The Tang dynasty came into existence after the collapsed of emperor Yangdi’s imperialist reign which unified China, and his death in the hands of his own trusted aid in 618 A. D. From the rubbles of rebellion and war against the emperor, a powerful General named Li Yuan; Duke of Tang and chief officer of Taiyuan City, emerged as the man of the hour. General Yuan joined the rebellion against the emperor and reestablished order and the authority of the central government when the smoke of rebellion had cleared.
He became the founder of the Tang dynasty and reign as Tang Gaozu.
Li Shimin (Tang Gaozong) on the other hand is the second son of General Li Yuan. Being thoroughly trained in martial skills and was very much acquainted of the administrative procedures he has acquired primarily from his exposure when his father was the principal commander of the Sue dynasty, appointed to command the army facing the Sue remaining forces, at the age of only nineteen.
David Graff described his military skills as “one case where the use of the word genius does not seem at all inappropriate” Li Shimin was highly successful in his career as a military general and his military strategy according to Graff “is worth noting.
” Before he became emperor in 626, he has displayed contrasting behavior with regard to his strategy, which was extremely cautious, and when he is in combat in which he always places himself “at the head of the final, decisive cavalry charge…. ” How Well the Respective Career of the first two Tang Emperors fit to the Chinese Proverbs on Empire Building and Governance and Model to this Proverb. The proverb maybe fits rightfully to the first two Tang emperors in terms of the way they acquired the empire and how they built it to become the most prosperous and most powerful country in the world during this time.
It was during the reign of these two emperors that China experienced its glorious period as their economy, culture, politics and military might attained an unequaled superiority level. Tang Gaozu seized the imperial power after a bloody rebellion that took the life of emperor Yang that mark the end of Sue dynasty, while it heralded the coming of a new dynasty under the able military leadership of Li Yuan. The reign of Tang Gaozu as the first emperor of the Tang dynasty spent its reign mostly in subduing the remaining forces loyal to Emperor Yang in different provinces and cities of the whole country.
All throughout his reign he was facing major problems relating to the threat of war by the Eastern Turks and the Tibetans who posed serious challenges to China’s security, and major invasion was a constant possibility. Until his last moment in power however, Tang Gaozu’s hold in China was not sufficiently secure to risk committing the forces to war against the Turks, thus, his reign can be characterized as more on military maneuvering in order to survived the different challenges the empire were facing.
The Emperor then being the chief of the military forces assigned his sons and relatives to command forces numbering thousands, and all throughout his reign, the empire did not perform political and economic activities; it was purely military that characterized this particular reign. That means, Emperor Tang Gaozu ‘conquer the empire on horseback’ but it was his son Li Shimin who ‘built the empire from horse back. ’ Tang Gaozu spent his reign in conquering the whole empire that was broken into many independent forces loyal to the former emperor.
This situation has indeed proved to be difficult as the empire was unable to wage war against the Turks and the Tibetans. According to Warren Cohen, “Gaozu had little choice but to buy peace;” however, what Tang Gaozu had failed to accomplished, his son did. Tang Gaozong also known to most Chinese historians as Tang Taizong, came into power in 627. His ascendancy to the throne was not at all smooth and easy, rather marked by his murderous scheme in connivance with some of the high-ranking military officials particularly those in-charge of the palace gates.
Xueshi Guo noted that Li Shimin found himself at a “disadvantage in challenging his brothers,” to be heir to throne. After getting support from some powerful military generals, he staged a military coup against his brothers in 626 after which he killed both his brothers. According Guo, bare two months after the successful coup, “Gaozu was forced to to appoint Li Shimin as his successor and two months later he handed over his power completely to Li Shimen. ” Taizong Ascended to the throne in 627, which marked a new era for the Chinese society.
Having warned by the officials who recalled the disastrous consequence of Sui Imperialism, they urged the new emperor to concentrate on domestic affairs. Warren Cohen noted that Taizong or Gaozong listened to their advice and implements a more diplomatic policy in relation to the Turks. Because of this diplomatic policies, Cohen Pointed out “in due course China was prosperous again, its people well fed and responsive to his rule. ” Taizong was indeed a great leader but he was moderate in his expansion policies compared to his father who.
Taizong had more time to economic activities that bolstered China’s growing prosperity, he re opened trade routes, and the eliminations of tolls once exacted by those who had previously controlled passage across central Asia. Cohen further noted, “Student of Tang history will note the peaceful expansion of China’s contacts with rest of the world during Taizong’s days on the throne and China’s power and wealth attracted people from all over Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. ” Based on these historical accounts, the implication of the Chinese proverbs rightly fits these first two Tang emperors.
They were both powerful military ruler. Li Yuan curved out the empire on ‘horseback’, that is; through rebellion and war, and reestablishing the empire through conquering every forces that challenges the new power, while Tang Gaozong or Tang Taizong, the successor, strengthened the empire and brings more prosperity, stability and peace through a more enlightened civil and military administration. They may have some difficulty to be model of this Chinese proverb, for some reason. Both had acquired imperial power through violent means.
Li Yuan had staged a rebellion against the emperor Yang and had perhaps connived with some palace officials to murder the emperor. Tang Gaozong on the other hand, conspired with some powerful military generals and orchestrated a coup against his own brothers and killing them and forcing his own father to hand over to him imperial throne. Nevertheless, on the ground of their accomplishment, they can fit to be model of this proverb. Gaozu was able to curve out a new empire that has more regard to its citizens, unlike with its predecessor who was ruthless and oppressive.
An empire that was willing to take on new economic challenges that brought stability, peace and prosperity to its citizens. These two Tang emperors must be credited in their efforts that has brought enormous prosperity, and respect to Chinese people all over Asia, and to the world and if making them heroes will be a compensation of their achievements for the Chinese society, then they were very much deserving of such compensation. They deserved to be model of the proverb.