Emperor Lizong

Emperor Lizong of Song
Emperor Lizong's portrait drawn after his death, kept in the National Palace Museum.
Emperor of the Song dynasty
Reign17 September 1224 – 16 November 1264
Coronation17 September 1224
PredecessorEmperor Ningzong
SuccessorEmperor Duzong
BornZhao Yuju (1205–1222)
Zhao Guicheng (1222–1224)
Zhao Yun (1224–1264)
26 January 1205
Shaoxing, Zhejiang, China
Died16 November 1264(1264-11-16) (aged 59)
Lin'an, Zhejiang, China
Youmu Mausoleum (永穆陵)
Empress Shouhe (m. 1227–1264)
IssuePrincess Zhouhan Duanxiao
Princess Zhenzhu
Era dates
Baoqing (寶慶; 1225–1227)
Shaoding (紹定; 1228–1233)
Duanping (端平; 1234–1236)
Jiaxi (嘉熙; 1237–1240)
Chunyou (淳祐; 1241–1252)
Baoyou (寶祐; 1253–1258)
Kaiqing (開慶; 1259)
Jingding (景定; 1260–1264)
Posthumous name
Short: Emperor An (安帝)
Full: Jiandao Beide Dagong Fuxing Liewen Renwu Shengming Anxiao Huangdi
Temple name
Lizong (理宗)
HouseHouse of Zhao
FatherZhao Xilu
MotherLady Quan
Emperor Lizong of Song
Literal meaning"Reasonable Ancestor of the Song"
Zhao Yun
Traditional Chinese趙昀
Simplified Chinese赵昀
Zhao Yuju
Traditional Chinese趙與莒
Simplified Chinese赵与莒
Zhao Guicheng
Traditional Chinese趙貴誠
Simplified Chinese赵贵诚

Emperor Lizong of Song (26 January 1205 – 16 November 1264), personal name Zhao Yun, was the 14th emperor of the Song dynasty in China and the fifth emperor of the Southern Song dynasty. He reigned from 1224 to 1264.

His original name was Zhao Yuju but later changed his name to Zhao Guicheng and then finally changed his name to Zhao Yun being elevated to a imperial son.[1] Although he was a descendant of the Song dynasty's founder Zhao Kuangyin (Emperor Taizu) through his son Zhao Dezhao and hence a member of the imperial clan, Zhao Yun was not in line to succeed to the throne as his family had no political status. Shi Miyuan (史彌遠), who was the chancellor for many years, collaborated with Empress Dowager Yang and when Emperor Ningzong eventually died in 1224, Shi, along with Empress Dowager Yang, supplanted the reigning crown prince Zhao Hong and replaced him with Zhao Yun as emperor, reigning with the era name Baoqing and the temple name Lizong. The 40-year-reign of Emperor Lizong did little to nothing to improve the Dynasty and instead sought pleasure even as the Mongols were terrorizing the borders. He died at age 59 in 1264 and was succeeded by his nephew Emperor Duzong.

Early life

Although related to the Song imperial family, Emperor Lizong was only distantly related as he was the 10th generation descendant of the founding Song Emperor, Emperor Taizu more than 250 years before. Emperor Lizong spent his childhood in obscurity living away from the imperial court in Shaoxing, Zhejiang as a minor official. One rainy day in his early teens, along with his younger brother Zhao Yurui, Lizong stood huddling under a bridge along with an official, Yu Tianxi, who was sent by Chancellor Shi Miyuan tasked to locate a suitable successor to the Song throne as the incumbent crown prince Zhao Xun has recently passed away at the age of 29. After discovering the true identity of this teenager, Yu quickly informed Shi Miyuan who agreed to groom Lizong to be replaced as the crown prince. It is said that Lizong was serious, studious, mostly silent, and wise before assuming the throne.[1][2] When Ningzong died in 1224, Shi Miyuan told Lizong to enter the throne room and then ordered Zhao Hong, then the current crown prince into the room.[3] Shi Miyuan subsequently declared Lizong emperor and according to history, he was wearing a white robe and the lights reflected his shadow on the throne.[4][1] The result of Lizong becoming Emperor angered Zhao Hong who refused to bow until he was forced to by the palace commander.[1] He was then sent away.[3]