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Old June 20th, 2016, 06:36 AM   #1

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Taizong: son of heaven


Due to an increasingly approaching one month vacation to China I've decided to do some reading on the incredibly scary subject of China.

With about 10 dynasties and complex sounding era's like ''war of the 10 kingdoms'' I often get a feeling of ''where do I start'' When I think of Chinese history.

Han's a given of course and with it being a golden age and me visiting its capitol Chang'an Tang seems to have been my answer to that question.

I often use a biography as an entree point to a particular era and so I've been looking for the Tang person who interest me most. At this point that would be the second and according to some even founding emperor Taizong.
And there's even a book out on him! Taizong: son of heaven by one C.P. Fitzgerald.

A biography on Taizong exists...aaand that's about all that I know about it. There aren't any reviews or other info available on the work. So has anyone read it? Is it any good and worth spending 40 Euro's on. And if not is there an alternative for info on Taizong?
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Old June 20th, 2016, 03:58 PM   #2

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Taizong is a fascinating person. If you read on him or talk to Chinese people in general about him, usually he is seen as a brilliant, magnanimous emperor and military genius at a young age. All in all a great good man. But then everyone knows he started the coup that killed his brothers (one a crown prince loved then according to records but much maligned now) and then forced his father to abdicate. I think he also killed everyone in his brothers' households except a pretty concubine or something. A lot of the stuff attributed to him and his brothers don't add up, yet his incredible military achievements are unmistakable. You draw the conclusion as to how incredibly talented he was.
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Old June 20th, 2016, 04:04 PM   #3
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I'd never heard of Taizong before this, now I have something new to research.
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Old June 20th, 2016, 04:08 PM   #4

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Why was he so popular among the steppe nomads? Was it purely fear and respect for his power, or did he have a special connection to them? He seems to be an anomaly in that sense. Chinese emperors usually weren't very well-liked on the steppe.
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Old June 20th, 2016, 06:59 PM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevapalooza View Post
Why was he so popular among the steppe nomads? Was it purely fear and respect for his power, or did he have a special connection to them? He seems to be an anomaly in that sense. Chinese emperors usually weren't very well-liked on the steppe.
People were always impressed and in awe of grandeur and splendor. That was how China's surrounding nations paid tributes willingly. It was not forced per se, but people have an innate need for order which requires clear hierarchy. Steppe people generally viewed China like barbarians viewed Rome, a big slab of juicy fat meat It really depends on how that meat was dangled. Li household came from the northwestern China, and actually has significant Xianbei blood.
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Old June 20th, 2016, 07:37 PM   #6

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Originally Posted by Mandate of Heaven View Post
Li household came from the northwestern China, and actually has significant Xianbei blood.

Oooh ok. That probably explains a lot of it.
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Old June 22nd, 2016, 11:43 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevapalooza View Post
Oooh ok. That probably explains a lot of it.
There's been some really fascinating research these past few years that tries to redefine the Tang as a completely Xianbei dynasty - at least up until An Lushan. Granted the debate has always been there, but the revisionist school has been making some real headway lately.
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Old June 23rd, 2016, 05:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
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There's been some really fascinating research these past few years that tries to redefine the Tang as a completely Xianbei dynasty - at least up until An Lushan. Granted the debate has always been there, but the revisionist school has been making some real headway lately.
Wait, so they are trying to redefine Tang as a "conquest dynasty" like Yuan?
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Old June 23rd, 2016, 09:33 PM   #9

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Wait, so they are trying to redefine Tang as a "conquest dynasty" like Yuan?
Yuan was undisputed outside invader, but Li was part of the Suei status quo. And they rose up along with other powerful parts of the previous status quo. Judging purely on blood is kind of moot, as there's hardly any undisputed pure Han after the Uprising of the Five Barbarians.
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Old June 24th, 2016, 04:08 AM   #10
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...as there's hardly any undisputed pure Han after the Uprising of the Five Barbarians.
What about the southerners?
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