Cui Guicong

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Cui Guicong (崔龜從), courtesy name Xuangao (玄告), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Emperor Xuānzong.

Courtesy name name bestowed in adulthood in East Asian cultures

A courtesy name, also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

History of China Account of past events in the Chinese civilisation

The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentioned as the twenty-first Shang king by the same. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, and Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia. The Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, which is commonly held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River. These Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, and is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization.

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Background and early career

It is not known when Cui Guicong was born. He was from the "Greater Branch" of the prominent Cui clan of Qinghe (清河, in modern Xingtai, Hebei), and his male-line ancestors originally claimed ancestry from the ruling house of the Spring and Autumn period state Qi. Cui Guicong's traceable ancestry included officials of Han Dynasty (including Cui Yan), Liu Song, Northern Wei, Northern Qi, Sui Dynasty, and Tang Dynasty, although neither Cui Guicong's grandfather Cui Cheng (崔誠) nor his father Cui Huang (崔黃) were listed with any offices. [1] [2]

Xingtai Prefecture-level city in Hebei, Peoples Republic of China

Xingtai is a prefecture-level city in southern Hebei province, People's Republic of China. It has a total area of 12,486 square kilometres (4,821 sq mi) and administers 2 districts, 2 county-level cities and 15 counties. At the 2010 census, its population was 7,104,103 inhabitants whom 1,461,809 lived in the built-up area made of 2 urban districts and Xingtai and Nanhe Counties largely being conurbated now. It borders Shijiazhuang and Hengshui in the north, Handan in the south, and the provinces of Shandong and Shanxi in the east and west respectively.

Hebei Province

Hebei is a coastal province in Northern China. The modern province was established in 1911 as Chihli Province. Its capital and largest city is Shijiazhuang. Its one-character abbreviation is "冀" (Jì), named after Ji Province, a Han dynasty province (zhou) that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei literally means "north of the river", referring to its location entirely to the north of the Yellow River.

Spring and Autumn period period of ancient Chinese history

The Spring and Autumn period was a period in Chinese history from approximately 771 to 476 BC which corresponds roughly to the first half of the Eastern Zhou period. The period's name derives from the Spring and Autumn Annals, a chronicle of the state of Lu between 722 and 479 BC, which tradition associates with Confucius.

Cui Guicong passed the imperial examinations in the Jinshi class in 817, during the reign of Emperor Xianzong, and he subsequently passed two additional special imperial examinations in the classes of those who were considered good and capable of strategies, and those who made good rulings. He thereafter served as You Shiyi (右拾遺), a low-level advisory official at the legislative bureau of government (中書省, Zhongshu Sheng). In 828, during the reign of Emperor Xianzong's grandson Emperor Wenzong, he was made Taichang Boshi (太常博士), a scholar at the ministry of worship (太常寺, Taichang Si). [3]

Imperial examination system used in appointing officials in dynastic China

Chinese imperial examinations were a civil service examination system in Imperial China to select candidates for the state bureaucracy. Although there were imperial exams as early as the Han dynasty, the system became widely utilized as the major path to office only in the mid-Tang dynasty, and remained so until its abolition in 1905. Since the exams were based on knowledge of the classics and literary style, not technical expertise, successful candidates were generalists who shared a common language and culture, one shared even by those who failed. This common culture helped to unify the empire and the ideal of achievement by merit gave legitimacy to imperial rule.

Emperor Xianzong of Tang emperor of the Tang Dynasty

Emperor Xianzong of Tang, personal name Li Chun, né Li Chun (李淳), was an emperor of the Chinese Tang Dynasty. He was the eldest son of Emperor Shunzong, who reigned for less than a year in 805 and who yielded the throne to him late that year.

Emperor Wenzong of Tang emperor of the Tang Dynasty

Emperor Wenzong of Tang (809–840), personal name Li Ang, né Li Han (李涵), was an emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He reigned from 827 to 840. Emperor Wenzong was the second son of Emperor Muzong and younger brother of Emperor Jingzong. A rare occurrence in Chinese history, Emperor Wenzong, along with his elder brother Emperor Jingzong and younger brother Emperor Wuzong, reigned in succession.

While serving as Taichang Boshi, Cui was considered an expert in proper etiquette in imperial ceremonies. As Emperor Wenzong had succeeded his older brother Emperor Jingzong after Emperor Jingzong's death, his mourning text for Emperor Jingzong originally referred to himself as, "your filially pious younger brother." Cui pointed out that because Emperor Wenzong was of the same generation as Emperor Jingzong, "filially pious" was inappropriate, and suggested that, instead, he referred to himself by name to show respect instead. Also at Cui's suggestion, the sacrifices made to the gods of nine regions of heaven were downgraded to below those offered to the gods of the five planets (Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn), as he pointed out that traditionally, the gods of the nine regions were considered lower in status to the gods of the five planets. Further, it was at his suggestions that the custom that the emperor wait several days before mourning important officials be abolished — pointing out that Emperor Wenzong's distinguished ancestor Emperor Taizong had insisted on mourning those officials immediately. [3]

Emperor Jingzong of Tang, personal name Li Zhan, was an emperor of the Tang Dynasty of China. He reigned from 824 to 827. Emperor Jingzong was the eldest son of emperor Emperor Muzong and elder brother of eventual Emperor Wenzong and Emperor Wuzong.

Mercury (planet) Smallest and closest planet to the Sun in the Solar System

Mercury is the smallest and innermost planet in the Solar System. Its orbit around the Sun takes only 87.97 days, the shortest of all the planets in the Solar System. It is named after the Roman deity Mercury, the messenger of the gods.

Venus Second planet from the Sun in the Solar System

Venus is the second planet from the Sun. It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. As the second-brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon, Venus can cast shadows and, rarely, is visible to the naked eye in broad daylight. Venus lies within Earth's orbit, and so never appears to venture far from the Sun, setting in the west just after dusk and rising in the east a bit before dawn. Venus orbits the Sun every 224.7 Earth days. With a rotation period of 243 Earth days, it takes longer to rotate about its axis than any planet in the Solar System and goes in the opposite direction to all but Uranus. Venus does not have any natural satellites, a distinction it shares only with Mercury among planets in the Solar System.

Cui was later made Kaogong Langzhong (考功郎中), a supervisory official at the ministry of civil service affairs (吏部, Libu), as well as an editor of the imperial histories. In 835, he was made Sixun Langzhong (司勛郎中), still a supervisory official at the ministry of civil service affairs, and was also put in charge of drafting imperial edicts. Later in the year, he was made Zhongshu Sheren (中書舍人), a mid-level official at the legislative bureau. [3]

Early in Emperor Wenzong's Kaicheng era (836-840), Cui was sent out of the capital Chang'an to serve as the prefect of Hua Prefecture (華州, in modern Weinan, Shaanxi). In 838, he was recalled to Chang'an to serve as the deputy minister of census (戶部侍郎, Hubu Shilang) and put in charge of tax collection. In 839, he was briefly made acting minister of civil service affairs (吏部尚書, Hubu Shangshu), to select officials for that year. [3]

Changan Ancient capital and city of China

Chang'an was an ancient capital of more than ten dynasties in Chinese history, today known as Xi'an. Chang'an means "Perpetual Peace" in Classical Chinese since it was a capital that was repeatedly used by new Chinese rulers. During the short-lived Xin dynasty, the city was renamed "Constant Peace" ; the old name was later restored. By the time of the Ming dynasty, a new walled city named Xi'an, meaning "Western Peace", was built at the Sui and Tang dynasty city's site, which has remained its name to the present day.

Weinan Prefecture-level city in Shaanxi, Peoples Republic of China

Weinan is a prefecture-level city in the east of Shaanxi province, China. The city lies about 60 km (37 mi) east of the provincial capital Xi'an.

Shaanxi Chinese province

Shaanxi is a landlocked province in Northwest China. It lies in central China, bordering the provinces of Shanxi, Henan (E), Hubei (SE), Chongqing (S), Sichuan (SW), Gansu (W), Ningxia (NW), and Inner Mongolia (N).

Chancellorship and aftermaths

In 850, by which time Emperor Wenzong's uncle Emperor Xuānzong was emperor, Cui Guicong, who was then the minister of census (戶部尚書, Hubu Shangshu) and the director of finances, was made a chancellor de facto with the designation Tong Zhongshu Menxia Pingzhangshi (同中書門下平章事). [4] In 851, he submitted to Emperor Xuānzong a 30-volume calendar for Tang. [3] In 852, he was removed from his chancellor position and made the military governor ( Jiedushi ) of Xuanwu Circuit (宣武, headquartered in modern Kaifeng, Henan). [4] He served as military governor at other circuits before his death, although his terms of service and time of death were not given in his biographies. [3] [5]

Notes and references

  1. New Book of Tang , vol. 72. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-10-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-06-20. Retrieved 2010-08-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. That Cui Guicong's grandfather was Cui Cheng and father was Cui Huang were according to the table of the chancellors' family trees in the New Book of Tang; Cui Guicong's biography in the Old Book of Tang reversed the names and also indicated that both had minor official offices. Compare New Book of Tang, vol. 72, with Old Book of Tang, vol. 176.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Old Book of Tang, vol. 176.
  4. 1 2 Zizhi Tongjian , vol. 249.
  5. New Book of Tang, vol. 160.

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