Episode 87 – Tang 6: Femme Fatale


With Taizong of Tang’s death, his ninth son Li Zhi will ascend to the throne as Emperor Gaozong. But his weak will will ensure that his reign will be dominated by those around him. First by his ministerial backers, but more and more by a seductive young concubine who will do anything to win the game of intrigue at the imperial court, and will ruthlessly dispose of anyone who gets in her way.

Time Period Covered:
primarily 649-655 CE

Notable Figures:
Li Shimin (Emperor Taizong) [d. 649]
Li Zhi (Emperor Gaozong) [r. 649-]
Chancellor Zhangsun Wuji
Empress Wang [d. 654]
Wu Zhao/Mei (Concubine, Consort, and Empress)
Consort Xiao [d. 654]


Major Sources Used
Chen, Jack Wei. Poetics of Sovereignty: On Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty.
Li Shutong, Tang Shi Kaobian, “Writing of Official History Under the Tang”, 1966
Wang Pu. Tang Huiyao, “the Institutional History of the Tang.”
Weschler, Howard. The Cambridge History of China. “Kao-Tsung (Reign 649-83) and the Empress Wu: The Inheritor and the Usurper.”
Wu, Jing. Zhenguan Zheng Yao, “Essentials on Governance from the Zhenguan Era”.


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