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|Emperor Fei of Western Wei|
|Reign||March 28, 551 – 554|
Emperor Fei of Western Wei ((西)魏廢帝) (died 554), personal name Yuan Qin (元欽), was an emperor of the Xianbei state Western Wei—a branch successor state of Northern Wei. He, even more so than his father Emperor Wen, held little actual power in the face of overwhelming control of power by the paramount general Yuwen Tai. In 554, he tried to plot to have Yuwen killed, but his plot was discovered, and Yuwen deposed him, and soon had him killed.
It is not known when Yuan Qin was born. What is known is that he was the oldest son of Yuan Baoju the Prince of Nanyang, a grandson of Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei, by his wife Princess Yifu, and that he had one younger brother by Princess Yifu, Yuan Wu (元戊). Around the new year 535, Emperor Xiaowu of Northern Wei—a cousin of Yuan Baoju and the final emperor of the undivided Northern Wei state but who by now was only emperor over the western part of the state (i.e., Western Wei) -- was poisoned by the paramount general Yuwen Tai over a dispute developed when Yuwen disapproved of his incestuous relationship with Yuan Baoju's sister Yuan Mingyue (元明月). Yuwen Tai made Yuan Baoju the new emperor (as Emperor Wen). Emperor Wen created Princess Yifu empress, and created Yuan Qin crown prince. In 538, while both Emperor Wen and Yuwen Tai were away on a campaign against Eastern Wei, Yuan Qin was nominally put in charge of the capital Chang'an, although the official Zhou Huida (周惠達) was actually in charge. When former Eastern Wei captives, upon hearing initial news of Eastern Wei victories, rebelled within Chang'an with Zhao Qingque (趙青雀), Zhou and Li Hu (李虎) were forced to escort the crown prince out of Chang'an to flee the rebellion. Eventually, when Yuwen returned, Zhao's rebellion collapsed, and Emperor Wen and Yuan Qin were both able to return to Chang'an.
Emperor Wen had little actual power, and also in 538, over Yuwen's desire for an alliance with Rouran, he was forced to depose Empress Yifu and marry the daughter of Rouran's Chiliantoubingdoufa Khan Yujiulü Anagui as his empress. In 540, he was further forced to initially send Empress Yujiulü away from Chang'an (to live with Yuan Qin's younger brother Yuan Wu), and then forced to order her to commit suicide.
Sometime during Emperor Wen's reign, Yuan Qin married Yuwen Tai's daughter as his crown princess. It was said that he favored her greatly, and that he had no concubines.
In 542, during an assault that Eastern Wei's paramount general Gao Huan launched on the border city Yubi (玉壁, in modern Yuncheng, Shanxi), Yuan Qin was made the defender of the important city Puban (蒲坂, in modern Yuncheng as well), while Yuwen launched an army to try to catch up with Gao as he retreated. It is not known how much responsibility or authority Yuan Qin actually had during this campaign.
In 551, after Emperor Wen died, Yuan Qin took the throne as Emperor Fei.
Emperor Fei appeared to have even less actual power than his father, to whom Yuwen Tai paid formal deference. He was able to rebury his mother Empress Yifu with his father Emperor Wen. He created his wife, Crown Princess Yuwen, empress. Apparently because Yuwen wanted to restore many Zhou Dynasty customs and traditions, Emperor Fei did not use an era name; rather, the years of his reign were merely referred to as "the first year," "the second year," and so on.
In 553, Yuwen Tai's nephew Yuchi Jiong conquered the western provinces of Liang Dynasty, which had been previously under the control of the Liang pretender to the throne, Xiao Ji, and added them to Western Wei territory.
In late 553, the official Yuan Lie (元烈) plotted killing Yuwen, but his plot was discovered, and Yuwen killed him. After Yuan Lie's death, Emperor Fei became angry at Yuwen and often spoke against him. He also secretly plotted killing Yuwen, despite advice from Yuan Yu (元育) the Prince of Linhuai and Yuan Zan (元贊, the nephew of Emperor Xiaowu) the Prince of Guangping that plotting was dangerous. Emperor Fei's plot, however, was eventually discovered by Yuwen's other sons-in-law. Yuwen deposed and imprisoned Emperor Fei, making his younger brother Yuan Kuo emperor (as Emperor Gong). Soon thereafter, Emperor Fei was put to death. According to the History of Northern Dynasties , his wife Empress Yuwen "also suffered death because she was faithful to Wei's imperial house," although it is unclear exactly how she died or whether she died the same year he did.
|Ancestors of Emperor Fei of Western Wei|
Emperor Wencheng of Northern Wei ( 魏文成帝) (440–465), Chinese name Tuoba Jun (拓拔濬), Xianbei name Wulei (烏雷), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He became emperor aged 12 in the aftermath of the eunuch Zong Ai's assassinations of his grandfather Emperor Taiwu and uncle Tuoba Yu, and he was generally described by historians as a ruler who sought foremost to allow his people to rest after his grandfather's expansionist policies and extensive campaigns, who also reformed the laws to become more lenient.
Emperor Xiaowu of Northern Wei ( 魏孝武帝), personal name Yuan Xiu, courtesy name Xiaoze (孝則), at times known as Emperor Chu, was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. After the general Gao Huan rebelled against and defeated the clan of the deceased paramount general Erzhu Rong in 532, he made Emperor Xiaowu emperor. Despite Gao's making him emperor, however, Emperor Xiaowu tried strenuously to free himself from Gao's control, and in 534, he, aligning with the general Yuwen Tai, formally broke with Gao. When Gao advanced south to try to again take control of the imperial government, Emperor Xiaowu fled to Yuwen's territory, leading to Northern Wei's division into two. Emperor Xiaowu's relationship with Yuwen, however, soon deteriorated over Yuwen's refusal to condone his incestuous relationships with his cousins, and around the new year 535, Yuwen poisoned him to death. Emperor Xiaowu's successor Emperor Wen of Western Wei is typically regarded, then, as the first emperor of Western Wei, formalizing the division of the empire.
Empress Gao was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Xiaowu.
Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei ( 魏孝靜帝) (524–552), personal name Yuan Shanjian (元善見), was the only emperor of the Eastern Wei – a branch successor state to Northern Wei. In 524 Emperor Xiaowu had fled the capital Luoyang to reestablish the imperial government at Chang'an. Northern Wei's paramount general Gao Huan made Emperor Xiaojing emperor as Emperor Xiaowu's replacement. Gao Huan moved the capital from Luoyang to Yecheng, thus dividing Northern Wei into two. Emperor Xiaojing's state became known as Eastern Wei. Although Gao Huan treated him with respect, real power was in the hands of Gao Huan, and then Gao Huan's sons Gao Cheng and Gao Yang. In 550, Gao Yang forced Emperor Xiaojing to yield the throne to him, ending Eastern Wei and establishing Northern Qi. Around the new year 552, the former Emperor Xiaojing was poisoned to death on the orders of the new emperor.
Emperor Wen of Western Wei ( 魏文帝) (507–551), personal name Yuan Baoju (元寶炬), was an emperor of Western Wei—a branch successor state to Northern Wei. In 534, Yuan Baoju, then the Prince of Nanyang, followed his cousin Emperor Xiaowu in fleeing from the capital Luoyang to Chang'an, after a fallout between Emperor Xiaowu and the paramount general Gao Huan. However, Emperor Xiaowu's relationship to the general that he then depended on, Yuwen Tai, soon deteriorated as well, and around the new year 535, Yuwen Tai poisoned Emperor Xiaowu to death, making Yuan Baoju emperor. As Gao Huan had, late in 534, made Yuan Shanjian the son of Emperor Wen's cousin Yuan Dan (元亶) the Prince of Qinghe emperor, thus establishing Eastern Wei, Emperor Wen was known as Western Wei's first emperor, formalizing the division. Emperor Wen's relationship with Yuwen appeared cordial, but he was unable to exercise much real power.
Empress Yifu (510–540), formally Empress Wen, was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei—a branch successor state of Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Wen.
Empress Yujiulü (525–540), formally Empress Dao, was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei — a branch successor state of Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Wen.
Husi Chun (斛斯椿) (495–537), courtesy name Fashou (法壽), Xianbei name Daidun (貸敦), formally Prince Wenxuan of Changshan (常山文宣王), was a general and official of the Chinese/Xianbei state Northern Wei and Northern Wei's branch successor state Western Wei.
Gao Huan (496–547), Xianbei name Heliuhun (賀六渾), formally Prince Xianwu of Qi (齊獻武王), later further formally honored by Northern Qi initially as Emperor Xianwu (獻武皇帝), then as Emperor Shenwu (神武皇帝) with the temple name Gaozu (高祖), was the paramount general and minister of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei and Northern Wei's branch successor state Eastern Wei. Though being ethnically Chinese, Gao was deeply affected by Xianbei culture and was often considered more Xianbei than Chinese by his contemporaries. During his career, he and his family became firmly in control of the government of Eastern Wei, and eventually, in 550, his son Gao Yang forced Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei to yield the throne to him, establishing the Gao clan as the imperial clan of a new Northern Qi state.
Gao Cheng, courtesy name Zihui (子惠), formally Prince Wenxiang of Bohai (勃海文襄王), later further posthumously honored by Northern Qi as Emperor Wenxiang (文襄皇帝) with the temple name Shizong (世宗), was the paramount official of the Chinese/Xianbei state Eastern Wei, a branch successor state of Northern Wei. He was Gao Huan's oldest son, and because his father wielded actual power during Emperor Xiaojing's reign, Gao Cheng also received increasingly great authority, and after his father's death in 547 took over the reign of the state. He was considered capable but frivolous and arrogant, as well as lacking in sexual discretion. In 549, he was assassinated by his servant Lan Jing (蘭京), and his younger brother Gao Yang took over the control over the Eastern Wei regime.
Yuwen Tai (507–556), nickname Heita (黑獺), formally Duke Wen of Anding (安定文公), later further posthumously honored by Northern Zhou initially as Prince Wen (文王) then as Emperor Wen (文皇帝) with the temple name Taizu (太祖), was the paramount general of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei, a branch successor state of Northern Wei. In 534, Emperor Xiaowu of Northern Wei, seeking to assert power independent of the paramount general Gao Huan, fled to Yuwen's domain, and when Gao subsequently proclaimed Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei emperor, a split of Northern Wei was effected, and when Yuwen subsequently poisoned Emperor Xiaowu to death around the new year 535 and declared his cousin Yuan Baoju emperor, the split was formalized, with the part under Gao's and Emperor Xiaojing's control known as Eastern Wei and the part under Yuwen's and Emperor Wen's control known as Western Wei. For the rest of his life, Yuwen endeavored to make Western Wei, then much weaker than its eastern counterpart, a strong state, and after his death, his son Yuwen Jue seized the throne from Emperor Gong of Western Wei, establishing Northern Zhou.
Princess Pingyi (馮翊公主), later honored as Empress Wenxiang (文襄皇后), formally posthumously honored as Empress Jing by Northern Qi, was a princess of the Chinese dynasty Northern Wei and its branch successor state Eastern Wei. She was the sister of Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei, and the wife of Eastern Wei's paramount official Gao Cheng, son of Gao Huan.
Yujiulü Anagui (?-552) was ruler of the Rouran (520-552) with the title of Chiliantoubingdoufa Khagan (敕連頭兵豆伐可汗).
Empress Yuwen was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei — a branch successor state of Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Fei, and her father was Western Wei's paramount general Yuwen Tai.
Emperor Gong of Western Wei ( 魏恭帝) (537–557), personal name né Yuan Kuo (元廓), later changed to Tuoba Kuo (拓拔廓), was the last emperor of the Western Wei -- a rump state of and successor to Northern Wei. He was made emperor in 554 after his older brother Emperor Fei was deposed by the paramount general Yuwen Tai. He carried little actual power, and in 556, after Yuwen Tai's death, Yuwen Tai's nephew Yuwen Hu, serving as guardian to Yuwen Tai's son Yuwen Jue, forced Emperor Gong to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue, ending Western Wei and starting Northern Zhou. The former emperor was killed in 557. Because Northern Wei's other branch successor state, Eastern Wei, had fallen in 550, Emperor Gong can be regarded as Northern Wei's final emperor as well.
Empress Ruogan was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei state Western Wei — a branch successor state of Northern Wei. Her husband was Emperor Gong, the final emperor of the state.
Emperor Xiaomin of Northern Zhou ( 周孝閔帝) (542–557), personal name Yuwen Jue (宇文覺), nickname Dharani (陀羅尼), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou (although he used the alternative title "Heavenly Prince". He was the heir of Western Wei's paramount general Yuwen Tai, and after Yuwen Tai's death in 556, his cousin Yuwen Hu, serving as his guardian, forced Emperor Gong of Western Wei to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue in spring 557, establishing Northern Zhou. Later in 557, however, Yuwen Jue, wanting to assume power personally, plotted to kill Yuwen Hu, who in turn deposed him and replaced him with his brother Yuwen Yu. Later that year, Yuwen Hu had Yuwen Jue executed.
Yuan Humo was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou.
Yuwen Hu (宇文護), courtesy name Sabao, formally Duke Dang of Jin (晉蕩公), was a regent of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou in China. He first came into prominence as the nephew of Western Wei's paramount general Yuwen Tai, and after Yuwen Tai's death in 556, he became the guardian to Yuwen Tai's son Yuwen Jue. In 557, he forced Emperor Gong of Western Wei to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue, establishing Northern Zhou. However, Yuwen Hu dominated the political scene, and after Emperor Xiaomin tried to seize power later that year, he killed Emperor Xiaomin and replaced him with another son of Yuwen Tai, Emperor Ming. In 560, he poisoned Emperor Ming, who was succeeded by another son of Yuwen Tai, Emperor Wu. In 572, Emperor Wu ambushed Yuwen Hu and killed him, personally taking power.
Empress Ashina (551–582) was an empress of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the daughter of Göktürk's Muqan Qaghan, and her husband was Emperor Wu.
Emperor Wen of Western Wei
| Emperor of Northern Wei (Western)|
Emperor Gong of Western Wei
| Emperor of China (Western)|
Xiao Ji of Liang
| Emperor of China (Southwestern)|