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Fate of Empress Xiao of Sui Dynasty


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#16 snowybeagle

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Posted 04 December 2006 - 09:22 PM

May I ask why you think that Sui Yangdi might not have wanted to have more children? Normally, Emperors would want to have as many children as possible to ensure that there will be more than an adequate amount of offspring to pass on the family bloodline.

A few reasons I could think of ...

(1) Too many sons, especially capable sons, translate into rivalries among ambitious siblings. Yang Guang himself should know.

(2) If Yang Guang liked the ministrations of these particular ladies, their getting pregnant would inconvenience him for quite a while, at least.

Hmm, I am really confused regarding the “keep” or “discard” issue! I mean it is quite easy to understand that the Emperor would most likely want to keep the baby. However, what if the Emperor chose to “discard” this pregnancy? Would the concubine or Empress be forced to have an abortion?
I believe that this protocol was much more famous in the Qing Dynasty compare to other dynasties; however, a similar procedure was mandatory to assure that all babies were sired by the Emperor himself. This would be the case for any dynasties.

I think Centaur was correct - it was the norm for later dynasties.

As for the precise procedure, I really do not know it, but some possible interpretation according to some books I've seen, well, it is very undignified to the ladies, not to mention ghastly, horrifying, I don't want to describe the speculations but suffice to say it is a too horrible thing to even contemplate.

#17 Rong Qin Wang

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Posted 10 December 2006 - 04:45 AM

A few reasons I could think of ...

(1) Too many sons, especially capable sons, translate into rivalries among ambitious siblings. Yang Guang himself should know.

(2) If Yang Guang liked the ministrations of these particular ladies, their getting pregnant would inconvenience him for quite a while, at least.
I think Centaur was correct - it was the norm for later dynasties.

As for the precise procedure, I really do not know it, but some possible interpretation according to some books I've seen, well, it is very undignified to the ladies, not to mention ghastly, horrifying, I don't want to describe the speculations but suffice to say it is a too horrible thing to even contemplate.


Zunjing de Snowybeagle Xian Sheng,

Hmm, I surmise Sui Yangdi would have concerns over producing so many capable sons since he originated as an ambitious second son, who was willing to do anything to his eldest brother to snatch away the position of Crown Prince. He obtained the throne through bloodshed in the family. However, he should always feel that there was a better chance for the dynasty to survive with many capable sons.

Regarding the second reason that you have stated, if that was the case, then Sui Yangdi was extremely selfish, in which he only thought of himself rather than having any compassions for his women.

Hmm, I never thought that birth controls were impossible back then and that was why people had so many children. In today’s world, the rate of babies being born each day would increase drastically without birth control pills and with wild teenagers. Hehehe! Abortion was always a possibility; however, with the low technologies in the ancient times, it would have definitely been a very painful experience for a woman.

By the way, was it clearly stated in history books that Sui Yangdi did not really insist on having a lot of children? Or was it just your own speculation(s)?

Xie Xie,

#18 snowybeagle

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 02:20 AM

Actually, it was Yun who noted for his reputation of being fond of women, Yang Guang had very few children.
As to the reasons why, one can only make some guesses.

#19 Rong Qin Wang

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 04:53 AM

Actually, it was Yun who noted for his reputation of being fond of women, Yang Guang had very few children.
As to the reasons why, one can only make some guesses.


Zunjing de Snowybeagle Xian Sheng,

Actually, I have always thought that Sui Yangdi’s reputation for being fond of women is widely known since there were many TV adaptations, poems, stories, and jokes regarding it. Hence, I was really shocked to find out that Sui Yangdi did not have a lot of children. I was even more surprised to hear your speculations. Hehehe! Yeah, I am sure that history books only recorded the general information regarding each Emperor, so such detail like why he did not insist on having more children would not have been written down.

So, you were just making educated guesses after reading the posts from Brother Yun rather than actually getting this indication from official books?

Xie Xie,

#20 Yun

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 06:14 AM

Many scholars (e.g. Arthur Wright and Victor Xiong) actually believe that Sui Yangdi's reputation for lechery is a combination of Tang propaganda and racy Ming-dynasty popular novels or unofficial histories (yeshi) - part of the usual stereotype of the 'bad last emperor'. Certainly, a lot of the sexual perversions Yang Guang is notorious for were never recorded in the dynastic history, even the Sui Shu that was produced by the Tang. So they must be a figment of salacious imaginations.

It is true that Yang Guang had a large harem, but he would certainly not be the first or only emperor to have one.
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#21 snowybeagle

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Posted 11 December 2006 - 12:41 PM

Given that Book of Sui 《隋書》was compiled and edited by Wei Zheng (魏徵) during the reign of Li Shimin, could it might be prudent not to dwell too much on a monarch's sexual endeavours, especially with wives of others, considering how Li Shimin himself took his brother's woman ... (yeah, Wei Zheng was famed for giving most candid and brutally honest feedback to Li Shimin, but this aspect might not be considered as "politically relevant").

#22 Rong Qin Wang

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 04:07 AM

Many scholars (e.g. Arthur Wright and Victor Xiong) actually believe that Sui Yangdi's reputation for lechery is a combination of Tang propaganda and racy Ming-dynasty popular novels or unofficial histories (yeshi) - part of the usual stereotype of the 'bad last emperor'. Certainly, a lot of the sexual perversions Yang Guang is notorious for were never recorded in the dynastic history, even the Sui Shu that was produced by the Tang. So they must be a figment of salacious imaginations.

It is true that Yang Guang had a large harem, but he would certainly not be the first or only emperor to have one.


Zunjing de Yun the Sage-King,

Well, I have always thought that Sui Yangdi was a horrible Emperor because he caused the decline of the Sui Dynasty, mistreated many innocent civilians, and was lecherous. However, after truly going into Chinese History, I have found out that most of the things I knew about Sui Yangdi were fictional.

Since the Tang Dynasty technically overthrew the Sui Dynasty, it really made sense to try and give Sui Yangdi a much worst image than he truly was as propaganda was a great political tool. Even though I personally adore “Ye Shi,” I am not stupid enough to believe everything in it. Hehehehe! Stereotype usually happens when you don’t read primary sources. Then again, it is not always easy to identify original sources.

Hmm, it is kind of surprising that a lot of the sexual perversions Yang Guang is notorious for were never recorded in the Sui Shu, produced by the Tang.

Of course, Sui Yangdi had a large harem, but some of the greatest Emperors also had approximately 3,000 concubines.

Xie Xie,

#23 Rong Qin Wang

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Posted 12 December 2006 - 04:10 AM

Given that Book of Sui 《隋書》was compiled and edited by Wei Zheng (魏徵) during the reign of Li Shimin, could it might be prudent not to dwell too much on a monarch's sexual endeavours, especially with wives of others, considering how Li Shimin himself took his brother's woman ... (yeah, Wei Zheng was famed for giving most candid and brutally honest feedback to Li Shimin, but this aspect might not be considered as "politically relevant").


Zunjing de Snowybeagle Xian Sheng,

Hmm, I think you have a really good point! Wei Zheng was an outstanding prime minister, who was willing to offer harsh criticism to the Emperor. However, his desire was to help create a prosperous state for the civilians. The fact that Tang Taizong himself took in his brother’s wife as his own was not something to brag about. I think this was also because the Li family was not of Han origin. If the common people knew very well that their respected monarch did something somewhat not honorable, then rebel leaders would use this as a propaganda tool for rebellions.

Well, I also believe that not much was known regarding an Emperor’s personal life since that was not usually too relevant in assessing his position in history. I don’t think historians were too interested in the personal life of each Emperor as opposed to his achievements.

#24 Rong Qin Wang

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Posted 17 December 2006 - 04:49 AM

You are correct. It was recorded during 清文宗 's (Qing WenZong) reign.(or better known as 咸丰(XianFeng))That was how the eunuch 安德海 (An DeHai) could wield so much power as he was in charge of all these affairs and thus could influence the emperor whether to keep the pregnancy or not. (though I personally doubt how effective it is..the modern birth control control companies would go bust if this method is truely that effective)


Zunjing de Sima Yan,

Hmm, the protocol of “keep or discard” and “recording” was recorded during the reign of Qing Wen Zong, meaning this policy did not exist during the reigns of previous Qing Emperors?

I am aware An De Hai wielded so much power as the chief eunuch of Empress Cixi after she ascended to the position of Tai Hou. However, he was only a eunuch of second rank during the reign of Qing Wen Zong; hence, was it possible for him to be in charge of all the affairs in Hou Gong? Could he have influenced Emperor Xian Feng to keep or discard a pregnancy? It is important to note, unlike previous Qing Emperors, Emperor Xian Feng had a really small amount of children and only one heir. With this in mind, would not he insist in keeping more pregnancies, which may have resulted in the births of more sons?

I am really interested in knowing if the Emperor chose to discard a pregnancy, how would the actual procedure work? I know other members would have already looked down on me as being a pervert for having an interest in this topic. My honest reason for wanting to know is because I am just curious as to whether this was one of the earliest forms of birth control. If it was, then how effective was this process? I swear I did not have any intentions other than this sole one!

Xie Xie,




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