The Importance Of The Tang Dynasty

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In my view, Li Yanshou’s answer to the legitimacy issue serves to support the Tang Dynasty’s legitimacy. The Tang Dynasty viewed the Northern Wei as one of its predecessors since it established itself by inheriting the rulership from the Sui Dynasty, the direct successor of the northern dynasties. That is why Li Yanshou introduces these subtle ways to show his support to the northern dynasties. However, the Northern Wei, as mentioned in previous chapter, did not have a predecessor to provide the legitimate rulership. Moreover, this dynasty is long ruled by the non-Han Chinese people. If set the Northern Wei as the predecessor, the Tang Dynasty would become the successor of a “barbarian” dynasty with no relevance to any other ancient great and united Han-Chinese dynasties.
Setting the southern dynasties as the predecessor seems to be a good choice. Although these dynasties are weaker and more fragile than most previous Han-Chinese dynasties, the southern dynasties possess what the Tang Dynasty expected. These dynasties not only could derive their rulership back to a series of united and great Han-Chinese dynasties, such as the Western Jin and the Han Dynasty, but also possessed various legitimacy legacies, such as the preservation of the Han-Chinese culture and the dominance of the south China. The best option for the Tang Dynasty, therefore, is to manifest itself as the successor of both the northern and southern dynasties whereby to inherit legacies from both sides.
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