During Emperor Gaozu's Reign
Li Daozong was probably born in 603, during the reign of Emperor Wen of Sui (Yang Jian). His grandfather Li Zhang (李璋) was a Northern Zhou official and a son of the Western Wei general Li Hu (李虎), the grandfather of the major Sui Dynasty general Li Yuan, who had been executed late in Northern Zhou for plotting with the Northern Zhou prince Yuwen Zhao (宇文招) to kill Yang Jian while Yang Jian was regent and on the path to take over the throne. Li Zhang's sons were not killed, however, and one of them, Li Shao (李韶), was Li Daozong's father.
Li Yuan rebelled against Emperor Yang of Sui in 617, and by 618 had established Tang Dynasty as its Emperor Gaozu. He created many of his relatives with nobility titles, Li Daozong was created the Duke of Lüeyang. In 619, a major Tang enemy Liu Wuzhou the Dingyang Khan attacked and captured most of Tang's holdings in modern Shanxi and approached Hedong (河東, in modern Yuncheng, Shanxi). Li Daozong served under Emperor Gaozu's son Li Shimin the Prince of Qin in resisting Liu, and at his suggestion, Li Shimin did not engage Liu immediately, choosing to wear out Liu's food supplies, eventually allowing Li Shimin to defeat Liu. Further, during the campaign, Li Daozong and Yuwen Shiji were able to persuade Liu's general Yuchi Jingde to surrender, and Yuchi later became an important general under Li Shimin.
Li Daozong was then made the commandant at Ling Prefecture (靈州, roughly modern Yinchuan, Ningxia). When Liang Luoren (梁洛仁), the brother of Liang Shidu the Emperor of Liang attacked with assistance from Eastern Tujue, and Li Daozong was able to repel him, and further expel the Eastern Tujue general Ashina Yushe (阿史那郁射) from the Wuyuan (五原, in modern Yulin, Shaanxi). Emperor Gaozong, comparing Li Daozong's accomplishments to those of the Cao Wei imperial prince Cao Zhang the Prince of Rencheng, created Li Daozong the Prince of Rencheng.
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