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Emperor Shenzong of Song

Emperor Shenzong of Song

emperor of the Song Dynasty
The basics
Date of birth Kaifeng, Henan, People's Republic of China
Date of death Apr 01, 1085 Kaifeng, Henan, People's Republic of China
Children: Emperor Huizong of Song Zhao Yi Zhao Jin Zhao Jun Zhao Shen Zhao Xian Emperor Zhezong Zhao Jia Zhao Ti Zhao Bi Zhao Wei Zhao Yu Zhao Si Zhao Cai Princess Zhouguozhang Princess Chuguo Princess Shushou someone Princess Yunguo Princess Luguo Princess Xingguo Princess Binguo Princess Yanguo Princess Xuguozhang
Father: Emperor Yingzong of Song
Brother(s): Zhao Hao Zhao Yun Zhao Yan
Spouse: Empress Xiang Empress Qincheng Empress Qinci Princess Linxian Song Guifei
Mother: Empress Gao (Song dynasty)
Sister(s): Princess Baoan Princess Shuguo Princess Hanguo Weiguo Dazhang Princess Weiguo Chugo Dazhang
Authority VIAF id Library of congress id
The details

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.

Life and reign

During his reign, 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 and was succeeded by his son, Emperor Zhezong.


Emperor Shenzong's younger sister (Princess Shuguo, 1051-1080) was married to Wang Shen.

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