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Answer by Kaiser Kuo, dabbler in history:

郭怡广,史学爱好者:

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

很多中国人是非常崇拜唐朝的(618-907),特别是755年的安史之乱爆发之前的唐朝。

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.

这一时期开始盛行的唐三彩釉瓷器,至今任然被收藏者们视为至宝。 唐代的诗歌即便是到了今天,不论是在内地还是大中华圈,甚至是在流散各地的华人中,几乎所有学龄儿童都能记得。绝大多数中国人至少都能背诵几首由李白,杜甫,王维,或是李商隐等创作的著名唐诗。



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,唐朝的军事实力依靠于强大的地区统帅,这些统帅要求这些游牧或者半游牧骑兵忠诚于自己。这是个严重的问题。唐明皇很迷恋杨贵妃(“尊贵的妃嫔”),她最终在朝廷中获得了庞大的权力和影响力。她帮他堂兄杨国忠升为宰相。她的“养子”(胡人)据说也是她的情人。安禄山,在朝廷中也颇具威信,与杨国忠也有过冲突。他在公元755年造反,有效地结束了唐帝国的兴盛。造反在763年终于被镇压了,但这已是长安被西夏(西藏人)侵略以及整个国家遭到内乱之后的事情。王朝幸免遇难但是再也无法回到早期盛世的局面。一种仇外的情绪在9世纪早期蔓延开来,而外国影响—特别是在军事和宗教生活层面—变得越来越不得人心。