Zizhi Tongjian: Western Jin (Book 79-92)

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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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