Emperor Xuanzong (Li Longji)
Emperor Xuanzong, whose personal name was Li Longji, was an emperor of the Tang dynasty in China. He reigned from 712 to 756 and is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished and beloved emperors in Chinese history. His reign is often considered the peak of the Tang dynasty, known as the “High Tang” or “Golden Age of China.”
Emperor Xuanzong was the seventh emperor of the Tang dynasty, and he came to the throne at the age of 32, succeeding his father, Emperor Ruizong. He was an enlightened and capable ruler who implemented a series of political, economic, and cultural reforms that contributed to the prosperity and stability of the empire.
During his reign, China experienced a period of economic growth, cultural flourishing, and political stability. The capital city of Chang’an (modern-day Xi’an) became a cosmopolitan center of culture and trade, attracting scholars, artists, and traders from all over the world.
Emperor Xuanzong was a patron of the arts and literature, and his court included famous poets and scholars like Li Bai and Du Fu, contributing to a literary renaissance known as the “Tang poetry golden age.” He was also known for his love affair with the beautiful concubine Yang Guifei, who became one of the Four Beauties of ancient China.
Despite his many achievements, Emperor Xuanzong’s reign faced significant challenges, including the devastating An Lushan Rebellion that erupted in 755. The rebellion led by General An Lushan posed a serious threat to the Tang dynasty, and Emperor Xuanzong was forced to flee from Chang’an to Sichuan. His popularity waned during the rebellion due to his close association with Yang Guifei and the eunuch Gao Lishi, who were blamed for the mismanagement of the government and military.
Emperor Xuanzong’s reign ended in 756 when he abdicated the throne in favor of his son, Emperor Suzong, to take responsibility for the turmoil caused by the An Lushan Rebellion. He lived in retirement at Xingqing Palace until his death in 762. Despite the challenges in the later years of his reign, Emperor Xuanzong is still remembered as one of the greatest emperors in Chinese history and a symbol of the Tang dynasty’s cultural and political achievements.