Zizhi Tongjian: Western Jin (Book 79-93)

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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 5:27 pm


Beginning of the Reign of Suzong, Emperor Ming, Sima Shao


(Emperor Ming's name was Sima Shao, styled Daoji. He was Sima Rui's eldest son. The Laws of Posthumous Names states, "One whose foresight extends to distant things may be called Ming ('the Wise').")


The First Year of Taining (The Guiwei Year, 323 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, the Cheng generals Li Xiang and Ren Hui invaded Jin's region of Taideng in Ningzhou. The Jin general Sima Jiu died in battle, while Jin's Administrator of Yuegui, Li Zhao, and their Administrator of Hanjia, Wang Zai, both surrendered their commandaries to Cheng.


(Taideng County was part of Yuegui commandary. The Important Records of the Nine Provinces states, "There is a Nunuo River in Taideng County which runs between Mount Yingli and the Black River, and the Ruo River flows out of it. This was the same Ruo River where the Yellow Emperor's son Changyi set his residence.”

Hanjia commandary had originally been Former Han's Qingyi County, part of Shu commandary. In Emperor Shun of Later Han's second year of Yangjia (133), he renamed it to Hanjia. Shu-Han split it off as Hanjia commandary.)


2. In the second month, on the day Gengxu (March 25th), Sima Rui was buried at Jianping Tomb.


3. In the third month, on the new moon of the day Wuyin (April 22nd), the Jin reign era title was changed to the first year of Taining.


4. There were fires in the three counties of Rao'an, Dongguang, and Anling. More than seven thousand families were burned, and fifteen thousand people died.


(These three counties were all part of Bohai commandary. Only Dongguang had remained unchanged since the Han dynasty. Rao'an County had originally been Qiantong County during Former Han; Emperor Ling of Later Han changed its name to Rao'an. Anling County had been created by Jin. At this time, all three of the counties were within Later Zhao territory.)


5. Later Zhao attacked Pengcheng and Xiapi. Jin's Inspector of Xuzhou, Bian Dun, and their General Who Conquers The North, Wang Sui, fell back to guard Xuyi. This Bian Dun was a cousin of Bian Kun's father.


6. Wang Dun plotted to usurp the throne, and he mocked any attempt by the court to summon him. Emperor Ming had to write an edict in his own hand summoning him.

In summer, the fourth month, Wang Dun was granted the Golden Battle-axe and an armed honor guard. He was allowed to enter court without having his name called and without hastening his step, and he was allowed to enter the palace still wearing his sword and shoes. Wang Dun shifted his base to Gushu, and camped his soldiers at Yuhu. Emperor Ming appointed Wang Dao as Minister Over The Masses, while Wang Dun appointed himself as acting Governor of Yangzhou.

Wang Dun wanted to seize more power, and so Wang Bin remonstrated very harshly with him. Wang Dun changed color and looked left to right, about to arrest Wang Bin. But Wang Bin sternly declared, "Sir, it was only a few years ago that you killed my elder brother. Now you mean to kill me too?" So Wang Dun did not arrest Wang Bin, but he sent him away to serve as Administrator of Yuzhang.


(Regarding the 班劍 "armed honor guard", Liu Liang's Compiled Literary Notes states, "The 班劍 refers to those who follow behind someone while grasping their swords." Lü Xiang remarked, "The 班 here means 'arrayed', as in, they are warriors who follow in array while grasping their blades, serving as an honor guard." Li Zhouhan remarked, "The 班劍 is a wooden blade without an edge. It is made to look like a sword, but its use is purely ceremonial, which is why it is called 班." According to the Records of Jin, civil and military ministers and nobles were granted twenty members of the Rapid As Tigers Guards, who grasped these blades.

Gushu was the territory of Former Han's Chungu County in Danyang commandary, the same place as Dangtu County in modern Taipingzhou. Three li south of the county seat is the Gushu Creek, which flows west into the Yangzi. Yuhu County was originally administered by Eastern Wu's Agricultural Commandant. In Emperor Wu's (Sima Yan's) second year of Taikang (281), he split the territory off from Danyang County to form Yuhu County. Du You remarked, "The capital city of Dangtu County in Xuanzhou was Jin's city of Gushu. The city of Yushu was south of that county." Zhang Shunmin remarked, "It was astride Gushu Creek in modern Taipingzhou." Lu You remarked, "The city of Gushu was north of Dangtu, and the modern city in that province is right along Gushu Creek. There are several peaks southwest of the creek like dark makeup, like Mount Qing. The creek passes through them for thirty li, until it reaches Daxinkou. Coming out from the mouth of there, it flows into the Yangzi past Greater and Lesser Heshan Promontories, as well as Xiao Promontory."

Yuhu was the same as Wuhu; they were both places on the Yangzi where Wang Dun had a fortress, possessing a magnificent aura. Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Jin, and the False Rulers of Jin chapter of the Book of Northern Wei, both state that Wang Dun now camped his soldiers 'at Wuhu'. But the Annals of Emperor Ming in the Book of Jin states he 'moved down and camped at Yuhu'. I follow that account."

According to the Biography of Wang Bin in the Book of Jin, Wang Bin's elder cousin was Wang Leng, whom Wang Dun had earlier killed. This was why he said such a thing here. But from what I (Hu Sanxing) understand, the one who killed Wang Leng was Wang Ru. Even though Wang Dun had put him up to it, he was still only borrowing Wang Ru's hand. Besides, Wang Leng was Wang Dun's younger cousin. So I think that when Wang Bin refers to his elder brother here, he means when Wang Dun killed Wang Cheng, as mentioned in Book 88, in Emperor Huai's sixth year of Yongjia (312.44).)


7. Shi Le sent envoys to visit Murong Hui, attempting to establish good relations with him. But Murong Hui arrested the envoys and sent them to Jiankang.


8. Li Xiang and the other Cheng generals advanced to attack Ningzhou. Jin's Inspector of Ningzhou, Wang Xun, sent his generals Yao Yue and others to oppose them. The two sides fought at Tanglang, where the Cheng army was greatly defeated. Yao Yue pursued them as far as the Lu River, where the Cheng soldiers fought each other trying to cross over it, and more than a thousand of them drowned.

But because Yao Yue was now far away from his base, he did not dare to cross the river himself in further pursuit, and he returned to Ningzhou. When Wang Xun learned that Yao Yue had not pressed the pursuit, he was greatly angry, and he whipped Yao Yue. Wang Xun became so angry that his head cracked, and he passed away.

Wang Xun had been in command of Ningzhou for fourteen years, and his power and conduct were exceptional. He was posthumously known as Duke Zhuang ("the Valiant") of Baozhong.

The people of Ningzhou acclaimed Wang Xun's son Wang Jian to take over the provincial and staff affairs. Emperor Ming issued an edict confirming Wang Jian as Inspector of Ningzhou.


(According to the Commentary on the Water Classic, Tanglang was in Tanglang County. During Former Han, that county had been part of Jianwei commandary. Later Han abolished it. The Records of Commandaries and Fiefs states, "There is a Mount Tanglang in Zhuti County in the Jianwei Dependent State. This mountain has many poisonous plants which flourish during the summer months. Birds flying into them cannot pass out again." Shu-Han had created Zhuti commandary, with Tanglang County as a part of it.

Wang Xun had first arrived in Ningzhou in Emperor Huai's fourth year of Yongjia (Book 87, 310.32). From then until now it had been fourteen years.

Wang Jian took over the affairs of both the Inspector of Ningzhou and the staff of the Colonel of Southern Yi Tribes.)


9. Tao Kan sent troops to rescue Jiaozhou from Liang Shuo's siege. But before these troops could arrive, Liang Shuo captured Longbian.

Liang Shuo tried to wrest Wang Liang's staff of authority from out of his grasp, but Wang Liang refused to give it up. So Liang Shuo cut his arm off. Wang Liang said, "Even if you kill me, I won't give in to you. What does an arm matter?" He lived on for another ten days before passing away.


10. In the sixth month, on the day Renzi (July 25th), Emperor Ming honored his wife Lady Yu as Empress. He appointed the General Who Leads The Army of the Center, her elder brother Yu Liang, as chief of the Palace Secretariat.


11. During the time that Liang Shuo had occupied Jiaozhou, he had lost the affections of the people through his wicked violence. Tao Kan sent his Army Advisor, Gao Bao, to attack Liang Shuo, and Gao Bao beheaded him. Emperor Ming issued an edict appointing Tao Kan as acting Inspector of Jiaozhou and promoting him as Grand General Who Conquers The South. He was granted the privilege of a Separate Office, with equal ceremonial to the Three Excellencies.

However, before the appointment as Inspector went through, a Gentleman of the Imperial Secretariat, Ruan Fang, asked to be appointed as Inspector of Jiaozhou instead. Emperor Ming agreed to do so. Ruan Fang set out, and when he reached Ningpu, he encountered Gao Bao. Ruan Fang prepared a feast for Gao Bao, but he had soldiers in hiding who killed him. Then Gao Bao's soldiers attacked Ruan Fang, who fled and made his escape. He arrived at his province, but he was only there for a short time before he passed away of illness.


(The Records of Guangzhou states, "In Emperor Xian of Han's twenty-third year of Jian'an (218), Eastern Wu split off part of Yulin commandary and formed Ningpu commandary." The Geographical Records of Jin's Taikang Era states, "In Emperor Wu's (Sima Yan's) seventh year of Taikang (286), he changed the Command Post of the Hepu Dependent State into Ningpu commandary." During Tang, it was Ningpu County in Hengzhou.

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Biography of Ruan Fang in the Book of Jin states, 'Emperor Cheng was still young and tender, and the Yu clan held the reins of power. Ruan Fang asked to be assigned to Jiaozhou.' But after that passage, it then states, 'He encountered Gao Bao, who had just pacified Liang Shuo and was on his way back'. Gao Bao's pacification of Liang Shuo did not take place during Emperor Cheng's reign. The Biography of Ruan Fang is mistaken.")


12. Chen An besieged Zhao's General Who Conquers The West, Liu Gong, at Nan'an. The King of the Xiutu people, Shi Wu, led his own troops from Sangcheng to march to Shanggui to reinforce Liu Gong. They attacked Chen An together and greatly routed him. Chen An gathered up his remaining eight thousand cavalry and fled to guard Longcheng.

In autumn, the seventh month, Liu Yao himself came to besiege Longcheng, while sending another detachment to besiege Shanggui. Chen An frequently came out to fight, but he was always defeated. Zhao's General of the Army of the Right, Liu Gan, attacked Pingxiang and captured it, and all the counties of Longshang surrendered to Zhao.

Chen An left his generals Yang Bozhi and Jiang Chong’er to hold Longcheng while he led some elite cavalry to break out of the siege and flee to Xiazhong. Liu Yao sent his generals Ping Xian and others to pursue him. Chen An wielded a great blade seven 尺 long in his left hand, and in his right hand he held a serpent spear one zhang and eight 尺 long. Whenever someone came close, he would lash out with both the blade and the spear, and would thus kill five or six people. If people remained far away, Chen An would quickly shoot arrows in either direction and then ride off. But Ping Xian was no less bold, and he was so nimble he moved as though flying. He dueled Chen An; they fought three bouts, and then Ping Xian was able to wrest away Chen An’s serpent spear. But it was dusk just then, and there was a heavy downpour. Chen An abandoned his horse and hid among the hills with his followers. The Zhao soldiers searched for him, but they did not know where he was.

The next day, Chen An sent his general Shi Rong to observe the Zhao soldiers. But soldiers under the command of Zhao's General Who Supports Might, Huyan Qing, captured Shi Rong. They tortured him to make him tell them where Chen An was, but Shi Rong refused to say anything, so they killed him. After the rain let up, Huyan Qing's soldiers followed Shi Rong's traces back the other way, and they captured Chen An at the bend of a river gully, where they beheaded him.

Chen An had been charismatic among his generals and soldiers, and he had shared the same bitter struggles with them. So the people of Longshang missed him, and they composed the Ode to a Stalwart Warrior in his memory.

Yang Bozhi beheaded Jiang Chong’er and surrendered Longcheng to Zhao, and another of Chen An's generals, Song Ting, beheaded Zhao Mu and surrendered Shanggui. Liu Yao relocated more than two thousand households of the great Yang and Jiang clans of Qinzhou back to Chang'an.

The various Di and Qiang tribes all sent hostages and asked to surrender to Zhao as well. Liu Yao appointed the leader of the Qiang of Chiting, Yao Yizhong, as General Who Pacifies The West and Duke of Pingxiang.


(During Han, Pingxiang County was part of Tianshui commandary. During Jin, it was part of Lueyang commandary.

Xiazhong was south of Longcheng. The first character, 陜, is pronounced "xia" or "hia (h-ia)".

Three bouts means that they fought three times.

This was the Ode to a Stalwart Warrior:

Chen An had a hero's soul
A Longshang man, so brave and bold.
Although a slender fellow he
How greatly did his stomach feed!
He loved the men of his command
And kept them safe within his hands.
A feisty piebald he did ride
An iron saddle sat astride.
So swift he waved his fearsome blade
A deadly price it made men pay.
And as his spear swung to and fro
He plunged it into every foe.
Ten duels he'd fight of ten bouts each
With vict'ry never out of reach.
But barely now had swords been crossed
Alas! this time that spear was lost.
He left his horse among the strife
And sought some place to save his life.
But t'was not life, but death he found
And now his head hangs in the town.
Eternal does that river flow
From west to east it always goes.
You cannot turn it back again
Much less change the fate of men!)


13. Emperor Ming was afraid of the danger that Wang Dun continued to pose, and he wanted to use Chi Jian as his agent on the outside against Wang Dun. So he appointed Chi Jian as Inspector of Yanzhou and Commander of military affairs north of the Yangzi, to be stationed at Hefei. But Wang Dun was suspicious of this move, and he sent up a petition asking that Chi Jian be appointed as Prefect of the Masters of Writing instead. In the eighth month, Emperor Ming issued an edict summoning Chi Jian back to Jiankang.

On his way back, Chi Jian passed through Wang Dun's base at Gushu, and he stopped in to talk. The two of them were discussing the luminaries of the original western court (at Luoyang). Wang Dun said, "Yue Yanfu (Yue Guang) was really nothing but a man of meager talents. Just consider him, and tell me how he could have been better than Man Wuqiu (Man Fen)!"

Chi Jian replied, "I admit that Yanfu struck a rather dull note. However, when Crown Prince Minhuai (Sima Yu) was being deposed, it was Yanfu who, gentle though he was, could still act properly. Wuqiu, on the other hand, was a man who yielded the proper authority. How could you compare them?"

Wang Dun said, "You have to consider the circumstances. That was when Wuqiu was under severe duress."

Chi Jian replied, "A real man will remain true to himself even in the face of life and death."

Wang Dun resented Chi Jian for this implied criticism, and he would not see him again. He kept Chi Jian at Gushu for some time and would not send him on to Jiankang. Wang Dun's partisans all urged him to kill Chi Jian, but he did not listen to them.

Chi Jian eventually reached Jiankang, where he began plotting with Emperor Ming how they might campaign against Wang Dun.


(During this time, the people of the Southland called the original Jin court at Luoyang the "western court".

Yue Guang's style name was Yanfu; Man Fen's style name was Wuqiu.

The two incidents which Chi Jian holds against Man Fen were when he arrested the ministers and servants of the Eastern Palace who had been talking with Sima Yu, and when he presented Emperor Hui's seals to Sima Lun when Sima Lun usurped the throne. These things are mentioned in Books 83 and 84, in Emperor Hui's first year of Yongkang (300.3) and first year of Yongning (301.2).)


14. Shi Hu led forty thousand horse and foot to attack the warlord Cao Yi, whom Jin had appointed as General Who Maintains The East. Many of the counties and commandaries of Qingzhou surrendered to Shi Hu. He then besieged Cao Yi at his base at Guanggu. Cao Yi came out to surrender, and Shi Hu sent him on to Xiangguo, where Cao Yi was killed.

Shi Hu also buried alive thirty thousand people from Cao Yi's forces. He had intended to kill all of Cao Yi's people, but Later Zhao's Inspector of Qingzhou, Liu Zheng, told him, "I was sent here in order to tend to the people. If there are no people, I'll have no choice but to go back!" So Shi Hu assigned seven hundred men and women to Liu Zheng and had him guard Guanggu.


(The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The city of Guanggu was forty li northwest of Guang County in Han's Qi commandary. The area was cut off on every side by ravines, which served as deep moats, which was why Cao Yi built the city there." The Records on the Nine Regions states, "The city of Guanggu was the old city of Le'an." I (Hu Sanxing) note that there is a city of Guanggu forty li west of Yidu County in modern Qingzhou, about which Du You remarked, "The place has great ravines which are very wide, thus it is called Guanggu ('Wide and Stout').")


15. Liu Yao marched west from Longshang, leading his forces to attack Liangzhou. He sent his general Liu Xian to attack the Liangzhou general Han Pu at Jicheng and sent Huyan Yan to attack Liangzhou's Protector-General Who Tranquilizies The Qiang, Yin Jian, at Sangbi, while Liu Yao himself led two hundred and eighty thousand soldiers to Heshang.

Liu Yao's camps stretched for more than a hundred li, and the sound of his army's golden drums shook the earth and churned the Yellow River. Zhang Mao's garrisons along the Yellow River, seeing which way the wind was blowing, scattered and fled. Liu Yao spread word that he was intending to lead his army across the Yellow River into Liangzhou along a hundred different roads, making straight for Liangzhou's capital at Guzang. The whole province was greatly shaken.

Zhang Mao's Army Advisor, Ma Ji, urged him to go and oppose the Zhao army in person. This angered Zhang Mao's Chief Clerk, Fan Yi, who asked that Ma Ji be beheaded. But Ma Ji said, "Lord Fan is just a 'scholar of the dregs'. He has a little talent when it comes to accusing others of their faults, but he does not consider the greater plan for the state. Your Grace, you and your father have long wished to execute Liu Yao on behalf of the Jin court. Now Liu Yao himself has come to you, and the eyes of everyone near and far are upon you, watching to see what you shall do. You should use bold people you can trust in order to fulfill the hopes of those in Qinzhou and Longxi. Although your strength is not equal to Liu Yao's, your power is such that you cannot refuse to face him."

Zhang Mao replied, "Excellent!" And he went out to camp his army at Shitou.

Then Zhang Mao said to another Army Advisor, Chen Zhen, "Liu Yao has summoned the forces of all the Three Qins region, and he has come here having just won a victory. What should we do?"

Chen Zhen replied, "Although Liu Yao has a great army, few of them are actually skilled soldiers. He has swelled his numbers by forcing a great many of the Di and Qiang peoples to join him like a flock of crows, but he has not yet had a chance to really win them over through displays of his grace and trust. Furthermore, he still has enemies east of the mountains (that is, east of Luoyang) to worry about. When he has such threats to his very heart and stomach, how can he remain here in stalemate for days on end and contend with us for mastery of the Hexi region? If he does not retreat within twenty days, then please give me a few thousand weak soldiers, and I shall capture him for you."

Zhang Mao was pleased, and he sent Chen Zhen to lead troops to reinforce Han Pu.

The Zhao generals were all spoiling for a fight and wanted to cross the Yellow River. But Liu Yao said, "Although our army's power has grown, two-thirds of our numbers are just people who came to us because they feared our might. Furthermore, our soldiers are fatigued, and it would be difficult to really put them to use. What we will do for now is merely put on our armor and make a sudden advance, so that we can unnerve them by the sound of our martial activities. If Zhang Mao has not sent us a petition asking to submit by the middle of this month, then I shall do as all of you advise."

Zhang Mao soon sent envoys offering his vassalage to Zhao, as well as uncountable numbers of horses, oxen, sheep, and treasures to present as tribute. Liu Yao appointed Zhang Mao as Palace Attendant, Commander of military affairs in Liangzhou, Northern and Southern Qinzhou, Lianzhou, Yizhou, Bazhou, Hanzhou, Longyou, the Western Reaches, and over the Xiongnu and other various tribal peoples, as well as Grand Tutor, Governor of Liangzhou, and Prince of Liang. He also granted Zhang Mao the Nine Bestowments.


(Sangbi was within Nan'an commandary.

The Zhuangxi states, "Duke Huan, seated above in his hall, was reading a book, and the wheelwright Bian was making a wheel below it. Bian asked the Duke, 'I venture to ask Your Grace what words you are reading?' The duke said, 'The words of the sages.' 'Are those sages alive?' Bian continued. 'They are dead,' was the reply. 'Then,' said the other, 'what you, my Ruler, are reading are only the dregs and sediments of those old men. Such ancients, and what it was not possible for them to convey, are all dead.' (13.9)" Li remarked, "The term 糟 'dregs' means the remains of wine."

Ma Ji calls Fan Yi a 刺舉. A 刺er is one who can wound people through blunt remarks; a 舉er is one who brings up people's transgressions.

This Shitou was east of the city of Guzang.

When Zhang Mao says that Liu Yao "has come here having just won a victory", he means how Liu Yao had just defeated Chen An and was now riding the momentum of that victory to attack Liangzhou.

By "enemies east of the mountains", Chen Zhen meant Liu Yao's mutual antagonism with Shi Le.

The situation of Liu Yao's army was just as Chen Zhen had analyzed.)

Bazhou and Hanzhou do not seem to have been existing provinces either. Presumably they covered parts of Sichuan.


16. When Yang Nandi heard that Chen An was dead, he was very afraid. He and his younger brother Yang Jiantou fled south to Hanzhong. Zhao's General Who Guards The West, Liu Hou, pursued and attacked them, capturing a great many people before returning. Liu Yao appointed his Grand Herald, Tian Song, as Grand General Who Guards The South and Inspector of Yizhou, and stationed him at Chouchi.

Yang Nandi sent hostages to Cheng, asking to surrender to them. Cheng's General Who Maintains The North, Li Zhi, accepted bribes from Yang Nandi and so did not send him on to Chengdu. After the Zhao soldiers withdrew, Li Zhi sent Yang Nandi back to Wudu. Yang Nandi occupied it and then refused to obey Cheng any longer.

Li Zhi, blaming himself for having miscalculated, repeatedly asked to lead a campaign against Yang Nandi. The Emperor of Cheng, Li Xiong, sent the Palace Attendant and General Who Leads The Army of the Center, Li Zhi's elder brother Li Han, to join him in marching out to Baishui. He also sent the General Who Conquers The East, Li Shou, and Li Han's younger brother Li Wu to march to Yinping. These two prongs would attack Yang Nandi. Li Xiong's ministers remonstrated with him, but he did not listen to them.

Yang Nandi sent soldiers to block Li Shou's and Li Wu's advance, so they could go no further. Meanwhile, Li Han and Li Zhi rushed ahead until they reached Xiabian. Then Yang Nandi sent soldiers to cut off their retreat, and he attacked them from all sides. Li Han and Li Zhi, deep in enemy territory and with no way out, were both killed by Yang Nandi, and several thousand Cheng soldiers died.

Li Han had been Li Dang's eldest son, and he had had such talent and influence that Li Xiong had wanted to make him his heir. When Li Xiong heard that Li Han had died, he went several days without eating.


(The term 亟請 means to repeatedly ask for something.)


17. Originally, Liu Yao had an eldest son named Liu Jian and a second son named Liu Yin. By the time Liu Yin was nine years old, he was already seven 尺 and five 寸 tall. The Emperor of Han at that time, Liu Cong, had said to Liu Yao, "This boy has a remarkable aura to him; there's no comparison between him and Yizhen (Liu Jian). You should make this one your heir."

Liu Yao had replied, "The heir of a border commander need only be good enough to protect the sacrifices. I would not dare to confuse the order of seniority among sons."

Liu Cong had said, "When it comes to your accomplishments, your virtues, and the position you hold as a conquering general, no other minister can compare with you. I shall make a new fief and give that one to Yizhen."

And Liu Cong had appointed Liu Jian as Prince of Linhai, while naming Liu Yin as Liu Yao's heir. When Liu Yin was grown up, he was very strong and was skilled with the bow, and he was valiant and as nimble as the wind.

During Jin Zhun's rebellion and slaughter of the Liu clan, Liu Yin had hid among the tribe of Heini Yuju. Now, after Chen An was defeated, Liu Yin told Heini Yuju who he really was. Greatly astonished, Heini Yuju treated Liu Yin with all due ceremony and sent him back to his father.

Liu Yao felt bittersweet happiness at the return of his son. He said to his ministers, "Although Yiguang (another son, Liu Xi) is already the Crown Prince, he is still young and tender, and he has a bookish and cautious nature. I fear he would not be able to endure the many troubles we face today. And after all, Yisun (Liu Yin) was originally my heir. His talents and abilities are more than human, and has he not already experienced so many travails himself? So I wish to follow the precedents of King Wen of Zhou and Emperor Guangwu of Han. By doing so, I shall both protect the fortunes of state and give peace to Yiguang. What do you say?"

The Grand Tutor, Huyan Yan, and the others ministers all said, "Your Majesty is always making plans for the benefit of the state, and how can we ministers gainsay you? This is truly a moment for celebration for the imperial family and all within the Four Seas."

But then the Household Counselor With Golden Tassel of the Left, Bo Tai, and the Grand Guardian to the Crown Prince, Han Guang, stepped forward and said, "Your Majesty, it is your prerogative to depose or set up whomever you wish. But rather than act at once, you have consulted your ministers about it. If you are uncertain as to whether to carry out your intentions, then may it please you to hear divergent opinions expressed.

"In our humble view, to depose the Crown Prince would be improper. In ancient times, when King Wen of Zhou arranged his succession, that was before he himself had been established, and so it was permissible. As for Emperor Guangwu, he only deposed his Crown Prince because the Crown Prince's mother had lost his favor; how could such a thing as that serve as a precedent for a sage court? If the Prince of Donghai had indeed succeeded to the throne, we cannot be sure that he would have been any worse than Emperor Ming.

"Now Liu Yin is indeed talented and cunning at both civil and military affairs, and he truly does surpass many others of our time. However, the Crown Prince is filial, friendly, benevolent, and kind, and he would also be able to serve as a worthy lord for a peaceful world. Furthermore, it is not just the residents of the Eastern Palace who have become attached to the Crown Prince; even the common people and the spirits are with him. How could you so lightly set him aside? Your Majesty, if you truly wish to do this, we shall have to oppose you to the death. We dare not uphold such an edict."

Liu Yao fell silent in response. Then Liu Yin himself stepped forward and said, "Fathers must show equal love to all their sons. Your Majesty, if you were to depose Liu Xi and set me in his place, how could I dare to feel at ease with that? If you truly believe that I am suited to carry out the long-term plans of the state, then could I not equally serve as an assistant to Liu Xi and help him to achieve the sage design? If you are determined that I should replace Liu Xi, then allow me to give up my life this very moment, for I dare not heed such an order." And he was driven to sobbing and weeping.

Now despite his proposal, Liu Yao could not really bear to depose Liu Xi, because he was the son of the late Empress Yang Xianrong. So he decided not to replace Liu Xi. He posthumously named his former wife and Liu Yin's mother, Lady Bo, as Empress Yuandao ("the Foremost and Grieved"). This Bo Tai was Lady Bo's brother and Liu Yin's uncle. Liu Yao praised him for his just and loyal service, and he appointed him as Upper Household Counselor With Golden Tassel with equal ceremonial to the Three Excellencies and as acting Grand Tutor to the Crown Prince. He appointed Liu Yin as Prince of Yong'an, Palace Attendant, Grand Guard General, Commander of the guards of the Two Palaces, and chief of affairs of the Masters of Writing, and granted him the privilege of a Separate Office with equal ceremonial to the Three Excellencies. Liu Yao ordered Liu Xi to conduct himself before Liu Yin in all cases by the ceremonies proper between an elder and younger brother.


(Liu Jian's style name was Yizhen.

Liu Cong was saying that Liu Yao, although a border commander, had achieved many conquests during his time.

Jin Zhun's rebellion against Liu Can and his slaughter of most of the Liu family is mentioned in Book 90, in the first year of Taixing (318.30).

Since Heini Yuju had returned Liu Yin, Liu Yao commended his loyalty and sincerity and appointed him as Worthy Prince of the Left. So Heini Yuju must have been from another branch of the Xiongnu.

Liu Yao's Crown Prince, Liu Xi, was styled Yiguang; Liu Yin's style name was Yisun.

King Wen of Zhou had set aside his eldest son Bo Yikao in favor of his second son, the later King Wu. Emperor Guangwu of Han had set aside his eldest son Liu Jiang in favor of the later Emperor Ming.

The "two palaces" were Liu Yao's palace and Liu Xi's palace.

Liu Xi was not to show a lack of proper respect as a younger brother to an elder brother just because he was the heir.)


18. Zhang Mao greatly fortified Guzang, and he finished the construction of the Lingjun Terrace. His Attendant Officer With Separate Carriage, Wu Shao, remonstrated with him, saying, "Your Grace, when you were repairing the walls and building terraces just now, that was just because of the approaching threat from Liu Yao. Foolish as I am, still I do not believe that your grace has spread all through the hearts of the people. Even if you lived in such a tall terrace, it would not do you any good; all it would do is alienate you from the loyalty and trust of your ministers and subordinates, and lose you the hopes of the gentry and common people who have placed their trust in you. You would show yourself to be weak and cowardly, and that would invite your neighboring enemies to plot against you. Then how could you assist the Son of Heaven or serve as a hegemon over the feudal lords? I pray you will fully cease these projects and give rest to such expenditures of funds and labor."

Zhang Mao replied, "When my late elder brother lost his life in a single day, was it because he lacked loyal ministers and righteous men who would serve him with all they had? When disaster creeps up upon you, even intelligence and bravery cannot turn it away. And are there not ancient principles which state, 'the kings and nobles establish defenses', and 'a brave man keeps the leaves of his door shut'? The state is not yet tranquil, and a man living in a difficult age cannot be reproached with a reasoning more suited to an age of peace."

And this was how Zhang Mao remained, to the end of his life.


(Zhang Mao had begun construction of the Lingjun Terrace in Emperor Yuan's fourth year of Taixing (Book 91, 321.2). But because of Yan Zeng's remonstration, he had halted the construction. He now completed it.

Wu Shao was referring to when Liu Yao had come to attack Liangzhou.

Zhang Mao's elder brother Zhang Shi had been assassinated by his subordinates, as mentioned in Book 91, in the second year of Taixing (320.11).

The Book of Changes states, "The kings and nobles establish defenses, to maintain their territories (29.1).”

The Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals states, "A brave man keeps the leaves of his door shut;—how much more should a State do so! (Cheng 8.7)")


19. Wang Dun had a cousin's son, Wang Yunzhi, who wore his hair in twin tufts. Wang Dun treasured Wang Yunzhi because of his intelligence and perception, and he often had Wang Yunzhi follow him around. Wang Dun often drank during the night, and when Wang Yunzhi was with him, Wang Yunzhi would get drunk and be the first one to lie down.

On one such night, Wang Dun was making treasonous plans together with his subordinate Qian Feng, and Wang Yunzhi heard everything they were saying. But just then, he was lying in a pool of his own vomit, and both his clothes and his face were filthy. When Qian Feng left, Wang Dun looked around, and seeing Wang Yunzhi lying in a pool of vomit, he did not suspect anything from him.

Soon, Wang Yunzhi's father Wang Shu was appointed as Commandant of Justice, so Wang Yunzhi asked Wang Dun to let him return to help his father. Upon arriving at court, Wang Yunzhi informed his father of all the plotting that Wang Dun and Qian Feng were up to. Wang Shu and Wang Dao then reported to Emperor Ming, and they made secret preparations on his behalf.


(Mao Chang remarked, "The term 總角 means to gather the hair in two parts.")

王右軍年裁十歲時,大將軍甚愛之,恆置帳中眠。大將軍嘗先出,右軍猶未起;須臾,錢鳳入,屏人論事,都忘右軍在帳中,便言逆節之謀。右軍覺,既聞所論,知無活理,乃剔吐汙頭面被褥,詐熟眠。敦論事造半,方意右軍未起,相與大驚曰:「不得不除之!」及開帳,乃見吐唾從橫,信其實熟眠,於是得全。于時稱其有智。(New Tales 27.7)

When Wang Xizhi was under ten years old, his uncle, the Grand General Wang Dun, was extremely fond of him, and frequently had him sleep within his own bed curtains.

One morning (in 322?), Wang Dun had gotten out of bed first, before Wang Xizhi had gotten up. A short while later, Qian Feng entered the room and the two men started to discuss business. Forgetting all about the fact that Wang Xizhi was still inside the bed curtains, Wang Dun proceeded to talk about his plot to rebel.

Wang Xizhi woke up, and after he heard what they were discussing, he realized there was no prospect of escaping alive.
Accordingly, he gagged and vomited, soiling his face and bedclothes, then feigned a deep sleep.

Wang Dun was already halfway through discussing his business before he remembered that Wang Xizhi had not yet gotten up.
Then with a shock of alarm he cried, "There's no help for it but to put him out of the way!" But when he opened the curtains and saw the vomit spread in all directions, he believed that Wang Xizhi really was in a deep sleep, and thereby the boy's life was preserved. At the time, people praised Wang Xizhi for his sagacity. (tr. Richard Mather)


20. Wang Dun wanted to strengthen the power of his clan while isolating the power of the imperial clan. In winter, the eleventh month, he reassigned Wang Han as General Who Conquers The East and Commander of military affairs in Yangzhou west of the Yangzi. He also appointed Wang Shu as Inspector of Jingzhou and Chief of military affairs in Jingzhou south of the Mian River, and he appointed Wang Bin as Inspector of Jiangzhou.


21. Shi Le appointed his Army Advisor, Fan Tan, as Interior Minister of Zhangwu.

When Shi Le saw that Fan Tan's clothes and hat were shabby and damaged, he asked him about it. Fan Tan rashly responded, "I was just plundered by the Jie bandits, who stole everything I own."

Shi Le laughed and said, "Those Jie bandits have really done you wrong! I shall have to make it up to you."

Fan Tan was greatly afraid, and he kowtowed as he wept and begged forgiveness. But Shi Le gave him a carriage with horses, new robes and clothes, and three million cash before sending him on his way.


(During Han, Zhangwu County was part of Bohai commandary. In Emperor Wu's (Sima Yan's) first year of Taishi (265), he split it off as the Zhangwu princely fief. Sui abolished Zhangwu as a fief and folded it into Hejian commandary. During Tang, it was Yingzhou.)


22. During this year, the Si-Sou people of Yuegui commandary attacked the Cheng general Ren Hui. Li Xiong sent his General Who Conquers The South, Fei Hei, to campaign against them.


(The Accounts of the Southwestern Tribes in the Book of Han states, "The Si people live to the northeast of Gui. They have dozens of chiefs and leaders, with the greatest being the Xi/Si and Zuo." Yan Shigu remarked, "The Xi/Si and Zuo were both states." 巂 is pronounced "sui". 徙 is pronounced "si". This Si people were a branch of the Si people known during Han; the people of Shu called them the Sou.)


23. Jin's Interior Minister of Kuaiji, Zhou Zha, was a member of a family which boasted five marquises. His clan was powerful and abundant, and there were no others among the gentry families of the Wu region which could compare with them. So Wang Dun was wary of the Zhou clan.

At this time, Wang Dun became ill. Qian Feng urged him to do away with the Zhou clan at once, and Wang Dun was inclined to agree.

Since Zhou Yi had died, his younger brother Zhou Song often felt agitated. Wang Dun had no son, so he adopted Wang Han's son Wang Ying as his heir. This Zhou Song had once accused Wang Ying of being unfit to command soldiers in the midst of the army, and Wang Dun hated him for that. Zhou Song and Zhou Zha's nephew Zhou Yan were both serving under Wang Dun as Attendant Officers of the Household Gentlemen.

At this time, there was a Daoist named Li Tuo who used magic to beguile the people, and many gentry and common people were inclined to believe in him.


(Zhou Zha was himself the Marquis of Dongqian County. His elder brother Zhou Jing had a son, Zhou Mao, who was Marquis of Qingliu Village. Zhou Mao's younger brother Zhou Zan was Marquis of Wukang County. Zhou Zan's younger brother Zhou Jin was Marquis of Du Precinct. And another of Zhou Zha's elder brothers, Zhou Qi, had a son, Zhou Xie, who was Marquis of Wucheng County. This made five marquises.

Zhou Yi's execution by Wang Dun is mentioned above, in the first year of Yongchang (322.30).)
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue May 22, 2018 1:38 am


The Second Year of Taining (The Jiashen Year, 324 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, Wang Dun slandered Zhou Song, Zhou Yan, and Li Tu as plotting against proper authority. He arrested Zhou Song and Zhou Yan and killed them in the midst of the army.

Wang Dun sent one of his Army Advisors, He Luan, to go to Shen Chong in the Wu princely fief, who killed all of Zhou Zha's nephews there. Shen Chong’s soldiers then advanced to attack Kuaiji commandary. Zhou Zha opposed them, but died in battle.


2. Later Zhao's Commandant of Soldiers, Shi Zhan, invaded Xiapi and Pengcheng commandaries and captured Dongguan and Donghai commandaries. The Jin general Liu Xia fell back to guard Sikou.


(During Han, Dongguan County was part of Langye commandary. In Emperor Wu's (Sima Yan's) first year of Taishi (265), he split it off from Langye to form Dongguan commandary.

The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Si River flows east from the city of Huaiyang, passing north of Juecheng, and then southeast until it merges with the Huai River. That place is called Sikou ('mouth of the Si')." Du You remarked, "Sikou was within Suqian County in modern Linhuai commandary.")


3. Later Zhao's Inspector of Sizhou, Shi Sheng, attacked Zhao's Administrator of Henan, Yin Ping, at Xin'an. Shi Sheng beheaded Yin Ping and captured more than five thousand households before returning.

Thus began a general war between the two Zhao states. From this time on, there were daily incidents of fighting and plunder, and the people living in the region around Hedong and Hongnong commandaries never knew a moment's peace.


(During Han, Xin'an County was part of Hongnong commandary. During Jin, it was part of Henan commandary.

Hedong and Hongnong commandaries were the border between the two Zhao states.)


4. Shi Sheng invaded the regions of Xuchang and Yingchuan, capturing around ten thousand people. He attacked the Jin general Guo Song at Yangdi, but Guo Song inflicted a great rout on him, and Shi Sheng retreated to guard Kangcheng.

When Later Zhao's Interior Minister of Ji commandary, Shi Cong, heard that Shi Sheng had been defeated, he rushed to rescue him. He advanced and attacked Jin's Inspector of Sizhou, Li Ju, and their Administrator of Yingchuan, Guo Mo, and routed both of them.


(This passage refers to "the regions of Xu and Ying"; it means Xuchang and Yingchuan, which were both part of the same commandary.

According to Wei Shou's Geographical Records, there was a city of Kangcheng in Yangdi County.)


5. The Emperor of Cheng, Li Xiong, had no sons by his Empress, Lady Ren. He did have sons by his concubines, more than ten in all. But rather than select one of these sons to be his heir, Li Xiong instead chose to make Li Ban, the son of his late elder brother Li Dang, the Crown Prince. He had Lady Ren act as a mother to the boy.

Li Xiong's ministers asked him to make one of his own sons the Crown Prince instead. But Li Xiong told them, "My elder brother was His Late Majesty's (Li Te's) primary heir. How remarkable were his talents; how great were his accomplishments! I have often regretted the fact that, just as we were on the cusp of victory, he lost his life too soon. Besides, the boy Li Ban is benevolent, filial, and fond of study. He shall certainly be able to continue our great endeavor."

The Grand Tutor, Li Xiang, and the Minister Over The Masses, Wang Da, remonstrated with him, saying, "The rulers of old always made sure to appoint their sons as their heirs, in order to make clear the line of succession and protect against usurpation. The examples of Duke Xuan of Song and Yuji of Wu should be sufficient proof for why you should not do otherwise!"

But Li Xiong did not listen to them. When Li Xiang withdrew, he wept and said, "This shall bring about turmoil!"

Li Ban was modest and courteous to his subordinates, and conducted himself according to proper ceremony. Whenever Li Xiong held a great council, he always had Li Ban attend as well.


(Li Dang had died in battle shortly before Li Xiong led the rebel forces to capture Chengdu and establish Cheng as a state. This is mentioned in Book 85, in Emperor Hui's second year of Tai'an (303.3).

Li Xiang and Wang Da quote from the Book of Han: "It is a principle of long provenance that the one selected as heir must be one's son."

Regarding Duke Xuan of the ancient state of Song, the Gongyang Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals states, "Duke Xuan of Song said to Duke Mu, 'My regard for my son Yuyi is not so great as my regard for you, and when it comes to the one who can safeguard the fortunes of our state, Yuyi does not compare with you. You must be the one to become lord.' But after Duke Xuan died, when Duke Mu succeeded him, he drove out his own two sons, Duke Zhuang (Feng) and the Instructor of the Left (Bo), and restored the state back to Yuyi. This is why the ruler's son must inherit his seat; Song's misfortunes stemmed from Duke Xuan's decision here."

Regarding Yuji of Wu, the Gongyang Commentary states, "The Earl of Wu, Ye, had three brothers by the same mother: Yuji, Yimo, and Jizi. Jizi was young, but he was talented, and his brothers all treasured him and wished to make him the ruler. Ye said, 'Even if I were to constrain myself and share the state with Jizi, he would still not accept it. So rather than pass the state from father to son, let us pass it from elder brother to younger brother, until it is Jizi's time.' They followed this arrangement, and so when Yimo passed away, Jizi was slated to be the next ruler. However, he shirked such responsibility. There was a certain Liao, the eldest son of their father Shoumeng by a concubine, whom Yizi made the new Earl in his place. But Yimo had a son, Helü, who thought to himself, 'It was His Late Majesty's will that the succession should pass from elder brother to younger brother rather than from father to son. If we are going to follow his will, then Jizi must be the new ruler. But if we are not going to follow it, then I ought to be the new ruler. By what right does Liao claim the throne?' And so he sent Zhuan Zhu to kill Liao." Zhang Shoujie remarked, "The second character in Yuji, 祭, is pronounced 'cie (c-ie)'. And the second character in Yimo, 昩, is pronounced 'me (m-e)'."

This was why Li Xiong's sons later killed Li Ban.)


6. In summer, the fifth month, on the day Jiashen (June 21st), the Inspector of Liangzhou, Zhang Mao, became deathly ill. He took the hand of his nephew Zhang Jun and wept as he told him, "Our family has been esteemed for several generations now because of our filial, friendly, and loyal service to the dynasty. Though the realm is now wracked by great turmoil, the time has now come for you to inherit this role in my place. Do not lose what we have built here."

And he ordered his officials, "The offices which I now hold were not ones that I was appointed to by the imperial court, and what trivial things have I accomplished that I dare have anyone honor me for them? When I die, just wrap me in a white shroud and lay me in my coffin, and do not bury me as a court minister."

The same day, he passed away.

It was earlier mentioned that Emperor Min had sent the official Shi Shu to Guzang to pass on his will to Zhang Shi. Shi Shu was still there, and so Liangzhou's Chief Clerks of the Left and Right, Fan Yi and Ma Mo, and others had Shi Shu grant Zhang Jun the titles of Grand General, Governor of Liangzhou, and Duke of Xiping, and to declare a general amnesty within his domain.

Since Zhang Mao had been a nominal vassal of Zhao, Liu Yao sent envoys to posthumously appoint him as Grand Governor and give him the posthumous title Prince Chenglie ("the Accomplished and Fierce"), and to appoint Zhang Jun as Supreme Grand General, Governor of Liangzhou, and Prince of Liang under Zhao authority.


(Since Chang'an had fallen after Shi Shu left, he had nowhere to return to, and so he remained in Guzang.

Fan Yi's given name 禕 is pronounced "xei (x-ei)".)


7. Wang Dun's illness became critical. He forged an imperial decree appointing his adopted heir Wang Ying as Valiant Guard General to serve as his adjutant, and appointing his elder brother Wang Han as Grand General of Agile Cavalry with the privilege of a Seperate Office with equal ceremonial to the Three Excellencies.

Wang Dun's advisor Qian Feng asked him, "If anything should happen to you, should we entrust affairs to Wang Ying?"

Wang Dun replied, "Extraordinary times call for extraordinary men, no less. Besides, Wang Ying is still young. How could he handle such great affairs? After I die, the best thing that all of you could do would be to disband your forces and send your soldiers away, then present yourselves to the court in order to secure your families and households. If you don't want to do that, then you should fall back to Wuchang and concentrate your soldiers there to maintain its defenses, while still sending tribute to the court. The least thing that I would suggest would be for you to have your whole army set out while I am still alive and risk everything on a decisive battle."

But Qian Feng said to the other officers, "This last plan is what our lord calls the worst one, but I see it as the best one." So he made arrangements with Shen Chong for their plot: they would wait until after Wang Dun had died, and then start a rebellion. In the meantime, since their household guards and retainers were so numerous, they sent two-thirds of them home on leave.


(Sima Xiangru's Refuting The Elders of Shu states, "When the age has extraordinary men, there shall be extraordinary times for them."

Evil as Wang Dun himself was, he was surpassed in villainy by Shen Chong and Qian Feng. Thus it is said, "Virtue and wickedness flock together.")


8. Up until this time, Emperor Ming had been close to the Prefect of the Palace Secretariat, Wen Jiao. Wang Dun was wary of Wen Jiao, so he asked that Wen Jiao be transferred to his own command to serve as his Marshal of the Left.

When Wen Jiao arrived to take up this role, he pretended to diligent and respectful, and so involved himself in Wang Dun's staff affairs, humoring his plans in order to win himself over to Wang Dun. He also formed a close connection to Qian Feng and was always extolling his reputation, saying, "Qian Shiyi is full of divine insight." Wen Jiao had long been known as a man of excellent discernment of men's character, and so Qian Feng was greatly pleased to be so well spoken of, and he became good friends with Wen Jiao.

Soon, the post of Intendant of Danyang became vacant. Wen Jiao said to Wang Dun, "The Intendancy of the Capital is a critical post. You should make your own appointment of some talented man to fill it. If you let the court make the appointment, it might be someone whom you cannot control."

Wang Dun agreed, so he asked Wen Jiao, "Whom can I appoint?"

Wen Jiao replied, "In my humble view, there is no better choice than Qian Feng."

Qian Feng then urged Wen Jiao to be the appointee instead, and Wen Jiao pretended to decline. But Wang Dun would not hear of it, and in the sixth month, he petitioned to have Wen Jiao appointed as the new Intendant of Danyang, so that he could keep an eye on the court on Wang Dun's behalf.

However, Wen Jiao was worried that after he had left, Qian Feng might try to put a stop to the appointment anyway. So during the farewell banquet that Wang Dun organized for him, Wen Jiao got up to bring the wine around. When he came to Qian Feng, Qian Feng had not finished his drink yet. Wen Jiao, pretending to be drunk, hit Qian Feng's headdress with his hand board, sternly telling him, "Qian Feng, who are you that you dare not to drink when I, Wen Taizhen, am bringing the wine around?" Wang Dun believed that Wen Jiao was drunk, and he broke up the altercation.

When Wen Jiao was about to depart, he was very tearfully disheveled as he was taking his leave of Wang Dun, and he kept leaving the pavilion only to walk back in again. After he finally left for good, Qian Feng said to Wang Dun, "Wen Jiao is very close to the court, and he has a deep relationship with Yu Liang as well. We cannot trust him yet."

But Wang Dun replied, "Taizhen may have been drunk last night and gotten in a little scuffle with you, but is that any reason for you to slander him now?"

Once Wen Jiao arrived at Jiankang, he revealed all of Wang Dun's treasonous plans to Emperor Ming, and asked him to make preparations against the rebellion. He also plotted with Yu Liang to organize their own campaign against Wang Dun's forces.

When Wang Dun heard of these things, he was furious, and he said, "I was swindled by that little performance!" He wrote a letter to the Minister Over The Masses, his cousin Wang Dao, stating, "Taizhen was with us here only a few days ago, and yet this is how he acts now! You should get some men together to take him alive and cut out his tongue."


(繆 means "to pretend".

Qian Feng’s style name was Shiyi. Wen Jiao’s style name was Taizhen.

This passage describes Wen Jiao as being a 藻鑑. This means someone who is as capable of reflecting someone's worth as a splendid mirror. When someone has fine qualities and is dressed in loose clothes and ornaments, we call them a 黼藻, as though their clothing had 藻火 or 黼黻. And the mirror is for distinguishing the beautiful from the ugly. So one who is able to discern worthy people and then commend them and advance them in office is called a 藻鑑.

This passage mentions a 丹楊 Danyang commandary. When Jin moved their capital to Jianyang, the office of Administrator for Danyang commandary was changed to Intendant, as was proper for the capital commandary. It remained so through the Liu-Song, Qi, and Liang dynasties. Hong Shi remarked, "During Former Han, Danyang commandary was administered from Wanling, and Danyang County was where the modern Jiankang is. The histories of Later Han all write it as 丹陽 Danyang. After Western Jin moved their capital to Jianye, Emperor Yuan changed the office of Administrator to Intendant." Wei Shou's Geographical Records states, "The mountains in that commandary had many red willow trees, thus the name 丹楊 Danyang ('Cinnabar Poplar')." In the other books covering the histories of Han and Jin, few write the second character as 楊. During Tang's Tianbao reign era (742-756), Jingkou first became Danyang commandary, and Qu'a County was changed to Danyang County, but these were not the old Han domains.

Wang Dun ruled the court from afar, but in the end, he could not get rid of those who caused him the most trouble, like Chi Jian and Wen Jiao. From this, we can see that Jiankang was still able to maintain its own enforcement of affairs.)


9. Emperor Ming was about to begin a campaign against Wang Dun, but first he asked the 勳 With Golden Tassel, Ying Zhan, about it. Ying Zhan urged him to go ahead, and this decided Emperor Ming.

On the day Dingmao (August 3rd), he promoted Wang Dao as Grand Commander and acting Inspector of Yangzhou. He appointed Wen Jiao as Commander of military affairs north of Dong'an, and sent him to guard the Shitou fortress with the General of the Right, Bian Dun. He appointed Ying Zhan as General Who Protects The Army and Commander of the Vanguard and of military affairs south of Zhuque Bridge. He appointed Chi Jian as acting Guard General and Commander of military affairs in the imperial train. He appointed Yu Liang as acting Guard General of the Left, and appointed the Secretary of the Masters of Writing, Bian Kun, as acting General of the Central Army.

Chi Jian believed that there was no real worth in receiving such a title, and he firmly declined his appointment and would not accept it. He also asked that Emperor Ming summon the forces of the Administrator of Linhuai, Su Jun, and the Inspector of Yanzhou, Liu Xia, so that they could assist the campaign against Wang Dun. So Emperor Ming issued an edict summoning the two of them, as well as the Inspector of Xuzhuou, Wang Sui, the Inspector of Yuzhou, Zu Yue, the Administrator of Guangling, Tao Zhan, and others to bring their forces to the capital.

Emperor Ming camped his soldiers at the Central Hall.


(Regarding Wen Jiao's appointment as Commander "north of Dong'an", we see later in the passage that Ying Zhan is appointed as Commander "south of Zhuque Bridge", which ran across the Qinhuai River (that flows south of Jiankang). So it must be that "north of Dong'an" meant "north of the Qinhuai River".

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Biography of Bian Dun in the Book of Jin states, 'Wang Dun petitioned to have Bian Dun appointed as General Who Campaigns Against The Caitiffs and as Commander of affairs at Shitou. When Emperor Ming campaigned against Wang Dun, he appointed Bian Dun as General Who Guards The South and Credential Holder.’ But I follow the account of the Annals of Emperor Ming in the Book of Jin."

Bian Kun's given name 壼 is pronounced "ken (k-en)".

The loyalists in the court were too weak on their own, and their strength was insufficient for success. Wang Dun and Qian Feng both opposed them, and they led great hosts of wrongdoers. No matter how loyal and sincere the loyalists were, if they had faced the enemy with only the palace soldiers alone, they would merely have suffered the same defeat that Zhou Yi and Dai Yuan had faced at Shitou before. Thus did Chi Jian have to propose bringing in the forces of Liu Xia and Su Jun as well. How perilous!

According to the Annals of Emperor Gao in Xiao Zixian's Book of Qi, during the rebellion of Wang Xiufan of Guiyang, Emperor Gao said at a meeting of his ministers, "The Central Hall has long been the place to array soldiers. The army should be camped at the Xuanyang Gate, where control of the various divisions may be assigned." So the Central Hall must have been outside the Xuanyang Gate.)


10. When Wang Dao heard that Wang Dun was seriously ill, he led his younger relatives in Jiankang to conduct mourning for Wang Dun as though he had already died. People believed that Wang Dun was indeed dead, and this bolstered the morale of all the loyalists.

Then an edict was composed by the Masters of Writing and sent to Wang Dun's staff, outlining his crimes. The edict stated, "Wang Dun had arranged for his elder brother's whelp to succeed him, despite the fact that there has never been such an inheritance of a great office of state that was not condoned by royal decree. Wang Dun wildly presumed to grant such a thing, without any due regard for my consideration. It is clear that he meant to give free reign to his bold desires, and he had his eyes set upon the throne.

"Heaven does not long sustain the wicked, and now Wang Dun has fallen into his grave. Yet his minion Qian Feng, no less of a scoundrel, now means to stir up yet another rebellion in his turn. I now send forth the Minister Over The Masses, Wang Dao, and others to lead thirty thousand of the Tiger Guards to advance against him by every road. The General Who Pacifies The West, Wang Sui, and others shall lead another thirty thousand elite soldiers and advance by land and water to lend their assistance. I shall personally oversee these armies in a campaign to punish Qian Feng for his crimes. Whosoever can deliver Qian Feng's head to me shall be appointed as a Marquis of five thousand households.

"But as for the other civil and military officials employed by Wang Dun, nothing shall be heard against them; let them harbor no suspicions that they will suffer execution or the extermination of their clans. And regarding the officers and soldiers of Wang Dun's army, I deeply pity them, for they have been kept from their homes and hearths for many a year in service to Wang Dun. Those of them who are the only male of military age in their families shall be released to return home, and they will be exempt from the draft for the rest of their lives. All others shall be exempt for three years; at the completion of such time, when they return to service, their leave schedules shall be in accordance with that of the household guards."


(Whelp means a child; in this case, it means Wang Dun's nephew Wang Ying, whom he had chosen to be his heir.

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "Regarding the offer of a reward for Qian Feng's head, the Annals of Jin places the timing of this edict as before the mourning held for Wang Dun, and so it instead has the edict read, 'Whosoever can send me Wang Dun's head shall be appointed as a Marquis of ten thousand households and rewarded with fourteen thousand bolts of silk'. But the edict itself already states, 'Wang Dun has fallen into the grave', implying that he was already dead, and so it would not make sense to offer a reward for his head in that case. So I follow the version of the edict that appears in the Biography of Wang Dun in the Book of Jin."

The term 單丁 means a family which only has one male who would be subject to the draft, with no possible replacement.

The term 三番 means 三番休二.)


11. Wang Dun was furious when he saw this edict. However, because his illness was so severe, he could not lead his soldiers in person.

Wang Dun was about to muster his troops to once again have them march on the capital. He ordered his Recordskeeper, Guo Pu, to perform a divination for him. After doing so, Guo Pu's reading was, "No success."

Wang Dun had long suspected that Guo Pu was in league with Wen Jiao and Yu Liang, and when he heard Guo Pu give this response, he asked him, "What does your divination predict about my remaining lifespan?"

Guo Pu replied, "Your Grace, from what I have considered about the divination, if you carry out this plan as you are preparing to do, then your doom shall not be far off. But if you return to Wuchang, your longevity would be beyond measure."

Furious at this response, Wang Dun demanded, "And what of your own lifespan?"

Guo Pu replied, "My life shall expire today at noon."

So Wang Dun arrested Guo Pu and beheaded him.


12. To lead his forces against the capital, Wang Dun appointed Qian Feng, as well as the Champion General, Deng Yue, the General of the Front, Zhou Fu, and others. But Wang Han said to him, "This is a matter that concerns our whole family. Allow me to assume the command." So Wang Dun appointed Wang Han as the overall commander.

Qian Feng and the others asked Wang Dun, "On the day of our success, what should we do about the Son of Heaven?"

Wang Dun replied, "That fellow has not even established the Southern Suburbs sacrifices, so how can he call himself the Son of Heaven? So long as you ensure the safety of the Prince of Donghai (Sima Chong) and Concubine Pei, you may let your soldiers do as they will."

Wang Dun sent up a petition to the capital, justifying his actions on the pretext of purging Wen Jiao and the other evil councilors from the court.

In autumn, the seventh month, on the new moon of the day Renshen (August 8th), Wang Han and the others led fifty thousand soldiers and marched as far as the southern bank of the (Qinhuai) river at Jiangning. People were nervous and afraid. Wen Jiao shifted his army's camp to the north side of the river and burned the Zhuque Bridge to halt the enemy's advance. With the bridge burned, Wang Han and the others could not cross the river.

Emperor Ming had wanted to personally lead the loyalist forces to attack the enemy, and when he heard that Wen Jiao had already burned the bridge, he was furious. But Wen Jiao said to him, "The soldiers of the palace guards are few and weak, and the reinforcements we summoned have not yet arrived. If the enemy charged us, the fortunes of state would be in grave peril indeed, and I fear we could not even protect the ancestral temple. Why get so worked up for the sake of a single bridge?"


(Emperor Yuan's (Sima Rui's) third son Sima Chong had been appointed Prince of Donghai to act as the successor to the late Sima Yue, who had earlier held that title. Concubine Pei was Sima Yue's widow.

In Emperor Wu's (Sima Yan's) second year of Taikang (281), he split off part of Moling County to form Linjiang County. In the second year (of which era?), it was renamed to Jiangning County.

The "southern bank" in this passage must be the southern bank of the Qinhuai River (south of Jiankang).

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "Regarding the size of Wang Han's army, the Biography of Wang Dun in the Book of Jin and the Annals of Jin both state that it was 'thirty thousand strong'. But I follow the account of the Annals of Emperor Ming in the Book of Jin.")


13. Wang Dao wrote a letter to Wang Han, stating, "We had heard that the Grand General (Wang Dun) had been bedridden with severe illness lately, and some claimed that he had already passed away. It was not long after that when we learned of Qian Feng's harsh measures and his plans to rush ahead into wicked treason. Elder Cousin, I said that you would restrain him and prevent his evil designs from seeing fruition, and then return to your post at Wuchang. Yet now I find you numbered among the rebel herd.

"Elder Cousin, in undertaking this act, do you suppose you are repeating the Grand General's actions in years past? Back then, there were indeed groveling ministers who caused upheaval among the court; people were uneasy, and I and those with me turned our hearts afar and hoped for success. But the situation now is not the same. The Grand General came to camp his army at Yuhu, and he gradually lost the hearts of the people; men of high standing feared and trembled, while the common people suffered from strain and harm.

"Now, at the end of his life, the Grand General has entrusted affairs to Anqi (Wang Ying). Yet how far removed is the boy from his mother's milk? How is he suited to carry on the legacy of a great minister of state? And when since the establishment of government offices has there ever been a great minister who had a child as his successor?

“All those who have ears to hear know that there is a plan afoot to replace the dynasty. Such a thing is unbecoming of a minister. It was His Late Majesty (Sima Rui) who restored the dynasty and left it behind for the people to treasure, and our current sovereign is a wise and worthy man whose virtue is felt throughout the court and the state. Yet you, Elder Cousin, wish to carry out this absurd plan and go against proper authority. Who among true loyalists is not moved to sigh indignantly at you?

"All members of our family, whether great or small, have received the favor and grace of the state. So I face the current situation clear of eye and stout of heart, and I place myself at the head of the six armies of the court. Better to die in loyalty than to live in treason!"

But Wang Han did not reply to the letter.


(Wang Dao had asked around about Wang Dun's daily life and had looked into the truth of the rumors surrounding him; these are what the text refers to as 詗承.

Wang Dao was suggesting that Wang Han restrain Qian Feng and the others, and not allow them to carry out their wicked plans.

"The Grand General's actions" refers to when Wang Dun captured the Shitou fortress in Emperor Yuan's (Sima Rui's) first year of Yongchang (322).

The "groveling ministers" were Diao Xie and Liu Kui.

Wang Dao was saying that the other ministers were placing their hopes in outside assistance, that is, Wang Dun, to rectify the situation at court.

Wang Ying’s style name was Anqi.

By "all those who have ears to hear", Wang Dao was implying that the tales of Wang Dun's and Wang Ying's plan to usurp the throne had deeply spread among everyone.)


14. Some among the loyalists suggested, "Although the forces of Wang Han and Qian Feng are far more numerous than we are, their base at Yuancheng is too small and not suited for defense. Before they can finish their defensive preparations, His Majesty should lead the army to fight back against them."

But Chi Jian said, "The traitors are already spread thick, and we are not strong enough to oppose them. If we plotted to break out, it would be difficult for us to overcome them. However, Wang Han and the others do not give orders in one accord, and they turn their soldiers loose to plunder on all sides. The officials and the people have suffered from such deprivations in recent years that they all look to their own defenses. When we consider the overall strength between those who are loyal and those who are rebellious, how can you worry that we will not be successful in the end?

"Besides, the rebels have no real strategy for the long term, and they are only planning to charge ahead and decide everything in a single battle. The longer we can keep them at bay, the more we will awaken the hearts of righteous people everywhere, and that will allow our knowledge and strength to grow. But if we were to pit our currently weak forces against such a strong enemy as we now face, and allow victory to be determined in a single morning, then the outcome of this war would be settled in a single breath. If there should be any misstep, then even if we had people like Shen Baoxu who would shake out their sleeves and devote themselves utterly to our cause, how could they salvage the situation?"

So Emperor Ming gave up on that plan.


(The Sun clan of Eastern Wu had built Yuancheng when they had their capital at Moling (Jianye). Jin established Jiankang north of the river at Moling, and when they crossed the Yangzi and established Jiankang as their capital, Yuancheng was established as one of its defenses.

According to the Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals, when the army of the state of Wu entered the Chu capital at Ying, the great Chu minister Shen Baoxu went to Qin to beg them for aid, and so in the end he was able to preserve Chu (Ding 4.15). The expression "to shake out one's sleeves" means to act in a hurry; the Zuo Commentary has the expression, "When the Viscount of Chu heard of it, he shook out his sleeves and rose from his seat. (Xuan 14.4)")


15. Emperor Ming led the loyalist armies out to camp at the Southern Imperial Hall. During the night of the day Guiyou (August 9th), he recruited some strong fellows, and sent the general Duan Xiu, the Marshal of the Central Army, Cao Hun, and others to lead a thousand armored men to cross the river to attack the enemy's unfinished defenses. When dawn came, they fought at Yuecheng, where they greatly routed the enemy and killed their Vanguard Commander, He Kang. This Duan Xiu was the younger brother of Duan Pidi.


(Yuecheng was south of the Qinhuai River.)


16. When Wang Dun heard that Wang Han had suffered a defeat, he angrily exclaimed, "My fool of an elder brother! Our family is lost, our cause ruined!" And he turned his head to tell one of his Army Advisors, Lü Bao, "I'll take the command myself." So he exerted himself to try to get up, but he was so feeble that he was forced to lie down again. Then he said to the Privy Treasurer, his uncle Yang Jian, and to Wang Ying, "After I die, Wang Ying shall succeed me. Establish the court offices before you trouble yourselves with arranging my burial."

Soon afterwards, Wang Dun passed away.

Wang Ying kept Wang Dun's death a secret and did not begin mourning for him. He wrapped the body up in a rug, smeared the exterior in wax, and buried it inside the government office. Then he spent his days and nights indulging in wine and sensual pleasures, along with Zhuge Yao and others.


(To lack enough energy to move the body is to be tired; to lack enough strength to raise the body is to be feeble.)


17. Emperor Ming sent Shen Zhen of Wuxing commandary to try to persuade Wang Dun's ally Shen Chong to switch sides, offering to appoint him as Minister of Works. But Shen Chong replied, "The Three Excellencies are lofty offices indeed, for 'the people all look to them'; how could I be worthy enough to be one of them? Even the ancients were suspicious at the offers of abundant gifts and sweet words. Besides, when a real man commits to a common endeavor, he must see it through to the end. How could I change course halfway through? Who could put up with me if I did?" So he raised his soldiers and marched for Jiankang.

Now the Director of the Imperial Clan, Yu Tan, had earlier retired to Kuaiji on account of illness. But when he heard that Shen Chong was on the march, he raised his own soldiers at Yuyao to move to oppose him. Emperor Ming appointed Yu Tan as acting Interior Minister of Kuaiji. The former General Who Maintains The East, Liu Chao, and the Interior Minister of Xuancheng, Zhong Ya, also raised their troops to march against Shen Chong.

A native of Yixing commandary, Zhou Jian, killed the Administrator of that commandary whom Wang Dun had appointed, Liu Fang. And the General Who Pacifies The West, Zu Yue, drove out the Administrator of Huainan whom Wang Dun had appointed, Ren Tai.


(The Book of Poetry has the verse, "Awe-inspiring are you, O Grand master Yin, and the people all look to you! (Jie Nan Shan 1)".

In the Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals, Xi Rui of the state of Jin says, ""The greatness of his gifts and the sweetness of his words are intended to decoy us. (Xi 10.6)."

The text identifies Yu Tan's office as 宗正卿. All through Han and Jin, the office of 宗正, or Director of the Imperial Clan, had been one of the Nine Ministers. However, it was never listed with the added character 卿 on the end. It was only when Southern Liang established the Eleven Ministries that the longer title 宗正卿 came into use. So the presence of the character 卿 here is superfluous.

Yuyao County was part of Kuaiji commandary.

In Emperor Hui's first year of Yongxing (305), Yangxian County in Wuxing commandary and Yongshi County in Danyang commandary were split off to form Yixing commandary.

Zu Yue had his forces camped at Shouchun, and this was why he was able to “drive out” Ren Tai from Huainan.)


18. Shen Chong led more than ten thousand soldiers to join with Wang Han's army. His Marshal, Gu Yang, advised him, "We have begun this great endeavor, yet the Son of Heaven is holding fast to his defenses. The zeal of our vanguard is ebbing away, and if we maintain a stalemate here for too long, we shall certainly come to ruin in the end.

"If you were to burst the dykes, then the lakewater would flood the capital region. Then you could take advantage of the water to lead many boats to attack the capital. That would be the best plan.

"Or you could harness our army's currently high morale, by combining the strength of the eastern and western armies and ordering a general advance against the enemy along every road. We outnumber them so greatly that we could not help but destroy them. That would be the second-best plan.

"Or you might turn disaster to a blessing by summoning Qian Feng to discuss strategy with him, then behead him and use that as your offering to surrender to the court. That would be the least you could do."

Yet Shen Chong would not use any of these plans. So Gu Yang ran away and went back to Wu commandary.


(The "lakewater" was the water of Lake Xuanwu, to the north of the walls of Jiankang. It is now ten li north of Shangyuan County.

The "eastern army" was Shen Chong's army, while the "western army" was the forces of Wang Han, Qian Feng, and the others.)


19. On the day Dinghai (August 23rd), Liu Xia, Su Jun, and the other northern border commanders arrived with ten thousand elite soldiers as reinforcements for the loyalists. Emperor Ming came to see them during the night and commended them, distributing rewards among the officers and troops as appropriate.

Because the northern troops had only just arrived and were still tired from their march, Shen Chong and Qian Feng wanted to attack them at once. So on the night of the day Yiwei (August 31st), they crossed over the Qinhuai River at Zhuge Islet. They were opposed by Ying Zhan, the General Who Establishes Might, Zhao Yin, and others, but the loyalists had the worst of the fighting.

Shen Chong and Qian Feng then advanced as far as the Xuanyang Gate, where they captured the barriers and were about to fight a battle. But then Liu Xia and Su Jun flank attacked them from the southern dyke, and greatly routed them. Three thousand people drowned in the river. Liu Xia then routed Shen Chong again at Qingxi.

When the Administrator of Xunyang, Zhou Guang, heard that Wang Dun had raised his soldiers, he led more than a thousand of his own men to come join him. When Zhou Guang arrived, he asked to meet with Wang Dun. But Wang Ying refused, claiming that Wang Dun was ill. Zhou Guang withdrew and said to himself, "I've come all this way, and yet I can't get a meeting with him. Lord Wang must already be dead!" And he rushed to see his elder brother Zhou Fu and told him, "Lord Wang is already dead. Elder Brother, how can you play the rebel together with Qian Feng?" Everyone was astounded to hear this.


(The Qinhuai River is three li south of modern Shangyuan County at Jiankang. Some say that in the time of Qin Shihuang, those who could read the ethers said that Jinling had the aura of a Son of Heaven, so Qin Shihuang had passages drilled through the hills there to let a river flow through the land, and it was thus called the Qinhuai River. But others say that it had its origin in a bend of the Huai River, and was not artificially made by human design.

When Jin set their capital at Jiankang, they established a ring of defenses around the walls of the city, and named the gates after the gates of Luoyang. The Xuanyang Gate was on the southern wall of the city. They also built dykes along the Huai River from Jiangkou; the "southern dyke" was the dyke on the southern bank of the Qinhuai River.

The Qingxi River flowed out of Mount Zhong, and joined the Qinhuai River. Sun Quan of Eastern Wu carved a channel north of Jianye to divert the river into Lake Xuanwu.

Shen Yue remarked, "Xunyang was originally the name of a county; it took its name from the Xunyang River, which flowed south into the Yangzi. During Han, it was part of Lujiang commandary. In Emperor Hui's first year of Yongxing (305), parts of Lujiang and Wuchang commandaries were split off to form Xunyang commandary, which was administered from Chaisang County.")


20. On the day Bingshen (September 1st), Wang Han and the others burned their camps and fled during the night. On the day Dingyou (September 2nd), Emperor Ming returned to the palace. A general amnesty was declared, except for Wang Dun's partisans. Emperor Ming ordered Yu Liang to lead Su Jun and others to pursue Shen Chong back to Wuxing, while Wen Jiao led Liu Xia and others to pursue Wang Han and Qian Feng back to Jiangning, and other commanders pursued the other Wang Dun partisans.

Liu Xia allowed his troops to pillage and plunder. But Wen Jiao castigated him, saying, "Heaven has aided the loyalists, and that was why we were able to suppress Wang Han. How can you take advantage of turmoil by causing it yourself?" Liu Xia, very much afraid, made obeisance and apologized to Wen Jiao.


21. Wang Han wanted to flee to Jingzhou. Wang Ying told him, "It would be better to go to Jiangzhou."

But Wang Han said, "What connection did the Grand General have with Jiangzhou, that makes you want to go there?"

Wang Ying explained, "That's exactly why we ought to go there. Jiangzhou should be full of suitable men and abundant enough to suit the times, and we can make our stand there. That's what an extraordinary man would do. Besides, when they see how great our distress is, their hearts will be moved, and they will surely take pity on us. On the other hand, Jingzhou will want to keep the peace; how could they ever support our aims?"

But Wang Han would not listen, so they fled to Jingzhou. But the Inspector of Jingzhou, Wang Shu, sent an army to intercept them, and the two of them were drowned in the Yangzi. When the Inspector of Jiangzhou, Wang Bin, heard that Wang Ying was planning to come there, he secretly sent a boat to welcome Wang Ying's arrival. But Wang Ying never arrived, and Wang Bin deeply regretted his fate.

Qian Feng fled as far as Helu Islet, where Zhou Guang beheaded him, then presented himself at the palace to offer up the head.

Shen Chong lost his way as he fled, and he mistakenly entered the household of his former general Wu Ru. Wu Ru enticed Shen Chong into entering his compound, and then laughed and said to him, "Now that marquisate of three thousand households is all mine!"

Shen Chong replied, "If you will be so good as to preserve me, my family will surely repay you well. But if you kill me for your own gain, though I die, your whole clan will be exterminated."

But Wu Ru killed Shen Chong anyway, and sent his head to Jiankang. Wang Dun's partisans were thus pacified.

Shen Chong's son Shen Jing was also marked for death, but his neighbors pooled their resources and hid him, so he escaped with his life. Later on, just as his father had sworn, Shen Jing exterminated the clan of Wu Ru.


(Jingzhou was under the control of Wang Shu; Jiangzhou, of Wang Bin.

In Wang Ying's view, there was still a chance for them to go back and carry on as normal. This was who Wang Dun chose to be his heir!

The phrase 能立同異 meant those who wailed for Zhou Yi, blamed Wang Dun for his crimes, and rebuked him as a traitor.

Helu Islet was in the Yangzi. He Xun remarked, "Among the treacherous territory in the Yangzi, there is Helu Islet: it is a place of difficult terrain, and many fugitives gather there."

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Jin states, 'Dai Yuan's younger brother Dai Liang beheaded Qian Feng.' But I follow the account of the Biography of Wang Dun in the Book of Jin."

Wu Ru's compound was his fortified place.

At this time, the court had offered a reward of a marquisate of five thousand households for anyone who beheaded Qian Feng, and a marquisate of three thousand households for anyone who beheaded Shen Chong.)


22. The officials dug up Wang Dun's burial site, exhumed his corpse, burned his clothing and headgear, and placed the corpse in a kneeling position before beheading it. Both Wang Dun's and Shen Chong's heads were hung up for display at the southern stocks.

Then Chi Jian said to Emperor Ming, "When the former court executed Yang Jun and the others, the court first passed their full sentence against the criminals, and afterwards heeded the pleas of their families for proper burials. I believe that, just as you display your majesty above by executing these criminals, so too may you demonstrate your righteousness by fulfilling the hopes of their families below. You should heed the requests of Wang Dun's family to collect his body for burial, and thus let your righteousness spread."

Emperor Ming allowed it.

Wang Dao and the other loyalist commanders who had successfully campaigned against Wang Dun were granted titles and rewards.


(The term 跽 means to kneel.

The "southern stocks" were those at the Zhuque Bridge, to the south of the city.)


23. Zhou Fu and Deng Yue both fled. Zhou Guang was going to shelter his brother, in order to get possession of Deng Yue. But Zhou Fu angrily told him, "Boshan and I are both on the run; why shouldn't you behead me first?" And when Deng Yue arrived, Zhou Fu came out of the gate to intercept him and said, "Why don't you run away at once? Even people as close to one another as flesh and bone are at odds, so how could a stranger like you be any safer?" So Deng Yue returned to his boat and fled, and he and Zhou Fu both took refuge among the Man tribes in Xiyang commandary.

The following year, Emperor Ming issued an edict pardoning Wang Dun's remaining partisans. Zhou Fu and Deng Yue then came out of hiding, and their lives were spared, though they were banned from office.


(Deng Yue’s style name was Boshan.)


24. It was earlier mentioned that Shen Chong had killed the Interior Minister of the Wu princely fief, Zhang Mao. During this period, Zhang Mao's widow, Lady Lu, exhausted her family's wealth in order to lead her husband's former soldiers as the spearhead in the campaign against Shen Chong, to avenge him. Following Shen Chong's defeat, Lady Lu visited the palace and sent up a letter, apologizing on her husband's behalf for his failure to defend his commandary against Shen Chong. Emperor Ming issued an edict posthumously appointing Zhang Mao as Minister Coachman.


(Shen Chong's defeat of Zheng Mao if mentioned in Book 92, in Emperor Yuan's (Sima Rui's) first year of Yongchang (322.33).

The term 克 in this case means ability; that is, Lady Lu was apologizing that Zheng Mao had not been able to hold back such a cruel invader, and had been killed by Shen Chong.)


25. Some of the officials proposed, "Wang Bin and the other members of the Wang family were close kin to Wang Dun. They should all be removed from office."

But Emperor Ming issued an edict stating, "The Minister of Works, Wang Dao, put aside his family ties for the sake of righteousness. I would extend pardon to his family even to the hundredth generation, much less to such close relatives of his as Wang Bin and the others!"

And nothing more was heard of that matter.


26. Emperor Ming issued an edict stating, "The people whom Wang Dun appointed to office shall be removed from office, and his advisors and associates shall be banned from holding office."

Wen Jiao sent up a petition arguing against this policy, stating, "Wang Dun was the sort of man who was obstinate and would brook no disagreements. He killed people as he pleased; the court could not control him, and even his own flesh and blood could not remonstrate against him. Those who staffed his administration were in constant fear for their lives, which kept them tongue-tied and not daring to do anything more than glance at one another when they passed on the roads. But it was still truly an instance of worthy men and superior fellows exerting their full measure of principles given their situation, a time of 'nursing things in obedience to circumstances while the time is yet dark'. Such was their personal intentions. How can you rush to condemn them?

"People like Lu Wan, Liu Yin, and Guo Pu often spoke to me of such things before, furnishing me with the knowledge which I recount today. They did their best to steer such a wicked and perverse man towards proper conduct, in order to rectify the application of laws and the administration of justice. Rather than treat them as Wang Dun's immoral minions, I say that they ought to be pardoned. For I believe in the sincerity of Lu Wan and the others, and I have heard of their virtuous behavior. They should not be condemned alongside the traitors. If they kept their tongues silent, still they burdened their hearts with this duty. May Your Majesty treat them with benevolence and wisdom!"

Chi Jian argued for the other side, stating, "When the kings of old instructed the people on the proper behavior between ministers and their sovereign, the greatest honor was that of upholding legitimate authority and sacrificing one's own life for the sake of righteousness. Even if many of Wang Dun's advisors and officials may have been under duress, still we must acknowledge that they failed either to press forward by putting a stop to his treasonous plotting or to withdraw themselves by abandoning him. According to established tradition, it is just to hold them accountable."

In the end, Emperor Ming followed Wen Jiao's advice.


(The term 綱紀 means those who administered Wang Dun's staff in his official capacities; the term 參佐 means his various subordinates and officials.

The term 朝 "court" in this instance means Wang Dun's staff.

Wen Jiao refers to the phrase "people passing one another on the road only glanced at one another without daring to utter a word".

Wen Jiao quotes from the first Zhuo poem of the Sacrificial Odes of Zhou section of the Book of Poetry: 遵養時晦 "He nursed it in obedience to circumstances while the time was yet dark". Master Mao's Annotations states, "遵 here means to lead; 養, to obtain; 晦, blind." Master Zheng's Commentary states, "The subject accommodates a blind, occluded lord in order to outlast their evil."

To 晏處 means to charge or accuse someone.

Chi Jian was saying it would be fully just to punish Wang Dun's officials.)


27. In winter, the tenth month, Wang Dao was appointed as Grand Guardian while maintaining his position as Minister Over The Masses, and he was shown exceptional ceremony. The Prince of Xiyang, Sima Yang, was appointed as acting Grand Commandant. Ying Zhan was appointed as Inspector of Jiangzhou. Liu Xia was appointed as Inspector of Xuzhou, and he was sent to defend Huaiyin, replacing Wang Sui. Su Jun was appointed as Interior Minister of Liyang. Yu Liang was promoted as General Who Protects The Army, and Wen Jiao was promoted as General of the Front. Wang Dao firmly declined his promotions and would not accept them.

When Ying Zhan arrived at Jiangzhou, the officials and the common people there were still not settled. But he comforted and cherished them, and there was no one there who did not admire him.


(This was why Su Jun was in command of soldiers at Liyang.)


28. In the twelfth month, a general of Liangzhou, Xin Yan, occupied the city of Fuhan and refused to obey the orders of the new Inspector of Liangzhou, Zhang Jun.

Zhang Jun was about to launch a campaign against Xin Yan. But his Attendant Officer, Liu Qing, remonstrated with him, saying, "A leader who would be a hegemon king must heed the opportunities of Heaven and the affairs of men before acting. Now Xin Yan is a wicked and cruel man, a cold-blooded killer. His downfall is already certain. Why then should you raise a great host during a year of famine and lead an assault against a city in the dead of winter?" So Zhang Jun halted the planned campaign.


(During Former Han, Fuhan County was part of Jincheng commandary. During Later Han, it was part of Longxi commandary. After Zhang Gui assumed command of the Liang region during Jin, he petitioned to split off part of Xiping commandary to form Jinxing commandary, with Fuhan County as a part of it. The first character of Fuhan, 枹, is pronounced "fu".

One who can kill people without pity or remorse, whose expression shows no hint of a furrowed brow, is cold-blooded. He might be tolerated for a time, but his ultimate downfall is certain.)


29. Zhang Jun sent one of his Army Advisors, Wang Zhi, as an envoy to visit Zhao. Liu Yao asked Wang Zhi, "Can you guarantee the good intentions and desire for peace of your honorable province?"

Wang Zhi replied, "I cannot promise that."

The Palace Attendant, Xu Miao, said, "Sir, you've come here to establish good relations, yet you say you cannot guarantee such things. How can that be?"

Wang Zhi replied, "When Duke Huan of the ancient state of Qi established the alliance at Guan Marsh, he displayed proper caution and concern, and so the feudal lords came to the meeting without his having to summon them. But at the meeting at Kuiqiu, he exerted his will and acted arrogant, and so nine states turned against him. Your own state of Zhao has been changing. Should proper governance and conduct decline, there is no telling what sorts of developments might occur, to say nothing of my province alone!"

Liu Yao declared, "Here is a superior fellow of Liangzhou! They've chosen the right man for the job!" And he treated Wang Zhi with great respect before sending him back.


(The Gongyang Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals states, "The Annals record that 'In the second year of the reign of Duke Xi of Lu, the Marquis of Qi, the Duke of Song, an officer of Jiang, and an officer of Huang arranged an alliance at Guan Marsh'. What were these places, Jiang and Huang, that the latter two came from? They were distant states. With people from distant states having come to the meeting, why then does it only list Qi and Song from among the states of the Middle Kingdom? It must have been the case that, since such great states as Qi and Song attended, and such distant states as Jiang and Huang attended, that there cannot have been any other states who dared not to attend as well. Later on, the Annals state that 'In the ninth year, the ninth month, on the day Wuchen, the various lords arranged an alliance at Kuiqiu'. No day was listed for Duke Huan's alliance; why then was there a set day for this one? Because of danger. What was the danger? When Duke Huan held the meeting at Guan Marsh, he showed concern for the feelings of the people of the Middle Kingdom, and even the officers of Jiang and Huang came to attend without having been summoned. But at the meeting at Kuiqiu, Duke Huan exerted his will and acted arrogant, and so nine states turned against him. How was it that he exerted his will? Because he compelled them to attend. How was he arrogant? Because he acted as though no one else could compare.")


30. It was earlier mentioned that the new Prince of Dai, Tuoba Henu, had been too young to rule in person, and so his mother has acted as regent. During this year, Tuoba Henu first began to personally oversee the affairs of state.

Because many of the Tuoba tribes were not yet loyal to him, Tuoba Henu built a city at Mount Dongmugen, and shifted his residence there.


(Tuoba Henu had inherited the title Prince of Dai in Emperor Yuan's (Sima Rui's) fourth year of Taixing (321.19). But it was not until now that he actually began to rule the state.

There is a Mount Mugen in the Hexi region, in the northeast of Wuyuan commandary. Because this Mount Mugen is east of the Yellow River, it is also called Mount Dongmugen ("Eastern Mugen").)
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue May 22, 2018 1:51 am


The Third Year of Taining (The Yiyou Year, 325 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, Zhang Jun learned of Sima Rui's cruel fate. He held a great mourning for Sima Rui for three days.

At that time, a yellow dragon was spotted at Jia Spring. Fan Yi and other Liangzhou officials asked that Zhang Jun declare a new reign era title to acknowledge this good omen, but Zhang Jun refused.

The erstwhile rebel Xin Yan surrendered Fuhan, and so Zhang Jun once again possessed territory south of the Yellow River.


(According to the Biography of Zhang Jun in the Book of Jin, Jia Spring was in Yici County in Wuwei commandary. The name of that county, 揖次 Yici, had been written as 揟次 Xuci during Former Han. Meng Kang remared, "揟 is pronounced 'zu (z-u)'. 次 is pronounced 'zi'."

Among the commandaries of Liangzhou, only Jincheng was south of the Yellow River.)


2. The Jin court made posthumous appointments for those loyalists who had died during Wang Dun's rebellions: Sima Zheng, Gan Zhuo, Dai Yuan, Zhou Yi, Yu Wang, Guo Pu, Wang Cheng, and others.

Zhou Zha's former officials testified on his behalf as well. But the Master of Writing, Bian Kun, argued against it, saying, "Zhou Zha was in charge of defending Shitou, yet he opened the gates and admitted the enemy. He does not deserve a posthumous appointment."

Wang Dao argued, "At that time, Wang Dun's wicked intentions were not yet apparent. Even people such as myself who held higher office still did not realize it. Zhou Zha was no different from us. Once we did realize Wang Dun's foul intent, Zhou Zha defended the state at the cost of his life, and even had his head hung up and his family wiped out. I say that he was no different than Zhou Yi and Dai Yuan."

Chi Jian responded, "Zhou Yi and Dai Yuan upheld proper authority even unto death, while Zhou Zha let the enemy enter. How can you propose that they receive the same rewards when they acted so differently? If things really are as the Minister Over The Masses suggests, and those who held higher office back then were really no different from Zhou Zha, then the Prince of Qiao (Sima Zheng), Zhou Yi, and Dai Yuan should all be receiving blame right now, and what reason would we have for giving them posthumous appointments? But since we are indeed commending those three, then it is clear that Zhou Zha deserves censure instead."

Wang Dao said, "Although one can see that there were differences between Zhou Zha and Zhou Yi, Dai Yuan, and the Prince of Qiao, they all still upheld proper authority."

Chi Jian replied, "Wang Dun's evil plans were building up all along, just like ‘treaded hoarfrost’, and it was thanks to Zhou Zha opening the gates that the royal army was put to flight. If during Wang Dun's first uprising his intentions really had been as pure as those of Duke Huan of Qi or Duke Wen of Jin, then His Late Majesty (Sima Rui) would have had to have been another King You or King Li of Zhou!"

But in the end, Wang Dao's advice won out, and Zhou Zha was posthumously appointed as Commandant of the Guards.


(This passage records the given name of the Prince of Qiao as 承 Cheng; it should be 氶 Zheng.

These people had all died during Wang Dun's de facto reign, and so they were now receiving posthumous appointments.

Zhou Zha's opening of the gates of the Shitou fortress during Wang Dun's march on Jiankang is mentioned in Book 92, in Emperor Yuan's (Sima Rui's) first year of Yongchang (322.21).

Zhou Zha's death and the extermination of his family are mentioned above, in the second year of Taining (324.1).

Chi Jian quotes from the Book of Changes: "He treads on the hoarfrost; the strong ice will come by and by (2.2)".)

Kings You and Li of Zhou were poor rulers who led to the downfall of the Western Zhou dynasty, resulting in its crippled form in the Eastern Zhou as the feudal lords claimed more power.


3. It was earlier mentioned that the King of Later Zhao, Shi Le, had tried to established good relations with the Xianbei leader Murong Hui, but Murong Hui had spurned him. Shi Le now granted ranks and titles to the leader of the Yuwen tribe of the Xianbei, Yuwen Qidegui, and ordered him to attack Murong Hui.

Murong Hui sent his eldest son by his wife, Murong Huang, to attack the Yuwen, and he enlisted the aid of the Suotou and Duan states to join in the fighting. His Chancellor of Liaodong, Pei Yi, commanded the right wing of the army, while his son Murong Ren commanded the left wing.

Yuwen Qidegui held the line of the Jiao River to oppose Murong Huang, while sending his nephew Yuwen Xibaxiong to oppose Murong Ren. Murong Ren attacked Yuwen Xibaxiong and beheaded him. Then he pressed his victory by joining with Murong Huang to attack Yuwen Qidegui, and they greatly routed him.

Yuwen Qidegui abandoned his army and fled, and Murong Huang and Murong Ren advanced and entered the cities of his state. They sent light infantry to pursue Yuwen Qidegui, and they chased him through his state for over three hundred li before turning back. They captured all of his treasures of state, along with millions of his livestock, and tens of thousand of his people submitted to the Murong clan and went over to them.


(Shi Le had sent envoys to Murong Hui during the first year of Taining (323.7), but Murong Hui had arrested them and sent them to Jiankang.

The Suotou, or "braid-heads", referred to the Tuoba clan.

The Jiao River was the Jiaoluo River. 澆 is pronounced "gao (g-ao)".

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "Regarding the names of Yuwen 乞得歸 Qidegui and his nephew, the Biography of the General Who Conquers The Caitiffs, Murong Ren, in the Book of Yan records the nephew's given name as 悉拔堆 Xibadui, while the Biography of Yuwen Mohuai in the Book of Northern Wei records the names of these two Yuwen leaders as 乞得龜 Qidegui and 悉拔堆 Xibadui. The Biography of Murong Hui in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin also records the third character of Yuwen Qidegui's given name as 龜 rather than 歸. But the Annals of Emperor Wuxuan (Murong Hui) in the Book of Yan records their names as 乞得歸 Qidegui and 悉拔雄 Xibaxiong, and I follow that account.")


4. In the third month, Duan Mopei passed away. His younger brother Duan Ya succeeded him.


5. On the day Wuchen (April 1st), Emperor Ming established his son Sima Yan as Crown Prince. A general amnesty was declared.


6. Liu Yao honored a certain Lady Liu as his Empress.


7. The King of the Northern Qiang, Pengouchu, aligned himself with Zhao. In response, the Later Zhao general Shi Tuo marched out from Yanmen commandary to attack him, and he captured more than three thousand tribes and more than a million oxen, horses, and sheep before returning. Liu Yao sent his Prince of Zhongshan, Liu Yue, to pursue Shi Tuo, while Liu Yao himself camped at Fuping to act as reserves for Liu Yue. Liu Yue fought Shi Tuo on the banks of the Yellow River and beheaded him. More than six thousand Later Zhao soldiers died, and Liu Yue reclaimed all the captives before returning.


(句 is variously pronounced "gou (g-ou)", "qu (q-u)", and "ju".

Shi Tuo's given name 佗 is pronounced "te (t-e)".

Fuping County was part of Beidi commandary. The "banks of the river" means the banks of the Yellow River. According to the Water Classic, the Yellow River flowed through the west of Fuping County. Hebin ("banks of the Yellow River") County in Tang's Tengzhou was the same place as Sui's Yulin County. Du You remarked, "Fuping was originally a Han county. Later Han shifted Fuping County to within modern Pengyuan commandary, where the city of Fuping is." It is also said, "Lingzhou is where Han's Fuping County was. In the southwest of the Fuping County in modern Jingzhao commandary, there is the city of Huaide from the Han era. This Fuping was the same as Han's Huaide County.")


8. It was earlier mentioned that the ruler of Chouchi, Yang Nandi, had abandoned that city and fled to Hanzhong out of fear of Liu Yao, and Liu Yao had appointed Tian Song to guard Chouchi. At this time, Yang Nandi attacked Chouchi and retook it, and he captured Tian Song.

Yang Nandi placed Tian Song before him, and those with him ordered Tian Song to perform obeisance. But Tian Song only glared at Yang Nandi and said, "You Di cur! How can a border commander appointed by the Son of Heaven bow down before a bandit?"

Yang Nandi addressed Tian Song by his style name, saying, "Zidai, I want to achieve the grand design together with you. You have been loyal to the Liu clan; can you not be loyal to me as well?"

But Tian Song sternly shouted, "Di bandit! You're nothing more than a slave! How can you speak of the grand design? Better for me to serve Zhao as a ghost than serve you as a minister!" And he suddenly turned towards someone and grabbed their sword, then moved to strike Yang Nandi, but he did not injure him. Yang Nandi killed him.


(Tian Song’s style name was Zidai. Liu Yao had appointed him to guard Chouchi in Book 92, in the first year of Taining (323.16).)


9. Jin's Capital Commandant, Lu Qian, rebelled at Xuchang and surrendered to Later Zhao.


10. In summer, the fourth month, the Later Zhao general Shi Zhan attacked Jin's Inspector of Yanzhou, Tan Bin, at Mount Zou and killed him.


(The Basic Annals of the Book of Jin records the given name of this Inspector as 贇 Yun, while the Biography of Shi Le in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin records it as 斌 Bin.

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Emperor Ming in the Book of Jin records the name of this Later Zhao general as Shi Liang. But I follow the account of the Biography of Shi Le in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin.")


11. Later Zhao's General of the Household Gentlemen of the Western Yi Tribes, Wang Teng, killed their Inspector of Bingzhou, Cui Kun, and their Interior Minister of Shangdang, Wang Shen. Having occupied Bingzhou, he surrendered it to Zhao.


(Liu Kun had originally held Bingzhou on behalf of Jin. But in Emperor Min's fourth year of Jianxing (316.31), Shi Le routed him and took control of Bingzhou. Shi Le then appointed his own Inspector of Bingzhou, who administered the province from Shangdang.

This Wang Shen was a native of Zhangwu. When he had first risen up with soldiers, he caused trouble in Shi Le's various commandaries around Bohai and Henei. But later he joined Shi Le, who assigned him command of Shangdang. His given name 眘 is pronounced "gen (g-en)".)


12. In the fifth month, Jin appointed Tao Kan as Grand General Who Conquers The West, Commander of military affairs in the four provinces of Jingzhou, Xiangzhou, Yongzhou, and Lianzhou, and Inspector of Jingzhou. The men and women of Jingzhou all celebrated his appointment.

Tao Kan was naturally quick-witted, respectful, and diligent, and he would keep an upright posture all through the day while gripping his knees. He closely investigated and kept track of all army and government affairs, never leaving any issues unresolved and never granting himself free time. Tao Kan often exhorted people by saying, "Even a sage like Yu the Great took careful notice of such short amounts of time as the time it takes for a shadow to move an inch. So too should everyone appreciate how short time is. How can one while away their hours in idleness or debauchery, so that in being born they contribute nothing to their era, and after death they leave no legacy? That is simply to throw one's life away!"

There were some among Tao Kan's assistants and officials who liked to spend their time in rhetoric and wordplay and so neglected their duties. Tao Kan ordered their wine vessels and their gambling game boards to be gathered up and all thrown into the Yangzi. When his generals and officials then objected, Tao Kan replied, "People who play the chupu game are no better than pig-tenders and slaves! The teachings of Laozi and Zhuangzi befuddle the Hua people (ethnic Han), and they go against the laws and the words of the kings of old. They have no real use. And a superior fellow ought to maintain a proper bearing and appearance: how then can you go about with unkempt hair and bare feet while declaring yourselves to be enlightened?"

When there were people who presented gifts to Tao Kan, he always looked into the source of the offerings. If the gift seemed reasonable in comparison to some service he had rendered, he was always pleased to receive it, no matter how trifling it was, and he repaid them thrice over. But if the gift went against reason, then he would sternly scold and humiliate the giver and send their gift back.

Tao Kan once went out on a patrol, where he saw someone holding some uncooked rice. Tao Kan asked the person, "What use do you have for that?"

The person replied, "I saw it as I was walking along the road, so I took a little, that's all."

Tao Kan furiously replied, "So, instead of tending a field, you would rather play the bandit and steal another man's rice!" And he arrested the person and whipped them. Thus did the common people diligently tend to their farmwork, and the households had enough food to eat.

Tao Kan was once building a boat. During the construction, he ordered all the wood shavings and heads of bamboo to be recorded and gathered up. No one understood the reason for this. Later on, during the New Year's Meeting, the accumulated snow had only just begun to melt, and the snow in front of the government office was still wet. So Tao Kan spread the wood shavings out over the ground there. And many years afterwards, when Huan Wen was in command in Jingzhou and was preparing for his campaign against Cheng-Han (in 347), he used the heads of bamboo that Tao Kan had saved during this time to build compound ships.

Such were the ways that Tao Kan paid attention to even the smallest and most obscure details during his administration.


(The term 攝 here means "record" or "rectify".

Yu the Great "treasured the shortness of time more than a 尺 of jade".

Many people of Jin loved playing the chupu board game, which involved casting the five pieces. Each of them had a black calf side. Possible results included the Pheasant and the Lu (black). Getting the Lu result meant victory.

The term 參 here means "three".

Here, 切 means "sternly" and 厲 means "severely".

Tao Kan accuses the person on the road of not being a 佃; this is someone who tends fields.

Tao Kan ordered the wood shavings and bamboo heads to be recorded and collected up.

Here, 解 means "realize" and 以 means "the use of".)


13. Shi Sheng camped at Luoyang, where he invaded and plundered Henan.

Since the armies of the Jin generals Li Ju and Guo Mo had been defeated several times and their food was exhausted, they sent messengers asking to align themselves with Zhao. So Liu Yao sent Liu Yue to lead fifteen thousand soldiers to meet them at Meng Crossing, while Zhao's General Who Guards The East, Huyan Mo, led the Zhao forces of Jingzhou and Sizhou east from the Xiao mountains and the Mian River. Their hope was to link up with Li Ju and Guo Mo in order to attack Shi Sheng together.

Liu Yue overran the two Later Zhao camps at Meng Crossing and Shiliang, where he captured or killed more than five thousand. Then he advanced and besieged Shi Sheng at the Jinyong fortress. In response, Later Zhao's Duke of Zhongshan, Shi Hu, led forty thousand horse and foot and entered the region through Chenggao Pass, where he fought a battle against Liu Yue west of the Luo River. Liu Yue's troops were defeated and he was struck by a stray arrow, so he retreated to defend Shiliang. Then Shi Hu built moats and barricades to encircle Liu Yue and cut him off from the outside. Liu Yue's army suffered from extreme hunger, so they killed their horses and ate them. Shi Hu also attacked Huyan Mo and beheaded him.

Liu Yao himself led troops to rescue Liu Yue, and Shi Hu led thirty thousand cavalry to face him in battle. Zhao's General of the Forward Army, Liu Mo, attacked Shi Hu's general Shi Cong at Bate Slope and greatly routed him. Liu Yao camped at Jin Valley. But during the night, for unknown reasons, there was a great disturbance in Liu Yao's camp. His officers and soldiers all fled and scattered, and so he fell back to camp at Mianchi. But again, during the night, there was another disturbance and the soldiers once again scattered. Liu Yao was forced to return to Chang'an.

In the sixth month, Shi Hu took Shiliang, capturing Liu Yue and more than eighty of his generals and assistants, as well as more than three thousand Di and Qiang. He sent them all to Xiangguo, while he had the rest of Liu Yue's officers and soldiers, nine thousand, buried alive.

Then Shi Hu attacked the defector Wang Teng at Bingzhou. He captured Wang Teng and killed him, and then buried alive his officers and soldiers, more than seven thousand.

When Liu Yao returned to Chang'an, he wore white mourning clothing and remained in the suburbs for seven days, weeping over the losses, before he entered the city. His agitation and anger thus made him become ill.

Guo Mo was once again defeated by Shi Sheng. He abandoned his wife and children and fled south to Jiankang.

Li Ju's generals and officers secretly plotted to rebel against him and surrender to Later Zhao. Since Li Ju was powerless to stop them, he also led his forces south. But they abandoned him along the way, and only some hundred men like Guo Song stayed with him. Li Ju passed away at Luyang. His Chief Clerk, Cui Xuan, led two thousand of his remaining soldiers to surrender to Later Zhao.

All of Sizhou, Yuzhou, Xuzhou, and Yanzhou was now Later Zhao territory, with the Huai River serving as their border with Jin.


(At this time, Jingzhou was under the control of Jin, while most of Sizhou was under the control of Later Zhao. Liu Yao had relocated the people of those areas which he controlled into the Guanzhong region, and this was why this passage says that Liu Yue led them "east". Some say that Liu Cong had designated Luoyang as Jingzhou, and so by that logic, "Jingzhou and Sizhou" to Zhao would have been the same as the original Sizhou established by Jin.

The camp at Meng Crossing would have been south of the Yellow River; the camp at Shiliang would have been north of the Luo River.

The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Jian River emerges from the southeast of Xin'an County in Henan commandary. It flows northeast, passing east through a valley at Dong Slope, at the place called Bate Slope."

It further states, "The Jingu River emerges from the Taibai Plain. It flows southeast, passing through Jin Valley, and on southeast, passing by the residence of Shi Chong of Jin in Henan."

Luyang County was part of Nanyang commandary.)


14. Liu Yao appointed his Prince of Yong'an, his son Liu Yin, as Grand Marshal and Grand Chanyu, and changed his noble title to Prince of Nanyang. He established a Chanyu Terrace administration for Liu Yin at Weicheng. All the great heroes of the tribal forces of the Xiongnu, Jie, Xianbei, Di, and Qiang, from the Worthy Princes of the Left and Right, were assigned to him.


15. In autumn, the seventh month, on the day Xinwei (August 2nd), Emperor Ming appointed the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Chi Jian, as General of Chariots and Cavalry, Commander of military affairs in the three provinces of Xuzhou, Yanzhou, and Qingzhou, and Inspector of Yanzhou, and sent him to guard Guangling.


16. In the intercalary month, Emperor Ming appointed the Supervisor of the Left of the Masters of Writing, Xun Song, as Household Counselor With Golden Tassel and chief of affairs of the Masters of Writing. One of the Masters of Writing, Deng You, was appointed as the new Supervisor of the Left.


(The character for Xun Song's given name should be 崧 Song instead of 松 Song.)


17. The Guard General of the Right, Yu Yin, was the younger brother of Empress Yuanjing (Sima Rui’s Empress). He and the Guard General of the Left and Prince of Nandun, Sima Zong, both held positions close to Emperor Ming. They wielded commanded of the guards, and whenever they entered the palace, they were often flanked by groups of strong fellows. Wang Dao and Yu Liang were both wary of them, and said as much to Emperor Ming, but he only showed them even greater favor.

Yu Yin and Sima Zong possessed the keys to the palace gates. When Emperor Ming was bedridden with illness, Yu Liang wanted to present a petition to him during the night, so he went to Sima Zong to ask for the key. But Sima Zong refused, shouting at his messenger, "This is just about your family's status!" This made Yu Liang hate him even more.

When Emperor Ming's illness worsened, he did not wish to see anyone, and so none of the ministers could get an audience with him. Yu Liang suspected that Sima Zong, Yu Yin, and the Prince of Xiyang, Sima Zong's elder brother Sima Yang, had some sinister plot afoot. So he forced his way in, ascended the steps, and climbed onto the imperial bed, where he saw Emperor Ming weeping. Yu Liang said that Sima Yang was plotting with Sima Zong and the others to depose the great ministers and claim control of the government, and he asked that they be demoted. But Emperor Ming would not allow it.

On the day Renwu (October 12th), Emperor Ming summoned the Grand Governor, Sima Yang, the Minister Over The Masses, Wang Dao, the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Bian Kun, the General of Chariots and Cavalry, Chi Jian, the General Who Protects The Army, Yu Liang, the General Who Directs The Army, Lu Ye, and the Intendant of Danyang, Wen Jiao. He charged them all to accept his final testament and to administer the government as regents for the Crown Prince, as well as assigning them command of the palace soldiers. He also appointed Bian Kun as General of the Right, Yu Liang as Prefect of the Palace Secretariat, and Lu Ye as chief of affairs of the Masters of Writing.

On the day Dinghai (October 17th), Emperor Ming published his last testament. On the day Wuzi (October 18th), he passed away.

Emperor Ming's posthumous title was Ming ("the Wise"). He was indeed wise, nimble, and decisive, and this was why he was able to overcome a stronger enemy from a weaker position. He executed and destroyed traitorous ministers, and successfully restored the grand design.


(During the time that Emperor Yuan (Sima Rui) had been Prince of Langye, Lady Yu had been his consort. After Emperor Yuan claimed imperial title, he posthumously granted Lady Yu the title Empress Jing. Following Emperor Yuan's own death, they were buried together in the ancestral temple, and her title was changed to Yuanjing to match Sima Rui’s title as Emperor Yuan.

Sima Zong was the son of the late Prince of Runan, Sima Liang.

The term 管 here means "key", and the term 鑰 means a gate-bolt, what we would now call a key.

This was why Yu Liang later killed Sima Zong.

According to the Jin system, General Who Directs The Army was a higher rank than General Who Protects The Army. Yet in the list of future regents, Yu Liang is mentioned before Lu Ye. This was because of the greater power Yu Liang wielded as a marital relative of the royal family.

The term 更 here means "in addition".

Emperor Ming was twenty-six years old when he died.)


18. On the day Jichou (October 19th), Crown Prince Sima Yan ascended the throne, a mere four years old. He would be known as Emperor Cheng.

When the ministers were about to present the seal of state to the new sovereign, Wang Dao claimed illness and did not attend. Bian Dun sternly declared before the court, "How can Lord Wang consider himself a minister concerned with the fortunes of state? We are on the cusp of a great ceremony, when our new ruler has not yet ascended; how could any man or minister refuse to arrive on account of illness at this of all times?" When Wang Dao heard, he had himself brought in despite his illness and so attended.

A general amnesty was declared, and all civil and military officials were advanced by two ranks. Empress Yu was honored as the Empress Dowager.


(They would be presenting the seal as a sign of the new ruler's ascension.)


19. Because Emperor Cheng was so young, the ministers submitted a petition asking the new Empress Dowager to follow the example of Empress Hexi of Han (Deng Sui) by assuming regency over the court on his behalf. She declined the offer some four times, before at last agreeing to the request. In the ninth month, on the day Guimao (November 2nd), Empress Dowager Yu oversaw the court and exercised authority.

Empress Dowager Yu appointed Wang Dao as chief of affairs of the Masters of Writing, with Yu Liang and Bian Kun to act as his assistants as regents over the government. However, in the event, all major issues were decided by Yu Liang. She also promoted Chi Jian as General of Chariots and Cavalry and Lu Ye as Household Counselor With Golden Tassel of the Left, and both of them were granted the privilege of a Separate Office with equal ceremonial to the Three Excellencies. She appointed Sima Zong as General of Agile Cavalry, and Yu Yin as Grand Director of the Imperial Clan.


(Empress Hexi had become regent for her late husband's infant son after Emperor He of Han's death; this was the example that the ministers proposed that Empress Dowager Yu follow.)


20. The Masters of Writing summoned Yue Guang's son Yue Mo to serve as a Rectifier in his commandary, and they summoned Yu Min's kinsman Yu Yi to serve as Evaluator to the Minister of Justice. Both of them declined the offices, citing their late fathers' wills.

Bian Kun submitted a memorial stating, "No one is born without a father; no office is created without a purpose. Since one has a father, one would certainly have a will from him; serving in office is never without its regrets. But if families were to be allowed to hoard their sons, then there would be no one to serve the king, and the proper relationship between sovereign and minister would crumble. Yue Guang and Yu Min were blessed to live in a good age, yet are they now meant to be allowed to determine not only their own fates, but those of their descendants as well? If everyone now serving in office was allowed to follow the inclinations of their own hearts, then even the parents of soldiers away at war or in camps would summon them home to protect them."

Yue Mo and Yu Yi, seeing as they had no other choice, took up their offices.


(Yue Guang had been a native of Nanyang commandary. Yue Mo was now being summoned to serve as a Rectifier there.

Han had created the office of Adjudicator to the Minister of Justice. Jin changed the name of the office from 平 Adjudicator to 評 Evaluator.

The Great Treatise in the Book of Changes states, "Repentance and regret are the indications of one's sorrow and anxiety. (1.2)"

Bian Kun was saying that, since there is no one who does not hate the thought of death, if everyone were allowed to follow their own desires, then if any battle or war should spring up, parents would not wish to send their sons to such places of death.)


21. On the day Xinchou (October 31st), Emperor Ming was buried at Wuping Tomb.


22. In winter, the eleventh month, on the new moon of the day Guisi (December 22nd), there was an eclipse.


23. Murong Hui enjoyed peaceful relations with the Duan clan. He proposed that Duan Ya should move his capital. Duan Ya followed his advice, leaving his former capital at Lingzhi. However, this displeased the people of his domain. A grandson of Duan Jilujuan, Duan Liao, wished to usurp Duan Ya's position, and he used this moving of the capital as a pretext against Duan Ya. In the twelfth month, Duan Liao led the people of the Duan domain to attack Duan Ya. He killed Duan Ya and took control himself.

Ever since the time of Duan Wuwuchen (~304) until now, the Duan clan had grown stronger and more abundant by the day. Their territory reached from Yuyang commandary in the west to the Liao River in the east. They controlled more than thirty thousand households of tribal and Jin peoples, and they had an army of forty or fifty thousand mounted archers.


24. Tao Kan felt that the Inspector of Ningzhou, Wang Jian, was unable to resist the invaders of that province. So during this year, he submitted a petition asking that the Administrator of Lingling, Yin Feng of Nanyang, be appointed as Inspector of Ningzhou to replace him.

Before this time, when Wang Xun had been Inspector of Ningzhou (~310), the Man chieftain and Administrator of Liangshui, Cuan Liang, and the Administrator of Yizhou, Li Ti, had both rebelled and aligned themselves with Cheng. Wang Xun had campaigned against them, but without success. When Yin Feng arrived in Ningzhou, he hired a tribesman from beyond the border to assassinate Cuan Liang, who thus died. Then Yin Feng ordered Li Ti to submit. Peace was thus restored to Ningzhou.


(Shen Yue remarked, "Emperor Cheng of Jin split off part of Xinggu commandary to form Liangshui commandary. It was originally granted to the chieftain of the Man tribes. After Cuan Liang was killed, then the office began to be filled directly by royal appointees. As for Yizhou commandary, it was created by Later Han. Shu-Han renamed it to Jianning. In Emperor Hui's second year of Tai'an (304), seven counties in the west of Jianning commandary were split off to form a new Yizhou commandary. In Emperor Huai's second year of Yongjia (308), this commandary was renamed Jinning commandary." By there once again being reference here to an Administrator of Yizhou, it must have been another official title which was given to a tribal leader.)


25. Tuoba Henu passed away. His younger brother Tuoba Hena succeeded him.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue May 22, 2018 2:00 am


Beginning of the Reign of Emperor Cheng, Xianzong, Sima Yan


(Sima Yan, styled Shigen, was Emperor Ming's eldest son. The Laws of Posthumous Surnames states, "One who settles the people and establishes government may be called Cheng ('the Accomplished').")


The First Year of Xianhe (The Bingxu Year, 326 AD)


1. In spring, the second month, a general amnesty was declared in Jin, and the reign era title was changed to the first year of Xianhe.


2. Zhao appointed their Prince of Runan, Liu Xian, as Grand Commandant and chief of affairs of the Masters of Writing. They appointed their Household Counselor With Golden Tassel, Liu Sui, as Grand Minister Over The Masses. They appointed Bo Tai as Grand Minister of Works.

Empress Liu became ill. When Liu Yao asked her what her final wishes were, she tearfully replied, "When I was young, my uncle Liu Chang raised me; may Your Majesty treat him with honor. And my uncle Liu Ai has a daughter, Liu Fang, who possesses both virtue and beauty; may Your Majesty prepare the rear palace for her." Having said these things, she passed away.

Liu Yao appointed Liu Chang as Palace Attendant, Grand Minister Over The Masses, and chief of affairs of the Masters of Writing, and he honored Liu Fang as his new Empress. Soon, he further appointed Liu Chang as Grand Guardian.


(The term 鞠 here means "to raise".)


3. In the third month, Shi Le disguised himself and went for a nighttime patrol of his camps to inspect them. He offered bribes of gold and silks to the gate guards, asking to be let inside. The Keeper of the Yongchang Gate, Wang Jia, wanted to seize Shi Le and arrest him, but then his followers arrived, so Wang Jia stopped. When morning came, Shi Le summoned Wang Jia and appointed him as Capital Commandant Who Spreads Loyalty and as a Marquis Within The Passes.

Shi Le summoned his Recordskeeping Army Advisor, Xu Guang, but Xu Guang was drunk and did not come. So Shi Le demoted him to be a 牙門. When Xu Guang was later attending upon Shi Le, he nursed an irritated expression. This angered Shi Le, who had Xu Guang and his wife and children thrown into prison.


(The title Capital Commandant Who Spreads Loyalty was a creation of Later Zhao.

Xu Guang is described as being 慍色; this means when one is holding back anger, but it still shows up in one's expression.)


4. In summer, the fourth month, Shi Sheng invaded Runan, and captured Jin's Interior Minister of that commandary, Zu Ji.


5. In the sixth month, on the day Guihai (July 20th), the Jin general Liu Xia passed away. He was posthumously known as the Duke of Quanling.

On the day Guiyou (July 30th), Chi Jian was appointed as acting Inspector of Xuzhou, and the General Who Conquers The Caitiffs, Guo Mo, was appointed as General of the Household Gentlemen of the North, Chief of military affairs north of the Huai River, and acting commander of Liu Xia's forces.

Liu Xia's son Liu Zhao was still young. Liu Xia's brother-in-law, Tian Fang, and his former generals, Shi Die and others, were not pleased to now be assigned as the subordinates of someone else. So they acclaimed Liu Zhao as the successor to his father's position and rebelled. The Administrator of Linhuai, Liu Jiao, suddenly attacked Liu Xia's camp, and he beheaded Tian Fang and the other rebels.

Now Liu Xia's widow, Lady Shao, was the daughter of Shao Xu, and she shared her father's bravery and resolution. Liu Xia had once been surrounded by Later Zhao soldiers, when Lady Shao herself led several riders to rescue her husband from out of a host of ten thousand enemies. And when Tian Fang and the others wanted to start their rebellion, Lady Shao tried to stop them, but they would not listen to her. So she secretly set a fire, and completely burned up all their stores of arms and armor. This was why the rebels were defeated.

An imperial edict was issued appointing Liu Zhao to inherit his father's noble title.


(Quanling County was part of Lingling commandary.

Liu Xia had been camped at Sikou, between Linhuai and Xiapi. This was why Liu Jiao was able to launch a surprise attack on the camp.

Liu Zhao inherited Liu Xia's title as Duke of Quanling.)


6. Wang Dao claimed illness as a reason for not attending court. But meanwhile, he went to see Chi Jian off from the capital. Bian Kun submitted a petition stating, "Wang Dao flouts the law and follows his own personal inclinations. This is unbecoming of a great minister of state. I ask that he be removed from office." Although this proposal was set aside and nothing came of it, this act still aroused dread among the court.

Bian Kun was a frugal, plain, honest, and pure fellow, known for his biting candor and his blunt words. He took the duties of his position very seriously; he was not the sort of man to make much of himself, nor could he stand to just go along with whatever was in style at the time. Because of that, few famous gentlemen thought much of him.

Ruan Fu once said to him, "You never allow yourself a moment's rest. It's like you're harboring a dull stone. Isn't that exhausting?"

Bian Kun replied, "You gentlemen take such a broad view of what is good and right that you honor every passing trend in turn. Someone must hold fast to what is proper, and if not me, then who?"

During this time, many of the idle young men of leisure among the nobles respected Wang Cheng and Xie Kun for their unrestrained behavior. Bian Kun sternly told the court, "There is no greater crime than to pervert the rites and harm proper education. This was the very thing which brought about the downfall of the central court." He wanted to submit a petition to officially propose this, but Wang Dao and Yu Liang paid it no heed, so he let the matter drop.


(When you think much of someone, that is called 多 "approving" them, while when you think little of someone, that is called 少 "slighting" them.

The "central court" was the Western Jin court, at Luoyang.

Bian Kun intended to formally submit a petition which would have listed the offenses which he believed Wang Cheng and Xie Kun were guilty of.)


7. The soldiers of Cheng campaigned against the Si-Sou people of Yuegui commandary, and routed them.


(The beginning of this campaign is mentioned in Book 92, in Emperor Ming's first year of Taixing (323.22).

The second character of Yuegui, 巂, is pronounced "sui".)


8. In autumn, the seventh month, on the day Guichou (September 8th), Jin's Marquis Lie ("the Fierce") of Guanyang, Ying Zhan, passed away.


(Guanyang County was part of Lingling commandary. It was established by Eastern Wu.)


9. Up until now, during the time that Wang Dao had been in charge of the government, he had won over many people through his magnanimous and agreeable policies. But when Yu Liang now took command of affairs, he hewed strictly to the laws, and thus he lost the hearts of many.

Now the Inspector of Yuzhou, Zu Yue, considered himself equal in stature and seniority with Chi Jian and Bian Kun, so he did not wish to pay any regard to the orders of the central government. Beyond that, he had hoped to receive the privilege of opening a Separate Office, but had been denied. He had sent in many petitions, but most of them were ignored or rejected. All these things made him burn with resentment. Furthermore, when an imperial edict was sent out commending and promoting great ministers, Zu Yue and Tao Kan were not mentioned; both of them suspected that Yu Liang had arranged for them to be left out.

The Interior Minister of Liyang, Su Jun, had also performed achievements on behalf of the state, and his power and influence had gradually increased. By now, he had ten thousand elite troops at his command, equipped with exceptional arms and armor. The court had entrusted him with affairs beyond the Yangzi. Yet Su Jun let himself grow more and more arrogant and excessive, and he had ambitions of humbling the court. He gathered up and harbored fugitives from justice, and the strength of his forces grew higher by the day, all sustained by the county officials. Su Jun compelled them to handle all his shipments of supplies, and the slightest objections were met with his blistering indignation.

So Yu Liang was suspicious of Su Jun and Zu Yue, and he was also afraid of Tao Kan getting command of forces as well. Thus, in the eighth month, Yu Liang appointed the Intendant of Danyang, Wen Jiao, as Commander of military affairs in Jiangzhou and Inspector of Jiangzhou, stationed at Wuchang. He also appointed the Supervisor of the Masters of Writing, Wang Shu, as Interior Minister of Kuaiji, in order to enlarge his own base of support.

Yu Liang also repaired the defenses at the Shitou fortress, to guard against any circumstance.


(Stature means one's reputation of the time; seniority means one's position in regards to age.

According to the Jin system, the privilege of administering a Separate Office was only granted to Grand Generals of the ranks of Generals Who Conquer or Who Guard one of the four directions. Now Zu Yue was merely General Who Pacifies The West, and yet he hoped to claim this honor for himself!

To be left out means to be deleted.

Su Jun had gained merits through routing the forces of the rebels Shen Chong and Qian Feng.

How ironic that in restoring the Shitou fortress, Yu Liang was merely furnishing Su Jun with the means to oppose the royal army.)


10. The new Intendant of Danyang was Ruan Fu. But when he considered that since the court was under the leadership of the Empress Dowager and the government was being run by her brother Yu Liang, he said to his own relatives, "The great enterprise of state in the Southland has lost its way; our sovereign is a child, and so we face troubled times. Yu Liang is a mere youth, and he has not yet garnered trust and acclaim. The way I see it, turmoil is not far off." So he asked to be sent away as Inspector of Guangzhou. This Ruan Fu was the son of Ruan Xian.


11. In winter, the tenth month, Emperor Cheng's younger brother by the same mother, Sima Yue, was appointed as Prince of Wu.


12. Ever since Sima Zong had lost his position, he had harbored resentment. Beyond that, he had long been on good terms with Su Jun. On the one side, Yu Liang wanted to execute Sima Zong; on the other, Sima Zong wanted to depose Yu Liang from his position in command of the government.

The Middle Minister of the Imperial Secretariat, Zhong Ya, reported that Sima Zong was plotting rebellion. So Yu Liang ordered the Guard General of the Right, Zhao Yin, to arrest him. Sima Zong commanded his own soldiers to fight back, but he was killed by Zhao Yin. Sima Zong's branch of the royal family were punished by having their surname changed from Sima to merely Ma, and his three sons Sima Chuo, Sima Chao, and Sima Yan were all reduced to commoner status. Yu Liang also had the Grand Governor and Prince of Xiyang, Sima Yang, stripped of office and demoted his title to Prince of Yiyang County. The Grand Director of the Imperial Clan, Yu Yin, was sent away to serve as Administrator of Guiyang.

Now Sima Zong had been a close relative of the royal family, and Sima Yang had been a chief minister under Emperor Ming. Yet Yu Liang had demoted and wiped them out in a single day. This only increased the resentment against him by those near and far.

Sima Zong's partisan Bian Chan fled to Su Jun. Yu Liang ordered Su Jun to hand him over, but Su Jun kept Bian Chan hidden and did not obey.

Emperor Cheng was unaware of Sima Zong's death. Sometime later, he asked Yu Liang, "Where has Lord White Head been lately?" Yu Liang replied that Sima Zong had been plotting rebellion and had thus been executed. Emperor Cheng wept as he said, "Uncle, when you say someone is plotting rebellion, then you just kill them. What will happen when someone tells me that you are the one plotting rebellion?" Yu Liang was frightened, and his expression changed.


(Sima Zong had lost his position in command of the palace guards, which is what this passage means by his having "lost his position".

Sima Yang and Sima Zong were elder and younger brothers. This passage mentions Sima Zong's closeness and Sima Yang's chief position to recount how Sima Zong was a close member of the royal clan and Sima Yang had held high office.)


13. Several Zhao generals, Huang Xiu and others, invaded Zan County. Jin's Administrator of Shunyang, Wei Gai, led his forces to fall back to Xiangyang.


(During Han, Zan County was part of Nanyang commandary. By Jin, it had been split off as part of Shunyang commandary.)


14. Shi Le, following the advice of Cheng Xia, commandeered the palaces at Ye. He placed his eldest son Shi Hong in command of Ye, and assigned him ten thousand guards as soldiers. Fifty-four commanders of chariots or cavalry were placed under his command, and the General of Agile Cavalry and Libationer of the Gates, Wang Yang, was given command of the Six Tribes in order to aid Shi Hong.

Now Shi Hu had originally had control of Ye, and as he felt that he had achieved much on behalf of the state, he had no intention of leaving Ye. So he restored the Three Terraces near the city and moved his family and household into them. And it was from this time that Shi Hu's resentment grew against Cheng Xia.


(This was why Shi Hu later killed Cheng Xia and Shi Hong.)


15. In the eleventh month, the Later Zhao general Shi Cong attacked Shouchun. Zu Yue sent several petitions to the Jin court asking for aid, but the court would not send out soldiers.

Shi Cong then invaded Junqiu and Fuling, where he killed or captured more than five thousand people. Jiankang was greatly shaken, and an imperial edict was issued promoting Wang Dao as Grand Marshal, Bearer of the Yellow Battle-Axe, and Commander of all military forces in order to resist Shi Cong. The army was at Jiangning. Then Su Jun sent his general Han Huang to attack Shi Cong, and Han Huang drove him off. Wang Dao relinquished his role as Grand Marshal.

The court discussed building a dyke to forestall any further invasions by the barbarians. Zu Yue said to himself, "They are going to leave me cut off!" And his resentment and anger only grew.


(Junqiu and Fuling were two counties under Huainan commandary. Yan Shigu remarked, "The characters in Junqiu are pronounced 'jun' and 'cou (c-ou)'." The Spring and Autumn Annals states, "Duke Ai of Lu had a meeting with Wu in Tuogao (Ai 12.3)." Du Yu's commentary on that text states, "This place Tuogao was in Junqiu County in Huainan commandary." Liu Xu remarked, "Tang's Shen County in Luzhou was the territory of Han's Junqiu County."

Zu Yue made this remark because Shouchun would have been on the far side of the proposed dyke.)


16. In the twelfth month, Jin's Administrator of Jimin, Liu Kai, and others killed the Interior Minister of Xiapi, Xiahou Jia, and rebelled at Xiapi, surrendering it to Later Zhao. The Later Zhao general Shi Zhan attacked Jin's Inspector of Henan, Wang Zhan (or Xian), at Zhu and captured him. Jin's Interior Minister of Pengcheng, Liu Xu, recaptured Shicheng in Lanling, but Shi Zhan attacked and captured him as well.


(The Records of Jin states, "Some say that when Cao-Wei conquered Shu-Han, they moved the families of their great generals to the north of the Ji River, where they formed Jimin commandary." The Geographical Records of the Taikang Era does not mention this Jimin commandary. The matter remains uncertain.

The name of the Administrator of Henan mentioned here should be Wang Xian, not Wang Zhan.

Liu Hui's Records of Mount Zou states, "The city of Zhu was south of Mount Zou in Zou County in the Lu princely fief. It was two li from the mountain." The Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals mentions that "Zhu moved their capital to Yi" in the thirteenth year of Duke Wen; this city must have been that place.

According to Wei Shou's Geographical Records, there was a Mount Shicheng in Lanling County.)


17. Shi Le appointed his General of 牙門, Wang Bo, as Recordskeeping Army Advisor, charging him with maintaining and settling the Nine Schools of Thought. He also began conducting the systems of examinations on the Classics for Abundant Talent and Filial and Incorrupt candidates.


(It was the policy of Jin to examine Abundant Talent and Filial and Incorrupt candidates through testing them on the Classics. At this time, Later Zhao began implementing the same system.)


18. In Liangzhou, Zhang Jun feared the threat posed by Zhao. So during this year, he relocated more than two thousand families in Longxi and Nan'an commandaries to Guzang.

He also sent envoys to Cheng to restore good relations with them, and wrote a letter to Li Xiong asking him to give up his imperial title and declare himself a vassal of Jin. Li Xiong wrote back stating, "I was acclaimed to this position by the gentlemen who serve me, but it was never my original intention to claim a royal title. My inclination is to perform the greatest merit as a servant of Jin, by sweeping away the turmoil. However, the Jin royal family has declined, and their virtue and sound make little impact. I have been looking to the east, awaiting the month and the year. Now I have received your gifts, and my feelings are unclear as to what shall come next."

From then on, both sides regularly exchanged envoys.


(Li Xiong was saying that his usual feeling was looking to the east towards Jin, yet now Zhang Jun had sent him this letter, and he was unclear if he should join with him.)
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."
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Taishi Ci 2.0
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue May 22, 2018 2:15 am


The Second Year of Xianhe (The Dinghai Year, 327 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, Jin's Administrator of Zhuti, Yang Shu, fought the Cheng general Luo Heng at Taideng. But Yang Shu's army was defeated, and he died.


2. In summer, the fifth month, on the new moon of the day Jiashen (June 6th), there was an eclipse.


3. Zhao's Martial Guard General, Liu Lang, led thirty thousand cavalry to attack Yang Nandi at Chouchi. They were unsuccessful, and only captured some three thousand households before returning.


4. It was earlier mentioned that Zhang Jun had accepted titles from Zhao as their nominal vassal. But now, when he heard about the defeats which Zhao had suffered at the hands of Later Zhao, he cast off these Zhao titles. He rebranded himself as a subject of Jin, assuming the titles of Grand General and Governor of Liangzhou under Jin authority.

Zhang Jun sent the Administrator of Wuwei, Dou Tao, the Administrator of Jincheng, Zhang Lang, the Administrator of Wuxing, Xin Yán, the General Who Arouses Ferocity, Song Ji, and others to lead an army of several tens of thousands to join together with the forces under Han Pu and attack Zhao's commandaries in Qinzhou.

Liu Yao's son Liu Yin led Zhao troops to attack the Liangzhou armies, and he camped at Didao. The Liangzhou General Who Protects The Army, Xin Yan, was still at Fuhan. With the Zhao forces closing in on him, Xin Yan sent word to Zhang Jun of how dire his situation was. In response, Zhang Jun ordered Han Pu and Xin Yán to march to reinforce him. Han Pu advanced and crossed the Wogan Range.

Xin Yán wanted to strike the enemy at once, but Han Pu said to him, "The end of summer is approaching, and there have been many changes among the sun and stars. We cannot make any rash movements. Besides, Liu Yao is already at war with Shi Le. Liu Yin cannot afford to remain here facing us down for very long." So Han Pu and Liu Yin settled into a stalemate for more than seventy days, each of them occupying one side of the Tao River.

In winter, the tenth month, Han Pu sent Xin Yán to escort some supplies to Jincheng. When Liu Yin heard about it, he mused, "Han Pu's forces are ten times the size of my own, and my food stores are so sparse that it would be difficult for me to hold this position for much longer. Yet now the enemy has split their forces, and they are moving grain shipments. Thus does Heaven help us. If I can just defeat Xin Yán, Han Pu and the others will melt away on their own."

So Liu Yin led three thousand cavalry to attack Xin Yán at the Wogan Range, and they defeated him. Then Liu Yin advanced to threaten Han Pu's camp, and most of Han Pu's army scattered. Liu Yin pressed this victory by pursuing the fleeing Liangzhou soldiers, and he even crossed over the Yellow River, attacked and captured Lingju, took the heads of about twenty thousand people, and then advanced further and occupied Zhenwu. The Liangzhou region was greatly afraid.

Zhang Lang and Xin Yan led their forces, several tens of thousands, to surrender to Zhao. Zhang Jun thus lost the position across the Yellow River that he had earlier regained.


During Emperor Hui's Yongning reign era (301-303), Zhang Gui had petitioned the court requesting that the refugees from Qinzhou and Yongzhou who had fled to Liangzhou be established in a new commandary, Wuxing, to be created northwest of Guzang.

At this time, Han Pu was at Ji.

The Wogan Range was in the southeast of Daxia County in Jinxing commandary, northwest of the Tao River.

According to the Commentary on the Water Classic, the Tao River passed through the west of the city of Didao.

During Han, Lingju County was part of Jincheng commandary. When Zhang Shi created Guangwu commandary, Lingju became part of it.

Zhenwu was southeast of Guzang, northwest of Guangwu.)


5. By now, Yu Liang was certain that if Su Jun remained at Liyang, he was certain to rebel or cause some other misfortune. Yu Liang wanted to issue an imperial edict summoning Su Jun to the capital, to get him away from his soldiers. He broached the matter with Wang Dao, who advised him, "Su Jun is very suspicious, and he occupies a stout position. He will definitely ignore any such edict. You had best just put up with him for now."

Then Yu Liang discussed the issue before the court, saying, "Su Jun is what they call 'a wolf-like child with an evil heart'. He is certain to rebel sooner or later. If we summon him now and he obstinately disobeys the summons, at least the disaster will not be as serious. But if we wait a few more years, then he will be beyond all control. We face the same situation now as when the Seven Princedoms threatened the stability of the Han dynasty."

No one else in the court dared to mention the difficulties that might arise from Yu Liang's proposal. Only the Household Counselor With Golden Tassel, Bian Kun, vigorously objected. He said, "Su Jun has powerful soldiers right at hand, and he poses a very near threat to the capital region. He could descend upon us in an instant. Any sudden development could cost us everything. You must reconsider this plan!"

But Yu Liang would not listen to him.

Certain that the plan would fail, Bian Kun then wrote a letter to Wen Jiao, stating, "Yuangui (Yu Liang) is set upon his plan to summon Su Jun here. This is a serious matter of state. Su Jun is already paranoid about his position; when he is summoned here, that will just bring on the coming disaster even faster, and the court will feel the venom of his sting. The court's strength may be recovering, but I do not know if it will be sufficient to overcome Su Jun or not. Lord Wang Dao feels the same as I do. I have done my utmost to fiercely argue against this plan, but my words were in vain. Sir, you were originally sent out so that you could provide assistance from outside, but now I regret that you are such a long way away from us. If only you could have been here to add your own voice to ours and help oppose the plan, perhaps we could have carried the day."

Wen Jiao himself wrote several letters to Yu Liang advising against the plan, and the court believed that it could not be done. But Yu Liang still did not listen.


(In the Zuo Commentary, the Chu minister Yin Ziwen says, "As the saying goes, 'a wolf-like child will have an evil heart'. Just so with this one; he is a wolf, so how shall he be brought up in your family? (Xuan 4.3)"

Before the Rebellion of the Seven Princedoms during the Han dynasty, the minister Chao Cuo proposed carving out territories from the fiefs of the Princes of Wu and Chu. This was his logic: "They will rebel if you carve out the territories, but they will still rebel even if you do not. So if you carve their territories out, they will be quick to rebel and thus the misfortune will be smaller. But if you do not carve them out, they will take their time in rebelling and thus the misfortune will be greater." This was the precedent which Yu Liang was comparing the present situation to.

Only the Yangzi served as a barrier between the capital at Jiankang and Su Jun's post at Liyang.

Yu Liang's style name was Yuangui.

The term 蠚 means the bite or sting of an insect.

Bian Kun refers to the fact that Wen Jiao was away from the capital, at his post at Xunyang.)


6. When Su Jun heard about the imminent summons, he sent his Marshal, He Reng, to visit Yu Liang and convey his thoughts: "I have a commission to campaign against the enemy on the border. Send me anywhere to attack them, near or far, and I will heed the order. But I truly cannot bear to come serve in the capital."

But Yu Liang refused this proposal.

He recalled the General of the Household Gentlemen of the North, Guo Mo, to serve as General of the Rear and acting Colonel of Bivouacked Cavalry, and he appointed the Chief Clerk of the Right to the Minister Over The Masses, Yu Bing, as Interior Minister of the Wu princely fief. Both of these things were meant to prepare against Su Jun. This Yu Bing was Yu Liang's younger brother.

Then Yu Liang issued the imperial edict, commending Su Jun for his achievements and summoning him to serve in the capital as Grand Minister of Finance, as well as promoting him to the rank of Cavalier In Regular Attendance and granting him the distinction of being Specially Advanced. Su Jun's younger brother Su Yi was ordered to take command of Su Jun's forces.

Su Jun sent up a petition stating, "It was not so long ago that Emperor Ming himself took me by the hand and sent me north to campaign against our barbarous foes. The Central Plains have not been quelled yet, and so how can I dare to be at ease? I beg you to allot me even just one barren commandary in Qingzhou, and let me serve you as your falcon or your hound."

But again, Yu Liang refused to accept this offer.

Su Jun dressed himself all in readiness to heed the summons. But he still hesitated and could not make up his mind. Then one of his Army Advisors, Ren Rang, said to him, "General, even your request for one measly commandary was brushed aside. With things how they are now, I fear there is no way out for you. You ought to prepare your soldiers so that you can defend yourself." And the Prefect of Fuling, Kuang Shu, also urged Su Jun to rebel. So Su Jun decided not to obey the summons.


(At this time, Guo Mo was in command of the Jin armies north of the Huai River.

Fuling County was part of Huainan commandary. The Records of Jin states, "During Emperor Ming of Han's era, Fuling was submerged in Lake Ma." This Lake Ma is thirty li west of Liyang County in modern Hezhou.)


7. When Wen Jiao heard how serious things had gotten, he wanted to lead the forces under his command downriver to protect Jiankang. And the commandaries of the three Wu regions also wanted to assemble their own soldiers for the same purpose. But Yu Liang would not listen to any of these suggestions. He responded to Wen Jiao, "I am more worried about the 'western border' than I am about Liyang. Sir, you must not pass one step beyond Lei Pond."

The court sent envoys to Su Jun in an attempt to dissuade him. But he replied, "When the government itself insists that I mean to rebel, how can I survive? Better for me to look upon my prison from atop this mount, rather than look upon the mount from within my prison! And this is not my special fate; it has always been the doom of those who are seen as threats to the state. 'When the crafty hare has been killed, let the hunting dog be boiled', as the saying goes. But before then, I mean to avenge myself against the one who brought all this about!"


(The "western border" meant Tao Kan, who held command in the west in Jingzhou.

Lei Pond was east of Dalei, within modern Chizhou. The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "As the Qinglin River flows southeast through Xunyang, it splits into two rivers. One river flows east, passing through Dalei." But note that the original edition did not contain this passage.

Fan Li of the ancient state of Yue resigned his office with the words, "When the crafty hare has been killed, the running dog is boiled."

Su Jun was saying he meant to get revenge against Yu Liang.)


8. Su Jun knew that Zu Yue had his own grievances against the court. So he sent one of his Army Advisors, Xu Hui, to meet with Zu Yue and urge him to join together with Su Jun for a joint campaign against Yu Liang. Zu Yue was overjoyed at the offer, and his nephews Zu Zhi and Zu Yan urged him to make the alliance.

The Interior Minister of the Qiao princely fief, Huan Xuan, said to Zu Zhi, "Our enemy is the barbarians, and they remain powerful and unvanquished. We ought to be exerting our strength to campaign against them. If Commissioner Zu wants to be a conquering hero, why does he not aid the state by campaigning against Su Jun? If he did that, his power and majesty would naturally rise. But to go so far as to ally with Su Jun and help with his rebellion? How long will he be able to last?"

But Zu Zhi did not listen to him.

Then Huan Xuan went to visit Zu Yue, asking to see him. But Zu Yue knew that Huan Xuan meant to remonstrate with him, so he would not agree to a meeting. So Huan Xuan cut his ties with Zu Yue and refused to associate with him.

In the eleventh month, Zu Yue sent the Interior Minister of Pei, his elder brother's son Zu Huan, and the Administrator of Huainan, his brother-in-law Xu Liu, to lead soldiers to join with Su Jun. Zu Yue's widow was this Xu Liu's sister. She fiercely remonstrated with him, but to no avail.

An imperial edict was issued appointing Bian Kun as Prefect of the Masters of Writing and acting Guard General of the Right. The Interior Minister of Guaiji, Wang Shu, was appointing as acting Inspector of Yangzhou. The Administrator of Wuxing, Yu Tan, was placed in command of military affairs for the commandaries of the Three Wu regions.


(Zu Yue had led his forces to Liyang; Huan Xuan led his own soldiers to camp at Mount Matou.

This 鄶稽 "Guaiji" was the same commandary as 會稽 Kuaiji; the first character was pronounced "guai (g-ai)". It was mentioned earlier (326.9) that Wang Shu had been appointed to Kuaiji commandary. The Biography of Wang Shu in the Book of Jin states, "At the time that Su Jun was being summoned to the capital, Wang Dao wanted to send Wang Shu out to help provide assistance from the outside, so he had Wang Shu appointed as Interior Minister of Kuaiji. Wang Shu protested, on the grounds that his father's given name was 會 Hui, the same as the first character in 會稽 Kuaiji, so this would constitute a personal impropriety for him. The court felt that, although they happened to share the same character, since the pronunciation was different, there was no impropriety. But Wang Shu, insisting that sharing the same character was sufficient reason for him to object, requested he be assigned to a different commandary. To appease him, the 會 character in Kuaiji was changed to 鄶 Guai.)


9. The Minister of the Left of the Masters of Writing, Kong Tan, and the Marshal to the Minister Over The Masses, Tao Hui of Danyang, spoke to Wang Dao. They proposed, "Before Su Jun gets here, we should move to cut him off at Fuling. From there, we can guard all the river mouths on the north side of the Yangzi. The rebels are few compared to us, and we can decide everything in a single battle. And if Su Jun does not come, then we can move forward and threaten his position. But if we do not occupy Fuling first, Su Jun is sure to get there ahead of us. If he does so, then he will make the people's hearts tremble in shock, and it will be hard to oppose him. There is no time to waste."

Wang Dao agreed with them. But Yu Liang would not listen.

In the twelfth month, on the day Xinhai (December 30th), Su Jun sent his generals Han Huang, Zhang Jian, and others to attack and capture Gushu, where they captured the stores of salt and rice there. Yu Liang now regretted what had happened.


(Fuling had Lake Ma as a defensive barrier, where one could guard the various river mouths. Holding this place would prevent Su Jun's soldiers from being able to cross the Yangzi.

Gushu was adjacent to the islets in the Yangzi. Boats were stored there, and Jin accumulated stores of salt and rice there.)


10. On the day Renzi (December 31st), the Princes of Pengcheng and Zhangwu, Sima Xiong and Sima Xiu, defected to Su Jun's side. This Sima Xiong was the son of Sima Shi.


(This Sima 釋 Shi (not to be confused with the more famous Sima 師 Shi or Emperor Jing), the earlier Prince of Pengcheng, was the son of Prince Mu ("the Solemn"), Emperor Xuan's (Sima Yi's) younger brother Sima Quan. And this Sima Xiu was the grandson of the Prince of Yiyang, Sima Wang.)


11. On the day Gengshen (January 8th of 328), the capital region was placed under martial law. Yu Liang was temporarily granted the Staff of Authority and placed in command of all forces opposing the rebels. The Guard General of the Left, Zhao Yin, was appointed as Administrator of Liyang. He sent the General of the Left, Sima Liu, to lead soldiers to occupy Lake Ci in order to oppose Su Jun. The former Colonel of Archers Who Shoot at a Sound, Liu Chao, was appointed as the new Guard General of the Left. The Palace Attendant, Chu Sha, was appointed to provide assistance with the campaign.

Yu Liang ordered his younger brother Yu Yi to lead several hundred soldiers to guard the Shitou fortress.


(Lake Ci was at Gushu, sixty-five li north of Dangtu County in modern Taipingzhou. For some ten li, the Yangzi passes through three mountains, until it reaches Lizhou. From Lizhou, it passes the Baitu Promontory and then flows through Lake Ci.)


12. On the day Bingyin (January 14th of 328), the Prince of Langye, Sima Yu, had his title changed to Prince of Kuaiji. The Prince of Wu, Sima Yue, was made the new Prince of Langye.


13. The Interior Minister of Xuancheng, Huan Yi, wanted to raise his troops to come to the aid of the court. His Chief Clerk, Bi Hui, advised him that since the troops of their commandary were so few and weak, while the local mountain peoples were so easily riled up, he ought to keep his troops in readiness to defend against them. But Huan Yi sternly replied, "It is said, 'When you see a man who transgresses propriety towards his ruler, take him off as an eagle or a hawk pursues a small bird.' The very fortunes of state are in peril, and it would be unjust to remain at ease here."

On the day Xinwei (January 19th of 328), Huan Yi advanced to camp at Wuhu. Han Huang attacked and routed him. He then advanced to attack Xuancheng, while Huan Yi retreated to guard Guangde. Han Huang greatly pillaged several counties in the area before turning back.

Chi Jian wanted to lead the forces of Xuzhou to come reinforce the court as well, but the court issued an edict refusing permission, on account of the enemies to the north.


(The Registry of Surnames states, "Those with the surname 裨 Bi are the descendants of Bi Chen of the ancient state of Zheng."

The Shanyue or Mountain Yue peoples lived in the southwestern part of Xuancheng commandary. Ever since the era of Eastern Wu, they had invaded or stirred up rebellion several times.

Huan Yi quotes the words of the Lu minister Zang Wenzhong from the Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals (Wen 18.9).

Xuancheng commandary was administered from Wanling County; it also had a separate Xuancheng County. Li Xian remarked, "The city of Xuancheng was in the east of Nanling County in modern Xuanzhou."

He Chengtian remarked, "Guangdu was an old Han county." Shen Yue remarked, "Neither of the two Records of Han lists a Guangde County. I suspect it was first established by Eastern Wu, as part of Xuancheng commandary." The Records of Tongchuan states, "Later Han established Guangde County. Jin combined it into Xuancheng. It is now the Guangde Garrison.")


14. During this year, Shi Hu attacked the new Prince of Dai, Tuoba Hena. They fought north of the border pass at Gouzhu, where Tuoba Hena's soldiers were defeated.

Tuoba Hena shifted his capital to Daning in order to avoid the threat now posed by Later Zhao.


(Zhang Shoujie remarked, "Mount Gouzhu was thirty li northwest of Yanmen County in Daizhou." According to the Records of Tang, Yanmen County had an eastern pass and a western pass; this must have been the place.

According to the Commentary on the Water Classic, this Daning was the same as Guangning. 廣甯 Guangning, called 廣寧 Guangning during Former Han, was part of Shanggu commandary. It became called 廣甯 Guangning during Later Han. Emperor Wu of Jin (Sima Yan) created Guangning commandary during the Taikang reign era (280-89).)


15. The late Prince of Dai, Tuoba Yulü, had a son Tuoba Yihuai who was living with the clan of his uncle, the Helan clan. Tuoba Hena sent messengers demanding Tuoba Yihuai be handed over to him. But the leader of the Helan clan, Helan Aitou, protected Tuoba Yihuai and would not give him up. Tuoba Hena and the Yuwen tribe of the Xianbei attacked Helan Aitou together, but without success.
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."
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Re: Zizhi Tongjian: Western Jin (Book 79-93)

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Tue May 22, 2018 4:58 am

Glad to see you back. Thanks for another update! :mrgreen:
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