#93 – Tang 11: Dynasty of One

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Wu Zhao sits on the Throne of Heaven as divine sovereign in her own right. But challenges from expansionistic neighbors such as the Tibetans, the Turks, and the Khitan will throw her regime’s stability into question, an ongoing economic crisis will spiral out of control, and her scandalous affair with two pretty-boy half-brothers will throw the entire imperial court into turmoil, potentially spelling an end to her singular era of rule.

Time Period Covered:
690-705 CE

Major Historical Figures:
Tang/Zhou Dynasty:
Wu Zhao [The Holy Empress Regnant Zetian] (r. 690-705)
Prince Li Xian [former Emperor Zhongzong] (re-confirmed as heir in 698)
Prince Li Dan [former Emperor Ruizong]
Princess Taiping
Minister Wei Yuancheng
Xue Huaiyi, head of White Horse Temple (d. 695)
High Inquisitor Lai Junchen (d. 698)
Zhang Yizhi (d. 705)
Zhang Changzong (d. 705)

Turkic Khannate:
Qapaghan Khan [Mouchou] (d. 716)

Tibetan Empire:
Tridu Tsongsan Tsampo [King of Tibet]
the mGar Clan (d. 698)

Khitan Tribe:
Chieftain Li Qincheng (d. 697)
Chieftain Sun Wanzheng (d. 697)

Major Works Cited:
Clements, Johnathan. Wu: the Chinese Empress Who Schemed, Seduced and Murdered Her Way to Become A Living God.
Dash, Mike. “The Demonization of Empress Wu” in The Smithsonian found at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-d…43091/?no-ist
Fitzgerald, C.P. The Empress Wu.
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.
Guisso, Richard W.L. Wu Tse-T’ien and the Politics of Legitimation in T’ang China.
Liu, Xiu. Jiu Tangshu.
Sima, Guang. Zizhi Tongjian.
Woo, X.L. Empress Wu the Great.

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8 thoughts on “#93 – Tang 11: Dynasty of One

      1. Soundcloud.. it has happened a few times too many, with the download button missing.. I’ve searched for it on your website also, but same thing, which leads me to believe they are linked, and the initial page you programme might somehow miss the download button..

      2. Hi bouncing! My fault! I just checked and I forgot to “enable” downloads on this episode (it’s weird because you have to go to a whole different tab and specifically enable it every single time! agr!)

        I have just now gone back and enabled Dls on the track (which I always try to do!) So please give it another try, and let me know it it works this time!

        Sorry for the annoyance and thanks very much for the heads-up on my goof-up!

  1. There is a very nice documentary with the title “silk road”, which will suit very well with this series of podcasts. It is a joint chinese-japanese production of 70’s. All episodes are in youtube. The link for the first episode is

    The original documntary became so successul that a sequel is also produced. It is also in youtube. The link of the first episode is

  2. After all your podcasts regarding Empress Wu, and you having mentioned the 2014 Chinese TV series, I went to imbd. It looks really beautiful but is it available in the US yet?

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