ZZTJ Translations: Western Jin (Book 79-88)

Best threads of the SGYYS, for your viewing pleasure.


Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:46 am


The Fifth Year of Yuankang (The Yimao Year, 295 AD)


1. In summer, the sixth month, it rained hailstones in Donghai, five 寸 thick.


2. There was great flooding in the six provinces of Jingzhou, Yangzhou, Yanzhou, Yuzhou, Qingzhou, and Xuzhou.


3. In winter, the tenth month, a fire broke out at the Arsenal, and many treasures from past dynasties were burned up, not to mention two million weapons.

In the twelfth month, on the day Bingxu (January 22nd of 296), a new Arsenal was built, and a grand review was made of the weapons.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of the Thirty Kingdoms and the Annals of Jin state that the fire at the Arsenal was in the intercalary month, and the Book of Liu-Song and the chapter on the Five Elements in the Book of Jin further state it was 'in the intercalary month on the day Gengyin'. But despite all that, I follow the account of the Annals of Emperor Hui in the Book of Jin."

The Biography of Zhang Hua in the Book of Jin states, "The Prince of Zhao, Sima Lun, and his follower Sun Xiu had long had enmity with Zhang Hua, and they hated Zhang Hua like an enemy. When the fire broke out at the Arsenal, Zhang Hua was afraid that it was because of some kind of uprising, so he first sent his soldiers to guard critical points around the city and only afterwards came to put out the fire at the Arsenal. Because of this delay, various treasures that had been stored there through former dynasties were entirely burned up. These included the sword which Emperor Gaozu of Han (Liu Bang) had used in his youth to chop the White Serpent in half, the head of Wang Mang, the clogs of Confucius, and other treasures."

But as the Zizhi Tongjian has it, the enmity between Sima Lun and Sun Xiu on one hand and Zhang Hua on the other did not begin until the year after this incident. However, the recent overthrows and executions of great ministers had all come about because of coups from within. This must have been why Zhang Hua was afraid of some development and immediately sent his soldiers to guard places before tending to the fire.)


4. Tuoba Luguan divided his state into three different divisions. The first division was the land north of Shanggu and west of Ruyuan, and he ruled this division directly. The second division was north of Canhe Slope in Dai commandary. Tuoba Shamohan had been Tuoba Luguan's elder brother, and Tuoba Luguan now sent Tuoba Shamohan's son Tuoba Yituo to administer this division. The last division was centered around the city of Shengle in Dingxiang. He sent Tuoba Yituo's younger brother Tuoba Yilu to administer this division. Tuoba Yilu was skilled at using troops; he marched west and attacked the various Xiongnu and Wuhuan tribes and routed them all.

A native of Dai commandary, Wei Cao, his son Wei Xiong, and their fellow commandary native, Ji Dan, went to align themselves with the Tuoba clan, saying they would help Tuoba Yituo and Tuoba Yilu to recruit men from Jin. Tuoba Yituo was happy to receive them, and he employed them to assist with state affairs. Thanks to that, a few more of the people of Jin aligned themselves with the Tuoba clan.


(The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Ru River begins southeast of the Yuyi Command Post. This command post was created in the age of Emperor Taiwu of Northern Wei." Yan Shigu remarked, "The name of this river, 濡, is pronounced 'nuan (n-uan)'."

Canhe Slope was in Canhe County in Dai commandary. Canhe County was abolished during Later Han and Jin. It was re-established during Northern Wei, now as part of Liangcheng commandary.

Regarding Shengle in Dingxiang, the two Records of Han record it as Chengle. The Records of Later Han states that it was part of Yunzhong commandary. It was abolished during Cao-Wei and Jin, but recreated by Northern Wei as Shengle commandary.

The 㐌 in Tuoba Yituo's name is pronounced "te (t-e)".

The Registry of Surnames states, "箕 Ji Shang was the descendant of Jizi. And there was the great minister Ji Zhengfu in the state of Jin."

This passage shows the growing strength of the Tuoba clan. At the time when these things were taking place, although the great ministers and royal family members of Jin were already slaughtering one another, there were not yet any great disturbances in the further corners of the realm. Yet Wei Cao, Ji Dan, and people of their sort were already planning to abandon the lands of the Hua (ethnic Han) in favor of the tribal lands at so early a date! The people of the Middle Kingdom could thus be awed. This was why the Han dynasty kept strict guard on the border passes, because they feared that those who had committed offenses might flee from imperial authority and go out beyond the borders. If they could escape from beyond the reach of imperial justice, then in a single day they would abandon their native place and flee by water and grass, as has certainly been seen. For the border posts to not question them, and the court to not be concerned by them, shows that Jin had no governance, as can also be known.)
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."
User avatar
Taishi Ci 2.0
Grand Historian Friendly to Cats
Posts: 737
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:55 pm
Location: My life is brilliant


Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:47 am


The Sixth Year of Yuankang (The Bingchen Year, 296 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, an amnesty was declared throughout the realm.


2. Sima Huang passed away. He was posthumously known as Prince Xian ("the Presented") of Xiapi.

Zhang Hua was appointed as Minister of Works. The Grand Commandant, Sima Tai, was appointed as acting Prefect of the Masters of Writing, and his princely title was changed to Prince of Gaomi.


3. In summer, the Xiongnu leader He San's younger brother He Duyuan launched a joint rebellion with the Malan Qiang of Beidi commandary and with the Lushui tribes. They killed the Administrator of Beidi, Zhang Sun, and defeated the Administrator of Pingyi, Ouyang Jian.


(There was a Mount Malan in Beidi, where the Qiang resided, and so that tribe of the Qiang took their name from it. It is also said that during the Tang dynasty, Mount Malan was within Tongzhou, which at that time included the two commandaries of Pingyi and Beidi. The Lushui tribes resided within Anding commandary.)


4. The Grand General Who Conquers The West and Prince of Zhao, Sima Lun, had a close and trusted confidant, Sun Xiu of Langya. They often clashed with the Inspector of Yongzhou, Hai Xi of Jinan, regarding military affairs. Both sides kept sending in petitions blaming the other, and Ouyang Jian also sent in petitions charging Sima Lun with crimes and offenses. The court felt that Sima Lun was causing disturbances and turmoil in Guanyou, so they summoned him to the capital to serve as General of Chariots and Cavalry, and they appointed the Prince of Lian, Sima Rong, to take over as Grand General Who Conquers The West and Commander of military affairs in Yongzhou and Liangzhou.

Hai Xi and the Middle Minister to the Imperial Secretary, his younger brother Hai Jie, both submitted petitions asking that Sun Xiu be executed in order to appease the Di and Qiang. Zhang Hua informed Sima Rong and ordered him to execute Sun Xiu, and Sima Rong promised to do so. But Sun Xiu's friend Xin Ran spoke to Sima Rong on his behalf, saying, "The Di and Qiang rebelled on their own; Sun Xiu had nothing to do with it." Because of that, Sun Xiu escaped execution.

When Sima Lun arrived at Luoyang, he used Sun Xiu's advice, and so won the great love and trust of Jia Mi, Guo Zhang, and Empress Jia Nanfeng. Thanks to that, Sima Lun asked for the positions of Chief of the affairs of the Masters of Writing as well as Prefect of the Masters of Writing. Zhang Hua and Pei Wei held fast to those offices and refused to give them up. This caused Sima Lun and Sun Xiu to bear a grudge against them.


(解, pronounced "hai (h-ai)", is a surname. There was a great minister of the state of Jin during the Spring and Autumn era named Hai Yang.

Disturbance means unrest or instability.

Zhang Hua had ordered Sima Rong to kill Sun Xiu, yet not only was Sun Xiu not killed, he came to Luoyang as well, and Zhang Hua was still unable to enforce the law against his crimes and execute him!

This was why Sima Lun and Sun Xiu later killed Zhang Hua, Pei Wei, and Hai Xi.)


5. In autumn, the eighth month, Hai Xi was defeated by He Duyuan. This brought about a general uprising of the Di and Qiang in Qinzhou and Yongzhou. The rebels raised up the Di leader Qiwannian as their Emperor, and they besieged Jingyang.

Now the Middle Minister to the Imperial Secretary, Zhou Chu, did not spare even the powerful and influential when he was judging cases. Sima Rong had once violated the law, and Zhou Chu accordingly charged him for it. In winter, the tenth (or, eleventh) month, an edict was issued appointing Zhou Chu as General Who Establishes Might. He and the General Who Arouses Might, Lu Bo, were both ordered to be subordinate to the General Who Maintains The West, Xiahou Jun, and to campaign against Qiwannian.

The Prefect of the Palace Secretariat, Chen Zhun, said to the court, "Xiahou Jun and the Prince of Lian, Sima Rong, are both honored and powerful men, but neither of them has the talents of a battlefield commander. If they advance, they do not care about their reputation, and if they retreat, they have no fear of punishment. Now Zhou Chu is a man of Wu; he is a loyal, forthright, and brave fellow, and he can deal with this foe without concern. You should order the General Who Amasses Crossbows, Meng Guan, to assign ten thousand of his elite soldiers to serve as Zhou Chu's vanguard, and then Zhou Chu will be certain to destroy the enemy. Otherwise, the Prince of Lian will send Zhou Chu on ahead and then leave him in peril without assisting him, and then Zhou Chu will certainly be defeated."

But the court would not listen to him.

When Qiwannian heard that Zhou Chu was coming, he said, "This Zhou Chu was once the Administrator of Xinping, and he is talented in both civil and martial affairs. If he is empowered to act on his own, we shall not be able to withstand him. But if he is under the control of someone else, then we can capture him!"


(During Former Han, Jingyang County was part of Anding commandary. It was abolished during Han and Jin. Li Xian remarked, "The city of Jingyang is in the south of modern Pingliang County in Yuanzhou."

Some versions say that Zhou Chu received this appointment in the eleventh month.

Shen Yue's Annotations states, "The rank of General Who Arouses Might first appeared during Later Han, when Song Deng was given that rank."

Empress Jinghuai, Sima Shi’s wife Xiahou Hui, was a member of the Xiahou family, and so Xiahou Jun was related to the imperial clan through that marriage.

Yuan Shangong remarked, "In Emperor Xian of Han's first year of Xingping (194), the counties of Chungu in Anding commandary and Qi in Youfufeng were split off to form Xinping commadary. Tang made that region Binzhou.")


6. There was famine and pestilence in Guanzhong.


7. Decades before this time, the leader of the Qingshui Di tribe from Lueyang, Yang Ju, had first begun residing in Chouchi. Chouchi was a region of a hundred 頃 square, and adjacent to it was some twenty li of flat land. It was surrounded by high and narrow places on all sides, so that the roads ran along coils like goat intestines for thirty-six times through the mountains.

When Yang Ju's grandson Yang Qianwan aligned himself with Cao-Wei, they granted him the title Prince of Baiqing, because of the hundred square 頃 of his territory. During the time of Yang Qianwan's grandson Yang Feilong, the people became stronger and more flourishing, and they moved to Lueyang. Yang Feilong adopted his sister's son Linghu Maosou as his own son.

During this time, Yang Maosou decided to take advantage of the turmoil caused by Qiwannian's rebellion. In the twelfth month, Yang Maosou led four thousand families from his tribe back to occupy Chouchi, where he declared himself General Who Upholds The State and Worthy Prince of the Right. Many of the people in Guanzhong who were uprooted by the chaos flocked to him, and Yang Maosou welcomed them and treated them well. If any of them wished to leave, he gave them the means to protect themselves and sent them on their way.


(During Han, Lueyang County was part of Tianshui commandary. During Later Han, Tianshui was changed to Hanyang. In Emperor Xian's fourth year of Chuping (193), parts of Hanyang and Shang commandaries were split off to form Yongyang commandary. Cao-Wei changed its name to Guangwei. During the Taishi era (265-74), its name was changed again to Lueyang commandary.

During Former Han, Qingshui County was also part of Tianshui commandary. The Records of Later Han mentions that it was abolished, but it reappears in the Records of Jin.

Regarding Chouchi, the Geographical Records in the Book of Han states that it was at the great marsh at Tianchi, in the west of Wudu County in Wudu commandary. The Commentary on the Water Classic states that it was at Qutang. Li Xian remarked, "Mount Chouchi is in the south of Shanglu County in modern Chengzhou." The Records of the Three Qins Region states, "Mount Chouchi is between Cang Valley and Luo Valley. It is often washed through by the river, which deposits stones below and earth above, so that it resembles an overturned kettle." The Records of Chouchi states, "Chouchi is a hundred square 頃, and it takes ninety-four hundred paces to walk around its length. It is naturally shaped like a square, with walls rising for a thousand 仞, natural towers and ramparts for resisting an enemy. There are several places flat places distributed about which rise several zhang tall, and may overcome men's power. The region has two gates, in the east and the west. Several of the coiled trails run seven li from bottom to top. The ridges and mounds above thus rise and fall, and the springs and flowing waters all join together, boiling the earth and forming salt."

This was why the Yang clan was able to maintain control of Chouchi for many generations.)

The Yang Qianwan mentioned here is presumably the same “King Qianwan of the Di” mentioned earlier in ZZTJ, in 214.A in de Crespigny’s To Establish Peace. While this passage suggests he aligned himself with Cao-Wei and was given the title King of Baiqing by them, the contemporary references to him in the earlier ZZTJ passage and in the Records of the Three Kingdoms all record him as being in league with one of Ma Chao’s rebellions and having fled to either Ma Chao or to Shu following his defeat by Xiahou Yuan.


8. During this year, the General Who Arouses Ferocity, Zhao Xin of Baxi, was appointed as Inspector of Yizhou. Zhao Xin sent soldiers and grain from Lianzhou and Yizhou to support the campaign against the Di and Qiang in Yongzhou.


(This was why Zhao Xin was later in a position to cause turmoil in Shu by killing Geng Teng and Chen Zong to win over the Di tribes of Ba.)
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."
User avatar
Taishi Ci 2.0
Grand Historian Friendly to Cats
Posts: 737
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:55 pm
Location: My life is brilliant


Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:50 am


The Seventh Year of Yuankang (The Dingsi Year, 297 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, Qiwannian camped at Mount Liang, and he had a host of seventy thousand.

Sima Rong and Xiahou Jun ordered Zhou Chu to lead five thousand soldiers to attack them. Zhou Chu said to them, "Without support from the rear, the army will certainly be defeated. It is not that I just want to save my own life, but suffering such a defeat would bring disgrace to the state."

But Sima Rong and Xiahou Jun would not listen, and they forced him to go.

On the day Guichou (February 12th), Zhou Chu, Lu Bo, and Hai Xi attacked Qiwannian at Liumo. Zhou Chu's soldiers had not yet even been supplied, yet Sima Rong compelled them to advance against the enemy at once. They fought from dawn until dusk, and killed or captured a great many, and kept on until their bow strings snapped and their arrows ran out. Even so, no reinforcements came to help them. Those who were with Zhou Chu urged him to escape, but Zhou Chu grasped his sword and said, "Today is the day that I fulfill my military orders to the fullest!" And he spent his strength in battle until he died.

Although the court knew Sima Rong was responsible, they could not charge him with the crime.


(The Records of Former Han states, "Mount Liang was in Haozhi County in Fufeng commandary."

Liumo was west of Mount Mawei.

尤 in this passage means transgression.)


2. In autumn, the seventh month, there was great famine in the two provinces of Yongzhou and Qinzhou. Sickness and plague spread, and a 斛 of rice cost ten thousand cash.


3. On the day Dingchou (?), Wang Hun passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke Yuan ("the Foremost") of Jingling.

In the ninth month, Wang Rong was appointed as Minister Over The Masses, and He Shao was appointed as Supervisor of the Left of the Masters of Writing.


4. When Wang Rong was one of the Three Excellencies, he drifted along with the trends of the times. He was irredeemable, and when tending to the affairs of his office, he would go out wandering for the slightest reasons. He had a grasping and stingy nature. He had gardens across the realm, and whenever he held an ivory counter, he would spend the whole night calculating his accounts, yet often felt that he did not have enough. His household had fine plums, but when he sold them to people, he was afraid that they would thus get the plum seeds, so he often bored out the core of the plums first. But he often distributed rewards, and so gained an empty reputation in handling affairs.

One time, when Ruan Xian's son Ruan Zhan met Wang Rong, Wang Rong asked him, "The Sage (Confucius) placed great honor upon reputation and education. Yet Laozi and Zhuangzi gained their wisdom naturally. What was the difference between them?"

Ruan Zhan replied, "About no difference!"

Wang Rong sighed for a long time in admiration of this answer, and he took on Ruan Zhan as his aide. People of that time gave Ruan Zhan the nickname "The Three Word Official".


(Regarding the term 僚寀, the Shuowen dictionary states, "Those of the same office are 僚, and those of the same place are 寀." The Erya dictionary states, "寀 is a 僚 office."

Cheng Dachang remarked, "The habit of saying things like 'about no difference' rather than directly saying 'the same' was a circumlocution used by people during Jin. For instance, there was the time when the Eastern Jin minister Yu Liang took on a certain Meng Jia as his Attendant Officer. At the grand New Year's Day meeting, the minister Chu Pou asked Yu Liang where this Meng Jia was. Yu Liang replied, "You should seek him out yourself." So Chu Pou looked around, and pointing at Meng Jia, he said, "Someone like him?" By which he meant to say he was indicating Meng Jia himself. So this "about" or "like" formulation was a way to express something without daring to express a definite answer. Ruan Zhan was saying that Confucius and Laozi were the same, and was expressing that thought in this indirect manner as well.")


5. At this time, Wang Yan was the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, and Yue Guang of Nanyang was the Intendant of Henan. They were both skilled at Pure Conversation, and they did not dwell on mundane affairs. They held a great reputation during that age, and everyone from the court on down strove to respect and imitate them.

Wang Yan and his younger brother Wang Cheng delighted in appraising people of the day, and they were universally regarded as being proper and particular men. Wang Yan himself had an outstanding expression. Shan Tao once saw him when he was still young, and Shan Tao sighed for a long time, saying, "How could such an old woman have given birth to such a beautiful child? And yet, he very well might be the one who misleads the people of the realm!"

Yue Guang was of an impetuous and indulgent, clear and distant nature, and he did not strive for anything. Whenever there was a discussion, he would use carefully selected words and studied logic to win over people's hearts without them even knowing it, because of how taciturn he was. Out of all those who discussed things, he was considered to be the most senior, and so he kept his words brief regarding himself.

Wang Yan, Ruan Xian and his nephew Ruan Xiu, Huwu Fuzhi of Taishan, Xie Kun of the Chen princely fief, Wang Ni of Chengyang, and Bi Zhuo of Xincai all considered it a good thing to act naturally and leisurely, to the point that they did not even consider it to be wrong for people to be drunk, insane, or naked.

Huwu Fuzhi was once drinking to his heart's delight when his son rebuked his faults and shouted at him, addressing his father by his style name: "Yanguo! You are old enough that you cannot act like this!" But Huwu Fuzhi only laughed, and called for his son to join him in drinking.

Bi Zhuo was once employed as a Gentleman in the ministerial bureau, employed with things like preparing wine. One night when Bi Zhuo was drunk, he stole wine from out of the urns by drinking it from his hands. When this was discovered the following morning, Bi Zhuo was stripped of his post. Yue Guang heard about it and laughed, "Paradise is found in one's name and education. Why be like this?"


(To dwell is to reside in.

Some versions add that Yue Guang was also "clear and distant".

To win over means to overcome.

毋 is pronounced "wu". The Registry of Surnames states, "King Xuan of Zhou gave his younger brother by the same mother the fiefdom of Wuxian. This place was originally a barbarian or "hu" state, and so the clan name came to be called Huwu. There was a Grand Astrologist Huwu Gong during Han."

This passage mentions a Wang X of Chengyang. In the Book of Jin, this fellow is recorded as Wang 尼 Ni. Regarding the character X, it is an old form for the character 仁 "ren", though it is also pronounced "yi". Perhaps the X of Wang X, styled Xiaosun, is meant to be pronounced as "ren"? But in the third year of Yongjia (309), the text mentions a Wang 尼 Ni of Henei, who must be the same person as the one here, for the Book of Jin states, "Wang Ni was a native of Chengyang, but was also said to be from Henei." So assuming that the Wang X mentioned here should be Wang 尼, then his given name should be pronounced "ni (n-i)".

During Emperor Hui's reign, part of Ruyin commandary was split off as Xincha commandary.

By "naturally", the passage means acting according to one's impulses; by "freely", it means following one's desires without restraint.

Things like means similar things.)


6. During the Zhengshi era of Wei (240-49), He Yan and those of like mind had all followed the examples of Laozi and Zhuangzi. These were the beliefs they discussed: "The origin of Heaven, Earth, and all things is the Void. When one accords with the Void, then 'one grasps the knowledge of the issues of things'. The Void is near to non-existence. Yin and Yang rely upon it to form shapes, and the worthy rely upon it to complete their virtue. This is why the Void may be used, and no rank or title may compare with it in honor!"

Wang Yan and his followers all loved and cherished this sort of philosophy. Because of that, the great scholar-officials of the court all considered it a great thing to be flighty and absurd, and they had little regard for fulfilling their duties or endeavors.

Pei Wei compiled a "Discussion on the Sublime Existence" to expose the shortcomings of this philosophy. This is what he wrote:

[Left untranslated until I can better grasp Daoist philosophy.]

But the tradition had already set in, and despite Pei Wei's words, he was unable to save people from such thinking.


(He Yan quotes from the Great Treatise on the Book of Changes, which states, "The Book of Changes opens up (the knowledge of the issues of) things." Han Kangbo's Annotations states, "It is saying that the Book of Changes opens up the desires of all things and completes the affairs of all the realm." Master Zhang remarked, "The 'things' are all things; the 'affairs' are the issues. To 'open up' is to grasp the knowledge of all things; to 'complete' is to conduct the issues." No matter how great or small an issue may be, if one cannot perceive it, then how can one manage it?" Yang Wanli remarked, "It opens up and expresses all things and logic, and it completes and fulfills the affairs of the ages."

As for what I, Hu Sanxing, believe, judging by what He Yan said, he believed that the origin of all things sprung from out of the Void. This Void existed before any thing had taken form, before any affair had taken shape. This is why he said that through the Void, one grasps the knowledge of the issues of things. So when it came to the Book of Changes, his reasoning was different from these Confucian scholars I have quoted above.)


7. Tuoba Yituo crossed the desert on a northern tour of inspection, which resulted in the submission of several western states. He had stockpiles of grain enough to last for five years, and more than thirty states submitted to and aligned with him.


(Since Tuoba Yituo crossed north of the desert, he then went west with the aim of obtaining various states.)
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."
User avatar
Taishi Ci 2.0
Grand Historian Friendly to Cats
Posts: 737
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:55 pm
Location: My life is brilliant


Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 7:51 am


The Eighth Year of Yuankang (The Wuwu Year, 298 AD)


1. In spring, the third month, on the day Renxu (April 17th), an amnesty was declared throughout the realm.


2. In autumn, the ninth month, there was great flooding in the five provinces of Jingzhou, Yuzhou, Xuzhou, Yangzhou, and Jizhou.


3. About a century before this time, while the warlord Zhang Lu had been in control of Hanzhong, a certain Li Shi from the Cong tribe left Dangqu County in Baxi commandary to join him. When Cao Cao conquered Hanzhong, Li Shi led more than five hundred families to submit to him, for which he was given title as a general. They were moved to the northern territory of Lueyang, and they were called the Ba-Di people or the Di from Ba.

Li Shi's grandsons, Li Te, Li Xian, and Li Liu, were all men of martial talents. They were skilled at horseback archery, and were all gallant and chivalrous fellows, so many people from the provinces began to follow them.


(During Han, Dangqu County was part of Ba commandary. Liu Bei split the county off as Dangqu commandary. Jin folded it back into Baxi commandary. During Tang, it became Quzhou. The old cities of the Cong people's state can be found seventy li northeast of Liujiang County in modern Quzhou. Li Shi's ancestors were the descendants of Lord Jin, and for generations they resided in Ba. After Qin united the realm, their land became Qianzhong commandary, and they were levied only light taxes. The people of Ba use the term "cong" for taxes, and this was why this people became called the Cong people. And according to the Records of Jin, "Liu Zhang split off Dianjiang County from Ba commandary to form Baxi commandary. Liu Bei carved off the counties of Dangqu, Xuanhan, and Hanchang from Ba commandary to form Dangqu commandary. That commandary was later abolished, and its counties were folded back into Baxi commandary." So since this was during Jin times, Dangqu County was part of Baxi commandary.

Cao Cao's conquest of Hanzhong is mentioned in Book 68, in Emperor Xian of Han's twentieth year of Jian'an (215.B, H in de Crespigny's To Establish Peace).

Cao-Wei had split the four counties of Linwei, Pingxiang, Lueyang, and Qingshui off to form Guangwei commandary. During Jin's Taishi era (265-74), it was renamed to Lueyang commandary.)


4. At this time, because of Qiwannian's rebellion, Guanzhong suffered from famine and want. Several tens of thousands of families from Lueyang, Tianshui, and other places, six commandaries altogether, fled to the Hanchuan region in search of grain. The roads were filled with those who were sick and weary from hunger. Li Te and his brothers did much to organize, protect, rally, and save these people, and so they won the hearts of the multitude.

When the refugees reached Hanzhong, a petition was sent up to the court asking that they be allowed to reside in Ba and Shu to eat the grain there. The court discussed the matter and would not grant their assent, and they sent the Resident Imperial Secretary, Li Bi, with a staff of authority to send their regards to the refugees. Li Bi had orders to investigate the situation, and to not permit the refugees to pass through Jian'ge Pass.

But when Li Bi arrived at Hanzhong, he received bribes from the refugees, and so he wrote a petition stating, "There are more than a hundred thousand refugees here, too many for Hanzhong commandary alone to sustain them. But Shu has plenty of grain stores, and the people there have just had a bountiful harvest. You should send the refugees there so that they may eat."

So the court followed his recommendation. The refugees scattered throughout Lianzhou and Yizhou, and no one could stop them.

When Li Te came to Jian'ge Pass, he sighed greatly when he saw it and mused, "Liu Shan had such defenses as this, and yet he still gave himself over in surrender to others. How could he not have been a man of inferior talents?" Those who heard this were amazed.


(The Erya dictionary states, "To suffer from hunger is to be in want."

This began the rise of Li Te.

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Emperor Hui in the Book of Jin states, 'In the seventh year of Yuankang (297), there was famine in Guanzhong' and 'in the eighth year (298), Yongzhou had a year.' But the Huayang Guozhi, the Annals of the Thirty Kingdoms, and the Annals of Jin all state, 'In the eighth year (298), Li Te entered Shu seeking grain.' I follow their accounts.")


5. Zhang Hua and Cheng Zhun charged Sima Lun and Sima Rong with not attending to their military duties in Guanzhong. They felt that both of the Princes had been in Guanzhong for some time, and both of them were being reserved and arrogant, holding their commands for a long time without achieving anything.

They recommended the general Meng Guan as a stalwart and steady fellow, skilled and talented in both civil and military affairs. So Meng Guan was sent to campaign against Qiwannian. Meng Guan suffered wounds from slings and arrows, yet he fought the enemy dozens of times, always routing them.


(Reserved is meant in the sense of being calm and self-satisfied. Arrogant means abrogating honors to oneself. They had been in command for a long time but had achieved nothing decisive, and were rather remaining in place, letting their armies go to ruin. This is how the two Princes were not attending to their military duties.)
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:00 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."
User avatar
Taishi Ci 2.0
Grand Historian Friendly to Cats
Posts: 737
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:55 pm
Location: My life is brilliant

Re: ZZTJ Translations: Western Jin (Book 79-82-??)

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:37 pm

This thread made me sign up for this site. Your translation work is incredible and has aided my studies a lot! You're doing a great thing for students of 3K and Jin history. Thanks so much and I look forward to your future posts!
User avatar
Jia Nanfeng
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:30 pm

Re: ZZTJ Translations: Western Jin (Book 79-82-??)

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:11 pm

Thanks for your support. This is just a hobby for me, but I'm glad to see it go appreciated.
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."
User avatar
Taishi Ci 2.0
Grand Historian Friendly to Cats
Posts: 737
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:55 pm
Location: My life is brilliant


Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:03 pm


The Ninth Year of Yuankang (The Jiwei Year, 299 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, Meng Guan greatly routed the rebel Di army at Zhongting, and captured Qiwannian.


(The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "There is a Zhongting River in Meiyang County in Fufeng commandary. It is called both the Zhongting 水 River and the Zhongting 川 Rivers. It is in the west of Meiyang County.")


2. The Horse-Washer to the Crown Prince, Jiang Tong of Chenliu, believed that the Rong and Di (the various tribes) were causing turmoil for the Hua (ethnic Han), and ought to be cut off from the interior plains of the Middle Kingdom. So he composed the "Discussion on Relocating the Rong Tribes" in order to warn the court of the danger posed by the tribes. This is what he wrote:

"The homelands of the tribes of the Yi, Man, Rong, and Di were in the Domain of Restraint and in the Domain of Wilderness. And when Yu the Great settled the Nine regions, then the Western Rong were also attested. The barbarians have a grasping and greedy nature and spirit; they are wild and fierce, lacking in benevolence.

"Out of all of them, the Rong and Di barbarians are the worst. When they happen to be weak, then they submit out of fear, but when they are strong, then they invade and rebel. It was at times of such strength that they caused grief for Emperor Gaozu of Han (Liu Bang) at Baideng, and for Emperor Wen of Han's army at Bashang. But when they were weak, Emperors Yuan and Cheng of Han could summon their Chanyus to come to court. Such are the instances of their past behavior. So even if he commands the obedience of the barbarians, a wise ruler will still have defenses prepared against them and be able to resist them as he otherwise would. For although the barbarians might kowtow before him and offer him gifts, if the border cities do not have strong defenses prepared, then strong barbarians might still invade even if we were to launch distant retaliatory campaigns against them. But when the peace and security of the interior is established, then there will be no invasions across the border.

"After the Zhou dynasty lost control of affairs and the feudal lords all took power for themselves, the border fiefs were no longer held in strict defense. Since what helped one lord might hurt another, there was no agreement among them, and the Rong and Di tribes took advantage of that to slip into the Middle Kingdom. Some of the feudal lords went so far as to recruit and draft among the barbarians and appeased them, using them for their own purposes. It was because of such things that the barbarians became scattered about the realm, ending up in unnatural places within the Middle Kingdom. When Qin Shihuang united the realm, thanks to the great strength and power of his soldiers, he expelled the barbarians and drove them all out, and at that time, not a one of them still remained in the Middle Kingdom.

"During the Han dynasty's Jianwu era (25-56 AD), when Ma Yuan was acting as Administrator of Longxi, he campaigned against the rebellious Qiang. He relocated some of their tribes into Guanzhong, where they dwelt in the empty places in Pingyi and Hedong commandaries. Several years afterwards, when their clans had all grown fruitful and multiplied, they became bountiful and strong, and even burdened the native people with their depredations. At the beginning of the Yongchu era (107), these Qiang all rebelled and caused chaos. They overwhelmed the local generals and administrators, and slaughtered and destroyed towns and cities. After defeating the general Deng Zhi in the north, they invaded Henei commandary as well, and for ten years, both the tribesmen and the Xia (ethnic Han) were run ragged, until Ren Shang and Ma Xian were at last able to suppress the rebels. But even after that, the rest of the barbarians were not stamped out, and at the slightest opportunity they all turned to rebellion again. Thus have the invaders of those ages become so large as they are today.

"And during the rise of the Wei dynasty, when the border with Shu was made clear, there were Rong tribes living in that region, some on their side and some on ours. Emperor Wu of Wei (Cao Cao) relocated the Di tribes of Wudu to Qinchuan, wishing to thus strengthen his state at the expense of the enemy and gain a defensive advantage over the Shu rebels. But this was merely a plan of momentary expedience, not something of lasting benefit for generations. We who are living today are already suffering from the ill-effects of that decision.

"Now Guanzhong is a rich and fertile region, and it has always been the seat of kings and emperors. No one has ever suggested before that the Rong and Di tribes should dwell in such a place. As it is said, 'if they be not of our kin, they are sure to have a different mind'. Yet recently, because of the setbacks that the tribes have experienced, we have permitted them to move into this 'domain of the capital'. The local gentry and people have become so familiar with the tribes that they take advantage of them and bully them, seeing them as weak and no danger. The poison of anger and resentment has thus seeped into the very bones and marrow of the tribesmen, and this feeling has only grown within their hearts as their numbers grow across the land. When we consider that the barbarians are covetous and bold by nature, and now harbor feelings of resentment and hatred against us, so that they are looking for any division which they can exploit in their favor, even that much is an intolerable situation. But even worse than that, they are already dwelling on our very own fiefs and within our borders. There are no natural borders to obstruct them, no one has prepared any defenses to impede them, and they are free to amass their scattered numbers together. Such is the great and growing danger which they now pose. If they made any sudden actions, the damage would be beyond reckoning. This is an undeniable threat, of the kind which has already taken place before.

"What ought to be done now is to take advantage of the strength and power of our soldiers. Before we dispense with them, we should use our soldiers to force the relocation of the various Qiang tribes living in Pingyi, Beidi, Xinping, and Anding commandaries, and compel them to move to the Xianlian, Hankian, and Xizhi regions. We should likewise force the relocation of the various Di tribes in Fufeng, Shiping, and Jingzhao commandaries and send them back to Longyou, particularly to the territories of Yinping and Wudu. Provide them with enough grain for the journey and then compel them to go back, with each barbarian adhering to his own tribe and returning to his own homeland. Then appoint ministers and generals to administer them as vassal states and to comfort them such that they remain peaceful and gathered together. By doing so, we keep the barbarians separated from the people of Jin, and having done that, they will have no opportunity to cause turmoil among us. The menace of war will thus be cut off and far away from the Middle Kingdom, and kept at bay by mountains and rivers; even if the barbarians were to attempt an invasion, there would be little harm.

"There are those who will object, 'The Di rebels have only recently invaded Xinping, Guanzhong is suffering from hunger and plague, and the common people are already dejected; these things all call for tranquility and rest. Yet you wish to spread exhaustion and unhappiness among the people, and force their relocation merely upon your own suspicions of their being our enemies. We fear that even if we used all the strength we had to compel them, we would not see such a thing brought to conclusion. The harm we have already suffered has not even been healed, and yet you would cause the same thing to happen again.'

"To them I reply that the Di which lately rebelled against us must be considered a mere fraction of their people's potential. If they have repented of their evil and turned back to goodness, is it not because they cherish our virtue and mercy and so submit and adhere to us? Since their strength has been exhausted and their cunning is spent, how could they not fear the punishment of our soldiers?

"To this some will object, 'Their strength has been exhausted because they have no more of it, and thus we can control them: this is what has caused their advance or retreat. But among the barbarians in general, those who are happy with their affairs will not be easily swayed, and those who are secure in their dwelling places have no desire to move. The danger comes from your own fears and suspicions; carried away by terror, you would have us compel the barbarians by force of arms, and oppress even those of them who have done us no wrong.'

"But it is because the barbarians are now broken and routed, scattered to distant places without having had the chance to join together again, and having earned the enmity of the people of Guanzhong, that we now thus have the chance to compel them to move to distant places, so that their hearts will no longer covet our lands. When wise and worthy people make their plans, they account for things that have not yet happened, and they prepare for trouble before it even arrives. Their principles are not apparent, but they are proper; their virtues are not manifest, but they are complete. It is by acting in such a manner that we can turn misfortune into a blessing, make merit out of defeat, endure suffering in order to escape it, and make the impossible become possible. Having just seen the end of this rebellion, how could we not prepare now to deal with the next one? Do we so love following the same wheel tracks that, even when the front cart has toppled, the rear cart would rather follow that same path than find a new one?

"Now Guanzhong has a population of more than a million people. If we reckon their numbers, we find that the Rong and Di are half of that. If we are to move so may people, we shall certainly have to provide for them. If there is anyone impoverished among them who does not have enough rice or grain to sustain themselves, then we must necessarily use the grain of Guanzhong in order to ensure that they remain fed, lest we force them to dire straits and suffer from their raiding and pillaging. And when we move them, they must have enough food to make the trip, so that each of them can go back to their own tribes and clans. To sustain them all, the people of the Qin region shall have to give up half of their grain harvest. This grain will be distributed among the barbarians to ensure that they can complete their journeys successfully. But as those people being compelled to move will be giving up their grain stores, the burden will thus be spread broadly throughout Guanzhong. Besides, we will be sending the bandits back to their places of origin. The expenditure of a single day may thus secure the benefit of an entire year. But if you fear the exertion of a little effort and so ignore policy for the long term, and in failing to trouble yourselves for a handful of days or months you thus leave enemies behind to burden future generations, that cannot be called setting a good foundation to ensure the dynasty or making a good policy to pass down to your descendants.

"As for the barbarians in Bingzhou, their origins lie in the cruel and evil invaders of the Xiongnu. During the Jian'an era (196-220), the court sent the Worthy King of the Right, Qubei, to replace their leader Huchuquan, and Qubei was placed in command of all the tribes scattered among the six commandaries there. At the end of the Xianxi era (264), because the one division had grown too strong, it was split into three, and at the beginning of the Taishi era (265), it was further divided into four. There has been Liu Meng's rebellion within and constant contact with foreign enemies without. The latest of these was He San's uprising, which came out of Guyuan County. Now the Five Divisions of the Xiongnu have grown to several tens of thousands of households, and their population is even greater than that of the Western Rong. They are naturally brave and valiant people, and they are even more skilled with the horse and bow than the Di and Qiang are. If there is any unexpected hardship among them, then the Bingzhou region will be a source of danger.

"During the Zhengshi era (240-49), Guanqiu Jian campaigned against Goguryeo, and brought some of their tribes back to Xingyang. When they had first been moved there, they numbered merely a hundred-some households. But as their children and grandchildren have grown and multiplied, they are now reckoned in the thousands of households. Within a few generations, this fire will certainly burn all the brighter. The common people are losing their livelihoods, and some have even perished or turned to rebellion. Even among dogs and horses that are well-fed, there are some who bite the hand that feeds them. Can barbarians be expected to do any less? But considering their feebleness, their strength cannot capture anything yet.

"Those who regard the state should not fear poverty, but rather should fear instability. The land between the Four Seas is vast, and its people are wealthy. How could it not be that barbarians living among us would not take all of this for themselves? It is for all of these reasons that I have informed and instructed you on why they must be sent out and away, and returned back to their native territories, where they may be consoled for having lived so long away from home and brought to cherish it again. If we can dispel the slightest anxiety for our Huaxia, then 'let us cherish this Middle Kingdom, to secure the repose of the four quarters of it.' For virtue to endure forever, you must plan for the future!"

But the court could not use his suggestions.


(The Rites of Zhou states, "The places beyond the Nine Provinces are called the vassal states: they are the Eastern Yi, the Southern Man, the Western Rong, and the Northern Di." The Discourses of the States states, "The Man and Yi tribes occupy the Domain of Restraint, and the Rong and Di tribes occupy the Domain of Wilderness." Wei Zhao's Annotations adds, "Those living in the Domain of Restraint could be trusted and arranged with, for they were obedient. But those living in the Domain of Wilderness lived in a land of unusually wild and barren wastes."

Regarding the Western Rong, Kong Anguo remarked, "They came from even beyond the Domain of Wilderness, from out of the shifting sands, and so they were later attested." Ban Gu remarked, "They were 'thus attested' because they were attested later on."

The Rites of Zhou states, "When those from a vassal state made their visit on the occasion of a new generation, they each presented their valuable treasures as gifts."

During the time of Emperor Yuan of Han, the Xiongnu Chanyu asked that the border defenses be relaxed, but the Han nobles all felt that this could not be done. This is why this passage speaks of weakened border defenses.

When King Xuan of Zhou launched a minor campaign against the state of Xianyun in retaliation for Xianyun's invasion, his soldiers marched as far as Taiyuan, and they ravaged all the land before they turned back, like a swarm of insects driving all before them. This is why this passage speaks of "even if we were to launch distant campaigns against them".

Regarding the troubles the tribes caused for the feudal lords of the Spring and Autumn era, the Rong campaigned against Lu and western Qi, the Mountain Rong plagued Yan, the Di campaigned against Wey and Xing, and the Chang Di invaded the three states. And as for employing the tribes for their own purposes, the Marquises of Shen and Zeng used the Western Rong to attack and kill King You of Zhou, Jin moved the Rong tribes of Luhun to Yichuan and coordinated with them to defeat Qin's army at Xiao, and Chu arranged for the Man army to fight Jin at Yanling.

Regarding the tribes ending up in "unnatural places", the Xu Yi tribes wound up in the regions of Qi, Jin, Lu, and Song, the Xianyu were between Yan and Jin, the Red Di dwelt in the region around Shangdang, the Luhun Rong dwelt between the Yi and Luo rivers, the Yiqu and Dali tribes dwelt between Qin and Jin, and the Rong Manzi dwelt between Liang and Huo.

Qin's expulsion of the tribes is mentioned in the Qin section of ZZTJ.

The events regarding the Qiang which Ma Yuan settled in the Middle Kingdom are mentioned in the Han chapters of ZZTJ. The petition states that "several years afterwards", they rebelled. Now it was in Emperor Guangwu's eleventh year of Jianwu (35 AD) that Ma Yuan went on his campaign against the Qiang and accepted their surrender. Their rebellion was in Emperor An's first year of Yongchu (107). From the eleventh year of Jianwu to the first year of Yongchu was a period of seventy-three years. So rather than say "several years afterwards", the passage should really say "several decades afterwards".

Following Cao Cao's loss of the Hanzhong territory to Shu-Han, he relocated the Di living in Wudu to Qinchuan, in his own territory. This is mentioned in Book 68, in Emperor Xian of Han's twenty-third year of Jian'an (actually 219.H in de Crespigny's To Establish Peace).

The Zhou dynasty had its capitals at Han and Feng; Qin had its capital at Xianyang; Han had its capital at Chang'an. All of these places were in Guanzhong.

The "domain of the capital" means the thousand li of adjacent land surrounding the capital.

To amass means to gather.

The Xianlian, Hankian, and Xizhi regions are from Huangzhong west to the head of the Cizhi River. Yinping and Wudu were the homeland of the White Horse Di tribes. 零 is here pronounced "lian"; 幵 is pronounced "kian (k-ian)".

In the passage about providing the tribesmen with food for their journey, the petition uses the character 廩; it should be 稟, "to grant".

The specific offices which Jiang Tong meant for administering the tribes were the Colonels of Vassal States and the Army-Protectors Who Nurture The Tribes.

Kong Anguo remarked, "To be crafty is to make turmoil." By the term Xia, the passage means Huaxia (China itself).

To be brought to conclusion is to complete.

The Erya dictionary states, "逷 means 'distant'," and also, "鳩 means 'to gather'".

Jiang Tong was saying that the Di and Qiang rebels had earned the ire of the people of Guanzhong by attacking and plundering Xinping, and had thus become their enemies.

When the front cart topples over, one cannot follow behind its tracks, but must change course and only then advance. If one follows behind the toppled front cart, then the rear cart will also soon be toppled.

To reckon means to study numbers.

Jiang Tong mentions the food 糝 geng. This is a mix of rice and thick soup.

The Di and Qiang being impoverished, they might be forced by circumstances to raid and plunder for food. If the Jin court wished to avoid this danger, then they should provide the tribes with food pre-emptively to sustain them.

Jiang Tong was saying that of the people living in Guanzhong, the Rong and Di made up half of them, and in sending them back to their homelands, the common people living in the Qin region would soon have to provide them with their stores of grain, and as the tribesmen were half the population, they would necessarily need to take half the grain.

The "six commandaries" means the six that were administered by Bingzhou. The Account of the Xiongnu in the Book of Jin states, "The Xiongnu lived mixed together with the people of Jin. They dwelt in the commandaries of Pingyang, Xihe, Taiyuan, Xinxing, Shangdang, and Leping; there was no place where they were not present."

Cao Cao's replacement of Huchuquan with Qubei is mentioned in Book 67, in Emperor Xian of Han's twenty-first year of Jian'an (216.I in de Crespigny's To Establish Peace).

Liu Meng's rebellion is mentioned in Book 79, in Sima Yan's seventh and eighth years of Taishi (271.1, 16, and 272.1). He San's rebellion is mentioned in the previous book, in the fourth year of Yuankang (294.2).

During Han, Guyuan County was part of Shangdang commandary. Officially, Jin had abolished the county, but the place was still known by its former name. Liu Xu remarked, "Guyuan County is the modern Qinyuan County." Song Bai remarked, "The old Quyuan County of Han times was a hundred and fifty paces south of Qinyuan County, the same place as the city of Guyuan." The Geographical Records of Jin states, "穀遠 Guyuan County is now called 孤遠 Guyuan County, through the corruption of later ages."

Jiang Tong well knew and opposed the danger posed by the Xiongnu leader Liu Yuan.

Guanqiu Jian's campaign against Goguryeo is mentioned in Book 75, in Cao Fang's seventh year of Zhengshi (246.2 in Fang's Chronicles).

When people have no security and thus cannot plow or work the land, then they lose their livelihoods.

顧 here means "to consider".

In the Analects, Confucius states, "I have heard that rulers of states and chiefs of families are not troubled lest their people should be few, but are troubled lest they should not keep their several places; that they are not troubled with fears of poverty, but are troubled with fears of a want of contented repose among the people in their several places. (16.1)"

'Let us cherish this Middle Kingdom, to secure the repose of the four quarters of it' is a verse from the Labors of the People poems in the Daya section of the Book of Poetry.)


3. The Cavalier In Regular Attendance, Jia Mi, was appointed the Resident Instructor of the Eastern Palace, where he often acted haughty and arrogant to Crown Prince Sima Yu. The Prince of Chengdu, Sima Ying, witnessed this and loudly rebuked Jia Mi. Angered by this, Jia Mi reported what had happened to Empress Jia Nanfeng. Sima Ying was sent away to garrison Ye as General Who Pacifies The North.

The Prince of Lian, Sima Rong, was summoned to the capital and appointed Grand General and chief over the Masters of Writing. The Prince of Hejian, Sima Yong, was appointed General Who Guards The West, and sent to garrison Guanzhong in his place. Before, Sima Yan had made an edict written in stone that only members of his immediate family would be allowed to garrison Guanzhong. But Sima Yong was a generous man who had the love of the gentry, and the court believed him to be worthy, so they employed him in that role.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Emperor Hui in the Book of Jin states, 'Sima Ying was appointed Grand General Who Guards The North.' But I follow the account listed in the Biography of Sima Ying in the Book of Jin."

Sima Yong was the grandson of Prince Xian of Anping, Sima Fu, and the son of Prince Lie of Taiyuan, Sima Gui. He originally held his father's title, but in the third year of Xianning (277.7), his title was changed to Prince of Hejian.

This was why Sima Ying and Sima Yong both later held critical posts and commanded soldiers.)


4. In summer, the sixth month, on the day Wuxu (July 17th), Sima Tai passed away. He was posthumously known as Prince Wenxian ("the Cultured and Presented") of Gaomi.


(Some versions further specify that this took place on "the day Wuxu (July 17th)".

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Emperor Hui in the Book of Jin lists Sima Tai's title at the time of his death as 'Prince of Longxi'. But the Biography of Sima Tai in the Book of Jin states, 'Sima Tai was appointed Prefect of the Masters of Writing, and his fief was changed to Gaomi.' The Annals are thus mistaken.")


5. Jia Nanfeng's wanton and cruel behavior grew worse by the day. She would secretly order the Prefect of the Imperial Physicians, Cheng Ju, and others to kidnap youths from off the road and spirit them into the palace inside of a box, and since she worried that the youths would reveal what had happened to them, she would have them killed off.

Jia Mo feared that disaster would result from this, and he was deeply distressed. So he, Pei Wei, and Zhang Hua discussed the prospect of deposing Jia Nanfeng and replacing her with Consort Xie Jiu.

Jia Mo and Zhang Hua both said, "Since the Emperor has no intention of deposing or demoting Empress Jia, we must take matters into our own hands. Unless there is a change above, will things not continue on like this? Furthermore, the Princes all occupy strong and strategic places, and they each have their own friends and supporters behind them. We fear if disaster should spring up one day, we would all perish and the state be thrust into danger. That would be of no benefit to the dynasty."

Pei Wei replied, "It is indeed as you say. Yet those within the palace are indulgent of Empress Jia's licentiousness. We must await some actual pretext before we can act."

Zhang Hua said, "Both of you are close adherents within the palace, so your words may meet with respect. You ought to admonish these people to guard themselves against disaster. The realm will not fall into chaos so long as there is no great offense committed against the people. If that can be done, then we may enjoy leisure in the years to come."

So Pei Wei spent day and night following after the Lady of Guangcheng, Jia Nanfeng's mother Guo Huai, urging her to instruct Jia Nanfeng to treat Crown Prince Sima Yu with intimacy and respect. And Jia Mo also often warned Jia Nanfeng herself about the potential for disaster. But not only did Jia Nanfeng not take his advice, she felt that Jia Mo was trying to slander her and so distanced herself from him. As Jia Mo was unable to carry out his wishes, his despair worsened, and he passed away.


(The Records of Jin states, "The Prefect of the Imperial Physicians was subordinate to the Minister of the Imperial Household."

Concerning these sorts of boxes, the Shuowen dictionary states, "They are tall trunks made of bamboo."

Consort Xie Jiu was Crown Prince Sima Yu's mother.

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Biography of Jia Nanfeng in the Book of Jin states, 'Jia Mo plotted with Pei Wei and Wang Yan to depose Empress Jia. But Wang Yan later regretted his involvement and put a stop to the plot.' But I follow the account of the Biography of Pei Wei in the Book of Jin."

Zhang Hua managed the affairs of a wanton and tempestuous court, and he had been given his position by such empresses, yet he could keep heart in check to such an extent as this. It was for this reason that Heaven borrowed the hand of Sima Lun to punish him.)


6. In autumn, the eighth month, Pei Wei was appointed as Supervisor of the Masters of Writing.

Even though Pei Wei had already been on intimate terms with Jia Nanfeng, and his friendship and influence with her had grown since then, the one thing he feared was that he would not be able to keep his position. An edict soon went out transferring Pei Wei to managing the affairs below the gates. Pei Wei sent up a petition arguing against the edict, stating, "Jia Mo has only just passed away, and yet you would have me replace him. In so honoring a mere relative by marriage, you are acting by your personal inclinations, and tiring the court." But this petition was ignored.

Someone said to Pei Wei, "Sir, you ought to either speak in full accordance with the Central Palace, or if you will not do that, then you ought to make some reason for leaving and depart far away. Unless you do one or the other of these things, even if you sent up ten such petitions, it would be difficult for you to escape from your situation."

Pei Wei considered this advice for a long time, but in the end, he did not follow it.


(Under the Jin system, Palace Attendants, Attendant Officers, and Gentleman Attendants of the Yellow Gate all managed affairs "below the gates". Appointing Pei Wei as a Palace Attendant, and moving his position to one "below the gates", was Jia Nanfeng's intention.

This passage shows that Zhang Hua and Pei Wei were too fond of their salaries and positions, and so brought death upon themselves and ruin upon their families.)


7. Now Emperor Hui was a dull and foolish man. There was an incident where he was in the Hualin Garden and heard the croaking of frogs, and he asked those who were with him, "Do the frogs croak because they are ordered to, or because they want to?" And at this time, the realm was suffering from famine, and the common people were starving to death. When Emperor Hui heard of it, he asked, "Why do they not eat meat and porridge?"

So power was instead spread among those below, and the reins of government were held by many hands. Families gained power and station for themselves, and there was constant back and forth as though the government were some barter office. The Jia and Guo clans did as they pleased, and they took gifts and bribes to advance people in public offices.

Lü Bao of Nanyang composed some verses which he titled "Discussion on the Divinity of Money". This is how it went: "Money is like the rites; it has the images of Gan and Shen (Heaven and Earth). Money is close as an elder brother, and its style name is Kongfang. It has no virtue, yet it is honored; it has no influence, yet it is prized. It keeps close to the Golden Gate and enters into the Purple Door. With money, one can move from danger to peace, and from life to death; the honored can be made lowly, and the living can be made dead. Thus it is that among those who struggle, those without money cannot win. Among those in obscurity, those without money will not be plucked out. Among those who are hated enemies, those without money will not be released. And among those who wish to make themselves heard, those without money make no sound. For crimson clothes within Luoyang, exalted places of honor, and the love of our family, money is never exhausted; so long as you keep it in your hand, it will maintain you forever. So long as you have money, no one else matters!"


(糜 means "porridge".

Money is round while envelopes are square; Heaven is round while the Earth is square. Thus the verse says that money has 'the images of Gan and Shen (Heaven and Earth)'. The word Kongfang also describes money's shape.

The verse mentions "crimson clothes". Under the Jin system, the Princes wore crimson clothing with sheer sleeves of deep crimson. By "exalted places of honor", it means positions of influence.)


8. Furthermore, when attending to their duties, the court ministers were often at each other's throats, for they all had their own suspicions about one another, and their subordinates each had their own private ideas as well. The law was not uniformly applied, and lawsuits and accusations sprang up like a flood.

Pei Wei sent up a petition stating, "When the kings of old enforced punishments or granted rewards, all was done according to its proper measure, and no distinction was made between light and serious matters. This was why those below became accustomed to how they were enforced, and the various officials felt secure in their endeavors by the law.

"Recently, during the fourth year of Yuankang (294), there was that incident when a great wind tore off and smashed several tiles on buildings of the palace and ancestral temple. Just because of that, Minister of Ceremonies Xun Yu was dismissed from office. The incident was a minor thing, and yet the blame for it was severe; this was an offense against the common application of law. In the second month of the fifth year (295), another great wind blew in. The leaders of the Lantai bureau feared that the same thing would happen again and that they might be punished, so they sought out rope to bind up the corners and ridgepoles of the rooms, yet even so the tiles became chipped in fifteen places, so the same case was brought against the Minister of Ceremonies again. And in the eighth month of this year (299), a branch of one of the Jing trees at the tombs, seven 寸 and two 分 around, snapped off. Just because of that, the Minister Over The Masses and the Minister of Ceremonies both ran away and fled down the road, because even though they knew that the snapping of a branch was an insignificant thing, there was no telling how greatly they might be blamed for it having happened. So each of them was disturbed and driven out, so that they could avoid being held responsible, and even now the ban against the Minister of Ceremonies has not yet been lifted.

"Now, it is of course true that though the laws as written have their definite and set limits, the ways in which one may commit errors or offenses takes countless forms, and so at the time that the sentence must be passed, there is discussion as to the best way of handling the application of the laws. Naturally the same offense does not result in the same sentence in every single case. But to go so far as these things which I have just mentioned is itself a transgression against the laws. I fear that perverse officials are the cause of this, and the result has been alienation."

But as the arbitrary discussions still did not stop, the Master of Writing for the Three Excellencies, Liu Song, sent up his own petition stating, "From recent times up until now, the law has gradually spread to many doors, and its enforcement has been not the least bit uniform. Officials do not know how to defend themselves, and those below do not know how to avoid offense. The false and perverse thus work their intrigues, and those who hold higher offices find it difficult even to restrain their subordinates. The same sorts of incidents are resolved differently, and imprisonment is not evenly applied.

"Now when it comes to the law, a lord and his ministers each have their own duties to fulfill. The wishes of the law must be upheld, and so the justice officials protect the law as it is recorded. Where the reason of the law finds itself lacking or obstructed, then the great ministers must resolve the matter. And to ensure that it is resolved in accordance with the times, the sovereign makes his own judgments. When the justice officials protect the letter of the law, then we have such things as Zhang Shizhi's fair ruling on the violation against Emperor Wen's procession on the road. When the great ministers resolve affairs, then we have such things as Gongsun Hong's curtailment of Guo Xie's imprisonment. And when the sovereign makes his own judgements, then we have such things as the Founder of Han's (Liu Bang's) execution of Duke Ding.

"The affairs of the realm must be handled according to these standards, and not become beholden to ridiculous discussions, but rather follow the the proper course of the laws. Then those below will have faith in the law, the people will obey without anxiety, and the officials will not put up with wickedness. Only then can we speak of governance."

Because of these petitions, an edict went out stating, "Those Gentlemen and justice officials who have gone beyond the bounds of the law will heed these things and conduct their affairs accordingly." But even so, they could not change the situation.


(The leaders of the Lantai bureau were the leaders of the Imperial Secretary bureau, of the kind that enforced orders. An 阿 is the corner of a room, and a 棟 is its ridgepole.

The Shuowen dictionary states, "[In such an instance as this] Jing trees means those trees of Chu wood (from Jingzhou)."

The office of Minister Over The Masses was the prime ministerial office during Han. Under the Han system, the Minister Over The Masses and the Minister of Ceremonies were both responsible for maintaining the gardens and tombs.

Pei Wei's last paragraph is saying that although the letter of the law is set, there are differences when it comes to crimes: some are intentional and some are accidental, some are of slight consequence and some are serious. This was why it was necessary to judge the cases in order to find the proper measure of sentence for the crime.

Arbitrary discussion means those discussions which went against the laws; the alienation came from these things.

The Records of Jin states, "Emperor Cheng of Han created the Masters of Writing to the Three Excellencies, and their duty was the examination of cases. Emperor Guangwu created the Chief Manager to the Three Excellencies, who examined and inspected the affairs of the provinces and commandaries each year."

To restrain is to restrict. A prison in the field is called a 犴.

When Emperor Wen of Han's procession was crossing a bridge, a man suddenly appeared, upsetting Emperor Wen's horse and almost causing him to fall. When the man was handed over to the Ministry of Justice, Emperor Wen expected a heavy punishment. But after examining the case, Zhang Shizhi merely charged the man a fine as he would have in any such case, citing the uniform enforcement of the laws. This incident is mentioned in Book 14, in Emperor Wen's third year of rule (177 BC).

Gongsun Hong's curtailment of Guo Xie's imprisonment is mentioned in Book 18, in Emperor Wu of Han's second year of Yuanshuo (127 BC).

During Liu Bang's war against Xiang Yu, Duke Ding defected from Xiang Yu's side to support Liu Bang. But after Liu Bang's victory, he executed Duke Ding because of his treason, even though it had been to his own benefit. This incident is mentioned in Book 11, in Liu Bang's fifth year of rule (202 BC).

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Punishment and Law chapter of the Book of Jin places this petition from Liu Song immediately after the above petition from Pei Wei. It then lists another petition, supposedly from 'the Palace Attendant, Grand Governor, and Prince of Runan, Sima Liang'. But Pei Wei's petition lists events that took place in the eighth year of Yuankang (298), and Sima Liang had been long dead by then. So the Punishment and Law chapter is mistaken."

The "Gentlemen and justice ministers" mentioned in the edict were the Gentlemen of the Masters of Writing and the justice officials of the Masters of Writing and of the Lantai bureau. They had "gone beyond the bounds of law" in that they were holding spurious discussions beyond what the law laid out.)


9. Liu Song was transferred to be Master of Writing to the Ministry of Personnel. He established a system of nine classes, wishing thereby to examine all of the ministers and others who held offices, to test whether they were able or not and how they should be rewarded or punished. Jia Mi and Guo Zhang exerted their influence, and those who held office wished to move quickly, but in the end the system could not be enforced.


10. Pei Wei recommended Wei Zhong of Pingyang to Zhang Hua. So Zhang Hua summoned him, but Wei Zhong pleaded illness and would not get up. People asked him why he had done so, and Wei Zhong told them, "Zhang Maoxian is flashy but without substance, and Pei Yimin is greedy without shame. They have cast aside the canons and ceremonies and aligned themselves with that bandit Empress. How could great ministers act in such ways? Whenever Yimin has a mind to strongarm me, I am often afraid that the waves of his deep abyss will lap up and catch me as well. How then could I lift up my skirt and go over to him?"


(In Cao Fang's eighth year of Zhengshi (247), the portion of Hedong commandary north of the Fei River was split off to form Pingyang commandary.

Zhang Hua's style name was Maoxian; Pei Wei's was Yimin.)


11. The Marquis of the Passes, Suo Jing of Dunhuang, knew that the realm would soon fall into chaos. He pointed at the Copper Camels at the palace gates of Luoyang and lamented, "We shall soon see you among the brambles and thickets!"


(The Copper Camels had originally been at Chang'an. In Emperor Ming of Cao-Wei's (Cao Rui's) first year of Jingchu (237), he had had them moved from Chang'an to Luoyang.)


12. In winter, the eleventh month, on the new moon of the day Jiazi (December 10th), there was an eclipse.


13. Now Jia Nanfeng had no sons of her own, and so her mother Guo Huai often urged her to treat Crown Prince Sima Yu with love and respect. Jia Mi was conceited and arrogant, and often treated Sima Yu without proper ceremony. Guo Huai rebuked him severely for this.

Guo Huai wished to arrange for Han Shou's daughter to become Sima Yu's concubine, and Sima Yu also wanted to marry Lady Han in order to safeguard himself. But neither Han Shou's wife Jia Wu nor Jia Nanfeng would listen to them, and instead they made an engagement between Sima Yu and Wang Yan's younger daughter. Sima Yu had heard that Wang Yan's older daughter was a beauty, and yet Jia Nanfeng had given her hand to Jia Mi instead of him, so Sima Yu was troubled in his heart and inclined to give word to his thoughts.

When Guo Huai became deathly ill, she grasped Jia Nanfeng's hand and ordered her to show the full measure of her devotion to Sima Yu, using very harsh language to express her point. She also told her, "Zhao Can and Jia Wu are certain to stir up trouble for your family's affairs. After I die, you must not listen to them any longer. Remember my words well!"

But Jia Nanfeng would not heed her warnings, and she only plotted all the more with Zhao Can and Jia Wu, planning to harm Sima Yu.


(Guo Huai herself had been a very jealous and suspicion woman during her lifetime. Yet when her end approached, she could still give such warnings and admonishments to her daughter, because she had great authority, and this was why she was so concerned.)


14. As a child, Sima Yu had made a name for himself for being precocious. But when he grew older, he did not care for studying, and merely spent his time playing with his attendants. Jia Nanfeng encouraged this by sending the Yellow Gate official Bei You to indulge him in his wantonness. Thus did Sima Yu's reputation slowly diminish as his arrogance grew clearer and clearer.

Sometimes Sima Yu would rid himself of his court attendants and go wandering around, turning the palace grounds into a marketplace, where he would have people act as butchers and winesellers. He would hold two catties in his own hands, making no distinction of their weight. Since his mother had come from a family of butchers, he enjoyed such displays. The Eastern Palace was given an allowance of five hundred thousand catties every month, but Sima Yu would often take an advance allowance of two months' worth and still not find it to be sufficient for his purposes. He often sold off all the various grasses and herbs, chickens, scraps of grain, and other things from the Western Garden and kept the profits. He also found interest in the minor numbers of the Yin and Yang (Naturalist) philosophy, for he had many misgivings.

Sima Yu's Horse-Washer, Jiang Tong, submitted a petition to him outlining the five harms he was doing through this behavior: "The first is that when you have the slightest discomfort, you exert yourself to harry the court attendants. The second is that you ought to be diligent in what you see and guard what you are taught, and take your advice from proper counsel and wise principles. The third is that the achievements of the room paintings are being worn away, and furthermore that the various engravings in the rear courtyard are all ended. The fourth is that in your selling of the plants and herbs of the Western Garden, you are bringing losses and harm to the state and to ceremony, and belittling your own good reputation. The fifth is that you should be repairing the walls and mending the tiles, and not rigidly adhering to such slight suspicions."

But Sima Yu did not listen to any of these warnings.

The Palace Retainer Du Xi, fearing that Sima Yu would not be able to keep his position as Crown Prince secure, was always admonishing him with loyal rebukes, and urging him to change his ways and practice virtue and enterprise, in order to safeguard his good name, and in his words and phrases he was very earnest and blunt. Sima Yu did not like Du Xi, and he placed a needle in the middle of the felt seat where Du Xi often sat, which pricked him and caused him to bleed. This Du Xi was the son of Du Yu.


(Sima Yu had demonstrated his early perceptiveness during Sima Yan's reign, as seen in the previous book, in the tenth year of Taikang (289.6).

When the ancients selected a woman, they always asked after her family background, in order to obtain a woman who was graceful, serene, subservient, and refined; such was a woman's excellence.

To take an advance is to request funds ahead of time.

Of the grasses and herbs that Sima Yu sold, one was 葵, or herbs. When Duke Xiang of Lu spent his time of repose plucking herbs from the garden, a daughter of the house of Qishi said, "The guest horses of Jin trample our herbs, and cause us to have no herbs to eat all the year," this was the same term. As for 藍, this is grass that is dyed a green/blue color. Regarding it, the Classic of Roots and Grasses states, "Lanshi is grown in distinct plots in the family's garden plot. It grows out of the ground in the third or fourth month, and sprouts to a height of about three or four 尺, with leaves like water knotweeds. It is red and white in color, or it can be like when a knotweed seed has grown out, and so appear black. By the fifth or sixth month, it is ready to be plucked." And 麪 refers to scraps of grain.

Regarding the Naturalist School, Ban Gu remarked, "The School of Yin and Yang came from Xihe's management, in order to respect and submit to the heavens and the celestial movements across the days and months of the calendar, rather than to respect and follow the affairs of men of one's time; such is their advantage. When one adheres to them, one restrains oneself and becomes mired in the minor numbers, putting aside the affairs of men in favor of the gods and spirits."

Discomfort means illness or pain.

Some versions add in the phrase "and furthermore" in the third sentence of Jiang Tong's petition.

The room paintings were the paintings of the five palettes painting on the rooms. Courts also means rooms.

The Records of Jin states, "The Crown Prince had four men serve as his Palace Retainers. This office was created in the fourth year of Xianning (278). They were selected from the most talented, learned, and beautiful of the Servants. They handled correspondence duties along with the 中庶子, and they held responsibilities similar to the Gentlemen Attendants of the Yellow Gate. They were inferior to the 中庶子, superior to the Horse-Washer."

Du Yu had achieved merit in the conquest of Eastern Wu during Sima Yan's era.)


15. Sima Yu had a willful nature. He knew that Jia Mi was arrogant because of his ties to the Central Palace (Empress Jia), and he was unwilling to submit to him. At that time, Jia Mi was a Palace Attendant, and when he came to the Eastern Palace, sometimes Sima Yu would avoid him in order to go enjoy himself in the Rear Court. His Attendant Pei Kai admonished him, "Jia Mi is close to the Empress, and they speak every day. You are putting yourself in danger." But Sima Yu would not listen.

Jia Mi slandered Sima Yu to Jia Nanfeng, telling her, "It is only because our Jia family tolerates him that the Crown Prince is able to amass these personal funds and gather miscreants about him. If His Majesty should happen to pass away, and the Crown Prince thus became supreme, then he would follow the same example as what was done to the Yang clan, killing the ministers and exiling you to the Jinyong fortress as easily as one turns over a hand. It would be better to do away with him before then, and set up someone more pliant and obedient in his place, in order to protect ourselves."

Jia Nanfeng approved of this thinking, so she had word of the Crown Prince’s shortcomings spread near and far. She also pretended that she was with child, filling herself with hay and other things as a disguise, and she took the son of her sister's husband Han Shou, the boy Han Weizu, to adopt as her own, hoping to use him to replace Sima Yu as Crown Prince.


(The Crown Prince's Attendant was a Qin office; he handled the household duties of the Crown Prince. At the beginning of Jin, the office had not yet been re-created, and the palace affairs were all handled by the Crown Prince's two Tutors, regardless of their significance. But in the first year of Xianning (275), the office was created and placed in charge of palace affairs, and the two Tutors no longer dealt with such subordinate offices.

Jia Nanfeng had killed Yang Jun and deposed Yang Zhi, and so Heaven and Earth could not put up with her. When Jia Mi gave his aunt a warning like this, then her heart could no longer find peace.

To be "with child" is to be pregnant.)


16. So up until this time, everyone inside the court and out knew that Jia Nanfeng planned to do harm to Sima Yu. The Army-Protector of the Palace, Zhao Jun, spoke with Sima Yu about deposing Jia Nanfeng, but Sima Yu would not listen to him.

The Guard Commander of the Left, Liu Bian of Dongping, asked Zhang Hua about Jia Nanfeng's plotting.

Zhang Hua told him, "I have heard nothing of the sort."

Liu Bian said, "From the time when I was just a minor official in Xuchang County until now, it was thanks to you that I became what I am. You have always been a close friend to me, and this was why I could talk freely with you. Yet now you doubt what I have to say!"

Zhang Hua replied, "Well, suppose things are as you say. Sir, what do you intend to do?"

Liu Bian said, "The Eastern Palace has a full forest of talented men, and the four guard companies have ten thousand elite soldiers. You yourself occupy the same position as A-heng (Yi Yin). If you would only give us your blessing, the Crown Prince could take control of the secretariat's affairs on behalf of the court, and Empress Jia could be banished to the Jinyong fortress. It would take no more strength than one uses to push open the two Yellow Gates."

Zhang Hua replied, "The Son of Heaven already occupies the throne, and the Crown Prince is just his son. Besides, I cannot give the same mandate as A-heng. If I were to suddenly do as you suggest, that would mean going against a sovereign and a father, and it would announce my lack of filial duty to all the realm. Even if the thing were successful, I still would not escape the crime, much less when their power and influence fills the court. When power is divided, how can there be success?"

Now Jia Nanfeng often had her close partisans snooping around and looking into whatever they could, so she found out what Liu Bian had said. She had him reassigned as Inspector of Yongzhou. Liu Bian knew that his words had gotten out, so he took poison and died.


(Sima Yan had created the office of Guard Commander for the Eastern Palace. It was originally just called Guard Commander of the Palace, but in the fifth year of Taishi (269), it was divided into the two offices of Guard Commanders of the Left and Right, with each commanding their own army. During the time that Sima Yu was in the Eastern Palace, the offices of Guard Commanders of the Front and Rear were also added, so there were four such Commanders.

Xuchang County was part of the Dongping princely fief. Liu Bian had gone from being a minor official there to following a command to come to Luoyang, and had risen in office as far as Guard Commander of the Left.

Liu Bian describes the talented men of the Eastern Palace as 俊乂. Ma Rong remarked, "One who is a thousand times as talented as ordinary people is called 俊, and one a hundred times as much is called 乂." Such men included Jiang Tong, Pan Tao, Wang Dun, and others who were then serving as subordinate officials in the Eastern Palace.

Zhang Hua was saying that he did not consider himself to hold the same position and influence as Yi Yin had possessed.

Some versions have Zhang Hua saying of this proposed plot, "Even if the thing were successful, I still would not escape the crime".

Jia Nanfeng was a severe and ferocious woman. If she had found out what Liu Bian had said and Zhang Hua had not reported it to her, he certainly would have died at her hands. It must be that Zhang Hua himself was the one who leaked the conversation.)


17. In the twelfth month, Sima Yu's eldest son Sima Bin became ill. Sima Yu asked that Sima Bin be granted a princely title, but this was refused. Sima Bin's illness then became critical, and Sima Yu prayed for him and offered sacrifices on his behalf, hoping to save him. When Jia Nanfeng heard of this, she falsely sent out word that Emperor Hui was indisposed, and summoned Sima Yu to come to court.

When Sima Yu arrived, Jia Nanfeng would not see him, and she sent him to stay in a separate residence. Then she sent her servant girl Chen Wu to present Sima Yu with three liters of wine that Emperor Hui had supposedly bestowed him, and indicated that he should drink all of the wine. Sima Yu started to say that he could not drink the full three liters, but Chen Wu compelled him, saying, "How unfilial! (The Son of) Heaven bestows you this wine and you will not drink it, as though there was something evil in the wine!" So faced with no other option, Sima Yu forced himself to drink all of the wine, and therefore became very drunk.

Next, Jia Nanfeng had the Gentleman Attendant of the Yellow Gate, Pan Yue, compose a letter in his own handwriting. She gave this letter to her servant girl Cheng Fu, along with a writing brush and paper, and made her bring it to Sima Yu. Since Sima Yu was so drunk, he believed that there was an edict ordering him to write the letter.

This was what the letter said: "Your Majesty should make up your mind; if you do not, then I will. And the Central Palace (Empress Jia) should also make up her mind; if she does not, then I shall. Consort Xie and I are in agreement on this matter, and we express our joint opinion. Have no further doubts or hesitations, or you will leave a threat for the future. As I eat hair and drink blood beneath the Three Celestials (Sun, Moon, and Stars), may the Yellow Heaven approve and grant that I should sweep away and remove all dangers and threats, and establish Daowen (Sima Bin) as Prince and Lady Jiang (Sima Bin's mother) as Princess-in-Waiting. So that this may come to fruition, I make the Three Sacrifices and offer prayers to the Northern Sovereign."

Because Sima Yu was drunk, he was confused and did not realize what the letter said, so he went along with the request and wrote it down himself. But because of his drunkenness, half of the characters that he wrote were incomplete. Jia Nanfeng had to fill in the missing places herself. Then she showed the copied letter to Emperor Hui.


(Sima Bin's given name 虨 is pronounced "fin (f-in)" or "fian (f-ian)".

A son who is also a minister considers his lord father as Heaven. This is why something bestowed by his lord father is considered "bestowed by Heaven".

For his involvement in this plot, Heaven allowed Pan Yue to later fall into the hands of Sun Xiu.

Consort Xie was Sima Yu's mother Xiu Jiu. Agreement means accord; it was saying that what he expressed in the letter had the agreement of Xie Jiu, and both of them shared the same feelings. To "eat hair and drink blood" means a sign of pledge. Sima Bin's style name was Daowen. Lady Jiang was Sima Bin's mother Jiang Jun. Princess-in-Waiting meant that she would soon become Empress. The Three Sacrifices were offerings of an ox, a sheep, and a pig. The Northern Sovereign was the Northern Emperor (Xuanwu).

Now this letter did not have the slightest hint of authenticity. Anyone could look at it and know that it was a fake, and not to be trusted. But even so, the Princes, Dukes, chief ministers, Masters of Writing, Yellow Gate Attendants, and Cavalier Attendants of the Jin court all saw it without daring to express any doubts. It is true that Zhang Hua offered a rebuke, but he did not dare to expose Jia Nanfeng's wickedness; he set aside his former virtues just to go along with her violations and said nothing. And though Pei Wei did ask that the letter be analyzed for evidence, and did not actively go along with Jia Nanfeng's wickedness, he also did not dare to express his true thoughts. Everyone withheld their thoughts. Thus did the great chaos come about.)


18. On the day Renxu (February 6th of 300), Emperor Hui was in the Shiqian Hall, where he summoned the nobles and court ministers. He had the Prefect of the Yellow Gates, Dong Meng, present Sima Yu's letter along with an edict written on green paper, stating, "Since Sima Yu has written a letter like this, he should be bestowed death." The letter and edict were passed around for the Princes and Dukes to look at it, and no one dared to utter a word.

Then Zhang Hua said, "This is a great misfortune for the state. Ever since ancient times, it has often been a source of mourning and turmoil whenever the eldest son is deposed or demoted. Furthermore, the dynasty has only possessed the realm for a short time. Your Majesty, please reconsider this!"

Pei Wei believed that the letter should first receive further inspection. He also asked that it be compared against a letter in Sima Yu's handwriting; otherwise, he feared, it could be a forgery. So Jia Nanfeng brought in letters which Sima Yu had written on about a dozen other matters, and everyone compared them with the main one. But still, no one dared to say that the handwriting was not the same.

Jia Nanfeng had Dong Meng pretend to bring a message from Princess Changguang to Emperor Hui, saying, "This is a matter that should be decided quickly, yet the ministers are not in agreement. This goes against the wishes expressed in the edict. The matter should be dealt with through military law."

But the discussion continued on until sunset, and still no decision was reached. Jia Nanfeng could see that Zhang Hua and the others were remaining firm in their intentions, and she feared that the situation might get out of control. So she submitted a petition that Sima Yu should merely be demoted to a commoner, and Emperor Hui agreed to it.

They sent the Master of Writing, He Yu, and others bearing the Staff of Authority to the Eastern Palace, where they deposed Sima Yu to be a commoner. Sima Yu changed his attire and went out to accept the edict, then walked out on foot through the Chenghua Gate. He climbed into a rough calf-drawn carriage, and was led away under escort by the Duke of Dongwu, Sima Dan, and his guards. Sima Yu, his concubine Lady Wang, and his three sons Sima Bin, Sima Zang, and Sima Shang were all sent to the Jinyong fortress.

On his own initiative, Lady Wang's father Wang Yan submitted a petition divorcing his daughter from Sima Yu, and the request was granted. Forced to return to the palace, Lady Wang left Sima Yu with tears and sorrow.

Jia Nanfeng also killed Sima Mu's mother Xie Jiu and Sima Bin's mother Jiang Jun.


(The term 諸公王 here means the various princes of the royal family acting as court ministers.

Princess Changguang was Sima Yan's daughter, who was married to Zhen De. Her supposed letter was meant to coerce the debating court ministers.

The Chenghua Gate was the gate of the Eastern Palace. One of Lu Ji's poem has the verse "the shaking tassels of Chenghua"; it is the same place.

The disaster of the Pure Conversation philosophy first arose with He Yan. Now He Yan had shared Cao Shuang's fate through good fortune and ill. At this time, Wang Yan wished to avoid suffering the same fate He Yan had, so he made this request to divorce his daughter from Sima Yu.

Jiang Jun had the title Baolin, "guards the forest". Along with the title Refined Sister, it was one of the forty ranks of the six palaces during Han times. From the time of Cao-Wei and Jin onwards, it was a rank in the Eastern Palace. Yan Shigu remarked, "By Baolin, it means that she had as many ways to put one as ease as trees in a forest.")
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:47 pm, edited 3 times in total.
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."
User avatar
Taishi Ci 2.0
Grand Historian Friendly to Cats
Posts: 737
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:55 pm
Location: My life is brilliant


Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Nov 05, 2017 4:14 pm


The First Year of Yongkang (The Gengshen Year, 300 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, on the new moon of the day Guihai (February 7th), an amnesty was declared throughout the realm, and the reign era title was changed.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Emperor Hui and the Astrological Records in the Book of Jin both state that 'on the day Jimao (February 23rd), there was an eclipse'. But the Records of Liu-Song does not list it. Now according to the Calendar Records, the day Jimao was the seventeenth day of this month. How could there have been an eclipse then?")


2. The Marshal to the Colonel of Western Rong Tribes, Yan Zuan, bound himself to a coffin and visited the palace to present a petition stating, "Crown Prince Li ('the Unrepentant') of Han went so far as to take command of soldiers to oppose the imperial mandate by force, and yet it was only suggested that his punishment should be flogging. Now I would not dare to suggest that Sima Yu has not committed a crime this day, but surely it is not so serious as what Crown Prince Li did. You ought to select new Tutors and Instructors for him, and see whether or not they cannot discipline and instruct him. If he still does not repent or change his ways, it will not be too late to cast him out."

His petition was accepted, but no action was taken. This Yan Zuan was the grandson of Yan Pu.


(Sima Yan had placed the Colonel of Southern Man Tribes at Xiangyang, the Colonel of Western Rong Tribes at Chang'an, and the Colonel of Southern Yi Tribes at Ningzhou. Each of them had their own Chief Clerks and Marshals.

Crown Prince Li of Han was the son of Emperor Wu. He was forced into rebellion against his father. This is mentioned in Book 22, in Emperor Wu's second and third years of Zhenghe (91-90 BC).

Yan Pu was Zhang Lu's minister who surrendered to Cao Cao with him after Cao Cao captured Hanzhong. This is mentioned in Book 67, in Emperor Xian of Han's twentieth year of Jian'an (215.H, O-P in de Crespigny's To Establish Peace).)


3. Jia Nanfeng forced the Yellow Gate officials to confess that they had been part of Sima Yu's plot. An edict was issued containing their testimony to display it to the various nobles and court ministers. Sima Dan was sent with a thousand soldiers to escort Sima Yu to house arrest at the palace at Xuchang, and the Records-Keeping (or, Records-Managing) Imperial Clerk, Liu Zhen, was charged with authority to keep watch over him.

The edict ordered that none of the palace ministers were to see Sima Yu off when he left. However, the Horse-Washers Jiang Tong and Pan Tao, the Retainers Wang Dun, Du Rui, and Lü Yao, and others all disregarded the order and followed Sima Yu as far as the Yi River, where they saluted him and expressed themselves through tears. The Colonel-Director of Retainers, Man Fen, arrested Jiang Tong and the others and had them sent to prisons. Those of them that were sent to the prison at Henan were all released and let go by Yue Guang, but those of them who were sent to the prison in Luoyang remained imprisoned.

The Attendant Officer of Capital Affairs, Sun Tan, warned Jia Mi, "The reason you deposed and exiled the Crown Prince was because of his crimes alone, nothing more. But now, just because these palace officials have overstepped their bounds in going to see him off, you are piling on more oppressive measures. When word of this becomes generally known, it will only further extoll the Crown Prince's virtue. It would be better to release these prisoners."

So Jia Mi ordered the Prefect of Luoyang, Cao Shu, to release the prisoners in Luoyang, and Yue Guang was not reprimanded for having released the prisoners in Henan. This Wang Dun was the grandson of Wang Lan; this Cao Shu was the grandson of Cao Zhao.

When Sima Yu arrived at Xuchang, he sent a letter to his former wife Lady Wang, explaining how he had been framed and slandered. But her father Wang Yan did not dare to listen to his explanations.


(Some versions record Liu Zhen's title as Records-Managing rather than Records-Keeping. The Records-Keeping Imperial Clerk was the same as the Records-Managing Attendant Imperial Clerk.

The Records of Jin states, "The Crown Prince had six men as Retainers. This office was similar to the Gentleman-Attendants of the Cavaliers in Regular Attendance, the Palace Secretariat, and other such bureaus."

The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Yi River flows through Yique, and on northeast until it reaches the south of Luoyang County. From there, it flows north until it enters the Luo River."

At this time, Yue Guang was the Intendant of Henan. Releasing the prisoners in Henan fell within his authority as the leader of the commandary. But he had no authority to free those prisoners who were sent to Luoyang, and so they remained imprisoned.

Wang Lan was the younger stepbrother of the Cao-Wei and Jin minister Wang Xiang, one of the paragons of filial piety. He is mentioned in Book 77, in Cao Mao's first year of Ganlu (256.21 in Fang's Chronicles).

Cao Zhao was the son of the Cao-Wei general Cao Xiu. He is mentioned in Book 74, in Emperor Ming of Cao-Wei's (Cao Rui's) second year of Jingchu (238.41 in Fang's Chronicles).)


4. On the day Bingzi (February 20th), Sima Yu's son Sima Bin passed away.


(He died of remarkable illness.

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Emperor Hui in the Book of Jin record Sima Bin's given name as Lin. But Sima Bin's style name was Daowen, so his given name could not have been Lin. I follow the account of the Biography of Crown Prince Minhuai (Sima Yu) in the Book of Jin.")


5. In the third month, there were several portents. It rained blood in Weishi County. An unusual star was spotted in the south. Venus shone exceptionally brightly. And the stars of the Middle Terrace constellation came apart.

Zhang Hua's youngest son Zhang Wei urged his father to resign his position, but Zhang Hua would not listen. Zhang Hua said, "Heaven's ways are distant and unknowable. It is better to be calm and await events."


(Ever since Han times, Weishi County had been part of Chenliu commandary. Ying Shao remarked, "In ancient times, the official in charges of prisons was called the Commandant Official (weishi), and Weishi County was where the state of Zheng had its detached prisons." Chen Zan remarked, "The town of the great minister of Zheng, Lord Wei (weishi), was in this place, and the town took its name from him." Yan Shigu remarked, "The great minister of Zheng, Lord Wei, was also in charge of the prisons, and this was the only reason for the name; everything followed from that."

When one sees some remarkable star but does not know its name, one calls it an unusual star.

The Astrological Records in the Book of Jin states, "When Venus shines exceptionally brightly, it is contending with the Sun to outshine it. This heralds a strong state becoming weaker and a weak state becoming stronger, and also the flourishing of a queen."

The Astrological Records further states, "The lower part of the Kui constellation has six stars, in three pairs of two, called the Three Terraces. When the pairs of the Three Terraces are alike in color, it shows harmony between the lord and his ministers. But when they are not alike, it shows discord between them." The Astrological Records in the Book of Han states, "The Three Terraces are called the Steps of Qin. Of the two stars of the Upper Step, the upper star is the Son of Heaven and the lower star is his Queen. Of the two stars of the Middle Step, the upper star is the various nobles and the Three Excellencies and the lower star is the lesser court ministers and officials. Of the two stars of the Lower Step, the upper star is the gentry and the lower star is the common people." When the passage says that the stars of the Middle Terrace "came apart", it means they were not alike in color.

Zhang Hua spoke of being calm and awaiting events. Just what was it that he was waiting for?)


6. Sima Yu's removal as Crown Prince stirred up indignation and anger among many. The Guard Marshal of the Right, Sima Ya, and the 常從督, Xu Chao, had both once served Sima Yu in the Eastern Palace. They hatched a plot with the Palace Gentleman of the Central Hall, Shi Yi, and others to depose Jia Nanfeng and restore Sima Yu as Crown Prince.

Now Zhang Hua and Pei Wei were too complacent with affairs and wanted to retain their current status, so it would be hard to accomplish anything with them. But the General of the Army of the Right and Prince of Zhao, Sima Lun, had military power as well, and he was a covetous and greedy man. The plotters felt that if they had him on their side, they could succeed.

So they approached Sima Lun's subordinate Sun Xiu, and said to him, "The Central Palace (Jia Nanfeng) is wild, jealous, and without principles. She plotted together with Jia Mi and the others to slander and depose the Crown Prince. Now the state no longer has a legitimate heir, and the dynasty will soon be in danger. The great ministers will rise up soon because of this. Sir, your lord is known as a supporter of the Empress, and he is closely related to the Jia and Guo clans. People will all say that he must have had a hand in the Crown Prince being deposed. When things take their natural course, misfortune will overtake him as well. Would it not be better for him to carry out his own plan before that can happen?"

Sun Xiu agreed to speak on their behalf, and when he talked to Sima Lun, Sima Lun approved of the plot.

The plotters also sent word of their intentions to the 通事令史, Zhang Lin, the 省事, Zhang Heng, and others, so that these people could coordinate with them from the inside.


(The Guard Marshal of the Right, the 常從督, and the Palace Gentleman of the Central Hall were all offices subordinate to the two Commanders of the Guards. Sima Yan had greatly valued guard offices, and for the commanders of the guards of the Central Hall, he selected renowned members of the court to fill those offices.

Sima Ya was a distant junior relative of the imperial clan.

The plotters were saying that people would claim that Sima Lun and Sun Xiu would surely have known about the plot to depose Sima Yu.

The 通事令史 was the 令史 of the Palace Secretariat. The Gentlemen-Attendants of the Palace Secretariat were originally called the Gentleman of 通事. Although their name had changed, they were still subordinate to the 令史.

Lu Ji's Daily Life of Emperor Hui states, "This Zhang Lin was the great-grandson of the leader of the Black Mountain Bandits, Zhang Yan."

省事 was also the name of an official position. When Jia Chong had been Prefect of the Masters of Writing, he created four officials to handle irritating petitions, and this was the start of this 省事 position.)


7. The plotters were about to act.

But then Sun Xiu said to Sima Lun, "The Crown Prince is an intelligent man, and willful and assertive too. If he were to be restored to the Eastern Palace, he would certainly not let anyone else control him. You have long been associated with Empress Jia, as even people on the street are aware. Even if you help to make this plot succeed and so restore the Crown Prince, he will just say that you felt pressed to act by the hopes of the common people, and you were only helping him now because you wanted to avoid being punished for your crimes. He might tolerate you for a time, but he would still hold a grudge against you, and if the slightest pretext came up, you would not be able to avoid execution. Why not wait a while longer first? Empress Jia will surely kill the Crown Prince, and once she does, then you can depose her, saying you were avenging him. By doing that, not only would you avoid misfortune, but you would even be able to achieve your ambitions."

Sima Lun agreed with him.


(Sun Xiu was saying that the common people all hoped to see Sima Yu restored as Crown Prince, and Sima Lun and the others would only be acting out of fear and pressure, betraying the Jia clan and restoring Sima Yu just to save themselves from being condemned.)


8. So Sun Xiu sent someone to sow discord in the palace, saying that the people in the palace wanted to depose Jia Nanfeng and restore Sima Yu. Jia Nanfeng sent her servant girls out several times to eavesdrop on conversations around the palace, and when she heard these rumors she was greatly afraid. Then Sima Lun and Sun Xiu urged Jia Mi and others that they should be quick to get rid of Sima Yu in order to dash the hopes of his restoration.

On the day Guiwei (April 27th), Jia Nanfeng forced the Prefect of the Imperial Physicians, Cheng Ju, to provide her with some poisonous medicine, and she forged an edict ordering the Yellow Gate official Sun Lü to go to Xuchang and poison Sima Yu. Now ever since Sima Yu had been deposed and exiled, he had been afraid he might be poisoned, so he often boiled his food before eating it. Sun Lü told Liu Zhen about his orders, so Liu Zhen had Sima Yu moved to a small enclosure and cut off his food supply. But the palace officials would steal food and then throw it over the wall so that Sima Yu could eat it. Sun Lü tried to force the medicine on Sima Yu, but Sima Yu refused to give in. Sun Lü then used the medicine's pestle stick to kill him.

The officials asked that Sima Yu be buried as a commoner, but Jia Nanfeng petitioned that he be buried with princely rites, as the Prince of Guangling.


(Sima Ya, Xu Chao, Shi Yi, and the others were people inside the Central Hall.)


9. In summer, the fourth month, on the new moon of the day Xinmao (May 5th), there was an eclipse.


10. Sima Lun and Sun Xiu were now set to act against Jia Nanfeng. They informed the Ci Fei Marshal to the Guard Commander of the Right, Lü He, of their intentions, and Lü He agreed to go along with them. They set the time to act as the first minute of the third watch on the night of the day Guisi (May 7th), and the signal to act would be the sound of the drums.

When the day came, Sun Xiu sent Sima Ya on ahead to tell Zhang Hua, "The Prince of Zhao wishes to work together with you for the benefit of the state, and to remove a danger to the realm. I was sent to let you know."

But Zhang Hua rebuffed his offer.

Sima Ya became angry and said, "The blade is almost upon your neck, and still you would say such things!"

But Zhang Hua ignored him and left.


(Under the Jin system, the Guard Commander of the Right had two Marshals, the Ci Fei Marshal and the Rapid As Tigers Marshal. Ci Fei was the name of a man from Jing; he was an ancient hero who vaulted rivers and slew serpents. Ever since Han times, his name had become a byword for the guards. His surname 佽 is pronounced "ri (r-i)".

The Bingye watch was the third watch of the evening. The term 一籌 in the passage means one minute after the third watch had begun.

Zhang Hua had long been involved in Jia Nanfeng's planning. Sima Ya expressed such sentiments to him to try to win him over, but to no avail. Zhang Hua knew that he would not be able to stop the anger of the plotters, but he had already exerted himself for so long on behalf of the Empress, and he did not dare to turn his back on her. Thus caught between two fires with no way out, he merely waited for death.)


11. When the moment for the plot had arrived, Sima Lun presented a forged imperial edict with orders to the Marshals of the Three Divisions: "The Central Palace (Empress Jia) plotted with Jia Mi and others to kill my son, the Crown Prince. I now order the General of Chariots and Cavalry to depose her. When this affair is concluded, those of you who heeded my command shall be appointed as Marquises of the Passes; those who did not heed my commands shall have their clans exterminated to the third degree." All of them heeded the command.

Sima Lun also forged an edict ordering the palace gates to be opened, and he entered the palace that night. He posted his soldiers on the southern road, while he sent the Colonel of 翊軍 and Prince of Qi, Sima Jiong, at the head of a hundred men to force his way into the imperial apartments. They received assistance from within from the Prefect of the Hualin Garden, Luo Xiu, and received Emperor Hui at the Xidong Hall.

Sima Jiong presented an edict summoning Jia Mi to the front of the Hall, because he was about to kill him. Jia Mi fled under the Western Bells, crying out, "O Empress, save me!" But he was taken and beheaded.

When Jia Nanfeng saw Sima Jiong, she castigated him, "What are you doing here?"

Sima Jiong replied, "I have an edict to arrest the Empress."

Jia Nanfeng said, "Edicts come from me; how could you have one?"

And she climbed atop the residence, crying out a long ways off to Emperor Hui, "Your Majesty, I am your wife! If you make these people depose me, they will depose you too!"

Now by this time, the Prince of Lian, Sima Rong, was also in on the plot. So Jia Nanfeng asked Sima Jiong, "Who is behind all this?"

Sima Jiong replied, "The Princes of Lian and Zhao."

Jia Nanfeng lamented, "When binding a dog, you must bind it by the neck. If you bind it by the tail, what else could happen but this?"

Jia Nanfeng was deposed to be a commoner, and she was kept under house arrest in the Jianshi Hall. Zhao Can, Jia Wu, and others were also arrested and sent to the Drying House to be questioned.

An edict was issued ordering the rounding up and arrest of all of the Jia clan's intimates and partisans, and all of the Palace Secretariat officials, Palace Attendants, Gentlemen-Attendants of the Yellow Gate, and the ministers of the Eight Places were ordered into the hall that night. The Masters of Writing initially suspected that the edict was a forgery, and the Gentleman of the Masters of Writing, Shi Jing, put in a request asking to see the edict for himself. Sima Lun and the other plotters killed him to silence the others.


(Under the Jin system, the two Guard Commanders had Marshals commanding the Three Divisions: these were the 前驅, 由基, and Strong Crossbows Divisions.

At this time, Sima Lun was General of Chariots and Cavalry and acting General of the Army of the Right.

Sima Lun's soldiers were blocking the carriage road south.

In Sima Yan's first year of Taikang (280), he had created the office of Colonel of 翊軍.

The Prefect of Hualin was the Prefect of the Hualin Garden. Cao-Wei had originally created this garden as the Fanglin Garden. Later, to avoid the taboo on Cao Fang's name, its name was changed to the Hualin Garden. The garden had the Tianyuan Pool, in the midst of which was Emperor Wen's (Cao Pi's) Nine Flower Thickets Hall. The Records of Jin states, "The Prefect of Hualin was subordinate to the Grand Herald."

The Registry of Surnames states, "Regarding the surname 駱 Luo, among the descendants of the Grand Duke of Qi (Jiang Ziya), there was the Duke's son Luo. And one of the forebearers of the state of Qin was Daluo."

Jia Nanfeng's comment about dogs was expressing her regret that she had not killed Sima Rong and Sima Lun sooner.

The Records of Jin states, "The Prefect of the Drying House was subordinate to the 光祿勳."

The passage says that Shi Jing was a "Gentleman"; it means "of the Masters of Writing". Shi was his surname and Jing his given name.)


12. Now Sima Lun was secretly plotting with Sun Xiu to usurp the throne. To that end, he first wanted to curtail the power of the court, as well as settle old grudges. So he had Zhang Hua, Pei Wei, Hai Xi, Hai Jie, and other ministers brought to the front of the Palace Hall.

Zhang Hua said to Zhang Lin, "Do you intend to do harm to a loyal minister?"

Referring to the edict, Zhang Lin asked him, "You were a chief minister of state, and yet when the Crown Prince was deposed, you could not insist upon your principles even unto death. Why was that?"

Zhang Hua replied, "During the discussion at the Shiqian Hall, I offered my full remonstrations in every case, as you may ascertain for yourself."

Zhang Lin retorted, "And when your remonstrations were ignored, why did you not resign your office?"

To this Zhang Hua could make no reply. All of these ministers were beheaded, along with their clans to the third degree.

Hai Jie's daughter had been engaged to the Pei clan. She had been scheduled to join their family in marriage the next day, yet this disaster had come up during the night. The Pei clan wanted to adopt her so that she would be spared, but she said, "When such a thing is happening to my family, how can I live?" So she also accepted the death sentence. Because of that, the court discussed amending the original system, so that daughters would not have to follow their families into death.

On the day Jiawu (May 8th), Sima Lun placed himself at the Duan Gate of the palace, and sent the Master of Writing, He Yu, with a Staff of Authority to escort the commoner Jia Nanfeng to the Jinyong fortress. He executed Liu Zhen, Dong Meng, Sun Lü, Cheng Ju, and others who were associated with her. The Minister Over The Masses, Wang Rong, placed blame upon any officials, inside or out, that had any ties to Zhang Hua or Pei Wei, and a considerable number of them were demoted or stripped of office.

Yan Zuan stroked his hand against Zhang Hua's body, wailing through tears, "I warned you before to give up your office, Sir, but you would not do it. It was fate that you could not avoid your death!"


(Sima Lun and Sun Xiu resented Zhang Hua, Pei Wei, and Hai Xi for their resistance to their efforts at court, as mentioned in the previous book in the sixth year of Yuankang (296.4). Hai Jie was Hai Xi's younger brother. When Sun Xiu had been causing mischief in Guanzhong, Hai Jie had proposed charging Sun Xiu with a crime and executing him, so Sun Xiu also bore a grudge against him.

The court ministers proposed that the daughter of a family not follow her birth parents' family into death.

The main southern gate of the palace was called the Duan Gate.

Up until this passage, the ZZTJ has called Jia Nanfeng "Empress Jia". Even during the times when she deposed Empress Yang Zi and deposed Crown Prince Sima Yu, the text did not refer to her by her ultimate title of "the commoner Jia Nanfeng". But it does so here, because she had now been charged with her crimes.)


13. Sima Lun issued an edict declaring an amnesty throughout the realm. He appointed himself as Commissioner Bearing Credentials, Commander of all military affairs, Chancellor of State, and Palace Attendant, following the precedents of when Sima Yi and Sima Zhao had held their regency powers over the government of Wei. He created a household guard of ten thousand soldiers, and he appointed the Cavalier In Regular Attendance, his eldest son Sima Fu, as Deputy Director of 宂從. Among his other sons, he appointed Sima Fuu as General of the Front and Prince of Jiyang, he appointed Sima Qian as a Gentleman of the Yellow Gate and Prince of Ruyin, and he appointed Sima Xu as Cavalier-Gentleman In Attendance and Marquis of Bacheng. Sun Xiu and Sima Lun's other allies were all granted noble titles over large commandaries, and each of them held military authority. Civil and military offices and noble titles were distributed out among several thousand people, so that all of the ministers were compelled to heed Sima Lun's commands in order to retain their offices.

Now Sima Lun had long been a mediocre and dull man, and he entrusted all power over the government with Sun Xiu. So Sun Xiu was further appointed as Prefect of the Palace Secretariat, and his power and influence shook the court; all matters of the realm were handled by him without being referred to Sima Lun.


(The Records of Jin states, "The offices of Prime Minister and Chancellor of State were originally Qin offices. They did not initially exist at the time when Jin accepted the abdication from Cao-Wei. But from the time of Emperor Hui onwards, from time to time someone was appointed to one or the other of them: the Prince of Zhao, Sima Lun; the Prince of Liang, Sima Rong; the Prince of Chengdu, Sima Ying; the Prince of Nanyang, Sima Bao; Wang Dun; Wang Dao; and those afterwards. But it was not a regularly appointed office." This passage refers to Sima Yi and Sima Zhao. Sima Yi was appointed Prime Minister during Cao-Wei, and Sima Zhao was appointed Chancellor of State. They were both extraordinary appointments.

Regarding Sima Lun's eldest son’s given name, 荂 is pronounced "kua (k-ua)", but Yang Zhengheng says that it is pronounced "fu".

The Records of Jin states, "The Deputy Director of 宂從 was subordinate to the 光祿動."

A Gentleman of the Yellow Gate was a Gentleman-Attendant of the Yellow Gate. When Cao-Wei had first created the office of Cavalier In Regular Attendance, they had created the complimentary office of Gentleman-Cavalier In Attendance. From that time on into Jin, all of these offices, as well as the Palace Attendants, worked to fairly execute the wishes of the Masters of Writing. They were all important offices.

Master Zhu remarked, "The term 'to maintain themselves' (in this passage) means that they heeded orders in order to retain their offices.")


14. An edict was issued posthumously restoring Sima Yu to his position as Crown Prince. The Master of Writing, He Yu, was sent to lead the officials and subordinates of the Eastern Palace to welcome Sima Yu in mourning at Xuchang. Sima Yu's late son Sima Bin was posthumously named the Prince of Nanyang. His surviving sons Sima Zang and Sima Shang were appointed as Prince of Linhuai and Prince of Xiangyang.


15. The ministers petitioned, "The Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Wang Yan, sought to secure himself in office as a great minister. When the Crown Prince was slandered, Wang Yan thought only of keeping out of danger. We ask that he be barred from holding office for the rest of his life." Their request was granted.


(The petition refers to how when Sima Yu had sent a letter to his former wife Lady Wang explaining how he had been framed and slandered, Wang Yan had not dared to pay any heed to it.)


16. Sima Lun wished to win over people to his side, so he sought out gentlemen famous for their virtue in order to employ them. He employed the former Administrator of Pingyang, Li Zhong, and the Administrator of Xingyang, Xun Zu, as his Chief Clerks of the Left and Right. He employed Wang Kan of Dongping and Liu Mo of the Pei princely fief as his Marshals of the Left and Right. He employed the Gentleman of the Masters of Writing, Shu Xi of Yangping, as his 記室. He employed the Literary Scholar to the Prince of Huainan, Xun Song, and the Gentleman of the Central Hall, Lu Ji, as his army advisors. This Xun Zu was the son of Xun Xu; this Xun Song was the great-great grandson of Xun Yu.

Li Zhong knew that Sima Lun had sinister intentions, so he pleaded illness and would not accept his appointment. Sima Lun pressured him to accept, but to no avail. Through his anxiety and indignation, Li Zhong really did develop an illness, and had to be supported by the arm in order to salute. He passed away after a few days.


(In Emperor Wen of Cao-Wei's (Cao Pi's) second year of Huangchu (221), he had split off part of Wei commandary as Pingyang commandary.

The office of 記室 was in charge of official documents and correspondence. The Continued Records of Han states, "The 記室 was in charge of recording petitions and responses."

Shu Xi was a descendant of the Grand Tutor to the Crown Prince of Han, Shu Guang. Shu Guang wrote his surname as 疎, but when his great-grandson encountered difficulties, he changed the surname by removing the 足 radical, so that it was written as 束.

The Gentleman of the Central Hall was the same as a Gentleman of the Masters of Writing. Its duties were managing affairs within the Central Hall.

Xun Xu was a chief minister of Jin during its first years.

Xun Yu was a chief minister of the warlord Cao Cao in the years leading up to Cao-Wei.)


17. On the day Dingyou (May 11th), Sima Rong was appointed as Grand Guardian, the Household Counselor of the Left, He Shao, was appointed as Minister Over The Masses, and the Household Counselor of the Right, Liu Shi, was appointed Minister of Works.


(The Records of Jin states, "The Household Counselors of the Left and Right had golden seals and purple tassels. They occupied the second rank of the Nine Ranks system, and were granted salaries, regular seats, hats and headdresses, carriages and canopies, and jade belt pendants, and were assigned guards from the Feathered Forest guards. During Cao-Wei and Jin, they were assigned as Of the Right and Of the Left. But during that time, the great officials were all reassigned, and in later ages the Counselors merely handled salary affairs. Du You remarked, "From the time of Cao-Wei and Jin on, the Household Counselor and his fellows Of the Left and Of the Right all had silver seals and green tassels. The most important of them were additionally granted golden seals and tassels, and so they came to be called Household Counselors With Golden Tassels. Since the important ones were called this name, the original offices then began to be called Household Counselors With Silver or Green Tassels.")


18. After Sima Yu had been deposed as Crown Prince, there had been talk of setting up the Prince of Huainan, Sima Yun, as the new Crown Prince, under the title of Crown Younger Brother. But after discussing the matter, there had been no consensus.

Later, after Sima Lun deposed Empress Jia Nanfeng, he appointed Sima Yun as General of Agile Cavalry and acting Army Protector of the Palace, with equal authority to the Three Excellencies.


(It was saying that there was a debate over the subject.)


19. On the day Jihai (May 13th), Sima Lun forged an edict ordering the Master of Writing, Liu Hong, to present Jia Nanfeng with the Gold-Flecked Wine at the Jinyong fortress, thus bestowing her with death.


20. In the fifth month, on the day Jisi (June 12th), an edict was issued appointing Sima Yu's son Sima Zang as Crown Prince, under the title Crown Grandson, and Sima Yu's former wife Lady Wang was sent to serve as his mother. Sima Yu's former officials and subordinates as Crown Prince were now reassigned to serve Sima Zang, and Sima Lun himself took on the role of acting Grand Tutor to him.


After Sima Yu had been deposed, Lady Wang had been sent back to her parent's family.

(The passage lists Sima Zang's title as Prince of Linhai, but some versions have it as Prince of Linhuai.)


21. On the day Jimao (June 22nd), Sima Yu was given the posthumous name Minhuai ("the Pitied and Cherished").

In the sixth month, on the day Renyin (July 15th), Sima Yu was reburied at Xianping Tomb.


22. Sima Xia passed away. He was posthumously known as Prince Kang ("the Peaceful") of Qinghe.


23. Now Sima Yun was a stalwart fellow, and all the commanders and officers of the household guards all feared him and heeded his orders. Sima Yun knew that Sima Lun and Sun Xiu were up to no good, so he secretly trained men who were prepared to die for him, planning to use them against the two of them. Sima Lun and Sun Xiu both dreaded him.

In autumn, the eighth month, they had Sima Yun appointed as the Grand Commandant. This was ostensibly to glorify and honor him, but their real intent was to take away his military authority. Sima Yun claimed illness and would not accept the appointment.

Sun Xiu sent the Imperial Secretary Liu Ji to pressure Sima Yun, and Liu Ji arrested Sima Yun's subordinates, accused him of acting contrary to an imperial edict, and charged him with the great offense of gross disrespect. When Sima Yun looked at the edict, he could tell that Sun Xiu had written it. Furious, he arrested Liu Ji and was about to behead him. Liu Ji managed to escape, but Sima Yun killed his two Clerks.

In a very stern voice, Sima Yun said to those around him, "The Prince of Zhao wants to destroy my family!" And he marched out at the head of seven hundred soldiers from his princely garrison and from his official staff, shouting, "The Prince of Zhao is a rebel, and I mean to punish him! Let those who agree with me join my side!" A great body of men soon gathered around him.

Sima Yun was almost at the palace when the Minister of the Left of the Masters of Writing, Wang Yu, closed the Ye Gates, and Sima Yun could not force his way in. So he went to surround the Chancellor's Office. All of Sima Yun's soldiers were elite troops, and though Sima Lun's soldiers fought them, they were defeated several times, with more than a thousand of them killed. The Guard Commander of the Left, Chen Hui, rallied the soldiers of the Eastern Palace with a roll of the drums, and they marched to join Sima Yun's men.

Sima Yun arrayed his troops before the Chenghua Gate, and had his men shoot bows and crossbows, ordering them to shoot Sima Lun. The arrows fell like rain. The Marshal of 主書s, Sui Mi, covered Sima Lun with his body; he was hit in the back by an arrow and died. Sima Lun's officials and subordinates all hid behind trees, and all of the trees were filled with hundreds of arrows. The battle kept up from the early morning to the afternoon.

The Prefect of the Palace Secretariat, Chen Huai (or Chen Zhun), was Chen Hui's elder brother. He wished to support Sima Yun, so he said to Emperor Hui, "We should bring the White Tiger Banners to the battle to break up the fighting." And he sent the Marshal-Commander Fu Yin to lead four hundred cavalry bearing the banners out of the palace.

Sima Lun's son Sima Qian was standing below the gate, and he secretly vowed to Fu Yin, "Wealth and power will be yours if you help us." So Fu Yin produced a blank edict sheet, and forged an edict saying that he was leading his forces to come help Sima Yun. Sima Yun, not suspecting anything amiss, opened a gap in his formation to receive these reinforcements, and he alighted from his carriage to receive the edict. Taking advantage of this opening, Fu Yin killed Sima Yun, and also killed his sons Sima Yu and Sima Di, the Princes of Qin and Han.

Several thousand people were blamed for having supported Sima Yun and were killed. A limited amnesty was then issued for Luoyang.


(The Army Protector of the Palace was in charge of soldiers; by appointing Sima Yun as grand Commandant, Sima Lun and Sun Xiu wanted to make him give up command of these soldiers.

The Clerks mentioned were Clerks of the Lantai bureau.

Of Sima Lun's initial soldiers, the "princely garrison" were the ones from his fief as Prince of Huainan, and the "official staff" were the soldiers under his command as Army Protector of the Palace.

The palace gate to the left of the Duan Gate was the Left Ye Gate, and the one to the right was called the Right Ye Gate.

At this time, Sima Lun was in the Chancellor's office in the Eastern Palace.

The "Commander of the Left" was the Guard Commander of the Left.

The Continued Records of Han states, "The Masters of Writing had thirty-six Manager-Gentlemen, and these Gentlemen each had three 主書." This Marshal of 主書s was a subordinate office of the Chancellor of State, created by Sima Lun.

眭 Sui is a surname.

The ZZTJ had earlier stated (296.5) that the Prefect of the Palace Secretariat was Chen 準 Zhun. Here it says he was Chen 淮 Huai. The passage has probably miswritten 準 as 淮.

The purpose of the White Tiger Banner was to encourage the soldiers on to battle, not to break up fighting. But Chen Zhun knew that Emperor Hui was an inferior and dull man, and so he felt he could ask to send out the White Tiger Banners. His intent was that when Sima Lun's troops saw the presence of the White Tiger Banners among Sima Yun's soldiers, encouraging them to attack Sima Lun, they would realize he had Emperor Hui's support, and then they would all scatter of their own accord. What else could he have intended but to support Sima Yun?

The Marshal-Commander and the Colonel-General of the Central Hall were both subordinate to the two Guard Commanders.

The blank sheet was a sheet that had not yet had an edict written upon it. Fu Yin did not originally have a genuine edict, but he carried a blank edict sheet with him, which he now produced.

The amnesty was not a general one for the whole realm, but purely for Luoyang, so it says it was a limited edict.)


24. When Sun Xiu had previously been nothing more than a minor official, he had once had to handle affairs for the Yellow Gate Gentleman, Pan Yue, who had flogged him several times. The Commandant of the Guards, Shi Chong, had a nephew, Ouyang Jian, who had long had bad blood with Sima Lun. And Shi Chong himself had a beautiful woman named Lüzhu whom he loved; Sun Xiu had asked Shi Chong to give Lüzhu to him, but Shi Chong refused.

After Sima Yun's coup had failed, Sun Xiu took the opportunity to blame Pan Yue, Ouyang Jian, and Shi Chong for having put Sima Yun up to it, and he had them all arrested.

Shi Chong lamented, "You slaves, you are only after my wealth!"

The guards arresting him replied, "If you knew your wealth would bring disaster, why didn't you get rid of it earlier?"

Shi Chong could give no answer.

Before, Pan Yue's mother had often rebuked her son, saying, "You should be satisfied with what you have, yet you keep trying to push your luck!"

After they were arrested, Pan Yue apologized to his mother, saying, "O Mother, I have failed you."

Pan Yue, Shi Chong, and Ouyang Jian were all executed, along with their clans, and Shi Chong's family was entirely destroyed.

Sima Lun arrested Sima Yun's younger brother by the same mother, the Prince of Wu, Sima Yan, and he was about to kill him. But the Household Counselor With Golden Tassel, Fu Zhi, argued against this during court, and the other ministers all rebuked Sima Lun as well and asked him to stop. So Sima Lun did not kill him, but only demoted Sima Yan to Prince of Bintu County.


(Sun Xiu was a native of Langye. During the time when Pan Yue was the Interior Minister of Langye, Sun Xiu was serving as a minor official there, and he was assigned to Pan Yue. Sun Xiu was sly, cunning, and sought his own pleasure. Pan Yue was displeased by his behavior, and flogged him several times to humiliate him.

Ouyang Jian had submitted petitions charging Sima Lun with offenses in Guanzhong, as seen in the previous book, in the sixth year of Yuankang (296.4).

The lady Lüzhu was fond of playing the flute. The Taiping Guangji states, "In modern Baizhou, at the base of Mount Shuangjiao, there is the Well of Lüzhu. In former times, there was a daughter of the Liang clan who had an exceptional appearance. Shi Chong sent someone to Jiaozhou to purchase her, with a pearl of three 斛 as his payment. At the place where the Liang clan lived, there was an old well, and whoever drank the water from this well was certain to give birth to a beautiful girl. But there was no use for beautiful women in that place, so she was given to Shi Chong."

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Biography of Shi Chong in the Book of Jin states, 'Shi Chong and Ouyang Jian knew that Sun Xiu and Sima Lun meant to do them harm, so they secretly plotted with Sima Yun and Sima Jiong to move against Sima Lun.' Now if Shi Chong had really been in collusion with Sima Yun, then after Sima Yun was defeated, Shi Chong would naturally have feared for his life; he would not have simply waited to be arrested, especially going so far as to hold a feast atop a tower. Sun Xiu and Sima Lun were simply fulfilling their old grudges when they slandered and killed him. The Biography continues, 'Sun Xiu had long been enamored by Lüzhu, but Shi Chong would not give him to her. Furious, Sun Xiu urged Sima Lun to execute Shi Chong. As Shi Chong was holding a feast atop a tower, armored soldiers arrived at the gates. Shi Chong said to Lüzhu, "For your sake, I have been charged with a crime." Lüzhu wept and said, "Lord, I ought to give up my life before yours." And she flung herself from the top of the tower and perished.'"

Pan Yue's mother's complaint was that Pan Yue kept trying to seek advantages for himself during this time, and did not know when to stop. Fu Qian remarked, "To test one's luck is to shoot for either success or failure." Ru Chun remarked, "This term is called 乾沒. To attain advantage is 乾, and to lose it is 沒." It is also said, "The term uses a river as an analogy. It is saying that one sees benefits of the river, but hurries along instead of using it. Although dry, one is still on solid ground, rather than being sunk in the water up past their head. It is all in the sense of acting heedless of consequences."

During Former Han, Bintu County was part of Liaoxi commandary, and during Later Han it was part of the Liaodong Vassal State Command Post. During Jin, it was part of Changli commandary.)


25. For his assistance in the coup against Jia Nanfeng, Sima Jiong had been appointed as General of Fierce Assault. But Sima Jiong was not satisfied by this, and he often looked resentful. When Sun Xiu realized this, he was afraid to keep Sima Jiong too close at hand, so he had him sent away as General Who Pacifies The East and had him garrison Xuchang.


(The Records of Jin states, "The titles of General of Agile Cavalry and General of Fierce Assault were both irregular titles for generals during Han. Cao-Wei assigned them as positions with the Central Army. During Jin, there were six such titles: these two, General Who Leads The Army, General Who Protects The Army, and Guard Generals of the Left and Right. These six positions led the Six Armies."

This was why Sima Jiong was in a position to raise his troops at Xuchang later to campaign against Sima Lun.)


26. The Household Counselor With Golden Tassel, Chen Zhun, was appointed as Grand Commandant and granted authority over the Masters of Writing. But before he could take up these appointments, he passed away.


27. Sun Xiu broached the subject of granting Sima Lun the Nine Bestowments. None of the ministers dared to speak against the proposal.

But then the Supervisor of the Masters of Writing, Liu Song, said, "It is true that in former times, the Han dynasty granted the Bestowments to Wei, and Wei granted them to Jin. But these were things only done in the moment, and they cannot set a common precedent. Were the accomplishments of Zhou Bo and Huo Guang of Han not exceptional indeed? Yet there was never the suggestion that they should receive the Bestowments."

Zhang Lin had become more and more angry with Liu Song, and he now accused Liu Song of having been one of Zhang Hua's partisans, and was about to kill him. Sun Xiu warned him, "You already did harm to the hopes of the times by killing Zhang Hua and Pei Wei. You cannot kill Liu Song as well." So Zhang Lin held back. Liu Song was appointed as Household Counselor With Golden Tassel.

An edict was issued granting Sima Lun the Nine Bestowments, and further promoting his sons: his eldest son Sima Fu was appointed General Who Nurtures The Army, Sima Qian was appointed General of the Central Army, and Sima Xu was appointed Palace Attendant. Sun Xiu was promoted as Palace Attendant, General Who Upholds The State, and Marshal to the Chancellor of State, while retaining his original authority as Guard Commander of the Right. Zhang Lin and others were all assigned to conspicuous and important places.

The guards of the Chancellor's office were increased to twenty thousand men. Combined with the household guards, as well as other soldiers who were retained in secret, there were more than thirty thousand altogether.


(Liu Song was saying that the Nine Bestowments were a sign of dynastic abdication, and not a common canon. Regarding Zhou Bo and Huo Guang, these men had maintained peace and plotted strategy to secure the royal family of Han, but there had been no mention of them having been granted the Nine Bestowments. Liu Song meant to quash Sima Lun's and Sun Xiu's wicked schemes.

The Records of Jin states, "The Household Counselor With Golden Tassel was the equal of the great ministers. His salary rank was Fully Two Thousand 石. In advancing the worthy, he wore a double-ridged cap, a black shell headdress, court clothing of the Five Ages, and a water-green jade at his waist."

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of the Thirty Kingdoms states, 'Sima Lun's followers were very angry at Liu Song, and they plotted for how they might kill him. Liu Song, afraid, killed himself.' But the Biography of Liu Song in the Book of Jin states, 'Liu Song was appointed Household Counselor with Golden Tassel, but he soon passed away from illness.' I follow that account."

It should be noted that Sima Zhao had appointed his son Sima Yan as General Who Nurtures The Army, and Sima Yan later accepted the abdication from Cao-Wei. When Sima Lun granted his eldest son this same rank, what else could his intentions have been?

When Sima Yan had accepted the abdication of Cao-Wei, he created the rank of General of the Central Army, with command over the seven armies of household guards. The rank was soon abolished, but by now had been brought back again.

The passage says that Sun Xiu retained his authority as "Commander of the Right"; it means Guard Commander of the Right. He did not give up this office because he wanted to maintain his control on the soldiers of the Eastern Palace.)


28. In the ninth month, the office of Minister Over The Masses was changed to Prime Minister. Sima Rong was appointed to this office, but he declined and would not accept it.


29. Sima Lun and his sons were all stupid and vulgar fellows who knew nothing, while Sun Xiu was a cunning and crafty man, greedy and licentious. He worked together only with those who were willing to flatter and cater to him, and he thought only of how he might benefit himself, never giving thought to long-term affairs or carefully considered plans. He was disposed to hate and abhor anything that went against him.

Sun Xiu's son Sun Hui was appointed as Colonel of Archers Who Shoot At A Sound. Sun Hui was short and ugly in appearance, like something less than a slave or servant, but Sun Xiu married him to Emperor Hui's daughter, the Princess of Hedong.


(This passage shows how, relying upon their military authority, Sima Lun and Sun Xiu were abusing their power.)


30. In winter, the eleventh month, on the day Jiazi (December 4th), Yang Xianrong was made the new Empress, and an amnesty was declared throughout the realm. She was the daughter of the Gentleman of the Masters of Writing, Yang Xuanzhi of Taishan. Her maternal grandfather was the General Who Pacifies The South, Sun Qi of Le'an. She was on good terms with Sun Xiu, which was why he arranged for her to become Empress. Yang Xuanzhi was honored with appointments as Household Counselor With Golden Tassel, Specially Advanced, and Cavalier In Regular Attendance, and named as Marquis of Xingjin.


(The Records of Jin states, "The Household Counselor With Golden Tassel had silver seals and green tassels, and was in the third rank of the Nine Ranks system. With the additional designation of Specially Advanced, its salary increased to be equal to that of the Household Counselors With Golden Tassels of the Left and Right."

Jin had created Xingjin commandary. It was within the Tang dynasty's Hezhou.)


31. An edict was issued summoning the Inspector of Yizhou, Zhao Xin, back to the capital to serve as Manager of the Empress's Palace. The Interior Minister of Chengdu, Geng Teng of Zhongshan, was to become the new Inspector of Yizhou.

Now Zhao Xin was related to Jia Nanfeng by marriage, and when he heard about the summons, he was very afraid. Beyond that, he felt that the Jin royal family was suffering from mourning and turmoil, and he had secret ambitions of taking over the Shu region for himself. So he opened the government storehouses and distributed food among the refugees from the north, in order to win the hearts of the people.

The Ba-Di leader Li Te and his brothers were all men skilled in military matters, and he and his partisans and followers were all natives of Baxi, the same commandary as Zhao Xin hailed from. So Zhao Xin treated them well, in order to keep them as his claws and fangs. Thanks to Zhao Xin's support, Li Te and the others gathered people together to become bandits, and the natives of Shu suffered from them.

Geng Teng sent several petitions to Zhao Xin, stating, "The refugees are bold and strong, while the natives of Shu are timid and weak. When the host is unable to control the guest, chaos in the proper hierarchy is sure to follow. You should send them back to their original homes again. If they were to remain in such a strategic region, I fear the recent troubles in Qinzhou and Yongzhou might be repeated on an even worse scale in Lianzhou and Yizhou."

When Zhao Xin received such advice, it turned him against Geng Teng.


(When Jin created the princely fiefs for its princes, the officials in charge of administering them were called Interior Ministers; these were the same as the Chancellors who administered princely fiefs during Han times. Sima Yan changed the name of the office to Interior Minister in the ninth year of Taikang (288).

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Emperor Hui in the Book of Jin records the name of the Interior Minister mentioned here as Geng 勝 Sheng, but the Biography of Li Te in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin and the Huayang Guozhi both record his name as Geng 滕 Teng. I follow their accounts."

Zhao Xin feared that he would be blamed for his family ties and association with Jia Nanfeng.

Li Te and his followers were all Ba-Di people from Baxi, and Zhao Xin was also a native of Baxi.

Li Te's entry into the Shu region with the refugees fleeing from the turmoil in Guanzhong is mentioned in the previous book, in the eighth year of Yuankang (298.4).

The Shu region was a place of difficult and defensible terrain.

The refugees now in Yizhou had originally come from Qinzhou and Yongzhou.)


32. When the summons edict arrived, more than a thousand civil and military officials went to attend to Geng Teng. At this time, the administrative center for Chengdu commandary was in the Lesser City, while the center for Yizhou was in the Greater City. Zhao Xin remained inside the Greater City and did not yet go out.

Geng Teng wished to go to the provincial center, but his Merit Evaluator, Chen Xun, remonstrated with him, saying, "Resentment between you and Zhao Xin has been piling up more and more by the day. If you enter the Greater City, you are certain to meet with great disaster. It would be better for you to remain in the Lesser City for now and await developments. Send out a proclamation to all the counties warning them to band together in defense against the Di from the Qin region. The Colonel of Western Yi Tribes, Chen Zong, is on his way here, and you should wait for him to arrive. Or if you do not want to do that, then fall back from here to defend yourself at Jianwei, or head west and cross over to Jiangyuan, so that you can guard against anything unusual."

But Geng Teng did not listen to his advice.

The same day, Geng Teng led his people to try to enter the provincial center. Zhao Xin sent soldiers to block them, and they fought at the West Gate, where Geng Teng was defeated and killed. All of the commandary officials scurried away like mice. Only Chen Xun remained; he tied himself up and then presented himself to Zhao Xin, asking to be given Geng Teng's body. Zhao Xin respected his request and granted it.


(The Greater City and the Lesser City were both built by Zhang Yi of the state of Qin. Having first built the Greater City, Zhang Yi also built the Lesser City a year later. The Greater City is now the minor city of the modern Chengdu Command Post, and the Lesser City only has its western, southern, and northern ramparts remaining, since its eastern rampart was incorporated into the city wall of the Greater City.

Chen Xun speaks of a quarrel between "the province" and "the commandary". He meant Yizhou and Chengdu commandary, or more specifically, the resentment building up between Zhao Xin and Geng Teng.

Li Te and the others were originally Di people from the Ba region, but they had since been living within Qinzhou, and this was why Chen Xun calls them "the Di from the Qin region".

Chen Xun refers to "Colonel Chen"; he means the Colonel of Western Yi Tribes, Chen Zong. By "on his way", he means that Chen Zong was close at hand in his capacity as Colonel, and was near to Chengdu. Jin had posted the Colonel of Western Yi Tribes at Wenshan. The General of the Household Gentlemen Who Pacifies The Yue Tribes was at Guangzhou, the Colonel of Southern Man Tribes was at Xiangyang, and the Colonel of Southern Yi Tribes was at Ningzhou.

During Han, Jiangyuan County was part of Shu commandary. During Li Xiong's reign, he split it off to form Jiangyuan commandary. When Jin regained the Shu region, they changed it to Duorong County, and later changed it to Jinyuan County. Tang's Jinyuan, Qingcheng, and Tang'an Counties in Shuzhou were all within the territory of Han's Jiangyuan County.

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Huayang Guozhi states, 'There was a battle at Xuanhua Village in Guanghan, where the bearer of the edict was killed.' But seeing as the provincial and commandary centers were both in Chengdu, there could not have been the occasion for a battle at Guanghan. And if Zhao Xin had already just fought Geng Teng, he would not have gone straightaway out into the province. So I follow the account in the Biography of Li Te in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin."

Chen Xun more specifically asked for Geng Teng's "deceasedness", or some versions say "mournfulness"; this was a way of saying his corpse. He wished to receive the corpse to bury it.)


33. Zhao Xin then sent troops to oppose the Colonel of Western Yi Tribes, Chen Zong.

Chen Zong had reached Jiangyang when he heard of Zhao Xin's sinister intentions. His Registrar, Zhao Mo of Shu commandary, said to him, "The Inspector and the Interior Minister are currently at odds, and there is sure to be some great development. You should hurry to where they are to receive them. Sir, you have a critical body of soldiers, and you should be assisting the loyal and punishing the disloyal. Who would dare to move against you?"

So Chen Zong picked up his pace and marched on, until he came to Yufu Crossing in Nan'an County. Zhao Xin's army was already there. Zhao Mo warned Chen Zong, "You should spread wealth around and so recruit more soldiers to your side in order to fight the enemy. If you can overcome the provincial army, then the province will be yours. But even if you cannot defeat them, then the loyalists will just all scatter and flee, and no harm will come to them."

But Chen Zong replied, "Inspector Zhao hated Geng Teng, and that was why he killed him. But he has no quarrel with me. How can I do as you suggest?"

Zhao Mo said, "Zhao Xin has already launched his rebellion, and he will certainly kill you in order to augment his power. If you do not fight him, you will gain nothing." And Zhao Mo continued to beg, hanging his head and weeping, but Chen Zong still would not listen.

Chen Zong's troops began to melt away of their own accord, and Chen Zong himself fled to hide among the grass. Zhao Mo put on Chen Zong's clothing to attempt to direct the battle, but Zhao Xin's soldiers killed him. When they saw that he was not actually Chen Zong, they went in search of him, and found Chen Zong and killed him.


(During Han, Jiangyang County was part of Jianwei commandary. Liu Zhang split it off as Jiangyang commandary. Tang's Luchuan and Mianshui Counties in Luzhou were within the territory of Han's Jiangyang County.

Zhao Mo was saying that Chen Zong commanded a critical body of soldiers in the Shu region. By "the loyal" he meant Geng Teng, and by "the disloyal" he meant Zhao Xin. He was urging Chen Zong to aid Geng Teng and punish Zhao Xin.

Nan'an County was part of Jianwei commandary; Yufu Crossing was in that county. Tang's Qingshen County in Meizhou was the same county as Nan'an. Song Bai remarked, "Yingling and Ziguan Counties in Rongzhou and Longyou County in Jiazhou were all part of Han's Nan'an County."

Regarding his battle advice, Zhao Mo was saying that if Chen Zong defeated Zhao Xin's army, he could secure the province and deal with all of the traitors, while if the loyalists were forced to run away after a defeat, Zhao Xin's army was not strong enough to pursue them, so they would not be harmed.

Chen Zong's army was immediately before the enemy, and yet he could say something like this. Was he not an exceptionally inferior sort of man?

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Emperor Hui in the Book of Jin states, 'Zhao Xin also killed the Administrator of Jianwei, Li Mi, and the Administrator of Wenshan, Huo Gu.' But according to the Huayang Guozhi, the Administrator of Jianwei at this time was Li Bi, not Li Mi, and the Administrator of Wenshan was Yang Bin, not Huo Gu. The Biography of Li Te in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin also lists Li Bi as the Administrator of Jianwei. The Annals of Emperor Hui must be mistaken.")


34. Zhao Xin declared himself Grand Commander, Grand General, and Governor of Yizhou. He made his own appointments for his subordinate offices, changing out people as Administrators and Prefects, and if he summoned anyone who already held a royal appointment, none of them dared not to come.

Li Te's younger brother Li Xian, at the head of four thousand cavalry, came to join Zhao Xin along with many others: his brother-in-law Li Han, Ren Hui of Tianshui, Shangguan Jing, Li Pan of Fufeng, Fei Ta of Shiping, the Di leader Fu Cheng, Kui Bo, and others. Zhao Xin appointed Li Xian as General Who Awes Invaders and named him Marquis of Yangqiu Village, and kept him as a close confidant. He sent Li Xian out to round up brave fellows from the six commandaries, until he had more than ten thousand men, and he had Li Xian block the roads to the north.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of Jin claims that at this time, 'Zhao Xin established his own reign era title, as the first year of Taiping'. But other texts do not mention such a thing, so I do not include it."

Those who held "royal appointments" had been appointed by the Jin court.

In Sima Yan's second year of Taishi (266), part of Fufeng commandary had been split off as Shiping commandary.

Shen Yue's Records states, "General Who Awes Invaders was the seventh tier of the forty General ranks."

The six commandaries mentioned here were Tianshui, Lueyang, and the other commandaries in the north. The "brave fellows" were among the refugees from those places. The roads north were those leading between Guanzhong and Shu.)
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:50 am, edited 7 times in total.
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."
User avatar
Taishi Ci 2.0
Grand Historian Friendly to Cats
Posts: 737
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:55 pm
Location: My life is brilliant

Re: ZZTJ Translations: Western Jin (Book 79-83-??)

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Sun Nov 05, 2017 5:13 pm

Once again you blow my mind. I've got a lot to read...!

And it's so typical that they'd beat around the bush with Jia Nanfeng's relatively stable* and successful reign (albeit as puppeteer), yet dedicate entire tomes to her downfall. Granted, the war between the Princes is a big deal, but still! :P

* China was relatively stable, I mean. Maybe not so much her court.
User avatar
Jia Nanfeng
Posts: 30
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:30 pm

Re: ZZTJ Translations: Western Jin (Book 79-83-??)

Unread postby qqdonut » Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:14 am

This is amazing. Thanks for posting these!
Posts: 7
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:24 am


Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium Archives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved