Emperor Gāozǔ of Táng , born Lǐ Yuān , was the founder of the Tang Dynasty of China, and the first emperor of this dynasty from 618 to 626. Under the Sui dynasty, Li Yuan was the governor in the area of modern-day Shanxi, and was based in Taiyuan.
In 615, Li Yuan was assigned to garrison Longxi. He gained much experience by dealing with the G& of the north and was able to pacify them. Li Yuan was also able to gather support from these successes and, with the disintegration of the Sui dynasty in July of 617, Li Yuan - urged on by his second son - rose in rebellion. Using the title of "Great Chancellor" , Li Yuan installed a puppet child emperor, , but eventually removed him altogether and established the Tang Dynasty in 618 as Emperor Gaozu .
Emperor Gaozu's reign was concentrated on uniting the empire under the Tang. Aided by Li Shimin , whom he created the Prince of Qin, he defeated all the other contenders, including Li Gui, Dou Jiande, Wang Shichong, Xue Rengao and Liu Wuzhou. By 628, the Tang Dynasty had succeeded in uniting all of China. On the home front, he recognized the early successes forged by Emperor Wen of Sui and strove to emulate most of Emperor Wen's policies, including the equal distribution of land amongst his people, and he also lowered taxes. He abandoned the harsh system of law established by Emperor Yang of Sui as well as reforming the judicial system. These acts of reform paved the way for the reign of Emperor Taizong, which ultimately pushed Tang to the height of its power.
In 626, Li Shimin, in a dispute with his brothers Li Jiancheng the Crown Prince and Li Yuanji the Prince of Qi, ambushed Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji at , killing them. Fearful of what Li Shimin might do next, Emperor Gaozu passed the throne to him and became ''Taishang Huang'' . He died in 635.
Background and early career
Li Yuan's seventh-generation ancestor was Li Gao, the founder of the Sixteen Kingdoms state Western Liang. After Western Liang's destruction, Li Gao's grandson Li Chong'er served as a Northern Wei official, but for several generations after that, Li Yuan's ancestors had only minor military titles. Li Yuan's grandfather Li Hu served as a major general under Western Wei's paramount general Yuwen Tai, and was created the Duke of Longxi and given the Xianbei surname Daye . Li Hu died before Yuwen Tai's son Emperor Xiaomin of Northern Zhou founded Northern Zhou, but was posthumously created the Duke of Tang after Northern Zhou's founding. His son and Li Yuan's father Li Bing inherited the title of the Duke of Tang and married a daughter of the prominent general Dugu Xin . Li Bing died in 572, and Li Yuan inherited the title of Duke of Tang, a title he continued to hold after the throne was seized by Emperor Wen of Sui in 581, establishing Sui Dynasty, as Emperor Wen's wife, Empress Dugu Qieluo, was an aunt of his. At some point, he married Lady Dou, a daughter of Dou Yi the Duke of Shenwu and Northern Zhou's Princess Xiangyang as his wife and duchess.
During Emperor Wen's reign , Li Yuan served three terms as provincial governors. Early in the reign of Emperor Wen's son , Li Yuan served as commandery governors , but was later recalled to serve as a junior minister within Emperor Yang's administration. When Emperor Yang carried out his second campaign against Goguryeo in 613, Li Yuan was in charge of part of the logistics operation, when the general Yang Xuangan rebelled near the eastern capital Luoyang. Emperor Yang commissioned Li Yuan as a general and made him be in charge of the operations west of the Tong Pass, although Yang Xuangan's rebellion eventually did not involve that region. Li Yuan took the opportunity to recruit talented people to his staff. Later that year, when Emperor Yang summoned him, he declined based on the reason of illness -- a reason that Emperor Yang did not believe, as he questioned Li Yuan's niece, a Consort Wang , "Will he die?" In fear, Li Yuan took up drinking and receiving bribes to try to show Emperor Yang that he did not have great ambitions. In 615, Emperor Yang made him in charge of the operations against agrarian rebels in the Hedong region , but recalled him in 616. Later that year, Emperor Yang put him in charge of the key city of Taiyuan .
Rebellion against Emperor Yang of Sui
Emperor Yang was soon dissatisfied with Li Yuan and Wang Rengong , the governor of Mayi Commandery , over their inability to stop Eastern Tujue incursions and the growing strengths of agrarian rebels, particularly the Eastern Tujue-support Liu Wuzhou the Dingyang Khan, who soon rose against Wang and killed him and soon captured Emperor Yang's secondary palace near Taiyuan. Li Yuan also became fearful that there had been prophecies throughout the empire that the next emperor would be named Li -- and that Emperor Yang had killed another official, Li Hun and Li Hun's clan over his fears that Li Hun's nephew Li Min had imperial ambitions.
Meanwhile, Li Yuan's second son, by his wife Duchess Dou , , was with him in Taiyuan, and was secretly planning rebellion against Sui rule with Pei Ji the head of the household at Emperor Yang's secondary palace nearby and Liu Wenjing the Jinyang County magistrate, but at first did not reveal their plans to Li Yuan. At Li Shimin's urging, Pei Ji, who had also earlier, against regulations, allowed Li Yuan to have sexual relations with some of Emperor Yang's , persuaded Li Yuan that it was necessary for him to rebel. Li Yuan began to gather forces from the region, claiming that they were necessary to defend against Eastern Tujue, which drew suspicions from his deputies Wang Wei and Gao Junya . Li Yuan, also fearful that Wang and Gao would act against him first, then used an Eastern Tujue attack as an excuse to falsely claim that Wang and Gao were working in concert with Eastern Tujue's Shibi Khan Ashina Duojishi, executing them, while preparing for formal declaration of rebellion. He sent secret messengers to Hedong to recall his sons and the capital Chang'an to recall his daughter and her husband Chai Shao . Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji, leaving Li Zhiyun at Hedong, soon met with Chai, and they togethered arrived at Taiyuan.
Once Li Jiancheng, Li Yuanji, and Chai arrived at Taiyuan, Li Yuan formally declared his rebellion -- but cast it as a declaration of his wishes to declare Emperor Yang's grandson the Prince of Dai, who was then at Chang'an, emperor, and honor Emperor Yang as ''Taishang Huang'' . He contacted Ashina Doujishi, offering tributes, and received logistical support from Eastern Tujue. He put Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin in charge of his army and, leaving Li Yuanji in charge at Taiyuan, advanced south.
Meanwhile, Li Yuan wrote another rebel leader, Li Mi the Duke of Wei, who was near Luoyang, trying to see if Li Mi would be willing to follow him, but Li Mi, believing in his own strength, had his secretary Zu Junyan write Li Yuan for him in this way:
:''Although I and you, my older brother, are of different branches, but we are both Lis. I know that I do not have sufficient strength, but by the love of the men on this earth, I have been made the leader. I hope that you will support and help me. Let us capture Ziying at Xianyang, and let us kill at Muye; would it not be a great accomplishment?''
Li Yuan was dismayed but, not wanting to make another enemy, wrote back humbly:
:''Although I am ordinary and foolish, but I have had the opportunity to, by my ancestors' largess, receive the opportunity to be an imperial messenger when leaving the capital and a guard leader in the capital. If the administration falls and I am unable to help it, even the most understanding wise man will rebuke me. Therefore, I have organized a righteous army and sought peace with the barbarians to the north to try to calm the earth and to protect Sui. However, for the people under the heavens, there must be someone to rule over them, and other than you, who can be that person? I am too old -- over 50 -- and that is not my intent, but I am happy to support you, my younger brother. I hope to be able to climb onto the scale of a dragon and hold onto the wing of a phoenix, and I hope that you, my younger brother, will soon, in accordance with the prophecy, pacify all who are on this earth. You are the leader among the Li, and I hope that you will be gracious and accept me, and to give me again the domain of Tang; that will be enough glory for me. I do not have the heart to hear such commands as killing Xin of Shang at Muye, nor do I dare to listen to the order of capturing Ziying at Xianyang. Also, the Fen and Jin region requires pacification right now, and I am not yet able to arrange a time for the meeting at Mengjin .''
Li Mi was pleased with Li Yuan's response, believing that Li Yuan was willing to support him, and from that point on, Li Mi and Li Yuan often exchanged messengers. Li Yuan's campaign against Chang'an thus went without opposition from Li Mi. Meanwhile, however, when Li Yuan arrived near Hedong, his army was bogged down by the weather, and with food running out, there were rumors that Eastern Tujue and Liu Wuzhou would attack Taiyuan. Li Yuan initially ordered retreat, but at the earnest opposition by Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin, continued to advance. After defeating Sui forces at Huoyi , he decided to leave a small contingent to watch over Hedong while advancing across the Yellow River into Guanzhong . Once he did, he headed for Chang'an himself, while sending Li Jiancheng to capture the territory around the Tong Pass region to prevent Sui forces at Luoyang from reinforcing Chang'an and Li Shimin north of the Wei River to capture territory there. Meanwhile, his daughter had also risen in rebellion in support of him, and she was able to gather a sizable army and capture some cities. She joined forces with Li Shimin and her husband Chai Shao. Soon, Li Yuan reconsolidated his forces and put Chang'an under siege. In winter 617, he captured Chang'an and declared Yang You emperor . He had himself made regent and created the Prince of Tang. He sent his nephew Li Xiaogong south, and Li Xiaogong was able to persuade the Sui cities in modern southern Shaanxi, Sichuan, and Chongqing to submit.
Establishment of Tang and gradual unification
In spring 618, Emperor Yang was killed at Jiangdu in a coup led by the general Yuwen Huaji. When the news reached Chang'an, Li Yuan had Emperor Gong yield the throne to him, establishing Tang Dynasty as its Emperor Gaozu. He restored much of the institutions of Sui's Emperor Wen, reversing a number of changes that Emperor Yang made. He created Emperor Gong the Duke of Xi, and created Li Jiancheng, as his oldest son, crown prince, while creating Li Shimin the Prince of Qin and Li Yuanji the Prince of Qi. Meanwhile, the Sui officials at Luoyang declared another grandson of Emperor Yang, Emperor Gong's brother Yang Tong the Prince of Yue, as emperor, and refused to recognize the regime change in Chang'an.
Emperor Gaozu's rule immediately faced a major challenge from Xue Ju, an agrarian leader who had declared himself the Emperor of Qin, as Xue, during the fall of 618, took advantage of Li Shimin's illness to defeat an army commanded by Li Shimin and Liu Wenjing at Qianshui Plain and approach Chang'an. Emperor Gaozu, in response, tried to enter an alliance with Li Gui the Prince of Liang, between whose domain and the Tang was Xue's Qin state, writing Li Gui and referring to him as cousin. Li Gui briefly submitted to Emperor Gaozu. Meanwhile, before he could attack Chang'an, Xue Ju died of illness and was succeeded by his son Xue Rengao, who was a capable commander but who had alienated his generals because of his cruelty. Li Shimin was soon able to attack Xue Rengao at Gaozhi , and force Xue Rengao to surrender.
Meanwhile, Li Mi, having been defeated earlier in the year in a surprise attack by the Sui general Wang Shichong, fled to Tang territory and submitted to Emperor Gaozu. Li Mi's general , who controlled a major part of Li Mi's former territory, also submitted, and Emperor Gaozu, impressed with Xu's faithfulness to Li Mi, bestowed the imperial surname of Li on Xu. Emperor Gaozu created Li Mi the Duke of Xing, but only made him the Minister of Feasts, a post that Li Mi viewed as below his stature. Around the new year 619, Li Mi requested Emperor Gaozu's permission to head east to persuade some of his former subordinates to submit to Tang, and once he left Chang'an, planned to restore his independence. He was ambushed and killed by the Tang general Sheng Yanshi .
In spring 619, Wang had Yang Tong yield the throne to him, ending Sui and establishing a new state of Zheng.
Around the same time, Li Gui, while stating that he wished to be a Tang subject, refused the Tang creation of Prince of Liang, instead declaring himself the Emperor of Tang. Emperor Gaozu broke off his relations with Li Gui. In summer 619, Li Gui's official An Xinggui , formerly a Tang official, rebelled against Li Gui and captured him, submitting to Tang. Emperor Gaozu executed Li Gui and incorporated his domain into Tang. Also around the same time, the rebel leader Du Fuwei, who controlled the modern southern Anhui, submitted to Tang, and Emperor Gaozu also bestowed the imperial surname of Li on him, creating him the Prince of Wu. Similarly, Luo Yi, who controlled the modern Beijing region, submitted, was bestowed the imperial surname of Li, and was created the Prince of Yan.
Meanwhile, Tang was facing another serious threat -- Liu Wuzhou, now determined to march south against Tang. Emperor Gaozu sent Pei Ji against Liu's advancing army, but Pei was defeated by Liu, who then put Taiyuan under siege. Li Yuanji fled back to Chang'an, and much of modern Shanxi was seized by Liu. Emperor Gaozu then sent Li Shimin against Liu, and by summer 620, Li Shimin had defeated Liu, forcing him to flee to Eastern Tujue. Liu's territory was incorporated into Tang. Around the same time, however, Dou Jiande the Prince of Xia made a major offensive against the cities that had submitted to Tang in modern Hebei and Henan, north of the Yellow River, seizing nearly all of them and taking Emperor Gaozu's cousin Li Shentong the Prince of Huai'an, Emperor Gaozu's sister the Princess Tong'an, and Li Shiji's father Li Gai captive. With Li Gai in Dou's custody, Li Shiji surrendered to Dou as well. In 620, Li Shiji, in association with another Tang general who surrendered to Dou, Li Shanghu , plotted to ambush Dou, but the plot was discovered; Li Shanghu was killed, and Li Shiji fled back to Tang.
In 620, Li Fuwei captured much of the territory of another agrarian ruler, Li Zitong the Emperor of Wu, in the lower Yangtze River region, in the name of Tang Dynasty. Li Zitong, in turn, defeated and took over the territory of Shen Faxing the Prince of Liang, roughly modern Zhejiang.
After Li Shiimin defeated Liu, he started a campaign against Wang's Zheng state in fall 620. He initially could not decisively defeat Zheng, but by spring 621 had put the Zheng capital Luoyang under a tight siege, although he was not able to capture it. Wang sought aid from Dou, and Dou, believing that if Zheng were destroyed, his Xia state would be cornered, agreed to render aid. Emperor Gaozu was initially fearful that Dou and Wang would be able to sandwich Li Shimin's forces and ordered Li Shimin to retreat, but upon Li Shimin's petition changed his mind and permitted Li Shimin to remain in the Luoyang region. Li Shimin, leaving Li Yuanji in charge of the siege of Luoyang, advanced and took up position at Hulao Pass. In summer 621, the Tang and Xia forces engaged at Hulao, and Li Shimin defeated Dou, capturing him. In fear, Wang also surrendered. Most of Zheng territory was seized by Tang. Xia territory was also seized by Tang, but after Emperor Gaozu executed Dou, Dou's general Liu Heita rose against Tang, seizing most of former Xia territory, while Xu Yuanlang, a rebel leader who had previously submitted to Zheng, also rose, occupying the modern Shandong region.
Also in 621, Li Xiaogong defeated Xiao Xi the Emperor of Liang, who had controlled the modern Hubei, Hunan, and Guangxi region, forcing Xiao Xi to surrender. On another front, Li Fuwei's lieutenant Fu Gongshi defeated Li Zitong, forcing him to surrender as well. Liang and Wu territory were seized by Tang.
Meanwhile, while not noted as Emperor Gao of Han's killing of Han Xin and Peng Yue, the historians had nevertheless noted that some contributors to Emperor Gaozu's establishment of Tang were wrongly killed by him or killed based on fairly little evidence of wrongdoing:
* Liu Wenjing, in 619, on accusation that he engaged sorcerers.
* Emperor Gaozu's cousin Dugu Huai'en , in 620, on accusation of treason.
* Li Zhongwen the Duke of Zhenxiang, in 620, on accusation of collaboration with Eastern Tujue.
* Liu Shirang the Duke of Yingyang, in 623, on accusation of collaboration with Eastern Tujue.
Struggle between sons and the Incident at Xuanwu Gate
In spring 622, Li Shimin defeated Liu Heita, forcing him to flee to Eastern Tujue, but Liu Heita soon returned with Eastern Tujue reinforcements and killed Emperor Gaozu's nephew Li Daoxuan the Prince of Huaiyang in battle, again seizing former Xia territory, although by this point Li Shimin and Li Yuanji had also defeated Xu Yuanlang and reduced his territory to a few cities.
Meanwhile, an intense rivalry had developed between Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin, as while Li Jiancheng had some contributions toward Tang's reunification of China, Li Shimin had been the one defeating and capturing the major rivals Xue Rengao, Liu Wuzhou, Dou Jiande, and Wang Shichong, causing him to possess the greater reputation among the army. Li Yuanji, who was also often relied on by Emperor Gaozu as a general, supported Li Jiancheng in this rivalry, and often pushed Li Jiancheng toward a more hardline position against Li Shimin, wanting to be crown prince when Li Jiancheng would become emperor. Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji had better relations with Emperor Gaozu's favored young concubines than Li Shimin did , and those concubines helped rehabilitate Li Jiancheng's standing before Emperor Gaozu, causing him to no longer consider making Li Shimin crown prince instead, as he considered at one point.
By winter 622, Liu Heita posed the only remaining major threat against Tang rule. At the suggestion of his staff members Wang Gui and Wei Zheng, who argued that Li Jiancheng needed some victories himself to establish his reputation, Li Jiancheng volunteered to command the army against Liu Heita. Emperor Gaozu thus sent Li Jiancheng, assisted by Li Yuanji. Around the new year 623, with Liu's forced bogged down while attacking Tang's Wei Prefecture , Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji engaged him at Guantao , crushing him. Liu fled north toward Eastern Tujue, but was ambushed and captured by his own official Zhuge Dewei , who delivered him to Li Jiancheng. Li Jiancheng executed Liu. Around the same time, Xu was killed in flight. Meanwhile, Lin Shihong the Emperor of Chu, who had one point controlled modern Jiangxi and Guangdong, had died, and his followers scattered. China was by this point completely unified by Tang except for the domain of Liang Shidu the Emperor of Liang, who controlled modern northern Shaanxi and western Inner Mongolia, although, with Li Fuwei at Chang'an, Fu Gongshi rebelled in 623 and declared himself the Emperor of Song. Fu's rebellion, however, was quelled by Li Xiaogong in 624.
Meanwhile, the rivalry between Li Jiancheng and Li Shimin intensified. In 624, Li Jiancheng requisitioned a number of soldiers from the general the Prince of Yan, to supplement his guard corps, against Emperor Gaozu's regulations. When this was revealed to Emperor Gaozu, Emperor Gaozu rebuked Li Jiancheng and exiled his guard commander Keda Zhi . When, subsequently, Li Jiancheng nevertheless requested the commandant at Qing Prefecture , Yang Wen'gan , to conscript troops, presumably to guard against Li Shimin, the officers Erzhu Huan and Qiao Gongshan informed Emperor Gaozu that Li Jiancheng was encouraging Yang to start a rebellion so that they could seize power together. Emperor Gaozu, then at Renzhi Palace , was incensed, and summoned Li Jiancheng, then at Chang'an, to Renzhi Palace. Li Jiancheng briefly flirted the idea of occupying Chang'an and not accepting the order, but eventually reported to Renzhi Palace to request forgiveness. Emperor Gaozu put him under arrest. When Yang heard this, Yang rebelled, and Emperor Gaozu, after promising Li Shimin that he would be made crown prince, sent Li Shimin to attack Yang. Once Li Shimin left, however, Li Yuanji, Emperor Gaozu's concubines, and the chancellor Feng Deyi, all spoke on Li Jiancheng's behalf, and Emperor Gaozu changed his mind, released Li Jiancheng, and allowed him to return to Chang'an and remain as crown prince. Instead, Emperor Gaozu only blamed the discord between his sons on Li Jiancheng's staff members Wang Gui and Wei Ting , and Li Shimin's staff member Du Yan, exiling them. Yang was subsequently assassinated by his own subordinates.
Another problem that Emperor Gaozu faced was constant Eastern Tujue incursions. Emperor Gaozu seriously considered burning Chang'an to the ground and moving the capital to Fancheng , a suggestion that Li Jiancheng, Li Yuanji, and the chancellor Pei Ji agreed with. Li Shimin opposed, however, and the plan was not carried out. Meanwhile, Li Shimin himself was sending his confidants to Luoyang to build up personal control of the army there. After an incident in which Li Shimin suffered a severe case of food poisoning after feasting at Li Jiancheng's palace -- an event that both Emperor Gaozu and Li Shimin apparently interpreted as an assassination attempt -- Emperor Gaozu considered sending Li Shimin to guard Luoyang to prevent further conflict, but Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji, after consulting each other, believed that this would only give Li Shimin an opportunity to build up his personal power there, and therefore opposed it. Emperor Gaozu therefore did not carry out the plan.
By 626, Li Shimin was fearful that he would be killed by Li Jiancheng, and his staff members Fang Xuanling, Du Ruhui, and Zhangsun Wuji were repeatedly encouraging Li Shimin to attack Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji first -- while Wei Zheng was encouraging Li Jiancheng to attack Li Shimin first. Li Jiancheng persuaded Emperor Gaozu to remove Fang and Du, as well as Li Shimin's trusted guard officers Yuchi Jingde and Cheng Zhijie , from Li Shimin's staff. Zhangsun, who remained on Li Shimin's staff, continued to try to persuade Li Shimin to attack first.
In summer 626, Eastern Tujue was making another attack, and under Li Jiancheng's suggestion, Emperor Gaozu, instead of sending Li Shimin to resist Eastern Tujue as he first was inclined, decided to send Li Yuanji instead. Li Yuanji was given command of much of the army previously under Li Shimin's control, further troubling Li Shimin, who believed that with the army in Li Yuanji's hands, he would be unable to resist an attack. Li Shimin had Yuchi summon Fang and Du back to his mansion secretly, and then on one night submitted an accusation to Emperor Gaozu that Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji were committing adultery with Emperor Gaozu's concubines. Emperor Gaozu, in response, issued summonses to Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji for the next morning, convening the senior officials Pei Ji, Xiao Yu, and Chen Shuda to examine Li Shimin's accusations. As Li Jiancheng and Li Yuanji approached the central gate leading to Emperor Gaozu's palace, Xuanwu Gate , Li Shimin carried out the ambush he had set. He personally fired an arrow that killed Li Jiancheng. Subsequently, Yuchi killed Li Yuanji. Li Shimin's forces entered the palace and, under the intimidation of Li Shimin's forces, Emperor Gaozu agreed to create Li Shimin crown prince, and two months later passed the throne to him . Li Jiancheng's and Li Yuanji's sons were all executed as well, with Emperor Gaozu not daring to oppose the action.
As retired emperor
Emperor Gaozu, as retired emperor, did not appear to try to exert much influence in the reign of his son Emperor Taizong, and not much was recorded about his activities. Indeed, Emperor Taizong, almost immediately, began reversing some of his policies, including his policies of creating many relatives to be imperial princes and Emperor Gaozu's gathering of many ladies in waiting .
In 629, Emperor Gaozu moved from the main palace, Taiji Palace to the subsidiary Honyi Palace , which was then renamed Da'an Palace . Only then was Emperor Taizong able to move from the crown prince's palace to Taiji Palace.
In 630, when Emperor Gaozu, who had been submitting tributes to Eastern Tujue throughout his reign, heard that Emperor Taizong had sent the general Li Jing to defeat and capture Eastern Tujue's Jiali Khan Ashina Duobi, commented, "Gaozu of Han was trapped at Baideng and could not avenge himself. Now my son can destroy Tujue. I have entrusted the empire to the right person, and what do I have to worry about?" He subsequently summoned a number of princes and princesses, along with high level officials, to celebrate the victory, playing the pipa himself at the celebration and having the guests dance to it.
As Chang'an was often hot during the summer, Emperor Taizong often invited Emperor Gaozu to go with him to Jiucheng Palace , to avoid the heat during the summer. However, as Sui's Emperor Wen had died there , Emperor Gaozu did not want to visit Jiucheng Palace. Rather, in 634, Emperor Taizong began to construct another summer palace, Daming Palace , to serve as Emperor Gaozu's summer palace, but Emperor Gaozu fell ill before it was completed, and he never visited Daming Palace. He died in spring 635.
* ''Wude'' 618-626
Chancellors during reign
* Pei Ji
* Liu Wenjing
* Xiao Yu
* Dou Kang
* Chen Shuda
* Yang Gongren
* Feng Deyi
* Pei Ju
* Yuwen Shiji
* Gao Shilian
* Fang Xuanling
** Li Bing , Duke Ren of Tang during Sui Dynasty, posthumously honored as Emperor Yuan
** Duchess Dugu, daughter of Dugu Xin and sister of of Northern Zhou and Empress Dugu Qieluo of Sui Dynasty, posthumously honored as Empress Dowager Yuanzhen
** Duchess Dou, daughter of Dou Yi the Duke of Shenwu during Northern Zhou and Sui Dynasty and the Princess Xiangyang, daughter of Yuwen Tai, posthumously honored as Empress Taimushunsheng, mother of Crown Princes Jiancheng and Shimin, Li Xuanba, Prince Yuanji and Princess Pingyang
* Major Concubines
** Consort Wan, mother of Li Zhiyun
** Consort Yin, mother of Prince Yuanheng
** Consort Mo, mother of Prince Yuanjing
** Consort Sun, mother of Prince Yuanchang
** Consort Yuwen, mother of Princes Yuanjia and Lingkui, daughter of Yuwen Shu
** Consort Cui, mother of Prince Yuanyu
** Consort Yang, mother of Prince Yuanxiang
** Consort Yang, mother of Prince Yuanming
** Consort Guo, mother of Prince Yuanli
** Consort Liu, mother of Prince Yuanqing
** Consort Yang, mother of Prince Feng
** Consort Zhang, mother of Prince Yuangui
** Consort Zhang, mother of Prince Yuanyi
** Consort Liu, mother of Prince Yuanying
** Consort Wang, mother of Prince Yuanze
** Consort Lu, mother of Prince Yuanxiao
** Consort Zhang, mother of Prince Yuanfang
** Li Jiancheng , initially the Duke of Longxi , later the Heir Apparent of Tang , later the Crown Prince
** Li Shimin , initially the Duke of Dunhuang , later the Duke of Zhao , later the Prince of Qin , later the Crown Prince , later Emperor Taizong of Tang
** Li Xuanba , died early without issue, posthumously honored 618 as Prince Huai of Wei
** Li Yuanji , initially the Duke of Guzang , later the Duke of Qi , later the Prince of Qi
** Li Zhiyun , executed by Sui Dynasty official Yin Shishi , posthumously created the Duke of Chu 617, posthumously created Prince Ai of Chu 618
** Li Yuanjing , initially the Prince of Zhao , later the Prince of Jing , later posthumously created the Prince of Shenli
** Li Yuanchang , initially the Prince of Lu , later the Prince of Han
** Li Yuanheng , the Prince of Feng
** Li Yuanfang , the Prince of Zhou
** Li Yuanli , initially the Prince of Zheng , later the Prince of Xu
** Li Yuanjia , initially the Prince of Song , later the Prince of Xu , later the Prince of Han
** Li Yuanze , initially the Prince of Jing , later Prince Si of Peng
** Li Yuanyi , initially the Prince of Teng , later Prince Hui of Zheng
** Li Yuangui , initially the Prince of Shu , later the Prince of Wu , later the Prince of Huo
** Li Feng , initially the Prince of Bin , later Prince Zhuang of Guo
** Li Yuanqing , initially the Prince of Han , later the Prince of Chen , later Prince Xiao of Dao
** Li Yuanyu , initially the Prince of Gui , later Prince Kang of Deng
** Li Yuanming , initially the Prince of Qiao , later the Prince of Shu
** Li Lingkui , initially the Prince of Wei , later the Prince of Yan , later the Prince of Lu
** Li Yuanxiang , initially the Prince of Xu , later Prince An of Jiang
** Li Yuanxiao , Prince Zhen of Mi
** Li Yuanying , the Prince of Teng
** Princess Changsha
** Princess Xiangyang
** Princess Gaomi
** Princess Guiyang, later Princess Changguang
** Princess Wanchun, later Princess Changsha
** Princess Yongjia, later Princess Fangling
** Princess Jiujiang
** Princess Lujiang
** Princess Nanchang
** Princess Anping
** Princess Huainan
** Princess Zhending
** Princess Hengyang
** Princess Danyang
** Princess Linhai
** Princess Guantao
** Princess Qianjin, later Princess Anding
** Princess Changle