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|Successor||Gao Jie, Prince Rencheng|
|Died||577 (aged 6–7)|
Gao Heng (Chinese :高恆; 570–577), often known in history as the Youzhu of Northern Qi ((北)齊幼主), was briefly an emperor of Northern Qi. In 577, Northern Qi was under a major attack by rival Northern Zhou. Gao Heng's father Gao Wei, then emperor, wanted to try to deflect ill omens that portended a change in imperial status. He and therefore passed the throne to Gao Heng. Later that year, after they fled in face of Northern Zhou forces' arrival, they were captured and taken to the Northern Zhou capital Chang'an. There in winter 577, Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou ordered them, as well as other members of the Gao clan, to commit suicide. Northern Qi territory was seized by Northern Zhou, although for several years Gao Wei's cousin Gao Shaoyi claimed the imperial title in exile, under Tujue's protection.
|(Bei) Qi Youzhu ((北)齊幼主)|
|Family name:||Gao (高, gāo)|
|Given name:||Heng (恆, héng)|
Gao Heng was born in summer 570, as the oldest son of the emperor Gao Wei. His mother was Gao Wei's then-concubine Consort Mu Sheli. To celebrate his birth, Gao Wei declared a general pardon. Gao Wei's powerful wet nurse Lu Lingxuan, who was also Consort Mu's adoptive mother, wanted Gao Heng to be crown prince and eventually inherit Gao Wei's throne, but was afraid of opposition by Gao Wei's wife Empress Hulü. She therefore, with Gao Wei's approval, gave Gao Heng to Empress Hulü to raise. Later that year, when Gao Heng was only three months old, Gao Wei created him crown prince. After Empress Hulü's father, the general Hulü Guang, was executed under false charges of treason, Empress Hulü was deposed, and while initially Consort Mu was not created empress, in winter 572 she was first created "Right Empress," and then became sole empress in 573 after Left Empress Hu was deposed.
In 576, rival Northern Zhou launched a major attack on Northern Qi. Gao Wei initially personally led troops to battle Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou, but after suffering a great defeat at Pingyang (平陽, in modern Linfen, Shanxi), he fled back to the secondary capital Jinyang (晉陽, in modern Taiyuan, Shanxi) and lost the will to fight. In order to prepare for flight first to Shuo Province (朔州, roughly modern Shuozhou, Shanxi) and then possibly Tujue, Gao Wei first sent his mother Empress Dowager Hu and Gao Heng to Shuo Province. After he changed his mind and fled back to the capital Yecheng (鄴城, in modern Handan, Hebei) around the new year 577 in the face of Northern Zhou attack on Jinyang, however, the general Gao Mai (高勱) escorted both Empress Dowager Hu and Crown Prince Heng back to Yecheng as well. Believing the words of his astrologers that the omens showed that the imperial seat was about to be changed, Gao Wei decided to pass the throne to Gao Heng, and spring 577, the young crown prince took the throne as emperor, but with his father Gao Wei still in control as Taishang Huang (retired emperor).
The young emperor's reign did not last long, as Northern Zhou forces approached Yecheng soon thereafter. Instead of taking a last stand at Yecheng as Gao Mai suggested, Gao Wei decided to flee from Yecheng to the provinces south of the Yellow River, to try to regroup the troops, and if that could not be done, to flee to Chen Dynasty. With that in mind, Gao Wei first sent Grand Empress Dowager Hu, Retired Empress Mu, and Gao Heng to Ji Province (濟州, roughly modern Liaocheng, Shandong). He soon abandoned Yecheng and joined them there as well. Once he arrived, he issued an edict in the young emperor's name further passing the throne to Gao Wei's uncle Gao Jie (高湝) the Prince of Rencheng—although the edict appeared to have never reached Gao Jie, as the official that Gao Wei sent to deliver the edict and the imperial seal to Gao Jie, Hulü Xiaoqing (斛律孝卿), surrendered to Northern Zhou after leaving Ji Province. (The edict also gave Gao Heng an alternative title, but what that alternative title was is disputed among historical sources. The Book of Northern Qi gave it as "Heavenly Prince Protector" (守國天王, Shouguo Tian Wang ). Zizhi Tongjian gave it as Heavenly Prince of Song (宋國天王, Songguo Tian Wang), and Zizhi Tongjian's commentator Hu Sanxing believed that it should be "Heavenly Prince of the Primary Line" (宗國天王, Zongguo Tian Wang). Whether that alternative title was actually used, however, is unclear.)
Meanwhile, Northern Zhou forces continued their pursuit, and Gao Wei, leaving Grand Empress Dowager Hu at Ji Province, fled further south with Retired Empress Mu, Consort Feng Xiaolian, Gao Heng, and some of his other close followers to Qing Province (青州, roughly modern Qingzhou, Shandong). Northern Zhou forces, however, soon arrived at Qing Province as well, and Gao Wei's party tried to flee south to Chen, but were captured and delivered back to Yecheng, where they were initially treated with respect by Northern Zhou's Emperor Wu. Soon, Northern Zhou took control of nearly all of Northern Qi territory, and when Emperor Wu returned to the Northern Zhou capital Chang'an, he took Gao Wei and the members of the Gao clan, including Gao Heng, with him. (This traditionally marked the end of Northern Qi, with Gao Heng as its last emperor, although Gao Wei's cousin Gao Shaoyi the Prince of Fanyang fled to Tujue and later claimed the Northern Qi throne in exile.)
Emperor Wu initially created Gao Wei the Duke of Wen, but in winter 577, he, apprehensive of the Gao clan, falsely accused Gao Wei of plotting rebellion with his former official Mu Tipo, and then ordered him and other members of the Gao clan to commit suicide. Gao Heng died in the massacre. Only during the regency of Yang Jian over Emperor Wu's grandson Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou were members of the Gao clan, including Gao Heng, properly buried north of Chang'an.
|Gao Shusheng (472–526)|
|Gao Huan (496–547)|
|Empress Wenmu (d. 496)|
|Emperor Wucheng of Northern Qi (538–569)|
|Empress Wuming (501–562)|
|Gao Wei (556–577)|
|Lu Daoyue (491–548)|
|Lady Lu of Fanyang|
|Lady Zheng of Xingyang|
|Gao Heng (570–578)|
|Empress Mu (557–577)|
Emperor Fei of Northern Qi ( 齊廢帝) (545–561), personal name Gao Yin (高殷), courtesy name Zhengdao (正道), posthumously Prince Mindao of Ji'nan (濟南閔悼王), was briefly an emperor of the Northern Qi. He was the oldest son of the first emperor, Emperor Wenxuan, and he became emperor after Emperor Wenxuan's death in 559. However, in his young age, the officials fought over power, and in 560, Emperor Fei's uncle Gao Yan the Prince of Changshan killed the prime minister Yang Yin and took over power, soon deposing Emperor Fei and taking the throne himself as Emperor Xiaozhao. In 561, fearful of prophecies that Emperor Fei would return to the throne, Emperor Xiaozhao had him put to death.
Emperor Xiaozhao of Northern Qi ( 齊孝昭帝) (535–561), personal name Gao Yan (高演), courtesy name Yan'an (延安), was an emperor of Northern Qi. He was generally considered a capable ruler, but ruled for less than two years before dying from injuries suffered from falling off a horse. Northern Qi would not have another capable ruler after his death.
Empress Yuan was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi, known at times semi-formally as Empress Shuncheng (順成皇后). Her husband was Emperor Xiaozhao.
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.
Emperor Wucheng of Northern Qi ( 齊武成帝) (537–569), personal name Gao Zhan, nickname Buluoji (步落稽), was an emperor of Northern Qi. In traditional Chinese historiography, he was presented as a minimally competent ruler who devoted much of his time to feasting and pleasure-seeking, neglecting the affairs of the state. The state was governed with assistance from his adviser He Shikai and other appointed administrators. In 565, he passed the throne to his young son Gao Wei, taking the title Taishang Huang, but continued to make key decisions. He died in 569, and the Northern Qi would fall in 577.
Empress Hu was an empress consort and empress dowager of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. Her husband was Emperor Wucheng. She was the empress dowager during the reign of her son Gao Wei.
Gao Wei (高緯) (557–577), often known in history as Houzhu of Northern Qi ( 齊後主), courtesy name Rengang (仁綱), sometimes referred to by his later Northern Zhou-created title of Duke of Wen (溫公), was an emperor of Northern Qi. During his reign, Northern Qi's imperial administration was plunged into severe corruption and wastefulness, with the military suffering after Gao Wei killed the great general Hulü Guang in 572. Rival Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou launched a major attack in 576, and Northern Qi forces collapsed. Gao Wei, who formally passed the throne to his son Gao Heng, was captured while trying to flee to Chen Dynasty, and later that year, the Northern Zhou emperor executed him and almost all members of his clan.
Empress Hulü was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. She was Gao Wei's first empress, and she was a daughter of the general Hulü Guang.
Empress Hu was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. She was Gao Wei's second empress.
Mu Sheli (穆舍利), originally named Mu Yeli (穆邪利), nickname Huanghua (黃花), was an empress of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. She was Gao Wei's last empress.
Hulü Guang (斛律光) (515–572), courtesy name Mingyue (明月), was a general of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. During the late years of the dynasty—the reigns of Emperor Wucheng and Gao Wei, traditionally viewed as a period of corruption and debauchery when Northern Qi's once-powerful status was deteriorating—Hulü was viewed as the key pillar to the state and its army, maintaining the army's strength against rivals Northern Zhou and Chen Dynasty. The powerful officials Zu Ting and Mu Tipo, who had disagreements with him, however, falsely accused him of plotting treason, and in 572, Gao Wei believed those accusations and killed Hulü. Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou was very glad over the news and declared a general pardon, and in 578, Northern Qi fell to Northern Zhou.
Zu Ting, courtesy name Xiaozheng (孝徵), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi (550–577). He was renowned for his literary and administrative talents.
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.
Gao Yanzong (高延宗), often known by his princely title of Prince of Ande (安德王), was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi who briefly claimed imperial title in 577 for three days as his cousin, the emperor Gao Wei fled in the face of an attack by rival Northern Zhou. Traditional historians usually did not consider him an emperor of Northern Qi.
Gao Shaoyi (高紹義), often known by his princely title of Prince of Fanyang (范陽王), was an imperial prince of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi, who claimed the Northern Qi throne in exile under the protection of Tujue after rival Northern Zhou seized nearly all of Northern Qi territory and captured the emperors, Gao Shaoyi's cousin Gao Wei and Gao Wei's son Gao Heng in 577. In 580, Tujue, after negotiating a peace treaty with Northern Zhou, turned Gao Shaoyi over to Northern Zhou, and he was exiled to modern Sichuan, ending his claim on the Northern Qi imperial title. Most traditional historians do not consider Gao Shaoyi a true emperor of Northern Qi.
Lu Lingxuan (陸令萱) was a lady in waiting in the palace of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. As she served as the wet nurse to the emperor Gao Wei, she became exceedingly powerful during his reign, at times eclipsing in importance his mother Empress Dowager Hu, and was often criticized by historians for her corruption and treachery.
Mu Tipo (穆提婆), né Luo Tipo (駱提婆), was a Xianbei official of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. He was a close associate of the emperor Gao Wei, and during the latter part of Gao Wei's reign controlled the political scene along with his mother Lu Lingxuan, and the other favorites of Gao Wei, Han Zhangluan and Gao Anagong. In 577, in the midst of a major attack by rival Northern Zhou, Mu surrendered to Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou and was made a provincial governor, but after Northern Zhou destroyed Northern Qi and took over its territory, Emperor Wu falsely accused Mu of conspiring with Gao Wei, and killed Mu and forced Gao Wei and other members of the Gao clan to commit suicide.
Gao Anagong (高阿那肱) was a Xianbei official of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi. He was a close associate of the emperor Gao Wei, and late in Gao Wei's reign dominated the political scene along with Mu Tipo and Han Zhangluan. While probably not as corrupt as Mu and Mu's mother and Gao Wei's wet nurse Lu Lingxuan, he was known for incompetence. In 577, with Northern Qi under major attack by rival Northern Zhou, after Gao Wei fled the capital Yecheng, Gao Anagong betrayed him and gave him false information, allowing Northern Zhou forces to capture him. In 580, with Northern Zhou in civil war between the regent Yang Jian and the general Yuchi Jiong, Gao Anagong was on Yuchi's side and, after Yuchi's defeat, was executed.
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.
| Emperor of Northern Qi |
Gao Shaoyi (Prince of Fanyang)
| Emperor of China (Northern/Central)|
Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou