It is not known when Yang Zhirou was born. What is known is that his grandfather Yang Xu (楊續), a member of Tang Dynasty's predecessor Sui Dynasty's imperial clan, was a brother of the early Tang chancellors Yang Gongren and Yang Shidao. As Wu Zetian's mother Lady Yang was a cousin of Yang Xu, she viewed him as a member of her mother's household and treated him well. As of 692, he was serving as the minister of defense (夏官尚書, Xiaguan Shangsu), when she gave him the designation of Tong Fengge Luantai Pingzhangshi (同鳳閣鸞臺平章事), making him a chancellor de facto. When doing so, she commented that she wanted the members of both her father's and mother's clans to be chancellors (and by that time, her nephews Wu Chengsi and Wu Youning were chancellors). Seven months later, as part of a major reorganization of her administration, he was removed from his chancellor position along with Wu Chengsi and Wu Youning, and made the minister of public works (地官尚書). He appeared to have died soon thereafter.
Notes and references
- Yang Zhirou's biography in both the Old Book of Tang and the New Book of Tang indicated that he died soon after serving as chancellor. As he became chancellor in 692 and lost that status later that year, it is implied that he died in 692, but not conclusively shown. See Old Book of Tang, vol. 62  and New Book of Tang, vol. 100.
- Yang's biography in both Old Book of Tang and New Book of Tang indicated that he received the higher chancellor de facto designation of Tong Zhongshu Menxia Sanpin (同中書門下三品), but this appeared to be erroneous, as it conflicts with the chronicles of her reign in both of those sources, the table of chancellors in the New Book of Tang (see New Book of Tang, vol. 61 ), and also did not match the chancellor titles during the times of her reign. See Old Book of Tang, vol. 6  and New Book of Tang, vol. 4.
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