Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Yu Zhong

Yu Zhong , né Wuniuyu Qiannian , courtesy name Sixian , formally Duke Wujing of Lingshou , was an official of the /Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei who briefly served as regent during the reign of .

Background and early career

Wuniuyu Qiannian was born from a line of Northern Wei nobles of Xianbei ethnicity. His great-grandfather Wuniuyu Lidi was one of Northern Wei's most famous generals during the reigns of and . His father Wuniuyu Lie served as a general during the reigns of and .

Wuniuyu Qiannian himself became a low level official during the regency of Emperor Xiaowen's stepgrandmother, . Grand Empress Dowager Feng was strict and often punished officials for even minor offenses, but Wuniuyu Zhong was said to be diligent and honest, and was never punished by her. Emperor Xiaowen favored him as well, and steadily promoted him. Emperor Xiaowen also changed his name to Wuniuyu Deng . In 496, pursuant to Emperor Xiaowen's edict to as part of his sinicization campaign, the Wuniuyu clan's name was changed to Yu.

Service under Emperor Xuanwu

After Emperor Xiaowen's death in 499 and succession by hisson Emperor Xuanwu, Yu Deng's father Yu Lie continued to serve in the administration, and Yu Lie soon ran into conflicts with one of the regents, Emperor Xuanwu's uncle Yuan Xi the Prince of Xianyang, over Yuan Xi's arrogance and wastefulness, as well as Yuan Xi's use of items that were supposed to be only usable by the emperor. Yu Deng was by this point an attendant of the emperor, and through him, Yu Lie reported Yuan Xian's faults to the emperor, leading to Emperor Xuanwu's relieving Yuan Xi and another uncle, Yuan Xie the Prince of Pengcheng, of their responsibilities in 501. When Yuan Xi planned a rebellion later that year, Yu Deng was involved in protecting Emperor Xuanwu arresting Yuan Xi and his cohorts, and was rewarded for his accomplishments. Emperor Xuanwu also changed his name further to Yu Zhong -- with "Zhong" meaning "faithful."

Later that year, Yu Lie died, and Yu Zhong left governmental service to observe the mourning period for his father. However, he was soon recalled to the government, and he soon began to have conflicts with Emperor Xuanwu's uncle Yuan Xiang the Prince of Beihai, who had taken over Yuan Xi's responsibilities, as Yuan Xiang had grown corrupt and arrogant. Yuan Xiang therefore ostensibly promoted Yu, but used the promotion to take Yu from positions where he would see the emperor often. After Yuan Xiang was removed by Emperor Xuanwu in 504, Yu appeared to be continually promoted, and in 505 Emperor Xuanwu sent him on a tour of the western provinces to overview their administrative productivity. Throughout the rest of Emperor Xuanwu's reign, his power increased, which at times put him at odds with Emperor Xuanwu's powerful maternal uncle Gao Zhao.

Service under Emperor Xiaoming

Emperor Xuanwu died suddenly in 515. Yu and the official Cui Guang , without first consulting Emperor Xuanwu's wife , quickly declared Emperor Xuanwu's young son, the crown prince , emperor . When Empress Gao wanted to put Emperor Xiaoming's mother to death, Yu, Cui, the eunuch Liu Teng , and the general Hou Gang , protected Consort Hu by hiding her. Yu and Cui soon forced Empress Gao to confer regent authorities on Emperor Xuanwu's uncle Yuan Yong the Prince of Gaoyang and Emperor Xiaowen's cousin Yuan Cheng the Prince of Rencheng, and when Gao Zhao subsequently returned to the capital Luoyang from a military campaign against rival Liang Dynasty that Emperor Xuanwu had commissioned, Yu and Yuan Yong ambushed him and put him to death. Empress Gao was removed, and Consort Hu became empress dowager.

Yu Zhong, by this point, was in control of the government, and while he was not in name regent, he was effectively the regent, making almost all key decisions. He had himself created the Duke of Changshan. The officials Pei Zhi and Guo Zuo , who were unhappy about Yu's authoritarian acts, secretly suggested to Yuan Yong to have Yu removed from his post and sent to a province to be governor. Yu heard the news and falsely accused Pei and Guo of crimes. Pei and Guo were executed, and Yu wanted to kill Yuan Yong as well, but Cui refused to agree, and so Yuan Yong was merely removed of his post.

After Yu had effectively served as regent for six months, however, Empress Dowager Hu assumed titular regency, and while she appreciated Yu's saving her life, she also continuously received reports that Yu was abusing his power, and so she had him sent to Ji Province to serve as governor. Soon, Yu's ducal title was stripped and many of his acts while in power were reversed, but because Empress Dowager Hu remembered what he had done for her, she soon recalled him to the capital and gave him an honorary post, but did not put him in power any more. In 516, she created him the Duke of Lingshou. He died in 518, and while initially, it was proposed that his posthumous name be "Wuchou" , Empress Dowager Hu instead declared it to be "Wujing" .

Xiao Baoyin

Xiao Baoyin , courtesy name Zhiliang , was an imperial prince of the dynasty Southern Qi. In 502, as Southern Qi was on the edge of being taken over by the general , who was preparing by killing the imperial princes, Xiao Baoyin fled to rival Northern Wei and became an official and general in the Northern Wei government. In 527, as Northern Wei was embroiled in agrarian rebellions, Xiao Baoyin rebelled and tried to reestablish Southern Qi, but was soon defeated and forced to flee to a rebel leader, Moqi Chounu , and he served under Moqi until both were captured in 530 by the paramount general Erzhu Rong's nephew Erzhu Tianguang. He was forced to commit suicide.

Early life

Xiao Baoyin was born in 487, during the reign of Emperor Wu of Southern Qi, to whom his father was a cousin. He was Xiao Luan's sixth son, and his mother was Xiao Luan's wife Liu Huiduan . She also bore two older brothers of his, Xiao Baojuan, Xiao Baoxuan , and a younger brother, , but died in 489, when Xiao Baoyin was just two. During Emperor Wu's reign, Xiao Luan carried the title of Marquess of Xichang and was a high level official. After Emperor Wu's death in 493, Xiao Luan served as prime minister to Emperor Wu's grandson and successor Xiao Zhaoye, but in 494 killed the frivolous Xiao Zhaoye, briefly replacing Xiao Zhaoye with Xiao Zhaoye's brother Xiao Zhaowen before seizing the throne himself . He created his sons imperial princes, and Xiao Baoyin carried the title of Prince of Jian'an.

During Xiao Baojuan's and Emperor He's reigns

Emperor Ming died in 498, and was succeeded by Xiao Baoyin's older brother Xiao Baojuan. Xiao Baojuan was a violent ruler, but treated his brothers generally well, and Xiao Baoyin was given important official titles. In 500, after rebelled against Xiao Baojuan after Xiao Baojuan had killed Xiao Yan's brother, the general Xiao Yi , Xiao Yan and another rebel general, Xiao Yingzhou , declared Xiao Baoyin's younger brother Xiao Baorong emperor at Jiangling, plunging Southern Qi into civil war. In 501, the general Zhang Xintai tried to rebel against Xiao Baojuan at the capital Jiankang, and he seized Xiao Baoyin, preparing to declare him emperor. However, Zhang was soon defeated, and Xiao Baojuan, believing Xiao Baoyin to be not involved in the plot, did not punish him. Xiao Yan, however, won victory after victory, and soon put Jiankang under siege.

Around the new year 502, during Xiao Yan's siege of Jiankang, Xiao Baojuan's generals Wang Zhenguo and Zhang Ji , fearful that Xiao Baojuan would hold them responsible for not being able to lift the siege, assassinated him and offered the city to Xiao Yan. Xiao Yan entered the city and assumed regent powers , and as Xiao Yan had Empress Dowager Wang bestow on him the title of Duke of Jian'an, Xiao Baoyin's title was changed to Prince of Poyang.

Xiao Yan had his eyes on the throne, and while ostensibly preparing the capital to welcome Emperor He back as the emperor, was preparing to force Emperor He to yield the throne to him. As part of his preparation, he began to execute Emperor He's brothers. Xiao Baoyin's eunuch Yan Wenzhi and attendant Ma Gong therefore plotted to try to save the 15-year-old prince's life. They prepared for a boat on the Yangtze River, and then dug a hole on the wall during the middle of the night, to allow Xiao Baoyin to escape despite guards that Xiao Yan had put around his mansion. After hiding and traveling, Xiao Baoyin eventually reached the border city of Shouyang , which Northern Wei had captured from Southern Qi in 500. Emperor Xuanwu of Northern Wei welcomed Xiao Baoyin as an honored guest, and after Xiao Yan seized the throne from Emperor He later in 502 , considered using Xiao Baoyin as a tool to conquer Liang. Publicly, Liang declared that Xiao Baoyin had been caught plotting treason and had been executed.

Service as Northern Wei official and general

Emperor Xuanwu favored Xiao Baoyin for his brotherly piety in mourning Xiao Baojuan, and in spring 503, after Xiao Baoyin had prostrated himself for several days before Emperor Xuanwu's palace to beg for an attack against Liang, Emepror Xuanwu started plans of attacking Liang. As part of the plan, Xiao Baoyin was given an army and given the dual titles of Duke of Danyang and Prince of Qi, with an eye toward having him conquer Liang and reestablish Southern Qi as Northern Wei's vassal. For this reason, Emperor Xuanwu permitted Xiao Baoyin to gather strategists and generals about himself, which was usually not permitted for imperial subjects. He also gave his sister the Princess Nanyang to Xiao Baoyin in marriage.

Xiao Baoyin appeared to be a capable general, and during the reigns of Emperor Xuanwu and Emperor Xuanwu's son , he rotated through a number of key governmental offices, and while he was temporarily stripped of his titles in 507 after he and another major general, Yuan Ying the Prince of Zhongshan, suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Liang general Wei Rui , his titles were soon restored. As Northern Wei's attacks on Liang repeatedly fizzled, however, there appeared to be little chance for him to reestablish Southern Qi. In 511, when Northern Wei forces suffered another crushing defeat, he was described to be the only general who was able to keep his army undamaged. In 516, he participated in the prevention of a Liang attack on Shouyang. While on that campaign, Liang's Emperor Wu wrote him a personal letter, promising that if he defected from Northern Wei, he would be given the border provinces as well as his surviving relatives. Xiao Baoyin refused and turned the letter over to Emperor Xiaoming's administration.

In 522, when Xiao Yan's nephew Xiao Zhengde, who had previously been adopted by Xiao Yan before he had any sons, fled to Northern Wei, claiming to be Liang's deposed crown prince, Xiao Baoyin wrote a severe denunciation of Xiao Zhengde, pointing out that Xiao Zhengde was fleeing from his uncle the emperor and father Xiao Hong , the Prince of Linchuan and a high level official in the Liang administration, and asking that Xiao Zhengde be executed. As a result of Xiao Baoyin's denunciation, while Northern Wei did not execute Xiao Zhengde, it treated him with no preferential treatment, and Xiao Zhengde eventually fled back to Liang.

By 524, Northern Wei was stricken with agrarian rebellions throughout its borders. In fall 524, Xiao Baoyin was commissioned to attack one of the major rebels, Mozhe Niansheng , who had taken much of modern western Shaanxi and eastern Gansu and claimed the title of Emperor of Qin. In 525, Xiao Baoyin had a major victory over Mozhe Niansheng's brother Mozhe Tiansheng, substantially reducing Mozhe Niansheng's power, but he soon became stalemated against Mozhe Niansheng and was unable to have a conclusive victory. Several months later, Xiao Baoyin in turn suffered a major defeat at the hands of Moqi Chounu, and his lieutenant Cui Yanbo , who was instrumental in the victory over Mozhe Tiansheng, was killed. Xiao Baoyin was not sure whether to retreat or to continue fighting, but began to worry that Emperor Xiaoming's mother and regent would punish him. Empress Dowager Hu did indeed demote him, but kept him in command of the army. His titles were restored after his officer Yang Kan killed Mozhe Niansheng in battle in 527.

Rebellion and death

However, Xiao Baoyin continued to consider rebellion, using the excuse that one of Empress Dowager Hu's most trusted officials was Yuan Lüe the Prince of Yiyang, who had been previously treated well by Liang when he fled there, and must have been instructed by Liang's Emperor Wu to kill him under false pretenses. When Empress Dowager Hu sent the strong-willed official Li Daoyuan to examine Xiao Baoyin's troops, Xiao Baoyin assassinated Li and then, in winter 527, declared himself the Emperor of Qi. However, his rebellion was not much supported even by his own subordinates, who rose against him. In 528, his general Hou Zhongde ambushed him, and with his troops collapsing, Xiao Baoyin fled, with his wife the Princess Nanyang and youngest son Xiao Kai to Moqi Chounu. Moqi Chounu, who soon declared himself emperor, gave Xiao Baoyin the title ''Taifu'' and made him a major general.

In 530, the paramount general Erzhu Rong sent his nephew Erzhu Tianguang to quell the rebellions in the western provinces. Erzhu Tianguang quickly scored a number of victories, and after first tricking Moqi into complacency, made a surprise attack on him and captured him. Erzhu Tianguang then approached Moqi's capital Gaoping , and the forces in Gaoping seized Xiao Baoyin and surrendered.

Xiao Baoyin and Moqi Chounu were taken to the capital Luoyang and displayed for three days like circus animals. Xiao Baoyin's putative nephew Xiao Zan the Prince of Danyang pled for his life, as did the officials Li Shenjun and Gao Daomu , who were friendly with Xiao Baoyin, reasoning to Emperor Xiaozhuang that Xiao Baoyin's rebellion was during Empress Dowager Hu's corrupt regime. However, the official Wang Daoxi argued against sparing Xiao Baoyin, reasoning that while Xiao Baoyin's rebellion was during the prior administration, he served under Moqi Chounu during the ''current'' administration. Emperor Xiaozhuang agreed, and beheaded Moqi and forced Xiao Baoyin to commit suicide. As he was about to take poison, the Princess Nanyang and his children visited him, crying bitterly, but Xiao Baoyin was not mournful, merely stating, "This is heaven's wish. I only regret that I had not been a proper subject."

Wei Xiaokuan

Wei Xiaokuan , formal personal name Wei Shuyu , known by the Xianbei name Yuwen Xiaokuan during late Western Wei and Northern Zhou, formally Duke Xiang of Xun , was a general of the /Xianbei states Western Wei and Northern Zhou. He first became a prominent general during Western Wei as he defended the fortress of Yubi against a vastly larger army commanded by rival Eastern Wei's paramount general Gao Huan, and he eventually contributed greatly to the destruction of Eastern Wei's successor state Northern Qi by Northern Zhou. His final campaign, in 580, saw him siding with the regent against the general Yuchi Jiong in Northern Zhou's civil war, allowing Yang to defeat Yuchi and take over the throne as Sui Dynasty's Emperor Wen.

More so than other prominent generals at the time, Wei was known for using atypical strategies in both offense and defense, including extensive use of espionage and forgeries to undermine the morale of opposing forces.

During Northern Wei

Wei Xiaokuan was born in 509, during Western Wei's predecessor Northern Wei -- specifically, during the reign of . His clan was a prominent one in the Sanfu region, and both his grandfather Wei Zhishan and Wei Xu were commandery governors during Northern Wei. Wei Xiaokuan's given name was actually Wei Xiaoyu, but for reasons lost to history, he became known to others largely by his courtesy name of Xiaokuan.

In Wei Xiaokuan's youth, he was described to be studious and calm. When the general Xiao Baoyin rebelled in 527 and seized the Chang'an region, he was at the capital Luoyang, and he volunteered to serve in the army against Xiao. He served as an officer under Zhangxun Chengye the Duke of Fengyi and contributed to the army's success, and he was given a post as a teacher at the national university in Luoyang, and then an acting commandery governor. He later served under the prominent official Yang Kan , guarding the Tong Pass, when Yang, impressed by him, gave a daughter to him in marriage. Wei became a general during the reign of and was created the Baron of Shanbei. During the subsequent reign of , he served under the official Yuan Zigong , the governor of Jing Province as a commandery governor. It was at this time he became friends with fellow general Dugu Xin , who was also a commandery governor in Jing Province.

In the subsequent reign of , Wei was given the task of defending Jing Province, although he was not then governor. Subsequently, when Emperor Xiaowu, seeking to evade the influence of the paramount general Gao Huan, fled west to Chang'an, then controlled by Yuwen Tai, in 534, the empire became divided into Western Wei and Eastern Wei . It is unclear when or how, but Wei eventually joined the Western Wei regime in Chang'an, but it is not clear whether that happened before or after Emperor Xiaowu's death in 535 and replacement by his cousin Emperor Wen of Western Wei.

During Western Wei

In 538, during a major campaign between Western Wei and Eastern Wei, Wei Xiaokuan accompanied Emperor Wen, and he was made the governor of Hongnong Commandery . He subsequently entered Luoyang with Dugu Xin, and for some time tried to defend the city, but eventually they were forced to withdrew from the vicinity of Luoyang. As Wei was then stationed on the borders with Eastern Wei, he became concerned that the Eastern Wei general Niu Daoheng was capable at drawing the common people of the border region to join Eastern Wei's cause. Wei employed a tactic that he would reuse later -- first sending spies to steal samples of Niu's handwriting, and then employing forgers to forge letters purportedly from Niu to Wei offering to defect to Western Wei. He then intentionally allowed spies sent by Niu's superior Duan Chen to steal the forgeries, causing Duan to suspect Niu's loyalty and begin to refuse to follow Niu's suggestions. Once Wei was sure of the dissension within the Eastern Wei forces, he made a surprise attack and captured both Duan and Niu, taking the locale for Western Wei.

In 539, Emperor Wen promoted Wei's title from baron to marquess.

In 542, Wei was made the governor of Jin Province , and by the recommendation of the prominent general Wang Sizheng , was given by Yuwen Tai the responsibility of defending the important fort of Yubi , which Wang himself had defended earlier. He managed to pacify the province against raids by the ethnic Xiongnu tribesmen in the area.

In 546, Gao Huan launched a major attack on Western Wei, and as Yubi was an important fort on his path, he put it under siege. He built earthworks to surround the city, hoping to be able to breach Yubi's defenses on top of the walls, but Wei managed to build on top of the towers on top of the walls, always maintaining a higher vantage point than the earthworks and therefore stopping the Eastern Wei attack. Gao then tried digging tunnels below the walls, but Wei was able to anticipate this and dig tunnels himself to connect with Eastern Wei's tunnels, and then setting fires within the tunnels, burning the Eastern Wei soldiers to death. He further set fires to the Eastern Wei army's battering rams, and for every offensive strategy Gao was able to think of, Wei was able to counter it. Gao had his secretary Zu Ting write a letter to Wei, urging him to surrender, but Wei refused. Gao was unable to capture the fort after 60 days of siege, and he grew angry and ill and was forced to withdraw. For Wei's contributions, he was created the Duke of Jianzhong.

In 553, during the reign of Emperor Wen's son , Wei was made the governor of the capital region, Yong Province . In 554, Wei participated in the campaign commanded by Yu Jin against Liang Dynasty, which eventually captured its capital Jiangling and its emperor . After this campaign, Wei's title was changed to Duke of Rang, and as at the time, Yuwen Tai was choosing prominent generals to have their names changed to Xianbei names, Wei's name was changed to Yuwen, probably as a sign of respect and endearment on Yuwen Tai's part. In 556, when Yuwen Tai was carrying out a tour of the northern provinces, he returned Wei to the responsibility of defending Yubi.

During Emperors Xiaomin and Ming's reigns

Yuwen Tai died later in 556, leaving his son and heir under the guardianship of his nephew Yuwen Hu. Around the new year 557, Yuwen Hu forced Emperor Gong of Western Wei to yield the throne to Yuwen Jue, ending Western Wei and founding Northern Zhou, with Yuwen Jue taking the throne as Emperor Xiaomin, but with the alternative title of "Heavenly Prince" . Wei was made the deputy minister of the interior. After Yuwen Hu removed and killed Emperor Xiaomin later in 557 and replaced him with another son of Yuwen Tai, the Duke of Ningdu , Wei took on the additional responsibility as an imperial researcher. In 560, Yuwen Hu poisoned Emperor Ming to death, and Emperor Ming's brother the Duke of Lu became emperor .

During Emperor Wu's reign

In 561, in recognition of Wei's great victory at Yubi previously, Yubi and the surrounding area was made into Xun Province , and Wei was made its governor. During this tenure, Wei was said to be gracious to the people of the province while continuing to effectively employ a network of spies. For example, when his officer Xu Pen defected to Northern Qi, Wei sent spies after him, and was quickly able to have him killed.

Around this time, Xun Province continued to be plagued by raids by the ethnic Xiongnu who, while not submitting to either Northern Zhou or Northern Qi, were based within Northern Qi territory and cut off river traffic on the Fen River . In order to cut off the route of their raids, Wei sent his officer Yao Yue to build a fort near the Fen River. Yao initially was fearful that as his troops were building the fort that Northern Qi would launch an attack against him, but Wei warded off Northern Qi attacks by setting up bonfires in the surrounding hills, making Northern Qi forces believe that Yao was being reinforced by a large army, and therefore did not attack Yao, allowing Yao to complete the fort.

In 564, Wei helped negotiate an agreement where Northern Qi returned Yuwen Tai's sister and sister-in-law to Northern Zhou in exchange for peace. When, late in 564, Yuwen Hu nevertheless was preparing to launch an attack on Northern Qi (in order to placate the northern ally Tujue, Wei sent his secretary Xin Daoxian to try to dissuade Yuwen Hu, but Yuwen Hu nevertheless launched the attack, which was unsuccessful. In 570, the two states were stalemated while fighting for the control of the city of Yiyang . Wei, believing that Yiyang was not worth the effort and instead was apprehensive that Northern Qi would encroach on territory north of the Fen River, sent a proposal to Yuwen Hu to build forts north of the Fen River to guard the territory. Yuwen Hu, however, responded, "While Duke Wei has many descendants, they do not yet number a hundred. Who will be able to guard those forts?" Thereafter, the forts were not built.

Later in 570, Wei's title was promoted to Duke of Xun. That winter, as forewarned by Wei, the Northern Qi general Hulü Guang encroached on Northern Zhou territory north of the Fen River and built forts there, seizing substantial territory. Wei personally met Hulü on the border to try to dissuade him from the campaign, but Hulü did not relent. The armies stalemated after Yuwen Hu sent reinforcements commanded by Emperor Wu's brother Yuwen Xian the Duke of Qi, but territory was already lost.

By 572, however, Hulü was in conflict with the powerful officials Zu Ting and Mu Tipo, both of whom were trusted by the Northern Qi emperor Gao Wei. Wei, hearing this, wanted to create further suspicions in Gao Wei's mind against Hulü, and he decided to try to create a sense that Hulü would rebel. He wrote two songs in couplets, one of which read:

:''A hundred ''sheng'' will fly up to the heavens,''
:''A bright moon will shine over Chang'an.''

The other read:

:''The high mountain will collapse on its own,''
:''The daimyo oak will stand straight on its own.''

He sent spies to spread the songs near Northern Qi's capital , and the songs soon became popular. Zu, exploiting the situation himself, added two more lines:

:''The blind man will bear a great axe,''
:''The talkative woman will be unable to speak.''

Both Zu, who was blind, and Mu's mother Lu Lingxuan both discussed the songs with Gao Wei, and Gao Wei, his suspicions having been aroused, eventually agreed to have Hulü put to death, greatly weakening the Northern Qi military efforts.

After Hulü's death, Emperor Wu became particularly ambitious at conquering Northern Qi, and seeing this, Wei submitted three strategies for conquering Northern Qi to Emperor Wu. Also around this time, on account of his old age, Wei repeatedly made offers to resign and retire, but Emperor Wu repeatedly responded with edicts of kind words requesting him to stay.

In 576, when Emperor Wu launched a major attack on Northern Qi, he visited Yubi and praised Wei for his defense of the fort. Wei offered to be the forward commander for the attack, but Emperor Wu declined on reason that he needed Wei to defend Yubi still. However, he sent Wei to assist his brother Yuwen Zhao the Prince of Zhao in a secondary campaign near Yubi. After Emperor Wu conquered Northern Qi in 577, he returned to Yubi and took Wei back to the capital Chang'an with him, promoting Wei to the post of minister of agriculture. Subsequently, however, Emperor Wu made Wei the governor of Yan Province , in charge of the surrounding provinces.

During Emperors Xuan and Jing's reigns

Emperor Wu died in 578, and his son the Crown Prince succeeded him . In 579, Emperor Xuan passed the throne to his young son the Crown Prince , although he held onto power as retired emperor (with the atypical title of "Emperor Tianyuan" . Later that year, Emperor Xuan made Wei Xiaokuan in charge of Xu Province and the surrounding provinces, and Wei subsequently participated in the campaign against rival Chen Dynasty that allowed Northern Zhou to seize the region between the Yangtze River and Huai River from Chen. Wei's contribution was in capturing the important city of Shouyang, and when Emperor Xuan's cousin Yuwen Liang the Duke of Qi, angry and fearful that Emperor Xuan had recently raped his daughter-in-law , tried to ambush Wei to seize his troops to further act against Emperor Xuan, Wei defeated Yuwen Liang. For these achievements, one of Wei's sons was created the Duke of Hua.

In 580, Emperor Xuan died, and Emperor Xuan's father-in-law the Duke of Sui -- the son-in-law of Wei's great friend Dugu Xin -- became regent. Yang, suspicious that the general Yuchi Jiong , in charge of Xiang Province and the surrounding regions, tried to replace Yuchi with Wei. Weichi, however, was suspicious that Yang was intending to usurp the throne, decided to rise against Yang. When Wei approached Xiang Province, he realized this, and he pretended to be ill, and instead tried to flee to Luoyang -- on the way, leaving instruction to each post to give feasts to Yuchi's soldiers if they gave chase. Weichi indeed sent soldiers after Wei, but the soldiers were slowed by the feasts given to them, and were not able to track Wei down. Once Wei reached Luoyang, he carefully guarded the city, and although the ethnically Xianbei soldiers in the city considered rising in support of Weichi, they ultimately did not do so.

Yang then put Wei in charge of the army against Weichi. He first defeated Yuchi's general Xue Gongli , who was attacking Huai Province , and then crossed the Yellow River north. He defeated Yuchi's son Yuchi Dun near Weichi's headquarters at Yecheng
and then put Yecheng under siege. The city soon fell, and Yuchi Jiong committed suicide. Wei slaughtered the core troops that remained loyal to Yuchi to the end. Wei returned to Chang'an victoriously, and died a month later.

Juqu Mengxun

Juqu Mengxun was a prince of the /Xiongnu state Northern Liang, and the first from the Juqu clan. His cousin Juqu Nancheng and he initially supported Duan Ye as prince of Northern Liang in 397 after rebelling against Later Liang, but in 401, Juqu Mengxun tricked Duan Ye into wrongly executing Juqu Nancheng, and then used that as an excuse to attack and kill Duan Ye, taking over the throne himself. While he maintained his own state, he also nominally served as a vassal of Later Qin, , and Northern Wei. He was considered a capable ruler when young, but in old age was considered cruel and arbitrary.

Under Later Liang and Duan Ye

Juqu Mengxun was born in 368, while the area that would later be his domain was under the rule of Former Liang, but little is known about his early years. He was of Xiongnu ancestry, and it was said that his ancestors served as the left ''Juqu'' for Xiongnu Chanyus, and so they started using Juqu as the family name. Later, during Former Qin and Later Liang rule, Juqu Mengxun became known for broad knowledge in history and military tactics and thought to be both humorous and full of strategies, and became feared by the Former Qin governor Liang Xi and the Later Liang emperor Lü Guang, and so he tried to divert attention from himself by drinking heavily and spending time on frivolous matters.

In 397, Lü Guang sent his brother Lü Yan on an attack against Western Qin, but Lü Yan was killed in a trap set by the Western Qin prince Qifu Gangui. Juqu Mengxun's uncles Juqu Luochou and Juqu Quzhou were Lü Yan's assistants, and in light of Lü Yan's death, Lü Guang believed false accusations against them and executed them. Juqu Mengxun escorted their caskets back to their home territory of Zhangye and then persuaded the various Xiongnu tribes to rise against Later Liang. Initially, he was defeated by Lü Guang's son Lü Zuan and fled into the mountains, but he was soon joined in rebellion by his cousin Juqu Nancheng , who sieged Jiankang and persuaded Duan Ye the governor of Jiankang Commandery to accept leadership of the rebels, establishing Northern Liang. Soon, Lü Guang came under the greater threat of a rebellion by Guo Nen and recalled Lü Zuan to face that threat, and Duan Ye's nascent state survived. Juqu Mengxun joined Duan Ye, and was made a major general of the state. In 398, Duan Ye sent him on an expedition against Lü Guang's nephew Lü Chun , and Juqu Mengxun captured Lü Chun, causing all remaining Later Liang cities west of Zhangye to submit to Northern Liang, further enlarging Northern Liang territory. Duan Ye therefore created Juqu Mengxun the Marquess of Linchi. Lü Guang's son Lü Hong soon abandoned Zhangye, and Duan Ye moved his capital to Zhangye, and tried to further pursue Lü Hong against Juqu Mengxun's advice. Lü Hong defeated him and nearly killed him, but Juqu Mengxun saved Duan Ye. In 399, when Duan Ye claimed the title of Prince of Liang, he made Juqu Mengxun one of his two prime ministers, sharing responsibilities with Liang Zhongyong . Later that year, when Northern Liang was under attack by Lü Guang's crown prince Lü Shao and Lü Zuan, it was at Juqu Mengxun's suggestion that Duan Ye refused to engage, forcing Lü Shao and Lü Zuan to retreat when Southern Liang relief forces under Tufa Lilugu arrived. In 400, when the general Wang De rebelled, Duan Ye sent Juqu Mengxun to attack him, and Juqu Mengxun defeated him and, while he fled, captured his wife and children.

By 401, however, Duan Ye was heavily apprehensive of Juqu Mengxun's strategies and abilities, and he considered sending Juqu Mengxun far away. Juqu Mengxun, knowing Duan Ye's suspicions, tried to hide his ambitions. However, at the same time, because he was often insulted by another official that Duan Ye heavily relied on, Ma Quan , he falsely accused Ma of treason, and Duan Ye killed Ma. Juqu Mengxun then told Juqu Nancheng that he felt that Duan Ye lacked abilities and was an inappropriate ruler, trying to persuade Juqu Nancheng to rise against Duan Ye. When Juqu Nancheng refused, Juqu Mengxun requested to leave the capital to be the governor of Xi'an Commandery , and Duan Ye agreed. Juqu Mengxun then set a trap for both Juqu Nancheng and Duan Ye -- he made an appointment with Juqu Nancheng to offer sacrifices to the god of Lanmen Mountain on a vacation day, but submitting a false report through the official Xu Xian that Juqu Nancheng was set to rebel and would start the rebellion on a day that he requested permission to sacrifice to the god of Lanmen Mountain. When Juqu Nancheng requested Duan Ye for such permission, Duan Ye arrested him and ordered him to commit suicide. Juqu Nancheng, who had realized Juqu Mengxun's plan by this point, told Duan Ye that this was a sign that Juqu Mengxun was about to rebel and that he should keep Juqu Nancheng alive, and then when Juqu Mengxun rebels he could counterattack. Duan Ye, not believing in Juqu Nancheng, executed him. Juqu Mengxun then cited Duan Ye's execution of Juqu Nancheng to ask his people to rise against Duan Ye, and the people indeed rose in rebellion, because of the high regard they had for Juqu Nancheng. The rebels quickly arrived at Zhangye, and it fell. Despite Duan Ye's pleas, Juqu Mengxun executed him. The Northern Liang officials all endorsed Juqu Mengxun to take over the throne, and he took throne with the title Duke of Zhangye.

Early reign

Juqu Mengxun, having taken the ducal title, promoted a number of officials who were considered capable, and it was said that the people of his state were pleased. He also nominally submitted to the Later Qin emperor Yao Xing as a vassal, although remaining in reality independent. However, he immediately faced the crisis that his Jiuquan and Liangning Commanderies rebelled against him and joined Western Liang. He became fearful, and he sent his brother Juqu Ru the Marquess of Dugu and official Zhang Qian to meet Yao Xing's uncle Yao Shuode , who had just recently sieged Later Liang's capital Guzang and forced the Later Liang emperor Lü Long to submit, offering to surrender his state to Later Qin. Yao Shuode was pleased, but upon return to Northern Liang, while Zhang recommended such surrender, Juqu Ru argued against it, and Juqu Mengxun, while remaining nominally a Later Qin vassal, executed Zhang and never actually surrendered his state. He also tried to make peace with Southern Liang's prince Tufa Lilugu, initially sending his son Juqu Xi'nian as a hostage to Southern Liang, but Tufa Lilugu rejected Juqu Xi'nian, stating that he was too young to be a meaningful hostage and demanding Juqu Ru instead. After initially refusing, Juqu Mengxun gave in to Southern Liang demands after Tufa Lilugu defeated him in battle.

In 402, with Guzang under a severe famine, Juqu Mengxun attacked Later Liang, causing Lü Long to seek aid from Southern Liang, but before Southern Liang forces could arrive, Lü Long defeated Juqu Mengxun, and Juqu Mengxun made peace with Lü Long, offering him food for famine relief.

Around the new year 403, Liang Zhongyong, who continued to be a key official after Juqu Mengxun took over for Duan Ye, fled from his domain and joined Western Liang's prince Li Gao. Rather than killing Liang's wife and children as might be expected, Juqu Mengxun sent them to Liang, commenting, "I treated Liang like a brother, but he did not trust me. He did not betray me, but himself; I do not mind losing a man."

Later that year, because Juqu Mengxun and Tufa Lilugu were constantly attacking him and draining his state's resources, Lü Long felt he could not maintain his state any more, and he surrendered his state to Later Qin. He also persuaded the Later Qin general Qi Nan to attack Juqu Mengxun, but Juqu Mengxun repelled Qi's attack and then made peace with Qi. Juqu Mengxun sent Juqu Ru to the Later Qin capital Chang'an to declare his submission to Yao Xing. Later that year, having received reports that his two uncles and generals Juqu Qinxin and Juqu Kongdu were corrupt and harmful to the people, he forced to commit suicide. Meanwhile, he accepted the title that Yao Xing created him, the Marquess of Xihai, to show submission, despite his initial displeasure that Tufa Lilugu's brother and successor Tufa Rutan was created a duke while he was only created a marquess.

In 405, Li Gao moved his capital from Dunhuang to Jiuquan, to be closer to Zhangye to exert pressure on Juqu Mengxun.

In spring 406, Tufa Rutan launched a major attack on Northern Liang, but Juqu Mengxun was able to hold Zhangye, forcing Tufa Rutan to withdraw. In fall 406, Juqu Mengxun made a surprise attack on Jiuquan, initially defeated Li Gao, but he could not successfully siege Jiuquan and was forced to withdraw.

In fall 407, Tufa Rutan made another attack on Northern Liang, but Juqu Mengxun was able to defeat him.

In 410, Tufa Rutan and his brother Tufa Juyan launched successive attacks on Northern Liang, and Juqu Mengxun was not only able to repel them, but then proceeded to siege Guzang . The people of Guzang, because Tufa Rutan had previously carried out massive executions after a failed rebellion, collapsed in fear, and more than 10,000 households surrendered to Northern Liang. Tufa Rutan, apprehensive of both Juqu Mengxun and a rebellion by Zhequ Qizhen in the south, made peace with Juqu Mengxun and moved his capital back south to Ledu . As soon as he left Guzang, however, Hou Chen and Jiao Lang seized control of Guzang and nominally submitted to Juqu Mengxun, although they held Guzang themselves. In fall 410, Juqu Mengxun attacked Western Liang and defeated Li Gao's heir apparent Li Xin and captured the Western Liang general Zhu Yuanhu , and he subsequently made peace with Li Gao when Li Gao ransomed Zhu with silver and gold.

In spring 411, with Jiao Lang still holding Guzang, Juqu Mengxun sieged Guzang and captured him, but pardoned him. He left Juqu Ru in command at Guzang and then attacked Southern Liang, putting Ledu under siege, and only withdrew after Tufa Rutan sent his son Tufa Anzhou as a hostage. Tufa Rutan soon counterattacked, however, and initially was successful, but Juqu Mengxun trailed Tufa Rutan's forces and defeated him, again putting Ledu under siege and forcing Tufa Rutan to send another son, Tufa Ran'gan as a witness before withdrawing. In fall 411, Juqu Mengxun made a surprise attack on Western Liang, but was unsuccessful, and as he ran out of food supplies and withdrw, Li Gao sent Li Xin to attack him, defeating him.

In winter 412, Juqu Mengxun moved the capital from Zhangye to Guzang, and he claimed the greater title of Prince of Hexi.

Middle reign

In 413, Juqu Mengxun created his son Juqu Zhengde heir apparent. In the summer of that year, he repelled another attack from Tufa Rutan, and then again put Ledu under siege for 20 days, but could not capture it. He renewed the attack when Tufa Rutan's general Tufa Wenzhi surrendered to him, forcing Tufa Rutan to send Tufa Juyan as a hostage to him.

Also in 413, while Juqu Mengxun was sleeping, his eunuch Wang Huaizu tried to assassinate him, but only hurt his foot. Juqu Mengxun's wife Princess Meng arrested Wang and had him beheaded. Also in 413, Juqu Mengxun's mother Lady Che died.

With Western Qin having destroyed Southern Liang in 414, Northern Liang and Western Qin began to have a series of wars, with Juqu Mengxun largely winning these battles against Western Qin's prince Qifu Chipan. In 416, after an inconclusive battle, Northern Liang and Western Qin entered into peace.

In 417, Juqu Mengxun tried to lay a trap for Li Xin by having his general Juqu Guangzong pretending to surrender to Western Liang, while Juqu Mengxun lay in wait. However, Li Xin realized the trap and withdrew, and as Juqu Mengxun gave chase, Li Xin defeated him.

That year, Juqu Mengxun became fearful and angry when he heard that the general had destroyed Later Qin and seized its territory, probably in fear that Liu Yu would next advance against his state. When his official Liu Xiang was making a report to him with a smile, Juqu Mengxun angrily stated, "How do you dare to smile upon hearing that Liu Yu had entered Hangu Pass!" and beheaded Liu Xiang. His fears appeared to subside after Liu Yu left former Later Qin territory late in 417, and dissipate completely when the emperor Helian Bobo crushed troops under Liu Yu's son Liu Yizhen in 418.

In 418, Juqu Mengxun made an attack on Western Liang, but Li Xin refused to engage him, and he withdrew. Later that year, he submitted to Jin as a vassal.

In 420, Juqu Mengxun set another trap for Li Xin. He pretended to attack Western Qin's city Haomen , but once reaching Haomen, immediately withdrew and hid his army at Chuanyan . Li Xin, believing wrongly that Juqu Mengxun's defenses were down, decided to attack Zhangye, against the advice of Song Yao and Zhang Tishun, as well as his mother Princess Dowager Yin. As he approached Zhangye, Juqu Mengxun intercepted him and defeated him. His generals then advised him to quickly withdraw to Jiuquan, but Li Xin, stating that he had disobeyed his mother and would only be able to see her again after a victory, engaged Juqu Mengxun again, suffering an even greater defeat, and he was killed in battle. Juqu Mengxun quickly captured Jiuquan and most of Western Liang territory. He largely maintained a policy of trying to pacify the Western Liang people and incorporating capable Western Liang officials into his administration, including Li Gao's half-brother Song Yao . In winter 420, Li Xin's brother Li Xun seized Dunhuang and tried to reestablish Western Liang rule, and Juqu Mengxun initially sent Juqu Zhengde to siege Dunhuang. In spring 421, he attacked Dunhuang himself, and when Li Xun tried to surrender, he refused. Li Xun's official Song Cheng rebelled and offered the city to him, and Li Xun committed suicide, ending Western Liang; contrary to the pacification policy he carried out at Jiuquan, Juqu Mengxun slaughtered the populace of Dunhuang.

With Western Liang destroyed, Juqu Mengxun renewed his attacks against Western Qin, and while his initial attacks were repelled, his attacks had a draining effect on Western Qin, whose strength began to be sapped. At some point, he also encouraged Tufa Rutan's crown prince Tufa Hutai to rebel against Western Qin, promising to lend him two commanderies and troops, but after Tufa Hutai's plot, which also included his sister Princess Tufa , was discovered, Qifu Chipan had Tufa Hutai and Princess Tufa executed. Some members of the Tufa clan fled to Northern Liang.

In 421, the general Tang Qi , a former Western Liang general and brother-in-law to Li Xin, rebelled at his post of Jinchang , and not until 423 did Juqu Zhengde defeat Tang, but Tang and his brother Tang He and nephew Li Bao fled to Yiwu and held out there.

Also in 423, Juqu Mengxun sent tributes to Jin's successor state, Liu Song, which Liu Yu had established in 420. Liu Yu's son Emperor Shao of Liu Song affirmed Juqu Mengxun's title of Prince of Hexi. In fall of that year, when Rouran attacked Northern Liang, Juqu Mengxun sent Juqu Zhengde to fight Rouran, but Juqu Zhengde was defeated and killed. Juqu Mengxun then created his next son Juqu Xingguo as heir apparent.

In 426, a decisive battle would largely end Western Qin as a threat to Northern Liang. Qifu Chipan and his crown prince Qifu Mumo were launching a major attack on Northern Liang. Juqu Mengxun sent messengers to persuade the Xia emperor Helian Chang to make a surprise attack on the Western Qin capital Fuhan . Helian Chang, in response, sent his general Hulu Gu to attack Wanchuan and Wei Fa to attack Nan'an , and while Western Qin was able to hold Wanchuan, Nan'an fell, at great loss. In winter 426, Xia forces commanded by Hulu and Wei attack Fuhan, forcing Qifu Gangui to move the capital to Dinglian , and Hulu and Wei then captured another important Western Qin city, Xiping , and while they then withdrew, Western Qin had been dealt a major blow. Later that year, with Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei having in turn defeated Helian Chang in battle, capturing Chang'an and nearly capturing the Xia capital Tongwan as well, Juqu Mengxun sent messengers to Northern Wei offering to submit as a vassal.

In 428, when Qifu Chipan died and was succeeded by Qifu Mumo, Juqu Mengxun made a major attack on Western Qin. Qifu Mumo sent back his general Juqu Chengdu , whom Qifu Chipan captured in 422, to seek peace, and they entered into a peace agreement. However, just several months later, Juqu Mengxun renewed his attacks on Western Qin.

Late reign

In 429, Juqu Mengxun launched another major attack on Western Qin, but during the campaign, Juqu Xingguo was captured, and Juqu Mengxun was forced to withdraw, after his forces, aligned also with Tuyuhun forces commanded by Murong Muliyan , the brother of the Murong Mugui . He soon sent a large amount of grain to Qifu Mumo, requesting to ransom Juqu Xingguo, but Qifu Mumo refused, so Juqu Mengxun created Juqu Xingguo's younger brother, by the same mother, Juqu Puti , to be heir apparent.

In 431, with Xia's emperor Helian Ding having first destroyed Western Qin and killed Qifu Mumo and then having been defeated and captured by Murong Mugui), Juqu Mengxun, now with his territory directly in contact with Northern Wei, sent his son Juqu Anzhou to Northern Wei as a hostage to show his loyalty. In response, Northern Wei's Emperor Taiwu sent his official Li Shun to Northern Liang to bestow a number of high titles, including the title of Prince of Liang.

By 432, Juqu Mengxun, in his old age, was said to be arbitrary and cruel, with his subjects suffering the pain henceforth. When Li Shun again arrived in his territory, he initially refused to bow down to receive the Northern Wei emperor's edict, but upon Li Shun's warning that such disrespect will be punished, did so. In 433, he grew ill, and his nobles and officials believed Juqu Puti to be too young to succeed him, and so deposed Juqu Puti and replaced him as heir apparent with his older brother Juqu Mujian. Juqu Mengxun soon died, and Juqu Mujian succeeded him.

Era names

* ''Yong'an'' 401-412
* ''Xuanshi'' 412-428
* ''Chengxuan'' 428-430
* ''Yihe'' 430-433

Personal information

* Mother
** Lady Che
* Wife
** Princess Meng
* Children
** Juqu Zhengde , the Heir Apparent
** Juqu Xingguo , the Heir Apparent , later captured and detained by Western Qin's prince Qifu Mumo 429
** Juqu Puti , the Heir Apparent
** Juqu Mujian , the Heir Apparent , later prince
** Juqu Wuhui , later prince
** Juqu Anzhou , later prince
** Juqu Yide
** Juqu Bing
** Juqu Donglai
** Princess Xingping, later consort to Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei
** Another daughter, older than Juqu Mujian

Hulü Guang

Hou Jing , courtesy name Wanjing , was a general for the states Northern Wei, Eastern Wei, and Liang Dynasty, and briefly, after controlling the Liang imperial regime for several years, usurped the Liang throne, establishing a state of Han. He was soon defeated by the Liang prince the Prince of Xiandong, and he was killed by his own associates while in flight. He was one of the reviled figures in Chinese history, known for his exceeding cruelty to enemies and civilians.

Early life and career

It is not known when Hou Jing was born, but it was known that he was from Huaishuo Garrison -- one of the garrisons that Northern Wei established on the northern border to defend against Rouran attacks. He appeared to be ethnically , but the matter of his ethnicity is not conclusive. When he was young, he was one of a group of friends who associated with Gao Huan, who often spent time in the countryside, seeking to correct injustice.

During the reign of , Northern Wei plunged into a state of civil war, with much of the state overrun by agrarian rebellions. Around this time, Hou joined the army of the Northern Wei general Erzhu Rong, and initially, he learned tactics from Erzhu's lieutenant Murong Shaozong , but soon, Murong found it necessary to consult Hou for his opinion on tactical matters. After Erzhu largely put down the rebellions, Hou was made the governor of Ding Province . After Erzhu was killed by in 530, and Emperor Xiaozhuang was in turn killed by Erzhu's relatives, members of the Erzhu clan controlled the imperial government. In 531, Gao rose against the Erzhus, and in 532, after Gao had defeated the Erzhus, Hou joined Gao, and Gao made him the governor of Ji Province . Soon, however, Gao appeared to recall Hou and make him one of his subcommanders. In 534, when Gao instigated Houmochen Yue , the lieutenant of the independent general Heba Yue , to assassinate Heba, he sent Hou to try to seize Heba's troops, but on the way, Hou encountered Heba's assistant Yuwen Tai, who sternly warned him against trying, and Hou retreated, allowing Yuwen to take control of Heba's troops. This allowed Yuwen to take control of the western provinces of the state, and in 534, , whom Gao had made emperor in 532, seeking to slip out of Gao's control, fled to Yuwen's territory. Gao made , a member of the imperial Yuan clan, emperor, thus dividing Northern Wei into Eastern Wei and Western Wei .

As Eastern Wei general

Hou Jing continued to serve under Gao Huan, and he became known as a brilliant tactician even though he, unlike many generals at the time, was not skilled at horseriding, archery, or personal combat. Gao, however, knew of his abilities and honored him appropriately. Hou was, however, arrogant, and he often compared two other key generals, Pan Le and Gao Aocao , to be like wild boars in their charges. He also often claimed that if Gao allowed him to lead an army south, he could easily capture Emperor Wu of Liang and make Emperor Wu, an avid Buddhist, the head monk of the Taiping Temple .

In late 534, Gao sent Hou to attack Heba Sheng , who controlled the southern provinces at the time and was loosely allied with Yuwen Tai, and Hou defeated Heba, forcing Heba to flee to Liang Dynasty and taking those provinces for Eastern Wei. In 536, Gao put him in charge of the provinces south of the Yellow River, and from that point on, those provinces were under his command.

In 537, when Gao launched a major attack on Western Wei, seeking to destroy it, Hou was with him, and advised against advancing in a single large army, advocating dividing the army into two which would remain at a distance and support each other. Gao did not accept his advice, and was defeated by Yuwen Tai at Shawan , suffering heavy losses -- partly because Hou made the poor tactical advice that Gao should not try to set fires against Yuwen's troops. After the defeat, however, Hou offered to take the elite troops to launch a surprise attack on Yuwen, arguing that Yuwen would not be taking any precautions against such an attack and could be captured. However, when Gao consulted with his wife , Princess Lou reminded him that if Hou actually captured Yuwen, he would not return . Gao therefore decided against Hou's plan.

In 538, Hou recaptured several southern provinces that had defected to Western Wei in light of Eastern Wei's defeat at Shawan. He followed up by sieging the old Northern Wei capital Luoyang, then defended by the Western Wei general Dugu Xin , precipitating a major battle in which both Eastern Wei and Western Wei suffered major losses. At the end, however, Western Wei troops, commanded by Yuwen, was forced to withdraw, and the Luoyang region was again controlled by Eastern Wei.

In 543, when the Eastern Wei general Gao Zhongmi defected to Western Wei, along with the important garrison Hulao , which he controlled, Hou was one of the generals who served under Gao in both sieging Hulao and in combatting the Western Wei forces commanded by Yuwen that tried to relieve Hulao. Western Wei forces were defeated and forced to withdraw, but even then, Hulao did not fall, and Yuwen sent secret messengers to order its defender Wei Guang to hold position and await relief forces. Hou captured the messengers and, judging that it was more important to capture the garrison quickly, changed the messengers' message to "Withdraw from Hulao," and then allowed the messengers to reach Wei Guang. Wei Guang quickly withdrew from Hulao, which became again under Eastern Wei control. For this achievement, Hou was promoted to the honorific post of ''Sikong'' .

Rebellion against Eastern Wei

Despite the strong personal relationship between Gao Huan and Hou Jing, however, Hou had little respect for Gao's oldest son and heir apparent Gao Cheng, once making the comment to another friend of his and Gao Huan's, Sima Ziru , that he would remain loyal if Gao Huan were still alive, but that he could not serve together with the "Xianbei boy" if Gao Huan died. In late 546, believing that Gao Huan was dead or near death, Hou began to prepare to rebel, and he did so in spring 547. He first surrendered the 13 provinces that he commanded to Western Wei, but subsequently also surrendered to Liang. Both Western Wei and Liang sent troops to support him. Before Western Wei and Liang troops could arrive, Eastern Wei forces commanded by Han Gui surrounded him at Yinchuan . Western Wei forces commanded by Wang Sizheng soon arrived, and Han withdrew. Wang, not believing that Hou actually intended to become a loyal Western Wei subject, secured four provinces that Hou was willing to give up control to. Meanwhile, Emperor Wu of Liang was greatly pleased by Hou's surrender, and launched a major attack commanded by his nephew Xiao Yuanming the Marquess of Zhenyang, intending to relieve the pressure on Hou by opening another front to the east. Soon, Yuwen Tai demanded that Hou visit the Western Wei capital Chang'an to pay homage to Emperor Wen of Western Wei, to show his good faith. Hou refused, and he tried to persuade a number of Western Wei generals to join him, but only Ren Yue did, with a minor army. The rest of the Western Wei forces withdrew their support from Hou and merely defended the provinces that Hou had given up.

Meanwhile, Gao Cheng, pursuant to directions left him by Gao Huan, commissioned Murong Shaozong as the commander of his forces against Hou -- a move that caught Hou by surprise, as he was still apprehensive of Murong's abilities and was surprised that Gao Cheng would make Murong his commanding general. At the same time, Xiao Yuanming arrived at Hanshan , near the important city of Pengcheng , putting pressure on the city by damming the Si River to cause it to flood against Pengcheng. However, against the advice of the senior general Yang Kan , Xiao Yuanming did not quickly siege Pengcheng, but merely waited, pondering his next move. Hou cautioned him against Murong, and also informed him that if he defeated Eastern Wei troops, he should not chase them too hastily, lest that he fall into a trap. He did not heed the warning, and when Murong arrived at Pengcheng, Murong attacked him. The Liang troops were initially successful and quickly forced Eastern Wei forces to retreat, but Murong, anticipating this result, laid a trap, and when Liang troops gave chase, they became trapped and were crushed. Xiao Yuanming was captured.

Having defeated Xiao Yuanming, Murong now turned his attention toward Hou, and he marched toward Chengfu , where Hou was. Hou retreated to Woyang , and the armies faced off against each other. Initially, Hou was successful, forcing Murong's army to flee, but Murong soon regrouped, and the armies' positions stalemated. By the end of 547, Hou's army had run out of food supplies, and one of the generals who first supported him, Sima Shiyun , surrendered to Murong. In spring 548, Murong made a public announcement to Hou's troops that their families were still safe , and Hou's troops, believing Murong, abandoned him. Hou fled with 800 soldiers who were still loyal to him. Murong gave chase, but gave up the chase when Hou reminded him that he himself would be useless if Hou were destroyed. The Liang general Yang Yaren , who was holding Xuanhu , abandoned Xuanhu. The provinces that Hou controlled were now all lost.

Hou himself considered what his next action would be, and he, under advice from the Liang commander Liu Shenmao , ambushed and seized the Liang acting governor of Southern Yu Province , Wei An , taking control of Southern Yu Province's capital city Shouyang . He sent an apology to Emperor Wu, and Emperor Wu, not having the heart to rebuke Hou after his defeat, made him the governor of Southern Yu Province without any punishment.

Rebellion against Liang Dynasty

Meanwhile, Gao Cheng started peace negotiations with Emperor Wu, offering to return Xiao Yuanming and intending to cause Hou to become apprehensive. Hou Jing opposed peace with Eastern Wei, worried that he would be betrayed if there was peace between the two states. Emperor Wu made a personal guarantee that he would not betray Hou -- but Hou then tested Emperor Wu by forging a letter from Gao Cheng, proposing an exchange of Xiao Yuanming for Hou. When Emperor Wu, under advice from -- a key assistant to Emperor Wu whom Hou had bribed, hoping that he would discourage peace talks, but whose opinion was unchanged by Hou's bribes -- wrote back, "If you return Xiao Yuanming in the morning, I will deliver Hou Jing in the evening," Hou was incensed. He wrote a harshly worded accusation to Emperor Wu, who responded with meek words that failed to persuade Hou against a rebellion. Meanwhile, Hou entered into secret negotiations with Emperor Wu's nephew Xiao Zhengde the Prince of Linhe, offering to make the ambitious Xiao Zhangde emperor, and Xiao Zhengde agreed to assist him. At the same time, despite warnings from Yang Yaren and Xiao Fan the Prince of Poyang, Emperor Wu failed to take precautions against a Hou rebellion.

Hou declared a rebellion in summer 548, declaring that his intentions were to have the corrupt officials Zhu Yi, Xu Lin , Lu Yan , and Zhou Shizhen put to death. Emperor Wu commissioned his son Xiao Guan the Prince of Shaoling to lead a four-pronged attack on Shouyang, believing that he could put out Hou's rebellion quickly. Meanwhile, Hou, with advice from his strategist , decided he should not wait for Xiao Guan to close in; instead, he made a speedy march toward the capital Jiankang, surprising Emperor Wu. In winter 548, he arrived at Jiankang and immediately put the capital under siege, quickly capturing the outer city with Xiao Zhengde's help and forcing the imperial troops to withdraw into the palace to defend it. However, with Yang Kan defending the palace, Hou could not quickly capture it. Soon, he declared Xiao Zhengde emperor, and he married Xiao Zhengde's daughter. Meanwhile, as the siege went on, Hou began to become cruel to the civilian population, permitting his army to pillage food from the people and causing large scale starvation among the civilians. He further forced the civilians to conduct siege construction against the palace. His general Fan Taobang secretly offered to defect to Liang, but Emperor Wu's crown prince distrusted Fan and did not take up his offer; soon, Fan's correspondence was discovered, and Hou put him to death. Meanwhile, Yang Kan died, and Hou put even greater pressure on the palace defense.

Around the new year 549, Xiao Guan's forces returned to Jiankang and tried to lift the siege. However, Hou engaged Xiao Guan and defeated him. Xiao Guan reorganized his troops and waited for reinforcement from the other provincial governors. The reinforcements soon arrived, and the provincial generals supported Liu Zhongli as their commander, preparing an assault on Hou's troops to lift the siege. In spring 549, Hou surprised them by attacking them first, killing the general Wei Can . Liu engaged Hou, and both sides suffered heavy losses, with both Liu and Hou nearly dying in the battle. From that point on, Liu no longer displayed any interest in attacking Hou.

Hou, with his food supplies dwindling, offered peace to Emperor Wu, who initially refused. However, Xiao Gang persuaded Emperor Wu to negotiate, and peace terms were negotiated where Hou would be allowed to return to Shouyang, and Emperor Wu would allow him to control the provinces west of the Yangtze River. However, Hou soon decided that peace would not be sustainable, and once the ceasefire had lasted sufficiently long for him to obtain additional food supplies, he reneged, accusing Emperor Wu of a number of faults, putting the palace again under siege. Liu stood by, and the palace fell. Hou took control of Emperor Wu and Xiao Gang, issuing an edict in Emperor Wu's name ordering the provincial forces to disband. They did so, and Hou now had control of the capital region, although the provincial governors largely remained resistant to his orders. Hou deposed Xiao Zhengde back to the rank of Prince of Linhe, and used Emperor Wu as token authority.

Control of Liang emperors

After Jiankang fell to Hou Jing, the northeastern provinces, north of the Yangtze River, largely surrendered to Eastern Wei, while the provinces to the east and west, hearing of the cruelty of Hou's troops, largely initially resisted him. Around this time, the key Liang potentates who were still resisting included:

* Xiao Dalian the Duke of Lincheng , Xiao Gang's son, at Kuaiji
* Xiao Daxin the Duke of Danyang , Xiao Gang's son, at Xunyang
* Xiao Fan the Prince of Poyang, at Hefei
* Xiao Guan the Prince of Shaoling, at the time roving without a settlement
* Xiao Yu the Prince of Hedong, Emperor Wu's first crown prince Xiao Tong's son, at Changsha
* the Prince of Yueyang, Xiao Tong's son, at Xiangyang
* the Prince of Xiangdong, Emperor Wu's son, at Jiangling
* Xiao Ji the Prince of Wuling, Emperor Wu's son, at Chengdu
* Xiao Bo the Marquess of Qujiang, Emperor Wu's cousin Xiao Bing 's son, at Panyu

Of these Liang potentates, the ones with the most military strength at their disposal were Xiao Yi and Xiao Ji. Xiao Ji, however, appeared content to secure his realm, particularly because Xiao Yi discouraged him from advancing east against Hou. Both Xiao Yi and Xiao Ji began to take on imperial trappings and exercised imperial authorities, although neither claimed the throne at this point. Meanwhile, Xiao Yi, believing that his nephews Xiao Yu and Xiao Cha, who were technically his subordinates but not following his orders, would act against him in a coordinated manner, launched an attack on Xiao Yu. Xiao Cha tried to attack Jiangling to relieve the pressure on his brother, but could not, and Xiao Yi's army, while initially repelled by Xiao Yu, eventually, under the general Wang Sengbian, put Changsha under siege. Unable to lift the siege on Changsha and fearful that he would be Xiao Yi's next target, Xiao Cha surrendered to Western Wei, and Western Wei put Xiangyang under its protection and created Xiao Cha the Prince of Liang, intending to have him contend for Liang's throne. Xiao Yi entered peace with Western Wei, leaving Xiao Cha alone at the moment.

Meanwhile, while Emperor Wu was effectively under arrest, he still resisted Hou's will when it came to personnel decisions and other matters that Hou wanted him to issue edicts on. In response, Hou put Emperor Wu under even greater secure guard, and it was said that Emperor Wu's supplies dwindled. In summer 549, Emperor Wu died. Hou allowed Xiao Gang to take the throne . Meanwhile, Xiao Zhengde, angry at Hou's betrayal of him, secretly communicated with Xiao Fan, but his letters were intercepted, and Hou put him to death.

Xiao Fan tried to elicit Eastern Wei help against Hou, but even though he gave up Hefei to Eastern Wei, Eastern Wei did not actually launch troops to help him. He was forced to advance west on the Yangtze. With Xiao Daxin's approval, he settled in Xiao Daxin's realm, but soon Xiao Fan and Xiao Daxin began to have disputes over the control of the territory, and Xiao Daxin stopped supplying Xiao Fan's troops. Xiao Fan died in anger and fear. At the same time, Hou was sending his generals Hou Zijian and Song Zixian against Xiao Dalian and the other Liang officials to the east of Jiankang who were still resisting him, and by winter 549, Xiao Dalian and the other officials had fallen, allowing Hou to control most of modern Zhejiang.

In spring 550, Hou married Emperor Jianwen's daughter the Princess Liyang, and it was said that he loved her greatly. His relationship with Emperor Jianwen appeared to improve by this point. Due to the wars, the territory under Hou's control suffered from a serious famine, and he ruled with the people with a heavy hand.

In summer 550, Changsha fell to Wang, and Wang put Xiao Yu to death, putting Xiao Yu's domain directly under Xiao Yi's control.

In fall 550, Hou sent Ren Yue to attack both Xiao Daxin and Xiao Fan's son Xiao Si . Ren killed Xiao Si in battle, and Xiao Daxin, unable to resist, surrendered, allowing Hou to take his domain under control. Meanwhile, Xiao Guan, who had by now settled at Jiangxia , was planning to attack Hou, but this drew Xiao Yi's ire -- believing that Xiao Guan was intending to contend for the throne -- and he sent Wang to attack Xiao Guan. Xiao Guan, not willing to engage Wang, abandoned Jiangxia and fled to Ru'nan , where he entered into an alliance with Eastern Wei's successor state Northern Qi and was created the Prince of Liang as well. Meanwhile, Hou made Emperor Jianwen create him the Prince of Han.

Ren continued to advance west, intending to attack Xiao Yi, but was repelled by Xiao Yi's general Xu Wensheng . Hou personally led troops to aid Ren, leaving Wang Wei in charge of Jiankang. While Hou was away from Jiankang, Emperor Wu's grandson Xiao Huili the Prince of Nankang organized a plot to overthrow Wang Wei. The plot was discovered, and Wang Wei put Xiao Huili and his confederates to death. Wang Wei could not show that Emperor Jianwen was involved, but both Hou and Wang Wei became increasingly suspicious of Emperor Jianwen from this point on, and very few officials dared to visit the emperor.

In spring 551, Western Wei put Ru'nan under siege, and after capturing it, put Xiao Guan to death. Meanwhile, Xu counterattacked against Ren, and Hou again led troops to reinforce Ren, this time carrying Emperor Jianwen's crown prince Xiao Daqi as hostage. Xu initially had success against Hou, but in summer 551, Hou surprised Xu by bypassing him and making a surprise attack on Jiangxia, capturing it and seizing the general Bao Quan and Xiao Yi's son Xiao Fangzhu , eventually putting them to death in cruel manners. Xu's forces collapsed. Xu was forced to regroup at Baling , and Wang Sengbian took over command of Xiao Yi's forces there. Hou, instead of attacking Xiao Yi's headquarters at Jiangling directly, put Baling under siege but was unable to capture it, and his food supplies began to run low. Soon, he was forced to withdraw, and his forces collapsed. Ren was captured, while Song Jixian and Ding He , both major generals as well, were killed. Hou fled back to Jiankang, and Xiao Yi retook control of Jiangxia. Soon, with Wang Sengbian aided by another general, , Xunyang fell to Xiao Yi's forces as well.

Hou began to believe that his days might be numbered, and he wanted to become emperor in his remaining days. Meanwhile, Wang Wei, who believed that Hou was spending too much time with the Princess Liyang and ignoring the important matters, tried to get him to change his ways, but this drew the princess' ire. Wang Wei, believing that the Princess Liyang would eventually persuade Hou to harm him, instead advised Hou to remove Emperor Jianwen to show off his authority. Hou agreed, and in fall 551, he removed Emperor Jianwen and put the sons of Emperor Jianwen under his control, including Xiao Daqi, to death. He made Xiao Tong's grandson Xiao Dong the Prince of Yuzhang emperor. Two months later, he put the former emperor to death.

Meanwhile, Hou was preparing to take the throne. He had Xiao Dong bestow him the nine bestowments. 14 days later, he had Xiao Dong yield the throne to him, and he claimed the title of Emperor of Han -- a title that was not recognized by the Liang provinces not under his control, which by this point had begun to view Xiao Yi as the ''de facto'' emperor, although Xiao Yi and Xiao Ji still both declined imperial titles by this point.

As emperor

The first action Hou Jing's troops, commanded by Xie Daren , took after he became emperor was to attack several generals to the east of Jiankang, who had risen against him in the last days of Emperor Jianwen's reign. In winter 551, Xie first captured Yuan Jun and Li Zhan , and then in spring 552 captured Liu Shenmao -- who had initially given Hou the advice on how to seize Shouyang. Hou put these generals to death in cruel manners -- cutting off Yuan and Li's arms and feet and then demonstrated them to the public for more than a day until they died; and he made a rolling pin with sharp swords on it to cut Liu to pieces alive. He also executed Xiao Yi's son Xiao Fangzhu.

Meanwhile, Xiao Yi's forces, commanded by Wang Sengbian and Chen Baxian, continued to advance toward Jiankang, and they quickly arrived in Jiankang's vicinity. Hou Jing initially ordered Hou Zijian, whom he sent against Wang, not to engage Wang and Chen on water, but after Wang pretended to be apprehensive, Hou Jing changed to order and allowed Hou Zijian to engage them on water, and Wang defeated him. Chen quickly set up advance positions north of the Qinhuai River , and when Hou Jing himself attacked Chen, Chen defeated him as well. Against Wang Wei's advice to defend Jiankang, Hou Jing abandoned it and fled, commenting:

:''I had defeated Heba Sheng and Ge Rong and become famous north of the Yellow River. Later, after I crossed the Yangtze River, I easily captured the palace and forced Liu Zhongli to surrender. My defeats today are heaven's will.''

Hou put his two young sons, born during the time he was at Jiankang, into saddle bags, and then fled east, intending to join Xie's army to the east.


Hou Jing's hopes of joining Xie Daren, however, were dashed when one of Wang Sengbian's subordinate generals, Hou Tian , intercepted him and defeated him again, causing his remaining guard troops to collapse. Hou Jing took his remaining boats and fled on the Yangtze River, throwing his two sons into the water to drown. He ordered that the boats head to Mengshan , an island off the modern Shandong coast -- apparently intending to return to the north. His guard Yang Kun , however, had other ideas, and while Hou was asleep, he ordered that the boats turn around and head toward Jingkou , by now again under Liang control. When Hou woke up, he tried to give contrary orders, but Yang killed him with a spear and delivered his body to Jingkou. His body was then stuffed with salt and delivered to Jiankang. Wang Sengbian cut off the head and delivered it to Xiao Yi and cut off the hands and delivered them to Northern Qi. he then displayed the body publicly, and the public, including Emperor Jianwen's daughter and Hou's one-time wife, the Princess Liyang, quickly cut off Hou's flesh and consumed it.

Era name

* ''Taishi'' 552-553

Personal information

* Father
** Hou Biao , posthumously honored as Emperor Yuan
* Wives
** Name unknown
** Lady Xiao, daughter of Xiao Zhengde
** The Princess Liyang, daughter of Emperor Jianwen of Liang
* Major Concubines
** Consort Yang, daughter of Liang general Yang Kan
* Children
** Oldest son, name unknown
** Four other sons, names unknown
** Two sons, born in Liang territory

Gao Zhao

Gao Zhao , courtesy name Shouwen , was a high level official of the /Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei. He was a maternal uncle of , and he became increasingly powerful during Emperor Xuanwu's reign, drawing anger from other high level officials not only for his powerplay and corruption, but also because he was a mere commoner before Emperor Xuanwu's reign and not from the aristocracy and might have been in origin. After Emperor Xuanwu died in 515, the other officials set a trap for Gao Zhao and had him killed.


Gao Zhao claimed that his ancestors were from Bohai Commandery , and that his fifth generation ancestor Gao Gu , in order to flee the wars during the times of Emperor Huai of Jin, fled to the Korean Peninsula. Gao Zhao's father Gao Yang defected to Northern Wei during the reign of and was given a minor general title and created the Viscount of Hejian. Emperor Xiaowen also took Gao Yang's daughter as an imperial consort, and she gave birth to his second son, in 483. Yuan Ke was initially not crown prince, but became crown prince in 497 after his only older brother Yuan Xun was deposed from that position in 496, and his mother Consort Gao, whom Emperor Xiaowen initially left in the old capital Pingcheng and did not bring to the new capital Luoyang when he moved the capital in 494, was welcomed to the new capital, but on the way, she died suddenly. Gao Zhao and his brothers never had any actual contact with Yuan Ke during his youth. Despite the fact that Gao Yang did have a minor noble title, it appeared that his family was essentially treated as commoners and regarded as uncultured.

Rise to power

In 499, Emperor Xiaowen died, and Yuan Ke succeeded him . Emperor Xuanwu posthumously honored his mother Consort Kao as Empress Wenzhao and his grandfather Gao Yang as Duke of Bohai. He summoned Gao Yang's oldest grandson Gao Meng and his uncles Gao Zhao and Gao Xian and, at their first meeting, immediately created them dukes -- in Gao Zhao's case, the Duke of Pingyuan. Emperor Xuanwu awarded the three of them large amounts of property.

Gao Zhao was not only given a noble title, but starting from 499 he became increasingly important on the political scene as well. He was initially looked down upon by the nobility because he came from the Korean Peninsula, and, despite his claims of Han ancestry, was considered to be a dishonorable barbarian, but as his power grew, he was praised for his diligence in handling the matters he was in charge of. His power began to grow greatly in 501, when Emperor Xuanwu, aged 15, relieved his princely uncles Yuan Xi the Prince of Xianyang and Yuan Xie the Prince of Pengcheng of their high level posts, and ostensibly took over power himself -- but being unable to actually handle all important matters of state due to his age, and thus entrusting much of those affairs to Gao and other close associates. Later that year, Yuan Xi was forced to commit suicide when his plot to secede with the southern half of the empire was discovered, and his property was seized and awarded to Gao and the trusted associate Zhao Xiu , and from this point on Emperor Xuanwu became increasingly suspicious of members of the imperial clan, making his reliance on Gao even greater.

In 502, both Gao and the official Zhang Yi wanted to marry Emperor Xuanwu's aunt, the Princess Chenliu. The princess decided to marry Zhang and not Gao, and this caused Gao to be angry. He falsely accused Zhang of crimes, and Zhang was relieved from his post.

in 503, Emperor Xuanwu took the of Gao Zhao's brother Gao Yan as a concubine and favored her greatly, further cementing Gao Zhao's power. By that point, Gao was in a power struggle with Zhao, who was believed to be corrupt and extravagant in his living. He induced Zhao's associates Zhen Chen , Li Ping , and Wang Xian to accuse Zhao of crimes and torture him, and Zhao died shortly thereafter. From this point on, Gao's hold on the emperor was unchallenged.

Increasing power

In 504, Emperor Xuanwu's uncle Yuan Xiang the Prince of Beihai, who was then prime minister, grew increasingly arrogant and corrupt. Yuan Xiang had an affair with a cousin of Gao Zhao, who was the wife of Yuan Xie the Prince of Anding, and through her Gao apparently became aware of Yuan Xiang's crimes, and so he used the evidence of those crimes to further accuse Yuan Xiang of plotting treason. Emperor Xuanwu stripped Yuan Xiang of his title and posts, and Yuan Xiang soon thereafter died, and his associates were executed. Gao further suggested Emperor Xuanwu to put the imperial princes under heavy guard, and, despite opposition from Yuan Xie the Prince of Pengcheng, Emperor Xuanwu agreed, effectively putting those princes under house arrest.

In 507, Gao's power was so well known that after the famed music director Gongsun Chong spent three years trying to get his revisions to imperial musical numbers adopted officially but was unable to, he had a solution -- asking Gao to be in charge of the project, despite Gao's lack of musical knowledge. Emperor Xuanwu approved of the appointment, allowing Gongsun's project to proceed.

Later that year, Emperor Xuanwu's wife died, and in early 508 her son Yuan Chang died as well. It was believed, although unproven, that both Empress Yu and Yuan Chang were murdered by Gao Zhao and Consort Gao.

In 508, Emperor Xuanwu created Consort Gao empress, despite opposition by Yuan Xie the Prince of Pengcheng. Gao Zhao thereafter became resentful of Yuan Xie. When Emperor Xuanwu's brother Yuan Yu the Prince of Jingzhao rebelled that year after believing that Gao was falsely accusing him, Gao in turn falsely accused Yuan Xie of working both in concert with Yuan Yu and rival Liang Dynasty. Emperor Xuanwu believed this, and secretly forced Yuan Xie to commit suicide during an imperial gathering. The populace quickly came to believe that Gao was involved in the death of the highly popular Yuan Xie, and from that point on Gao became even more despised by the people and nobles alike. Apparently apprehensive about this resentment, when Gao Zhao's son Gao Zhi made contributions in subsequently defeating Yuan Yu, Gao Zhi declined all awards offered him.

In 512, Gao Zhao was made prime minister, but was displeased because at the same time he was relieved of a lower post that allowed him to meet with the emperor daily. This display of displeasure became the topic of ridicule among officials. That year, because of a draught, Gao advocated the review of all criminal cases to see if unfair treatment had displeased the gods, and Emperor Xuanwu's brother Yuan Yi the Prince of Qinghe accused Gao of overstepping his authorities. Emperor Xuanwu, while not punishing Yuan Yi for the accusation, also took no actions against Gao.


in winter 515, Emperor Xuanwu wanted to try to capture rival Liang's Yi province , and he commissioned Gao Zhao as the commander of the expedition force. Soon after Gao Zhao left the capital Luoyang, however, Emperor Xuanwu died of a sudden illness in spring 515. Emperor Xuanwu's crown prince Yuan Xu , then age five, succeeded him . In the confusion of the events, Empress Gao tried to have Emperor Xiaoming's mother killed, but could not. Meanwhile, the official Yu Zhong and the imperial princes Yuan Cheng the Prince of Rencheng and Yuan Yong the Prince of Gaoyang seized power, forcing Empress Gao, who was honored as empress dowager, to appoint Yuan Cheng and Yuan Yong as regents.

The princely regents then wrote Gao Zhao a humble letter, in Emperor Xiaoming's name, summoning Gao back to the capital. When Gao heard of Emperor Xuanwu's death and realized that the princes were in power, he became fearful and mournful, and his body became weak. When he arrived in Luoyang's vicinity, his family members arrived to greet him, but he refused to see them. When he then entered the palace to mourn Emperor Xuanwu, the princes and Yu seized him and had him strangled. Emperor Xiaoming then issued an edict in which it was claimed that Gao had committed suicide, and the edict stripped him of his posts and title, but was buried with honors due a scholar. Subsequently, Empress Dowager Gao was deposed and replaced with Consort Hu, and the Gao clan lost its power.

Gao Huan

Gao Huan , nickname Heliuhun , formally Prince Xianwu of Qi , later further formally honored by Northern Qi initially as Emperor Xianwu , then as Emperor Shenwu with the temple name Gaozu , was the paramount general of the /Xianbei dynasty Northern Wei and Northern Wei's branch successor state Eastern Wei.Though being ethnically , Gao was deeply affected by Xianbei culture and was often considered more Xianbei than Han by his contemporaries. During his career, he and his family became firmly in control of the government of Eastern Wei, and eventually, in 550, his son forced Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei to yield the throne to him, establishing the Gao clan as the imperial clan of a new Northern Qi state.


Gao Huan was born in 496, at Northern Wei's northern garrison Huaishuo . He was ethnically , but his family, having resided at Huaishuo ever since his grandfather Gao Mi was exiled there for faults while serving as a Northern Wei official, had largely been acculturated in the Xianbei ways. His father was named Gao Shu , and his mother was Lady Han, probably Gao Shu's wife, who died soon after his birth, and he was raised at the house of his older sister and her husband, Wei Jing . In his young days, his family was poor, and he became a servant at the old Northern Wei capital Pingcheng . While serving at Pingcheng, , the daughter of a wealthy house, saw him and was impressed with his appearance and behavior, and she married him despite opposition. It was only after this marriage that Gao had sufficient money to buy a horse, and he became a courier for the Pingcheng defense headquarters, often delivering official mail to and from the capital Luoyang.

In 519, Gao happened to be at Luoyang when a mob of soldiers, angry over the minister Zhang Yi 's new policy of excluding soldiers from civil service, sieged Zhang's house and killed him. The regent did not dare to punish them, but largely pardoned them except for eight leaders. Gao was unimpressed by Empress Dowager Hu's actions, and believed that Northern Wei was on the verge of collapse. When he returned to Pingcheng, he sold his properties and used the funds to gather associates around him, stating that if disturbances occurred, the property might not be his any more anyway. His associates around this time included, in addition to his brother-in-law Wei Jing, Sima Ziru , Liu Gui , Jia Xianzhi , Sun Teng , Hou Jing, and Cai Jun . Together they were often in the countryside, and when they saw injustices, they would seek to correct them.

In 525, in the midst of agrarian rebellions against Northern Wei rule, Gao and his associates joined one of the major rebel leaders, Du Luozhou . However, Gao soon became unimpressed with Du's behavior, and he escaped from Du's army. He then joined another rebel leader, Ge Rong , but eventually went to the Northern Wei general and Xiongnu tribal leader Erzhu Rong. By this time, Liu Gui was already serving under Erzhu, and he often praised Gao's talent, but when Erzhu met Gao, he was not initially impressed. However, when Gao was able to tame a very wild horse, Erzhu became impressed, and they became closer and closer, with Gao pointing out that with the empire in disarray, it would be a good opportunity for Erzhu to seize power.

Under the Erzhus

Erzhu Rong was impressed with Gao Huan's talents, and he made Gao one of his military commanders. In 528, Emperor Xiaoming, displeased at the hold on power that Empress Dowager Hu's lover Zheng Yan and Zheng's associate Xu Ge had, entered into a conspiracy with Erzhu to have Erzhu advance on the capital to force Empress Dowager Hu to kill Zheng and Xu. Erzhu therefore began to march on the capital, and he made Gao his forward commander. On the way, however, Emperor Xiaoming ordered him to stop, but the news of the conspiracy still leaked, and Empress Dowager Hu poisoned Emperor Xiaoming to death and declared his distant toddler nephew Yuan Zhao emperor.

Erzhu refused to recognize Yuan Zhao as emperor, and he continued his march on Luoyang, declaring the Prince of Changle emperor . Luoyang's defenses collapsed, and Erzhu arrested and threw Empress Dowager Hu and Yuan Zhao into the Yellow River to drown. Believing that the imperial officials would never obey him, he massacred a large number of them , and Emperor Xiaozhuang, fearing what would come next, offered to yield the throne to Erzhu. Gao suggested that Erzhu accept the offer, but Erzhu hesitated and ultimatedly ruled against it. His general Heba Yue , who opposed Erzhu's taking of the throne, suggested Erzhu that Gao should be executed to show his good faith, but Erzhu ruled against it. In fact, for Gao's contributions to the campaign, Emperor Xiaozhuang created him the Count of Tongdi.

Erzhu subsequently carried out a number of campaigns against agrarian rebels to try to reunify the empire. Gao thereafter participated in the campaigns against Ge Rong and Xing Gao , as well as the rebel general Yang Kan , serving with distinction. On one occasion, when Erzhu Rong was asking his commanders for opinions on who could succeed him as the commanding general of the army if he were no longer there, most commanders opined that Erzhu Zhao could, but Erzhu Rong himself opined that Gao Huan was the only one capable of doing so, and he warned Erzhu Zhao, "You are no match for Gao Huan, and one day he will surely pierce through your nose." Erzhu Rong thereafter made Gao the governor of Jin Province , and while governor, Gao gathered much wealth, intending for use later.

In 530, Emperor Xiaozhuang, believing that Erzhu would eventually seize the throne, ambushed and killed him in the palace. The Erzhus, led by Erzhu Zhao and Erzhu Rong's cousin Erzhu Shilong, fought against Emperor Xiaozhuang, and Erzhu Zhao was thereafter marching on Luoyang, declaring Erzhu Rong's wife the Princess Beixiang's nephew Yuan Ye emperor. Erzhu Zhao summoned Gao to aid him, but Gao declined, using the excuse that he needed to fight against local agrarian rebels. Erzhu Zhao was displeased, but for the time being did not act against Gao. Later in the year, Erzhu Zhao captured Luoyang and arrested Emperor Xiaozhuang, delivering Emperor Xiaozhuang to his headquarters at Jinyang . Gao wrote a letter to Erzhu Zhao urging him not to harm the emperor, but Erzhu Zhao refused to answer, and subsequently strangled Emperor Xiaozhuang to death.

Despite this, Gao remained nominally under the Erzhus' command structure, and when, around the new year, the general Gedouling Bufan , loyal to Emperor Xiaozhuang, attacked Erzhu Zhao and initially defeated him, approaching Jinyang, Gao came to Erzhu Zhao's aid, and together they defeated and killed Gedouling. After the battle, Erzhu Zhao and Gao swore themselves to be brothers. Erzhu Zhao, trusting Gao, commissioned him with Ge Rong's former troops and, accepting his suggestion, allowed him to take his new troops east of the Taihang Mountains to seek food.

In spring 531, Gao Huan was posturing to attack his distant relative Gao Gan , who had declared a rebellion at Xindu , against the Erzhus. However, Gao Gan and Li Yuanzhong were able to persuade him that the Erzhus, because of their corruption, were hated by the people, and he could overthrow them. Gao Huan thereafter stirred his troops by forging orders from Erzhu Zhao that indicated that Erzhu Zhao was about to turn them into servants for his own troops. Gao Huan's troops believed the forged orders, and when he declared a rebellion in summer 531, they supported him.

Rebellion against the Erzhus

Initially, Gao Huan's rebellion formally continued to recognize , whom Erzhu Shilong had made emperor in spring 531 to replace Yuan Ye . However, at Sun Teng's urging, in fall 531, Gao declared another distant member of the imperial Yuan clan, Yuan Lang, emperor.

Despite Gao's reputation for being a capable soldier, his army was still weak, and initially, most key members of the Erzhu clan did not take him seriously, except Erzhu Shilonog. Soon, Erzhu Shilong's brothers Erzhu Zhongyuan and Erzhu Dulü , as well as Erzhu Zhao, converged against Gao, but Gao successfully spread rumors to make the Erzhus suspicious of each other, due to existing conflicts that Erzhu Zhao and Erzhu Shilong already had, and Erzhu Zhongyuan and Erzhu Dulü subsequently withdrew. Gao then defeated Erzhu Zhao in battle in winter 531, forcing Erzhu Zhao to withdraw as well. In spring 532, Gao captured the important city , and used it as a base for subsequent operations.

The Erzhus soon reconciled, and soon, Erzhu Zhao, Erzhu Zhongyuan, Erzhu Dulü, and Erzhu Tianguang converged on Yecheng. However, despite the Erzhus' numerical superiority, Gao defeated them, forcing Erzhu Zhao to flee back to Jinyang and Erzhu Zhongyuan back to his base Dong Commandery . Erzhu Tianguang and Erzhu Dulü tried to retreat to Luoyang, but at this time, the general Husi Chun rebelled against the Erzhus in Luoyang itself, killing Erzhu Shilong and another brother of Erzhu Shilong, Erzhu Yanbo , and he also captured Erzhu Dulü and Erzhu Tianguang in battle, delivering them to Gao. Erzhu Zhongyuan soon abandoned Dong Commandery and fled to rival Liang Dynasty, leaving Erzhu Zhao as the only major surviving member of the Erzhu clan. Gao marched toward Luoyang, then controlled by Husi, with Yuan Lang.

However, Gao was beginning to believe that Yuan Lang, due to his lineage's being distant from recent emperors, to be an inappropriate choice to be emperor as well. He toyed with the idea of allowing Emperor Jiemin to remain emperor, but decided against it after his generals Wei Lan'gen and Cui Ling advised him that Emperor Jiemin would be difficult to control in the future. He also considered 's son Yuan Yue the Prince of Huai'nan, and he welcomed Yuan Yue back from Liang, but he subsequently heard that Yuan Yue was arbitrary in his actions, and so decided against it as well. Instead, he offered the throne to Emperor Xiaowen's grandson the Prince of Pingyang, and Yuan Xiu accepted, taking the throne as Emperor Xiaowu. Gao became the paramount general of the empire, although the imperial government became largely run by Husi Chun and Emperor Xiaowu's associate Wang Sizheng .

During Emperor Xiaowu's reign

Emperor Xiaowu initially deferred to Gao Huan, who continued to command the largest army of the state and took over Erzhu Rong's old headquarters at Jinyang as his own, on most decisions, and Emperor Xiaowu married as his empress in late 532. He also created Gao the Prince of Bohai, a title that Yuan Lang had initially created Gao in 531 but Gao continuously declined until winter 533. However, the relationship between Emperor Xiaowu and Gao soon deteriorated, over Emperor Xiaowu's suspicions that Gao had designs on the throne, and over Emperor Xiaowu's desires to reassert imperial authority. Emperor Xiaowu therefore tried to align himself with independent generals, the brothers Heba Yue , who controlled the western provinces, and Heba Sheng , who controlled the southern provinces. Gao tried to remain deferential to Emperor Xiaowu outwardly, but was becoming increasingly displeased with the emperor's independence.

Gao tried to undermine Emperor Xiaowu's allies. In winter 533, he sent his associate Zhai Song to persuade Heba Yue's lieutenant Houmochen Yue to betray Heba, while in spring 534 ambushing a major tribal leader, Gedouling Yili , whom Emperor Xiaowu had also made overtures to, taking over Gedouling's troops. Soon thereafter, Homouchen assassinated Heba Yue, but Homouchen missed an opportunity to take over Heba Yue's troops. Subsequently, those troops supported Heba Yue's assistant Yuwen Tai as their leader, and Yuwen soon defeated Houmochen, who committed suicide. Emperor Xiaowu subsequently entered into an alliance with Yuwen. When Gao tried to make overtures to Yuwen, Yuwen arrested his messengers and delivered them to Emperor Xiaowu.

Emperor Xiaowu soon prepared a campaign against Gao, and he, trying to catch Gao by surprise, issued a secret edict to Gao claiming to be actually planning to attack Yuwen and Heba Sheng. Gao, however, saw through Emperor Xiaowu's plot, and marched toward Luoyang. Wang Sizheng, believing that the imperial troops were not strong enough to resist Gao's, suggested Emperor Xiaowu to flee to Yuwen's territory, and Emperor Xiaowu decided to do so, rejecting Husi Chun's offer to take one final stand at Luoyang, particularly when Heba Sheng failed to come to the emperor's aid and when Yuwen's troops failed to arrive quickly. It took Gao only a month to reach Luoyang, and Emperor Xiaowu fled west, encountering Yuwen's troops on the way, and had them escort him back to Yuwen's headquarters at Chang'an, where he reestablished the imperial government and made Yuwen prime minister.

Meanwhile, Gao Huan took over the Luoyang region, and soon also defeated Heba Sheng, taking over his territory and forcing him to flee to Liang. Gao then wrote repeated petitions to Emperor Xiaowu, requesting that he return to Luoyang and indicating that he was willing to return to the status quo ante. Emperor Xiaowu did not respond to any of Gao's overtures. Gao therefore made , the son and heir apparent of Emperor Xiaowu's cousin Yuan Dan the Prince of Qinghe emperor and moving the capital from Luoyang to Yecheng, thus formally dividing the empire into two , albeit with each claiming to be the rightful one.

During Emperor Xiaojing's reign

Eastern Wei's territorial size and military strength was far stronger than Western Wei's, and Gao made a number of attempts to try to end the division by conquering Western Wei, but the battles largely proved to be inconclusive, allowing Western Wei to stand. Periodically, Western Wei generals who had prior relationships with Gao would defect to Eastern Wei, and Gao at times carried out campaigns deep within Western Wei territory. However, Western Wei was able to portray Gao as a renegade general who expelled the emperor, and often during campaigns, local populace would assist Western Wei troops because they believed Western Wei's characterization. During this period, Gao also tried to foster harmony between the ethnic Xianbei and Han, persuading the Xianbei that they needed the Han to practice agriculture to be fed, and persuading the Han that they needed the Xianbei's military aptitude to protect them. He saw Emperor Xiaowu's flight as a blot on his personal history, so he treated Emperor Xiaojing with great formal respect, deferring to Emperor Xiaojing in all public occasions.

in spring 535, Gao Huan learned that around the new year 535, Emperor Xiaowu, who had a falling out with Yuwen Tai over Yuwen's refusal to condone his incestuous relationships with his cousins, had been poisoned to death by Yuwen. Gao suggested that an official mourning period be held for Emperor Xiaowu, and while there were disagreements, eventually a mourning period was held.

Also in spring 535, a sex scandal affected Gao's household. Gao's heir apparent Gao Cheng, born of his wife Princess Lou, had an affair with Gao Huan's concubine Zheng Dache , and the affair was discovered. Gao Huan caned Gao Cheng and put him under house arrest, and refused to meet with Gao Cheng's mother Princess Lou. He also considered replacing Gao Cheng as heir apparent with Gao You , the son of his concubine , the daughter of Erzhu Rong who had previously been Emperor Xiaozhuang's empress. After intercession by Gao Huan's friend Sima Ziru, who reminded him how much Princess Lou had done for him before he had accomplished great things and who used violent methods to force the servant girls who were witnesses to the affair to recant, Gao Huan calmed down and did not replace Gao Cheng.

Around the new year 536, Gao Huan tried to make an alliance with Rouran against Western Wei, by marrying a princess to Rouran's Chiliantoubingdoufa Khan Yujiulü Anagui. However, Yujiulü Anagui soon took a Western Wei princess as consort as well, and the alliance did not materialize.

In spring 536, Gao made a deep incursion into Western Wei territory, capturing Xia Province , while also rescuing his ally Cao Ni the governor of Ling Province , who had been trapped behind Western Wei lines. The Western Wei general Moqi Pu , his son Moqi Shouluogan , and other generals Chigan Baole and Poliuhan Chang , who were stationed in the western Western Wei territory, also joined Gao and returned to Eastern Wei with him.

Also in spring 536, Gao Huan, at Gao Cheng's request, made Gao Cheng the Eastern Wei prime minister, despite the fact that Gao Cheng was only 14 at this point. Gao Cheng was sent to Yecheng, and he took over actual reign of the Eastern Wei imperial government.

In spring 537, Gao Huan launched a major attack three-pronged on Western Wei, commanded by himself and his key generals Dou Tai and Gao Aocao , intending to draw Yuwen's troops to himself while having Dou advance deep into Western Wei territory. Yuwen, pretending to be ready to abandon Chang'an to withdraw to modern eastern Gansu, instead launched a surprise attack on Dou's troops, slaughtering most of them. Dou committed suicide. Gao Huan and Gao Aocao were forced to withdraw. In counterattacks, Western Wei took modern western Henan and southwestern Shanxi.

In winter 537, after news that the Guanzhong region was suffering from a major famine, Gao Huan launched another major attack on Western Wei. He encountered Yuwen at Shawan , and, believing that he had overwhelming numerical advantage, rejected the strategy of Hulü Qiangju to bypass Yuwen and make a direct attack on Chang'an, and his own initial inclination to set fire to the grass fields at Shawan to have it burn Yuwen's troops, instead directly engaging Yuwen in battle. Yuwen's troops, however, fought hard, and they defeated Gao's troops, forcing Gao to withdraw. In light of his defeat, the southern provinces and Luoyang area largely rebelled and declared allegiance to Western Wei, but in spring 538 Gao sent Hou Jing against the southern provinces, recapturing them.

In 538, after Emperor Wen of Western Wei married Yujiulü Anagui's daughter as his empress, Yujiulü Anagui cut off relations between Rouran and Eastern Wei.

In fall 538, Gao Huan, assisted by Hou Jing and Gao Aocao, put Luoyang under siege. Yuwen and Emperor Wen led the Western Wei troops to aid Luoyang's defender, the general Dugu Xin , and a largely inconclusive battle with heavy losses on both sides occurred -- with Western Wei being able to kill Gao Aocao, and Yuwen nearly killed in the battle as well. However, eventually Western Wei troops were forced to abandon Luoyang and withdraw, and at the same time, the Eastern Wei general Zhao Qingque , who had been captured by Western Wei in the Battle of Shawan, rebelled against Western Wei at Chang'an, forcing the Western Wei officials who remained in Chang'an to escort the crown prince out of Chang'an. However, Gao Huan was unable to take advantage of the disturbance that Zhao caused, and Yuwen was able to return to Chang'an to suppress Zhao's rebellion. Meanwhile, Western Wei also recaptured some of the southern provinces. For the next few years, while there continued to be border battles, no major campaigns was initiated by either Eastern Wei or Western Wei.

In summer 539, Gao Huan gave his to Emperor Xiaojing in marriage as Emperor Xiaojing's wife and empress.

In winter 541, Gao Huan had Emperor Xiaojing issue an edict standardizing measurement units for cloth, to avoid the populace's being unfairly taxed.

In winter 542, Gao Huan launched a major attack on the Western Wei border city of Yubi , but the Western Wei defenses, with Wang Sizheng commanding, held, and Gao was forced to withdraw.

In spring 543, another sexual wrongdoing by Gao Cheng would lead to a new campaign between Eastern Wei and Western Wei. The official Gao Zhongmi , already fearful over his situation because one of Gao Cheng's major assistants, Cui Xian , had tried to pick his faults after he divorced Cui Xian's sister, was further aggravated when Gao Cheng tried to rape his second wife, Li Changyi . He therefore surrendered the important garrison of Hulao to Western Wei. Yuwen led his troops to try to come to Gao Zhongmi's aid and further again seize the entire Luoyang region, but was repelled in a major battle near Luoyang, during which both Yuwen and Gao Huan were nearly killed in battle, with Heba Sheng, then a Western Wei general, nearly killing Gao with a spear. By summer 543, the Western Wei forces had withdrawn, and the entire Luoyang region was again under Eastern Wei control.

in 544, with Gao Huan believing that four key officials who were close to him -- Sun Teng, Sima Ziru, his cousin Gao Yue , and his sworn "brother" Gao Longzhi -- were wielding too much power, he gave the 22-year-old Gao Cheng additional authorities, and Gao Cheng increasingly asserted authorities over these officials and others. For example, once when Sun visited Gao Cheng but was acting insufficiently deferentially, Gao Cheng had his attendants throw Sun on the ground and pound him with the sword hilts. Gao Cheng also made one of his close assistants, Cui Jishu an assistant to Emperor Xiaojing, in order to keep a closer eye on Emperor Xiaojing. Gao Cheng soon greatly enhanced the authorities of both Cui Xian and Song Youdao and charged them with the responsibilities of stamping out corruption among officials -- which Gao Huan himself had been reluctant to do so. Based on Cui Xian's and Song's recommendations, Sima was arrested and reduced to commoner rank, while Yuan Tan the Prince of Xianyang was relieved of all governmental posts.

In spring 545, Erzhu Ying'e's brother Erzhu Wenchang and Zheng Dache's brother Zheng Zhongli , along with Ren Zhou , conspired to assassinate Gao Huan and support Erzhu Wenchang as leader, but the conspiracy was discovered, and the conspirators were put to death, along with their families. However, because of Gao Huan's favors for Erzhu Ying'e and Zheng Dache, he spared their brothers.

In fall 545, due to an alliance between Western Wei and Rouran to attack Eastern Wei, Gao Huan sued for peace with Rouran by requesting a marriage between a daughter of Yujiulü Anagui and Gao Cheng. Yujiulü Anagui refused, stating that it would only be sufficient if ''Gao Huan'' himself married her. Gao Huan himself initially refused, but Princess Lou, Gao Cheng, and Wei Jing all persuaded him otherwise, and he married Yujiulü Anagui's daughter, referring to her as the Princess Ruru . To facilitate this marriage, Princess Lou moved out of the mansion, but Gao Huan and Princess Lou were not formally divorced.

In fall 546, Gao Huan launched another major attack on Western Wei, apparently to make one final attempt to destroy it. He put Yubi under siege, intending to attract Western Wei forces to Yubi in order to destroy it, but Western Wei did not respond. The general in charge of defending Yubi, Wei Xiaokuan, however, defended against all kinds of siege tactics that Gao Huan tried, for 50 days, and Eastern Wei forces suffered 70,000 deaths from the battle and the illnesses. Gao Huan himself was physically and emotionally drained, and he became ill, and he was forced to withdraw. Western Wei subsequently declared that Wei had killed Gao Huan with a powerful crossbow, and Gao Huan, in order to dispel the rumor, appeared before his army to sing songs with Hulü Jin. As he did, he wept bitterly.

Gao's illness continued to progress once he returned to Jinyang, and he recalled Gao Cheng to Jinyang to give him final instructions. Gao Cheng became increasingly concerned that Hou Jing, who was then defending Luoyang and in charge of the provinces south of the Yellow River, would rebel, particularly after Hou refused a recall order. Gao Huan left Gao Cheng instructions not to announce his death, gave a list of officials that he could depend on, and orders to put Murong Shaozong -- a capable general that Gao Huan had intentionally not promoted in order to allow Gao Cheng to do so -- in charge of an army against Hou. He died in spring 547, and while a false casket was buried publicly, he was buried at a secret location in Cheng'an .

Personal information

* Father
** Gao Shu
* Mother
** Lady Han, likely Gao Shu's wife
* Wives
** , mother of Gao Cheng, Gao Yang, Gao Yǎn, Gao Yu, Gao Dan, and Gao Ji, and two daughters who became Northern Wei/Eastern Wei empresses
** Princess Ruru , daughter of Rouran's Chiliantoubingdoufa Khan Yujiulü Anagui
* Major Concubines
** , daughter of Erzhu Rong, formerly the empress of Emperor Xiaozhuang of Northern Wei, mother of Gao You and Gao Ning
** , daughter of Erzhu Zhao, formerly the empress of Yuan Ye, mother of Gao Jie
** Lady Han, mother of Gao Huan
** Lady Zheng Dache , mother of Gao Run
** Lady You, mother of Gao Shi
** Lady Li
** Lady Wang, mother of Gao Jun
** Lady Mu, mother of Gao Yān
** Lady Feng, mother of Gao Qia and Princess Fuyang
* Children
** Gao Cheng , the Heir Apparent, later the Prince of Bohai, posthumously honored as Emperor Wenxiang
** Gao Yang , initially the Duke of Taiyuan, later the Prince of Qi, later Emperor Wenxuan of Northern Qi
** Gao Jun , initially the Duke of Yong'an, later Prince Jianping of Yong'an
** Gao Yān , initially the Duke of Pingyang, later Prince Jingyi of Pingyang
** Gao You , initially the Duke of Changle, later Prince Jingsi of Pengcheng
** Gao Yǎn , initially the Duke of Changshan, later the Prince of Changshan , later Emperor Xiaozhao of Northern Qi
** Gao Huan , initially the Duke of Pingyuan, later Prince Gangsu of Shangdang
** Gao Yu , initially the Duke of Zhangwu, later Prince Jing of Xiangcheng
** Gao Dan , initially the Duke of Changguang, later the Prince of Changguang , later Emperor Wucheng of Northern Qi
** Gao Jie , the Prince of Rencheng
** Gao Shi , Prince Kangmu of Gaoyang
** Gao Ji , Prince Wenjian of Boling
** Gao Ning , initially the Prince of Xinping , later the Prince of Anding , later the Prince of Huashan
** Gao Run , the Prince of Fengyi
** Gao Qia , Prince Jinghuai of Hanyang
** of Emperor Xiaowu of Northern Wei
** Princess Taiyuan, of Emperor Xiaojing of Eastern Wei
** Princess Yingchuan
** Princess Yining
** Princess of unknown title
** Princess Yangzhai
** Princess Fuyang
** Princess Dongping