Top 10 insane emperors in ancient China

By Zhang Junmian
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, September 2, 2011
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In ancient China, the emperor, believed to be the son of heaven, enjoyed the supreme power to rule the whole nation. How they performed decided the fate of the nation and people.

Over five thousand years of history, China has witnessed 67 dynasties with 446 emperors. Of them, some were remembered by their people as great and brilliant leaders, some ordinary and just so-so, while a few too many so notorious, leaving their mark in history for being so incapable, fatuous, self-indulgent and dreadful.

Here, China.org.cn presents the top ten most fatuous and insane emperors in ancient China.

   Gao Yang 北齐文宣帝高洋

 Gao Yang, one of the 'Top 10 insane emperors in ancient China' by China.org.cn.

Gao Yang [history.21voc.com]

Gao Yang (529-559), Emperor Wenxuan of Northern Qi, was the first emperor of Northern Qi during the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589). In his early years as emperor, he was loved for taking effective measures to enhance the military and political strengths and improve people's lives by reducing their tax burden. Due to his great efforts, Northern Qi became a strong power in a very short period of time. However, several years late, Gao became self-contended and arrogant, indulging his depraved desires for wine and women. Alcoholism not only dragged his state into chaos, but led to his death in 559.

The mad emperor had an illicit relationship with Consort Xue's sister, but beheaded her after getting drunk one night. The next day, he took her head and brandished it at a feast, making all officials horrified. His Prime Minister Yan Yin even prepared a group of prisoners, so that Gao could kill someone conveniently as he desired after drinking.

It's more shocking that many of the women in the imperial Gao clan were ordered to have sex with Gao and his attendants in the palace, where he even killed a concubine mother who refused his request. When drunk, he couldn't even recognize Empress Dowager Lou. One day, as he was scolded by Lou for drinking again, he threatened to marry her to a barbarian. 

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