Emperor Shenzong of Song: Emperor of the Song Dynasty (1048 - 1085) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Emperor Shenzong of Song
Emperor of the Song Dynasty

Emperor Shenzong of Song

Emperor Shenzong of Song
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Emperor Shenzong of Song (25 May 1048 – 1 April 1085), personal name Zhao Xu, was the sixth emperor of the Song dynasty in China. His original personal name was Zhao Zhongzhen but he changed it to "Zhao Xu" after his coronation. He reigned from 1067 until his death in 1085.


During his reign in 1068, Emperor Shenzong became interested in Wang Anshi's policies and appointed Wang as the Chancellor. Wang implemented his famous New Policies aimed at improving the situation for the peasantry and unemployed, which some have seen as a forerunner of the modern welfare state. These acts became the hallmark reform of Emperor Shenzong's reign.

Emperor Shenzong sent failed campaigns against the Vietnamese ruler Lý Nhân Tông of the Lý dynasty in 1076.

Emperor Shenzong's other notable act as emperor was his attempt to weaken the Tangut-led Western Xia state by invading and expelling the Western Xia forces from Gansu Province. The Song army was initially quite successful at these campaigns, but during the battle for the city of Yongle, in 1082, Song forces were defeated. As a result, Western Xia grew more powerful and subsequently continued to be a thorn in the side of the Song Empire over the ensuing decades.

During Emperor Shenzong's reign, Sima Guang, a minister interested in the history of the previous 1000 years, wrote a very influential history book, the Zizhi Tongjian or A Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government. This book records historical events from the Zhou dynasty to the Song dynasty. Another notable literary achievement which occurred during his reign was the compilation of the Seven Military Classics, including the alleged forgery of the Questions and Replies between Tang Taizong and Li Weigong.

Aside from the ancient Roman embassies to Han and Three-Kingdoms era China, contact with Europe remained sparse if not nonexistent before the 13th century. However, from Chinese records it is known that Michael VII Doukas (Mie li sha ling kai sa 滅力沙靈改撒) of Fo lin (i.e. the Byzantine Empire) dispatched a diplomatic mission to China's Song dynasty that arrived in 1081, during the reign of Emperor Shenzong.

Emperor Shenzong died in 1085 at the age of 36 from an unspecified illness and was succeeded by his son, Zhao Xu who took the throne as Emperor Zhezong. Emperor Zhezong was underage and so Shenzong’s mother Empress Gao ruled as regent until her death.


  • Parents:
    • Zhao Shu, Yingzong (英宗 趙曙; 1032–1067)
    • Empress Xuanren, of the Gao clan (宣仁皇后 高氏; 1032–1093)
  • Consorts and Issue:
    • Empress Qinsheng, of the Xiang clan (欽聖皇后 向氏; 1046–1101)
      • Princess Shuhuai (淑懷帝姬; 1067–1078), first daughter
    • Empress Qincheng, of the Zhu clan (欽成皇后 朱氏; 1052–1102)
      • Zhao Xu, Zhezong (哲宗 趙煦; 1077–1100), sixth son
      • Zhao Shi, Prince Churongxian (楚榮憲王 趙似; 1083–1106), 13th son
      • Princess Xianjing (賢靜帝姬; 1085–1115)
        • Married Pan Yi (潘意) in 1104, and had issue (two sons)
    • Empress Qinci, of the Chen clan (欽慈皇后 陳氏; 1058–1089)
      • Zhao Ji, Huizong (徽宗 趙佶; 1082–1135), 11th son
    • Guifei, of the Xing clan (懿穆貴妃 邢氏; d. 1103)
      • Zhao Jin, Prince Hui (惠王 趙僅; 1071), second son
      • Zhao Xian, Prince Ji (冀王 趙僩; 1074–1076), fifth son
      • Zhao Jia, Prince Yudaohui (豫悼惠王 趙價; 1077–1078), seventh son
      • Zhao Ti, Prince Xuchonghui (徐沖惠王 趙倜; 1078–1081), eighth son
    • Guifei, of the Yang clan (懿靜貴妃 楊氏)
    • Guifei, of the Song clan (貴妃 宋氏; d. 1117)
      • Zhao Yi, Prince Cheng (成王 趙佾; 1069), first son
      • Zhao Jun, Prince Tang'aixian (唐哀獻王 趙俊; 1073–1077), third son
      • Princess Xianxiao (賢孝帝姬; d. 1108), fourth daughter
        • Married Wang Yu (王遇) in 1097
    • Shufei, of the Zhang clan (懿靜淑妃 張氏; d. 1105)
      • Princess Xianke (賢恪帝姬; d. 1072), second daughter
    • Defei, of the Zhu clan (德妃 朱氏)
      • Princess Xianmu (賢穆帝姬; d. 1084)
    • Xianfei, of the Wu clan (惠穆賢妃 武氏; d. 1107)
      • Zhao Bi, Prince Wurongmu (吳榮穆王 趙佖; 1082–1106), ninth son
      • Princess Xianhe (賢和帝姬; d. 1090)
    • Xianfei, of the Lin clan (賢妃 林氏; 1052–1090), personal name Zhen ()
      • Zhao Yu, Prince Yan (燕王 趙俁; 1083–1127), 12th son
      • Princess Xianling (賢令帝姬; d. 1084)
      • Zhao Cai, Prince Yue (越王 趙偲; 1085–1129), 14th son
    • Cairen, of the Guo clan (才人 郭氏)
      • Zhao Wei, Prince Yi (儀王 趙偉; 1082), tenth son
    • Lady, of the Xiang clan (夫人 向氏)
      • Zhao Shen, Prince Bao (褒王 趙伸; 1074), fourth son
    • Unknown
      • Princess Xianmu (賢穆帝姬; d. 1111), third daughter
        • Married Han Jiayan (韓嘉彥; d. 1129)
      • Princess Xiankang (賢康帝姬; d. 1085)
      • Princess Xianyi (賢宜帝姬; d. 1085)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 06 Mar 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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