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Lý Thường Kiệt

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Title: Lý Thường Kiệt  
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Subject: Eunuch, Vietnamese literature, Literary Chinese in Vietnam, History of writing in Vietnam, Lý Nhân Tông
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Lý Thường Kiệt

Cơ Xá Linh Từ in Hanoi, a shrine to worship Lý Thường Kiệt

Lý Thường Kiệt (李常傑; 1019–1105) was a Vietnamese general during the Lý Dynasty in Vietnam.[1] He penned what is considered the first Vietnamese declaration of independence and is regarded as a Vietnamese national hero.[2][3]


Lý Thường Kiệt was born into a Ngô family in Thăng Long, the capital of Đại Việt. His real name was Ngô Tuấn. His father was a low-ranking general. In 1036, he served the Emperor as a captain in cavalry and later lead the imperial guard force. Because of his bravery, intelligence and loyalty, he was granted a royal name, Lý Thường Kiệt, and given an important position in the Court.

In 1075, Wang Anshi, the prime minister, told the Song Dynasty emperor that Đại Việt was being destroyed by Champa, with less than ten thousand soldiers surviving, hence it would be a good occasion to annex Đại Việt. The Song emperor mobilized troops and passed decrees to forbid all the provinces to trade with Đại Việt. Upon hearing the news, the Lý ruler sent Lý Thường Kiệt and Nùng Tôn Đản with more than 100,000 troops to China to carry out a pre-emptive attack against the Song Dynasty troops. In the ensuing 40-day battle near modern-day Nanning, the Đại Việt troops were victorious, capturing the generals of three Song armies.

In 1076, the Songs formed an alliance with Champa and the Khmer Empire and sent troops to invade Đại Việt. Lý Nhân Tông sent, again, Lý Thường Kiệt. Being one of the many great military strategists of Vietnam, Lý Thường Kiệt had placed spikes under the Như Nguyệt River before tricking the Song troops into the deadly trap, killing more than 1,000 Chinese soldiers and forcing the Chinese to retreat.

Those two glorious victories over the Song stopped their attempt to extend south.

After the victory against the Song, he also led a Vietnamese army to invade Champa two times with big victories.

Lý Thường Kiệt is one of the national heroes of Vietnam.

He died in 1105, at the age of 86.

Nam Quốc Sơn Hà

He is considered the author of Vietnam’s first declaration of independence: the Chinese-language poem, Nam Quốc Sơn Hà.
Original Chinese Sino-Vietnamese English translation


Nam quốc sơn hà nam đế cư
Tiệt nhiên định phận tại thiên thư
Như hà nghịch lỗ lai xâm phạm
Nhữ đẳng hành khan thủ bại hư.
Over Mountains and Rivers of the South, reigns the Emperor of the South

As it stands written forever in the Book of Heaven
How dare those barbarians invade our land?
Your armies, without pity, will be annihilated.

Phạt Tống lộ bố văn

He is also the author of the Phạt Tống lộ bố văn (chữ Hán : 伐宋露布文) another Chinese poem against the Sung Dynasty.[4]


  1. ^ Bruce M. Lockhart, William J. Duiker The A to Z of Vietnam 2010 Page 227 "Lý Thường Kiệt - Born in 1030 to an aristocratic family in the capital of Thăng Long (Hanoi), Lý Thường Kiệt served Emperor Lý Thanh Tong as a military officer and commanded a successful invasion of Champa in 1069 ..."
  2. ^ Patricia M. Pelley Postcolonial Vietnam: New Histories of the National Past 2002 - Page 125 Lý Thường Kiệt
  3. ^ Marie-Carine Lall, Edward Vickers Education As a Political Tool in Asia 2009 - Page 144 "... to the official national autobiography, the legends relating to the origins of the nation are complemented by other legends of heroes in order to constitute the Vietnamese nation's pantheon: Hai Bà Trưng, Lý Thường Kiệt, Trần Hưng Đạo, etc."
  4. ^ Viet Nam social sciences - Issues 4-6 - Page 86 Ủy ban khoa học xã hội Việt Nam - 2002 "... and author of the epic poems Nam Quoc Son Ha and Lo Bo Van warning foreigners against attempting to follow in the "

External links

  • Lý Thường Kiệt với bài thơ "Nam quốc sơn hà" (Vietnamese)
  • viet6.html
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