Emperor Ming of Northern Zhou

Last updated
(Bei) Zhou Mingdi ((北)周明帝)
Family name: Yuwen (宇文, yǔ wén)
Given name:Yu (毓, yù)
Temple name:Shizong (世宗, shì zōng)
Posthumous name:
(full)
Xiaoming (孝明, xiào míng)
literary meaning:
"filial and understanding"
Posthumous name:
(short)
Ming (明, míng)
"understanding"

Emperor Ming of Northern Zhou ((北)周明帝) (534–560), personal name Yuwen Yu (宇文毓), Xianbei name Tongwantu (統萬突), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou, although at the start of his reign he used the alternative title "Heavenly Prince" ( Tian Wang ). [1] He was made emperor after his younger brother Emperor Xiaomin was deposed and killed by the regent Yuwen Hu. [2] Emperor Ming himself assumed some, but not all, powers from Yuwen Hu, and was generally considered able. Because of this, Yuwen Hu became apprehensive, and in 560, he poisoned Emperor Ming to death. While near death, however, Emperor Ming appointed his brother Yuwen Yong (Emperor Wu) as his successor, believing Yuwen Yong to be intelligent and capable, and in 572, Yuwen Yong was finally able to kill Yuwen Hu and assume full imperial powers.

Contents

Background

Yuwen Yu was born in 534, as the oldest son of the then-Northern Wei general Yuwen Tai. His mother was Yuwen Tai's concubine Lady Yao. His nickname of Tongwantu was derived from the fact that Lady Yao gave birth to him at the important city of Tongwan (統萬, in modern Yulin, Shaanxi) while accompanying Yuwen Tai on an inspection of the city. Also in 534, Northern Wei divided into two rival states, Western Wei and Eastern Wei, with Yuwen Tai as the paramount general of Western Wei. In 548, Emperor Wen of Western Wei, to further honor Yuwen Tai, created Yuwen Yu the Duke of Ningdu. In 550, he was made a provincial governor, and for the next several years, he was rotated between several provinces. During his term as a provincial governor, he married the daughter of the key general Dugu Xin as his wife.

In spring 556, Yuwen Tai was pondering the issue of succession. His wife Princess Fengyi, the sister of Emperor Xiaowu of Northern Wei, had one son, Yuwen Jue, but he considered the fact of whether making Yuwen Jue heir apparent over Yuwen Yu would trouble Dugu Xin. On the advice of Li Yuan (李遠), who argued that the son of a wife always had precedence over the son of a concubine, Yuwen Tai made Yuwen Jue his heir apparent. Yuwen Tai died later that year, and Yuwen Jue inherited his titles, under the guardianship of Yuwen Tai's nephew Yuwen Hu. In early 557, Yuwen Hu forced Emperor Gong of Western Wei to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue, ending Western Wei and establishing Northern Zhou (with Yuwen Jue as its Emperor Xiaomin but using the alternative title of "Heavenly Prince" ( Tian Wang )).

Later in 557, the 15-year-old Emperor Xiaomin, wanting to exercise full imperial powers, plotted to have Yuwen Hu killed. When Yuwen Hu discovered the plot, he deposed and then killed Emperor Xiaomin. Yuwen Hu welcomed Yuwen Yu to the capital Chang'an to take over the throne, still with the Heavenly Prince title.

Reign

In spring 558, Emperor Ming created his wife Duchess Dugu the title of princess (as he was still using the Heavenly Prince title at this point). Three months later, however, she died. (The historian Bo Yang speculated that because Yuwen Hu had in 557 forced her father Dugu Xin to commit suicide after Dugu Xin was implicated in a plot to overthrow Yuwen Hu, that Yuwen Hu had her murdered, but had no concrete evidence to show that that happened.)

In spring 559, Yuwen Hu formally returned his authorities to Emperor Ming, and Emperor Ming began to formally rule on all governmental matters, but Yuwen Hu retained authority over the military. Emperor Ming was generally credited with making sensible decisions and being humble toward elders, honoring them appropriately and listening to their advice.

In fall 559, Emperor Ming formally began to use the title of emperor and started using an era name—which Yuwen Tai had earlier abolished during the time of Western Wei's Emperor Fei.

In spring 560, with Xiao Zhuang—a rival claimant to the Liang Dynasty throne to Western Liang's Emperor Xuan of Western Liang, who was a Northern Zhou vassal and whom Northern Zhou supported—attacking Chen Dynasty territory with his paramount general Wang Lin, Northern Zhou sent its general Shi Ning (史寧) to attack Xiao Zhuang's capital Jiangxia (江夏, in modern Wuhan, Hubei). Soon, however, after Xiao Zhuang and Wang were defeated by the Chen general Hou Tian (侯瑱) and forced to flee to Northern Qi and Chen forces subsequently approaching Jiangxia, Northern Zhou abandoned the campaign on Jiangxia, but were able to seize part of Xiao Zhuang's former territory—modern Hunan, which Northern Zhou turned over to Western Liang but sent forces to help defend. In spring 560, Chen made peace overtures to Northern Zhou, which Northern Zhou accepted.

in summer 560, Yuwen Hu, apprehensive of Emperor Ming's intelligence and abilities, instructed the imperial chef Li An (李安) to poison sugar cookies that were submitted to the emperor. Emperor Ming ate them and became ill. Knowing that he was near death, he instructed that, because his sons were young, the throne should be passed to his younger brother Yuwen Yong the Duke of Lu. He died soon thereafter, and Yuwen Yong took the throne as Emperor Wu.

Era name

Family

Consorts and Issue:

Ancestry

Yuwen Xi
Yuwen Tao
Yuwen Gong (470–526)
Yuwen Tai (505–556)
Wang Zhen
Wang Pi (d. 541)
Empress De
Emperor Ming of Northern Zhou (534–560)
Lady Yao

Related Research Articles

Emperor Wen of Sui 1St Emperor of Sui Dynasty

Emperor Wen of Sui, personal name Yang Jian (楊堅), Xianbei name Puliuru Jian (普六茹堅), alias Narayana deriving from Buddhist terms, was the founder and first emperor of China's Sui dynasty. He was a hard-working administrator and a micromanager. The Sui Shu records him as having withdrawn his favour from the Confucians, giving it to "the group advocating Xing-Ming and authoritarian government." As a Buddhist, he encouraged the spread of Buddhism through the state. He is regarded as one of the most important emperors in ancient Chinese history, reunifying China in 589 after centuries of division since the fall of the Western Jin dynasty in 316. During his reign, the construction of the Grand Canal began.

Northern Zhou

The Northern Zhou followed the Western Wei, and ruled northern China from 557 to 581 AD. The last of the Northern Dynasties of China's Northern and Southern dynasties period, it was eventually overthrown by the Sui Dynasty. Like the preceding Western and Northern Wei dynasties, the Northern Zhou emperors were of Xianbei descent.

Emperor Ming of (Western) Liang ( 梁明帝) (542–585), personal name Xiao Kui (蕭巋), courtesy name Renyuan (仁遠), was an emperor of the Chinese Western Liang dynasty. He, like his father Emperor Xuan and his son Emperor Jing, controlled little territory and relied heavily on military support from Northern Zhou and Northern Zhou's successor state Sui dynasty.

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.

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.

Emperor Xuan of (Western) Liang, personal name Xiao Cha (蕭詧), courtesy name Lisun (理孫), was the founding emperor of the Chinese Western Liang dynasty. He took the Liang throne under support from Western Wei after Western Wei forces had defeated and killed his uncle Emperor Yuan in 554, but many traditional historians, because he controlled little territory and relied heavily on military support by Western Wei and Western Wei's successor state Northern Zhou, did not consider him and his successors true emperors of Liang. Instead, their state is traditionally considered separate, as Western Liang.

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 Dugu or Queen Dugu, posthumously Empress Mingjing (明敬皇后), was the wife of the Emperor Ming of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou.

Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou Emperor of Northern Zhou

Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou ( 周武帝) (543–578), personal name Yuwen Yong (宇文邕), Xianbei name Miluotu (禰羅突), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. As was the case of the reigns of his brothers Emperor Xiaomin and Emperor Ming, the early part of his reign was dominated by his cousin Yuwen Hu, but in 572 he ambushed Yuwen Hu and seized power personally. He thereafter ruled ably and built up the power of his military, destroying rival Northern Qi in 577 and annexing its territory. His death the next year, however, ended his ambitions of uniting China, and under the reign of his erratic son Emperor Xuan, Northern Zhou itself soon deteriorated and was usurped by Yang Jian in 581.

Empress Dowager Chinu, formally Empress Xuan, was an empress dowager of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the mother of Emperor Wu.

Wei Xiaokuan (韋孝寬) (509–580), formal personal name Wei Shuyu (韋叔裕), known by the Xianbei name Yuwen Xiaokuan (宇文孝寬) during late Western Wei and Northern Zhou, formally Duke Xiang of Xun (勛襄公), was a general of the Chinese/Xianbei states Western Wei and Northern Zhou. He first became a prominent general during Western Wei as he defended the fortress of Yubi against a vastly larger army commanded by rival Eastern Wei's paramount general Gao Huan, and he eventually contributed greatly to the destruction of Eastern Wei's successor state Northern Qi by Northern Zhou. His final campaign, in 580, saw him siding with the regent Yang Jian against the general Yuchi Jiong in Northern Zhou's civil war, allowing Yang to defeat Yuchi and take over the throne as Sui Dynasty's Emperor Wen.

Yuwen Xian (宇文憲), Xianbei name Pihetu (毗賀突), formally Prince Yang of Qi (齊煬王), was an imperial prince of the state Northern Zhou. He was a key official and general during the reign of his brother Emperor Wu, but after Emperor Wu's death was feared on account of his ability by his nephew Emperor Xuan, who therefore falsely accused him of plotting treason and strangled him.

Yuchi Jiong (尉遲迥), courtesy name Bojuluo (薄居羅), was a general of the Chinese/Xianbei states Western Wei and Northern Zhou. He first came to prominence while his uncle Yuwen Tai served as the paramount general of Western Wei, and subsequently served Northern Zhou after the Yuwen clan established the state after Yuwen Tai's death. In 580, believing that the regent Yang Jian had designs on the throne, Yuchi rose against Yang but was soon defeated. He committed suicide.

Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou ( 周宣帝) (559–580), personal name Yuwen Yun (宇文贇), courtesy name Qianbo (乾伯), was an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. He was known in history as an erratic and wasteful ruler, whose actions greatly weakened the Northern Zhou regime. As part of that erratic behavior, he passed the throne to his son Emperor Jing in 579, less than a year after taking the throne, and subsequently entitled not only his wife Yang Lihua empress, but four additional concubines as empresses. After his death in 580, the government was taken over by his father-in-law Yang Jian, who soon deposed his son Emperor Jing, ending Northern Zhou and establishing Sui Dynasty.

Li Ezi, later Buddhist nun name Changbei (常悲), was an empress dowager of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the mother of Emperor Xuan.

Dugu Qieluo or Dugu Jialuo, formally Empress Wenxian (文獻皇后), was an empress of the Chinese Sui dynasty. She was the wife of Emperor Wen, who, on account of his love and respect for her, as well as an oath they made while they were young, did not have any concubines for at least most of their marriage, an extreme rarity among Chinese emperors. She also bore him all his 10 children. She was exceedingly powerful and influential during her husband's reign and very effective in managing the government. She was heavily involved in his decision to divert the order of succession from their oldest son Yang Yong to the second son Yang Guang.

<i>Heroes in Sui and Tang Dynasties</i>

Heroes in Sui and Tang Dynasties is a Chinese television series based on Chu Renhuo's historical novel Sui Tang Yanyi, which romanticises the historical events leading to the fall of the Sui dynasty and the rise of the Tang dynasty. The series was first broadcast in mainland China on various television networks on 14 January 2013. It is not to be confused with Heroes of Sui and Tang Dynasties 1 & 2, a similar television series also based on the novel, but was released earlier in December 2012. Filming for the series started on 5 November 2011 at the Hengdian World Studios and wrapped up in May 2012.

<i>Queen Dugu</i> (TV series)

Queen Dugu is a 2019 Chinese web series starring Joe Chen and Chen Xiao. It is based on the life of Dugu Jialuo and her husband Yang Jian, the founders of the Sui dynasty. It started airing online via iQiyi, Youku and Tencent on February 11, 2019.

References

  1. "1 piece Chinese North Zhou Dy. Cash Coins(Bu Quan) - xiangxiangkafeizha". chinese-coins.auctivacommerce.com. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
  2. Theobald, Ulrich. "Northern Zhou Dynasty 北周 (www.chinaknowledge.de)". www.chinaknowledge.de. Retrieved 2020-07-25.
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Xiaomin of Northern Zhou
Emperor of Northern Zhou
557–560
Succeeded by
Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou