Zizhi Tongjian: The Jin Dynasty (Part 2)

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Re: ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-10

Unread postby CaTigeReptile » Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:10 am

This is really a tremendous undertaking and you're doing an awesome job. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, really. It's a period of history that is so underrated because of how little of the records survived - likely in no small part because the people who fought and ruled were not ethnically Han. I mean, some of the people recorded here are really as impressive as people from our beloved Three Kingdoms, or at least seem like they were based on how little info survived.

Translating this kind of ancient Chinese is really hard work - your persistence and dedication are clear, and seriously appreciated! Can't wait to read Book 96.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:06 pm


The Fourth Year of Xiankang (The Wuxu Year, 338 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, the Prince of Yan, Murong Huang, sent his Commandant Zhao Pan to Zhao, to hear the plans for the coming campaign against their mutual enemy, the warlord Duan Liao. Shi Hu planned to attack Duan Liao. Thirty thousand brave soldiers were recruited, under the command of Zhao’s 龍騰中郎.

During this time, Duan Liao sent Duan Quyun to raid Zhao's Youzhou. The Inspector of Youzhou, Li Meng, fell back to defend Yijing. Shi Hu then appointed Tao Bao as General Who Traverses The Sea and Wang Hua as General Who Crosses The Liao, and sent them with a hundred thousand men by boat from Piaoyu Crossing. Zhi Xiong was made the Grand Dragon-Soaring General and Yao Yizhong the Champion General, and they led seventy thousand horse and foot as the vanguard to attack Duan Liao.


(According to the Biography of Shi Hu in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin, in the second year of Xiankang (336), Shi Hu changed the name of the rank of 直盪中郎 to 龍騰中郎. They were capped in crimson headdresses.

The rank of General Who Traverses The Sea must have been created by the Shi clan.

The Water Classic states, "The Qing River flows northeast through the village of Piaoyu and enters the sea." The Commentary on the Water Classic adds, "The city of Piaoyu was commonly called Jiaofei." The Records of Later Zhao states, "Shi Le sent Wang Shu to Jiaofei to produce salt." The Geographical Records of Northern Wei states, "Jiaofei is a hundred li northeast of Gaocheng County in Bohai commandary. It is adjacent to Piaoyu to the north and the immense sea to the east. The people there make their living through salt production.")


2. In the third month, Zhao Pan returned to Jicheng. Murong Huang led troops to attack and plunder the cities north of Lingzhi (Duan Liao’s capital).

Duan Liao was about to pursue Murong Huang's troops. But Murong Han said to him, "Zhao's troops are to the south, and we should focus all our soldiers on keeping them out. Yet you want to further fight with the Yan troops, even when the Prince of Yan himself has come to lead them and has elite officers and soldiers under his command. If we are not able to defeat them, then what will we have left with which to defend the south?"

But Duan Liao's brother Duan Lan angrily retorted, “We are faced with this disaster today because you deceived me before, at Liucheng. I will not fall for your tricks again!"

Duan Lan took the whole Duan army, and when he saw the Yan army, he pursued them. But Murong Huang had laid an ambush, and Duan Lan’s troops were greatly routed. Many thousands of heads were taken, and five thousand households and tens of thousands of livestock were brought back to Yan.


(Murong Han's deception of Duan Lan at Liucheng is mentioned in Book 95, in the eighth year of Xianhe (334.7).)


3. Meanwhile, Shi Hu advanced into Duan Liao's territory and camped at Jintai. Zhi Xiong led a long march and entered the city Ji (薊, modern Beijing). The Administrators and Chancellors of Yuyang, Shanggu, and Dai commandaries whom Duan Liao had appointed all surrendered, and Zhao captured more than forty cities in all.

Duan Liao’s Chancellor of Beiping, Yang Yu, led several thousand families of that region to fortify themselves atop Mount Yan. The Zhao generals feared that Mount Yan could pose a threat in their rear if left unchecked, so they wished to attack it. But Shi Hu said, "Yang Yu is a Confucian gentleman, and he cherishes his good reputation. It is only that it would shame him too much to actually offer his surrender. He will not pose a problem." So the Zhao army passed by Mount Yan, and continued on to Xuwu.

Duan Lan had been defeated, and Duan Liao no longer had the means to offer battle. So he fled with his family and kinfolk, along with more than a thousand of the local families. They abandoned the capital at Lingzhi, and escaped to Mount Miyun.

As they were marching away, Duan Liao grasped Murong Han’s hand and tearfully said, "I did not follow your advice earlier, and now we have lost everything. How bitter my heart feels! Now I can no longer offer you any refuge, and I am deeply ashamed."

Murong Han fled north to the Yuwen clan.


(According to the Commentary on the Water Classic, Jintai was in Gu'an County in Zhuo commandary. There was a Jintai Slope, and a terrace some ten paces north of the slope, thus the name Jintai ("Golden Terrace"). This must have been the terrace that Guo Kuai had once built for King Zhao of the ancient state of Yan.

According to the Records of the Five Dynasties, there is a Mount Yan in Wuzhong County in Beiping commandary.

Xuwu County was part of Beiping commandary. It was within Yutian County in Tang's Jizhou.

The term 豪大 here means the leader of the clan. At this time, the tribes of the northwest used the term 大 to indicate the leader of a group. So their divisional commander was the 部大, the city chief was the 城大, etc.

The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Miyun Camp was ninety li southeast of Yuyi Garrison; the Baoqiu River flowed to its east." Tang's Tanzhou was administered from Miyun County, two hundred li southwest of Fanyang. However, according to the Records of Jin, Pinggang was the place that Duan Liao fled to. So this Mount Miyun must have been within Han's Pinggang County. Song Bai remarked, "Miyun County in Tanzhou was originally Han's Sixi County. Youzhou was a hundred and ninety li to the southwest, Guichuan was two hundred and fifty li to the west, the barriers of the Long Wall were a hundred and ten li to the north, and Jizhou was a hundred and ninety li to the southeast.")


4. Duan Liao's Chief Clerks of the Right and Left, Liu Qun, Lu Shen, and Cui Yue, among others, turned over the government stores of the Duan domain and offered their submission to Zhao.

Shi Hu dispatched Guo Tai and Ma Qiu with twenty thousand light cavalry to pursue Duan Liao, as far as Mount Miyun. They captured Duan Liao’s mother and wife, and over three thousand of his people were killed. Duan Liao fled into rough terrain on a lone horse. He sent his son Duan Qitezhen to offer notice of of his submission to Zhao, along with a prized steed. Shi Hu accepted them.


(Liu Qun, Lu Shen, and Cui Yue had earlier fled to Lingzhi to join Duan Mopei, as mentioned in Book 90, in Emperor Yuan's (Sima Rui's) first year of Daxing (318.20).

Duan Liao fled into rough terrain in order to protect himself.)


5. After Shi Hu entered Duan Liao's palace at Lingzhi, discussions were held regarding the appropriate rewards and conferments. More than twenty thousands households from Duan Liao's domain were relocated among the four provinces of Sizhou, Yongzhou, Yanzhou, and Yuzhou. The gentry who possessed talent were appraised and promoted as necessary.

Duan Liao's minister, Yang Yu, presented himself at the Zhao army gate to surrender. Shi Hu at first declined to accept his surrender, stating, "It was not so long ago that you ran away from us like a mere slave or caitiff. Now here you are again, presenting yourself as a gentleman? How can I know whether this is the will of Heaven, or that you simply plan to escape someday to who knows where?"

Yang Yu replied, "I indeed once served Lord Wang Jun, but I could not rectify or assist him. I then went over to the Duan clan, but I could not save them either. Now Your Majesty has a net broad and wide, and you cast it over all within the Four Seas. There is no one among the great families of Youzhou or Jizhou who will not follow you, and when I compare myself against them, I see that I am not the only one who is thus shamed. Whether I live or die is entirely up to Your Majesty!"

Shi Hu was overjoyed, and he appointed Yang Yu as Administrator of Beiping.


(The Duan clan had their capital at Lingzhi, and so Duan Liao resided in a palace there.

Yang Yu refers to "Lord Wang"; he means Wang Jun. Yang Yu had served under him, but had fled to Lingzhi when Shi Le attacked Wang Jun, as mentioned in Book 89, in Emperor Min's second year of Jianxing (314.16).)


6. In summer, the fourth month, on the day Guichou (May 8th), Jin appointed Murong Huang as Grand General Who Conquers The North, Governor of Youzhou, and acting Inspector of Pingzhou.


7. The Emperor of Cheng, Li Qi, became prouder and more arrogant with each passing day. He put many people to death, and confiscated their wealth and women. The great ministers of state were thus deeply uneasy.

Cheng's Prince of Han, Li Shou, had long been held in very high esteem and had a reputation for valor. Li Qi, the Prince of Jianning, Li Yue, and others were all anxious of him. Li Shou feared that he would fall prey to them. Whenever Li Shou needed to attend court, he would often arrange for false messages to be sent from his border post, requiring him to leave and deal with the supposed emergency.


(At this time, Li Shou was stationed at Fu.)


8. There lived a certain hermit, Gong Zhuang of Baxi, whose father and uncle had both been killed by Li Te. Gong Zhuang still nursed a grudge, and even years later he had still not put away his mourning garb. Li Shou had several times tried to recruit him by treating him with good ceremony, but Gong Zhuang would not join him.

At this time, Gong Zhuang paid a visit to Li Shou, and Li Shou asked him for a plan to save himself from the suspicions he was under. Gong Zhuang replied, "The people of Ba and Shu were originally subjects of Jin. Commissioner, if you are able to raise troops and march west against Chengdu, and declare yourself a Jin vassal, who will not rush to become the first one to aid your cause? By doing so, great fortune will extend even unto your descendants, and your name shall never be forgotten. Is that not even better than simply escaping from your present dangers?"

Li Shou agreed. He secretly plotted with his Chief Clerks, Luo Heng of Lüeyang and Xie Siming of Baxi, to attack Chengdu.


(That is to say, both Gong Zhuang's father and uncle had been killed by Li Te.

Gong Zhuang addresses Li Shou by the term 節下 Commissioner. Ever since Cao-Wei and Jin, when generals granted the ranks of Credential Bearer and Credential Holder were out at their border posts, everyone would address them by this term Commissioner.)


9. When Li Qi began to hear rumors, he sent Xu Fu several times to spy on Li Shou, and see what was afoot. He also arranged for the General Who Maintains The North, Li Shou's adopted younger brother Li You, to be killed by poisoned wine.

Li Shou then forged a letter from his brother-in-law, Ren Diao, stating that Li Qi was about to attack him. The soldiers under his command believed him, and he led more than ten thousand horse and foot from Fu to attack Chengdu. He promised the soldiers the wealth of Chengdu once they captured it. His general Li Si led the vanguard. Li Qi did not anticipate Li Shou's arrival, so at first he did not prepare defenses. Li Shou's son Li Shi was already inside Chengdu, serving as Colonel Who Assists The Army. He opened the gate to let his father's soldiers enter Chengdu. After securing the city, Li Shou’s soldiers camped at the palace gates.

Li Qi sent his palace attendants to attempt to appease Li Shou. Li Shou charged that many people among Li Qi's court were wicked men who had caused chaos in the government, including Li Yue, Jing Qian, Tian Bao, Yao Hua, Xu Fu, the General Who Conquers The West, Li Xia, the general Li Xi, and others. He demanded that all of them must be arrested and put to death.

Li Shou’s soldiers plundered Chengdu greatly, and only after several days was peace restored.

Li Shou forged an edict from Empress Dowager Ren deposing Li Qi and demoting his rank to Duke of Qiongdu County, and he was sequestered in another palace. The late Crown Prince, Li Ban, was given the revised posthumous title Emperor Ai ("the Lamented").


(Li Shou forged this letter stating that Li Qi wanted to attack him, in order to rile up his own soldiers.

Qiongdu County was part of Yuegui commandary.

Li Qi and Li Yue had murdered their sovereign Li Ban, even posthumously naming him Crown Prince Li ("the Perverse"), as mentioned in Book 95, in the ninth year of Xianhe (334.16-17).)


10. There was debate among Li Shou's officers on what to do next. On one side, Luo Heng, Xie Siming, Li Yi, and others urged Li Shou to assume the Jin ranks of General Who Guards The West, Governor of Yizhou, and Prince of Chengdu, and to submit himself to Jin as a vassal, as well as send the Duke of Qiongdu (Li Qi) to Jiankang. On the other side, Ren Diao, the Marshal, Cai Xing, the Palace Attendant, Li Yan, and others urged Li Shou to declare himself Emperor instead.

Li Shou sought an answer from a yarrow divination. The diviner said, "You may become the Son of Heaven, but only for a few years."

Ren Diao excitedly said, "Even to be Emperor for one day is enough, much less a few years!"

Xie Siming replied, "Is it better to be the Son of Heaven for a mere few years, compared with establishing a noble family that lasts a hundred generations?"

Li Shou remarked, "Isn't it said, 'If one hears of the Way in the morning, he may die content that same evening'?"

So Li Shou assumed the title of Emperor, and changed the name of the state from Cheng to Han. A general amnesty was declared. The reign era title was changed to the first year of Hanxing.

Li Shou offered a personal carriage and bound silk to Gong Zhuang, and asked him to become Grand Instructor. However, Gong Zhuang refused the office, nor did he accept the offerings that Li Shou sent him.


(A divination performed using a tortoise shell is called a yarrow divination.

Li Xiong quotes the words of Confucius in the Analects (4.8).

Li Xiong, styled Wukao, was the son of Li Xiang.)


11. Li Shou set up his own ancestral temple, honoring his late father Li Xiang with the posthumous title Emperor Xian ("the Presented"), and his mother Lady Zan as the Empress Dowager. He made his concubine Lady Yan his Empress, and made his eldest son Li Shi his Crown Prince. The old royal temple was changed into the Great Cheng Temple, and Li Shou altered many of the systems and practices formerly in place.

Dong Jiao was appointed as Chancellor of State. Luo Heng was appointed as Prefect of the Masters of Writing. Xie Siming was appointed as Administrator of Guanghan. Ren Diao was appointed as General Who Guards The North and Inspector of Lianzhou. Li Yi was appointed as Colonel of Western Yi Tribes, and his nephew Li Quan was appointed as Inspector of Ningzhou. All the lords, ministers, and provincial and commandary leaders were replaced with Li Shou’s confidants, while the old ministers who had served the previous Cheng regimes and the adherents of Li Qi and leaders of the six commandaries of the original refugees were all distanced and ostracized.


(The old temple was the one where Li Te and Li Xiong were honored; Li Xiong was the one who had established the state, calling it Cheng. Since Li Shou was now renaming the state to Han, he renamed the temple of Li Te and Li Xiong to the Great Cheng Temple.

The people of the six commandaries were the refugees from those six northern commandaries who had followed Li Te and his brothers into Shu.)


12. Li Qi lamented, "To think I should go from the Son of Heaven to a mere Duke of a minor county. I might as well die!" In the fifth month, he hanged himself. Li Shou gave him the posthumous title Duke You ("the Secluded"), and he was buried with the honors due to a prince.


According to the Biography of Li Qi in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin, Li Qi died in the third year of Xiankang (337); he was twenty-four years old.)

是歲,李雄從弟壽殺期僭立,自號曰漢。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

In the second year of the second part of the reign of the Prince of Dai, Tuoba Yihuai (338), Li Xiong's cousin Li Shou killed Li Qi and claimed his throne, renaming that state from Cheng to Han.


13. In light of the fact that Murong Huang's soldiers had not actually worked together with Shi Hu's soldiers against Duan Liao, but had attacked on their own for their personal profit, Shi Hu now wished to campaign against Murong Huang to punish him. The Court Astrologist, Zhao Lan, warned against it, saying, "The Year Star (Jupiter) is hanging over Yan now. If we attack them, we will certainly fail."

Shi Hu was enraged and ordered Zhao Lan whipped.


(Shi Hu was displeased that Murong Huang had only captured the people of the Duan domain and their livestock, and had not waited for the Zhao army to arrive before returning north again.

According to the Astrological Records, the Year Star (Jupiter) is a wandering star, and its place in the heavens dictates the fate of kingdoms. Whichever state it currently resides over is covered by virtue and bounty; their harvest of the Five Grains becomes abundant, and they cannot be campaigned against.)


14. When Murong Huang heard of the planned invasion from Zhao, he drilled his soldiers and made defensive preparations. He also abolished the positions he had created: the Six Ministers, the 納言s, the 常伯s, and the 冗騎常侍s.

Zhao invaded with several hundred thousand soldiers, and the people of Yan were greatly afraid. Murong Huang asked his Interior Minister, Gao Xu, "What are we to do?"

Gao Xu replied, "Although the Zhao soldiers are strong, that is still no cause for concern. So long as we hold fast to our defenses and refuse battle, they cannot succeed."


(Murong Huang had created the Six Ministers and other such offices in the previous year (Book 95, 337.7).

An Interior Minister oversees the administration of a princely fief. Since Murong Huang was now Prince of Yan, Gao Xu was serving as the Interior Minister of his fief.)


15. Shi Hu sent agents in all directions, beckoning and enticing the common people and the tribes over to his side. Yan's Interior Minister of Chengzhou, Cui Dao, their Prefect of Jujiu, You Hong, their Prefect of Wuyuan, Chang Ba, their Colonel of Eastern Yi Tribes, Feng Chou, and their Protector of the Army, Song Huang, among others, were all lured over, and thirty-six cities were taken. This You Hong was the nephew of You Sui. Refugees that had fled to Jiyang killed the Administrator, Song Zhu, and surrendered the commandary to Zhao. This Song Zhu was the cousin of Song Huang.

Yan's Interior Minister of Yingqiu, Xianyu Qu, also sent an envoy to Zhao to offer surrender. But the Prefect of Wuning, Sun Xing of Guangping, rallied and exhorted the officials and the people to apprehend Xianyu Qu. After reading out a list of his crimes, Sun Xing had Xianyu Qu killed. Then he closed the city gates for defense.

Yan's Prefect of Chaoxian, Sun Yong of Changli, led his soldiers to defend against Zhao. Wang Qing and other members of the great local families plotted together to hand over the city to Zhao. Sun Yong arrested and executed Wang Qing. Several hundred others who had plotted with him then begged forgiveness for their crimes, so Sun Yong released them, and together they took up the defense of the city.

Faced with rebellion on all sides, Yan's Administrator of Lelang, Ju Peng, fell back to Jicheng in the company of more than two hundred handpicked doughty braves from among his original compatriots from Donglai.


(The commandaries of Chengzhou, Jiyang, and Yingqiu had all been created by Murong Hui, as mentioned in Book 89, in Emperor Min's second year of Jianxing (314.16).

During Han and Jin, Jujiu County was part of Liaodong commandary.

Wuyuan County was also created by the Murong clan.

Wuning County was yet another county created by the Murong clan, as part of Yingqiu commandary.

You Sui was a minister under Murong Hui, as mentioned in Book 88, in Emperor Min's first year of Jianxing (313.19-20).

The Lelang commandary mentioned here was not the same as the old Han commandary of that name. This one had been created by Murong Hui, as mentioned in the same place as the above note. According to the Records of the Five Dynasties, the commandaries of Lelang, Jiyang, and Yingqiu, and Chaoxian, Wuning, and the other counties, were all within the territory of Liucheng County in Sui's Liaoxi commandary.

Ju Peng had earlier been Jin's Administrator of Donglai, but he led his compatriots from there to flee to Yan, as mentioned in Book 90, in Emperor Yuan's (Sima Rui's) second year of Taixing (319.28).)


16. On the day Wuzi (June 12th), the Zhao soldiers advanced to threaten Jicheng.

Murong Huang wished to flee, but his staff officer Muyu Gen remonstrated against it, stating, "Zhao is strong and we are weak. Prince, as soon as you lift your foot to flee, it will only bolster the enemy’s morale even further. Zhao will be able to take over all the people of our state, and come to have a strong army and plenty of grain. Then we will never be able to defeat them again. I believe that your proposal is exactly what Zhao desires, and how can we walk right into their plot?

"Now, if we instead hold fast to this well-defended city, we will be a hundred times stronger than they are. Even if they press on the attack, we will still have enough to defend ourselves. Then we can observe the circumstances and find an opportunity to turn the tides to our advantage. And if that too fails, then there will still be time to flee. Why would you run away just upon hearing of their arrival, and assume that you would definitely lose?"

So Murong Huang decided not to flee, but he still continued to look very fearful.

The Administrator of Xuantu, Liu Pei of Hejian, said, "The state is filled with powerful invaders, and the people's hearts are filled with dread. The outcome of this situation hangs on you alone. Prince, at this time, you must not pass the responsibility to someone else, but must rather strengthen your resolve in order to hearten the soldiers, and not display any sign of weakness. In this time of peril, I ask that you allow me to go out and attack. Although no great victory will come by it, it will still be enough to reassure the people."

So Liu Pei led out several hundred riders who feared not death against the Zhao soldiers, and they rushed about on every side, killing and capturing before returning. Due to this, the morale of the Yan soldiers was redoubled.

Then Murong Huang asked Feng Yi for his advice. Feng Yi replied, "Shi Hu is an extremely cruel and brutal man, who has offended both heaven and earth; calamity and defeat are his due, and 'what future time need we look for'? Now he has emptied his state and traveled a long distance, and his army's role has shifted from being the attackers to being the defenders. Although he has powerful men and horses, they cannot pose a threat. Once they have encamped here for days upon end, division will arise naturally among them. But until then, it is best to be patient and defend."

After hearing this, Murong Huang became more assured. Thereafter, if anyone advocated surrender to him, he would say, "I aim to obtain the whole realm; what use is there in talking about surrender?"


(By "the people of our state", Muyu Gen meant the people of the Yan princely fief.

Muyu Gen was saying that they should wait for an opportunity to march out and attack Zhao in order to obtain the advantage.

The second character of the name of the commandary Xuantu, 菟, is pronounced "du").

Liu Pei was saying that it would be difficult for Murong Huang to shift his burdens and responsibilities onto others.

The term 披 here means to open divisions, to drive apart, or to scatter. And the term 靡 means to lie prone.

Feng Yi quotes from the Zuo Commentary: "What future time need we look for calamity to visit Wu? (Ai 1.4)" Du Yu's commentary adds, "This expression means that the indicated moment has now arrived.")


17. The Zhao soldiers were thick as ants all around the city. But Muyu Gen and the others kept up the fight day and night. After more than ten days, the Zhao soldiers still could not take the city.

On the day Renchen (June 16th), the Zhao army began to retreat. Murong Huang sent his son Murong Ke with two thousand cavalry to pursue and attack them, and the Zhao soldiers suffered a great defeat, with more than thirty thousand of them captured or killed. The Zhao soldiers and officers threw off their armor in their rush to flee. Only the division under the General of Fierce Assault, Shi Min, held good order and conducted a fighting retreat.

This Shi Min's father, Shi Zhan of Neihuang, was originally named Ran Zhan. When Shi Le defeated Chen Wu, Ran Zhan was captured, and Shi Le ordered Shi Hu to adopt him as a son. Thus he and his son Min had the surname Shi. Shi Min was brave, strong, and cunning in battle, developing many plans and strategies. Shi Hu favored him, treating him just like his other grandsons.


(The expression "thick as ants" means that the soldiers were pressed up all around the sides of the city, like a swarm of ants.

Neihuang County was part of Wei commandary. It was named Neihuang ("Inner Huang") because there was a Waihuang ("Outer Huang") County in Chenliu commandary.

This is the first mention of Ran Min.

Shi Le had brought up Shi Hu within his household, yet Shi Hu wiped out all his descendants. And in turn, Shi Hu raised Ran Min, yet Ran Min would usurp power from his descendants and exterminate them all. It must have been karma.)

Chen Wu was the leader of a group of Lifeseeker refugee soldiers whom Shi Le defeated in Book 87, in 311.33.


18. Shi Hu returned to Ye. He appointed Liu Qun as Prefect of the Palace Secretariat, and Lu Shen as a Gentleman Attendant of the Palace Secretariat. Pu Hong was appointed as Commissioner Bearing Credentials, Commander over the Six Tribes, and Grand Champion General, and ennobled as Duke of Xiping commandary.

Shi Min said to Shi Hu, "Pu Hong is heroic and capable, and his warriors risk their very lives for his sake. Even his sons all have outstanding talents. Now he commands fifty thousand strong soldiers, and is stationed close to the capital. It would be best to secretly do away with him, to ensure the fortunes of state."

But Shi Hu replied, "I shall need Pu Hong and his sons to help me attain Wu and Shu. What use is there in killing him?" And he treated Pu Hong with even greater favor.


(By "stationed close to the capital", Shi Min referred to the fact that Pu Hong was stationed at Fangtou, which was close to Ye.

Shi Hu was unable to kill his general Pu Hong, just as Fu Jian was later unable to kill his generals Murong Chui and Yao Chang.)


19. Murong Huang divided his soldiers to go out and pacify the cities that had rebelled against him, and all of them were subdued. He expanded his territory as far as Fancheng. The defectors Cui Dao and Chang Ba fled to Ye. Feng Chou, Song Huang, and You Zhang fled to Goguryeo.

Murong Huang rewarded Ju Peng, Muyu Gen, and the other loyalists, while he punished the defectors, many of whom were executed. The Merit Evaluator, Liu Xiang, argued in their defense, and thus saved a great number of them.


(The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "It is two hundred li from Lulong east through Qingxing as far as Fancheng, and about a hundred and eighty li from Fancheng northeast out to the city of Pinggang, thus about five hundred li from the city of Huanglong.")


20. During Zhao's attack on Jicheng, Yan's Marshal of the Right, Li Hong, had a younger brother, Li Pu, who believed that Jicheng would certainly fall. He urged Li Hong to escape the coming disaster. Li Hong said, "Heaven's ways are hidden are distant; men's affairs are difficult to know. Besides, I have been entrusted with an important post, and I must not lightly abandon it."

Li Pu obstinately continued to urge his brother to flee. Li Hong said, "If you are so certain, then you may go by yourself. But I have received great beneficence from the Murong clan. Rather than abandon them, I prefer to remain here and die." So they bid each other farewell, shedding many tears.

Li Pu surrendered to the Zhao army, but he died during the confusion of Zhao's return south. Li Hong thus became well known as an earnestly loyal minister.


(The term 訣 here means "to part".)


21. Shi Hu dispatched his General Who Crosses The Liao, Cao Fu, to lead the forces of Qingzhou to camp along the islands along the sea, and sent him three million 斛 of grain to supply himself. He also sent three hundred ships loaded with three hundred and fifty thousand 斛 of grain to send to Goguryeo, and sent the General of the Household Gentlemen Who Supervises Farming, Wang Dian, with more than ten thousand soldiers to establish tuntian agricultural colonies along the sea coast. He further ordered thousands of ships to be constructed in Qingzhou, in order to attack Yan.


(According to the Biography of Shi Hu in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin, Shi Hu sent Cao Fu to cross over the sea and camp at Tadun's former city. But lack of water forced them to return, and so they camped at the sea islands.

Shi Hu resented his defeat at Jicheng, and so he laid these plans to attack Yan again. But he never was able to overcome them.)


22. Zhao's Crown Prince, Shi Xuan, led twenty thousand horse and foot to attack the Xianbei chieftain Humotou at Shuofang. He routed the Xianbei, taking more than forty thousand heads.


23. Zhao's eight commandaries in Jizhou suffered from locusts. The Director of Retainers requested that the local officials be prosecuted. But Shi Hu replied, "This has happened because of my defeat, yet you wish to blame the local officials; how would that reflect my contrition? The Director of Retainers fails to admonish me with upright words, and thus has failed in his duty in aiding me. Instead, he intends to punish the innocent. Let him remain in his post, but as a commoner!"


(The Zhao capital was at Ye, which was in Jizhou, and so what would normally be the Inspector of Jizhou was for them the Metropolitan District, so it was overseen by a Director of Retainers.

The phrase 白衣領職 means to degrade one's official rank so that it becomes equal to a commoner, while keeping one's original post, in this case, Director of Retainers.)


24. Shi Hu ordered the Duke of Xiangcheng, Shegui, and the Duke of Shangyong, Rigui, to lead their soldiers to camp at Chang'an. The two of them informed Shi Hu that the General Who Guards The West, Shi Guang, was granting favors in his own name to oblige people to him as their patron, and they suspected he was plotting some mischief. Shi Hu summoned Shi Guang to Ye, and killed him.


(These two fellows were also kinfolk of the Shi clan.)


25. On the day Yiwei (June 19th), Jin’s Minister Over The Masses, Wang Dao, was appointed as Grand Tutor and Commander over all military affairs. Chi Jian was appointed as Grand Commandant, and Yu Liang was appointed as Minister of Works. In the sixth month, Wang Dao was appointed as Prime Minister. The office of Minister Over The Masses was abolished, and its staff was merged into that of the Prime Minister’s.


(During Later Han, the office of Minister Over The Masses functioned as the equivalent to the former office of Prime Minister. Shen Yue remarked, "To 丞 is to uplight; to 相 is to assist. Thus, the title 丞相 (Prime Minister)." At this time, Wang Dao was appointed as Prime Minister, and so the staff for the office of Minister Over The Masses was combined into the Prime Minister's staff. After Wang Dao died, the office of Prime Minister was once again abolished and the office of Minister Over The Masses was revived. And later on, Emperor Xiaowu of Liu-Song would originally appoint the Prince of Nanjun, Liu Yixuan, as his Prime Minister, but Liu Yixuan had the staff from the Minister Over The Masses as before.)


26. Wang Dao had a generous and lenient nature; he appointed a great many generals, including Zhao Yin and Jia Ning, who did not uphold the law, and they vexed the great ministers. Yu Liang wrote to Chi Jian saying, "From the whole period of time since our sovereign was just seven or eight years old until now that he has reached his majority, he has only ever been in the hands of the palace servants when he is inside the palace or under the influence of military officials or miscreants when he has gone out. He has not received a proper education, nor has he ever met an honest man whom he can turn to. When the Qin dynasty sought to keep the populace ignorant, even they knew that it was a foolish policy. How much more must we oppose a policy of keeping our very sovereign ignorant!

"Now that our sovereign has become of age, we should ensure that authority reverts back to him. But instead of humbly returning the authority to our lord, as soon Wang Dao was honored as an elder, he kept a horde of miscreants. Sir, you and I were both entrusted with the task of supporting the Emperor. If you do not sweep away this great evil, how can we face His Late Majesty in the world below?" By this, Yu Liang meant to raise troops together with Chi Jian to depose Wang Dao. But Chi Jian would not hear of it.

The Colonel of Southern Man Tribes, Tao Cheng, was the son of Tao Kan. He informed Wang Dao of Yu Liang’s plot. And someone else urged Wang Dao to prepare ways to defend himself. But Wang Dao replied, "Yuangui (Yu Liang) and I have shared weal and woe together. This kind of idle talk should stop at the mouth of the wise. But even if you are correct, and Yuangui does come, I shall simply bind my scarf and return to my residence. What have I need to fear?" He further wrote back to Tao Cheng, saying, "Duke Yu is the Emperor's own brother-in-law. You must show him regard!"

The Army Advisor to the General Who Conquers The West, Sun Sheng, secretly remonstrated with Yu Liang, saying, “Lord Wang has a lofty mind; how would he do such a prosaic thing? This must be nothing more than the work of some slanderous man trying to cause division." So Yu Liang gave up the plot. This Sun Sheng was the grandson of Sun Chu.

During this time, although Yu Liang was away guarding the western border, he still wielded power over court affairs from afar. And since he was camped along the upper reaches of the Yangzi and was in command of powerful soldiers, many of those who were career-driven flocked to him. Wang Dao could not feel at ease. Often, the western wind would blow dust upon him, which he had to raise his fan to cover himself against. At such times, he would say, "Yuangui is blowing dust at me again!"


(During the reign of Qin Shihuang, he called the common people the "black-haired people", and he burned the Book of Poetry, the Book of Documents, and other such texts as part of a policy to keep these black-haired people ignorant.

The term 甫 here means a place, or to begin.

Yu Liang was saying that both he and Chi Jian had received Emperor Ming's testament to watch over his young son Emperor Cheng and protect him.

Emperor Wu (Sima Yan) had originally established the office of Colonel of Southern Man Tribes with its headquarters at Xiangyang. The office was later shifted to Jiangling.

"Idle talk should stop at the mouth of the wise" means that wise people should not spread about such baseless rumors when they hear them.

This passage demonstrates how broad and generous Wang Dao's capacity for tolerance and insight was.

Sun Sheng was saying that Wang Dao's heart often lingered on lofty affairs, and he was far beyond the ways of the world.

With Chi Jian opposing Yu Liang from afar, and Sun Sheng remonstrating with and opposing him from nearby, if Yu Liang had tried to carry out his plot against Wang Dao, it would just have thrown the realm back into chaos.

Sun Chu was a famous scholar from the beginning of the Jin dynasty.

This last section of the passage only demonstrates how Wang Dao could not help from revealing the ways in which his heart was unsettled by the situation with Yu Liang, but only this and no more.)

This is the same Sun Sheng who is frequently quoted in passages of the Sanguozhi by the commentator Pei Songzhi.

Sun Chu was an officer of Western Jin. There was a famous anecdote about him in which he planned to say to a friend of his, “I shall go become a hermit, washing my mouth in the river and sleeping on the rocks.” But when he accidentally said the phrase backwards, his friend teased him about how he would wash his mouth with rocks and sleep in the river. Sun Chu replied, “I will use the rocks for tooth powder, and the stream to cleanse my ears.”

有往來者云庾公有東下意,或謂王公可潛稍嚴,以備不虞。王公曰:「我與元規雖俱王臣,本懷布衣之好,若其欲來,吾角巾徑還烏衣,何所稍嚴。」(New Tales 6.13)

(In 336) there were those who traveled back and forth (along the Yangzi) who reported, "Yu Liang has intentions of coming east (for a coup d'etat)."

Someone said to Wang Dao, "You'd better take some slight precautions in secret to guard against any mishap."

Wang Dao replied, "In my relations with Yu Liang, in spite of the fact that we're both His Majesty's ministers, I've always cherished our friendship from the time we were both wearing cotton clothes. If he should actually wish to come, I'd don the cornered cap of a retired gentleman and go straight back home to Black Clothing Street (Wuyi, southeast of Jiankang). What is there to take any 'slight precautions' about?" (tr. Richard Mather)

庾公權重,足傾王公。庾在石頭,王在冶城坐。大風揚塵,王以扇拂塵曰:「元規塵汙人!」(New Tales 26.4)

Yu Liang's power and dignity were sufficient to overthrow Wang Dao. While Yu Liang was at Shitou, Wang Dao was once present at a party in Yecheng (southwest of Jiankang). A strong wind started to raised the dust, and Wang Dao, whisking it away with his fan, said, "Yuangui's dust is contaminating me!" (tr. Richard Mather)


27. Wang Dao appointed Li Chong of Jiangxia as an assistant to the Prime Minister. This Li Chong penned the “Learned Admonishments” upon seeing how the popular custom promoted vain and empty things (Daoism). He took issue with one of Laozi's sayings: "If we could renounce our benevolence and discard our righteousness, the people would again become filial and kindly." (Dao De Jing, 1.19.1)

Li Chong felt that, "This hardly means that only after benevolence and righteousness are exterminated that people will be filial and kind. It must be that those who truly worry about benevolence and righteousness are few, but those who abuse that for their benefit are many; therefore, Laozi took to laying the blame on the sages and ascribing the problem to old issues. There are many people who see the external appearance of things, but those who understand the inner workings are few. The more zealously one follows the sages’ path, the farther one gets away from their core teachings."

Therefore, he wrote the “Learned Admonishments” to correct the erroneous thinking, in which he said, “That which advance’s one’s own reputation or position is what causes the Way to be diminished. Only by reducing the desire to pursue vanity can one elevate the Way (literally, 'that which the vanity had replaced'). Without benevolence, nothing can grow; without righteousness, no one can agree on what should be shameful. We must not distance ourselves from benevolence and righteousness, but rather remove whatever that is harming those virtues."


28. In Han, the Administrator of Guanghan, Li Yi's cousin Li Qian, reported that the ministers were planning to depose the Emperor. In autumn, the seventh month, Li Shou sent his son Li Guang and the ministers to swear a pact in the front hall, while Li Qian was banished to serve as the Administrator of Hanjia. Li Hong was appointed as Inspector of Jingzhou, stationed at Ba. This Li Hong was the song of Li Gong.


(Li Gong was the younger brother of Li Pan, mentioned in Book 84, in Emperor Hui's first year of Yongning (300.34).)


29. In the eighth month, it rained for a long time in Shu, and the people suffered from famine and plague. Li Shou ordered his ministers to propose how to deal with the tragedy.

Gong Zhuang sent a letter to Li Shou, stating, "When your Majesty first raised troops, you swore on the stars and announced your plans to Heaven and Earth. You made a blood-pact with all those there and offered your whole state as a vassal of Jin. As it was in accordance with Heaven’s will and the people’s desire, you were ultimately successful in your endeavor. However, some, not understanding the circumstances, advised you to take the imperial title.

“Now the rains have come for a hundred days, and hunger and disease have spread. Perhaps this is a warning sent to you by Heaven. My humble opinion is that you should honor the initial pact and submit to Jiankang. They will certainly not begrudge you noble rank and high status to repay you for your great deed. Though you will necessarily have to descend a step or two from your lofty perch, your descendants will endure forever, and they shall be guaranteed good fortune. Would that not be a happy thing?

“There are some who claim that while those from the two provinces (of Shu) will prosper if we submit to Jin, those refugees who came from the Six Commandaries may have difficulties in their careers. You will recall that when Gongsun Shu was in Shu, the outsiders ran the show; when Liu Bei was in Shu, those from Chu (Jingzhou) were the ones who were elevated. Yet when Wu Han conquered Gongsun Shu, and Deng Ai marched against Liu Shan, everyone in their states were slaughtered, regardless of who was guest and who was host! Those offering such an opinion do not understand the foundation of stability and security, and care only for their reputation and positions. They only see the immediate result that Liu Bei’s people were entrusted with administering the provinces and commandaries, but they forget that their state was ultimately overthrown and their ruler lost. That cannot be compared with the righteous task you undergo today, which will bring glory to you, the ruler, and honor to your subordinates!

“There are also those who claim that I was playing the part of Fa Zheng on your behalf. But Your Majesty has granted me the benevolence of allowing me to do as I please, and I would rather remain in peace. As for government rank, I do not care to hold one regardless of whether it is in Han or in Jin. Why then would I ever imitate Fa Zheng?"

Li Shou was ashamed when he read the letter, and he kept it hidden.


(Gong Zhuang was saying that Li Xiong had pledged himself to become a vassal of Jin, but that after having successfully taken Chengdu, he instead claimed the imperial throne for himself.

Li Xiong would presumably have been named as a Prince by Jin, which would be one step down from his current title as Emperor.

The "two provinces" were Lianzhou and Yizhou, that is, the Shu region.

Gongsun Shu's ministers were Jing Han, Wang Yuan, Tian Rong, and Yan Cen; they were all guests who wielded control of the region. Likewise, Liu Bei brought in many people from the Chu region (Jingzhou) when he came to power in Shu: Pang Tong, Huang Zhong, Dong He, Liu Ba, Ma Liang and his brother Ma Su, Lü Yi, Liao Li, Li Yan, Yang Yi, Wei Yan, Jiang Wan, Fei Yi, Dong Yun, and others.

Gong Zhuang refers to "Wu and Deng"; he means Wu Han and Deng Ai.

To present the state to Jin would be a righteous thing to do, and Jin would show them all great favor and prestige. Then both Li Xiong himself would be honored and his ministers would be exalted.

Fa Zheng had brought in Liu Bei to have him capture Chengdu away from Liu Zhang. Since Gong Zhuang had also advised Li Xiong to overthrow Li Qi, people compared his actions to what Fa Zheng had done earlier.)

Gongsun Shu was one of the many warlords who sprang up in the wake of the rebellions plaguing Wang Mang’s regime in the middle of the Han dynasty. His domain was in Shu, with his capital at Chengdu. Wu Han was one of Liu Xiu’s generals, and he defeated Gongsun Shu, which completed Liu Xiu’s reunification of the realm.


30. In the ninth month, Han's Deputy Director, Ren Yan, plotted rebellion. He was caught and executed. This Ren Yan was the younger brother of Empress Dowager Ren. Li Shou used this plot as a pretext to execute Li Xiong's remaining sons.


(Empress Ren had been Li Xiong's chief wife. Li Shou was certain that Ren Yan's plot was intended to place one of his nephews, one of Li Xiong's remaining sons, on the throne in his place. This was why he executed all of Li Xiong's sons, to prevent anyone's hopes from using them for such further plots.)


31. In winter, the tenth month, Jin's 光祿勳, Yan Han, resigned his post due to old age. During a discussion, it was mentioned, "Wang Dao is the Emperor's instructor and advisor, and furthermore he holds a grand position. The ministers ought to perform obeisance to him."

The Minister of Ceremonies, Feng Huai, asked Yan Han about the matter. Yan Han replied, "Although Lord Wang is respected and important, there is no reason to show him special honors. Regarding the matter of performing obeisance to him, perhaps that is an issue for you gentlemen to discuss; I am just an old man, and I do not know the proper course in these circumstances."

Later on, he said to someone else, “I have heard it said that when planning an invasion, one does not ask for advice from a compassionate man. But just now, Feng Zusi (Feng Huai) asked for my advice on ingratiation. Does he thus take me to be a wicked man?"

When Guo Pu once met Yan Han, he wished to perform a divination for him. But Yan Han replied, "The number of years that one lives is determined by Heaven, and the position that one rises to is in the hands of men. If you cultivate yourself (as in, live a healthy lifestyle) and Heaven does not grant you longevity, that is only your fate. If, though you keep to the Way, people do not recognize you, it is due to your nature. We each have our own appointed fate and nature; there is no need to consult the tortoise shells."

Yan Han lived in retirement for over twenty years, and passed away at the age of ninety-two.


(Yan Han was resigning on account of his age.

The term 降禮 means to perform obeisance.

It is only proper for a minister or a son to perform obeisance for their sovereign or their father, and to do the same thing for Wang Dao would cheapen this sign of respect. 偏 in this case means "improper".

Dong Zhongshu remarked, "There was once a ruler of the state of Lu who asked Liuxia Hui, 'I want to campaign against Qi; what do you think?" Liuxia Hui replied, "It cannot be done." After leaving, the ruler of Lu looked worried, and he said, "I have heard it said that when planning an invasion, one does not ask for advice from a compassionate man. Now those same words apply to me!"

Feng Huai's style name was Zusi.

By Yan Han's resigning on account of his old age, and by his response to Guo Pu here, we can see how greatly he possessed insight and fortitude.)


32. It was earlier mentioned that the Prince of Dai, Tuoba Yihuai, had sent his younger brother Tuoba Shiyijian to Zhao as a hostage in order to ensure peace between his domain and Zhao. At this time, when Tuoba Yihuai grew ill, he ordered the chiefs of his domain to make Tuoba Shiyijian his heir.

After Tuoba Yihuai passed away, the chiefs, Liang Gai and others, were faced with having to handle this great incident. Tuoba Shiyijian was far away, and might not be able to come back. And by the time he arrived, they feared there may have been new developments. Therefore, they planned to prop up a different lord.

Tuoba Shiyijian had yet another younger brother, Tuoba Qu, but he was a man very violent and false. The chiefs preferred still another younger brother, Tuoba Gu, who was benevolent and magnanimous. Therefore, they joined together and killed Tuoba Qu, then supported Tuoba Gu as the heir. But Tuoba Gu was unwilling, and he went personally to Ye to bring Tuoba Shiyijian back, offering to stay as hostage in his place. Shi Hu praised his virtue, and sent both of them back to Dai.

In the eleventh month, Tuoba Shiyijian assumed the title Prince of Dai north of Fanji. He declared the reign era title of Jianguo, and split the state in half with Tuoba Gu.


(Tuoba Shiyijian's being sent off to Zhao as a hostage is mentioned in Book 94, in the fourth year of Xianhe (329.22).

The term "great incident" here refers to the fact that Tuoba Yihuai had just passed away. Teng Wengong remarked, "A present adversity is called a great incident."

Fanzhi County was part of Yanmen commandary.)

一年而崩。昭成皇帝諱什翼犍立,平文之次子也。生而奇偉,寬仁大度,喜怒不形于色。身長八尺,隆準龍顏,立髮委地,臥則乳垂至席。烈帝臨崩顧命曰:「必迎立什翼犍,社稷可安。」烈帝崩,帝弟孤乃自詣鄴奉迎,與帝俱還。事在孤傳。十一月,帝即位於繁畤之北,時年十九,稱建國元年。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

After another year in power, Tuoba Yihuai passed away.

His successor, Emperor Zhaocheng, was named Tuoba Shiyijian. He was Tuoba Yulü's second son. He was remarkably large when he was born, and he was a generous, benevolent, and magnanimous man, who did not show either happiness or anger in his expression. He grew to be eight 尺 tall. He had an imposing nose and a countenance like a dragon; when he stood, his hair reached the floor, and when he lay down, his nipples hung down to touch the mat.

When Tuoba Yihuai was on his deathbed, his last testament was, "You must welcome Tuoba Shiyijian back and support him as my heir. Then the fortunes of state can be secure." After Tuoba Yihuai passed away, Tuoba Shiyijian's younger brother Tuoba Gu personally visited Ye to support and welcome Tuoba Shiyijian's return, and they both returned to Dai together. This story is mentioned further in the Biography of Tuoba Gu. In the eleventh month, Tuoba Shiyijian assumed the title Prince of Dai north of Fanji. At that time, he was eighteen years old. He declared the reign era title of Jianguo.


33. Before, when the earlier Prince of Dai, Tuoba Yilu, passed away (in 316), there had been many internal difficulties, with many tribes and divisions splitting apart and scattering, and so the Tuoba clan had gradually diminished. But after Tuoba Shiyijian took the throne, he was brave and heroic as well as learned in strategy. He could cultivate what his forebears left him, and the people followed him.

Tuoba Shiyijian established ministries to handle different administrative matters. He appointed Yan Feng of Dai as his Chief Clerk, and Xu Qian as his Prefect of the Household Gentlemen. Systems for dealing with rebels, murderers, and villains and bandits were put into place, orders were made easy to understand, government affairs were made clear and simple, and communication was made less troublesome. The people felt at ease.

From the Yemaek in the East to Poluona in the west, from the Yinshan mountains in the south to the ends of the deserts in the north, all submitted to him, and so Dai had an army of some hundreds of thousands.


(The difficulties facing Dai following the death of Tuoba Yilu are mentioned n Book 89, in Emperor Min's fourth year of Jianxing (316.9-10).

The Records of the Western Regions in the New Book of Tang states, "The Ningyuan people were originally called the Bahanna; some also called them the Pohan, and during the time of Northern Wei they were called the Poluona. They lived in the city of Xijian, eight thousand li from Chang'an, to the north of the Zhenzhu River."

This passage demonstrates how Dai become strong again.)

The Yemaek were a proto-Korean tribal group with close ties to other Korean tribes.

二年春,始置百官,分掌眾職。東自濊貊,西及破洛那,莫不款附。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

In the second year of Jianguo (339), in the spring, Tuoba Shiyijian created ministries to handle different administrative matters. From the Yemaek in the East to Poluona in the west, all submitted to him.

燕鳳,字子章,代人也。好學,博綜經史,明習陰陽讖緯。昭成素聞其名,使人以禮迎致之。鳳不應聘。乃命諸軍圍代城,謂城人曰:「燕鳳不來,吾將屠汝。」代人懼,送鳳。昭成與語,大悅,待以賓禮。後拜代王左長史,參決國事。又以經授獻明帝。(Book of Northern Wei 24, Biography of Yan Feng)

Yan Feng, styled Zizhang, was a native of Dai. He enjoyed studying: he had a full and comprehensive understanding of the Classics and the Histories, and he also grasped the ins and outs of the Naturalist school of philosophy. Tuoba Shiyijian had long heard of his reputation, and he sent men to treat Yan Feng respectfully in order to recruit him. When Yan Feng did not want to accept the appointment, Tuoba Shiyijian then ordered his armies to surround the city of Dai. They told the people of the city, "If Yan Feng does not come out, we shall slaughter you all." Frightened, the people of the city handed Yan Feng over. Tuoba Shiyijian spoke with him and was greatly pleased, and treated him as an honored guest. He later appointed Yan Feng as his Chief Clerk of the Left, and Yan Feng advised and decided upon state affairs. He also instructed Tuoba Shiyijian's son Tuoba Shi in the Classics.

許謙,字元遜,代人也。少有文才,善天文圖讖之學。建國時,將家歸附,昭成嘉之,擢為代王郎中令,兼掌文記。與燕鳳俱授獻明帝經。(Book of Northern Wei 24, Biography of Xu Qian)

Xu Qian, styled Yuanxun, was a native of Dai. He had literary ability even as a youth, and he was skilled at reading the stars and studying books of prophecy. During the Jianguo reign era of Dai, he brought his family to return to his homeland. Tuoba Shiyijian commended him, and promoted him to serve as his Prefect of the Household Gentlemen, as well as keeping all his written records. Xu Qian and Yan Feng both instructed Tuoba Shiyijian's son Tuoba Shi in the Classics.


34. In the twelfth month, Duan Liao sent envoys from Mount Miyun requesting assistance from Zhao. However, he soon regretted this choice, and then asked for aid from Yan instead.


35. Shi Hu sent his General Who Conquers The East, Ma Qiu, with thirty thousand soldiers to meet up with Duan Liao. He warned Ma Qiu, "Going to accept a surrender can be much like going to fight a battle. You must not take this lightly." He assigned his Minister of the Left of the Masters of Writing, Yang Yu, to act as Ma Qiu's Marshal.


36. Murong Huang led an army himself to aid Duan Liao. Duan Liao secretly plotted with him to destroy the Zhao army. Murong Huang sent his son Murong Ke with seven thousand elite cavalry to hide in ambush at Mount Miyun. They greatly defeated Ma Qiu at Sanzangkou; sixty to seventy percent of Ma Qiu's soldiers were killed.

Ma Qiu escaped on foot. Yang Yu was captured by Yan.


(The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "There is a Wulie River in the east of Anzhou, formed from the confluence of three streams. Its western source is called the Western Zang River, which flows southwest, where the Eastern Zang River joins it. That river also sends out a stream to the east, which flows southwest out of a valley, and there joins with the Middle Zang River. That river guides a middle stream, which flows south out of the valley and then further south joins with the Eastern Zang River. That river also flows southwest and into the Western Zang River. So the people who saw the confluence of these three rivers called it Sanzangchuan ('Valley of the Three Zangs')." Wei Shou's Geographical Records states, "In the second year of Huangxing (468), the province of Anzhou was created; it administered Miyun and other commandaries. Sui abolished Miyun as a commandary, making it only a county. During Tang, it was administered by Tanzhou.")


37. During the battle, one of the Zhao generals, Xianyu Liang of Fanyang, lost his horse. He could not easily get away on the hilly terrain, so he stopped and sat down. The Yan soldiers surrounded him, then shouted at him and ordered him to get up. Xianyu Liang replied, "I am a noble person, and will not suffer to be humiliated by you scoundrels. If you whelps want to kill me, get on with it; if you can’t do it, then begone!" Because of the aura Xianyu Liang projected, and the heroic sound of his voice, the Yan soldiers feared him, and did not dare kill him, but reported the matter to Murong Huang.

Murong welcomed Xianyu Liang with a horse, and after speaking with him was greatly pleased. Xianyu Liang was given the position of Regular Attendant of the Left, and married to the daughter of Cui Bi.


(Under the Jin system, the greatest of the princely fiefs each had their own Regular Attendants of the Left and Right.)

Cui Bi was a great-grandson of Cui Yan. He had fled to seek refuge under Murong Hui when the various tribal invasions of the Central Plains began.


38. Murong Huang integrated all of Duan Liao's troops into his army. He treated Duan Liao as an honored guest, while Yang Yu became his Prefect of the Household Gentlemen.


39. When Shi Hu heard of Ma Qiu's defeat, he was furious, and stripped Ma Qiu of his ranks and titles.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:16 pm


The Fifth Year of Xiankang (The Jihai Year, 339 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, on the day Xinchou (February 20th), a general amnesty was declared in Jin.


2. In the third month, on the day Yichou (?), Jin's Inspector of Guangzhou, Deng Yue, led troops to attack Han's Ningzhou. Han's Administrator of Jianning, Meng Yan, arrested their Inspector of Ningzhou, Huo Biao, and surrendered to Jin.


(Cheng-Han had taken Ningzhou from Jin in the eighth year of Xianhe (333); at this time, Jin recovered the province. Cheng-Han had appointed Huo Biao as the Inspector of Ningzhou earlier, in Book 95, in the ninth year of Xianhe (334.8).)


3. Jin's General Who Conquers The West, Yu Liang, wished to recover the Central Plains. He petitioned that Huan Xuan be made the Commander of military affairs north of the Mian River, as well as Inspector of Sizhou, and for his base to be at Xiangyang. He also petitioned that the Administrator of Linchuan, his own younger brother Yu Yi, be appointed as Chief of military affairs in Lianzhou and Yongzhou, as well as Inspector of Lianzhou, and for him to be based at Weixing. He further requested that the Administrator of Xiyang, his younger brother Yu Yì, be appointed as Colonel of Southern Man Tribes and acting Administrator of Nan commandary, and to be based at Jiangling. All three of them were also appointed as Credential Holders.

Yu Liang also requested that he relinquish his command of Yuzhou, and that the province be entrusted to the General Who Conquers The Caitiffs, Mao Bao. An edict was issued appointing Mao Bao as Chief of military affairs in the portions of Yangzhou west of the Yangzi, and he was appointed as Inspector of Yuzhou. He and the Administrator of Xiyang, Fan Jun, were directed to lead ten thousand elite soldiers to camp at Zhucheng. The General Who Establishes Might, Tao Cheng, was made the General of the Household Gentlemen of the South and Chancellor of Jiangxia, entering Mianzhong.

Tao Cheng led two hundred men downriver to visit Yu Liang. Yu Liang had long disliked Tao Cheng because of his craft and guile, and he had other grudges against him from earlier as well. So Yu Liang had him arrested and executed.

Later, because Weixing was distant and dangerous, Yu Liang ordered Yu Yi to camp at Banzhou instead. He appointed the Administrator of Wuchang, Chen Xiao, as the new Inspector of Lianzhou, and sent him to Hanzhong.

Yu Liang sent his Army Advisor, Li Song, to attack Han's territory of Ba and Jiangyang commandaries. In summer, the fourth month, Li Song captured Han's Inspector of Jingzhou, Li Hong, and Administrator of Ba, Huang Zhi, and sent them to Jiankang. Li Shou appointed Li Yi to be General Who Guards The East to defend Ba commandary in Li Hong's stead.


(Ever since Jin's former Inspector of Sizhou, Li Ju, had retreated from the territory he held in that province and passed away at Luyang, what little territory of Sizhou was left under Jin control was administered as a part of Jingzhou. At this time, Yu Liang revived the title Inspector of Sizhou, with its headquarters to be at Xiangyang.

Zhou Fang had earlier been acting Inspector of Lianzhou, and at that time he had his headquarters in that capacity at Xiangyang. But now, since Xiangyang was meant to serve as the headquarters for the Inspector of Sizhou, the new base for the Inspector of Lianzhou would be at Weixing instead.

Zhucheng was north of the Yangzi; it was the capital city of Zhu County in the Han dynasty's Jiangxia commandary. In ancient times, when King Xuan of Chu had conquered the state of Zhu, he had the sovereign of that state relocated to this place, thus the name Zhu. It is now the capital city of Huangzhou. Du You remarked, "There is a Zhucheng a hundred and twenty li southeast of Huangzhou, where Linjiang and Wuchang are across from one another; this was where Tang's Huangzhou was administered from."

During Han, Xiyang County was part of Jiangxia commandary. Cao-Wei split it off as part of Yiyang commandary. Emperor Hui of Jin split it off from Yiyang to form the Xiyang princely fief. After the establishment of Eastern Jin, Xiyang was reverted from a princely fief to a commandary.

Yu Liang's base was at Wuchang, so this was why Tao Cheng came "downriver" to visit him.

Yu Liang had long been resentful of Tao Kan, and he also resented Tao Cheng for having informed Wang Dao of Yu Liang's plot against him. It was because of these personal grudges that he now killed Tao Cheng.

Banzhou was within Jiangzhou. During the reign of Emperor Kang (342-344), when Chu Pou was the Inspector of Jiangzhou, he was stationed at Banzhou.

Cheng-Han had created their own province of Jingzhou centered around Ba commandary; this was why Li Hong held the title Inspector of Jingzhou under Cheng-Han authority.)


4. Yu Liang sent in a petition stating, "Shu (Cheng-Han) has become weaker, while the barbarians to the north gather in strength. I request permission to transfer a grand army of a hundred thousand men to guard Shicheng, and send several other armies to spread out along the Yangzi and the Mian River to prepare to invade Zhao."

Emperor Cheng sought advice from his ministers. Wang Dao asked that he grant Yu Liang's request. But Chi Jian dissented, believing, "Our resources still need time to grow; such a great undertaking cannot be launched yet."


5. The Minister of Ceremonies, Cai Mo, also weighed in, saying, "Some situations are unfavorable while others are opportune, and the proper way to do things should be tailored to accommodate that. If we make a rash measure of the enemy's strength, then we will not even continue to exist for very long, much less have any success against them! In our current state, it would be better to build up our power and wait for a better opportunity.

“We must measure our chances of success against the strength of the barbarians, and we must measure the strength of the barbarians by the capabilities of Shi Hu. Ever since Shi Le's rise, Shi Hu always served as his fang and claw. In a hundred battles he won a hundred victories, and so settled the Central Plains and captured the whole territory, until they possessed the same territory that Wei once held. After Shi Le's death, Shi Hu manipulated the new ruler, and purged generals and ministers. He crushed internal dissension, and even repulsed invading armies. With one undertaking, he captured Jinyong, and in the next battle, he took Shi Sheng prisoner. Then he executed Shi Cong as easily as picking something up from the ground, and after that he extinguished Guo Quan like one shakes dead leaves from a tree. In doing all these things, he kept his territory entirely intact; not one inch of land was lost.

“So we must ask ourselves: when Shi Hu has been this adept up until now, can we expect him to falter any time soon? Some have pointed out the barbarians' recent failure to capture Xiangyang. But this is no sign of ineptitude. Can anyone claim that a man who is so strong as to achieve a hundred victories in a hundred battles is inferior, because he happens not to be able to capture a city once? We might as well say that an archer who can hit the target a hundred times in a hundred shots is clumsy because he happens to miss once.


(By "purging ministers and generals", Cai Mo refers to Shi Hu having killed Shi Kan, Cheng Xia, Xu Guang, and other such people.

Book 95 mentions all of the events which Cai Mo lists here: Shi Hu's killing of Shi Cong in the eighth year of Xianhe (333.7), his capture of Jinyong and his subsequant advance against Chang'an and his killing of Shi Sheng (333.14), and his capture of Guo Quan in the following year (334.9).

Zhao's failed attack on Xiangyang is mentioned in Book 95, in the first year of Xiankang (335.10).)


6. "Furthermore, in that attack on Xiangyang, Shi Yu merely led an auxiliary division of Zhao, and the General Who Pacifies The North (Huan Xuan) was only a general guarding our border. When there are such skirmishes on the borders (or, when border commanders have such skirmishes), there is always a little give and take; one side advances when they see an opportunity, the other correspondingly retreats. Such things are not serious matters. But now, the General who Conquers the West (Yu Liang), who is a famed general in charge of a major strategic point, proposes to personally lead a grand army to conquer the whole region south of the Yellow River. Of course Shi Hu would lead all his state’s forces to meet him in a decisive battle. How can we compare such a battle against the skirmishing at Xiangyang?

“If the General wishes to offer battle, how does he compare with Shi Sheng? If he wishes to defend the city, how does the city compare with Jinyong? If he believes the Mian River will protect him, how does that river compare with the Yangzi? If he thinks he can repel Shi Hu, how does Shi Hu compare with Su Jun? Let us consider each of these points in more detail.


(Huan Xuan was General Who Pacifies The North.

Some versions write the character 士 "soldiers, gentlemen" as 土 "earth, territory".)


7. "Shi Sheng was a fierce general, and he had command of the elite soldiers of Guanzhong; General Yu's skill in battle is inferior to his. Jinyong is a redoubt of great renown, and Liu Yao could not take it even with an army of a hundred thousand; General Yu's skill in defense cannot measure up to this. When Shi Sheng launched his rebellion, Luoyang and Guanzhong all rose against Shi Hu, yet now these three strongholds are all at his disposal. Compared to then, Shi Hu now has twice as troops available. Shi Sheng was unable to defeat Shi Hu’s force when it was half as large as now, but General Yu wants to defeat Shi Hu’s force now when it is twice as large as then. This makes me wonder.

"During Su Jun's rebellion, he was not so strong then as Shi Hu is now. Nor is the Mian River as formidable a geographical barrier as the Yangzi is. Yet the Yangzi could not protect us from Su Jun; how much less can the Mian River protect us from Shi Hu? This, too, should be considered.

"Years ago, when Zu Shizhi (Zu Ti) had established his position north of the Yangzi at Qiao, he set up farmland north of the city. When he heard that the barbarians and caitiffs planned to attack him, he sent the armies of Yuzhou to the farmlands to protect it. Whenever the grain was ready to be harvested, the barbarians came. The able-bodied fought them on the periphery, while the old and weak harvested the grain within, each carrying torches, for burning the remaining grain when they were pressed to flee. This process repeated for several years, and so ultimately Zu Shizhi could gain no further victory. And consider that at that time, the barbarians only held the region north of the Yellow River. Compared to then, their territory now is four times as great. Zu Shizhi could not defend against them when they held only this smaller portion; now General Yu plans to guard against them when they have four times as much territory. This is also something worth considering.


(Some versions include the sentence "Jinyong is a redoubt of great renown, and Liu Yao could not take it even with an army of a hundred thousand; General Yu's skill in defense cannot measure up to this".

Cai Mo mentions "three strongholds", but he only explicitly listed Luoyang and Guanzhong; the third must be Guo Quan's base at Shanggui.

Some versions include the phrase "and caitiffs" when listing who came to attack Zu Ti.

Cai Mo was saying that at the time that Zu Ti contended with Shi Le for control of the region, Shi Le only possessed the territory north of the Yellow River. Compared to then, Shi Hu now controlled four times as much territory as Shi Le had controlled earlier.)


8. "And yet in all this, we have not even discussed the dangers of the route that General Yu must take. From the Mian River westwards, the river water is vigorous and the banks are high. The army would have to cross over in single file, with the column stretching a hundred li from head to tail. Unless the barbarians have the benevolence of Duke Xiang of Song, they will strike before our soldiers can defend themselves, and then what could the men do?

"We and the barbarians hold different terrains and are adept at different kids of warfare. If the barbarians come to seek death by attacking us, we would be more than able to defend against them. But if we abandon the Yangzi and push deep into their territory, and use what we are least adept at to fight what they are best at, then I fear there is simply no prospect of 'making calculations for victory in the temple'."


(Cai Mo was now discussing what would happen after arriving at the Central Plains.

Regarding the Mian River, Cai Mo was saying that the river was so narrow and fierce that boats could not advance side by side, but could only go forward in a single line.

Regarding Duke Xiang of Song, the Zuo Commentary states, "Duke Xiang of Song and the soldiers of Chu fought a battle at the Hong River. The soldiers of Song had already completed their battle formations, while the soldiers of Chu were still crossing over the river. Sima Ziyu requested permission to attack the Chu army, but Duke Xiang said, 'We cannot.' After finishing their crossing, the soldiers of Chu had still not yet set up their battle formation. Duke Xiang was once again asked to attack, but he replied, 'Not yet.' Once their formation was established, only then did he attack, and the Song army met with defeat. The people of Song all blamed the Duke, but he said, "When the ancients had their armies in the field, they would not attack an enemy when he was in a defile; and though I am but the poor representative of a fallen dynasty, I would not sound my drums to attack an unformed host (Xi 22.4)."

The south was more adept at naval warfare, while the north was more skilled with cavalry.

Cai Mo's comments here were an example of brutal honesty and introspection in knowing the capacities of both the enemy and oneself. When Chi Jian later recommended that Cai Mo become his successor, it must have been because of what he saw in his arguments here.)


9. Most of the court agreed with Cai Mo. Thus, Yu Liang was ordered not to shift the troops.


10. Yan’s Directing General of the Front, Murong Ping, their General Who Spreads Might, Murong Junn, their General Who Breaks And Charges, Muyu Gen, and their General Who Sweeps Away Invaders, Muyu Ni, attacked Zhao's territory in Liaoxi, capturing more than a thousand households before turning back. They were pursued by several Zhao generals, including the General Who Guards Distant Places, Shi Cheng, the General of Massed Crossbows, Huyan Huang, and the General Who Establishes Might, Zhang Zhi. Murong Ping and the others fought them; Huyan Huang and Zhang Zhi were killed.


(According to Shen Yue's Records, the rank of General Who Spreads Might was created by Cao-Wei.

The rank of General Who Guards Distant Places must have been created by the Shi clan.)


11. Duan Liao plotted rebellion against Yan. They killed Duan Liao and dozens of his partisans, then sent his head to Zhao.


12. In the fifth month, Tuoba Shiyijian convened a meeting of the various Dai chieftains at Canhe Slope, to propose establishing a capital at Leiyuanchuan. His mother Lady Wang said, "A nomadic lifestyle has suited us best for many generations up until now. There are currently many difficulties in the state. If we reside in a capital, then if invaders should appear one day, we would have no means to avoid them." So the plan was abandoned.


(During Former Han, Canhe County was part of Dai commandary. Later Han and Jin abolished it. In Eastern Wei's second year of Tianping (535), they created Liangcheng commandary, and Canhe County was part of it. The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "Canhe Slope was in the northwest of the county; it is commonly called Canghe Slope."

Lady Wang was talking about how the Tuoba would follow the trends of the waters and grasses to suit the needs of the state. When the grass in one place was consumed and the water was exhausted, then the people would move on to some other place.

Tou Wulun would later offer very similar advice to Tufa Lilugu of Southern Liang.)

二年春,始置百官,分掌眾職。東自濊貊,西及破洛那,莫不款附。夏五月,朝諸大人於參合陂,議欲定都灅源川,連日不決,乃從太后計而止。語在皇后傳。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

In the second year of Jianguo (339), in summer, the fifth month, Tuoba Shiyijian convened a meeting of the various Dai chieftains at Canhe Slope, to propose establishing a capital at Leiyuanchuan. Days passed without anything being decided. Eventually, following the advice of the Princess Dowager, the plan was abandoned. More of this is mentioned in her biography.


13. The Dai called all migrants to their territory “Wuhuan”. Tuoba Shiyijian divided these migrants into two halves, each to have its own leaders. His younger brother Tuoba Gu would oversee the northern portion of them, while his son Tuoba Shijun would oversee the southern portion.


14. Tuoba Shiyijian sought a bride from Yan. Murong Huang sent him one of his younger sisters to wed.

娉慕容元真妹為皇后。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

Tuoba Shiyijian married the younger sister of Murong Huang, taking her as his Princess.


15. In autumn, the seventh month, Shi Hu's Crown Prince, Shi Xuan, was appointed as Grand Chanyu, and Shi Hu himself began to use the imperial banners as a Son of Heaven.


16. On the day Gengshen (September 7th), Wang Dao passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke Wenxian ("the Cultured and Presented") of Shixing. His mourning and burial rites were in accordance with those given to Han's Marquis of Boling (Huo Guang) or Jin’s Prince Xian of Anping (Sima Fu). They employed the ceremonies of the Son of Heaven.


(Huo Guang's mourning and funeral are mentioned in Book 25, in Emperor Xuan of Han's second year of Dijie (68 BC).

Sima Fu's mourning and funeral are mentioned in Book 79, in Emperor Wu's (Sima Yan's) eighth year of Taishi (272.3).)


17. Wang Dao was a man of simple and few desires, and was good at achieving results by following the natural order of things. He was the sort of man of whom it could be said, "When one considered him on a daily basis, he did not seem to offer much good, but in the fullness of all his years, they found him to be of more than ordinary benefit." And though he had been the pillar of state for three generations, he had no stored grain in his warehouse, nor did he wear impressive silks.


The Zhuangzi states, "Our estimate of him after a short acquaintance was that he could not do us much good; but now that we have known him for years, we find him a more than ordinary benefit (Gengsang Chu 1)". Xiang Xiu's Commentary adds, "To be lacking on a daily basis means to not offer meager gains each and every day; to be of more than ordinary benefit on a yearly basis means to reap a great benefit through heeding the circumstances of time."

The three generations which Wang Dao had served under were Emperors Yuan (Sima Rui), Ming, and Cheng.)


18. Earlier, Wang Dao and Yu Liang had both recommended the Intendant of Danyang, He Chong, to the Emperor. Wang Dao asked that He Chong serve as his assistant, adding, "On the day of my death, you may depend upon He Chong, and then the fortunes of state will be safe." Because of that, He Chong was additionally made Supervisor of the Masters of Writing.

After Wang Dao passed away, Yu Liang was summoned back to the capital and offered the positions of Prime Minister, Inspector of Yangzhou, and authority over the imperial secretariat; however, he refused them. On the day Xinyou (September 8th), He Chong was appointed as General Who Protects The Army. The Interior Minister of Kuaiji, Yu Liang's younger brother Yu Bing, was appointed as Chief of the Palace Secretariat, Inspector of Yangzhou, and advisor of affairs of the Masters of Writing.


19. Now that Yu Bing was appointed to such a high position, he worked many hours on matters of state, both day and night. He showed great respect to the wise men in the court, and promoted and recruited worthy people junior to him. Thus the court and the common people all considered him to be a virtuous minister.

When Wang Dao had been in charge of the government, he had always been very accommodating and forgiving. But when Yu Bing took over, he was much more strict and just. He was criticized for this by the Intendant of Danyang, Yin Rong. Yu Bing replied, "Even with Wang Dao’s sagacity, he was unable to keep up with that leniency; how much less can I?"

Fan Wang said to Yu Bing, "Recently, the stars have not followed their natural course. It would be better for you to follow a more lenient course."

Yu Bing replied, "How can I fathom the void? I ought to direct my efforts towards men's affairs."

During investigations of population figures, Yu Bing discovered more than ten thousand people who had not been registered. He thus corrected the military figures.

Yu Bing liked investigating into everything, to the point of being painstaking. But later, he overcorrected himself, and allowed himself to be overly lenient. As he would go from being strict to lenient on a whim, people no longer obeyed his laws.


(The term 堪 here means to endure or to bear; Yu Bing was saying that not even Wang Dao could be so generous or lenient.

When the Seven Celestial Bodies (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) depart from their usual wanderings, then the heavens are said to be "not following their natural courses".

The term 隱 here means "measure".

The passage means that Yu Bing would initially attempt to closely rectify something but then later allow for more leniency, and thus more and more he would turn away from the proper path.)


20. In the eighth month, on the day Renwu (September 29th), Jin’s office of Prime Minister was once again devolved to Minister Over The Masses.


(Jin had abolished the office of Minister Over The Masses and folded it into the office of Prime Minister in the previous year (338.25).)


21. Chi Jian grew deathly ill.

He presented a memorial of resignation to the Chief Clerk of Palace Affairs, Liu Xia, which read: "Out of all the people I have administered, there have been many northerners, some who have been here a long time, others who were forced to relocate here, but all of whom deeply wish to return to their homeland. I have proclaimed the grace of the state, and taught them right from evil, and gave them fields and houses to settle in. Gradually we have achieved this little peace. However, Learning of my grave illness, they were greatly shocked. If they do move back north, that will surely play into the hands of the invaders. The Minister of Ceremonies Cai Mo is peaceful, simple, and respected by all. If you have hopes of returning, I ask that you appoint him as Commander and as Inspector of Xuzhou."

So the court appointed Cai Mo as Major to the Grand Commandant and promoted him to Palace Attendant.

On the day Xinyou (?), Chi Jian passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke Wencheng of Nanchang.

Cai Mo became the General Who Conquers The North and Commander of Xuzhou, Yanzhou, and Qingzhou military affairs, as well as Inspector of Xuzhou and Credential Holder.


20. At about this time, Jin’s Guard General of the Left Chen Guang requested permission to campaign against Zhao. The court sent Chen Guang to attack Shouyang.

Shouyang was the name for Shouchun during this period.

Cai Mo sent a petition stating, "Shouyang is a small and solid city. Even in just the area between there and Langye, the cities are so close together that the walls of one can be seen from another, and as soon as they learn that Shouyang is under attack, all of them will certainly come to its rescue.

“Furthermore, once the general has been on the road for more than fifty days, even before these initial reinforcements arrive, they will have spread word of the attack near and far. The barbarians' relay horses are of exceptional quality, and can run a thousand li in one day. Even just the cavalry north of the Yellow River will be sufficient. Even with the heroism of Bai Qi, Han Xin, and Xiang Ji (Xiang Yu), they still needed to cast aside their cooking pots and burn their boats, and fighting with their backs to the river in order to triumph.

Bai Qi was a famous general of the state of Qin during the Warring States period who was undefeated in battle. Although he was an accomplished leader, he is most well-known for his brutal slaughters of the enemy armies.

“Instead, you plan to moor the boats along the shore and lead the troops to attack the city. The troops would then face a strong enemy to the front while seeing an open line of retreat behind them, which is against all the arts of war. If you should attack the city, but fail to take it before the barbarian cavalry arrive, I fear for the outcome. It will be just as when Huanzi's boat was filled with so many fingers that he could not count them all.

Xun Linfu, or Xun Huanzi, was a general of the state of Jin from the Spring and Autumn period. During a battle against their rival state Chu, the Jin soldiers began retreating, trying to get into boats to sail away across a river. The boat that Xun Linfu was in was already full, but more soldiers in the river tried to climb into it. Those already in the boat were forced to chop off the gripping fingers of the soldiers trying to climb in, to prevent the boat from capsizing. So many soldiers had their fingers chopped off that they began to pile up in the boat, and one could scoop them up by the handful.

“What's more, Chen Guang's soldiers for this attack are all being drawn from the elite troops of the palace. It may be suitable to order them to go on campaigns, but not to engage in battle . By using the best fighters of the state to attack the least of the enemy’s cities, I fear that if we conquer it, our gain would be too slight to harm the enemy; if we lose the battle, then our losses will be sufficient to benefit the enemy. That is why I fear this is not the best of plans."

Thus the plan was called off.


21. Before, when Tao Kan had been at Wuchang, there was some discussion about sending a portion of his command to garrison Zhucheng, a city north of the Yangzi. Even though Tao Kan never responded to the suggestion, people wouldn’t stop talking about it.

Tao Kan then crossed the river to go hunting, and to the fellows following him he said, "Our best defense for warding off danger and keeping out the invaders is the Yangzi itself. But Zhucheng is some ways north of the Yangzi. It has no defensive advantage in and of itself, and it is also surrounded by many tribes. It is a place of natural advantage to the tribes, and if we were to try to turn it to our own use, the tribes will certainly not put up with it; they would attack us at once. Thus it would be a source of danger, not defense. Even Wu needed thirty thousand soldiers to defend the place in their day. Even if we could spare that many, it would still be of no use to the Southland. If the Jie and other barbarians come against us, it will not be of any use to us either."


22. After Yu Liang was placed in command of Wuchang, he sent Mao Bao and Fan Jun to garrison at Zhucheng.

Feeling provoked, Shi Hu appointed Kui An as Grand Commander and sent him along with Shi Jian, Shi Min, Li Nong, Zhang Hao, and Li Tu, along with five other generals, fifty thousand infantry from Jingzhou and northern Yangzhou, and twenty thousand cavalry to attack Zhucheng.

Mao Bao requested help from Yu Liang, but Yu Liang, thinking that the city was strong enough to hold out, did not send reinforcements in time.


23. In the ninth month, Shi Min defeated the Ji soldiers at Mianyin, and killed the Jin general Cai Huai. Kui An and Li Nong advanced south of the Mian River. Zhu Bao defeated the Jin troops at Baishi, and killed Zheng Bao and four other officers. Zhang Hao captured Zhucheng, where six thousand were killed. Mao Bao and Fan Jun broke out of the encirclement and fled, but drowned in the Yangzi. Kui An advanced and captured Huting, and invaded Jiangxia. Jin's General of Yiyang Huang Chong and Administrator of Yiyang Zheng Jin both surrendered to Zhao. Kui An marched on and besieged Shicheng. The Administrator of Jingling Li Yang fought a stubborn defense, taking over five thousand heads, so Kui An retreated. They marched east along the Han river, sacking and pillaging, and over seven thousand households were relocated to Youzhou and Jizhou.


24. At that time, Yu Liang was about to send a memorial in asking to transfer his base to Shicheng. But when he heard that Zhucheng had fallen, he stopped. Instead, he submitted a memorial of apology, demoting himself by three ranks, to General Who Maintains The West. However, the court ordered that his former rank be restored.

The General Who Upholds The State Yu Yi was made Credential Holder and Inspector of Yuzhou, with command over the military affairs of the commandaries of Xuancheng, Lujiang, Liyang, and Anfeng. He was based at Wuhu.


25. Shi Hu despised the constant depredations of the gentry against the common people, so he promoted the Palace Clerk Li Ju to become the Palace Assistant Imperial Clerk, and treated him especially well. This caused everyone to reform their habits. Shi Hu said, “I have heard that a noble minister is like a wild beast: with every step, even the wolves and jackals fear him. Truly this is so!"


26. Shi Hu appointed the General Who Nurtures The Army, Li Nong, as Commissioner Bearing Credentials, leader of military affairs at Liaoxi and Beiping, General Who Conquers The East, and Governor of Yingzhou, and he was stationed at Lingzhi. Together with the Grand General Who Conquers The North Zhang Ju, Li Hong led thirty thousand men to attack Yan's city of Fancheng.

Murong Huang appointed the City Chief of Kehu, Yue Wan, as the General Who Resists Difficulties; he was sent with one thousand soldiers to guard Fancheng.

When the Zhao soldiers arrived, the Yan officers were all afraid, and wished to abandon the city and flee. Yue Wan said, "I have received orders to hold out against the invaders, and will do so whether I live or die. By relying upon the defenses of the cities, each of us can be worth a hundred of them. Anyone who dares to mislead the people through nonsense will be executed!" The officers were thus persuaded to fight. Yue Wan led the men himself, personally braving the enemy's stones and arrows. After a period of ten days, having been unsuccessful in taking the city, the Zhao soldiers retreated.

Because Liaoxi was near the border with Yan, it often suffered from attacks and raids, so Shi Hu moved the people there to the south of Jizhou.


27. Li Shou became ill. Luo Heng and Jie Siming once more proposed that he pay homage to Jin, but Li Shou did not heed them. Li Yan again sent in a petition to the same effect. Enraged, Li Shou had Li Yan killed.


28. Li Shou often wished to conduct himself like Emperor Wu of Han and Emperor Ming of Wei (Cao Rui), while he was ashamed to hear of the affairs of his uncle Li Te and his cousin Li Xiong. He therefore proclaimed that no one was to speak of his cousin's reign, considering himself to be superior to them.

Emperor Wu of Han, or Han Wudi, was probably the most famous and accomplished of the Han emperors after Liu Bang. During his rule, the state flourished and several generals conducted extensive campaigns against the Xiongnu.

The 舍人 Du Xi compiled ten poems of admonishments and sent them to Li Shou, but claimed that they were written by the scholar Ying Qu. Li Shou responded, "When I read a poem, I understand the meaning behind it. If a man of our own time had composed them, then these would be the learned words of a sage. But if a man from former times wrote them, these would just be banal words of ghosts."

Ying Qu was a scholar and official who served Wei during the reigns of Cao Pi, Cao Rui, and Cao Fang. Presumably Du Xi’s fake poems attributed to him were criticisms of Cao Pi and Cao Rui, meant as oblique criticisms of Li Shou himself. But Li Shou seems to indicate that he was not fooled by their alleged origin.


29. Murong Huang, having proclaimed himself Prince of Yan, wished to receive Jin's sanction for the title. In winter, he sent the Chief Clerk Liu Xiang and the Army Advisor Ju Yun to the Jin court to to report on his victories and merits, explain why he had assumed the noble title, and set a time for a great undertaking: a joint campaign against the Central Plains.

Murong Huang attacked Goguryeo, sending his soldiers to Xincheng. The ruler of Goguryeo, Go Soe (Gogugwon), sued for peace, so Murong Huang returned. Murong also sent his sons Murong Ke and Murong Ba to attack the Yuwen. Murong Ba was then thirteen years old; he was a champion within the armies.

Gogugwon was the king of Goguryeo during this time.

慕容垂,字道明,皝之第五子也。少岐嶷有器度,身長七尺七寸,手垂過膝。皝甚寵之,常目而謂諸弟曰:「此兒闊達好奇,終能破人家,或能成人家。」故名霸,字道業,恩遇逾於世子俊,故俊不能平之。(Jinshu 123.1)

Murong Chui, styled Daoming, was Murong Huang's fifth son. When he was young, he was very intelligent and possessed great talent. He grew to be seven chi and seven cun tall, and his hands hung down past his knees. Murong Huang showed him great favor, and whenever he saw him, he would say to his younger brothers, "This child has far-reaching and extraordinary talents. Someday, he will either be the ruin of our family or the master of it." So he named the boy Ba, meaning "conqueror" or "hegemon", and styled him Daoye. He favored Murong Ba more than his eldest son, Murong Jun, and this was why Murong Jun could never match him.


30. The ruler of Liang, Zhang Jun, conducted rites in the Pingyong and Mingtang buildings. In the eleventh month, he placed his son Zhang Chonghua in charge of affairs in Liangzhou.

Piyong and Mingtang are names of ceremonial buildings from the Western Zhou dynasty.


31. In the twelfth month, on the day Dingchou (January 22nd), Zhao's Grand Guardian, Tao Bao, passed away.

Tao Bao was an Eastern Jin general whose accomplishments mainly took place during Shi Le’s reign.


32. On the day Bingxu (January 31st), Jin’s General of Agile Cavalry, the Prince of Langye Sima Yue, was made the Palace Attendant and Minister Over The Masses.


33. The Han general Li Yi attacked Badong. The defending Jin general, Lao Yang, was defeated and killed.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:20 pm


The Sixth Year of Xiankang (The Gengzi Year, 340 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, on the new moon of the day Gengzi (February 14th), Yu Liang passed away. He was posthumously known as Marquis Wenkang of Duting.

The General Who Protects The Army and chief of the imperial secretariat, He Chong, became the Prefect of the Palace Secretariat. In Yu Liang's area of command, the Administrator of Nanjun, Yu Yi, was appointed Commander over military affairs in Jiangzhou, Jizhou, Sizhou, Yongzhou, Liangzhou, and Yizhou; he was created the General Who Maintains The West, Inspector of Jingzhou, and Credential Holder. Yu Yi took up Yu Liang's defense post at Wuchang.

At that time, some people wondered whether Yu Yi was too young to succeed his brother. But Yu Yi was a careful administrator, employing a strict command, and within a few years, both public and private affairs had flourished. Everyone agreed he was talented.


2. On the day Xinhai (February 25th), Jin’s Household Counsellor of the Left, Lu Wan, was made Palace Attendant and Minister of Works.

It was earlier mentioned that, after Duan Liao was invaded by Zhao, Murong Han fled to the Yuwen. Their leader, Yuwen Yidougui, grew envious of Murong Han's talent and fame. Murong Han therefore pretended to be mad, drinking and carousing, or else relieving himself while lying down, or else letting his hair down while singing loudly, or else begging for food along the road. The entire state of the Yuwen held him in contempt, and did not monitor his activities anymore. Thus, he was able to come and go freely, and in that way he committed the geography of the land to memory.

Murong Huang knew that Murong Han fled not due to actual rebellion, but only due to the suspicions Murong Huang had about him. But even when Murong Han was in foreign states, he still secretly worked for the benefit of Yan. Therefore, Murong Huang sent the merchant Wang Che to the marketplace in the Yuwen territory to observe Murong Han. When Murong Han saw Wang Che, he said nothing, but smote his chest and bowed his head. Murong Huang said, "Then he wishes to return." So he sent Wang Che back again to welcome Murong Han’s return.

Murong Han could pull a bow of more than three 石, and his arrows were especially long. Murong Huang built a bow and arrows fit to be held, had it buried by the side of the road, and sent its location to Murong Han. In the second month, Murong Han stole a famous horse belonging to Yuwen Yidougui, retrieved the hidden bow and arrows, and fled with his two sons. Yuwen Yidougui sent a hundred riders in pursuit of him. Murong Han said to them, "After staying long away from home, I yearn to return. Since I am now riding away, I do not intend to return. My madness was only a front in order to deceive you. I still have my skills from the past. Whoever attempts to take me will certainly die!"

But the riders thought little of what he claimed, and they rode around and cut him off. Murong Han then said, "I have some feelings for your state, after staying there for so long, so I do not wish to kill you. Walk ahead of me a hundred paces and set up your blade, and I shall shoot it. If I can hit it, then you must go back; if I cannot hit it, then you may come on." The pursuit troops set up a blade; with one shot, Murong Han shot an arrow through the ring of the blade. The pursuit riders dispersed.

Murong Huang heard that Murong Han had arrived, and was overjoyed, and treated him with great respect.

This story invites obvious comparison with Lü Bu’s similar feat of archery to end the fighting between Liu Bei and Ji Ling.


3. On the day Gengchen (March 25th), a comet was seen in the Supreme Palace constellation.


4. In the third month, on the day Dingmao (May 11th), a general amnesty was declared in Jin.


5. Han attacked and captured Danchuan. The defending Jin generals Meng Yan, Liu Qi, and Li Qiu all died.


6. The King of Dai, Tuoba Shiyijian, established his capital at Shengle in Yunzhong.


7. Shi Hu wrote to Li Shou, proposing a joint campaign to invade Jin and split the territory between them. Li Shou was very pleased, and sent his Regular Attendant of 散騎 Wang Gu and Regular Attendant Wang Guang to Zhao. Gong Zhuang criticized the proposal, but Li Shou did not heed him.

Li Shou began to build great ships of war, prepare soldiers, and gather troops and grain stores. In autumn, the ninth month, he appointed his Prefect of the Masters of Writing Ma Dang as the Commander of Six Armies, and enlisted more than seventy thousand soldiers to serve as sailors. He held a grand review at Chengdu, and the Yangzi was full of clamor. Viewing all this, Li Shou held a great desire to swallow up the Southland.

Xie Siming remonstrated, saying, "The soldiers of our state are weak and few, and Wu and Kuaiji are distant and dangerous. This would not be an easy conquest." Li Shou therefore summoned his great ministers to debate the merits of the campaign.

Gong Zhuang said, "Should Your Majesty treat with the barbarians or should you treat with the Jin? The barbarians are wolves and jackals. Once Jin is destroyed, we will have no choice but to submit to them as vassals. If we contend with them for the realm, we would be too weak to oppose them, and it would only lead to our destruction. Remember the matter of the ancient states of Yu and Guo; do not let history repeat itself. I ask Your Majesty to think carefully about this."

All of the ministers agreed with Gong Zhuang, and remonstrated with Li Shou while sobbing and kowtowing. Li Shou thus halted the plans for campaign. The soldiers all rejoiced and hailed Li Shou’s reign.

In 655 BC, during the Spring and Autumn Period, Western Guo was destroyed by Duke Xian of Jin. (Jin first asked permission of the state of Yu to pass through its territory. After conquering Guo, it then conquered Yu. This was one of the Thirty-Six Stratagems).


8. Gong Zhuang believed that man's greatest behavior is loyalty and filial piety. Now that he had avenged his father and uncle, he again asked that Li Shou submit to Jin. But Li Shou would not heed him. Thus, feigning that he was going deaf and losing steadiness in his hands, he resigned his office and went home, to find solace in composing new written works. In the end, he never returned to Chengdu.


9. Zhao’s Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Kui An, passed away.


10. Shi Hu began a grand drafting project, conscripting three of every five or two of every four men from Sizhou, Yuzhou, Qingzhou, Xuzhou, Youzhou, Bingzhou, and Yongzhou. Combined with the existing soldiers in Ye, they numbered five hundred thousand men, along with ten thousand ships, which sailed from the rivers to the sea. He also moved eleven million 斛 of grain to Le'an. Tens of thousands of households were uprooted from Liaoxi, Beiping, and Yuyang and relocated to Yanzhou, Yuzhou, Yongzhou, and Luozhou. Large agricultural colonies were established from the east of Youzhou all the way to Bailang. All horses from the people were confiscated, and whoever dared to hide one would be cut open at the waist. Through such means, over forty thousand horses were collected for use by the state. Shi Hu had a grand review of the soldiers at Wanyang, and he wished to attack Yan.


11. Murong Huang said to his generals, "Since Shi Hu is preparing everything to defend Le’an, he must not have made any defensive preparations either north or south of Ji. If we take secret routes there and catch them unawares, then we can completely rout them."

In winter, the tenth month, Murong Huang sent his army through Yewengsai to raid Zhao. They rounded up everyone along the roads, making straight for Ji. Zhao's Inspector of Youzhou, Shi Guang, gathered tens of thousands of soldiers into the city, shut the gates and did not dare to come out. The Yan soldiers attacked Wushui Ford, entered Gaoyang, and torched the grain stores before leaving with over thirty thousand households. Shi Guang cowardly waited until they were gone before retaking the seized territory.

Yewangsai was the contemporary name for the Juyong Pass, near modern Beijing.


12. Shi Hu appointed his son, the Duke of Qin Shi Tao, as Grand Commandant. He sent him to work together with the crown prince, Shi Xuan, on handling all the affairs of the Masters of Writing, and decide upon rewards and punishments. Having done so, Shi Hu no longer concerned himself with those matters.

The Minister Over The Masses Shen Zhong remonstrated, saying, "Granting rewards and delivering punishments are matters for a ruler to administer; they cannot be left to others to carry out. That is why I ask that you take charge of this confusion now, before it can be allowed to fester. The Crown Prince's duty is to attend to your person, not to be involved in administration. The late crown prince, the now-commoner Shi Sui, also meddled in administration. You ought to beware following the same route that so recently overturned the cart. It is a rare instance where a split command did not lead to disaster. To love someone, but without following the proper way towards them, is only to harm them."

Shi Hu did not heed him.


13. Shi Hu was very fond of the 中謁者令 Shen Bian because of his clever insights and arguments. Shi Xuan was also very close to him, and had him handle secret matters.

Since Shi Hu did not concern himself with these affairs, and Shi Xuan and Shi Tao spent most of their time drinking and hunting, such matters as who was rewarded or punished, who was spared or killed, were all really decided by Shen Bian. So all the other ministers worked to curry favor with him, hoping for rewards.


14. Zhao’s crown prince's attendant, Sun Zhen, was having pain in his eyes. He sent for the Palace Attendant Cui Yue to help him. Cui Yue jokingly told him, "Piss in them." Sun Zhen asked, "How can I piss into my eyes?" Cui Yue replied, "Your eyes are deeply set enough that it would be very easy." Sun Zhen, in anger, informed Shi Xuan of this. Shi Xuan had more features characteristic of the typical Jie look than his brothers, including deeply set eyes. Enraged, he put Cui Yue and his family to death. Thereafter, the ministers would also cast fearful glances at Sun Zhen.


15. Shi Bin, the Duke of Yan, governed Bianzhou. He loved to hunt, and often did not return from the hunt until after the city gates had already been closed for the night. The General Who Conquers The North, Zhang Hedu, often criticized him for this. Angered, Shi Bin insulted Zhang Hedu. When Shi Hu heard about the matter, he sent his 主書 Li Yi with a staff of authority in order to straighten things out. Shi Bin killed Li Yi, and wished to kill Zhang Hedu, but Zhang Hedu set a heavy guard about himself, and sent a rider to go inform Shi Hu. Shi Hu sent a band of riders under the Master of Writing Zhang Li to pursue Shi Bin. He was given three hundred lashes, stripped of office, and sent home, and several of his close subordinates were executed.


16. Zhang Jun sent his Attendant Officer Ma Shen to offer tribute to Zhao, but the message that he sent was very proud and unyielding to Zhao. Shi Hu was furious, and wished to kill Ma Shen.

The Palace Attendant Shi Pu remonstrated, saying, "The one that we should get rid of first is Jin. The region west of the Yellow River is a backwater country and not worth our worry. If you kill Ma Shen, we shall have to go to war with Zhang Jun, our forces will be divided in two, and it will cause some years' delay in taking Jiankang."

Shi Hu thus desisted. This Shi Pu was the great-grandson of Shi Bao.

Shi Bao was an officer of Wei during the Three Kingdoms.


17. It was earlier mentioned that Jin had captured the Han general Li Hong and taken him to Jiankang. Around this time, Li Hong escaped from Jin and took refuge in Zhao.

Li Shou sent a letter to Shi Hu asking for Li Hong to be returned. In the letter, he addressed Shi Hu as "Lord Shi, Prince of Zhao". Shi Hu was not pleased, and discussed the letter with his ministers.

The Palace Secretary Wang Bo said, "Order Li Hong to swear to us on pain of death, ‘If I may return safely to Shu, I will rally my clan to submit our state to your rule.' If he then remains true to his word, then without any trouble to us, Liangzhou and Yizhou will fall into our laps. But even if he does not remain true, then we would only lose this one man. Either way, it is a benefit to Zhao. Now that Li Shou has assumed the imperial title, if we send him an imperial edict of our own, he would likely reply in the same way. Why don’t we instead write a letter back to him?"

At that time, the Yilou had sent arrows made with special wood and stone as offerings to Zhao. Wang Bo proposed sending some of these on to Han, saying, “This will let them know we can make even faraway states submit to us.”

Shi Hu agreed, so Li Hong was sent back with respect.

When Li Hong arrived at Chengdu, Li Shou issued an imperial edict saying, "The Jie have sent their envoy to us, offering these arrows as their tribute." Shi Hu was enraged when he heard of this. Wang Bo was demoted to commoner status, though he was kept on in his current office.

The Yilou were a Tungusic people in the northeast.
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Tue May 30, 2017 12:28 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:28 pm


The Seventh Year of Xiankang (The Xinchou Year, 341 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, Murong Huang sent the Interior Minister of the Tang princely fief, Yang Yu, with others to build cities north of Liucheng and west of Mount Long. They set up the ancestral temple and the palace, and Murong Huang ordered the place to be named Longcheng.


2. In the second month, on the new moon on the day Jiazi (March 4th), there was an eclipse.


3. Liu Xiang arrived at Jiankang, and was brought to see the Emperor. He was asked about how the General Who Guards The North, Murong Huang, was doing. He replied, "On the day I was sent forth, the General was attired in court robes and did obeisance in your direction."


4. Liu Xiang asked that the court confer upon Murong Huang the seals for the ranks he had claimed, including Grand General and the seal of the Prince of Liang.

The court ministers disputed this, saying, "According to past practice, the Grand General is not deployed to the frontier. Furthermore, the rank of Prince has never been given to someone outside of the imperial family. This was so even during Han and Wei. We cannot agree with this request."

Liu Xiang responded, "Ever since the chaos begun by the Liu and Shi clans, all of the realm north of the Yangzi has become the lair of the Rong barbarians. We have yet to hear of anyone among the descendents of the Zhonghua (ie, the Han Chinese) who was prepared to roll up their sleeves, brandish their weapons, and destroy these ferocious invaders. Only General Murong and his sons, acting on behalf of the true court, have exerted themselves to the utmost. They have been fighting back against the many soldiers of the enemy with their handful of men, and even so winning battle after battle, thus putting fear into the heart of Shi Hu.

“Furthermore, they have relocated the inhabitants of the border regions to the area of the Three Weis (the three regions of the state of Wei), thus building a thousand-li realm, extending all the way to Ji in the north. Yet, despite all of these fierce accomplishments, you begrudge granting him the lands north of Bohai as his fief. How can that be?

“Do not forget that Emperor Gaozu was not too miserly to grant princely titles to Han Xin and Peng Yue. It was only with their help that he was able to make his grand design a reality. And Xiang Yu failed against him simply because he could not bear to hand out the seals of nobility. In the depths of my heart, I am not simply trying to elevate the one I serve; rather, I bemoan the fact that the Imperial Court is ostracizing a loyal vassal state, and thus discouraging all within the Four Seas from yearning for and revering you."


5. The Master of Writing Zhuge Hui, who was Liu Xiang's brother-in-law, alone spoke out against him, believing, "If the barbarians fight amongst each other, it is only to the Middle Kingdom's benefit. We cannot so lightly agree to such Imperial honors and titles, however, simply on account of some military reputation." Then he said to Liu Xiang, "If we employ General Murong in order to defeat Shi Hu, he may only become a new Shi Hu in his place. How can the court rely on him?"

Zhuge Hui was the son of Zhuge Jing, who was the son of the Wei general Zhuge Dan. During Zhuge Dan’s uprising, he sent his son Zhuge Jing to Wu as a hostage to gain Wu’s support. Zhuge Jing remained in Wu after his father’s rebellion was crushed.

Liu Xiang responded, "Even a widow would lament for the downfall of her in-laws’ family. Now the Jin royal family finds itself in the same peril. You yourself occupy the same position as the Sixteen Talents of Yuan and Kai, so how can you not feel concern in your heart about your state? If it had not been for Mi and Ge's accomplishments, how could Shaokang have restored the Xia dynasty? If Duke Huan of Qi and Duke Wen of Jin had not been triumphant in battle, everyone would have had to tie their robes to the left.

The Sixteen Talents were sixteen ministers, eight surnamed Yuan and eight surnamed Kai, who served rulers of antiquity.

Shaokang was a young prince of the mythical Xia dynasty. After the rest of his family was extinguished, Shaokang’s mother escaped and kept Shaokang safe, raising him to prepare to take revenge and revive his state. Shaokang later sought refuge under a tribe led by the Ge clan. When he made his move to avenge his family, a former minister, Mi, also came out of hiding and supported him in his endeavor.

Duke Huan of Qi and Duke Wen of Jin were both Hegemons during the Spring and Autumn period. They fought against the state of Chu, which was seen as more “barbaric” than most of the other states of that time.

The phrase “button one’s coat on the left” is a reference to the fact that the Han Chinese of this period specifically buttoned their coats on the right, and the tribal groups buttoned theirs on the left. Therefore, having to button one’s coat on the left is a symbol of having been conquered by the “barbarians”.

“General Murong is preparing day and night for battle, and his ambition is to crush the ferocious invaders. Yet you go so far as to make these wild accusations, sowing doubt against a loyal minister. All within the four seas may never be reunited, thanks to people such as you!"

Liu Xiang remained in Jiankang for more than a year, but the ministers could reach no agreement.


6. Liu Xiang then made his case to the Regular Attendant Yu Hong, telling him, "Shi Hu holds sway over eight provinces, and he has a million soldiers under arms. His ambition is to swallow up all beyond the Yangzi and the Han Rivers. All the lesser states from the Suotou to the Yuwen bow to him. Only General Murong still pays homage to the Son of Heaven, and the Sun can bear witness to his loyalty. But if you insist upon such an unappreciative command, I fear that the realm will remain fragmented, and that no one will turn their thoughts towards the south and honor you.

“Consider that, although Gongsun Yuan never gained an inch of territory for Wu, Sun Quan still granted him the title Prince of Yan, and even the Nine Bestowments. Meanwhile, General Murong has continuously pushed back against the rebels' vanguard, and recaptured Qin and Long. Shi Hu himself has sent his own envoys to General Murong, with honeyed words and luxurious bribes, offering to win him over as Zhao's Grand General of 曜威 and Prince of Liaoxi. Yet General Murong has spurned this evil in favor of the true lord, and refused to accept such offers.

Gongsun Yuan was a member of the Gongsun family during the Three Kingdoms that held territory roughly similar to the area that the Murong clan now possessed. Sun Quan made several attempts to win him over to Wu’s side, but they were of little use.

“But now the court is so miserly with a insubstantial title that it is discouraging the loyal. This is hardly the sort of plan to ensure the longevity of the state! Even if you later regret it, I fear there will be nothing that can be done."

Yu Hong spoke to Emperor Cheng, and the Emperor was leaning towards granting the ranks.

At that time, Murong Huang also sent in a memorial to the court stating, "Yu Liang and his clan have monopolized power and so caused disruption. For the peace of the state, they ought to be dismissed from office." He wrote to Yu Bing, upbraiding him for not being able to wipe away the nation’s shame despite holding the highest office. Yu Bing was very afraid, and worried that Murong Huang was too far away to be controlled, so he sent in a joint memorial with He Chong asking that Murong Huang's requests be approved.

On the day Yimao (?), Murong Huang was granted the ranks of Commissioner Bearing Credentials, Grand General, Commander over military affairs north of the Yellow River, Governor of Youzhou, Grand Chanyu, and Prince of Yan. All the tokens and documents bestowed upon him were beyond the prescribed rites. His son Murong Jun was appointed as Credential Holder, General Who Maintains The North, Colonel of Eastern Barbarians, and Worthy Prince of the Left. Ten million units of military equipment were bestowed upon him. More than a hundred of his ministers were also granted titles.

Liu Xiang was offered the titles of Administrator of Daijun, Marquis of Linquan County, and 加員外散騎常侍, but he declined these.


7. While in the Southland, Liu Xiang abhored at how the Southland gentry praised each other for being vain and extravagant, indulgent in drinking, and wanton in behavior. During a grand feast held by the court when everyone was gathered together, he said to He Chong and others, "All within the four seas remains torn asunder. Yet you have hidden away here for thirty-six years already. The royal altars lie in ruins, and the common people suffer greatly. At such a time, the imperial court should feel great anxiety over the state of affairs, and loyal ministers should be glad to give their lives in battle to rectify it. Yet, here all of you are, living in ease and comfort in your sanctuary behind the Yangzi, wantonly indulging your every desire, and considering everything wasteful and extravagant as the height of virtue. You turn a deaf ear to honest and upright speech, and have no achievements of conquest to speak of. When do you intend to honor your lord and rescue your people?"

He Chong and the others were very ashamed.


8. Emperor Cheng issued an edict ordering the Minister Herald Guo Xi, bearing a staff of authority, to accompany Liu Xiang and the others back north, to confer the title Prince of Yan upon Murong Huang at Jicheng.

The Jin ministers held a farewell dinner at the Yangzi. Liu Xiang said to them, “Remember how Shaokang only had one brigade, and yet he managed to destroy the Youqiong tribe and restore Xia. Remember how King Goujian of Yue, with only Kuaiji, was able to avenge himself against Wu. One would consider it wise to remove creeping weeds as soon as possible, let alone a sworn enemy!

King Goujian was a ruler of Yue during the Spring and Autumn period. Yue was initially conquered by its more powerful neighbor, Wu, and Goujian was forced to endure several years as a prisoner in the Wu court. However, he continued to build up power in his homeland, and when the opportunity presented itself, he invaded Wu and conquered it.

"Now, Shi Hu and Li Shou each wants to conquer the other. Before you will be able to illuminate the north, you must first settle the issue of Ba and Shu. Should Shi Hu makes the first move and annex Li Shou’s land before you, he will be towering over the southeast from a position of geographical advantage. Not even the wisest man can salvage the situation then.”

The Army Protector of the Center, Xie Guang, said, "That is my feeling as well!"


9. In the third month, on the day Wuxu (April 7th), Empress Du of Jin passed away.

In summer, the fourth month, on the day Dingmao (May 6th), the Empress was buried at Xingping Tomb. Her posthumous title was Empress Gong ("the Revered").


10. An imperial edict was sent out in Jin ordering everyone, from Princes and Dukes down through the common people, to record truthfully their places of origin before they had fled south of the Yangzi and their current residence in the Southland.


11. In fall, the seventh month, Guo Xi, Liu Xiang, and the others arrived in Yan.

Murong Huang appointed Liu Xiang as Colonel of Eastern Tribes and acting Chief Clerk to the Grand General. The Interior Minister of Tang, Yang Yu, became the Marshal of the Left. The Prefect of the Directors of Writing, Li Hong, became the Marshal of the Right. The Commandant of the Capital, Zheng Lin, became the Libationer of Army Consultation.


12. In the eighth month, on the day Xinyou (August 28th), Sima Chong of Jin passed away. He was posthumously known as Prince Ai of Donghai.


13. In the ninth month, the King of Dai, Tuoba Shiyijian, built a new city at Shengle eight li south of where the old city was.


14. The Queen Consort of Dai, Lady Murong, passed away.


15. In winter, the tenth month, the Xiongnu chieftain Liu Hu invaded the western half of Dai. Tuoba Shiyijian dispatched an army to attack him, and greatly routed him. Liu Hu died, and his son Liu Wuhuan took his place. Liu Wuhuan sought peace with Dai, so Tuoba Shiyijian sent him his daughter to wed.

Liu Wuhuan also sent tribute to Zhao. Zhao granted him the titles of General Who Pacifies The North and Worthy King of the Left.


16. Zhao’s General Who Traverses The Sea, Wang Hua, led a water-based invasion of Yan’s city of Anping, and routed it.


17. Murong Huang made Murong Ke the General Who Crosses The Liao, and he stationed at Pingguo. No one else was as able as Murong Han and Murong Ren had been. When Murong Ke arrived at Pingguo, he cheered the troops and officers there, and welcomed new migrants. Many times he smashed the soldiers of Goguryeo, until Goguryeo grew afraid and did not dare to enter Yan's territory.


18. In the twelfth month, the Jin minister Lu Wan passed away. He was posthumously known as Earl Kang of Xingping.

Lu Wan was Lu Ye’s younger brother.


19. Li Shou made his crown prince Li Shi the Acting Grand General and 錄尚書事.

Originally, the founder of Cheng, Li Xiong, had won the hearts of the people of Shu through lenient and frugal ruling. When Li Hong and Wang Gu had returned to Shu from Ye, they spoke of the riches of Ye, and the grand palaces there. They also mentioned how Shi Hu was able to control his territory by ruling his subordinates with punishments and executions. Li Shou yearned for this too, so he to relocate people from the nearby counties. If any household had more than three men, the rest were sent to Chengdu, where they could construct grand palaces and craft ornaments and various artifacts. He would execute people for minor offences in order to establish his authority. The Deputy Director of the Left Cai Xing and the Deputy Director of the Right Li Yi both remonstrated and were killed for it. The people were exhausted from taxes and conscripted labor, there were many sighs along the roads, and many harbored thoughts of rebellion.
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Tue May 30, 2017 12:43 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-10

Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Feb 07, 2017 12:41 am

Well what do you know? I still have my superpowers. Mwahahaha.

Please continue. I'm lovin' all the notes.

Edit: Some corrections for the first post:

2. "He asked Xu Cheng" should be "He asked Xu Guang"

大丈夫行事,宜礌礌落落,如日月皎然 = When a true man acts, he should be forthright and aboveboard, and open and clear as the sun and moon.

礌礌落落 = 磊磊落落

3. Marquis Lu should be Marquis Liu

5. 殘賊安忍 = ruthless and cruel
其諸子年長,皆典兵權 = all his sons have grown up and hold military power
卿正恐不得擅帝舅之權耳 = You're just worried that you wouldn't have sole control over him as the Imperial Uncle.
臣所慮者公家,陛下乃以私計拒之 = My concerns are regarding [the welfare of] the state, but Your Majesty dismiss them as my designs [to further myself]
陛下酬其父子恩榮亦足矣 = It is sufficient for Your Majesty to have rewarded him and his sons with grace and honour.
豈將來有益者乎 = How could he be of benefit in the future?

6. 切齒 can metaphorically mean "bears a grudge". It doesn't necessarily mean the Prince literally gnashed his teeth at them.

魏承漢運 has the further implication that Wei inherited the Mandate from Han (and not just simply "replaced")

中山王藉陛下威略 = 藉 means "relies on", "by the way of", so this is more like "The Prince of Zhongshan, by your power and shrewdness,"

所向輒克 = 克 is specifically referring to military victories, i.e., "He has vanquished all whom he faced"

父子並據權位,勢傾王室 = this is more of a state of affairs than a description of an action. It's more accurately "He and his sons all occupy positions of authority, and their influence overpowers that of the imperial house."

而耿耿常有不滿之心 = and yet he broods and often harbours resentment.

複製 = not a correction, but since that term now means "replicate", I'm just picturing an army of Shi Le clones.

省可尚書奏事 = review and approve the Ministries' memorials/petitions
參綜可否 = join in the decision of approval/disapproval
惟征伐斷斬大事乃呈之 = and only submit (to Shi Le) major issues such as warfare and executions
於是嚴震之權過於主相 = so Yan Zhen's power surpassed that of his lords's and the ministers'
門可雀羅 = to be ostracized and isolated, to the point that you have so few visitors that you can set a trap to catch birds at your front door

7. 悉俘其眾 = Took all his men as prisoners

8. 略威儀 = scaled back his pomp and ceremonies

10. 當以日月制之,待其智勇俱困,然後取之 = We should overcome them with time; wait until they have exhausted both their wits and their strength, then we can capture them.

何足汲汲 = There is no need to be hasty.

不利 is more than "gained nothing"; it's "become disadvantaged", which really is just "had a rough time"

11. 劍履上殿 = "...without removing his sword or shoes"

贊拜不名 = "to not have his full name announced when he is presented before the emperor" (they would announce him by his rank and title, and omit the personal name out of respect. You gotta wonder how people back then remembered other people's names if they are like never used directly)

12.庚戌 should be Gengxu

13. "considered him to be like a king" should be "all referred to him as Prince"
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-10

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:02 pm

Many thanks to Lady Wu for her involvement in this project; I couldn't have done it without here.

I appreciate all the notices of errors, and they have been corrected. Please continue to do so. :huohu:
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-10

Unread postby Lady Wu » Wed Feb 08, 2017 7:51 pm

333 AD (you still need to change all the (咸康s)

1. 詔焚其幣 = The Jin ordered for the monetary gift (?) to be burnt. (I'd have kicked the envoy out and kept the money, but that's just me)

4. 誕以遼東太守陽騖為才而讓之 = Wang Dan asked for that position to be given to Yang Wu instead due to Yang Wu's talents.

5. 入侍禁中 = entered the inner palace to serve him.

矯詔,群臣親戚皆不得入 should be read as one sentence: "He forged an edict prohibiting all ministers..."

見宏,驚曰 I think in context he wouldn't be speaking directly to Shi Hong, else Shi Hu's line wouldn't make sense.

今遣之: 遣 is a transitive verb meaning "to send away". So Shi Hu is saying "I'm going to send him back now." Even though he kept them there. And then he told Shi Le, "I sent him away as soon as you commanded me."

Also can someone explain how you can deal with locusts by sending cavalry? Like if the horses eat all the grains the locusts would die out from not having food?

6. 遺命 = last command

口實 = I think it's better rendered as "give cause for criticism"

若不堪重任,天下自有大義,何足豫論 = If you are unsuited for the position, the realm would judge you accordingly; why keep talking about it now?

12. 遽相陵籍 = hurried to bully us

帝祚之亡,殆不復久 = What you have isn't semantically wrong, but it's more literally "The destruction (亡) of the imperial fortunes (帝祚) is likely (殆) not far away (不復久)"

將若之何 is more like "whatcha gonna do?"

微服 is really just "dressed as a commoner"

輕騎襲兗州 = led a surprise attack on Yanzhou with light cavalry (he didn't try to conquer the city all by himself!)

"where he was roasted alive and then killed" = implying the roasting didn't kill him? Maybe better as "where he was killed by roasting alive". And, Shi Hu, really, why do you wonder where your sons got their bloodthirstiness from?

Prince of Nanyang Shi Kui = Shi Hui?

"and cut off his feet before beheading him" - Because it's important that your decapitation victim can't run away... :?

說虎徙關中豪傑...: 說 here means "to persuade, to lobby", as in 游說. It rarely (if ever) means simply "to speak" in the language of that time. And I think you forgot '關中豪傑'

命虎建魏台 = isn't this literally "ordered Shi Hu to build Wei Tower"?

17. 得士心 = had won the favour of the scholar-official class (and yesssss we're in Murong territory now)

皆有寵於廆 = 皆 means all--all those brothers had been favoured by Murong Hui

I think you missed 皝忌之 (Murong Huang was suspicious of them)

先公 = It's really just "my late father" (was Murong Hui a duke?)

幸賴先公之靈,所向有功,此乃天贊吾國,非人力也 = 靈 is referring to the spirit of the deceased. So, Murong Han was saying that he was only able to achieve military successes with the help of his later father's spirit, which really was Heaven helping the state and not the achievement of mortal power. But people kept attributing Murong Han's successes to his own abilities and thus suspect that he would become uncontrollable.

坐而待禍 = More literally, "stay here and await misfortune"

19. The plot thickens!

吾等素驕,多無禮於嗣君,嗣君剛嚴,無罪猶可畏,況有罪乎! = "We have been arrogant [nice self-reflection there, Murong Ren], and have been discourteous to the new ruler on many occasions. The new ruler is austere and harsh; even the innocent fear him, let alone those who have offended him!"

吾輩皆體正嫡,於國有分 = we are all born of our father's main wife (正嫡... can't think of a better way to express that), and thus have rights (分, alternatively "a share") to the kingdom.

兄素得士心 = I'm going to suggest 士 meaning scholar-officials again

我在內未為所疑 = I think you're missing this line: "I have not fallen under suspicion [you poor naive child] inside the Capital"

兄趣舉兵以來,我為內應: 趣 means "hurry, swiftly". 內應 is more than just giving a signal; it's any kind of coordination from within (logistics, opening of gates, removing obstacles from within...)

20. 皝賜昭死 = 賜死 is, of course, more specifically "ordering someone to commit suicide"

建武將軍幼、稚、廣威將軍軍 this line is so amusing, 幼稚 being the modern term for "childish", and 廣威將軍軍 is just awesome.

司馬遼東佟壽: 佟壽 was a 司馬 from 遼東

壽嘗為仁司馬 = Tong Shou had (嘗) once been Murong Ren's marshal (and that's why he surrendered)

與汗俱還 = 還 is just "went home", not necessarily implying fleeing

22. 通表 is specifically sending a diplomatic message

稱籓於成 = offering fealty to Cheng

行無跡之地 = travel through untrodden land

寡君使小臣行無跡之地,萬里通誠於建康者,以陛下嘉尚忠義,能成人之美故也: [...abc...]者, 以[...xyz...]故也 means "As for abc, it's because of xyz". So here, it should be, "My lord has sent me to make diplomatic ties with Jiankang because he knew Your Majesty values loyalty and righteousness, and are ready to lend a hand.

'Li Xiong, shocked, replied, "How could this be?"': Yeah yeah Li Xiong, just keep feigning ignorance. We all believe you.

23. 請留之 = "Please keep him here"

壯士安肯留!且試以卿意觀之 = "Why would the brave man be willing to stay? But let's try what you're thinking and see what happens."

卿體豐大,天熱,可且遣下吏,小住須涼 = "Sir, you are (fat? of a stout build? corpulent? literally 'your body is fat and big'), and it is hot now. Why don't you send a minor official on your errand, and stay here for a while until it's cooler?"

寡君以皇輿播越,梓宮未返,生民塗炭,莫之振救,故遣淳通誠上都 = Our lord is sending me to express loyalty (word choice?) to the Capital, because he's thinking about how the Imperial Carriage is in exile (播越 is just "scattered and exiled"), the coffins of the former emperors (梓宮) have not returned (to the north), the people are living in great hardship, and there is nothing he could do to help.

世篤忠貞 = For generations they have been steadfast in their loyalty. 世 is usually "generation(s)" in the language of this time.

以仇恥未雪,枕戈待旦 = 以 here refers to one's reasoning or thinking: "As he has not avenged his enemies, he keeps himself constantly ready to fight."

何自娛之有 = Why would he seek to please himself?

24. 屢上書請遣大使 = he submitted petition after petition for an imperial envoy to be sent... (he wasn't asking for the job himself)

拜張駿鎮西大將軍 = 拜 is just a respectful official appointment to a high position. So, the court (not sure about 守侍書御史), and appointed Zhang Jun as General etc.

十二人 = twelve, not twenty

以詔書付賈陵 = Geng Fang gave the imperial edict to Jia Ling, and he himself went in in the disguise of a merchant.

Last line: And only in this year (333) did Jia Ling arrive at Liangzhou. (始 can also mean "only then did...")
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-10

Unread postby Lady Wu » Thu Feb 09, 2017 4:20 am

334 (336 can't come fast enough. Still not nearly enough Murong here)

切責蘭等,必令拔之 = scolded Duan Lan and his men severely and ordered them to take the city no matter what

復益兵來攻: 益兵 = with more soldiers

重袍蒙楯 = in heavy armour (or just clothing) and covered with shields

飛梯 = Is flying ladder a term? These were just ladders for scaling city walls

賊氣銳 = The enemy is in high spirits

弈整陳力戰,故得不沒 = Feng Yi rallied his troops (整陳 = 整陣 = to reorganize formation) and fought hard, and because (故) of that he was not routed (不沒)

7. 止之 = Murong Han stopped him (之 is the pronoun for him/it, so zhi is a transitive verb)

夫為將當務慎重,審己量敵,非萬全不可動 = this part is not a direct admonishment ("you should do this"), but a generic statement. 夫 in such a sentence introduce the topic of discussion, which in this case is 為將 ("when being a general"). 非 x 不可 y = "must not y unless x". So the sentence here should be, "when one is a general, he must employ every caution, assessing his own strength as well as the enemy's, and avoid action unless everything is certain (萬全 = everything is ok).

未能屈其大勢: 屈 = to defeat, to humiliate, to bend, so here it's more literally "this hasn't put a dent in their overall power"

若進而得志 = I think this is "if we advance and succeed"

終不負卿: 負 can also mean "to let down, to betray", so here he's saying "I won't let you down" or "I won't betray you"

無復還理 = there's no (無) reason (理) for me to return (復還), aka "now that I've joined you, I wouldn't think of returning"

但欲為大國之計,且相為惜功名耳 = But I am only wanting to act for the best of the state (referring to the Duans), plus (且) I want to preserve (惜) our mutual (相) glory (功名). 大國之計 could either be "(best) course of action for (our) revered state", or "(best) course of action for making the state greater"

欲獨還 = was gonna go back alone

8. 分寧州置交州 more technically, creating Jiaozhou by splitting Ningzhou

Baidi = Beidi. Is it actually a place name or "northern lands"?

虎幽之 = Shi Hu locked him (Shi Hong) up.

11.以滿盈自懼: 滿盈 = to be full to the brim. In this instance, Tao Kan was fearing for himself because he had attained everything (this is tied to the belief that overperfection can lead to disaster--in his case, he could be inviting jealousy or suspicion)

不預朝權 = did not participate in court affairs (more than not attending court, he removed himself from all government affairs)

奉送 = not just give away, but give back

皆有定薄,封印倉庫,侃自加管鑰。= [all his stuff] was counted and recorded (薄 should really be 簿 , like an accounting book), and sealed away (封印 = to mark counted objects with an official seal to prevent tampering) in the warehouse, and Tao Kan personally locked it up (加管鑰 = added the lock).

加督護統領文武 = he further gave Wang Qianqi the position of 督護 so he could lead all civil and military officers.

老子婆娑,正坐諸君 = ugh I struggled with this one. My current understanding: 正坐諸君 = "it's you guys' fault" (坐 = to be convicted, to be found guilty). 婆娑 could be either "linger" or "disheveled/sick/falling apart". So it's either "I've been stuck here too long because of youse", or "I'm this sick because of youse". Either way, kinda sad he died *the very next day*. Suspicious?

陶公雖用法,而恆得法外意: this is another tough one... Perhaps "Althought Lord Tao applies the law (like everyone else), he is able to get the spirit of the law"?

12. 生瘍於頭 = had an ulcer/sore on his head

皆膿潰 = ruptured with pus

惡而遠之: I guess "ill at ease" isn't wrong, but it's a bit stronger, like "were disgusted and kept away from him"

丁卯 = on the Dingmao day

錄尚書事 = not sure what the best translation is... it's like a position added to someone who already has another position, so they can control all state affairs

與豫章太守褚裒、丹楊丞杜乂,皆以識度清遠,善談《老》、《易》,擅名江東: I can't see what implies that he had known those guys for a long time. This is just "he has a reputation in Jiangdong along with [those two guys] for their [Neo-Daoist ideas... lofty and above common politics/life], and their ability to discuss the Laozi and the Book of Changes

而浩尤為風流所宗 = Hao in particular had a following among the 風流 (the hipsters?). 宗 = to revere, to honour and follow

16. Omg this is the saddest section

以太子班非雄所生,意不服 = Li Yue was unsatisfied (with Li Ban's being heir) since Li Ban was not Li Xiong's natural son.

期謀作亂 is more like plotting rebellion

I think you missed 鎮葭萌

班以未葬,不忍遣,推心待之,無所疑間: 以 again indicates a reasoning/thought process. Li Ban, considering that Li Xiong had not yet been buried, could not bear to send them away, and instead treated them with all sincerity and did not suspect them.

17. 越奉期而立之: more than just suggesting Li Qi--Li Yue upheld (???) Li Qi and put him on the throne.

戾太子: Wanna include a note here about the horrible posthumous title here?

18. 期欲籍壽以討李玝,故不許 = "As Li Qi wanted to use Li Shou to attack Li Wu, he denied the request"

19. 帝王大業,天下自當有議: same as before, "It's up to the realm to evaluate the (performance?) of an emperor"

便當廢之,何禪讓也 = "he should be deposed; how could one speak of abdication?"

夫復何言 = "what else can I say?"

弋仲常謂大王命世英雄,奈何把臂受托而返奪之邪 = "I have always thought you were a hero of the realm. How can it be that you turned around and seized the throne of the one that you were entrusted to protect?" 把臂受托 = to grab someone's arm and entrust a matter to him (i.e., to entrust an important matter to a confidant), i.e. referring to Shi Le's trust of Shi Hu and asking him to protect his son.

皝欲悉坑遼東民: I think you censored out the bit about how he wanted to bury them all alive.

遼東之叛,實非本圖,直畏仁凶威,不得不從。今元惡猶存,始克此城,遽加夷滅,則未下之城,無歸善之路矣 = Liaodong rebelled not because the people really wanted it (本圖 = original design/wish), but because they were afraid of Murong Ren's cruelty and were forced to obey him. The chief culprit (元惡) is still at large. We have only just (see previous note on 始) taken this city, and if we exterminate them right away (遽 = see previous note), then (則) those cities that have yet to be taken (下 = conquered, subdued) will have no way to return to what's right (aka surrender).
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-10

Unread postby Lady Wu » Thu Feb 09, 2017 7:45 pm

335 AD (Yessss! One more year until Murong Huang's Icy Adventure!!)

1. 帝加元服 = the emperor had his coming of age ceremony

3. 皇后閻氏 = Should be Lady Yan, not Zhang

4. 省可尚書奏事: see previous note.

好治宮室: more literally, liked (好) to do construction work on the palaces

關預朝權: as before, not quite allowed to attend court, but to interfere in court matters

求仕進者: more specifically, those seeking career advancement

6. 帝幸其府: the emperor visited his home. 幸 refers to the emperor “gracing a place with his presence”

與群臣宴於內室: the emperor had a feast with the officials in the inner house. (this is super weird... like, you go visit a friend who’s sick, and be like “hey buddy heard you’re not feeling well, mind if we have a party in your house even though you won’t be able to join us?”)

以為帝初加元服,動宜顧禮: since the emperor had just come of age, he should be careful to observe proper etiquette in his behaviour

8. 濛不修小廉,而以清約見稱: Wang Meng did not obsess over the finer details of propriety, but was known for his honesty and thriftiness.

性至通而自然有節: of a forthright character and a natural rectitude

人謂之癡: People thought him stupid

導以門地辟之: Dao employed him for his family background

既見,唯問在東米價: When Wang Dao met him, he (Wang Dao) only asked him about the price of grains in the east

人何言癡也: Why do people say he’s stupid?

9. 司徒導請出討之: Wang Dao asked to be sent to fight them

(Lol. Much ado about nothing. I’m impressed that Yuan Dan kept his head.)

14. 趙主勒以天竺僧佛圖澄豫言成敗,數有驗,敬事之= Shi Le had honoured Fotudeng, the Buddist monk from Tianzhu (India), with great veneration as the monk had made several correct predictions on the outcome of battles.

奉之尤謹: treated him with even greater respect

乘以雕輦: gave him a carved carriage to ride ("He's got a carriage to ri-ide, he's got a carriage to ri-ide, he's got a carriage to ride, but he don't care!")

朝會之日,太子、諸公扶翼上殿,主者唱「大和尚」,眾坐皆起。使司空李農旦夕問起居,太子、諸公五日一朝。: On court meeting days, the crown prince and the lords would help him (Fotudeng) into the hall (扶翼 = to hold onto someone on either side to support them), and the mastery of ceremonies (主者) would announce (唱 = to intone, to announce in a chanting voice) “The Great Monk (is here)”, and all would rise from their seats. [Shi Hu] had Li Nong [visit FTD and] ask how he’s doing (問起居 = something that a child or a student would do to their parent/teacher to show respect, asking them about daily things like how they’ve slept, how’s their appetite, how are things going in general) once in the morning and once in the evening (note: this shows great deference). The crown prince and the lords would go pay respects to him once every five days.

國人化之,率多事佛。澄之所在,無敢向其方面涕唾者 = Many people in the state converted, and the majority of them became Buddhists. No one would dare to blow their nose or spit in the general direction of where FTD was.

爭造寺廟 = people tried to outdo each other in building temples (yours isn’t wrong; I just think it’d be good to emphasis how people were caught up in the craze)

佛,國家所奉。里閭小人無爵秩者,應事佛不 = It is the government’s role to honour the Buddha. Is it right for commoners with no rank or title to serve the Buddha?”

漢氏初傳其道,唯聽西域人立寺都邑以奉之,漢人皆不得出家: The Han was the first to let them evangelize (傳道), but only allowed the Westerners to build temples in the capital to worship the Buddha. The Han people were not allowed to take religious vows.

15. 並秦、雍二州兵 = as well as the troops from Qinzhou and Yongzhou

“he pacified Bao” sounds like Bao was crying and Shi Bin made him stop? Maybe “he defeated Bao”?

Luo Ban should be Luo Yan.

希復關公卿 = rarely (希) concerned the other ministers anymore

褒無它才: This is only talking about Tian Bao

18. 館於平郭城外 = [they went as emissaries to Murong Ren,] and stayed overnight outside the city walls of Pingguo.

騎間道潛行掩擊之 = snuck through the backroads to ambush them

禁中 = the inner palace. This is saying that, in the inner palace, Lady Xun was given the same respect was was given to the Empress Dowager.

20. “felt that his uncle Helan Aitou was not respectful enough [so he] summoned him and then had him killed.” I love all these instances of killing people for not being respectful enough.

諸部復奉之 and 趙人厚遇之: it’s kinda more like “The tribes took him to be their king again” (rather than him self-proclaiming) and “Zhao treated him well”

雖保據河右,而軍旅之事無歲無之: although they kept the land west of the river, there was no year that saw no military activity (i.e. there were wars every year even though they managed to hold onto the land)

嗣位: They hadn’t declared themselves emperor yet!

庶政: internal affairs

鹹得其用: I like how all the 咸 got salted. This should be “he ruled over all the civil and military staff, and was able to employ each according to his talents.”

官屬皆稱臣 = his subordinates referred to themselves as 臣. (Since the Zhangs were still technically subordinates of the Jin court, their officers shouldn’t have referred to themselves as their 臣. By doing so, they were basically considering Zhang Jun to be a sovereign lord.)

22. 勒、雄既死,虎、期繼逆,兆庶離主,漸冉經世;先老消落,後生不識,慕戀之心,日遠日忘: “Shi Le and Li Xiong are dead, and Shi Hu and Li Qi continue their illegitimate rule. The populace (兆庶 = the many commoners) have been removed from their rightful lord for generation upon generation (漸冉 = gradually; 經世= through the generations). The elderly of the previous era are dying off, and the youth have no knowledge (of the Jin). The people’s yearning (for the Jin) is fading away by the day.”

And this is it for 335? Where’s Jin’s response to the petition??
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