This article does not cite any sources . (January 2007) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
|Emperor of Northern Zhou|
|Died||580 (aged 20–21)|
|Consorts|| Yang Lihua |
Yuan Leshang of Henan
|Issue|| Emperor Jing |
|House||Northern Zhou Dynasty|
Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou ((北)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.
Yuwen Yun was born in 559, as the oldest son of Yuwen Yong, then the Duke of Lu and younger brother of Emperor Ming. He was born at Tong Province (同州, roughly modern Weinan, Shaanxi), as Yuwen Yong was at that time the governor of Tong Province. His mother Li Ezi was Yuwen Yong's concubine. (Yuwen Yong had not yet officially married a wife by that point.)
In 560, Emperor Ming was poisoned to death by his cousin, the regent Yuwen Hu. Before he died, he willed that Yuwen Yong succeed him, and Yuwen Yong took the throne (as Emperor Wu). In 561, he created Yuwen Yun the Duke of Lu but did not create him crown prince. Only after Emperor Wu ambushed Yuwen Hu and killed him in 572 did he create Yuwen Yun crown prince. (Yuwen Yun's mother Consort Li was not created empress, as Emperor Wu married Empress Ashina, the daughter of Tujue's Mugan Khan Ashina Qijin in 568.)
Emperor Wu often sent Yuwen Yun on tours of the provinces—and when he himself would go on tours of the provinces or go on military campaigns, he would have Yuwen Yun guard the capital Chang'an.
In 573, Yuwen Yun married Yang Lihua, the daughter of the general Yang Jian the Duke of Sui, as his wife and crown princess.
It was around this time that it came to Emperor Wu's attention that most of Yuwen Yun's associates were men of low character. At the suggestion of the superintendent of the crown prince's palace, Yuwen Xiaobo (宇文孝伯), Emperor Wu made Yuchi Yun (尉遲運), the well-regarded nephew of the general Yuchi Jiong (a cousin of Emperor Wu's), Yuwen Xiaobo's deputy. He also chose a number of men whose characters he had high regard for to serve in other posts as the crown prince's assistance—but Yuwen Yun resented these personnel changes.
In 574, when Emperor Wu's mother Empress Dowager Chinu died, Emperor Wu observed a mourning period for her, and during that period, Yuwen Yun served as regent.
In spring 576, Emperor Wu sent Yuwen Yun on a campaign against Tuyuhun as its nominal commander, but put Yuwen Xiaobo and Wang Gui (王軌) in actual command of the army. In fall 576, the army completed its campaign against Tuyuhun after reaching Tuyuhun's capital Fuqi (伏俟, in modern Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai). Upon return to Chang'an, Wang Gui reported to Emperor Wu that Yuwen Yun and his trusted associates Zheng Yi (鄭譯) and Wang Duan (王端) had committed many immoral activities together. In anger, Emperor Wu battered Yuwen Yun and Zheng with a baton and removed Zheng from his post. Soon, however, Yuwen Yun reinstated Zheng to his post.
Historians also noted that Emperor Wu was very strict with the crown prince, treating him no easier than he did the officials. When he heard that Yuwen Yun liked drinking, he issued an edict forbidding any alcohol from entering the crown prince's palace, and whenever the crown prince had faults, he would whip or batter the crown prince, warning him, "Do you not know how many crown princes had been deposed in history? Is it that my other sons are unworthy of being crown prince?" He also ordered the officials at the crown prince's palace to watch the crown prince closely and submit reports on his actions. In reaction, Yuwen Yun suppressed his own behavior and pretended to have learned his lesson. Nevertheless, Wang Gui repeatedly suggested that Emperor Wu find a better heir, but Emperor Wu declined, because he believed his second son, Yuwen Zan (宇文贊) the Prince of Han to be even less competent than Yuwen Yun, and the other sons to be too young to be considered.
In 577, Emperor Wu destroyed rival Northern Qi, seizing its territory. In summer 578, however, he grew ill suddenly while preparing a campaign against Tujue, and he, after entrusting the important matters to Yuwen Xiaobo, died. Yuwen Yun took the throne as Emperor Xuan.
Emperor Xuan honored his father Emperor Wu's wife Empress Ashina as empress dowager and created his wife Crown Princess Yang empress. Other than those proper acts, however, he began to carry out a number of inappropriate ones—including immediately promoting of Zheng Yi and having sexual relations with the ladies in waiting in his father's palace. It was also said that not only did he not mourn his father's death, but as he approached his father's casket, he touched the scars from the wounds his father had previously inflicted, and cursed, "Old man, you died too late!" He soon also honored his mother Consort Li as empress dowager (with the secondary title of Di Taihou (帝太后) to distinguish Empress Dowager Ashina's title Huang Taihou (皇太后)).
Upon hearing Emperor Wu's death, Gao Shaoyi, a Northern Qi prince who had claimed Northern Qi's imperial title in exile in Tujue, tried to launch an attack to reestablish Northern Qi, but was quickly repelled and forced to retreat to Tujue territory.
Emperor Xuan then turned to killing people that he feared or had grudges against. The first target was his uncle Yuwen Xian the Prince of Qi, due to the respect that Yuwen Xian commanded on account of his military abilities, along with Yuwen Xian's friends, the generals Wang Xing (王興), Dugu Xiong (獨孤熊), and Doulu Shao (豆盧紹). He then turned against Wang Gui, Yuwen Xiaobo, and Yuwen Shenju (宇文神舉) -- all close associates of Emperor Wu—as he suspected all of them of having spoken ill of him before Emperor Wu. Yuchi Yun died in fear.
Emperor Xuan was obsessed with reestablishing changing the customary protocols that his father had established, and in spring 579, he changed the official uniforms that Emperor Wu had standardized, to instead use the uniforms styled after Eastern Han Dynasty and Cao Wei. He also abolished the penal code that his father had promulgated in 577 and declared several pardons, stating that he believed that Emperor Wu's punishments were too severe—but soon imposed an even more severe penal code. Also contrary to his father's prohibition of Buddhism and Taoism, he made public gestures to honor Taoism.
Also in spring 579, Emperor Xuan created his oldest son Yuwen Chan—then six-years-old—the Prince of Lu, and then crown prince. He also promoted Luoyang to the status of secondary capital, moving the subsidiary branches of the six central government departments from Northern Qi's old capital Yecheng (鄴城, in modern Handan, Hebei) to Luoyang.
Meanwhile, around this time, Tujue's Tuobo Khan (Empress Dowager Ashina's uncle) sought peace. Emperor Xuan, in response, created his cousin (the daughter of his uncle Yuwen Zhao (宇文招) the Prince of Zhao) Princess Qianjin, offering to marry Princess Qianjin to Tuobo Khan, but with the demand that Tuobo Khan surrender Gao Shaoyi. Tuobo Khan refused.
Less than a month after creating Yuwen Chan crown prince, Emperor Xuan formally passed the throne to Yuwen Chan (as Emperor Jing). Emperor Xuan himself claimed the atypical title of "Emperor Tianyuan" (天元皇帝, Tianyuan Huangdi), rather than the expected retired emperor title of Taishang Huang . He changed the name of his palace to Tian Tai (天台, "heavenly tower"), and doubled the number of tassels on his crown, as well as the number of imperial vehicles, litters, clothing, banners, and drums. He changed the name of the young emperor's palace to Zhengyang Palace (正陽宮), with the same complement of staff as his own palace. Empress Yang's title was changed to "Empress Dowager Tianyuan" (天元皇太后, Tianyuan Huang Taihou).
Historians described that after Emperor Xuan passed the throne to Emperor Jing, he became particularly wasteful, megalomanic, and unrestrained. He referred to himself as "Heaven," and required officials who were to visit him to have vegetarian diets for three days and bathe—then customary for the days spent before worshipping a god. He disallowed officials from using belts or decorations for their clothing, and he forbade the use of such characters as "heaven" (天), "high" (高), "upper" (上), and "grand" (大), except by himself. He forbade women, other than the women of the palace, from using cosmetics, and for reasons unknown, he ordered that all wheels be made from single pieces of wood, disallowing assembling.
It was further recorded that whenever Emperor Xuan met with officials, he only discussed with them how to change customs or how to build palaces, disregarding the affairs of state. He spent his days in games and tours, wearing out his attendants. The officials often were caned—initially, 120 times per caning, and later increased to 240 times. The terror imposed on the officials and even the women of the palace was so great that no one dared to say anything.
In summer 579, Emperor Xuan created Emperor Jing's mother Consort Zhu Manyue "Empress Tianyuan" (天元帝后, Tianyuan Di Hou). He also set up fiefs for his uncles Yuwen Zhao, Yuwen Chun (宇文純) the Prince of Chen, Yuwen Sheng (宇文盛) the Prince of Yue, Yuwen Da (宇文達) the Prince of Dai, and Yuwen You (宇文逌) the Prince of Teng, and sent them away from Chang'an, to their fiefs.
In fall 579, in a highly unorthodox action, Emperor Xuan created two more empresses -- Consort Yuan Leshang as "Heavenly Right Empress" (天右皇后, Tian You Huanghou) and Consort Chen Yueyi as "Heavenly Left Empress" (天左皇后, Tian Zuo Huanghou), changing Empress Zhu's title to "Heavenly Empress" (天皇后, Tian Huanghou). Also around this time, when Yuchi Chifan the daughter-in-law of his cousin Yuwen Liang (宇文亮) the Duke of Qi was at the palace to greet him, he raped her.
In winter 579, Emperor Xuan officially ended the prohibitions against Taoism and Buddhism that Emperor Wu had declared, and he personally sat with the statues of Buddhist and Taoist deities. He also launched a major attack on rival Chen Dynasty. By spring 580, the Northern Zhou army had taken the territory between the Yangtze River and the Huai River from Chen. As the army was withdrawing, Yuwen Liang, serving as a general on the campaign, tried to ambush his commander Wei Xiaokuan and seize Wei's troops, and then declare a rebellion to support one of his uncles as emperor. Wei found out about Yuwen Liang's plot and was able to repel his attack, and was able to kill him. Emperor Xuan then also killed Yuwen Liang's son Yuwen Wen (宇文溫) the Duke of Xiyang, and then took Yuwen Wen's wife Duchess Yuchi as a consort. Then, against opposition that he already had too many empresses, he created her as another empress.
By this point, Emperor Xuan was becoming even more erratic in his behavior, and at one point, he became suddenly angry at Empress Yang and wanted to punish her. She, however, remained calm but firm in defense of herself, which made him more angry, and he ordered her to commit suicide. Empress Yang's mother, Duchess Dugu Qieluo, had to plead earnestly for Empress Yang's life, before he finally spared Empress Yang. Meanwhile, however, Emperor Xuan was suspicious of the abilities of Empress Yang's father Yang Jian, and he considered killing Yang Jian but ultimately did not do so. As Yang Jian and Zheng Yi were friends, Yang Jian made a secret request to Zheng to give him a post away from the capital, and soon, by Zheng's recommendation, Emperor Xuan made Yang Jian the commander of the forces against Chen (as he then prepared another attack against Chen).
Before the army could depart, however, Emperor Xuan suddenly grew ill in summer 580. He summoned his associates Liu Fang (劉昉) and Yan Zhiyi (顏之儀) to try to entrust the affairs to them, but when they arrived, he was already unable to speak. Liu, after consulting with fellow attendants Zheng, Liu Qiu (柳裘), Wei Mo (韋謨), and Huangfu Ji (皇甫績), decided to summon Yang Jian to attend to Emperor Xuan and to serve as regent if Emperor Xuan should die—against Yan's attempt to have Yuwen Zhao made regent. Yang initially declined, apparently fearing that it was a trap, but eventually arrived at the palace. That night, Emperor Xuan died, and Yang seized the control of the palace and the imperial troops. Within a year, Yang would seize the throne, ending Northern Zhou and establishing 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 China 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.
Emperor Yang of Sui, personal name Yang Guang (楊廣), alternative name Ying (英), nickname Amo (阿摩), also known as Emperor Ming (明帝) 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 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 Xiaomin of Northern Zhou ( 周孝閔帝) (542–557), personal name Yuwen Jue (宇文覺), nickname Tuoluoni (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.
Emperor Ming of Northern Zhou ( 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". He was made emperor after his younger brother Emperor Xiaomin was deposed and killed by the regent Yuwen Hu. 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 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.
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 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.
Empress Dowager Chinu, formally Empress Xuan, was an empress dowager of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. She was the mother of Emperor Wu.
Emperor Xuan of Chen (陳宣帝) (530–582), personal name Chen Xu (陳頊), courtesy name Shaoshi (紹世), nickname Shili (師利), was an emperor of the Chen dynasty of China. He seized the throne from his nephew Emperor Fei in 569 and subsequently ruled the state for 13 years. He was considered to be a capable and diligent ruler, who at one point militarily expanded at the expense of Northern Qi. After Northern Qi fell to Northern Zhou in 577, however, Chen was cornered, and soon lost the gains it had previously made against Northern Qi. Emperor Xuan died in 582, leaving the state in the hands of his incompetent son Chen Shubao, and by 589, Chen would be destroyed by Northern Zhou's successor state Sui dynasty.
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.
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.
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.
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 Yang Jian who later usurped the Northern Zhou throne to become the Emperor Wen of Sui.
Zhu Manyue, later known by her Buddhist name Fajing (法淨), was a concubine of Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou, an emperor of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou, and she was the mother of Emperor Jing.
Chen Yueyi, later Buddhist nun name Huaguang (華光), was a concubine of Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou, an emperor of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou.
Yuchi Chifan or Yuchi Fanchi (566–595), later Buddhist nun name Huashou (華首), was a concubine of Emperor Xuan of Northern Zhou, an emperor of the Chinese/Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou.
Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou ( 周靜帝) (573–581), personally name né Yuwen Yan (宇文衍), later Yuwen Chan (宇文闡), was the last emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou. He became emperor at the age of six, after his father Emperor Xuan formally passed the throne to him, but Emperor Xuan retained the imperial powers. After Emperor Xuan's death in 580, the official Yang Jian, the father of Emperor Xuan's wife Yang Lihua, seized power as regent. Yang soon defeated the general Yuchi Jiong, who tried to resist him, and in 581 had the young Emperor Jing yield the throne to him, ending Northern Zhou and establishing Sui Dynasty. Yang soon had the young emperor, as well as other members of Northern Zhou's imperial Yuwen clan, put to death.
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 it was 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.
Yuwen Shu, courtesy name Botong (伯通), formally Duke Gong of Xu (許恭公), was an official and general of the Sui Dynasty of China. He was a confidant of Emperor Yang and was instrumental in Yang Guang's displacement of his brother Yang Yong as crown prince; therefore, after Yang Guang became emperor, Yuwen Shu became exceedingly powerful and was one of two generals who spearheaded Yangdi's efforts in the Goguryeo-Sui Wars. His son Yuwen Huaji later led a coup against Emperor Yang in 618 and, after killing Emperor Yang, briefly claimed imperial title in 619, but was soon captured and killed. Another son of Yuwen Shu, Yuwen Shiji, however, was a friend of Tang Dynasty's founder Li Yuan, and after Li Yuan established Tang remained an influential official.
Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou
| Emperor of Northern Zhou |
Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou