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The Sui dynasty (, ) was a short-lived imperial dynasty of China of pivotal significance. The Sui unified the
Northern and Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding ...
and reinstalled the rule of ethnic
Han Han may refer to: Ethnic groups * Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on ...
in the entirety of
China proper China proper, Inner China or the Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Manchu The Manchu (; ) are an officially recognized ethnic minority in China and the people from whom Manchuria Manchuria is an exonym a ...

China proper
, along with
sinicization Sinicization, sinofication, sinification, or sinonization (from the prefix , 'Chinese, relating to China') is the process by which non-Chinese societies come under the influence of Chinese culture Chinese culture () is one of the world's ...
of former
nomad A nomad ( frm, nomade "people without fixed habitation") is a member of a community without fixed habitation who regularly moves to and from the same areas. Such groups include hunter-gatherer A hunter-gatherer is a human Humans (''Homo ...

nomad
ic
ethnic minorities A minority group, by its original definition, refers to a group of people whose practices, race, religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics are lesser in numbers than the main groups of those classifications. However, in present-day sociology, ...
(
Five Barbarians The Five Barbarians, or Wu Hu (), is a Chinese historical exonym An endonym (from Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loca ...
) within its territory. It was succeeded by the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
, which largely inherited its foundation. Founded by
Emperor Wen of Sui The Emperor Wen of Sui (; 21 July 541 – 13 August 604), personal name Yang Jian (), Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were a Proto-Mongolic Proto-Mongolic is the hypothetical ancestor language of the modern Mongolic languages. It is very close t ...
, the Sui dynasty
capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller lowercase (or more formally ''minusc ...
was
Chang'an Chang'an (; ) is the traditional name of Xi'an Xi'an ( , ; ; Chinese: ), sometimes romanized as Sian, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between th ...
(which was renamed Daxing, modern
Xi'an Xi'an ( , ; ; Chinese: ), sometimes romanized as Sian, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals ...
,
Shaanxi Shaanxi (; , ; Chinese postal romanization, alternately Shensi) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Officially part of Northwest China, it borders the province-level divisions of Shanxi (NE, ...

Shaanxi
) from 581–605 and later
Luoyang Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin Chinese, Jin: uə xɔ Standard Beijing Mandarin, Mandarin: ''Huáng hé'' ) is the second-longest river in China, afte ...

Luoyang
(605–618). Emperors Wen and his successor
Yang Yang may refer to: * Yang, in yin and yang, one half of the two symbolic polarities in Chinese philosophy * Korean yang, former unit of currency of Korea from 1892 to 1902 *Yang (film), a 1984 Indonesian film nominated for Best Picture at the Cit ...
undertook various centralized reforms, most notably the
equal-field system The equal-field system () or land-equalization system was a system of land ownership and distribution in China used from the Northern Wei Maitreya Maitreya (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nom ...
, intended to reduce
economic inequality There are wide varieties of economic inequality, most notably measured using the distribution of incomeIn economics Economics () is the social science that studies how people interact with value; in particular, the Production (econom ...
and improve
agricultural productivity Agricultural productivity is measured as the ratio of agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, ...
; the institution of the Five Departments and Six Board (五省六曹 or 五省六部) system, which is a predecessor of
Three Departments and Six Ministries The Three Departments and Six Ministries () system was the primary administrative structure in imperial China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Sha ...
system; and the standardization and re-unification of the coinage. They also spread and encouraged
Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
throughout the empire. By the middle of the dynasty, the newly unified empire entered a golden age of prosperity with vast agricultural surplus that supported rapid
population growth Population growth is the increase in the number of people in a population Population typically refers the number of people in a single area whether it be a city or town, region, country, or the world. Governments typically quantify the size ...
. A lasting legacy of the Sui dynasty was the
Grand CanalGrand Canal can refer to multiple waterways: * Grand Canal (China) in eastern China * Grand Canal (Ireland), between the River Shannon and Dublin in Ireland * Grand Canal (Venice) in Venice, Italy * Grand Canal d'Alsace in eastern France *Grand Cana ...
. With the eastern capital
Luoyang Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin Chinese, Jin: uə xɔ Standard Beijing Mandarin, Mandarin: ''Huáng hé'' ) is the second-longest river in China, afte ...

Luoyang
at the center of the network, it linked the west-lying capital
Chang'an Chang'an (; ) is the traditional name of Xi'an Xi'an ( , ; ; Chinese: ), sometimes romanized as Sian, is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between th ...
to the economic and agricultural centers of the east towards Jiangdu (now
Yangzhou Yangzhou, Postal Map Romanization, postal romanization Yangchow, is a prefecture-level city in central Jiangsu Province (Suzhong), East China. Sitting on the north bank of the Yangtze, it borders the provincial capital Nanjing to the southwest, H ...

Yangzhou
,
Jiangsu Jiangsu (; ; formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative regi ...

Jiangsu
) and Yuhang (now
Hangzhou Hangzhou (, , Standard Mandarin Standard Chinese (), in linguistics known as Standard Northern Mandarin, Standard Beijing Mandarin or simply Mandarin, is a dialect of Mandarin that emerged as the lingua franca A lingua franca (; ...

Hangzhou
,
Zhejiang Zhejiang (, ; , Chinese postal romanization, also romanized as Chekiang) is an East China, eastern, coastal Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China. Its capital and largest city is Hangzhou. Zhejiang is bordered ...

Zhejiang
), and to the northern border near modern
Beijing Beijing ( ), as Peking ( ), is the of the . It is the world's , with over 21 million residents within an of 16,410.5 km2 (6336 sq. mi.). It is located in , and is governed as a under the direct administration of the with .Figures ...

Beijing
. While the pressing initial motives were for shipment of
grains A grain is a small, hard, dry – with or without an attached or layer – harvested for human or animal consumption. A grain crop is a grain-producing plant. The two main types of commercial grain crops are s and . After being harvested, dry ...
to the capital, transporting troops, and
military logistics Military logistics is the discipline of planning and carrying out the movement, supply, and maintenance of military forces. In its most comprehensive sense, it is those aspects or military operations that deal with: * Design, development, , stora ...
, the reliable inland shipment links would facilitate domestic trade, flow of people and cultural exchange for centuries. Along with the extension of the
Great Wall The Great Wall of China () is a series of fortifications A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typica ...

Great Wall
, and the construction of the eastern capital city of
Luoyang Luoyang is a city located in the confluence area of Luo River and Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin Chinese, Jin: uə xɔ Standard Beijing Mandarin, Mandarin: ''Huáng hé'' ) is the second-longest river in China, afte ...

Luoyang
, these mega projects, led by an efficient centralized bureaucracy, would amass millions of conscripted workers from the large population base, at heavy cost of human lives. After a series of costly and disastrous military campaigns against
Goguryeo Goguryeo (; , 37 BC–668 AD), also called Goryeo (; ), was a Korean kingdom located in the northern and central parts of the and the southern and central parts of . At its peak of power, Goguryeo controlled most of the Korean peninsula, lar ...
, one of the
Three Kingdoms of Korea The Three Kingdoms of Korea () refers to the three kingdoms of Goguryeo Goguryeo (; , 37 BC–668 AD), also called Goryeo (; ), was a Korean kingdom located in the northern and central parts of the and the southern and central parts of ...
, ended in defeat by 614, the dynasty disintegrated under a series of popular revolts culminating in the assassination of Emperor Yang by his minister, Yuwen Huaji in 618. The dynasty, which lasted only thirty-seven years, was undermined by ambitious wars and construction projects, which overstretched its resources. Particularly, under
Emperor Yang Emperor Yang of Sui (隋煬帝, 569 – 11 April 618), personal name Yang Guang (), alternative name Ying (), Xianbei name Amo (), also known as Emperor Ming () during the brief reign of his grandson Yang Tong), was the second son of Emperor Wen ...
, heavy taxation and compulsory labor duties would eventually induce widespread revolts and brief
civil war A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
following the fall of the dynasty. The dynasty is often compared to the earlier
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a romanization Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of ever ...

Qin dynasty
for unifying China after prolonged division. Wide-ranging reforms and construction projects were undertaken to consolidate the newly unified state, with long-lasting influences beyond their short dynastic reigns.


History


Emperor Wen and the founding of Sui

Towards the late
Northern and Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding ...
, the
Northern Zhou The Northern Zhou (; ) followed the Western Wei, and ruled northern China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populou ...
conquered the
Northern Qi The Northern Qi (), also called Later Qi and Gao Qi, was one of the Northern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589, following the tumultuous era of the Sixteen K ...
in 577 and reunified northern China. The century's trend of gradual conquest of the southern dynasties of the
Han Chinese The Han Chinese (), or the Han people (), is an East Asian East Asia is the east East is one of the four cardinal direction The four cardinal directions, or cardinal points, are the directions north North is one of the four ...
by the northern dynasties, which were ruled by ethnic minority
Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were a Proto-Mongolic Proto-Mongolic is the hypothetical ancestor language of the modern Mongolic languages. It is very close to the Middle Mongol language, the language spoken at the time of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empir ...
, would become inevitable. By this time, the later founder of the Sui dynasty, Yang Jian, an ethnic Han Chinese, became the regent to the Northern Zhou court. His daughter was the Empress Dowager, and her stepson,
Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou Emperor Jing of Northern Zhou ((北)周靜帝) (573–581), personally name né Yuwen Yan (宇文衍), later Yuwen Chan (宇文闡), was the last emperor of the Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were an ancient nomadic people that once resided in th ...
, was a child. After crushing an army in the eastern provinces, Yang Jian usurped the throne to become
Emperor Wen of Sui The Emperor Wen of Sui (; 21 July 541 – 13 August 604), personal name Yang Jian (), Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were a Proto-Mongolic Proto-Mongolic is the hypothetical ancestor language of the modern Mongolic languages. It is very close t ...
. While formerly the Duke of Sui when serving at the Zhou court, where the character "Sui " literally means "to follow" and implies loyalty, Emperor Wen created the unique character "Sui ()", morphed from the character of his former title, as the name of his newly founded dynasty. In a bloody purge, he had fifty-nine princes of the Zhou royal family eliminated, yet nevertheless became known as the "Cultured Emperor". Emperor Wen abolished the anti-Han policies of Zhou and reclaimed his Han surname of Yang. Having won the support of Confucian scholars who held power in previous Han dynasties (abandoning the nepotism and corruption of the
nine-rank system The nine-rank system, also known as the nine grade controller system, was a system used to categorize and evaluate officials, and potential entrants into officialdom, in Imperial China. Created in the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms, ...
), Emperor Wen initiated a series of reforms aimed at strengthening his empire for the wars that would reunify China. In his campaign for southern conquest, Emperor Wen assembled thousands of boats to confront the naval forces of the
Chen dynasty The Chen dynasty (; 557–589), also known as the Southern Chen (南陳 / 南朝陈), was the fourth and last of the Southern Dynasties in China. Following the Liang dynasty, the Chen dynasty was founded by Chen Baxian (Emperor Wu of Chen, Empero ...
on the
Yangtze River The Yangtze or Yangzi ( or ) is the longest river in Asia, the third-longest in the world and the longest in the world to flow entirely within one country. It rises at Jari Hill in the Tanggula Mountains The Tanggula ( Chinese:  ...
. The largest of these ships were very tall, having five layered decks and the capacity for 800 non-crew personnel. They were outfitted with six 50-foot-long booms that were used to swing and damage enemy ships, or to pin them down so that Sui marine troops could use act-and-board techniques. Besides employing
Xianbei The Xianbei (; ) were a Proto-Mongolic Proto-Mongolic is the hypothetical ancestor language of the modern Mongolic languages. It is very close to the Middle Mongol language, the language spoken at the time of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empir ...
and other Chinese ethnic groups for the fight against Chen, Emperor Wen also employed the service of people from southeastern
Sichuan Sichuan (; , ; alternatively romanized as Szechuan or Szechwan) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, admini ...

Sichuan
, which Sui had recently conquered. In 588, the Sui had amassed 518,000 troops along the northern bank of the Yangtze River, stretching from Sichuan to the
East China Sea The East China Sea is an arm of the Western Pacific Ocean, located directly offshore from East China (hence the name), covering an area of roughly . Its northern extension between mainland China and the Korean Peninsula Korea is a regi ...

East China Sea
. The Chen dynasty could not withstand such an assault. By 589, Sui troops entered Jiankang (
Nanjing Nanjing (; , Mandarin pronunciation: ), Postal Map Romanization, alternately romanized as Nanking, is the capital of Jiangsu Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, a sub-provincial city, a megacity and the List ...

Nanjing
) and the last emperor of Chen surrendered. The city was razed to the ground, while Sui troops escorted Chen nobles back north, where the northern aristocrats became fascinated with everything the south had to provide culturally and intellectually. Although Emperor Wen was famous for bankrupting the state treasury with warfare and construction projects, he made many improvements to infrastructure during his early reign. He established granaries as sources of food and as a means to regulate market prices from the taxation of crops, much like the earlier
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
. The large agricultural surplus supported rapid growth of population to a historical peak, which was only surpassed at the zenith of the Tang Dynasty more than a century later. The state capital of Chang'an (Daxing), while situated in the militarily secure heartland of
Guanzhong Guanzhong (, formerly romanised as Kwanchung) region, also known as the Guanzhong Basin, Wei River Basin, or uncommonly as the Shaanzhong region, is a historical region Historical regions (or historical areas) are geographic areas which at some ...
, was remote from the economic centers to the east and south of the empire. Emperor Wen initiated the construction of the
Grand CanalGrand Canal can refer to multiple waterways: * Grand Canal (China) in eastern China * Grand Canal (Ireland), between the River Shannon and Dublin in Ireland * Grand Canal (Venice) in Venice, Italy * Grand Canal d'Alsace in eastern France *Grand Cana ...
, with completion of the first (and the shortest) route that directly linked Chang'an to the Yellow River (Huang He). Later, Emperor Yang enormously enlarged the scale of the Grand Canal construction. Externally, the emerging nomadic Turkic (Tujue) Khaganate in the north posed a major threat to the newly founded dynasty. With Emperor Wen's diplomatic maneuver, the Khaganate split into
Eastern Eastern may refer to: Transportation *China Eastern Airlines, a current Chinese airline based in Shanghai *Eastern Air, former name of Zambia Skyways *Eastern Air Lines, a defunct American airline that operated from 1926 to 1991 *Eastern Air Lin ...
and
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...

Western
halves. Later the
Great Wall The Great Wall of China () is a series of fortifications A fortification is a military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typica ...

Great Wall
was consolidated to further secure the northern territory. In Emperor Wen's late years, the first war with Goguryeo (Korea), ended with defeat. Nevertheless, the celebrated "[Reign of Kaihuang" (era name of Emperor Wen)" was considered by historians as one of the apexes in the two millennium imperial period of Chinese history. The Sui Emperors were from the northwest military aristocracy, and emphasized that their patrilineal ancestry was ethnic Han, claiming descent from the Han official Yang Zhen. The New Book of Tang traced his patrilineal ancestry to the Zhou dynasty kings via the Dukes of Jin. The Yang of Hongnong w:zh:弘農楊氏, 弘農楊氏 were asserted as ancestors by the Sui Emperors, much as the Longxi Li's were asserted as ancestors of the Tang Emperors. The Li of Zhaojun and the Lu of Fanyang hailed from Shandong and were related to the Liu clan which was also linked to the Yang of Hongnong and other clans of Guanlong. The Dukes of Jin were claimed as the ancestors of the Hongnong Yang. The Yang of Hongnong, Jia of Hedong, Xiang of Henei, and Wang of Taiyuan from the Tang dynasty were claimed as ancestors by Song dynasty lineages. Information about these major political events in China were somehow filtered west and reached the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire, or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn ...

Byzantine Empire
, the continuation of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Republican Republican can refer to: Political ideology * An advocate of a republic, a type of governme ...

Roman Empire
in the east. From
Turkic peoples The Turkic peoples are a collection of ethnic groups of Central Asia, Central, East Asia, East, North Asia, North and West Asia as well as parts of Europe and North Africa, who speak Turkic languages.. "Turkic peoples, any of various peoples w ...
of Central Asia the Eastern Romans derived a new name for China after the older ''
Sinae The names of China include the many contemporary and historical appellations given in various languages for the East Asian country known as ''Zhōngguó'' (/, "middle country") Chinese names for China, aside from ''Zhongguo'', include ''Zhonghua ...
'' and ''
Serica Serica (, grc, Σηρικά) was one of the easternmost countries A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are ...
'': '' Taugast'' (
Old Turkic Old Turkic (also East Old Turkic, Orkhon Turkic, Old Uyghur) is the earliest attested form of Turkic, found in Göktürk and Uyghur inscriptions dating from about the 7th century AD to the 13th century. It is the oldest attested member of th ...
: ''
Tabghach The Tuoba (Middle Chinese Middle Chinese (formerly known as Ancient Chinese) or the Qieyun system (QYS) is the historical variety of Chinese language, Chinese recorded in the ''Qieyun'', a rime dictionary first published in 601 and followed by s ...
''), during its
Northern Wei Maitreya Maitreya (Sanskrit Sanskrit (, attributively , ''saṃskṛta-'', nominalization, nominally , ''saṃskṛtam'') is a classical language of South Asia belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-Euro ...
(386–535) period. The 7th-century Byzantine historian
Theophylact Simocatta Theophylact Simocatta ( Byzantine Greek: Θεοφύλακτος Σιμοκάτ(τ)ης ''Theophylaktos Simokat(t)es''; la, Theophylactus Simocattus) was an early seventh-century Byzantine historiographer, arguably ranking as the last historian of ...
wrote a generally accurate depiction of the by Emperor Wen of Sui Dynasty, with the conquest of the rival Chen Dynasty in southern China. Simocatta correctly placed these events within the reign period of Byzantine ruler
MauriceMaurice may refer to: People *Saint Maurice (died 287), Roman legionary and Christian martyr *Maurice (emperor) or Flavius Mauricius Tiberius Augustus (539–602), Byzantine emperor *Maurice (bishop of London) (died 1107), Lord Chancellor and Lor ...
. (1915). Henri Cordier (ed.)
''Cathay and the Way Thither: Being a Collection of Medieval Notices of China, Vol I: Preliminary Essay on the Intercourse Between China and the Western Nations Previous to the Discovery of the Cape Route''
London: Hakluyt Society. Accessed 21 September 2016, pp 29–31.
Simocatta also provided cursory information about the
geography of China China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.4 billion. Covering approxi ...
, its division by the
Yangzi River along the Yangtze River. in Hubei Hubei (; ; alternately Hupeh) is a landlocked province A province is almost always an administrative division within a country or state. The term derives from the ancient Roman '' provincia'', w ...
and its capital ''Khubdan'' (from Old Turkic ''Khumdan'', i.e. Chang'an) along with its customs and culture, deeming its people "
idolatrous Idolatry is the worship of an idol or cult image, being a physical image, such as a statue, or a person in place of God. In Abrahamic religions, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam, idolatry connotes the worship of something or someone other th ...
" but wise in governance. He noted that the ruler was named "Taisson", which he claimed meant "Son of God", perhaps Chinese ''Tianzi'' (
Son of Heaven Son of Heaven, or ''Tianzi'' (), was the sacred monarchical title of the Chinese sovereign. It originated with the ancient Zhou dynasty and was founded on the political and spiritual doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven. Since the Qin dynasty, th ...
) or even the name of the contemporary ruler
Emperor Taizong of Tang Emperor Taizong of Tang (28January 59810July 649), previously Prince of Qin, personal name Li Shimin, was the second emperor of the Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled fr ...
.


Emperor Yang and the reconquest of Vietnam

Emperor Yang of Sui Emperor Yang of Sui (隋煬帝, 569 – 11 April 618), personal name Yang Guang (), alternative name Ying (), Xianbei name Amo (), also known as Emperor Ming of Sui () during the brief reign of his grandson Yang Tong) was the second son of Empe ...
(569–618) ascended the throne after his father's death, possibly by murder. He further extended the empire, but unlike his father, did not seek to gain support from the nomads. Instead, he restored
Confucian education , Shanxi Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a w ...
and the Confucian examination system for bureaucrats. By supporting educational reforms, he lost the support of the nomads. He also started many expensive construction projects such as the
Grand Canal of China The Grand Canal, known to the Chinese people, Chinese as the Jing–Hang Grand Canal (, or more commonly, as the「大運河」("Grand Canal")), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the longest canal or artificial river in the world. Starting in Beij ...
, and became embroiled in several costly wars. Between these policies, invasions into China from Turkic nomads, and his growing life of decadent luxury at the expense of the peasantry, he lost public support and was eventually assassinated by his own ministers. Both Emperors Yang and Wen sent military expeditions into
Vietnam Vietnam ( vi, Việt Nam, ), officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,, group="n" is a country in Southeast Asia Southeast Asia, also spelled South East Asia and South-East Asia, and also known as Southeastern Asia or SEA, is the ...

Vietnam
as Annam in northern Vietnam had been incorporated into the Chinese empire over 600 years earlier during the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
(202 BC – 220 AD). However the Kingdom of
Champa Champa (Cham Cham or CHAM may refer to: Ethnicities and languages *Chams The Chams or Cham people ( Cham: ''Urang Campa'' / ꨂꨣꩃ ꨌꩌꨛꨩ, vi, người Chăm or người Chàm, km, ជនជាតិចាម), are an ethni ...

Champa
in central Vietnam became a major counterpart to Chinese invasions to its north. According to Ebrey, Walthall, and Palais, these invasions became known as the Linyi-Champa Campaign (602–605). The
Hanoi , population_total = 8,053,663 ( 2nd) , population_as_of = 2019 , population_demonym = Hanoian , population_density_km2 = auto , population_urban = 3,962,310 , population_density_urban_km2 = 14708.8 , popula ...

Hanoi
area formerly held by the Han and Jin dynasties was easily retaken from the Early Lý dynasty ruler Lý Phật Tử in 602. A few years later the Sui army pushed farther south and was attacked by troops on
war elephant A war elephant was an elephant Elephants are the largest existing land animals. Three living species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structu ...

war elephant
s from Champa in southern Vietnam. The Sui army feigned retreat and dug pits to trap the elephants, lured the Champan troops to attack then used crossbows against the elephants causing them to turn around and trample their own soldiers. Although Sui troops were victorious many succumbed to disease as northern soldiers did not have immunity to
tropical disease Tropical diseases are Infectious disease, diseases that are prevalent in or unique to tropics, tropical and subtropics, subtropical regions. The diseases are less prevalent in temperate climates, due in part to the occurrence of a cold season, which ...
s such as
malaria Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that affects humans and other animals. Malaria causes symptoms Signs and symptoms are the observed or detectable signs, and experienced symptoms of an illness, injury, or condition. A sign fo ...

malaria
.


Goguryeo-Sui wars

The Sui dynasty led a series of massive expeditions to invade
Goguryeo Goguryeo (; , 37 BC–668 AD), also called Goryeo (; ), was a Korean kingdom located in the northern and central parts of the and the southern and central parts of . At its peak of power, Goguryeo controlled most of the Korean peninsula, lar ...
, one of the
Three Kingdoms of Korea The Three Kingdoms of Korea () refers to the three kingdoms of Goguryeo Goguryeo (; , 37 BC–668 AD), also called Goryeo (; ), was a Korean kingdom located in the northern and central parts of the and the southern and central parts of ...
. Emperor Yang conscripted many soldiers for the campaign. This army was so enormous it recorded in historical texts that it took 30 days for all the armies to exit their last rallying point near
Shanhaiguan Shanhai Pass or Shanhaiguan () is one of the major passes in the Great Wall of China The Great Wall of China () is a series of fortifications that were built across the historical northern borders of ancient Chinese states and Imperi ...
before invading Goguryeo. In one instance the soldiers—both conscripted and paid—listed over 3000 warships, up to 1.15 million infantry, 50,000 cavalry, 5000 artillery, and more. The army stretched to 1000 '' li'' or about across rivers and valleys, over mountains and hills. Each of the four military expeditions ended in failure, incurring a substantial financial and manpower deficit from which the Sui would never recover.


Fall of the Sui Dynasty

One of the major work projects undertaken by the Sui was construction activities along the
Great Wall of China The Great Wall of China () is a series of fortifications that were built across the historical northern borders of ancient Chinese states and Imperial China as protection against Eurasian nomads, various nomadic groups from the Eurasian Step ...

Great Wall of China
; but this, along with other large projects, strained the economy and angered the resentful workforce employed. During the last few years of the Sui dynasty, the rebellion that rose against it took many of China's able-bodied men from rural farms and other occupations, which in turn damaged the agricultural base and the economy further.Benn, 2. Men would deliberately break their limbs in order to avoid military
conscription Conscription, sometimes called the draft in the United States, is the mandatory enlistment of people in a national service National service is a system of either compulsory or voluntary government service, usually military service Mili ...

conscription
, calling the practice "propitious paws" and "fortunate feet." Later, after the fall of Sui, in the year 642,
Emperor Taizong of Tang Emperor Taizong of Tang (28January 59810July 649), previously Prince of Qin, personal name Li Shimin, was the second emperor of the Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled fr ...
made an effort to eradicate this practice by issuing a decree of a stiffer punishment for those who were found to deliberately injure and heal themselves. Although the Sui dynasty was relatively short (581–618), much was accomplished during its tenure. The Grand Canal was one of the main accomplishments. It was extended north from the Hangzhou region across the Yangzi to Yangzhou and then northwest to the region of Luoyang. Again, like the Great Wall works, the massive conscription of labor and allocation of resources for the Grand Canal project resulted in challenges for Sui dynastic continuity. The eventual fall of the Sui dynasty was also due to the many losses caused by the failed military campaigns against Goguryeo. It was after these defeats and losses that the country was left in ruins and rebels soon took control of the government. Emperor Yang was assassinated in 618. He had gone South after the capital being threatened by various rebel groups and was killed by his advisors (Yuwen Clan). Meanwhile, in the North, the aristocrat Li Yuan (李淵) held an uprising after which he ended up ascending the throne to become
Emperor Gaozu of Tang Emperor Gaozu of Tang (7 April 566 – 25 June 635, born Li Yuan, courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the ...
. This was the start of the
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
, one of the most-noted dynasties in Chinese history. There were Dukedoms for the offspring of the royal families of the Zhou dynasty, Sui dynasty, and Tang dynasty in the
Later Jin (Five Dynasties) The Later Jìn (, 936–947), also called Shi Jin (石晉), was one of the Five Dynasties during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in China. It was founded by Shi Jingtang with aid from the Liao dynasty, which assumed suzerainty over ...
. This practice was referred to as Èr wángsānkè ( 二王三恪).


Culture

Although the Sui dynasty was relatively short-lived, in terms of culture, it represents a transition from the preceding ages, and many cultural developments which can be seen to be incipient during the Sui dynasty later were expanded and consolidated during the ensuing
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
, and later ages. This includes not only the major public works initiated, such as the Great Wall and the Great Canal, but also the political system developed by Sui, which was adopted by Tang with little initial change other than at the top of the political hierarchy. Other cultural developments of the Sui dynasty included religion and literature, particular examples being Buddhism and poetry. Rituals and sacrifices were conducted by the Sui.


Taoism

The Sui court pursued a pro-Taoist policy. The first reign of the dynasty saw the state promoting the Northern Louguan school of Taoism, while the second reign instead promoted the Southern Shangqing school of Taoism, possibly due to Emperor Yang's preference for Southern culture.


Buddhism

Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the world's fourth-largest religion Religion is a social Social organisms, including humans, live collectively in interacting populations. This interaction is considered social whether they are aware of it or not, and ...

Buddhism
was popular during the
Sixteen Kingdoms The Sixteen Kingdoms (), less commonly the Sixteen States, was a chaotic period in Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty The Shang dynasty ...
and
Northern and Southern dynasties The Northern and Southern dynasties () was a period in the history of China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding ...
period that preceded the Sui dynasty, spreading from India through
Kushan The Kushan Empire ( grc, Βασιλεία Κοσσανῶν; xbc, Κυϸανο, kus, khasano, ; Brahmi script, Late Brahmi Sanskrit: , ', '; Devanagari sa, कुषाण राजवंश, ; Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit, BHS: ; xpr, 𐭊 ...
Afghanistan into China during the Late
Han Han may refer to: Ethnic groups * Han Chinese The Han Chinese,
. Huayuqiao.org. Retrieved on ...

Han
period. Buddhism gained prominence during the period when central political control was limited. Buddhism created a unifying cultural force that uplifted the people out of war and into the Sui dynasty. In many ways, Buddhism was responsible for the rebirth of culture in China under the Sui dynasty. While early Buddhist teachings were acquired from
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language of South Asia that belongs to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor langua ...

Sanskrit
sutra Sutra ( sa, सूत्र, translit=sūtra, translit-std=IAST, translation=string, threadMonier Williams, ''Sanskrit English Dictionary'', Oxford University Press, Entry fo''sutra'' page 1241) in Indian literature, Indian literary traditions r ...
s from India, it was during the late Six dynasties and Sui dynasty that local Chinese schools of Buddhist thoughts started to flourish. Most notably,
Zhiyi Zhiyi (; 538–597 CE) also Chen De'an (陈德安), is the founder of the Tiantai Tiantai or T'ien-t'ai () is a school of Buddhism Buddhism (, ) is the Major religious groups#Largest religions, world's fourth-largest religion with over ...

Zhiyi
founded the Tiantai school and completed the Great treatise on Concentration and Insight, within which he taught the principle of Zhiyi, "Three Thousand Realms in a Single moment of Life" as the essence of Buddhist teaching outlined in the Lotus Sutra. Emperor Wen and his empress had converted to Buddhism to legitimize imperial authority over China and the conquest of Chen. The emperor presented himself as a Cakravartin king, a Buddhist monarch who would use military force to defend the Buddhist faith. In the year 601 AD, Emperor Wen had relics of the Buddha distributed to temples throughout China, with edicts that expressed his goals, "all the people within the Four Seas may, without exception, develop enlightenment and together cultivate fortunate karma, bringing it to pass that present existences will lead to happy future lives, that the sustained creation of good causation will carry us one and all up to wondrous enlightenment". Ultimately, this act was an imitation of the ancient Mauryan Emperor Ashoka of India.


Confucianism

Confucian philosopher Wang Tong (philosopher), Wang Tong wrote and taught during the Sui Dynasty, and even briefly held office as Secretary of Shuzhou. His most famous (as well as only surviving) work, the ''Explanation of the Mean'' (Zhongshuo, 中说) was compiled shortly after his death in 617.


Poetry

Although poetry continued to be written, and certain poets rose in prominence while others disappeared from the landscape, the brief Sui dynasty, in terms of the development of Chinese poetry, lacks distinction, though it nonetheless represents a continuity between the Six Dynasties and the poetry of Tang.*Burton Watson, Watson, Burton (1971). ''CHINESE LYRICISM: Shih Poetry from the Second to the Twelfth Century''. (New York: Columbia University Press). , p. 109. Sui dynasty poets include Emperor Yang of Sui, Yang Guang (580–618), who was the last Sui emperor (and a sort of Emperor Yang of Sui#Arts, poetry critic); and also, the Lady Hou, one of his consorts.


Rulers


Family tree of the Sui emperors


See also

* Chinese sovereign * Extreme weather events of 535–536 *
Grand Canal of China The Grand Canal, known to the Chinese people, Chinese as the Jing–Hang Grand Canal (, or more commonly, as the「大運河」("Grand Canal")), a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the longest canal or artificial river in the world. Starting in Beij ...
* History of China * List of tributaries of Imperial China * List of ancient Chinese * Anji Bridge


Notes


References


Further reading

* *


External links


Classical Imperial China
{{authority control Sui dynasty, Dynasties in Chinese history Former countries in Chinese history Medieval Asia 6th century in China 7th century in China Sui dynasty Buddhists, . States and territories established in the 580s States and territories disestablished in the 7th century 581 establishments 6th-century establishments in China 618 disestablishments 7th-century disestablishments in China 6th-century establishments in Vietnam 7th-century disestablishments in Vietnam