Wu Zetian was one of the most influential leaders in Chinese history, and the only woman ever to rule as Emperor. Renowned for her wit and intelligence, Wu charmed her way into court life in the 7th Century CE. Emperor Gaozong fell in love with her hard. He left his Empress to marry her, causing quite the scandal. Gaozong noticed Wu's incredible talent for leadership, and left the Empire in her hands after his death. She is now legendary for cutting back the military, replacing government aristocrats with scholars, and elevating the role of women in Chinese society.