The Eighth Year of Xiankang (The Renyin Year, 342 AD)
1. In spring, the first month, on the new moon on the day Jiwei, there was an eclipse.
2. On the day Yichou, there was a general amnesty in Jin.
3. Jin’s Inspector of Yuzhou, Yu Yi, treated the Inspector of Jiangzhou, Wang Yunzhi, to drinks. Wang Yunzhi suspected the wine was poisoned. He fed some to a dog, and the dog died. Wang sent a secret message about it to the court. Emperor Cheng said, “My elder uncle (Yu Liang) already caused such strife in the empire. Now this younger uncle is up to the same tricks!" In the second month, Yu Yi drank poison and died.
4. During the third month, Jin officials first began to offer sacrifices to Empress Wudao (Yang Zhi) at the temple of Emperor Wu (Sima Yan).Empress Wudao, or Empress Yang Zhi, was the Empress of Sima Yan, the first Emperor of Jin. She had been slandered by the Crown Princess Jia Nanfeng, and was given an improper burial and had been worshipped separately from Sima Yan, until this time.
5. Yu Yi’s base was at Wuchang, where he claimed there were many strange sightings. For that reason, he wished to move his command to Lexiang.
The Chief Clerk Who Conquers The Caitiffs, Wang Shu, wrote to Yu Bing saying, "Lexiang is over a thousand li from Wuchang. If we were to move an army of several tens of thousands there, and to then set up defensive works, it would place a serious strain on both public and private affairs. Furthermore, Jiangzhou is thousands of li upstream, which would make it more difficult to keep the military supplied. Wuchang remains the superior location for defending all of the Southland, not just the upper reaches of the Yangzi, and if any emergencies should need to be reported, it is not difficult for riders to come from there. If the soldiers move to Lexiang, then they will be far away on the western border, and if the court should be threatened by barbarians crossing the Yangzi islands, there would be no prospect of mutual support. A high-ranking general defending an important location should be stationed in a strategic location, to form a barricade against outside forces, so that those seeking an opportunity to attack us won’t know where to hit us. Even knowing the internal or external situation from there will be difficult to know for sure.
"In former times, the false rumor ‘Hu will bring ruin to Qin’ was turned by Liu Bang and Xiang Yu to their advantage. King You of Zhou spread false rumors of attack and so consummated the chaos caused by Baosi. A true man follows the straight way, and does not take evasive paths dictated by superstition. At this time we should choose the correct path in managing personnel movement, for the sake of the longevity of the nation."
After discussing this, the court agreed with Wang Shu. So Yu Yi dropped his request.During the Qin dynasty, Qin Shihuang was visited by a certain Lu Sheng, who claimed he could commune with the gods. After being ordered to do so by Qin Shihuang, Lu Sheng made up a prophecy stating “Hu will bring ruin to Qin”. In this sentence, 胡 “Hu” often means “barbarians”, so Qin Shihuang used the prophecy as justification for his campaigns against the Xiongnu. Following Qin Shihuang’s death, many rebellions broke out against his successor, Huhai. Liu Bang, Xiang Yu, and the other rebels reinterpreted the prophecy to point to Huhai as the culprit, since the first character of his name was also 胡.
King You of Zhou once had a beautiful woman named Baosi as his concubine. He was so taken with her that he replaced his queen with her instead. It was difficult to make her smile or laugh. To amuse her, King You falsely lit the warning beacons around his kingdom that were meant to alert the nobles of barbarians invasions. The nobles responded to the call to arms, but they were only met with Baosi’s laughter. After several more false lightings, the nobles no longer responded to the beacons. When the father of the deposed queen attacked King You along with the barbarians, King You lit the beacons again, but the nobles ignored it, and so King You and Baosi were killed.
6. In summer, the fifth month, on the day Yimao, Emperor Cheng began to feel unwell. In the sixth month, on the day Gengyin, he became gravely ill. Several false edicts were sent out, forbidding the Prime Minister from entering the palace. Many people became worried. Yu Bing said, "Naturally this must be false." Upon investigation, it turned out to be so.
The Emperor's two sons, Sima Pi and Sima Yi, were both still infants. Since Yu Bing and his late brother Yu Liang had been controlling power for a long time, he was afraid that after a new lord ascended the throne, his family’s influence would diminish and other people would take their place. He constantly told the Emperor that because the state was beset by strong enemies, it must therefore have an adult lord. He asked that the Emperor's younger brother, the Prince of Langye Sima Yue, take the throne next. The Emperor agreed. The Prefect of the Masters of Writing He Chong warned them, “It has been the tradition for a son to inherit from a father ever since the First Sovereign. This is the best means to avoid disorder. Even King Wu of Zhou did not pass his throne on to his brother the Duke of Zhou, and not because King Wu did not love the Duke. Now if the Prince of Langye ascends the throne, what shall become of the young heirs?" But Yu Bing did not heed him. King Wu of Zhou was the founder of the Zhou Dynasty. The Duke of Zhou was his younger brother. Although he assumed command as regent after his elder brother’s death, the Duke of Zhou never sought to actually claim the throne for himself.
He Chong presumably meant ever since Sima Rui, since Sima Rui himself was not the son of Emperor Huai of Western Jin.
An edict was proclaimed, appointing Sima Yue as the heir, and appointing Sima Yi to continue Prince Ai of Langye’s line. On the day Renchen, Yu Bing, He Chong, the Prince of Wuling Sima Xi, the Prince of Kuaiji Sima Yue, and the Prefect of the Masters of Writing Zhuge Hui were entrusted as guardians. On the day Guisi, Emperor Cheng died. Prince Ai of Langye, Sima Anguo, was the grandson of the Eastern Jin founder Sima Rui by his sons Sima Pou. He was so named ("the Lamentable") because he had died when only a year old.
Emperor Cheng was young when he came to the throne, and he did not personally exercise power. When he grew up, he often displayed the virtues of thriftiness and diligence.
7. On the day Jiawu, the Prince of Langye Sima Yue rose to the throne (as Emperor Kang). A general amnesty was declared.
8. On the day Jihai, Emperor Cheng’s son Sima Pi was named the new Prince of Langye, and his other son Sima Yi was named the Prince of Donghai.
9. Emperor Kang kept silent as was tradition for an emperor in mourning, and left matters to Yu Bing and He Chong.
In autumn, the seventh month, on the day Bingchen, Emperor Cheng was buried at Xingping Tombs. Emperor Kang went on foot to the mourning until he reached the Changhe Gate, then boarded a plain white carriage to continue the journey to the tombs. Following the burial, he officially rose to the throne, and Yu Bing and He Chong waited upon him.
Emperor Kang said to them, “My ascension is all thanks to your efforts." He Chong replied, "Your Majesty is only able to soar like a dragon thanks to Yu Bing. If I had been listened to, you would never have reached such heights." The Emperor was ashamed to hear this.
On the day Jiwei, Emperor Kang appointed He Chong to be the General of Agile Cavalry, in charge of military affairs in Xuzhou and Yangzhou, and Inspector of Xuzhou. He Chong was based at Jingkou, where he could avoid Yu Bing.
10. In winter, the tenth month, Murong Huang moved the capital to Longcheng, and declared an amnesty within his territory.
11. By now, Murong Han had settled things with Murong Huang, and had become his General Who Establishes Might. Murong Han told his brother, "The Yuwen have grown stronger and more numerous for some time, and they pose a constant threat to our state. But Yuwen Yidougui has only recently usurped the command of the tribes, and many of them are not yet inclined to go along with him. Furthermore, he is lacking both in temperament and in knowledge. His state has poor defenses, and their soldiers are unorganized. I lived among them a long time, and so I know well the lay of their land. Although they are nominally vassals of the Jie, they are too far away to really be able to receive any timely assistance from them. If we were to attack the Yuwen now, we would have a hundred victories in a hundred battles.
“But we must also consider Goguryeo, which is also very close by to us. They have long looked upon our land with greed, watching for the day when they may conquer us. If they learn that the Yuwen are about to be extinguished, then they will know that they will be the next to face destruction, so they will attack us first. If we leave too few soldiers, it will not be enough to mount a defense against Goguryeo. But if we leave too many soldiers, then we will not have enough men to make headway against the Yuwen either. Since Goguryeo presents a constant threat to us, we had better deal with them first. Considering their current strength, we can overcome them in one go.
“The Yuwen are slaves to their defenses; they will certainly not come a long way to take advantage of our absence by attacking us. Once we have taken Goguryeo, we may then conquer the Yuwen as easily as one turns over one's hand. And once we have pacified both these states, then we may reap all the profits of the East Sea. The state will prosper and the soldiers will grow stronger, all without any cause for concern in that direction. Then, we may conquer the Central Plains."
Murong Huang said, "Excellent!" So he prepared to attack Goguryeo.
There were two routes to that state; the northern route was level and wide, while the southern route was narrower and more dangerous. Most of the generals wanted to take the northern route. Murong Han said, "The barbarians shall certainly expect that any great invading army will advance by the northern route, so they will place more focus there than on the southern one. You ought to lead your best troops to attack by the southern route; you will catch them off guard, and you will definitely be able to capture their capital at Hwando. Meanwhile, send another commander to lead some troops along the northern route, where they can make a demonstration and then fall back. Even if this northern force suffers a defeat, the enemy’s core strength will have been destroyed, and the rest of their forces won’t be able to do much." Murong Huang followed his advice.
12. In the eleventh month, Murong Huang personally marched along the southern route with forty thousand of his best soldiers, and Murong Han and Murong Ba led his vanguard. He sent the Chief Clerk Wang Yu and several others to lead fifteen thousand troops along the northern route. Thus did he invade Goguryeo.
The King of Goguryeo, Go Soe (Gogugwon), sent his younger brother Go Wu with fifty thousand elite soldiers to guard the northern route, while he himself went to guard the southern route with weaker troops. When Murong Han and the others in the vanguard arrived, they did battle with Go Soe, until Murong Huang and the main body came up. The Regular Attendant of the Left Xianyu Liang said, "Though I was a mere captive, I received my lord's benevolence, and cannot fail to repay it. Let today be the day of my death!" Leading only a few riders, he plunged into several Goguryeo formations, and broke through them. Despite Xianyu Liang’s outburst and the apparently suicidal nature of his attack, it appears that he does not die here, as he is noted one more time several years later.
With their formations thrown off, the bulk of the enemy army scattered, and Goguryeo suffered a great defeat. The Chief Clerk of the Left Han Shou killed the Goguryeo general Abulhwadoga. The Yan soldiers pursued the fleeing Goguryeo troops, until they entered the Goguryeo capital Hwando. Go Soe fled alone on horseback. The General of Light Chariots Muyu Ni pursued him, capturing his mother Lady Zhou and his wife, before returning.
Meanwhile, on the northern road, Wang Yu and the others were repulsed by the enemy army. Because of Wang Yu's defeat, Murong Huang did not pursue the beaten Goguryeo army. Messengers were sent with demands for Go Soe to surrender, but he did not present himself.
13. Murong Huang was about to order the army to return home. Han Shou said to him, "Goguryeo’s territory cannot be held. Although we have scattered their soldiers, they will lie in ambush in the mountains and valleys. As soon as our army leaves, they will certainly flock together again, kindling a new flame from the ashes. That will be a source of future troubles. I suggest that you take with us the body of their king’s late father, and bring his mother back as our prisoner. Once Go Soe presents himself, bound, for submission, then we can return his father’s body and his mother to him. And we will win him over to us by granting him favors. This is the best plan." Murong Huang agreed.
The body of Go Soe's father, Go Eulbul, was taken from its tomb. The Yan army took the treasures of the royal household, along with over fifty thousand men and women as slaves. They burned the palaces, and set fire to Hwando, before returning home.Go Eulbul, also known as Micheon, was the fifteenth ruler of Goguryeo.
14. In the twelfth month, on the day Renzi, Emperor Kang of Jin made his concubine Lady Chu his Empress. The Administrator of Yuzhang, her father Chu Pou, was summoned by the Emperor to be appointed as Palace Attendant and Master of Writing. Since Chu Pou was the Empress's father, he was unwilling to assume posts in the capital, asking to be assigned elsewhere. Therefore, Emperor Kang made him the General Who Establishes Valor and Inspector of Jiangzhou, and he was based at Banzhou.
15. Shi Hu wished to construct over forty pavilions at Ye, as well as in the two palaces at Luoyang and Chang'an. He employed over four hundred thousand people in these efforts. He also desired to construct a boardwalk from Ye to Xiangguo. He had the four provinces south of the Yellow River to prepare for a campaign to the south; the provinces of Bing, Shuo, Qin, and Yong to prepare for a western campaign; the provinces of Qing, Ji, and You to prepare for a campaign eastward. In all these provinces, two males were drafted from a household of three males, or three males were drafted from a household of five males. Together, the provinces put together more than five hundred thousand soldiers and a hundred and seventy thousand sailors. Of these, a third either drowned or were eaten by wild beasts. On top of that, the local lords and officials competed to fill their private coffers, causing the populace to lose their means of living and worried about their destitution.
Because of their complaints, Li Hong, a native of Beiqiu, took advantage of the people’s misery to begin plotting for himself. He claimed that his name conformed to favorable divinations, and began to gather followers to himself, and set up the various offices as in a state. However, the plot was discovered, and he was executed, along with several thousand families in league with him.
16. Shi Hu enjoyed going hunting excessively, often going out at dawn and not returning until night. He also often went out in plain clothing to inspect how his construction projects were going. The Palace Attendant, Wei Xiao of Jingzhao, remonstrated with him, saying, "Your Majesty is ignoring your importance to the realm and carelessly placing yourself in danger. If any wild fellow began to do something untoward, though you have wisdom and strength, what would you be able to do? You are also forcing upon the people endless labors, disrupting their farming and harvesting, and filling the roads with sighs and lamentations. I’m afraid this is not something that a benevolent and sage ruler would bear to do." Shi Hu rewarded Wei Xiao with grain and silks, but his orders only continued to multiply, and he kept on inspecting as before.
17. Shi Hu showed great favor to his son Shi Tao, the Duke of Qin. The Crown Prince Shi Xuan was angered by this. The Deputy Director of the Right Zhang Li was in command of various troop departments. Wishing to win favor with Shi Xuan, he said to him, "The Dukes have recruited retainers beyond their natural limits. You ought to gradually cut back on them, in order to strengthen your own base."
Shi Xuan had Zhang Li send in a petition saying, "The Dukes of Qin, Yan, Yiyang, and Leping are allowed to have a hundred and ninety-seven retainers, and two hundred personal soldiers. Those nobles whose ranks are beneath theirs will be allowed a third as many retainers and troops, according to their rank. The remaining fifty thousand soldiers should all be reassigned to the Eastern Palace (which was Shi Xuan’s residence)." This made the dukes very bitter, and the rifts between them and Shi Xuan deepened.
18. A report was sent in from Qingzhou stating, "At Pingling near Jinan, there was a stone tiger north of the city. Overnight, it has moved southeast of the city. It was followed by over a thousand wolves and foxes, and their trail became a road."
Shi Hu happily stated, "I, too, am a stone tiger (Shi Hu’s name, 石虎, literally means “stone tiger”). I shall also move from the northwest to the southeast. It is Heaven's will that I should pacify the Southland. Gather the soldiers of the several provinces by next year. I shall lead six armies to fulfill Heaven's Mandate." Many ministers expressed their congratulations, and a hundred and seven people submitted memorials entitled “An Ode To Imperial Virtue”.
The Zhao court ordered: “For the sake of the conquest, let every five draftees bring in a cart, two oxen, fifty 斛 of rice, and ten bolts of silk. Whoever does not bring them will be executed.” The people were reduced to selling their children in order to provide the army supplies. Those who were still unable to provide them hanged themselves from trees on the sides of the roads. So many people hanged themselves in this fashion that one could always see a hanging corpse within sight of another one.
"You have attacked us before, and we survived! You cannot defeat us. Submit!"
"We have. You did. We can. No."