Xiao Cong

Emperor Jing of (Western) Liang ((西)梁靖帝, as later honored by Xiao Xi in 617), personal name Xiao Cong (蕭琮), courtesy name Wenwen (溫文), known during the Sui dynasty as the Duke of Ju (莒公) then Duke of Liang (梁公), was the final emperor of the Chinese Western Liang dynasty. He died at an unknown date after 607, by which time he was at least into middle age. Both he and his father Emperor Ming heavily relied on the military support of the Sui. In 587, after Emperor Jing's uncle Xiao Yan (蕭巖) and brother Xiao Huan (蕭瓛), surrendered to Chen Dynasty after suspecting Sui intentions, Emperor Wen of Sui abolished Western Liang, seized the Western Liang territory, and made Emperor Jing one of his officials, ending Western Liang.

(Xi) Western Liang Mingdi ((西)梁靖帝)
or Western Liang Gong (梁公)
Family name: Xiao (蕭)
Given name: Cong (琮, cóng)
Posthumous name:
(full)
Xiaojing (孝靖, Xiàojìng)
literary meaning:
"filial and meek"
Posthumous name:
(short)
Jing (靖, Jìng)
"meek"

Background

It is not known when Xiao Cong was born, and his mother's name is also lost in history. All that is known about his birth is that he was either the oldest or the second son of his father Emperor Ming of Western Liang—although the fact that he was initially created the Prince of Dongyang, rather than crown prince, by his father suggests that he was the second son, not the oldest. (If that were the case, his older brother's name is lost to history.) In his youth, he was considered knowledgeable and free-spirited.

It is not known when Xiao Cong was created crown prince, but it must be before 583, when Emperor Ming sent him, as Western Liang's crown prince, to congratulate his suzerain Emperor Wen of Sui on moving his capital from the old city Chang'an to the nearby new capital of Daxing (大興). In 585, Emperor Ming died, and Xiao Cong succeeded to the throne (as Emperor Jing).

Reign

In 585, Emperor Jing sent his general Qi Xin (戚昕) to attack Chen Dynasty's city of Gong'an (公安, in modern Jingzhou, Hubei), but Qi was unable to capture Gong'an and forced to withdraw.

Northern and Southern Dynasties 4
Map showing the location of Western Liang in 570

Also in 585, Sui's Emperor Wen, upon hearing that Emperor Jing's uncle Xiao Cen (蕭岑) the Prince of Wu Commandery was relying on his honored position and difficult to control, summoned Xiao Cen to Daxing and detained him there, although creating him the Duke of Huaiyi. Thereafter, Emperor Wen also reestablished the post of the Commandant of Jiangling (Western Liang's capital) and posted troops at Jiangling, effectively reasserting control over Western Liang. (Sui had withdrawn troops from Jiangling in 582, giving Emperor Ming more autonomy than before.) Perhaps because of this, Emperor Jing's general Xu Shiwu (許世武) secretly offered to submit to the Chen general Chen Huiji (陳慧紀) the Marquess of Yihuang (the cousin to Chen's emperor Chen Shubao), but Emperor Jing discovered Xu's plot and executed him.

In 587, Emperor Wen summoned Emperor Jing to Daxing to visit him. Emperor Jing led a train of some 200 officials, but as he was departing Jiangling, the people of Jiangling, believing that he would be detained and not be able to return, wept bitterly. Emperor Wen, claiming that he feared for Jiangling's safety in Emperor Jing's absence, sent his general Cui Hongdu (崔弘度) the Duke of Wuxiang to Jiangling. When Cui arrived in the nearby Ruo Province (鄀州, roughly modern Yichang, Hubei), Emperor Jing's uncle Xiao Yan and brother Xiao Huan, suspicious that Cui was instead planning to attack, sent the official Shen Jungong (沈君公, uncle of Chen Shubao's Empress Shen Wuhua) to Chen Huiji, offering to surrender. Chen Huiji quickly arrived at Jiangling, and Xiao Yan and Xiao Huan led the people of Jiangling in leaving the city and fleeing into Chen territory.

When Emperor Wen heard of this, he issued an edict abolishing Western Liang. He sent his official Gao Jiong to Jiangling to pacify the people who remained and to post guards to tend to the tombs of Emperor Ming and Emperor Ming's father Emperor Xuan. The former Emperor Jing was created the Duke of Ju.

Under Sui Dynasty

Tomb of Xiao Jing - Pillar
Tomb of Emperor Xiao Jing of the Western Liang may have been inspired by the Pillars of Ashoka.[1]

Just two years later, in 589, Sui conquered Chen, unifying China. In 594, Emperor Wen, citing the fact that the emperors of Northern Qi, Western Liang, and Chen were not being sacrificed, ordered that the former Northern Qi prince Gao Renying (高仁英), Chen Shubao, and Xiao Cong be given regular supplies so that they could make periodic sacrifices to their ancestors.

In 604, Emperor Wen died, and his son Yang Guang succeeded him (as Emperor Yang). As Emperor Yang's wife Empress Xiao was Xiao Cong's younger sister, Emperor Yang afforded Xiao Cong greater respect and changed his title from Duke of Ju to Duke of Liang. He also commissioned a number of Xiao Cong's relatives as officials. Xiao Cong himself was made a high-level official, but rarely carried out the duties of his office. When Emperor Yang sent the official Yang Yue (楊約), brother of the chancellor Yang Su, to try to encourage Xiao Cong to change his ways, Xiao Cong explained to Yang Yue, in veiled terms, that he did not want to draw attention to himself. Xiao Cong was also known for maintaining his own self-respect, and while he was living away from his ancestral lands, he refused to yield to the great clans of the north, and therefore offended a good number of northern nobles.

In 607, Emperor Yang killed a number of high-level officials—Gao Jiong, Heruo Bi (賀若弼), and Yuwen Bi (宇文弼), for criticizing his large rewards to the submissive Qimin Khan of Tujue. Xiao Cong had a deep friendship with Heruo, and therefore drew Emperor Yang's suspicions, and at the time, there was a popular song which included, in its lyrics, the line, "Xiao Xiao will rise again!" (The lyrics might have meant, "the recession will end.") This caused the superstitious Emperor Yang to suspect Xiao Cong further, and Xiao Cong was removed from his post and died without any offices. His year of death is not known. He might have been sonless, as his nephew Xiao Ju (蕭鉅) inherited the title of Duke of Liang.[2] While it would be customary for dukes to receive posthumous names, Xiao Cong, if he received one from Sui, did not have one recorded in history. In 617, when Xiao Yan's grandson Xiao Xi rebelled against Sui rule and briefly reestablished Liang, he honored Xiao Cong as Emperor Jing.

Era name

  • Guangyun (廣運 guǎng yùn) 586-587

Footnotes

  1. ^ Buddhist Architecture by Huu Phuoc Le p.45
  2. ^ However, the New Book of Tang, one of the official histories of the succeeding Tang Dynasty, in its table of chancellors' family trees, listed one Xiao Xuan (蕭鉉), later a prefectural prefect, as Xiao Cong's son. See New Book of Tang, vol. 71, part 2."Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-02-06. Retrieved 2008-01-29.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)

References

Chinese royalty
Preceded by
Emperor Ming of Western Liang
Emperor of Western Liang dynasty
585–587
Dynasty ended
Emperor of China (Jiangling region)
585–587
Succeeded by
Emperor Wen of Sui
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Book of Zhou

Not to be confused with the Yi Zhou Shu 逸周書, also called Book of Zhou.The Book of Zhou (Zhōu Shū) records the official history of the Chinese/Xianbei ruled Western Wei and Northern Zhou dynasties, and ranks among the official Twenty-Four Histories of imperial China. Compiled by the Tang Dynasty historian Linghu Defen, the work was completed in 636 CE and consists of 50 chapters, some of which have been lost and replaced from other sources.

The book was criticised by Liu Zhiji for its attempt to glorify the ancestors of Tang Dynasty officials of the time.

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.

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

Emperor Yang of Sui

Emperor Yang of Sui (隋煬帝, 569 – 11 April 618), personal name Yang Guang (楊廣), alternative name Ying (英), nickname Amo (阿摩), Sui Yang Di or Yang Di (炀帝) known as Emperor Ming (明帝) during the brief reign of his grandson Yang Tong), was the second son of Emperor Wen of Sui, and the second emperor of China's Sui dynasty.

Emperor Yang's original name was Yang Ying, but was renamed by his father, after consulting with oracles, to Yang Guang. Yang Guang was made the Prince of Jin after Emperor Wen established Sui Dynasty in 581. In 588, he was granted command of the five armies that invaded the southern Chen dynasty and was widely praised for the success of this campaign. These military achievements, as well as his machinations against his older brother Yang Yong, led to him becoming crown prince in 600. After the death of his father in 604, generally considered, though unproven, by most traditional historians to be a murder ordered by Yang Guang, he ascended the throne as Emperor Yang.

Emperor Yang, ruling from 604 to 618, committed to several large construction projects, most notably the completion of the Grand Canal. He commanded the reconstruction of the Great Wall, a project which took the lives of nearly six million workers. He also ordered several military expeditions that brought Sui to its greatest territorial extent, one of which, the conquest of Champa in what is now central and southern Vietnam, resulted in the death of thousands of Sui soldiers from malaria. These expeditions, along with a series of disastrous campaigns against Goguryeo (one of the three kingdoms of Korea), left the empire bankrupt and a populace in revolt. With northern China in turmoil, Emperor Yang spent his last days in Jiangdu (江都, in modern Yangzhou, Jiangsu), where he was eventually strangled in a coup led by his general Yuwen Huaji.

Despite his accomplishments, Emperor Yang was generally considered by traditional historians to be one of the worst tyrants in Chinese history and the reason for the Sui Dynasty's relatively short rule. His failed campaigns against Goguryeo, and the conscriptions levied to man them, coupled with increased taxation to finance these wars and civil unrest as a result of this taxation ultimately led to the downfall of the dynasty.

Empress Xiao (Sui dynasty)

Empress Xiao (蕭皇后, personal name unknown; c. 566 – 17 April 648), formally Empress Min, was an empress of the Chinese Sui Dynasty. Her husband was Emperor Yang of Sui.

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The grand chancellor, also translated as counselor-in-chief, chancellor, chief councillor, chief minister, imperial chancellor, lieutenant chancellor and prime minister, was the highest-ranking executive official in the imperial Chinese government. The term was known by many different names throughout Chinese history, and the exact extent of the powers associated with the position fluctuated greatly, even during a particular dynasty.

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Houzhu may refer to:

Emperor Houzhu of Han (207–271), Liu Shan, last emperor of the Chinese state of Shu Han

Emperor Houzhu of Northern Qi (557–577), Gao Wei, emperor of the Chinese dynasty Northern Qi

Emperor Houzhu of Western Liang, Xiao Cong, emperor of the Chinese Liang Dynasty from 585 to 587

Houzhu of Later Shu (919–965), Meng Chang, Emperor of Chinese state Later Shu

Li Houzhu (937–978), Li Yu, last ruler of the Chinese state Southern Tang

Emperor Houzhu of Southern Han (942–980), Liu Chang, last King of the Chinese kingdom Southern Han

Liang dynasty

The Liang dynasty (Chinese: 梁朝; pinyin: Liáng cháo) (502–557), also known as the Southern Liang dynasty (南梁), was the third of the Southern Dynasties during China's Southern and Northern Dynasties period. It was located in East China and South China, and replaced by the Chen dynasty in 557. The small rump state Western Liang (555–587), located in Central China, continued until its annexation in 587.

List of Emperors of China's Southern Dynasties

The Southern dynasties (南朝 pinyin: náncháo) describe a succession of Chinese empires that coexisted alongside a series of Northern Dynasties. The era is generally described as the Southern and Northern Dynasties, lasting from 420–589 AD after the Jin and before the Sui Dynasty.

The Southern Dynasties were as follows:

Liu Song (420–479 AD)

Southern Qi (479–502 AD)

Liang (502–557 AD)

Chen (557–589 AD)

Some historians also consider there to be fifth Southern Dynasty called the Nan Liang Dynasty (555-587 AD), but the accuracy of this assertion is contested.

Western Liang (555–587)

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The Western Liang had 3 emperors, Xiao Cha (Emperor Xuan), Xiao Kui (Emperor Ming), and Xiao Cong (Emperor Jing). From 617 to 621, Xiao Cha's great-grandson Xiao Xian occupied the former Western Liang territory (and more) and proclaimed himself King of Liang, but his short-lived state is usually considered separate.

Xiao Kui

Emperor Ming of (Western) Liang ((西)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.

Xiao Xian

Xiao Xian (蕭銑) (583–621) was a descendant of the imperial house of the Chinese dynasty Liang Dynasty, who rose against the rule of Sui Dynasty toward the end of the rule of Emperor Yang of Sui. He tried to revive Liang, and for several years appeared to be successful in doing so, as he, with his capital at Jiangling, ruled over a state that included most of modern Hubei, Hunan, Guangxi, and northern Vietnam. In 621, however, under an attack by the Tang Dynasty general Li Xiaogong, he, not realizing that relief forces were approaching Jiangling, surrendered. He was subsequently taken to the Tang capital Chang'an, where Emperor Gaozu of Tang executed him.

Xiao Yu

Xiao Yu (574–647), courtesy name Shiwen, posthumously known as Duke Zhenbian of Song, was an imperial prince of the Western Liang dynasty who later became an official under the Sui and Tang dynasties. He served as a chancellor during the reigns of the emperors Gaozu and Taizong in the early Tang dynasty.

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