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Answer by Kaiser Kuo, dabbler in history:

郭怡廣,史學愛好者:

Many Chinese are very admiring of the Tang (618–907), especially the years before the An Lushan Rebellion that broke out in 755.

很多中國人是非常崇拜唐朝的(618-907),特別是755年的安史之亂爆發之前的唐朝。

The Kaiyuan Shengshi, the first part of the emperor Tang Minghuang (Xuanzong), who ruled from 712 to 756, was considered to be the apogee of Tang splendor. During this time the Tang capital at Chang'an was the largest city in the world, with a roughly square city wall with a perimeter of 35 kilometers (22 miles) and a population of more than 1 million. It was an extremely cosmopolitan city, sitting as it did at the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, and people from all over the known world of the day could be found there. There were Nestorian Christians, Manicheans, some Arab Muslims, Indian Buddhists, and even some Jews living in Chang'an. You could encounter Central Asians from as far west as Persia to the easternmost reaches of the steppe corridor, Japanese, Koreans, Malays, and more in the great markets.



The three-colored Tang sancai glaze became very popular during this time, and these pieces remain very valuable to collectors today. The poetry of the Tang is memorized even today by most Chinese school children in the PRC, greater China, and in the diaspora. Most Chinese can recite at least a couple of famous Tang poems by the likes of Li Bai, Du Fu, Wang Wei, and Li Shangyin.

這一時期開始盛行的唐三彩釉瓷器,至今任然被收藏者們視為至寶。 唐代的詩歌即便是到了今天,不論是在內地還是大中華圈,甚至是在流散各地的華人中,幾乎所有學齡兒童都能記得。絕大多數中國人至少都能背誦幾首由李白,杜甫,王維,或是李商隱等創作的著名唐詩。



Tang's military might, however, was dependent on powerful regional generals who commanded personal loyalty from their mostly nomadic or semi-nomadic cavalry forces. This proved to be a serious problem. Tang Minghuang grew infatuated with an imperial consort surnamed Yang, known to history as Yang Guifei (“precious consort Yang”), who ended up accruing considerable power and influence at court. She helped install her brother, Yang Guozhong, as prime minister. Her “adopted son” and reputedly also her lover, the Sogdian Gen. An Lushan, also became highly influential at court and clashed with Yang Guozhong. He rebelled in 755 and effectively brought an end to Tang's splendor. The rebellion was eventually put down in 763, but not before Chang'an had already been sacked by Tangut (Tibetan) forces and the whole country wracked with civil strife. The dynasty survived but never quite recaptured its earlier magnificence. A kind of xenophobia set in in the early ninth century, and foreign influences—especially in the military and in religious life—became very unpopular.

然而,唐朝的軍事實力依靠于強大的地區統帥,這些統帥要求這些游牧或者半游牧騎兵忠誠于自己。這是個嚴重的問題。唐明皇很迷戀楊貴妃(“尊貴的妃嬪”),她最終在朝廷中獲得了龐大的權力和影響力。她幫他堂兄楊國忠升為宰相。她的“養子”(胡人)據說也是她的情人。安祿山,在朝廷中也頗具威信,與楊國忠也有過沖突。他在公元755年造反,有效地結束了唐帝國的興盛。造反在763年終于被鎮壓了,但這已是長安被西夏(西藏人)侵略以及整個國家遭到內亂之后的事情。王朝幸免遇難但是再也無法回到早期盛世的局面。一種仇外的情緒在9世紀早期蔓延開來,而外國影響—特別是在軍事和宗教生活層面—變得越來越不得人心。