She was praised for her beauty and literary talents. Because of her youth, she had much to learn about the real world.
Gaozong was 21 years old when he ascended the throne. However, real power soon passed from Gaozong into the hands Wu zetian achievements Wu Zhao entered the palace of the Tang emperor Taizong ruled — inat the age of 14, as a junior concubine.
By Wu zetian achievements time, the Tang dynasty had recently reunited China, largely through the efforts of Taizong.
Relegated to a Buddhist convent on the death of Taizong, as custom required, the future empress Wuhou was visited there by the new emperor, who had her brought back to the palace to be his own favourite concubine. She first eliminated her female rivals within the palace—the existing empress and leading concubines—and in gained the position of empress for herself, eventually bearing Gaozong four sons and one daughter.
Wuhou used her authority to bring about the fall of the elder statesmen, all of whom had served Taizong and still exercised great influence over the government.
These men opposed her elevation to the position of empress, mainly because, although she was the daughter of a relatively senior officer, her family was not one of the great aristocratic clans. They also objected to the nature of her relationship with Gaozong, on the grounds that, as she had been a concubine of Taizong, it was incestuous.
By the empress had triumphed over all opponents, who had been dismissed, exiled, and, in many instances, finally executed. Virtually supreme power was now exercised by the Wuhou empress in the name of the sickly Gaozong, who was often too ill to attend to state affairs for long periods.
The emperor, who was weak in character, relied on her entirely, and, for the last 23 years of his life, the empress was the real ruler of China. She continued to eliminate potential rivals, even when these were her own relatives, but she governed the empire with great efficiencyemploying able men who clearly felt loyalty to her and stood by her when she was challenged.
Her great ability as an administrator, her courage, decisive character, and readiness to use ruthless means against any opponent, however highly placed, won her the respect, if not the love, of the court. In the years between andthe Tang empire conquered Korea under military leaders who were picked and promoted by the empress.
When Gaozong died inhe was succeeded by his son Li Xian by Wuhouknown as the Zhongzong emperor. The new emperor had been married to a woman of the Wei family, who now sought to put herself in the same position of authority as that of Wuhou, for Zhongzong was as weak and incompetent as his father.
After one month Wuhou deposed her son, exiled him, and installed as emperor her second son, Li Dan the Ruizong emperorwhose authority was purely nominal. A revolt was raised by Tang loyalists and ambitious young officials in the south.
It was crushed within weeks with the loyal cooperation of the main armies of the throne.
This demonstration of the support she commanded in the public service made the position of the empress unshakable. Six years later, inat age 65, the empress usurped the throne itself. Accepted without revolt, she ruled for 15 years.
During that period the question of the succession began to assume great urgency. Her own nephews of the Wu family had hoped that, as she had already changed the name of the dynasty to Zhou, she would also displace the Tang heirs of the Li family and leave the throne to one of the Wu nephews.
But, even among her loyal supporters, there was a growing hope that the Tang family of Li would not be discarded. In the empress decided to accede to these views; the exiled Zhongzong was recalled to court and made crown prince. The empress showed her remarkable quality in this decision; she did not place her own family in the line of succession or designate one of her nephews as her heir.
She seems to have had no ambition on behalf of her own family, only a determination to retain power for herself to the end. In the last years of her life, fromthe empress gave her favour to the Zhang brothers, artistic but depraved courtiers who engaged her affection by elaborate entertainments and skillful flattery.
They were intensely resented by the court and senior officials, many of whom had the temerity—and courage—to warn the empress of their pernicious activity. She did not heed these warnings and, as she gradually fell into ill health, depended increasingly on the care of the Zhang brothers.
In February a conspiracy formed among the leading ministers and generals, who seized the palace, executed the Zhang brothers, and compelled the empress, old and ill, to yield power to Zhongzong, who reigned until The Demonization of Empress Wu as a monarch whose real achievements and character remain obscured behind layers of obloquy.
Her name was Wu Zetian, .
Wu Zetian () Biography of China's only female emperor who lived during the Tang dynasty when women's unrestricted lives produced exceptional women noted for their contributions in the areas of culture and politics. Wu Zetian: China's fierce and fearless Empress, and feminist Wu Zetian: China's fierce and fearless Empress, and feminist Wu Zetian (AD) was China's only female Emperor.
Empress Wu Zetian in Fiction and in History: Female Defiance in Confucian China by Dora Shu-fang Dien (Nova Publishing, ) explores the life of Empress Wu Zetian and the ways women found to participate in public life, despite the societal constraints of dynastic China.
Wu Zetian (–) was the only female emperor in China's history.
|Ancient China: Empress Wu Zetian Biography||Barrett Various Chinese titles have been translated into English as "empress", including "empress" in both the sense of empress consort and empress regnant. Upon the death of the emperor, the surviving empress consort could become empress dowagersometimes wielding considerable political power as regent during the minority of the male heir to the position of emperor.|
She ruled the Tang Dynasty as empress (–), and then as Emperor for 15 years, in the seldom-mentioned Zhou Dynasty. During her long reign totaling 50 years, the empire became relatively stable, peaceful, powerful, and prosperous. Wu Zetian ( – December 16, ), personal name Wu Zhao, was the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of Emperor although other women have acted as regents, usually until their sons reached adulthood.