Yuchi Jiong (尉遲迥) (died 580), 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.
It is not known when Yuchi Jiong was born. His ancestors were a branch of the Tuoba tribe, which founded Northern Wei, and their subtribe was referred to as the Yuchi—and therefore took the name of the subtribe as the surname. His father Yuchi Qidou (尉遲俟兜) married the sister of Northern Wei's branch successor state Western Wei's paramount general Yuwen Tai, and they had two sons together—Yuchi Jiong and his brother Yuchi Gang (尉遲綱). (Yuchi Jiong's mother was later known as Princess Changle during Northern Zhou.) Yuchi Qidou died fairly early. Yuchi Jiong, who was said to be handsome, intelligent, and ambitious in his youth, served under his uncle Yuwen Tai, and married the Princess Jinming, the daughter of Emperor Wen of Western Wei. He showed talent both in military matters and in governance, and Yuwen Tai gave him increasingly important positions.
In 552, rival Liang Dynasty, in the aftermaths of the major rebellion by Hou Jing and Hou's death earlier that year, had two major claimants to its throne—Xiao Yi (Emperor Yuan of Liang), who controlled the central and eastern provinces, and Xiao Ji, who controlled the western provinces, both sons of the founding emperor Emperor Wu. Xiao Yi, under attack from Xiao Ji, requested aid from Western Wei—in the form of an attack to Xiao Ji's rear, against Xiao Ji's home province Yi Province (modern central Sichuan). Yuwen believed this to be a great opportunity for Western Wei to conquer the modern Sichuan and Chongqing region, but when he discussed the matters with the generals, most were in opposition. Yuchi, however, was supportive of the plan and advocated an immediate attack. Yuwen thus put him in command over six other generals to attack Xiao Ji's realm, and the attack was launched in spring 553. Yuchi quickly advanced to Xiao Ji's capital at Chengdu (成都, in modern Chengdu, Sichuan). Xiao Ji's army, which was then battling Xiao Yi near Xiao Yi's capital of Jiangling (江陵, in modern Jingzhou, Hubei), collapsed, and Xiao Ji was killed by Xiao Yi. After Yuchi had put Chengdu under siege for five months, Xiao Ji's cousin Xiao Hui (蕭撝) and son Xiao Yuansu (蕭圓肅), who were defending Chengdu, surrendered. The surrounding provinces also soon surrendered, and Western Wei had taken over Xiao Ji's domain. Yuwen made Yuchi the governor of Yi Province, in charge of 12 provinces centering Yi. In 554, six provinces were added to Yuchi's responsibility, for 18 provinces total. However, as Yuchi missed his mother deeply, and his mother was still at the capital Chang'an, Yuwen soon recalled him back to Chang'an.
Yuwen Tai died in 557, and his nephew Yuwen Hu, serving as the guardian for Yuwen Tai's son Yuwen Jue, forced Emperor Gong of Western Wei to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue in spring 558, ending Western Wei and establishing Northern Zhou, with Yuwen Jue as emperor (but using the alternative title "Heavenly Prince" ( Tian Wang ) (as Emperor Xiaomin). Emperor Xiaomin created Yuchi Jiong the Duke of Shu, in commemoration of his victory (as the modern Sichuan region was known in ancient times as the region of Shu). Later in 558, when Emperor Xiaomin tried to seize power from Yuwen Hu, Yuwen Hu deposed and then killed him, making Emperor Xiaomin's older brother Yuwen Yu the Duke of Ningdu emperor instead (as Emperor Ming). Yuchi Jiong's stance in this power struggle is not known, but his brother Yuchi Gang sided with Yuwen Hu.
Yuchi's activities during Emperor Ming's reign were not recorded in history. In 560, Emperor Ming was poisoned by Yuwen Hu. Emperor Ming's younger brother Yuwen Yong the Duke of Lu became emperor (as Emperor Wu).
In 562, Yuchi Jiong became the Minister of the Army—one of the six departments of government, under a system designed by Yuwen Tai—although his actual authority over the army is not clear, as Yuwen Hu, as prime minister, also oversaw the armed forces. His brother Yuchi Gang served as Minister of Agriculture.
In winter 564, Yuwen Hu launched a major attack on rival Northern Qi, and Yuchi Jiong had the responsibility of attacking Luoyang along with Daxi Wu (達奚武) and Emperor Wu's brother Yuwen Xian the Duke of Qi, but the attack was ultimately unsuccessful and withdrawn.
In 568, Yuchi took on the even more honorific title of Taibao (太保) -- one of the three senior advisors to the emperor—but with unclear authorities.
In 572, Emperor Wu ambushed Yuwen Hu and killed him, taking over power personally. He made Yuchi Taishi (太師) -- one of the three senior advisors to him but slightly more honorific than Taibao.
In 576, Emperor Wu launched a major attack on Northern Qi, destroying it in 577 and taking over its territory. Yuchi's involvement, if any, in the campaign is unclear.In 578, Emperor Wu died, and the crown prince Yuwen Yun became emperor (as Emperor Xuan).
In spring 579, Emperor Xuan established four new senior advisor posts, and he made, as those four, his uncle Yuwen Sheng (宇文盛) the Prince of Yue, Yuchi Jiong, Li Mu (李穆) the Duke of Shen, and Yang Jian the Duke of Sui (and his father-in-law, as the father of his wife Yang Lihua). He also made Yuchi in charge of the region around Xiang Province (相州, roughly modern Handan, Hebei) -- effectively, the region north of the Yellow River. Later that year, Emperor Xuan passed the throne to his young son Yuwen Chan (Emperor Jing), becoming retired emperor—but with the highly unusual title of "Emperor Tianyuan" (天元皇帝, Tianyuan Huangdi). He proceeded to rule in an erratic and cruel manner, causing officials to become alienated. His acts included raping Yuchi Jiong's granddaughter Yuchi Chifan, who had married Emperor Xuan's cousin Yuwen Liang (宇文亮)'s son Yuwen Wen (宇文溫) the Duke of Xiyang, causing Yuwen Liang to plot rebellion. When Yuwen Liang's plot was discovered, Emperor Xuan killed him and Yuwen Wen, seizing Lady Yuchi as a concubine and then creating him one of his five empresses—contrary to the tradition of creating only one empress. (Another granddaughter of Yuchi Jiong's, Sima Lingji, was the young Emperor Jing's wife and empress.)
In summer 580, Emperor Xuan died suddenly, and after Yang's friends and Emperor Xuan's associates Liu Fang (劉昉) and Zheng Yi (鄭譯) maneuvered behind the scenes by issuing an edict in Emperor Xuan's name, Yang became regent, and quickly took control of the political scene. As Yuchi had high reputation, Yang feared that Yuchi would oppose him, and therefore sent Yuchi's son Yuchi Dun (尉遲惇) the Duke of Wei'an to Xiang Province, summoning Yuchi back to the capital to attend Emperor Xuan's funeral and replacing him with the general Wei Xiaokuan.
Yuchi, believing that Yang was intending to seize the throne, instead announced an uprising against Yang, declaring that he was intending to protect Northern Zhou's imperial lineage. He took the son of Emperor Xuan's uncle Yuwen Zhao (宇文招) the Prince of Zhao and declared him emperor. A number of important generals declared for him—the chief of whom were Sima Xiaonan (司馬消難), who controlled the southern provinces, and Wang Qian (王謙), who controlled the southwestern provinces—but he was unable to persuaded Li Mu, who controlled the modern Shanxi region, to join him. He was also unable to get Northern Zhou's vassal state Western Liang (ruled by Emperor Ming of Western Liang, a great-grandson of Liang Dynasty's Emperor Wu) to join him.
Yuchi, despite his reputation, was by this point described as senile, entrusting most of his important matters to his secretary Cui Dana (崔達拏) and his second wife Lady Wang. Cui and Lady Wang's decisions were largely described as inappropriate ones, and the rebels made little advances. Soon, the central government forces, commanded by Wei, arrived at Yuchi's headquarters at Yecheng (鄴城, in modern Handan) and besieged it. When the city fell, just 68 days after Yuchi declared his rebellion, his son's father-in-law Cui Hongdu (崔弘度), who served under Wei, approached him, and gave him time to commit suicide. Yuchi did so, but only after hurling repeated insults at Yang Jian. His sons were killed.
During the reign of Emperor Gaozu of Tang (618-626), Yuchi Jiong's grandnephew Yuchi Qifu (尉遲耆福) submitted a petition to have Yuchi Jiong given a proper burial. Emperor Gaozu, because Yuchi Jiong was faithful to Northern Zhou, agreed.
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.
The Northern Zhou followed the Western Wei, and ruled northern China from 557 to 581 AD. The last of the Northern Dynasties of China's Northern and Southern dynasties period, it was eventually overthrown by the Sui Dynasty. Like the preceding Western and Northern Wei dynasties, the Northern Zhou emperors were of Xianbei descent.
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 Fei of Western Wei ( 魏廢帝), personal name Yuan Qin (元欽), was an emperor of the Xianbei state Western Wei—a branch successor state of Northern Wei. He, even more so than his father Emperor Wen, held little actual power in the face of overwhelming control of power by the paramount general Yuwen Tai. In 554, he tried to plot to have Yuwen killed, but his plot was discovered, and Yuwen deposed him, and soon had him killed.
Emperor Gong of Western Wei ( 魏恭帝) (537–557), personal name né Yuan Kuo (元廓), later changed to Tuoba Kuo (拓拔廓), was the last emperor of the Western Wei -- a rump state of and successor to Northern Wei. He was made emperor in 554 after his older brother Emperor Fei was deposed by the paramount general Yuwen Tai. He carried little actual power, and in 556, after Yuwen Tai's death, Yuwen Tai's nephew Yuwen Hu, serving as guardian to Yuwen Tai's son Yuwen Jue, forced Emperor Gong to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue, ending Western Wei and starting Northern Zhou. The former emperor was killed in 557. Because Northern Wei's other branch successor state, Eastern Wei, had fallen in 550, Emperor Gong can be regarded as Northern Wei's final emperor as well.
Emperor Xuan of (Western) Liang, personal name Xiao Cha (蕭詧), courtesy name Lisun (理孫), was the founding emperor of the Chinese Western Liang dynasty. He took the Liang throne under support from Western Wei after Western Wei forces had defeated and killed his uncle Emperor Yuan in 554, but many traditional historians, because he controlled little territory and relied heavily on military support by Western Wei and Western Wei's successor state Northern Zhou, did not consider him and his successors true emperors of Liang. Instead, their state is traditionally considered separate, as Western Liang.
Emperor Xiaomin of Northern Zhou ( 周孝閔帝) (542–557), personal name Yuwen Jue (宇文覺), nickname Dharani (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.
Yuwen Hu (宇文護) (513–572), courtesy name Sabao, formally Duke Dang of Jin (晉蕩公), was a regent of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou in China. He first came into prominence as the nephew of Western Wei's paramount general Yuwen Tai, and after Yuwen Tai's death in 556, he became the guardian to Yuwen Tai's son Yuwen Jue. In 557, he forced Emperor Gong of Western Wei to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue, establishing Northern Zhou. However, Yuwen Hu dominated the political scene, and after Emperor Xiaomin tried to seize power later that year, he killed Emperor Xiaomin and replaced him with another son of Yuwen Tai, Emperor Ming. In 560, he poisoned Emperor Ming, who was succeeded by another son of Yuwen Tai, Emperor Wu. In 572, Emperor Wu ambushed Yuwen Hu and killed him, personally taking power.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gāo Jiǒng ) known during the Northern Zhou period by the Xianbei name Dugu Jiong (独孤颎/獨孤熲), was a key official and general of the Chinese Sui Dynasty. He was a key advisor to Emperor Wen of Sui and instrumental in the campaign against rival the Chen Dynasty, allowing Sui to destroy Chen in 589 and reunify China. In 607, he offended Emperor Wen's son Emperor Yang of Sui by criticizing Emperor Yang's large rewards to Tujue's submissive Qimin Khan and was executed by Emperor Yang.
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.
Queen Dugu is a 2019 Chinese web series starring Joe Chen and Chen Xiao. It is based on the life of Dugu Jialuo and her husband Yang Jian, the founders of the Sui dynasty. It started airing online via iQiyi, Youku and Tencent on February 11, 2019.