Later Liang (Five Dynasties)

For other dynasties called "Liang" or "Later Liang", see Liang.
Capital Luoyang (907-913)
Kaifeng (913-923)
Languages Middle Chinese
Government Monarchy
   907–912 Emperor Taizu
  912–913 Zhu Yougui
  913–923 Emperor Modi
Historical era Five Dynasties
   Established June 1, 907
   Surrender of Kaifeng November 19, 923 923
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Tang dynasty
Later Tang
Min (Ten Kingdoms)
Today part of  China
Stone relief from the tomb of Wang Chuzhi. National Museum, Beijing

The Later Liang (simplified Chinese: 后梁; traditional Chinese: 後梁; pinyin: Hòu Liáng) (June 1, 907–923) was one of the Five Dynasties during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in China. It was founded by Zhu Wen, posthumously known as Taizu of Later Liang, after he forced the last emperor of the Tang dynasty to abdicate in his favour (and then murdered him). The Later Liang would last until 923 when it was destroyed by Later Tang.

Formation of the Later Liang

Zhu Wen initially allied himself as Huang Chao’s lieutenant. However, he took Huang’s best troops and established his own power base as a warlord in Kaifeng. By 904, he had exerted control over both of the twin Tang Dynasty capitals of Chang'an and Luoyang. Tang emperor Zhaozong was ordered murdered by Zhu in 904 and the last Tang emperor, Ai Di (Emperor Ai of Tang), was deposed three years later. Emperor Ai of Tang was murdered in 908, also ordered by Zhu.

Meanwhile, Zhu Wen declared himself emperor of the new Later Liang in Kaifeng in 907. The name Liang refers to the Henan region in which the heart of the regime rested.

Extent of control

The Later Liang controlled most of northern China, though much of Shaanxi (controlled by the Qi) as well as Hebei (controlled by the Yan state) and Shanxi (controlled by Shatuo Turks) remained largely outside Later Liang control.

End of the dynasty

The Later Liang maintained a tense relationship with the Shatuo Turks, due to the rivalry between Zhu Quanzong and Li Keyong, a relationship that began back in the time of the Tang Dynasty. After Li Keyong’s death, his son, Li Cunxu, continued to expand his State of Jin. Li was able to destroy the Later Liang in 923 and found Later Tang.

Conference of the Mandate of Heaven on the Later Liang

Generally through Chinese history, it was historians of later kingdoms whose histories bestowed the Mandate of Heaven posthumously on preceding dynasties. This was typically done for the purpose of strengthening the present rulers' ties to the Mandate themselves. Song Dynasty historian Xue Juzheng did exactly this in his work Old History of the Five Dynasties (五代史).

Several justifications were given for this, and successive Five Dynasties regimes, to be conferred the Mandate of Heaven. Among these was that these dynasties all controlled most of the traditional Chinese heartland. However, the Later Liang was an embarrassment in the brutality it employed, causing many to want to deny it this status, but doing so would break the chain through the other Five Dynasties, and thus to the Song Dynasty, which itself was the successor to the last of the Five Dynasties.

Rulers of the Later Liang

Temple names Posthumous names Family names and given name Chinese naming conventions Durations of reigns Era names and their according durations
Taìzǔ (太祖) Xiànwǔ (獻武) Zhū Wēn (朱溫) Family name and given name 907–912 Kaīpíng (開平) 907–911
Qiánhuà (乾化) 911–912
Did not exist none Zhu Yougui (朱友珪) Family name and given name 912–913Qiánhuà (乾化) 912–913
Fènglì (鳳曆) 913
Did not exist Mò (末)[1] Zhū Zhèn (朱瑱) Family name and given name 913–923 Qiánhuà (乾化) 913–915
Zhēnmíng (貞明) 915–921
Lóngdé (龍德) 921–923

Rulers family tree

Zhu Wen 朱溫 852–912
Taizu 太祖
Zhu Yougui
朱友圭 d. 913
Zhu Zhen 朱瑱 888–923
Modi 末帝

See also


  1. Mo ("last") is not a true posthumous name, but he is often referred to as "Emperor Mo" as the last emperor of the dynasty.
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