Liang dynasty


Liang with West Wei and East Wei
Liang with West Wei and East Wei
Capital Jiankang (502–552, 555–557)
Jiangling (552–555)
Government Monarchy
• 502–549
Emperor Wu of Liang
• 549–551
Emperor Jianwen of Liang
• 552–555
Emperor Yuan of Liang
• 555–557
Emperor Jing of Liang
• Established
30 April[1] 502
•  Jiankang's fall to Hou Jing
24 April 549[2]
•  Jiangling's fall to Western Wei
7 January 555[3]
•  Emperor Jing's yielding the throne to Chen Baxian
16 November 557
• Disestablished
16 November 557
Currency Chinese cash coins
(Taiqing Fengle cash coins)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Southern Qi
Chen dynasty
Northern Qi
Western Wei
Western Liang (555–587)
Today part of China

The Liang dynasty (Chinese: 梁朝; pinyin: Liáng cháo) (502–557), also known as the Southern Liang (Chinese: 南梁; pinyin: Nán Liáng), was the third of the Southern Dynasties during China's Southern and Northern Dynasties period. It was located in East China and South China, and replaced by the Chen dynasty in 557. The small rump state Western Liang (555–587), located in Central China, continued until its annexation in 587.


During the Liang dynasty, in 547 a Persian embassy paid tribute to the Liang, amber was recorded as originating from Persia by the Book of Liang.[4]

More than fifty percent of Tuoba Xianbei princesses of the Northern Wei were married to southern Han Chinese men from the imperial families and aristocrats from southern China of the Southern dynasties who defected and moved north to join the Northern Wei.[5] Tuoba Xianbei Princess Nanyang (南阳长公主) was married to Xiao Baoyin, a Han Chinese member of Southern Qi royalty.[6]

In 548, Hou Jing Prince of Henan started a rebellion with Xiao Zhengde the Prince of Linhe, nephew and a former heir of Emperor Wu of Liang and installed Xiao Zhengde as emperor. In 549, Hou sacked Jiankang, deposed and killed Xiao Zhengde, seized the power and put Emperor Wu effectively under house arrest. He dismissed the armies opposed to him in the name of Emperor Wu. In 550 Emperor Wu died, Hou created Emperor Wu's third son Crown Prince Gang Emperor Jianwen of Liang, also effectively under house arrest. He also attempted to suppress those who would not submit to him.

At the same time the Liang princes fought with each other rather than try to eliminate Hou: Emperor Wu's seventh son Xiao Yi Prince of Xiangdong killed his nephew Xiao Yu the Prince of Hedong, forcing Xiao Yu's younger brother Xiao Cha Prince of Yueyang to surrender to the Western Wei; Xiao Yi also attacked his sixth brother Xiao Guan Prince of Shaoling, forcing him to surrender to Northern Qi. Both Xiao Cha and Xiao Guan were created Prince of Liang. However, as Xiao Yi also allied with Northern Qi, Northern Qi gave up their support of Xiao Guan; Xiao Guan was defeated by Hou and finally killed by Western Wei. Xiao Ji the Prince of Wuling the youngest son of Emperor Wu claimed imperial title.

In 551, Hou forced Emperor Jianwen to abdicate to his grandnephew Xiao Dong the Prince of Yuzhang, then killed Emperor Jianwen and forced Xiao Dong to abdicate to him. Hou established a new dynasty named Han. In 552, Xiao Yi destroyed Han and claimed the imperial title as Emperor Yuan of Liang. He also ordered his subordinates to kill Xiao Dong and Xiao Dong's younger brothers. He created his headquarter Jiangling capital instead of returning to Jiankang. He also managed to eliminate Xiao Ji, but in order to do this he allied with Western Wei, who in turn conquered Yi Province (Sichuan).

In 553, Northern Qi attacked Liang, aiming to install a nephew of Emperor Wu, Xiao Tui the Marquess of Xiangyin, as emperor, but was defeated.

As the relationship between Emperor Yuan and Western Wei was deteriorating, in 555, Western Wei army sacked Jiangling, forcing Emperor Yuan to surrender, and killed Emperor Yuan as well as his sons before installing Xiao Cha as emperor of (Western) Liang at Jiangling.

Liang generals led by Wang Sengbian declared Xiao Fangzhi Prince of Jin'an, the only living son of Emperor Yuan, as Prince of Liang at Jiankang, aiming to crown him the new emperor, but the Northern Qi army defeated them, forcing them into an agreement to recognise a nephew of Emperor Wu, Xiao Yuanming the Marquess of Zhenyang, as emperor instead. Wang requested that Xiao Fangzhi be created Crown Prince and Xiao Yuanming agreed. General Chen Baxian launched a raid that killed Wang in favor of Xiao Fangzhi while denouncing Wang for surrendering to Northern Qi. Xiao Yuanming was forced to abdicate to Xiao Fangzhi, who was known as Emperor Jing of Liang , and Chen seized power. He initially claimed Liang a subject of Northern Qi but later defeated the army of Northern Qi.

In 557, Chen forced Emperor Jing to abdicate to him and established a new Chen dynasty.

However, Liang general Wang Lin also claimed Xiao Zhuang Prince of Yongjia grandson of Emperor Yuan emperor. In 560, Xiao Zhuang was defeated and fled to Northern Qi and was created Prince of Liang in 570, while Wang Lin continued to resist Chen until 573. Western Liang existed until 587 when Sui dynasty decided to abolish it.


Posthumous Name Personal Name Period of Reigns Era names
Emperor Wu of Liang Xiao Yan 502–549[note 1] Tianjian (天監) 502–519
Putong (普通) 520–527
Datong (大通) 527–529
Zhongdatong (中大通) 529–534
Datong (大同) 535–546
Zhongdatong (中大同) 546–547
Taiqing (太清) 547–549
Emperor Jianwen of Liang Xiao Gang 549–551 Dabao (大寶) 550–551
Xiao Dong 551–552 Tianzheng (天正) 551-552
Emperor Yuan of Liang Xiao Yi 552–555[note 2] Chengsheng (承聖) 552–555
Xiao Yuanming 555 Tiancheng (天成) 555
Emperor Jing of Liang Xiao Fangzhi 555–557[note 3] Shaotai (紹泰) 555–556
Taiping (太平) 556–557

Rulers' family tree

Artistic heritage

Tombs of a number of members of the ruling Xiao family, with their sculptural ensembles, in various states of preservation, are located near Nanjing.[7] The best surviving example of the Liang dynasty's monumental statuary is perhaps the ensemble of the Tomb of Xiao Xiu (475–518), a brother of Emperor Wu, located in Qixia District east of Nanjing.[8][9]

See also