Later Liang (Five Dynasties)

Last updated

Capital Luoyang (907–913)
Kaifeng (913–923)
Common languages Middle Chinese
Emperor Taizu
Zhu Yougui
Emperor Modi
Historical era Five Dynasties
1 June 907
 Surrender of Kaifeng
19 November 923
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Blank.png Tang dynasty
Later Tang Blank.png
Jie Yan Blank.png
Zhao Blank.png
Today part ofFlag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China
Stone relief from the tomb of Wang Chuzhi. National Museum, Beijing Painted stone relief of a warrior.jpg
Stone relief from the tomb of Wang Chuzhi. National Museum, Beijing

The Later Liang (simplified Chinese :后梁; traditional Chinese :後梁; pinyin :Hòu Liáng) (1 June 907 – 19 November 923), also known as Zhu Liang (Chinese :朱梁), was one of the Five Dynasties during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in China. It was founded by Zhu Wen, posthumously known as Taizu of Later Liang, after he forced the last emperor of the Tang dynasty to abdicate in his favour (and then murdered him). The Later Liang would last until 923 when it was destroyed by Later Tang.

Simplified Chinese characters standardized Chinese characters developed in mainland China

Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.

Traditional Chinese characters Traditional Chinese characters

Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.

Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.



Zhu Wen initially allied himself as Huang Chao's lieutenant. However, he took Huang's best troops and established his own power base as a warlord in Kaifeng. By 904, he had exerted control over both of the twin Tang Dynasty capitals of Chang'an and Luoyang. Tang emperor Zhaozong was ordered murdered by Zhu in 904 and the last Tang emperor, Ai Di (Emperor Ai of Tang), was deposed three years later. Emperor Ai of Tang was murdered in 908, also ordered by Zhu.

Zhu Wen Liang Dynasty emperor

Emperor Taizu of Later Liang (後梁太祖), personal name Zhu Quanzhong (朱全忠) (852–912), né Zhu Wen (朱溫), name later changed to Zhu Huang (朱晃), nickname Zhu San, was a Jiedushi and warlord who in 907 overthrew the Tang dynasty and established the Later Liang as its emperor, ushering in the era of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms. The last two Tang emperors, Emperor Zhaozong of Tang and Emperor Ai of Tang, who "ruled" as his puppets from 903 to 907, were both murdered by him.

Huang Chao was a Chinese smuggler, soldier, and rebel, and is most well known for being the leader of a major rebellion that severely weakened the Tang dynasty.

Kaifeng Prefecture-level city in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Kaifeng, known previously by several names, is a prefecture-level city in east-central Henan province, China. It is one of the Eight Ancient Capitals of China, for being the capital seven times in history, and is most famous for being the capital of China in the Northern Song dynasty.

Meanwhile, Zhu Wen declared himself emperor of the new Later Liang in Kaifeng in 907. The name Liang refers to the Henan region in which the heart of the regime rested.

Henan Province

Henan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (中州) which literally means "central plain land" or "midland", although the name is also applied to the entirety of China proper. Henan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization with over 3,000 years of recorded history, and remained China's cultural, economical, and political center until approximately 1,000 years ago.

Extent of control

The Later Liang controlled most of northern China, though much of Shaanxi (controlled by the Qi) as well as Hebei (controlled by the Yan state) and Shanxi (controlled by Shatuo Turks) remained largely outside Later Liang control.

China Country in East Asia

China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

Shaanxi Province

Shaanxi is a province of the People's Republic of China. Officially part of the Northwest China region, it lies in central China, bordering the provinces of Shanxi, Henan (E), Hubei (SE), Chongqing (S), Sichuan (SW), Gansu (W), Ningxia (NW), and Inner Mongolia (N). It covers an area of over 205,000 km2 (79,151 sq mi) with about 37 million people. Xi'an – which includes the sites of the former Chinese capitals Fenghao and Chang'an – is the provincial capital. Xianyang, which served as the Qin dynasty capital, is located nearby. The other prefecture-level cities into which the province is divided are Ankang, Baoji, Hanzhong, Shangluo, Tongchuan, Weinan, Yan'an and Yulin.

Hebei Province

Hebei is a province of China in the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Zhili Province or Chihli Province. Its one-character abbreviation is "冀" (Jì), named after Ji Province, a Han dynasty province (zhou) that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei literally means "north of the river", referring to its location entirely to the north of the Yellow River.

End of the dynasty

The Later Liang maintained a tense relationship with the Shatuo Turks, due to the rivalry between Zhu Quanzong and Li Keyong, a relationship that began back in the time of the Tang Dynasty. After Li Keyong's death, his son, Li Cunxu, continued to expand his State of Jin. Li was able to destroy the Later Liang in 923 and found Later Tang.

Li Keyong Chinese military governor

Li Keyong was a Shatuo military governor (Jiedushi) during the late Tang Dynasty and was key to developing a base of power for the Shatuo in what is today Shanxi Province in China. His son, Li Cunxu would eventually become the founder of the Later Tang, arguably the first of many Conquest Dynasties in China.

Li Cunxu Chinese Emperor

Emperor Zhuangzong of Later Tang, personal name Li Cunxu, nickname Yazi (亞子), was the Prince of Jin (908–923) and later became Emperor of Later Tang (923–926), of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period of Chinese history. He was the son of Li Keyong.

Jin (Later Tang precursor) state of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period

Jin, also known as Hedong (河東) in historiography, was an early state of the imperial Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period until 923 when it became the Later Tang dynasty (923–937). Its rulers were the Shatuo warlords Li Keyong and Li Cunxu. Although the Five Dynasties period began only in 907, Li Keyong's territory which centered around modern Shanxi can be referred to as Jin as early as 896, when he was officially created the Prince of Jin by the failing and powerless Tang dynasty court, or even as early as 883, when he was created the jiedushi of Hedong Circuit, which controlled more or less the same territory.

Conference of the Mandate of Heaven on the Later Liang

Generally through Chinese history, it was historians of later kingdoms whose histories bestowed the Mandate of Heaven posthumously on preceding dynasties. This was typically done for the purpose of strengthening the present rulers' ties to the Mandate themselves. Song Dynasty historian Xue Juzheng did exactly this in his work History of the Five Dynasties .

Mandate of Heaven political and religious doctrine of the Emperor of China

The Mandate of Heaven or Tian Ming is a Chinese political and religious doctrine used since ancient times to justify the rule of the King or Emperor of China. According to this belief, heaven —which embodies the natural order and will of the universe—bestows the mandate on a just ruler of China, the "Son of Heaven" of the "Celestial Empire". If a ruler was overthrown, this was interpreted as an indication that the ruler was unworthy, and had lost the mandate. It was also a common belief among citizens that natural disasters such as famine and flood were signs of heaven's displeasure with the ruler, so there would often be revolts following major disasters as citizens saw these as signs that the Mandate of Heaven had been withdrawn.

Xue Juzheng Chinese historian

Xue Juzheng was a scholar-official who successively served the Later Jin, Later Han, Later Zhou and Song dynasties. He was one of the chief ministers of the Song dynasty from 973 until his death.

The Old History of the Five Dynasties was an official history of the Five Dynasties (907–960), which controlled much of northern China. It was compiled by the Song Dynasty official-scholar Xue Juzheng in the first two decades of the Song Dynasty, which was founded in 960. It is one of the Twenty-Four Histories recognized through Chinese history.

Several justifications were given for this, and successive Five Dynasties regimes, to be conferred the Mandate of Heaven. Among these was that these dynasties all controlled most of the traditional Chinese heartland. However, the Later Liang was an embarrassment in the brutality it employed, causing many to want to deny it this status, but doing so would break the chain through the other Five Dynasties, and thus to the Song Dynasty, which itself was the successor to the last of the Five Dynasties.


Temple names Posthumous names Family names and given name Chinese naming conventionsDurations of reigns Era names and their according durations
Taìzǔ (太祖)Xiànwǔ (獻武) Zhū Wēn (朱溫) Family name and given name907–912Kaīpíng (開平) 907–911
Qiánhuà (乾化) 911–912
Did not existnone Zhu Yougui (朱友珪) Family name and given name912–913Qiánhuà (乾化) 912–913
Fènglì (鳳曆) 913
Did not existMò (末) [note 1] Zhū Zhèn (朱瑱) Family name and given name913–923Qiánhuà (乾化) 913–915
Zhēnmíng (貞明) 915–921
Lóngdé (龍德) 921–923

Rulers' family tree

Zhu Wen 朱溫 852–912
Taizu 太祖
Zhu Yougui
朱友圭 d. 913
Zhu Zhen 朱瑱 888–923
Modi 末帝

See also


  1. Mo ("last") is not a true posthumous name, but he is often referred to as "Emperor Mo" as the last emperor of the dynasty.

Related Research Articles

Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period period of Chinese history

The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period (907-979) was an era of political upheaval in 10th-century Imperial China. Five states quickly succeeded one another in the Central Plain, and more than a dozen concurrent states were established elsewhere, mainly in South China. It was the last prolonged period of multiple political division in Chinese imperial history.

Five Dynasties period of Chinese history (907–960)

The Five Dynasties was an era of political upheaval in 10th-century China. Five states succeeded one another in the Central Plain. More than a dozen states, referred to as the Ten Kingdoms, were established elsewhere, mainly in south China.

Later Tang Chinese dynasty

Tang, known in history as Later Tang, was a short-lived imperial dynasty that lasted from 923 to 937 during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in the history of China.

Taizu is an imperial temple name typically used for Chinese emperors who founded a particular dynasty. It may refer to:

Emperor Ai of Tang, also known as Emperor Zhaoxuan (昭宣帝), born Li Zuo, later known as Li Chu, was the last emperor of the Tang dynasty of China. He reigned—as but a puppet ruler—from 904 to 907. Emperor Ai was the son of Emperor Zhaozong.

The Shatuo were a Turkic tribe that heavily influenced northern Chinese politics from the late ninth century through the tenth century. They are noted for founding three of the five dynasties and one of the kingdoms during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period.

Li Guochang, né Zhuye Chixin (朱邪赤心), courtesy name Dexing (德興), posthumously honored by Later Tang as Emperor Wenjing (文景皇帝) with the temple name of Xianzu (獻祖), was a leader of the Shatuo Turks during the waning years of the Tang Dynasty.

Consort Dowager Liu was the wife of Li Keyong, the founder of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period state Jin. However, despite this status, after Li Keyong's son Li Cunxu later defeated Jin's rival Later Liang and established Later Tang as its Emperor Zhuangzong, she was not honored as empress dowager, but only given the lesser title of consort dowager.

Zhuge Shuang (諸葛爽) was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, who controlled Heyang Circuit for some time and who vacillated between allegiance to Tang and to the Qi state of the agrarian rebel Huang Chao.

Zhang Quanyi (張全義), né Zhang Juyan (張居言) or Zhang Yan (張言), known as Zhang Zongshi (張宗奭) during Later Liang, courtesy name Guowei (國維), formally Prince Zhongsu of Qi (齊忠肅王), was a late Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty warlord who later was a senior official during the succeeding Later Liang and Later Tang. He was credited for rebuilding the city of Luoyang from utter destruction from the warfares in the late Tang period into a prosperous city.

Ding Hui (丁會), courtesy name Daoyin (道隱), was a general who, for most of his career, served under Zhu Quanzhong while Zhu was a major warlord late in the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty. In 906, as Zhu was planning on seizing the Tang throne and establishing his own dynasty, Ding defected to Zhu's rival Li Keyong the military governor of Hedong Circuit and thereafter served in Li Keyong's state of Jin until his death.

Li Kening (李克寧) was a younger brother of the late Chinese Tang Dynasty warlord Li Keyong the Prince of Jin. After Li Keyong's death, Li Kening initially served as a key advisor to Li Keyong's son and successor Li Cunxu, but soon was persuaded by his wife Lady Meng to try to take over from Li Cunxu. His plot was discovered, and Li Cunxu put him to death.

Zhang Ce (張策), courtesy name Shaoyi (少逸), was an official of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty and the succeeding Later Liang of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, serving as a chancellor during the reign of Later Liang's founding emperor Zhu Wen.

<i>The Heroic Ones</i> 1970 film by Chang Cheh

The Heroic Ones is a 1970 Hong Kong Shaw Brothers Studio martial arts film directed by Chang Cheh. It was originally released on 14 August 1970 in Hong Kong and was one of the top grossing Hong Kong films between the years of 1970 and 1972.

Shi Jingcun (史敬存), known as Shi Jingsi (史敬思) in Chinese historiography likely for naming taboo reasons, was a minor general in imperial China under the Shatuo military leader Li Keyong near the end of the Tang Dynasty. He sacrificed his life to help his inebriated lord escape an assassination attempt by Zhu Wen in Zhu's territory.

Li Cunzhang (李存璋) was a military general in imperial China's Tang dynasty, and later the Jin territory in the ensuing Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period after Tang's collapse. He served the Shatuo leaders Li Keyong — who adopted him as a son — and Li Keyong's biological son and successor Li Cunxu.

The Jin–Later Liang War, or simply the Jin–Liang War (晉梁爭霸), was a prolonged war fought in North and Central China between 884 and 923 during the late Tang dynasty and early Five Dynasties period. The initial belligerents were the warlords Li Keyong and Zhu Wen, whose territories were respectively called Jin and Later Liang after Zhu Wen overthrew the Tang dynasty in 907. After their deaths, their sons Li Cunxu and Zhu Youzhen continued the hostility, which also involved other quick-to-change-allegiance warlords mainly in modern Hebei. The war ended with the demolition of Zhu Youzhen's Later Liang by Li Cunxu's Later Tang in 923, after four decades of bloodshed that left much of the fertile Zhongyuan region destitute.