A white stone bearing a prophecy tells of an era of eternal prosperity, a disastrous rebellion spells the doom of the majority of the imperial Li Clan, an obscure sutra tells of the reincarnation of a goddess to rule over the world, the written word itself is altered to fit the times… all of these are will fit together today to explain how and why the 66-year-old Empress Dowager of Tang will manage to become the first and only woman Emperor of China in the year 690.
Time Period Covered:
Major Historical Figures:
Empress-Regnant Wu Zhao of Zhou, Sage Mother, Divine Sovereign, Maitreya the Peerless [r. 690-705]
Li Dan (Emperor Ruizong of Tang) [r. 689-690]
Chancellor Li Zhaode
Chancellor Ji Xu
Heir-Expectant Wu Chengsi
Prince Li Chuan of Dengzhou [d. 689]
Prince Li Cheng [d. 689]
Prince Li Chen [d. 689]
High Inquisitor Lai Junchen
An Jingcan (he has guts)
Major Works Cited:
Guisso, Richard W. L. “The Reigns of the empress Wu, Chung-tsung and Jui-tsung (684-712)” in The Cambridge History of China, vol. 3.
Chen, Jinhua. “Sarira and Scepter. Empress Wu’s Political Use of Buddhist Relics” in the Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, vol. 25 No. 1-2 (2002).
Kory, Stephen N. “The Remarkably Resonant and Resilient Tang Dynasty Augural Stone” in Tang Studies, 26 (2008).
Liu, Xiu. Jiu Tangshu.
Sima, Guang. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 206.
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