History Podcasts

Battle of Linji/ Lin-chi, 208 BC

Battle of Linji/ Lin-chi, 208 BC

We are searching data for your request:

Forums and discussions:
Manuals and reference books:
Data from registers:
Wait the end of the search in all databases.
Upon completion, a link will appear to access the found materials.

Battle of Linji/ Lin-chi, 208 BC

The battle of Linji (208 BC) saw two of the many rebels against the failing Qin dynasty defeated and killed by Zhang Han, one of the most successful Qin generals (Fall of the Qin Dynasty). After the death of the First Emperor (210 BC) a series of revolts broke out against the brutal rule of the Qin. As those revolts gathered momentum a number of members of former ruling houses emerged from obscurity and attempted to restore their kingdoms. Wei Jiu declared himself to be King of Wei, while Tien Dan claimed the kingdom of Qi.

Although the Qin dynasty was under great pressure, it still commanded powerful armies and in the shape of Zhang Han possessed a capable general. When he laid siege to the capital of Wei, Wei Jiu retreated to Linji (Pinyin)/ Lin-chi (Wade-Giles). Tien Dan led his army to Linji, but the combined forces were unable to stand up to Zhang Han. The Qin army was victorious, and both Tien Dan and Wie Jiu were killed. Zhang Han went on to eliminate another of the rebellious kings at the battle of Dingtao (208 BC), but he was unable to prop up the failing Qin dynasty, and in the following year surrendered to the rebels.

Red Cliff – Chinese epic war film

Red Cliff is a Chinese epic war film based on the Battle of Red Cliffs (208-209 AD) and events during the end of the Han Dynasty and immediately prior to the Three Kingdoms period in ancient China. The film was directed by John Woo, and stars Tony Leung, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Zhang Fengyi, Chang Chen, Hu Jun, Lin Chi-ling and Zhao Wei.

Within Asia, Red Cliff was released in two parts, totaling over four hours in length. The first part was released in July 2008 and the second in January 2009. Outside of Asia, a single 2½ hour film was released in 2009, though the two-part version was later released on DVD and Blu-ray in the United Kingdom. With an estimated budget of US$80 million, Red Cliff is the most expensive Asian-financed film to date. The first part of the film grossed US$124 million in Asia and broke the box office record previously held by Titanic in mainland China.

Director John Woo said in an interview with David Stratton that the film is only 50% factual. John Woo decided to alter the story using modern feelings and his own feelings for a more worldly acceptance. According to Woo, historical accuracy was less important than how the audience felt about the battle.

Part 1 (Asian release)

In the summer of 208, during the Han Dynasty, the imperial army led by chancellor Cao Cao embarks on a campaign to eliminate the southern warlords Sun Quan and Liu Bei in the name of eradicating rebels, with the reluctant approval of Emperor Xian. Cao Cao’s mighty army swiftly conquers Jing Province and the Battle of Changban is ignited when Cao’s cavalry starts attacking civilians on an exodus led by Liu Bei. During the battle, Liu Bei’s followers, including his sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, give an excellent display of their combat skills by holding off the enemy while buying time for the civilians to retreat. The warrior Zhao Yun fights bravely to rescue Liu Bei’s entrapped family but only succeeds in rescuing Liu’s infant son.

Following the battle, Liu Bei’s advisor Zhuge Liang embarks on a diplomatic mission to Jiangdong to form an alliance between his lord and Sun Quan to deal with Cao Cao’s invasion. Sun Quan was initially in the midst of a dilemma of whether to surrender or resist, but his decision to resist Cao Cao hardens after Zhuge Liang’s clever persuasion and a subsequent tiger hunt with his viceroy Zhou Yu and sister Sun Shangxiang. Meanwhile, naval commanders Cai Mao and Zhang Yun from Jing Province pledge allegiance to Cao Cao and are received warmly by Cao, who places them in command of his navy.

After the hasty formation of the alliance, the forces of Liu Bei and Sun Quan call for a meeting to formulate a plan to counter Cao Cao’s army, which is rapidly advancing towards Red Cliff from both land and water. The battle begins with Sun Shangxiang leading a light cavalry unit to lure Cao Cao’s vanguard force into the allies’ Eight Trigrams Formation. The vanguard force is defeated by the allies but Cao Cao shows no disappointment and proceeds to lead his main army to the riverbank directly opposite the allies’ main camp, where they make camp. While the allies throw a banquet to celebrate their victory, Zhuge Liang thinks of a plan to send Sun Shangxiang to infiltrate Cao Cao’s camp and conduct an espionage mission. The duo maintain contact by sending messages via a pigeon. The film ends with Zhou Yu lighting his miniaturised battleships on a map based on the battle formation, signifying his plans for defeating Cao Cao’s navy.

Part 2 (Asian release)

Sun Shangxiang has infiltrated Cao Cao’s camp and is secretly noting details and sending them via a pigeon to Zhuge Liang. Meanwhile, Cao Cao’s army is seized with a plague of typhoid fever that kills a number of his troops. Cao Cao orders the corpses to be sent on floating rafts to the allies’ camp, hoping to pass the plague on to his enemies. The allied army’s morale is affected when some unsuspecting soldiers let the plague in, and eventually a disheartened Liu Bei leaves with his forces while Zhuge Liang stays behind to assist Sun Quan’s forces. Cao Cao is overjoyed when he hears that the alliance had collapsed. At the same time, Cai Mao and Zhang Yun propose a new tactic of interlocking the battleships together with iron beams to minimize rocking when sailing on the river and reduce the chances of the troops falling seasick.

Subsequently, Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang make plans on how to eliminate Cai Mao and Zhang Yun, and produce 100,000 arrows respectively. They agreed that whoever fails to complete his mission will be punished by execution under military law. Zhuge Liang’s ingenious strategy of letting the enemy shoot 20 boats covered in straw brings in over 100,000 arrows from the enemy and makes Cao Cao doubt the loyalty of Cai Mao and Zhang Yun. On the other hand, Cao Cao sends Jiang Gan to persuade Zhou Yu to surrender, but Zhou tricks Jiang instead into believing that Cai Mao and Zhang Yun are planning to assassinate Cao. Both Zhuge Liang and Zhou Yu’s respective plans complement each other when Cao Cao is convinced, despite earlier having doubts about Jiang Gan’s report, that Cai Mao and Zhang Yun were indeed planning to assassinate him by deliberately “donating” arrows to the enemy. Cai Mao and Zhang Yun are executed and Cao Cao realises his folly afterwards but it is too late.

In Sun Quan’s camp, Sun Shangxiang returns from Cao Cao’s camp with a map of the enemy formation. Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang decide to attack Cao Cao’s navy with fire anticipating that a special climatic condition will soon cause the wind to shift and that the resulting southeast wind will blow to their advantage. Before the battle, Sun Quan’s forces have a final moment together, feasting on glutinous rice balls to celebrate the Winter Festival. Meanwhile, Zhou Yu’s wife, Xiao Qiao, heads towards Cao Cao’s camp alone secretly, hoping to persuade Cao to give up his ambitious plans, but fails and decides to distract him instead to buy time for her side.

The battle begins when the southeast wind starts blowing in the middle of the night and Sun Quan’s forces launch their attack on Cao Cao’s navy. On the other hand, Liu Bei’s forces, which had apparently left the alliance, start attacking Cao Cao’s forts on land. By dawn, Cao Cao’s entire navy has been destroyed. The allies launch another offensive on Cao Cao’s ground army, stationed in his forts, and succeed in breaking through using testudo formation despite suffering heavy casualties. Although Cao Cao is besieged in his main camp, he manages to hold Zhou Yu hostage after catching him off guard together with Cao Hong. Xiahou Jun also appears, holding Xiao Qiao hostage and causing the allies to hesitate. Just then, Zhao Yun manages to reverse the situation by rescuing Xiao Qiao with a surprise attack and put Cao Cao at the mercy of the allies instead. Eventually, the allies decide to spare Cao Cao’s life and tell him never to return before leaving for home. In the final scene, Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang are seen having a conversation before Zhuge walks away into the far distance with the newborn foal Mengmeng.

Western release

Western critics also reacted positively to the film when the two parts were released as one film (148 minute version) in June 2009. The film received an 89% rating on the reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes based on 106 reviews, the general consensus being that the film had “impressively grand battlefield action” with the majority of critics agreeing that director John Woo “returns to form” with Red Cliff.

Ancient China

Ancient China produced what has become the oldest extant culture in the world. The name 'China' comes from the Sanskrit Cina (derived from the name of the Chinese Qin Dynasty, pronounced 'Chin') which was translated as 'Cin' by the Persians and seems to have become popularized through trade along the Silk Road.

The Romans and the Greeks knew the country as 'Seres', “the land where silk comes from”. The name 'China' does not appear in print in the west until 1516 CE in Barbosa's journals narrating his travels in the east (though the Europeans had long known of China through trade via the Silk Road). Marco Polo, the famous explorer who familiarized China to Europe in the 13th century CE, referred to the land as 'Cathay. In Mandarin Chinese, the country is known as 'Zhongguo' meaning "central state" or "middle empire".



Well before the advent of recognizable civilization in the region, the land was occupied by hominids. Peking Man, a skull fossil discovered in 1927 CE near Beijing, lived in the area between 700,000 to 300,000 years ago, and Yuanmou Man, whose remains were found in Yuanmou in 1965 CE, inhabited the land 1.7 million years ago. Evidence uncovered with these finds shows that these early inhabitants knew how to fashion stone tools and use fire.

While it is commonly accepted that human beings originated in Africa and then migrated to other points around the globe, China's paleoanthropologists "support the theory of 'regional evolution' of the origin of man" (China.org) which claims an independent basis for the birth of human beings. "The Shu Ape, a primate weighing only 100 to 150 grams and being similar to a mouse in size, lived [in China] in the Middle Eocene Epoch 4.5 to 4 million years ago. Its discovery posed a great challenge to the theory of African origin of the human race" (China.org). This challenge is considered plausible due to genetic links between the Shu Ape fossil and both advanced and lower primates, standing, then, as a 'missing link' in the evolutionary process.


However one interprets this data (the Chinese conclusions have been disputed by the international community), the solid evidence provided by other finds substantiates a very ancient lineage of hominids and homo sapiens in China and a high level of sophistication in early culture. One example of this is Banpo Village, near Xi'an, discovered in 1953 CE. Banpo is a Neolithic village which was inhabited between 4500 and 3750 BCE and comprises 45 houses with floors sunk into the ground for greater stability. A trench encircling the village provided both protection from attack and drainage (while also helping to fence in domestic animals) while man-made caves dug underground were used to store food. The design of the village, and the artifacts discovered there (such as pottery and tools), argue for a very advanced culture at the time it was constructed.

It has generally been accepted that the Chinese 'Cradle of Civilization' is the Yellow River Valley which gave rise to villages sometime around 5000 BCE. While this has been disputed, and arguments have been made for the more widespread development of communities, there is no doubt that the Henan province, in the Yellow River Valley, was the site of many early villages and farming communities.

Sign up for our free weekly email newsletter!

In 2001 CE, archaeologists uncovered two skeletons "buried in a collapsed house, which was covered with a thick layer of silt deposits from the Yellow River. In the layer of deposits, archaeologists found more than 20 skeletons, an altar, a square, pottery, and stone and jade utensils" (Chinapage.org). This site was only one of many prehistoric villages in the area.

The First Dynasties

From these small villages and farming communities grew centralized government the first of which was the prehistoric Xia Dynasty (c. 2070-1600 BCE). The Xia Dynasty was considered, for many years, more myth than fact until excavations in the 1960s and 1970s CE uncovered sites which argued strongly for its existence. Bronze works and tombs clearly point to an evolutionary period of development between disparate Stone Age villages and a recognizable cohesive civilization.


The dynasty was founded by the legendary Yu the Great who worked relentlessly for 13 years to control the flooding of the Yellow River which routinely destroyed the farmer's crops. He was so focused on his work that it was said he did not return home once in all those years, even though he seems to have passed by his house on at least three occasions, and this dedication inspired others to follow him.

After he had controlled the flooding, Yu conquered the Sanmiao tribes and was named successor (by the then-ruler, Shun), reigning until his death. Yu established the hereditary system of succession and thereby the concept of dynasty which has become most familiar. The ruling class and the elite lived in urban clusters while the peasant population, which supported the elite's lifestyle, remained largely agrarian, living in rural areas. Yu's son, Qi, ruled after him and power remained in the hands of the family until the last Xia ruler, Jie, was overthrown by Tang who established the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BCE).

Tang was from the kingdom of Shang. The dates popularly assigned to him (1675-1646 BCE) do not in any way correspond to the known events in which he took part and must be considered erroneous. What is known is that he was the ruler, or at least a very important personage, in the kingdom of Shang who, around 1600 BCE, led a revolt against Jie and defeated his forces at the Battle of Mingtiao.


The extravagance of the Xia court and the resultant burden on the populace is thought to have led to this uprising. Tang then assumed leadership of the land, lowered taxes, suspended the grandiose building projects begun by Jie (which were draining the kingdom of resources) and ruled with such wisdom and efficiency that art and culture were allowed to flourish. Writing developed under the Shang Dynasty as well as bronze metallurgy, architecture, and religion.

Prior to the Shang, the people worshipped many gods with one supreme god, Shangti, as head of the pantheon (the same pattern found in other cultures). Shangti was considered 'the great ancestor' who presided over victory in war, agriculture, the weather, and good government. Because he was so remote and so busy, however, the people seem to have required more immediate intercessors for their needs and so the practice of ancestor worship began.

When someone died, it was thought, they attained divine powers and could be called upon for assistance in times of need (similar to the Roman belief in the parentes). This practice led to highly sophisticated rituals dedicated to appeasing the spirits of the ancestors which eventually included ornate burials in grand tombs filled with all one would need to enjoy a comfortable afterlife.


The king, in addition to his secular duties, served as chief officiate and mediator between the living and the dead and his rule was considered ordained by divine law. Although the famous Mandate of Heaven was developed by the later Zhou Dynasty, the idea of linking a just ruler with divine will has its roots in the beliefs fostered by the Shang.

The Zhou Dynasty

Around the year 1046 BCE, King Wu (r. 1046-1043 BCE), of the province of Zhou, rebelled against King Zhou of Shang and defeated his forces at the Battle of Muye, establishing the Zhou Dynasty (1046- 256 BCE). 1046-771 BCE marks the Western Zhou Period while 771-256 BCE marks the Eastern Zhou Period. Wu rebelled against the ruling Shang after the king of Shang killed his older brother unjustly. The Mandate of Heaven was invoked by Wu and his family to legitimize the revolt as he felt the Shang were no longer acting in the interests of the people and so had forfeited the mandate between the monarchy and the god of law, order, and justice, Shangti.

The Mandate of Heaven was thus defined as the gods' blessing on a just ruler and rule by divine mandate. When the government no longer served the will of the gods, that government would be overthrown. Further, it was stipulated that there could be only one legitimate ruler of China and that his rule should be legitimized by his proper conduct as a steward of the lands entrusted him by heaven. Rule could be passed from father to son but only if the child possessed the necessary virtue to rule. This mandate would later be often manipulated by various rulers entrusting succession to unworthy progeny.

Under the Zhou, culture flourished and civilization spread. Writing was codified and iron metallurgy became increasingly sophisticated. The greatest and best-known Chinese philosophers and poets, Confucius, Mencius, Mo Ti (Mot Zu), Lao-Tzu, Tao Chien, and the military strategist Sun-Tzu (if he existed as depicted), all come from the Zhou period in China and the time of the Hundred Schools of Thought.

The chariot, which was introduced to the land under the Shang, became more fully developed by the Zhou. It should be noted that these periods and dynasties did not begin nor end as neatly as they seem to in history books and the Zhou Dynasty shared many qualities with the Shang (including language and religion). While historians find it necessary, for clarity's sake, to break events into periods, the Zhou Dynasty remained extant through the following recognized periods known as The Spring and Autumn Period and The Warring States Period.

The Spring & Autumn Period & The Warring States

During the Spring and Autumn Period (c. 772-476 BCE and so called from the Spring and Autumn Annals, the official chronicle of the state at the time and an early source mentioning General Sun-Tzu), the Zhou government became decentralized in their move to the new capital at Luoyang, marking the end of the 'Western Zhou' period and the beginning of 'Eastern Zhou'. This is the period most noted for advances in philosophy, poetry, and the arts and saw the rise of Confucian, Taoist, and Mohist thought.

At the same time, however, the different states were breaking away from central rule by Luoyang and proclaiming themselves sovereign. This, then, led to the so-called Warring States Period (c. 481-221 BCE) in which seven states fought with each other for control. The seven states were Chu, Han, Qi, Qin, Wei, Yan, and Zhao, all of whom considered themselves sovereign but none of whom felt confident in claiming the Mandate of Heaven still held by the Zhou of Luoyang. All seven of the states used the same tactics and observed the same rules of conduct in battle and so none could gain the advantage over the others.

This situation was exploited by the pacifist philosopher Mo Ti, a skilled engineer, who made it his mission to provide each state with equal knowledge of fortifications and siege ladders in hopes of neutralizing any one state's advantage and so ending the war. His efforts were unsuccessful however and, between 262 and 260 BCE, the state of Qin gained supremacy over Zhao, finally defeating them at The Battle of Changping.

A Qin statesman by the name of Shang Yang (d. 338 BCE), a great believer in efficiency and law, had recast the Qin understanding of warfare to focus on victory at any cost. Whether Sun-Tzu or Shang Yang is to be credited with the reformation of military protocol and strategy in China depends on one's acceptance of Sun-Tzu's historicity. Whether Sun-Tzu existed as people claim, however, it is very probable that Shang Yang was acquainted with the famous work, The Art of War, which bears Sun-Tzu's name as author.

Prior to these reforms, Chinese warfare was considered a nobleman's game of skill with very set rules dictated by courtesy and the perceived will of heaven. One did not attack the weak or the unprepared and one was expected to delay engagement until an opponent had mobilized and formed ranks on the field. Shang advocated total war in pursuit of victory and counseled taking the enemies' forces by whatever means lay at hand. Shang's principles were known in Qin and made use of at Changping (where over 450,000 captured Zhao soldiers were executed after the battle) giving the Qin the advantage they had been waiting for.

Still, they did not make further effective use of these tactics until the rise of Ying Zheng, King of Qin. Utilizing Shang's directives, and with an army of considerable size using iron weapons and driving chariots, Ying Zheng emerged from the Warring States conflict supreme in 221 BCE, subduing and unifying the other six states under his rule and proclaiming himself Shi Huangdi -`First Emperor' - of China.

The Qin Dynasty

Shi Huangdi thus established the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE), initiating the period known as the Imperial Era in China (221 BCE-1912 CE) when dynasties ruled the land. He ordered the destruction of the walled fortifications which had separated the different states and commissioned the building of a great wall along the northern border of his kingdom. Though little remains today of Shi Huangdi's original wall, The Great Wall of China was begun under his rule.

It stretched for over 5,000 kilometres (3,000 miles) across hill and plain, from the boundaries of Korea in the east to the troublesome Ordos Desert in the west. It was an enormous logistical undertaking, though for much of its course it incorporated lengths of earlier walls built by the separate Chinese kingdoms to defend their northern frontiers in the fourth and third centuries. (Scarre and Fagan, 382)

Shi Huangdi also strengthened the infrastructure through road building which helped to increase trade through the ease of travel.

Five trunk roads led from the imperial capital at Xianyang, each provided with police forces and posting stations. Most of these roads were of rammed-earth construction and were 15 metres (50 feet) wide. The longest ran southwest over 7,500 kilometres (4,500 miles) to the frontier region of Yunnan. So precipitous was the countryside that sections of the road had to be built out from vertical cliff faces on projecting timber galleries. (Scarre and Fagan, 382)

Shi Huangdi also expanded the boundaries of his empire, built the Grand Canal in the south, redistributed land and, initially, was a fair and just ruler.

While he made great strides in building projects and military campaigns, his rule became increasingly characterized by a heavy hand in domestic policy. Claiming the Mandate from Heaven, he suppressed all philosophies save the Legalism which had been developed by Shang Yang and, heeding the counsel of his chief advisor, Li Siu, he ordered the destruction of any history or philosophy books which did not correspond to Legalism, his family line, the state of Qin, or himself.

Since books were then written on strips of bamboo fastened with swivel pins, and a volume might be of some weight, the scholars who sought to evade the order were put to many difficulties. A number of them were detected tradition says that many of them were sent to labor on the Great Wall, and that four hundred and sixty were put to death. Nevertheless some of the literati memorized the complete works of Confucius and passed them on by word of mouth to equal memories. (Durant, 697)

This act, along with Shi Huangdi's suppression of general freedoms, including freedom of speech, made him progressively more unpopular. The ancestor worship of the past and the land of the dead began to interest the emperor more than his realm of the living and Shi Huangdi became increasingly engrossed in what this other world consisted of and how he might avoid traveling there. He seems to have developed an obsession with death, became increasingly paranoid regarding his personal safety, and ardently sought after immortality.

His desire to provide for himself an afterlife commensurate with his present one led him to commission a palace built for his tomb and an army of over 8,000 terracotta warriors created to serve him in eternity. This ceramic army, buried with him, also included terracotta chariots, cavalry, a commander in chief, and assorted birds and animals. He is said to have died in 210 BCE while on a quest for an elixir of immortality and Li Siu, hoping to gain control of the government, kept his death a secret until he could alter his will to name his pliable son, Hu-Hai, as heir.

This plan proved untenable, however, as the young prince showed himself to be quite unstable, executing many, and initiating a widespread rebellion in the land. Shortly after Shi Huangdi' s death, the Qin Dynasty quickly collapsed through the intrigue and ineptitude of people like Hu-Hai, Li Siu, and another advisor, Zhao Gao, and the Han Dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE) began with the accession of Liu-Bang.

The Chu-Han Contention

With the fall of the Qin Dynasty, China was plunged into the chaos known as the Chu-Han Contention (206-202 BCE). Two generals emerged among the forces which rebelled against the Qin: Liu-Bang of Han (l. c. 256-195 BCE) and General Xiang-Yu of Chu (l. 232-202 BCE), who fought for control of the government. Xiang-Yu, who had proven himself the most formidable opponent of the Qin, awarded Liu-Bang the title of 'King of the Han' in recognition of Liu-Bang's decisive defeat of the Qin forces at their capital of Xianyang.

The two former allies quickly became antagonists, however, in the power struggle known as the Chu-Han contention until Xiang-Yu negotiated the Treaty of Hong Canal and brought a temporary peace. Xiang-Yu suggested dividing China under the rule of the Chu in the east and the Han in the west, but Liu-Bang wanted a united China under Han rule and, breaking the treaty, resumed hostilities. At the Battle of Gaixia in 202 BCE, Liu-Bang's great general, Han-Xin, trapped and defeated the forces of Chu under Xiang-Yu and Liu-Bang was proclaimed emperor (known to posterity as Emperor Gaozu of Han). Xiang-Yu committed suicide but his family was allowed to live and even serve in government positions.

The new emperor Gaozu treated all of his former adversaries with respect and united the land under his rule. He pushed back the nomadic Xiongnu tribes, who had been making incursions into China, and made peace with the other states which had risen in rebellion against the failing Qin Dynasty. The Han Dynasty (which derives its name from Liu-Bang's home in Hanzhong province) would rule China, with a brief interruption, for the next 400 years, from 202 BCE to 220 CE. The Han is divided into two periods: Western Han - 202 BCE-9 CE and Eastern Han - 25 -220 CE.

The Han Dynasty

The resultant peace initiated by Gaozu brought the stability necessary for culture to again thrive and grow. Trade with the west began during this time and arts and technology increased in sophistication. The Han are considered the first dynasty to write their history down but, as Shi Huangdi destroyed so many of the written records of those who came before him, this claim is often disputed. There is no doubt, however, that great advances were made under the Han in every area of culture.

The Yellow Emperor's Canon of Medicine, China's earliest written record on medicine was codified during the Han Dynasty. Paper was invented at this time and writing became more sophisticated. Gaozu embraced Confucianism and made it the exclusive philosophy of the government, setting a pattern which would continue on to the present day.

Even so, unlike Shi Huangdi, he did not legislate philosophy for others. He practiced tolerance for all other philosophies and, as a result, literature and education flourished under his reign. He reduced taxes and disbanded his army who, nevertheless, rallied without delay when called upon.

After his death in 195 BCE, his wife, Empress Lu Zhi (l. 241-180 BCE), installed a series of puppet kings, beginning with the crown prince Liu Ying (Emperor Hui, r. 195-188 BCE), who served her interests but still continued his policies. These programmes maintained stability and culture enabling the greatest of the Han emperors, Wu Ti (also known as Wu the Great, r. 141- 87 BCE), to embark on his enterprises of expansion, public works, and cultural initiatives. He sent his emissary Zhang Qian to the west in 138 BCE which resulted in the official opening of the Silk Road in 130 BCE.

Confucianism was further incorporated as the official doctrine of the government and Wu Ti established schools throughout the empire to foster literacy and teach Confucian precepts. He also reformed transportation, roads, and trade and decreed many other public projects, employing millions as state workers in these undertakings. After Wu Ti, his successors, more or less, maintained his vision for China and enjoyed equal success.

Increase in wealth led to the rise of large estates and general prosperity but, for the peasants who worked the land, life became increasingly difficult. In 9 CE, the acting regent, Wang Mang (l. 45 BCE-23 CE), usurped control of the government claiming the Mandate of Heaven for himself and declaring an end to the Han Dynasty. Wang Mang founded the Xin Dynasty (9-23 CE) on a platform of extensive land reform and redistribution of wealth.

He initially had enormous support from the peasant population and was opposed by the landowners. His programs, however, were poorly conceived and executed resulting in widespread unemployment and resentment. Uprisings, and extensive flooding of the Yellow River, further destabilized Wang Mang's rule and he was assassinated by an angry mob of the peasants on whose behalf he had ostensibly seized the government and initiated his reforms.

The Fall of Han & Rise of The Xin Dynasty

The rise of the Xin Dynasty ended the period known as Western Han and its demise led to the establishment of the Eastern Han period. Emperor Guangwu (r. 25-57 CE) returned the lands to the wealthy estate owners and restored order in the land, maintaining the policies of the earlier Western Han rulers. Guangwu, in reclaiming lands lost under the Xin Dynasty, was forced to spend much of his time putting down rebellions and re-establishing Chinese rule in the regions of modern-day Korea and Vietnam.

The Trung Sisters Rebellion of 39 CE in Vietnam, led by two sisters, required “ten odd thousands of men” (according to the official state record of Han) and four years to put down. Even so, the emperor consolidated his rule and even expanded his boundaries, providing stability which gave rise to an increase in trade and prosperity. By the time of Emperor Zhang (r. 75-88 CE), China was so prosperous that it was partners in trade with all the major nations of the day and continued in this way after his death. The Romans under Marcus Aurelius, in 166 CE, considered Chinese silk more precious than gold and paid China whatever price was asked.

Disputes between the landed gentry and the peasants, however, continued to cause problems for the government as exemplified in the Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion (142 CE) and the Yellow Turban Rebellion (184 CE). While the Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion began as a religious movement, it involved a large number of the peasant class at odds with the Confucian ideals of the government and the elite. Both of these revolts were in response to governmental neglect of the people which worsened as the late Han Dynasty became increasingly corrupt and ineffective. The leaders of both rebellions claimed that the Han had forfeited the Mandate of Heaven and should abdicate.

The power of the government to control the people began to disintegrate until full-scale revolt erupted throughout the country as the Yellow Turban Rebellion gained momentum. Han generals were sent to put the rebellion down but, as soon as one enclave was crushed, another would spring up. The revolt was finally put down by the general Cao Cao (l. 155- 220 CE). Cao Cao and his former friend and ally Yuan-Shao (d. 202 CE) then fought each other for control of the land with Cao Cao emerging victorious in the north.

Cao attempted a complete unification of China by invading the south but was defeated at the Battle of Red Cliffs in 208 CE, leaving China divided into three separate kingdoms - Cao Wei, Eastern Wu, and Shu Han - each of which claimed the Mandate of Heaven. This era is known as the Period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280 CE), a time of violence, instability, and uncertainty which would later inspire some of the greatest works in Chinese literature.

The Han Dynasty was now a memory and other, shorter-lived dynasties (such as the Wei and Jin, the Wu Hu, and the Sui) assumed control of the government in turn and initiated their own platforms from roughly 208-618 CE. The Sui Dynasty (589-618 CE) finally succeeded in reuniting China in 589 CE. The importance of the Sui Dynasty is in its implementation of highly efficient bureaucracy which streamlined the operation of government and led to greater ease in maintaining the empire. Under the Emperor Wen, and then his son, Yang, the Grand Canal was completed, the Great Wall was enlarged and portions rebuilt, the army was increased to the largest recorded in the world at that time, and coinage was standardized across the realm.

Literature flourished and it is thought that the famous Legend of Hua Mulan, about a young girl who takes her father's place in the army and saves the country, was developed at this time (though the original poem is thought to have been composed during the Northern Wei Period, 386-535 CE). Unfortunately, both Wen and Yang were not content with domestic stability and organized massive expeditions against the Korean peninsula. Wen had already bankrupted the treasury through his building projects and military campaigns and Yang followed his father's example and failed equally in his attempts at military conquest. Yang was assassinated in 618 CE which then sparked the uprising of Li-Yuan who took control of the government and called himself Emperor Gao-Tzu of Tang (r. 618-626 CE).

The Tang Dynasty

The Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE) is considered the 'golden age' of Chinese civilization. Gao-Tzu prudently maintained and improved upon the bureaucracy initiated by the Sui Dynasty while dispensing with extravagant military operations and building projects. With minor modifications, the bureaucratic policies of the Tang Dynasty are still in use in Chinese government in the modern day.

Despite his efficient rule, Gao-Tzu was deposed by his son, Li-Shimin, in 626 CE. Having assassinated his father, Li-Shimin then killed his brothers and others of the noble house and assumed the title Emperor Taizong (r. 626-649 CE). After the bloody coup, however, Taizong decreed that Buddhist temples be built at the sites of the battles and that the fallen should be memorialized.

Continuing, and building upon, the concepts of ancestor worship and the Mandate of Heaven, Taizong claimed divine will in his actions and intimated that those he had killed were now his counselors in the afterlife. As he proved to be a remarkably efficient ruler, as well as a skilled military strategist and warrior, his coup went unchallenged and he set about the task of governing his vast empire.

Taizong followed his father's precepts in keeping much of what was good from the Sui Dynasty and improving upon it. This can be seen especially in Taizong's legal code which drew heavily on Sui concepts but expanded them for specificity of crime and punishment. He ignored his father's model of foreign policy, however, and embarked on a series of successful military campaigns which extended and secured his empire and also served to spread his legal code and Chinese culture.

Taizong was succeeded by his son Gaozong (r. 649-683 CE) whose wife, Wu Zetian, would become China's first - and only - female monarch. Empress Wu Zetian (r. 690-704 CE) initiated a number of policies which improved the living conditions in China and strengthened the position of the emperor. She also made ample use of a secret police force and highly efficient channels of communication to stay always one step ahead of her enemies, both foreign and domestic.

Trade flourished within the empire and, along the Silk Road, with the West. Rome having now fallen, the Byzantine Empire became a prime buyer of Chinese silk. By the time of the rule of Emperor Xuanzong (r. 712-756 CE) China was the largest, most populous, and most prosperous country in the world. Owing to the large population, armies of many thousands of men could be conscripted into service and military campaigns against Turkish nomads or domestic rebels were swift and successful. Art, technology, and science all flourished under the Tang Dynasty (although the high point in the sciences is considered to be the later Sung Dynasty of 960-1234 CE) and some of the most impressive pieces of Chinese sculpture and silverwork come from this period.

The Fall of Tang & Rise of the Song Dynasty

Still, the central government was not universally admired and regional uprisings were a regular concern. The most important of these was the An Shi Rebellion (also known as the An Lushan Rebellion) of 755 CE. General An Lushan, a favorite of the imperial court, recoiled against what he saw as excessive extravagance in government. With a force of over 100,000 troops, he rebelled and declared himself the new emperor by the precepts of the Mandate of Heaven.

Although his revolt was put down by 763 CE, the underlying causes of the insurrection and further military actions continued to plague the government through 779 CE. The most apparent consequence of An Lushan's rebellion was a dramatic reduction in the population of China. It has been estimated that close to 36 million people died as a direct result of the rebellion, either in battle, in reprisals, or through disease and lack of resources.

Trade suffered, taxes went uncollected, and the government, which had fled Chang'an when the revolt began, was ineffective in maintaining any kind of significant presence. The Tang Dynasty continued to suffer from domestic revolts and, after the Huang Chao Rebellion (874-884 CE) never recovered. The country broke apart into the period known as The Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (907-960 CE), with each regime claiming for itself legitimacy, until the rise of the Song Dynasty (aka Sung).

With the Song, China became stable once again and institutions, laws, and customs were further codified and integrated into the culture. Neo-Confucianism became the most popular philosophy of the country, influencing these laws and customs, and shaping the culture of China recognizable in the modern day. Still, in spite of advances in every area of civilization and culture, the age-old strife between wealthy landowners and the peasants who worked that land continued throughout the following centuries.

Periodic peasant revolts were crushed as quickly as possible, but no remedies for the people's grievances were ever offered, and each military action continued to deal with the symptom of the problem instead of the problem itself. In 1949 CE, Mao Tse Tung led the people's revolution in China, toppling the government and instituting the People's Republic of China on the premise that, finally, everyone would be equally affluent.


In Chinese history and literature, Wu Zetian (Mandarin pronunciation: [ù tsɤ̌ tʰjɛ́n] ) was known by various names and titles. Mention of her in the English language has only increased their number. A difficulty in English translations from Chinese is that English translations tend to specify gender (as in the case of "emperor" versus "empress" or "prince" versus "princess") whereas, in Classical Chinese, words such as hou ( 后 , "sovereign", "prince", "queen") or huangdi (皇帝 , "imperial supreme ruler", "royal deity") are of a grammatically indeterminate gender.

Names Edit

In Wu's time, women's birth-names were rarely recorded. She changed her name to Wu Zhao after rising to power, [4] often written as 武曌 , ( 曌 has also been written as 瞾 on occasion, and both are derivatives of 照 , which possibly is her original name), with 瞾 being one of the invented characters by Wu. Wu was her patronymic surname, which she retained, according to traditional Chinese practice, after marriage to Gaozong, of the Li family. Emperor Taizong gave her the art name Wu Mei ( 武媚 ), meaning "glamorous". [6] (Thus, today Chinese people often refer to her as Wu Mei or Wu Meiniang ( 武媚娘 ) when they write about her youth, whereas they refer to her as Wu Hou ( 武后 ) when referring to her as empress consort and empress dowager, and Wu Zetian ( 武則天 ) when referring to her reign as empress regnant.) [ citation needed ]

Titles Edit

During her life, and posthumously, Wu Zetian was awarded various official titles. Both hou ( 后 ) and huangdi ( 皇帝 ) are titles (modifications, or added characters to hou are of lesser importance). Born Wu Zhao, she is not properly known as "Wu Hou" (Empress Wu) until receiving this title in 655, nor is she properly known as "Wu Zetian", her regnal name, until 690, when she took the title Emperor.

  • During the reign of Emperor Gaozu of Tang (618-626):
    • Lady Wu (from 624)
    • During the reign of Emperor Taizong of Tang (626-649):
      • Talented Lady ( 才人 from 637), 17th rank consort
      • During the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang (649-683):
        • Imperial Concubine Zhaoyi ( 昭儀 from 650), 6th rank consort
        • Empress (皇后 from 655), 1st rank consort
        • Heavenly Empress (天后 from 674), 1st rank consort
        • During the reign of Emperor Zhongzong of Tang (684-684):
          • Empress Dowager Wu ( 武皇太后 from 683)
          • During the reign of Emperor Ruizong of Tang (684-690)
            • Empress Dowager Wu (武皇太后 from 684)
            • During her reign as the Empress Regnant of the Zhou Dynasty (690-705):
              • Holy Emperor ( 聖神皇帝 from 690)
              • Holy Golden Emperor ( 金輪聖神皇帝 from 693)
              • Holy Golden Goddess Emperor ( 越古金輪聖神皇帝 from 694)
              • Holy Golden Emperor (金輪聖神皇帝 from 695)
              • Emperor Tiance Jinlun (天策金輪大帝 from 695)
              • Emperor Zetian Dasheng ( 則天大聖皇帝 from 705)
              • During the second reign of Emperor Zhongzong of Tang (705-710):
                • Empress Zetian Dasheng (則天大聖皇后 from 705)
                • During the second reign of Emperor Ruizong of Tang (710-712):
                  • Heavenly Empress (天后 from 710)
                  • Holy Empress (大聖天后 from 710)
                  • Empress of Heaven (天后聖帝 from 712)
                  • Holy Empress (聖后 from 712)
                  • During the reign of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang (713-756):
                    • Empress Zetian (則天皇后 from 716)
                    • Holy Empress Zetianshun (則天順聖皇后 from 749)

                    "Empress" Edit

                    Various Chinese titles have been translated into English as "empress", including "empress" in both the sense of empress consort and empress regnant. Generally, the monarch was male and his chief spouse was given a title such as huanghou ( 皇后 ), often translated as "empress" or more specific "empress consort". Upon the death of the emperor, the surviving empress consort could become empress dowager, sometimes wielding considerable political power as regent during the minority of the (male) heir to the position of emperor.

                    Since the time of Qin Shi Huang (259–210 BC) the Emperor of China used the title huangdi ( 皇帝 , translated as "emperor" or "empress (regnant)" as appropriate), Wu Zetian was the only woman in the history of China to assume the title of huangdi. [7] Her tenure as de facto ruler of China and officially regent Tang dynasty (first through her husband and then through her sons, from 665 to 690) was not without precedent in Chinese history however, she broke precedent when she founded her own dynasty in 690, the Zhou ( 周 ) (interrupting the Tang dynasty), ruling personally under the name Sacred and Divine Huangdi ( 聖神皇帝 ), and variations thereof, from 690 through 705.

                    Wu Zetian and Empress Dowager Liu of the Song Dynasty are said to be the only women in Chinese history to have worn a yellow robe, ordinarily reserved for the sole use of the emperor, as a monarch or co-ruler in their own right. [8]

                    The Wu family clan originated in Wenshui County, Bingzhou (an ancient name of the city of Taiyuan, Shanxi). The birthplace of Wu Zetian is not documented in preserved historical literature and remains controversial. Some scholars argue that Wu Zetian was born in Wenshui, and some argue it's Lizhou ( 利州 ) (modern-day Guangyuan in Sichuan) [ citation needed ] , while some others insist she was born in the imperial capital of Chang'an (today known as Xi'an).

                    Wu Zetian was born in the seventh year of the reign of Emperor Gaozu of Tang. In the same year, a total eclipse of the sun was visible across China. Her father Wu Shiyue was engaged in the timber business and the family was relatively well off. Her mother was from the powerful Yang family. During the final years of Emperor Yang of Sui, Li Yuan ( 李淵 ) (who would go on to become Emperor Gaozu of Tang) stayed in the Wu household many times and became close to the Wu family, whilst holding appointments in both Hedong and Taiyuan. After Li Yuan overthrew Emperor Yang, he was generous to the Wu family, providing them with money, grain, land, and clothing. Once the Tang dynasty became established, Wu Shihou held a succession of senior ministerial posts including the governor of Yangzhou, Lizhou, and Jingzhou ( 荊州 ) (modern-day Jiangling County, Hubei).

                    Wu was from a wealthy family, and she was encouraged by her father to read books and pursue her education. He made sure that his daughter was well-educated, a trait that was not common among women, much less encouraged by their fathers. [ citation needed ] Wu read and learned about many different topics such as politics and other governmental affairs, writing, literature, and music. At age fourteen, she was taken to be an imperial concubine (lesser wife) of Emperor Taizong of Tang. It was there that she became a type of secretary. This opportunity allowed her to continue to pursue her education. She was given the title of cairen, the title for one of the consorts with the fifth rank in Tang's nine-rank system for imperial officials, nobles, and consorts. [6] [9] When she was summoned to the palace, her mother, the Lady Yang, wept bitterly when saying farewell to her, but she responded, "How do you know that it is not my fortune to meet the Son of Heaven?" Lady Yang reportedly then understood her ambitions, and therefore stopped crying [ citation needed ] .

                    Consort Wu, however, did not appear to be much favored by Emperor Taizong, although it appeared that she did have sexual relations with him at one point. [10] According to her own account (given in a rebuke of the Chancellor Ji Xu during her reign), there was an occasion during the time she was concubine when she impressed Taizong with her fortitude:

                    Emperor Taizong had a horse with the name "Lion Stallion", and it was so large and strong that no one could get on its back. I was a lady in waiting attending Emperor Taizong, and I suggested to him, "I only need three things to subordinate it: an iron whip, an iron hammer, and a sharp dagger. I will whip it with the iron whip. If it does not submit, I will hammer its head with the iron hammer. If it still does not submit, I will cut its throat with the dagger." Emperor Taizong praised my bravery. Do you really believe that you are qualified to dirty my dagger? [11]

                    When Emperor Taizong died in 649, his youngest son, Li Zhi (whose mother was the main wife Wende), succeeded him as Emperor Gaozong of Tang. Li and Wu had had an affair when Taizong was still alive.

                    Taizong had fourteen sons, including three to his beloved Empress Zhangsun (601–636), but none with Consort Wu. [12] Thus, according to the custom by which consorts of deceased emperors who had not produced children were permanently confined to a monastic institution after the emperor's death, Wu was consigned to Ganye Temple ( 感業寺 ), with the expectation that she would serve as a Buddhist nun there for the remainder of her life. Wu was to defy expectations, however and left the convent for an alternative life. After Taizong's death Li Zhi came to visit her and, finding her more beautiful, intelligent, and intriguing than before, decided to bring her back as his own concubine [ citation needed ] .

                    By early 650, Consort Wu was a concubine of Emperor Gaozong, and she had the title Zhaoyi ( 昭儀 ) (the highest ranking concubine of the nine concubines in the second rank). Wu progressively gained immeasurable influence over the governance of the empire throughout Emperor Gaozong's reign. Over time, she came to control most major decisions made. Even in the absence of Emperor Gaozong, she personally held the court to decide on the day-to-day running of civil or military responsibilities. After Emperor Gaozong's death in 683, Empress Wu became the Empress Dowager and Regent. She proceeded to depose Emperor Zhongzong, for displaying independence. She then had her youngest son Emperor Ruizong made emperor. Furthermore she was ruler not only in substance but in appearance as well. She presided over imperial gatherings and prevented Emperor Ruizong from taking an active role in governance. In 690, she had Emperor Ruizong yield the throne to her and established the Zhou Dynasty. She was regarded as ruthless in her endeavors to grab power, and was believed by traditional historians to have killed her own children. This was later proven false, as these rumors seem to have surfaced 400 years after her death. This was likely due to the belief in ancient China that a woman wasn't suited to hold the power of the emperor.

                    Imperial consort and palatial intrigue Edit

                    Gaozong became emperor at the age of 21. Gaozong was not the first choice as he was inexperienced and frequently incapacitated with a sickness that caused him spells of dizziness. [5] Gaozong was only made heir to the empire due to the disgrace of his two older brothers. [12] On or after the anniversary of Emperor Taizong's death, [note 10] Emperor Gaozong went to Ganye Temple to offer incense. When he and Consort Wu saw each other, both of them wept. This was seen by Emperor Gaozong's wife, Empress Wang. [13] At that time, Emperor Gaozong did not favor Empress Wang. Instead, he favored his concubine Consort Xiao. Furthermore, Empress Wang did not have any children, and Consort Xiao had one son (Li Sujie) and two daughters (Princesses Yiyang and Xuancheng). Empress Wang, seeing that Emperor Gaozong was still impressed by Consort Wu's beauty, hoped that the arrival of a new concubine would divert the emperor from Consort Xiao. Therefore, Empress Wang secretly told Wu to stop shaving her hair and, at a later point, the Empress welcomed her to the palace. (Some modern historians dispute this traditional account. Some think that Consort Wu never left the imperial palace and might have had an affair with Emperor Gaozong while Emperor Taizong was still alive.) [ citation needed ]

                    Consort Wu soon overtook Consort Xiao as Emperor Gaozong's favorite. In 652, she gave birth to her first child, a son named Li Hong. In 653, she gave birth to another son, Li Xián. Neither one of these sons was in contention to be Emperor Gaozong's heir because Emperor Gaozong, at the request of officials influenced by Empress Wang and her uncle (the chancellor Liu Shi), had designated his eldest son Li Zhong as his heir. Li Zhong's mother, Consort Liu, was of lowly birth. Empress Wang did this in order to receive Consort Liu's gratitude.

                    By 654, both Empress Wang and Consort Xiao had lost favor with Emperor Gaozong, and these two former romantic rivals joined forces against Consort Wu, but to no avail. For example, as a sign of his love for Consort Wu, Emperor Gaozong conferred posthumous honors on her father Wu Shiyue in 654.

                    In the same year, Consort Wu gave birth to a daughter. However, shortly after birth, her daughter died with evidence suggesting deliberate strangulation. The evidence include allegations made by Consort Wu herself, and she accused Empress Wang of murder. [5] Empress Wang was accused of having been seen near the child's room, with corroborating testimony by alleged eyewitnesses. Emperor Gaozong was led to believe that Empress Wang, motivated by jealousy, had most likely killed the child. Additionally, Empress Wang lacked an alibi and was unable to clear her name.

                    Scientifically credible forensic pathology information about the death of the Consort Wu's daughter does not exist, and scholars lack real, concrete evidence about her death. However, there are many theories and speculations made by scholars. Because traditional folklore tend to portray Wu as a power hungry woman with no care for whom she hurt or what she did, the most popular theory is that Wu killed her own child in order to implicate Empress Wang. Other schools of thought argue that Empress Wang indeed killed the child out of jealousy and hatred toward Consort Wu. The third argument is that the child died of asphyxiation or crib death. The ventilation systems of the time were non-existent or of poor quality, and the lack of ventilation combined with using coal as a heating method could have led to carbon monoxide poisoning due to a build up of fumes. No matter what caused the death of the child, Consort Wu blamed Empress Wang for it, and as a result, tried to find a way to remove Empress Wang from her position.

                    Because the death of the child, an angry Emperor Gaozong also wanted to depose Empress Wang and replace her with Consort Wu. But first, he needed to make sure that he had the support of the government chancellors. So, Gaozong met with his uncle Zhangsun Wuji, the head chancellor. During the meeting, Gaozong brought up the topic of Empress Wang's childlessness several times. Childlessness was a sufficient excuse to depose Empress Wang. However, Zhangsun repeatedly found ways to divert the conversation. Subsequent visits made by Consort Wu's mother, Lady Yang and an official allied with Consort Wu, Xu Jingzong to seek support from Zhangsun were met with disappointment. [14]

                    In summer 655, Consort Wu accused Empress Wang and her mother, Lady Liu, of using witchcraft. In response, Emperor Gaozong barred Lady Liu from the palace and demoted Empress Wang's uncle, Liu Shi. [14] Meanwhile, a faction of officials began to form around Consort Wu, including Li Yifu, Xu, Cui Yixuan ( 崔義玄 ), and Yuan Gongyu ( 袁公瑜 ). On an occasion in the autumn of 655, Emperor Gaozong summoned the chancellors Zhangsun, Li Ji, Yu Zhining, and Chu Suiliang to the palace. Chu had deduced that the summoning was regarding changing the Empress. Li Ji claimed an illness and refused to attend. At the meeting, Chu vehemently opposed deposing Empress Wang, while Zhangsun and Yu showed their disapproval by silence. Meanwhile, other chancellors Han Yuan and Lai Ji also opposed the move. When Emperor Gaozong asked Li Ji again, Li Ji's response was, "This is your family matter, Your Imperial Majesty. Why ask anyone else?" Emperor Gaozong, therefore, became resolved. He demoted Chu to be a commandant at Tan Prefecture (roughly modern Changsha, Hunan), [14] and then deposed both Empress Wang and Consort Xiao. He placed them both under arrest and making Consort Wu empress to replace Empress Wang. (Later that year, after Emperor Gaozong showed signs of considering their release. Because of this, Empress Wang and Consort Xiao were killed on orders by the new Empress Wu. After their deaths, Empress Wu was often haunted by them in her dreams.)

                    For the rest of Emperor Gaozong's reign, Wu and Emperor Gaozong often took up residence at the eastern capital Luoyang and only infrequently spent time in Chang'an.) [15]

                    Empress consort Edit

                    Changes at court and intervention in politics Edit

                    In 655, Wu became Tang Gaozong's new empress consort ( 皇后 , húanghòu).

                    In 656, on the advice of Xu Jingzong, Emperor Gaozong deposed Consort Liu's son Li Zhong from being his heir apparent. He changed Li Zhong's status to Prince of Liang and designated Empress Wu's son, Li Hong as the title of Prince of Dai and crown prince (that is, Heir Apparent). [15]

                    In 657, Empress Wu and her allies began reprisals against officials who had opposed her ascension. She first had Xu and Li Yifu, who were by now chancellors, falsely accuse Han Yuan and Lai Ji of being complicit with Chu Suiliang in planning treason. The three of them, along with Liu Shi, were demoted to being prefects of remote prefectures, with provisions that they would never be allowed to return to Chang'an. In 659, she had Xu accuse Zhangsun Wuji of plotting treason with the low-level officials Wei Jifang ( 韋季方 ) and Li Chao ( 李巢 ). Zhangsun was exiled and, later in the year, was forced to commit suicide in exile. Xu further implicated Chu, Liu, Han, and Yu Zhining in the plot as well. Chu, who had died in 658, was posthumously stripped of his titles, and his sons Chu Yanfu ( 褚彥甫 ) and Chu Yanchong ( 褚彥沖 ) were executed. Orders were also issued to execute Liu and Han, although Han died before the execution order reached his location. It was said that after this time, no official dared to criticize the emperor.

                    In 660, Li Zhong, Gaozong's first-born son (to consort Liu) also was targeted. Li Zhong had feared that he would be next and had sought out advice of fortune tellers. Wu had him exiled and placed under house arrest. [15]

                    Ruling with Emperor Gaozong Edit

                    In 660, Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu toured Bian Prefecture (modern-day Taiyuan), and Empress Wu had the opportunity to invite her old neighbors and relatives to a feast. [15] Later that year, Emperor Gaozong began to suffer from an illness that carried the symptoms of painful headaches and loss of vision, generally thought to be hypertension-related. [16] He began to have Empress Wu make rulings on petitions made by officials. It was said that Empress Wu had quick reactions and understood both literature and history, and therefore, she made correct rulings. Thereafter, her authority rivaled Emperor Gaozong's, from this point on, Empress Wu became the undisputed power behind the throne for twenty-three years. [15]

                    During these years, Li Yifu had been, due to favors from Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu, exceedingly powerful, and he grew particularly corrupt. In 663, after reports of Li Yifu's corruption were made to Emperor Gaozong, Emperor Gaozong had Liu Xiangdao and Li Ji investigate, finding Li Yifu guilty. Li Yifu was removed from his post and exiled, and would never return to Chang'an.

                    During the years, Empress Wu had repeatedly, in her dreams, seen Empress Wang and Consort Xiao, in the states they were after their terrible deaths, and she came to believe that their spirits were after her. For that reason, Emperor Gaozong started remodeling a secondary palace, Daming Palace ( 大明宮 ), into Penglai Palace ( 蓬萊宮 ), and when Penglai Palace's main hall, Hanyuan Hall ( 含元殿 ), was completed in 663, Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu moved to the newly remodeled palace (which was itself later renamed to Hanyuan Palace). (However, Empress Wang and Consort Xiao continued to appear in her dreams even after this, and therefore, late in Emperor Gaozong's reign, he and Empress Wu were often at the eastern capital Luoyang, not at Chang'an.)

                    By 664, Empress Wu was said to be interfering so much in the day-to-day administration of the imperial governance that she was angering Emperor Gaozong. Furthermore, she had engaged the Taoist sorcerer Guo Xingzhen ( 郭行真 ) in using witchcraft—an act that was prohibited by regulations and led to Empress Wang's downfall—and the eunuch Wang Fusheng ( 王伏勝 ) reported this to Emperor Gaozong which angered him even more. He consulted the chancellor Shangguan Yi, who suggested that he depose Empress Wu. He had Shangguan draft an edict. But as Shangguan was doing so, Empress Wu received news of what was happening. She went to the emperor to plead her case, just as he was holding the edict that Shangguan had drafted. Emperor Gaozong could not bear to depose her and blamed the episode on Shangguan. As both Shangguan and Wang had served on Li Zhong's staff, Empress Wu had Xu falsely accuse Shangguan, Wang, and Li Zhong of planning treason. Shangguan, Wang, and Shangguan's son Shangguan Tingzhi ( 上官庭芝 ) were executed, while Li Zhong was forced to commit suicide. [17] (Shangguan Tingzhi's daughter Shangguan Wan'er, then an infant, and her mother, Lady Zheng, became slaves in the inner palace. After Shangguan Wan'er grew up, she eventually became a trusted secretary for Empress Wu.)

                    For eighteen years, Empress Wu would sit behind a pearl screen behind Emperor Gaozong at imperial meetings. She heard all the reports and ruled on all the important matters of state, and since then Empress Wu became the actual power. Imperial powers often fell into her hands she was effectively making the major decisions and even held court independently when the Emperor was unwell. In the absence of her husband, she gained vast powers and became a controversial and formidable figure with far-reaching influence. She and Emperor Gaozong were thereafter referred to as the "Two Saints." ( 二聖 , Er Sheng). [17]

                    Meanwhile, on Empress Wu's account, her mother Lady Yang had been made the Lady of Rong, and her older sister, now widowed, the Lady of Han. Her half-brothers Wu Yuanqing and Wu Yuanshuang and cousins Wu Weiliang and Wu Huaiyun, despite the poor relationships that they had with Lady Yang, were promoted. But at a feast that Lady Yang held for them, Wu Weiliang offended Lady Yang by stating that they did not find it honorable for them to be promoted on account of Empress Wu. Empress Wu, therefore, requested to have them demoted to remote prefectures—outwardly to show modesty, but in reality to avenge the offense to her mother. Wu Yuanqing and Wu Yuanshuang died in effective exile. Meanwhile, in or before 666, Lady of Han died as well. After Lady of Han's death, Emperor Gaozong made her daughter the Lady of Wei and considered keeping her in the palace—possibly as a concubine. He did not immediately do so, as he feared that Empress Wu would be displeased. It was said that Empress Wu heard of this and was nevertheless displeased. She had her niece poisoned, by placing poison in food offerings that Wu Weiliang and Wu Huaiyun had made and then blaming them for the death of the Lady of Wei. Wu Weiliang and Wu Huaiyun were executed. [17] [18]

                    In 670, Wu's mother, Lady Yang, died and by Emperor Gaozong's orders, all of the imperial officials and their wives attended her wake and mourned her. Later that year, with the realm suffering from a major drought, Empress Wu offered to be deposed which Emperor Gaozong rejected. He further posthumously honored Wu Shiyue (who had previously been posthumously honored as the Duke of Zhou) and Lady Yang by giving them the titles of the Prince and Princess of Taiyuan. [17]

                    Meanwhile, the son of Empress Wu's older sister, the Lady of Han, (Wu's nephew) Helan Minzhi ( 賀蘭敏之 ) had been given the surname of Wu and allowed to inherit the title of Duke of Zhou. However, as it was becoming clear to Empress Wu that he suspected Empress Wu of murdering his sister, the Lady of Wei, Empress Wu began to take precautions against him. (Helan was also said to have had an incestuous relationship with his grandmother Lady Yang.) In 671, Helan Minzhi was accused of disobeying mourning regulations during the period of mourning for Lady Yang and raping the daughter of the official, Yang Sijian ( 楊思儉 ), whom Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu had previously selected to be the wife and crown princess for Li Hong. Helan Minzhi was exiled and either was executed in exile or committed suicide. In 674, Empress Wu had Wu Yuanshuang's son Wu Chengsi recalled from exile to inherit the title of Duke of Zhou. [19]

                    Fighting in power and remove heirs Edit

                    In 675, as Emperor Gaozong's illness worsened, he considered having Empress Wu formally rule as regent. The chancellor Hao Chujun and the official Li Yiyan both opposed this, and he did not formally make her regent. However, Empress Wu had accrued more political power than the Emperor Gaozong due to his absence.

                    Also in 675, a number of people would fall victim to Empress Wu's ire. Empress Wu had been displeased at the favor that Emperor Gaozong had shown his aunt, Princess Changle. Princess Changle was married the general, Zhao Gui ( 趙瓌 ) and had a daughter who became the wife and princess consort of Wu's third son Li Xiǎn, the Prince of Zhou. Princess Zhao was accused of unspecified crimes and placed under arrest, eventually starving to death. Zhao Gui and Princess Changle were exiled. Meanwhile, later that month, Li Hong, the Crown Prince—who urged Empress Wu not to exercise so much influence on Emperor Gaozong's governance and offended Empress Wu by requesting that his half-sisters, Consort Xiao's daughters, Princess Yiyang and Xuancheng (under house arrest) be allowed to marry—died suddenly. Traditional historians generally believed that Empress Wu poisoned Li Hong to death. Li Xián, then carrying the title of Prince of Yong, was created crown prince. [19] Meanwhile, Consort Xiao's son Li Sujie and another son of Emperor Gaozong's, Li Shangjin ( 李上金 ), were repeatedly accused of crimes by Empress Wu and were subsequently demoted. [19]

                    Soon, Empress Wu's relationship with Li Xián also deteriorated because Li Xián had become unsettled after hearing rumors that he was not born to Empress Wu—but to her sister, the Lady of Han. When Empress Wu heard of his fearfulness, she became angry with him. Furthermore, the sorcerer Ming Chongyan ( 明崇儼 ), whom both she and Emperor Gaozong respected, had stated that Li Xián was unsuitable to inherit the throne and was assassinated in 679. The assassins were not caught—causing Wu to suspect that Li Xián was behind the assassination. In 680, Li Xián was accused of crimes and during an investigation by the officials Xue Yuanchao, Pei Yan, and Gao Zhizhou, a large number of weaponry was found in Li Xián's palace. Empress Wu formally accused Li Xián of treason and the assassination of Ming. Li Xián was deposed and exiled.

                    After the exile of Li Xián, his younger brother Li Xiǎn [similar-sounding name but different Chinese characters] (now renamed Li Zhe) was named crown prince. [19]

                    In 681, Princess Taiping was married to Xue Shao ( 薛紹 ), the son of Emperor Gaozong's sister Princess Chengyang, in a grand ceremony. Empress Wu, initially unimpressed with the lineages of Xue Shao's brothers' wives, wanted to order his brothers to divorce their wives—stopping only after it was pointed out to her that Lady Xiao, the wife of Xue Shao's older brother Xue Yi ( 薛顗 ), was a grandniece of the deceased chancellor Xiao Yu. [19]

                    In late 683, Emperor Gaozong died while at Luoyang. Li Zhe took the throne (as Emperor Zhongzong), but Empress Wu retained the real authority as empress dowager and regent. [20]

                    Empress dowager Edit

                    Plenipotentiary regent for Emperor Zhongzong Edit

                    Upon the death of her husband Emperor Gaozong, Wu became empress dowager ( 皇太后 , húangtàihòu) and then regent and she automatically gained full power over the empire. She had the power to remove and install emperors. Just as before, government decisions were made by her. Wu had already poisoned the crown prince Li Hong and had enough other princes exiled that her third son, Li Zhe, was made heir apparent. Furthermore, Gaozong's will included provisions that Li Zhe should ascend immediately to the imperial throne, he should look to Empress Wu in regards to any important matter, either military or civil, and Empress Wu should claim the senior authority in the Empire for herself. [21] In the second month of 684, Li Zhe ascended to the imperial throne, known as his temple name Zhongzong, for a short six weeks.

                    The new emperor was married to a woman of the Wei family. Because Zhongzong was as weak and incompetent as his father, the new Empress sought to place herself in the same position of great authority that Empress Wu had enjoyed.

                    Immediately, Emperor Zhongzong showed signs of disobeying Empress Dowager Wu. Emperor Zhongzong was under the thumb of his wife, Empress Wei. Under her influence, the Emperor, appointed his father-in-law as prime minister. He also tried to make his father-in-law Shizhong ( 侍中 , the head of the examination bureau of government, 門下省 , Menxia Sheng, and a post considered one for a chancellor) and gave a mid-level office to his wet nurse's son—despite stern opposition by the chancellor Pei Yan, at one point remarking to Pei: [20]

                    What would be wrong even if I gave the empire to Wei Xuanzhen? Why do you care about Shizhong so much?

                    Pei reported this to Empress Dowager Wu, and she, after planning with Pei, Liu Yizhi, and the generals Cheng Wuting ( 程務挺 ) and Zhang Qianxu ( 張虔勖 ) deposed Emperor Zhongzong and replaced him with her youngest son Li Dan, the Prince of Yu (as Emperor Ruizong). Empress Dowager Wu had Zhongzong's father-in-law, Wei Xuanzhen ( 韋玄貞 ), brought up on charges of treason. Wei Xuanzhen was sent into seclusion. Emperor Zhongzong was reduced to the title of Prince of Luling and exiled. Empress Dowager Wu also sent the general, Qiu Shenji ( 丘神勣 ) to Li Xián's place in exile and forced Li Xián to commit suicide.

                    Plenipotentiary regent for Emperor Ruizong Edit

                    Wu had her youngest son Li Dan made emperor, known as his temple name Ruizong. She was the ruler, however, both in substance and appearance. Wu did not even follow the customary pretense of hiding behind a screen or curtain and, in whispers, issued commands for the nominal ruler to formally announce. Ruizong never moved into the imperial quarters, appeared at no imperial function, and remained a virtual prisoner in the inner quarters. [22]

                    Although Emperor Ruizong held the title of emperor, Empress Dowager Wu firmly controlled the imperial court, and the officials were not allowed to meet with Emperor Ruizong, nor was he allowed to rule on matters of state. Rather, the matters of state were ruled on by Empress Dowager Wu. At the suggestion of her nephew Wu Chengsi, she also expanded the ancestral shrine of the Wu ancestors and gave them greater posthumous honors. [20]

                    In 686, Empress Dowager Wu offered to return imperial authorities to Emperor Ruizong, but Emperor Ruizong, knowing that she did not truly intend to do so, declined, and she continued to exercise imperial authority.

                    Soon thereafter, Li Ji's grandson Li Jingye, the Duke of Ying, who had been disaffected by his own exile, started a rebellion at Yang Prefecture ( 揚州 , roughly modern Yangzhou, Jiangsu). The rebellion initially drew much popular support in the region, however, Li Jingye progressed slowly in his attack and did not take advantage of that popular support. Meanwhile, Pei suggested to Empress Dowager Wu that she return imperial authority to the Emperor and argued that doing so would cause the rebellion to collapse on its own. This offended her, and she accused him of being complicit with Li Jingye and had him executed she also demoted, exiled, and killed a number of officials who, when Pei was arrested, tried to speak on his behalf. She sent a general, Li Xiaoyi ( 李孝逸 ), to attack Li Jingye, and while Li Xiaoyi was initially unsuccessful, he pushed on at the urging of his assistant Wei Yuanzhong and eventually was able to crush Li Jingye's forces. Li Jingye fled and was killed in flight. [20]

                    By 685, Empress Dowager Wu began to carry on an affair with the Buddhist monk Huaiyi and during the next few years, Huaiyi would be bestowed with progressively greater honors. [20] [23] [24]

                    Meanwhile, she installed copper mailboxes outside the imperial government buildings to encourage the people of the realm to report secretly on others, as she suspected many officials of opposing her. Exploiting these beliefs of hers, secret police officials, including Suo Yuanli, Zhou Xing, and Lai Junchen, began to rise in power and to carry out systematic false accusations, tortures, and executions of individuals. [20]

                    In 688, Empress Dowager Wu was set to make sacrifices to the deity of the Luo River ( 洛水 , flowing through the Henan province city of Luoyang, then the "Eastern Capital"). Wu summoned senior members of Tang's Li imperial clan to Luoyang. The imperial princes worried that she planned to slaughter them and secure the throne for herself: thus, they plotted to resist her. Before a rebellion could be comprehensively planned out, however, Li Zhen and his son Li Chong, the Prince of Langye rose first, at their respective posts as prefects of Yu Prefecture ( 豫州 , roughly modern Zhumadian, Henan) and Bo Prefecture ( 博州 , roughly modern Liaocheng, Shandong). The other princes were not yet ready, however, and did not rise, and forces sent by Empress Dowager Wu and the local forces crushed Li Chong and Li Zhen's forces quickly. Empress Dowager Wu took this opportunity to arrest Emperor Gaozong's granduncles Li Yuanjia ( 李元嘉 ) the Prince of Han, Li Lingkui ( 李靈夔 ) the Prince of Lu, and Princess Changle, as well as many other members of the Li clan and she, forced them to commit suicide. Even Princess Taiping's husband Xue Shao was implicated and starved to death. In the subsequent years, there continued to be many politically motivated massacres of officials and Li clan members. [23]

                    In 690, Wu took the final step to become the empress regnant of the newly proclaimed Zhou dynasty, and the title Huangdi. Traditional Chinese order of succession (akin to the Salic law in Europe) did not allow a woman to ascend the throne, but Wu Zetian was determined to quash the opposition and the use of the secret police did not subside, but continued, after her taking the throne. While her organization of the civil service system was criticized for its laxity of the promotion of officials, nonetheless, Wu Zetian was considered capable of evaluating the performance of the officials once they were in office. The Song dynasty historian Sima Guang, in his Zizhi Tongjian, commented: [24]

                    Even though the Empress Dowager [note 11] excessively used official titles to cause people to submit to her, if she saw that someone was incompetent, she would immediately depose or even execute him. She grasped the powers of punishment and award, controlled the state, and made her own judgments as to policy decisions. She was observant and had good judgment, so the talented people of the time also were willing to be used by her.

                    In 690, Wu had Emperor Ruizong yield the throne to her and established the Zhou dynasty, with herself as the imperial ruler (Huangdi).

                    The early part of her reign was characterized by secret police terror, which moderated as the years went by. She was, on the other hand, recognized as a capable and attentive ruler even by traditional historians who despised her, and her ability at selecting capable men to serve as officials was admired throughout the rest of the Tang dynasty as well as in subsequent dynasties. [note 12]

                    Early reign (690–696) Edit

                    Shortly after Wu Zetian took the throne, she elevated the status of Buddhism above that of Taoism, officially sanctioning Buddhism by building temples named Dayun Temple ( 大雲寺 ) in each prefecture belonging to the capital regions of the two capitals Luoyang and Chang'an, and created nine senior monks as dukes. She also enshrined seven generations of Wu ancestors at the imperial ancestral temple, although she also continued to offer sacrifices to the Tang emperors Gaozu, Taizong, and Gaozong. [23]

                    She faced the issue of succession. At the time she took the throne, she created Li Dan, the former Emperor Ruizong, crown prince, and bestowed the name of Wu on him. [23] The official Zhang Jiafu, however, convinced the commoner Wang Qingzhi ( 王慶之 ) to start a petition drive to make her nephew Wu Chengsi crown prince, arguing that an emperor named Wu should pass the throne to a member of the Wu clan. Wu Zetian was tempted to do so, and when the chancellors Cen Changqian and Ge Fuyuan opposed sternly, they, along with fellow chancellor Ouyang Tong, were executed. Nevertheless, she declined Wang's request to make Wu Chengsi crown prince, but for a time allowed Wang to freely enter the palace to see her. On one occasion, however, when Wang angered her by coming to the palace too much, she asked the official Li Zhaode to batter Wang as punishment—but Li Zhaode exploited the opportunity to batter Wang to death, and his group of petitioners scattered. Li Zhaode then persuaded Wu Zetian to keep Li Dan as crown prince—pointing out that a son was closer in relations than a nephew, and also that if Wu Chengsi became emperor, Emperor Gaozong would never again be worshiped. Wu Zetian agreed, and for some time did not reconsider the matter. [23] Further, at Li Zhaode's warning that Wu Chengsi was becoming too powerful, Wu Zetian stripped Wu Chengsi of his chancellor authority and bestowed on him largely honorific titles without authority. [24]

                    Meanwhile, the power of the secret police officials continued to increase, until they appeared to be curbed starting in about 692, when Lai Junchen was foiled in his attempt to have the chancellors Ren Zhigu, Di Renjie, Pei Xingben, and other officials Cui Xuanli ( 崔宣禮 ), Lu Xian ( 盧獻 ), Wei Yuanzhong, and Li Sizhen ( 李嗣眞 ) executed, as Di, under arrest, had hidden a secret petition inside a change of clothes and had it submitted by his son Di Guangyuan ( 狄光遠 ). The seven still were exiled, but after this incident, particularly at the urging of Li Zhaode, Zhu Jingze, and Zhou Ju ( 周矩 ), the waves of politically motivated massacres decreased, although they did not end entirely. [24] Wu Zetian is famous for utilizing talents. She utilized imperial examination system to find talents from poor people or people without backgrounds. Hence, she could stabilize her regime. [25]

                    Also in 692, Wu Zetian commissioned the general Wang Xiaojie to attack the Tibetan Empire, and Wang recaptured the four garrisons of the Western Regions that had fallen to the Tibetan Empire in 670 – Kucha, Yutian, Kashgar, and Suyab. [24]

                    In 693, after Wu Zetian's trusted lady-in-waiting Wei Tuan'er ( 韋團兒 ), who hated Li Dan because he rejected her advances, falsely accused Li Dan's wife Crown Princess Liu and Consort Dou of using witchcraft, Wu Zetian had Crown Princess Liu and Consort Dou killed. Li Dan, fearful that he was to be next, did not dare to speak of them. When Wei further planned to falsely accuse Li Dan, however, someone else informed on her, and she was executed. Wu Zetian nevertheless had Li Dan's sons demoted in their princely titles, and when the officials Pei Feigong ( 裴匪躬 ) and Fan Yunxian ( 范雲仙 ) were accused of secretly meeting Li Dan, she executed Pei and Fan and further, barred officials from meeting Li Dan. There were then accusations that Li Dan was plotting treason, and under Wu Zetian's direction, Lai launched an investigation. Lai arrested Li Dan's servants and tortured them—and the torture was such that many of them were ready to falsely implicate themselves and Li Dan. One of Li Dan's servants, An Jincang, however, proclaimed Li Dan's innocence and cut his own belly open to swear to that fact. When Wu Zetian heard of what An did, she had doctors attend to An and barely save his life, and then ordered Lai to end the investigation, thus saving Li Dan. [24]

                    In 694, Li Zhaode, who had become powerful after Wu Chengsi's removal, was thought to be too powerful and Wu Zetian removed him. [24] Also around this time, she became highly impressed with a group of mystic individuals—the hermit Wei Shifang (on whom she bestowed a chancellor title briefly), who claimed to be more than 350 years old an old Buddhist nun who claimed to be a Buddha and capable of predicting the future and a non-Han man who claimed to be 500 years old. During this time, Wu briefly claimed to be and adopted the cult imagery of Maitreya in order to build popular support for her reign. [26]

                    In 695, however, after the imperial meeting hall ( 明堂 ) and the Heavenly Hall ( 天堂 ) were burned by Huaiyi (who was jealous at Wu Zetian's taking on another lover, the imperial physician Shen Nanqiu ( 沈南璆 ), Wu Zetian became angry at these individuals for failing to predict the fire the old nun and her students were arrested and made into slaves Wei committed suicide and the old non-Han man fled. Subsequently, she also put Huaiyi to death. After this incident, she appeared to pay less attention to mysticism and became even more dedicated than before to the affairs of state. [24]

                    Middle reign (696–701) Edit

                    Wu Zetian's administration was soon in for various troubles on the western and then northern borders. In spring 696, an army she sent, commanded by Wang Xiaojie and Lou Shide against the Tibetan Empire, was soundly defeated by Tibetan generals, the brothers Gar Trinring Tsendro ( 論欽陵 ) and Gar Tsenba ( 論贊婆 ), and as a result, she demoted Wang to commoner rank and Lou to be a low level prefectural official, although she eventually restored both of them to general positions. [24] In April of the same year, Wu Zetian recast the Nine Tripod Cauldrons, the symbol of ultimate power in ancient China, to reinforce her authority. [27]

                    A much more serious threat arose in summer 696. The Khitan chieftains Li Jinzhong and Sun Wanrong, brothers-in-law, angry over the mistreatment of the Khitan people by the Zhou official Zhao Wenhui ( 趙文翽 ), the prefect of Ying Prefecture ( 營州 , roughly Zhaoyang County, Liaoning), rebelled, with Li assuming the title of Wushang Khan ( 無上可汗 ). Armies that Wu Zetian sent to suppress Li and Sun's rebellion were defeated by Khitan forces, which in turn attacked Zhou proper. Meanwhile, Qapaghan Qaghan of the Second Turkic Khaganate offered to submit, and yet was also launching attacks against Zhou and Khitan. The attacks included one against the Khitan base of operations during the winter of 696, shortly after Li's death, which resulted in capturing Li's and Sun's families and temporarily halted Khitan operations against Zhou. [24] Sun, after taking over as khan and reorganizing Khitan forces, again attacked Zhou territory and had many victories over Zhou forces, including a battle during which Wang Shijie was killed. [11] [24] Wu Zetian tried to allay the situation by making peace with Ashina Mochuo at fairly costly terms—the return of Tujue people who had previously submitted to Zhou and providing Ashina Mochuo with seeds, silk, tools, and iron. In summer 697, Ashina Mochuo launched another attack on Khitan's base of operations, and this time, after his attack, Khitan forces collapsed and Sun was killed in flight, ending the Khitan threat. [11]

                    Meanwhile, also in 697, Lai Junchen, who had at one point lost power but then had returned to power, falsely accused Li Zhaode (who had been pardoned) of crimes, and then planned to falsely accuse Li Dan, Li Zhe, the Wu clan princes, and Princess Taiping, of treason. The Wu clan princes and Princess Taiping acted first against him, accusing him of crimes, and he and Li Zhaode were executed together. After Lai's death, the reign of the secret police largely ended. Gradually, many of the victims of Lai and the other secret police officials were exonerated posthumously. [11] Meanwhile, around this time, Wu Zetian began relationships with two new lovers—the brothers Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong, who became honored within the palace and were eventually created dukes. [11] [28]

                    Around 698, Wu Chengsi and another nephew of Wu Zetian's, Wu Sansi, the Prince of Liang, were repeatedly making attempts to have officials persuade Wu Zetian to create one of them crown prince—again citing the reason that an emperor should pass the throne to someone of the same clan. Di Renjie, who by now had become a trusted chancellor, was firmly against the idea, however, and proposed that Li Zhe be recalled instead. He was supported in this by fellow chancellors Wang Fangqing and Wang Jishan, as well as Wu Zetian's close advisor Ji Xu, who further persuaded the Zhang brothers to support the idea as well. In spring 698, Wu Zetian agreed and recalled Li Zhe from exile. Soon, Li Dan offered to yield the crown prince position to Li Zhe, and Wu Zetian created Li Zhe crown prince. She soon changed his name back to Li Xiǎn and then Wu Xian. [11]

                    Later, Ashina Mochuo demanded a Tang dynasty prince for marriage to his daughter, part of a plot to join his family with the Tang, displace the Zhou, and restore Tang rule over China (under his influence). When Wu Zetian sent a member of her own family, grandnephew Wu Yanxiu ( 武延秀 ), to marry Mochuo's daughter instead, he rejected him. [29] Ashina Mochuo had no intention to cement the peace treaty with a marriage instead, when Wu Yanxiu arrived, he detained Wu Yanxiu and then launched a major attack on Zhou, advancing as far south as Zhao Prefecture ( 趙州 , in modern Shijiazhuang, Hebei) before withdrawing. [11]

                    In 699, however, at least the Tibetan threat would cease. Emperor Tridu Songtsen, unhappy that Gar Trinring was monopolizing power, took an opportunity when Trinring was away from the capital Lhasa to slaughter Trinring's associates. He then defeated Trinring in battle, and Trinring committed suicide. Gar Tsenba and Trinring's son, Lun Gongren ( 論弓仁 ), surrendered to Zhou. After this, the Tibetan Empire was under internal turmoil for several years, and there was peace for Zhou on the border. [11]

                    Also in 699, Wu Zetian, realizing that she was growing old, feared that after her death, Li Xian and the Wu clan princes would not be able to have peace with each other, and she made him, Li Dan, Princess Taiping, Princess Taiping's second husband Wu Youji (a nephew of hers), the Prince of Ding, and other Wu clan princes to swear an oath to each other. [11]

                    Late reign (701–705) Edit

                    As Wu Zetian grew older, Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong became increasingly powerful, and even the princes of the Wu clan flattered them. She also increasingly relied on them to handle the affairs of state. This was secretly discussed and criticized by her grandson Li Chongrun, the Prince of Shao, (Li Xian's son), granddaughter Li Xianhui ( 李仙蕙 ) the Lady Yongtai (Li Chongrun's sister), and Li Xianhui's husband Wu Yanji ( 武延基 ) the Prince of Wei (Wu Zetian's grandnephew and Wu Chengsi's son), but somehow the discussion was leaked, and Zhang Yizhi reported this to Wu Zetian. She ordered the three of them to commit suicide. [note 13] [note 14]

                    Despite her old age, however, Wu Zetian continued to be interested in finding talented officials and promoting them. Individuals she promoted in her old age included, among others, Cui Xuanwei and Zhang Jiazhen. [28]

                    By 703, Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong had become resentful of Wei Yuanzhong, who by now was a senior chancellor, for dressing down their brother Zhang Changyi ( 張昌儀 ) and rejecting the promotion of another brother Zhang Changqi ( 張昌期 ). They also were fearful that if Wu Zetian died, Wei would find a way to execute them, and therefore accused Wei and Gao Jian ( 高戩 ), an official favored by Princess Taiping, of speculating on Wu Zetian's old age and death. They initially got Wei's subordinate Zhang Shuo to agree to corroborate the charges, but once Zhang Shuo was before Wu Zetian, he instead accused Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong of forcing him to bear false witness. As a result, Wei, Gao, and Zhang Shuo were exiled, but escaped death. [28]

                    In autumn of 704, there began to be accusations of corruption levied against Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong, as well as their brothers Zhang Changqi, Zhang Changyi, and Zhang Tongxiu ( 張同休 ). Zhang Tongxiu and Zhang Changyi were demoted, but even though the officials Li Chengjia ( 李承嘉 ) and Huan Yanfan advocated that Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong be removed as well, Wu Zetian, taking the suggestion of the chancellor Yang Zaisi, did not remove them. Subsequently, charges of corruption against Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong were renewed by the chancellor Wei Anshi. [28]

                    In winter 704, Wu Zetian became seriously ill for a period, and only the Zhang brothers were allowed to see her the chancellors were not. This led to speculation that Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong were plotting to take over the throne, and there were repeated accusations of treason. Once her condition improved, Cui Xuanwei advocated that only Li Xian and Li Dan be allowed to attend to her—a suggestion that she did not accept. After further accusations against the Zhang brothers by Huan and Song Jing, Wu Zetian allowed Song to investigate, but before the investigation was completed, she issued a pardon for Zhang Yizhi, derailing Song's investigation. [28]

                    By spring 705, Wu Zetian was seriously ill again. Zhang Jianzhi, Jing Hui, and Yuan Shuji, planned a coup to kill the Zhang brothers. They convinced the generals Li Duozuo, Li Dan ( 李湛 , note different character than the former emperor), and Yang Yuanyan ( 楊元琰 ) and another chancellor, Yao Yuanzhi, to be involved. With agreement from Li Xian as well, they acted on 20 February, [30] killing Zhang Yizhi and Zhang Changzong, and then they had Changsheng Hall ( 長生殿 ), where Wu Zetian was residing, surrounded. They then reported to her that the Zhang brothers had been executed for treason, and they then forced her to yield the throne to Li Xian. On 21 February, an edict was issued in her name that made Li Xian regent, and on 22 February, an edict was issued in her name passing the throne to Li Xian. On 23 February, Li Xian formally retook the throne, and the next day, Wu Zetian, under heavy guard, was moved to the subsidiary palace, Shangyang Palace ( 上陽宮 ), but was nevertheless honored with the title of Empress Regent Zetian Dasheng ( 則天大聖皇帝 ). [28] On 3 March, [31] the Tang dynasty was restored, ending the Zhou. [27]

                    She died on 16 December, [32] and, pursuant to a final edict issued in her name, was no longer referred to as empress regnant, but instead as Empress Consort Zetian Dasheng ( 則天大聖皇后 ). [27] In 706, Wu Zetian's son Emperor Zhongzong had Wu Zetian interred in a joint burial with his father Emperor Gaozong at the Qianling Mausoleum, located near the capital Chang'an on Mount Liang. Emperor Zhongzong also buried at Qianling his brother Li Xián, son Li Chongrun, and daughter Li Xianhui ( 李仙蕙 ) the Lady Yongtai (posthumously honored as the Princess Yongtai)—victims of Wu Zetian's wrath.

                    In 690, Wu Zetian founded the Wu Zhou dynasty, named after the historical Zhou dynasty (1046–256 BC). The traditional historical view, however, is to discount the Wu Zhou dynasty: dynasties by definition involve the succession of rulers from one family: the Wu Zhou dynasty was founded by her, and ended within her lifetime, with her abdication in 705. This does not meet the traditional concept of a dynasty. The alternative, is to view the Wu Zhou dynasty as the revival of the historical Zhou dynasty, which was ruled (at least nominally) by the Ji family, almost a thousand years before. Either way, Wu Zhou dynasty is best viewed as a brief interruption of the Li family's Tang dynasty, rather than as a fully realized dynasty. Her claim of founding a new dynasty, however, was little opposed at the time (690). [33] The fifteen-year period which Wu Zetian designated as her "Zhou Dynasty" considered in the context of nearly a half century of de facto and de jure rule (c. 654–705) reveals a remarkable and still debated period of history. [34] In this context, designating a new dynasty, with her as its emperor can be seen as part of her power politics, and as the culmination of her period of ruling. Though the fifteen years of Wu Zetian's Zhou dynasty had its own notable characteristics, these are difficult to separate from Wu's reign of power, which lasted for about half of a century.

                    Wu Zetian's consolidation of power in part relied on a system of spies. She used informants to choose people to eliminate, a process which peaked in 697, with the wholesale demotion, exile, or killing of various aristocratic families and scholars, furthermore prohibiting their sons from holding office. [35]

                    One apparatus of government which fell into Wu's power was the imperial examination system: the basic theory and practice of which was to recruit into government service those men who were the best educated, talented, and having the best potential to perform their duties, and to do so by testing a pool of candidates in order to determine this objectively. This pool was male only, and the qualified pool of candidates and resulting placements into official positions was on a relatively small scale at the time of Wu's assuming control of government. The official tests examined such things considered important for functionaries of the highly developed, bureaucratic government structure of the current imperial government. The qualities sought in a candidate for government service included determining the potential official's level of literacy in terms of reading and writing as well as his possession of the specific knowledge considered necessary and desirable for a governmental official, such as Confucian precepts on the nature of virtue and theory on the proper ordering of and relationships within society. Wu Zetian continued to use the imperial examination system to recruit civil servants, and she introduced major changes in regard to the system that she inherited, including increasing the pool of candidates permitted to take the test, by allowing commoners and gentry, who were previously disqualified by their background, to take them. Another thing she did was to expand the governmental examination system and to greatly increase the importance of this method of recruiting government officials, which she did in 693. [21] Wu provided increased opportunity for the representation within government to people of the North China Plain, versus people of the northwestern aristocratic families, (whom she decimated, anyway) and, the successful candidates who were recruited through the examination system became an elite group within her government. [36] The historical details surrounding and the consequences of Wu Zetian's promoting a new group of people from previously disenfranchised backgrounds into prominence as powerful governmental officials as well as the role of the examination system in this regard, remains a matter of debate for scholars of this subject.

                    Wu Zetian eliminated many of her real, potential, or perceived rivals to power by means of death (including execution, suicide by command, and more-or-less directly killing people), demotion, and exile. Mostly this was carried out by her secret police, led by individuals like Wao Ganjun and Lai Junchen—who were known to have written a document called the Manual of Accusation, which detailed steps for interrogation and obtaining confessions by torture. One of these methods, the "Dying Swine's Melancholy" ( 死猪愁 ), which merely indicated a level of pain inflicted by a torture device, seems to have been conflated in the years following Wu's death with the story of the "human swine" torture conducted by Empress Lü Zhi, in which the victim had limbs and tongue amputated, was force-fed, and left to wallow in his own excrement. [ citation needed ]

                    Wu targeted various individuals, including many in her own family and her extended family. In reaction to an attempt to remove her from power, in 684, she massacred twelve entire collateral branches of the imperial family. [35] Besides this, she also altered the ancient balance of power in China, dating back to the Qin dynasty. The old area of the Qin state was later referred to as Guanzhong, literally, the area "within the fortified mountain passes". It was from this area of northwest China that the Ying family of Qin arose to conquer, unifying China into its first historical empire. During the Han dynasty, Sima Qian records in his Shiji that Guanzhong had three-tenths of China's population, but six-tenths of its wealth. [37] Additionally, at the beginning of Wu Zetian's period of ascendency, Guanzhong was still the stronghold of the most nationally powerful aristocratic families, despite the fact that economic development in other parts of China had improved the lot of families in other regions. The Guangzhong aristocracy was not willing to relinquish their hold on the reins of government, however while, at the same time, some of the more newly wealthy families in other areas, such as the North China Plain or Hubei were eager for a larger share of national power of their own. Most of the opposition to Wu was from the Guangzhong families of northwest China. Accordingly, she repressed them, instead favoring less privileged families, thus raising to the ranks of power many talented, but less aristocratic families, often recruited through the official examination system. [38] Many of those so favored originated from the North China plain. [39] Through a process of eliminating or diminishing the power of the established aristocracy, whom she perceived as disloyal to her, and establishing a reformed upper class in China loyal to her, Wu Zetian made major social changes which are still being evaluated by historians.

                    Many of Wu Zetian's measures were of a popular nature, and helped her to gain support for her rule. Wu Zetian came to power during a time in China in which the people were fairly contented, the administration was run well, and the economy was characterized by rising living standards. [5] Wu Zetian, as far as the masses were for the most part concerned, continued in this manner. She was determined that free, self-sufficient farmers would continue to work on their own farm land, so she periodically used the juntian, equal-field system, together with updated census figures to ensure fair land allocations, re-allocating as necessary. [36] Much of her success was due to her various edicts (including those known as her "Acts of Grace") which helped to satisfy the needs of the lower classes through various acts of relief, her widening recruitment to government service to include previously excluded gentry and commoners, and by her generous promotions and pay raises for the lower ranks. [4]

                    Wu Zetian used her military and diplomatic skills to enhance her position. The fubing system of self-supportive soldier-farmer colonies, which provided local militia and labor services for her government, allowed her to maintain her armed forces at reduced expense. [36] She also pursued a policy of military action to expand the empire to its furthest extent ever up to that point in Central Asia. Expansion efforts against Tibet and to the northwest were less successful. Allying with the Korean kingdom of Silla against Goguryeo with the promise of ceding Goguryeo's territory to Silla, Chinese forces occupied Goguryeo after its defeat, and even began to occupy Silla territory. Silla resisted the imposition of Chinese rule, and by allying with Goguryeo and Baekche, was able to expel its former ally from the peninsula. Hong argues that Silla's success was in part due to a shift in Empress Wu's focus to Tibet and inadequate support for the forces in the Korean peninsula. [40] Despite victories against Tibetans and Turks: [41] however, in 694, Wu's forces decisively defeated the Tibetan–Western Turk alliance, and retook the Four Garrisons of Anxi, lost in 668. [42] [ clarification needed ]

                    Another significant event of Wu Zetian's reign was 651, shortly after the Muslim conquest of Persia, when the first Arab ambassador arrived in China. [5]

                    The Great Cloud Sutra Edit

                    Wu Zetian used her political powers to harness from Buddhist practices a strategy to build sovereignty and legitimacy to her throne while decisively establishing the Zhou dynasty in a society under the Confucian and patriarchal ideals. One of the first steps taken by Wu Zetian to legitimize her ascension to the throne was to proclaim herself as the reincarnation of the Devi of Pure Radiance (Jingguang tiannü) through a series of prophecies. [43] In 690, she sought out the support of the monk Xue Huaiyi, Wu's reputed lover, and other nine orthodox Buddhist monks to compose the apocryphal Commentary on the Meanings of the Prophecies About the Divine Sovereign in the Great Cloud Sutra (Dayunjing Shenhuang Shouji Yishu). [43]

                    Translated from a late fourth-century version in Sanskrit to Chinese, the original Great Cloud Sutra (Dayunjing) accentuated in Wu Zetian's Commentary had fascicles describing a conversation between Buddha and the Devi of Pure Radiance. [44] In the sutra, Buddha foretells to Jingguang that he would be a bodhisattva reincarnated in the body of a woman in order to convert beings and rule over the territory of a country. [45] Wu Zetian's Buddhist supporters meticulously propagated the Commentary "on the eve of her accession to the dragon throne" while seeking to justify the various events that led Wu Zetian to occupy the position of Huangdi as a female ruler and bodhisattva. [45] Since gender in the Buddhist Devi worlds have no standard form, Wu Zetian would later take a further step to transcend her gender limitations by identifying herself as the incarnation of two important male Buddhist divinities, Maitreya and Vairocana. [46] Wu Zetian's narrative was intentionally crafted to persuade the Confucian establishment, circumvent the Five Impediments that restricted women from holding political and religious power, and gain public support.

                    Sacrifice on Mount Tai Edit

                    In relation to Daoism, there are records that points Wu Zetian's participation in important religious rituals, such as the tou long on Mount Song, and feng and shan on Mount Tai. [47] One of the most important rituals was performed in 666. [48] When Emperor Gaozong offered sacrifices to the deities of heaven and earth, Empress Wu, in an unprecedented action, offered sacrifices after him, with Princess Dowager Yan, mother of Emperor Gaozong's brother Li Zhen, Prince of Yue, offering sacrifices after her. [17] Wu Zetian's procession of ladies up Mount Tai conspicuously linked Wu with the most sacred traditional rites of the Chinese empire. [35] Another important performance was made in 700 where Wu Zetian conducted the tou long Daoist expiatory rite. [49] Wu Zetian's participation in the rituals not only had religious reasons behind it, but her political reasons were also clear. Such ceremonies served to consolidate Wu Zetian's life in politics and depict she possessed the Mandate of Heaven. [50]

                    North Gate Scholars Edit

                    Toward the end of Gaozong's life, Wu began engaging a number of mid-level officials who had literary talent, including Yuan Wanqing ( 元萬頃 ), Liu Yizhi, Fan Lübing, Miao Chuke ( 苗楚客 ), Zhou Simao ( 周思茂 ), and Han Chubin ( 韓楚賓 ), to write a number of works on her behalf, including the Biographies of Notable Women ( 列女傳 ), Guidelines for Imperial Subjects ( 臣軌 ), and New Teachings for Official Staff Members ( 百僚新誡 ). Collectively, they became known as the "North Gate Scholars" ( 北門學士 ), because they served inside the palace, which was to the north of the imperial government buildings, and Empress Wu sought advice from them to divert the powers of the chancellors. [19]

                    The "Twelve Suggestions" Edit

                    Around the new year 675, Empress Wu submitted twelve suggestions. One was that the work of Laozi (whose family name was Li and to whom the Tang imperial clan traced its ancestry), Tao Te Ching, should be added to the required reading for imperial university students. Another was that a three-year mourning period should be observed for a mother's death in all cases, not only in those cases when the father was no longer alive. Emperor Gaozong praised her for her suggestions and adopted them. [19]

                    Culture of the Han


                    The Silk Road trade caused cultural changes. The Silk Road route went through territories where Buddhism was the main religion. A type of Buddhism was already believed by a portion of the population centuries earlier at the end of the Warring States Period of the Zhou Dynasty.

                    But the Yuezhi people introduced a new version called Mahayana Buddhism to the northern part of the empire when they went to Chang'an and taught about Buddhism around the year 1 BC.


                    The religious legacy of the 400-year Han era was the development of Confucianism and Daoism, and the acceptance of Mahayana Buddhism.

                    During the Western Han era, the religion of Daoism developed and became China's major indigenous religion. Confucianism was revived and mixed with Legalist ideas to forma long enduring political philosophy and religion.

                    Records of the Grand Historian.

                    Literature Achievement - Records of the Grand Historian

                    The most famous cultural achievement of the Han Dynasty was the Records of the Grand Historian written by Sima Qian between about 109 and 91 BC.

                    It was the first biographical book in Chinese history, which records the history from the age of the legendary Yellow Emperor to the reign of Emperor Wu of the Han.

                    POLAND AT WAR, 1617-1667

                    The great distances of Poland and its relatively low density of population led to a greater emphasis on cavalry than in western Europe. The Poles had to confront opponents with very different tactics and did so with some success. Although Warsaw fell to the Swedes in August 1655 and to the Transylvanians in 1657, the Poles were able to regain the city, not least because of their invaders’ difficulties in controlling the countryside and supply routes.

                    EASTERN EUROPE was a major field of conflict in the seventeenth century as Austria, Poland, Russia, Sweden, and the Ottoman Empire all sought territorial advantage over their rivals. Russia continued to seek a Baltic coastline, while the Swedes sought to dominate the eastern Baltic. This conflict turned Poland into a battleground for much of the century.

                    THE IMPACT OF SWEDEN

                    Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden attacked Poland in 1617-18, 1621-22, and 1625-29, capturing the important Baltic port of Riga (1621) after a siege in which he used creeping barrages (systematically advancing artillery bombardment). He overran Livonia in 1625. These campaigns ensured that the Swedes were battle-hardened when Gustavus invaded Germany in 1630.

                    Encounters with the Swedes led both Poland and Russia to experiment with new military ideas. In 1632-33, the Poles created musketeer units, replacing the earlier arquebusiers, and attempted to standardize their expanding artillery. Imitating the Swedes, the Poles introduced 3- to 6-pounder (1.4-2.7kg) regimental guns between 1633 and 1650. The Russian government, conscious of Swedish developments and dissatisfied with the streltsy, the permanent infantry corps equipped with handguns founded in 1550, decided in 1630 to form ‘new order’ military units, officered mainly by foreigners. Ten such regiments, totalling about 17,000 men, amounted to half the Russian army in the War of Smolensk with Poland (1632-34).

                    However, these changes were not decisive. Smolensk had been well fortified by the Russians before being lost to Poland during the Time of Troubles (1604-13), caused by a disputed succession. The Russian Siege of Smolensk (1632-34) was unsuccessful, and the Polish army under Wladyslaw IV inflicted a heavy defeat, with the Russians losing all but 8,000 of their 35,000 men. At the end of the war, the new Russian units were demobilized and the foreign mercenaries ordered to leave. Despite improvements to the Polish army, their few thousand infantry, dragoons, and artillery proved inadequate against a renewed Swedish invasion by Charles X, who seized Warsaw and Cracow. After their defeats at Zarnow and Wojinicz in 1655, the Poles avoided battle with large Swedish formations, relying instead upon surprise attacks and raids.


                    The Poles and Russians had not only to fight ‘western’ style armies like the Swedes, but to resist the still powerful Turks and their Tatar allies. The Poles won cavalry victories over the Swedes at Kokenhausen (1601), Kirchholm (1605), and over a much larger Russo-Swedish army at Klushino (1610), though at Klushino the firepower of the Polish infantry and artillery also played a major role. The mobility and power of the Polish cavalry, which relied on shock charges, nullified its opponents’ numerical superiority, and the Poles were able to destroy the Swedish cavalry before turning on their infantry. The Polish cavalry were deployed in shallower formations than hitherto. Just as the Dutch did not sweep to victory over Spain after the adoption of the Nassau reforms, so Gustavus was unable to defeat the Polish general Stanislaw Koniecpolski in his campaigns in Polish Prussia of 1626-29, where the two armies were roughly equal in quality. In view of the strength of the Polish cavalry, Gustavus was unwilling to meet the Poles in the open without the protection of fieldworks, while Polish cavalry attacks on supply lines and small units impeded Swedish operations. After defeating Christian IV of Denmark at Wolgast in September 1628, the Emperor Ferdinand II sent 12,000 men to the aid of his brother-in-law, Sigismund III of Poland, and the joint army advanced down the Vistula in 1629, pressing Gustavus hard at Honigfelde in June. In 1656, Stefan Czarniecki successfully used similar tactics of harassment, obliging the Swedes, who were not able to maintain their supplies, to withdraw: a Swedish force under Margrave Frederick of Baden was then destroyed by Polish cavalry at Warka, and Charles X was forced to abandon Warsaw and fell back on Polish Prussia. The Swedes had to admit failure.

                    Although the infantry techniques of countermarching and volley fire were not without relevance in eastern Europe, the small number of engagements fought between linear formations and settled by firepower is a reminder that these innovations were not all-powerful. Cavalry tactics remained especially important here, not least because the strategy of raiding could be employed to undermine an opponent’s logistics. Sieges also played only a relatively minor role, although control of bases such as Riga, Smolensk, and Danzig (Gdansk) was of great importance.

                    Share this:

                    Like this:

                    What Is the Biological Warfare? Agents Use

                    Biological weapons include any microorganism (such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi) or toxin (poisonous compounds produced by microorganisms) found in nature that can be used to kill or injure people.

                    The act of bioterrorism can range from a simple hoax to the actual use of these biological weapons, also referred to as agents. A number of nations have or are seeking to acquire biological warfare agents, and there are concerns that terrorist groups or individuals may acquire the technologies and expertise to use these destructive agents. Biological agents may be used for an isolated assassination, as well as to cause incapacitation or death to thousands. If the environment is contaminated, a long-term threat to the population could be created.

                    • History: The use of biological agents is not a new concept, and history is filled with examples of their use.
                      • Attempts to use biological warfare agents date back to antiquity. Scythian archers infected their arrows by dipping them in decomposing bodies or in blood mixed with manure as far back as 400 BC. Persian, Greek, and Roman literature from 300 BC quotes examples of dead animals used to contaminate wells and other sources of water. In the Battle of Eurymedon in 190 BC, Hannibal won a naval victory over King Eumenes II of Pergamon by firing earthen vessels full of venomous snakes into the enemy ships.
                      • During the battle of Tortona in the 12th century AD, Barbarossa used the bodies of dead and decomposing soldiers to poison wells. During the siege of Kaffa in the 14th century AD, the attacking Tatar forces hurled plague-infected corpses into the city in an attempt to cause an epidemic within enemy forces. This was repeated in 1710, when the Russians besieging Swedish forces at Reval in Estonia catapulted bodies of people who had died from plague.
                      • During the French and Indian War in the 18th century AD, British forces under the direction of Sir Jeffrey Amherst gave blankets that had been used by smallpox victims to the Native Americans in a plan to spread the disease.
                      • Allegations were made during the American Civil War by both sides, but especially against the Confederate Army, of the attempted use of smallpox to cause disease among enemy forces.
                      • During World War I, the German Army developed anthrax, glanders, cholera, and a wheat fungus specifically for use as biological weapons. They allegedly spread plague in St. Petersburg, Russia, infected mules with glanders in Mesopotamia, and attempted to do the same with the horses of the French Cavalry.
                      • The Geneva Protocol of 1925 was signed by 108 nations. This was the first multilateral agreement that extended prohibition of chemical agents to biological agents. Unfortunately, no method for verification of compliance was addressed.
                      • During World War II, Japanese forces operated a secret biological warfare research facility (Unit 731) in Manchuria that carried out human experiments on prisoners. They exposed more than 3,000 victims to plague, anthrax, syphilis, and other agents in an attempt to develop and observe the disease. Some victims were executed or died from their infections. Autopsies were also performed for greater understanding of the effects on the human body.
                      • In 1942, the United States formed the War Research Service. Anthrax and botulinum toxin initially were investigated for use as weapons. Sufficient quantities of botulinum toxin and anthrax were stockpiled by June 1944 to allow unlimited retaliation if the German forces first used biological agents. The British also tested anthrax bombs on Gruinard Island off the northwest coast of Scotland in 1942 and 1943 and then prepared and stockpiled anthrax-laced cattle cakes for the same reason.
                      • The United States continued research on various offensive biological weapons during the 1950s and 1960s. From 1951-1954, harmless organisms were released off both coasts of the United States to demonstrate the vulnerability of American cities to biological attacks. This weakness was tested again in 1966 when a test substance was released in the New York City subway system.
                      • During the Vietnam War, Viet Cong guerrillas used needle-sharp punji sticks dipped in feces to cause severe infections after an enemy soldier had been stabbed.
                      • In 1979, an accidental release of anthrax from a weapons facility in Sverdlovsk, USSR, killed at least 66 people. The Russian government claimed these deaths were due to infected meat and maintained this position until 1992, when Russian President Boris Yeltsin finally admitted to the accident.

                      Facts on Bioterrorism and Biowarfare Today

                      • Bioterrorism and biowarfare today: A number of countries have continued offensive biological weapons research and use. Additionally, since the 1980s, terrorist organizations have become users of biological agents. Usually, these cases amount only to hoaxes. However, the following exceptions have been noted:
                        • In 1985, Iraq began an offensive biological weapons program producing anthrax, botulinum toxin, and aflatoxin. During Operation Desert Storm, the coalition of allied forces faced the threat of chemical and biological agents. Following the Persian Gulf War, Iraq disclosed that it had bombs, Scud missiles, 122-mm rockets, and artillery shells armed with botulinum toxin, anthrax, and aflatoxin. They also had spray tanks fitted to aircraft that could distribute agents over a specific target.
                        • In September and October of 1984, 751 people were intentionally infected with Salmonella, an agent that causes food poisoning, when followers of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh contaminated restaurant salad bars in Oregon.
                        • In 1994, a Japanese sect of the Aum Shinrikyo cult attempted an aerosolized (sprayed into the air) release of anthrax from the tops of buildings in Tokyo.
                        • In 1995, two members of a Minnesota militia group were convicted of possession of ricin, which they had produced themselves for use in retaliation against local government officials.
                        • In 1996, an Ohio man attempted to obtain bubonic plague cultures through the mail.
                        • In 2001, anthrax was delivered by mail to U.S. media and government offices. There were five deaths as a result.
                        • In December 2002, six terrorist suspects were arrested in Manchester, England their apartment was serving as a "ricin laboratory." Among them was a 27-year-old chemist who was producing the toxin. Later, on Jan. 5, 2003, British police raided two residences around London and found traces of ricin, which led to an investigation of a possible Chechen separatist plan to attack the Russian embassy with the toxin several arrests were made.
                        • On Feb. 3, 2004, three U.S. Senate office buildings were closed after the toxin ricin was found in a mailroom that serves Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's office.

                        The threat that biological agents will be used on both military forces and civilian populations is now more likely than it was at any other point in history.

                        How Are Biological Agents Delivered and Detected?

                        Although there are more than 1,200 biological agents that could be used to cause illness or death, relatively few possess the necessary characteristics to make them ideal candidates for biological warfare or terrorism agents. The ideal biological agents are relatively easy to acquire, process, and use. Only small amounts (on the order of pounds and often less) would be needed to kill or incapacitate hundreds of thousands of people in a metropolitan area. Biological warfare agents are easy to hide and difficult to detect or protect against. They are invisible, odorless, tasteless, and can be spread silently.


                        Biological warfare agents can be disseminated in various ways.

                        • Through the air by aerosol sprays: To be an effective biological weapon, airborne germs must be dispersed as fine particles. To be infected, a person must breathe a sufficient quantity of particles into the lungs to cause illness.
                        • Used in explosives (artillery, missiles, detonated bombs): The use of an explosive device to deliver and spread biological agents is not as effective as the delivery by aerosol. This is because agents tend to be destroyed by the blast, typically leaving less than 5% of the agent capable of causing disease.
                        • Put into food or water: Contamination of a city's water supplies requires an unrealistically large amount of an agent as well as introduction into the water after it passes through a regional treatment facility.
                        • Absorbed through or injected into the skin: This method might be ideal for assassination, but is not likely to be used to cause mass casualties.


                        Biological agents could either be found in the environment using advanced detection devices, after specific testing or by a doctor reporting a medical diagnosis of an illness caused by an agent. Animals may also be early victims and shouldn't be overlooked.

                        • Early detection of a biological agent in the environment allows for early and specific treatment and time enough to treat others who were exposed with protective medications. Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense is evaluating devices to detect clouds of biological warfare agents in the air.
                        • Doctors must be able to identify early victims and recognize patterns of disease. If unusual symptoms, a large numbers of people with symptoms, dead animals, or other inconsistent medical findings are noted, a biological warfare attack should be suspected. Doctors report these patterns to public health officials.

                        Protective Measures

                        Protective measures can be taken against biological warfare agents. These should be started early (if enough warning is received) but definitely once it is suspected that a biological agent has been used. To read more about protective clothing, see Personal Protective Equipment.

                        • Masks: Currently, available masks such as the military gas mask or high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter masks used for tuberculosis exposure filter out most biological warfare particles delivered through the air. However, the face seals on ill-fitting masks often leak. For a mask to fit properly, it must be fitted to a person's face.
                        • Clothing: Most biological agents in the air do not penetrate unbroken skin, and few organisms stick to skin or clothing. After an aerosol attack, the simple removal of clothing eliminates a great majority of surface contamination. Thorough showering with soap and water removes 99.99% of the few organisms that may be left on the victim's skin.
                        • Medical protection: Health care professionals treating victims of biological warfare may not need special suits but should use latex gloves and take other precautions such as wearing gowns and masks with protective eye shields. Victims would be isolated in private rooms while receiving treatment. : Victims of biological warfare might be given antibiotics orally (pills) or through an IV, even before the specific agent is identified.
                        • Vaccinations: Currently, protective vaccines (given as shots) are available for anthrax, Q fever, yellow fever, and smallpox. The widespread immunization of nonmilitary personnel has not been recommended by any governmental agency so far. Immune protection against ricin and staphylococcal toxins may also be possible in the near future.

                        Bad Bugs and Their Bites

                        Sex Drive Killers

                        Cancerous Tumors

                        Multiple Sclerosis

                        Adult Skin Problems

                        Habits That Wreck Your Teeth

                        Manage Diabetes in 10 Minutes

                        Erectile Dysfunction

                        Type 2 Diabetes Warning Signs

                        Health Benefits of Sex

                        Scalp, Hair and Nails

                        ADHD Symptoms in Children?

                        Anthrax Exposure Symptoms, Signs, and Diagnosis

                        Anthrax bacteria occur worldwide. The United States Working Group on Civilian Biodefense and the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified anthrax as one of a few biological agents capable of causing death and disease in sufficient numbers to cripple a developed region or urban setting. The organisms known as Bacillus anthracis may ordinarily produce disease in domesticated as well as wild animals such as goats, sheep, cattle, horses, and swine. Humans become infected by contact with infected animals or contaminated animal products. Infection occurs mainly through the skin and rarely by breathing spores or swallowing them. Spores exist in the soil and become aerosolized when the microorganisms are released into the air by excavation, plowing, or other disruptive actions.

                        Apart from biological warfare, anthrax in humans is rare. In the United States, only 127 cases of anthrax appeared in the early years of the 20th century and dropped to about one per year during the 1990s.

                        Skin anthrax (cutaneous): Infection begins when the spores enter the skin through small cuts or abrasions. Spores then become active in the host (human or animal) and produce poisonous toxins. Swelling, bleeding, and tissue death may occur at the site of infection.

                        • Most of the cases of anthrax involve the skin. After a person is exposed, the disease first appears in one to five days as a small pimple-looking sore that progresses over the next one to two days to contain fluid filled with many organisms. The sore is usually painless, and it may have swelling around it. Sometimes the swelling affects a person's entire face or limb.
                        • Victims may have fever, feel tired, and have a headache. Once the sore opens, it forms a black area of tissue. The black appearance of the tissue injury gives anthrax its name from the Greek word anthrakos, meaning coal. After a period of two to three weeks, the black tissue separates, often leaving a scar. With adequate treatment, less than 1% of people infected with skin anthrax die.

                        Inhalation anthrax: In inhalation anthrax, the spores are inhaled into the lungs where they become active and multiply. There they produce massive bleeding and swelling inside the chest cavity. The germs then can spread to the blood, leading to shock and blood poisoning, which may lead to death.

                        • Historically known as woolsorter's disease (because it affected people who work around sheep), inhalation anthrax can appear anywhere within one to six days, or as long as 60 days after exposure. Initial symptoms are general and can include headache, tiredness, body aches, and fever. The victim may have a nonproductive cough and mild chest pain. These symptoms usually last for two to three days.
                        • Some people show a short period of improvement. This is followed by the sudden onset of increased trouble breathing, shortness of breath, bluish skin color, increased chest pain, and sweating. Swelling of the chest and neck may also occur. Shock and death may follow within 24-36 hours in most people with this type of infection.
                        • Anthrax is not spread from person to person. Inhalation anthrax is the most likely form of disease to follow a military or terrorist attack. Such an attack likely will involve the aerosolized delivery of anthrax spores.

                        Mouth, throat, GI tract (oropharyngeal and gastrointestinal): These cases result when someone eats infected meat that has not been cooked sufficiently. After an incubation period of two to five days, victims with oropharyngeal disease develop a severe sore throat or sores in the mouth or on a tonsil. Fever and neck swelling may occur. The victim may have trouble breathing. GI anthrax begins with nonspecific symptoms of nausea, vomiting, and fever. These are followed in most victims by severe abdominal pain. The victim may also vomit blood and have diarrhea.

                        Doctors will perform various tests, especially if anthrax is suspected.

                        • With skin anthrax, a biopsy is taken of the sore (lesion), and lab tests are performed to look at the organism under a microscope and confirm the diagnosis of anthrax.
                        • The diagnosis of inhalation anthrax is difficult to make. A chest X-ray may show certain signs in the chest cavity. A CT scan of the chest may be very helpful when there is suspected inhalational anthrax. Early in the process, when the chest X-ray is still normal, the CT scan may show pleural, pericardial, and mediastinal fluid collections, enlarged hemorrhagic mediastinal lymph nodes, and bronchial airwayedema. Cultures (growing the bacteria in a lab and then examining them under a microscope) are minimally helpful in making the diagnosis. Blood tests may also be performed.
                        • GI anthrax also is difficult to diagnose because the disease is rare and symptoms are not always obvious. Diagnosis usually is confirmed only if the victim has a history of eating contaminated meat in the setting of an outbreak. Once again, cultures generally are not helpful in making the diagnosis. (brain swelling) from anthrax is difficult to distinguish from meningitis due to other causes. A spinal tap may be performed to look at the person's spinal fluid in identifying the organism.

                        The most useful microbiologic test is the standard blood culture, which is almost always positive in victims with anthrax throughout their bodies. Blood cultures should show growth in six to 24 hours and if the laboratory has been alerted to the possibility of anthrax, biochemical testing should provide a preliminary diagnosis 12-24 hours later. However, if the laboratory has not been alerted to the possibility of anthrax, there is the chance that the organism may not be identified correctly.

                        Rapid diagnostic tests for anthrax and its proteins include polymerase chain reaction (PCR), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) testing. Currently, these tests are only available at national reference laboratories.

                        Anthrax Exposure Treatment, Prevention, and Postexposure Prophylaxis

                        • Inhalation anthrax: As previously stated because inhalation anthrax moves quickly throughout the body, doctors will begin antibiotic treatment right away even before a firm diagnosis is made through lab testing.
                            (Cipro), doxycycline (Vibramycin), and penicillin are FDA-approved antibiotics for treatment of anthrax. Experts currently recommend ciprofloxacin or other drugs in the same class for adults who are assumed to have inhalation anthrax infection. Penicillin and doxycycline may be used once organism culture sensitivities are known.
                        • Traditionally, ciprofloxacin and other antibiotics in that class are not recommended for use in children younger than 16-18 years of age because of a weak theoretical link to permanent joint disorders. Balancing these small risks against the risk of death and the possibility of infection with a resistant strain of anthrax, experts recommend that ciprofloxacin nonetheless be given to children in appropriate doses.
                        • Because there is a risk the infection will recur, victims are treated with antibiotics for at least 60 days.
                        • A vaccination series to protect against anthrax consists of five IM doses administered at day 0, week 4, and months 6, 12, and 18, followed by annual boosters. The CDC does not recommend vaccination for the general public, health care workers, or even people working with animals. The only groups that are recommended to receive routine vaccination are military personnel and investigators and remediation workers who are likely to enter an area with B. anthracis spores.

                          Postexposure Prophylaxis

                          When unvaccinated people are exposed to anthrax, it is now recommended that they receive antibiotics for 60 days and be vaccinated. The common antibiotics used for postexposure prophylaxis are ciprofloxacin and doxycycline combined. The vaccine is Anthrax Vaccine Adsorbed (AVA), and it is given as three subcutaneous doses (administered at 0, 2, and 4 weeks postexposure). These recommendations are for everyone and include pregnant women and children (although the recommendation for children will be reviewed on an event by event basis). The government has stockpiles of drugs and vaccines available and can deliver them to an affected area very quickly.


                          Plague is another infection that can strike humans and animals. It is caused by the bacteria Yersinia pestis, which has been the cause of three great human pandemics in the sixth, 14th, and 20th centuries. Throughout history, the oriental rat flea has been largely responsible for spreading bubonic plague. After the flea bites an infected animal, the organisms can multiply inside the flea. When an infected flea attempts to bite again, it vomits clotted blood and bacteria into the victim's bloodstream and passes the infection on to the next victim, whether small mammal (usually rodent) or human.

                          Although the largest outbreaks of plague have been associated with the rat flea, all fleas should be considered dangerous in areas where plague may be found. The most important vector (a vector is an animal that can transmit the disease) in the United States is the most prevalent flea of rock squirrels and California ground squirrels. The black rat has been most responsible worldwide for the continuing spread of plague in urban epidemics.

                          People infected with plague may suddenly develop high a fever, painful lymph nodes, and have bacteria in their blood. Some victims with the bubonic form of the disease may develop secondary pneumonic plague (a disease similar to pneumonia). Plague is contagious, and when the victim coughs, plague can spread. Pneumonic plague is the most severe form of the disease and if untreated, most people die.

                          As few as one to 10 organisms are enough to infect humans or other animals including rodents. During the early phase, the germs usually spread to lymph nodes near the bite, where swelling occurs. The infection then spreads to other organs such as the spleen, liver, lungs, skin, mucous membranes, and later, the brain.

                          In the United States, most victims with human plague have the bubonic form. If the organisms were used as a biological warfare agent, it most likely would be spread through the air and inhaled by victims. The result would be primary pneumonic plague (epidemic pneumonia). If fleas were used as carriers of disease, bubonic or septicemic (blood infection) plague would result.

                          • Bubonic plague: Swollen lymph nodes (called buboes) develop one to eight days after exposure. Their appearance is associated with the onset of sudden fever, chills, and headache, which often are followed by nausea and vomiting several hours later. The buboes become visible within 24 hours and cause severe pain. Untreated, septicemia (blood poisoning) develops in two to six days. Up to 15% of bubonic plague victims develop secondary pneumonic plague and thus can spread illness from person to person by coughing.
                          • Septicemia plague: Septicemia plague may occur with bubonic plague. The signs and symptoms of primary septicemic plague include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Later, bleeding in the skin may develop, hands and feet may lose circulation, and tissue may die.
                          • Pneumonic plague: Pneumonic plague may occur primarily from inhaling organisms in the air or from exposure to infected blood. Victims typically have a productive cough with blood-tinged sputum within 24 hours of symptom onset.

                          The diagnosis of bubonic plague may be made if the victim has painful lymph glands and other common symptoms, especially if the victim has been exposed to rodents or fleas. But if the victim is not in an area where plague is present and symptoms are typical of other illnesses, the diagnosis may be difficult.

                          The doctor may view under a microscope a sample of sputum from a productive cough or the fluid from a swollen lymph gland.

                          Samples may grow in the laboratory and indicate plague within 48 hours and blood tests may also be performed.

                          Victims of suspected plague will be isolated for the first 48 hours after treatment begins. If pneumonic plague is present, isolation may last for four more days. Since 1948, streptomycin has been the treatment of choice for plague but other antibiotics may be given.

                          If treated with antibiotics, buboes typically become smaller in 10-14 days and do not require drainage. Victims are unlikely to survive primary pneumonic plague if antibiotic therapy is not begun within 18 hours of the beginning of symptoms. Without treatment, 60% of people with bubonic plague die, and 100% with pneumonic and septicemic forms die.

                          Fleas always must be targeted for destruction before the rodents, because killing rodents may release into the environment massive amounts of infected fleas, which will be hungry for a blood meal and, in the absence of rodents, the fleas will seek out any warm-blooded animal, including humans and infect them. Pesticides have been successful in getting rid of rats and other animal hosts. Public education about how plague spreads is an important part of prevention.

                          People who have been exposed to pneumonic plague and those who have been exposed to organisms in the air may be treated with antibiotics. Currently recommended antibiotics are streptomycin or gentamycin IM for 10 days, or until two days after the fever subsides. Alternative medications include doxycycline, ciprofloxacin, and chloramphenicol.

                          Contacts with victims who have bubonic plague do not need preventive medication. But people who were in the same environment as those who are infected may need preventive antibiotics. A previously FDA-approved plague vaccine is no longer manufactured. It was useful against the bubonic form of plague but not the more serious pneumonic (lung) form of plague, which is the kind most often expected in a terrorist incident. A new vaccine effective against all varieties of plague is under development.


                          Cholera is an acute and potentially severe gastrointestinal disease (stomach and intestines) caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae. This agent has been investigated in the past as a biological weapon. Cholera does not spread easily from human to human, so it appears that major drinking water supplies would have to be profusely contaminated for this agent to be effective as a biological weapon.

                          Cholera normally can infect water or food that becomes contaminated by human bowel waste. The organism can survive for up to 24 hours in sewage and as long as six weeks in certain types of relatively impure water containing organic matter. It can withstand freezing for three to four days, but it is killed readily by dry heat, steam, boiling, short-term exposure to ordinary disinfectants, and chlorination of water.

                          The toxin causes a person's intestines to create massive amounts of fluid that then produces thin, grayish brown diarrhea.

                          Depending on how many organisms a person drinks or eats, the illness could begin within 12-72 hours. The symptoms start suddenly with intestinal cramps and painless (rice-water appearing) diarrhea. Vomiting, feeling ill, and headache often accompany the diarrhea, especially early in the illness.

                          Fever is rare. If untreated, the disease generally lasts one to seven days. During the illness, the body loses great amounts of fluid, so it is important during recovery to replace fluids and balance electrolytes (such as sodium and potassium).

                          Children may experience seizures and cardiovascular imbalances severe enough to cause heart problems. The rapid loss of body fluids often leads to more severe illness. If not treated, up to half of children with cholera may die.

                          Although cholera can be suspected in patients with a large volume of watery diarrhea, physicians make a definitive diagnosis through stool culture on specialized culture media (thiosulfate citrate bile sucrose (TCBS) agar or taurocholate tellurite gelatin agar (TTGA). There are rapid tests that are also available for diagnosis. However, the tests lack specificity and are usually not recommended at this time.

                          Fluids and electrolytes need to be replaced because the body has lost large amounts of fluids through the vomiting and diarrhea. Doctors may encourage the person to drink, but if someone continues to vomit or has frequent stools, an IV may be used to replace the fluid lost.

                          Antibiotics such as tetracycline or doxycycline shorten the duration of diarrhea and reduce fluid losses. The antibiotics ciprofloxacin or erythromycin also may be used for a few days.

                          There are two oral vaccines available however, the CDC does not recommend their routine use, and in fact, did not use the vaccines during the most recent severe outbreak in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. The vaccines require two doses, and it may be weeks before the person develops immunity. The CDC does not recommend the vaccines for routine travel prophylaxis.


                          Tularemia is an infection that can strike humans and animals. It is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. The disease causes fever, localized skin or mucous membrane ulcerations, regional swelling of lymph glands, and occasionally pneumonia.

                          G.W. McCay discovered the disease in Tulare County, Calif., in 1911. The first confirmed case of human disease was reported in 1914. Edward Francis, who described transmission by deer flies via infected blood, coined the term tularemia in 1921. It has been considered an important biological warfare agent because it can infect many people if dispersed by the aerosol route.

                          Rabbits and ticks most commonly spread tularemia in North America. In other areas of the world, tularemia is transmitted by water rats and other aquatic animals.

                          The bacteria are usually introduced into the victim through breaks in the skin or through the mucous membranes of the eye, respiratory tract, or GI tract. Ten virulent organisms injected under the skin from a bite or 10-50 organisms breathed into the lungs can cause infection in humans. Hunters may contract this disease by trapping and skinning rabbits in some parts of the country.

                          Tularemia has six major forms:

                          • Ulceroglandular tularemia
                          • Glandular tularemia
                          • Oculoglandular tularemia
                          • Pharyngeal (oropharyngeal) tularemia
                          • Typhoidal tularemia
                          • Pneumonic tularemia

                          Victims with the most common form, ulceroglandular type, typically have a single papulo-ulcerative lesion with a central scar (often at the site of a tick bite) and associated tender regional lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes). A sore up to 1 inch across may appear on the skin in a majority of people and is the most common sign of tularemia. If the bite associated with infection was from an animal carrying the disease, the sore is usually on the upper part of a person's body, such as on the arm. If the infection came from an insect bite, the sore might appear on the lower part of the body, such as on the leg.

                          Enlarged lymph nodes are seen in a majority of victims and may be the initial or the only sign of infection. Although enlarged lymph nodes usually occur as single lesions, they may appear in groups. Enlarged lymph nodes may come and go and last for as long as three years. When swollen, they may be confused with buboes of bubonic plague.

                          The glandular form of the disease has tender regional lymphadenopathy but no identifiable skin lesion.

                          Oculoglandular tularemia presents as conjunctivitis (white of the eyes are red and inflamed), increased tearing, photophobia, and tender enlarged lymph nodes in the head and neck region. Pharyngeal tularemia presents with a sore throat, fever, and swelling in the neck.

                          The most serious forms of tularemia are typhoidal and pneumonic disease. Patients with typhoidal disease can have fever, chills, anorexia, abdominal pain, diarrhea, headache, myalgias, sore throat, and cough. Patients with pneumonic tularemia have mostly pulmonary findings. Many patients with pulmonary findings have underlying typhoidal tularemia.

                          Tularemia can be diagnosed by growing the bacteria in the laboratory from samples taken of blood, ulcers, sputum, and other body fluids. Serological tests (done to detect antibodies against tularemia), direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) staining of clinical specimens, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on clinical specimens are available from specialized labs.

                          Victims with tularemia who do not receive appropriate antibiotics may have a prolonged illness with weakness and weight loss. Treated properly, very few people with tularemia die. If a patient has severe disease, it is recommended to give them a 14-day course of streptomycin or gentamicin. For patients with mild to moderate disease, oral ciprofloxacin or doxycycline is recommended. In children with mild to moderate disease, gentamycin is often recommended. However, despite the concerns over side effects in children, some clinicians may recommend oral treatment with ciprofloxacin or doxycycline.

                          Although laboratory-related infections with this organism are common, human-to-human spread is unusual. Victims do not need to be isolated from others.

                          There is no recommendation for prophylactic treatment of people going into areas where tularemia is more common. In fact, in the case of low-risk exposure, observation without antibiotics is recommended.

                          There no longer exists a vaccine against tularemia. New vaccines are under development.

                          Postexposure Prophylaxis

                          In the event of a biological attack using Francisella tularensis, the recommendation is to treat exposed people who are not yet ill with 14 days of oral doxycycline or ciprofloxacin.

                          Bad Bugs and Their Bites

                          Sex Drive Killers

                          Cancerous Tumors

                          Multiple Sclerosis

                          Adult Skin Problems

                          Habits That Wreck Your Teeth

                          Manage Diabetes in 10 Minutes

                          Erectile Dysfunction

                          Type 2 Diabetes Warning Signs

                          Health Benefits of Sex

                          Scalp, Hair and Nails

                          ADHD Symptoms in Children?


                          Brucellosis is an infection of domesticated and wild animals that can be transmitted to humans. It is caused by an organism of the genus Brucella. The organism infects mainly cattle, sheep, goats, and other similar animals, causing death of developing fetuses and genital infection. Humans, who usually are infected incidentally by contact with infected animals, may develop numerous symptoms in addition to the usual ones of fever, general illness, and muscle pain.

                          The disease often becomes long-term and may return, even with appropriate treatment. The ease of transmission through the air suggests that these organisms may be useful in biological warfare.

                          Each of six different strains of the bacteria infect certain animal species. Four are known to cause illness in humans. Animals may transmit organisms during a miscarriage, at the time of slaughter, and in their milk. Brucellosis is rarely, if ever, transmitted from human to human.

                          Certain species can enter animal hosts through skin abrasions or cuts, the eye membranes, the respiratory tract, and the GI tract. Organisms grow rapidly and eventually go to the lymph nodes, liver, spleen, joints, kidneys, and bone marrow.

                          Victims may have a fever or a long-term infection or just a local inflammation. The disease may appear suddenly or develop slowly anywhere from three days to several weeks after exposure. Symptoms include fever, sweats, fatigue, loss of appetite, and muscle or joint aches. Depression, headache, and irritability occur frequently. In addition, infection of bones, joints, or the genitourinary tract may cause pain. Cough and chest pain also may be present.

                          Symptoms often last three to six months and occasionally for longer than a year. Different species of the organism can cause different symptoms from skin sores to low back pain to liver disease.

                          The doctor will want to know about any exposure to animals, animal products, or environmental exposures in making the diagnosis. Those who drink unpasteurized milk are at higher risk of infection. Military troops exposed to a biological attack and who have fever are likely candidates for this illness. Environmental samples may show the presence of this organism in the attack area. Laboratory tests and cultures of blood or body fluid samples including bone marrow may be performed.

                          Therapy with a single drug has resulted in a high relapse rate, so a combination of antibiotics should be prescribed. A six-week course of doxycycline along with streptomycin for the first two weeks is effective in most adults with most forms of brucellosis, but there are other alternative antibiotic options.

                          Animal handlers should wear appropriate protective clothing when working with infected animals. Meat should be well cooked, and milk should be pasteurized. Laboratory workers need to take appropriate cautions in handling the organism.

                          Postexposure Prophylaxis

                          In the event of a biological attack, the standard gas mask should protect adequately from airborne species. No commercially available vaccine exists for humans. If the exposure is considered high risk, the CDC recommends treating with doxycycline and rifampin for three weeks.

                          Q Fever

                          Q fever is a disease that also affects animals and humans. It is caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetii. A spore-like form of the organism is extremely resistant to heat, pressure, and many cleaning solutions. This allows the germs to live in the environment for long periods under harsh conditions. In contrast, the disease it causes in humans is usually not harmful, although it can be temporarily disabling. Even without treatment, most people recover.

                          The organism is extremely infectious. The potential of the organism as a biological warfare agent is related directly to its ability to infect people easily. A single organism is capable of producing infection and disease in humans. Different strains have been identified worldwide.

                          • Humans have been infected most commonly by contact with domestic livestock, particularly goats, cattle, and sheep. The risk of infection is increased greatly if humans are exposed while these animals are giving birth to young. Large numbers of the germs may be released into the air as an animal gives birth. Survival of the organism on surfaces, such as straw, hay, or clothing, allows for transmission to other people who are not in direct contact with infected animals.
                          • People can become infected by breathing the organisms.

                          Signs and Symptoms

                          Humans are the only hosts that commonly develop an illness as a result of the infection. The illness may begin within 10-40 days. There is no typical pattern of symptoms, and some people show none at all. Most people appear mildly to moderately ill.

                          Fever (can go up and down and last up to 13 days), chills, and headache are the most common signs and symptoms. Sweating, aches, fatigue, and loss of appetite are also common. Cough often occurs later in the illness. Chest pain occurs in a few people. Sometimes there is a rash. Other symptoms such as headache, facial pain, and hallucinations have been reported.

                          Sometimes problems in the lungs are seen on chest X-rays. And some people may seem to have acute hepatitis because of their liver involvement. Others may develop a heart condition called endocarditis.

                          Blood tests may help in making the diagnosis of Q fever.

                          The drug of choice for treatment of Q fever is doxycycline. There are several alternative antibiotic options that may be preferred under different circumstances.

                          People with chronic Q fever who develop endocarditis may die, even with appropriate treatment.

                          Although an effective vaccine (Q-Vax) is licensed in Australia, all Q fever vaccines used in the United States are under study. Q fever can be prevented by immunization.

                          Postexposure Prophylaxis

                          In the case of bioterror attack, postexposure prophylaxis is recommended using oral doxycycline.


                          Variola (the virus that causes smallpox) is the most notorious of the poxviruses. Smallpox was an important cause of illness and death in the developing world until recent times. In 1980, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that smallpox had been completely wiped out. The last case was noted in Somalia in 1977.

                          Variola represents a significant threat as a biological warfare agent. Variola is highly infectious and is associated with a high death rate and secondary spread. Currently, the majority of the U.S. population has no immunity, vaccine is in short supply, and no effective treatment exists for the disease. Two WHO-approved and inspected repositories remain: One is at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States and the other at Vector Laboratories in Russia. It is widely believed that clandestine stockpiles exist in other countries such as Iraq and North Korea.

                          Variola virus is highly infectious when released into the air. It is environmentally stable and can retain its ability to infect people for long periods. Infection through contaminated objects such as clothing is infrequent. After a person is exposed to aerosolized virus, the virus multiplies in the person's respiratory tract. After a period of seven to 17 days, variola is spread through the bloodstream to lymph nodes where it continues to multiply.

                          Variola then moves into smaller blood vessels near the surface of the skin where the inflammatory changes occur. The classic smallpox rash then begins. Two types of smallpox generally are recognized.

                          • Variola major, the most severe form, may cause death in up to 30% of unvaccinated people who develop it (3% of people vaccinated people may also develop variola major).
                          • Variola minor, a milder form of smallpox, produces death in 1% of unvaccinated people.

                          The symptoms of variola major occur after a seven- to 17-day incubation period. They begin acutely with high fever, headache, chills, aches, vomiting, abdominal pain, and back pain. During the initial phase, some people develop delirium (hallucinations), and a portion of light-skinned people may develop a fleeting rash.

                          After two to three days, the rash develops on the face, hands, and forearms and extends gradually to the trunk and lower part of the body. The sores progress all at once into fluid-filled sacs. The distribution of the rash is important in making the diagnosis of smallpox. A greater number of lesions will appear on the face arms and legs compared to the trunk. People with smallpox are most infectious on days three through six after the fever begins. Virus is spread to others through coughing and sneezing or by direct contact.

                          With the milder form of smallpox, variola minor, the skin sores are similar but smaller and fewer in number. People are not as ill as those who have variola major.

                          Most doctors have never seen a case of smallpox and may have difficulty diagnosing it. Other viral illnesses with rash, such as chickenpox or allergic contact dermatitis, can look similar. Smallpox is different from chickenpox because of the distribution of the lesions and because they are all at the same stage of development everywhere on the body. With chickenpox, sores may be forming while others are scabbing over.

                          The failure to recognize mild cases of smallpox in people with partial immunity permits rapid person-to-person transmission. Exposed people may shed virus through coughing without ever showing the signs and symptoms of the disease.

                          The doctor may look at scrapings of tissue under a microscope but will be unable to tell the difference between smallpox and monkeypox or cowpox. Advanced PCR techniques have been developed and may provide for more accurate diagnosis in the near future.

                          People with smallpox are usually isolated from people without smallpox for 17 days. Anyone exposed to either weaponized variola or people infected with smallpox must be vaccinated immediately this may lessen or prevent the illness if done within four or five days of infection.

                          Treatment of smallpox is mainly to help relieve symptoms. The antiviral agent cidofovir may be effective in treating symptoms.

                          Smallpox vaccine is used to prevent people from getting smallpox. The vaccine is given as a type of shot, but a two-pronged needle is used to place the medication into the skin. This leaves a permanent scar, which many adults may still have from smallpox inoculations given to them when they were babies.

                          Once the shot is given, a small fluid-filled pimple usually appears five to seven days later. A scab forms over the site during the next one to two weeks. Common side effects include low-grade fever and swollen lymph glands. People with weakened immune systems should not have the smallpox vaccination. This includes people with HIV, anyone with a history of eczema, and pregnant women.

                          Postexposure Prophylaxis

                          In the case of a bioterror attack, it is recommended that all people who were exposed be immunized using the vaccine as soon as possible, but at least within four days. Again, use of the vaccine is not recommended in people with skin diseases like eczema, immunocompromised individuals (like HIV), or in pregnant women.


                          The monkeypox virus, which is found in Africa, is a naturally occurring relative of variola. The first case of human monkeypox was identified in 1970, but fewer than 400 cases have been diagnosed since. Some concern exists that monkeypox may be weaponized, however, human monkeypox is not as potent as smallpox. Pneumonia due to monkeypox may cause death in about half of people who develop it.

                          Arboviral Encephalitides

                          The arboviral encephalitides with high fatality rates include Venezuelan equine encephalitis (VEE) virus, western equine encephalitis (WEE) virus, and eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) virus. They are members of the Alphavirus genus and are regularly associated with encephalitis. These viruses were recovered from horses during the 1930s. VEE was isolated in the Guajira peninsula of Venezuela in 1930, WEE in the San Joaquin Valley of California in 1930, and EEE in Virginia and New Jersey in 1933. A more common, but milder arboviral disease, is West Nile, which is caused by a flavivirus.

                          Although natural infections with these viruses occur following bites from mosquitoes, the viruses are also highly infectious when spread through the air. If intentionally released as a small particle aerosol, this virus may be expected to infect a high percentage of people exposed within a few miles.

                          VEE virus has the capacity to produce epidemics. Outcomes are significantly worse for the very young and the very old. Up to 35% of people infected may die. WEE and EEE typically produce less severe and widespread disease but are associated with death rates as high as 50%-75% in those with severe illness.

                          • VEE: After an incubation period of two to six days, people with VEE develop fevers, chills, headache, aches, sore throat, and sensitivity to light (eyes). They may become mildly confused, have seizures or paralysis, or go into a coma. For those who survive, their nervous system functions usually recover completely.
                          • EEE: The incubation period for EEE varies from five to 15 days. Adults may have certain early symptoms up to 11 days before the onset of nervous system problems such as mild confusion, seizures, and paralysis. Signs and symptoms include fever, chills, vomiting, muscle rigidity, lethargy, slight paralysis, excess salivation, and difficulty breathing. Children frequently develop swelling on their face and near their eyes. A significant percentage of survivors of severe disease have permanent nervous system problems such as seizures and various degrees of confusion (dementia).
                          • WEE: The incubation period is five to 10 days. Most people have no symptoms, or they might develop a fever. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, a stiff neck, and drowsiness. Up to a majority of victims younger than 1 year of age have seizures. Typically, adults recover completely. Children, especially newborns, may have lasting nervous system problems.

                          Laboratory tests, including nasal swab samples, may show any of the three viruses.

                          No specific treatment is available. Doctors will help control symptoms. For some people, that may include medications to control fever and seizures or help breathing.

                          There are no commercially available vaccines against any of the arboviral encephalitides. They are experimental and only available for researchers who work with the virus.

                          Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers

                          Viral hemorrhagic fevers are caused by four families of viruses.

                          • Arenaviridae (Lassa, Lujo, Guanarito, Machupo, Junin, Sabia, and Chapare viruses)
                          • Bunyaviridae (Rift Valley, Crimean-Congo, Hantaan)
                          • Filoviridae (Marburg, Ebola)
                          • Flaviviridae (Yellow, Dengue, Kyasanur Forest, Alkhurma, Omsk HFs)

                          The best known of the viral hemorrhagic fevers is Ebola virus. First recognized in Zaire in 1976, the virus has been linked to at least 20 outbreaks in Africa. Earlier outbreaks in central Africa, with the Zaire species of the Ebola virus, had very high mortality rates (80%-90%). However, the most recent outbreaks with the same virus in Western Africa have had lower mortality rates (approximately 50%). The largest outbreak of Ebola virus in history began in 2014, located primarily in the Western African countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. In June 2016, the WHO reported that there were 28,616 confirmed or probable cases and 11,323 deaths in those three countries, including 500 health-care workers. The World Health Organization declared Sierra Leone Ebola-free in November 2015, and in June 2016, the WHO declared Liberia and Guinea Ebola-free. However, there could me more cases identified, and there will be continued surveillance. During the outbreak, there were four cases diagnosed in the United States: One in a Liberian man who was visiting in Texas, two nurses who took care of that man, and one physician who had just returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea.

                          These viruses are each characterized by an acute generalized illness that includes feeling quite ill (flulike illness) with profound exhaustion and is sometimes associated with internal bleeding. The West African Ebola outbreak was characterized more by severe gastrointestinal illness with vomiting and large-volume diarrhea. This leads to severe volume depletion, metabolic abnormalities, and hypovolemic shock. Other symptoms include fever, body and joint pain, profound and progressive weakness, loss of appetite, sore throat, headache, and fatigue.

                          Most agents are highly infectious via the aerosol route, and most are stable as respiratory aerosols. Thus, they possess characteristics that may make them attractive for use by terrorists.

                          However, Ebola virus has not been demonstrated to be contagious person-to-person through an aerosol route. It is spread through direct contact with the blood or other body fluids of an infected person, including a corpse.

                          The agents that produce viral hemorrhagic fever are all simple RNA viruses. They are able to survive in blood for long periods, which means they can infect people who are around animals slaughtered domestically. These viruses are linked to the rodents, bats, or insects that help to spread them, which helps in searching for a diagnosis.

                          The specific viral hemorrhagic fever manifestations that develop depend on many factors such as the strength of the virus, its strain, and the route of exposure.

                          The incubation period (time from exposure to onset of symptoms) ranges from two to 21 days. Although initially a classic symptom of all of the viral hemorrhagic fevers is bleeding, it actually only occurred in about 20% of Ebola patients in the most recent outbreak. Humans are not infectious until symptoms develop.

                          The incubation period is the time interval from infection with the virus to onset of symptoms is two to 21 days. Humans are not infectious until they develop symptoms. The first symptoms seen are fever, muscle aches, headaches, and sore throat. Patients then go on to develop vomiting and large-volume diarrhea. This leads to severe dehydration and results in impaired kidney and liver function. Some patients develop internal and external bleeding (blood in stools and oozing from the gums).

                          It is important for the doctor to know a person's travel history in making a diagnosis of viral hemorrhagic fever. These agents are linked tightly with their natural geographic area and the ecology of the species and vectors found in that specific locale. Victims often recall exposures to rodents (Arenavirus, Hantavirus), mosquitoes (Valley fever virus, yellow and dengue fever viruses), or even slaughtered horses (Rift Valley fever virus, Crimean-Congo virus).

                          Laboratory tests may be helpful. Testing of whole blood or serum include antibody-capture enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), antigen-capture detection tests, and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay. Testing can be conducted at the CDC in Atlanta or the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md.

                          Treatment for viral hemorrhagic fevers is largely directed at easing the discomfort of the symptoms. Victims benefit from being placed in a hospital setting immediately. Air transport is not advised. Sedative and pain-relieving medications are helpful, but aspirin and similar drugs should not be given because of their tendency to make bleeding worse.

                          There has been a lot of controversy surrounding the use of IV fluids for victim. At the beginning of the outbreak, the medical community was divided on the topic. However, both the CDC and WHO both recommend IV rehydration to treat patients with dehydration and bleeding problems. The improved survival in the recent outbreak was likely due to the extensive use of IV hydration. The treatment for bleeding is controversial. Generally, mild bleeding is not usually treated, but severe bleeding requires appropriate replacement therapy (blood transfusions through an IV line).

                          Specific treatment with ribavirin has been used and is currently under investigation as a therapy for Lassa fever, hantavirus, Crimean-Congo, and Rift Valley fever. Treatment is most effective if begun within seven days. Ribavirin has poor activity against the filoviruses and flaviviruses.

                          The only established and licensed virus-specific vaccine against any of these viruses is the yellow fever vaccine. It is mandatory for those traveling into areas of Africa and South America where the disease is commonly found. Current trials are underway for further vaccines and antibody therapies. There are ongoing trials of at least two Ebola vaccines.

                          Staphylococcal Enterotoxin B

                          Staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) is one of the best-studied and, therefore, best-understood toxins.

                          Staphylococcal enterotoxin is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea normally occur after someone eats or drinks contaminated food.

                          The toxin creates different symptoms when exposure is through the air in a biological warfare situation. Only a small, inhaled dose is necessary to harm people within 24 hours of inhalation.

                          After exposure, signs and symptoms begin in two to 12 hours. Mild-to-moderate exposure to SEB produces fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, chest pain, body aches, and a nonproductive cough. Severe exposures can lead to a toxic shock-type picture and even death. Depending on the severity of exposure, the illness may last three to 10 days.

                          Diagnosis of SEB can be difficult. Laboratory tests and a chest X-ray may be performed. Nasal swabs may show the toxin for 12-24 hours after exposure.

                          Doctors provide care to relieve symptoms. Close attention to oxygenation and hydration are important. People with severe SEB may need help breathing with a ventilator. Most victims are expected to do well after the initial phase, but the time to full recovery may be long.

                          No approved human vaccine exists for SEB, although human trials are ongoing. Passive immunotherapy agents have demonstrated some promise when given within four hours of exposure, but such therapy is still being tested.


                          Ricin, a plant protein toxin derived from the beans of the castor plant, is one of the most toxic and easily produced of the plant toxins. Although the lethal toxicity of ricin is about 1,000-fold less than botulinum toxin, the worldwide ready availability of castor beans and the ease with which the toxin can be produced give it significant potential as a biological weapon.

                          Since ancient times, more than 750 cases of ricin intoxication have been described. Ricin may have been used in the highly published killing of Bulgarian exile Georgi Markov in London in 1978. He was attacked with a device in an umbrella that implanted a ricin-containing pellet into his thigh.

                          The toxicity of ricin varies greatly with the way it is given. Ricin is extremely toxic to cells and acts by inhibiting protein synthesis. Inhalation exposure causes primarily breathing and lung problems. If eaten, ricin causes symptoms in the GI tract. If injected, the reaction takes place in that area.

                          • Following inhalation exposure of ricin, toxicity is characterized by the sudden onset of nasal and throat congestion, nausea and vomiting, itching of the eyes, itching, and tightness in the chest. If exposure is significant, after 12-24 hours severe breathing problems may set in. In animal studies, death occurs 36-48 hours after severe exposure.
                          • Ingestion of ricin is generally less toxic because it is not absorbed well and may degrade in the digestive tract. Out of 751 ingestions recorded, only 14 resulted in a death.
                          • At low doses, injection exposures produce flulike symptoms, body aches, nausea, vomiting, and localized pain and swelling at the injection site. Severe exposure results in tissue death and GI bleeding, as well as widespread liver, spleen, and kidney problems.

                          The diagnosis of ricin poisoning is made on the basis of symptoms and whether exposure was possible. In biological warfare, exposure is likely to occur by inhalation of a toxin aerosol.

                          Victims may have certain signs on a chest X-ray. The diagnosis can be confirmed by lab tests on samples from a nasal swab. Ricin can be identified for up to 24 hours after exposure.

                          Treatment is mainly to relieve symptoms. If exposure was by inhalation, the person may need help breathing. Those who ingested the poison may need to have their stomachs pumped (gastric lavage), or they might be given charcoal to soak up the material.

                          Currently, no vaccine is available for ricin exposure. Test vaccines have proven effective in animals. Other drugs are being studied as well.

                          Botulinum Toxin

                          Botulinum toxins are the most deadly toxins known. Because botulinum toxin is so lethal and easy to manufacture and weaponize, it represents a credible threat as a biological warfare agent. When used in this manner, exposure is likely to occur following inhalation of aerosolized toxin or ingestion of food contaminated with the toxin or its microbial spores. Iraq admitted to active research on the offensive use of botulinum toxins and to weaponizing and deploying more than 100 munitions with botulinum toxin in 1995.

                          All seven subtypes (A-G) of botulinum toxin act in similar ways. The toxin produces similar effects whether ingested, inhaled, or via a wound. The time course and severity of illness vary with route of exposure and dose received. Symptom onset is slower after inhalation exposure.

                          Symptoms may occur hours to several days after exposure. Initial signs and symptoms include blurred vision, dilated pupils, difficulty swallowing, difficulty speaking, an altered voice, and muscle weakness. After 24-48 hours, muscle weakness and paralysis may cause the person to be unable to breathe. Varying degrees of muscular weakness may occur.

                          Paralysis may indicate the presence of this exposure. Typical laboratory tests generally are not helpful, although special tests of nerve conduction and muscle response may be useful. Infection by inhalation can be diagnosed from nasal swabs up to 24 hours after exposure.

                          The most serious complication is respiratory failure. With attention to symptoms and help breathing, sometimes with a ventilator, death occurs in fewer than 5% of cases. For confirmed exposures, an antitoxin is available from the CDC. This antitoxin has all of the disadvantages of horse serum products, including the risks for shock and serum sickness. Skin testing is performed first by injecting a small amount of the antitoxin into the skin and then monitoring the person for 20 minutes.

                          The only botulinum vaccine was discontinued by the CDC in 2011.


                          The trichothecene mycotoxins are highly toxic compounds produced by certain species of fungi. Because these mycotoxins can cause massive organ damage, and because they are fairly easy to produce and can be dispersed by various methods (dusts, droplets, aerosols, smoke, rockets, artillery mines, portable sprays), mycotoxins have an excellent potential for weaponization.

                          Strong evidence suggests that trichothecenes ("yellow rain") have been used as a biological warfare agent in Southwest Asia and Afghanistan. From 1974-1981, numerous attacks resulted in a minimum of 6,310 deaths in Laos, 981 deaths in Cambodia, and 3,042 deaths in Afghanistan. When taken from fungal cultures, the mycotoxins yield a yellow-brown liquid that evaporates into a yellow crystalline product (thus, the "yellow rain" appearance). These toxins require certain solutions and high heat to be completely inactivated.

                          After exposure to the mycotoxins, early symptoms begin within five minutes. Full effects take 60 minutes.

                          • If skin exposure occurs, the skin burns, becomes tender, swollen, and blisters. In lethal cases, large areas of skin die and slough (fall off).
                          • Respiratory exposure results in nasal itching, pain, sneezing, a bloody nose, shortness of breath, wheezing, cough, and blood-tinged saliva and sputum.
                          • If ingested, the person feels nausea and vomits, loses appetite, feels abdominal cramping, and has watery and/or bloody diarrhea.
                          • Following entry into the eyes, pain, tearing, redness, and blurred vision occur.
                          • Systemic toxicity may occur and includes weakness, exhaustion, dizziness, inability to coordinate muscles, heart problems, low or high temperature, diffuse bleeding, and low blood pressure. Death may occur within minutes to days depending on the dose and route of exposure.

                          Diagnosis of an attack of trichothecene mycotoxin depends on the symptoms and identifying the toxin from biological and environmental samples. Many people with these symptoms may report being in a yellow rain or smoke attack.

                          Initial laboratory tests are not always helpful. Currently, a rapid identification kit for any of the trichothecene mycotoxins does not exist. Gas-liquid chromatography has been used in the past with great success. However, chromatographic methods lack great sensitivity, and presently alternative methods of detection are under investigation.

                          Treatment is mainly to help with symptoms. The immediate use of protective clothing and mask during a mycotoxin aerosol attack should prevent illness. If a soldier is unprotected during an attack, the outer clothing should be removed within four to six hours and decontaminated with 5% sodium hydroxide for six to 10 hours. The skin should be washed with copious amounts of soap and uncontaminated water. The eyes, if exposed, should be washed out with large amounts of normal saline or sterile water. U.S. military personnel can use a skin decontamination kit effectively against most chemical warfare agents, including the mycotoxins.

                          No specific therapy exists for a trichothecene exposure. After appropriate skin decontamination, victims of inhalation and oral exposures may be given superactivated charcoal orally. Activated charcoal removes mycotoxins from the GI tract. Some victims may need help breathing with a ventilator. Early use of steroids increases survival time by decreasing the primary injury and shock-like state that follows significant poisoning.

                          No vaccine exists for trichothecene mycotoxin exposure.


                          Glanders is a disease mainly in horses and is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia mallei. It can be transmitted to humans and other domestic animals. However, it is only rarely seen in humans. It has been intermittently used by governments in World War I and II and by Russia in the 1980s. In humans, it causes a flu-like illness. In 2000, there was a case in a U.S. military microbiologist who recovered completely with treatment.


                          Typhus is an acute febrile illness caused by Rickettsia typhi and Rickettsia prowazkeii. This should not be confused with typhoid fever, which is a gastrointestinal illness caused by Salmonella typhi bacteria. There are endemic and epidemic forms of the disease. The epidemic form is caused by Rickettsia prowazkeii. This is typically transmitted via lice. Rats, mice, and flying squirrels, which are asymptomatic carriers, carry the disease. The disease is spread to the human population through ticks, chiggers, fleas, and lice. There have been natural outbreaks throughout history that were usually associated with wars and famine. Poor living conditions and squalor allow spread of the disease. The typhus spread by ticks causes Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has categorized typhus as a category B biological weapons agent. While Rickettsia prowazekii is highly infectious, it cannot be passed from person to person. A number of governments have experimented with weaponizing typhus, but typhus does not appear to have ever been successfully used in a military setting.

                          Anti-Crop Biological Agents

                          There have been a number of agents developed during the last century to cause destruction of crops. These include wheat stem rust, rye stem rust, rice blast, cereal rust, wheat smut, and potato blight. A number of governments have experimented with using these agents, but there does not appear to have ever been a use of these agents in a military setting.


                          Confucianism is the worldview on politics, education and ethics taught by Confucius and his followers in the fifth and sixth centuries B.C. Although Confucianism is not an organized religion, it does provide rules for thinking and living that focus on love for humanity, worship of ancestors, respect for elders, self-discipline and conformity to rituals.

                          As of the fourth century B.C., Confucius was regarded as a sage who had deserved greater recognition in his time. By the second century B.C., during China’s first Han Dynasty, his ideas became the foundation of the state ideology. Today Confucius is widely considered one of the most influential teachers in Chinese history. The philosophies are still followed by many people living in China today and has influenced thinking in Japan, Korea and Vietnam.


                          The history of Buddhism in the territory now covered by the country of Vietnam dates back at least to the second century a.d. Its territory was under Chinese hegemony through the tenth century, but materials relating the history of Buddhism during the period of Chinese dominance are scarce. Stories dating from this period show the presence of monastic Buddhism, and present tales of scripture-chanting, the erection of images, and the miraculous intervention of monks, and early records also indicate that the late Han-dynasty governor of Jiaozhou, Shi Xie (Si Nhiep) had a large number of Chinese and Central Asian monks in his entourage. Official Chinese court records speak of eminent and accomplished monks from Jiaozhou who made their way to the northern capitals, showing that there were sufficient resources there for them to receive detailed training in doctrine, scripture, and meditation, and there are also records of foreign monks who settled in Jiaozhou to carry out translation activities. The monk Yijing (635 – 713), a traveler and historian, mentions that several of them, having taken the southern maritime route to and from India, stopped off in Jiaozhou.

                          In many respects, Buddhism in Vietnam during this period was simply an extension of Chinese Buddhism. However, there was another strain of Buddhism active in the area at this time. Waves of Indian cultural exports had made their way across southeast Asia, penetrating as far as Indonesia, and Therav ā da forms of Buddhism were among these. Many people in the southern part of Vietnam were more influenced by this form of Buddhism than by Chinese Mah ā y ā na Buddhism, and so Vietnam came to be the meeting place for the two streams: Mah ā y ā na going north from India along the Silk Road, down into China, then into Vietnam, and Therav ā da going south along the seacoasts through Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, and into Vietnam. Vietnamese Buddhism, as a result, is a unique mixture of Mah ā y ā na and Therav ā da forms.

                          By the time Vietnam achieved independence from China in the tenth century, Buddhism had been an integral part of the cultural landscape for over 800 years. The first emperor of independent Vietnam, Dinh Bo Linh, put together a system of hierarchical ranks for government officials, Buddhist monks, and Daoist priests after ascending to power in 968 A.D. Thereafter, Buddhist monks were part of the national administration, serving the ruler as advisors, rallying the people in times of crisis, and attending to the spiritual needs of the masses.

                          It was the L Ὑ Dynasty (1010 – 1225) that willingly coopted diverse elements in its task of constructing a national culture and identity. In this climate, many schools of Buddhism were able to exist side by side and compete in an open religious marketplace, further facilitating the intermingling of Mah ā y ā na and Therav ā da forms. Archaeological evidence also indicates that tantric Buddhism had also made its way into Vietnam during this time (stelae with mantras inscribed on them have been discovered). During this time, Buddhism also became more widely disseminated among the common people, as monks came into villages and "converted" local deities, ancestors, and culture heroes to the religion and declared them now "protectors" of the dharma. This move worked to unify the disparate local cults under the Buddhist umbrella, and aided in the unification of the country.

                          In return, the L ý kings supported Buddhism lavishly: giving stipends to eminent monks, erecting and refurbishing temples, and sending envoys to eight China in search of scriptures. In this way, new developments in Chinese Buddhism were noted in Vietnam, particularly with the importation of Chan works. This created a dichotomy between an older form of Buddhism that was highly syncretistic and incorporated many elements and practices under its umbrella, and a newer Buddhism that inclined to a purer Chinese nature, centered mostly on Chan.

                          Chan study and practice became more entrenched under the Tran dynasty (1225 – 1400), although the older forms also remained vital. Tran rulers sponsored the establishment of the first actual "schools" of Buddhism in Vietnam, beginning with the Truc Lam (Bamboo Grove) Chan School founded by the third Tran king. Missionary monks also arrived continuously from China, bringing both the Lin-chi and Ts ’ ao-tung Schools into Vietnam, and they found a ready audience among the Tran aristocracy.

                          In the 15th century, the Vietnamese began to conquer and absorb parts of Cambodia, strengthening the interchange between the Vietnamese Chan of the elites and the Therav ā da teachings and practices of the Cambodians. The country took its current shape during the 18th century, and the country's unique blend of schools of Buddhism was fixed from that time. The French occupation of Indochina, which gave the different ethnic groupings of the land a common tongue, facilitated further interchange between different forms of Buddhism.

                          During the early 20th century, many educated Vietnamese began abandoning Mah ā y ā na Buddhism, which seemed superstitious, in favor of Therav ā da Buddhism, which seemed more pragmatic and this-worldly. An instrumental figure in this evolution was Le Van Giang, who studied Therav ā da meditation with a Cambodian teacher, took the name Ho-Tong, and came back to Vietnam to build the first formally Therav ā da temple near Saigon. From this headquarters he began actively disseminating Therav ā da Buddhism in the local language, and produced translations of the P ā li scriptures into Vietnamese. The Vietnamese Therav ā da Buddhist Sangha Congregation was formally established in 1957, making what had formerly been an element dispersed throughout Vietnamese Buddhism in a diffuse manner into a formal school to rival the Chinese-style Chan schools.

                          During the Vietnam War, Buddhist monks were active in efforts to bring hostilities to a close, and many of them immolated themselves publicly to protest the war. Others went abroad to propagate Vietnamese Chan, notably Thich Nhat Hanh.


                          • "Annam", which originated (or started) as a Chinese name in the 7th century, was the common name of the country during the colonial period (赤鬼) (文郎/Orang) (甌雒/Anak) (南越) (交趾/交阯) (萬春) (安南) (靜海) (大瞿越) (大越) (大虞) (大南) [11]

                          In Vietnam, the approximate population is 97,094,658. [12] 25.2% of these people are aged between 0-14, with 11,954,354 being male and 10,868,610 being female. 69.3% of the population are between the ages of 15-64. The male-to-female ratio is almost evenly split, with 31,301,879 being male and 31,419,306 being female. 5.5% are 65 and over, with 1,921,652 being male and 3,092,589 being female. So within the older two categories, there are more women than men. [13]
                          The population is not from one origin. There are many ethnic tribes that developed in the history of Vietnam. This makes Vietnam's history and culture very diverse. It's not the same as a country where every family landed on the country's shores in the same century. French and Chinese colonization didn't involve an excessive migration of people to Vietnam.
                          Nowadays, the blend of cultures has been increasing with the influence of globalization and world interest. Many Vietnamese that have been living overseas are described as the Viet Kieu. The population has several communities in many countries around the world.

                          The length of the country, from North to South, is 1,650 kilometers (1,025 miles). [14] "At its narrowest point, Vietnam is only 30 miles (48 kilometers) wide". [15]

                          The country is covered in rainforests that are currently going through rapid deforestation. It borders the South China Sea to the east, Laos and Cambodia to the west, and China to the north. The country is slightly larger than Malaysia.The country is slightly smaller than Japan

                          Vietnam's history has long been characterized by the neighborhood of China in the north. For about 1,000 years, northern Vietnam belonged to China, but from 938 the country became independent and later expanded southward at the expense of the Champa kingdom. In the 19th century the country was colonized by France and during the Second World War, the country was occupied by Japan. After this war, the colonial empire did not have the resources to restore the regime and lost the military battle against the liberation forces. This led to the division of the country, which in turn led to the Vietnam War with major human and material losses for the country. The war ended on 30 April 1975 by the fact that North Vietnam took the southern part. After experimental planning in the 1970s and 1980s, the economy was reformed in a market economy direction.

                          Viet Edit

                          About 5000 years ago, the two ethnic tribes of the Lac Viet and Au Viet lived together in many areas with other inhabitants. Due to increasing needs to control floods, fights against invaders, and culture and trade exchanges, these tribes living near each other tended to gather together and integrate into a larger mixed group.

                          Among these Lac Viet tribes was the Van Lang, which was the most powerful tribe. The leader of this tribe later joined all the tribes together to found Van Lang Nation in 2897 BC, addressing himself as the King Hung. The next generations followed in their father's footsteps and kept this appellation. Based on historical documents, researchers correlatively delineated the location of Van Lang Nation to the present day regions of North and north of Central Vietnam, as well as the south of present-day Kwangsi (China). The Van Lang Nation lasted to the 3rd century B.C.

                          Óc Eo may have been a busy port of the kingdom of Funan between the 1st and 7th centuries.

                          The Dong Son civilization that covered much of Southeast Asia was also the beginning of Vietnam's history. In 221 BC, the Qins invaded the land of the Viet tribes. Thuc Phan, leader of the alliance of Au-Viet tribes managed to expel the enemies and declared himself King An Duong Vuong and his territory Au Lac Nation (257-207 BC). In 208 BC, a Qin Dynasty general named Triệu Đà invaded Au Lac. An Duong Vuong failed this time. As a result, the northern feudalist took turns dominating the country over the next eleven centuries, establishing their harsh regime in the country and dividing the country into administrative regions and districts with unfamiliar names. However, the country's name of Au Lac could not be erased from the people's minds in their everyday life.

                          In 207 BC Triệu Đà established a state called Nam Việt which encompassed southern China and the Red River Delta. The historical significance of the original Nam Việt remains controversial because some historians consider it a Chinese occupation while others believe it was an independent era. For most of the period from 111 BCE to the early 10th century, Vietnam was under the rule of successive Chinese dynasties. Sporadic independence movements were attempted, but were quickly suppressed by Chinese forces.

                          The kings of Champa (Chiêm Thành in Vietnamese) started construction of Hindu temples at Mỹ Sơn in the 4th century AD. [16] [17]

                          Hội An was founded as a trading port by the Nguyễn Lord Nguyễn Hoàng sometime around 1595.

                          IndoChina Edit

                          In September 1858, France occupied Đà Nẵng. Cochinchina was a French colony from 1862 to 1948.

                          In 1930 Nguyễn Ái Quốc established the Vietnamese Independence League (Việt Nam Ðộc Lập Ðồng Minh Hội) which is also known as the Việt Minh.

                          The Japanese took over Vietnam in World War II. The Việt Minh fought against both the Japanese and the Vichy French.

                          When the Japanese were defeated, the Vietnamese people, led by the Việt Minh started the August Revolution.

                          On 2 September 1945, Nguyễn Ái Quốc (who was now calling himself Hồ Chí Minh, meaning 'Hồ (a common last name) with the will of light') read the Declaration of Independence of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam in Ba Ðình Square, in Hànội. It was based on the American Declaration of Independence.

                          Hồ Chí Minh led the Việt Minh in a war for independence from France.

                          The "Autonomous Republic of Cochinchina" (République Autonome de Cochinchine) was proclaimed 1 June 1946 to frustrate the Việt Minh's desire to rule all of Vietnam.

                          The War between France and the Việt Minh lasted from 1946 to 1954. The French were defeated in 1954 after the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.

                          North and South Vietnam Edit

                          The nation was then divided into North Vietnam and South Vietnam. After independence was achieved, the French gave the land of the Mekong delta that was part of Cambodia to South Vietnam. The anti-communist United States had a lot of influence in the South, and the communist and nationalist Việt Minh controlled the North. Hồ Chí Minh was extremely popular in the whole nation, as he was the only remaining leader after years of fighting, so he became President of the Democratic Republic of (North) Việtnam. It was agreed that the nation would be reunited by elections in 1956. But, the Americans and the Southern government stopped the elections from happening because they expected Hồ Chí Minh to win because communist North Vietnam refused to hold free elections. Dwight Eisenhower said he thought Hồ would win with around 80% of the vote if elections were held because of the majority of the population being in the north added with Ho's few supporters in the South. [18]

                          Soon, the USA was at war with Vietnam. This war was known as the American War, the Vietnam War, or the Second Indochinese War. Soon, South Vietnam became a military dictatorship with some basic freedoms. The Southern army removed the controversial [19] Ngo Dinh Diem from power and killed him.

                          On 2 September 1969, Independence Day, President Hồ Chí Minh died of heart failure.

                          Unification Edit

                          On 30 April 1975, the National Liberation Front with the help of the N.V.A. [18] overtook Sàigòn and quickly renamed it Hồ Chí Minh City, which is the capital of Vietnam. The nation was fully reunified as Socialist Republic of Vietnam on 2 July 1976.

                          Vietnam is divided into 58 provinces. There are also five city municipalities which have province authority.

                          Watch the video: Kill The Buddha u0026 Slap Your Master: Linji u0026 Zen Buddhism (August 2022).