Lou Rui was a powerful tribesman from the far north, the cousin of four Northern Qi (550–577 CE) emperors. His carved epitaph states that personal connections, financial resources, and success implementing the emperors’ commands garnered him important military, provincial, and court titles. Other historical sources suggest he was neither highly respected nor universally praised—he was said to be greedy, arrogant, and philandering, as well as disdainful of the law. Nevertheless, his imperial connections ensured his rise to high position. Periodically stripped of titles after complaints about his behavior, he was inevitably restored to favor and even greater office. He was honored at his death in 570 as the Grand Minister of War.
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