Later Tang

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Not to be confused with Tang dynasty (618–907).






Capital Daming
Languages Chinese
Government Monarchy
 -  923–926 Li Cunxu (Zhuangzong)
 -  926–933 Li Siyuan (Mingzong)
 -  933–934 Li Conghou
 -  934–936 Li Congke
Historical era Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period
 -  Established in Daming May 923
 -  Overthrown by Khitan and Shi Jingtang January 11, 937
Today part of  China
The preceding entity of the Later Tang was the State of Jin, which was established by Li Keyong in 895 under the Tang Dynasty and existed as a state in 907–923.

Tang, known in history as Later Tang, was a short-lived imperial dynasty that lasted from 923 to 936 during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in the history of China.[1]

The first three of Later Tang's four emperors were ethnically sinicized Shatuo,[2] although, the founder, Shi Jingtang, claimed patrilineal Han Chinese ancestry[3]. The name Tang was used to legitimize itself as the restorer of the Tang dynasty (618–907). Although Later Tang officially began in 923, the dynasty already existed in the years before, as a polity called Jin (907–923).

At its height, Later Tang controlled most of northern China.

Formation of the Later Tang[edit]

From the fall of the Tang Dynasty in 907, a rivalry had developed between the successor Later Liang, formed by Zhu Wen, and the State of Jin, formed by Li Keyong, in present-day Shanxi. The rivalry survived the death of Li Keyong, whose son Li Cunxu continued to expand Jin territories at the expense of the Later Liang.

Li Keyong forged an alliance with the powerful Khitan, like the Shatuo a people of the northern steppe, a relationship that figured significantly in the expansion and ultimate triumph of the Shatuo. Li Cunxu was successful in overthrowing the Later Liang in 923 and proclaimed himself emperor of the Later Tang, which he referred to as the “Restored Tang”. As a part of “restoring the Tang”, the capital was moved back to the old Tang eastern seat of Luoyang.

Course of the Later Tang[edit]

The Later Tang was a short-lived regime, lasting only thirteen years. Li Cunxu himself lived only three years after the founding of the dynasty, having been killed during an officer’s rebellion in 926. Li Siyuan, the adopted son of Li Keyong, took over the dynasty, but relations with the Khitan had fallen sour. Internal struggles typified the remaining ten years of the dynasty, ending with its toppling in 936 when Shi Jingtang, son-in-law of Li Siyuan and a fellow Shatuo, rebelled, stormed the capital with the help of Khitan troops, and founded the Later Jin.

Extent of Later Tang territories[edit]

The Later Tang controlled considerably more territory at its height than did the Later Liang. It extended to all the northern territories controlled by the Later Liang as well as its own base in Shanxi. It also had control over the areas around Beijing and Shaanxi, which were not entirely under the control of the Later Liang. The largest expansion of the Later Tang occurred in 925 when they conquered the Former Shu State, centered in present-day Sichuan. However, as Later Tang power was waning, a Later Shu state formed in 934, a year before the fall of the Later Tang.

Rulers of the Later Tang[edit]

Temple names Posthumous names Family names and given name Chinese naming conventions Durations of reigns Era names and their according durations
Zhuāngzōng (莊宗) too tedious; thus, not used when referring to this sovereign Lǐ Cúnxù (李存勗) Family name and given name 923–926 Tóngguāng (同光) 923–926
Míngzōng (明宗) too tedious; thus, not used when referring to this sovereign Lǐ Sìyuán (李嗣源) or Lǐ Dǎn (李亶) Family name and given name 926–933 Tiānchéng (天成) 926–930
Chángxīng (長興) 930–933
did not exist Mǐn (閔) Lǐ Cónghòu (李從厚) Family name and given name 933–934 Yìngshùn (應順) 933–934
did not exist Mòdì (末帝) Lǐ Cóngkē (李從珂) Family name and given name 934–937 Qīngtaì (清泰) 934–937

Later Tang and Later Jin rulers family tree[edit]

Li Keyong 李克用 856–908
Li Cunxu 李存勖 885–926
Zhuangzong 莊宗 923–926
Li Siyuan 李嗣源 867–933
Mingzong 明宗 926–933
Shi Shaoyong 石紹雍
Li Congke 李從珂 885–937
Modi 末帝 934–937
Li Conghou 李從厚 914–934
Mindi 愍帝 933–934
Empress Li d. 950 Shi Jingtang 石敬瑭 892–942
Gaozu 高祖 936–942
Shi Jingru 石敬儒
Shi Chonggui 石重貴 914–974
Chudi 出帝 942–947


  1. ^ Zurndorfer, Harriet T. (2010). "Efflorence? Another Look at the Role of War in Song Dynasty China". War in words transformations of war from antiquity to Clausewitz. Berlin: De Gruyter. p. 92. ISBN 9783110245424. 
  2. ^ Mote, Frederick W (2003). Imperial China 900-1800. pp. 12–13. 
  3. ^ According to Old History of the Five Dynasties, vol. 99, and New History of the Five Dynasties, vol. 10. Liu Zhiyuan was of Shatuo origin. According to Wudai Huiyao, vol. 1 Liu Zhiyuan's great-great-grandfather Liu Tuan (劉湍) (titled as Emperor Mingyuan posthumously, granted the temple name of Wenzu) descended from Liu Bing (劉昞), Prince of Huaiyang, a son of Emperor Ming of Han
  • Mote, F.W. (1999). Imperial China: 900-1800. Harvard University Press.