It turned out that song Taizu helped his younger brother to inherit Datong step by step!

Spread the love

A rare case in history of “brothers and sisters”

Since Dayu passed the throne to his son, the hereditary system of “father dies and son inherits” has always been the fundamental system for the continuation of the dynasty. However, the inheritance of the regime of the Northern Song Dynasty has seen a rare example of “brother dies and brother” in history (and the legitimate son of song Taizu is alive). Zhaoguangyi, Emperor Gaozong of the Song Dynasty, was able to reap the fruits of the emperor’s victory. In addition to the unreliable account of “the sound of axes and the shadow of candles” in unofficial history, his brother zhaokuangyin’s early policy-making can be described as “helping” a lot!



Songtaizu (picture from the Internet)



Assists 1:“


“Vassal” and “weak”

Basic policy of “phase”

The policy of “reducing vassals” has been a centralized measure of the central dynasty since the king of the Western Han Dynasty, which is of great benefit to the consolidation of political power. However, the issue of “vassal king” in the previous dynasties has always been a big one, especially in the early days of the new dynasty.

After the establishment of the Northern Song Dynasty, the position of provincial governor was still inherited by the father and the son, and the intention of the imperial court was often not implemented. In essence, they were equal to “the earth emperor”. The existence of this “native emperor” is a threat to the imperial power, and this threat will also restrict the political development of Zhaoguangyi, an important official in the court. In short, Jiedushi divided the local personnel power, financial power and military power, so the Korean and Chinese ministers will have few opportunities to intervene in the local interest circle. In this case, song Taizu’s plan of “cutting vassal” came into being. In terms of output efficiency, the policy of “reducing vassal states” on the one hand consolidated the rule of the new dynasty, on the other hand, it also cleared away potential powerful political enemies for his younger brother Zhaoguangyi, and avoided other important officials from becoming bigger and stronger in the early Northern Song Dynasty.

In July of the second year of Jianlong’s reign (AD 961), that is, the second year after Zhao Kuangyin became emperor, Taizu of Song Dynasty adopted Zhao Pu’s proposal of “cutting down the vassal” and began to “sharpen the knife” to the Jiedu envoy after drinking wine to release his military power.

The basic idea of the so-called “curtailment of vassal states” is to “curtail power” as the center, and the specific measures are to collect power from the central government and the local leaders of decentralization and balance, of which the collection of power is often the top priority. To this end, zhaokuangyin took the following measures while calming down the separatist forces and the rebels:

First, power is collected, financial power is the most important, and military power is the most important. In terms of finance, transfer envoys are set up in each route. In addition to leaving a small amount of daily expenses, the rest of the money and silk must be handed over to the central government, which must not be retained. In this way, the financial power of local governments will be taken over to the central government. Militarily, the governors of each state sent all the valiant men in the army under the jurisdiction of the prefectures to the capital to join the Imperial Guard. As a result, the Central People’s Liberation Army concentrated the elite soldiers of the whole country, while the local army only had some weak soldiers, which were organized into Xiang armies. In this way, the local military forces could not compete with the central government.

Second, decentralization, with personnel as the core. The imperial court appointed state officials, who were directly responsible to the emperor, but did not accept the jurisdiction of Jiedushi, which divided the personnel power of Jiedushi. In addition, each state set up a magistrate to manage administrative affairs, and then set up a general judge as an assistant. The two have equal status to divide the power of the magistrate. This is to use the mutual restriction between the general judge and the magistrate, so that the power of a state will not be controlled by the magistrate, and the check and balance effect is obvious.

After the local power was weakened, song Taizu could safely appoint the meritorious statesman as the governor. After the “cup of wine to release military power”, important officials in the court, such as shishouxin, gaohuaide, wangshenqi, zhanglingze, zhaoyanhui, were appointed to the Ministry of justice one by one. In fact, most of them just enjoyed wealth. At this time, the power of important officials in the court was greatly reduced, resulting in a power vacuum. Most of the substitutes were civil servants. Who did song Taizu hand over many important tasks? It can only be handed over to Zhaopu, his younger brother Zhaoguangyi and lichuyun (Qiande died four years ago) who are close friends.



A cup of wine to release military power (from the Internet)

In addition to weakening the power of local governors, song Taizu focused on weakening the power of prime ministers in bureaucratic reform. The military and political power is under the control of the Privy Council, the financial power is under the control of the three secretaries, and the civil affairs power is under the control of the prime minister. The three powers are separated and balanced. In addition, in addition to weakening the power of the prime minister through the separation of the three powers, song Taizu also set up the Deputy envoys who were involved in political affairs, the Privy Council and the third division as the Deputy envoys of the prime minister, the Privy Council and the third division to weaken the power of the heads of various departments. This also indicates that the restriction on Zhao Guangyi’s power by the ministers of the central court will be greatly reduced. After all, Zhao Guangyi’s power was above the prime minister after the attack on Taiyuan.

The division of the prime minister’s right was almost a policy of all dynasties, and the division effect was progressive until the Qing Dynasty reached its peak. However, the divided power in history often created a new power vacuum because of the emperor’s limited energy, which was filled by eunuchs in the Ming Dynasty. Ten years after the establishment of the Northern Song Dynasty, Zhaoguangyi, who later ranked above the prime minister, helped fill the gap. Of course, the separation of the three powers was only the emperor’s machinations, but song Taizu ignored one person after all – his brother Zhaoguangyi. Especially after Zhao Pu’s strike, Zhao Guangyi almost won the game with important officials in the court. Because song Taizu controlled the courtiers, but inadvertently supported his brother’s political status, and song Taizu’s two sons were still in the stage of political career training. In this way, Zhao Guangyi made better use of his political position to buy people’s hearts, accumulated political resources and further consolidated his position.

Under the background of the weakening of local power and Prime Minister power, only the emperor was able to balance Zhao Guangyi in the Northern Song Dynasty. In the fifth year of Qiande reign (967), Zhao Pu was reported by Lei Youlin to strike the prime minister. Xuejuzheng and lvyuqing, who were involved in political affairs, seized Zhao Pu’s power. Zhao Pu left Beijing and was transferred to the three cities of Heyang. In this way, after Zhao Pu, who had the sole power in the early Song Dynasty, was dismissed as prime minister, Zhao Guangyi was crowned king of Jin and ranked above the prime minister, with power over the government and the people. This means that Zhao Guangyi’s political opponents, such as Jiedushi and prime minister, have all laid flat under the “help” of song Taizu, and the power of checks and balances can no longer be compared with that of the early Song Dynasty. Zhaoguangyi has enough political capital to challenge the imperial power.



Second assist: “Golden Chamber alliance” and “Kaifeng Fuyin blessing”

Since Song Taizu strengthened the centralization of power, why didn’t he actively establish a prince and train successors? There is no doubt that this shutdown period of song Taizu is a mystery. It is said that song Taizu loved his fourth son zhaodefang (the eight virtuous kings in the drama we are familiar with) and stopped because of his concubines, rather than his second son zhaodezhao.

Here, we have to mention the “Golden Chamber alliance” recorded in the history of Song Dynasty.



Empress Dowager du (from the Internet)

According to historical records, Empress Dowager Du was very fond of her son Zhaoguangyi’s succession to the throne, rather than two legitimate grandchildren. To some extent, it was indeed a preference, but at that time it was also a kind of deliberation. After all, when empress dowager Du was seriously ill, zhaokuangyin was only 34, zhaokuangyi was 25, and zhaodezhao was only 14. The historical lessons of the Five Dynasties are vivid, especially when chairong, the emperor Shizong of Zhou Dynasty, died at the age of 38 and his son was only 7. Empress Dowager Du’s worries are not unreasonable. The “Golden Chamber alliance book” says:

In the second year of Jianlong’s reign, the Empress Dowager did not hesitate, and the Taizu never left the music bait. Ji Ji summoned Zhao Pu to accept the last order. The Empress Dowager asked Taizu, “do you know why you got the world?”

Taizu sobbed and couldn’t be right. Empress Dowager Gu asked, and Taizu said, “those who have won the world because of their ministers are all ancestors and empress dowagers.”

The Empress Dowager said, “otherwise, it is the emperor Shizong of Zhou who has made young children master the ears of the world. He has made the Zhou family have a long king. How can the world be yours? After you are a hundred years old, you should spread it to your younger brother. There are thousands of people across the world, who can establish a long king and bring happiness to the country.”

Taizu suddenly sobbed and said, “teaching is better than daring.” The Empress Dowager Gu said to Zhao Pu, “remember my words with you, and do not violate them.” He ordered Pu to write an oath in front of his couch, and wrote “Chen Pu Shu” at the end of the paper. The Golden Chamber of Tibet is ordered to be palmed by people in the imperial palace. “

Simply explain the above, the continuation of the Zhao Dynasty is far more important than your personal descendants of zhaokuangyin to inherit the throne, so let your brother inherit it. This is also a fact. After all, the Five Dynasties were short-lived dynasties. The demise of the Later Zhou Dynasty was also closely related to the childhood of Chai zongxun. If there are no powerful figures, it is really difficult to live in the “field”. The sons of song Taizu are still young and far less powerful than their uncle Zhaoguangyi, let alone the “town” market.

Empress Dowager Du stood in line with Zhaoguangyi, and Taizu of song also acquiesced. There were also “Golden Chamber alliance” written in black and white, and “brother and brother” received strong support. Zhaoguangyi had the legitimacy to inherit the throne.

Song Taizu died suddenly, leaving no imperial edict. Five years after Zhao Guangyi succeeded to the throne, he started to use Zhao Pu again. Zhao Pu reciprocated with the so-called “Golden Chamber alliance” and endorsed it. Based on this historical record, the tacit agreement of Taizu of Song Dynasty allowed Zhaoguangyi to inherit the throne and have more “teachers become famous”.

Emperor Taizu of the Song Dynasty granted Zhaoguangyi the title of “Kaifeng governor”, which was another real “public opinion assist”.

After zhaokuangyin ascended the throne, he first appointed Zhaoguangyi as the Yu marquis in front of the palace, led the defense envoy of muzhou, and soon led the governor of Taining army. After Li Chongjin was conquered, Zhaoguangyi was granted the title of the capital of Dali. He was appointed as the governor of Kaifeng and the governor of Kaifeng. He was also appointed as the Secretary of the imperial court. After occupying Taiyuan, Zhaoguangyi was renamed as the eastern capital to stay behind. He was granted the gate halberd and the king of Jin. He was ranked above the prime minister. At this time, his power was extraordinary.

According to the records of official records in the history of Song Dynasty, “Kaifeng Fuyin” was not a permanent official position in the Five Dynasties, but was generally supported by the future prince. In history, chairong of Zhou Shizong, Zhenzong of Song Dynasty and qinzong of Song Dynasty all served in this position. Zhaoguangyi was granted the title of “Kaifeng Fuyin + king of Jin”, which means that song Taizu was cultivating his younger brother as a successor and building momentum for him. Of course, we don’t know what song Taizu’s real intention is, but on the surface, it does give people such a hint. People in Song Dynasty naturally associate Zhao Guangyi’s identity as “crown prince”.

Later, Zhaoguangyi appointed the crown prince zhaoheng (son) as the governor of Kaifeng. This time, it should be Zhaoguangyi’s intention to do so, which is more to show the legitimacy of his throne.



Kaifeng government map (from the Internet)



Assist 3: abandonment of the policy line of “moving the capital”

The fact that song Taizu was able to join the army through the Chenqiao mutiny showed that he was an extremely intelligent man. Zhaokuangyin couldn’t have been unaware of his brother Zhaoguangyi’s activities of forming cliques for personal gain. But from the point of view of the release of military power through drinking wine, zhaokuangyin was not a murderous man like Liu Bang and Zhu Yuanzhang. Facing the fact that Zhaoguangyi “threatened” the imperial power, song Taizu wanted to dissolve his brother’s political capital by moving the capital.

The ninth year of Kaibao (AD 976) was the last year of zhaokuangyin’s life. This year, he led hundreds of officials to visit his hometown Luoyang in the west, and began to prepare for the relocation of the capital. In fact, zhaokuangyin decided to move the capital not only because Luoyang was his hometown, but also because Kaifeng was located in a plain area, which was easy to attack but difficult to defend and consumed military investment. The Song Dynasty was founded after the Five Dynasties with frequent wars. Four of the five dynasties had made Kaifeng their capital, namely, the Later Liang Dynasty, the later Jin Dynasty, the later Han Dynasty and the Later Zhou Dynasty. The Song Dynasty also made Kaifeng its capital.

Therefore, when zhaokuangyin mentioned the matter of moving the capital to Luoyang in the imperial court, Li Fu, the living Lang, wrote a letter to list eight reasons for the inconvenience of moving the capital: “the capital city is withered, one; the palace is not prepared, two; the suburban temple is not built, three; there are no hundreds of companies, four; the people in the capital are trapped, five; the Army food is not sufficient, six; the barriers are not set, seven; thousands of cavalry ride in the heat, eight.”

Then lihuaizhong, the commander of the right chamber of the cavalry, said: “there are bianqu canals in Tokyo. At the age of, hundreds of thousands of soldiers have been sent down to the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers, and they are willing to give them to Yan. Your majesty lives here and will take them. Moreover, the heavy troops in the imperial treasury are all in the girder. They have been stable for a long time and cannot be shaken. Once you are eager to move, you will not see their benefits.”

Everything has its advantages and disadvantages. Zhaokuangyin was still not moved by the officials. Zhaoguangyi, the king of Jin, stood up at this time and resolutely opposed the move of the capital. However, zhaokuangyin said, “before moving Henan, we should move Chang’an for a long time.”

Zhaokuangyin added: “I will move to the west, but it is not it. I want to remove redundant soldiers according to the dangers of mountains and rivers, and follow the stories of Zhou and Han to settle the world.”

When Zhao Guangyi was at his wits’ end, he directly expressed his opposition to the relocation of the capital in one sentence: “virtue is not danger!” Zhaokuangyin didn’t respond in time. After the king of Jin left, he said to the ministers around him, “the king of Jin’s words are solid and good. Today, I will follow them. Within a hundred years, the people in the world will be exhausted.”



Territory Map of the Northern Song Dynasty (from the Internet)

In fact, zhaokuangyin’s reason for moving the capital was simple and rational: Although the military power was released through drinking wine, which put an end to the separatist regime in the Five Dynasties, in order to defend the capital, Kaifeng had to overdraw its finances to support a large number of troops, while Luoyang, which had the danger of mountains and rivers, could save a lot of expenses.

In fact, the reason why Zhaoguangyi resolutely opposes is also very simple: he has cultivated his own political interest groups in the capital, and moving the capital means a reshuffle of the power circle!

On the issue of “moving the capital”, Zhaoguangyi even challenged the imperial power naked. In such a large empire, one can directly “antagonize” the emperor, either be a loyal minister or a rebel. “In virtue, not in danger”, once this statement is made, it probably means to go against the dragon scale. However, song Taizu did not use his hindsight. Can it be said that he could no longer control the political situation in the Northern Song Dynasty?

Of course, we know later that song Taizu did not take this opportunity to move the capital as he wished, but compromised with his brother. Because the biggest obstacle to moving the capital is the interests of the powerful class, especially Zhao Guangyi’s interest group. If the relocation of the capital is successful, it will, to a large extent, dissolve part of Zhao Guangyi’s political power in a short period of time and redistribute the pattern of interests.

Song Taizu finally failed to implement his restrictive measures against his brothers in time, the training of his son did not catch up with the schedule, and his brother Zhao Guangmei’s check and balance power did not improve. He died a few months after the proposal to move the capital. In any case, the original intention of “moving the capital” may be to maintain the century old foundation of the great Song Dynasty, but the success of moving the capital will inevitably bring about the reshaping of the power pattern of the imperial court, and will inevitably hinder Zhao Guangyi’s “succession”. However, song Taizu did not adhere to the policy line. For Zhaoguangyi, it was a lucky and invisible “help”.

reference material:

Tuotuo: history of Song Dynasty

Li Peng: a detailed account of the great Song Dynasty



(this article only represents the author’s point of view, not the position of this number)



China’s national history is once again new!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *