When Emperor Gaozhu of Tang (唐高祖) was reigning, there were a number of battles that were helmed by his second son, Li Shimin(李世民) instead of the crown prince Li Jiancheng(太子李建成), such as:

  1. The campaign to reunify the empire
  2. Battle of Hulao
  3. and so on..

Li Shimin did well in winning the battle, and collected one win/royal title after another, thus greatly expanded his influence and ultimately gave him the confidence and power to slaughter his brother Li Jiancheng ( the crown prince) and Li Yuanji(李元吉), and forced his father to relinquish the throne in the Xuanwu Gate Incident (玄武门之变) on 2 July 626.

As a seasoned politician, Emperor Gaozhu must have seen this day coming. But my question is, why the Emperor Gaozhu was still insisting on sending Li Shimin into one battle after another despite knowing the consequence of doing so? Could he not let his crown prince Li Jiancheng command instead?

After all, Li Jiancheng was also a great warrior in his own right and participated greatly in Tang's dynasty founding.

  • 1
    I dont think he knew the consequences. This was a case of favortism where losing the non-crown prince in battle was insignificant compared to losing the chosen prince. And gratitude through hardwork could turn into envy when you got folks comfortably snug at home.
    – TWL
    Sep 4 '16 at 0:26

Well from the Chinese version of the Wikipedia page indicates that the crown prince tried lots of measures with his younger brother to put Shimin in an unfavourable situation. Therefore, the assassination can be regarded as a sort of revenge.

  • 1
    I think this could do with some further explanation, such as examples of the "measures" used by the crown prince, along with a link to the source page.
    – Steve Bird
    Jan 30 '17 at 17:03
  • This is not answering my question at all.
    – Graviton
    Jan 31 '17 at 0:37
  • @SteveBird on the wikipedia page in Chinese it mentioned that "They persuaded Li Yuan to fire Fang Xuanling and Du Ruhui, who are Shimin's best counsellors. They later made an attempt to assassin Yuchi Gong. And later, after they failed, they tried to put him to death by framing him. Were it not for Shimin's persuasion, Yuchi Gong would've been sentenced to death by Li Yuan. To decrease Shimin's powers, when the Turkic attacked, they volunteered to deal with them with a view to taking away Shimin's troops and great warriors. Bribery is also used, but some like Yuchi Gong refused to betray. Feb 1 '17 at 1:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.