Northern Song Dynasty
|Zhao Kuangyin, |
the first emperor
of Northern Song Dynasty
In the early period, society and politics were both stable. Soon after the founding of the new dynasty, Emperor Taizu removed military power from the hands of the Jiedushi (regional military governors) consolidating the military leadership and placing it under the control of the emperor. From then on, a rather centralized state power was formed. Due to the policy of 'viewing literacy as more important than the military', a class of civil officials including some eminent poets, such as Su Dongpo and Fan Zhongyan were appointed in the court. During the reign of Emperor Renzong, the economic and social development reached the zenith.
To some extent, the development of science, culture, and art during this period was as advanced as that of the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907).
Science and Culture
|Porcelain, Northern Song Dynasty|
During the reign of Emperor Shenzong, a great talent named Wang Anshi was appointed as Zaixiang (the prime minister in the Song Dynasty). In order to improve the old political system, he twice introduced a series of new policies, but both times it was in vain because of obstruction from conservative forces. During that period, political corruption along with the invasion of external tribes forced the Northern Song court into decline.
|Ruins of Song Great Wall |
in Kelan County, Shanxi
In 1125, the Northern Song court was invaded by the army of the Jin Dynasty (1115 - 1234). With weak military strength, Emperor Huizong was not able to withstand the fierce attack of the Jin army and had to flee the capital city. At the last moment, the Northern Song army rallied and was able to resist the enemy. However, the weak and incompetent rulers of the Northern Song tried to make peace with the Jin court by killing some loyal chancellors. Finally, in 1127, the Jin army captured the Northern Song capital of Kaifeng, ending the Dynasty.