Tang Dynasty Military

Engraving of a Soldier and Horse.jpgThe Chinese emperors throughout history were involved in frequent wars of unification, expansion, and defense of their territories. The success of the Tang Dynasty was built on a strong administration support as well as powerful military to keep potential invaders at bay.

The Tang Dynasty military was a great military power that used strategic techniques to expand the nation’s borders farther than ever before. Tai Cong, the son of Li Yuan, is known as the military genius behind the early Tang Dynasty’s success.

Military Weapons Used

The soldiers of the Tang Dynsaty used several types of handheld weapons, long-range weapons, and defense weapons to fight with their enemies. This included the bow and arrow, pike, sword, throwing daggers, armor and shields.

Technological Advances

The military might of the Tang Dynasty was a result of the economic prosperity and advancement in science and technology. The military strength was built up during the era of Emperor Taizong, who was adept at military strategies and launched several expeditions against various ethnic groups.

During the reign of Emperor Taizong, Tang’s military domination was spread across northeastern China to the southwestern Korean Peninsula. In the north, Tang’s domination also reached the Mongolian Plateau.

Various Divisions

The Tang Dynasty had a military based on the Fubing system, which involved using the local militia that could be mobilized promptly during wars. This system was originated by the Wei Dynasty, but the Tang Dynasty adopted it.

The military was divided into multiple small military units. The militiamen were allocated pockets of land. Officers were provided with extended commissions. Regular soldiers used to report for duty at the provincial capital on rotating basis.

During the Tang Dynasty, the military units were under the direct control of the Ministry of the Army, which had a total of 634 such military units, known as Zhechongfu. Each of these units consisted of 800 to 1200 soldiers and was sub-divided into tuan of 300 soldiers, dui of 50 soldiers and huo of 10 soldiers.

However, the Tang Dynasty moved towards a system of regular full-time army units in the 8th century and did away with the Fubing system.