Emperor Gaozu of later jin dynasty

Shi Jingtang (Chinese: 石敬塘; , 892–942) was the founder of the later jin dynasty (936–946), the third of the Five Dynasties that controlled much of northern China from 907 to 960. The later jin dynasty was the second of three successive Shatuo Turk dynasties that made up the middle three of the Five Dynasties.


Shi was of Shatuo descent. His ancestors had been commoners. His father, Nielieji, was skilled in riding and archery, and had been a successful general under Li Keyong and Li Cunxu. It is unknown when he changed his surname to Shi, and claimed to be a descendant of Shi Xi and Shi Fen. Interested in military strategy since a young age, he looked up to Li Mu and Zhou Yafu. When Li Siyuan was a cishi (regional inspector), he married his daughter to Shi and allowed him to command the Left Archer Corps (左射軍).

Mingzong's reign

In 926, a group of soldiers who were supposed to be stationed at Waqiao-guan Pass, rebelled, and threatened Zhao Zaili into assuming leadership. They seized Ye, so Cunxu, then Emperor Zhuangzong of later tang, order Li Siyuan to suppress the rebellion. Generals who had moved away from the rebellion attempted to force Siyuan into commanding the. Shi used this opportunity to talk Siyuan into overthrowing Zhangzong, and took Bian with three hundred. Siyuan turned to the direction of Bian and Luoyang. Zhuangzong was killed in an accident amidst the chaos, and Siyuan was crowned Emperor Mingzong of later tang.

Shi Jingtang was a high-ranking official during Mingzong's reign. He was the Governor (尹) of Taiyuan, Administrator (留守) of Beijing , and jiedushi of Hedong, and had great financial and military power.

Overthrow of Tang

During Emperor Fei of later tang's reign, internal conflicts arose among the House of Tang. On top of that, the power of the state was declining. Shi decided to take advantage of the situation and prepare for the deposition of Tang.

He moved his possessions in Luoyang to Jinyang. Using defence against the Khitans as an excuse, he requested expansion of his military power, resulting in the troops of Bing and You being under his command. He sent his sons Shi Zhongyan and Shi Zhongyi to court to gain the positions of youwei shangjun (右衛上軍) and huangcheng fushi (皇城副使) and to use them to bribe Empress Cao's servants, enabling Shi to be notified of everything that Fei did.

On Fei's birthday one year, Shi did not attend the ball himself. Instead, his wife, the Princess of Jin, went in his place. Jin had to return to Jinyang immediately after the ball; Fei, drunk, commented that Shi could have been plotting against Fei. Shi thought Fei had seen through his conspiracy, so he requested that he move to a different town, to test if Fei had been suspicious of him.

In 936, rumours of Shi's plot were widespread. This fuelled Fei's suspicions. Bi Wenyu, the zhizhigao (知制誥), suggested removing Shi's threat before he had a chance to rise up. Fei took his advice and made him the Jiedushi of Tianping. Shi, who was moved to Yunzhou, asked his courtiers for advice. Liu Zhiyuan advised Shi to take advantage of the geographical features of Jiao, where he was based, and the strength of his army and overthrow the Emperor. Sang Weihan also advised him to do so, and suggested asking for help from the Liao Dynasty should it be necessary during the battle.

When Fei was notified of Shi's rebellion, he ordered his official positions and titles to be revoked, and ordered the siege of Jiao, and deployed Zhang Jingda and Yang Guangyuan. Zhang set up his camp in Jinan and surrounded Shi's troops. Despite Liu's opposition, Shi requested help from the Liao, offering the Sixteen Prefectures and to declare himself son and subject of Emperor Taizong of Liao, who was a decade his junior.

Taizong, who had been planning to expand to the south, promptly agreed. As Tang focussed on defeating Shi, they neglected to protect the state from Liao's forces. Before Zhang could invade Jiao, he had to face the Liao army. Fei ordered troops from all over the state to aid Zhang, and went to the battlefield himself to raise morale. Long Min suggested that Li Zhanhua, Taizong's older brother, be crowned the Emperor of Liao and escorted to Liao, although the plan was not implemented due to obstruction from Lu Wenji, the chancellor.

Yang persuaded Zhang to surrender to Taizong. Zhang was reproached and furious at the suggestion. Yang murdered Zhang and surrendered to Taizong, ending the battle. Taizong crowned Shi Emperor Gaozu of Great Jin, known historically as later jin dynasty, in Jinyang, to which he left his nephew Shi Zhonggui before going south with Taizong. Fei and loyal Tang soldiers fled to Luoyang, where they killed Li. Not longer afterwards, Fei, the Empress Dowager and the Empress Consort took all the treasure to Xuanwu Tower (玄武樓), where they burnt themselves, ending the tang dynasty.

Rule and death

Gaozu moved the capital to Bian, now known as Kaifeng ( Henan ). The later jin dynasty is often derided as being a puppet of the Khitans. Apart from the tribute, Gaozu also gave a lot of gifts to Liao's royal family and courtiers.

An Chongrong, the Jiedushi of Chengde, advised him to take advantage of Liao's internal conflicts and attack it. Gaozu refused. Taizong criticised Gaozu for his inability to control An An later rebelled, but was defeated. Gaozu gave Taizong An's head, but Taizong did not forgive him and frequently condemned Gaozu.

Shi died of natural causes in 942.

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