ChAPTER 17 -- Part 4: Reunification and Renaissance in
She used her new power to pack the upper levels of the government with her greedy relatives after being raised to the status of royal concubine.
They played a bigger role in court politics.
The arrogance and excessive ambition of Yang Guifei and her family angered members of the rival cliques at court, who took every opportunity to turn her excesses into a cause for popular unrest.
The economic distress was caused by Xuanzong's neglect of state affairs.
The government was unable to deal with the dis orders effectively because of chronic military weaknesses.
The depiction of the opulence and a general of nomadic origins named An Lushan gives a vivid impression of Chinese court life in the late Tang era.
Here, a well-dressed woman who supported revolt with the aim of founding a new is aided by some of her servants on a well-fed horse.
Although the revolt was crushed and the Tang concubine on her ride was preserved, victory was won at a very high cost.
During his time as emperor, he was unable to continue because of his grief and disillusionment.
The introduction of the Tang monarchs who followed him could not compare to the ability of the dynasty to have her royal relatives into administration in the first century and a half of its rule.
To defeat the rebels, the Tang sought out nomadic peoples living on the northern borders of the empire.
They gave resources and political power to regional commanders who were loyal to the dynasty.
In the late 8th and 9th centuries, the nomads used political divisions within China to gain entry into and eventually assert control over large areas of the north China plain.
Many of the provincial governors became independent rulers.
They didn't pass any of their taxes on to the treasury.
The regional lords gave their titles to their sons without asking for permission from the Tang court.
Some revolts in the 9th century were popular uprisings led by peasants.
By the end of the 9th century, little remained of the Tang Empire.
When the last emperor of the Tang dynasty was forced to resign, China appeared to be entering another phase of nomadic dominance, political division, and social unrest.
Zhao was a scholarly man who collected books rather than campaigning after the fall of Tang.
The Liao dynasty wanted him to proclaim himself emperor.
Emperor Taizu will be independent in the next few years.
The failure set a precedent for weakness in dealing with the nomadic people of the north by the Song rulers.
The dynasty was plagued by this shortcoming from the beginning and eventually was destroyed by the Mongols in the late 13th century.
The Song were forced to sign in China by military defeats.
A comparison of the boundaries of the early Song Empire with that of the Tang domain shows that the Song never matched its predecessor in political or military strength.
The weakness of the Song resulted in part from imperial policies that were designed to stop the con ditions that had destroyed the Tang dynasty.
The military was subservient to the civilian administrators from the beginning.
Civil officials were allowed to be governors in order to prevent military commanders from seizing power.
Military commanders were not allowed to build a power base in the areas where they were stationed.
The interests of the Confucian scholar gentry were promoted by the early Song rulers.
Additional servants and payments of luxury goods such as silk and wine made government posts more lucrative as officials' salaries were increased.
The civil service exams were easy to take.
They were given three years each at the district, provincial and imperial levels.
Song examiners passed a far higher percentage of those taking the exams than the Tang examiners had, and these successful candidates were more likely to receive an official post than their counterparts in the Tang era.
The bureaucracy became bloated with well-paid officials who had little to do.
The ascendancy of the scholar-gentry class over its rivals was secured in this way.
A comparison of the territory controlled during the two phases of the Song dynasty clearly shows the growing power and pressure of nomadic peoples from the north and the weakened state of the Song rulers of China.
The revival of Confucian ideas and values that dominated intellectual life was mirrored by the influence of the scholar-gentry in the Song era.
Many scholars tried to recover long-neglected texts.
Impressive libraries were established and new academies devoted to the study of the classical texts were founded.
Rival interpretations of the teachings of the ancient philosophers were propounded by the new schools of philosophy.
They wanted to prove the superiority of indigenous thought systems over imported ones.
They argued that virtue could be attained through knowledge gained through everyday book learning and personal observation as well as through contact with men of wisdom and high life and action.
During the eras of all the dynasties that followed the Song, there was an intellectual life.
Chinese rulers and bureaucrats became less receptive to outside ideas and influences because of the impact of China's foreign philosophy systems.
Chinese rulers and bureaucrats were less receptive to outside and critical thinking due to the neo-Confucian emphasis on tradition tradition and hostility to foreign influences.