Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wang Yu (chancellor)

Wang Yu was an official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, who became trusted by due to his studies in witchcraft and the employment of such witchcraft on Emperor Suzong's behalf, such that Emperor Suzong eventually made him .


It is not known when Wang Yu was born. He was a fifth-generation descendant of Wang Fangqing, who served as a during the reign of Wu Zetian. His intervening ancestors' names were recorded as Wang Jiao , Wang Chong , Wang Zhonglian , and Wang Shao , none of whom was recorded to have carried any official titles except for Wang Zhonglian, who served as a secretarial officer at Yang Prefecture . Wang Yu himself was said to be well-studied in the worshipping of gods and spirits and particularly paid attention to the proper times to offer sacrifices.

During Emperor Xuanzong's reign

Toward the end of the ''Kaiyuan'' era of Wu Zetian's grandson , Emperor Xuanzong was paying great attention to Taoist doctrines and ceremonies. Wang Yu made a submission to Emperor Xuanzong requesting that an altar, to be called the Spring Altar , be built to the east of the capital Chang'an and dedicated to the Blue Emperor . Emperor Xuanzong agreed, and he made Wang an official-scholar at the ministry of worship and an imperial censor , as well as a special emissary of worship . It was said that Wang drew favors from the emperor due to his dedication to worshipping gods on Emperor Xuanzong's behalf. It was further said that while previously, the common populace already had a custom of sacrificing joss paper to the spirits, it was Wang who brought this custom into official ceremonies.

During Emperor Suzong's and Emperor Daizong's reigns

After Emperor Xuanzong's son became emperor in 756, Wang Yu was promoted to be the minister of worship . Because his worship of the gods pleased Emperor Suzong, Emperor Suzong often gave him rewards. In 758, when Emperor Suzong removed the chancellors and from their posts, he made Wang ''Zhongshu Shilang'' -- the deputy head of the legislative bureau of government and gave him the designation ''Tong Zhongshu Menxia Pingzhangshi'' , making him a chancellor ''de facto''. It was said that even before this, Wang did not have a good reputation among the people, and after he was made chancellor, his reputation grew worse due to his incompetence.

At Wang's suggestion, Emperor Suzong built an altar dedicated to the god ''Taiyi'' to the south of Chang'an. Around this time, Emperor Suzong was ill, and the fortunetellers told him that he was being cursed by a god of a mountain or a river. Wang thus suggested that a group of witches and eunuchs be commissioned to go to various mountains and rivers of the empire to pray for Emperor Suzong. The witches that Wang selected used this opportunity to extort bribes from the local officials. One of them, who was sent to Huang Prefecture , took an entourage of several tens of young hoodlums with her and stayed at the station for imperial messengers with them. When the prefect of Huang Prefecture, Zuo Zhen , visited in the morning, he found the station door locked. He became angry, and he ordered that his police officers break into the station and that the witch be dragged out to be decapitated. He also killed the hoodlums that she was with, and then confiscated the bribes that they were carrying. He submitted the funds to Emperor Suzong and requested that the funds be used to pay the taxes that the people of Huang Prefecture would otherwise be responsible for. Emperor Suzong accepted the funds but did not punish Wang. In 759, indeed, pursuant to Wang's suggestions, he personally offered sacrifices to the gods of the nine palaces . Later that year, however, he made Wang the minister of justice and removed him from the chancellor position.

In 760, Wang was made the prefect of Pu Prefecture , as well as the military governor of the surrounding prefectures. In 761, Wang was made the secretary general at Yang Prefecture as well as the military governor of Huainan Circuit . After an occasion after Emperor Suzong offered sacrifices, he made Wang the governor of Yue Prefecture as well as the military governor of Zhedong Circuit . Sometime thereafter, he was recalled to serve as ''Taizi Shaobao'' and then ''Taizi Shaoshi'' -- both positions advisorial positions to the crown prince. Wang died in 768, during the reign of Emperor Suzong's son . He was buried with honors and given the posthumous name ''Jianhuai'' . His great-grandson Wang Tuan later served as a chancellor near the end of Tang Dynasty, under .

Wang Zhongsi

Wang Zhongsi , né Wang Xun , was a general of the dynasty Tang Dynasty. Because of how his father Wang Haibin had died in army service, took him and raised him in the palace, and subsequently entrusted him with army commands. Eventually, though, he was accused of intentionally hindering an attack on Tufan, and was demoted. He died the following year.


Wang Xun was possibly born in 704, He became a friend of Emperor Xuanzong's son the Prince of Zhong and often spent time at Li Sisheng's mansion. After Wang Zhongsi had grown up, he was said to be handsome, silent, and serious, with military talent. As he was the son of a general, Emperor Xuanzong often discussed military matters with him, and Emperor Xuanzong was impressed with his responses, stating, "He will surely be a good general later." In 730, Emperor Xuanzong bestowed additional posthumous honors on Wang Haibin.

Service in army

Wang Zhongsi later served under the generals Xiao Song and Li Hui the Prince of Xin'an . By 733, Wang was a general, serving at Hexi Circuit and carrying the title of Baron of Qingyuan. On one occasion, however, he offended Wang Yu , the sworn brother of the official Huangfu Weiming , and as a result, Huangfu made accusations against him, and he was demoted to be a recruiting officer . In 738, when the general Du Xiwang was set to attack Tufan, his subordinates recommended Wang, and Du retained Wang to serve under him. Wang subsequently contributed much to a victory over Tufan, and was promoted back to general status, and was soon made the deputy military governor of Hedong Circuit . In 740, he was made the military governor of Hedong. In 741, he was made the military governor of Shuofang Circuit , but continued to oversee Hedong as well until Tian Renwan was given Hedong.

In 742, three subordinate tribes to Eastern Tujue, Baximi , Huige, and Geluolu , rebelled against Eastern Tujue's khan Ashina Guduo and killed him. Eastern Tujue subsequently broke into halves, with the chieftain of Baximi, who took the title of Jiadeyishi Khan, and the son of the Eastern Tujue duke Ashina Panjue , who took the title of Wusumishi Khan, each claiming to be khan. Emperor Xuanzong sent emissaries to Wusumishi Khan, advising him to submit to Tang, but Wusumishi Khan refused. Wang then launched his troops to pressure Wusumishi Khan, who became fearful and indicated that he was willing to submit, but took no actual action to do so. Wang then persuaded Baximi, Huige, and Geluolu to attack him. He fled, and Wang captured part of his people and returned to Tang territory. For his contributions, Wang was given a greater general title.

In 744, Baximi attacked Wusumishi Khan and killed him. Wusumishi Khan's people supported his brother Ashina Gulongfu as Baimei Khan. Under Emperor Xuanzong's orders, Wang launched his troops to attack Ashina Gulongfu, defeating him. Subsequently, Huige and Geluolu forces killed both Ashina Gulongfu and Jiadeyishi Khan, and Huige's chieftain Yaoluoge Gulipeiluo established a new khanate as its khan. Emperor Xuanzong created Yaoluoge Gulipeiluo as Huairen Khan. In 745, Wang was created the greater title of Duke of Qingyuan.

In 745, Wang was given the military governorship of Hedong as well as Shuofang. It was said that he considered himself brave, but took comforting the border region as his priority, often stating:

Wang's philosophy was so strict on this that it was said that his soldiers were often itching for a fight. He, however, was accustomed to send intelligence officers to spy on the enemy, to see when attacks could be launched successfully, before doing so. Once he took the commands of both Shuofang and Hedong, he built many forts on the border for defensive purposes, and many considered him a superior commander of that region than everyone since Zhang Rendan. Further, it was said that he intentionally paid an overly high price for horses, and as a result, non- tribes would often sell their horses to him, thus increasing the Tang army's horse supply while reducing potential enemies'.

In 746, Wang was given the military governorships of Hexi and Longyou , but continued to oversee Hedong and Shuofang as well. Under his request, 9,000 horses were delivered from Hedong and Shuofang to Hexi and Longyou, to strengthen the armies of Hexi and Longyou. It was said that he was successful in battles against Tufan and Tuyuhun remnants. It was also said that, however, he was far more familiar with the people of Hedong and Shuofang than with Hexi and Longyou, and was not as good in governance of those circuits, and that he had gotten arrogant and wasteful in light of his successes, causing his reputation to suffer.

Removal and death

Meanwhile, the powerful Li Linfu had become apprehensive that Wang might be made chancellor, and was looking for ways to attack him. In 747, An Lushan, the military governor of Fanyang Circuit , was beginning to consider hoarding power, and he asked Wang to participate in the project of building Xiongwu Castle by sending a group of soldiers -- wanting to then hold on to the soldiers and not return them to Wang. Wang, instead, led the troops himself to Xiongwu in advance of the rendezvous date and, after participating in the building project, returned with the soldiers, and submitted reports to Emperor Xuanzong that he believed An was planning treason. Li Linfu, who was then aligned with An, therefore disliked Wang even more. In summer 747, Wang resigned the commands of Hedong and Shuofang and retained only Hexi and Longyou.

Meanwhile, Emperor Xuanzong considered ordering Wang to attack Tufan's Shibao Castle . Wang opposed, stating that he believed that Shibao was in a good defensive position and that it would take several tens of thousands of casualties to capture it. Emperor Xuanzong was displeased, and when the imperial guard general Dong Yanguang volunteered to attack Shibao himself, Emperor Xuanzong agreed and ordered Wang to supply Dong with soldiers. Wang agreed, but was secretly hindering Dong's efforts to recruit soldiers by not promising any rewards to soldiers who volunteered for Dong's campaign, persisting in doing so despite advice from his subordinate general Li Guangbi that continuing to do so was unwise. After Dong was unable to capture Shibao, he accused Wang of hindering him. Li Linfu used this opportunity to accuse Wang of planning a rebellion to put Li Sisheng, who was by this point crown prince and who had changed his name to Li Heng, on the throne, hoping to hurt both Wang and Li Heng at the same time. Emperor Xuanzong ordered Wang back to the capital Chang'an and had him interrogated. Subsequently, Emperor Xuanzong ordered the allegations that Wang planned to support Li Heng as emperor be dropped, but that Wang be sentenced for hindering Dong's campaign.

Wang's subordinate Geshu Han, whose achievements impressed Emperor Xuanzong, was made the military governor of Longyou, in his absence. When Geshu was subsequently summoned to Chang'an to meet with Emperor Xuanzong, his subordinates suggested that he bring much treasure to bribe the central government officials to try to save Wang. Geshu responded:

Geshu subsequently met with Emperor Xuanzong and begged for forgiveness for Wang, offering to give up his own offices and titles to save Wang from death. Emperor Xuanzong initially became irritated and refused to talk with him further, but Geshu kneeled, hit the ground with his head, and cried bitterly. Emperor Xuanzong relented and spared Wang, but demoted him to be the governor of Hanyang Commandery . Subsequently, he was made the governor of Handong Commandery . He died while serving there, probably in 748.

Wang Jian (Former Shu)

Gaozu of Former Shu is the posthumous name of the founding emperor of the Former Shu kingdom which was created from the ashes of the Later Tang Dynasty in 907. He was known as Wang Jian at birth and held the courtesy name of Guangtu .

Founding of the Former Shu

Wang Jian was named the military governor of western Sichuan in 891 by the court. Over the next decade and a half, he expanded his holdings to not only include the remainder of Sichuan, but parts of neighboring provinces as well. As the Tang Dynasty collapsed in 907, Wang declared himself as the emperor of the Kingdom.

Extant of Territory

Under Wang Jian, the controlled most of present-day Sichuan along with southern portions of Gansu and Shaanxi, western Hebei and all of present-day Chongqing.


Wang Jian died in 918 and was succeeded by his son, known as Wang Yan . However, he was an incompetent ruler who saw the kingdom absorbed into the Later Tang Dynasty in 924.

Xiao Hua

Xiao Hua , formally the Duke of Xu , was an official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a during the reign of .


It is not known when Xiao Hua was born. He was from one of the most prominent families of Tang Dynasty officialdom, having descended from the imperial clan of the Liang Dynasty, and his father Xiao Song was a prominent and general during the reign of . Xiao Hua's brother Xiao Heng married Emperor Xuanzong's daughter Princess Xinchang.

During Emperor Xuanzong's reign

In 733, when Xiao Song was removed as chancellor in the midst of his conflict with fellow chancellor Han Xiu , Xiao Hua was made an imperial attendant , and was soon promoted to be the deputy minister of public works . After Xiao Song died in 749, Xiao Hua inherited the title of Duke of Xu. Toward the end of Emperor Xuanzong's ''Tianbao'' era , Xiao Hua was made the deputy minister of defense .

In 755, the general An Lushan rebelled at Fanyang Circuit , and soon established a state of with him as emperor. In 756, with Yan forces approaching the Tang capital Chang'an, Emperor Xuanzong fled toward Chengdu. Most officials, including Xiao Hua, were unable to follow him, and Xiao Hua was captured by Yan forces. An made him the prefect of Wei Prefecture .

During Emperor Suzong's reign

In 758, with Emperor Xuanzong's son then the emperor of Tang and An Lushan's son An Qingxu then the emperor of Yan, Tang forces recaptured Chang'an and Yan's capital Luoyang, forcing An Qingxu to flee to , near Wei Prefecture. Nine Tang military governors , led by Guo Ziyi, put Yecheng under siege. Xiao Hua sent secret correspondences to the Tang army agreeing to rise against Yan forces. His correspondences, however, were intercepted, and he was imprisoned. When the Tang general Cui Guangyuan captured Wei Prefecture, he freed Xiao. It was said that the people of Wei Prefecture favored Xiao's governance and petitioned Emperor Suzong to let Xiao remain at Wei Prefecture, and Emperor Suzong agreed. However, when the Yan general Shi Siming -- who briefly submitted to Tang but then turned against Tang again -- advanced south toward Yecheng from Fanyang, Guo was uncertain about Xiao's loyalty and so summoned him to the Tang army camps, replacing him with Cui. Soon, in a confrontation with Shi's forces, Tang forces collapsed, and in the aftermaths, Xiao went back to Chang'an. He was still considered tainted by his service as a Yan official, and he was demoted to be the acting ''Mishu Shaojian'' -- the deputy director of the archival bureau . He was soon promoted to be ''Shangshu You Cheng'' , one of the secretary generals of the executive bureau of government . In 759, he was made the mayor of Hezhong Municipality as well as the military governor of Hezhong Circuit .

Around the new year 761, Xiao was recalled to Chang'an to serve as ''Zhongshu Shilang'' -- the deputy head of the legislative bureau . He was also given the designation ''Tong Zhongshu Menxia Pingzhangshi'' , making him a chancellor ''de facto''. He was also made an imperial scholar at Chongwen Pavilion and put in charge of editing the imperial history. In 761, when the powerful eunuch Li Fuguo wanted to be chancellor, and Emperor Suzong, who by this point was fearful of Li Fuguo, refused on the basis that he did not have the support of the officials, Li Fuguo tried to persuade the senior official Pei Mian to recommend him. Emperor Suzong told Xiao that if an important official recommended Li Fuguo, he would no longer have the excuse to refuse Li Fuguo's request. When Xiao subsequently discussed this with Pei, Pei's response was:

Subsequently, Li Fuguo was not able to be chancellor while Emperor Suzong was alive, much to Li Fuguo's resentment, and Li Fuguo believed Xiao to be responsible. In 762, Li Fuguo accused Xiao of being power hungry, and repeatedly requested Emperor Suzong to remove Xiao. Emperor Suzong, apprehensive of Li Fuguo, removed Xiao from his chancellor position and made him the minister of rites , replacing him with Yuan Zai, at Li Fuguo's recommendation.

During Emperor Daizong's reign

Emperor Suzong died shortly after, and he was succeeded by his son -- who took the throne after Li Fuguo prevailed in a bloody conflict with Emperor Suzong's wife in which Empress Zhang and Emperor Daizong's brother Li Xi the Prince of Yue were killed. Li Fuguo was completely in control, and Yuan Zai, in order to flatter him, accused Xiao of crimes. Xiao was demoted to be the military advisor to the prefect of Xia Prefecture . He died while still at Xia Prefecture. His grandson Xiao Mian later served as a chancellor as well, during the reign of .

Xiao Song

Xiao Song , formally the Duke of Xu , was an official and general of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a during the reign of .


It is not known when Xiao Song was born. His family was descended from the imperial family of Liang Dynasty. Hiis great-great-grandfather was Emperor Ming of Western Liang, and his great-granduncle Xiao Yu was a famed during the reigns of Tang Dynasty's first two emperors, and . Xiao Song's grandfather Xiao Jun was well-known as a deputy head of the legislative bureau of government and Xiao Song's father Xiao Guan served as a prefectural secretary general.

Xiao Song himself was described as handsome and tall, with a lengthy and beautiful beard. His wife was a daughter of one He Hui , another daughter of whom married Lu Xiangxian. At that time, Lu, who was the son of the chancellor Lu Yuanfang, was already well-known for his abilities while serving as the sheriff of Luoyang County -- one of the two counties making up the then-capital Luoyang, while Xiao was not yet serving as an official. The guests were all rushing to greet Lu, while not paying much attention to Xiao. However, a fortuneteller, Xia Rong , stated to Lu, "You, Master Lu, will reach the apex of officialdom in 10 years. However, Master Xiao's household will be thoroughly honored, and he will reach high positions and have a long life."

During Emperor Zhongzong's second reign and Emperor Ruizong's second reign

In 705, during the second reign of , Xiao Song was made a military officer at Ming Prefecture . When the chancellor Huan Yanfan was demoted to be the prefect of Ming Prefecture, Huan was impressed with him and treated him with respect. In 710, when Emperor Zhongzong's brother was emperor, Xiao was serving as the sheriff of Liquan County when Lu Xiangxian, then serving as the deputy head of the legislative bureau, recommended him to be ''Jiancha Yushi'' , an imperial censor. When Lu became chancellor in 711, Xiao was promoted within the censor ranks.

During Emperor Xuanzong's reign

Early in the ''Kaiyuan'' era of Emperor Ruizong's son , Xiao Song became ''Zhongshu Sheren'' , a mid-level official at the legislative bureau, serving alongside Cui Lin , Wang Qiu , and Qi Huan . It was said that among these officials, Xiao was considered to be unknowledgeable and therefore not considered seriously. However, their superior Yao Chong felt that Xiao had good foresight and respected him. He later successively served as the prefect of Song Prefecture ; ''Shangshu Zuo Cheng'' , one of the secretaries in general of the executive bureau ; and deputy minister of defense . He participated in government reactions to a Yellow River levee break at Bo Prefecture .

In 726, Xiao was given the title of minister of defense and made the military governor of Shuofang Circuit . In 727, having been aggravated by constant attacks by the Tang general Wang Junchuo the military governor of Hexi Circuit , the Tufan generals Xinuoluogonglu and Zhulongmangbu launched a major attack on Gua Prefecture and captured its prefect Tian Yuanxian and Wang Junchuo's father Wang Shou . In the aftermaths, Wang Junchuo falsely accused the tribal chieftains of Huige, Hun , Qibi , and Sijie of treason and had them exiled. In anger, Yaoluoge Hushu , the nephew of the Huige chieftain Yaoluoge Chengzong , launched a surprise raid against Wang, killing him. Emperor Xuanzong moved Xiao from Shuofang to Hexi. Xiao retained a number of officials that were considered capable -- Pei Kuan , Guo Xuji , and Niu Xianke, and recommended the general Zhang Shougui to serve as the prefect of Gua Prefecture. Zhang rebuilt Gua Prefecture's defenses and comforted the people. Emperor Xuanzong, hearing this, gave him the honorific title ''Yinqing Guanglu Daifu'' . Meanwhile, Xiao had spies create rumors in Tufan that Xinuoluogonglu was conspiring with Tang -- which Tufan's king Mes-ag-tshoms believed, and the Mes-ag-tshoms summoned Xinuoluogonglu and killed him.

In 728, another Tufan general, Ximolang , attacked Gua Prefecture. Xiao and the military governor of Longyou Circuit then counterattacked, and defeated Tufan forces at Kepo Canyon , west of Qinghai Lake. Later that year, he sent the general Du Binke to defend against another Tufan attack, and Du defeated Tufan forces at Qilian . When the unsealed reports of the victory arrived at the capital Chang'an, Emperor Xuanzong was pleased, and he recalled Xiao to Chang'an to serve as minister of defense; he also gave Xiao the designation ''Tong Zhongshu Menxia Pingzhangshi'' , making him a chancellor ''de facto''.

In 729, when Emperor Xuanzong became displeased at the conflict between Xiao's fellow chancellors and Du Xian, as well as the senior chancellor Yuan Qianyao's inability to moderate them, Emperor Xuanzong removed all three from their chancellor positions and replaced them with Yuwen Rong and Pei Guangting. He also made Xiao ''Zhongshu Ling'' , the head of the legislative bureau and a post considered one for a chancellor -- a post that had not been held since Zhang Shuo was removed in 726. Xiao was also given the military governorship of Hexi again, but remained at Chang'an and did not report to Hexi. Xiao was made an imperial scholar at Jixian Institute and put in charge of editing the imperial history; he was also given the honorific title of ''Jinzi Guanglu Daifu'' . Emperor Xuanzong gave his daughter Princess Xinchang to Xiao's son Xiao Heng in marriage. Sometime thereafter, Xiao Song was created the Duke of Xu. He, believing Niu, serving as acting military governor in his absence, to be capable, repeatedly recommended Niu, and eventually, his military governorship was given to Niu.

Emperor Xuanzong had put Zhang Shuo in charge of revising the rite regulations. After Zhang died in 731, Xiao was put in charge, and in 732, the revisions were complete and became known as the ''Kaiyuan Rites'' .

In 733, Pei died. Emperor Xuanzong asked Xiao for his recommendation for someone to succeed Pei. Xiao wanted to recommend his friend and old colleague Wang Qiu, who was then serving as a senior advisor at the examination bureau . Wang declined and recommended Han Xiu instead, and so Xiao recommended Han. Han was thus made chancellor to replace Pei. Han had a reputation for being peaceful, so Xiao believed that he could easily be controlled, but once Han became chancellor, Han did not bow to Xiao's wishes, often arguing with Xiao before Emperor Xuanzong and pointing out Xiao's shortcomings. This caused Emperor Xuanzong's displeasure, and Xiao offered to resign. Emperor Xuanzong asked Xiao, "I am not tired of you. Why do you want to leave?" Xiao responded:

Xiao then began to cry, and Emperor Xuanzong was touched, responding, "Leave my presence for the time being. I will think of a solution." Emperor Xuanzong then removed both Xiao and Han as chancellors, making Xiao ''Zuo Chengxiang'' , one of the heads of the executive bureau, instead. He replaced Xiao and Han with Pei Yaoqing and Zhang Jiuling. Soon thereafter, he made Xiao's son Xiao Hua an imperial attendant. In 734, when a major earthquake occurred at Qin Prefecture , causing more than 4,000 deaths, Emperor Xuanzong had Xiao head the disaster relief efforts.

In 736, Xiao was made a senior advisor to the Crown Prince. Soon thereafter, however, Zhang Shougui was discovered to have bribed the eunuch Niu Xiantong and demoted. Then-chancellor Li Linfu, apprehensive that Xiao might return to the chancellorship at some point, accused Xiao of bribing Niu Xiantong as well and had him demoted to be the prefect of Qing Prefecture . Xiao was, however, soon recalled to again be senior advisor to Li Yu, although he soon retired.

Xiao had long been taking herbal medicines, and once he left the chancellorship, he began to grow his own herbs for his own use. At that time, Xiao Hua served as a deputy minister, and Xiao Heng was an imperial son-in-law. Xiao Song thus spent more than a decade in retirement in great honor and wealth. He died in 749 and was given posthumous honors, although no posthumous name was recorded for him. Among his descendants, Xiao Hua, Xiao Hua's grandsons Xiao Mian and Xiao Fang, and Xiao Heng's son Xiao Fu all later served as chancellors.

Xue Song

Xue Song , formally the Prince of Pingyang , was a general of the rebel state , who later submitted to and became a general of Tang Dynasty, from which Yan had rebelled. As was in the case of several other Yan generals who submitted to Tang but who had substantial army and territorial holdings, Xue was allowed to retain his command and territory, semi-independent of the Tang imperial government structure.


It is not known when Xue Song was born, but he was said to be born in the modern Beijing region. His grandfather Xue Rengui was a well-known general during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang, and his father Xue Chuyu served as a general as well. Despite Xue Song's coming from a distinguished lineage, it was said that he paid no attention to property management and fell into poverty. It was also said that he was strong and capable in riding and archery, but paid no attention to studies.

During the Anshi Rebellion

When the general An Lushan rose against the rule of Emperor Gaozong's grandson in 755, Xue Song served An's rebel . The first solid historical reference to him was in 758, when An Lushan's son and successor An Qingxu was besieged by Tang forces in and forced to send Xue to seek out aid from his father's old subordinate Shi Siming. Shi eventually did defeat Tang forces and lift the siege at Yecheng, but then killed An Qingxu himself and took over as the emperor of Yan, and it appeared that Xue continued to serve under Shi Siming at that point.

After the Anshi Rebellion

By 763, the Anshi Rebellion had been put down by Tang forces, with Shi Siming's son and successor Shi Chaoyi committing suicide. At that time, Xue was defending Yecheng for Shi Siming, and he, along with several other key Yan generals -- Tian Chengsi, , and Li Huaixian -- submitted to Tang. The Tang imperial regime, then under the rule of Emperor Xuanzong's son , was hesitant to displace them in fear that they would start another rebellion, so at the urging of the general Pugu Huai'en, they were allowed to remain at their current posts, and Xue was made the military governor of Zhaoyi Circuit , controlling the six prefectures around Yecheng.

It was said that Xue governed Zhaoyi Circuit effectively, and that the people were comforted after the lengthy warfare. It was said, however, that he grew increasingly independent of the Tang imperial government, along with Zhang , Tian, , Li Huaixian, and Liang Chongyi, each in control of several prefectures. Xue was created the Prince of Gaoping, and later the Prince of Pingyang. He died in 773, and was initially succeeded by his son Xue Ping , who, however, almost immediately gave up the post to Xue Song's brother Xue E . Tian, who controlled the neighboring Weibo Circuit , who wanted to expand his territory, then attacked Zhaoyi and forced Xue E to flee. Tian took control of four of the six Zhaoyi prefectures, and the Tang imperial government retained control of the other two, eventually merging it with nearby Zelu Circuit and maintaining the Zhaoyi name for the merged circuit.

Yang Guozhong

Yang Guozhong , né Yang Zhao , was an official of the dynasty Tang Dynasty, serving as a late in the reign of . His second cousin Consort Yang Yuhuan was Emperor Xuanzong's favorite concubine, and he gained Emperor Xuanzong's favor through her. He was considered a gambler and a wastrel, but keen with the political scene, although not competent to be a chancellor. His conflict with An Lushan, also a favorite official of Emperor Xuanzong's, eventually drove An into rebellion . His gross military miscalculation then permitted the latter to capture the imperial capital Chang'an. Emperor Xuanzong was forced to flee, and while in flight, Yang Guozhong, Consort Yang, and many of the Yang family were killed by the angry soldiers escorting Emperor Xuanzong because the army attributed the chaos to them.


It is not know when Yang Zhao was born. His family was from Pu Prefecture and traced its ancestry to the great Han Dynasty official Yang Zhen , as well as officials of Later Yan, Northern Wei, and Tang Dynasty's predecessor Sui Dynasty. Yang Zhao's great-great-grandfather Yang Wang was an important official during Sui. His grandfather Yang Youliang served as a county magistrate for Tang, and his father Yang Xun served as a military officer. His mother Lady Zhang was a sister of Wu Zetian's lovers Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong.

Yang Zhao himself was said to lack knowledge and virtues. He was a heavy drinker and gambler, and was looked down by his own clan members. He, motivated by the slight, decided to join the army, and served in the army stationed at Yi Prefecture . For his military service, he was set to be promoted, but the secretary general of Yi Prefecture, Zhang Kuan , disliking him, initially refused to do so and in fact whipped him, but eventually he was made the magistrate of County. After his three-year term of service was over, he did not save sufficient funds to return home, and relied on assistance from a rich man of the region, Xianyu Zhongtong . He also spent much time with the household of his father's cousin Yang Xuanyan , and eventually carried on an affair with one of Yang Xuanyan's daughters . When Yang Yuanyan, who was sonless, died, Yang Zhao was temporarily in charge of the household, until Yang Yuanyan's daughters went to Henan Municipality to stay with their uncle Yang Xuanjiao . Yang Zhao later served as the sheriff of Fufeng County , but was unable to progress further, and returned to the Yi Prefecture region. While he was in the region, he also married his wife Pei Rou , who had been a prostitute.

Rise to power

As of 744, Yang Xuanyan's daughter had become 's favorite concubine. Meanwhile, at this time, Xianyu Zhongtong had become an associate of Zhangqiu Jianqiong , the military governor of JIannan Circuit , and Zhangqiu happened to be fearful that the powerful Li Linfu, with whom he was not on good relations, would find some way to hurt him. He thus wanted someone to go to the capital Chang'an to help him maintain good relations with powerful individuals on his behalf. Xianyu recommended Yang Zhao. Zhangqiu gave Yang a gift and also gave him many impressive items from the region and had him take them to Chang'an. Once Yang Zhao arrived at Chang'an, he gave the bribe from Zhangqiu to Consort Yang's sisters and two of her powerful cousins, Yang Xian and Yang Qi , and further resumed his affair with one of her sisters. The sisters and cousins of Consort Yang thus repeatedly praised and recommended both Zhangqiu and Yang Zhao, and further pointed out to Emperor Xuanzong Yang Zhao's abilities to entertain by gambling. Yang Zhao was thus allowed in the palace, and subsequently was made an officer of the imperial guards.

As of 747, Yang Zhao was serving as ''Shi Yushi'' , an imperial censor, when Li Linfu, wanted to accuse the official, Yang Shenjin , of crimes. He thus engaged Yang Zhao to have Yang Zhao inform Yang Shenjin's cousin's son Wang Hong , who resented Yang Shenjin for still viewing him as a junior member of the family, of Emperor Xuanzong's displeasure with Yang Shenjin over Yang Shenjin's involvement with a sorcerer named Shi Jingzhong . Li Linfu then induced Wang to make accusations against Yang Shenjin, who was a descendant of Sui emperors, of plotting to overthrow Tang and restore Sui. As a result, Yang Shenjin and his brothers Yang Shenyu and Yang Shenming were forced to commit suicide, and many of their friends and family members were exiled. Meanwhile, Li Linfu, having unsuccessfully supported Emperor Xuanzong's son Li Mao the Prince of Shou to be crown prince , was trying to find ways to undermine Li Heng, and therefore engaged Yang Zhao, Luo Xishi , and Ji Wen to falsely accuse people with connections to Li Heng, hoping to find a way to implicate Li Heng in improprieties. Yang Zhao was therefore able to use this opportunity to destroy several hundreds of households, although, with the powerful eunuch Gao Lishi and Emperor Xuanzong's son-in-law Zhang Ji protecting him, Li Heng was not implicated.

As of 748, Yang Zhao carried some 15 office titles, the chief among which were imperial censor and director of accounting in the ministry of treasury . In 748, Emperor Xuanzong further made him ''Geishizhong'' , an imperial attendant, as well as deputy chief imperial censor , but continued to be in charge of accounting as well at the ministry of treasury. As of 749, with the prefectural treasuries food storages overflowing, Yang suggested that the prefectures, instead of storing food, buy silk with the food and transport the silk to the imperial treasury in Chang'an. Emperor Xuanzong, with Yang reporting record surpluses, took a tour of the imperial treasury with the officials and awarded him with a purple robe and a golden fish.

Meanwhile, by 750, Yang and Ji were allied with each other, and Ji was plotting for Yang how to replace Li LInfu as chancellor -- and he found crimes of Li Linfu's close associates Xiao Jiong and Song Hun , and then had Yang indict them and have them demoted, to try to undermine Li LInfu's hold on power. He also sought posthumous rehabilitation of his uncles Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong, and at his request, Emperor Xuanzong posthumously restored the Zhangs' titles . Also, because there were references in prophecies to "golden sword" , he requested a name change as well. Emperor Xuanzong gave him the new name of Guozhong . Grateful for what Xianyu had done for him at the start of his career, he had Xianyu made the military governor of Jiannan, despite the fact that Xianyu was harsh and thus offended the non- vassals. Indeed, in 751, after Xianyu had attacked Nanzhao and suffered a major defeat , Yang hid the truth for him and claimed to Emperor Xuanzong that Xianyu had scored a major victory. Nevertheless, with the Nanzhao campaign continuing, Yang ordered that men be forcibly conscripted, even if they had previously had contributions to the state . He also had Xianyu offer to resign and recommend him instead; thereafter, Emperor Xuanzong made him the military governor of Jiannan, but he remained at Chang'an and did not report to Jiannan, although he continued to wage the campaign against Nanzhao, eventually with the Tang death toll running up to 200,000.

In 752, Yang received an opportunity to have Li Linfu removed. That year, Wang Hong's brother Wang Han had been implicated in a coup attempt at Chang'an, and although Emperor Xuanzong, at the plea of Li LInfu, initially took no action against Wang Hong and Wang Han, he expected Wang Hong to offer to be punished, but Wang Hong did not, drawing Emperor Xuanzong's anger. Li Linfu's fellow chancellor Chen Xilie and Yang then both accused Wang Hong of treason, and Wang Hong was forced to commit suicide, depriving Li Linfu of a major ally. Wang's post as mayor of Jingzhao Municipality went to Yang. Yang then had the captives from Wang Han's failed coup implicate Li Linfu, and also had Chen and Geshu Han implicate Li Linfu in the rebellion of the ethnically Tujue general Li Xianzhong . Li Linfu tried to defuse the threat by requesting that Yang be sent to Jiannan to personally oversee the Nanzhao campaign, and Emperor Xuanzong sent Yang to Jiannan, despite Yang's pleas and Consort Yang's pleas on his behalf. Emperor Xuanzong, however, promised to make him chancellor, and recalled him as soon as he reached Jiannan. When he returned to Chang'an, Li Linfu was gravely ill, and tried to ingratiate Yang by pointing out that Yang would be chancellor and entrusting his household to Yang. Upon Li Linfu's death, however, Yang induced Li Linfu's son-in-law Yang Qixuan into corroborating that Li LInfu was involved with Li Xianzhong. As a result, Li Linfu was posthumously stripped of honors, and his family members were exiled.

As chancellor

Meanwhile, Emperor Xuanzong made Yang Guozhong ''You Xiang'' -- the head of the legislative bureau of government and a post considered one for a chancellor; he also made Yang the minister of civil service affairs , and further allowed him to keep his command of Jiannan. It was said that Yang was capable in rhetoric but lacked abilities and presence. While he tried to be a responsible official and was decisive, he was frivolous and insolent to other officials. He personally assumed over 40 posts, and expelled those officials who had good reputations but were not willing to follow his orders. It was further said that he tried to show off his talent by having important matters decided at his home without discussion with other officials, and then simply announce his decisions once he arrived at the government halls. Meanwhile, for his and Chen's contributions in "discovering" Li LInfu's involvement with Li Xianzhong, Emperor Xuanzong created both of them dukes in 753 -- in Yang's case, the Duke of Wei , although he declined on account that the title was overly honorable for him, and so Emperor Xuanzong made him the Duke of Wei -- a slightly lesser title.

Meanwhile, though, Yang began to have discord with another favorite official of Emperor Xuanzong's -- An Lushan, the military governor of Fanyang , Hedong , and Pinglu Circuits, as An did not respect Yang. Yang repeatedly accused An of plotting rebellion, but Emperor Xuanzong ignored the reports. Yang, instead, entered into an alliance with Geshu, who also disliked An and who was then the military governor of Longyou Circuit at that time, by recommending that Geshu take over the command of Hexi Circuit .

At this time, Yang and his relatives were living in extreme luxury, and he and the Lady of Guo had connected mansions and were openly displaying their closeness. Meanwhile, whenever Consort Yang's sisters -- the Ladies of Guo, Han, and Qin -- and Yang Xian and Yang Qi were to attend Emperor Xuanzong and Consort Yang on tours to Huaqing Palace , their trains would gather at Yang Guozhong's mansion, with each of the five households distinguished by a different color, causing a glamorous display of colors. Yang Guozhong would lead the train ahead with his own guards and the banners as the military governor of Jiannan.

In spring 754, Yang suggested to Emperor Xuanzong that An was set on rebelling, and that if Emperor Xuanzong summoned him to Chang'an, he would surely not come -- but when Emperor Xuanzong then did summon An, An immediately arrived at Chang'an and accused Yang of false accusations. Thereafter, Emperor Xuanzong would no longer believe any suggestions that An was plotting rebellion, despite Li Heng agreeing with Yang's assessment on this issue. Meanwhile, he considered promoting An to be chancellor, but Yang opposed, and this did not occur, and An subsequently returned to Fanyang. Meanwhile, Yang was having conflicts with Chen as well, and he forced Chen to resign and then recommended Wei Jiansu to replace Chen. During a subsequent flood that caused much damage, Yang, not wanting any reports of damage, insisted that there was no damage -- and when the officials and Fang Guan nevertheless submitted damage reports, he had them demoted. He also viewed the official Wei Zhi as a threat and had Wei accused of corruption -- and when Wei subsequently bribed Ji, who was by then allied with An, for help, Yang also discovered this and reported it. As a result, Wei and Ji were demoted, and An subsequently submitted a petition on their behalf, claiming that the accusations from Yang were false, but Emperor Xuanzong took no actions against either An or Yang.

In spring 755, however, the matters were beginning to come to a head. When An submitted a petition to have 32 non-Han generals under him replace Han generals, Emperor Xuanzong immediately agreed, despite stern arguments from Yang and Wei Jiansu that this was a sign of impending rebellion. Yang and Wei then suggested that An be promoted to be chancellor, and that his three commands be divided between his three deputies; Emperor Xuanzong initially agreed, but after the edict was drafted, Emperor Xuanzong tabled it and instead sent the eunuch Fu Qiulin to send fresh fruits to An and to observe him -- upon which An bribed Fu into submitting a favorable report. Yang, however, persisted in his reports against Yang, including having the mayor of Jingzhao arrest An's friend Li Chao and others and executing them secretly. An's son An Qingzong , who was then at Chang'an, reported this to An Lushan, causing An Lushan to be even more apprehensive. Subsequent events -- including An's refusal to attend the funeral of an imperial prince in summer 755 and his offer to send a large number of horses to Chang'an in fall 755, began to cause Emperor Xuanzong to start suspecting An. He also discovered that Fu had received An's bribes, and therefore had Fu killed, instead sending another eunuch, Feng Shenwei to Fanyang to again summon An. An refused.

In winter 755, An, finally feeling he had no choice but to rebel, did so. The imperial officials were all apprehensive, because An had the strongest troops of the realm at the time, except for Yang, who believed that An could be suppressed easily. However, An's forces roved through the region north of the Yellow River easily, reaching Luoyang around the new year 756 and capturing easily despite the efforts of Feng Changqing to defend it. In response, Emperor Xuanzong considered passing the throne to Li Heng and personally lead the troops against An -- a proposal that Yang feared, believing that Li Heng would then take actions against the Yangs. He had Consort Yang dissuade Emperor Xuanzong from both actions. Meanwhile, Geshu was summoned to Chang'an to command the forces against An -- and Geshu was then able to manufacture evidence that An's stepfather's nephew An Sishun, whom Geshu also disliked, was complicit in An Lushan's rebellion, and An Sishun was executed. Yang, after this incident, began to be apprehensive of Geshu as well. When Geshu subsequently took defensive position at Tong Pass and refused to engage An's forces, reasoning that as long as he kept Chang'an secure, the other generals Li Guangbi and Guo Ziyi would soon be able to capture An's power base at Fanyang and render An harmless. Yang, however, feared that Geshu was instead plotting against him. Yang therefore sent his associate Du Qianhui with a separate army command to the front as well to watch Geshu, and Geshu, in turn apprehensive that Yang was going to act against him, found an excuse to execute Du, further causing Yang's suspicions. Yang therefore had Emperor Xuanzong order Geshu to engage An's forward commander Cui Qianyou , despite Geshu's repeated protestations that a battle was inadvisable. Once the armies engaged, Tang forces were crushed by Cui's forces; Geshu was captured, and Tong Pass fell on July 10.

Yang then began to plan for an evacuation to Jiannan. Emperor Xuanzong agreed. On July 13, the imperial train, without announcing to the people of Chang'an, left Chang'an, with Emperor Xuanzong attended to by the imperial clan members, Yang, Wei Jiansu, the official Wei Fangjin , the general Chen Xuanli , and eunuchs and close to the emperor.

On July 15, Emperor Xuanzong's train reached Mawei Station . The imperial guards were not fed and were angry at Yang Guozhong. Chen also believed that Yang Guozhong provoked this disaster and planned to carry him -- and reported his plans to Li Heng through Li Heng's eunuch Li Fuguo, but Li Heng was hesitated and gave no approval. Meanwhile, though, Tufan emissaries, who followed Emperor Xuanzong south, were meeting with Yang Guozhong and complaining that they were also not fed. The imperial guard soldiers took this opportunity to proclaim that Yang Guozhong was planning treason along with the Tufan emissaries, and they killed him, along with his son Yang Xuan , the Ladies of Han and Qin, and Wei Fangjin. Wei Jiansu was also nearly killed, but was spared at the last moment with severe injuries. The soldiers then surrounded Emperor Xuanzong's pavilion, and refused to scatter even after Emperor Xuanzong came out to comfort them and order them to scatter. Chen publicly urged him to put Consort Yang to death -- which Emperor Xuanzong initially declined. After Wei Jiansu's son Wei E and Gao Lishi spoke further, Emperor Xuanzong finally resolved to do so. He therefore had Gao take Consort Yang to a Buddhist shrine and strangle her there. After he showed the body to Chen and the other imperial guard generals, the guard soldiers finally scattered and prepared for further movement. Meanwhile, Yang Guozhong's wife Pei Rou, son Yang Xi , the Lady of Guo, and the Lady of Guo's son Pei Hui tried to flee, but were killed in flight.

Yang's biography in the ''Book of Tang'' commented, with regard to Yang's misjudgment of the situation at Tong Pass: