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Archaeologists Uncover Tomb of Tyrannical Chinese Emperor

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Archaeologists in China have discovered the tomb of Emperor Yang Guang , one of the most famous and tyrannical emperor’s in Chinese history, who is known to have brought the Sui Dynasty (581 – 618 AD) to an abrupt end.

The tomb was discovered earlier this year at a construction site in Yangzhou province, and months of research and excavation following the discovery have now led to verification that the tomb belongs to Emperor Yang.  In particular, an inscription on a tablet found in the tomb indicates that its owner was Yang.  The tomb of Yang’s wife, Empress Xiao, was found nearby. 

Emperor Yang was the second emperor of the Sui Dynasty, the first being his father, Emperor Wen.  It is said that Yang framed his elder brother in order for their father to make him the crown prince instead. Then, it is believed he murdered his father in order to ascend to the throne.  Yang then proceeded to take his father’s favourite consorts, Lady Xuanhua and Lady Ronghua, for his own pleasures.

Yang is known as a self-indulgent emperor who forced millions of workers into hard labour to build palaces and luxurious pleasure gardens where he could enjoy his many concubines. His inappropriate abuse of power greatly impaired the state’s ability to govern its people, bringing untold suffering to the population - many struggled to survive and were heavily taxed in order to ensure the completion of his large construction products.  Nevertheless, his legacy includes the Grand Canal, which was later extended to connect Beijing and Hangzhou in the world’s longest artificial waterway. It seems, however, that this was at a great cost to his people. 

Eventually, uprisings rose one after another until the people could no longer bear his rule, and in 618 Emperor Yang was murdered in a coup by his general Yuwen Huaji.

View pictures of the latest discovery here.

By April Holloway

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