With the permission of Third Angel, I am opening this thread to cover Chinese historical material needed for Dawn of Kingdoms.
I plan first of all to cover 888, followed by 960 and so on. For the sake transparency I will list the sources I am using here in the first post:
Historical Dictionary of Medieval China by Victor Cunrui Xiong
Historical Records of the Five Dynasties by Ouyang Xiu, translated and with an Introduction by Richard L. Davis
Imperial China 900-1800 by F.W. Mote
Medieval Chinese Warfare 300-900 by David A. Graff
Daily Life in Traditional China: The Tang Dynasty by Charles Benn
Now for my first post I think it would be wise to just over the situation as it was in 888, the events preceding and proceeding from that date, and then ruler lists for all of the major players.
First we will need to go back about a century to the aftermath of the An Lushan Rebellion (755-763):
While the Tang Empire shrank externally from the effects of the revolt, and especially the expansion of Tibetan (which the Chinese called Tubo) and Uigher (Huihu, Huihe) power, internally China was ripped apart as the defense commands (orginally based on the frontier which could range from two to a over dozen prefectures in size) became more autonomous, and the commanding officer (called the military governor or the military commissioner) gained more power over military, civilian, and financial affairs. As the defense commands became independent kingdoms, their governors (following Prof. Davis' usage) turned into warlords and a persistent threat to the central government. Adding to the confusion was military power of the eunuchs. They commanded the court's palace armies, relying the most of the Army of Divine Strategy, which acted as the eunuchs praetorians. This led to a three way struggle between the ruling House of Li, the eunuchs, and the governors.
By the 860s the empire began to unravel. In 874 the situation worsened when a salt trader named Wang Xianzhi rose in revolt in Changyuan and was joined a year later by another salt trader named Huang Chao. Huang would eventually take control of the rebellion, which was proved cataclysmic. At its height the rebel army numbered over a million strong and swept through the lower and middle Yangzi River valley, the Central Plains, and reached as far south as Guangzhou by 879. In 880 and 881 Huang sacked the Tang capitals of Luoyang and Chang'an respectively and founded his own Qi dynasty, with the Tang Emperor Xizong seeking refuge in Chengdu. The governors took the opportunity to grab even more autonomy, including the ability to make their position hereditary either to their family or to pass on to political proteges. By 884 Huang Chao had been eliminated at great cost, and the court lost any ability to control the warring factions. Tang control covered Chang’an and some of the surrounding prefectures. All else was controlled by the warlords, variously called jiedu shi, guancha shi, and fanzhen. Taxation was no longer reaching the central government. The following is a list of the greatest of the governors at the time of game-start. Before we proceed, I do want to say the names of the defense commands differs between authors and not always in a uniform manner, which can be highly confusing. I am going to try to stick with one usage, but will use another when necessary:
Li Maozhen (Fengxiang, southwest Shaanxi, HQ at Baoji)
Li Keyong (Hedong, central Shanxi, HQ at Taiyuan)
Wang Chongrong (Hezhong, southwest Shanxi, HQ at Yuncheng)
Zhu Wen (Xuanwu, parts of Henan, HQ at Kaifeng)
The greatest eunuch official of the time was Tian Lingzi. By 888 Emperor Xizong had been chased out of his capital a second time, deposed for a year, and then returned, only to die within 14 days. He was succeeded by his brother, Li Jie the Prince of Shou, as Emperor Zhaozong on April 20th. The period from 888 to 907 is considered the story of Zhu Wen and later (890 on) his rival Li Keyong, a Sinicized Shatuo Turk. Zhu was actually a member Huang Chao’s rebellion who defected to the central government in 882. He gained fame for his efforts in pacifying Northern China, though most of Hebei, Shanxi and Shaanxi remained outside his control. Li Keyong, after the Huang Chao rebellion ended, exerted great influence from Taiyuan, using his prestige and pretense of loyalty to the Tang deftly. Eventually he would control all of Shanxi (and was created Prince of Jin in 895), but was greatly weakened by Zhu Wen around 902. In 903 Zhu, with the assistance of chief minister Cui Yin, eliminated the eunuchs, dealing them a blow from which they would not recover until the Ming Dynasty. The next year, he deposed Emperor Zhaozong after forcing the Tang government to move from Chang’an to Luoyang, so as to control the dynasty more effectively. The reign of the teenage Emperor Ai lasted until 907 when he was deposed, and the Later Liang dynasty proclaimed in its place (Zhu Wen was made Prince of Liang by the court in 901). The Shatuo had in 905 formed an alliance with the Khitan (with Yelu Abaoji and Li Keyong becoming blood brothers), and became an independent ruler in the wake of the Liang ascension.
I think this is a good place to break off my account, and I am trying to remain as general as possible here. The next good chunk of info should be the actual Five Dynasty and Ten Kingdoms, which lasted from 907 to 979, from the Later Liang to the Song reunification (with the second scenario picking up right about the Song founding) . But for right now, I think I should concentrate on the lead-up period from 888 to 907. If you guys need me to focus elsewhere, please let me know.
Now ruler lists are going be a bit tricky. I think for right now covering the Tang Dynasty, Xuanwu (Zhu Wen), and Hedong (the Shatuo) factions, would be good. I don’t want to touch the various other governors and their defense commands until we can come to an agreement on how they are to be represented.
Reign: 8/17/873 – 4/20/888
Stats (Military, Diplomatic, Administrative) : 2/2/2
Reign: 4/20/888 – 9/22/904
Note: There was actually a break in Zhaozong’s reign from 12/1/900 to 1/24/901 but I didn’t include it here until we can discuss how we are modeling the brief reign of Li Yu, Prince of De.
Reign: 9/22/904 – 6/1/907
Reasoning for stats:
Xizong had no control over his empire and was dominated by the eunuch Tian Lingzi. Zhaozong at least had lofty ambitions and attempted to realize them, which only backfired on him. Aidi’s only reason for even reigning was to provide Zhu Wen with a rubber stamp until he could take the throne and was firmly controlled by Zhu. In fact Aidi was killed in 908 to preempt any attempt by another warlord using Aidi as Zhu Wen had done. But I am open to talking about any of these.
Reign: 5/3/883 – 6/1/907 as emperor to 7/18/912
Reasoning for stats:
Zhu Wen was a skilled military commander, but incredibly brutal and possessed of a raging temper. On the administrative and diplomatic fronts he is a little harder to judge. I give him 5 Administration because he started military reforms that paved the way for the Song Dynasty’s own reforms. Diplomacy is the most difficult, but I think a 4 is fair.
Reign: ?/?/883 – 2/23/908
Reasoning for stats:
Li Keyong, or to use his nickname, Li the Crow (Ya’er), deserves at least an equal military rating to Zhu Wen because he managed to stalemate him in the end. While Zhu did weaken Li at least twice, he never fully defeated him, and vice versa. The other two stats, I give 4s because I am under the impression a 4 is supposed be average, which is what I think Li Keyong rates in those fields. He wasn’t really much a diplomat or an administrator.
Now, I will close this post with a question, actually two. All discussion about how the represent the various other defense commands aside, do you want me to post a list of all of the major commands excluding the ones I have already named (Fengxiang, Hedong, Hezhong, Xuanwu)? I will of course list where they were based, and their headquarters as much as I am able to do with my sources. The second question is one of my sources has the number of households for just about every prefecture, will you guys want that information?