Guo Ziyi — Contributive Marshal of Recovery of the Realm
Guo Ziyi (697 — 781) was a heroic marshal that saved the Tang Dynasty from destructive rebel wars and invasions, a brilliant politician, and a benevolent person that was respected by everyone including the four emperors that he had served.
With his exceptional military talent and wisdom, Guo Ziyi protected his country and flourished his clan.
From Kongfu Master to The Remarkable Marshal
When he was young, Guo Ziyi won first place in the Imperial Examination of Martial Art which was established by Empress Wu Zetian.
Then, he was assigned some positions in the army and got promoted several times based on his talent.
When Guo Ziyi was at home in mourning for his mother, the An-Shi Rebellion outburst.
The Draft to Memorize Heroically Sacrificed Yan Jiming (Ji Zhi Wen Gao) that Recorded Brave Soldiers of Tang and the Intense Fights in the An-Shi Rebellion, By Great General and Extraordinary Calligrapher Yan Zhenqing — Taipei Palace Museum
An-Shi were two generals that garrisoned on the borders of the Tang Empire that led independent troops that consisted of over 200,000 well-trained, professional warriors.
On the other side, most Tang people had lived in peace for generations, and couldn't believe a huge war was about to come.
Many cities of Tang that had been attacked by the rebel army in the first round fell into the rebel army's control since their governors either surrendered or escaped.
Under those circumstances, Guo Ziyi was summoned back to fight against the rebellions.
Tri-coloured Glazed Pottery Horse (Tang San Cai) of the Tang Dynasty — Asian Art Museum of San Francisco (Photo by Dongmaiying)
He led Tang's soldiers, fought countless intense wars, and took back the lost cities one by one.
Later, Guo Ziyi was promoted to the chief commander of the Tang Empire’s main force, because of his remarkable achievements.
After eight years of intense fights, the An-Shi Rebellion (755 — 763) that took away around 35 million lives was finally defeated.
According to the emperor, Guo Ziyi recovered and saved the whole kingdom.
Inlaying Gold Ruler of the Tang Dynasty — National Museum of China (Photo by Dongmaiying)
Calumniation, Demotion, and Contributions
But with Guo Ziyi’s increasing power and reputation, the most powerful eunuch got quite jealous.
He calumniated Guo Ziyi in front of the emperor and then had him removed from power.
Later, guided by some traitors of Tang, the Tibetan Empire invaded some places of Tang and soon occupied Tang's capital city Chang'an after the emperor fled.
The emperor then had to summon Guo Ziyi back.
When Guo Ziyi set off, he only had 20 cavalrymen with him.
But on his way to the capital city, he reorganized a few thousand of his former soldiers and expelled the Tibetan Empire's army.
Guo Ziyi, for the second time, recovered the capital city Chang'an.
Restored Picture of Part of the Chang An City of the Tang Dynasty
Afterward, whenever the Tang government was in danger, Guo Ziyi was summoned back to defeat those enemies; then he would be defamed by powerful eunuchs and abolished again.
Even so, every time Tang's emperors planned to listen to other ministers to reward Guo Ziyi and let him command the army, those eunuchs would jump out and persuade the emperors not to.
This circle had been repeated several times, but Guo Ziyi never bragged about his glorious achievements or complained about those injustices.
He defeated enemies bravely when he was needed, and lived in seclusion when he was expelled.
Agate Tea Cup (Zhan Tuo) of the Tang Dynasty — National Museum of China (Photo by Dongmaiying)
Years later, some nomadic regimes allied and sent over 300, 000 soldiers to attack the Tang Empire.
General Guo Ziyi went to one of those allied regimes alone and persuaded the Khan to retreat.
Then, Guo Ziyi decisively attacked other regimes and achieved huge success.
Afterward, he was awarded some honorable titles, led Tang's army, achieved more success, and well-defended the borders.
Honorable Reputation and Legacy of Guo Ziyi
General Guo Ziyi impressed many people with his extraordinary contributions, kind personality, absolute loyalty, and integrity, including emperors, ministers, soldiers, and civilians.
In the end, even those eunuchs that had framed him up several times before completely admired him.
Throughout the history of China, there was no negative comment about Guo Ziyi; everyone sincerely respected this brave and wise person.
This made Guo Ziyi a brilliant politician that survived all conspiracies and flourished his clan, while many other contributive generals were abolished, framed, or executed.
He lived a stable and honorable life when he was old, and passed away peacefully in his house in his 80s.
One of his sons married a princess, and so was one of his grandsons. One of his granddaughters married Emperor Xianzong of Tang and became an influential empress of the empire.
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