We leave the capital behind to take a tour of the Tang Empire’s neighbors, both old and new. A tenuous peace with Tibet leads to a westward push putting the Chinese into contact – and eventual conflict – with the Islamic Abbasid Caliphate. Meanwhile, to the north and east rebellious Khitan tribesmen will spark a huge military buildup in the region under the control of one man, while the former Goguryeo reorganizes itself into the powerful state of Balhae, forcing the Tang Court to re-assess its diplomatic options.
Time Period Covered:
Major Historical Figures:
Li Longji (Emperor Xuanzong of Tang) [r. 712-756]
Gen. Zhang Shougui, Military Governor of Fanyang
Gen. An Lushan, Military Governor of Pinglu, Prince of Dongping
Sulu Kaghan [d. 738]
Abbasid Islamic Caliphate
Second Turkic Kaghanate:
Bilgé Kaghan [r. 716-734]
Kul Tigin [d. 731]
Khitan and Xi Tribes:
Ketuyu [d. 733]
King Go [r. 698-719]
King Mu [r. 719-737]
King Mun [r. 737-793]
Major Sources Cited:
Liu, Xu (ed.). Jiu Tangshu.
Twitchett, Denis. “Hsuang-Tsüng: The Middle Reign” in The Cambridge History of China, vol. 3.
Sima, Guang. Zizhi Tongjian.
Xu, Elena-Qian. 2005. “Historical Development of the Pre-Dynastic Khitan” in Publications of the Institute for Asian and African Studies 7. The University of Helsinki.
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