What were the most ‘badass’ moments of history?
It is the year 926 AD in Northeastern China. The founder of the Liao Khitan Empire, Yelu Abaoji (阿保機) had just passed away. Before passing away, though, he named his eldest son, Yelu Bei (耶律倍) to be the next emperor. However, his wife, Empress Dowager Shulu Ping, had other plans. She wanted the second son, Yelu Deguang, to become the emperor instead.
While everyone was busy mourning the loss of the previous emperor, the Empress Dowager gathered all of the top court officials and asked them, this question: “Do all of you miss my late husband?” Since all the men there had worked with Abaoji for several years or decades, all of them replied, “yes”. To which the Empress Dowager responded: “Then go join my husband in the afterlife so that he won’t be lonely!” As a result, almost all of the court officials were murdered. This sounds like such a stupid reason to kill people, but the thing is, the previous emperor had just died. The Empress Dowager saw this as the perfect opportunity to purge the court and start politics again with a clean state.
Finally, there was just one guy left, Zhao Siwen (趙思溫). The Empress Dowager summoned him to court, and once again, asked Zhao to join Abaoji in the afterlife. Zhao, however, thought that this was his last moment, so he decided to be a badass; he replied straight to her face: “Your Highness, you were the previous emperor’s beloved wife. He loved you more than anything else. I, on the other hand, am just an official who had worked for him. If you truly don’t want your husband to be lonely in the afterlife, rather than sending me there, perhaps YOU should go join your husband.”
Empress Dowager Shulu was shocked at this response. Needless to say, she was completely unprepared for such an awesome comeback. After fumbling for a bit, she lamely came up with an excuse: “My sons are still young; they need a mother, so I will join my husband when my sons are old enough to take care of themselves.” (This is a lie; all three of her sons were adults by that time, with the oldest being almost 30 years old!)
As a result, not only did Zhao Siwen put the Empress Dowager in her place, she spared him from execution, and finally, she chopped off one of her own arm as a form of atonement. Talk about a badass way of escaping from death!