly commissioned Li Shimin to attack Fu, but soon cancelled the order and sent Li Shimin's cousin Li Xiaogong
Li Xiaogong
Li Xiaogong , formally Prince Yuan of Hejian , often referred to by his earlier title as Prince of Zhao Commandery , was an imperial prince and general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty...

 the Prince of Zhao Commandery instead.

In 624, when Li Jiancheng was found to have, against regulations, tried to add soldiers to his guard corps, Emperor Gaozu was so angry that he put Li Jiancheng under arrest. In fear, Li Jiancheng's guard commander Yang Wen'gan (楊文幹) rebelled. Emperor Gaozu sent Li Shimin against Yang, offering to make him crown prince after he returned. After Li Shimin left, however, Feng Deyi (now a chancellor), Li Yuanji, and the concubines all spoke on Li Jiancheng's behalf, and after Li Shimin returned, Emperor Gaozu did not depose Li Jiancheng, but instead blamed the discord between him and Li Shimin on Li Jiancheng's staff members Wang Gui and Wei Ting (韋挺) and Li Shimin's staff member Du Yan
Du Yan
Du Yan , courtesy name Zhili , formally Duke Xiang of Anji , was a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang. His more famous nephew Du Ruhui was also a chancellor.- During Sui Dynasty :...

, exiling them to Xi Prefecture (巂州, roughly modern Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture
Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture
Liangshan , officially the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture, is an autonomous prefecture in Sichuan, south central China whose capital is Xichang. Liangshan has an area of 60,423 km² and over 4.5 million inhabitants...

, Sichuan
Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

).

Later that year, Emperor Gaozu, troubled by repeated Eastern Tujue incursions, seriously considered burning Chang'an to the ground and moving the capital to Fancheng
Fancheng
Fancheng District is a district of Xiangfan, Hubei, China.-History:Fancheng was an ancient Chinese city in Hubei, situated on the northern side of the Han River, opposite Xiangyang on the southern side of the river...

, a suggestion that Li Jiancheng, Li Yuanji, and Pei Ji agreed with. Li Shimin opposed, however, and the plan was not carried out. Meanwhile, Li Shimin himself was sending his confidants to Luoyang to build up personal control of the army there. After an incident in which Li Shimin suffered a severe case of food poisoning after feasting at Li Jiancheng's palace—an event that both Emperor Gaozu and Li Shimin apparently interpreted as an assassination attempt—Emperor Gaozu considered sending Li Shimin to guard Luoyang to prevent further conflict, but Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji, after consulting each other, believed that this would only give Li Shimin an opportunity to build up his personal power there, and therefore opposed it. Emperor Gaozu therefore did not carry out the plan. Meanwhile, the rivalry continued. Traditional historical accounts also indicated that at one point, when Li Shimin visited Li Yuanji's mansion, Li Yuanji wanted to assassinate Li Shimin, but Li Jiancheng, who could not resolve to kill a brother, stopped the plot. There was yet another incident in which Li Jiancheng, knowing that a horse threw its rider easily, had Li Shimin ride it, causing Li Shimin to fall off from it several times.

By 626, Li Shimin was fearful that he would be killed by Li Jiancheng, and his staff members Fang Xuanling
Fang Xuanling
Fang Xuanling , formal name Fang Qiao but went by the courtesy name of Xuanling, formally Duke Wenzhao of Liang , was the lead editor of the Book of Jin and one of the most celebrated chancellors of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, and he and his colleague Du Ruhui, both serving during the reign...

, Du Ruhui
Du Ruhui
Du Ruhui , courtesy name Keming , formally Duke Cheng of Lai , was one of the most celebrated chancellors of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, and he and his colleague Fang Xuanling, both serving during the reign of Emperor Taizong, were often asserted to be ideal models for chancellors.- During...

, and Zhangsun Wuji
Zhangsun Wuji
Zhangsun Wuji , courtesy name Fuji , formally Duke of Zhao , was a chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty during the reigns of his brother-in-law Emperor Taizong and nephew Emperor Gaozong...

 were repeatedly encouraging Li Shimin to attack Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji first—while Wei Zheng was encouraging Li Jiancheng to attack Li Shimin first. Li Jiancheng persuaded Emperor Gaozu to remove Fang and Du, as well as Li Shimin's trusted guard officers Yuchi Jingde and Cheng Zhijie, from Li Shimin's staff. Zhangsun, who remained on Li Shimin's staff, continued to try to persuade Li Shimin to attack first.

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
Xiao Yu
Xiao Yu , courtesy name Shiwen , formally Duke Zhenbian of Song , was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Liang Dynasty who later became an official for Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor at times during the reigns of Emperor Gaozu of Tang and Emperor Taizong of Tang.-...

, and Chen Shuda
Chen Shuda
Chen Shuda , courtesy name Zicong , formally initially Duke Miao of Jiang , later Duke Zhong of Jiang , was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Chen Dynasty, who, after Chen's destruction, served as an official for the succeeding Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, becoming a chancellor during the...

 to examine Li Shimin's accusations. As Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji approached the central gate leading to Emperor Gaozu's palace, Xuanwu Gate (玄武門), 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
Intimidation
Intimidation is intentional behavior "which would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities" fear of injury or harm. It's not necessary to prove that the behavior was so violent as to cause terror or that the victim was actually frightened.Criminal threatening is the crime of intentionally or...

 of Li Shimin's forces, Emperor Gaozu agreed to create Li Shimin crown prince. Li Jiancheng's and Li Yuanji's sons were killed, and Li Shimin took Li Yuanji's wife Princess Yang as a concubine. Two months later, with Li Shimin firmly in control of power, Emperor Gaozu yielded the throne to him (as Emperor Taizong).

Early reign (626-633)



One of the first actions that Emperor Taizong carried out as emperor was releasing a number of ladies in waiting
Lady in Waiting
Lady in Waiting is the 2nd album by American southern rock band Outlaws, released in 1976. -Track listing:#"Breaker-Breaker" – 2:59#"South Carolina" – 3:05#"Ain't So Bad" – 3:48...

 from the palace and returning them to their homes, so that they could be married. He made his wife Princess Zhangsun the empress, and their oldest son Li Chengqian the crown prince.

Emperor Taizong also immediately faced a crisis, as Eastern Tujue's Jiali Khan Ashina Duobi, along with his nephew the subordinate Tuli Khan Ashina Shibobi (阿史那什鉢苾), launched a major incursion toward Chang'an, and just 19 days after Emperor Taizong took the throne, the two khans were just across the Wei River
Wei River
The Wei River is a major river in west-central China's Gansu and Shaanxi provinces. It is the largest tributary of the Yellow River and very important in the early development of Chinese civilization....

 from Chang'an. Emperor Taizong, accompanied by Gao Shilian and Fang Xuanling, was forced to meet Ashina Duobi across the river and personally negotiate peace terms, including tributes to Eastern Tujue, before Ashina Duobi withdrew.

Late in 626, Emperor Taizong ranked the contributors to Tang rule and granted them titles and fiefs, naming among the first rank of contributors Zhangsun Wuji, Fang, Du Ruhui, Yuchi Jingde, and Hou Junji
Hou Junji
Hou Junji was a major general and chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, particularly known for his campaigns against Gaochang and Tuyuhun...

. When Li Shentong, as his distant uncle, objected to being ranked under Fang and Du, Emperor Taizong personally explained how Fang and Du's strategies allowed him to be successful, and this managed to get the other objectors to quiet down, as Emperor Taizong was even willing to rank low such an honored individual as Li Shentong. Emperor Taizong also buried Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji with honors due imperial princes and had their staff members attend the funeral processions. Meanwhile, he appeared to began to reshuffle government further—which he had already begun after being created crown prince—by dismissing his father's trusted advisors Xiao Yu and Chen Shuda, making his own trusted advisors chancellors. (Xiao, however, was soon restored to being chancellor, although his career during Emperor Taizong's reign would see repeated dismissals and repeated restorations.) However, he also began to greatly pay attention to the officials' submissions and their criticism of imperial governance, making changes where he saw needed. He also particularly began to trust Wei Zheng, accepting much advice from Wei as far as his personal conduct was concerned. He was also willing to demote his own trusted advisors, as he demoted Gao after finding that Gao had held back submissions from his deputy Wang Gui. Viewing Sui's Emperor Yang as a negative example, he frequently solicited criticism, rewarding those officials willing to offer them, particularly Wei and Wang Gui.

Also in 627, the general Li Yi
Luo Yi
Luo Yi , known during service to Tang Dynasty as Li Yi , courtesy name Ziyan or Ziting , was a Sui Dynasty official who rose against the rule of Emperor Yang of Sui and occupied the modern Beijing region. He subsequently submitted to Emperor Gaozu of Tang and was created the Prince of Yan and...

 the Prince of Yan—a late-Sui warlord who later submitted to Tang, who associated with Li Jiancheng—fearing that Emperor Taizong would eventually take action against him, rebelled at Bin Prefecture (豳州, in modern Xianyang), but was quickly crushed by the official Yang Ji (楊岌) and killed in flight. Later that year, when Emperor Gaozu's cousin Li Youliang (李幼良) the Prince of Changle, the commandant at Liang Prefecture (涼州, roughly modern Wuwei, Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

), was accused of allowing his staff to oppress the people and to trade with Qiang and Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 tribesmen, Emperor Taizong sent the chancellor Yuwen Shiji
Yuwen Shiji
Yuwen Shiji , formally Duke Zong of Ying , was an official of the Chinese dynasties Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang...

 (Yuwen Huaji's brother) to investigate, and in fear, Li Youliang's staff members plotted to hold him hostage and rebel. When this was discovered, Emperor Taizong forced Li Youliang to commit suicide. Late in the year, Wang Junkuo (王君廓), the commandant at You Prefecture (幽州, roughly modern Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

), also rebelled, but was defeated quickly and killed in flight. However, although there were also reports that Feng Ang (馮盎), a warlord in the modern Guangdong
Guangdong
Guangdong is a province on the South China Sea coast of the People's Republic of China. The province was previously often written with the alternative English name Kwangtung Province...

 region, was rebelling, Emperor Taizong, at Wei's suggestion, sent messengers to comfort Feng, and Feng submitted.

Also in 627, Emperor Taizong, seeing that there were too many prefectures and counties, consolidated and merged many of them, and further created another level of local political organization above prefectures—the circuit (道, dao) -- dividing his state into 10 circuits.

In 628, with Ashina Duobi and Ashina Shibobi having a fallout, Ashina Shibobi submitted to Emperor Taizong, as did the chieftains of Khitan
Khitan people
thumb|250px|Khitans [[Eagle hunting|using eagles to hunt]], painted during the Chinese [[Song Dynasty]].The Khitan people , or Khitai, Kitan, or Kidan, were a nomadic Mongolic people, originally located at Mongolia and Manchuria from the 4th century...

 tribes, who had previously submitted to Eastern Tujue. With Eastern Tujue in turmoil, Ashina Duobi was no longer able to protect the last late-Sui rebel ruler who along remained standing against Tang pressure -- Liang Shidu
Liang Shidu
Liang Shidu was an agrarian leader who rebelled against the rule of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty near the end of the reign of Emperor Yang of Sui...

 the Emperor of Liang, and in summer 628, with the Tang generals Chai Shao and Xue Wanjun (薛萬均) sieging the Liang capital Shuofang
Shuofang
Shuofang was a fort built in the land of nomadic horse hasbandry tribes at the dawn of the Chinese written history. According to Bamboo Annals, Shuofang was built by the Emperor Di Yi of Shang state on the third year of his reign in 1098 BC in the midst of the Kun Barbarians territory in the...

 (朔方, in modern Yulin
Yulin, Shaanxi
Yulin is a prefecture-level city in the Shaanxi province of the People's Republic of China. It has an area of 43,578 km² and a population of 3,380,000.-Geography and climate:...

, Shaanxi
Shaanxi
' is a province in the central part of Mainland China, and it includes portions of the Loess Plateau on the middle reaches of the Yellow River in addition to the Qinling Mountains across the southern part of this province...

), Liang Shidu's cousin Liang Luoren (梁洛仁) killed Liang Shidu and surrendered, finally uniting China. With Eastern Tujue weakened, Eastern Tujue's vassal Xueyantuo
Xueyantuo
The Xueyantuo ' or Syr-Tardush were an ancient Tiele people and khanate in central/northern Asia who were at one point vassals of the Gokturks, later aligning with China's Tang Dynasty against the Eastern Gokturks....

 also broke away and formed its own khanate, and Emperor Taizong entered into an alliance with Xueyantuo's leader Yi'nan, creating Yi'nan the Zhenzhupiqie Khan (or Zhenzhu Khan
Zhenzhu Khan
Zhenzhu Khan , personal name Yi'nan , full regal title Zhenzhupiqie Khan , was a khan of Xueyantuo, under whom Xueyantuo rose from being a vassal of Eastern Tujue to a mighty khanate ruling over northern/central Asia...

 in short).

In late 629, believing the time ripe for a major attack on Eastern Tujue, Emperor Taizong commissioned the general Li Jing
Li Jing
Li Jing , né Yaoshi , formally Duke Jingwu of Wei , was a general and one time chancellor of the Chinese Tang Dynasty...

 with overall command of a multi-pronged army, assisted by the generals Li Shiji
Li Shiji
Li Shiji , né Xu Shiji , later known in the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang as Li Ji , courtesy name Maogong , formally Duke Zhenwu of Ying , was one of the most celebrated generals early in the Chinese Tang Dynasty...

, Chai, and Xue Wanche (薛萬徹, Xue Wanjun's brother), attacking Eastern Tujue at multiple points. The army was successful in its attacks, forcing Ashina Duobi to flee, and by late spring 630, Ashina Duobi had been captured, and Eastern Tujue chieftains all submitted to Tang. Emperor Taizong spared Ashina Duobi but detained him at Chang'an, and he considered what to do with the Eastern Tujue people. The main opposing views were from the chancellors Wen Yanbo
Wen Yanbo
Wen Yanbo , formal name Wen Dalin but went by the courtesy name of Yanbo, formally Duke Gong of Yu , was a key official early in the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty as a key advisor for Emperor Gaozu and Emperor Taizong, serving as a chancellor during Emperor Taizong's reign, and, having been...

 (who advocated leaving the Eastern Tujue people within borders to serve as a defense perimeter) and Wei (who advocated leaving them outside the borders). Emperor Taizong accepted Wen's suggestion and established a number of prefectures to accommodate the Eastern Tujue people, still leaving them governed by their chieftains, without creating a new khan to govern them.

In 631, Emperor Taizong established a feudal
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 scheme, where the contributors to his reign were given, in addition to their current posts, additional posts as prefectural governors, to be passed on to their descendants. Soon, however, receiving much opposition to the plan, the strongest of which came from Zhangsun Wuji, Emperor Taizong cancelled the scheme.

After the conquest of Eastern Tujue, Emperor Taizong's officials repeatedly requested that he carry out sacrifices to heaven and earth at Mount Tai
Mount Tai
Mount Tai is a mountain of historical and cultural significance located north of the city of Tai'an, in Shandong province, People's Republic of China. The tallest peak is the Jade Emperor Peak , which is commonly reported as tall, but is described by the PRC government as .Mount Tai is one of the...

, and Emperor Taizong, while at times tempted by the proposal, was repeatedly dissuaded from doing so by Wei, who pointed out the expenses and the labors that would be imposed on the people as a result, and also that this would open China's borders to attack.

Middle reign (634-641)




In 634, Emperor Taizong sent 13 high level officials, including Li Jing and Xiao Yu, to examine the circuits to see whether the local officials were capable, to find out whether the people were suffering, to comfort the poor, and to select capable people to serve in civil service. (Li Jing initially recommended Wei, but Emperor Taizong declined sending Wei, stating that Wei needed to stay to point out his faults and that he could not afford to have Wei away even for a single day.)

Around this time, Tang was having increasing conflicts with Tuyuhun, whose Busabo Khan Murong Fuyun
Murong Fuyun
Murong Fuyun , formal title Busabo Khan , was a ruler of the Xianbei/Qiang/Tibetan state Tuyuhun. He first became ruler when his brother Murong Shifu was assassinated in 597, and became one of the longest-ruling monarchs in Tuyuhun history...

, under instigation by his strategist the Prince of Tianzhu, had been repeatedly attacking Tang prefectures on the borders. At one point, Murong Fuyun sought to have a Tang princess marry his son the Prince of Zun, but the marriage negotiations broke down over Emperor Taizong's insistence that the Prince of Zun come to Chang'an for the wedding. In summer 634, Emperor Taizong had the generals Duan Zhixuan and Fan Xing (樊興) lead forces against Tuyuhun, but with Tuyuhun's forces highly mobile and avoiding direct confrontation, Duan, while not defeated, could not make major gains. Once Duan withdrew, Tuyuhun resumed hostilities. In winter 634, with the Tufan king Songtsän Gampo making overtures to marry a Tang princess as well, Emperor Taizong sent the emissary Feng Dexia (馮德遐) to Tufan with an eye toward an alliance against Tuyuhun. In winter 634, he commissioned Li Jing, assisted by the other generals Hou Junji, Li Daozong
Li Daozong
Li Daozong , courtesy name Chengfan , was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty. He was a cousin of Emperor Taizong, and in Emperor Taizong's reign commanded forces in campaigns against Eastern Tujue, Tuyuhun, Goguryeo, and Xueyantuo...

, Li Daliang (李大亮), Li Daoyan (李道彥), and Gao Zengsheng (高甑生), to attack Tuyuhun. In 635, Li Jing's forces crushed Tuyuhun forces. Murong Fuyun was killed by his own subordinates, and his son Murong Shun
Murong Shun
Murong Shun , regal title Zhugulüwugandou Khan or, in short, Gandou Khan , Tang Dynasty noble title Prince of Xiping , was briefly a khan of the Xianbei/Qiang/Tibetan state Tuyuhun...

 killed the Prince of Tianzhu and surrendered. Emperor Taizong created Murong Shun the new khan, although Murong Shun was soon assassinated. Emperor Taizong then created Murong Shun's son Murong Nuohebo
Murong Nuohebo
Murong Nuohebo , regal title Wudiyebaledou Khan or, in short, Ledou Khan , Tang Dynasty noble title Prince of Qinghai , was the last khan of the Xianbei/Qiang/Tibetan state Tuyuhun...

 as the new khan.

Also in 635, Emperor Gaozu died, and Emperor Taizong, observing a mourning period, briefly had Li Chengqian serve as regent, and after he resumed his authorities less than two months later, he still authorized Li Chengqian to thereafter rule on minor matters.

In spring 636, Emperor Taizong commissioned his brothers and sons as commandants and changed their titles in accordance with the commands that they received, sending them to their posts—with the exception of his son Li Tai the Prince of Wei, who by this point was beginning to be highly favored by him. He further allowed Li Tai to engage literary men to serve as his assistants, as Li Tai favored literature. From this point on, Li Tai would be so favored that there began to be talks that Emperor Taizong might let him displace Li Chengqian, whose favors began to wane.

In fall 636, Empress Zhangsun died. Emperor Taizong mourned her bitterly and personally wrote the text of her monument.

In summer 637, Emperor Taizong recreated the feudal scheme that he had considered and abandoned in 631, creating 35 hereditary prefect posts. (By 639, however, the system was again abandoned after much opposition.)


Sometime before 638, Emperor Taizong, disgusted with the traditional noble clans of Cui, Lu, Li, and Zheng and believing that they were abusing their highly honored names, commissioned Gao Shilian, Wei Ting, Linghu Defen
Linghu Defen
Linghu Defen , formally Duke Xian of Pengyang , was an official of the Chinese dynasties Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty...

, and Cen Wenben
Cen Wenben
Cen Wenben , courtesy name Jingren , formally Viscount Xian of Jiangling , was a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang. He was an assistant editor of the Book of Zhou, the official history of Northern Zhou.- Background :Cen Wenben was born in 595, during the reign of Emperor Wen...

 to compile a work later to be known as the Records of Clans (氏族志), with the intent of dividing the clans into nine classes based on their past contributions, good deeds, and ill deeds. In an initial draft that Gao submitted, he nevertheless ranked the branch of the Cui clan that the official Cui Min'gan (崔民幹) belonged to as the highest, a decision that Emperor Taizong rebuked, as he pointed out that Gao was merely again looking at tradition and not the recent contributions. He therefore personally intervened in revising the work, reducing Cui's clan to the third class.

In fall 638, Tufan's Songtsän Gampo, displeased that Emperor Taizong had declined to give him a Tang princess in marriage and believing that Murong Nuohebo had persuaded Emperor Taizong to decline the marriage proposal, launched a major attack with forces of 200,000 on Tuyuhun and then on several Tang prefectures, putting Song Prefecture (松州, roughly modern Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture
Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture
The Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture is an autonomous prefecture in Sichuan, whose capital is Barkam town . It has an area of 83,201 km²....

, Sichuan
Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

) under siege. Emperor Taizong commissioned Hou, assisted by Zhishi Sili (執失思力), Niu Jinda (牛進達), and Liu Jian (劉簡), of a total of force of 50,000 to counterattack, and Niu, who commanded the forward forces, defeated Tufan forces at Song Prefecture. Songsän Gampo withdrew and sued for peace, but still sought to marry a Tang princess. Emperor Taizong agreed this time.

Also in 638, believing that Xueyantuo was growing increasingly strong and difficult to control, Emperor Taizong granted Yi'nan's sons Bazhuo
Duomi Khan
Duomi Khan , personal name Bazhuo , full regal name Jialijulixueshaduomi Khan , was a khan of the Xueyantuo...

 and Jialibi (頡利苾) both lesser khan titles, to try to create dissensions between them.

In summer 639, Ashina Jiesheshuai (阿史那結社率), the younger brother of Ashina Shibobi, whom Emperor Taizong did not favor and gave little recognition to, formed a conspiracy with Ashina Shibobi's son Ashina Hexiangu (阿史那賀暹鶻) to assassinate Emperor Taizong. They had planned to wait for Li Zhi
Emperor Gaozong of Tang
Emperor Gaozong of Tang , personal name Li Zhi , was the third emperor of the Tang Dynasty in China, ruling from 649 to 683...

 the Prince of Jin to depart from the palace in the morning and use that opportunity to attack the palace. On the day they planned, however, Li Zhi did not leave the palace, and Ashina Jiesheshuai attacked anyway but was quickly defeated, captured, and executed. After this incident, however, the officials began advocating sending the Tujue people away from the heart of the state. In fall 639, Emperor Taizong created a Tujue prince who had served him faithfully, Li Simo (né Ashina Simo) as the khan of a newly recreated Eastern Tujue state (as Qilibi Khan
Qilibi Khan
Qilibi Khan , personal name Ashina Simo , Qilibi Khan (Chinese: 俟力苾可汗, (Pinyin): qílìbié kěhàn, (Wade-Giles): ch'i-li-pi k'o-han, Middle Chinese: (Guangyun) , d. 645?), personal name Ashina Simo (阿史那思摩), Qilibi Khan (Chinese: 俟力苾可汗, (Pinyin): qílìbié kěhàn, (Wade-Giles): ch'i-li-pi k'o-han, Middle...

), giving him all of the Tujue and Xiongnu
Xiongnu
The Xiongnu were ancient nomadic-based people that formed a state or confederation north of the agriculture-based empire of the Han Dynasty. Most of the information on the Xiongnu comes from Chinese sources...

 who had surrendered as his subordinates, to be settled north of the Great Wall and the Yellow River. However, the Tujue people were fearful of Xueyantuo and initially refused to head to their new location. Emperor Taizong issued an edict to Yi'nan that he and Li Simo keep their peace and not attack each other, and after receiving from Yi'nan the assurance that he would not attack, the Tujue people advanced to the new location.

Meanwhile, Qu Wentai (麴文泰), the king of Gaochang
Gaochang
Gaochang is the site of an ancient oasis city built on the northern rim of the inhospitable Taklamakan Desert in Xinjiang, China. A busy trading center, it was a stopping point for merchant traders traveling on the Silk Road...

, who had previously been submissive to Tang, had become increasingly hostile to Tang, allying with Western Tujue. In 640, Emperor Taizong commissioned Hou, assisted by Xue Wanjun, to launch a major attack on Gaochang. As they approached Gaochang, Qu Wentai died in fear and was succeeded by his son Qu Zhisheng (麴智盛). Qu Zhisheng offered to submit, but Hou demanded a surrender, which Qu Zhisheng refused. However, Hou put Gaochang under siege, and with aid from Western Tujue not arriving, Qu Zhisheng surrendered. Wei suggested that Emperor Taizong allow Qu Zhisheng to remain king, pointing out that the monetary and human costs would be high to keep a permanent garrison at Gaochang, but Emperor Taizong disagreed, and he converted Gaochang into two prefectures and annexed it into his state.

In winter 640, Songsän Gampo sent his prime minister Ludongzan (祿東贊) as an emissary to Tang, offering tributes and again requesting marriage. Emperor Taizong created a daughter of a clansman as the Princess Wencheng
Princess Wencheng
Princess Wencheng was a niece of the powerful Emperor Taizong of China's Tang Dynasty, who left China in 640, according to records, arriving the next year in Tibet to marry the thirty-seven year old Songtsän Gampo the thirty-third king of the Yarlung Dynasty of Tibet, in a marriage of...

, and in 641 sent Li Daozong to accompany Princess Wencheng to Tufan to preside over the wedding.

In winter 641, believing that Emperor Taizong was about to carry out sacrifices to heaven and earth at Mount Tai
Mount Tai
Mount Tai is a mountain of historical and cultural significance located north of the city of Tai'an, in Shandong province, People's Republic of China. The tallest peak is the Jade Emperor Peak , which is commonly reported as tall, but is described by the PRC government as .Mount Tai is one of the...

 and would be unable to aid Eastern Tujue, Yi'nan launched a major attack on Eastern Tujue, commanded by his son Dadu (大度). Li Simo was forced to retreat inside the Great Wall. Emperor Taizong commissioned Li Shiji, assisted by Zhang Jian (張儉), Li Daliang, Zhang Shigui (張士貴), and Li Xiyu (李襲譽), to attack Xueyantuo. Li Shiji soon defeated Dadu at Nuozhen River (諾真水, flowing through modern Baotou
Baotou
Baotou is a mid-sized industrial city in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Governed as a prefecture-level city, its urban areas are home to a population of approximately 1.78 million, with a total population of over 2.65 million accounting for counties under...

, Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia
Inner Mongolia is an autonomous region of the People's Republic of China, located in the northern region of the country. Inner Mongolia shares an international border with the countries of Mongolia and the Russian Federation...

), and Dadu fled.

Late reign (642-649)



By 642, it was clear that Li Tai had ambitions on replacing his brother Li Chengqian, and the governmental officials began to be divided into pro-Li Chengqian and pro-Li Tai factions. After urging by Wei Zheng and Chu Suiliang
Chu Suiliang
Chu Suiliang , courtesy name Dengshan , formally Duke of Henan , was a chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, during the reigns of Emperor Taizong and Emperor Taizong's son Emperor Gaozong...

 to take actions that would clarify that Li Chengqian's position was secure, Emperor Taizong attempted to do so by making repeated statements to that effect, but his continued favoring of Li Tai led to continued speculation among officials.

Also by 642, Xueyantuo had posed a sufficiently serious threat (albeit still formally submissive) that Emperor Taizong saw two alternatives—destroying it by force or forming into a heqin
Heqin
Heqin was a term used in ancient China for an alliance by marriage. It usually referred to the Chinese Emperor marrying off a "princess" to an aggressive "barbarian" chieftain or ruler. The theory was that in exchange for the marriage, the chieftain would cease all aggressive actions toward China...

relationship by marrying one of his daughters to Yi'nan. This particularly became an issue after the Tang general Qibi Heli (契苾何力), the chieftain of the Qibi Tribe, was kidnapped by his own subordinates and taken to Xueyantuo. In order to ransom Qibi, Emperor Taizong made a promise to eventually give his daughter Princess Xinxing to Yi'nan in marriage, and Yi'nan released Qibi.

In the winter 642, an event took place in Goguryeo that would eventually precipitate wars between Tang and Goguryeo. According to Chinese accounts King Yeongnyu
Yeongnyu of Goguryeo
King Yeongnyu of Goguryeo was the 27th king of Goguryeo, the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea.-Background:He was the younger half-brother of the 26th king Yeong-yang, and son of the 25th king Pyeongwon...

, the king of Goguryeo, was apprehensive about his general Yeon Gaesomun
Yeon Gaesomun
Yeon Gaesomun was a powerful and controversial military dictator and Generalissimo in the waning days of Goguryeo, which was one of the Three Kingdoms of ancient Korea. Yeon is also remembered for a number of successful resistance in military conflicts with Tang Dynasty under Emperor Li Shimin and...

 and was plotting with his other officials to kill Yeon. When Yeon received the news, he started a coup and killed the king and the high level officials. He declared King Yeongnyu's nephew Go Jang (King Bojang
Bojang of Goguryeo
Bojang of Goguryeo was the 28th and last king of Goguryeo the northernmost of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He was placed on the throne by the military leader Yeon Gaesomun...

) king, while taking power himself with the title of Dae Mangniji (대막리지, 大莫離支, Generalissimo
Generalissimo
Generalissimo and Generalissimus are military ranks of the highest degree, superior to Field Marshal and other five-star ranks.-Usage:...

). When Emperor Taizong received the news, there were suggestions that an attack be launched against Goguryeo, suggestions that Emperor Taizong initially declined.

In spring 643, Wei died, and Emperor Taizong mourned him bitterly, authoring Wei's monument himself and, prior to Wei's death, promising to give his daughter Princess Hengshan in marriage to Wei's son Wei Shuyu (魏叔玉). Later in spring, Emperor Taizong commissioned 24 portraits at Lingyan Pavilion
Portraits at Lingyan Pavilion
The Portraits at Lingyan Pavilion refer to the 24 portraits that Emperor Taizong of Tang commissioned the great painter Yan Liben to paint on Lingyan Pavilion in 643, within his palace, to commemorate the 24 great contributors to Tang rule. The commission order was issued on March 23, 643...

 to commemorate the 24 great contributors to his reign.

Also in 643, Emperor Taizong would see major turmoil among his own closest family. In spring 643, his son Li You (李祐) the Prince of Qi, angry over restrictions that his secretary general Quan Wanji (權萬紀) had often placed on him, killed Quan and declared a rebellion. Emperor Taizong sent Li Shiji against Li You, but before Li Shiji could engage Li You, Li You was captured by his own subordinate Du Xingmin (杜行敏) and delivered to Chang'an, where Emperor Taizong ordered him to commit suicide and executed 44 of his associates.

The death of Li You drew out news of another plot. Li Chengqian, who had been fearful that Emperor Taizong would eventually remove him and replace him with Li Tai, had begun to conspire with Hou Junji, Li Yuanchang (李元昌) the Prince of Han (Emperor Taizong's brother), the general Li Anyan (李安儼), and his brothers-in-law Zhao Jie (趙節) and Du He (杜荷, Du Ruhui's son) to overthrow Emperor Taizong. During the investigations in the aftermaths of Li You's rebellion, one of the co-conspirators, Li Chengqian's guard Gegan Chengji (紇干承基), was implicated by association, and in order to save himself, he revealed Li Chengqian's plot. Emperor Taizong was shocked by the news, and he appointed Zhangsun Wuji, Fang Xuanling, Xiao Yu, and Li Shiji, along with the officials in charge of the supreme court and the legislative and examination bureaus of the government to carry out a joint investigation. At the suggestion of the mid-level official Lai Ji
Lai Ji
Lai Ji was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Gaozong. He later offended Emperor Gaozong by opposing the ascension of Emperor Gaozong's second wife Empress Wu and was exiled to be a prefect in the extreme western part of the state...

, Emperor Taizong deposed, but did not kill, Li Chengqian, while ordering Li Yuanchang to commit suicide and executing Hou, Li Anyan, Zhao, and Du.

After Li Chenqian was deposed, Emperor Taizong briefly promised Li Tai that he would be made crown prince. However, as the investigations continued, Emperor Taizong came to the belief that Li Chengqian's downfall was driven by Li Tai's machinations, and therefore resolved to depose Li Tai as well. At Zhangsun's suggestion, Emperor Taizong created a younger son, Li Zhi
Emperor Gaozong of Tang
Emperor Gaozong of Tang , personal name Li Zhi , was the third emperor of the Tang Dynasty in China, ruling from 649 to 683...

 the Prince of Jin (who, like Li Chengqian and Li Tai, were born of Empress Zhangsun), crown prince, who was considered kinder and gentler, while exiling Li Chengqian and Li Tai. (Starting later that year, however, Emperor Taizong began to have doubts as to whether Li Zhi's personality was sufficiently strong to serve as emperor, and he toyed with the idea of making another son, Li Ke
Li Ke
Li Ke , posthumously known as the Prince of Yulin , often known by his greater title as the Prince of Wu , was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty...

 the Prince of Wu, a son of his concubine Consort Yang (Emperor Yang of Sui's daughter), crown prince, but did not do so due to strong opposition by Zhangsun Wuji.)

Meanwhile, coming to the belief that he made an ill-advised promise to Yi'nan to give him Princess Xinxing in marriage, Emperor Taizong demanded a large amount of bride price
Bride price
Bride price, also known as bride wealth, is an amount of money or property or wealth paid by the groom or his family to the parents of a woman upon the marriage of their daughter to the groom...

 -- 50,000 horses, 10,000 cows and camels, and 100,000 sheep—a price that Yi'nan agreed to, but could not immediately collect and deliver. Emperor Taizong used it as an excuse to cancel the marriage agreement. Meanwhile, as Wei Zheng had, prior to his death, recommended Hou and Li Chengqian's staff member Du Zhenglun
Du Zhenglun
Du Zhenglun was an official of the Chinese dynasties Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, serving as chancellor during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang.- During Sui Dynasty :...

 as chancellors, Emperor Taizong came to suspect that Wei was part of the plot as well. He destroyed the monument he had authored for Wei and cancelled the betrothal between Wei Shuyu and Princess Hengshan.

In 644, with Yanqi
Yanqi
Yanqi may refer to the following in China:Xinjiang*Karasahr , ancient kingdom*Yanqi Hui Autonomous County , in Bayin'gholin Mongol Autonomous PrefectureElsewhere*Yanqi, Beijing , area of Huairou District, Beijing...

's king Long Tuqizhi (龍突騎支), who had assisted the Tang campaign to conquer Gaochang, turning against Tang and allying with Western Tujue, Emperor Taizong sent the general Guo Xiaoke (郭孝恪), the commandant at Anxi (安西, i.e., Gaochang) to launch a surprise attack on Yanqi. Guo caught Long Tuqizhi by surprise and captured him, making his brother Long Lipozhun (龍栗婆準) regent. (The Western Tujue viceroy Ashina Quli (阿史那屈利) subsequently captured Long Lipozhun and briefly occupied Yanqi, although he then, not wanting a direct confrontation with Tang, withdrew, and the Yanqi nobles made Long Tuqizhi's cousin Long Xuepoanazhi (龍薛婆阿那支) king.)


Also in 644, with Goguryeo attacking Silla
Silla
Silla was one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, and one of the longest sustained dynasties in...

 and Silla requesting aid, Emperor Taizong decided to prepare for a campaign to conquer Goguryeo. He arrested the emissaries that Yeon sent to the Tang court, accusing them of disloyalty to King Yeongnyu. By winter 644, the mobilization was in full force. (Apparently because of Tang's preparation to attack Goguryeo, however, the reconstituted Eastern Tujue people, fearing an attack from Xueyantuo at a time that Tang would be ill-equipped to assist, panicked and abandoned their khan Li Simo, fleeing into Tang territory. Emperor Taizong reabsorbed the Eastern Tujue people into Tang, while making Li Simo a general in his army.)

In spring 645, Emperor Taizong departed from Luoyang and led the troops northeast, behind a vanguard of 60,000 commanded by Li Shiji and Li Daozong. At the same time, Zhang Liang led the other 40,000 from sea. By summer 645, Tang forces had captured Yodong/Liaodong (遼東, in modern Liaoyang
Liaoyang
Liaoyang is a city in China, Liaoning province, located in the middle of the Liaodong Peninsula. The city is situated on the T'ai-tzu River and forms with Anshan a built up area of 2,057,200 inhabitants in 2010....

, Liaoning
Liaoning
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the northeast of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "辽" , a name taken from the Liao River that flows through the province. "Níng" means "peace"...

), and headed southeast toward the Goguryeo capital Pyongyang
Pyongyang
Pyongyang is the capital of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, commonly known as North Korea, and the largest city in the country. Pyongyang is located on the Taedong River and, according to preliminary results from the 2008 population census, has a population of 3,255,388. The city was...

. Emperor Taizong's 20,000 force (11,000 force commanded by Zhangsun, 4000 infantry/cavalry by Emperor Taizong, and 5,000 cavalry by Li Shiji) defeated a large force of 150,000 commanded by two Gogureyo generals and then put Ansi (安市, in modern Anshan, Liaoning
Liaoning
' is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the northeast of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "辽" , a name taken from the Liao River that flows through the province. "Níng" means "peace"...

) under siege.

However, the capable defense put up by Ansi's commanding general (whose name is controversial but traditionally is believed to be Yang Manchun
Yang Manchun
Yang Manchun is the name given to the Goguryeo commander of Ansi fortress in the 640s.Ansi fortress was located on the Goguryeo-Chinese border, probably present-day Haicheng. Yang is sometimes credited with saving the kingdom by his refusal to surrender the fortress to invading Tang...

) stymied Tang forces and, in late fall, with winter fast approaching and his food supplies running out, Emperor Taizong withdrew. He much regretted launching the campaign and made the comment, "If Wei Zheng were still alive, he would never have let me launch this campaign." He reerected the monument he authored for Wei and summoned Wei's wife and children to meet him, treating them well. He also began to suffer from an illness—an illness that he would never appear to completely recover from.

Meanwhile, in the aftermaths of the Goguryeo campaign, Xueyantuo's Duomi Khan
Duomi Khan
Duomi Khan , personal name Bazhuo , full regal name Jialijulixueshaduomi Khan , was a khan of the Xueyantuo...

 Bazhuo (son of Yi'nan, who had died earlier in 645) launched attacks against Tang's border prefectures, with largely inconclusive results. In spring 646, the Tang generals Qiao Shiwang (喬師望) and Zhishi Sili counterattacked, defeating Bazhuo's forces, causing him to flee. His vassals Huige, Pugu (僕骨), and Tongluo (同羅) tribes took the opportunity to rebel and attack him. Hearing this, Emperor Taizong launched a major attack, commanded by Li Daozong, Ashina She'er (阿史那社爾), Zhishi, Qibi, Xue Wanche, and Zhang Jian, against Xueyantuo. With Xueyantuo under attack from multiple sides, Bazhuo was killed by Huige forces, and the remaining Xueyantuo people fled and supported Bazhuo's cousin Duomozhi as Yitewushi Khan
Yitewushi Khan
Yitewushi Khan , personal name Duomozhi , was the last khan of Xueyantuo.Little is known about Duomozhi's background, other than that he was a nephew of Xueyantuo's greatest khan, the Zhenzhu Khan Yi'nan...

, but soon offered to submit to Tang. Emperor Taizong sent Li Shiji toward Duomozhi's location, with the direction to either accept his submission or destroy him. Duomozhi surrendered and was taken to Chang'an, ending Xueyantuo's rule over the region. The other tribes formerly submissive to Xueyantuo offered Emperor Taizong the title of "Heavenly Khan" and thereafter largely became submissive to Tang. Tang nominally established seven command posts and six prefectures over the region. (Huige's khan Yaoluoge Tumidu (藥羅葛吐迷度), while submissive to Tang, for some time tried to take control over the region himself, but was subsequently assassinated in 648, and there would be no other organized attempt by Huige to take over the region until for about another century.)


After the victory over Xueyantuo, Emperor Taizong again turned his attention toward to Goguryeo, cutting off relations once more and considering another campaign. Under suggestions by some of his officials, he decided to launch harassment campaigns against Goguryeo's northern region on a yearly basis, to weaken Goguryeo gradually. The first of these campaigns was launched in spring 647, with Niu Jinda and Li Shiji in command, and would reoccur. All this was in preparation of another campaign in 649 with forces totaling 300,000, but Taizong died before this campaign and the campaign was stalled into Gaozong's reign.

In 648, Emperor Taizong launched another campaign, commanded by Ashina She'er, aimed at Qiuzi
Kucha
Kuchaor Kuche Uyghur , Chinese Simplified: 库车; Traditional: 庫車; pinyin Kùchē; also romanized as Qiuzi, Qiuci, Chiu-tzu, Kiu-che, Kuei-tzu from the traditional Chinese forms 屈支 屈茨; 龜玆; 龟兹, 丘玆, also Po ; Sanskrit: Kueina, Standard Tibetan: Kutsahiyui was an ancient Buddhist kingdom...

, but first attacking Yanqi and killing Long Xuepoanazhi and replacing him with his cousin Long Xiannazhun (龍先那準). Ashina She'er advanced on Qiuzi and captured its king Bai Helibushibi (白訶黎布失畢), making his brother king instead.
By summer of 649, Emperor Taizong was seriously ill—with some believing that his illness was caused by his taking pills given to him by alchemists
Alchemy
Alchemy is an influential philosophical tradition whose early practitioners’ claims to profound powers were known from antiquity. The defining objectives of alchemy are varied; these include the creation of the fabled philosopher's stone possessing powers including the capability of turning base...

. Believing Li Shiji to be capable but fearing that he would not be submissive to Li Zhi, he demoted Li Shiji out of the capital to be the commandant at remote Die Prefecture (疊州, roughly modern Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture is an autonomous prefecture in southern Gansu Province, China. It includes Xiahe and the Labrang Monastery, Luqu, Maqu, and other mostly Tibetan towns and villages...

, Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

), with instructions to Li Zhi that if Li Shiji hesitated, to execute him immediately, and if he did not, to recall him after Emperor Taizong's death and make him chancellor. Li Shiji, when receiving the order and realizing that his life was at stake, immediately departed for Die Prefecture. (After Emperor Taizong's death, Li Zhi would indeed recall Li Shiji and make him chancellor.) Soon thereafter, Emperor Taizong, after entrusting Li Zhi to Zhangsun Wuji and Chu, died at his summer palace Cuiwei Palace (翠微宮). His death was initially kept a secret, and three days later, after his casket had been returned to Chang'an, his death was announced, and Li Zhi took the throne as Emperor Gaozong.

Titles from birth to death

  • 23 January 599-617: Lord Li Shimin
  • 617: Duke of Dunhuang
  • 617-618: Duke of Zhao
  • 618-626: Prince of Qin
  • 626: The Crown Prince of Tang
  • 4 September 626-10 July 649: Emperor Taizong of Tang
  • Posthumously: Wen Huangdi
    • Pothumously: Wen Wu Dasheng Daguang Xiao Huangdi

Chancellors during reign

Name In office Notes
Xiao Yu
Xiao Yu
Xiao Yu , courtesy name Shiwen , formally Duke Zhenbian of Song , was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Liang Dynasty who later became an official for Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor at times during the reigns of Emperor Gaozu of Tang and Emperor Taizong of Tang.-...

 
(626, 627, 630, 643-646)
Chen Shuda
Chen Shuda
Chen Shuda , courtesy name Zicong , formally initially Duke Miao of Jiang , later Duke Zhong of Jiang , was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Chen Dynasty, who, after Chen's destruction, served as an official for the succeeding Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, becoming a chancellor during the...

 
(626)
Feng Deyi
Feng Deyi
Feng Deyi , formal name Feng Lun but went by the courtesy name of Deyi, formally initially Duke Ming of Mi , later Duke Miao of Mi , was an official of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty who served as a chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Gaozu of Tang and Emperor Taizong of Tang...

 
(626-627)
Yuwen Shiji
Yuwen Shiji
Yuwen Shiji , formally Duke Zong of Ying , was an official of the Chinese dynasties Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang...

 
(626-627)
Gao Shilian
Gao Shilian
Gao Shilian , formal name Gao Jian but went by the courtesy name of Shilian, formally Duke Wenxian of Shen , was a chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty...

 
(626-627, 638-647)
Fang Xuanling
Fang Xuanling
Fang Xuanling , formal name Fang Qiao but went by the courtesy name of Xuanling, formally Duke Wenzhao of Liang , was the lead editor of the Book of Jin and one of the most celebrated chancellors of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, and he and his colleague Du Ruhui, both serving during the reign...

 
(626-643, 643-648)
Zhangsun Wuji
Zhangsun Wuji
Zhangsun Wuji , courtesy name Fuji , formally Duke of Zhao , was a chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty during the reigns of his brother-in-law Emperor Taizong and nephew Emperor Gaozong...

 
(627-628, 645-649)
Du Yan
Du Yan
Du Yan , courtesy name Zhili , formally Duke Xiang of Anji , was a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang. His more famous nephew Du Ruhui was also a chancellor.- During Sui Dynasty :...

 
(627-628)
Du Ruhui
Du Ruhui
Du Ruhui , courtesy name Keming , formally Duke Cheng of Lai , was one of the most celebrated chancellors of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, and he and his colleague Fang Xuanling, both serving during the reign of Emperor Taizong, were often asserted to be ideal models for chancellors.- During...

 
(628-629)
Li Jing
Li Jing
Li Jing , né Yaoshi , formally Duke Jingwu of Wei , was a general and one time chancellor of the Chinese Tang Dynasty...

 
(628-634)
Wang Gui
Wang Gui
Wang Gui , courtesy name Shujie , formally Duke Yi of Yongning , was a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang...

 
(628-633)
Wei Zheng
Wei Zheng
Wei Zheng , courtesy name Xuancheng , formally Duke Wenzhen of Zheng , was a Chinese politician and the lead editor of the Book of Sui, composed in 636...

 
(629-642)
Wen Yanbo
Wen Yanbo
Wen Yanbo , formal name Wen Dalin but went by the courtesy name of Yanbo, formally Duke Gong of Yu , was a key official early in the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty as a key advisor for Emperor Gaozu and Emperor Taizong, serving as a chancellor during Emperor Taizong's reign, and, having been...

 
(630-637)
Dai Zhou
Dai Zhou
Dai Zhou , courtesy name Xuanyin , formally Duke Zhong of Dao , was an official of the Chinese dynasties Sui Dynasty and Tang Dynasty, eventually becoming chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang....

 
(630-633)
Hou Junji
Hou Junji
Hou Junji was a major general and chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, particularly known for his campaigns against Gaochang and Tuyuhun...

 
(630-632, 632-643)
Yang Shidao
Yang Shidao
Yang Shidao , courtesy name Jingyou , formally Duke Yi of Ande , was a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang.- Background :It is not known when Yang Shidao was born...

 
(636-643, 645)
Liu Ji
Liu Ji (Tang Dynasty)
Liu Ji , courtesy name Sidao , was a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang, who was particularly relied on by Emperor Taizong late in his reign...

 
(639-645)
Cen Wenben
Cen Wenben
Cen Wenben , courtesy name Jingren , formally Viscount Xian of Jiangling , was a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang. He was an assistant editor of the Book of Zhou, the official history of Northern Zhou.- Background :Cen Wenben was born in 595, during the reign of Emperor Wen...

 
(642-645)
Li Shiji
Li Shiji
Li Shiji , né Xu Shiji , later known in the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang as Li Ji , courtesy name Maogong , formally Duke Zhenwu of Ying , was one of the most celebrated generals early in the Chinese Tang Dynasty...

 
(643-649)
Zhang Liang
Zhang Liang (Tang Dynasty)
Zhang Liang was a general and official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, becoming chancellor late in the reign of Emperor Taizong. He was eventually accused of using witchcraft—a major taboo during China's imperial times—and executed in 646.- Background and service under Li Mi :It is not...

 
(643-646)
Ma Zhou
Ma Zhou
Ma Zhou , courtesy name Binwang , was a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang. He was initially a commoner and a guest of the general Chang He , and after Chang submitted suggestions that Ma drafted, Emperor Taizong was impressed and retained Ma as an imperial official,...

 
(644-648)
Chu Suiliang
Chu Suiliang
Chu Suiliang , courtesy name Dengshan , formally Duke of Henan , was a chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, during the reigns of Emperor Taizong and Emperor Taizong's son Emperor Gaozong...

 
(644-647, 648-649)
Xu Jingzong
Xu Jingzong
Xu Jingzong , courtesy name Yanzu , formally Duke Gong of Gaoyang , was a chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty...

 
(645)
Gao Jifu
Gao Jifu
Gao Jifu , formal name Gao Feng but went by the courtesy name of Jifu, formally Duke Xian of Tiao , was a chancellor of the Chinese court in the Tang Dynasty, during the reigns of Emperor Taizong and Emperor Gaozong.- Background :Gao Jifu was born in 596...

 
(645)
Zhang Xingcheng
Zhang Xingcheng
Zhang Xingcheng , courtesy name Deli , formally Duke Ding of Beiping , was a chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, during the reigns of Emperor Taizong and Emperor Gaozong.- Background :...

 
(645)
Cui Renshi
Cui Renshi
Cui Renshi was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty who briefly served as a chancellor late in the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang. His grandson Cui Shi later served as chancellor during the reigns of Emperor Zhongzong and Emperor Ruizong....

 
(648)

Family

  • Father
    • Emperor Gaozu of Tang
      Emperor Gaozu of Tang
      Emperor Gāozǔ of Táng , born Lǐ Yuān , courtesy name Shūdé , was the founder of the Tang Dynasty of China, and the first emperor of this dynasty from 618 to 626. Under the Sui dynasty, Li Yuan was the governor in the area of modern-day Shanxi, and was based in Taiyuan.In 615, Li Yuan was assigned...

  • Mother
    • Duchess Dou, Emperor Gaozu's wife, daughter of Dou Yi (竇毅) the Duke of Shenwu during Northern Zhou and Sui Dynasty and the Princess Xiangyang daughter of Yuwen Tai
      Yuwen Tai
      Yuwen Tai , nickname Heita , formally Duke Wen of Anding , later further posthumously honored by Northern Zhou initially as Prince Wen then as Emperor Wen with the temple name Taizu , was the paramount general of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei, a branch successor state of Northern Wei...

      , posthumously honored as Empress Taimushunsheng
  • Wife
    • Empress Zhangsun
      Empress Zhangsun
      Empress Zhangsun , formally Empress Wendeshunsheng or, in short, Empress Wende , was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty. She was the wife of Emperor Taizong and the mother of Emperor Gaozong...

       (created 626, d. 636), mother of Crown Princes Chengqian and Zhi, Prince Tai, and Princesses Changle, Jinyang, and Xincheng
  • Major Concubines
    • Consort Xu Hui (徐惠) (627-650), titled Chongrong (充容), posthumously honored Xianfei (賢妃)
    • Consort Yang, daughter of Emperor Yang of Sui
      Emperor Yang of Sui
      Emperor Yang of Sui , personal name Yang Guang , alternative name Ying , nickname Amo , known as Emperor Ming during the brief reign of his grandson Yang Tong), was the second son of Emperor Wen of Sui, and the second emperor of China's Sui Dynasty.Emperor Yang's original name was Yang Ying, but...

      , mother of Princes Ke and Yin
    • Consort Yin, mother of Prince You
    • Consort Wang, mother of Prince Yun
    • Consort Yan, mother of Princes Zhen and Xiao
    • Consort Wei, mother of Prince Shen and Princess Linchuan
    • Consort Yang, mother of Prince Fu
    • Consort Yang, formerly wife and princess of Li Yuanji
      Li Yuanji
      Li Yuanji , formally Prince La of Chao , more commonly known by the title of Prince of Qi , nickname Sanhu , was an imperial prince of the Chinese Tang Dynasty...

       the Prince of Qi, mother of Prince Ming
    • Consort Wu
      Wu Zetian
      Wu Zetian , personal name Wu Zhao , often referred to as Tian Hou during the Tang Dynasty and Empress Consort Wu in later times, was the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of Empress Regnant...

      , later wife and empress of Emperor Gaozong, later Emperor of Zhou, commonly known as Wu Zetian
      Wu Zetian
      Wu Zetian , personal name Wu Zhao , often referred to as Tian Hou during the Tang Dynasty and Empress Consort Wu in later times, was the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of Empress Regnant...

  • Sons
    • Li Chengqian (李承乾), initially the Prince of Changshan (created 620), later the Prince of Zhongshan (created 622), later the Crown Prince (created 626), later reduced to commoner rank (deposed 643), posthumously honored as Prince Min of Changshan
    • Li Kuan (李寬) (d. 620?), posthumously created the Prince of Chu
    • Li Ke
      Li Ke
      Li Ke , posthumously known as the Prince of Yulin , often known by his greater title as the Prince of Wu , was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty...

       (李恪), initially the Prince of Changsha (created 620), later the Prince of Han, later the Prince of Shu (created 628), later the Prince of Wu (created 636, forced to commit suicide 653), posthumously created the Prince of Yulin
    • Li Tai (李泰), initially the Prince of Yidu (created 620), later the Prince of Wei (created 621), later the Prince of Yue (created 628), later the Prince of Wei (created 636), later demoted to the Prince of Donglai (demoted 643), later the Prince of Shunyang (created 643), later Prince Gong of Pu (created 647)
    • Li You (李祐), initially the Prince of Yiyang (created 625), later the Prince of Chu, later the Prince of Yan (created 628), later the Prince of Qi (created 636, forced to commit suicide 653)
    • Li Yin (李愔), initially the Prince of Liang (created 631), later the Prince of Shu (created 636), later reduced to commoner rank (deposed 653), later the Prince of Peiling (d. 667), posthumously created Prince Dao of Shu
    • Li Yun (李惲), initially the Prince of Tan (created 631), later the Prince of Jiang (created 636, committed suicide 674)
    • Li Zhen
      Li Zhen (Tang Dynasty)
      Li Zhen , formally Prince Jing of Yue , posthumously known during Wu Zetian's reign as Hui Zhen , was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty who, along with his son Li Chong rose against Wu Zetian, then empress dowager and regent, as they feared that she was about to slaughter the...

       (李貞), initially the Prince of Han (created 631), later the Prince of Yue (created 636, committed suicide 688)
    • Li Zhi
      Emperor Gaozong of Tang
      Emperor Gaozong of Tang , personal name Li Zhi , was the third emperor of the Tang Dynasty in China, ruling from 649 to 683...

       (李治), initially the Prince of Jin (created 631), later the Crown Prince (created 643), later Emperor Gaozong of Tang
      Emperor Gaozong of Tang
      Emperor Gaozong of Tang , personal name Li Zhi , was the third emperor of the Tang Dynasty in China, ruling from 649 to 683...

    • Li Shen (李慎), initially the Prince of Shen (created 631), later the Prince of Ji (created 636), later reduced to commoner rank (deposed and d. 688)
    • Li Xiao (李囂), Prince Shang of Jiang (created 631, d. 632)
    • Li Jian (李簡), the Prince of Dai (created and d. 631)
    • Li Fu (李福), the Prince of Zhao (created 639, d. 670)
    • Li Ming (李明), initially the Prince of Cao (created 647), later demoted to Prince of Lingling (demoted 680 or 681, forced to commit suicide 682)
  • Daughters
    • Princess Xiangcheng (d. 651)
    • Princess Runan
    • Princess Nanping
    • Princess Sui'an
    • Li Lize (李麗質), Princess Changle (621-643), married Zhangsun Wuji
      Zhangsun Wuji
      Zhangsun Wuji , courtesy name Fuji , formally Duke of Zhao , was a chancellor of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty during the reigns of his brother-in-law Emperor Taizong and nephew Emperor Gaozong...

      's son Zhangsun Chong (長孫沖)
    • Princess Yuzhang
    • Princess Baling (forced to commit suicide 653), posthumously created Princess Bijing
    • Princess Pu'an
    • Princess Dongyang
    • Princess Linchuan (d. 682)
    • Li Jing (李敬), Princess Qinghe (d. 664)
    • Li Shu (李淑), Princess Lanling
    • Princess Jin'an
    • Princess Ankang
    • Princess Xingxing
    • Princess Chengyang, her first husband was Du Ruhui
      Du Ruhui
      Du Ruhui , courtesy name Keming , formally Duke Cheng of Lai , was one of the most celebrated chancellors of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, and he and his colleague Fang Xuanling, both serving during the reign of Emperor Taizong, were often asserted to be ideal models for chancellors.- During...

      's son Du He (杜荷), her second husband was Xue Yao (薛曜); her son Xue Shao (薛紹) married Emperor Gaozong's daughter Princess Taiping
      Princess Taiping
      Princess Taiping was a princess of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty and her mother Wu Zetian's Zhou Dynasty. She was the youngest daughter of Wu Zetian and Emperor Gaozong and was powerful during the reigns of her mother and her elder brothers Emperor Zhongzong and Emperor Ruizong , particularly...

    • Princess Gaoyang (forced to commit suicide 653), posthumously created Princess Hepu
    • Princess Jinshan
    • Li Mingda (李明達), Princess Jinyang
    • Princess Changshan (d. 656)
    • Princess Xincheng

Ancestry



Literary and other cultural references

  • Emperor Taizong was the subject of a 64-chapter (in eight volumes) The Novel of the Prince of Qin of the Great Tang (大唐秦王詞話 Datang Qin Wang Cihua) by Zhu Shenglin of the Ming Dynasty
    Ming Dynasty
    The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

    . The novel is also known as The Biography of the Prince of Qin of the Tang Dynasty (唐秦王本傳), Romance of Tang (唐傳演義), and Romance of the Prince of Qin (秦王演義).

  • Journey to the West
    Journey to the West
    Journey to the West is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. It was written by Wu Cheng'en in the 16th century. In English-speaking countries, the tale is also often known simply as Monkey. This was one title used for a popular, abridged translation by Arthur Waley...

    details a fictional account of the origin of the Chinese door god
    Door god
    A door god is a Chinese decoration placed on each side of an entry to a temple, home, business, etc., which is believed to keep evil spirits from entering....

    s. Emperor Taizong asked his generals Qin Shubao
    Qin Shubao
    Qin Shubao , formal name Qin Qiong but went by the courtesy name of Shubao, formally Duke Zhuang of Hu , was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty whose bravery later caused him to be incorporated into Chinese folk religion as a door god, along with Yuchi Jingde.-During Sui Dynasty:It is...

     and Yuchi Jingde
    Yuchi Jingde
    Yuchi Jingde , formal name Yuchi Gong but went by the courtesy name of Jingde, formally Duke Zhongwu of E , was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty whose bravery later caused him to be incorporated into Chinese folk religion as a door god, along with Qin Shubao.-During Sui Dynasty:Yuchi...

     to stand guard outside his bedroom to protect him from a vengeful spirit.

Television

  • Hong Kong's TVB
    Television Broadcasts Limited
    Television Broadcasts Limited, commonly known as TVB, is the second over-the-air commercial television station in Hong Kong. It commenced broadcasting on 19 November 1967...

     produced a television series about Li Shimin's adventure based on The Novel of the Prince of Qin of the Great Tang (大唐秦王詞話).

  • The Foundation, a 1983 Hong Kong television series produced by TVB. It featured a young Li Shimin prominently as one of its three leading characters.

  • Qin Wang Li Shimin
    Qin Wang Li Shimin
    Qin Wang Li Shimin is a 2005 Chinese television series about the early life of Li Shimin, who would eventually become Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty...

    , a 2004 Chinese idol drama about a young Li Shimin's romance with Ruoxi, a princess of the Sui Dynasty. Peter Ho
    Peter Ho
    Peter Ho Jun-tung is an American-Taiwanese singer and actor. Ho was born in Los Angeles, California, and raised in Taiwan and Canada...

     starred as Li Shimin.

  • Become (开创盛世), a 2006 television series starring Shen Xiaohai as Li Shimin.

  • Zhenguan Changge
    Zhenguan Changge
    Zhenguan Changge is a Chinese television series directed by Wu Ziniu. It was first aired on CCTV in China in 2007. The series is based on the events in the Zhenguan era of the reign of Emperor Taizong during the Tang Dynasty.-Plot:...

    , a 2006 Chinese television series based on the events of the Zhenguan era, starring Tang Guoqiang
    Tang Guoqiang
    Tang Guoqiang is an award winning Chinese actor best known for playing historical figures in several films and television series. Some of his more notable roles to date are: various Chinese emperors , Zhuge Liang, Yan Zhenqing and Mao Zedong...

     as Emperor Taizong.

  • Zhenguan Zhi Zhi
    Zhenguan Zhi Zhi
    Zhenguan Zhi Zhi is a 2006 Chinese television series based on the events in the Zhenguan era during the reign of Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty. The 50 episodes long series is directed by Zhang Jianya and written by Ah Cheng and Meng Xianshi...

    (贞观之治), a 2006 Chinese television series based on the events of the Zhenguan era, starring Ma Yue as Emperor Taizong.

External links



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