ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-106)

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ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-106)

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:12 pm

In this thread, I plan to post my drafts of translations of Books 95 to 106 of the Zizhi Tongjian, which cover the middle period of the Sixteen Kingdoms era, not long after the end of the Three Kingdoms.

Book 95 (332-337)
Book 96 (338-341)
Book 97 (342-347)
Book 98 (348-350)
Book 99 (351-354)
Book 100 (355-359)
Book 101 (360-368)
Book 102 (369-370)
Book 103 (371-375)
Book 104 (376-382)
Book 105 (383-384)
Book 106 (385-386)

Brief Overview

China was united under the Han dynasty for four hundred years. However, after central authority crumbled, the last Han emperor was deposed and the empire was divided up into the Three Kingdoms of Wei, Wu, and Shu. This period ended by 280, when Wei became Jin and conquered Wu and Shu to reunite the realm. But Jin was unstable, plagued by both rival princes battling for influence and powerful tribal groups on the borders. This eventually resulted in several tribal groups invading; by 316, Jin lost all its northern territories, as well as Sichuan, and was pushed back to south of the Yangzi river. Having expelled Jin, the tribal groups formed their own states and battled for contention: this was the Sixteen Kingdoms period. By around 439, the rising state of Wei conquered all the other states and dominated the north for another century and a half. Meanwhile, what was left of Jin lingered on for a century in its truncated territory, until it suffered a series of coups that left the dynasty powerless to halt a northern invasion. Wei, having transformed into the Sui dynasty, invaded the last of the southern successor dynasties in 589 and conquered it, leading to Sui’s brief unification of the land until it was replaced by the more glorious and long-lasting Tang dynasty, much as had been the fate of the Qin and Han dynasties almost eight hundred years earlier.

The entire historical age can be divided into three periods. The first was the period from the unification of the realm under Western Jin until the War of the Eight Princes caused Jin to become unstable and the tribal invasions pushed it south of the Yangzi. I mark this from Jin's conquest of Wu until the death of the former Zhao founding emperor Shi Le, when the north was mostly unified under Later Zhao, or the years 280-332.

The second is the period from Later Zhao's rule until its collapse as other kingdoms seized power during its succession crisis, the most famous of which was Former Qin. This period then continues through the rise of Former Qin and its conquest of the north, until it was poised to conquer Jin and reunite the realm. It concludes with Former Qin's unlikely defeat at Fei River and its subsequent rapid collapse. I mark this era as from the beginning of Shi Hu's rule over Later Zhao until the death of Fu Jian's son Fu Pi, or the years 333-386. This era is the one which these translations will be focused on.

The third is the period when many other kingdoms emerged from the ruin of Former Qin, with the most successful of these being Northern Wei. As Northern Wei conquered the north, Eastern Jin was usurped by the family of Liu Yu, and this marked the transition from the Sixteen Kingdoms to the Northern and Southern Dynasties period (represented by Northern Wei and its successor states, including Sui, and the successor states to Eastern Jin in the south.) This final period of the Sixteen Kingdoms ran from 387-439.

A remarkable fact about these Sixteen Kingdoms is that nearly all of them were ruled by non-Han rulers; that is, they came from the ethnic groups of tribes from Central Asia that had long been on the borders of China. These include what Chinese historians call the Five Hu: the Xiongnu, the Xianbei, the Qiang, the Di, and the Jie. Many of these groups were already present during the more familiar Three Kingdoms period, and the reader may recall references to them during various campaigns, but now they take center stage. One such state, Former Qin, came very close to being the first non-Han dynasty to unite China under one empire. Also notable is the widespread influence and adoption of Buddhism during this period, as many Buddhist monks arrived from India and Xinjiang to spread the faith throughout the Sixteen Kingdoms and Eastern Jin, and found an audience quite willing to study and adopt the new faith.

Translation Notes

The commentary of the Song scholar Hu Sanxing is in red. In some instances I add to it for clarification.

My commentary is in italics.

Sima Guang’s major source for this period is the Book of Jin, a work of history that covers the course of the Jin dynasty from its rise in 265 until its fall in 420. Although primarily focused on Jin dynasty figures, it includes many biographies on Sixteen Kingdoms kings and captains. The Book of Jin in turn drew from the Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms, a work composed immediately after the end of the Sixteen Kingdoms period, but most of which has since been lost.

Note that throughout the work, for the sake of clarification, I refer to all Jin emperors by their posthumous titles even while they are still alive (Emperor Cheng, Emperor Kang, etc.) They would not have been called this during their own lifetimes, but there are very few cases where the reader will see their actual names in use before they become Emperor, and to call all of them simply "the Emperor" invites confusion.

In the case of other rulers, I have consistently shortened their mentions in the next to simply their name (Fu Jian) rather than the usual ZZTJ format (eg, "the lord of Qin, Jian").
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Sun May 14, 2017 6:07 pm, edited 16 times in total.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:22 pm


The Seventh Year of Xianhe (The Renchen Year, 332 AD)

Sima Guang uses the reign years of Eastern Jin during this period, granting it legitimacy over any of the Sixteen Kingdoms that held the north and west.

Besides the name of the reign year of the ruling Jin monarch, ZZTJ also identifies the current year of the sixty-year lunar calendar cycle.


1. In spring, the first month, on the day Xinwei (February 27th), a general amnesty was declared in Jin.

The calendar year by Chinese reckoning began in late January or early February, as it still does today.

This is the first instance of Sima Guang’s practice of not specifically identifying events that concerned Jin; the text assumes that there is no need to clarify because Jin is already assumed as the legitimate authority during this period.


2. The Emperor of Zhao, Shi Le, held a feast for his ministers. He asked Xu Guang, "With which rulers from antiquity may I be compared?"

The response was, "In majesty, valor, strategy, and resourcefulness, Your Majesty surpasses even Han Gaozu. There shall never be anyone who can compare with you."

Shi Le laughed and said, "What man does not know himself? Minister, you go too far. If I were ever to see Han Gaozu, then I would face north to him, shoulder to shoulder with Han Xin and Peng Yue. If I were to encounter Guangwu, then I would contend with him for the Central Plains, and we would see to whom the deer falls. When a true man acts, he should be forthright and aboveboard, and open and clear as the sun and moon. One should not imitate the examples of Cao Mengde and Sima Zhongda, who only bullied mere orphans and widows and captured the realm through their beguiling."

The ministers all kowtowed to him, chanting, "Long live the Emperor."


Sima Guang's commentary on his sources in the Textual Analysis states: "According to the Annals of Jin, 'Tao Kan sent an envoy to Later Zhao, and Shi Le held a feast for him.' But Tao Kan and Shi Le certainly had no reason to treat with one another, so this should be discounted. According to the Chronicles in the Book of Jin, 'Since Shi Le was holding a feast, Goguryeo and the Yuwen sent envoys as well.' (Jinshu 105.58) He must have been holding this feast for his ministers."

The scholar Dai Xi remarked: "How could Shi Le have been someone who truly knew the worth of Liu Bang, when he considered himself inferior to Han Xin and Peng Yu?"

Shi Le is able to talk about Cao Cao and Sima Yi like this, even while knowing how many men he sent to their deaths. He, Mengde, and Zhongda should all feel ashamed in the world below!

The Textual Analysis is Sima Guang's companion book to the ZZTJ, in which he mentions the different reports of his various historical sources and defends his selection in his composition of the ZZTJ accounts. The 載記, or "Chronicles", are the biographies of non-Han rulers appended to the end of the Book of Jin. "Chronicles" was a common term for such compendiums in Chinese history of orthodox accounts of illegitimate rulers.

Dai Xi (1141-1215) was a scholar from the Song dynasty.

Sima Guang only grants the title of Emperor to the ruler of Jin. The rulers of other states are identified as, for instance, “the lord of Zhao, Shi Le” or rarely “the king of Qin, Fu Jian”.

Shi Le and his clan were of the Jie ethnicity, about which not much is definitely known. They may have been related to the Xiongnu or Yuezhi.

Han Gaozu was the temple name of Liu Bang, first Emperor of the Han dynasty, who conquered the realm in 202 BC after the fall of the Qin dynasty. Han Xin and Peng Yue were generals who fought alongside Liu Bang during his struggle for the realm. Both of them were nominally his subordinates, but they each exercised a considerable amount of de facto independence. It was thanks to their assistance that Liu Bang was finally able to defeat his rival Xiang Yu and unite the realm. Shi Le may have been referencing his own history: he had originally recognized Liu Yuan and Liu Cong of Han-Zhao as his sovereigns, but in practice was fully independent. However, while Han Xin and Peng Yue were eventually killed by Liu Bang after his victory, Shi Le was the one who turned on Han-Zhao and conquered them instead. Guangwu was the temple name of Liu Xiu, who reunited the Han dynasty in 25 AD and whose reign begins the period of Latter Han. The rule of the Liu emperors was interrupted by Wang Mang, who declared his own Xin dynasty, but after natural disasters and widespread rebellions, power slipped away to various regional warlords, of whom Liu Xiu was the eventual victor.

Shi Le refers to the tradition where the Emperor faces south and his subjects all face north; to "face north" was therefore a way of indicating loyalty or submission.


3. Although Shi Le was uneducated, he often had someone read aloud from texts while he would listen to them. In this way, he would learn by discussing the rulers of ancient and recent times and their merits and faults, and anyone who heard his insights could not help but admire them. There was one instance when someone read to him from the Book of Han. When he heard the story of when Li Yiji suggested to Liu Bang restoring the former Six States, Shi Le said with alarm, "That will disadvantage him; then how will he be able to grasp the realm?" But when he further heard that Marquis Liu (Zhang Liang) criticized the idea, Shi Le then said, "Now that one is reliable!"


This discussion between Liu Bang and his advisors was mentioned in the third year of Emperor Gao of Han (204 BC), in Book 10.

The Book of Han recounts the history of the Han dynasty from its foundation until its temporary usurpation by Wang Mang.

Li Yiji and Marquis Liu, or Zhang Liang, were both advisors to Liu Bang. During a difficult period of his struggle against Xiang Yu, Li Yiji suggested to Liu Bang that he should recognize the descendents of the rulers of the other six states that Qin had conquered only a few decades earlier, and by doing so gain their friendship against Xiang Yu. But Zhang Liang criticized the plan by saying that the newly restored states would be more likely to support Xiang Yu instead.

Although this anecdote is mentioned in Shi Le’s biography in the Book of Jin, its original source seems to be the New Account of Tales of the World, a collection of anecdotes about Cao-Wei and Jin assembled in the Liu-Song dynasty of apocryphal historical veracity. (Book 7:7)

石勒不知書,使人讀漢書。聞酈食其勸立六國後,刻印將授之,大驚曰:「此法當失,云何得遂有天下?」至留侯諫,迺曰:「賴有此耳!」(New Tales 7.7)

Shi Le did not know how to read or write. He once had someone read aloud to him from the Book of Han. When he heard the part where Li Yiji urged the establishment of the descendants of the rulers of the six pre-Qin states and about the carving of the seals for them, and how Liu Bang was on the point of hanging them over to them, he became greatly alarmed, and cried out, "This method will fail! If he does that, how will he ever get possession of the realm?" But when the reader came to the part where Zhang Liang warned against it, Shi Le said, "It's a good thing this man was there, that's all I can say!" (tr. Richard Mather)


4. The Zhao general Guo Jing retreated to camp at Fancheng, and Jin recaptured Xiangyang. In summer, the fourth month, Guo Jing returned and attacked the city, and took it back. He left a garrison there and returned.


Guo Qing's retreat earlier was mentioned in the last book (Book 94) in the fifth year of Xianhe (330).


5. Zhao's Deputy Director of the Right, Cheng Xia, said to Shi Le, "The Prince of Zhongshan, Shi Hu, is brave and fierce, calculating and cunning; there is no other minister who can match him. In observing his ambitions, I believe it is clear that he views everyone other than Your Majesty with disdain. He is 'a ruffian and a robber, forceful and cruel'. He has long served as a general, and his might is felt throughout the land. Even his sons are grown up and wielding military power. So long as Your Majesty is here, he will do nothing, but I fear that he will not submit to the young master. He should be done away with, to further the grand design."


Mencius says, "He who outrages the benevolence proper to his nature, is called a robber; he who outrages righteousness, is called a ruffian." (Dialogue with King Hui of Wei, Part 2). In the Zuo Commentary, Zhong Zhong says, "Zhouyu relies on his military force, and can do cruel things. For his military likings the multitude will not cleave to him; and for his cruelty his relatives will not. With the multitude rebellious, and his friends leaving him. It will be difficult for him to be successful." (Yin 4.4)

Cheng Xia refers to how Shi Le had given Shi Hu's sons Shu Sui and Shi Xuan command of soldiers.

Shi Le said, "The realm is not yet at peace, and my son Daya (Shi Hong) is young. He will need someone strong to support him. The Prince of Zhongshan is as close to me as flesh and bone, and he has had much success in carrying out my commands. He may take up the role of Yi Yin and Huo Guang. How could he ever go so far as you suggest? Your true concern must be that you will not have sole control over my son as the Imperial Uncle. I will make you his advisor as well, so there is no longer any reason to fear."

Yi Yin and Huo Guang were ministers of the Shang and Han dynasties. Both were chief officials who served as regents during the reign of young Emperors. In both cases, they deposed their lords because of their unacceptable behavior. Yi Yin temporarily held the throne himself, until he felt his lord had reformed sufficiently to be restored to power. Huo Guang raised up another member of the imperial clan to the throne. Along with the Duke of Zhou, they have become bywords for powerful but trustworthy regents.

Cheng Xia tearfully replied, "I have done everything on behalf of the state, yet Your Majesty dismisses my concerns as only my own selfish desires; what use will loyal words be? Although the Prince of Zhongshan was raised by the Empress Dowager, he is not of Your Majesty's immediate family. Even if he has made some slight contributions to the state, Your Majesty has already rewarded him well enough with grace and honor. He has unceasing ambition; how could he be of benefit in the future? If he is not done away with, there shall be no one left to offer blood and food at the ancestral temple." But Shi Le did not listen to him.


The Chronicles of the Book of Jin states, "Shi Hu was Shi Le's nephew. His grandfather was called Beixie, and his father Koumi. Shi Le's father Zhu took Shi Hu to be his son when Shi Hu was young, so some considered him as Shi Le's younger brother." (Jinshu 106.1)

Cheng Xia is saying that Shi Hu was casting longing glances at the imperial throne.


6. Cheng Xia withdrew, and told Xu Guang about the matter. Xu Guang said, "The Prince of Zhongshan has long held a grudge against the two of us. I fear that not only is the state in danger, but even our families will suffer misfortune."

That same day, Xu Guang took an opportunity to ask Shi Le, "There is nothing troubling the state, and yet Your Majesty's expression does not seem joyful. What is the matter?"

Shi Le replied, "Wu and Shu have not yet been pacified, and I fear that future generations will not believe that I held the Mandate."

Wu and Shu were more geographical expressions than references to the Three Kingdoms states by those names. Shi Le is referring to Eastern Jin, which at this time controlled territory roughly equivalent to Eastern Wu, and the state of Cheng, which controlled roughly the same territory as Shu-Han. At this time, Shi Le controlled roughly the same territory as Cao-Wei, except for Liangzhou in the northwest and the regions north of Youzhou.

Xu Guang said, "When Wei inherited the mandate from Han, although Liu Bei established himself in Shu, Han certainly did not still exist! And the Li clan of our time is only the same as Sun Quan of Wu from back then. Your Majesty holds the two capitals (Chang'an and Luoyang), and has pacified eight provinces. If Your Majesty does not hold the mandate to rule, then who else can claim to? Rather than fear external troubles, Your Majesty should be concerned with sickness from within.


The two capitals were Chang'an and Luoyang. The eight provinces were Jizhou, Youzhou, Bingzhou, Qingzhou, Yanzhou, Yuzhou, Sizhou, and Yongzhou.

The Li clan refers to the family of Li Te and his descendants, the rulers of the Cheng state in Shu.

"The Prince of Zhongshan, relying upon Your Majesty's power and shrewdness, has vanquished all whom he has faced. All the world says that no one but Your Majesty can surpass him in soldierly bearing. Furthermore, he is cruel by nature, seeking personal gains and ignoring virtue. He and his sons all occupy positions of authority, and their influence overpowers that of your imperial line; yet even so, he still broods and often harbors resentment. At a recent feast in the Eastern Palace, he looked upon the Crown Prince with contempt. I fear that after Your Majesty is no more, the fortunes of your line might not be maintained." Shi Le had no response to this.

Shi Le began to grant the Crown Prince power over reviewing the petitions of the ministers, with the Palace Attendant Yan Zhen also given power to confirm or deny them, only submitting to Shi Le on such important issues as war and executions. Thus Yan Zhen wielded more power than even his lord or the ministers, while the Prince of Zhongshan, Shi Hu, found himself so ostracized and isolated that 'he could ensnare birds at his front gate', and he became more and more displeased.


The Book of Han says, "When the Duke of Zhai was appointed as Minister of Justice, his gates were filled with guests. After he was deposed, he could build bird nests outside his gates. (Biographies 20.38)" Yan Shigan's Annotations states, "This expression meant that his gate was silent, with no one passing by."

This is why Shi Hu later killed Xu Guang and Cheng Xia (333.6).


7. In autumn, the Zhao general Guo Jing raided south into Jiangxi. Jin's Grand Commandant, Tao Kan, sent the Army Advisor Who Pacifies The West, his son Tao Bin, and the General of the Central Household of the South, Huan Xuan, to take advantage of Guo Jing’s absence by attacking his base at Fancheng, where they took all his men as prisoners. When Guo Jing came to relieve Fancheng, Huan Xuan fought him at the Nie River and routed him, recapturing everything that Guo Jing had plundered. Tao Kan's nephew Tao Zhen and the Administrator of Jingling, Li Yang, attacked Xinye as well, and took it. Guo Jing, in fear, abandoned everything and fled. Huan Xuan and Li Yang then captured Xiangyang.


Jiangxi refers to the region from Zhucheng east to Liyang.

斌 is pronounced "bin".

The Commentary on the Water Classic says, "The Nie River's source is Mount Qiji in the northwest of Nieyang County. It flows southeast through Nieyang County, then flows southeast through Anzhong County, and further flows southeast until it reaches Xinye County. From there, it flows east into the Yu River. (10.12)" 涅 is pronounced "nie (n-ie)".

In the last sentence, some versions add "and Li Yang".


8. Tao Kan ordered Huan Xuan to guard Xiangyang.

In order to gain the affections of the newly annexed territory, Huan Xuan simplified the code of punishments, and scaled back on pomp and ceremony. He advocated and supervised farming and silkworm cultivation, even keeping on hand hoes and farming implements in his carriage and his room, and he personally directed the people's efforts. After remaining at Xiangyang for over ten years, when Zhao attacked the city again, Huan Xuan led the defense against them with a few weak troops, and even so, Zhao could not overcome them. The people of that time believed him to be second only to Zu Ti and Zhou Fang.


A 鉏 is a farming instrument for shaping the soil.

A 耒 is bent wood used for hand plowing. The scholar Kong Yingda remarked, "The 耒 is a curved piece of wood, six chi and six cun in length. The bottom cun has one chi, the middle three cun have three chi, and the upper two cun have two chi." By "the bottom" he means the 耜 attached to and extending down from the lower end of the 耒.

The 耜 is made of metal and iron. Zheng Xuan remarked, "The 耜 is a metal 耒, with a spread of five cun. It is a farming tool, a kind of mattock or hoe."

A 軺 is a light carriage pulled by a horse.

The text is comparing them in how Huan Xuan was able to defend Xiangyang.

Zu Ti was an Eastern Jin general of near-legendary exploits who reconquered many of the cities south of the Yellow River on behalf of Eastern Jin, and even Shi Le could not defeat him. However, the Jin court did not trust him because of his power, and after his death in 321, the territory he had gained was lost to Zhao.

Zhou Fang was also an Eastern Jin general, and he led several campaigns against rebels within Jin territory as well as wars of conquest to the south. He died in 322. Not to be confused with the Zhou Fang of Eastern Wu, who defeated Cao Xiu.


9. Cheng's Grand General, Li Shou, invaded the Jin territory of Ningzhou, with the General Who Conquers The East, Fei Hei, leading his vanguard. They marched from Guanghan, while the General Who Guards The South, Ren Hui, marched from Yuegui, and so divided Jin's Ningzhou soldiers.

Li Shou was Li Te’s nephew, and the cousin of the founder and reigning monarch of Cheng, Li Xiong.


10. In winter, the tenth month, Li Shou and Fei Hei reached Zhuti. Jin's Administrator of Zhuti, Dong Bing, guarded the city, while the Inspector of Ningzhou, Yin Feng, sent the Administrator of Jianning, Huo Biao, to lead soldiers to aid him. Li Shou wished to intercept Huo Biao. Fei Hei told him, "Zhuti is low on food, and once Huo Biao enters the city, their situation will only get worse. What need do we have to oppose him?" So Li Shou followed his advice.

However, when Zhuti did not quickly fall, Li Shou then wished to fiercely assault it. Fei Hei said, "The roads of Nanzhong are dangerous and difficult, and not easy to traverse. We should overcome them with time; wait until they have exhausted both their wits and their strength, then we can capture them. We have them cooped up like animals in a pigsty, so what need is there to be hasty?" But this time Li Shou did not agree. He launched an assault, but he had the worst of it. After that, he left all army affairs to Fei Hei.


Regarding this expression 溷牢 "pigsty": A 溷 is the same thing as a 圂. A 圂, or a latrine, is a place where pigs live. But 牢 can also mean a place where dogs and pigs live. He is saying that they already have the city surrounded like dogs and pigs in a 圂, and they can be kept from escaping without any trouble. Lady Zheng remarked, "A 牢 is a 閑. Those who are forced into a 閑 will gnaw on each other like animals." The 疏 says, "A 閑 is where one raises horses, while a 牢 is where one raises cattle and sheep." When one speaks of a 閑, it means that one is well-protected within the 閑. When one speaks of a 牢, it means that one is firmly within the 牢. So these words which seem different, are actually the same meaning.

Huo Biao was the great-grandson of the Shu general Huo Jun. After the fall of Shu, his grandfather Huo Yi, who was an officer in the far south, had entered service under Jin.


11. In the eleventh month, on the new moon of the day Renzi (December 4th), Jin's Grand Commandant, Tao Kan, was offered the position of Grand General, with the honors of being able to enter court without removing his sword or shoes, or needing to have his full list of titles announced. However, Tao Kan firmly declined the offers.

Tao Kan had been an Eastern Jin general of great renown during the previous generation. He was critical in helping to end the rebellion of Su Jun (327-29) that had seriously threatened Jin’s existence.


12. In the twelfth month, on the day Gengqu (January 31st), Emperor Cheng moved to the new palace.


The new palace had taken five years to build. It was only now completed, so the emperor moved in.


13. During this year, the officials of Liangzhou all urged Zhang Jun to declare himself Prince of Liang and acting Governor of Qinzhou and Liangzhou, and appoint officials in accordance with the examples of Emperor Wu of Wei (Cao Cao) and Emperor Wen of Jin (Sima Zhao). Zhang Jun replied, "This is not something that any minister should speak of. Whoever dares to speak of this, I will not pardon their crime!" But even so, everyone within his territory all referred to him as Prince. Zhang Jun selected his second son Zhang Chonghua as the heir to his offices.


Regarding the appointment of officials on their own authority, Emperor Wu of Wei's (Cao Cao's) first instance of this is related in Book 67 in the twenty-first year of Jian'an (217) under Emperor Xian, while Emperor Wen of Jin's (Sima Zhao's) first instance is related in Book 79 in the first year of Xianxi (264) under Cao-Wei's Emperor Yuan (Cao Huan).

Liangzhou (the northwestern province centered around Wuwei) during this time was under the rule of the Zhang family, one of the few Sixteen Kingdoms ruled by men of Han ethnicity. Although most of the men who ruled Liangzhou still claimed to be under Jin authority, keeping the Jin reign titles and sending messengers back and forth between their territory and the Jin capital at Jiankang, they exercised de facto independence because of the large gulf of enemy territory between them and Jin’s borders. History would call this de facto state Former Liang, to distinguish it from several successor Liang states in the same region in later years.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:24 pm


The Eighth Year of Xianhe (The Guiyi Year, 333 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, Cheng's Grand General Li Shou captured Zhuti. Dong Bing and Huo Biao both surrendered. Li Shou’s might was then feared throughout Nanzhong.


2. On the day Bingzi (February 26th), Shi Le dispatched envoys to Jin in an attempt to improve relations. But the Jin court burned the money that Shi Le had sent them.


Although the Eastern Jin court was not yet able to avenge themselves against the foes of their fathers and lords, by burning this currency, they could still at least demonstrate that they were loyal ministers.


3. In the third month, Jin's Inspector of Ningzhou, Yin Feng, offered his surrender to Cheng. The whole of Nanzhong thus came under Cheng authority. A general amnesty was declared there, and Grand General Li Shou was granted acting authority over Ningzhou.


4. In summer, the fifth month, on the day Jiayin (June 4th), Murong Hui passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke Wuxuan of Liaodong.

In the sixth month, his son Murong Huang was promoted from General Who Pacifies The North to Inspector of Pingzhou, and given authority over the domain. All prisoners were granted amnesty. Murong Huang appointed his Chief Clerk, Pei Kai, as Libationer Who Counsels The Army, and the Prefect of Attendants, Gao Xu, as Administrator of Xuantu. He further offered to appoint the Administrator of Daifang, Wang Dan, as Chief Clerk of the Left. Wang Dan suggested that the Administrator of Liaodong, Yang Wu, be given the position instead because of his talents. Murong Huang agreed, and appointed Yang Wu as Chief Clerk of the Right.


Murong Huang, styled Yuanzhen, was Murong Hui's third son. 廆 is pronounced "hui (h-ui)". 皝 is pronounced "huang (h-uang)". 騖 is pronounced "wu".

When a state is flourishing, then its ministers cede to the virtuous and yield to the talented; when a state is declining, then its ministers are obsessed with themselves and jealous of their superiors.

Murong Hui’s domain was in the far northeast, around the Liao River, roughly equivalent to the territory once held by Gongsun Du and his heirs. Many people fled there from the Central Plains seeking stability, which added to their prosperity. The Murongs were a Xianbei clan. Like the Zhangs of Liangzhou, Murong Hui was nominally a vassal of Jin but de facto independent, although his heirs would eventually formalize their rule. Unlike Liangzhou, they were better able to remain in communication with the Jin court thanks to access to the sea, similar to Gongsun Yuan’s contacts with Eastern Wu. Their state would be known to history as Former Yan.


5. Shi Le became deathly ill. The Prince of Zhongshan, Shi Hu, then entered the inner palace to attend to Shi Le. He forged an edict forbidding anyone else, whether minister or relative, from seeing Shi Le, and nobody knew whether Shi Le's illness was getting better or worse.

Shi Hu also forged an edict summoning the Prince of Qin, Shi Hong (not the same son as the Crown Prince), and the Prince of Pengcheng, Shi Kan, to return to the capital Xiangguo. Shi Le had then recovered somewhat from his illness, and when he saw that Shi Hong was in the capital, he was alarmed and said to Shi Le, "I sent him to guard the border for just such a day as this. Has someone summoned him, or did he come on your own? If someone summoned him, they should be punished!"

Shi Hu worriedly said to Shi Le, "The Prince of Qin was only concerned about you. He has come just for a moment, and I will order him to be sent away." However, Shi Le did not actually order Shi Hong to leave.

A few days later, when Shi Le asked about it again, Shi Hu said, "I ordered him to go back as soon as you commanded me to."

Locusts appeared in Guang'a, so Shi Hu secretly sent his son, the Inspector of Jizhou, Shi Sui, to lead three thousand cavalry to deal with the locusts.


Shi Le had appointed Shi Hong as Commander of all military affairs, and sent him to guard Ye. Shi Kan was sent to Henan.

During Former Han, Guang'a County was part of Julu commandary. It was abolished under Later Han and Jin. Northern Wei revived Guang'a County, as part of Nanzhao commandary. Sui changed its name to Daling County. During the Wude era of Tang (618-626), its name was changed to Xiangcheng County. In the first year of Tianbao (742) its name was once again changed to Zhaoqing County, and by then it was part of 趙州 Zhaozhou.

Shi Hu sent Shi Sui to Guang'a because he feared for any sudden developments that might have happened after Shi Le's death, so he wanted his son out of the way. If Shi Sui had actually been able to deal with the locusts, that would have been a bonus.

Xiangguo was the capital city during Shi Le’s reign. It was a short distance north of Ye.

It was tradition to send princes of the blood to distant outposts, both to have them protect the borders and to prevent them from interfering with matters of succession.


6. In autumn, the seventh month, Shi Le's illness became critical. He issued a final command stating, "Daya (Shi Hong) and his brothers must do good and defend one another. Let the fate of the Sima clan be your 'front cart'. The Prince of Zhongshan should deeply reflect upon the examples of the Duke of Zhou and Huo Guang, and not give any further cause for others to reproach him."

On the day Wuchen (August 17th), Shi Le passed away.


When something flips over the cart in front, the carts behind it take warning. Shi Le was warning his sons against civil strife between the brothers, with the War of the Eight Princes as the example of the "front cart".

Shi Le refers to the precedent of the Duke of Zhou and Huo Guang acting as regents for young lords. Thus did Shi Le show his remaining brotherly affection for Shi Hu! So much for the pleas of Xu Guang and Cheng Xia.

Shi Le was sixty years old when he died.

The Duke of Zhou served as regent to the second Emperor of the Zhou dynasty, his nephew. Although he wielded great power over the state, he remained totally loyal to his young sovereign and even defeated uprisings against him. Perhaps no other figure in Chinese history better exemplifies a capable and loyal chief minister.

Shi Hu placed the Crown Prince, Shi Hong, upon the throne, while he arrested the Household Counselor of the Right, Cheng Xia, and the Prefect of the Palace, Secretariat Xu Guang, and sent them to the Minister of Justice. He summoned his own son, Shi Sui, to lead soldiers into the palace, and the ministers and officers all fled.

Shi Hong was very afraid. Claiming his own feebleness and unsuitability to rule, he offered the throne to Shi Hu. Shi Hu replied, "When a lord dies, his crown prince inherits; this has always been the tradition." Shi Hong wept as he continued to offer Shi Hu the throne, but Shi Hu angrily responded, "The realm will judge whether or not you are unsuited for the throne. Why keep talking about it now?" So Shi Hong at last accepted the throne.

A general amnesty was declared; however, Shi Hu killed Cheng Xia and Xu Guang.

That night, Shi Le was secretly buried in some mountain valley, and no one knew the location. On the day Jimao (August 28th?), great ceremonies were conducted, and an empty coffin was buried at Gaoping Tomb. Shi Le's posthumous name was Emperor Ming, and his temple name was Gaozu.


Shi Hong, styled Daya, was Shi Le's second son.

Xu Guang and Cheng Xia had already known of the disaster awaiting them, yet it came so quickly.

Shi Le was buried after only twelve days; no one else had ever been buried so quickly before. Since Shi Hu gave him a false burial service, when he planned for his own burial, he must have made the same arrangement. Yet his plot was ratted out by a young girl; little good that it did him!

Secret burials had long been the custom among the tribes of Central Asia. Genghis Khan may be the most famous example of this tradition. In the comment, Hu Sanxing refers to an incident in Book 100, 359.4, where Shi Hu's secret burial place is revealed by a young woman.


7. The Zhao general Shi Cong and the Administrator of Qiao, Peng Biao, both sent word asking to surrender to Jin. Shi Cong was originally a native of Jin, but had changed his surname for the Shi clan. The Jin court sent the Protector Qiao Qiu to bring troops to assist them, but before the troops could arrive, Shi Cong and the others had already been executed by Shi Hu.


At this time, Shi Cong was guarding Qiao.


8. Murong Huang sent his Chief Clerk, Wang Ji of Bohai, and others to inform the Jin court of his mourning for his father's death.


9. In the eighth month, Shi Hong appointed Shi Hu as Prime Minister, Prince of Wei, and Grand Chanyu, and granted him the Nine Bestowments. Shi Hu was given the thirteen counties of Wei commandary as his princely fief, for him to exercise dominion over.

Shi Hu proclaimed an amnesty within his domain, and set up his wife Lady Zheng as Princess of Wei. He appointed his son Shi Sui as Crown Prince of Wei, and further appointed him as Commissioner Bearing Credentials, Palace Attendant, Commander of all military affairs, and Grand General, and granted him authority over the imperial secretariat. His second son, Shi Xuan, was appointed as Commissioner Bearing Credentials, Grand General of Chariots and Cavalry, Inspector of Jizhou, and Prince of Hejian. His third son, Shi Tao, was appointed General of the Vanguard, Colonel Director of Retainers, and Prince of Le'an. Among his other sons, Shi Zun was appointed as Prince of Qi, Shi Jian as Prince of Dai, Shi Bao as Prince of Leping, and the Prince of Pingyuan, Shi Bin, as Prince of Zhangwu.

Shi Hu removed all the old ministers and officials that had held office under Shi Le, and replaced them with members of his own faction, and his personal attendants held office while residing in the Terraces. He appointed the General Who Guards The Army, Kui An, as Deputy Director of the Left, and one of the Masters of Writing, Guo Yin, as Deputy Director of the Right. He further ordered the Crown Prince's Palace to be renamed the Chongxun Palace, and the Empress Dowager Lady Liu (Shi Le’s widow) and her children, Shi Le’s other sons, were all relocated there. Shi Hu helped himself to all the finest of Shi Le’s former possessions, whether palace attendants, horses, carriages, clothing, or treasures, and moved them into his own Prime Minister's household.


Shi Bin's original title ought to read "Prince of Taiyuan" instead of "Prince of Pingyuan."

Shi Hu resided at Ye, and he made his son Shi Sui Commander over all military affairs, with his base at Xindu, while his household attendants were divided between the Terraces at Ye. Although Shi Hong occupied the throne, he was in a most strange position.

Chanyu was a traditional title among the northern tribes, the Xiongnu and others. It was a forerunner of the later title Khan.

The Nine Bestowments were nine sets of precious treasures traditionally granted by the Emperor to a servant who had demonstrated outstanding service. In practice, ever since the time of Wang Mang, a minister receiving the Nine Bestowments was almost always a prelude to his usurpation of the throne.


10. Yuwen Qidegui was driven out of his territory by the chieftain of the eastern tribe, Yuwen Yidougui, and he fled and died away from his land. Murong Huang led soldiers to attack Yuwen Yidougui, and his army marched to Guang'an. Yuwen Yidougui was afraid and asked for peace, and so Murong Huang constructed the two forts of Yuyin and Anjin on the border between his territory and the Yuwen domain before returning.


Guang'an was north of Jicheng.

Yuyin was built at Yin on the Great Yu River. Anjin was built southeast of the Yuwen-held city of Weide.

The Yuwen were another group of Xianbei tribes, rivals to the Murong clan. Their territory was adjacent to Yan.


11. Cheng's two commandaries of Jianning and Zangke attempted to defect to Jin, but Li Shou attacked them again and captured them.


12. Zhao's Empress Dowager Liu said to the Prince of Pengcheng, Shi Kan, "Our late lord has only just passed away, and yet the Prime Minister has hurried to bully us like this. The imperial line is in danger of being extinguished soon. Prince, what do you intend to do about this?"

Shi Kan replied, "All of our late lord's old ministers have been swept away, and the army is no longer under our command. Please allow me to escape to Yanzhou, and compel the Prince of Nanyang, Shi Hui, to serve as our leader. I shall capture Linqiu, and then proclaim your edict calling on all the Governors, Administrators, and army captains to bring troops and punish this usurpation, and thereby gain assistance for us."

Lady Liu said, "This is urgent business! You should act quickly."


Shi Kan is saying that Shi Hu's sons all held military power, preventing the use of soldiers for their plot, while Shi Hu had filled the ranks of all the palace guards, Terrace attendants, and other such men with his own personal followers, so no plot could be hatched that involved them.

Shi Hui was Shi Le's youngest son. At this time, he was guarding Linqiu.

In the ninth month, Shi Kan disguised himself as a commoner and left the city. He led a group of light cavalry to attack Yanzhou, but he was unsuccessful, and he fled south to Qiao. Prime Minister Shi Hu sent his general Guo Tai to pursue him, and he captured Shi Kan at Chengfu. Shi Kan was sent back to Xiangguo, where he was burned to death. Soon, the Prince of Nanyang, Shi Hui, also returned to Xiangguo. When Lady Liu's involvement in the plot was discovered, Shi Hu deposed and then killed her. He then named Shi Hong's mother, Lady Cheng, as Empress Dowager.

Shi Kan was originally a son of the Tian clan, and because of his many successes, Shi Le had adopted him as one of his own sons. Lady Liu had courage and resourcefulness. Shi Le always consulted her on army affairs, and she helped Shi Le in accomplishing his grand designs. In this way she was very similar to Empress Lü, although she was not as jealous as Empress Lü had been.


Empress Dowager Lü was able to execute Han Xin and Peng Yue, but Empress Liu could not stop Shi Hu from seizing power. She was not nearly as dangerous.

Empress Lü Zhi was the wife of Liu Bang. She was an extraordinarily intelligent woman whose advice greatly contributed to Liu Bang’s rise and his success as Emperor. However, after Liu Bang’s death, she and her family zealously guarded their power in a series of incidents known as the Lü Clan Disturbance.


13. Zhao's Prince of Hedong, Shi Sheng, was stationed at Guanzhong, and Shi Lang was stationed at Luoyang. In winter, the tenth month, Shi Sheng and Shi Lang both raised troops in rebellion to oppose Shi Hu. Shi Sheng declared himself Inspector of Qinzhou, and sent messengers offering submission to Jin. The Di chieftain Pu Hong declared himself Inspector of Yongzhou, and aligned himself with Zhang Jun to the west.


When the Han-Zhao prince Liu Yin fled to the west (in 329), Shi Sheng left Luoyang to guard Chang'an, so Shi Lang took over the defense of Luoyang in his place.

Pu Hong had surrendered to Shi Hu in the fourth year of Xianhe (329). Since Later Zhao was now in turmoil, he rose in rebellion.

關中 Guanzhong or “Between the Passes” refers to the region west of Hangu Pass, or more specifically to Chang’an and its environs in the Wei River Valley. The territory east of Hangu Pass is considered 關東 Guandong or “East of the Passes”.

The 氐 Di were a proto-Tibetan tribe from the west, similar in many respects to the Qiang. They should not be confused with the 狄 Di, an older Chinese general term for northern barbarians.


14. Shi Hu left his Crown Prince, Shi Sui, to defend Xiangguo, while he himself assembled a force of infantry and cavalry seventy thousand strong to meet Shi Lang at Jinyong. Shi Hu was victorious at Jinyong, where he captured Shi Lang, and cut off his feet before beheading him.

Shi Hu then advanced towards Chang'an, appointing the Prince of Liang, his son Shi Ting, as Grand Commander of the Vanguard. Shi Sheng dispatched his general Guo Quan to command the twenty thousand Xianbei under the chieftain Shegui as the vanguard force to oppose them, while he followed behind with the main host, advancing to Puban. Guo Quan and Shi Ting joined battle at Tong Gate, where Guo Quan inflicted a great defeat on Shi Hu's soldiers, and Shi Ting and the Prime Minister’s Chief Clerk of the Left, Liu Kui, were both killed. Shi Hu retreated to Mianchi, and the dead littered the ground for more than three hundred li.


This was the same Liu Kui who had fled from Jin to Zhao after being defeated by the rebel Wang Dun during his uprising.

澠 is pronounced "mian (mi-an)".

Jinyong is just outside of Luoyang.

Puban is the modern city of Yongji in Shanxi province.

But Shi Sheng's Xianbei allies then plotted with Shi Hu, planning to attack Shi Sheng. Shi Sheng, not knowing that Shi Ting was already dead, was afraid and so fled to Chang’an alone on horseback. Guo Quan gathered up Shi Sheng's remaining troops, and fell back to Weirui. Shi Sheng then abandoned Chang'an, hiding himself at Mount Jitou. The general Jiang Ying occupied Chang’an and defended it, but Shi Hu advanced and attacked Jiang Ying, killing him. Shi Sheng's subordinates killed him and surrendered; Guo Quan fled to Longyou.


Kong Anguo remarked, "The north of a river is called its 汭." Du Yu remarked, "The bend or curve in a river is called a 汭, which is pronounced 'rui'."

Zhang Shoujie remarked, "According to the Comprehensive Gazetteer, 'Mount Jitou is twenty li northeast of Shanglu County in Chengzhou, and is nine hundred sixty li southwest of Chang'an." Li Daoyuan has said, "It is another name for Mount Dalong." In the Book of Later Han, Kui Xiao sends Wang Meng to hold the Jitao Road; this is the same place (13.26). There is also another Mount Jitou in the area (筓 here, vs. 雞 above), a hundred li west of Pinggao County in Yuanzhou, which is eight hundred li northwest of Chang'an.


15. Shi Hu spread his forces to garrison the regions around the Qian River and the Long Mountains, while dispatching General Ma Qiu to deal with Pu Hong. Rather than fight, Pu Hong and twenty thousand of his households surrendered to Shi Hu, who welcomed him and granted him the titles of General of Glorious Ferocity and Colonel Who Protects The Di.


According to the Compendium of Customs and Traditions, the surname 麻 Ma comes from the great official Ma Ying of Qi (from the Spring and Autumn era).

There were no earlier instances of the title General of 光烈; Shi Hu first created it.

During Han, there had been the title Colonel Who Protects The Qiang. Shi Hu granted Pu Hong this similar title, to charge him with watching over the various Di groups.

When Pu Hong reached Chang'an, he persuaded Shi Hu to relocate many households of Guanzhong people, along with the Di and Qiang households there, to the east. He said, "All the Di are under my family's command; once I issue the order, who will dare disobey it?" So Shi Hu relocated the hundreds of thousands of Di and Qiang households that had been in Qinzhou and Yongzhou, and moved them to Guandong. Pu Hong was made Dragon-Soaring General and Marshal of Refugees, and was stationed at Fangtou. The Qiang chieftain Yao Yizhong was made General of 奋武 and Grand Commander of the Western Qiang, with his hosts of many tens of thousands being relocated to Retou on the Qing River.


This was why Pu Hong's son Pu Jian had set out from Fangtou when he later conquered Guanzhong. 枋 is pronounced "fang".

灄 is pronounced "re (r-e)". The Commentary on the Water Classic states that the Qing River passed through the east of Guangchuan County. The side of the river had many Qiang ramparts on it, and the Yao clan resided there. (9.32)

This was why Yao Yizhong and his sons later rose in rebellion against Ran Min at Retou (Book 98, 350.1).


16. When Shi Hu returned to Xiangguo, he issued a general pardon. Shi Hong ordered Shi Hu to establish an administration in Wei commandary, much as Prince Wu of Wei (Cao Cao) had once done to uphold Han.


17. Murong Huang officially inherited his father’s position. He enforced a strict and harsh rule, greatly worrying the people. The Registrar Huangfu Zhen admonished him, but Murong Huang did not listen to him.


18. Murong Huang had several brothers, among them the General Who Establishes Might, Murong Han, who was his elder brother born of one of their father’s concubines, and the General Who Conquers The Caitiffs, Murong Ren, one of Murong Huang’s younger brothers by the same mother. These two were brave and cunning, often winning great success in battle, and they had the support of the scholar-officials class. Another brother, Murong Zhao, possessed great talent as well. Murong Hui had favored all three of them, and so Murong Huang was suspicious of them.

Upon Murong Hui's death, Murong Han exclaimed, "My father entrusted me with affairs, and I dared not do less than my utmost. It was only through his spirit that I was able to accomplish so much, and that was Heaven's favor supporting our state. Yet people will attribute my successes to my own mortal talents, and believe that I will be difficult to control. How can I remain here and await misfortune?" So he and his sons fled to seek refuge under the Duan clan. Duan Liao had long heard of his talents, and accepted him in Jizhou, holding him in high esteem.

Like the Yuwen clan, the Duan clan were another rival group of Xianbei. Duan Liao controlled the Youzhou region, especially around the city of Ji (modern Beijing).


19. Murong Ren hurried from his defense post at Pingguo to attend the mourning for his late father. There, he told Murong Zhao, "We have been arrogant, 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 committed offenses!"

Murong Zhao replied, "We were all born of the same mother; we ought to have an equal share of the state. Elder Brother, the scholar-officials have long held regard for you. Since our brother does not yet suspect me, I will observe events from within, watching for an opening. It will not be difficult to do away with him. You should go and raise troops, while I coordinate things from this side. On the day of success, Liaodong shall be ours. We must take action without fearing death; we cannot be like the General Who Establishes Might (Murong Han), living out a pointless existence in a foreign land."


Murong Zhao meant that since they were both legitimate sons, they would split the state between them.

Murong Ren said, "Excellent!" So he returned to Pingguo.

In the intercalary month, Murong Ren raised troops in rebellion and marched west.


According to the Records of Han, Pingguo County was a part of Liaodong commandary. Jin had abolished it. Jin's Colonel of Eastern Tribes had administered their assigned territory from Xiangping. After Cui Bi's defeat, Murong Hui sent Murong Ren to defend Liaodong, and he administered the region from Pingguo.


20. Murong Huang learned of his brothers' plot. Still trusting his brothers, he sent messengers to look into the matter. Murong Ren's soldiers had already reached the Huang River, and learning that his treason was discovered, he killed the messengers, and fell back on Pingguo.

Murong Huang ordered Murong Zhao to commit suicide, and dispatched his Army Libationer, Feng Yi, to go stabilize Liaodong. He further appointed Gao Xu as General Who Spreads Valor, and sent him with his younger brothers, the General Who Establishes Valor, Murong You, Murong Zhi, the General Who Spreads Might, Murong Junn, the General Who Calms Distant Places, Murong Hann, and the Marshal of Liaodong, Tong Shou, to lead an army of five thousand men against Murong Ren.


The 黃 Huang River, also called the 潢 Huang River, was northeast of Jicheng, four hundred li from Tang's Yingzhou. According to the Chronicles of the Book of Jin, during Han, the Huang River was in Xiandu County in Liaodong commandary.

This probably refers to the Xar Moron River, which flows into the Liao River.


佟 is pronounced "tong (t-ong)", and is a surname.

To avoid confusion, I translate the first name of Murong Huang's brother 慕容軍 Murong Jun as "Junn" to distinguish him from Murong Huang's more famous son and heir, 慕容俊 Murong Jun. The same principle applies to the more famous 慕容翰 Murong Han vs. his more obscure brother 慕容汗 Murong Han, now "Hann".

Gao Xu and the others fought Murong Ren north of Wencheng, where they suffered a great defeat. Murong You, Murong Zhi, and Murong Junn were all captured by Murong Ren. Since Tong Shou had once served as Murong Ren's Marshal, he surrendered to Murong Ren. The former Jin Minister of Finance, Sun Ji, and others offered over Liaodong City to Murong Ren. Feng Yi could not enter the region, and he returned to Murong Huang's territory along with Murong Hann. The Colonel of Eastern Tribes, Feng Chou, the Protector of the Army, Yi Yi of Pingyuan, and the Chancellor of Liaodong, Han Jiao of Taiyuan, all abandoned their cities and fled. Murong Ren thus came into complete possession of Liaodong. Duan Liao and the Xianbei then coordinated with Murong Ren to provide him with assistance.

Murong Huang recalled Huangfu Zhen’s earlier warning, and so appointed him as Attendant Officer of Pingzhou.


汶 Wen was the name of an old Han county, part of Liaodong commandary; the 前書 writes it as 文 Wen.

This Sun Ji was the same former Jin official who had fled to Liaodong seeking refuge. Liaodong City was the same city as Xiangping.

乙 Yi is a surname; his first name was 逸 Yi. The Registry of Surnames states, "Tang of Shang had the style name Tianyi, and his descendants kept Yi as their surname."

Murong Huang was acting Inspector of Pingzhou, so he could only name Huangfu Zhen as Attendant Officer.

遼東 Liaodong refers to the region east of the Liao River.

This begins a curious set of discrepancies between the ZZTJ account and the one in the Book of Jin involving Gao Xu. Here we see that Gao Xu led the initial army that attacked Murong Ren. However, the Book of Jin claims that he was still only the Administrator of Xuantu, and that he abandoned his city and fled with the others.


21. In the eleventh month, Shi Sheng's former general, Guo Quan, seized control of Shanggui, and sent notice of his submission to Jin. The territories of Jingzhao, Xinping, Fufeng, Pingyi, and Beidi all did the same.


22. Before now, Zhang Jun of Liangzhou had wished to send diplomatic messages to Jiankang by way of Cheng, but the lord of Cheng, Li Xiong, would not permit it. So Zhang Jun sent his Attendant Official for Internal Affairs, Zhang Chun, to offer Zhang Jun's fealty to Cheng, in order to pass through their territory. Li Xiong pretended to permit it, but sent pirates to lay in wait at the Eastern Gorges on the Yangzi. A native of Shu, Qiao Zan, secretly warned Zhang Chun about it.

Zhang Chun said to Li Xiong, "My lord has sent me to make diplomatic ties with Jiankang because he knew Your Majesty values loyalty and righteousness, and is ready to lend a hand. If you prefer to kill me, you ought to behead me in the market square, and then post a notice for the crowd to read saying, ‘Liangzhou has not forgotten the old virtues, seeking to send word to Langye. Their lord is sagely and his minister bright. When I discovered this, I killed him.’ By this, word of your virtue will spread far and wide, and all the realm will fear your might. But by sending pirates to kill me along the Yangzi, you do not demonstrate your might; how then could the realm know of it?"

Li Xiong, shocked, replied, "How could this be?"


Since the Three Gorges were east of Chengdu, they were also called the Eastern Gorges.

Shu did not permit Liangzhou people to pass through, so before now there had not been any trace of them.

Since Eastern Jin had been founded by Sima Rui, who was the Prince of Langye, people outside the Southland sometimes called the region Langye.

Jiankang was the name for Jianye during this period. It was the capital of Eastern Jin. Its name had been changed to avoid conflicting with a naming-taboo for the final Western Jin emperor, Emperor Min, who had the given name Ye.


23. Cheng's Colonel Director of Retainers, Jing Qian, said to Li Xiong, "Zhang Chun is a brave man. Please permit him to stay here."

Li Xiong replied, "Why would such a brave man be willing to stay? But you may discuss matters with him."


The Colonel Director of Retainers was an office in the capital region of a state. Since Chengdu was Shu's capital, their Colonel Director was there.

Jing Qian then said to Zhang Chun, "It is currently quite warm in our territory now, and it may pose difficulties for a man of your robust build. Why not remain here until the weather cools, and in the meantime send a minor official to Jiankang in your stead?"

Zhang Chun replied, "Our lord has sent me to express his loyalty to the imperial court. He laments that the imperial court remains in exile, the coffins of the late Emperors have not yet returned to the north, the people live in suffering and misery, and yet even so he remains powerless to change such things. This is far too important a matter to be left to some minor official. If a minor official could be sent, then there would be no point in my having come here. Though the mountains erupt or the seas boil over, even so I will arrive at Shangdu, so how could I be concerned about mere heat or cold?"


He refers to the deaths of Emperors Huai and Min, whose coffins had yet to be returned.

上都 Shangdu refers to the Eastern Jin capital, Jiankang.

Then Li Xiong said to Zhang Chun, "Your lord is heroic and renowned, peerless in the realm. His land is well-guarded and his soldiers are strong. Why does he not assume imperial title to please himself?"

Zhang Chun replied, "My lord's family has been steadfast and loyal to Jin for generations, and the world knows their sincerity. As he has not yet avenged the imperial court's shame, he sleeps with his spear as a pillow waiting for day to break (i.e., he is prepared for battle). Why would he merely think of pleasing himself?"

Li Xiong felt ashamed, and he said, "My family, too, had been loyal servants for generations. But when the realm fell into chaos, and the people of the six commandaries (of Qinzhou) came to this province seeking refuge, the multitude compelled my father to be their leader, and that is how things came to be as they are now. If Langye is able to restore Jin as the ruler of the Middle Kingdom, then I too will lead troops to support him." So he presented Zhang Chun with gifts and sent him on. Zhang Chun eventually carried out his orders at Jiankang.


The incidents beginning the migration of Li Te's followers were related in Book 82, in Emperor Hui's eighth year of Yuankang (298).

Around 300, Li Te led a large band of refugees who fled from their homes in Qinzhou to go to Shu. After meeting with opposition from the Jin commanders there, Li Te began fighting against them, and was hailed by the refugees as their leader. He died in battle, but his relatives completed the conquest and founded the state of Cheng, with Li Xiong as its first Emperor.


24. When Chang'an had first fallen to Han-Zhao (in 316), the counting clerk of Dunhuang, Geng Fang, had gone from Hanzhong to the Southland. He sent many petitions to the court, asking for an imperial envoy to be sent to console and assist Liangzhou. The court appointed Geng Fang as Attendant Minister to the Secretariat, planning to send him to appoint Zhang Jun as Grand General Who Guards The West, and selected Jia Ling of Longxi and twelve other men to be his subordinates.

When Geng Fang reached Lianzhou, the roads were blocked. Geng Fang transferred his commission to Jia Ling, while Geng disguised himself as a merchant and continued on. During this year (333 AD), Jia Ling finally arrived at Liangzhou and presented the Jin titles, and Zhang Jun sent the Commander of Personal Troops, Wang Feng, and others back to Jin to express appreciation.

At this time, there were two provinces named Liangzhou: 涼州 Liangzhou, the province of Former Liang in the far northwest, and 梁州 Liangzhou, the region of northern Shu around Hanzhong. To avoid confusion, the latter province will be written as Lianzhou.


The fall of Chang'an to Han-Zhao was related in Book 89, in Emperor Min's fourth year of Jianxing (316).

Geng Fang, in his capacity as a counting clerk, had been sent from Dunhuang to Chang'an, but he never returned, since during the above incident, the roads back through Hexi and Longyou were blocked. So he was forced to travel south into Hanzhong, and from there east along the Han River until he reached Jiankang.

Some versions write Geng Fang's granted position as Supporting Assistant to the Secretariat or Administrative Assistant to the Secretariat.
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Wed Jun 21, 2017 4:11 pm, edited 24 times in total.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:26 pm


The Ninth Year of Xianhe (The Jiawu Year, 334 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, Zhao changed their reign era title to Yanxi.


2. Jin appointed Sun Sheng's former general, Guo Quan, as General Who Guards The West and Inspector of Yongzhou.


3. The King of Chouchi, Yang Nandi, passed away, and his son Yang Yi succeeded him. He proclaimed himself Dragon-Soaring General, Worthy King of the Left, and Duke of Xiabian. His uncle Yang Jiantou's son, Yang Pan, was named Champion General, Worthy King of the Right, and Duke of Hechi. Yang Yi sent word offering his submission to Jin.

Chouchi was a small Di state between Shu and Guanzhong, usually a vassal of other, larger states.

The title 左/右賢王 “Worthy King of the Left/Right” was earlier known among the Xiongnu, especially during Han Wudi’s era.


4. In the second month, on the day Dingmao (April 13th), the Jin court sent Geng Fang and Wang Feng to present to Zhang Jun the seals of office for Grand General and Commander of military affairs in Shanxi, Yongzhou, Qinzhou, and Liangzhou. Messengers were thereafter dispatched every year between Jin and Liangzhou without interruption.


陝 is pronounced "shan (sh-an)". Chouchi, on the border between Lianzhou and Liangzhou, was also a Jin vassal, and the road passed through there.


5. Murong Ren appointed his Marshal Zhai Kai as Colonel of Eastern Tribes, and appointed the former Attendant Officer of Pingzhou, Pang Jian, as Chancellor of Liaodong.


6. Duan Liao sent soldiers to raid Murong Huang’s territory at Tuhe, without success.

He then sent both his younger brother Duan Lan and Murong Han for a joint attack against Liucheng. However, the Commandant Shi Chong and the city commander Muyu Ni exerted themselves in defense; Duan Lan and the others could not succeed, and they retreated. Duan Liao was furious, and he castigated Duan Lan and his men, ordering them to capture the city no matter what.

After resting for twenty days, Duan Lan returned and launched another attack against the city with additional soldiers. His troops were all adorned in heavy armor and shields, and they constructed siege ladders to use against the walls. They pressed against the city from every side, and did not rest even at night. Shi Cong and Muyu Ni put up a stalwart defense, killing many thousands, and in the end Duan Lan could not capture the city.

Murong Huang sent Murong Hann and his Marshal Feng Yi and others to relieve the city. Murong Huang told Murong Hann, "The enemy is in high spirits; do not be quick to engage them!"

But Murong Hann had a valiant temperament; he led a thousand horsemen as the vanguard, and plunged into battle. Feng Yi ordered a halt, but Murong Hann did not heed him. He and his men encountered Duan Lan at Niuwei Valley, where Murong Hann suffered a great defeat, and more than half his soldiers were killed. But Feng Yi rallied his soldiers and fought hard, and so staved off his own defeat.


During Han, Liucheng County was part of Liaoxi commandary. It was abolished during Jin. Under the Tang dynasty, 營州
Yingzhou was administered from Liucheng.

A 城大 "city chief" is the chief of a city; since they are the most senior commander there, they are called a 城大. 埿 is pronounced "ni".

Flying ladders are the same as cloud ladders.

Niuwei Valley was north of Liucheng.


7. Duan Lan wished to pursue the beaten soldiers, but Murong Han feared it would lead to the collapse of his native state. So he stopped Duan Lan and said, "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. General, although you have defeated this portion of the enemy, it has not yet affected their overall strength. Murong Huang is very crafty and cunning. He must have prepared an ambush. If he is able to bring all the power of his state against us, while our army is deep within his territory, our army will not be able to match them. That is the danger of this path. We should follow our orders, and first secure this victory. If we exceed orders and advance, then if we should meet with defeat, this latest triumph will be lost, and how will we be able to show our faces again?"

Duan Lan replied, "Our victory is already a fact, and they have no other recourse. You simply fear that your own state will be vanquished! But there is your brother Qiannian in the east; if we advance and are successful, then I will welcome him as the new heir. So have no fear that I might betray you. Your ancestral temple will not go unattended." Qiannian was Murong Ren's childhood name.

Murong Han said, "I have thrown myself upon your mercy, and I harbor no thoughts of returning there. What does the life or death of that state have to do with me? My only wish is to further the interests of our own land, and thereby secure our mutual glory." He then ordered his remaining troops, intending to go back on his own. Duan Lan could do nothing but follow him.


Duan Lan was saying that the way their plan will go, Murong Huang will certainly be captured, but no one else need be harmed.

This passage demonstrates that although Murong Han was physically far away, in his heart he was still thinking of his family and his state.


8. In the third month, Li Xiong split Ningzhou into two parts: one remained Ningzhou, the other became Jiaozhou. He made Huo Biao the Inspector of Ningzhou, and Cuan Shen the Inspector of Jiaozhou.


Cheng split off from Ningzhou the commandaries Xinggu, Yongchang, Zangke, Yuegui, and Yelang, and formed Jiaozhou from them.


9. Shi Hu dispatched General Guo Ao and the Prince of Zhangwu, Shi Bin, with forty thousand infantry and cavalry to go west to attack the rebel Guo Quan. The Zhao army went to Huayin. In summer, the fourth month, the people of Shanggui killed Guo Quan and surrendered.

Shi Hu relocated thirty thousand households in Qinzhou to Qingzhou and Bingzhou. Chen Liangfu of Chang’an fled to the Black Qiang, and he invaded Beidi and Pingyi with the King of the Northern Qiang, Bao Gouda. Shi Bin and the Prince of Le'an, Shi Tao, jointly attacked Bao Gouda, and routed him. Bao Gouda fled to Mount Malan.

Guo Ao then pursued the Qiang north, but he was defeated by them, losing seventy to eighty percent of his men. Shi Bin and others regathered the Zhao army at Sancheng. Shi Hu sent word to execute Guo Ao. The Prince of Qin, Shi Hong, complained about it, so Shi Hu imprisoned him.


華 is pronounced "hua (h-ua)".

There were different groups of the Qiang. They included the Green Qiang and the Black Qiang. 句 is pronounced "gou".

Wei Shou's Geographical Records states, "At the beginning of the Taihe era of Cao-Wei (~227), Guangwu in Yanmen and Biancheng in Shuofang were combined to form Biancheng commandary. It was administered from Guangwu County, and that county had the cities Sancheng and Biancheng."

Shi Hu had earlier summoned Shi Hong when Shi Le was ill, under the pretense of having an imperial order, and then charged him with neglecting his duties.


10. Murong Ren proclaimed himself Inspector of Pingzhou and Duke of Liaodong.


11. In his later years, the Jin general Tao Kan feared for his own safety, since others might target him because of his vast achievements and rewards. He took no part in court affairs, and often asked to retire to his ducal domain, but his subordinates always asked him to stay.

In the sixth month, Tao Kan grew ill, and sent in a memorial resigning his positions. He sent his Chief Clerk of the Left, Yin Xian, to give back his army seals, standards, screens, bent-shaft canopies, palace hat ornaments, his stamp as Grand Commandant, his Inspector's seals for Jingzhou, Jiangzhou, Yongzhou, Liangzhou, Jiaozhou, Guangzhou, Yizhou, and Ningzhou, and his tally and halberd. His army materials, weapons, oxen and horses, boats, and ships were all accounted for and secured in a warehouse, and Tao Kan himself placed the lock. He turned over all affairs to his Marshal of the Right, Wang Qianqi, promoting him to Protector so that he could direct all civil and military matters.

On the day Jiayin (July 29th), Tao Kan set out in his carriage, crossing the fords on boats, and making his way back to Changsha. He turned and said to Wang Qianqi, "How long you all have hounded me! But soon I shall be haunting you." On the day Yimao (July 30th), he passed away at Fanxi. He was posthumously known as Duke Huan of Changsha.

Tao Kan had been in the army for forty-one years. He was bright, resolute, virtuous, and firm, meticulous and exacting, and no one could deceive him. From Nanling all the way to Baidi (the breadth of the area of his former command), many thousands of li, no one picked up things left by the wayside (i.e., all of society was honest and true).

Following his death, the Master of Writing, Mei Tao, wrote to his relative Cao Shi saying, "Duke Tao possessed divine insight and judgment like Emperor Wu of Wei (Cao Cao), while being as loyal and devoted to service as Kongming (Zhuge Liang). Lu Kang and men of that sort cannot compare with him."

Xie An often said, "Although Duke Tao used the law, he often worked outside it." This Xie An was the nephew of Xie Kun.


That is, Tao Kan wished to return to his fief at Changsha.

A 麾 is a commander's standard. When the enemy is nearby, the three armies watch it for signals of advance or retreat. A 幢 (screen) is the same as a 幢. The "Fangyan" states, "A 幢 is a screen. In Chu they call it a 翿, while in Guandong and in the west they call it a 幢." The 文選註 states, "A 幢 is a feather screen." The 釋名 states, "A 幢 is a 童, and is in the shape of a 童童." A 曲蓋 is a bent shaft used for a canopy. "A New Account of the Tales of the World" mentions it: "Xie Lingyun was fond of wearing a straw hat mounted on a bent shaft. The recluse Kong Yinshi asked him, 'Since you wish to still your mind and be lofty and remote from the world, why can't you avoid the appearance of a bent-shaft canopy?'" (2.108) According to the system under Jin, anyone who held office as a Duke was given all of these things as symbols of authority.

We can see from this that Tao Kun returned everything that the court had once granted him. All this was written to show that Tao Kan worked meticulously to put all of his affairs in order, so that even though he was ill, he would not leave any confusion after he was gone.

Tao Kan meant that his current aches and pains were due to the fact that his subordinates had not allowed him to retire sooner.

Fanxi was three li west of Wuchang, north where it entered into the Yangzi. When one considers Tao Kan's entire career on the western border, who could have gussed that he would meet with such a lamentable fate! The Jin histories all record that this was like when one loses a wing in a dream. Everything was now turned over to Yu Liang and his partisans.

The forty-one years were from Emperor Hui's second year of Taian (304), when Tao Kan had attacked the ethnic rebel leader Zhang Chang, until now.

Nanling is on the border of Xuancheng commandary. The Liang dynasty formed it into Nanling commandary. Chen placed it in northern Jiangzhou, along the banks of the Yangzi and its isles. Jiangzhou's eastern border was then at Nanling. (There is a Nanling County in Xuanzhou in our time, but that is not where the old Nanling was.) So the border of Tao Kan's region of command stretched from Nanling to Baidicheng. Song Bai remarked, "Nanling was originally the Han dynasty's Chonggu County; later, it was merged with Yuhu County, both of which were part of Fanchang. Emperor Wu of Liang first split off Nanling County into Nanling commandary. One can still see the foundations of the old city on the banks of the Yangzi; they are a hundred and thirty li from the modern city."

This passage demonstrates how highly regarded Tao Kan's reputation was.

Xie Kun is first mentioned in Book 92, in Emperor Yuan's first year of Yongchang (322.3).

Lu Kang was the son of Eastern Wu’s Prime Minister Lu Xun, who defeated Liu Bei at Yiling. Lu Kang himself was a commander of outstanding ability.

陶公疾篤,都無獻替之言,朝士以為恨。仁祖聞之曰:「時無豎刁,故不貽陶公話言。」時賢以為德音。(New Tales 2.47)

During Duke Tao Kan's last illness (in 334), he left no word whatsoever either of approval or disapproval concerning a successor. The gentlemen of the court all thought this to be regrettable. But when Xie Shang heard of it, he said, "At present, since there's no Xun Xiao around, naturally we don't have Duke Tao's last instructions." Worthies of those times considered this to be the remark of a virtuous man. (Tr. Richard Mather)


12. Li Xiong developed an ulcer on his head. He had many old wounds on his body from swords. When he became ill, pus flowed out from these old wounds and caused a great stench. His other sons were revolted at this and stayed away from him. Only the Crown Prince, Li Ban, stayed with him day and night, not even changing his clothes, and sucking the pus from Li Xiong's wounds.

On the day Dingmao (August 11th), Li Xiong passed away, and the Crown Prince, Li Ban, rose to the throne.

Li Xiong had ordered the Grand General and Prince of Jianning, Li Shou, to obey his summons to come and act as regent. Li Shou was granted greater authority, and all affairs of state were handled by him, by the Minister Over The Masses He Dian, and by the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Wang Gui. Li Ban remained in observance of the mourning rituals, paying heed to nothing else.


Li Xiong was sixty-one when he died. The Chronicles of the Book of Jin claims he died in the previous year.

咸和八年,雄生瘍於頭,六日死,時年六十一,在位三十年。(Jinshu 121.15)

In the eighth year of Xianhe (333), Li Xiong developed an ulcer on his head. After six days, he died. At that time, he was sixty-one, and in the thirtieth year of his reign.

Li Ban, styled Shiwen, was the son of Li Xiong's older brother Li Dang.

Some versions record Wang Gui's title as "Prefect of the Masters of Writing" instead of "Master of Writing". 瓌 is pronounced "gui (g-ui)".

Can anyone truly claim that Li Ban was not benevolent and filial? Yet he could not protect his own body, and he met his death at Li Yue's hand. Such was that decadent and depraved age, when men could not hold fast to the old rites, but perverted them with wrongdoing. And as the body perished, so too was the state thrown into turmoil.


13. On the day Xinwei (August 15th), Jin’s General Who Pacifies The West, Yu Liang, was promoted to be General Who Conquers The West, Credential Holder, and Commander of military affairs in Jiangzhou, Jingzhou, Yuzhou, Yizhou, Lianzhou, and Yongzhou. He was further appointed as acting Inspector of Jiangzhou, Yangzhou, and Jingzhou, and he was stationed at Wuchang.

Yu Liang appointed Yin Hao as 記室參軍. This Yin Hao was the son of Yin Xian. Much like two other men of the Southland, the Administrator of Yangzhang, Chu Pou, and the Chancellor of Danyang, Du Yi, he was well-known for his beliefs, his rarefied living, and his disdain for politics. Each of them were adept at discussing the merits of Laozi and the Book of Changes. By this, they all gained a reputation in the Southland, and Yin Hao was held in especially high regard by the eccentrics and free-thinkers. This Chu Pou was the grandson of Chu Lüe; this Du Yi was the son of Du Yang.

Huan Yi once said of Chu Pou, “Jiye is a ‘Chunqiu’ critic.” By this he meant how Chu Pou would outwardly not pass judgment on anyone, but inwardly would appraise people. Xie An said of him, "Though Chu Pou does not speak, the four seasons are made ready just the same."


Now that Tao Kan was gone, Yu Liang began to grow autocratic.

裒 is pronounced "pou (p-ou)".

Chu Lüe was mentioned in Book 77, in Emperor Yuan of Cao-Wei's (Cao Huan's) first year of Jingyuan (260). And more on Du Xi was mentioned in Book 83, in Emperor Hui's ninth year of Yuankang (298).

Chu Pou's style name was Jiye.

The 春秋 Chunqiu or “(Annals of the) Spring and Autumn” was a record of events in and around the state of Lu during the Spring and Autumn period (771-476 BC), which has been named after it. In this passage, 皮裡《春秋》has been used to replace a character in the phrase 皮裡陽秋 “to keep criticism to oneself” because the character 陽 was part of a name-taboo during the time.

Xie An's line is a reference to the Analects, the collected anecdotes of Confucius.

子曰: 予欲無言. 子貢曰: 子如不言、則小子何述焉? 子曰: 天何言哉? 四時行焉、百物生焉。天何言哉?

[17:17] Confucius said: “I wish I could avoid talking.”

Zi Gong said, “Master, if you didn't speak, what would we disciples have to pass on?”

Confucius said, “Does Heaven speak? Yet the four seasons continue to change, and all things are born. Does Heaven speak?”


14. In autumn, the sixth month, Murong Huang's minister Wang Ji returned to Liaodong.

The Jin court sent the Imperial Clerk, Wang Qi, to conduct the rites for the late Duke of Liaodong, Murong Hui, and sent the Mediator Xu Meng and others to appoint Murong Huang as Grand General Who Guards The Army, Inspector of Pingzhou, Grand Chanyu, Duke of Liaodong, Credential Bearer, Commander, and 承制封拜,just as Murong Hui had once been.

However, when the Jin envoys’ boats reached Mashi Ford, they were all detained by Murong Ren.


Some versions include "Commander" among Murong Huang's granted titles.

The Jin envoys departed Jiankang on the Yangzi, following that down to the sea, and turned from Liaojiao to the ocean at Dengzhou. They travelled northeast, passing Daxie Island, Guixin Island, Yu Island, and Wuhu Island, three hundred li. They turned north into the Wuhu Sea, until they reached the garrisons east of Mount Mashi. Mashi Ford was this location.


15. In the seventh month, on the day Wuyin (August 22nd), Jin’s Guard General, Lu Ye, passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke of Mu of Jiangling.

Lu Ye was Lu Xun’s great-nephew by his younger brother Lu Mao.


16. Cheng's General of Chariots, Li Xiong's son Li Yue, left Jiangyang and hurried to Chengdu for his father's mourning.

Li Yue was very unsatisfied with Li Ban because he was not Li Xiong's natural son, and he plotted with the General Who Maintains The East, Li Qi, to act against him. Li Ban's younger brother, Li Ru, urged Li Ban to order Li Yue back to Jiangyang, and to have Li Qi sent off as Inspector of Liangzhou, to guard Jiameng Pass. Since Li Ban had yet to carry out his father’s burial, he could not bear to send them away. Rather than suspecting his brothers, he treated them with full sincerity, and he instead sent Li Ru to camp at Fu.

In winter, the tenth month, on the new moon of the day Guihai (December 5th), while Li Ban was in the midst of his grieving, Li Yue murdered him in the memorial hall. He further killed the General Who Directs The Army, Li Ban’s elder brother Li Du. He then forged an edict from Empress Dowager Ren, accusing Li Ban of crimes and so authorizing deposing him.


Jiameng Pass was at Jinshou.

玝 is pronounced "ru (r-u)". 涪 is pronounced "fu".

This was just as Li Xiang had said. The place where a coffin is placed is called 殯; before it is buried, it is left there for viewings.

任 is pronounced "ren".


17. Originally, because his mother Lady Ran was a commoner, Li Qi had been raised by Empress Dowager Ren. Li Qi had many talents, and was well known. After Li Ban's death, many wanted to put Li Yue on the throne, but Li Yue insisted upon Li Qi instead. On the day Jiazi (December 6th), Li Qi was made the new Emperor. Li Ban was posthumously named as Crown Prince Li ("the Perverse"). Li Yue became Prime Minister and Duke of Jianning.


Li Qi, styled Shiyun, was Li Xiong's fourth son.

The Grand General Li Shou was promoted to Grand Commander, and his title was changed to Prince of Han; he was also given command over the imperial secretariat. His older brother Li Ba was appointed as General Who Directs The Army of the Center and Grand General Who Guards The South; his younger brother Li Bao became Grand General Who Guards The West, and Administrator of Wenshan; his cousin Li Shi was appointed as Grand General Who Conquers The East, and guarded Jiangyang in place of Li Yue.

On the day Bingyin (December 8th), Li Xiong was buried at Andu Tomb. His posthumous name was Emperor Wu, and his temple name was Taizong.


The Chronicles of the Book of Jin states that this Li Shi was Li Te's eldest son; he was Li Qi's uncle, and Li Shou's cousin.

於是六郡流人推特為主... 長子始為武威將軍... (Jinshu 120.10)

Then the refugees from the six commandaries made Li Te their leader... His eldest son Li Shi was appointed as General of Martial Might...


18. Li Shi asked Li Shou to attack Li Qi together with him, but Li Shou did not dare to march. Li Shi was enraged and falsely slandered Li Shou to Li Qi, asking Li Qi to kill him. But since Li Qi wanted to use Li Shou to attack Li Ru, he did not agree with Li Shi. Instead, Li Qi sent orders for Li Shou to march against Li Ru's camp at Fu.

Li Shou sent word ahead to Li Ru, allowing him to flee before Li Shou set out. Li Ru fled to Jin, and was made Jin’s Administrator of Ba. Li Qi made Li Shou the Inspector of Lianzhou, based at Fu.


This was why Li Shou later marched from Fu to depose Li Qi (Book 96, 338.9).


19. Shi Hong went to the Wei Palace to present his seals and offer to surrender his throne to Shi Hu. Shi Hu responded, "It is for the realm to decide whether your rule has been suitable. How can this matter be discussed?"

Shi Hong, in tears, returned to his palace, where he said to his mother Lady Cheng, "We shall never again see men of my late father's caliber!" Then a minister of the secretariat issued an edict stating: "May the Prince of Wei take heed of the abdication from Tang to Yu of old."


Since Shi Hu was the Prince of Wei, his residence was called the Wei Palace.

That is, a minister of the Zhao court's secretariat sent in the petition.

In great antiquity, Emperor Yao or Tang Yao passed on his throne to his chosen successor, Emperor Shun or Yu Shun.

Shi Hu said, "Shi Hong is foolish and confused, and has not followed the proper mourning rites. He is not fit to be the lord of ten thousand states. How can one speak of abdication when he ought to be deposed?"

In the eleventh month, Shi Hu sent Guo Yin with a staff of authority to the imperial palace, deposing Shi Hong to the rank of Prince of Haiyang. Shi Hong walked to his carriage peacefully, his expression untroubled, telling his ministers: "An ignorant incompetent like myself cannot assume the handling of great endeavors. What else remains for me to say?" Not a minister there held back their tears, and the palace attendants wept in sorrow.


Some versions include "He is not fit to be the lord of ten thousand states" in Shi Hu's edict.

Some versions include "with a staff of authority" after "entered the palace".

The ministers urged Shi Hu to assume the imperial title. Shi Hu responded, "Anyone who would be Emperor must be one of exceptional virtue. I dare not assume the role. Let me instead take the title of Heavenly Prince of Zhao."

Shi Hong, Empress Cheng, the Prince of Qin, Shi Hong (his brother), and the Prince of Nanyang, Shi Hui, were sent to Chongxun Palace, and were all later put to death.


Sima Guang mentions in the Textual Analysis, "The Thirty Kingdoms and the Annals of Jin both say, 'Shi Hu rose to the throne, and changed the reign era title to the first year of Yongxi.' Chen Hong's 大統曆 states, 'Shi Hu rose to the throne, and changed the reign era title from the fifth year of Jianping to the first year of Yanxing, and the following year changed it to Jianwu.' Now the Thirty Kingdoms and the Annals of Jin do not record Shi Hong as having begun the Yanxi reign era, but they say that when Shi Hu claimed the throne, that he was the one who began Yanxi, though they mistakenly call it Yongxi. Since it was Shi Hong who began Yanxi, how could Shi Hu have started a Yongxi? And Chen Hong states, 'Shi Hu changed the reign era title from the fifth year of Jianping to the first year of Yanxing, because Shi Hong had gone more than a year without having begun a new reign era.' I fear Chen Hong is mistaken."

Chongxun Palace was where Shi Hu had banished the Crown Prince to. Shi Hong was twenty-one when he died.

天王 “Heavenly Prince” was a title often assumed by the non-Han rulers of the Sixteen Kingdoms. Although ostensibly humbler in title than Emperor, in practice there was little distinction.


20. Zhao's Grand Commander of the Western Qiang, Yao Yizhong, pleaded illness and did not attend court. Shi Hu repeatedly summoned him, until at last he came. In a stern countenance, he told Shi Hu, "I have always thought that you were a hero of the realm. Yet our late lord grasped your arm and entrusted you to protect this young man. How then could you turn against him and seize his throne?"

Shi Hu replied, "Do you suppose I enjoyed it? Consider the Prince of Haiyang's youth. I fear he would not be able to handle family affairs. That is why I took his place." Although Yao Yizhong's heart was not at peace, he eventually accepted this reasoning as honest, and did not begrudge Shi Hong the deed.

Yao Yizhong and his family were themselves Qiang. Yao Yizhong was the son of the Cao-Wei appointed Qiang commander Yao Kehui.


21. Shi Hu appointed Kui An as Palace Attendant, Grand Commandant, and 守 Prefect of the Masters of Writing. Guo Yin was made the Minister of Works, Han Xi became the Supervisor of the Left of the Masters of Writing, Shen Zhong of Weijun became Palace Attendant, Lang Kai was made Household Counsellor, and Wang Bo was made Prefect of the Palace Secretariat. Civil and military ranks and titles were each distributed among almost all.

Shi Hu went to Xindu, and then returned to Xiangguo.


The Chronicles of the Book of Jin states that Shi Hu had heard of the prophecy, 'The Son of Heaven shall come from the northeast', so he prepared a carriage, traveled to the city of Xindu (northeast of Ye), and then returned, in order to fulfill the prophecy. But this prophecy, 'The Son of Heaven shall come from the northeast', could also be said to refer to the Murong clan, who entered the Middle Kingdom from Liao and Jie (to the northeast). And after all, Qin Shihuang had traveled to the east to receive the aura of the Son of Heaven, but he could not stop the rise of Emperor Gao of Han (Liu Bang).

...季龍以讖文天子當從東北來,於是備法駕行自信都而還以應之... (Jinshu 106.3)

Shi Hu believed in a prophecy that the Son of Heaven shall come from the northeast, so he prepared the imperial carriage, traveled to Xindu, and then returned, in order to fulfill it.


22. Murong Huang campaigned against Liaodong; on the day Jiashen (December 26th), he reached Xiangping. Wang Ji, a man of Liaodong, secretly sent a message to him offering to surrender the city. Murong Huang advanced, and entered the city. Zhai Kai and Pang Jian fled on horseback. Jujiu, Xinchang, and other counties surrendered.

Murong Huang wished to bury alive the natives of Liaodong, but Gao Xu remonstrated, saying, "When the rebellion in Liaodong broke out, the local people did not really wish to go along with it, but cowed by your brother's cruelty, they could not help but obey him. Now the chief evil remains at large, and we have only just taken this city. If we slaughter them, then the cities we have yet to retake will find no path to return to the rightful fold." So Murong Huang desisted. The major families of Liaodong were relocated to Jicheng (the Yan capital). Du Qun was made Chancellor of Liaodong, charged with the relocation task.


Jujiu and Xinchang were both part of Liaodong commandary.

The "chief evil" was Murong Ren.

The Book of Jin does not mention Gao Xu as having offered this advice, and notes that Murong Huang executed many officials after taking the city.


23. In the twelfth month, Zhao's Attendant Officer of Xuzhou, Zhu Zong of Lanling, killed the Inspector Guo Xiang, and offered to surrender the city of Pengcheng to Jin. But the Zhao general Wang Lang attacked him, and Zhu Zong fled to Huainan.


24. Murong Ren sent forth his soldiers and raided Xinchang. Murong Huang’s Protector, Wang Wu of Xinxing, attacked and drove Murong Ren off, and then relocated the people of Xinchang into Xiangping.


Liaodong was administered from Xiangping. The people of Xinchang were moved into Xiangping so that Du Ren could better keep an eye on them and protect them from further raids. 㝢 is pronounced "wu (w-u)".
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:29 pm


The First Year of Xiankang (The Yiwei Year, 335 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, on the new moon of the day Gengwu (February 10th), Emperor Cheng conducted his coming of age ceremony. The reign era title was changed, and a general amnesty was declared.


Shen Yue's Records of Rites states, "The ancients had no capping ceremony for a Son of Heaven, which is why they would cast divinations with the milfoil to select an auspicious day and suitable guests. Then the Emperor would be capped at the eastern steps, libations would be distributed among the guests, and they would give three venerations to the Emperor; all the officials followed these rites." The Han dynasty developed the "New Rites" under Cao Bao, but his "New Rites" no longer exists. The Records of Ceremonies and Rites in the Book of Later Han also states, "The imperial carriage first makes a worthy procession draped in black cloth. Following behind it comes first the nobles, then the military, and afterwards the highly esteemed; all proceed to the ancestral temple. (94.17)" When the Eastern Jin Emperors were about to perform the capping ceremony, a golden building was built, where the officials would remain. Then a great bed like the one in the palace was placed there. The 御府令 would hold the imperial crown and headband, and instruct the Emperor on how to place the hairpins. Then, dressed in ceremonial garb, the Palace Attendants, Regular Attendants, and Grand Commandant would place the headband on the Emperor, and the Grand Guardian would place his crown. Before doing so, the Grand Commandant would kneel and solemnly recite these congratulatory words: "On this chosen month, on this auspicious day, for the first time, you shall wear your imperial garments. May Your Majesty soberly reflect upon this, and consider the duties of your position. Thus are the boundless sky and the six directions part of this ritual. Observe filial piety towards your honored ancestors, and never go beyond what is proper. May you live forever and your reign endure, and may this scene be the source of our prosperity." Then the placing of the crown would be completed, with the Palace Attendants tying up the silk fringes of the coronet. Then they would remove the Emperor's red clothes of youth, and put on him his imperial clothes. Once the capping ceremony was concluded, the Grand Guardian would lead the other ministers in presenting up their wine cups and wishing for the Emperor's longevity, and everyone from the Princes on down would present three cries of "long live!" before leaving. Zheng Qiao remarked, "They used the rites known under Cao-Wei, where the ceremony would be conducted, and then offerings would be made at the ancestral temple."


2. Cheng and Zhao also declared general amnesties, and changed their own reign era titles. In Cheng, it became the first year of Yuheng. In Zhao, it became the first year of Jianwu.


恆 is pronounced "heng (h-eng)".


3. The ruler of Cheng, Li Qi, made Lady Yan his empress. Guard General Yin Feng was made the Prime Minister of the Right. Wang Gui, the General of Agile Cavalry and Prefect of the Masters of Writing, was made the Minister Over The Masses.


瓌 is pronounced "gui (g-ui)".


4. Shi Hu ordered his Crown Prince, Shi Sui, to handle the affairs of the ministers' petitions and requests, and only come to him regarding such matters as sacrifices at the ancestral temples, selecting Governors or Administrators, issues of war, or determining punishments and executions.

Shi Hu enjoyed constructing works in and around the imperial palaces. When the White Stork Terrace collapsed, he killed the Director of Artisans, Ren Wang. He then rebuilt the Terrace, until it was twice as high as before.

Shi Sui's nursemaid, Liu Zhi, was named the Lady of Yicheng. She was allowed to have a hand in court affairs, and she received many bribes; there were many who appealed to her in order to advance their careers, and so her line of supplicants often stretched out the door.


The White Stork Terrace, at Ye, was the same as the Copper Bird Terrace that Emperor Wu of Wei (Cao Cao) had built.

Since the Han dynasty, the Director of Artisans was the chief artisan. 任 is pronounced "ren".


5. Murong Huang established the offices of Left and Right Marshals, granting these positions to his Marshals, Han Jiao and Feng Yi.


6. Jin’s Minister Over The Masses, Wang Dao, was ill and did not attend court meetings.

In the third month, on the day Yiyou (April 26th), Emperor Cheng visited Wang Dao and his wife Lady Cao, holding a feast for the ministers in Wang Dao's home. But the Palace Attendant Kong Tan secretly remonstrated, believing that since Emperor Cheng had just come of age, he must properly observe court etiquette, so Emperor Cheng followed his advice.

Kong Tan also believed that Emperor Cheng should take control of affairs from Wang Dao, and said to him, “Your Majesty, you have reached your majority, and your sagely respect is daily mounting. You should receive the submission of the court ministers, and seek advice from them on the proper path."

Wang Dao was displeased, and had Kong Tan demoted to Minister of Justice. Kong Tan was unwilling to accept this, and resigned his post, claiming illness.


7. The Intendant of Danyang, Huan Jing, gained favor with the people through flattery and craft. Wang Dao also favored him.

At that time, Mars had been seen in the Southern Dipper constellation for ten days. Wang Dao told the General Who Directs The Army, Tao Hui, "The Southern Dipper is representative of Yangzhou. I must resign my post in order to appease the wrath of Heaven."

Tao Hui replied, "Your Grace has supported the state with wisdom and virtue. Even Huan Jing bows to you. Let Mars wander where it will!" Wang Dao was deeply ashamed.


The Astrological Records of the Book of Jin states, "The Southern Dipper is six stars. It corresponds to the Imperial court, especially the Prime Minister and the Minister of Ceremonies. (11.64)" And elsewhere it states, "The Dipper, Ox, and Girl constellations correspond to Yangzhou; Jiujiang enters the Dipper at one 度, while Danyang enters the Dipper at sixteen 度. (11.139)"


8. Wang Dao appointed Wang Meng of Taiyuan as a minor official, and made Wang Shu the 中兵属. This Wang Shu was the great-grandson of Wang Chang.

Wang Meng did not obsess over the finer details of propriety, but was known for his honesty and thriftiness. He was good friends with Liu Tan of Pei, and equally as famous. Liu Tan often considered Wang Meng to be of a forthright character and a natural rectitude. Wang Meng said, "Lord Liu knows me better than I know myself." At that time, there was a group of romantic free spirits, with Liu Tan and Wang Meng being considered the heads.

Wang Shu was of a serene disposition; even when sitting in the midst of fierce debate, he would remain calm and tranquil. Thirty years old, he was not yet well-known, and people believed him to be stupid. Wang Dao employed him because of his family background. When Wang Dao first met Wang Shu, he only asked him about the price of grains in the east. Wang Shu opened his eyes wide without answering. Wang Dao said, "Officer Wang is no fool. Why do people believe he is so?"

Once, when Wang Dao spoke and everyone rushed to praise him, Wang Shu with a severe aspect said, "Men cannot measure up to Yao and Shun. Who can be perfect in every aspect?" Wang Dao changed his expression and apologized to him.


濛 is pronounced "meng (m-ong)".

The ducal households of Jin each had their own Army Advisors, Assistants, and 中兵属s.

Wang Chang guarded Jingzhou during Cao-Wei, where he made a great name for himself. 昶 is pronounced "chang (ch-ang)."

惔 is pronounced "tan (t-an)".

Wang Chang's son was Wang Zhan, and Wang Zhan's son was Wang Cheng. Each of them had a grand reputation. Wang Shu was Wang Cheng's son.

Wang Shu took Wang Dao's question to include the area of Eastern Wu around Jiankang.

王藍田為人晚成,時人乃謂之痴;王丞相以其東海子,辟為掾。常集聚,王公每發言,衆人競讚之。述於末坐曰:「主非堯、舜,何得事事皆是?」丞相甚相歎賞。(New Tales 8.62)

Wang Shu as a person was late in maturing, and consequently his contemporaries called him an idiot. But since he was the son of Wang Cheng, Prime Minister Wang Dao employed him as his aide.

One time at a gathering of Wang Dao's staff, every time Wang Dao made a remark, everyone else competed with each other in praising it.

Wang Shu, who was sitting in the lowest place, said, "Our host is no Yao or Shun; why should every single thing he says be so?"

Wang Dao sighed deeply in appreciation. (tr. Richard Mather)


9. Shi Hu traveled to the south, turning back when he reached the banks of the Yangzi.

A portion of his cavalry, around ten riders, went near Liyang (close to Jiankang). The Administrator of Liyang, Yuan Dan, requested aid, but he did not report how many enemy cavalry were present. The Jin court was greatly alarmed, believing this was a general attack. Wang Dao requested that he be sent to fight them.

In summer, the fourth month, Wang Dao was appointed Grand Marshal, Bearer of the Golden Axe, and Commander of the army being deployed against Zhao. On the day Guichou (May 24th), Emperor Cheng observed the troops at Guangmo Gate. He ordered the army divided up to bring reinforcements to Liyang, Lake Ci, Ox Islet, and Lake Wu. The Minister of Works, Chi Jian, sent the Chancellor of Guangling, Chen Guang, to lead troops to guard the capital.

Upon discovering that in fact there were only a few Zhao cavalry, and that they had already departed, on the day Wenwu (May 29th), martial law was lifted, and Wang Dao relinquished his position as Grand Marshal. Yuan Dan was removed from office for his rash behavior.


The Guangmo Gate was the northern gate of Jiankang.


10. Zhao's General Who Conquers The Caitiffs, Shi Yu, attacked the Jin general Huan Xuan at Xiangyang, but was unsuccessful.


11. There was a great drought in Jin. In Kuaiji and Yuyao, rice cost five hundred per peck.


12. In autumn, the seventh month, Murong Huang made his son Murong Jun the heir to his titles.


13. In the ninth month, Shi Hu moved the Zhao capital to Ye, and declared a general amnesty.


Shi Le had set his capital at Xiangguo. Shi Hu moved it to Ye.


14. While Shi Le had been alive, he had employed a monk from India named Fotudeng. Fotudeng made several correct predictions on the outcomes of battles, and so Shi Le treated him with great veneration. When Shi Hu came to the throne, he treated Fotudeng with even greater respect, giving him clothes of silky cotton to wear, and gave him a carved carriage to ride.


The carriage was carved in the sense that it had special carvings for decorations.

When Fotudeng attended court, the crown prince and the dukes would help him into the hall, and the master of ceremonies would announce him as “The Great Monk”, and all would rise from their seats. Shi Hu sent Li Nong to offer his respects to Fotudeng twice daily, once in the morning and once in the evening. The Crown Prince and the dukes would go pay respects to him once every five days.


This "master" was the person at court who would announce people and their particular virtues.

The Dukes were Shi Hu's sons; when Shi Hu had declared himself Heavenly Prince, his sons had surrendered their princely titles for ducal ones.

Fotudeng was supposedly over a hundred years old by this time. He had been with the Zhao court for twenty-five years.

Lady Wu's Note: Shi Hu's actions are something that a child or a student would do to their parent or teacher to show respect, asking them about daily things like how they’ve slept, how’s their appetite, how are things going in general, etc., and they showed great deference.

Many people in Zhao began to convert to Buddhism, and eventually the majority of people were Buddhists. No one dared to blow their nose or spit whenever Fotudeng was about. The faith became so popular that the building of Buddhist temples became something of a competition, and many people would cut off their hair and take the tonsure, leaving their families to live as monks.

Shi Hu believed that many dishonest people falsely mixed in among the true adherents, hoping to shirk their duties for the army draft or for corvee labor. So he issued an edict inquiring about it among the Palace Secretariat: "It is the government's role to honor the Buddha. But is it right for commoners who have no rank or title to serve him?"

The 著作郎 Wang Du and others discussed it, and said, "The Heavenly Prince should make the sacrifices and observe the rites as they exist. Buddha is a foreign god, and the children of the Son of Heaven should not offer him their respects in their temples and halls. When the people of Han first allowed the people from the Western Reaches to come and spread their faith, they only built temples in the capital and accepted vows from those like them; none of the Han men were allowed to take the vows. This was still the case even during Wei. Now, all those from high officials on down should be forbidden from visiting the temples, burning incense, and offering prayers. The people of Zhao who became monks must be returned to their former occupations."

Shi Hu issued an edict stating, "I was born on the frontier, and it was only thanks to fortune that I now hold sway over the lands of the Xia. As for providing food and sacrifices, let people follow their local customs. Whether the tribes or the people of Zhao find pleasure in becoming Buddhists, let them do so."


The chapter on Government Service in the Book of Jin states, "The office of 著作郎 was the same office as the Zhou dynasty's Clerk of the Left. When the Han capital was at Luoyang (during Later Han), they kept the maps and census records of the border regions at Dongguan. It was a famous office, and not many were rewarded with it. During Emperor Ming of Wei's (Cao Rui's) Taihe era (227-233), he created the office of 著作郎, and this was when that office first appeared, with its ministers in charge of palace affairs in the capital region. After Jin had received the mandate, this was its system: 'The 著作 being part of the palace secretariat, and the Palace Custodian being in charge of the library records, the office of 中書省著作 shall now become the 祕書著作.' This was the first appearance of the 隸祕書省. But later on, the offices were split, and there was a 隸祕書. (24.42)"

The first official sponsorship of the spread of Buddhism (especially the construction of the White Horse Temple near Luoyang) is mentioned in Book 45, in Emperor Ming of Han's eighth year of Yongping (64 AD).

The term 寺 "ministry" was originally used by the people of Han to refer to government ministries. During Later Han, when the Buddhists came from the Western Regions on camels and white horses, the place where they first stopped at was the Heralds' Ministry, and this was when the term 寺 first began to gain its other association (as "temple"), since the monks built White Horse Temple (or more literally, White Horse Ministry).

The last sentence of Wang Du's response meant that the new Zhao monks must return and put on their original (ethnic Han) clothing again.

The Western Reaches refers to the states of Central Asia to the northwest of China, along the route of the Silk Road. The Han dynasty had once controlled much of this territory, and it was one of the main avenues of entry for Buddhism into China, as well as the route Chinese monks would later take to reach India.


15. Zhao's Prince of Zhangwu, Shi Bin, led a force of twenty thousand elite cavalry into Qinzhou and Yongzhou to campaign against the Qiang chieftain Bao Gouda, and he defeated Bao.


Shi Bin and the others had inflicted a great defeat upon Bao Gouda in the previous year (334.9).


16. In Cheng, Luo Yan (the uncle of the late Li Ban) and the Chancellor of the Prince of Han, Shangguan Dan of Tianshui, plotted to kill Li Qi and place Li Ban's son on the throne. When Li Qi discovered the plot, he executed Luo Yan, Shangguan Dan, and Li Ban's mother Lady Luo (Luo Ban's sister).

Li Qi, believing that he had achieved his ambition, slighted the old ministers of state. Instead, he employed the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Jing Qian, the Master of Writing, Yao Hua, Tian Bao, the Regular Attendant, Xu Fu, and others. Punishments and rewards and all the grand affairs of state were left for these men to decide, and the older ministers were rarely consulted. Although Tian Bao was a talentless official, he had often urged Li Xiong to make Li Qi the crown prince, and thus he gained Li Qi’s favor. Thanks to this destruction and confusion, the enterprise that Li Xiong had started began to fall to ruin.


Li Shou's title was Prince of Han.


17. In winter, the tenth month, on the new moon of the day Yiwei (November 2nd), there was an eclipse.


18. Murong Ren ordered Wang Qi and the others, the Jin envoys whom he had detained, to return south. Wang Qi and the others took a water route to try to approach Jicheng (Murong Huang’s capital), but due to encountering heavy winds they could not progress. In the twelfth month, Xu Meng and the others reached Jicheng, and Murong Huang finally accepted the Jin imperial commission.


Murong Ren had detained Wang Qi and the other envoys in the previous year, during their attempted voyage to see Murong Huang (334.14).


19. Envoys from the Duan and Yuwen clans went to Pingguo to meet with Murong Ren, and they stayed overnight outside the walls of the city. Murong Huang sent his subordinate Zhang Ying with about a hundred riders, who traveled along secret trails to ambush them. Zhang Ying killed over ten people from the Yuwen, while the Duan envoys were captured and brought back.


20. During this year in Jin, the Lady of Jian'an and mother of Emperor Ming, Lady Xun, passed away. Within the inner palace, Lady Xun had been given the same respect as the Empress Dowager. She was posthumously named the Lady of Yuzhang.


Lady Xun was one of Emperor Yuan's (Sima Rui's) concubines, and she was the mother of Emperor Ming. However, her position remained inferior, which she always resented. Emperor Yuan denounced her, and saw her less and less often. After Emperor Ming came to the throne, she was made Lady of Jian'an, and given her own residence. In the first year of Taining (323), she was welcomed back into the palace, and shown great reverence. After Emperor Cheng came to the throne, Lady Xun was treated with equal honor to an Empress Dowager.


21. The King of Dai, Tuoba Yihuai, felt that his uncle Helan Aitou was not respectful enough. Tuoba Yihuai summoned Helan Aitou and then had him killed. This caused many tribes to rebel. Tuoba Hena (who had previously been the King of Dai, but had been ousted following a defeat by Zhao and had fled to the Yuwen) returned from the Yuwen and was again acclaimed King by the tribes. Tuoba Yihuai fled to Ye and sought refuge with Zhao, and they treated him well.


Helan Aitou was Tuoba Yihuai's uncle. He had accomplished much in supporting Dai, as mentioned in Book 93 in the second year of Xianhe (327). In the fourth year (329), he had driven out Tuoba Hena, and raised up Tuoba Yihuai, giving him the support of the Helan. Because of his close personal ties and his accomplishments, he did not show proper honor to Tuoba Yihuai.

Tuoba Hena's flight from Dai is mentioned in the last book, Book 94, in the fourth year of Xianhe (329).

Dai was a state large in territory but light on political control. It was ruled by the Tuoba clan, another group of Xianbei, and up until this period even the court was largely nomadic. Their territory encompassed much of modern Inner Mongolia. It would one day be the state from which sprang Northern Wei.


22. Before, in Liangzhou, the leader Zhang Gui had two sons, Zhang Shi and Zhang Mao (both of whom ruled after him). Although they successfully held the lands left of the Yellow River, not a year passed without a battle for the territory. After Zhang Jun inherited his family's positions, the internal affairs of Liangzhou gradually became peaceful. Zhang Jun diligently improved the common government. He exercised control over civil and military affairs, and was able to employ each man according to his talents. Thus he made the people prosperous and the army strong. Everyone, near and far, submitted to him as a virtuous lord.

Zhang Jun dispatched his general Yang Xuan to conquer Kucha and Shanshan in the Western Reaches, and the kingdoms of Karasahr and Khotan submitted, and all sent tribute to Guzang (the Liang capital). His also built his "five palaces" south of Guzang. Everyone in Liangzhou considered themselves his subjects.


Zhang Jun built Qiangguang Palace, and on all four sides of it he built a different palace. The eastern one was the Xuanyang Green Palace, where he resided for the three months of spring. The southern one was the Zhuyang Red Palace, where he stayed for the three summer months. The western one was the Zhengxing White Palace, which was his home for the three months of autumn. The northern one was the Xuanwu Black Palace, and he dwelt there for the three winter months. Every item and thing in each palace had the same color as assigned to its palace name, and everyone also dressed in those colors.


23. Zhang Jun had ambitions of conquering Qinzhou and Yongzhou. He sent his advisor Qu Hu to present a memorial to the Jin court, stating, "Shi Le and Li Xiong are dead, yet Shi Hu and Li Qi still lay claim to their false thrones. The common people have thus been cut off from their legitimate rule for generations. The old are dying off without seeing true authority restored, and the young are growing up having never known imperial rule. With every day that passes, their yearning for the dynasty fades further away. I ask that you dispatch the Minister of Works, Chi Jian, the General Who Conquers The West, Yu Liang, and others to sail boats along the Yangzi and Mian Rivers, and crush them between us."


At this time, Chi Jian was stationed at Jingkou and Yu Liang was at Wuchang.
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:05 pm, edited 15 times in total.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:31 pm


The Second Year of Xiankang (The Bingshen Year, 336 AD)


Some versions originally mistakenly wrote Third Year instead of Second Year.


1. In spring, the first month, on the day Xinsi (February 16th), a comet was seen in the Kui and Lou constellations.


The Kui constellation in the western sky has sixteen stars. It corresponds to military affairs, and signifies an uprising of soldiers, or ditches and canals (Jinshu 11.71). The Lou constellation has three stars, and it corresponds to the heavenly prison. It signifies a sacrifice, or that sacrifices would be provided (11.72). The Kui, Lou, and Zhou constellations correspond to Luzhou and Xuzhou (11.154).


2. Murong Huang wished to campaign against Murong Ren. His Marshal Gao Xu said, "In rebelling against you, Murong Ren has offended both blood and loyalty, and heaven and earth both rage. Until recently, the Sea (of Bohai) never froze over, but during these last few years, it has frozen three times. Murong Ren has been preparing to meet you on the dry land, but perhaps Heaven desires for you to invade from across the frozen sea instead."

Murong Huang assented. The other ministers all said that marching across the ice would be most dangerous, and that it would be better to take the land route. Murong Huang replied, "I have already decided; let any dissenter pay with his head!"

Portions of the Sea of Bohai have been known to freeze over, even during modern times, enough that this story could be plausible.

皝曰:「舊海水無淩,自仁反已來,凍合者三矣。昔漢光武因滹沱之冰以濟大業,天其或者欲吾乘此而無之乎!吾計決矣,有沮謀者斬!」(Jinshu 109.6)

Murong Huang said, "In former times, the sea could never be traversed, but since Murong Ren's rebellion began, it has frozen three times. Before, Han Guangwu was able to achieve his ambition by crossing the frozen bay of the Hutuo river. Perhaps it is Heaven's wish that I follow the same course! Thus have I decided, and let anyone who argues otherwise part with his head!"

(When Liu Xiu (Han Guangwu) was fleeing from his enemies, he once sent a subordinate ahead to the Hutuo River to see if it was frozen enough to cross over. Upon inspection, it was not frozen enough to support the army. But when the official returned, he lied and told Liu Xiu that it was. Miraculously, when Liu Xiu’s army reached the river, it had indeed frozen enough for his army to cross. It broke apart as the last of the cavalry crossed it, so his enemies could not pursue him.)


3. On the day Renwu (February 17th), Murong Huang, the Military Director of the Army, his brother Murong Ping, and his officers marched east from Changli, walking onto the frozen Sea of Bohai and advancing more than three hundred li. Upon reaching Lilinkou, they abandoned their baggage and advanced unencumbered towards Pingguo.


Lilinkou was at the mouth of a river where it met the Sea of Bohai.

Seven li from the city, scouts spotted them and alerted Murong Ren, and he rushed out to give battle. The year before, when Zhang Ying had captured the envoys who had come to meet Murong Ren, Murong Ren regretted not relentlessly pursuing Zhang Ying and his men. Now, when Murong Huang's army arrived, Murong Ren believed that his brother had only sent out a small force on another such raiding mission, and did not know that Murong Huang had come in person. So Murong Ren told those with him, "We will not permit this force to escape alive!"


Zhang Ying's exploit took place in the previous year (335.19).

On the day Yiwei (?), Murong Ren marched out of the city and set up his defenses towards the northwest. As Murong Huang’s army approached, Murong Junn led his men to defect to Murong Huang, and Murong Ren's remaining men lost heart and halted. Then Murong Huang pressed his attack, and routed the rebel army. Murong Ren tried to flee, but his personal riders all betrayed him and seized him. Murong Huang ordered these traitorous guards killed, then ordered Murong Ren to take his own life.


Murong Junn had been captured by Murong Ren during his earlier defeat against him, in the eighth year of Xianhe (333.20).

Ding Heng, You Yi, Sun Ji, and all the others whom Murong Ren had employed were put to death by Murong Huang. Wang Bing killed himself. Murong You, Murong Zhi, Tong Shou, Guo Chong, Zhai Kai, and Pang Jian all fled east. But Murong You stopped while in flight, and he came back. Murong Huang's troops pursued the others, and managed to kill Zhai Kai and Pang Jian. Tong Shou and Guo Chong escaped to Goguryeo. Murong Huang pardoned the remaining people who had been working under Murong Ren. Gao Xu was named the Marquis of Ruyang.

During this time, the Korean peninsula was divided into three kingdoms. Goguryeo, in many ways the most powerful of them, controlled the north of the peninsula, with further territory stretching into Manchuria.

Tong Shou became a chief official of Goguryeo, and evidently enjoyed a prosperous life there. His portrait is painted on one of the Goguryeo tombs, Anak Tomb #3, which might have been his own tomb.


4. In the second month, Jin’s Supervisor of the Masters of Writing, Wang Bin, passed away.

Wang Bin was a cousin of the Prime Minister Wang Dao. He was related to the Cao-Wei minister Wang Xiang.


5. On the day Xinhai (March 17th), Emperor Cheng held court, and sent officials to conduct the six rites to make Du Lingyang, the daughter of the Marquis of Dangyang, Du Yi, his empress. A general amnesty was declared. All the ministers offered their congratulations.


Marriage has these six ceremonies. The first is called the proposal with its accompanying gift. Before a marriage, one must first have the matchmaker extend the invitation, and afterwards someone is sent to confirm the betrothal ceremonies. They present a goose as a gift, to thus obtain the virtues of masculinity and feminity going forward. The second is called the inquiries about the (lady's) name. One inquires into the name in order to divine whether it bodes good or ill fortune. The third is called the intimation of the approving divination. One places the name in the ancestral temple in order to attain the good fortune, and to inform them of the marriage ceremony. The fourth is called the receiving the special offerings. In this, one uses items black and crimson, and does not use a goose. The fifth is called the request to fix the day. The family divines an auspicious date for the wedding, and then sends someone to spread the word. The sixth is the familial welcoming. The groom travels to the woman's home, driving her carriage for three revolutions of the wheels, in his symbolic role as driver. The groom leads the procession of the carriages, in guiding his bride back to his home.

This material is mostly drawn from the Marriage chapter in the Book of Rites (44.1-2).


6. In summer, the sixth month, Duan Liao sent his General of the Center Army, Li Yong, to attack Murong Huang. When Li Yong reached Wuxing, the Protector Zhang Meng attacked and captured him.


Wuxing was east of Lingzhi.

Duan Liao then dispatched Duan Lan with tens of thousands of horse and foot to camp west of Liucheng at the Hui River. Meanwhile, Yuwen Yidougui attacked the border fort at Anjin to provide Duan Lan support. Murong Huang sent fifty thousand horse and foot towards Liucheng. In response, Duan Lan did not offer battle, but retreated. Murong Huang then led his men north to Anjin, where Yuwen Yidougui abandoned his baggage and fled. Murong Huang sent his Marshal Feng Yi with the light cavalry to pursue, and they inflicted a great rout.

Murong Huang told his generals, "These two must feel ashamed of having accomplished nothing, so they will certainly come again. We should prepare to ambush them around Liucheng." Feng Yi was sent with several thousand cavalry to ambush them at Mount Madou. In the third month (or seventh month), Duan Liao sent another force of several thousand cavalry to raid. Feng Yi attacked them and routed them, killing the general Rong Bobao.


The text here says the "Hui River". The Chronicles of the Book of Jin records this site as being at the "Qu River". The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Yangyao River flows from Shanggu in Qieju County. From there, it flows east, passing through Nuqi County. The people of that time called it the Heng River, or they called it the Yangqu River. The Ru River also flowed out from that area, and to the northwest it passed by Yuyizhen, and to the northeast it passed south of Mount Gu. To the southeast, it flowed into Huiqu, and so that place was called Quhe Fort." Again, according to the Chronicles, the Qu River was northwest of Haocheng.

Murong Huang had built Anjin in the eighth year of Xianhe (333), during his first border skirmish with Yuwen Yidougui.

Some versions say "seventh month" instead of "third month".


7. Jin’s former Minister of Justice, Kong Tan, passed away.

While Kong Tan was on his deathbed, Yu Bing came to see him, shedding many tears. Kong Tan emotionally responded, "A great minister is about to meet his end. Why are you not asking about the ways in which you may strengthen the state and secure the people, instead of crying like a woman or a child?" Yu Bing deeply apologized to him.


Kong Tan had resigned his post as Minister of Justice out of illness, and this was why it says he was the "former" Minister.

孔君平疾篤,庾司空為會稽,省之,相問訊甚至,為之流涕。庾既下床,孔慨然曰:「大丈夫將終,不問安國寧家之術,迺作兒女子相問!」庾聞,回謝之,請其話言。(New Tales 5.43)

When Kong Tan was critically ill, Yu Bing, who was then serving as governor of Kuaiji, went to visit him. Yu Bing inquired about his condition with extreme solicitude, and wept over him.

After Yu Bing had gotten down from the bed, Kong Tan said with deep feeling, "A great man is about to die, and instead of asking about a policy for keeping the state at peace, here you are asking the kinds of questions women and children ask!"

On hearing this, Yu Bing turned back to apologize, and requested his last words of counsel. (tr. Richard Mather)


8. In the ninth month, Murong Huang sent the Chief Clerk, Liu Bin, and the 兼 Prefect of the Palace Gentlemen, Yang Jing of Liaodong, to escort Xu Meng and the other Jin officials back to Jiankang.


According to the Jin system, a princely fief had its own Prefect of Palace Gentlemen. Murong Huang had not yet claimed princely title for himself, but he had already established this office.


9. In winter, the tenth month, Jin’s Inspector of Guangzhou, Deng Yue, sent the Protector Wang Sui and others to attack Cheng's Yelang and Xinggu commandaries, and both were taken. Deng Yue was then promoted to Commander of Ningzhou.


In Emperor Huai's fifth year of Yongjia (311), Wang Xun had formed Yelang commandary out of Zangke, Zhuti, and Jianning. The Geographical Records of Taikang states, "The Liu clan of Shu formed Xinggu commandary from Jianning and Zangke."


10. The ruler of Cheng, Li Qi, had been envious of the Supervisor of the Masters of Writing and Duke of Wuling, his nephew Li Zai, for his talents. He falsely accused Li Zai of plotting rebellion, and executed him.


11. In the eleventh month, Jin’s General Who Establishes Might, Sima Xun, was ordered to assemble troops at Hanzhong. Cheng's Prince of Han, Li Shou, attacked and defeated him. After securing Hanzhong, Li Shou left a garrison to defend Nanzheng and returned.


12. Yu Ju of the Suotou Xianbei led thirty thousand people of his tribe to submit to Zhao. Zhao granted Yu Ju and thirteen other men the title King Friendly to Zhao, and the people were distributed throughout six provinces, including Jizhou, Qingzhou, and others.


13. Shi Hu began construction on Taiwu Palace at Xiangguo, and the Eastern and Western palaces at Ye. In the twelfth month, all were completed. At Xiangguo:

“The foundation was nine and a third meters tall, 65 steps long and 75 steps wide, all made of marble. The bottom contains a basement that is largely enough for 500 armed guards. The gaps between the bricks were filled with paint; the tops of buttresses was decorated with gold, and the top of columns were decorated with silver. The screens were made of pearls, and the walls were made of jade. The workmanship was extremely fine. The imperial bedroom has facilities including a bed made of white jade and comforters with fine ribbons, and on top of the comforters were sown in lotus flowers made of gold.” (From Wikipedia)

He also built nine palaces behind Xianyang Palace, and took women from among the common people and the gentry to live in them, more than ten thousand, and dressed them in pearls and jades and fine silk robes. The palace attendants were instructed in reading the stars, and in archery on horseback and on foot. He created the position of female historian, and positions for all kinds of skills and trades, mirroring the jobs of the outside world.

Shi Hu employed a thousand women riders as his ceremonial guards. They all wore purple scarves and bright brocade trousers, as well as belts engraved with gold and silver and embroidered boots. They carried the imperial insignia and sounded the drums and horns, and Shi Hu had them follow him when he traveled for pleasure.

There was then a great drought in Zhao, and a catty of gold was needed to buy two pecks of rice. The people were in great distress, and yet Shi Hu continued his construction projects and preparations for wars.

Shi Hu sent the General of 牙門, Zhang Mi, to retrieve treasures from Luoyang, such as the Zhongju bell-frames, the Nine Dragons, the Bronze Men statues, the Bronze Horse, and the Feilian image, and bring them to Ye. The treasures were transported in four twine-rimmed carts; their wheel tracks were four chi wide and two chi deep. One of the bronzes was lost in the river. Three hundred men were drafted to dive into the river and tie cords of bamboo around it, and a hundred oxen were used to pull it, until it finally emerged. A ten thousand 斛 boat was made to transport it. When the treasures arrived at Ye, Shi Hu was greatly pleased. He removed two years off the sentence of criminals, and bestowed grains and silks to his ministers, even granting ranks to the people.

There were a good number of these statues in Luoyang which Dong Zhuo had earlier melted down on his way out of the city, but evidentally some of them remained intact.

"Dong Zhuo destroyed the Wushu currency and minted smaller coins. He melted down the statues of Luoyang and Chang'an, such as the Bronze Men, the Zhongju, the Feilian and the Bronze Horses, to cast the new money." (ZZTJ Book 59, 190.17, or 190.U in de Crespigny's To Establish Peace)

Cao Rui is mentioned as having moved these statues back to Luoyang during his reign and created others.

"21. In this year the Emperor (Cao Rui) moved all the drums and drumsticks, bronze camels and bronze men, and the dew-basin from Chang'an to Luoyang. The dew basin broke, and the sound could be heard tens of li away. The bronze men were too heavy to be carried off, so they were left behind at Bacheng.

He furthermore levied copper on a large scale and cast two bronze men, called Wengzhong, and placed them as a pair outside the Sima Men (Gate of the Sima's office). He further cast a yellow dragon and a phoenix, the dragon forty feet high and the phoenix more than thirty feet high. Both were placed in front of the inner palace." (237.21, Fang's Chronicles)

de Crespigny has several notes describing these statues in To Establish Peace:

The Bronze Men of Chang'an dated from the time of the First Emperor of Qin, who had them cast in 221 BC, immediately after his full conquest of China and his proclamation as Emperor. SC 6, 239; Chavannes, MH II, 134-135 (Nienhauser, GSR I, 137), says that he collected all the metal which had been used for weapons by the rival states, and melted it down to make bells, twelve great statues, and other ornaments. HHS 72/62 and its commentary quoting the Sanfu jiushi say that the inspiration for the statues came from the appearance of giants at Lintao in the west of the empire. HHS observes further that Dong Zhuo was a man from Lintao, so the fortunes of the empire had come full circle.

Commentary to HHS 72/62 quotes from a Yinyi commentary to Han shu which describes the Zhongju as a mystical creature with the head of a deer and the body of a dragon. Karlgren explains the character as meaning a bell-frame, but the Shuowen dictionary, quoted in HHS commentary, explains that stands for bells and drums were decorated with the image of this animal, a symbol of ferocity. According to the Guanzhong ji by Pan Yue of the Jin dynasty, quoted by the modern scholar Hui Dong in HHSJJ , four statues of the Zhongju were set up in the Temple of the Eminent Founder, Emperor Gao of Former Han.

The Feilian "Flying Purity" creature was the Wind God described in the Li sao poem of Chu ci ; Hawkes, Songs of the South , 28 note 9. He is said to have had the body of a deer, a bird's head with stag horns, the tail of a snake, and the spotted coat of a leopard. An image cast at Chang'an was set up by Emperor Wu at the Feilian Lodge in 109 BC: HS 6, 193; Dubs, HFHD II, 90. It was brought to Luoyang by Emperor Ming in 62 AD, and placed by the Lodge of Tranquil Joy, constructed for the purpose outside the Upper West Gate; Bielenstein, Lo-yang , 61. On the Lodge of Tranquil Joy see also note 43 to Zhongping 6.

A Bronze Horse of ideal proportions had also been cast in the time of Emperor Wu, and it too was brought to Luoyang and placed at the Lodge of Tranquil Joy by Emperor Ming; Bielenstein, Lo-yang , 61. Earlier in Later Han, moreover, when the general Ma Yuan defeated the rebellion of the Trung sisters in present-day Vietnam, he melted down the captured drums of his enemies and had the metal cast into a similar statue, which was set up by the Hall of All-Embracing Virtue in the Southern Palace: HHS 24/14, 840, and Bielenstein, Lo-yang , 25-26. 48

Shi Hu also followed the advice of the Prefect of Shangfang, Jie Fei. He had rocks cast into the river south of Ye, in order to make a flying bridge. The project cost billions, but the bridge could not be completed. Meanwhile, the laborers were starving, so the project was stopped. He ordered the supervisors to lead the people into mountains and marshes to pluck trees and catch fish to eat. But the food was seized by the rich and powerful, so the people ended up with nothing.


14. Many years earlier, the chieftain Phạm Hung held sway over the tribes of Nhật Nam. There had once been a slave named Phạm Văn who often followed merchants in and out of the Central Plains as part of his business dealings. When he came to the state of Lâm Ấp, Phạm Văn taught the king of Lâm Ấp, Phạm Dat, how to construct city walls, palaces, and weapons of war. Because of this, Phạm Dat loved Phạm Văn and trusted him, and employed him as a general. Phạm Văn slandered Phạm Dat's sons; some he forced into exile, while others fled on their own.

During this year, Phạm Dat died. Phạm Văn pretended to welcome the return of one of Phạm Dat's sons from another state, but secretly put poison in his wine cup and killed him. Phạm Văn then made himself the king. He sent out the soldiers of Lâm Ấp to attack Greater Qijie, Lesser Qjie, Shipu, Xulang, Qudou, Ganlu, Fudan, and other kingdoms, and conquered all of them. He commanded an army of forty or fifty thousand, and sent envoys offering tribute to Jin.

林邑 Lâm Ấp (or Linyi) was a kingdom in Vietnam. It may have been a forerunner of the Champa kingdom of southern and central Vietnam that began to take shape during roughly the same time period.


15. Zhao’s Colonel-Prefect of the Left, Chenggong Duan, constructed a massive outdoor lamp made with two large plates fastened horizontally to a tall pole over ten zhang in height (about thirty-three feet); one plate up above and one at ground level. The upper plate held the lamp with its burning oil, while the bottom plate was meant for people to stand on. Shi Hu tested it out and was delighted with it.
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Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:32 pm


The Third Year of Xiankang (The Dingyou Year, 337 AD)


1. In spring, the first month, on the day Gengchen (?), Zhao's Grand Guardian, Kui An, and over five hundred other high officials of Zhao, both civil and military, suggested that Shi Hu should assume the imperial title.

While they were beginning the ceremony beneath the massive lamp, the oil from the upper plate dripped down onto the lower one, and over twenty people were killed. Shi Hu, enraged, had the lamp's engineer, Chenggong Duan, cut in half at the waist.

On the day Xinsi (?), Shi Hu followed the systems of Yi Yin and the Duke of Zhou, styling himself the Heavenly Prince of Zhao, assuming the title in the countryside south of the capital city, and issuing a general amnesty. After assuming this title, he made his wife Lady Zheng his Heavenly Princess, and named his eldest son Shi Sui as Crown Prince. His other sons had their titles changed to dukes, and the remaining royal family members who had been princes were restyled as marquises. All the officials each received the appropriate ranks.


2. As the land in Jin was becoming more stable east of the Yangzi, Jin’s Libationer for the Imperial Youth, Yuan Gui, and the Minister of Ceremonies, Feng Huai, requested permission to establish centers of learning; Emperor Cheng assented. On the day Xinmao (February 20th), they established the Imperial University. Many students were recruited. But the gentry all studied Laozi and Zhuangzi, and Confucian learning did not flourish. This Yuan Gui was the great-grandson of Yuan Huan (from the Three Kingdoms era).


3. In the third month, Murong Huang built Haocheng east of Yilian in order to threaten Yilian, and left the General Who Breaks And Charges, Lan Bo, to man it. In summer, the fourth month, Duan Liao sent several thousand grain carts to supply Yilian. But Lan Bo attacked the convoy and captured the carts.

In the sixth month, Duan Liao sent the General Who Displays Might, his cousin Duan Quyun, with elite cavalry to launch a night attack at Xingguo against Murong Huang's son Murong Zun, but Murong Zun defeated him.


4. The Duan clan had a minister, Yang Yu of Beiping, who had served them under five different rulers, from Duan Jilujuan to Duan Liao. Everyone respected him.

Duan Liao was constantly fighting with Murong Huang. Yang Yu remonstrated with him, and said, "The proverb says, 'Being friendly to those nearby and kind to neighboring nations are a state's treasures.' Furthermore, we have long intermarried with the Murong clan, taking turns at being one another's in-laws. Murong Huang has ability and virtue, but we have created animosity with him. There has not been a month without some battle, and the people are withering away. The profits of your actions do not outweigh the evils. I fear we should consider whether the state may fall. To repent for these last two transgressions, let us mend relations to be good as new, to give the state peace and the people rest."

But Duan Liao did not listen to him. He appointed Yang Yu as Chancellor of Beiping and so sent him away.


5. The crown prince of Zhao, Shi Sui, possessed great bravery, and had his father’s favor. Oftentimes Shi Hu would say to the assembled ministers, "We all well know how the Sima family, fathers against sons, brothers against brothers, snuffed themselves out, and that is how I got to where I am. Knowing that, what sense would it make for me to raise a hand against Atie (Shi Sui's childhood name) or kill him?" Because of this, Shi Sui became very arrogant and cruel. He enjoyed dressing up beautiful women and then cutting their heads off, washing off the blood and then putting the heads on plates, and after passing the plates around for the guests to look at, cooking and eating them with meals.

The Duke of Hejian, Shi Xuan, and the Duke of Le'an, Shi Tao, two of Shi Sui's younger brothers, also received favor from Shi Hu, and this made Shi Sui burn with jealousy. Shi Hu often gave himself over to sensual pleasures, and he had a moody disposition. He had Shi Sui handle most affairs, but every time that Shi Sui reported to him, Shi Hu would angrily ask, "What's the use in troubling over something so insignificant?" Sometimes Shi Sui did not report; then Shi Hu would demand, "Why didn't you report?" And he would have Shi Sui whipped. This went on for three months.

Shi Sui privately met with his Crown Prince’s Attendant, Li Yan, and others, and said to them, "The Heavenly Prince is difficult to please. I plan to follow the example of Modu Chanyu. Ministers, are you with me?" Li Yan and the rest prostrated themselves before him, not daring to answer.

Modu Chanyu (or Maodun) was the founder of the most powerful Xiongnu state, in the early days of the Han dynasty. His father did not think much of him, and sent Modu to be a hostage with an enemy state, before attacking that state anyway, hoping that Modu would be executed. However, Modu escaped. He then trained his followers to shoot their arrows at whatever he commanded them to, starting with his favorite horse. Anyone who hesitated at this command was executed. He repeated the experiment by having them shoot his wife. When he was satisfied with their absolute loyalty, he ordered them to shoot his father, and so took over his clan.

In autumn, the seventh month, Shi Sui put off managing his duties by claiming illness. He secretly arranged for several officers and ministers, along with over five hundred cavalry, to ride out to Li Yan's secondary residence, telling them, "I want to go to Jizhou and kill the Duke of Hejian (Shi Xuan). Anyone who does not follow me will be beheaded!" But after they had gone some distance from the city, the riders all scattered. Li Yan kowtowed and begged Shi Sui to reconsider his plan, and Shi Sui was already drunk from wine, so they returned.

When his mother Lady Zheng learned about the aborted plot, she secretly sent some of her subordinates to censure Shi Sui, but this only enraged Shi Sui, and he killed them.

The monk Fotudeng said to Shi Hu, "Your Majesty should be wary of going to the Eastern Palace (Shi Sui's residence) too often." Soon after, when Shi Hu wished to visit Shi Sui to look into his illness, he remembered what Fotudeng had said and held back. Because of this, with furrowed brow and in a great cry he lamented, "I am lord of the realm, and yet father and son cannot trust one another!" He sent several of his female Masters of Writing to question Shi Sui. But Shi Sui answered them harshly, and attacked them with his sword. Shi Hu was furious, and began to interrogate Li Yan and the others. Li Yan revealed everything. He and thirty others were executed.

Shi Hu detained Shi Sui in the Eastern Palace, and even pardoned him. He later summoned Shi Sui to an audience in the eastern wing of Taiwu Palace. However, Shi Sui only did obeisance without apologizing, and left after only a moment. Shi Hu sent someone to tell him, "The Crown Prince should pay his respects to the Empress. Why did you leave so suddenly?" But Shi Sui continued regardless. Shi Hu was greatly angered, and demoted Shi Sui to commoner status.

One night, he killed Shi Sui and his wife Princess Zhang, and they and twenty-six of their attendants were all buried together in one coffin. He also executed the two hundred palace attendants who were Shi Sui’s partisans. Empress Zheng was demoted to the title Concubine of Donghai. Shi Hu raised his second son, Shi Xuan, to be his new Crown Prince, and Shi Xuan's mother Lady Du as the new Empress.


6. A certain fellow, Hou Ziguang of Anding, proclaimed himself the Heir of the Buddha. Claiming to be from Greater Qin (the Chinese name for the Roman empire), he said he ought to be the King of Lesser Qin (i.e., China), and gathered a host of some thousands at Mount Dushan. He went so far as to assume the title Great Yellow Emperor, and proclaimed his reign era title to be the first year of Longxing. Shi Guang marched out and put down his uprising, killing him.


7. In the ninth month, Yan’s Chief Clerk Of The Left Who Guards The Army, Feng Yi, along with others, encouraged Murong Huang to claim the title of Prince of Yan; Murong Huang agreed. The appropriate lesser ranks were given out. Feng Yi became Chancellor, Han Shou became Marshal, Pei Kai became Chamberlain of Ceremonies, Yang Wu became Director of Retainers, Wang Yu became Minister Coachman, Li Hong became Grand Judge, and Du Qun became Prefect of 纳言. Song Gai, Liu Mu, and Shi Cong became 常伯s. Huangfu Zhen and Yang Xie became Regular Attendants of 冗騎. Song Huang, Ping Xi, and Zhang Hong became Generals. Feng Yu became 記室監. This Li Hong was the grandson of Li Zhen; this Song Huang was the son of Song Shi.

In winter, the tenth month, on the day Dingmao (November 23rd), Murong Huang officially assumed the title Prince of Yan, and declared a general amnesty. In the eleventh month, on the day Jiayin (?), he honored his father Murong Hui, who had been posthumously named Duke Wuxuan, as Prince Wuxuan, and his mother Lady Duan as Princess Dowager Wuxuan. His own wife, Lady Duan, became Princess, and his eldest son Murong Jun became Crown Prince. This was in the same manner as Emperor Wu of Wei (Cao Cao) and Emperor Wen of Jin (Sima Zhao) had supported Han and Wei.


8. Duan Liao often raided Zhao's borders.

Murong Huang sent the General Who Displays Ferocity, Song Hui, to Zhao to declare his domain a Zhao vassal state. He further begged for an army to campaign against Duan Liao, pledging that he would muster all of his own soldiers to join together with them. The General Who Calms Distant Places, Murong Huang’s brother Murong Hann, was also sent to Zhao as a hostage.

Shi Hu was overjoyed with the proposal, and gave a very favorable response. He declined to keep Murong Hann as hostage, but returned the messenger, secretly fixing a time for the campaign for the following year.


9. During this year, the Zhao general Li Mu escorted Tuoba Yihuai from Daning back to Dai. Most of the Dai tribes flocked to his side. Tuoba Hena (who had tried to reclaim the title King of Dai) fled to Yan. The people of Dai restored the title King of Dai to Tuoba Yihuai, and Tuoba Yihuai chose Shengle as his capital.


10. The King of Chouchi, the Di ruler Yang Yi, had a cousin Yang Chu. Yang Chu murdered Yang Yi, and after taking command of Yang Yi's soldiers, he proclaimed himself Duke of Chouchi, stating he was now a Zhao vassal.
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Sun Jun 04, 2017 11:00 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-10

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Tue Jan 31, 2017 7:33 pm

Thus far has only been Book 95. I have drafts of the other ones and will be posting them as I clean them up.

Please feel free to share any questions, comments, or corrections. I would like for everyone to learn more about this period.
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-10

Unread postby Fornadan » Tue Jan 31, 2017 8:59 pm

It's really too bad that the Spring and Autumn of the Sixteen Kingdoms hasn't survived. While maybe not the most factual history ever written, it certainly seems to have been entertaining enough. And now nobody have ever heard about Murong Huang's ice march
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Re: ZZTJ Translations: The Sixteen Kingdoms Era (Books 95-10

Unread postby DragonAtma » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:03 pm

At one point, the guy who built the massive outdoor lamp was named Chenggong Duan, at the other point Chengguan Duan. You should fix that. ;)
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