Xue Juzheng (薛居正)
from an 18th-century genealogy book
|Chief minister of the Song dynasty|
October 17, 973 –July 12, 981
|Monarch||Emperor Taizu, Emperor Taizong|
|Born||c. 912 |
Xunyi County, Kaifeng, Later Liang
|Died||July 12, 981 68–69) (aged|
Kaifeng, Song Empire
|Children||Xue Weiji (薛惟吉), adopted son|
|Father||Xue Renqian (薛仁謙)|
|Chinese||薛 居 正|
|Chinese||薛 子 平|
Xue Juzheng (c. 912 – 12 July 981, courtesy name Ziping) 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.
A courtesy name, also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.
Scholar-officials, also known as Literati, Scholar-gentlemen or Scholar-bureaucrats were politicians and government officials appointed by the emperor of China to perform day-to-day political duties from the Han dynasty to the end of the Qing dynasty in 1912, China's last imperial dynasty. After the Sui dynasty these officials mostly came from the scholar-gentry who had earned academic degrees by passing the imperial examinations. The scholar-officials were schooled in calligraphy and Confucian texts. They dominated the government and local life of China until the mid-20th century. The American philosopher and historian Charles Alexander Moore concluded:
Generally speaking, the record of these scholar-gentlemen has been a worthy one. It was good enough to be praised and imitated in 18th century Europe. Nevertheless, it has given China a tremendous handicap in their transition from government by men to government by law, and personal considerations in Chinese government have been a curse.
The Later Jìn, also called Shi Jin (石晉), was one of the Five Dynasties during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in China. It was founded by Shi Jingtang, who was posthumously titled "Gaozu". Liao, its original protector state, destroyed Later Jin by invading in 946 and 947, after Jin's second ruler, Shi Chonggui, fell out with them.
Xue is best known today for being the lead author of the monumental history book Old History of the Five Dynasties (974).
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.
Born during the Later Liang, Xue Juzheng was said to be studious and ambitious from a young age. In 934 during the Later Tang Xue failed the imperial examination and wrote "An Essay to Dispel Sorrows" (遣愁文), which was much praised. He passed the imperial examination the following year.
The Later Liang, also known as Zhu Liang, 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. The Later Liang would last until 923 when it was destroyed by Later Tang.
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.
Chinese imperial examinations were a civil service examination system in Imperial China to select candidates for the state bureaucracy. Although there were imperial exams as early as the Han dynasty, the system became widely utilized as the major path to office only in the mid-Tang dynasty, and remained so until its abolition in 1905. Since the exams were based on knowledge of the classics and literary style, not technical expertise, successful candidates were generalists who shared a common language and culture, one shared even by those who failed. This common culture helped to unify the empire and the ideal of achievement by merit gave legitimacy to imperial rule, while leaving clear problems resulting from a systemic lack of technical and practical expertise.
After the Later Jin destroyed the Later Tang in 937, Xue served on the staff of Liu Suining (劉遂凝), the military governor of Hua Prefecture. In 941, he was recommended by Liu Suining's older cousin Liu Suiqing (劉遂清) and became a patrolling inspector for the Salt Monopoly. In 944, he served as a judge in the Bureau of General Accounts. When Li Song became the director for the Salt Monopoly, Xue served on his staff. Xue also received a position in the Court of Judicial Review, and subsequently he was made a reminder official in the Secretariat. In 946, when Sang Weihan was made the prefect of Kaifeng, Xue joined him as an administrative assistant.
The jiedushi were regional military governors in China during the Tang dynasty and the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. The post of jiedushi has been translated as "military commissioner", "legate", or "regional commander". Originally introduced in 711 to counter external threats, the jiedushi were posts authorized with the supervision of a defense command often encompassing several prefectures, the ability to maintain their own armies, collect taxes and promote and appoint subordinates.
Huazhou or Hua Prefecture was a zhou (prefecture) in imperial China seated in modern Hua County, Shaanxi, China. It existed (intermittently) from 554 to 1913. Through history it was also known by other names, including Tai Prefecture, Huayin Commandery (742–758) and Dexing Prefecture (897–900).
Li Song (李崧), nickname Dachou (大醜), was an official of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period states Later Tang, Later Jin, and Later Han, as well as the Khitan Liao Dynasty. He was particularly prominent during Later Jin, when he served as chief of staff (Shumishi) and chancellor. During Later Han, he was falsely accused of treason and executed.
During the Later Han, Xue once saved a commoner from execution. The man was accused of violating salt laws, but Xue found the evidence unconvincing. After further questioning he discovered bad blood between the defendant and the accuser, a minor government functionary who eventually admitted to making false accusations.
The Later Han was founded in 947. It was the fourth of the Five Dynasties, and the third consecutive sinicized Shatuo ethnicity state, however, other sources indicate that the Later Han emperors claimed patrilineal Han Chinese ancestry. It was among the shortest-lived of all Chinese regimes, lasting for slightly under four years before it was overcome by a rebellion that resulted in the founding of the Later Zhou.
After Later Zhou's founding in 951, Xue was made vice director of the Bureau of Review, also in charge of all judges in the State Finance Commission.
The Later Zhou was the last in a succession of five dynasties that controlled most of northern China during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, which lasted from 907 to 960 and bridged the gap between the Tang Dynasty and the Song Dynasty.
When the Song Dynasty replaced the Later Zhou in 960, Xue took service with the new dynasty as he had with dynasties prior to the new rulers of northern China. During the first two decades of the Song, Xue set about to compiling a history of the Five Dynasties.
Entitled Five Dynasties History, the main purpose of the work was to reinforce the claim of the Song to the Mandate of Heaven from the Tang Dynasty through the Five Dynasties to the reigning Song.
Xue did not live much longer than after compilation of the Five Dynasties History in 974, dying in 981. However, his legacy of writing a history of a previous era of Chinese history for the purpose of bolstering the current patron dynasty would be repeated later in Chinese history, notably with the Yuan Dynasty’s writing of the History of Liao .
Yang Ye (楊業) or Yang Jiye (楊繼業), named Liu Jiye (劉繼業) before 979 and Yang Chonggui (楊重貴) in his youth, was a military general in imperial China, serving first the Northern Han state during the last years of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, and later the Song Dynasty which annexed Northern Han in 979.
Chai Rong (柴榮) or Guo Rong (郭榮), also known by his temple name Shizong (世宗), was the second emperor of imperial China's short-lived Later Zhou during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period, reigning from 954 until his death. He succeeded his uncle-in-law Guo Wei, whose surname he had adopted.
Guo Zongxun (郭宗訓), also known by his posthumous name Gongdi, was the third and last emperor of ancient China's short-lived Later Zhou during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. He reigned from July 959, when he succeeded his father Chai Rong, until February 960, when he was overthrown by general Zhao Kuangyin, who founded the Song Dynasty.
Wang Qinruo, courtesy name Dingguo, was an official in China's Northern Song Dynasty. He was the chancellor from 1017 to 1019 during Emperor Zhenzong's reign and from 1023 to 1025 during Emperor Renzong's reign.
Kou Zhun, courtesy name Pingzhong, was a much-praised official in ancient China's Northern Song Dynasty. He was the chancellor from 1004 to 1006 during Emperor Zhenzong's reign.
Fàn Zhi (范質), formally the Duke of Lu (魯國公), was a civil official who served under 12 emperors of 6 dynasties during imperial China's Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period and the subsequent Song Dynasty. He was the Later Zhou chancellor from 951 until 960, and the Song Dynasty chancellor from 960 until 964, not long before his death. A strict adherent to legal guidelines, he had influenced Later Zhou and Song rulers to rely more on civil administration in an age dominated by the military. Fàn was a member of the elite Fàn family.
Wang Pu (王溥) (922–982) was a chancellor of imperial China's Later Zhou and Song Dynasty.
Empress Fu, posthumously Empress Xuanyi (宣懿皇后) was an empress consort of imperial China's short-lived Later Zhou during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. She was invested the empress in 954 when her husband Guo Rong became the second Later Zhou emperor. Three years after her death, Guo Rong married her younger sister when he fell critically ill.
Wang Jun (王峻) was one of the first chancellors of imperial China's short-lived Later Zhou during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. He started his career as a singer for those in power, and rose to high prominence due to his association first with military general Liu Zhiyuan, founder of the Later Han, and later Guo Wei, who founded Later Zhou. After becoming the Later Zhou chancellor, his excessive actions gradually created a lot of distrust in Guo, culminating in his precipitous political downfall right before his death.
Liu Min (劉旻), named Liu Chong (劉崇) before 951, also known by his temple name Shizu (世祖), was the founding emperor of imperial China's Northern Han state during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. He was an ethnic Shatuo and the younger brother of Later Han's founder Liu Zhiyuan.
Li Congyi (李從益), known as the Prince of Xu (許王), was an imperial prince of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period state Later Tang. He was the youngest son of its second emperor Li Siyuan. In the confusion of the destruction of Later Tang's successor state Later Jin, he was forced into claiming imperial title by Xiao Han, a general of the Khitan Liao Dynasty, and was subsequently killed by Liu Zhiyuan, the founder of the succeeding Later Han.
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.
Liu Xu (劉昫) (888–947), courtesy name Yaoyuan (耀遠), formally the Duke of Qiao (譙公), was an official of the Chinese Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period states Later Tang and Later Jin, serving as a chancellor during both of those short-lived dynasties. He was the lead editor of the Old Book of Tang, one of the official histories of the preceding Tang Dynasty, completed during Later Jin, although most of the work was probably completed during the term of his predecessor Zhao Ying.
Ding Wei, courtesy name Gongyan, was a Song dynasty chancellor, who dominated the courts during Emperor Zhenzong's later reign and Emperor Renzong's early reign.
Zhou Huaizheng was a powerful Song dynasty palace eunuch during Emperor Zhenzong's reign. After Emperor Zhenzong's illness in 1019 made him incapable of ruling, state power gradually fell to the hands of his wife Empress Liu and chancellor Ding Wei. Zhou plotted to assassinate Ding so that Kou Zhun could return to chancellorship, but his coup failed. He was arrested by Lei Yungong and executed.
Lei Yungong was a Song dynasty palace eunuch who rose to power after foiling fellow eunuch Zhou Huaizheng's coup. He dominated court politics following Emperor Zhenzong's death, by associating with the powerful grand councilor Ding Wei. However, just a few months later he was beaten to death for illegally moving Emperor Zhenzong's burial site to acquire treasures.
Wen Yanbo, courtesy name Kuanfu, was a scholar-official of the Song dynasty who served four emperors over more than five decades. He was a grand councilor during Emperor Renzong's reign.
Shen Lun, known as Shen Yilun before 976, was a scholar-official who successively served the Later Han, Later Zhou and Song dynasties. He was one of the Song dynasty grand councilors between 973 and 982.
Lu Zhen (c.957–1014), courtesy name Zifa, was a Song dynasty scholar-official, historian, poet and diplomat. He was famous for his writings, including Jiu Guo Zhi, a history book on the Five Dynasties period.
Empress Fu was an empress consort and empress dowager during the Later Zhou dynasty. She was a daughter of general Fu Yanqing and a younger sister of Empress Xuanyi, who was married to the Later Zhou emperor Guo Rong from 951 or so to 956. Guo Rong had been without a wife ever since Empress Xuanyi's death in 956, and he married the younger Fu in July 959 when he fell critically ill. The marriage was clearly political and most likely not consummated: Guo Rong died 10 days later and was succeeded by his 6-year-old son Guo Zongxun. Empress Dowager Fu as his guardian became the regent.