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We shall now study about three Emperors of DAI VIET in this blog : 1. EMPEROR TRAN HIEN TONG ; 2. EMPEROR TRAN DU TONG and 3. EMPEROR DUONG NHAT LE who was not fromTRAN DYNASTY . Both the TRAN Emperors reigned during the time of Retired Emperor TRAN MINH TONG and Emperor DUONG NHAT LE was the successor of Emperor TRAN DU TONG . Let us start with Emperor TRAN HIEN TONG . He was the sixth Emperor of the TRAN DYNASTY who ruled over DAI VIET from 1329 AD to 1341 AD . He was only ten years old when he was enthroned . Emperor TRAN HIEN TONG ruled with the help of Regent like Retired Emperor TRAN MINH TONG during thirteen years of his reign . And he died at the age of 23 years . He had left no heir , because he had no issue . So, he was succeeded by his younger brother TRAN HAO who as an Emperor was known as TRAN DU TONG . But the death of Emperor TRAN HIEN TONG marked as the turning point in the history of TRAN DYNASTY as DAI VIET fell into the trouble times . As we know that Emperor TRAN HIEN TONG was the first son , born in 1319 AD , of the Retired Emperor TRAN MINH TONG and his Imperial consort ANH TU . His enthronement to the throne ignited a fierce struggle in the two parties of the royal court of DAI VIET in which his maternal grand father had to sacrifice his life and starved to death in the prison . Despite that , according to DAI VIET SU KY TOAN THU ( Royal Chronicles of Dai Viet ) Emperor TRAN HIEN TONG was known for his intelligence and righteousness . The people of DAI VIET witnessed the last period of real prosperity and peace in the history of TRAN DYNASTY during his period . The precedent created by Emperors like TRAN ANH TONG and TRAN MINH TONG , Emperor TRAN HIEN TONG maintained friendly relations with the YUAN DYNASTY . He also reinforced southern and western borders to deal with the increasing hostility with LAOS and CHAMPA . However , a campaign led in 1335 AD by the Retired Emperor TRAN MINH TONG in person against LAOS was unsuccessful as he was defeated by the LAOTIAN forces and DOAN NHU HAI , an officer of the royal court of DAI VIET , was drowned in action also . Emperor TRAN HIEN TONG died on 6th June 1341 AD at the young age of 23 , leaving no heir at all . And the Retired Emperor TRAN MINH TONG had no option left but to pass the throne to his tenth son TRAN HAO who as an Emperor was known as TRAN DU TONG .


TRAN DU TONG or TRAN HAO was the seventh Emperor of the TRAN DYNASTY . He reigned DAI VIET from 1341 AD to 1369 AD . He nominally ruled the country under the regency of the Retired Emperor TRAN MINH TONG until the latter’s death in 1357 AD . He had an absolute position in royal court for next twelve years . His period of reign was considered by the historians as third phase of the TRAN DYNASTY when the peaceful and prosperous state of affairs of the country began to fade away . And the royal family fell into long period of chaos and uncertainty . Here citing of a celebrated medieval TUNIS historian , IBN KHALDUN (1332 AD to 1406 AD) , a contemporary to Emperor TRAN DU TONG and champion of Universal History , appears to be appropriate; who in his magnumopus PROLEGOMENA (MUKKHADAMA) had rightly classified three types of states : 1. THE FIRST IS THAT STATE WHICH FOSTERS GOODNESS OF THIS AND OF THE NEXT WORLD ; 2. THE SECOND TYPE OF STATE EXISTS ONLY FOR THE GOODNESS OF THIS WORLD ALONE ; and 3. THE THIRD TYPE OF STATE IS INTERESTED IN PROMOTING THE GOODNESS OF THE RULER ONLY . And he called the first one as the regime of law and other two as the regimes of reason devised by man without any light from God . Then sedentary culture developed among Rulers at the fourth phase/generation when the regime collapses . Same was the case with the TRAN DYNASTY during and after Emperor TRAN HIEN TONG . According to DAI VIET SU KY TOAN THU ( ROYAL CHRONICLES OF DAI VIET ) , however the young Emperor TRAN DU TONG was very intelligent and well managed both – civil and military matters of DAI VIET . But the historians of DAI VIET were , of the opinion , that Emperor TRAN DU TONG was impotent . He was cured after many unusual treatments including using medicine made from a killed young boy who incest with his own sister , Princess THIEN NINH . His era of governance faced with troubles such as the death of several important mandarins of the royal court of DAI VIET . DAI VIET suffered many disasters like economic dearth and many rebellions against the royal court . TRUONG HAN SIEU , an able mandarin , was appointed by the Emperor to restore order in the regions affected by unrest . Now the royal court was full of corrupt mandarins and bad cohorts . Emperor TRAN HIEN TONG’S regime saw extravagant spending on the building of several luxurious palaces and monuments . He also introduced theater in the royal court, which was considered as a shameful pleasure at that time . Sedentary culture in the royal court enter to such an extent that even before the official audience , Emperor TRAN DU TONG used to step off the throne to dance with his Ministers . Hierarchy and order of the royal court were discarded by the Emperor altogether . Once he was so drunk that he fell into a pool of water and caught a disease which was cured after a long period of treatment . He died on 25th May , 1369 AD at the age of 33 only . Though he had ten wives , yet he had no son of his own before his death as he was impotent . So, he issued an edict that the throne would be passed to DUONG NHAT LE , despite the fact that his appointee was not from the TRAN CLAN . The royal family had so many Princes available for the position of Emperor of DAI VIET . But they were not given chance at all . This resulted into chaos and disorder in the royal court .


DUKE HON DUC or DUONG NHAT LE was the Emperor of DAI VIET from 1369 AD to 1370 AD . He was not from the TRAN CLAN at all . He was enthroned by an edict of Emperor TRAN DU TONG at the time of his death in 1369 AD despite the fact that the TRAN DYNASTY had still many Princes in the royal court . DUONG NHAT LE was the son of a couple of TOUNG actors . His father’s name was DUONG KHOUNG while the stage name of his mother was VUONG MAU . When his mother was pregnant , she was made a consort of Prince CUNG TUC TRAN DUC , who was the son of TRAN MINH TONG . So, he was born in the palace and adopted by Prince CUNG TUC TRAN DUC as his own son . Emperor TRAN DU TONG , being an impotent man having no issue of his own , appointed his brother’s adopted son DOUNG NHAT LE as his successor . Since it broke the traditional regulation in secession , the action of Emperor TRAN DU TONG was heavily criticized and brought about a chaotic period in the history of TRAN DYNASTY . 25th day after Emperor’s death in 1369 AD , Queen Mother HIEN TU , upholding the Emperor’s will , invited DUONG NHAT LE to the royal palace for coronation despite strong opposition from the family members and even mandarins of the royal court . After enthronement, Emperor DUONG NHAT LE changed the era name and married with the daughter of Prince CUNG FINH TRAN PHU and he made her as queen consort . He later ordered poisoning of the Great Queen Mother HIEN TU who had started regretting the enthronement of the Emperor DOUNG NHAT LE . Like his predecessor , he also neglected his administrative duties and concentrated only on wandering , drinking and theater . He even wanted to change his family name back as DUONG which disappointed one and all in the royal court . In 1370 AD , after ten months of his enthronement , on the advice of various mandarins and members of the royal family , his father-in-law TRAN PHU decided to raise an army to overthrow the Emperor DUONG NHAT LE and he succeeded in it at last . Now, TRAN PHU as TRAN NGHE TONG became the new Emperor of DAI VIET in 1370 AD . Some historians are of the opinion that NHAT LE was downgraded to the rank of DUKE of HON DUC CONG . Others historians are of the opinion that to overthrow Emperor DUONG NHAT LE a plot was made by a mandarin called NGO LANG of the royal court and not by TRAN PHU himself . When Emperor HON DUC CONG knew about it , he killed the royal mandarin NGO LANG . After being informed of the death of a mandarin like NGO LANG , the new Emperor TRAN NGHE TONG had started beating HON DUC CONG and his son . And both of them were beaten to death and and their bodies were buried in the DAI MONG mountain . The mother of HON DUC CONG fled away to CHAMPA and begged the king of CHAMPA to attack DAI VIET . King CHE BONG NGA of CHAMPA , taking advantages of the political instability in his neighborhood , attacked DAI VIET . The TRAN army couldn’t withstand this sudden attack and the TRAN royal court escaped from the capital THANG LONG . And King CHE BONG NGA looted the capital violently before withdrawing his army from DAI VIET .



Published by ARBIND KUMAR



  1. Very interesting, as ever, and it sometimes causes a smile at the misadventures of drunken rulers. However, when you invite a neighbor to invade your country to enforce the right, the result is not always positive in the long run.

    Liked by 1 person

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