Emperor Muzong of Liao

The Emperor Muzong of Liao (Chinese: 辽穆宗; pinyin: Liáo Mùzōng) (September 19, 931–March 12, 969); born as Yelü Jing (Chinese: 耶律璟), was an emperor of the Liao Dynasty and reigned from 11 October 951 to 12 March 969. He was the son of Emperor Taizong of Liao, and succeeded Emperor Shizong, who was murdered in 951.


Muzong's reign was plagued by plots and rebellions against him from both the Yelu imperial clan and the Xiao consort clan. He fired many ministers who worked for Emperor Shizong, and used force against those who dared to rebel against him. However, his brutal use of force and repression was eventually able to restore stability and the authority of the throne.

In June 952, his uncle wrote a letter to the later zhou dynasty, saying that "Muzong is a drunkard and has no ambition". Muzong discovered the letter and executed his uncle. In July 952, Shizong's brother Yelu Loguo attempted to rebel, but Muzong suppressed it and executed him. In October 953, Muzong's brother and several high-ranking officials plotted against him. Once again, Muzong discovered the plot and executed most of the plotters, but imprisoned his brother instead of killing him. A similar situation occurred in November 959, where his brother was spared, but the other plotters were killed.

Relations with China

The later zhou dynasty took advantage of Muzong's troubles to consolidate its position in North China, a region that had been under the influence of the Khitan since earlier in the century. Despite this, the northern han, who remained under the protection of the Liao Dynasty were able to maintain their independence.

The later zhou dynasty emperor attacked Liao positions in 958 in an attempt to regain the Sixteen Prefectures. This provoked Muzong to lead a large army to the southern capital (modern-day Beijing ). Military confrontation was averted with the death of the later zhou dynasty emperor. Early the next year, Muzong returned to the capital.

Midway through Muzong's reign, the song dynasty had supplanted the last of the Five Dynasties, the later zhou dynasty. Relations with the Song were peaceful during the reign of Muzong. Despite this peace, there were two issues outstanding between the two states that would result in war following Muzong's reign: those of the Sixteen Prefectures and northern han state. Neither of these issues would be resolved during the reign of Muzong. The two states began exchanging annual visitations on New Years Day. Profitable trade also continued to grow between the two sides.


Emperor Muzong, like Shizong, was an alcoholic and had many vices. His alcoholism earned him the nickname "The Dozing Emperor. " He had a violent temper and frequently killed people without reason. He also liked to hunt. Muzong's reign was one of the darkest in Liao Dynasty's history, and his government was a shambles.

In February 969, Muzong went out to hunt in the Black Mountains. Muzong and his servants drank and had a feast. After midnight, Muzong called out for food, but no one responded. He went into a rage and threatened to kill the chefs. The frightened chefs, along with some servants, sneaked into Muzong's tent and murdered him.

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