Tang Dynasties

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Tang Dynasties

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Rise and Fall of Tang Empire China

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Li Shimin also put in place a code of law that became a model for later dynasties and even for other countries, including Japan and Korea. The empire prospered under stable rule, with increased wealth, growth of cities, and the creation of enduring works of art and literature. Reduced in power after the mids wars, the Tang Dynasty was unable to prevent the rise of army leaders and local rulers who no longer pledged their loyalty to the central government. Ships loaded with merchandise to trade sailed as far as Africa and Arabia. But this did not help to strengthen the Tang government. Eventually, after a year rebellion, the last Tang ruler was deposed in , bringing the Tang Dynasty to a close. The Tang Dynasty had a major influence on the culture of Asia.

Woodblock printing was invented during the Tang era, helping to spread education and literature throughout the empire and into later eras. Still, another Tang-era invention was an early form of gunpowder , considered one of the most important inventions in pre-modern world history. Share Flipboard Email. Ancient History and Latin Expert. Wu Zetian became Empress Wu, and she exiled, murdered and drove to suicide elder ministers. Emperor Gaozong suffered a stroke in his eleventh year of rule. He became enfeebled and a mere figurehead. Empress Wu moved to firmly establish her power. She murdered members of the Tang family whom she saw as possible rivals, and she elevated politically members of her own family.

Working with informers, she instituted a reign of terror. She purged Confucian scholars and other opponents. She built up her power base by satisfying public needs and by raising in rank those bureaucrats who supported her. She remained devoted to Buddhism. She surrounded herself with holy men and monks and ordered a Buddhist temple for every prefecture. In her old age, Empress Wu lost control at court, and in officials at court forced her to resign in favor of a member of the Tang family. This was a man named Zhongzong, who ruled until his death in — his wife, Empress Wei, suspected of having poisoned him. Empress Wei tried to rule as had Empress Wu. She sold offices and Buddhist monkhoods, and she was behind other corruptions at court.

Arbitrarily she had lands seized. She created opponents whom she failed to exterminate, and they ousted her from power, which led to the enthronement in of a new Tang emperor: Xuanzong. Xuanzong came to power at the age of 28 and was to remain in power forty-four years. He was active and courageous, and during his reign, prosperity increased. But in his later years he became increasingly absorbed in Taoist spirituality and uninterested in rule. After he fell under the spell of his son's wife, Yang Guifei, a Taoist priestess. The young woman grew in influence. Xuanzong ignored the economy, and China went into another decline.

Muslims replaced the Chinese as the dominant influence along the Silk Road, and tribal nations on China's borders grew in power. In December a military general of Turkish origin, An Lushan, who had risen to prominence defending China's northern border, revolted against the old Tang emperor, Xuanzong. An Lushan expanded China militarily while Tang family resistance continued, and China fell again into chaos. An Lushan turned ill-tempered, and he put the fear of death into those close to him, including his son, An Qingxu, who assassinated him in January Forces loyal to the Tang dynasty defeated an executed An Qingxu in April The An Lushan dynasty, the Yan, had two more rulers who came and were gone by What became known as the An Lushan or An-shi Rebellion was over.

Claims are made that the registered population of China fell from between 33 and 36 million, making the An Lushan rebellion the deadliest war in history in terms of percentage of population. Eight years of war had destroyed the Tang prosperity.

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