Emperor Gaozong of Song

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Emperor Gaozong of Song
Gaozong Of Song.jpg
Emperor of the Song dynasty
Reign 12 June 1127[1] – 24 July 1162[2]
Predecessor Emperor Qinzong
Successor Emperor Xiaozong
Retired Emperor of the Song dynasty
Reign 24 July 1162 – 9 November 1187
Born Zhao Gou
(1107-06-12)12 June 1107
Died 9 November 1187(1187-11-09) (aged 80)
Empress Empress Xianjie
Empress Xiansheng Cilie
Concubines
  • Consort Pan
  • Consort Zhang
  • Consort Liu
  • Consort Liu
  • Consort Zhang
  • Consort Feng
  • Consort Han
  • Consort Wu
  • Consort Li
  • Consort Wang
  • Tian Chunluo
  • Jiang Zuimei
Issue
  • Zhao Fu
  • Zhao Foyou
  • Zhao Shenyou
  • three other daughters
Era dates
Jianyan (建炎; 1127–1130)
Shaoxing (紹興; 1131–1162)
Posthumous name
Shouming Zhongxing Quangong Zhide Shengshen Wuwen Zhaoren Xianxiao Huangdi
(受命中興全功至德聖神武文昭仁憲孝皇帝)
(awarded in 1191)
Temple name
Gaozong (高宗)
House House of Zhao
Father Emperor Huizong
Mother Empress Xianren
Emperor Gaozong of Song
Chinese 宋高宗
Zhao Gou
Traditional Chinese 趙構
Simplified Chinese 赵构
Deji
(courtesy name)
Chinese 德基
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhao.

Emperor Gaozong of Song (12 June 1107 – 9 November 1187), personal name Zhao Gou, courtesy name Deji, was the tenth emperor of the Song dynasty in China and the first emperor of the Southern Song dynasty. He was the ninth son of Emperor Huizong and a younger brother of Emperor Qinzong. In 1127, during the wars between the Song dynasty and Jurchen-led Jin dynasty, the Song capital Bianjing (present-day Kaifeng) fell to Jin forces in an event historically known as the Jingkang Incident. Emperors Huizong and Qinzong were taken prisoner by the Jurchens, while Zhao Gou managed to escape to southern China. He reestablished the Song dynasty (as the Southern Song dynasty) in Lin'an (present-day Hangzhou) and was proclaimed emperor. He reigned from 1127 until 1162, when he abdicated the throne in favour of his adopted son Zhao Shen (Emperor Xiaozong), and became a Taishang Huang ("Retired Emperor") until his death in 1187.

Life[edit]

Quatrain on the Heavenly Mountain, calligraphy by Emperor Gaozong.
Further information: Jin–Song Wars

Emperor Gaozong was the ninth son of Emperor Huizong and a younger brother of Emperor Qinzong. His mother, whose maiden family name was Wei (韋), was a concubine of Emperor Huizong. She was posthumously honoured as Empress Xianren (顯仁皇后; 1080–1159).

Emperor Gaozong was originally a prince during the reigns of his father and brother. After the two emperors were captured by forces of the Jurchen-led Jin Empire in the Jingkang Incident in 1127, he escaped to southern China and reestablished the Song Empire (as the Southern Song dynasty) and was proclaimed emperor.

The Great Chu, a puppet state created by the Jin Empire, was abolished when Zhang Bangchang submitted to Emperor Gaozong. During Emperor Gaozong's reign, the Jurchens often attacked his realm. Initially, he employed military leaders such as Li Gang, Zong Ze, Yue Fei, Han Shizhong, and Yu Yunwen to lead the Song forces to hold off the Jurchens. However, after years of fighting and significant military success, Emperor Gaozong settled on a pacifist stance.[3] One of the major reasons behind this was that Emperor Gaozong and the chancellor Qin Hui did not want the Song army to defeat the Jurchens, as this might result in Emperor Qinzong being restored to the throne. As a result, Emperor Gaozong and Qin Hui plotted to frame Yue Fei for some ambiguous offence and had him put to death. Han Shizhong was also dismissed from his military duties. During Emperor Gaozong's reign, the Song and Jin empires signed the Treaty of Shaoxing, which recognised the Jurchens' claims to the former Song territories they already conquered, in exchange for peace between the two empires.

Emperor Gaozong was also a notable poet and had significant influence on other Chinese poets. Among his surviving works is the Quatrain on Heavenly Mountain.

Emperor Gaozong abdicated in 1162 after reigning for more than 35 years, and passed the throne to his adopted son Zhao Shen (Emperor Xiaozong), because his only son, Zhao Fu (趙旉), died prematurely around the age of two. Emperor Gaozong then assumed the title of Taishang Huang ("Retired Emperor") but remained the de facto ruler until his death in 1187.

Titles from birth[edit]

  • His Imperial Highness The Prince of Kang 康王
  • His Imperial Majesty The Emperor
  • His Imperial Majesty The Retired Emperor 太上皇

Wives[edit]

  • Empress Wu (1115–1197), was first given the title Lady of the Heyui Commandery (和義郡夫人), eventually became empress after the announcement of the death of Empress Ying

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Following the capture of Emperor Qinzong in January 1127 by forces of the Jin dynasty, Zhao Gou was proclaimed emperor on 12 June 1127 in the Song southern capital. He was deposed for 25 days between 26 March and 20 April 1129 by generals Miao Fu (苗傅) and Liu Zhengyan (劉正彥). After being restored to the throne, he was pursued by Jin forces and was not in full control of southern China until the late 1130s.
  2. ^ Emperor Gaozong abdicated in favour of Emperor Xiaozong, his cousin's son whom he had adopted. He then granted himself the title Taishang Huang ("Retired Emperor") but remained the de facto ruler.
  3. ^ Peter Allan Lorge (2005). War, politics and society in early modern China, 900–1795. Taylor & Francis. p. 55. ISBN 0-415-31690-1. Retrieved March 2, 2012. He therefore initially brought the belligerent Li Gang back into government to reassure the officials and generals of his intent to resist the Jurchen and perhaps recapture the north, and then sacked Li and brought in officials more concerned with Gaozong's personal authority... The military situation began to change, however, as Song loyalist forces became more coordinated and competent generals emerged to deal the Jurchen several defeats. Jurchen armies also began to run into the usual operational problems that diminished the power of steppe armies on extended campaigns. Even in economically-developed areas, an army that lived off the land could not return through the same place it had just looted. As Jurchen soldiers became more encumbered with loot, they became less mobile and less interested in further campaigning, though they might be more willing to return in the future. Southern China was also much less favorable for cavalry than northern China, and the Jurchen had to cross not only numerous small rivers and canals but also the Huai and Yangzi rivers. 
Emperor Gaozong of Song
Born: 12 June 1107 Died: 9 November 1187
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Emperor Qinzong
Emperor of the Song Dynasty
1127–1162
Succeeded by
Emperor Xiaozong
Honorary titles
Vacant
Title last held by
Emperor Huizong
Retired Emperor of China
1162–1187
Vacant
Title next held by
Emperor Xiaozong