Episode 73 – Southern & Northern #17: The Only Tear Shed for Wenxuan


Today’s episode take us through the turmoil within northern China and beyond over the 550s. We begin looking outside of China proper as the rulers of the Rouran Steppe Confederacy are overthrown and replaced by the vassal-turned-enemy the Göktürks, and briefly touch on the Khitan Tribe of Manchuria. We then go through the reign of Emperor Wenxuan of Northern Qi, who will initially lead his newfound dynasty to power and prominence before his mounting madness will plunge it into chaos and terror.


Time Period Covered
550-561 CE

Notable Figures
Ashina Bumin/Tumen (Illig Khagan of Göktürk) [r. 550]

Issik Khagan of East Gokturk

Istemi Khagan of West Gokturk

General Gao Huan (Warlord of Eastern Wei) (d. 550)

Gao Yang (Emperor Wenxuan of Northern Qi) [r. 551-560]

Crowned Prince Gao Yin (Emperor Fei of Northern Qi) [r. 560]

Gao Yan, Prince of Chanshan (Emperor Xiaozhao of Northern Qi) [r. 560-561]

Prime Minister Yang Yin [d. 560]

Works Cited
The History of the Northern Dynasties (Bei Shi) – Li Dashi and Li Yanshou

The Zizhi Tongjian – Sima Guang
Early Chinese Religion: The Period of Division (220-589 AD) Pt. 1 & 2 – John Lagerway and Lü Pengzhi



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