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A journey through the 5000 years of history documented by one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations.

A journey through the 5000 years of history documented by one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations.
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Shanghai, China


A journey through the 5000 years of history documented by one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations.




# - 5D10K 5: The Exiled Emperor

Later Jin seems to have its bed made within its steadfast alliance with Liao - in spite of the humiliating stipulations such a relationship imposes onto a proud Son of Heaven. Yet when Later Jin's first emperor dies, his replacement will do his level-best to unmake all the gains his nation has made... at his own peril. Time Period Covered: 937-947 CE Major Historical Figures: Later Jin: Shi Jingtang (Emperor Gaozu of Later Jin) [r. 936-942 CE] Shi Chonggui (Emperor Chu of Later Jin)...

Duration: 00:36:24

#127: 5D10K 4: Towering Inferno

In the state of Later Tang, things go from bad to worse as a revolving door of emperors combines with a suddenly-mercenary imperial guard corps... all to bring the state itself to an untimely, but fiery, demise. Time Period Covered: 926-937 CE Major Historical Figures: Emperor Mingzong of Later Tang (Li Siyuan)[r. 926-933] Prince Li Congrong [d. 933] Emperor Li Conghou of Later Tang [r. 933-934] Chancellor Zhu Hongjiao [d. 934] Chancellor Feng Yun [d. 934] Emperor Li Congke of...

Duration: 00:37:37

#126 - 5D10K 3: Lineage of the Liao

We track the Khitan people of Mongolia/Manchuria from their origins in the mythological mists of pre-history, all the way through their reformation under Abaoji Kaghan into a Chinese-style state, known as the Liao Dynasty.

Duration: 00:42:10

Patrick Wyman's Tides of History

A promo episode of the brand new Tides of History Podcast by Patrick Wyman! Subscribe at: Take the Agora listener survey at:

Duration: 00:14:07

#125 - 5D10K 2: The War for Supremacy

The Later Liang Dynasty is forced back onto the defense following the murder if its first two emperors by its third, coupled with the rise of the latest Prince of Jin, Li Cunxu, who is waging a war to restore the Tang regime. But he’ll be forced to decide whether a restoration premised on putting himself on the throne rather than the old imperial clan can really be called a “restoration” at all. Time Period Covered: 915-926 CE Major Historical Figures: Later Liang Dynasty: Zhu Wen...

Duration: 00:40:18

#124 - 5D10K 1: Live By the Sword...

Zhu Wen has proclaimed the dissolution of the Tang and the formation of Later Liang, with him as its Emperor Taizu... but there are more than a few people ready, willing, and able to object rather strongly to that claim...

Duration: 00:35:07

#3 - Tang 33: In the Rearview

We take a sweeping look back at all 289 years of the Tang one more time before pressing into the 5 Dynasties and beyond, and also take a look at some of the aspects of 9th centuryChinese society that are more frequently overlooked... like women's fashion, regional cuisine, playing cards, and toilet paper.

Duration: 00:32:26

#122 - Special: End of Dynasty Q&A

We've made it to the end of the Tang and questions abound! From portrayals of Han Emperors, to my favorite Emperor, and the best Dynasty EVER, to battle tactics and armor, to grat Chinese kung fu movies and how much a protsitute would have been worth... we've had a whole host of excellent questions that I do my very best to answer! Cheers!

Duration: 00:58:05

#121 - Tang 32: Tang of the Dead

Take the army, go to the capital, kill the imperial clan, exterminate the eunuchs, usurp the throne, have a nice cold pint and wait for all this to blow over. How’s that for a slice of fried gold? Time period covered: 888-907 CE Major Historical Figures: Emperor Zhaozong of Tang [r. 887-905] Prince Li Yu [d. 905] Prince Li Zuo (Emperor Ai) [r. 905-908] Han Jian, Governor of Hezhong Li “the One-Eyed Dragon” Keyong, Commander of the Shatuo Turks Li Maozhen, Governor of...

Duration: 00:30:16

#120 - Tang 32: A Thousand Cuts

The rebel-general and usurper-emperor Huang Chao will wear out his welcome in Chang’an, and meet his doom in the Valley of Tigers and Wolves… but his reign of terror over the capital will only be the first act of its terrible, drawn out fate – a fate that will mirror the Tang Dynasty’s as a whole. Emperor Xizong, already put to flight once, will return to the capital – only to swiftly find himself on the run yet again as China’s general and governors alike realize that they are no longer...

Duration: 00:34:16

#119 - Tang 31: Reap the Whirlwind

The poison seeds that have been planted across China for the last century and longer will all begin to sprout, as the rebel commander Huang Chao takes command of the latest and greatest of internal threats to imperial stability. Yet it won't be the rebels themselves that will prove the decisive factor in the chaos to come... but instead the Empire's own supposedly "loyal" generals and soldiers... already looking ahead to their own places in the post-Tang world. Time Period Covered: 878-882...

Duration: 00:38:08

#118 - Tang 30: Sow the Wind

Dear empire, we’re having a very mild case of severe rebellion, um, everywhere. But don’t worry, it’s totally under control. Everything’s fine, we’ve got this. Don’t panic. PS, rebel leaders if you’re reading this we’ll give you more than you’ve ever dreamed of if you’ll just stop attacking us, pretty please. But no it’s fine, we’re totally going to win, for sure. PPS, Imperial Army please stop refusing to fight. We’re totally serious about this. Joke’s over, it’s not funny anymore. Fight...

Duration: 00:35:04

#117 - Tang 29: The Gathering Storm

The Tang Empire enters its death spiral. The cumulative effects of more than a century of economic mismanagement intersects with the peasantry and military's respective gripes with the government to disastrous effects south of the Yangtze River. Rebellions beget further rebellions as the whole enterprise spirals down toward the drainpipe. Time Period Covered: 859-873 CE Major Historical Figures: Emperor Yizong of Tang (Li Wen/Cui) [r. 859-873] Princess Tongcheng [d. 870] General Wang Shi...

Duration: 00:38:00

#116 - Tang 28: I, Xuānzong

Li Yi was never trained to be emperor. Not only was he the thirteenth son of Xianzong, but he'd been ruthlessly mocked and belittled his whole life by his entire family for being an idiot, an invalid, and a mute. But when his hated nephew dies in 846, he's going to shock the world by revealing he was faking it the whole time, and go on to become the last good emperor of the Tang before its final bow. Time Period Covered: 846-859 CE

Duration: 00:33:15

#115 - Tang 27: The Third Disaster of Wu

The new Emperor Wuzong will have a lot on his plate right from the get-go. Foreign threats and domestic squabbles will frame his early reign, but it's his own fanatical devotion to Daoism and antipathy to Buddhism that will define his reign. Period Covered: 840-846 CE

Duration: 00:33:18

#114 - Tang 26: The Sweet Dew Plot

Behind the throne of Tang is where the true power lies in the mid-9th century, among squabbling bureaucrats, shadowy factions, and conniving eunuchs. But this game of shadows is difficult to follow. Nevertheless, when events reach a head in 835 we’ll need to know how all the pieces on the imperial chessboard got where they are, and so we take a look at the real movers and shakers of the late Tang court. Time Period Covered: 808-836 CE Major Historical Figures: Tang Emperors: Emperor...

Duration: 00:33:01

#113 - Tang 25: The Longshoreman's Prophecy

In the wake of Emperor Xianzong’s unexpected death in 820, his work remains unfinished… and now left in the hands of his incapable, incompetent successors. The eunuchs are hard at work securing ultimate authority for themselves, and have no time for a strong central leader, and the Governor-generals of the northeast are eager to get out from under the imperial thumb once again. Into all this madness, a dock-worker, a fortuneteller, and an army of vagabonds will make a quixotic bid for the...

Duration: 00:26:22

#112 - Tang 24: Make Tang Great Again!

Young Emperor Xianzong has a plan to restore China's supremacy in the 9th century world... and - surprisingly enough - it involves precisely zero walls being built. Time Period Covered: 805-820 CE

Duration: 00:44:55

#111 - Special: Strange Tales

Today, we veer off our main narrative and into several seasonal tales which celebrate the spooky season in Chinese fashion. We feature a ghostly gathering, a bewitched battle, injurious jests, and lethal looks. Author: Pu Songling [1640-1715 CE] Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio Featuring: The Golden Goblets (begins: 2:15) The Necromancer (begins: 13:30) The Killing Joke (begins: 21:15) The Painted Skin (begins:

Duration: 00:41:56

#110 - Tang 23: Where the Wangs Went Wrong

We take a look at the final years of Emperor Dezong's reign, his political successes and failures, and the strange, mysterious,short-lived Wang Party that would seize control over government for about 5 minutes before being kicked out by Dezong's grandson Xianzong. Also, we have a paralyzed, mute emperor, so there's that, too! Time Period Covered: ca. 790-806 CE Major Historical Figures: Tang Dynasty: Li Kuo, Emperor Dezong of Tang [r. 780-805] Li Song, Emperor Shunzong of Tang [r. 805] Li...

Duration: 00:41:24

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