Episode 86 – Tang 5: Family Matters


Our third and final episode in our suite on Emperor Taizong of Tang, this time focuses on the family crisis that would grip the latter half of his reign, as the ill-fated conquest of Goguryeo raged on in the periphery. His eldest son and heir will prove himself too… well, strange… for anyone to feel comfortable with on the throne. Meanwhile his favorite son will go to any means to secure the top job for himself. In the ensuing brotherly scuffle assassinations will be plotted, banishments pronounced, and the royal family’s trust shattered forever. But who will emerge on top is anyone’s guess…

Time Period Covered:
626-649 CE

Notable Figures:
Li Shimin (Emperor Taizong) [r. -649]
Empress Wende [née Zhangsun] [d. 636]
Crowned Prince Li Chengqian [618-645]
Li Tai, Prince of Wei [618-652]
Li Zhi, Prince of Jin [b. 628]
Chancellor Wei Cheng
Chancellor Zhangsun Wuji
“Chengxin,” Li Chengqian’s singing boy
Gegan Chengji, Royal Bodyguard

Major Sources Used
Chen, Jack Wei. Poetics of Sovereignty: On Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty.
Weschler, Howard. The Cambridge History of China. “Taizong: The Consolidator”.
Wu, Jing. Zhenguan Zheng Yao, “Essentials on Governance from the Zhenguan Era”.
Li, Shimin. Difan, “Plan for the Emperor”.


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