The Poets

The Timeline

Chronologically by birth.

The Tang Dynasty

The Tang Dynasty (618–907) was neither the first nor the last Chinese dynasty, but it is often considered the greatest.

This was China’s golden age, when its territory was at its height, its trade flowed along the Silk Route, its literature flourished, Taoism, Buddhism, religious toleration was allowed. Within Chang’an, the capital walls, one million souls lived in relative harmony, working, singing, drinking, mixing with traders who arrived along the Silk Route, for Chang’an was the end of the road, so to speak.

Outside the Middle Kingdom, for that is what China has always called itself, there was war.  With Tibetans in the west, even the far off Muslim Caliphate on the Caspian Sea, and the Turks and Khitans on the north. Internal conflicts and palace intrigues often made the emperor an “uneasy head that wore the crown”.

Let us compare China’s Eastern Civilization with Western Civilization. For, that is what historians do.

This was after the Fall of the Roman Empire which ended in 476.

The period of the Tang dynasty lies somewhere in the middle of what is referred to as Europe’s Dark Ages extending into the Early Middle Ages. For a time, Charlemagne ruled central Europe. If Paris became the city with the largest population, it could count no more than 100,000 souls. The Vikings in long boats sailed the North Sea and plundered everywhere they went. In the Middle East, the prophet Muhammad had appeared. And his followers, the Muslims would spread rapidly,  one day encountering the Tang forces at the Battle of  Talas (751).

Not until 871 did Alfred the Great become king of a tiny kingdom called Wessex, not yet recognized as the first King of England.

The Tang dynasty ended in 907, or thereabouts. Its fall was due to external and internal conflict, as well as court intrigue. The eunuchs who had gained power assassinated one emperor after another. This finally became too much for the military generals who independently governed different provinces.

Emperor Ai of Tang, is identified as the last Tang emperor, although he was emperor in name only.

The Tang Poets

In China, Family Names are listed first.


Luo Binwang 駱賓王 (c. 619-684)

Li Jiao 李嶠 (c. 645-715)

He Zhizhang 賀知章 (c. 659-744)

Chen Zi’ang 陳子昂 (c. 661-702)

Zhang Jiuling 張九齡 (678-740)

Wang Zhihuan 王之涣 (688-742)

Chang Jian 常建(?)

Wang Wei 王維 (699–759)

Liu Changqing 刘长卿 (c. 709-780)

Cen Shen or Cen Can 岑參 (715-770)

Liu Zongyuan 柳宗元 (773-819)

Meng Haoran 孟浩然 (c. 689-740)

Geshu Han 哥舒 翰 (died December 1, 757)

Li Bai, Li Bo 李白 (701-762)

Du Fu 杜甫 (712-770)

Zhang Ji 張繼 (c.712-780)

Yuan Jie 元結 (719-772)

Meng Jiao  孟郊 (751-814)

Li Shen 李绅  (772-846)

Bai Juyi 白居易 (772-846)

Yuan Zhen 元稹 (779-831)

Du Mu 杜牧  (803-852)

Li Shangyin 李商隱 (c. 813-858)

Luo Yin 羅隱 (c. 833-26 January 910)

Han Wo 韓偓 ( c. 842-844-c. 923)

Wen Tingyun, 溫庭筠 (812?-870?)

Yú Xuánjī 魚玄機, (female, c. 840-c868)

Cui Tu 崔塗  (854 – ?)

Qin Taoyu 秦韬玉 (?)


On Translating Chinese Poetry