Zizhi Tongjian: The Jin Dynasty (Part 2)

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Zizhi Tongjian: The Jin Dynasty (Part 2)

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 Mon Jun 11, 2018 5:06 am, edited 17 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)


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

七年春正月辛未,大赦。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the seventh year of Xianhe (332), in spring, the first month, on the day Xinwei (February 27th), a general amnesty was declared.


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 martial valor, strategy, and resourcefulness, Your Majesty surpasses even Han Gaozu (Liu Bang). There shall never be anyone who can compare with you."

Shi Le laughed and said, "What man does not know his own worth? Sir, you go too far. If I had met Han Gaozu, then I would have faced north to him as his servant, shoulder to shoulder with Han Xin and Peng Yue. And I had met Emperor Guangwu, then I would have contended with him for the Central Plains, and we would have seen to whom the deer would fall. 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 (Cao Cao) and Sima Zhongda (Sima Yi), 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 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 Biography of Shi Le in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin, 'Since Shi Le was holding a feast, Goguryeo and the Yuwen sent envoys as well.' (Jinshu 105.58) But I assume that 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?"

How brazenly Shi Le was able to talk about Cao Cao and Sima Yi like this. If the dead are still conscious, then he, Mengde, and Zhongda should all feel ashamed in the world below!

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 liked to have 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 Shi Le 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 is mentioned in Book 10, in the third year of Emperor Gao of Han (204 BC).

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 Jing's earlier capture of Xiangyang is mentioned in Book 94, in the fifth year of Xianhe (330.14).

夏四月,勒將郭敬陷襄陽。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In summer, the fourth month, Shi Le's general Guo Jing captured Xiangyang.


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 grown sons wield 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."

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 just be that you will not have sole control over my son as the Imperial Uncle. But I will make you his advisor as well, so there is no longer any reason to fear."

Cheng Xia tearfully replied, "My concerns are purely on behalf of the state, yet Your Majesty dismisses them 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 and his sons well enough with grace and honor. But 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 your ancestral temple."

But Shi Le did not listen to him.


Mencius states, "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, Zhongzhong 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.

The Biography of Shi Hu in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin states, "Shi Hu was Shi Le's nephew. His grandfather was called Beixie, and his father Koumi. But 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 was saying that Shi Hu was casting longing glances at the imperial throne.

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.


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, "The regions of Wu and Shu have not yet been pacified, and I fear that future generations will not believe that I was a sovereign who held the Mandate."

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 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 and lacks benevolence, seeking personal gains and ignoring what is just. 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, for his heart is not satisfied. 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 was disquieted by this advice. He began to grant the Crown Prince power over reviewing the petitions of the ministers. The Palace Regular Attendant, Yan Zhen, was also given power to confirm or deny them, only referring 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 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 two capitals were Chang'an and Luoyang. The eight provinces were Jizhou, Youzhou, Bingzhou, Qingzhou, Yanzhou, Yuzhou, Sizhou, and Yongzhou.

The Book of Han states, "When the Duke of Zhai was appointed as Minister of Justice, his gates were filled with guests. But 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 (Book 95, 333.6).


7. In autumn, Guo Jing raided south into Jiangxi. Jin's Grand Commandant, Tao Kan, sent the Army Advisor to the General Who Pacifies The West, his son Tao Bin, and the General of the Household Gentlemen of the South, Huan Xuan, to take advantage of Guo Jing’s absence by attacking his base at Fancheng, where they took the whole garrison 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 recaptured Xiangyang.


Jiangxi refers to the region from Zhucheng east to Liyang.

The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Nie River's source is Mount Qiji in the northwest of Nieyang County. It flows southeast through Nieyang ("North of the Nie River") 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".

太尉陶侃遣子平西參軍斌與南中郎將桓宣攻石勒將郭敬,破之,克樊城。竟陵太守李陽拔新野、襄陽,因而戍之。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

(In the seventh month) the Grand Commandant, Tao Kan, sent the Army Advisor to the General Who Pacifies The West, his son Tao Bin, and the General of the Household Gentlemen of the South, Huan Xuan, to attack Shi Le's general Guo Jing. They routed Guo Jing and captured Fancheng. The Administrator of Jingling, Li Yang, captured Xinye and Xiangyang, and so they established garrisons in those places.


8. Tao Kan ordered Huan Xuan to guard Xiangyang.

In order to gain the affections of the newly recovered territory, Huan Xuan simplified the code of punishments, and scaled back on pomp and ceremony. He advocated and supervised farming and silkworm cultivation, sometimes 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.

This passage is demonstrating Huan Xuan's success in defending Xiangyang.

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 his General Who Conquers The East, Fei Hei, leading his vanguard. They marched from Guanghan, while Cheng's General Who Guards The South, Ren Hui, marched from Yuegui, and so divided Jin's Ningzhou soldiers.

雄遣李壽攻硃提,以費黑、仰攀為前鋒,又遣鎮南任回征木落,分寧州之援。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Xiong)

Li Xiong sent Li Shou to attack Zhuti, with Fei Hei and Yang Pan serving as his vanguard, and he also sent the General Who Guards The South, Ren Hui, to conquer Muluo, in order to keep Jin's forces in Ningzhou divided.

七年秋,壽南征寧州,以費黑為司馬,與邵攀邵等為前軍,由南廣入。又別遣任回子調由越嶲「入」。(Huayang Guozhi 9.2)

In the seventh year of Xianhe (332), in autumn, Li Shou was appointed as General Who Conquers The South and Inspector of Ningzhou. With Fei Hei serving as his Marshal, and Shao Pan and others serving as his vanguard, he marched into Ningzhou from Nanguang. He also ordered Ren Hui's son Ren Diao to march from Yuexi.

[攀邵]: 《晉書‧載記》作卬。顧廣圻校稿云:「《載記》作卬攀。當考。」今按本書各本前後俱作邵。是《晉書》訛。[南廣]: 顧校稿云:「《通鑑》作廣漢。」又批云:「此南廣郡也。見《南中志》。《通鑑》非。」[子調]: 顧校稿云:「任回之子名調也。任調,後屢見。」(Huayang Guozhi commentary)

(Regarding 邵攀 Shao Pan, the Biography of Li Xiong in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin writes his surname as 卬 Ang. And Gu Guangqi's Analysis notes the same thing. But consider that the original texts all wrote his surname as 邵 Shao. It is the Book of Jin which has corrupted it.

This passage states that Li Shou marched "from Nanguang". Gu Guangqi's Analysis states, "The Zizhi Tongjian's account of this event writes it as Guanghan." He further notes, "The Nanguang mentioned here is Nanguang commandary; see the Records of Nanzhong earlier in the Huayang Guozhi. The Zizhi Tongjian is mistaken."

Gu Guangqi's Analysis elaborates on Ren Diao, saying, "The son of Ren Hui had the given name 調 Diao. This Ren Diao is mentioned more below.")


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 reinforce him. Li Shou wished to intercept Huo Biao. Fei Hei told him, "Zhuti is low on food. You should let Huo Biao rush on into the city. Once both their armies are consuming the grain that much faster, how will they be left in any shape to resist us?" So Li Shou followed his advice.

However, when Zhuti did not quickly fall, Li Shou then wished to fiercely assault it. Fei Hei said, "Nanzhong is a region of difficult terrain, and it does not submit easily, yet you think that you can dominate them in a mere matter of days or months. What we ought to do is 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 as Fei Hei had predicted, 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. Master 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.

冬十月,壽、黑至朱提。朱提太守董炳固城。寧州刺史尹奉遣建寧太守霍彪、大姓爨深等助炳。時壽已圍城,欲逆拒之。黑曰:「料城中食少。霍彪等雖至,齎糧不多。宜令人入城,共消其穀。猶嫌其少,何緣拒之?」彪等皆入城。城久不下,壽欲急攻之。黑諫曰:「南〔中〕道險,俗好反亂,宜必待其詐勇已困。但當日月制之,全軍取勝,謂不戰而勝。以求有餘。溷牢之物,何足汲汲也。」壽必欲戰,果不利。乃悉以軍事任黑。(Huayang Guozhi 9.2)

In winter, the tenth month, Li Shou and Fei Hei reached Zhuti. Jin's Administrator of Zhuti, Dong Bing, held fast inside the city. Jin's Inspector of Ningzhou, Yin Feng, sent the Administrator of Jianning, Huo Biao, a local gentry leader, Cuan Shen, and others to help Dong Bing. Li Shou had already besieged the city by then, and he wanted to attack these approaching reinforcements. But Fei Hei told him, "Zhuti is low on food. Although Huo Biao and the others have brought men to reinforce it, they cannot have brought very much food. You should let them enter the city, and let both their armies consume the grain that much faster. They will still gripe that there is not enough food to feed everyone; how will they be left in any shape to resist us?"

So Li Shou followed his advice, and allowed Huo Biao and the rest to entered the city.

However, when Zhuti did not quickly fall, Li Shou then wished to fiercely assault it. Fei Hei remonstrated with him, saying, "Nanzhong is a region of difficult terrain, and it is a coarse place that loves to rise in rebellion. What we must do is bide our time until their bravado has faded. Yet you think that you can dominate them in a mere matter of days or months, by throwing your whole army against them, claiming that you can win even without fighting. I ask you to have a little more patience. We have them cooped up like animals in a pigsty, so what need is there to be hasty?"

But Li Shou insisted upon an assault, and as Fei Hei had predicted, he had the worst of it. After that, he left all army affairs to Fei Hei.

[「南]: 廖本注云:「當有中字。」(Huayang Guozhi commentary)

(The original text of Fei Hei's second remonstration only has him mention 南 "the south". The Liao edition here notes that "the character 中 should be included here, to form 南中 Nanzhong.")


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

冬十一月壬子朔,進太尉陶侃爲大將軍。詔舉賢良。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In winter, the eleventh month, on the new moon of the day Renzi (December 4th), the Grand Commandant, Tao Kan, was promoted to Grand General. An imperial edict was issued commending his integrity.


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


The new palace had begun construction during the fifth year of Xianhe (Book 94, 330.16). It was only now completed, so Emperor Cheng moved in.

十二月庚戌,帝遷于新宮。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

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


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). But 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).
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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.

丙寅,李雄將李壽陷寧州,刺史尹奉及建寧太守霍彪並降之。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

On the day Bingyin (February 16th), Li Xiong's general Li Shou captured Ningzhou. Jin's Inspector of Ningzhou, Yin Feng, and their Administrator of Jianning, Huo Biao, both surrendered to him.

八年,春正月,炳、彪等出降。威震十三郡。(Huayang Guozhi 9.2)

In the eighth year of Xianhe (333), in spring, the first month, Dong Bing, Huo Biao, and the others in Zhuti came out and surrendered. Li Shou’s might was then feared throughout the thirteen commandaries.


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.

丙子,石勒遣使致賂,詔焚之。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

On the day Bingzi (February 26th), Shi Le dispatched envoys to Jin presenting gifts. But the Jin court burned them.


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 in Cheng, and Li Shou was granted acting authority over Ningzhou.

甯[寧]州刺史尹奉降,遂有南中之地。雄於是赦其境內,使班討平寧州夷,以班為撫軍。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Xiong)

Jin's Inspector of Ningzhou, Yin Feng, surrendered, and so Li Xiong gained all the territory of Nanzhong. He declared an amnesty within his domain, and sent Li Ban to campaign against and pacify the tribes of Ningzhou, appointing him as General Who Comforts The Army.

封[壽]為建寧王。(Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms 6, Biography of Li Shou)

Li Xiong appointed Li Shou as Prince of Jianning.

征寧州,攻圍百餘日,悉平諸郡,雄大悅,封建甯王。雄死,受遺輔政。期立,改封漢王,食梁州五郡,領梁州刺史。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Shou)

When Li Shou campaigned against Ningzhou, he assaulted and laid siege to the provincial capital for over a hundred days, as well as conquering all the commandaries of that province. Li Xiong was overjoyed, and he appointed Li Shou as Prince of Jianning.

三月,刺史尹奉舉州委質。遷奉於蜀。壽領寧州。(Huayang Guozhi 9.2)

In the third month, Jin's Inspector of Ningzhou, Yin Feng, surrendered the province and gave himself over as a hostage, and he was sent on to Shu. Li Shou assumed command of Ningzhou.


4. In summer, the fifth month, on the day Jiayin (June 4th), Murong Hui passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke Wuxuan ("the Martial and Proclaimed") 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 the Household Gentlemen, 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.

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

五月,有星隕于肥鄉。麒麟、騶虞見于遼東。乙未,車騎將軍、遼東公慕容廆卒,子皝嗣位。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the fifth month, a star fell in Fei District. A qilin and a zouyu were seen in Liaodong.

On the day Yiwei (?), the General of Chariots and Cavalry and Duke of Liaodong, Murong Hui, passed away. His son Murong Huang inherited his positions.

[五年]慕容廆死,子元真代立。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

In the fifth year of the reign of the Prince of Dai, Tuoba Yihuai (333), Murong Hui passed away. His son Murong Yuanzhen (Murong Huang) succeeded him.


5. Shi Le became gravely ill. Shi Hu 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 Hóng, and the Prince of Pengcheng, Shi Kan, to return to the capital at Xiangguo. Shi Le had then recovered somewhat from his illness, and when he saw that Shi Hóng was in the capital, he was alarmed and said to Shi Hu, "I sent him to guard the border in order to prevent just such a day as this. Has someone summoned him, or did he come on his own? If someone summoned him, they ought to be put to death!"

Shi Hu worriedly replied, "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 Hóng 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."

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


Shi Le had appointed Shi Hóng 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. After this era, Northern Wei reestablished Guang'a County, as part of Southern Zhao commandary. Sui changed its name to Daling County. During the Wude reign era of Tang (618-626), its name was changed to Xiangcheng County. At the beginning of the Tianbao reign era (~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.


6. In autumn, the seventh month, Shi Le's illness became critical. He issued a final testament stating, "Daya (Shi Hong) and his brothers must do good and defend one another. Let the fate of the Sima clan serve as a warning, as 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.

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 Shi Sui to lead soldiers into the palace barracks, and the civil and military officials all fled and scattered.

Shi Hong was very afraid. Claiming his own feebleness and unsuitability to rule, he offered the throne to Shi Hu. But 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 ("the Wise"), and his temple name was Gaozu.


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. He honestly thought that he could bound Shi Hu to his will just by such words! So much for the pleas of Xu Guang and Cheng Xia.

Shi Le was fifty-nine years old when he died.

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 Shi Le a false burial service, when Shi Hu planned for his own burial, he must have made the same arrangement. Yet unlike Shi Le, the location of his corpse was ratted out by a young girl; little good that it did him!

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.

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.

秋七月戊辰,石勒死,子弘嗣偽位。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In autumn, the seventh month, on the day Wuchen (August 17th), Shi Le passed away. His son Shi Hong succeeded him.

五年,勒死,子大雅僭立。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

In the fifth year of the reign of the Prince of Dai, Tuoba Yihuai (333), Shi Le passed away. His son Shi Daya (Shi Hong) succeeded him.


7. The Zhao general Shi Cong and their Administrator of Qiao, Peng Biao, both sent word asking to surrender to Jin. Shi Cong had originally been 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 Qiao Qiu could arrive, Shi Cong and the others had already been executed by Shi Hu.


At this time, Shi Cong was guarding Qiao.

[石弘]將石聰以譙來降。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

Shi Hong's general offered up Qiao in surrender to Jin.


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 granted Wei and other commandaries, thirteen in all, 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 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 (or Taiyuan), Shi Bin, as Prince of Zhangwu.

Shi Hu removed all the old civil and military officials that had held office under Shi Le, and replaced them with members of his own faction. His personal staff and intimate partisans held all the important government offices. He appointed the General Who Guards The Army, Kui An, as acting 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 staff and personal associates were scattered among all the government ministries. Although Shi Hong occupied the throne, he was in a most precarious position.


10. Yuwen Qidegui was driven out of his territory by the chieftain of his 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 merely 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 the Murong clan's capital at Jicheng.

Considering the name Yuyin ("south of the Yin"), that fort must have been built on the south side of the Great Yu River. Anjin was built southeast of the Yuwen-held city of Weide.


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

南夷初平,威禁甚肅。後轉淩掠民。秋,建寧「州」民毛衍、羅屯等反,殺太守邵攀。牂柯太守謝恕舉郡為晉。壽〔討〕破之。(Huayang Guozhi 9.2)

With the tribes of Nanzhong having just been pacified, at first they greatly respected Li Shou's power and authority. But soon enough, they returned to oppressing and pillaging the common people. In autumn, Mao Yan, Luo Tun, and other natives of Jianning rebelled, and they killed Li Xiong's Administrator of Jianning, Shao Pan. And Li Xiong's Administrator of Zangke, Xie Shu, offered up his commandary to Jin. But Li Shou campaigned against them and routed them.


12. Zhao's Empress Dowager, Lady Liu, said to 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. Nor is there anyone within the palace whom we can rely upon. Please allow me to escape to Yanzhou, and compel the Prince of Nanyang, Shi Hui, to serve as the leader of a coalition. I shall occupy Linqiu, and then proclaim your edict calling on all the Governors, Administrators, and border commanders to bring troops and punish this usurpation, and thereby gain assistance for us."

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

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. Shi Hu sent his general Guo Tai to pursue him, and Guo Tai captured Shi Kan at Chengfu. Shi Kan was sent back to Xiangguo, where he was burned to death. The General Who Conquers The South and Prince of Nanyang, Shi Hui, was also brought back 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 had originally been a son of the Tian clan, but 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.


Shi Kan was 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 and the chief offices of the government with his own personal staff and followers, so no plot could be hatched against Shi Hu that involved them.

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

Empress Dowager Lü was able to execute Han Xin and Peng Yue, but Lady Liu could not stop Shi Hu from seizing power. She did not quite measure up.

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 (Book 94, 329.5), 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 (Book 94, 329.19). 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.

冬十月,石弘將石生起兵于關中,稱秦州刺史,遣使來降。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In winter, the tenth month, Shi Hong's general Shi Sheng rose in rebellion in Guanzhong, declaring himself Inspector of Qinzhou. He sent messengers to Jin offering to surrender to them.


14. Shi Hu left Shi Sui to defend Xiangguo, while he himself assembled a force of seventy thousand horse and foot to meet Shi Lang at the Jinyong fortress. 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 fought at Tong Gate, where Guo Quan greatly routed Shi Hu's soldiers, and Shi Ting and the Prime Minister’s Chief Clerk of the Left, Liu Wei, both died. Shi Hu retreated to Mianchi, and the dead littered the ground for more than three hundred li.

But Shi Sheng's Xianbei allies then secretly plotted with Shi Hu, and they turned against and attacked Shi Sheng. Not knowing that Shi Ting was already dead, Shi Sheng was afraid and so fled to Chang’an alone on horseback. Guo Quan gathered up Shi Sheng's remaining troops, and fell back to camp at Weirui. Shi Sheng then abandoned Chang'an, hiding himself at Mount Jitou.

It was earlier mentioned that the former Han-Zhao general Jiang Ying had occupied Chang’an after Liu Xi abandoned that city. He now occupied it again 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.


This was the same Liu Wei who had once served as one of Sima Rui's close advisors. He had fled from Jin to Later Zhao after being defeated by the rebel Wang Dun during Wang Dun's first uprising (Book 92, 322.24).

澠 is pronounced "mian (mi-an)".

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 remarked, "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.

Puban is the modern city of Yongji in Shanxi province.

石弘將石季龍攻石朗于洛陽,因進擊石生,俱滅之。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

Shi Hong's general Shi Hu attacked Shi Lang at Luoyang, and then advanced to attack Shi Sheng; both of them were vanquished.


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

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?" Shi Hu took his advice, and relocated the Di and Qiang people and more than a hundred thousand local households from Qinzhou and Yongzhou, moving them to the regions east of the mountains (east of Luoyang). Pu Hong was made Dragon-Soaring General and Commander of Refugees, and was stationed at Fangtou. The Qiang chieftain Yao Yizhong was made General of 奮武 and Grand Commander of the Western Qiang, with his hosts of many tens of thousands being relocated to Retou on the Qing River.


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

There were no earlier instances of the title General of Glorious Ferocity; it was Shi Hu who 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.

This was why Pu Hong's son Pu Jian later set out from Fangtou to conquer Guanzhong.

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

This was why Yao Yizhong and his sons were later in a position to rise in rebellion against Ran Min at Shetou (Book 98, 350.1).

季龍滅石生,洪說季龍宜徙關中豪傑及羌戎內實京師。季龍從之,以洪為龍驤將軍、流人都督,處於枋頭。累有戰功,封西平郡公,其部下賜爵關內侯者二千餘人,以洪為關內領侯將。(Book of Jin 112, Biography of Pu/Fu Hong)

After Shi Hu crushed the uprising of Shi Sheng, Pu Hong told Shi Hu that he should relocate the peoples of Guanzhong, the Di, and the Qiang into the regions closer to the capital. Shi Hu followed his advice, further naming Pu Hong as Dragon-Soaring General and Commander of Refugees, and Pu Hong had his base at Fangtou. Due to his constant victories in battle, he was ennobled as Duke of Xiping commandary, and more than two thousand of his subordinates were appointed as Marquises Within The Passes, as was Pu Hong himself.


16. When Shi Hu returned to Xiangguo, he issued a general amnesty within Zhao. 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 had only recently succeeded his father, yet he enforced a strict and harsh rule, unsettling many of the people. His Registrar, Huangfu Zhen, bluntly admonished him, but Murong Huang did not listen to him.


18. Now Murong Huang had several brothers. The General Who Establishes Might, Murong Han, was his elder brother born of one of their father’s concubines. The General Who Conquers The Caitiffs, Murong Ren, was one of Murong Huang’s younger brothers by the same mother. These two were brave and cunning, having won several great successes in battle, and they had the support of the gentry. Another younger brother, Murong Zhao, possessed great talent and skill 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 late 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, not through my own power. 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 was very pleased to accepted him, holding him in high esteem.


19. It was earlier mentioned that Murong Ren had been stationed at Pingguo in the northeast. He now returned to Jicheng to attend the mourning for his late father. There, he told Murong Zhao, "We have been arrogant, and have been discourteous to our 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 our father's chief wife; we each ought to have an equal share of the state. Elder Brother, the gentry 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 from without, while I coordinate things from within. On the day of success, Liaodong shall be ours. A true man acts, even when failure means death; we cannot be like the General Who Establishes Might (Murong Han), living out a pointless existence in a foreign land."

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

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


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

According to the Records of Han, Pingguo County was part of Liaodong commandary; Jin had abolished it. Jin's Colonel of Eastern Yi Tribes, Cui Bi, had administered that region from Xiangping. But after Cui Bi's defeat, when Murong Hui sent Murong Ren to defend Liaodong, he administered the region from Pingguo.


20. Someone leaked the brothers' plot to Murong Huang. Still trusting his brothers, he sent messengers to look into the matter. Murong Ren's soldiers had already reached the Huang River, but upon 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 and his Marshal, Tong Shou of Liaodong, to lead an army of five thousand men against Murong Ren. Accompanying them were some of Murong Huang's other younger brothers by other mothers: the General Who Establishes Valor, Murong You; Murong Zhi; the General Who Spreads Might, Murong Junn; and the General Who Calms Distant Places, Murong 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 also surrendered to Murong Ren. The former Jin Minister of Finance, Sun Ji, and others offered over the city Liaodong to Murong Ren as well. 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 other Xianbei clans then coordinated with Murong Ren to provide him with assistance.

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


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, the Huang River was in Xiandu County in Han's Liaodong commandary.

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

佟 is pronounced "tong (t-ong)"; it is a surname.

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 must have been a former Jin official who had fled to Liaodong seeking refuge. "The city of Liaodong" was the same city as Xiangping.

乙 Yi is a surname; his given 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, thus he named Huangfu Zhen as Attendant Officer of that province.

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. Sima Guang and the other editors of the Zizhi Tongjian had access to a certain Book of Yan, similar to the Book of Jin but focusing on the states of Former and Later Yan; it is since lost. It likely contains the conflicting source for this information about Gao Xu and others.


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

十二月,石生故部將郭權遣使請降。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the twelfth month, Shi Sheng's former general Guo Quan sent messengers to Jin asking to surrender to them.


22. Before now, Zhang Jun of Liangzhou had wished to send diplomatic messages to Jiankang by way of the roads through Cheng, but the Emperor 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 be allowed to use their roads. 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 meager lord has sent my humble self to maintain our ties with Jiankang even at a distance of ten thousand li 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 proclaim to all, ‘Liangzhou has not forgotten the old virtues, seeking to send word to Langye (Jiankang). Their lord is sagely and his minister bright. When I discovered this, I killed him.’ By this, people far and wide will truly appreciate your sense of justice, and all the realm will fear your might. But by sending pirates to kill me along the Yangzi, you do not make a clear showing of your justice; how then could the realm know of it?"

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

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."

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 large and 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, "My lord laments that the imperial court remains in exile in distant Yue and the coffins of the late emperors have not yet returned to the north. The people live in suffering and misery, and they all yearn for a savior. This is why my lord has sent me to express his sincerity to the imperial court. It 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 the capital, so how could I be concerned about mere heat or cold?"

Then Li Xiong said to Zhang Chun, "Your honorable lord is heroic and renowned, peerless in the realm. His land is well-guarded and his soldiers are strong. Why does he not also 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 is like one who 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 own father was also once a servant of Jin. 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.


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

Cheng-Han 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 state "Langye".

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.

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

Zhang Chun uses the term 上都 Shangdu; this refers to the Eastern Jin capital, Jiankang.

The incidents beginning the migration of Li Te's followers are mentioned in Book 82, in Emperor Hui's eighth year of Yuankang (298.3-4).

雄以中原喪亂,乃頻遣使朝貢,與晉穆帝分天下。張駿領秦、梁,先是,遣傅穎假道於蜀,通表京師,雄弗許。駿又遣治中從事張淳稱籓於蜀,托以假道。雄大悅,謂淳曰:「貴主英名蓋世,土險兵強,何不自稱帝一方?」淳曰:「寡君以乃祖世濟忠良,未能雪天下之恥,解眾人之倒懸,日昃忘食,枕戈待旦。以琅邪中興江東,故萬里翼戴,將成桓文之事,何言自取邪!」雄有慚色,曰:「我乃祖乃父亦是晉臣,往與六郡避難此地,為同盟所推,遂有今日。琅邪若能中興大晉於中夏,亦當率眾輔之。」淳還,通表京師,天子嘉之。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Xiong)

Since the Central Plains were wracked by grief and chaos, Li Xiong often sent envoys to the Jin court bearing tribute, offering to split the realm with Emperor Mu.

Zhang Jun held de facto control of Qinzhou and Lianzhou, and before this time, he had sent Fu Ying to use the roads through the Shu region in order to bring his petitions to the Jin capital in the Southland, but Li Xiong had not allowed him to go through. So Zhang Jun sent his 治中從事, Zhang Chun, to declare his vassalage to Shu as a pretext in order to gain access to its roads. Li Xiong was very pleased, and he asked Zhang Chun, "Your honorable lord is heroic and renowned, peerless in the realm. His land is well-guarded and his soldiers are strong. Why does he not also assume imperial title for his own corner of the realm?"

Zhang Chun replied, "My lord's family has been steadfast and loyal to Jin ever since his grandfather's (Zhang Gui's) generation. As he has not yet avenged the realm's shame or relieved the suffering of the people, he is like one who forgets to eat before noon and who sleeps with his spear as a pillow, waiting for day to break (i.e., he is prepared for battle). It is Langye who has restored the dynasty in the Southland, and my lord only serves him from ten thousand li away. He is about to achieve the same deeds as Duke Huan of Qi and Duke Wen of Jin on behalf of the dynasty. How could he speak of claiming anything for himself?"

Li Xiong looked ashamed, and he said, "My own father and grandfather were also once servants of Jin. But when my father and the people of the six commandaries (of Qinzhou) came to this province seeking refuge, the alliance 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 in the Central Plains, then I too will lead troops to support him."

Zhang Chun returned, the petitions went through to the capital, and the Son of Heaven commended him.


23. 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 others, twelve in all, to be his subordinates.

When Geng Fang reached Lianzhou, the roads further on were blocked. Geng Fang transferred his commission to Jia Ling, while Geng Fang 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 his Commander of Personal Troops, Wang Feng, and others back to Jin to express appreciation.


The fall of Chang'an to Han-Zhao is mentioned in Book 89, in Emperor Min's fourth year of Jianxing (316.25-26).

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.

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.

癸酉,以張駿爲鎮西大將軍。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the first month, on the day Guiyou (February 23rd), Jin appointed Zhang Jun as Grand General Who Guards The West.
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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 Shi Sheng's former general, Guo Quan, as General Who Guards The West and Inspector of Yongzhou.

以郭權爲鎮西將軍、雍州刺史。 (Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

Jin appointed 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 vassalage to Jin.


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 West of Shan, in Yongzhou, in Qinzhou, and in Liangzhou. Messengers were thereafter dispatched every year between Jin and Liangzhou without interruption.


Chouchi, on the border between Lianzhou and Liangzhou, was also a Jin vassal, and the road passed through there.

二月丁卯,加鎮西大將軍張駿爲大將軍。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the second month, on the day Dingmao (April 13th), Jin promoted the Grand General Who Guards The West, Zhang Jun, to Grand General.


5. Murong Ren appointed his Marshal, Zhai Kai, as Colonel of Eastern Yi 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 of Liu Cheng, 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 bitterly 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. But Shi Cong and Muyu Ni kept up a stalwart defense, killing or wounding many thousands, and in the end Duan Lan could not capture the city.

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

But Murong Hann had a valiant temperament; he led more than 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 organized a steady formation and fought hard, and so staved off his own defeat.


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

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

Flying ladders are the same as cloud ladders.

Niuwei Valley was north of Liucheng.


7. Duan Lan wished to follow up his victory by pursuing the beaten soldiers, but Murong Han feared that this 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, you are not yet capable of overcoming their full strength. Murong Huang is very crafty and cunning, and delights in laying ambushes. If he is able to lead 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. Besides, we have already been given our orders for this day, and we were only meant to achieve this current victory. If we exceed orders and advance, then if we should meet with defeat, your merit and reputation will both 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 annihilated! But there is your brother Qiannian in the east; if we advance and are successful, then I will welcome him as the new heir to your state. 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 would 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 off part of Ningzhou to form Jiaozhou. He appointed Huo Biao as the Inspector of Ningzhou, and Cuan Shen as the Inspector of Jiaozhou.


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

九年春,分寧州置交州。以霍彪為寧州,「建寧」爨深為交州刺史。封壽建寧王。(Huayang Guozhi 9.2)

In the ninth year of Xianhe (334), in spring, Li Xiong split off part of Ningzhou to form Jiaozhou. He appointed Huo Biao as the Inspector of Ningzhou, and Cuan Shen as the Inspector of Jiaozhou. He also appointed Li Shou as Prince of Jianning.

[「建寧」]: 上文已言深為建寧大姓。當衍。(Huayang Guozhi commentary)

(The original text of the Huayang Guozhi here states that Cuan Shen was "of Jianning". But this fact was already mentioned when Cuan Shen was first mentioned above, so it should be omitted here.)


9. Shi Hu dispatched his general Guo Ao and his son Shi Bin with forty thousand horse and foot to go west to attack the rebel Guo Quan. Their army went to Huayin. In summer, the fourth month, the people of Shanggui killed Guo Quan and surrendered.

Shi Hu relocated more than 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 together with the King of the Northern Qiang, Bao Gouda, and others. Shi Bin and Shi Tao jointly attacked Bao Gouda and routed him. Bao Gouda fled to Mount Malan.

Guo Ao then pressed this victory and pursued the Qiang north, but he was defeated by them, and seventy to eighty percent of his men died. Shi Bin and others regathered the Zhao army and returned to Sancheng. Shi Hu sent word to execute Guo Ao. When Shi Hóng complained about it, Shi Hu imprisoned him.


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 reign era of Northern Wei (~4777), Guangwu County in Yanmen commandary and Biancheng County in Shuofang commandary were split off to form Biancheng commandary. It was administered from Guangwu County, and that county had the cities Sancheng and Biancheng."

Shi Hu had earlier falsely summoned Shi Hóng when Shi Le was ill, under the pretense of having an imperial order, and he now lost his position.

夏四月,石弘將石季龍使石斌攻郭權于郿,陷之。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In summer, the fourth month, Shi Hong's general Shi Hu sent Shi Bin to attack Guo Quan at Mei, and Shi Bin took it.


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


11. In his later years, 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 seriously 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, and bent-shaft canopies, his Palace Attendant 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 this old fellow!" On the day Yimao (July 30th), he passed away at Fanxi. He was posthumously known as Duke Huan ("the Resolute") 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 that others had mistakenly left by the wayside (i.e., all of society was honest and true).

Following his death, one of the Masters of Writing, Mei Tao, wrote to his relative Cao Shi saying, "Duke Tao possessed divine insight and judgment like 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 Records of Local Dialects 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, and the Yangzi was adjacent to it to the north.

When one considers Tao Kan's entire career on the western border, who could have guessed 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 merely left in the hands of Yu Liang and his partisans.

The forty-one years were from Emperor Hui's second year of Taian (303.9, 14), when Tao Kan had attacked the rebel leader Zhang Chang, until now.

Nanling was within Xuancheng commandary. The Liang dynasty formed it into Nanling commandary. Chen placed it in Northern Jiangzhou, adjacent to the Yangzi and its isles. Jiangzhou's eastern region entirely encompassed Nanling. There is a Nanling County in modern Xuanzhou, but that is not where the old Nanling was. So the border of Tao Kan's region of command stretched from Nanling to Baidicheng, and this was why it says that he commanded a vast region indeed. Song Bai remarked, "Nanling was originally the Han dynasty's Chonggu County; later, it was merged with Yuhu County, and then later on subsumed into Fanchang. Emperor Wu of Liang first split off Nanling County as part of 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 county."

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).

乙卯,太尉、長沙公陶侃薨。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

On the day Yimao (July 30th), the Grand Commandant and Duke of Changsha, Tao Kan, passed away.

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 sons were revolted by this and stayed away from him. Only the Crown Prince, his nephew 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 Li Ban rose to the throne.

Li Xiong had ordered the Prince of Jianning, Li Shou, to obey his summons to come and act as regent. Li Shou was granted authority over the affairs of the Masters of Writing, and all affairs of state were handled by him and by the Minister Over The Masses, He Dian, and 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 years old when he died. The Biography of Li Xiong in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin claims he died in the previous year (333).

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

Some versions record Wang Gui's title as "Prefect of the Masters of Writing" instead of "Master of Writing".

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.

二十四年五月,雄寢疾。六月丁卯薨,年六十一。(Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms 6, Biography of Li Xiong)

In the twenty-fourth year of Yuheng, the fifth month, Li Xiong was bedridden with illness. In the sixth month, on the day Dingmao (August 11th), he passed away. He was sixty years old.

六月,李雄死,其兄子班嗣偽位。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the sixth month, Li Xiong passed away. His nephew Li Ban succeeded him.

咸和八年,雄生瘍於頭,六日死,時年六十一,在位三十年。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Xiong)

In the eighth year of Xianhe (333), Li Xiong developed an ulcer on his head. He passed away six days later. He was sixty years old, and had ruled for thirty years.

及雄寢疾,班晝夜侍側。雄少數攻戰,多被傷夷,至是疾甚,痕皆膿潰,雄子越等惡而遠之。班為吮膿,殊無難色,每嘗藥流涕,不脫衣冠,其孝誠如此。雄死,嗣偽位,以李壽錄尚書事輔政。班居中執喪禮,政事皆委壽及司徒何點、尚書令王瑰等。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Ban)

When Li Xiong lay ill in bed, Li Ban stayed tending to him all through the night. When Li Xiong was younger, he had fought many battles and taken many wounds. So when he became seriously ill, pus leaked out of all these old wounds. Li Yue and Li Xiong's other sons were repulsed by this and kept far away from him. But Li Ban sucked the pus out while showing almost no expression of difficulty at such a task. He always wept as he administered medicine to Li Xiong, and he never left to change his clothes or hat. Such was his earnestness and filial piety.

After Li Xiong passed away, Li Ban succeeded him, with Li Shou serving as chief of affairs of the Masters of Writing and regent over the government. Li Ban himself remained in mourning inside the palace, and left all affairs to Li Shou, the Minister Over The Masses, He Dian, the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Wang Gui, and others.

雄死,受遺輔政。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Shou)

After Li Xiong passed away, Li Shou accepted his testament to come and serve as regent over the government.

烈帝六年,雄死,班代統任。(Book of Northern Wei 96, Biography of Li Xiong)

In the sixth year of the reign of Tuoba Yihuai, Prince of Dai (334), Li Xiong passed away. Li Ban succeeded him.

三月,壽還。夏六月癸亥,雄「疾」病〔瘍〕卒,時年六十一... 凡自立三十年... 甲子[班]襲位... 雄疾病,侍疾左右。左右侍臣造雄顧命,寄託於壽。(Huayang Guozhi 9.2)

In the third month, Li Shou returned from Nanzhong. In summer, the sixth month, on the day Guihai (August 7th), Li Xiong fell ill from his sores and passed away. He was sixty years old. He had ruled for thirty years.


On the day Jiazi, Li Ban succeeded Li Xiong.


When Li Xiong was on his deathbed, those who were attending upon him crafted his testament entrusting affairs to Li Shou.

[「疾」病〔瘍〕]: 依《晉書》改。[三十年]: 顧廣圻校稿云:「十下當有一字。雄以惠帝永興元年甲子自立。至成帝咸和九年甲午卒,凡自立三十一年也。《晉書‧載記》云:「咸和八年,雄生瘍於頭,六日死。時年六十一。在位三十年。」未詳何據。宋人用《載記》校《華陽國志》,此處必係其所誤改者也。不知雄卒之年,《國志》在甲午,《載記》在癸巳,本有一年之差也。《通鑑》:九年六月丁卯,雄卒。胡三省曰,「《載記》在去年」,得之矣。澗●校定。」廖本小注依此,但改「未詳何據……誤改者也」二十四字為「者,必有所出耳。李校刊此書,轉依《載記》刪去一字」二十字。及「得之矣」句為「最為明晰」四字。今按:李雄稱王於永興元年〈(三〇四)〉十月。稱帝於光熙元年〈(三〇六)〉六月。卒於咸和九年甲午〈(三三四)〉六月。合稱王計,僅三十年又四個月,史舉成數,非脫一字。《通鑑》繫雄咸和九年,不誤。《晉書‧載記》正因誤解「三十年」推雄卒於癸巳,乃誤,不足據改也。(Huayang Guozhi commentary)

(I have altered the text to state that Li Xiong fell ill from his "sores", to match the account of the Biography of Li Xiong in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin.

Regarding the length of Li Xiong's reign and the specific year of his death, Gu Guangqi's Analysis has this extended comment: "This passage ought to say that Li Xiong had been on the throne for thirty-one years, not thirty. For Li Xiong established himself in Emperor Hui's first year of Yongxing (304), a Jiazi year. If we count from that time until the year of his death, that being Emperor Cheng's ninth year of Xianhe (334), a Jiawu year, it adds up to thirty-one years altogether. It is true that the Biography of Li Xiong in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin states, 'In the eighth year of Xianhe (333), Li Xiong developed an ulcer on his head. He passed away six days later. He was sixty years old, and had ruled for thirty years.' But this is not a firm enough basis to be sure. When the historians of the Song dynasty compared the Book of Jin against the Huayang Guozhi, they must have mistakenly made this change. I am not certain in which year Li Xiong passed away; the Huayang Guozhi states it was the Jiawu year (334), while the Book of Jin states it was the Guisi year (333), which leaves a discrepency of one year. The Zizhi Tongjian states, 'In the ninth year of Xianhe (334), in the sixth month, on the day Dingmao (August 11th), Li Xiong passed away.' Hu Sanxing's commentary to that text notes, 'The Biography of Li Xiong in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin claims he died in the previous year (333).' And so it is. 澗●校定." The Liao edition lists the same thing in its note at this place, although it replaces the part of the commentary containing "This is not a firm enough basis... mistakenly made this change" with "But this can be dispensed with. When Master Li compiled his edition of the Huayang Guozhi, he followed the account of the Book of Jin and so subtracted one year from the length of Li Xiong's reign", and it replaces the final sentence "And so it is" with "Thus are things made clear". Now consider: Li Xiong declared himself King of Chengdu in the tenth month of the first year of Yongxing (304). He declared himself Emperor in the sixth month of the first year of Guangxi (306). And he died in the sixth month of the ninth year of Xianhe (334), a Jiawu year. If we reckon the total length of the reign, it adds up to thirty years and four months. It is just that the history has rounded this down to thirty years, and they have not neglected to add another full year to the total. So when the Zizhi Tongjian places Li Xiong's death in the ninth year of Xianhe (334), it is not mistaken. It is the Book of Jin which has made the real mistake by interpreting "thirty years" to mean that Li Xiong died in the Guisi year (333). Since that assumption was mistaken, there is no basis to alter Chang Ju's account here.)


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 the six provinces of Jiangzhou, Jingzhou, Yuzhou, Yizhou, Lianzhou, and Yongzhou. He was further appointed as acting Inspector of Jiangzhou, Yuzhou, and Jingzhou, and he was stationed at Wuchang.

Yu Liang recruited Yin Hao to serve as his Recordskeeping Army Advisor. 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 Assistant Administrator 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 had once said of Chu Pou, “Jiye is a ‘Chunqiu’ critic.” By this, he had meant how Chu Pou would outwardly not pass judgment on anyone, but inwardly would appraise people. And 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 assume power over the upper reaches of the Yangzi.

Chu Lüe was mentioned in Book 77, in Emperor Yuan of Cao-Wei's (Cao Huan's) first year of Jingyuan (260.22 in Fang's Chronicles). Du Xi is mentioned in Book 83, in Emperor Hui's ninth year of Yuankang (298.14).

Chu Pou's style name was Jiye.

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?”

辛未,加平西將軍庾亮都督江、荊、豫、益、梁、雍六州諸軍事。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

On the day Xinwei (August 15th), the General Who Pacifies The West, Yu Liang, was promoted to be Commander of military affairs in the six provinces of Jiangzhou, Jingzhou, Yuzhou, Yizhou, Lianzhou, and Yongzhou.

謝太傅絕重褚公,常稱:「褚季野雖不言,而四時之氣亦備。」(New Tales of the World 1.34)

Xie An was an absolute admirer of Chu Pou, and often praised him, saying, "Although Chu Pou doesn't speak, the working of the four seasons is nonetheless complete." (tr. Richard Mather)


14. In autumn, the eighth 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, to appoint Murong Huang as Grand General Who Guards The Army, Inspector of Pingzhou, Grand Chanyu, Duke of Liaodong, Credential Bearer, and Commander. He was granted the authority to confer appointments within his domain, just as Murong Hui had once done.

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, a distance of three hundred li. They turned north into the Wuhu Sea, until they reached the garrisons east of Mount Mashi. Mashi Ford was at this location.


15. In the ninth month, on the day Wuyin (October 21st), Jin’s Guard General, Lu Ye, passed away. He was posthumously known as Duke Mu ("the Solemn") of Jiangling.

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

九月戊寅,散騎常侍,衛將軍、江陵公陸曄卒。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the ninth month, on the day Wuyin (October 21st), the Cavalier In Regular Attendance, Guard General, and Duke of Jiangling, Lu Ye, passed away.


16. Cheng's General of Chariots and Cavalry, Li Xiong's son Li Yue, was camped at Jiangyang. He left that place and hurried to Chengdu for his father's mourning.

Li Yue was very unsatisfied with Li Ban because he was not one of Li Xiong's own sons, and he plotted with the General Who Maintains The East, his younger brother Li Qi, to launch a coup against Li Ban. Li Ban's younger brother, Li Wu, urged Li Ban to order Li Yue back to Jiangyang, and to have Li Qi sent off as Inspector of Lianzhou, to guard Jiameng Pass. But since Li Ban had yet to carry out Li Xiong'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 Wu 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 during the night, Li Yue murdered him in the memorial hall. He also 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 in Jinshou commandary.

Li Wu's given name 玝 is pronounced "ru (r-u)".

Events had turned out just as Li Xiang had predicted (Book 93, 324.5).

The place where a coffin is placed is called 殯; before it is buried, it is left there for viewings.

越時鎮江陽,以班非雄所生,意甚不平。至此,奔喪,與其弟期密計圖之。李玝勸班遣越還江陽,以期為梁州刺史,鎮葭萌。班以未葬,不忍遣,推誠居厚,心無纖芥。時有白氣二道帶天,太史令韓豹奏:「宮中有陰謀兵氣,戒在親戚。」班不悟。咸和九年,班因夜哭,越殺班于殯宮,時年四十七,在位一年,遂立雄之子期嗣位焉。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Ban)

At this time, Li Yue was guarding Jiangyang. He was very unsatisfied with Li Ban because he was not one of Li Xiong's own sons. So when Li Yue arrived to attend the mourning for his father, he secretly plotted with his younger brother Li Qi to get rid of Li Ban.

Li Wu urged Li Ban to send Li Yue back to Jiangyang, and to appoint Li Qi as Inspector of Lianzhou and send him to guard Jiameng. But since Li Xiong had not been buried yet, Li Ban could not bear to send them away. Instead, he treated them in good faith and let them stay close, and his heart was not the least bit troubled.

Two white ethers then passed through the heavens, and after interpreting this omen, the Grand Astrologist, Han Bao, sent a petition to Li Ban stating, "A secret plot is afoot within the palace, and soldiers are associated. You should guard against your relatives." But Li Ban did not realize the danger.

In the ninth year of Xianhe (334), while Li Ban was in the midst of his grieving during the night, Li Yue killed him in the memorial hall. Li Ban was forty-six years old, and had ruled for one year. Li Yue then supported Li Xiong's son Li Qi as the new ruler.

雄薨,班即位,雄子車騎將軍越自江陽奔喪,以期與班非雄所生而嗣位,心不平,十月因夜哭臨,越殺班於殯宮。越既殺班,於是矯太后令,罪狀。(Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms 6, Biography of Li Qi)

After Li Xiong passed away, Li Ban succeeded him. The General of Chariots and Cavalry, Li Xiong's son Li Yue, returned from Jiangyang to attend the mourning for his father. He and Li Qi were very unsatisfied with Li Ban because he had succeeded Li Xiong even though he was not one of Li Xiong's own sons. So in the tenth month, while Li Ban was in the midst of his grieving during the night, Li Yue killed him in the memorial hall. Having killed Li Ban, Li Yue then forged an edict from Empress Dowager Ren, accusing Li Ban of crimes.

玝來奔喪,勸遣雄子越還江陽,而欲令期代己知北事。班以未葬,不許。遣玝還涪。冬十月癸亥,期、越殺班於臨次。并殺班仲兄領軍〔將軍〕都... 子幽、顒,為期所殺。班兄弟五人皆兵死,四人無後... 雄亡,越自江陽來赴喪,兄弟怏怏。既以班非雄所生,又慮玝不利己,與「兄」越密謀圖班。太史令韓約上言:「宮室有陰謀兵氣,戒在親戚。」班不悟。遂因夜哭,越殺班。(Huayang Guozhi 9.3)

When Li Wu came to attend the mourning for Li Xiong, he urged Li Ban to send Li Xiong's son Li Yue back to Jiangyang, and he wanted to have Li Ban order Li Qi to replace himself in handling affairs on the northern border. But since Li Xiong had not yet been buried, Li Ban would not agree to this advice. He sent Li Wu back to Fu.

In winter, the tenth month, on the day Guihai, Li Qi and Li Yue killed Li Ban in the memorial hall. They also killed the General Who Leads The Army, Li Ban's second-eldest brother Li Du. Li Qi also killed Li Ban's sons Li You and Li Yong. Li Ban's other brothers, five in all, were killed by the soldiers, and so these four men had no descendants.


After Li Xiong's death, Li Qi's brother Li Yue returned from Jiangyang, and both of them were disgruntled with the situation. Since the heir Li Ban was not one of Li Xiong's actual sons, and they were also worried that Li Ban's younger brother Li Wu was planning against them as well, Li Qi and Li Yue secretly plotted to get rid of Li Ban. The Grand Astrologist, Han Bao, sent a petition to Li Ban stating, "A secret plot is afoot within the palace, and soldiers are associated. You should guard against your relatives." But Li Ban did not realize the danger.

Thus, while Li Ban was in the midst of his mourning during the night, Li Yue killed Li Ban.

[韓約]: 張、吳、何、王、浙、石本同《晉書》作豹。他舊本作約。(Huayang Guozhi commentary)

(Regarding the Grand Astrologer, the Zhang, Wu, He, Wang, Zhe, and Shi editions agree with the account of the Biography of Li Ban in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin by writing his name as Han 約 Bao. The other editions write his given name as 約 Yue.)


17. Originally, because his mother Lady Ran had been a commoner, Li Qi had been raised by Li Xiong's wife Lady Ren. Li Qi had many talents and skills, 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 Chancellor of State and Prince of Jianning.

Li Shou was promoted to Grand Commander, and his title was changed to Prince of Han; he maintained his command over the Masters of Writing. His elder 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 uncle 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 ("the Martial"), and his temple name was Taizong.


Li Qi's style name was Shiyun; he was Li Xiong's fourth son.

According to the Biography of Li Xiong in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin, this Li 始 Shi was Li Te's eldest son; he was Li Qi's uncle, and Li Shou's elder cousin.

諡武皇帝,廟號太宗。十月,葬安都陵,太子班襲位。(Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms 6, Biography of Li Xiong)

Li Xiong's posthumous name was Emperor Wu, and his temple name was Taizong. In the tenth month, Li Xiong was buried at Andu Tomb. Crown Prince Li Ban succeeded him.

冬十月,李雄子期弑李班而自立。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In winter, the tenth month, Li Xiong's son Li Qi murdered Li Ban and took his place.

偽諡武帝,廟曰太宗。墓號安都陵。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Xiong)

Li Xiong's posthumous name was Emperor Wu, and his temple name was Taizong. Li Xiong's tomb was called Andu Tomb.

偽謚曰武帝,廟稱太宗... 冬十二月丙寅,葬成都,墓號安都陵也。(Huayang Guozhi 9.2)

Li Xiong was granted the posthumous name Emperor Wu, with the temple name Taizong. In winter, the twelfth month, on the day Bingyin (February 6th of 335), Li Xiong was buried at Chengdu, and his tomb was called Andu Tomb.

李期字世運,雄第四子。聰慧好學,弱冠能屬文... 立期為主。甲子,期僭即皇帝位。(Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms 6, Biography of Li Qi)

Li Qi, styled Shiyun, was Li Xiong's fourth son. He was intelligent and fond of learning, and he was able to write compositions even before he came of age.

Li Ban was posthumously named as Crown Prince Li. Li Yue supported Li Qi as the new sovereign. On the day Jiazi, Li Qi became the new Emperor.

期字世運,雄第四子也。聰慧好學,弱冠能屬文,輕財好施,虛心招納。初為建威將軍,雄令諸子及宗室子弟以恩信合眾,多者不至數百,而期獨致千餘人。其所表薦,雄多納之,故長史列署頗出其門。既殺班,欲立越為主,越以期雄妻任氏所養,又多才藝,乃讓位於期。於是僭即皇帝位... 封壽漢王,拜... 東羌校尉、中護軍、錄尚書事;封兄越建甯王,拜相國、大將軍、錄尚書事。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Qi)

Li Qi, styled Shiyun, was the fourth son of Li Xiong. He was intelligent and fond of learning, and he was able to write compositions even before he came of age. He scorned wealth, preferring to be generous instead, and he won over many people with his modesty. During the time that Li Qi served as General Who Establishes Might, Li Xiong ordered all his sons and his younger kin to draw people to them by earning their gratitude and trust. The number of people thus drawn in by the others did not even amount to a few hundred, but Li Qi alone recruited more than a thousand people. And Li Xiong accepted most of the people whom Li Qi sent in petitions recommending to him. So many people of the ranks of Chief Clerk and so forth owed their posts to him.

After Li Ban had been killed, Li Qi wanted to support Li Yue as the new sovereign. But since Li Qi had been adopted by Li Xiong's wife Lady Ren, and he had many talents and skills, Li Yue made way in favor of Li Qi instead. So Li Qi became the new Emperor of Cheng.

Li Qi appointed Li Shou as Prince of Han, Colonel of Eastern Qiang Tribes, Army-Protector of the Center, and chief of affairs of the Masters of Writing. He appointed Li Yue as Prince of Jianning, Chancellor of State, Grand General, and chief of affairs of the Masters of Writing.

雄薨,期立,改封漢王。(Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms 6, Biography of Li Shou)

After Li Xiong passed away and Li Qi claimed the throne, he changed Li Shou's title to Prince of Han.

期立,改封漢王,食梁州五郡。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Shou)

After Li Qi assumed the throne, he changed Li Shou's title to Prince of Han; he was granted a fief of five commandaries in Lianzhou.

六年...李雄死,兄子班立。雄子期,殺班自立。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

In the sixth year of the reign of the Prince of Dai, Tuoba Yihuai (334), Li Xiong passed away, and his nephew Li Ban succeeded him. But Li Xiong's son Li Qi killed Li Ban and set himself up in his place.

期字世運,雄第四子也。母冉,賤。雄妻任養為子。少攻學問,有容觀。雄時,令諸子各募合部曲,多者纔得數百人,而期獨得千餘人。為安東將軍。... 期「自」立,以越為相國,與壽並錄尚書事。進壽大都督,徙封漢王... 封越建寧王。以仲兄霸為中領軍、鎮南;弟保鎮西、西夷校尉、汶山太守;從「兄」〔父〕始征東,代越;皆大將軍... 期偽謚班曰戾太子。(Huayang Guozhi 9.3)

Li Qi, styled Shiyun, was the fourth son of Li Xiong. His mother Lady Ran was a poor woman. Li Xiong's wife Lady Ren adopted Li Qi as her own son. Even as a child, he was vigorous in his studies and learning, and he had a remarkable appearance and demeanor. During Li Xiong's reign, he ordered all his sons to recruit people to serve under them. The number of people thus drawn in by the others was only a few hundred altogether, but Li Qi alone recruited more than a thousand people. Li Xiong appointed him as General Who Maintains The East.

After Li Qi took the throne, he appointed Li Yue as Chancellor of State, and Li Yue and Li Shou held joint authority over the affairs of the Masters of Writing. Li Shou was promoted to Grand Commander, and his title was changed to Prince of Han. Li Qi appointed Li Yue as Prince of Jianning. He appointed his second-eldest brother, Li Ba, as General Who Directs The Army of the Center and General Who Guards The South, and he appointed his younger brother Li Bao as General Who Guards The West, Colonel of Western Yi Tribes, and Administrator of Wenshan. Li Qi appointed his uncle Li Shi as General Who Conquers The East, in place of Li Yue's former role. All of these relatives were also appointed as Grand Generals.

Li Qi gave Li Ban the posthumous name Crown Prince Li.

[期「自」立]: 舊刻作「期自立」,為句。茲改作「期立」屬下句。[從「兄」〔父〕]: 舊本并作兄。茲改正。(Huayang Guozhi commentary)

(The old editions mistakenly write 期自立 "Li Qi took the throne", as a full sentence. But it ought to be 期立 "After Li Qi took the throne, he...", as a clause prefacing the rest of that sentence.

The old editions mistakenly identify Li Shi as Li Qi's 從兄 "cousin". But they ought to state that he was Li Qi's 從父 "uncle", since he was the eldest son of Li Te.)


18. Li Shi asked Li Shou to attack Li Qi together with him, but Li Shou did not dare to act. Li Shi was enraged, so he instead slandered Li Shou to Li Qi, asking Li Qi to kill him. But since Li Qi wanted to use Li Shou to attack Li Wu, he would not permit it. Instead, Li Qi sent Li Shou to march against Li Wu's camp at Fu.

Li Shou sent word ahead to Li Wu, informing him of the situation and why he should flee, and he left the road open for him. Li Wu fled to Jin, and was made Jin’s Administrator of Ba. Li Qi appointed Li Shou as the Inspector of Lianzhou, based at Fu.


This was why Li Shou was later in a position to march from Fu to depose Li Qi (Book 96, 338.9).

班弟玝與其將焦會、羅凱等並來降。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

Li Ban's younger brother Li Wu and his generals, Jiao Hui, Luo Kai, and others all came to surrender to Jin.

誅班弟都。使李壽伐都弟玝于涪,玝棄城降晉。[拜]壽梁州刺史。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Qi)

Li Qi executed Li Ban's younger brother Li Du. Li Qi ordered Li Shou to campaign against Li Du's younger brother Li Wu at Fu; Li Wu abandoned the city and surrendered to Jin. Li Qi appointed Li Shou as Inspector of Lianzhou.

[李壽]領梁州剌史,治涪城。(Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms 6, Biography of Li Shou)

Li Qi appointed Li Shou as Inspector of Lianzhou, and sent him to administer Fucheng.

[李壽]領梁州刺史。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Shou)

Li Qi appointed Li Shou as Inspector of Lianzhou.

弟玝奔晉... 玝在晉,歷巴郡、襄陽、宜都太守,龍驤將軍... 使[壽]討玝於涪... 玝走,即拜壽梁州、知北事... 期之殺班也,李始初欲附壽,圖共討期。壽不敢。始怒,說期取壽。〔期〕憚李玝在北,欲藉壽討之,故不許。壽既受漢封,北伐玝,告以去就利害,假道。故玝得由巴順水東下吳。(Huayang Guozhi 9.3-4)

Li Ban's younger brother Li Wu fled to Jin. During the time that Li Wu served in Wu, he was successively their Administrator of Ba commandary, Administrator of Xiangyang, Administrator of Yidu, and Dragon-Soaring General.


Li Qi sent Li Shou to attack Li Wu at Fu. After Li Wu fled, Li Qi appointed Li Shou as Inspector of Lianzhou and left him in command of northern affairs.


After Li Qi killed Li Ban, Li Shi originally planned to align himself with Li Shou, and wanted to plot with him to march against Li Qi. But Li Shou would not dare to do so. This angered Li Shi, who then tried to persuade Li Qi to attack Li Shou instead. But since Li Qi was afraid of the potential threat posed by Li Wu in the north, he wanted to use Li Shou to campaign against Li Wu, so he would not agree either.

Li Qi appointed Li Shou as Prince of Han and sent him north to move against Li Wu. Li Shou sent word to Li Wu, informing him of what was at stake and urging him to flee, and he left a road open for Li Wu to make his escape. This was why Li Wu was able to head east out of Ba and follow the river all the way to the Wu region, where the Jin dynasty ruled.

[不許]: 舊各本無不字。廖本依《通鑑》補。原本當有。(Huayang Guozhi commentary)

(The old editions of the Huayang Guozhi all state that Li Qi did agree to Li Shi's request to attack Li Shou. But this being nonsensical considering the rest of the biography, the Liao edition adds in the character to clarify that Li Qi did not agree, following the account of this incident in the Zizhi Tongjian. The original editions ought to have the same character.)


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 you discuss such a thing?"

Shi Hong, in tears, returned to his own palace, where he said to his mother Empress Dowager Cheng, "This is the end for my late father's progeny!"

One of the Masters of Writing sent in a petition stating: "May the Prince of Wei take heed of the abdication from Tang to Yu of old."

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 outright 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.

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 King of Zhao."

Shi Hong, Empress Dowager Cheng, Shi Hóng, and Shi Hui were sent to Chongxun Palace, and were all later put to death.


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.

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".

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Annals of the Thirty Kingdoms and the Annals of Jin both state, '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 again to Jianwu.' Now the Annals of 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 the Yanxi reign era, 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."

Shi Hu had earlier renamed the Crown Prince's Palace to the Chongxun Palace.

Shi Hong was twenty years old when he died.

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

天王 “Heavenly King” 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.

十一月,石季龍弑石弘,自立爲天王。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the eleventh month, Shi Hu murdered Shi Hong and declared himself Heavenly King.

六年,石虎廢大雅,僭立。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

In the sixth year of the reign of the Prince of Dai, Tuoba Yihuai (334), Shi Hu deposed Shi Daya (Shi Hong) and claimed the throne of Zhao.


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 the only reason 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 acting Prefect of the Masters of Writing. Guo Yin was appointed as the Minister of Works, Han Xi became the Supervisor of the Left of the Masters of Writing, Shen Zhong of Wei commandary became Palace Attendant, Lang Kai was made Household Counselor With Golden Tassel, and Wang Bo was made Prefect of the Palace Secretariat. The other civil and military officials were also given ranks and titles as appropriate.

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


The Biography of Shi Hu in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin states, "Shi Hu had heard of a certain prophecy: 'The Son of Heaven shall come from the northeast'. So he prepared an imperial 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... (Book of Jin 106.3, Biography of Shi Hu)

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 native 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 alone on horseback. Jujiu, Xinchang, and other counties surrendered.

Murong Huang wished to bury alive all the people 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 go so far as to 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. Du Qun was appointed as Chancellor of Liaodong, and he settled and regathered the scattered people.


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, beheaded 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.

[十二月]蘭陵人朱縱斬石季龍將郭祥,以彭城來降。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the twelfth month, a native of Lanling, Zhu Zong, executed Shi Hu's general Guo Xiang and offered up Pengcheng to Jin in surrender.


24. Murong Ren dispatched his soldiers to attack Xinchang. Murong Huang’s Protector, Wang Yu of Xinxing, attacked and drove Murong Ren off, and then relocated the people of Xinchang into Xiangping.


Liaodong was administered from Xiangping. The officials and people of Xinchang were moved into Xiangping so that Du Ren could better keep an eye on them and protect them from further raids. Wang Yu's given name 㝢 is pronounced "wu (w-u)".
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Thu Aug 02, 2018 10:49 pm, edited 52 times in total.
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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 to the first year of Xiankang, 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." When Emperor Shun of Han was capped, everything was conducted according to Cao Bao's "New Rites", but these New Rites no longer exist. 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 officers, 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 dress him in 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."

咸康元年春正月庚午朔,帝加元服,大赦,改元,增文武位一等,大酺三日,賜鰥寡孤獨不能自存者米,人五斛。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the first year of Xiankang (335), in spring, the first month, on the new moon of the day Gengwu (February 10th), Emperor Cheng conducted his coming of age ceremony. A general amnesty was declared, and the reign era title was changed to the first year of Xiankang. All civil and military officials were advanced by one rank. Great feasting was held for three days. Gifts of rice were distributed to widows and widowers and those unable to provide for themselves, with each person receiving five 斛 of rice.


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.

玉恒元年正月,大赦改元。(Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms 6, Biography of Li Qi)

In the first year of Yuheng, the first month, a general amnesty was declared in Cheng and the reign era title was changed.

於是僭即皇帝位,大赦境內,改元玉恆。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Qi)

After Li Qi became Emperor of Cheng, a general amnesty was declared within his domain, and the reign era title was changed to the first year of Yuheng.

咸「熙」〔康〕元年,春正月...下赦,改元玉恆。(Huayang Guozhi 9.3)

In the first year of Xiankang (335), in spring, the first month, Li Qi declared an amnesty, and changed the reign era title to the first year of Yuheng.

[「熙」〔康〕]: 〈廖本注云:「當作康。」〉(Huayang Guozhi commentary)

(The original text of the Huayang Guozhi mistakenly writes the reign era here as 咸熙 Xianxi, which was not a reign era during this period. As the Liao edition notes, it should be 咸康 Xiankang, Emperor Cheng of Jin's reign era from 335-342.)


3. Li Qi honored Lady Yan as his Empress. The Guard General, Yin Feng, was appointed as the Prime Minister of the Right. The General of Agile Cavalry, Wang Gui, was appointed as the Minister Over The Masses.

立妻閻氏為后。(Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms 6, Biography of Li Qi)

Li Qi honored his wife Lady Yan as his Empress.

立妻閻氏為皇后。以其衛將軍尹奉為右丞相、驃騎將軍、尚書令,王瑰為司徒。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Qi)

Li Qi honored his wife Lady Yan as his Empress. He appointed his Guard General, Yin Feng, as Prime Minister of the Right, General of Agile Cavalry, and Prefect of the Masters of Writing. He appointed Wang Gui as Minister Over The Masses.

立妻閻氏為后。(Huayang Guozhi 9.3)

Li Qi honored his wife Lady Yan as his Empress.


4. Shi Hu ordered his Crown Prince, Shi Sui, to handle the affairs of the Masters of Writing's 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 Wu of Wei (Cao Cao) had built.

Since the Han dynasty, the Director of Artisans was the chief artisan.


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


6. Jin’s Minister Over The Masses, Wang Dao, was ill and unable to bear attending court meetings.

In the third month, on the day Yiyou (April 26th), Emperor Cheng visited Wang Dao at his residence, holding a feast for the ministers in Wang Dao's home. He even made obeisance before Wang Dao and his wife Lady Cao. But the Palace Attendant Kong Tan secretly sent in a petition harshly remonstrating against this conduct, believing that since Emperor Cheng had just come of age, he must properly observe court etiquette. Emperor Cheng heeded 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 when he heard about this, and he had Kong Tan sent out of the palace to serve as Minister of Justice. Kong Tan was unwilling to accept this, and resigned his post, claiming illness.

三月乙酉,幸司徒府。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the third month, on the day Yiyou (April 26th), Emperor Cheng visited the residence of the Minister Over The Masses (Wang Dao).


7. The Intendant of Danyang, Huan Jing, gained favor with the people through flattery and craft. Wang Dao was also close to him and 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 Maiden constellations correspond to Yangzhou; Jiujiang enters the Dipper at one 度, while Danyang enters the Dipper at sixteen 度. (11.139)"


8. Wang Dao recruited Wang Meng of Taiyuan as a minor official, and made Wang Shu his 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 the Pei princely fief, 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. Twenty-nine 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.


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. 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 from the Eastern Wu region to 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 of the World 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)

王長史云:「劉尹知我,勝我自知。」(New Tales of the World 8.109)

Wang Meng said, "Liu Tan knows me better than I know myself!" (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. Jin's 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 as Grand Marshal, Bearer of the Yellow Battle-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, Cihu, Niuzhu, and Wuhu. 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 Wuwu (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.

夏四月癸卯,石季龍寇歷陽,加司徒王導大司馬、假黃鉞、都督征討諸軍事,以禦之。癸丑,帝觀兵于廣莫門,分命諸將,遣將軍劉X救歷陽,平西將軍趙胤屯慈湖,龍驤將軍路永戍牛渚,建武將軍王允之戍蕪湖。司空郗鑒使廣陵相陳光帥衆衛京師,賊退向襄陽。戊午,解嚴。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In summer, the fourth month, on the day Guimao (May 14th), Shi Hu invaded Liyang. The Minister Over The Masses, Wang Dao, was appointed as Grand Marshal, Bearer of the Yellow Battle-Axe, and Commander of the expeditionary army in order to resist him.

On the day Guichou (May 24th), Emperor Cheng observed the troops at Guangmo Gate. He ordered the army divided up: he sent the general Liu Shi to reinforce Liyang; the General Who Pacifies The West, Zhao Yin, to camp at Cihu; the Dragon-Soaring General, Lu Yong, to camp at Niuzhu; and the General Who Establishes Valor, Wang Yunzhi, to camp at Wuhu. The Minister of Works, Chi Jian, sent the Chancellor of Guangling, Chen Guang, to lead troops to guard the capital region.

The enemy withdrew towards Xiangyang. On the day Wuwu (May 29th), martial law was lifted.


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

石季龍將石遇寇中廬,南中郎將王國退保襄陽。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

Shi Hu's general Shi Yu invaded Zhonglu. The General of the Household Gentlemen of the South, Wang Guo fell back to guard Xiangyang.


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

是歲,大旱,會稽餘姚尤甚,米斗五百價,人相賣。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

During this year, there was a great drought. In Kuaiji and Yuyao it was especially severe: rice cost five hundred per peck, and people sold one another.


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.

When Fotudeng attended court, the Crown Prince and the dukes would help him into the hall, and the announcer would announce him as “The Great Monk”, and all would rise from their seats. Shi Hu sent the Minister of Works, 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.

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 King 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 have already become monks must be returned to their former occupations."

But 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 (ethnic Han). 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 carriage was carved in the sense that it had special carvings for decorations.

The announcer was the person at court who would announce people and their particular titles.

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

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 in the Eastern Pavilion. 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 their 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.

This excerpt of the Biography of Fotudeng from the Book of Jin is courtesy of Lady Wu:

Fotudeng, whose original surname was Bo, was from India. He studied religion at a young age and became very proficient in the occult arts. In the 4th year of the Yongjia reign (AD 310), he came to live in Luoyang, and claimed to be over a hundred years old. He could nourish himself by breath alone, and could go for days without eating. He was an expert of incantations and could command spirits to his will. He had a hole on one side of his abdomen, which he normally kept stuffed up with a piece of cotton. Every night, as he read, he would remove the cotton, and light would emit from the hole and light up the entire room. And once, during a period of fasting, he went at daybreak to a creek. Pulling out his internal organs from the hole at the side of his abdomen, he washed them in the water. After he was finished, he put them back inside. In addition, he was able to predict good or bad fortune from the sound of a ringing bell. All his predictions came to pass.

When Luoyang fell into chaos, Fotudeng hid himself among the commoners, in order to observe the situation. At that time, Shi Le was encamped at Gebei and committed mass killings. Among the victims were many from Buddhist congregations. Fotudeng went to join the household of General Guo Heilue. Every time Guo Heilue followed Shi Le to battle, Fotudeng was able to predict whether the battle would be won or lost. Shi Le because curious and asked Guo Heilue, "I never thought you were particularly resourceful, but you managed to foresee the fortunes of each campaign. How is that so?" Guo Heilue replied, "General, the Heavens support your ventures and the spirits are on your side. There is a Buddhist monk of extraordinary intellect and skill. He said that you would come to conquer the Chinese heartland. I have honoured him as my teacher. Everything that I had told you before were his words." Shi Le thus summoned Fotudeng to test his arts. Fotudeng took a bowl, filled it with water, then lit up some incense and recited an invocation over it. Soon, a blue lotus grew inside the bowl, with colours so bright that it radiated like the sun. Thereupon, Shi Le believed in him.

Shi Le passed by Fangtou on his way back to Hebei from Gebei. The people of Fangtou planned to raid his camp by night. Fotudeng said to Guo Heilue, "Enemies will soon arrive. You should let your lord know." And it happened just as he predicted. Since the camp was prepared, it was not overtaken. Shi Le wanted to test Fotudeng further. One night, he sat in his tent in full armour, carrying a sabre. He then sent someone to tell Fotudeng, "We haven't been able to find the Grand General all night." The messenger came to Fotudeng, but, before he was able to say a word, Fotudeng demanded of him, "All is secure here, and there are no enemies. Why is he staying battle-ready at night?" This made Shi Le believe in Fotudeng even more

Later on, Shi Le, in a fit of anger, desired to kill all the monks, including Fotudeng. Fotudeng secretly went to hide in Guo Heilue's house. He told his disciples, "If the General's messenger comes and asks for me, say that you don't know where I went." When Shi Le's messenger arrived, he was unable to find Fotudeng, and thus he returned to report to Shi Le. Shi Le, stunned, said, "I had intended to do harm to Fotudeng, and so he's left me." He could not sleep all night, but kept thinking about seeing Fotudeng. Fotudeng, sensing that Shi Le had repented, went to visit him early the next morning. Shi Le asked him, "Where did you go last night?" Fotudeng replied, "Sir, you had angry thoughts yesterday, and so I took the liberty of avoiding you. But now you have changed your mind, and thus I dared to come." Shi Le broke out in laughter and said, "Reverend, you must be mistaken."

The source of the water feeding Xiangguo's moats were five li northwest of the city. It dried up all of a sudden. Shi Le asked Fotudeng how to make the water flow again. Fotudeng said, "Now, we must command the dragon to get us water." He took his disciple Fashou and a few others to the source of the original spring. Sitting on a folding chair and lighting benzoin incense, he spoke a few hundred words of incantation. He did so for three days. The water started trickling in. A little dragon, some five to six cun long, came with the water. All the monks rushed to go look. Not long after, a flood of water came, and the moats were completely filled.

Duan Mobo of the Xianbei marched to attack Shi Le with a huge force. Shi Le, frightened, asked Fotudeng what to do. Fotudeng said, "Yesterday, the bell-chimes of the temple said that you will capture Duan Mobo tomorrow at the time of the morning meal." Shi Le ascended the city walls to observe Duan Mobo's army, but to him it seemed an endless mass of people. He blanched at the sight and said, "How can we capture Duan Mobo if they look like this?" And so he sent Kui An to speak to Fotudeng again. Fotudeng told Kui An, "Duan Mobo has already been captured." Right at that moment, the troops lying in ambush north of the city sprung forth and chanced upon Duan Mobo himself. Thereupon, they captured him. Fotudeng advised Shi Le to release Duan Mobo and send him back to his own lands. Shi Le followed his advice, and thus was able to obtain Duan Mobo's support.

Liu Yao sent his younger cousin, Liu Yue, to attack Shi Le. Shi Le sent Shi Hu to meet him in battle. Liu Yao was defeated, and retreated to defend Shiliangwu. Shi Hu dug in to guard against him. Fotudeng, who was in Xiangguo at the time, suddenly sighed and said, "Poor Liu Yue!" His disciple Fazuo asked him what he meant by that. Fotudeng said, "Yesterday at the Hai hour (9-11 p.m.), Liu Yue was captured." And it was indeed as he said.

And then Liu Yao came in person to attack Luoyang. Shi Le wanted to go relieve the city. His subordinates all advised him against it. Shi Le visited Fotudeng to ask for his opinion. Fotudeng said, "The chimes at the top of the pagoda are saying, 'Xiuzhitileigang, pugugqutudang'. This is in the Jie language. Xiuzhi means army. Tileigang means to go out. Pugu is Liu Yue's title in their language. Qutudang means to capture. So, what they were saying is that, should we march forth, we would capture Liu Yao." Then, he commanded a young boy to bathe and fast for seven days. After that, Fotudeng mixed hemp oil and rouge in his own palm, and held his hand up to show the boy. From his palm emitted a brilliant glow. The boy exclaimed, "There is a great host, and among them is a man, tall and fair-skinned, and he has red strings tied about his forearms." Fotudeng said, "That would be Liu Yao." Shi Le was pleased at this, and so he went to Luoyang to fight Liu Yao, and captured him alive.

Shi Le claimed the title of "Heavenly Prince of the Zhao", and acted according to the rites pertaining to an emperor. He became even more reverent in his veneration of Fotudeng. At that time, Shi Cong was planning to rebel. Fotudeng advised Shi Le, "Green onions* are going to be infested with insects this year, which are harmful if eaten. You might order the people to avoid eating green onions." So Shi Le had it announced all throughout the land, that no one should eat green onions. Not long after, Shi Cong fled on his own accord. Because of that Shi Le held Fotudeng in even higher regard. He would consult with Fotudeng on everything before acting on it, and called him the "Great Monk".

(Note: The word for "green onion" is cong, a homophone of Shi Cong's name.)

Shi Le's favourite son, Shi Bin, died of a sudden illness. Right before the funeral, Shi Le sighed and said, "I had heard that, when the heir apparent of the lord of Guo died, Bian Que* was able to bring him back to life. I wonder if the same can be done now?" And so he sent someone to talk to Fotudeng. Fotudeng took a branch of willow, dipped it in water, sprinkled the water over Shi Bin and recited an incantation. Then, he held Shi Bin's hands and said, "Rise now!" And Shi Bin rose, and recovered from his illness. After that, Shi Le had most of his children raised in Fotudeng's temple.

(Note: Bian Que was a famed physician in the Spring and Autumn period.)

One day in the year when Shi Le was to die, the skies were calm and there was no wind. Yet, one chime on the top of the pagoda rang. Fotudeng said to those gathered about him, "The bell is saying that a grand personage will die within the year." And true enough, Shi Le died within the year.

Shi Hu took over as the ruler of Zhao and moved the capital city to Ye. He devoted himself to venerating Fotudeng, to an even greater extent than Shi Le did. He ordered for Fotudeng to be dressed in the finest silks and driven around in carved carriages. On court meeting days, when Fotudeng was brought to the palace hall, all below the rank of Regular Attendant would help him off the carriage, and the crown prince and the lords would help him into the hall. The master of ceremonies would announce "The Great Monk is here", and all those who were seated would rise, as a sign of respect for him. Shi Hu also ordered Li Nong, the Minister over the Masses, to go to Fotudeng in person to inquire about his health every day once in the morning and once in the evening; the crown prince and the lords would pay respect to him once every five days. There was none other who was accorded the same level of honour. When the monk Zhi Daolin was in the capital and found out that Fotudeng was consorting with the Shis, he remarked, "Lord Fotudeng must be taking Shi Hu to be a seagull*."

(Note: The seagull reference comes from a story in the Taoist classic Liezi. The story goes: "There was a man living by the seaside who loved seagulls,and would go out to the sea every day to play with them. Hundreds of seagulls will flock to him and frolic with him. His father said to him, 'I heard that seagulls like to play with you. Bring them here so I can play with them too.' The next day, when the man went to the sea, the seagulls would only circle in the air above him, but would come to him no more." The message of the story is that one may befriend wild things only by being pure in heart.)

Because of Fotudeng, many of the common people converted to Buddhism, and contributed to the building of temples. They raced to leave their families and take religious vows. However, many false adherents were mixed in with the true followers, causing many problems. Shi Hu issued an order for his ministers to discuss this. Wang Du, the Imperial Historical Secretary, memorialized, "The Buddha is a foreign god, and the people of the Chinese lands should not worship him. The religion was first spread in the Han dynasty, but only people of the Western Reaches were allowed to build temples in the capital city for worshipping in their fashion. The Han people were not allowed to take religious vows. Wei continued implementing Han laws, and followed the former rulings. Now, we should command that no one from Zhao should be allowed to go to the temples to burn incense and worship, so as to uphold our proper rites. Everyone from ministers down to office clerks should be forbidden from doing so, and those who violate this law should be charged with carrying out improper sacrificial rituals*. Citizens of Zhao who had joined a monastery should revert to their previous dress and occupation."

(Note: "Carrying out improper sacrificial rituals" was a grave transgression, including offences such as performing official sacrifices to the wrong deities, or at the wrong times, or with the wrong rituals.)

Most of the officials of the court agreed with Wang Du. However, because of Fotudeng, Shi Hu issued an edict saying, "I was born on the frontier, and by fortune alone I came to rule over the Chinese lands. In matters of worship, we should follow our original customs. The Buddha is a god from the frontier lands, and thus it is right for us to worship him as well. If the tribes or the people of Zhao find pleasure in becoming Buddhists, let them do so."

At one point Fotudeng was staying in the temple in Yecheng. His disciples were spread throughout the land. Once, he sent his disciple Fachang to go north to Xiangguo. It happened that another disciple of his, Fazuo (different from the previously-mentioned Fazuo), was returning from Xiangguo. They ran into each other by the city walls of Liangji. They parked their carriages next to each other and conversed through the night, bringing up their master at times. In the morning, they each went on his way. As soon as Fazuo arrived before Fotudeng, Fotudeng chuckled at him and said, "Were you and Fachang gossiping about your master in your carriages last night?" Fazuo, stunned, became shame-faced. Thereafter, everyone in the state would say to each other, "Think no thoughts unkind--the Monk can read your mind". And no one would dare to blow his nose or spit in the direction of wherever Fotudeng was.


15. Shi Bin led 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, the uncle of the late Li Ban, Luo Yan, 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 trusted and employed the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Jing Qian, the Masters of Writing, Yao Hua and Tian Bao, the Palace 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 once 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.

期自以謀大事既果,輕諸舊臣,外則信任尚書令景騫、尚書姚華、田褒。褒無他才藝,雄時勸立期,故寵待甚厚。內則信宦豎許涪等。國之刑政,希復關之卿相,慶賞威刑,皆決數人而已,於是綱維紊矣。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Qi)

Li Qi believed that his plan had been a full success. He slighted the old ministers of state. In the government bureaus, he trusted and employed the Prefect of the Masters of Writing, Jing Qian, and the Masters of Writing, Yao Hua and Tian Bao. Although Tian Bao was a talentless official, he had once urged Li Xiong to make Li Qi the Crown Prince, and thus he gained Li Qi’s special favor. Within the palace, he trusted the eunuch servant Xu Fu and others. The chief ministers of state were rarely ever involved in administration or justice, and all matters of rewards or punishments were decided by this handful of favorites alone. So the whole network of government became confused.

秋,以司隸景騫為尚書令,征南費黑為司隸,班舅羅演為僕射。羅演與漢王相、天水上官澹謀襲期,立班子幽。謀泄。殺〔演〕、澹,并「誅」班母羅、琀子礹、稚妻昝。(Huayang Guozhi 9.3)

In autumn, Li Qi appointed his Colonel-Director of Retainers, Jing Qian, as Prefect of the Masters of Writing. He appointed the General Who Conquers The South, Fei Hei, as the new Colonel-Director of Retainers, and he appointed Li Ban's maternal uncle Luo Yan as Supervisor of the Masters of Writing. But Luo Han and the Chancellor to the Prince of Han, Shangguan Dan of Tianshui, plotted to depose Li Qi and replace him with Li Ban's son Li You. The plot leaked, and Li Qi killed Luo Yan and Shangguan Dun, as well as Li Ban's mother Lady Luo, Li Han's son (and Li Ban's cousin's son) Li Yan, and Li Zhi's wife (and Li Ban's cousin-in-law) Lady Zan.

[〔演〕]: 廖本注此下云:「當有演字。」茲補。(Huayang Guozhi commentary)

(The original text of the Huayang Guozhi mistakenly omits Luo Yan's name from the list of those who were executed following the discovery of his and Shangguan Dun's plot. As the Liao edition notes, it should be included.)


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

冬十月乙未朔,日有蝕之。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

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 other Jin envoys whom he had detained to return south. Wang Qi and the others took a water route to try to approach Jicheng, 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 more than 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 Prince 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 returned from the Yuwen and was again acclaimed Prince 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 earlier protected Tuoba Yihuai as a youth, as mentioned in Book 93, in the second year of Xianhe (327.15). In the fourth year (329.22), 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 (329.22).

七年,藹頭不修臣職,召而戮之,國人復貳。煬帝自宇文部還入,諸部大人復奉之。煬皇帝復立,以七年為後元年。烈帝出居於鄴,石虎奉第宅、伎妾、奴婢、什物。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

In the seventh year of Tuoba Yihuai's reign (335), Helan Aitou did not conduct himself as befitting a proper servant. Tuoba Yihuai summoned him and then executed him. This alienated the people of his domain. Tuoba Hena returned from the Yuwen clan, and the chiefs of the various tribes all acclaimed him.

Tuoba Hena took the seventh year of Tuoba Yihuai's reign to be the first year of the second part of his own reign. Tuoba Yihuai went to stay in Ye, where Shi Hu granted him a residence and provided him with concubines, slave girls, and other goods.


22. Before, in Liangzhou, although Zhang Gui and his sons Zhang Shi and Zhang Mao had successfully held the lands beyond the Yellow River, not a year passed without some military venture. But 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, commended him, believing him to be 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 the 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 Army 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 we shall crush the enemy 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 Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:54 pm, edited 28 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 the arsenal of Heaven, and signifies an uprising of soldiers, or ditches and canals (Book of Jin 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 Xuzhou and the Lu region (11.154).

二年春正月辛巳,彗星見于奎。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the second year of Xiankang (337), in spring, the first month, on the day Xinsi (February 16th), a comet was seen in the Kui constellation.


2. Murong Huang was about to campaign against Murong Ren. His Marshal, Gao Xu, said, "In rebelling against and abandoning you, Murong Ren has offended both the people and the spirits. Until recently, this Sea (of Bohai) never froze over, but ever since Murong Ren's rebellion began, it has frozen three times in as many years. 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 followed his advice. 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. But 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!」(Book of Jin 109.6, Biography of Murong Huang)

Murong Huang said, "In former times, the sea could never be traversed, but since Murong Ren's rebellion began, it has frozen three times. In former times, Emperor Guangwu of Han 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 (Emperor Guangwu of Han) 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 Directing General, his brother Murong Ping, and his other generals 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.

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 from the Duan and Yuwen clans, Murong Ren had 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!"

On the day Yiwei (?), Murong Ren marched his full forces 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 back to Murong Huang's side, and Murong Ren's remaining men lost heart and halted. Then Murong Huang pressed his attack, and greatly 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.

Ding Heng, You Yi, Sun Ji, and all the others whom Murong Ren had employed were captured and 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.


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

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

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

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.


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 femininity 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).

[二月]辛亥,立皇后杜氏,大赦,增文武位一等。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the second month, on the day Xinhai (March 17th), Emperor Cheng honored Lady Du as his Empress.


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 Capital Commandant, Zhang Meng, attacked and captured him.

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 Feng Yi with the light cavalry to pursue, and they inflicted a great rout.

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


The city of Wuxing was east of the Duan clan's capital at Lingzhi.

This passage mentions the "回 Hui River". The Biography of Murong Huang in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin records this site as being at the "曲 Qu River". The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Yangyao River flows from Shanggu in Qieju County. From there, it flows northeast, 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 into the realm from beyond the borders, 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 Biography of Murong Huang, the Qu River was northwest of Haocheng.

Murong Huang had built Anjin in the eighth year of Xianhe (333.10), 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 his Chief Clerk, Liu Bin, and his 兼 Prefect of the Household Gentlemen, Yang Jing of Liaodong, to escort Xu Meng and the other Jin envoys back to Jiankang.


According to the Jin system, a princely fief had its own Prefect of the Household Gentlemen. Murong Huang was not yet a Prince, but he had already presumed to established this office.


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


In Emperor Huai's fifth year of Yongjia (311), the Inspector of Ningzhou at that time, Wang Xun, had split off parts of Zangke, Zhuti, and Jianning commandaries to form Yelang commandary.

The Geographical Records of the Taikang Era states, "The Liu clan of Shu split off parts of Jianning and Zangke commandaries to form Xinggu commandary."

冬十月,廣州刺史鄧嶽遣督護王隨擊夜郎,新昌太守陶協擊興古,並克之。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In winter, the tenth month, the Inspector of Guangzhou, Deng Yue, sent his Protector, Wang Sui, to attack Yelang commandary, and he sent the Administrator of Xinchang, Tao Xie, to attack Xinggu commandary. Both of them were retaken.


10. Li Qi was 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 killed him.

乃誣其尚書僕射、武陵公李載謀反,下獄死。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Qi)

Li Qi slandered his Supervisor of the Masters of Writing and Duke of Wuling, Li Zai, saying he was plotting rebellion. He threw Li Zai into prison, where he died.

二年,忌從子載多才藝,託他事誅之。(Huayang Guozhi 9.3)

In the second year of Yuheng (336), because Li Qi was jealous of his nephew Li Zai for his many talents and skills, he charged Li Zai for some other pretext and executed him.


11. In the eleventh month, Jin’s General Who Establishes Might, Sima Xun, was sent to settle and regather the people in Hanzhong. Li Shou attacked and defeated him. After securing Hanzhong and appointing local officials there, Li Shou left a garrison to defend Nanzheng and returned.

十一月,遣建威將軍司馬勳安集漢中,爲李期將李壽所敗。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the eleventh month, the General Who Establishes Might, Sima Xun, was sent to settle and regather the people in Hanzhong. But he was defeated by Li Qi's general Li Shou.

先是,晉建威將軍司馬勳屯漢中,期遣李壽攻而陷之,遂置守宰,戍南鄭。(Book of Jin 121, Biography of Li Qi)

Up until now, Jin's General Who Establishes Might, Sima Xun, had been camped at Hanzhong. Li Qi sent Li Shou to attack Sima Xun, and Li Shou captured Hanzhong. After appointing local administrators for the region, Li Shou camped at Nanzheng.

咸康二年冬,[壽]北入漢中,破走司馬勳。(Huayang Guozhi 9.4)

In the second year of Xiankang (336), in winter, Li Shou marched north into Hanzhong, where he routed and drove out the Jin general Sima Xun.


12. Yu Ju of the Suotou people of the Xianbei led thirty thousand people of his tribe to submit to Zhao. Zhao granted Yu Ju and others, thirteen in all, as Kings Friendly to Zhao, and the people were distributed throughout six provinces, including Jizhou, Qingzhou, and others.


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

“The foundation was nine and a third meters tall, sixty-five steps long and seventy-five steps wide, all made of marble. The bottom contained a basement large enough for five hundred 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 had 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 the Xianyang Palace, and selected 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 servants were instructed in reading the stars, and in archery on horseback and on foot. He created the position of Female Grand Astrologist, 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 尺 wide and two 尺 deep. One of the bronzes fell into the Yellow 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 sentences of criminals, and bestowed grains and silks to his ministers, even granting ranks to the people.

Shi Hu also followed the advice of the Prefect of Shangfang, Jie Fei. He had stones 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. Shi Hu 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.

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


14. Many years earlier, the chieftain Phạm Hung held sway over the tribes of Nhật Nam (Rinan). There was a certain slave named Phạm Văn who often followed merchants in and out of the Middle Kingdom as part of his business dealings. When he came to the state of Lâm Ấp (Linyi), 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 then slandered Phạm Dat's sons; some he forced into exile, while others fled on their own.

During this year, Phạm Dat passed away. 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 states, 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 others, over five hundred high officials of Zhao, both civil and military, suggested that Shi Hu should assume the imperial title.

While they were standing beneath the massive lamp, the oil from the upper plate spilled down onto the lower one, and more than 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 King of Zhao, assuming the title in the southern suburbs and issuing a general amnesty. After assuming this title, he made his wife Lady Zheng his Empress to the Heavenly King, and named Shi Sui as Imperial Crown Prince to the Heavenly King. His other sons had their titles changed to dukes of commandaries, and the remaining royal family members who had been princes were restyled as marquises of counties. All the other officials each received appropriate ranks.


(Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "The Biography of Shi Hu in the Chronicles of the Book of Jin states that seven people were killed during this incident. But I follow the account of the Annals of the Thirty Kingdoms."

When the ancients named themselves Kings, they named their wives as Queens; when the sovereigns of Qin and Han declared themselves Emperors, their wives were named Empresses. But there had never before been someone called "Empress of the Heavenly King". And in the same manner, the ancients named their eldest sons by their primary wife as their heir, and the sovereigns of Qin and Han named them their Crown Princes, but there had never before been someone called "Imperial Crown Prince to the Heavenly King".)


2. Now that the Southland was becoming more stable, 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 Academy. 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.


(At the end of the Han dynasty, Liu Bei had nominated Yuan Huan as an Abundant Talent candidate. He later served under Cao-Wei, where he served as an Imperial Secretary.)

三年春正月辛卯,立太學。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In the third year of Xianning (337), in spring, the first month, on the day Xinmao (February 20th), the Imperial Academy was established.


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 two-wheeled 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 attacked and defeated him.


(The city of Yilian was within the eastern part of the Duan clan's territory, west of the Qu River.

The city of Xingguo had been built by the Murong clan.)


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 venerated and respected him.

Duan Liao was constantly fighting with Murong Huang. Yang Yu remonstrated with him, saying, "As the proverb goes, '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 harms. 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.


(The five leaders whom Yang Yu had served were Duan Jilujuan, Duan Shefuchen, Duan Mopei, Duan Ya, and Duan Liao.

Yang Yu quotes the words of Wufu of the ancient state of Chen, as listed in the Zuo Commentary (Yin 6.2).

Murong Hui and Murong Huang had both taken a wife from the Duan clan, and the Murong clan must have also married their daughters into the Duan clan.)


5. Shi Sui possessed great bravery, and he 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 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 his guests to look at, cooking their flesh and serving it as a meal.

The Duke of Hejian, Shi Xuan, and the Duke of Le'an, Shi Tao, were two of Shi Sui's younger brothers. They 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 of the Masters of Writing, but every time that Shi Sui reported to him, Shi Hu would angrily ask, "What's the use in troubling me 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, thrice in one month.

Shi Sui privately met with his Crown Prince’s Attendant, Li Yan, and others, and said to them, "The Heavenly King is difficult to please. I plan to follow the example of Modu Chanyu. Sirs, are you with me?"

Li Yan and the rest prostrated themselves before him, not daring to answer.

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 all, "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." Shi Hu was just about to visit Shi Sui to look into his illness, but when he considered what Fotudeng had said, he turned back. 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 closely trusted 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 he arrested and interrogated Li Yan and the others. Li Yan revealed everything. He and others, thirty in all, were executed.

Shi Hu detained Shi Sui in the Eastern Palace. But eventually he pardoned him. He then summoned Shi Sui to an audience in the Eastern Taiwu Hall. However, Shi Sui only made 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.

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


(Atie was Shi Sui's childhood name.

The term 恚 here means hatred and anger.

Shi Sui here refers to his father using the term 官家. This was the first instance of this term being used to refer to a Son of Heaven. The people of Former Han used the term 縣官 to refer to the Son of Heaven, while the people of Later Han used the term 國家, and this was why both of them were in use. Some claim, "The Five Emperors of ancient times 官 'managed' the realm, and the Three Sovereigns 家 'acted as fathers to' the realm; this was the reason for the term 官家.

Modu Chanyu's overthrow of his father and rise to power over the Xiongnu is mentioned in Book 11, in the sixth year of the reign of Emperor Gao of Han (Liu Bang; 201 BC).

At this time, Jizhou was administered from Xindu.

The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "When Wei of Wu (Cao Cao) resided in the Northern Palace at Ye, the palace had a Wenchang Hall. The Shi clan raised two halls at the site of this original hall, which they called the eastern and western Taiwu Halls."

Sima Guang's commentary in the Textual Analysis states, "Regarding the year of Shi Sui's death, the Annals of Emperor Wenming (Murong Huang) in the Book of Yan states, "In the fourth month of the fourth year of Xiankang (338), when Shi Hu arrived before the Yan capital, his ministers at Ye held a meeting. His Crown Prince, Shi Sui, arrived late and quite drunk, and when he came into the palace he killed and harmed people. Shi Hu was furious, and he had no choice to go back." It further states, "Earlier, when Shi Hu's subordinate commander Wu Zhou had returned from his trip to Ye, he reported that on the Day of Washing The Buddha during the fourth month, when an image was brought to be presented at the palace, Crown Prince Shi Sui rode out to receive the image, but he galloped all about and did not conduct himself as befitting the heir to the state. Shi Hu replied, "The ancients conducted themselves in an impressive and dignified manner in order to ensure good fortune and stave off disaster. This boy is my own viceroy, yet he acts so carelessly and frivolously, totally without ceremony. I shall put him to death soon." For when Shi Hu had gone on campaign, he had left Shi Sui in command of the state in his stead. But Shi Sui caused such defeats and internal turmoil that Shi Hu had him executed.' However, the Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Annals of Jin both state that Shi Sui was killed in the third year of Xianning (337). The Book of Yan must be mistaken. So I follow the accounts of the Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms and the Annals of Jin.")

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.

This excerpt from the Biography of Fotudeng in the Book of Jin is courtesy of Lady Wu:

Shi Sui, Shi Hu's crown prince, had two sons, whom he kept in Xiangguo. Fotudeng said to Shi Sui, "The little one has just gotten ill. You should check up on him." So Shi Sui immediately sent a messenger to go look. Indeed, the boy was already ill. The Imperial Physician Yin Teng and a foreign monk said they could cure him. Fotudeng said to his disciple Faya, "Even if the saints were to come, they could not cure this illness; let alone people like them!" Three days later, indeed, the child died.

Later on, when Shi Sui plotted rebellion, he said to his attendant, "The Monk has uncanny powers. He may leak my plot. When he comes tomorrow, we must get rid of him." Fotudeng was in the habit of paying respects to Shi Hu at every full moon. He said to his disciple Senghui, "Last night, a heavenly being called out to me, telling me, 'If you go to the palace tomorrow, do not stop by anyone's house.' If I end up stopping by anywhere, you must prevent me from doing so." Normally, when Fotudeng went to the palace, he would stop by at Shi Sui's residence. Knowing that Fotudeng was on his way to the palace, he waited a long time on the way to meet Fotudeng. When Fotudeng was about to walk up to the South Terrace with Shi Sui, Senghui tugged on his robe. Fotudeng said, "I have some other business and cannot stay here." He rose again before sitting for long. Shi Sui pleaded with him to stay longer, but could not stop him from leaving. And thus Shi Sui's plan failed. When Fotudeng returned to the temple, he sighed and said, "The crown prince is planning trouble, and his schemes are already taking shape."


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 the southern mountains at Du. 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.


("The southern mountains at Du" were the southern mountains in Duling County in Jingzhao commandary.)


7. In the ninth month, Yan’s Chief Clerk Of The Left to the Grand General Who Guards The Army, Feng Yi, and 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 of State; 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 宂騎常侍s. Song Huang, Ping Xi, and Zhang Hong became Generals. Feng Yu became Chief of Recordskeeping. This Li Hong was the grandson of Li Zhen; this Song Huang was the son of Song Shi.

In winter, the eleventh month, on the day Dingmao (?; possibly the tenth month, 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.


(Emperor Cheng had appointed Murong Huang as Grand General Who Guards The Army, and he had appointed Feng Yi as his Chief Clerk of the Left in that capacity.

The rank of 納言令 was equivalent to Jin's Prefect of the Masters of Writing. The rank 常伯 was equivalent to their Palace Attendants. The rank 宂騎常侍 was equivalent to their Cavaliers In Regular Attendance.

Li Zhen, who had formerly been Jin's Colonel of Eastern Yi Tribes, is mentioned in Book 87, in Emperor Huai's third year of Yongjia (309.27).

Song Shi is mentioned in Book 88, in Emperor Min's first year of Jianxing (313.19-20).)

冬十一月丁卯,慕容皝自立爲燕王。(Book of Jin 7, Annals of Emperor Cheng)

In winter, the eleventh month, on the day Dingmao (?), Murong Huang declared himself the Prince of Yan.


8. Duan Liao often raided Zhao's borders.

Murong Huang sent his General Who Displays Ferocity, Song Hui, to Zhao to declare his domain a Zhao vassal state. He further begged for Zhao to send 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.


(Shen Yue's Records states, "The rank of General Who Calms Distant Places was created by Eastern Jin." So it must have first appeared around this time.

This was why Zhao and Yan attacked Duan Liao together.)


9. During this year, the Zhao general Li Mu escorted Tuoba Yihuai back to Daning in Dai. Most of the Dai tribes flocked to his side. Tuoba Hena fled to Yan. The people of Dai acclaimed Tuoba Yihuai as Prince of Dai, and Tuoba Yihuai built a city at Shengle and resided there.


(Tuoba Yihuai had fled to Zhao in the first year of Xiankang (335.21).

Some versions add that the people of the Tuoba domain acclaimed Tuoba Yihuai "as Prince of Dai" and that "he" built the new city at Shengle.)

三年,石虎遣將李穆率騎五千納烈帝於大寧,國人六千餘落叛煬帝,煬帝出居於慕容部。烈皇帝復立,以三年為後元年。城新盛樂城,在故城東南十里。(Book of Northern Wei 1, Annals of the Tuoba Ancestors)

In the third year of the second part of Tuoba Hena's reign (337), Shi Hu sent his general Li Mu with five thousand cavalry to escort Tuoba Yihuai back to Daning. More than six thousand tribes of the Tuoba domain rebelled against Tuoba Hena, and he left to reside with the Murong clan.

Tuoba Yihuai once again claimed the throne of Dai, and he took the third year of Tuoba Hena's second part of his reign to be the first year of the second part of his own reign. He built a new city at Shengle, ten li southeast of the old city.


10. The King of Chouchi, Yang Yi, had a cousin named 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 Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:30 pm, edited 16 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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