Lý Thánh Tông

Last updated
Lý Thánh Tông
Emperor of Đại Việt
Ly Thanh Tong.JPG
A statue of emperor Lý Thánh Tông
Emperor of Đại Việt
Reign3 November 10541 February 1072
PredecessorKingdom of Đại Cồ Việt renamed to kingdom of Đại Việt
Successor Lý Nhân Tông
Monarch of Lý Dynasty
Predecessor Lý Thái Tông
Successor Lý Nhân Tông
Born19 March 1023
Long Đức palace, Thăng Long
Died1 February 1072 (aged 48)
Hội Tiên palace, Thăng Long
Thọ Tomb
Spouse8 concubines, including Empress Thượng Dương
Empress Linh Nhân (靈仁皇太后)(Ỷ Lan)
IssueDuke Lý Càn Đức(Lý Nhân Tông)
Duke of Minh Nhân
Princess Động Thiên
Princess Thiên Thành
Princess Ngọc Kiều(adoptive)
Full name
Lý Nhật Tôn (李日尊)
Era dates
Long Thụy Thái Bình (龍瑞太平: 1054-1058)
Thiên Thánh Gia Khánh (彰聖嘉慶: 1059-1065)
Long Chương Thiên Tự (龍彰天嗣: 1066-1068)
Thiên Thống Bảo Tượng (天貺寶象: 1068-1069)
Thần Vũ (神武: 1069-1072)
Posthumous name
Ứng Thiên Sùng Nhân Chí Đạo Uy Khánh Long Tường Minh Văn Duệ Vũ Hiếu Đức Thánh Thần Hoàng Đế(應天崇仁至道威慶龍祥明文睿武孝德聖神皇帝)
Temple name
Thánh Tông (聖宗)
Father Lý Thái Tông
MotherEmpress Linh Cảm (Mai thị) (靈感皇后枚氏)
Religion Buddhism

Lý Thánh Tông (30 March 1023 - 1 February 1072), personal name Lý Nhật Tôn [lǐ ɲə̀t ton] , temple name Thánh Tông, was the third monarch of the Lý dynasty of Đại Việt. In his reign, Lý Thánh Tông promoted the agricultural development, reducing some harsh laws and building many Confucianist and Buddhist institutions, most notably the first Temple of Literature in Vietnam (1072). He also fought several successful wars with the Song empire and Champa, resulting in the expansion of Vietnamese territory to the areas which are Quảng Bình Province and Quảng Trị Province today.


Early life

Lý Nhật Tôn (chữ Hán: ) was the eldest son of the second monarch Lý Phật Mã of the House of Lý and Empress Mai Thị. He was born on February 25, 1023 (this date was followed the Lunar calendar, the official calendar of Vietnam during Vietnam's feudal period) at Càn Đức palace. In 1033, he was conferred crown prince after his father ascended the throne, often referred as Prince Khai Hoàng (開皇王).

As a crown prince

He was soon adept in all main fields at that time, such as history, literature, music, and also martial arts. Like his father, he was soon brought out of the capital citadel to touch the bottom class in society, following the tradition of this dynasty. Living among the masses, he soon profoundly understood the real conditions of the society, making him have a benevolent reign after his succession.

Just at the age of 15, he was dubbed as General Marshal, suppressed the revolt in Lam Tây (Lai Châu Province), and made some feat. When was 17 years old, his father allowed Thanh Tong to lead an army to conquest Nùng Tồn Phúc, he was in charge of the Regent to rule over the capital and to manage the affairs of court.

In 1040, when he was just 18, all important litigations over the nation were committed to him. One edifice known as Quảng Vũ palace was confided to him. (chữ Hán: )

Lý Thánh Tông
Vietnamese name
Vietnamese Lý Thánh Tông

In 1043, he was again conferred as General Marshal, taking charge of the suppression of rebellions in Châu Ái (Thanh Hóa Province). One year later, his father personally led troops in the invasion of Champa. While Thái Tông was absent, the crown prince acted as Regent Protector of the Imperial Capital. Late 1044, the emperor returned victoriously from Champa.

In January 1045, when he was ailing, Lý Thái Tông allowed him to hold court. Two months later, Lý Thái Tông died and then Lý Nhật Tôn officially ascended.


Just after succession, Lý Thánh Tông shortened the kingdom's name from Đại Cồ Việt to Đại Việt (literally "Great Viet") [1] , initiating the most prosperous epoch throughout the history of Vietnam under that name. Lý Thánh Tông ably managed the nation through his reign and was regarded as a relatively benevolent emperor. According to the official histories, in one year, when it underwent an extraordinarily cold and long winter, he told his confidants that even he, being in the palace with enough clothing, still felt cold, so that prisoners are likely to be not sufficiently supplied with either food or clothing, and easily deceased. Thus, he commanded his servants to bring food, mats, and blankets to these prisoners.

Birth name
Vietnamese alphabet Lý Nhật Tôn

He practiced Buddhism so during his reign, Lý Thánh Tông built many tower-pagodas and cast some large and impressive bells. However, he also had a comparative respect to Confucianism, and in order to educate the people, he operated Văn Miếu, the Temple of Literature, and commanded workmen to carve some large sculptures of Confucius and 72 sages. Since that, Đại Việt has had Văn Miếu, the site to commemorate all people who have achieved the title Tiến sĩ (doctor). [1]

His success was contributed to notably by his Noble Consort Ỷ Lan, who displayed great competence in administration. As Lý Thánh Tông did not soon produce an heir, when he went to war, she herself was left in charge of administering the nation.

Conflict with the Song Empire and Champa

After stabilizing the nation, he attended to the extension of his realm. He rearrayed the army and made army titles for each part of it. He totally divided his main cohort into 100 small groups and those were arrayed into four large groups: left, right, front, and rear, with supports of cavalries and catapults. The allotted army was assembled in another part. The tactical factor of the Vietnamese army at that time was an advance which was respected by its rivals.

In 1060, he commanded the exarch of Lạng Châu (Lạng Sơn) to combat the Song army along the border between two nations. The Vietnamese infantry won and captured the Song general (Vietnamese: Dương Bảo Tài). After some more failed conflict with Đại Việt, the Song sent an envoy to negotiate with the Vietnamese court. The negotiator was treated well, but Đại Việt peremptorily did not free that general.

As Champa constantly harassed the area near the border between the two nations and sometimes intruded deeply to loot, in 1069 Lý Thánh Tông himself led an army to defeat Champa. He defeated the Cham army, burned Vijaya, and captured the King of Champa, Rudravarman III. Rudravarman III implored Lý Thánh Tông to release him in exchange for three areas, known as Địa Lý, Ma Linh, and Bố Chính. These now form part of Quảng Bình Province and Quảng Trị Province. [2] :62,186

Nhật Tôn’s victorious army brought back thousands more Cham prisoners and resettled them near capital Thăng Long. These captives included Tao Tang, a Chinese monk who had been living at the Cham court. Under the guidance of his new royal patron Nhật Tôn, he established Đại Việt’s third Thiền Buddhist sect. Alongside the popular Vinītaruci sect that Lý Công Uẩn had favored and the more ascetic and scholarly Võ Ngôn Thông sect of Lý Phật Mã, the kingdom acquired a princely order that was patronized by later Lý monarchs and catered to court interests, but also incorporated more cosmopolitan influences, including elements of Chinese Buddhism. [3]

Era name

In January 1072, he suddenly died at the age of 50, having ruled for 17 years. During his rule, he used 5 era names:


Related Research Articles

Lý dynasty

The Lý dynasty, also known as the House of Lý, was a Vietnamese royal family that ruled the kingdom of Đại Việt from 1009 when Lý Công Uẩn overthrew the Early Lê dynasty and ended in 1225, when the queen Lý Chiêu Hoàng was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of her husband, Trần Cảnh. During emperor Lý Thánh Tông's reign, the official name of Vietnam became Đại Việt.

Buddhism in Vietnam Buddhism in Vietnam

Buddhism in Vietnam, as practised by the ethnic Vietnamese, is mainly of the Mahayana tradition. Buddhism may have first come to Vietnam as early as the 3rd or 2nd century BCE from the Indian subcontinent or from China in the 1st or 2nd century CE. Vietnamese Buddhism has had a syncretic relationship with certain elements of Taoism, Chinese spirituality, and Vietnamese folk religion.

Trần dynasty Vietnamese dynasty

The Trần dynasty of Vietnam ruled over the Kingdom of Đại Việt (大越) from 1225 to 1400. The dynasty was founded when emperor Trần Thái Tông ascended to the throne after his uncle Trần Thủ Độ orchestrated the overthrow of the Lý dynasty. The final emperor of the dynasty was Thiếu Đế, who at the age of five years was forced to abdicate the throne in favor of his maternal grandfather, Hồ Quý Ly. The Trần dynasty defeated three Mongol invasions, most notably in the decisive Battle of Bạch Đằng River in 1288.

Lý Nhân Tông Emperor of Đại Việt

Lý Nhân Tông, personal name Lý Càn Đức, temple name Nhân Tông (李仁宗) was the fourth monarch of the House of Lý, ruled the kingdom of Đại Việt from 1072 until his death in 1128. Succeeding his father Lý Thánh Tông at the age of 7, during his early reign Lý Nhân Tông ruled with the assistance of his mother Ỷ Lan and the chancellor Lý Đạo Thành who were both considered competent regents and were able to help the emperor maintain the country's prosperity. Appreciated as a great emperor of the Lý Dynasty, Lý Nhân Tông made important contributions to the development of Đại Việt, especially for establishing Confucianism as the official philosophy of the state, creating Confucian-based imperial exams, and creating schools based on the Confucian system of learning. During his 55-year reign, which was the longest reign for any Vietnamese monarch, Lý Nhân Tông also experienced several wars against Đại Việt's neighbours, the Song Dynasty and the kingdom of Champa in which the Sino–Vietnamese War (1075–1076) was the fiercest. After his death, the royal family lost their control over the court to the chancellors and the bureaucracies.

Quảng Bình Province Province of Vietnam

Quảng Bình, formerly Tiên Bình under the reign of Lê Trung Hưng of the Lê dynasty, is a province along Vietnam's north-central coast. The province has an area of 8,065.8 square kilometers and population of 857,818 inhabitants The province is bordered by the Laotian Khammouane Province to the west, the North Pacific Ocean to the east, Hà Tĩnh Province to the north and Quảng Trị Province to the south. Historically, this region belonged to Văn Lang and later the kingdom of Champa. Later it was claimed by both the Đại Việt and Champa and officially annexed into Đại Việt by Lý Thường Kiệt, a Lý dynasty general.

Đồng Hới City in Quảng Bình, Vietnam

Đồng Hới is the capital city of Quảng Bình Province in the north central coast of Vietnam. The city's area is 155.71 km2 (60.12 sq mi). Population as per the 2017 census was 119,222. It is served by National Highway 1A, the Đồng Hới Railway Station, and airport. By road, Đồng Hới is 486 kilometres (302 mi) south of Hanoi, 195 kilometres (121 mi) south of Vinh, 160 kilometres (99 mi) north of Huế and 1,204 kilometres (748 mi) north of Hồ Chí Minh City. It borders Quảng Ninh District on the west and south, the South China Sea on the east, Bố Trạch District on the north.

Huyền Trân

Princess Huyền Trân later Queen Paramecvariin of Champa, was a princess during the Trần Dynasty in the history of Vietnam.

Lý Thái Tổ Emperor of Đại Cồ Việt

Lý Thái Tổ, birth name Lý Công Uẩn (李公蘊), temple name Thái Tổ, was a Vietnamese monarch, the founder of the House of Lý of Đại Việt; he reigned from 1009 to 1028.

Lý Thái Tông Emperor of Đại Cồ Việt

Lý Thái Tông, personal name Lý Phật Mã (李佛瑪), posthumously temple name Thái Tông, was the second monarch of the Lý dynasty, ruled Đại Việt from 1028 to 1054.

Trần Nhân Tông Emperor of Đại Việt

Trần Nhân Tông, personal name Trần Khâm, temple name Nhân Tông, was the third monarch of the Trần dynasty, reigning over Đại Việt from 1278 to 1293. After ceding the throne to his son Trần Anh Tông, Nhân Tông held the title Retired Emperor from 1294 to his death in 1308. During the second and third Mongol invasions of Đại Việt, the Emperor Nhân Tông and his father the Retired Emperor Thánh Tông were credited as the supreme commanders who led the Trần dynasty to the final victories and since established a long period of peace and prosperity over the country.

Trần Thánh Tông Emperor of Đại Việt

Trần Thánh Tông, personal name Trần Hoảng (陳晃), was the second emperor of the Trần dynasty, reigning over Đại Việt from 1258 to 1278. After ceding the throne to his son Trần Nhân Tông, Thánh Tông held the title of retired emperor from 1279 to his death in 1290. During the second and the third Mongol invasions of Đại Việt, Retired Emperor Thánh Tông and Emperor Nhân Tông were credited as the supreme commanders who led the nation to the final victories and, as a result, established a long period of peace and prosperity over the country. With his successful rulings in both military and civil matters, Trần Thánh Tông was considered as one of the greatest emperors of not only the Trần dynasty but also the whole dynastic era in the history of Vietnam.

Mongol invasions of Vietnam

The Mongol invasions of Vietnam or Mongol-Vietnamese Wars were military campaigns launched by the Mongol Empire, and later the Yuan dynasty, against the kingdom of Đại Việt ruled by the Trần dynasty and the kingdom of Champa in 1258, 1282–1284, 1285, and 1287–88. In studies of China and Mongolia, the campaigns are often treated as a success due to the establishment of tributary relations with Đại Việt despite the Mongols suffering several military defeats. In contrast, Vietnamese historiography emphasizes the Đại Việt military victories.

Trần Thái Tông Emperor of Đại Việt

Trần Thái Tông, personal name Trần Cảnh or Trần Nhật Cảnh, temple name Thái Tông, was the first monarch of the Trần Dynasty, reigned Đại Việt for 33 years (1226–58), being Retired Emperor for 19 years. He reigned during the first Mongol invasion of Vietnam before eventually abdicating in favor of his son Trần Hoảng in 1258.

Lý Cao Tông, born Lý Long Trát, courtesy name Long Cán, was the seventh emperor of the Lý dynasty, ruling for 35 years. Some consider his reign to begin the fall into decay of the Lý Dynasty because of his erroneous determinations. However, many historians agree that he had an important influence in Vietnamese history.

Lý Thường Kiệt was a Vietnamese general, and admiral during the Lý Dynasty in Vietnam.. He served as an official through the three dynasties of Lý Thái Tông, Lý Thánh Tông and Lý Nhân Tông and achieved many great achievements, making him one of the two greatest generals in Lý Dynasty, next to Lê Phụng Hiểu. He was a leading general for Vietnam during the Lý-Song wars.

Trần Anh Tông Emperor of Đại Việt

Trần Anh Tông, real name Trần Thuyên (陳烇), courtesy name Nhật Sủy (日煃) or Nhật Sáng (日㷃/日𤊞), was the fourth emperor of the Trần dynasty, reigning over Vietnam from 1293 to 1314. After ceding the throne to his son Trần Minh Tông, Anh Tông held the title Retired Emperor for six years. As the first Trần emperor who ruled in total peace with respect to foreign affairs, Anh Tông was known for his successful reign of Đại Việt, which brought a long period of peace and prosperity over the country. He also had several military victories over the kingdoms of Champa and Laos.

Emperor Lý Anh Tông of Đại Việt, was the sixth ruler of the later Lý Dynasty, from 1138 until his death in 1175. Since Lý Anh Tông, given name Lý Thiên Tộ (李天祚), was chosen as the successor of his father Lý Thần Tông at the age of only two, the early period of his reign witnessed the dominant position of Đỗ Anh Vũ in the royal court until his death in 1157, afterwards the Emperor ruled the country with the assistance of a prominent official named Tô Hiến Thành. The reign of Lý Anh Tông was considered the last relatively stable period of the Lý Dynasty before the turbulence during the reign of Lý Cao Tông.

Lý Thần Tông (1116–1138), personal name Lý Dương Hoán, was the fifth monarch of the Lý Dynasty, reigning over Đại Việt from 1127 to his death in 1138. Becoming the ruler of Đại Việt at the age of twelve, Lý Thần Tông successfully maintained the order of the royal court and strengthened the stability of the country with the assistance of capable officials. For that reason, Đại Việt under Lý Thần Tông was able to witness a peaceful period like during the reign of his predecessors. However, Lý Thần Tông died at age 23 before passing the throne to his crown prince Lý Thiên Tộ.

Ỷ Lan Empress Mother Linh Nhân

Ỷ Lan or Empress Mother Linh Nhân was a Vietnamese regent, the imperial concubine of Lý Thánh Tông, the third emperor and the natural mother of Lý Nhân Tông, the fourth emperor of the Lý Dynasty. She served as regent during the absence of her spouse in 1066-68, and as co-regent during the reign of her son in 1073-1117.

Hoa Lư Provincial city

Hoa Lư (華閭) was the capital of Vietnam in the 10th and 11th centuries. It lies in Trường Yên Thượng village, Hoa Lư District, Ninh Bình Province. The area is one of ricefields broken by limestone mountains, and is approximately 90 km south of Hanoi. Together with Phát Diệm Cathedral, Tam Cốc-Bích Động, Bái Đính Temple, Tràng An, and Cúc Phương, Hoa Lư is a tourist destinations in Ninh Bình Province.


  1. 1 2 Kiernan 2019, p. 156.
  2. Maspero, G., 2002, The Champa Kingdom, Bangkok: White Lotus Co., Ltd., ISBN   9747534991
  3. Kiernan 2019, p. 154.
Preceded by
Lý Thái Tông
Emperor of the Lý Dynasty
Succeeded by
Lý Nhân Tông
Lý royal family (notable members)
Colour note
Lý Thái Tổ
Lý Thái Tông
Lý Thánh Tông Ỷ Lan
Sùng Hiền hầu Lý Nhân Tông
Lý Thần Tông
Lý Anh Tông
Lý Long Tường Lý Nguyên vương Lý Cao Tông Empress Đàm
Lý Thẩm Lý Huệ Tông Trần Thị Dung
Trần Thái Tông Lý Chiêu Hoàng Princess Thuận Thiên Trần Liễu
    Family tree of Vietnamese monarchs
    Overall Early independence Lý dynasty Trần dynasty Lê dynasty Trịnh lords and Mạc dynasty Nguyễn lords and dynasty