Wu Zetian, empress of the Tang Dynasty, was believed to be a cunning and ruthless ruler. But new evidence unearthed by archaeologists has challenged this version of her story.
In China's Valley of the Kings, there stands a tall, carved stone. It honors the resting place of a woman named Wu Zetian, who rose from concubine to become China's only female emperor. For more than a millennia, history claimed she killed her own children, held power through a ruthless rule of terror, and brought China to the edge of ruin. But are any of these claims true? Join the investigation as we revisit old evidence and reveal new truths, using artifacts and forensic tools to tell the true story of China's Emperor of Evil.
Access even more free Smithsonian Channel full episodes and documentaries online through participating TV providers.
Find out if your television provider carries Smithsonian Channel.
Don't panic! It's simple to upgrade to the latest version of one of these browsers:
Don't panic! To get the best possible experience on smithsonianchannel.com we recommend you upgrade your operating system.
For the best possible site experience, please use Chrome for Android.
Add username "SmithsonianChan" on Snapchat for fun and fascinating facts. We'll be sharing spontaneous photos and videos as inspiration strikes.