Li Mi (Sui Dynasty)

Li Mi (Sui Dynasty)

Li Mi (Sui Dynasty)

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Li Mi (李密) (582–619), courtesy name Xuansui (玄邃), pseudonym Liu Zhiyuan (劉智遠), was the leader of a rebel movement against the rule of the Chinese dynasty Sui Dynasty. He initially was the strategist of the Sui general Yang Xuangan, who rebelled against Emperor Yang of Sui in 613 but failed, and Li subsequently led a rebellion against Emperor Yang in his own right in 617, gaining so much following that there was much expectation that he soon would be able to prevail over Sui forces and establish a new dynasty -- so much so that even other key rebel leaders, including Dou Jiande, Meng Haigong (孟海公), Xu Yuanlang, and Zhu Can, were urging him to take imperial title. Even Li Yuan (the later Emperor Gaozu of Tang) was writing him in supplicating terms that implicitly supported his imperial claim. However, his army became stalemated with Sui forces near the Sui eastern capital Luoyang and was never able to capture Luoyang, and in 618, the Sui general Wang Shichong ambushed him and crushed his forces. He fled to Tang Dynasty territory and submitted to Emperor Gaozu, but subsequently rebelled against Tang and tried to revive his own army. The Tang general Sheng Yanshi (盛彥師) captured and executed him.


Li Mi came from a line that was part of the nobility during successive dynasties Western Wei, Northern Zhou, and Sui Dynasty. By the time of his father Li Kuan (李寬), who carried the Sui-created title of Duke of Pushan, the clan,...
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