Gao Cheng - Background

Background

Gao Cheng was born in 521, when his father Gao Huan was still a courier of documents between the Northern Wei capital Luoyang and the old capital Pingcheng (平城, in modern Datong, Shanxi). His mother Lou Zhaojun was from a wealthy family, but Gao Huan's own household was poor. In 525, the ambitious Gao Huan joined the agrarian rebellion led by Du Luozhou (杜洛周), but subsequently became convinced that Du was not a successful leader, and sought to flee from Du's camp with his associates Wei Jing (尉景), Duan Rong (段榮), and Cai Jun (蔡雋). (Wei and Duan were also his brothers-in-law.) Lady Lou and her children (Gao Cheng and a daughter) fled as well, riding a cow. During this flight, Gao Cheng repeatedly fell off the cow, and Gao Huan considered killing him with an arrow, but Duan repeatedly saved him. The next known incident involving Gao Cheng was in 531, when Gao, then a Northern Wei general, rebelled against the members of Erzhu Rong's clan (who had dominated the political scene after they defeated Emperor Xiaozhuang in revenge of Emperor Xiaozhuang's killing of Erzhu Rong), and when an agrarian rebel leader, Gao Aocao (高敖曹), a very distant relative of Gao Huan's, refused to follow Gao Huan, Gao Huan sent Gao Cheng to visit Gao Aocao and showing respect due a granduncle, persuading Gao Aocao of Gao Huan's sincerity.

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