Song Gaozong (r. 1127-1162) and his chief councilors: A study of the formative state of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279)
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractIn 1126, the Song was invaded by the Jin, a northern enemy who sprang up to become a continuing lethal threat to the survival of the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127). The Song people, in the meantime, suffered an unprecedented humiliation when their two emperors were captured and taken as hostages to the north by the invading Jin army. As the Song regime was collapsing, Zhao Gou (1107-1187), later referred to by his temple name as Song Gaozong (r. 1127-1162), strove to ascend the throne and perpetuate the Song regime in the south--known to historians as the Southern Song (1127-1279). The process was difficult not only because the Song emperor himself was relentlessly pursued by the Jin army, but also because the Song itself could hardly decide on an appropriate policy regarding the invaders. It took nearly sixteen years for the Song to finally settle in south China and obtain formal recognition from the Jin as a sovereign state. This dissertation adopts a method which focuses on studying the interactions between Song Gaozong and his series of ten chief councilors in shaping the future of the Southern Song. The successive chief councilors, appointed by Song Gaozong, are studied based on the Song records with special attention to their interactions with the emperor in discussing important issues. The dissertation evaluates each chief councilor's performance and explains why some chief councilors stayed in power longer than others. The dissertation also expounds how the Song emperor maintained a balance between two conflicting factions and how he struggled to consolidate his power in adverse circumstances. By consideration of Gaozong and the influence of successive chief councilors, the author depicts a picture showing how the Southern Song was established.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
East Asian Studies