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Title:The Rise of the Tibetan Empire | The Animated History of Tibet | Episode 1

For a brief period of time, the Tibetan Empire was one of the greatest military and political forces in the entire world, rivalling the Chinese Tang Dynasty, the Islamic Abbasid Caliphate, and even the once-mighty Roman Empire. In the 9th century, however, the entire empire suddenly collapsed, vanishing into history and myth. How did Tibet emerge to become one of the dominant political factions in Central Asia? And why did the empire collapse? In this episode of The Animated History of Tibet, we explore the first 100 years of recorded Tibetan history, beginning with the rise of the Tibetan Empire in the Yarlung Valley under the reign of Songtsen Gampo and the later consolidation of its territories during the regency of the Gar Clan. We also explore the emergence of Buddhism in Tibet and its vital role in shaping the early imperial state. The writer and director of the series, Dr. Alexander K. Smith, holds a PhD in Tibetan and Himalayan history from the University of Paris, France, and an MA from Oxford University. For an in-depth discussion of the early Tibetan Empire and the topics discussed in this episode, check out part one of our interview with Professor Brandon Dotson, a specialist in imperial-era history, at Georgetown University: Please consider supporting our work on Patreon so that we can make more content like this in the future: Buy the maps featured in this episode and other original artwork from our merch store: Follow us on Instagram for regular project updates: Western-language Works Cited Below you'll find a number of the major secondary sources that we used in writing this episode. There are, however, a significant number of historical articles, book chapters, and primary Tibetan-language sources that have also contributed to our understanding of Tibetan imperial history. Due to limited space (YouTube only gives you 5,000 characters!), these are not referenced below. If you are interested in learning more about Tibetan history, I recommend visiting our Patreon where you will find expanded reading lists and annotated bibliographies for each episode (none of which are paywalled and are all free to use). The complete reading list for this episode is available here: Beckwith, Christopher I. 1987. The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia. Princeton University Press. Dotson, Brandon. 2009. The Old Tibetan Annals: An Annotated Translation of Tibet’s First History. Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Kapstein, Matthew T. 2000. The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism: Conversion, Contestation, and Memory. Oxford University Press. Kapstein, Matthew T. 2006. The Tibetans. Blackwell Publishing. Karmay, Samten G. 1998. "The Origin Myths of the First King of Tibet as Revealed in the Can lnga" in Karmay. The Arrow and the Spindle: Studies in History, Myths, Rituals and Beliefs in Tibet. Mandala Book Point. Schaeffer, Kapstein, and Tuttle (eds). 2013. Sources of Tibetan Tradition. Columbia University Press. Schaik, Sam van. 2011. Tibet: A History. Yale University Press. Smith, Warren W., Jr. 1996. Tibetan Nation: A History of Tibetan Nationalism and Sino-Tibetan Relations. Westview Press. Sørensen, Per K. 1994. Tibetan Buddhist Historiography: The Mirror Illuinating the Royal Genealogies: An Annotated Translation of the XIVth Century Tibetan Chronicler: rGyal-rabs gsal-ba’i me-long. Harrassowitz Verlag. Stein, R. A. 1972. Tibetan Civilization. Stanford University Press. Takeuchi, Tsuguhito. 1995. Old Tibetan Contracts from Central Asia. Tokyo: Daizo Shuppan. 0:00 Introduction 1:39 The early reign of Songtsen Gampo 3:01 The geopolitical situation of Tibet in the 7th century 4:20 The confederation of Sumpa 5:08 The conquest of Zhang Zhung 7:15 The vassalage of the Licchavi Kingdom of Nepal 8:06 The innovation of writing and the creation of the Tibetan script 10:52 War and the marriage of the Tang princess Wencheng Konjo 14:55 The arrival and influence of Buddhism in the Tibetan court 16:01 The later years of Songtsen Gampo's life 16:42 Myth: the Mu Chord and the mortality of Tibetan kings 17:41 The regency of Minister Gar Tongtsen 18:54 Open war! Gar Tongtsen's campaigns against the Tang Dynasty 21:22 The conquest of Azha 22:28 The death of Gar Tongtsen 23:07 Conclusion 24:19 Credits and Patreon pitch


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