We have published a series of articles on the website weiy.cc about Emperor Yang Guang of the Sui Dynasty, detailing how he gradually descended from the highest position in the state to his eventual downfall. You can read them if you are interested in the history.

The Tottering Sui Empire Of Ancient China.

In fact, Yang Guang was not a dim-witted or incompetent second-generation emperor. From a young age, he showed exceptional talent, possessing significant literary skills, and was modest, self-disciplined, and morally impeccable. 

The Sui Empire’s first expedition to Goguryeo ended in a disastrous defeat

In March, Yang Guang personally led the army to Liaodong City (present-day Chaoyang, Liaoning), but after months of prolonged siege, they failed to capture it. Meanwhile, General Lai Hu’er led the naval forces to cross the sea and attack, initially making smooth progress and even briefly capturing Pyongyang, only to be ambushed in the city, losing forty thousand elite soldiers with only a few thousand escaping.

Yang Xuangan and Li Mi’s Rebellion Against the Sui Dynasty

In Yang Guang’s eyes, a heavyweight figure like Yang Xuangan taking up arms in rebellion would undoubtedly have a terrifying effect, rallying countless supporters and igniting a centrifugal force within the political sphere, encouraging more aristocratic clans to aspire for the throne.

Emperor Yang of Sui, Yang Guang’s three campaigns against Goguryeo ultimately became a laughingstock

Yang Guang was utterly baffled. Should he calmly admit defeat, turn his focus inward, strive to rebuild the nation, or persist, growing braver with each setback, and vow not to rest until Goguryeo was destroyed? Yang Guang ultimately chose the latter—he decided to reorganize and launch a third campaign against Goguryeo.

Emperor Yang Guang of the Sui Dynasty narrowly escaped after being besieged at Yanmen for 33 days

The seventeen-year-old soldier who offered this strategy was Li Shimin. In the chaotic times at the end of the Sui dynasty, this marked Li Shimin’s first recorded appearance in history. Although his status was still humble at the time, his insight and strategic prowess, which would lead him to dominate the world militarily in a few years, were already beginning to show.

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