Emperor Wu of Chen

Emperor Wu of Chen (陳武帝) (503–559), personal name Chen Baxian (陳霸先), courtesy name Xingguo (興國), nickname Fasheng (法生), was the first emperor of the Chen dynasty of China. He first distinguished himself as a Liang dynasty general during the campaign against the rebel general Hou Jing, and he was progressively promoted. In 555, he seized power after a coup against his superior, the general Wang Sengbian, and in 557 he forced Emperor Jing to yield the throne to him, establishing the Chen dynasty. He died in 559, and as his only surviving son Chen Chang was held by Northern Zhou as a hostage, he was succeeded by his nephew Chen Qian (Emperor Wen).

Emperor Wu of Chen
Emperor Wu of Chen
Portrait of Chen Qian
Emperor of the Chen dynasty
Reign557 – 559
SuccessorEmperor Wen of Chen
Died559 (aged 55–56)
Issuesee #Personal information
Full name
Family name: Chen (陳)
Given name: Baxian (霸先)
Courtesy name: Xingguo (興國)
Nickname: Fasheng (法生)
Posthumous name
Emperor Wu (武帝)
Temple name
Gaozu (高祖)
DynastyChen dynasty
FatherChen Wenzan
MotherLady Dong

Background and early career

Chen Baxian was born in 503, the second year of the reign of Emperor Wu of Liang (the founding emperor of Liang Dynasty). He was from Wuxing Commandery (吳興, roughly modern Huzhou, Zhejiang). His family traced its ancestry to Chen Shi (陳寔), a county magistrate and Confucian scholar during Han Dynasty. During the lineage that was traced, Chen's ancestors generally served as low-level officials, although several were important figures in imperial governments of Jin Dynasty and the subsequent Southern dynasties, including Chen Baxian's grandfather Chen Daoju (陳道巨). However, no record indicated that Chen Baxian's father Chen Wenzan (陳文讚) was an official. His mother was a Lady Dong, probably Chen Wenzan's wife.

When Chen Baxian was young, he was considered ambitious, not caring about managing properties. As he grew, he studied military strategies and learned various fighting techniques. Initially, he married a daughter of Qian Zhongfang (錢仲方), who was also from Wuxing Commandery, but she died early. After Lady Qian's death, he married Zhang Yao'er, likewise from Wuxing Commandery. She bore him at least one son, Chen Chang. (It is known that he had five sons before Chen Chang, but all, including Chen Ke (陳克), the only one whose name is preserved in history, appeared to have died early; it is not known who were their mothers.)

In the late 530s, when Xiao Ying (蕭映) the Marquess of Xinyu, a nephew of Emperor Wu, was the governor of Wuxing Commandery, he had the chance to see Chen Baxian and was impressed by him. When Xiao Ying was made the governor of Guang Province (廣州, modern Guangdong) around 540, he invited Chen to serve on his staff, and subsequently, Xiao Ying made him an acting commandery governor.

War with Vạn Xuân

In 541, the people of Giao Châu Province (in modern northern Vietnam), dissatisfied with the cruel rule of Xiao Zi (蕭諮) the Marquess of Wulin (another nephew of Emperor Wu), rebelled under the leadership of Lý Bôn. Xiao Zi fled to Guang Province. Xiao Ying sent the generals Sun Jiong (孫冏) and Lu Zixiong (盧子雄) to attack Lý Bôn, with Xiao Ying overseeing the operations. In spring 542, Xiao Ying and Xiao Zi ordered Sun and Lu to attack, despite Sun and Lu's request to delay the attack to fall 542 due to fears that hot temperature could cause illnesses. When Lý Bôn crushed their forces with heavy casualties, Xiao Zi falsely accused Sun and Lu of working in concert with Lý Bôn, and Emperor Wu ordered Sun and Lu to commit suicide. Lu Zixiong's brothers Lu Zilüe (盧子略) and Lu Zilie (盧子烈) and subordinates, the brothers Du Tianhe (杜天合) and Du Sengming (杜僧明) and Zhou Wenyu (周文育,) attacked the capital of Guang Province, wanting to kill Xiao Zi and Xiao Ying to avenge Lu Zixiong. Xiao Ying ordered Chen to engage them, and he defeated them, killing Du Tianhe and capturing Du Sengming and Zhou. Believing that Du Sengming and Zhou were both good soldiers, he released them and retained them on his staff. For this accomplishment, Emperor Wu created Chen the Viscount of Xin'an, and while he did not summon Chen to the capital Jiankang, he had an artisan draw a portrait of Chen and deliver it to him.

In January 544, Lý Bôn proclaimed himself emperor and named the country Vạn Xuân, ending the Second Chinese domination of Vietnam. In winter 544, Xiao Ying died, and initially, Chen started escorting Xiao Ying's casket back to Jiankang for burial. On the way, while he was still at Dayu Mountain (大庾嶺, on the borders of modern Jiangxi and Guangdong), he was ordered to rendezvous with the new governor of Giao Châu Province, Yang Piao (楊瞟), and another nephew of Emperor Wu's, Xiao Bo (蕭勃), to attack Lý Bôn. Xiao Bao did not want to set out on the campaign, and therefore tried to persuade Yang not to advance. Chen persuaded Yang otherwise, and in spring 545, Yang, with Chen as his lieutenant, attacked Lý Bôn, defeating him and forcing him to flee into the mountains and conduct guerilla warfare instead. In 548, Lý Bôn's subordinates killed Lý Bôn, and when Lý Bôn's brother Lý Thiên Bảo succeeded him and attacked Ai Province (愛州, centered on modern Thanh Hóa Province, Vietnam), Chen defeated Lý Thiên Bảo. Emperor Wu made Chen the governor of Gaoyao Commandery (高要, roughly modern Zhaoqing, Guangdong) as well as the commander of the forces of the surrounding commanderies.

During the Hou Jing Disturbance

In summer 548, Hou Jing, formerly a general of Eastern Wei (a branch successor state of Northern Wei) whose defection Emperor Wu had accepted, rebelled, and in 549 captured Jiankang, taking Emperor Wu and his son and crown prince Xiao Gang hostage. After Jiankang's fall, Hou, who had initially claimed that he wanted to restore Northern Wei's imperial clan to power, from the control of the regent Gao Cheng, enticed the governor of Guang Province, Yuan Jingzhong (元景仲), a member of Northern Wei's imperial Yuan clan, to join him, and when Chen received the news, he publicly announced Yuan's treachery and gathered the troops of the nearby generals to attack Yuan. Yuan committed suicide, and Chen welcomed Xiao Bo, then the governor of Ding Province (定州, roughly modern Guigang, Guangxi) to take over Guang Province. In winter 549, against Xiao Bo's request, Chen took his troops and embarked on a campaign to join the fight against Hou, sending messengers to Emperor Wu's son Xiao Yi the Prince of Xiangdong, the governor of Jing Province (荊州, modern central and western Hubei), pledging support and loyalty to Xiao Yi, then commonly viewed as the leader of the remaining Liang provinces not under Hou's control.

For the next year, Chen advanced north through modern Jiangxi, fighting the various local warlords and generals loyal to Hou, with his main struggle against Li Qianshi (李遷仕). In spring 551, he captured and killed Li. Xiao Yi made him the governor of Jiang Province (江州, roughly modern Jiangxi). By fall 551, he had rendezvoused with Xiao Yi's main general, Wang Sengbian, at Xunyang (尋陽, in modern Jiujiang, Jiangxi). In 552, after they had sworn a solemn oath to Liang, they advanced east toward Jiankang, where Hou had killed Xiao Gang (who had succeeded Emperor Wu as Emperor Jianwen) and taken the throne himself as Emperor of Han. Chen was instrumental in the subsequent siege of Jiankang, and they defeated Hou together, causing Hou to flee. Subsequently, Hou was killed by his own men. For Chen's contributions, Xiao Yi created Chen the Marquess of Changcheng—Chen's home county. Wang put Chen in charge of the important city Jingkou (京口, in modern Zhenjiang, Jiangsu). For the next two years, Chen was several times involved in border battles against Northern Qi (Eastern Wei's successor state). At times, when Xiao Yi (who had by now taken the throne as Emperor Yuan but set up his capital at his headquarters of Jiangling rather than at Jiankang) summoned Wang on campaigns, Wang would put Chen in charge of Jiankang.

Seizure of power

In 554, Western Wei launched a major attack on Jiangling, and Emperor Yuan summoned Wang to come to his aid, putting Chen in charge of Jiankang. Before Wang could reach Jiangling, however, Western Wei had already captured Jiangling, killing Emperor Yuan and declaring his nephew Xiao Cha emperor instead (as Emperor Xuan). (Xiao Cha's state is known in history as the Western Liang.) Wang and Chen refused to recognize Emperor Xuan; instead, in spring 555, they welcomed Emperor Yuan's 11-year-old son Xiao Fangzhi the Prince of Jin'an—Emperor Yuan's only surviving son—to Jiankang, preparing to make him emperor and first having him take the title Prince of Liang. (When Jiankang fell, Chen's son Chen Chang and nephew Chen Xu, who had been serving in the imperial administration, were captured and taken to the Western Wei capital Chang'an as honored captives.)

At this time, however, Emperor Wenxuan of Northern Qi had other ideas, and he sent his brother Gao Huan (高渙) the Prince of Shangdang to command an army to escort Emperor Yuan's cousin Xiao Yuanming the Marquess of Zhenyang—whom Eastern Wei had taken captive in 547—back to Liang to be emperor. Wang initially rejected Xiao Yuanming, but after his forces lost a few battles to Northern Qi forces, changed his mind and decided to accept Xiao Yuanming as emperor after extracting a promise from Xiao Yuanming to make Xiao Fangzhi crown prince. In summer 555, Xiao Yuanming arrived at Jiankang to take the throne, and he created Xiao Fangzhi crown prince. Wang and Chen continued to be in charge of the military.

Chen, however, was unhappy about the situation, believing Xiao Yuanming to be unworthy of the throne. Despite Wang Sengbian's knowledge of Chen's displeasure, however, Wang did not suspect Chen of having any rebellious intentions, as they had been friendly, and Wang and Chen had agreed on having Wang Sengbian's son Wang Wei (王頠) marry Chen's daughter, although the marriage had not been established on account of the recent death of Wang Sengbian's mother. in fall 555, believing reports that Northern Qi was going to attack, Wang sent his secretary Jiang Gan (江旰) to Jingkou to alert Chen. Chen instead detained Jiang and started a surprise attack on Wang. With Wang not suspecting that an attack would occur, Chen quickly reached Wang's headquarters at Shitou (a fortress near Jiankang), capturing and killing Wang Sengbian and Wang Wei. He took over control of the imperial government, forcing Xiao Yuanming to abdicate and making Xiao Fangzhi emperor (as Emperor Jing).

Immediately, Chen faced resistance from the generals Xu Sihui (徐嗣徽), Ren Yue (任約), and Hou Tian (侯瑱), and Wang Sengbian's brother Wang Sengzhi (王僧智) and son-in-law Du Kan (杜龕). (Du was the governor of Chen's home commandery of Wuxing, and the historian Bo Yang had speculated that Du's disrespect for Chen and his curbing of special privileges that Chen's clan was exerting in Wuxing might have been an impetus for Chen's rebellion against Wang.) Chen initially sent his nephew Chen Qian and his general Zhou Wenyu against Du and Du's ally Wei Zai (韋載), but the campaign was inconclusive, and Chen subsequently went to attack himself. Meanwhile, Xu and Ren, aided by Northern Qi, made a surprise attack on Jiankang, nearly capturing it, but were repelled by Chen's general Hou Andu. Soon, Chen defeated Wei and Wei surrendered, and Chen returned to Jiankang, leaving Zhou to face Du.

Despite Northern Qi aid, Xu and Ren could not defeat Chen, and Chen put Shitou, which the Northern Qi general Liu Damo (柳達摩) had captured, under siege. Liu sought peace, but requested Chen to send his relatives as hostages to Northern Qi. Most officials advocated peace, and Chen, despite his skepticism about such a peace holding, agreed, and sent his nephew Chen Tanlang (陳曇朗), Emperor Yuan's grandson Xiao Zhuang the Prince of Yongjia, and Wang Min (王珉), the son of the key official Wang Chong (王沖), as hostages, permitting Northern Qi forces to withdraw, and Xu and Ren withdrew with them.

By spring 556, Du had either been captured or surrendered to Zhou and Chen Qian, and Chen Baxian executed Du. Wang Sengzhi fled to Northern Qi, and the capital region was largely under Chen Baxian's control. Meanwhile, Northern Qi forces were preparing another attack, but they invited Xiao Yuanming to their camp to discuss peace. Chen sent Xiao Yuanming to Northern Qi camp, but before talks could begin, Xiao Yuanming died from a severe infection on his back. By summer 556, Northern Qi forces were again descending on Jiankang, but once there, their forces stalemated with Chen's forces. Northern Qi forces' food supplies soon ran out, and Chen defeated them, killing Xu and capturing a number of Northern Qi generals, whom Chen executed. (In response, Northern Qi executed Chen Tanlang, although Chen Baxian never found out during his lifetime.) Meanwhile, Hou Tian, having been defeated by another general, Hou Ping (侯平), chose to submit to Chen.

During the next year, Chen began to receive greater and greater titles and offices, progressing from being the Marquess of Changcheng to Duke of Changcheng to Duke of Yixing to Duke of Chen to Prince of Chen. In 557, Xiao Bo declared a resistance against Chen from Guang Province. Soon, however, Zhou defeated Xiao Bo's general Ouyang Wei (歐陽頠), and Xiao Bo was killed by his own generals. At the same time, Wang Lin, who controlled modern Hunan and eastern Hubei, suspicious of Chen's intentions, refused his summon to Jiankang and prepared for battle instead. Chen sent Zhou and Hou Andu against Wang Lin. In winter 557, Chen had Emperor Jing yield the throne to him, establishing Chen Dynasty as its Emperor Wu. He created Emperor Jing the Prince of Jiangyin. He posthumously honored his parents emperor and empress, his deceased wife Lady Qian empress, and his deceased son Chen Ke crown prince. He created his wife Zhang Yao'er empress.


While it is not known when Emperor Wu became a Buddhist, once he became emperor he immediately took steps to officially sanction Buddhism, as he displayed a relic believed to be a Buddha's tooth and held a major Buddhist festival. He also, following the lead of Liang's Emperor Wu, offered himself to Buddha's service on one occasion. He made several requests to Western Wei's successor state Northern Zhou to return Chen Chang and Chen Xu, and while Northern Zhou promised to do so, they would actually not be returned in Emperor Wu's lifetime.

Meanwhile, news that Emperor Wu had accepted the throne had reached the front where Zhou Wenyu and Hou Andu were engaging Wang Lin, greatly depressing Zhou and Hou's forces, as this removed a major appeal that they had—that Wang was being a rebel for refusing to follow Emperor Jing's orders. Wang defeated Zhou and Hou and captured them. After doing so, however, both Chen forces and Wang Lin's forces were stalemated by the fact that the general Lu Xida (魯悉達), who controlled Northern Jiang Province (北江州, roughly modern Anqing, Anhui), was accepting overtures from both sides but refusing to actually obey either side. Not able to make progress in his campaign against the new Chen state, Wang sought help from Northern Qi and requested that it return Xiao Zhuang to be emperor. Soon, Northern Qi returned Xiao Zhuang, and Wang Lin declared Xiao Zhuang emperor at Ying Province (郢州, modern eastern Hubei).

In summer 558, Emperor Wu had the former Emperor Jing of Liang killed. He sent Hou Tian and Xu Du (徐度) to attack Wang Lin, but soon negotiated a peace with Wang Lin, after Wang's general Yu Xiaoqing (余孝頃) was defeated by the independent general Zhou Di (周迪). (Meanwhile, Zhou Wenyu and Hou escaped from Wang's custody and returned to Chen, although Zhou was soon assassinated by the independent general Xiong Tanlang (熊曇朗).)

In summer 559, Emperor Wu suffered a major illness and died suddenly. At that time, the only close relative of his in Chen territory, his nephew Chen Qian the Prince of Linchuan, was away building a fort at Nanhuan (南皖, in modern Anqing, Anhui). Empress Zhang, after consulting the officials Du Leng (杜稜) and Cai Jingli (蔡景歷), chose not to announce Emperor Wu's death and summoned Chen Qian back from Nanhuan. The imperial officials decided to support Chen Qian as emperor, and while Empress Zhang was initially hesitant, hoping that Chen Chang would return, she eventually agreed, and Chen Qian took the throne as Emperor Wen.

Era name

  • Yongding (永定 yǒng dìng) 557-559


  • Parents:
    • Chen Wenzan (景皇帝 陈文赞)
    • Lady Dong (安皇后 董氏)
  • Consorts and Issue:
  1. Lady Qian (昭皇后 錢氏)
    1. Chen Ke (孝懷皇太子 陳克)
  2. Lady Zhang (宣皇后 章氏; 506 – 570), personal name Yao'er (要兒)
    1. Chen Chang (衡陽獻王 陳昌; 537 – 560)
    2. Princess Yuhua (玉華公主)
  3. Unknown
    1. Chen Li (豫章獻王 陳立)
    2. Chen Quan (長沙思王 陳權)
    3. Unnamed son
    4. Unnamed son
    5. Princess Yongshi (永世公主)
    6. Princess Kuaiji Mu (會稽穆公主)


Chinese royalty
New dynasty Emperor of Chen Dynasty
Succeeded by
Emperor Wen of Chen
Preceded by
Emperor Jing of Liang
Emperor of China (Southeastern)

Year 503 (DIII) was a [[common

ndar) of the Julian calendar. At the time, it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Volusianus and Dixicrates (or, less frequently, year 1256 Ab urbe condita). The denomination 503 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.


Baxian may refer to:

Bāxiān 八仙, the Eight Immortals

Bàxiān 霸先, the given name of the Emperor Wu of Chen

Baxian Tower 拔仙台, Mount Taibai

Baxian or Ba County, a former name of Bazhou City

Chen Shubao

Chen Shubao (Chinese: 陳叔寶; pinyin: Chén Shúbǎo, 553–604), also known as the Final Lord of Chen (陳後主; Chén Hòuzhǔ), posthumous name Duke Yáng of Chángchéng (長城煬公; Chángchéng Yáng Gōng), courtesy name 元秀; Yuán Xiù), nickname 黃奴; Huángnú, was the last emperor of Chen China, which was conquered by Sui China.

At the time of his ascension, Chen was already facing military pressure by the Sui on multiple fronts, and, according to traditional historians, Chen Shubao was an incompetent ruler who was more interested in literature and women than in the affairs of the state.

In 589, Sui forces captured his capital, Jiankang, and captured him, ending Chen rule and unifying China after nearly three centuries of division that had started with the conquests of Emperor Hui of Jin. He was taken to the Sui capital Chang'an, where he was treated kindly by Emperor Wen of Sui until his death in 604, during the reign of Emperor Wen's son, Emperor Yang.

Chen dynasty

The Chen dynasty (simplified Chinese: 陈朝; traditional Chinese: 陳朝; pinyin: Chén Cháo; 557-589), also known as the Southern Chen dynasty, was the fourth and last of the Southern Dynasties in China, eventually destroyed by the Sui dynasty.

While it is said that Chen is the only dynasty named after the ruling house in Chinese history, this is in fact a coincidence. The founder of the dynasty, Chen Baxian, had been granted the title of "Prince of Chen", and on taking the throne he followed the Chinese practice of using his former princely title as the name of the new dynasty.

When the dynasty was founded by Emperor Wu, it was exceedingly weak, possessing only a small portion of the territory once held by its predecessor Liang dynasty—and that portion was devastated by wars that had doomed Liang. However, Emperor Wu's successors Emperor Wen and Emperor Xuan were capable rulers, and the state gradually solidified and strengthened, becoming roughly equal in power to rivals Northern Zhou and Northern Qi. After Northern Zhou took over Northern Qi in 577 and reunited the North, Chen was cornered. To make matters worse, its final emperor Chen Shubao was an incompetent and indulgent ruler, and Chen was eventually destroyed by Northern Zhou's successor state Sui.

During the short-lived dynasty, the Rau peoples to the south resumed raids against the region of Jiaozhi, perceiving the dynasty to be weak. The raids ended with the conquest of the Southern Chen by the Sui. The Sui general Yang Su suppressed various Chen rebels in campaigns during the early 590s.

Chujiang Town

Chujiang Town (Chinese: 楚江镇; pinyin: Chǔjiāng Zhèn) is a town and the county seat of Shimen in Hunan, China. Chujiang Town is located in the south central Shimen County, it is bordered by Yijiadu Town (Chinese: 易家渡镇) to the northeast and east, Erdu Township to the south, Xinguan Town (Chinese: 新关镇) to the west and north. The town has an area of 66.75 km2 (25.77 sq mi) with a population of 109,522 (as of 2010 census), it is divided into 15 communities.

Emperor Jing of Liang

Emperor Jing of Liang (Chinese: 梁敬帝; 543–558), personal name Xiao Fangzhi (蕭方智), courtesy name Huixiang (慧相), nickname Fazhen (法真), was an emperor of the Chinese Liang Dynasty. As the only surviving son of Emperor Yuan, he was declared emperor by the general Chen Baxian in 555, but in 557 Chen forced him to yield the throne and established Chen Dynasty. In 558, Chen had him killed.

Emperor Wen of Chen

Emperor Wen of Chen (陳文帝) (522–566), personal name Chen Qian (陳蒨), courtesy name Zihua (子華), was an emperor of the Chinese Chen Dynasty. He was the nephew of the founding emperor, Emperor Wu (Chen Baxian), and after Emperor Wu's death in 559, the officials supported him to be emperor since Emperor Wu's only surviving son, Chen Chang, was detained by rival Northern Zhou. At the time he took the throne, Chen had been devastated by war during the preceding Liang Dynasty, and many provinces nominally loyal to him were under control of relatively independent warlords. During his reign, he consolidated the state against warlords, and he also seized territory belonging to claimants to the Liang throne, Xiao Zhuang and Emperor Xuan of Western Liang, greatly expanding Chen's territory and strength.

Emperor Wu

Emperor Wu or the Wu Emperor (武帝, lit. "The Martial Emperor") is the posthumous name of numerous Chinese rulers:

Emperor Wu of Han (156–87 BC), emperor of the Han dynasty

Emperor Wu of Wei (AD 155–220), a posthumous name of Cao Cao

Emperor Wu of Jin (236–290), first emperor of the Jin dynasty

Emperor Wu of Liu Song (363–422), founding emperor of the Chinese dynasty Liu Song

Emperor Wu of Southern Qi (440–493), emperor of the Chinese Southern Qi Dynasty

Emperor Wu of Liang (464–549), founding emperor of the Liang Dynasty of Chinese history

Emperor Wu of Chen (503–559), first emperor of the Chen dynasty of China

Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou (543–578), an emperor of the Xianbei dynasty Northern Zhou

Empress Wu Zetian (625–705), from her actual surname rather than a posthumous epithetEmperor of Wu (吳帝) may refer to:

Li Zitong (died 622), agrarian rebel during the Sui–Tang interregnum


Gaozu (Chinese: 高祖; pinyin: Gāozǔ; Wade–Giles: Kao1-tsu3; literally: 'high forefather") is an imperial temple name typically used for Chinese emperors who founded a particular dynasty. It may refer to:

Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 BC or 247 BC – 195 BC)

Cao Pi (187–226) of Cao Wei, the temple name was eventually changed to Shizu

Liu Yuan (Han Zhao) (251–310), the temple name was eventually changed to Taizu

Shi Le (274–333) of Later Zhao

Fu Jian (317–355) of Former Qin

Qifu Gangui (died in 412) of Western Qin

Yao Xing (366–416) of Later Qin

Liu Yu (Emperor Wu of Liu Song) (363–422)

Yuan Hong (Emperor Xiaowen of Northern Wei) (467–499)

Emperor Wu of Liang (464–549)

Emperor Wu of Chen (503–559)

Emperor Wu of Northern Zhou (543–578)

Yang Jian (Emperor Wen of Sui) (541–604) of the Sui dynasty

Emperor Gaozu of Tang (566–635)

Wang Jian (Former Shu) (847–918) of Former Shu

Yang Longyan (897–920) of Wu (Ten Kingdoms)

Meng Zhixiang (874–934) of Later Shu

Liu Yan (emperor) (889–942) of Southern Han

Shi Jingtang (892–942) of the Later Jin (Five Dynasties)

Liu Zhiyuan (895–948) of the Later Han (Five Dynasties)

Chen Youliang (1320–1363) of Great HanIt may also refer to those who never officially declared themselves as emperors, but were posthumously given the title by their imperial descendants:

Sima Yi (179–251), Emperor Gaozu of the Jin dynasty (265–420)

Zhang Shi (Former Liang) (died in 320), Emperor Gaozu of Former Liang (320–376)

Murong Hui (269–333), Emperor Gaozu of Former Yan (337–370)

Gao Huan (496–547), Emperor Taizu of Northern Qi (550–577)


Huzhou is a prefecture-level city in northern Zhejiang province, China. Lying south of the Lake Tai, it borders Jiaxing to the east, Hangzhou to the south, and the provinces of Anhui and Jiangsu to the west and north respectively.

At the 2010 census, its population was 2,893,542 inhabitants, of whom 757,165 lived in the built-up (or metro) area made of Wuxing District as Nanxun District is not being conurbated yet.

List of Chinese monarchs

This list of Chinese monarchs includes rulers of China with various titles prior to the establishment of the Republic in 1912. From the Zhou dynasty until the Qin dynasty, rulers usually held the title "king" (Chinese: 王; pinyin: wáng). With the separation of China into different Warring States, this title had become so common that the unifier of China, the first Qin Emperor Qin Shihuang created a new title for himself, that of "emperor" (pinyin: huángdì). The title of Emperor of China continued to be used for the remainder of China's imperial history, right down to the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1912. While many other monarchs existed in and around China throughout its history, this list covers only those with a quasi-legitimate claim to the majority of China, or those who have traditionally been named in king-lists. The following list of Chinese monarchs is in no way comprehensive.

Chinese sovereigns were known by many different names, and how they should be identified is often confusing. Sometimes the same emperor is commonly known by two or three separate names, or the same name is used by emperors of different dynasties. The tables below do not necessarily include all of an emperor's names – for example, posthumous names could run to more than twenty characters and were rarely used in historical writing – but, where possible, the most commonly used name or naming convention has been indicated.

These tables may not necessarily represent the most recently updated information on Chinese monarchs; please check the page for the relevant dynasty for possible additional information.

Follow these links to see how they are related:

Family tree of ancient Chinese emperors → Chinese emperors family tree (early) → Chinese emperors family tree (middle) → Chinese emperors family tree (late)

List of usurpers

The following is a list of usurpers – illegitimate or controversial claimants to the throne in a monarchy. The word usurper is a derogatory term, and as such not easily definable, as the person seizing power normally will try to legitimise his position, while denigrating that of his predecessor.

Northern and Southern dynasties

The Northern and Southern dynasties (Chinese: 南北朝; pinyin: Nán-Běi Cháo) was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589, following the tumultuous era of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Wu Hu states. It is sometimes considered as the latter part of a longer period known as the Six Dynasties (220 to 589). Though an age of civil war and political chaos, it was also a time of flourishing arts and culture, advancement in technology, and the spread of Mahayana Buddhism and Daoism. The period saw large-scale migration of Han Chinese to the lands south of the Yangtze. The period came to an end with the unification of all of China proper by Emperor Wen of the Sui Dynasty.

During this period, the process of sinicization accelerated among the non-Chinese arrivals in the north and among the indigenous people in the south. This process was also accompanied by the increasing popularity of Buddhism (introduced into China in the 1st century) in both northern and southern China and Daoism gaining influence as well, with two essential Daoist canons written during this period.

Notable technological advances occurred during this period. The invention of the stirrup during the earlier Jin dynasty (265–420) helped spur the development of heavy cavalry as a combat standard. Historians also note advances in medicine, astronomy, mathematics, and cartography. Intellectuals of the period include the mathematician and astronomer Zu Chongzhi (429–500).

Shen Wuhua

Shen Wuhua (Chinese: 沈婺華), later dharma name Guanyin (觀音), was an empress of Chen China. Her husband was Chen Shubao, the last emperor of the dynasty.

Shen Wuhua's father, Shen Junli (沈君理), was a junior official during the reign of Chen's founder Emperor Wu, and Emperor Wu, impressed by his abilities, created Shen Junli the Marquess of Wangcai (望蔡侯) and gave Shen Junli his daughter the Princess Kuaiji as his wife. Shen Wuhua was born of the Princess Kuaiji, but her birth year is lost to history. Shen Junli subsequently served under Emperor Wu's nephews, Emperor Wen and Emperor Xuan. When Princess Kuaiji died, Shen Wuhua mourned her greatly and was praised for her filial piety.

In 569, Shen Wuhua married Chen Shubao, who was then the crown prince under his father, Emperor Xuan. Her age at the time of their marriage is not known; he was 16. They did not have any sons together, but when Chen Shubao's concubine, Sun, died in childbirth in 573, Shen Wuhua raised the boy, Chen Yin, as her own. Her father, Shen Junli, died later that year, and she again mourned greatly. He was given the posthumous name Zhenxian (貞憲).

In 582, Emperor Xuan died. Chen Shubao survived a failed coup attempt, albeit with substantial injuries, by his brother Chen Shuling (陳叔陵), Prince of Shixing, and his cousin Chen Bogu (陳伯固) the Prince of Xin'an. After taking the throne, Chen Shubao enthroned Shen Wuhua as empress, and Chen Yin as crown prince. However, as he did not favor her, she was not allowed to attend to him during his injuries--only Zhang Lihua, his favorite concubine, was allowed to.

Empress Shen was said to be solemn and had few desires, spending much of her time studying the Chinese classics, history, and Buddhist sutras as well as practicing calligraphy. She did not participate much in Chen Shubao's feasting, and he did not favor her, instead greatly favoring his Consort Zhang, who effectively took over the governance of the palace. Empress Shen had few complaints about that, however, and she lived a frugal life, limiting her staff to about 100 people and not using elaborate decorations, often submitting suggestions to Chen Shubao. In 588, believing in accusations that Chen Yin despised him for not favoring Empress Shen, Chen Shubao deposed him and replaced him with Consort Zhang's son, Chen Shen. He also considered deposing Empress Shen and replacing her with Consort Chang, but had not had a chance to carry this out before Sui dynasty forces captured the capital Jiankang in 589, seizing him and ending the Chen dynasty, unifying China.

Consort Zhang was executed by the Sui general, Gao Jiong, but Chen Shubao was spared and taken to the Sui capital, Chang'an, to be treated as an honored guest of Emperor Wen of Sui. Empress Shen followed Chen Shubao to Chang'an. She wrote deeply mournful texts to commemorate him when he died in 604. Earlier that year, Emperor Wen had died as well and was succeeded by his son, Emperor Yang of Sui, who, during his reign, undertook 11 journeys through various parts of the empire and often had Empress Shen accompany his train. She was with his train in Jiangdu (江都, in modern Yangzhou, Jiangsu) in 618, when he was killed in a coup led by the general Yuwen Huaji. After Emperor Yang's death, Empress Shen crossed the Yangtze south to Piling City (毗陵, in modern Changzhou, Jiangsu), where she became a Buddhist nun with the name Guanyin ("Avalokiteśvara").

Guanyin died early in the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang (626-649), but the exact year is not known.

Temple name

Temple names are commonly used when naming most Chinese, Korean (Goryeo and Joseon dynasties), and Vietnamese (such dynasties as Trần, Lý, and Lê) monarchs. They should not be confused with era names and posthumous names.

Compared to posthumous names, the use of temple names is more exclusive. Both titles were given after death to a ruler, but unlike the often elaborate posthumous name, a temple name almost always consists of only two characters:

an adjective: chosen to reflect the circumstances of the emperor's reign (such as "Martial" or "Lamentable"). The vocabulary overlaps with that of posthumous titles' adjectives, but for one emperor, the temple name's adjective character usually does not repeat as one of the many adjective characters in his posthumous name. The usual exception is "Filial" (孝). The founders are almost always either "High" (高) or "Grand" (太).

"emperor": either zǔ (祖) or zōng (宗).

Zu ("forefather") implies a progenitor, either a founder of a dynasty or a new line within an existing one. Zu is also given to monarchs with great accomplishment. The equivalent in Korean is jo (조), and tổ in Vietnamese.

Zong ("ancestor") is used in all other rulers. It is rendered as jong (종) in Korean, and tông in Vietnamese.The "temple" in "temple name" refers to the "grand temple" (太廟), also called "great temple" (大廟) or "ancestral temple" (祖廟), where crown princes and other royalty gathered to worship their ancestors. The ancestral tablets in the grand temple recorded the temple names of the rulers.

In earlier times, only rulers had temple names, such as Taihao (太昊). Temple names were assigned sporadically from the Shang dynasty and regularly from the Tang dynasty. Some Han emperors had their temple names permanently removed by their descendants in 190 AD. Temple names are the usual way to refer to emperors from the Tang dynasty up to the Ming dynasty. For the Ming dynasty and Qing dynasty (from 1368 AD), era names are often used instead.

In Korea, temple names are used to refer to kings of the early Goryeo (until 1274 AD), and kings and emperors of Joseon. For the Korean Empire, era names should be used, but the temple names are often used instead. In Vietnam, most rulers are known by their temple names, with the exception of Tây Sơn and Nguyễn monarchs, who are better known by their era names.

Numerous individuals who did not serve as monarch during their lifetime were posthumously promoted to "emperor" or "king" by their descendants and given temple names.

Timeline of Chinese history

This is a timeline of Chinese history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in China and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of China. See also the list of rulers of China, Chinese emperors family tree, dynasties in Chinese history and years in China.

Dates prior to 841 BC, the beginning of the Gonghe Regency, are provisional and subject to dispute.

Timeline of Vietnamese history

This is a timeline of Vietnamese history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Vietnam and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Vietnam.

Xiao Zhuang

Xiao Zhuang (蕭莊) (548-577?), often known by his princely title of Prince of Yongjia (永嘉王), was a grandson of Emperor Yuan of Liang, who was declared by the general Wang Lin to be the legitimate emperor of Liang Dynasty in 558, under military assistance by Northern Qi. He thus was one of the three claimants to the Southern dynasties throne, competing with Emperor Xuan of Western Liang, who was supported by Northern Zhou, and Chen Dynasty's founder Emperor Wu of Chen and later his nephew Emperor Wen of Chen. In 560, with Wang Lin defeated by Chen troops, both Wang and Xiao Zhuang fled to Northern Qi, ending their rivalry with Chen and Western Liang. While Northern Qi emperors made promises to return Xiao Zhuang to the Liang throne, Northern Qi was never able to accomplish that promise, and Xiao Zhuang died shortly after Northern Qi's own destruction in 577.

Yan Zhitui

Yan Zhitui (Chinese: 顏之推; pinyin: Yán Zhītuī; Wade–Giles: Yen2 Chih1-t'ui1, 531–591) was a Chinese calligrapher, painter, musician, writer and politician who served four different Chinese states during the late Southern and Northern Dynasties: the Liang Dynasty in southern China, the Northern Qi and Northern Zhou Dynasties of northern China, and their successor state that reunified China, the Sui Dynasty. Yan Zhitui was a supporter of Buddhism in China despite criticism by many of his Confucian-taught peers. Yan was also the first person in history to mention the use of toilet paper.

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