Why did Emperor Li Congke burn himself to death in the late Tang Dynasty?

Li Congke (885-936), a native of Zhenzhou (now Zhengding, Hebei Province), was an emperor of the late Tang Dynasty in the Five Dynasties. He was the adopted son of Li Siyuan, the emperor of the late Tang Dynasty. From 934 to 936, he was in power. After his death, he had no posthumous title or temple title. Historians called him the end emperor or the abandoned emperor.

Late emperor li Congke (886-936 AD), adopted son of Ming emperor. He abolished the emperor and succeeded to the throne. During his three years in office, he burned himself for being unable to resist Shi Jingtang’s attack. At the age of 51, he was buried in Huiling.

Li Congke, the late Tang Dynasty emperor, was born in Pingshan (now Zhengding County, Hebei Province) of Zhenzhou. After he led the army to invade Luoyang, he abolished the emperor in April 934 and ascended the throne on April Yihai, changing his name to “Qingtai”.


Li Congke and Shi Jingtang had a long-term feud. After they became emperors, they sent tens of thousands of troops to attack Jinyang City, where Shi Jingtang was located. Unable to resist, Shi Jingtang took refuge in Khitan. With the help of Khitan army, he defeated the post Tang army and turned to attack Luoyang.

At this time, Li Congke’s troops were still very strong, but he was demoralized. He did not dare to lead the troops to resist the Khitan army. He just drank and wept, waiting for his death.

In 936 ad, the later Tang army was defeated in baimapo, and Qidan and shijingtang troops approached Luoyang. The alarm came and the generals surrendered. Li Congke looked up at the sky and sighed, “I’m at a dead end!”

On November 11, Xinsi, he took empress dowager Cao, empress Liu, second son Li chongmei and other family members and cronies to command the delegation of song Zhongyu, who carried the imperial seal to the Xuanwumen tower and prepared to burn himself.


Looking back at the palace, empress Liu said to Li Congke, “we are going to die in a sea of fire. Why don’t we leave this palace for the enemy to enjoy? It’s better to burn it down.” Li chongmei dissuaded: “after the new emperor entered the capital, he would not sleep in the street. He would burn down the imperial palace. He would certainly build and rebuild the palace.

At that time, we have to work hard for the people. Let it go. ” Li Congke ordered the soldiers to pile up firewood and burn it under the Xuanwu Gate. After a while, the fire went up, and Li Congke and his party collapsed with the fire.

After the Tang Dynasty, he died. After Shi Jingtang entered Luoyang, someone picked Li Congke’s arm bone and thigh bone from the embers and offered them to him. Shi Jingtang ordered him to be buried in the royal ceremony. After Li Congke died, later generations called him the end emperor or the abolition emperor.


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