Zizhi Tongjian: The Han Dynasty (In Progress)

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Zizhi Tongjian: The Han Dynasty (In Progress)

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:44 pm

Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Tue Nov 19, 2019 2:55 am, edited 4 times in total.
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BOOK 7

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 4:54 pm

二世皇帝上

Beginning of the Reign of the Second Emperor of Qin, Ying Huhai


〈諱胡亥,始皇少子也。【章:十二行本無此八字;乙十一行本同。】〉

(Ying Huhai was the youngest son of the First Emperor of Qin (Ying Zheng).

Some versions lack the above commentary.)


元年(壬辰、前二〇九)

The First Year of the Second Emperor's Reign (The Renchen Year, 209 BC)


According to the calendar system used during the Qin and early Han dynasty, the new year began in the tenth month of the lunar calendar rather than the first.

冬,十月,戊寅,大赦。

1. In winter, the tenth month (of 210 BC), on the day Wuyin, a general amnesty was declared.

春,二世東行郡縣,李斯從;到碣石,並海,南至會稽;而盡刻始皇所立刻石,旁著大臣從者名,以章先帝成功盛德而還。

2. In spring, the Second Emperor of Qin traveled through the eastern counties and commandaries, accompanied by the Prime Minister, Li Si. They traveled as far as Jieshi (in the far northeast) and reached the sea, then went south as far as Kuaiji (in the far southeast). They carved and raised steles extolling the achievements of the First Emperor of Qin and recording the names of his great ministers along the sides, as an announcement of his full accomplishments and abundant virtues, before returning.

夏,四月,二世至咸陽,謂趙高曰:「夫人生居世間也,譬猶騁六驥過決隙也。吾旣已臨天下矣,欲悉耳目之所好,窮心志之所樂,以終吾年壽,可乎?」高曰:「此賢主之所能行而昏亂主之所禁也。雖然,有所未可,臣請言之:夫沙丘之謀,諸公子及大臣皆疑焉;而諸公子盡帝兄,大臣又先帝之所置也。今陛下初立,此其屬意怏怏皆不服,恐爲變;臣戰戰栗栗,唯恐不終,陛下安得爲此樂乎!」二世曰:「爲之柰何?」趙高曰:「陛下嚴法而刻刑,令有罪者相坐,誅滅大臣及宗室;然後收舉遺民,貧者富之,賤者貴之。盡除先帝之故臣,更置陛下之所親信者,此則陰德歸陛下,害除而姦謀塞,羣臣莫不被潤澤,蒙厚德,陛下則高枕肆志寵樂矣。計莫出於此!」二世然之。乃更爲法律,務益刻深,大臣、諸公子有罪,輒下高鞠治之。於是公子十二人僇死咸陽市,十公主矺死於杜,財物入於縣官,相連逮者不可勝數。

3. In summer, the fourth month, the Second Emperor returned to the Qin capital at Xianyang.

The Second Emperor said to his minister Zhao Gao, "I was born in obscurity, and I lived pressed in tighter than one of the six horses that pulls a carriage. Now that I have inherited the realm, I want to fill my eyes and ears with all that is pleasing, turn my heart towards fulfilling my desires for happiness, and thus live out all my years. Would that be possible?"

Zhao Gao replied, "Foolish lords would deny themselves such a fate, but a worthy sovereign could achieve it. However, it is not yet possible, and I pray Your Majesty will heed my words as to why not. The princes of the blood and the chief ministers all still remain suspicious of the affair at Shaqiu, where His Late Majesty passed away and entrusted the throne to you. Beyond that, the princes are all Your Majesty's elder brothers, and the chief ministers were all appointed by His Late Majesty, not by you. So since Your Majesty has only just come to the throne, these people are all still uncertain and not inclined to obey you, and I fear they might cause some incident. I cannot help but tremble at the thought of it; could Your Majesty enjoy all the happiness that you seek if your reign were thus cut short?"

The Second Emperor asked, "What then should I do?"

Zhao Gao replied, "Your Majesty should rule with a firm hand and enforce severe punishments. Lump all the guilty together, and execute and wipe out all the great ministers and the nobles. But afterwards, gather together all those who were not caught up by the law; make the poor among them rich, and the obscure among them honored. In short, purge your court of all the old ministers of His Late Majesty and fill all the posts with your own appointments, from people you know and trust. Then every minister will owe their debts of gratitude to you, and you will have put a stop to the wicked plots of the malcontents. Not a one of the ministers left will be untouched by your grace or overlooked by your favor. Once all that is achieved, then Your Majesty may rest easy, do as you like, and enjoy yourself. What plan could be greater than that?"

The Second Emperor agreed. So he enforced severe laws and increased the harshness of punishments, and any of the chief ministers or the princes found guilty were handed over to the justice officials to be dealt with. Twelve of the princes were thus killed in the Xianyang marketplace and ten of the princesses were dismembered at Du, and their wealth was confiscated by the treasury. Countless people were arrested, one after the other.

〈決,裂也;裂開之隙,其間不能以寸,喻狹小也。〉〈【章:十二行本「高」下有「令」字;乙十一行本同;孔本同。】〉〈《史記正義》與磔同,謂磔裂支體而殺之。杜,故周之杜伯國。班《志》,杜縣屬京兆,宣帝改曰杜陵。〉〈漢謂天子爲縣官。此縣官,猶言公家也。〉〈言事相連及皆逮之。貢父曰:其人存,直追取之曰逮;其人亡,則討而捕之。〉

(The Second Emperor refers to his former situation as being 決 "pressed"; that is to say, cramped, in the manner of being so pressed together that there is not even an inch of space available, thus the comparison to carriage horses.

The base text refers to the justice officials as 高鞠, but some editions write this as 令鞠.

According to the Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian, the term here written as 矺 means the same thing as 磔, an abbreviation of "dismemberment" or to be killed by pulling apart the limbs.

This place Du was the Barony of Du during the Zhou dynasty. According to the Book of Han, Du county was later part of Han's Jingzhao commandary. Emperor Xuan of Han would change its name to Duling.

The term "treasury" is more precisely written here as 縣官 "county office", a Han-era term to refer to the Son of Heaven. In other words, the confiscated funds were placed at public disposal.

The last sentence says that people were arrested one another another. Liu Gongfu remarked, "If an accused is still alive, he is seized and arrested; if they are dead, they are sought out and claimed.")


公子將閭昆弟三人囚於內宮,議其罪獨後。二世使使令將閭曰:「公子不臣,罪當死!吏致法焉。」將閭曰:「闕廷之禮,吾未嘗敢不從賓贊也;廊廟之位,吾未嘗敢失節也;受命應對,吾未嘗敢失辭也;何謂不臣?願聞罪而死!」使者曰:「臣不得與謀,奉書從事!」將閭乃仰天大呼「天」者三,曰:「吾無罪!」昆弟三人皆流涕,拔劍自殺。宗室振恐。公子高欲奔,恐收族,乃上書曰:「先帝無恙時,臣入門賜食,出則乘輿,御府之衣,臣得賜之,中廐之寶馬,臣得賜之。臣當從死而不能,爲人子不孝,爲人臣不忠。不孝不忠者,無名以立於世,臣請從死,願葬驪山之足。唯上幸哀憐之!」書上,二世大說,召趙高而示之,曰:「此可謂急乎?」趙高曰:「人臣當憂死不暇,何變之得謀!」二世可其書,賜錢十萬以葬。

4. During the time of this purge, the prince Ying Jianglu and two of his brothers were imprisoned within the palace, discussing with one another whether they would be condemned to die. Then the Second Emperor sent an agent to tell Ying Jianglu, "Prince, you are no true subject, and your crimes deserve death! You are ordered to comply at once."

Ying Jianglu objected, "If you speak of etiquette, I have never once failed to follow proper ceremony. If you speak of my position within the court, I have never once failed to uphold my duty. If you speak of the succession, I have never once uttered a word of objection. In what way have I failed to act as a proper subject? I would hear the charges of my crime that is deserving of death!"

The agent replied, "I am not here to discuss anything with you. I have only come to present your orders and see that you carry them out!"

Ying Jianglu then raised his head to the sky and thrice cried out "O Heavens!" then declared, "I am blameless!" He and his two brothers wept as they drew their swords and killed themselves.

The imperial clan trembled in fright. One of the princes, Ying Gao, wanted to run for his life, but he was afraid that his extended family would then be arrested. So he instead sent up a letter stating, "During the days that His Late Majesty was still healthy, whenever he came indoors I fed him, and whenever he went out I fetched his carriage. When he sought clothes for his wardrobe, I procured them; when he desired prized horses for his stable, I obtained them. Now since he has passed away, I ought to have accompanied him in death. My failure to do so makes me unfilial as a son and disloyal as a minister. One who is unfilial and disloyal has no good name to pass on to posterity. Thus I request to now accompany him in death, and I ask only that I be buried with him at Mount Li. May Your Majesty take pity on me!"

When the letter arrived, the Second Emperor was delighted. He showed it to Zhao Gao and said, "Awfully impatient, isn't he?"

Zhao Gao replied, "How could one so caught up in thinking about his death have any thoughts of plotting rebellion?"

The Second Emperor granted the letter's request, and added a hundred thousand money as burial gifts.

〈言不敢挾親親之恩廢爲臣之節,何得以此罪加之!〉〈【章:十二行本「門」作「則」;乙十一行本同;孔本同;退齋校同;熊校同。】〉

(Ying Jianglu was saying that he had never dared to take advantage of his closeness to the royal family or failed in his duty as a minister, so how could he have possibly committed a crime?

Some versions have slightly different grammatical phrasing in the sentence "whenever he came indoors...".)


復作阿房宮。盡徵材士五萬人爲屯衞咸陽,令敎射。狗馬禽獸當食者多,度不足,下調郡縣,轉輸菽粟、芻稾,皆令自齎糧食;咸陽三百里內不得食其穀。

5. The Second Emperor resumed construction on Epang Palace. He summoned fifty thousand people from the nearby villages to serve as guards camped around Xianyang and ordered them to train in archery. The Second Emperor had a great many dogs, horses, and other captive beasts that required fodder, and when there was not enough grain for them, he would impose taxes on the local counties and commandaries and confiscate all their grain for his own personal use. Thus the people living within three hundred li of Xianyang had no grain to eat.

〈謂下郡縣而調發之也。〉

(This passage is saying that the Second Emperor would sent out tax orders to the local counties and commandaries.)


秋,七月,陽城人陳勝、陽夏人吳廣起兵於蘄。是時,發閭左戍漁陽,九百人屯大澤鄕,陳勝、吳廣皆爲屯長。會天大雨,道不通,度已失期;失期,法皆斬。陳勝、吳廣因天下之愁怨,乃殺將尉,召令徒屬曰:「公等皆失期當斬;假令毋斬,而戍死者固什六七。且壯士不死則已,死則舉大名耳!王、侯、將、相寧有種乎!」衆皆從之。乃詐稱公子扶蘇、項燕,爲壇而盟,稱大楚;陳勝自立爲將軍,吳廣爲都尉。攻大澤鄕,拔之;收而攻蘄,蘄下。乃令符離人葛嬰將兵徇蘄以東;攻銍、酇、苦、柘、譙,皆下之。行收兵;比至陳,車六七百乘,騎千餘,卒數萬人。攻陳,陳守、尉皆不在,獨守丞與戰譙門中,不勝;守丞死,陳勝乃入據陳。

6. In autumn, the seventh month, Chen Sheng of Yangcheng county and Wu Guang of Yangxia county raised troops in rebellion at Qi.

At that time, there had been a draft of poor people to serve in garrisons at Yuyang. There were nine hundred people camped at Daze District, and Chen Sheng and Wu Guang were serving as camp leaders. But then there was a great storm, making the roads impassable, so that the conscripts were going to miss their deadline. According to the law, anyone who missed such a deadline was marked for death.

So taking advantage of the anger and resentment in the realm, Chen Sheng and Wu Guang killed the commandant-general of the camp, then sent out a decree to their followers: "We have missed our deadline and are now sure to be executed, and even if they do not actually punish us so, sixty to seventy percent of us will die in the garrisons either way. Besides, strong fellows such as us should not go quietly. If we must die, let's at least make great names for ourselves! Why shouldn't we be kings, nobles, generals, or chancellors?"

The people all heeded their call. So the two of them pretended to be the late prince Ying Fusu and the late Chu general Xiang Yan, and they ordered Ge Ying of Fuli county to lead troops east from Qi. They attacked the counties of Zhi, Zan, Ku, Zhe, and Qiao and subdued them all.

They continued to gather more and more recruits, and by the time their army reached the city of Chen, they had six or seven hundred carts, more than a thousand cavalry, and tens of thousands of soldiers. They attacked Chen, whose Administrator and Commandant were both missing. Only the Defense Official was there to oppose them at the gate-tower, but to no avail; the Defense Official was killed, and Chen Sheng entered and occupied Chen.

〈《史記正義》曰:卽河南陽城縣;班《志》,屬潁川郡。陽夏縣屬淮陽國。《括地志》:陳州太康縣,本漢陽夏縣地。盤洲洪氏曰:陽夏鄕去太康縣三十里。夏,音賈。班《志》,蘄縣屬沛郡,有大澤鄕。〉〈鼂錯曰:秦以謫發戍,先發吏有謫及贅壻、賈人,後以嘗有市籍者,又後以大父母嘗有市籍者,後入閭取其左。《索隱》曰:閭左,謂居閭里之左也。秦時,復除者居閭左。今力役凡在閭左者盡發之也。又云:凡居以富強爲右,貧弱爲左。秦役戍多富者,役盡,兼取貧弱而發之也。班《志》,漁陽縣屬漁陽郡。《括地志》:漁陽故城在檀州密雲縣南十八里,在漁水之陽。〉〈師古曰:其官本尉耳,時領戍人,故爲將尉。《索隱》曰:尉,官也;《漢舊儀》:大縣三人。其尉將屯九百人,故云將尉。〉〈以百姓賢扶蘇而楚人憐項燕也。〉〈收大澤鄕之兵以攻蘄也。〉〈班《志》:符離、銍、酇、譙屬沛郡。《姓譜》:葛國旣滅,其後以國爲氏。柘、苦二縣屬淮陽國。宋白曰:柘縣,古襄氏之邑;春秋時,陳之株野;漢爲柘縣,以邑有柘溝而名;唐爲宋州柘城縣。亳州眞源縣,古苦縣地。「酇」,本作「䣜」,才多翻。師古曰:此縣本借酇字爲之,音嵯。王莽改縣爲贊治,則此縣亦有贊音。苦,音怙。〉〈班《志》,陳縣屬淮陽國。《史記正義》曰:今陳州城本楚襄王所築陳國城也。師古曰:守丞,謂郡丞之居守者;一曰:郡守之丞,故曰守丞。原父曰:秦不以陳爲郡,何庸有守!守,謂非正官,權守者耳。余按秦分天下爲郡縣,郡置守、尉、監,縣置令、丞、尉。原父以此守爲權守之守,良是。遷、固二史作「守令皆不在」,此作「守尉皆不在」,蓋二史「令」下缺「尉」字,而《通鑑》「尉」上缺「令」字也。師古曰:譙門,謂門上爲高樓以候望者耳。樓,一名譙,故謂美麗之樓爲麗譙;亦呼爲巢。所謂巢車者,亦於兵車之上爲樓以望敵也。譙、巢,聲相近。〉

(Regarding Yangcheng, the Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states that Yangcheng county was in Henan commandary, while the Book of Han states that it was in Yingchuan commandary. Yangxia county was part of the Huaiyang princely fief. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "Taikang county in Chenzhou was originally Yangxia county during the Han dynasty." Master Hong of Panzhou remarked, "Yangxia District was thirty li from Taikang county." The second character of Yangxia, 夏, is pronounced "jia".

According to the Book of Han, Qi county was part of Pei commandary, and there was a Daze District there.

The conscripts are described as being from 閭左 “the left side of town”. Chao Cuo remarked, "When the Qin dynasty drafted people, it would begin with officials who had been dismissed and any useless people or merchants, then would draft anyone who had ever been engaged in commerce, then the parents and family of such people, and finally it would simply draft all the people of the left (poor) side of town." The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "The 'left' side of town refers to those living on the left side of town. During the Qin dynasty, draftees would be taken from this side of town. And in modern times (the Tang dynasty), corvee laborers are also drawn from this side of town." It further states, "The rich and powerful people lived on the right side of town, while the poor and weak lived on the left side. When the Qin dynasty conscripted people for corvee labor or garrison camps, after having exhausted many of the rich people, they would then draft from the poor and weak as well."

According to the Book of Han, Yuyang county was part of Yuyang commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Yuyang was eighteen li south of Miyun county in modern Tanzhou, on the north side of the Yu River."

Regarding the title commandant-general, Yan Shigu remarked, "This title was originally merely a commandant. At this time, the people holding this role were supervisors of such garrison conscripts, thus they were called commandant-generals." The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "Commandant in this case was the title of an office; the Han Jiuyi states that three of them were assigned to large counties." This commandant-general would have been in charge of nine hundred garrison conscripts, thus the title.

Chen Sheng and Wu Guang claimed to be Ying Fusu and Xiang Yan because the common people in general had felt that the late Ying Fusu had been a worthy man, and the people of the Chu region in particular had loved their general Xiang Yan.

Cheng Sheng and Wu Guang gathered together the soldiers at Daze District and then attacked Qi.

According to the Book of Han, the counties of Fuli, Zhi, Zan, and Qiao were all part of Pei commandary. The Registry of Surnames states, "After the fall of the state of Ge, its descendants took the name of their state as their surname." The counties of Zhe and Ku were part of the Huaiyang princely fief. Song Bai remarked, "Zhe county had been the region of the ancient Xiang clan. During the Spring and Autumn era, it was called Zhuye, in the state of Chen. The Han dynasty organized it as Zhe county; it took its name from a Zhe Ravine located in the area. During the Tang dynasty, it was Zhecheng county in Songzhou. And Zhenyuan county in Bozhou was originally the area of Ku county." The name of 酇 Zan county was originally written as 䣜, pronounced "cuo (c-uo)". Yan Shigu remarked, "This county originally used the character 酇, pronounced 'cuo'. Wang Mang later changed the county's name to Zanzhi, which made this county's name become Zan." Ku county's name is pronounced "hu".

According to the Book of Han, Chen county was part of the Huaiyang princely fief. The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "The current capital city of Chenzhou was originally the capital of the state of Chen, built by King Xiang of Chu."

Regarding the Defense Official, Yan Shigu remarked, "This title referred to those who maintained the defense of the commandary; that is, since they oversaw the commandary's defense, they were called by this name." Yuanfu remarked, "The Qin dynasty never made Chen into a commandary; how then could this be so? This was not an actual position as such, but merely someone who happened to be overseeing the defenses." In my (Hu Sanxing's) view, knowing that the Qin dynasty divided the realm up into commandaries and counties, with Administrators, Commandants, and Chiefs for the commandaries and Prefects, Officials, and Commandants for the counties, I reckon that Yuanfu's explanation that this was an informal term, not a specific office, is the proper one. I further note that in the relevant passages of this episode in the Records of the Grand Historian and in the Book of Han, we see the phrase "the Administrators and Prefects were not present", while the Zizhi Tongjian writes it as "the 守尉 were not present". It must have been the case that those other two histories had meant to write that the 守令尉 "Administrators, Prefects, and Commandants" were not present, and where the Zizhi Tongjian has added back in the Commandants, it has neglected to list the Prefects. Thus 守尉 should be read as a list of those two offices.

Regarding the "gate-tower", Yan Shigu remarked, "This refers to a high tower atop the gate used as a watchtower. Towers are also called 譙, and this is why we refer to a fair and beautiful tower as a fair 譙. It could also be called a nest, and by the same logic, the platforms and towers above military carts used for viewing the enemy are also called nest-carts. The words 譙 ‘qiao’ and ‘chao’ have a similar sound.")


秦二世胡亥元年秋七月。發閭左屯漁陽。陽城人陳勝。字涉。陽夏人吳廣。字叔。皆為屯長。行至蘄。會天大雨。度已失期。失期法當斬。遂因天下之怨謀叛。陳勝以繒為書。置魚腹中。曰陳勝王。令人賣之。士卒得魚者。故已怪之矣。又令吳廣夜於叢祠中構火作狐鳴。曰大楚興。陳勝王。眾乃大驚。遂殺其將尉。號令徒屬。稱大楚。勝為大將軍。廣為都尉。攻掠城邑。至陳。眾數萬人。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In the first year of the reign of the Second Emperor of Qin, Ying Huhai (209 BC), in autumn, the seventh month, there was a draft of poor people to serve in garrisons at Yuyang. One of these people was Chen Sheng of Yangcheng, styled She, and another was Wu Guang of Yangxia, styled Shu; they were both appointed as camp leaders. The conscripts travelled to Qi. But then there was a great storm, so that the conscripts were going to miss their deadline. According to the law, anyone who missed such a deadline was marked for death.

So taking advantage of the anger and resentment in the realm, Chen Sheng and Wu Guang plotted a rebellion. Chen Sheng wrapped a letter stating "Chen Sheng shall be King" in silk and placed it inside the body of a fish, then had someone sell it. The soldiers who bought the fish were amazed when they discovered the letter. Chen Sheng also had Wu Guang go to the nearby shrine during the night, cover the fire, and call out like a fox, "Great Chu will rise! Chen Sheng will be King!" The conscripts were all astonished at these supposed omens. So they killed the commandant-general of the camp.

Chen Sheng and Wu Guang issued orders to their new followers, and they proclaimed their forces as Great Chu; Chen Sheng appointed himself as Grand General, and Wu Guang appointed himself as Capital Commandant. They attacked and pillaged several towns and cities. By the time they reached the city of Qin, their army numbered several tens of thousands.


初,大梁人張耳、陳餘相與爲刎頸交。秦滅魏,聞二人魏之名士,重賞購求之。張耳、陳餘乃變名姓,俱之陳,爲里監門以自食。里吏嘗以過笞陳餘,陳餘欲起,張耳躡之,使受笞。吏去,張耳乃引陳餘之桑下,數之曰:「始吾與公言何如?今見小辱而欲死一吏乎!」陳餘謝之。陳涉旣入陳,張耳、陳餘詣門上謁。陳涉素聞其賢,大喜。陳中豪桀父老請立涉爲楚王,涉以問張耳、陳餘,耳、餘對曰:「秦爲無道,滅人社稷,暴虐百姓;將軍出萬死之計,爲天下除殘也。今始至陳而王之,示天下私。願將軍毋王,急引兵而西;遣人立六國後,自爲樹黨,爲秦益敵;敵多則力分,與衆則兵強。如此,則野無交兵,縣無守城,誅暴秦,據咸陽,以令諸侯;諸侯亡而得立,以德服之,則帝業成矣!今獨王陳,恐天下懈也。」陳涉不聽,遂自立爲王,號「張楚」。

7. Years earlier, there had lived two natives of the city of Daliang in the state of Wei, Zhang Er and Chen Yu, who became the closest of friends; they swore that they would die together. When the state of Qin conquered Wei and learned that these two were famous gentlemen of that state, they posted heavy bounties for them. But Zhang Er and Chen Yu changed their names and fled to the city of Chen, where they served as gatekeepers to sustain themselves.

On one occasion, as a local official passed by, he thrashed Chen Yu with a stick. Chen Yu was going to lash out, but Zhang Er stepped on his foot and compelled him to accept the beating. After the official had left, Zhang Er led Chen Yu under a mulberry tree and rebuked him, saying, "What did I tell you when we first came here? Yet now you would risk your death over a little disgrace like this!" Chen Yu apologized to him.

In the present, when Chen Sheng entered Chen, Zhang Er and Chen Yu came to the gate and paid their respects to him. Chen Sheng was delighted, for he had long heard of the worthiness of these two men.

The gentry and elders of Chen asked Chen Sheng to declare himself King of Chu. Chen Sheng asked Zhang Er and Chen Yu what they thought of the idea. They replied, "Qin is without principle; they have ravaged the population and the altars of state, and they have been oppressive and cruel to the people. General, you are waging a desperate struggle against them for the cause of removing this evil plaguing the realm. Yet now, at the very beginning of your campaign when you have only just taken Chen, you are already considering naming yourself as King? That would merely demonstrate your selfishness to the realm.

"General, we ask that you forgot this idea of claiming the title of King. Instead, urgently lead your soldiers to the west (against Qin's capital region). And in the meantime, send envoys and agents out to restore the heirs of the fallen Six States (Hann, Zhao, Wei, Chu, Qi, and Yan), so that you may all support one another and bolster the ranks of Qin's foes. Faced with many enemies, Qin will have to divide their forces, while your own troops will be concentrated, making you much stronger than them. By then, once you advance against Qin, their soldiers will not even face you in the field, and their local officials will not defend their cities against you. You can execute the wicked leaders of Qin and occupy their capital at Xianyang. From there, you can exert your will over the other states. The old feudal lords, having once fallen, will own their revival to you, and thus they will submit to your virtue. At that point, you will have become Emperor in fact as well as in name!

"But if you instead name yourself King at Chen right now, we fear that would only alienate the realm from you."

But Chen Sheng did not listen to them, and he declared himself King of Rising Chu.

〈師古曰:監門,卒之賤者;耳、餘以卑賤自隱。張晏曰:監門,里正衞也。〉〈欲起者,不能受辱,欲起與吏亢也。躡,躡其足也。〉〈陳勝,字涉。〉〈六國皆爲與國,則兵不交鋒於野矣。〉〈諸縣皆畔秦復爲六國,無復爲秦守城者。〉〈【章:十二行本「則」上有「如此」二字;乙十一行本同;孔本同;張校同。】〉〈劉德曰:若云張大楚國也。張晏曰:先是楚已爲秦所滅,今立楚爲張。〉

(Zhang Er's and Chen Yu's occupation is described as 里監門. Yan Shigu argued, "A 監門 is one who lives in poverty; Zhang Er and Chen Yu sought to conceal themselves through poverty." But Zhang Yan argued, "A 監門 is one who minds and keeps the gate."

Chen Yu wanted to "lash out" because he could not bear the disgrace of being thrashed by the stick, and he wanted to fight back against the official. Zhang Er stepped on his foot to stop him.

In this passage, the Zizhi Tongjian refers to Chen Sheng instead as Chen She; She was his style name.

With the revived Six States all supporting Chen Sheng's state, Chen Sheng's soldiers would no longer encounter any enemies in the field.

The local officials and the counties would all abandon Qin to support their original lords in the Six States, and would no longer defend the cities on behalf of Qin.

Some versions include the phrase "at that point" before "you will have become Emperor..."

Regarding Chen Sheng's chosen title of King of Rising Chu, Liu De remarked, "He was saying he was restoring the original state of Chu." Zhang Yan remarked, "Chu had earlier been conquered by Qin, and Chen Sheng was now declaring he was rising to restore it.")


勝自立為楚王。大梁人張耳陳餘諫曰。將軍出萬死之計。為天下除殘賊。今始至陳為王。是示天下私也。不如立六國後。自為樹黨。進師而西。則野無交兵。縣無守城。誅暴秦。安據咸陽。以令諸侯。天下可圖也。勝不聽。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Chen Sheng declared himself King of Chu.

Natives of Daliang, Zhang Er and Chen Yu, remonstrated with him. They said, "General, you are waging a desperate struggle for the cause of removing this evil plaguing the realm. Yet now, at the very beginning of your campaign when you have only just taken Chen, you are already considering naming yourself as King? That would merely demonstrate your selfishness to the realm. You would do better to restore the heirs of the fallen Six States so that they may support you as your partisans, then lead an army to march west. Qin's soldiers will not even face you in the field, and their local officials will not defend their cities against you. You can execute the wicked leaders of Qin and peacefully occupy their capital at Xianyang. From there, you can exert your will over the other states and consider dominating all the realm."

But Chen Sheng did not listen to them.


當是時,諸郡縣苦秦法,爭殺長吏以應涉。謁者從東方來,以反者聞。二世怒,下之吏。後使者至,上問之,對曰:「羣盜鼠竊狗偷,郡守、尉方逐捕,今盡得,不足憂也。」上悅。

8. At this time, the commandaries and counties were sick of Qin's laws, and many of them killed their local officials and supported Chen Sheng's rebellion.

An envoy who returned to the capital from the east reported to the Second Emperor about the rebels. But the Second Emperor, angered, turned the envoy over to his officials. Later, when another envoy returned from the east, the Second Emperor asked him about the situation. This second envoy reported, "These bandits scurried about like a pack of sly dogs, but the commandary officials and local defense forces have already driven them out. By now, they've been entirely dealt with, and are not worth worrying about." The Second Emperor was pleased.

陳王以吳叔爲假王,監諸將以西擊滎陽。

9. Chen Sheng appointed Wu Guang as an Acting King and had him lead all their generals west to attack Xingyang.

〈吳廣,字叔。滎陽縣屬三川郡。〉

(As with Chen Sheng, this passage refers to Wu Guang as Wu Shu; Shu was his style name.

Xingyang county was part of Sanchuan commandary.)


以吳廣為假王。監諸將。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Chen Sheng appointed Wu Guang as an Acting King and had him lead all their generals.


張耳、陳餘復說陳王,請奇兵北略趙地。於是陳王以故所善陳人武臣爲將軍,邵騷爲護軍,以張耳、陳餘爲左、右校尉,予卒三千人,徇趙。

10. Zhang Er and Chen Yu once again advised Chen Sheng, asking him to send special troops north to march into the Zhao region. So Chen Sheng appointed two locals of Chen whom he liked, Wu Chen and Shao Sao, as a General and a Protector respectively, and he appointed Zhang Er and Chen Yu as their Colonels of the Left and Right. He assigned them three thousand soldiers and sent them to march into the Zhao region.

〈《姓譜》:武姓,宋武公之後。余謂自有諡法,以武爲諡者多矣,而必以武姓爲宋武公之後,何拘也!唐志氏族以爲武氏出自姬姓,周平王少子生而有文在手曰「武」,遂以爲氏。此由武后而傅會爲之說也。趙明誠《金石錄》有《漢敦煌長史武班碑》云:昔殷王武丁克伐鬼方,官族析分,因以爲氏。邵姓,周文王子邵公奭之後;或言第十一子耼季載之後。〉

(The Registry of Surnames states, "Those with the surname 武 Wu are the descendants of Duke Wu of Song." But I (Hu Sanxing) have to question the Registry's certainty here; 武 Wu ('Martial') is a very common posthumous name, after all, so how could it be so sure that they were descendants of Duke Wu of Song in particular? The Clan Records of the Tang dynasty asserts that the Wu surname came from the Ji clan, the royal family of the Zhou dynasty, by way of King Ping of Zhou's youngest son, who was born with the character Wu on his hand; it was his descendants who then took Wu as their surname. But this was a claim spread by 武 Wu Zetian (to bolster her legitimacy as a ruler). Zhao Mingcheng's text Records of Gold contains a recording of a Stele to Wu Ban, Han's Chief Clerk of Dunhuang commandary, which states, "In ancient times, when King Wuding of Yin (Shang) conquered the state of Guifang, their officials scattered and took Wu as their new surname."

As for the surname 邵 Shao, they are the descendants of the ancient Duke of Shao, Ji Shi, the son of King Wen of Zhou, although some claim that they are the descendants of King Wen's eleventh son, Dan Jizai.)


以陳人武臣為將軍。耳餘為校尉。北徇趙地。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Chen Sheng appointed Wu Chen of Chen as a general, with Zhang Er and Chen Yu as his Colonels, and sent them north to march through the Zhao region.


陳王又令汝陰人鄧宗徇九江郡。當此時,楚兵數千人爲聚者不可勝數。

11. Chen Sheng also ordered Deng Zong of Ruyin to march into Jiujiang commandary.

By now, countless groups of thousands of Chu soldiers had banded together to join the rebellion.

〈殷王武丁封叔父於河北,是爲鄧侯,後因氏焉。班《志》,汝陰縣屬汝南郡,故胡國。九江,本楚地,秦滅楚,分置九江郡;項羽滅秦,以封黥布;漢高祖更名淮南國;武帝復曰九江郡。〉

(When King Wuding of Yin granted his uncle a fief north of the Yellow River, he appointed him as Marquis 鄧 Deng, and that became the surname of his descendants.

According to the Book of Han, Ruyin county was part of Runan commandary; it had once been the state of Hu.

Jiujiang had originally been part of the state of Chu. After Qin conquered Chu, it organized the region as Jiujiang commandary. Later, after Xiang Yu conquered Qin, he granted Jiujiang as a fief to Qing Bu. Emperor Gaozu of Han (Liu Bang) renamed the fief to Huainan, but Emperor Wu of Han later restored its name to Jiujiang.)


當此之時。楚將徇地者甚眾。楚兵數千。聚黨者不可勝數。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

By now, there were a great many Chu generals marching across the land, and countless groups of thousands of Chu soldiers had banded together to join the rebellion.


葛嬰至東城,立襄彊爲楚王。聞陳王已立,因殺襄彊還報。陳王誅殺葛嬰。

12. It was earlier mentioned that Chen Sheng had sent Ge Ying to lead an army east. When Ge Ying arrived at Dongcheng, he established a certain Xiang Jiang as King of Chu. But when he heard that Chen Sheng had already declared himself King, he killed Xiang Jiang and returned to report. However, Chen Sheng executed Ge Ying.

〈班《志》,東城縣屬九江郡。《括地志》:東城故城,在濠州定遠縣東南五十里。〉〈《姓譜》:襄,魯莊公子襄仲之後。〉

(According to the Book of Han, Dongcheng county was part of Jiujiang commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Dongcheng was fifty li southeast of Dingyuan county in modern Haozhou.”

The Registry of Surnames states, "Those with the surname 襄 Xiang are the descendants of Duke Zhuang of Lu's son Xiang Zhong.")


陳王令周巿北徇魏地。以上蔡人房君蔡賜爲上柱國。

13. Chen Sheng sent a native of Wei, Zhou Fu, north to march through the Wei region. He appointed the Lord of Fang, Cai Ci of Shangcai, as his Grand Pillar of State.

〈【章:十二行本「令」下有「魏人」二字;乙十一行本同;孔本同;張校同;退齋校同。】〉〈《索隱》曰:房,邑名;爵之於房,號曰房君。上柱國,楚爵之尊者。蔡,以國爲氏。〉

(Some versions state that Zhou Fu was "a native of Wei".

Regarding the term 房君 Fangjun, the Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "Fang was the name of a region, so someone granted Fang as their fief would be known as Fangjun or 'the Lord of Fang'."

Grand Pillar of State had been an honored title from the state of Chu.

Cai was the name of a state, which later became a surname.)


陳王聞周文,陳之賢人也,習兵,乃與之將軍印,使西擊秦。

14. Chen Sheng heard that a certain Zhou Wen was a worthy native of Chen and had experience with soldiers. So he carved a general's seal for Zhou Wen and sent him west to attack Qin.

以周文為將軍。眾十餘萬。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Chen Sheng appointed Zhou Wen as a general and assigned him an army of more than a hundred thousand.


武臣等從白馬渡河,至諸縣,說其豪桀,豪桀皆應之;乃行收兵,得數萬人;號武臣爲武信君。下趙十餘城,餘皆城守;乃引兵東北擊范陽。范陽蒯徹說武信君曰:「足下必將戰勝而後略地,攻得然後下城,臣竊以爲過矣。誠聽臣之計,可不攻而降城,不戰而略地,傳檄而千里定;可乎?」武信君曰:「何謂也?」徹曰:「范陽令徐公,畏死而貪,欲先天下降。君若以爲秦所置吏,誅殺如前十城,則邊地之城皆爲金城、湯池,不可攻也。君若齎臣侯印以授范陽令,使乘朱輪華轂,驅馳燕、趙之郊,卽燕、趙城可無戰而降矣。」武信君曰:「善!」以車百乘、騎二百、侯印迎徐公。燕、趙聞之,不戰以城下者三十餘城。

15. Wu Chen and the other rebel leaders crossed north of the Yellow River at Baima. As they passed through the local counties, they spoke with the local gentry, who all supported their cause. Then, gathering together more soldiers, their ranks swelled to several tens of thousands. They acclaimed Wu Chen as Lord Wuxin. The rebels forced the submission of more than ten cities in the Zhao region, but the other cities all held out against them. So they led their troops northeast to attack Fanyang.

A native of Fanyang, Kuai Che, advised Wu Chen, "General, you seem to think that you must first win battles before you can conquer this region, and that you must assault and take this city before you can possess it. But I venture to state that this is a mistake. If you will listen to my plan, then you can accept the surrender of this city without attacking it, and you can conquer the region without fighting. By means of a simple summons, you can settle this area for a thousand li around. Would that be possible?"

Wu Chen asked, "What do you propose?"

Kuai Che replied, "The Prefect of Fanyang, Xu Gong, is a greedy man who fears death, and he would be the first in the realm to wish to surrender. If you regard him as nothing more than a Qin official and try to put this city to the sword as you did to those past ten cities, then the cities awaiting you in the border region will be as difficult to capture as if they had walls of gold and moats of boiling water. But if you send me to present the Prefect of Fanyang with a seal as a marquis and allow him to depart in an ornamented carriage of crimson wheels, sending him off to the regions of Yan and Zhao, then the cities of those regions will likewise surrender to you without a fight."

Wu Chen said, "Excellent!" And he sent Kuai Che with a hundred carriages, two hundred riders, and a seal as a marquis to grant to Xu Gong. When the people of Yan and Zhao heard of this, more than thirty of their cities submitted without fighting.

〈師古曰:白馬津在今滑州白馬縣界。《括地志》:白馬故城,在滑州衞南縣西南二十四里。戴延之《西征記》曰:白馬故城卽衞之漕邑。〉〈班《志》曰,范陽縣屬涿郡。應劭曰:在范水之陽。〉〈蒯徹,卽蒯通,班《書》避武帝諱,改「徹」爲「通」。蒯,丘怪翻,姓也。《左傳》,晉有大夫蒯得。〉〈師古曰:檄者,以木簡爲書,長尺二寸,用徵召也;有急,則加以鳥羽插之,所以示急疾也。〉

(Regarding Baima, Yan Shigu remarked, "Baima Crossing is in Baima county in modern Huazhou." The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Baima was twenty-four li southwest of Weynan county in Huazhou." Dai Yanzhi's Notes on the Western Campaign states, "The capital city of Baima was the region of Cao in the state of Wey."

According to the Book of Han, Fanyang county was part of Zhuo commandary. Ying Shao remarked, "It is so named ('north of the Fan') because it is north of the Fan River."

This Kuai Che was the same person listed in the Book of Han as Kuai Tong. When writing the Book of Han, Ban Gu was obliged to observe the naming taboo for Emperor Wu of Han (Liu Che), so he renamed Kuai Che to Kuai Tong. 蒯 Kuai, pronounced "quai (q-uai)", is a surname. The Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals mentions a Kuai De as a great minister of the state of Jin.

Yan Shigu remarked, "A 'summons' was a wooden slip two inches long used as a letter to summon someone. In especially pressing circumstances, a feather was attached as well, to demonstrate the urgency.")


張耳陳餘既至趙。說豪傑曰。秦為亂政虐刑。殘賊天下。北有長城之役。南有五嶺之戍。內外搔動。百姓罷弊。財匱力盡。重以苛法。使天下父子不相聊生。陳王奮臂為天下唱始。莫不響應。於此時不成封侯之業者。非人豪也。因天下之力。誅無道之秦。報父兄之讎。而成大業者。此壯士之一時也。皆然其言。乃收兵數萬人。遂下趙十餘城。武臣自號為武信君。進軍圍范陽。范陽人蒯通為其令徐公說武信君曰。范陽令欲以其城先下君。而君不利之。則諸守皆為金城湯池。不可攻也。君計莫若以黃屋朱輪以迎范陽令。使馳鶩乎燕趙之郊。則邊城皆喜。相率而降。此由以下阪而走丸也。武信君乃以侯迎徐公。燕趙聞之。降者三十餘城。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

When Zhang Er and Chen Yu arrived in the Zhao region, they made speeches to the local gentry. They said, "Qin has inflicted its brigandry and cruelty against the realm through its chaotic administration and its harsh punishments. They have compelled people to serve as workers on the Long Wall to the north and as conscripts for the army camps at the Five Ranges to the south. The whole realm, inside and out, has been thrown into confusion and turmoil. The people are weak and pitiful, their funds exhausted and their strength spent. They are burdened by harsh laws, which even prevent the fathers and sons of the realm from sustaining their livelihoods. But now, King Chen has raised his arm to declare a new beginning for the realm, and no one has failed to heed his call. Anyone who fails to heed this call and perform deeds that will earn them some noble title is no true man. Devote your strength to the cause of the realm: destroy the despicable Qin, avenge your fathers and brothers, and complete this great endeavor. Now is the time for bold heroes."

The locals all responded to their speeches, and they were able to gather an army of several tens of thousands. They forced the submission of more than ten cities in the Zhao region. Wu Chen named himself as Lord Wuxin.

The rebels advanced and besieged Fanyang. A native of Fanyang, Kuai Tong, came to persuade Wu Chen on behalf of the Prefect of Fanyang, Xu Gong. He said, "The Prefect of Fanyang had already hoped to surrender his city to you, yet you have offered him no benefit for doing so. Because of that, the other cities holding out against you will be as difficult to capture as if they had walls of gold and moats of boiling water. The best thing for you to do would be to welcome the Prefect of Fanyang with an ornamented carriage with a yellow chamber and crimson wheels, then send him off to the borders of Yan and Zhao. Then the border cities of those regions will all be happy, and they will likewise surrender to you. It will be like a ball rolling down a slope."

Wu Chen thus welcomed Xu Gong with a seal as a marquis. When the people of Yan and Zhao heard of this, more than thirty of their cities submitted without fighting.


陳王旣遣周章,以秦政之亂,有輕秦之意,不復設備。博士孔鮒諫曰:「臣聞兵法:『不恃敵之不我攻,恃吾不可攻。』今王恃敵而不自恃,若跌而不振,悔之無及也。」陳王曰:「寡人之軍,先生無累焉。」

16. Since Chen Sheng had already sent Zhou Zhang (presumably Zhou Wen) on campaign and he believed that the Qin government was in chaos, he now thought lightly of Qin and did not make any further defensive preparations.

One of his Academicians, Kong Fu, remonstrated with him, saying, "I have heard from the Arts of War that 'we must not assume that the enemy will not attack us, but we must make it so that we cannot be attacked'. King, your thinking is reliant upon the enemy's efforts rather than your own. If we stumble and cannot rise again, it will be too late for regrets."

But Chen Sheng replied, "I am the commander, Sir, and you need not concern yourself in such affairs."

〈鮒,魏相子順之子,孔子八世孫,卽前藏書者也。〉〈跌,踢而踣也。〉

(This Kong Fu was the son of Wei's Chancellor, Kong Zishun, and an eight-generation descendant of Confucius, according to the classified books.

To stumble is to misstep and fall.)


周文行收兵至關,車千乘,卒數十萬,至戲,軍焉。二世乃大驚,與羣臣謀曰:「柰何?」少府章邯曰:「盜已至,衆強,今發近縣,不及矣。驪山徒多,請赦之,授兵以擊之。」二世乃大赦天下,使章邯免驪山徒、人奴產子,悉發以擊楚軍,大敗之。周文走。

17. Zhou Wen gathered more troops as he advanced to Hangu Pass (which guarded the Qin capital region); by the time his army reached Xi, they had grown to a thousand carts and hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

The Second Emperor was alarmed at the approach of this army, and he consulted with his ministers, asking them, "What shall we do?"

The Privy Treasurer, Zhang Han, told him, "The rebels are already this close, and their forces are strong. Even if we summoned troops from the local counties, they would not arrive in time. But there are many convict laborers near us at Mount Li. I ask that you pardon them and grant them weapons, then have them attack the enemy."

So the Second Emperor declared a general amnesty across the realm, and he assigned Zhang Han the pardoned laborers from Mount Li and all the household slaves and sent them all to attack the Chu army. The Chu army was greatly defeated, and Zhou Wen fled.

〈師古曰:戲,水名,在京兆新豐東;今有戲水驛。其水本出藍田北界,至此而北流入渭。蘇林曰:戲在新豐東南三十里。〉〈班《表》曰:少府,秦官,掌山林、池澤之賦以給共養。《姓譜》:齊人降鄣,子孫去邑爲章氏。邯,下甘翻。〉〈秦之刑徒已論者,輸作驪山。〉〈服虔曰:人奴產子,家人之產奴。師古曰:奴產子,猶今人云家生奴。仲馮曰:人奴一物,產子又一物。臣瓚曰:人奴之產子,今田客家兒。〉

(Regarding Xi, Yan Shigu remarked, "Xi is the name of a river, east of Xinfeng in Jingzhao commandary, where there is now a Ji River Station. This river has its origin in the north of Lantian county, and when it reaches this point, it flows north into the Wei River." Su Lin remarked, "Xi was thirty li southeast of Xinfeng."

The Book of Han states, "Privy Treasurer was a Qin office. It oversaw the taxation of mountains, forests, rivers, and marches in order to provide for the common supply."

Regarding the surname 章 Zhang, the Registry of Surnames states, "After the state of Qin accepted the surrender of the state of 鄣 Zhang, their descendants who dispersed took 章 Zhang as their surname."

Zhang Han's given name 邯 is pronounced "xan (x-an)".

Qin's policy of convict laborers has been discussed earlier. It had moved these laborers to work on building the tomb at Mount Li.

Regarding the term 人奴產子, Fu Qian remarked, "These were slaves born to a household." Yan Shigu remarked, "These were house-raised slaves, what we would now call houseborn slaves." Zhong Feng remarked, "Slaves were one thing, house-raised were another thing." Chen Zan remarked, "These house-raised slaves were the equivalent of modern tenant farmers.")


西至戲水。蓋百二十萬矣。秦令將軍章邯。赦驪山作徒七十萬人以擊之。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Zhou Wen's army marched west. By the time they reached the Xi River, they numbered about a million and two hundred thousand. Qin ordered their general Zhang Han to pardon the seven hundred thousand convict laborers at Mount Li and use them to attack Zhou Wen.

(These numbers are surely off by a magnitude.)


張耳、陳餘至邯鄲,聞周章卻,又聞諸將爲陳王徇地還者多以讒毀得罪誅,乃說武信君令自王。八月,武信君自立爲趙王,以陳餘爲大將軍,張耳爲右丞相,邵騷爲左丞相;使人報陳王。陳王大怒,欲盡族武信君等家而發兵擊趙。柱國房君諫曰:「秦未亡而誅武信君等家,此生一秦也;不如因而賀之,使急引兵西擊秦。」陳王然之,從其計,徙繫武信君等家宮中,封張耳子敖爲成都君,使使者賀趙,令趣發兵西入關。張耳、陳餘說趙王曰:「王王趙,非楚意,特以計賀王。楚已滅秦,必加兵於趙。願王毋西兵,北徇燕、代,南收河內以自廣。趙南據大河,北有燕、代,楚雖勝秦,必不敢制趙;不勝秦,必重趙。趙乘秦、楚之敝,可以得志於天下。」趙王以爲然,因不西兵,而使韓廣略燕,李良略常山,張黶略上黨。

18. By the time that Zhang Er and Chen Yu had arrived at Handan, they had heard both of Zhou Wen's defeat and that many of the rebel generals who had returned from their campaigns had been slandered and then executed by Chen Sheng. So they now advised Wu Chen to declare himself King. In the eight month, Wu Chen declared himself King of Zhao. He appointed Chen Yu as his Grand General, Zhang Er as his Prime Minister of the Right, and Shao Sao as his Prime Minister of the Left.

Wu Chen sent envoys to announce his ascension to Chen Sheng. Chen Sheng was furious, and he wanted to wipe out the entire clans of Wu Chen and the others and then lead all his troops to attack Zhao. But Cai Ci remonstrated with him, saying, "Qin has not yet fallen, and yet you want to execute the families of Lord Wuxin (Wu Chen) and the others. That would only create another Qin. You should instead offer your congratulations to them, then urge them to lead their troops west to attack Qin."

Chen Sheng felt he was correct and so followed his advice. He moved the families of Wu Chen and the others into the palace and appointed Zhang Er's son Zhang Ao as Lord of Chengdu, and he sent envoys to congratulate Zhao and order them to send their troops west through Hangu Pass.

But Zhang Er and Chen Yu now advised Wu Chen, "It was certainly not Chu's intention for you to declare yourself King of Zhao, especially not so much as to congratulate you for it. For once Chu has conquered Qin, they will surely turn against Zhao as well. So we ask that you hold off on sending any troops west. Instead, send them north to march through the regions of Yan and Dai and south to broaden your control of the Henei region. Once Zhao occupies the line of the Yellow River to the south and controls the regions of Yan and Dai to the north, even if Chu is able to defeat Qin, they will certainly not dare to exert any power over Zhao. And if Chu fails against Qin, that will be even better for us. We will be able to take advantage of Qin and Chu weakening one another, and you will achieve your ambition of ruling the realm."

Wu Chen agreed with them. So he did not send any troops west; instead, he sent Han Guang to march to Yan, Li Liang to march to Changshan, and Zhang Yan to march to Shangdang.

〈班《表》:前、後、左、右將軍,周末官,秦因之,位上卿。漢大將軍比三公。〉〈燕,涿郡以北之地。代,常山以北之地。河內本魏地,時屬河東郡。〉〈黶,烏點翻,又於琰翻。〉

(According to the Book of Han, the titles of General of the Front, Rear, Left, and Right were created near the end of the Zhou dynasty. Qin thus created the title of Grand General as a position above these others. And during the Han dynasty, the rank of Grand General was comparable to the Three Excellencies.

The Yan region was the area to the north of Zhuo commandary. Dai was the region to the north of Changshan commandary. Henei was originally part of Wei's territory; at this time, it was part of Hedong commandary.

Zhang Yan's given name 黶 is pronounced "wan (w-an)" or "yan".)


耳餘聞諸將徇地者多畏以讒得罪。又怨陳王。不以己為將軍。陳王欲誅其家。柱國房君賜諫王曰。秦王未亡而誅趙王家。是復生一秦也。不如因賀之。令進兵擊秦。勝從之。耳餘與趙王謀曰。王王趙非楚意也。楚已誅秦。必加兵於趙。不如北徇燕地以自廣。南據大河。北有燕代。楚雖勝秦。不敢制趙。若不勝秦。必重趙。趙承秦楚之弊。可以得志於天下。乃使韓廣北徇燕地。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Zhang Er and Chen Yu heard that many of the rebel generals who had returned from their campaigns had been slandered and then executed by Chen Sheng out of fear. They were also angry at Chen Sheng for not appointing them as generals in their own right.

Chen Sheng wanted to execute the families of Zhang Er and the others. But his Pillar of State, the Lord of Fang, remonstrated with him, saying, "The King of Qin has not yet fallen, and yet you want to execute the families of the King of Zhao. That would only create another Qin. It would be better to offer your congratulations to them, then order them to advance and attack Qin."

Cheng Sheng did as he proposed. But Zhang Er and Chen Yu now advised Wu Chen, "It was certainly not Chu's intention for you to declare yourself King of Zhao. Once Chu has conquered Qin, they will surely turn against Zhao as well. You would do well to send troops north to march through the Yan region to broaden your control. Once Zhao occupies the line of the Yellow River to the south and possesses the regions of Yan and Dai to the north, even if Chu is able to defeat Qin, they will certainly not dare to exert any power over Zhao. And if Chu fails against Qin, that will be even better for us. We will be able to take advantage of Qin and Chu weakening one another, and you can achieve your ambition of ruling the realm."

So Wu Chen sent Han Guang to march north through the Yan region.


九月,沛人劉邦起兵於沛,下相人項梁起兵於吳,狄人田儋起兵於齊。

19. In the ninth month, three more rebel leaders rose up as well. Liu Bang of Pei rose up at Pei, Xiang Liang of Xiaxiang rose up at Wu, and Tian Dan of Di rose up at Qi.

〈陶唐氏旣衰,其後有劉累,以擾龍事孔甲,爲豢龍氏。及晉,士會自秦歸晉,其處者爲劉氏。師古曰:沛本秦泗水郡之屬縣。李斐曰:沛,小沛也。《索隱》曰:漢改泗水郡爲沛郡,治相城,故以沛縣爲小沛。沛,博蓋翻。漢高帝事始此。〉〈班《志》,下相縣屬臨淮郡。《索隱》曰:按相,水名,出沛國。沛有相縣;於相水下流置縣,故曰下相。《括地志》:下相故城,在泗州宿豫縣西北七十里。項燕爲楚將,封於項,子孫以邑爲氏。吳縣,會稽郡治所,故吳都也。〉

(This is the first mention of Liu Bang, the later Emperor Gaozu of Han.

After the Taotang clan (of the ancient Emperor Yao) declined, among their descendants was a certain Liu Lei, who roused dragons on behalf of the Xia minister Kong Shen and was named as Lord Who Tames Dragons. By the time the state of Jin was established during the Zhou dynasty, Shi Hui returned from the state of Qin to dwell in Jin, and his descendants who lived there became the Liu clan.

Yan Shigu remarked, "Pei was originally a county under the Qin dynasty's Sishui commandary." Li Pei remarked, "Pei was the same place as Xiaopei." The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "The Han dynasty changed Sishui commandary's name to Pei commandary, administered from Xiangcheng, thus Pei county was renamed to Xiaopei ('Lesser Pei')." Pei is pronounced "bai (b-ai)".

According to the Book of Han, Xiaxiang county was part of Linhuai commandary. The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "The Anxiang was a river that came out of the Pei princely fief. There was a Xiang county in Pei commandary, so when this county was established on the lower reaches of the river, it was named Xiaxiang ('Lower Xiang')." The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Xiaxiang was seventy li northwest of Suyu county in Sizhou."

The Chu general Xiang Yan had been granted Xiang as his fief, and his descendants took the name of this fief as their surname.

Wu county was the administrative center of Kuaiji commandary; it had originally been the capital of the state of Wu.)


劉邦,字季,爲人隆準、龍顏,左股有七十二黑子。愛人喜施,意豁如也;常有大度,不事家人生產作業。初爲泗上亭長,單父人呂公,好相人,見季狀貌,奇之,以女妻之。

20. This Liu Bang, styled Ji, had a high nose and a majestic forehead, and he had seventy-two black spots on his left thigh. He loved to celebrate with people and was quite generous at doing so; he often expressed great ambitions, and he did not concern himself with tending to his family's business. He originally served as a post chief of Sishang.

There was a certain native of Shanfu, Lord Lü, who enjoyed appraising people. He was amazed when he saw Liu Bang's appearance, and he gave his daughter to Liu Bang as a wife.

〈應劭曰:隆,高也。準,頰權準也。顏,額顙也。李斐曰:準,鼻也。晉灼曰:《戰國策》云:眉目準頞權衡。《史記》:秦始皇蜂目長準。李說、文音是也。師古曰:頰權「䪼」字,豈當借準爲之!服音、應說皆失之。黑子,今中國通呼爲黶子,吳、楚俗謂之誌;誌者,記也。〉〈秦法:十里一亭。亭長,主亭之吏;亭,謂停留客旅宿食之館。《史記正義》曰:《國語》有寓室,卽今之亭也。亭長,蓋今之里長,民有訟諍,吏留平辨,得成其政。「泗上」,《史記》作「泗水」。《括地志》:泗水亭在徐州沛縣東一百步;有高祖廟。〉〈班《志》,單父縣屬山陽郡。呂公女,是爲呂后。〉

(Regarding Liu Bang's physical features, one of the features is listed as 隆準. Ying Shao remarked, "隆 means high, and 準 means the level of one's cheekbones." Li Pei remarked, "準 means the nose." Jin Zhuo remarked, "The Strategies of the Warring States parses this term as the level of one's eyes and eyebrows, and the Records of the Grand Historian mentions that the First Emperor of Qin had waspish eyes of a high 準." Li Shuo argues the same thing. Yan Shigu remarked, "The character to use to refer to the level of cheekbones is 䪼; how could 準 have been used for that? Fu Qian and Ying Shuo were incorrect." As for the black spots, the people of the Middle Kingdom commonly called these "moles", while the people of the Wu and Chu regions tended to call them "marks", "mark" meaning "a record to remember".

According to Qin law, there was a post-station every ten li. The post chief was the supervising official of the post, and the post-station was a common term for an inn for travelers to rest and eat. The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "The Discourses of the States mentions a 'guest house'; this is the modern equivalent of a post-station." The post chief must have been the equivalent of the modern mile-chief, whose job was to impartially render a judgement when the common people had some law dispute and thus enforce the law.

This passage lists Liu Bang as being post chief of Sishang, while the relevant passage in the Records of the Grand Historian writes it instead as Sishui. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "Sishui Post was a hundred paces east of Pei county in Xuzhou; there is a temple to Gaozu (Liu Bang) there."

According to the Book of Han, Shanfu county was part of Shanyang commandary.

This daughter of Lord Lü was the later Empress Lü.)


漢高祖諱邦。字季。初昭靈后嘗息大澤之陂。夢與神遇。是時雷電晦冥。太上皇視之。見蛟龍臨之。遂有娠而生高祖。隆準龍顏。美須髯。左股有七十二黑子。寬仁愛人。有大智度。曾為泗水亭長。嘗從王媼武負貰酒。每飲醉留寢其家。上嘗見光怪。負等異之。輒折契棄券而不責。單父人呂公好相人。有女以為貴。避讎于沛。沛令求其女不與。及見高祖狀貌。公奇之。因以女妻焉。是為呂后。生孝惠魯元公主。嘗有老父過乞漿。相呂后孝惠魯元公主皆大貴也。及見高祖。乃大喜曰。夫人兒子。蒙君之力也。君貴不可言也。遂去不復見。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Emperor Gaozu of Han had the name Liu Bang, styled Ji.

Originally, Liu Bang's mother was resting on the slope of a great marsh. She dreamed that she had an encounter with a divine being. At the same time, the sky became dark and gloomy, with thunder and lightning. When Liu Bang's father went to look for his wife, he noticed a flood dragon near her. Liu Bang's mother thus became pregnant, and then gave birth to Liu Bang.

Liu Bang had a high nose, a majestic forehead, and a beautiful beard and whiskers, and he had seventy-two black spots on his left thigh. He was a generous and benevolent man who loved people, and he demonstrated great intelligence and potential. He originally served as a post chief of Sishui.

Liu Bang would often buy wine on credit from Madam Wang and Wu Fu. Whenever he became drunk, he would go sleep off the wine at home. Above him, strange sights would appear, and Wu Fu and others marveled at it. So they always canceled his debts and threw out his accounts instead of collecting.

There was a certain native of Shanfu, Lord Lü, who enjoyed appraising people, and he had a daughter of whom he was very proud. In order to flee some grudge, he moved to Pei. The Prefect of Pei asked for his daughter as a wife, but Lord Lü declined. Yet when Lord Lü saw Liu Bang's appearance and features, he was amazed at him, and he gave Liu Bang his daughter as his wife. This was the future Empress Lü. She gave Liu Bang a son and a daughter; these were the future Emperor Hui and Princess Yuan of Lu.

On one occasion, there was an old man passing through who asked for some broth. He studied the appearance of Lady Lü and of her children, and declared that they would all someday be greatly honored. Then when he saw Liu Bang, he was delighted and said, "Madam, the honor that you and your children will enjoy will come about through the efforts of this gentleman, for I cannot express how greatly honored he shall become." The old man left, never to be seen again.


旣而季以亭長爲縣送徒驪山,徒多道亡。自度比至皆亡之,到豐西澤中亭,止飲,夜,乃解縱所送徒曰:「公等皆去,吾亦從此逝矣!」徒中壯士願從者十餘人。

21. Not long afterwards, Liu Bang was ordered as post chief to lead some convict laborers from his county to join the ranks of the laborers at Mount Li near the capital. However, many of them escaped during the journey. When it reached the point that it looked like all of them would flee, Liu Bang stopped at a post in a marsh west of Yong and paused to drink. During the night, he released the rest of the prisoners and sent them away, saying, "Away with you all. I intend to vanish from here too!" But there were about a dozen strong fellows among them who chose to serve under Liu Bang rather than leave.

〈應劭曰:沛,縣也;豐,其鄕也。孟康曰:後沛爲郡而豐爲縣。師古曰:豐本沛之聚邑耳。〉

(Ying Shao remarked, "Pei was the county, and Yong was one of its districts." Meng Kang remarked, "Later, Pei became a commandary and Yong became a county." Yan Shigu remarked, "Yong was originally just a town within Pei.")


高祖以亭長送徒驪山。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Liu Bang was ordered as post chief to lead some convict laborers from his county to join the ranks of the laborers at Mount Li near the capital.


劉季被酒,夜徑澤中,有大蛇當徑,季拔劍斬蛇。有老嫗哭曰:「吾子,白帝子也,化爲蛇,當道;今赤帝子殺之!」因忽不見。劉季亡匿於芒、碭山澤之間。數有奇怪;沛中子弟聞之,多欲附者。

22. Liu Bang got drunk and was walking through the marsh during the night, when he came across a great serpent. He drew his sword and chopped off the snake's head. Then there was an old woman weeping, who said, "My son was the son of the White Emperor; he had been changed into a snake and was on the road. Now the son of the Red Emperor has killed him!" And she suddenly disappeared.

Liu Bang hid among the marshes and mountain ranges at Mount Mangdang. Several marvelous things occurred around him, and when the young people of Pei heard about it, many of them wished to support him.

〈應劭曰:秦襄公自以居西,主少昊之神,作西畤,祠白帝。至獻公時,櫟陽雨金,又作畦畤,祠白帝。少昊,金德也;赤帝,堯後,謂漢也;殺之,明漢當代秦。〉〈【章:十二行本「澤」下有「巖石」二字;乙十一行本同;孔本同;張校同;退齋校同。】〉〈班《志》,芒縣屬沛郡;碭縣屬梁國。應劭曰:二縣之間,有山澤之固,故隱其間。宋白曰:亳州永城縣,漢芒縣地。《括地志》:宋州碭山縣在州東一百五十里,本漢碭縣;碭山在縣東。〉

(Regarding the White and Red Emperors, Ying Shao remarked, "When Duke Xiang of Qin went to reside in the west, he chiefly worshipped the spirit of Shaohao and built a western altar where he prayed to the White Emperor. Later, during the reign of Duke Xian, it rained metal at Liyang. So Duke Xian built another altar, and he too prayed to the White Emperor. Shaohao had ruled through the virtue of metal, while the Red Emperor was a descendant of Emperor Yao and symbolized the Han region. Thus, by Liu Bang killing this 'son of the White Emperor', it was clearly a sign that Han would replace Qin."

Some versions add that Liu Bang hid among "the mountain ranges" as well as marshes.

According to the Book of Han, Mang county was part of Pei commandary and Dang county was part of the Liang princely fief. Ying Shao remarked, "Between these two counties were stout mountains and marshes, thus Liu Bang hid there." Song Bai remarked, "Yongcheng county in Bozhou was Mang county during Han." The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "Dangshan county is a hundred and fifty li east of the provincial center of Songzhou; it was Dang county during Han. There was a Mount Dang in the east of the county.")


夜行經豐西澤中。有蛇當道。拔劍斬之。遂過。後人至者。見一老嫗哭蛇曰。此白帝子也。向赤帝子遇而殺之。嫗因忽然不見。高祖亡避吏於山澤中。呂后常知其處。云高祖所在。上有赤色雲氣。占氣者山東有天子氣。秦始皇帝乃東遊。欲以厭之。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Liu Bang was walking through the marshes west of Feng during the night, when he came across a great serpent on the road. He drew his sword and chopped off the snake's head, then passed on. Later, when someone else came to the same spot, they found an old woman weeping over the snake, who said, "This was the son of the White Emperor; he encountered the son of the Red Emperor, who killed him." And she suddenly disappeared.

Liu Bang hid from the authorities among the marshes and mountain ranges. Despite this, Lady Lü was always able to find him. She told him that a red cloud and aura always appeared above Liu Bang's location. (Years earlier, those skilled in reading the ethers had declared that there was an aura of a Son of Heaven in the region east of the passes. This was why the First Emperor of Qin had traveled through the east, hoping to suppress it.)


及陳涉起,沛令欲以沛應之。掾、主吏蕭何、曹參曰:「君爲秦吏,今欲背之,率沛子弟,恐不聽。願君召諸亡在外者,可得數百人,因劫衆,衆不敢不聽。」乃令樊噲召劉季。劉季之衆已數十百人矣;沛令後悔,恐其有變,乃閉城城守,欲誅蕭、曹。蕭、曹恐,踰城保劉季。劉季乃書帛射城上,遺沛父老,爲陳利害。父老乃率子弟共殺沛令,開門迎劉季,立以爲沛公。蕭、曹等爲收沛子弟,得三千人,以應諸侯。

23. After Chen Sheng rose in rebellion, the Prefect of Pei wanted to have Pei support the rebels. His official and his clerk, Xiao He and Cao Can, advised him, "Sir, you are a Qin official, yet now you wish to turn against them and lead the young people of Pei against them. We fear the young people may not listen to you. But if you were to summon the various fugitives outside the city, you could gather an army of several hundred people and use them to compel the rest to serve you. The people would not dare to disobey you then."

The Prefect thus ordered Fan Kuai to summon Liu Bang. However, since by now Liu Bang already led a band of several dozen people, the Prefect began to regret his original plan and was afraid that Liu Bang would himself lead an uprising against him. So he closed the gates and defended the walls of the city against Liu Bang, and he wanted to execute Xiao He and Cao Can. Afraid, the two of them climbed over the walls and sought refuge with Liu Bang. Liu Bang then tied a silk letter to an arrow and shot it into the city, sending a message to the elders of the city advising them of the situation and the merits of supporting him. The elders led the young people to kill the Prefect of Pei, and they opened the gates and welcomed in Liu Bang. They acclaimed Liu Bang as Duke of Pei.

Xiao He, Cao Can, and others gathered together the young people of Pei, and thus Liu Bang commanded an army of two or three thousand people. He supported the other rebel lords.

〈據《曹參傳》曰:參爲掾,何爲主吏。孟康曰:主吏,功曹也。《姓譜》:宋支子食采於蕭,後因爲氏。〉〈言投劉季以自保也。〉〈春秋之時,楚僭王號,其大夫多封縣公,如申公、葉公、魯陽公之類是也。今立季爲沛公,用楚制也。〉〈【章:十二行本「三」上有「二」字;乙十一行本同;孔本同。】〉

(According to the Biography of Cao Can, Cao Can was the Prefect's official and Xiao He was his clerk. Meng Kang remarked, "Xiao He's title was the equivalent of a Merit Evaluator."

The Registry of Surnames states, "A cadet branch of the ruling family of the state of Song had their fief at 蕭 Xiao, and their descendants took the name of the fief as their surname."

Xiao He and Cao Can threw themselves on Liu Bang's protection to save themselves.

During the Spring and Autumn era, when the ruler of the state of Chu usurped the authority to name himself King, he appointed many of his leading supporters as Dukes of counties, such as Duke of Shen, Duke of She, or Duke of Luyang. Thus the people of Pei were following the Chu system when they acclaimed Liu Bang as Duke of Pei.

Some versions add that Liu Bang wound up with an army or "two or" three thousand.)


是歲太曰再經天。占曰法為大兵。天下易王。九月沛人殺其令。高祖為沛公。蕭何為丞相。曹參周勃以中涓從。夏侯嬰樊噲為舍人。蕭何即沛主獄吏。曹參沛獄掾。嬰沛廄騶。勃以織簿為產。噲以屠狗為事。皆公之舊也。是時沛公在外黃。兵眾數百人。蕭何等欲應陳勝。故召沛公立之。收沛子弟得三千人。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

During that year (209 BC), Venus was passing through the sky. According to ancient traditions, this meant a general rising of soldiers and a new sovereign for the realm.

In the ninth month, the people of Pei killed their prefect and acclaimed the Duke of Pei. Xiao He became his Prime Minister; Cao Can and Zhou Bo became his attendants; Xiahou Ying and Fan Kuai became his retainers. Xiao He had been the Prison Supervisor for Pei, and Cao Can had been one of his officials; Xiahou Ying had been a stable groom in Pei; Zhou Bo had been a keeper of records; Fan Kuai had been a butcher of dogs. They were all Liu Bang's old friends.

At that time, Liu Bang was at Waihuang, with an army of several hundred. Xiao He and the others wished to join Chen Sheng's cause, so they summoned Liu Bang and supported him. Liu Bang gathered up the young men of Pei, and his army rose to three thousand.

蕭相國何者,沛豐人也。以文無害為沛主吏掾。高祖為布衣時,何數以吏事護高祖。高祖為亭長,常左右之。高祖以吏繇咸陽,吏皆送奉錢三,何獨以五。秦御史監郡者與從事,常辨之。何乃給泗水卒史事,第一。秦御史欲入言徵何,何固請,得毋行。及高祖起為沛公,何常為丞督事。(Records of the Grand Historian 53, Biography of Xiao He)

Xiao He was a native of Feng in Pei commandary. For his flawless civil skills, he was appointed as Chief Clerk of Pei.

During the time that Liu Bang was still a mere commoner, Xiao He often used his office to protect Liu Bang. And after Liu Bang became a post chief, Xiao He was often by his side. When Liu Bang had to bring convict-laborers to the Qin capital at Xianyang, most of the other officials gave him three cash as supplies; only Xiao He gave him five.

When Qin's inspector came around to supervise the commandary, Xiao He dealt with him and often knew just what to say. He supplied him with an account of affairs for Sishui commandary. The inspector was going to put in a word for Xiao He at the capital and have him summoned there, but Xiao He asked him not to, so he never had to set out.

After Liu Bang became Duke of Pei, Xiao He often served under him in the role of a prime minister.

蕭何,沛人也。以文毋害為沛主吏掾。高祖為布衣時,數以吏事護高祖。高祖為亭長,常佑之。高祖以吏繇咸陽,吏皆送奉錢三,何獨以五。秦御史監郡者,與從事辨之。何乃給泗水卒史事,第一。秦御史欲入言徵何,何固請,得毋行。及高祖起為沛公,何嘗為丞督事。(Book of Han 39, Biography of Xiao He)

Xiao He was a native of Pei. For his flawless civil skills, he was appointed as Chief Clerk of Pei.

During the time that Liu Bang was still a mere commoner, Xiao He often used his office to protect Liu Bang. And after Liu Bang became a post chief, Xiao He was often by his side. When Liu Bang had to bring convict-laborers to the Qin capital at Xianyang, most of the other officials gave him three cash as supplies; only Xiao He gave him five.

When Qin's inspector came around to supervise the commandary, Xiao He dealt with him and knew just what to say. He supplied him with an account of affairs for Sishui commandary. The inspector was going to put in a word for Xiao He at the capital and have him summoned there, but Xiao He asked him not to, so he never had to set out.

After Liu Bang became Duke of Pei, Xiao He often served under him in the role of a prime minister.


項梁者,楚將項燕子也,嘗殺人,與兄子籍避仇吳中。吳中賢士大夫皆出其下。籍少時學書,不成,去;學劍,又不成。項梁怒之。籍曰:「書,足以記名姓而已!劍,一人敵,不足學;學萬人敵!」於是項梁乃敎籍兵法,籍大喜;略知其意,又不肯竟學。籍長八尺餘,力能扛鼎,才器過人。會稽守殷通聞陳涉起,欲發兵以應涉,使項梁及桓楚將。是時,桓楚亡在澤中。梁曰:「桓楚亡,人莫知其處,獨籍知之耳。」梁乃誡籍持劍居外,梁復入,與守坐,曰:「請召籍,使受命召桓楚。」守曰:「諾。」梁召籍入。須臾,梁眴籍曰:「可行矣!」於是籍遂拔劍斬守頭。項梁持守頭,佩其印綬。門下大驚,擾亂;籍所擊殺數十百人,一府中皆慴伏,莫敢起。梁乃召故所知豪吏,諭以所爲起大事,遂舉吳中兵,使人收下縣,得精兵八千人。梁爲會稽守,籍爲裨將,徇下縣。籍是時年二十四。

24. As for Xiang Liang, he was the son of the Chu general Xiang Yan. Having once killed someone, Xiang Liang had fled to Wu to escape retribution. The worthy people and gentry of the Wu region all held him in high esteem.

Xiang Liang had brought his nephew Xiang Ji (the future Xiang Yu) with him when he had fled. As a child, Xiang Ji had tried to apply himself to studying, but gave it up; he also practiced swordsmanship, but quit that as well. Xiang Liang had been angry about these things. But Xiang Ji had told him, "Studying isn't good for anything but learning a bunch of names! As for swordsmanship, that only makes you a match for a single opponent, so it's not worth learning. I want to learn how to be a match for ten thousand foes!" So Xiang Liang had instructed Xiang Ji in strategy and the arts of war, which greatly delighted Xiang Ji. However, still unable to devote himself to studying, he stopped after he had grasped the essentials. By the time he was an adult, Xiang Ji had grown to be more than eight chi tall and was strong enough to heft a cauldron, and his talents and potential exceeded others.

In the present, the Administrator of Kuaiji, Yin Tong, heard that Chen Sheng had rebelled, and he too wanted to raise troops in support of Chen Sheng. He intended to have Xiang Liang and a certain Huan Chu serve him as generals. But at this time, Huan Chu had fled and was hiding in some marsh.

Xiang Liang told Yin Tong, "Huan Chu has fled, and no one knows where he is except for Xiang Ji." Xiang Liang then went out and instructed Xiang Ji to stand outside the room while grasping his blade. He went back inside and said to Yin Tong, "Please allow me to summon Xiang Ji, and you can order him to recall Huan Chu."

Yin Tong replied, "Very well."

So Xiang Liang called Xiang Ji inside. As soon as Xiang Ji entered, Xiang Liang gestured at him with his eyes and said, "Do it!"

Xiang Ji then drew his blade and beheaded Yin Tong. Xiang Liang grasped Yin Tong's head while holding his seal and ribbon of office. There was great panic outside the room, and everything was in confusion. But after Xiang Ji killed several dozen people, the rest of the commandary staff dropped to the ground in awe, with no one daring to rise.

Xiang Liang then summoned his associates among the local gentry and officials and ordered them to organize a great uprising. He raised the troops of the Wu region, and he sent agents out among the subordinate counties as well, so that in the end he gathered an army of eight thousand elite soldiers. Xiang Liang appointed himself as the new Administrator of Kuaiji, with Xiang Ji as a subordinate general, and he led a patrol through the counties.

At this time, Xiang Ji was twenty-three years old.

〈項籍始此。〉〈韋昭曰:扛,舉也。《索隱》曰:《說文》云:扛,橫關對舉也。〉〈徐廣曰:爾時未言太守。余謂戰國之時,郡守只稱守,景帝中二年七月始曰太守。《姓譜》:武王克商,子孫分散,以殷爲氏。〉〈【章:十二行本「乃」下有「出」字;乙十一行本同;孔本同。】〉〈《釋名》:印,信也,所以封物以爲驗也;亦言因也,封物相因付也。綬,受也,繫印之組也,以相授受也。應劭《漢官》曰:綬長丈二尺,法十二月;廣三尺,法天、地、人。〉〈眴,動目而使之也。〉〈言所殺自數十至百人也。〉〈《說文》曰:慴,失氣也。〉〈下縣,會稽管下諸縣也。師古曰:非郡所都,故謂之下也。〉

(This is the first mention of Xiang Ji / Xiang Yu.

Wei Zhao remarked, "To heft is to lift." The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "According to the Shuowen dictionary, to heft is to raise by grasping around the sides."

Yin Tong, the leader of the commandary, has his title listed here as 守. Xu Guang remarked, "At this time, there was not yet any such title as 太守 '(Grand) Administrator'." I (Hu Sanxing) will further note that the governors of commandaries during the Warring States era were only called 守, and it was not until the second year of the middle part of the reign of Emperor Jing of Han (148 BC) that the title of 太守 first came into use.

Regarding the surname 殷 Yin, the Registry of Surnames states, "After King Wu of Zhou conquered the Shang dynasty and their descendants scattered, they took Yin (another name for the Shang dynasty) as their clan name."

Some versions clarify that Xiang Liang "went out" to give Xiang Yu his instructions.

To "gesture" with the eyes is to make movements with them in an imperative manner.

The Yiming states, "The seal is a token of trust, indicating that someone has been granted a fief or assignment; possession of the one is tantamount to possession of the other. And the ribbon is an indication of having accepted it, and the ribbon is wrapped around the seal in purple, so that both are granted together." Ying Shao's Han Offices states, "The ribbon is twelve chi long, to symbolize the twelve months, and three chi wide, to symbolize Heaven, Earth, and the People."

This passage indicates that Xiang Yu personally killed somewhere between a few dozen and a hundred people.

The Shuowen dictionary states, "To be in awe is to lose spirit."

The subordinate counties were those under the administration of Kuaiji commandary. Yan Shigu remarked, "They were called subordinate since they were not the capital city of the commandary.")


而項籍亦起兵會稽。籍字羽。故楚將項燕之孫也。羽初起時。年二十四。身長八尺二寸。目重瞳子。力能扛鼎。與季父項梁避讎於吳。梁好為辯說。陰有大志。吳中賢士大夫皆出梁下。梁乃與籍殺會稽太守殷通。佩其印綬。自號為會稽將。籍為裨將。徇下邳縣。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Xiang Ji, styled Yu, was the grandson of the late Chu general Xiang Yan. He also rose up with troops at Kuaiji. At this time, he was twenty-three years old. He was eight chi two cun tall and had double pupils in either eye, and he was strong enough to heft a cauldron. He and his uncle Xiang Liang had fled to the Wu region to escape a grudge. Xiang Liang was a skilled speaker, and he secretly had great ambitions. The worthy people and gentry of the Wu region all held him in high esteem.

Xiang Liang and Xiang Yu killed the Administrator of Kuaiji, Yin Tong, and took his seal and ribbon of office. Xiang Liang appointed himself as the General of Kuaiji, with Xiang Ji as a subordinate general, and they marched to Xiapi county.


田儋,故齊王族也。儋從弟榮,榮弟橫,皆豪健,宗強,能得人。周巿徇地至狄,狄城守。田儋詳爲縛其奴,從少年之廷,欲謁殺奴,見狄令,因擊殺令,而召豪吏子弟曰:「諸侯皆反秦自立。齊,古之建國也;儋,田氏,當王!」遂自立爲齊王,發兵以擊周巿。周巿軍還去。田儋率兵東略定齊地。

25. And regarding Tian Dan, he was from what had once been the royal family of the state of Qi. And his cousin Tian Rong and Tian Rong's younger brother Tian Heng were both strong and powerful fellows, able to persuade others.

As the rebel general Zhou Fu was marching through the region, he came to Di, where the city of Di held out against him. Inside the city, Tian Dan pretended to tie up his slave and then brought him to the local office, so that he could request a meeting for permission to kill his slave. Once he saw the Prefect of Di, he attacked and killed him. Tian Dan then summoned the younger relatives of the local gentry and officials and told them, "All the old lords are rebelling against Qin and setting themselves up again. Qi is an ancient state, and I am a scion of the Tian clan. I ought to be King!" And he declared himself King of Qi. He led the troops out to attack Zhou Fu, whose army turned back.

Tian Dan then led his troops east to march through and pacify the Qi region.

〈周巿,魏人。〉〈詳,詐也。應劭曰:古殺奴婢皆當告官。儋欲殺令,故詐縛奴以謁也。廷,縣廷也。〉

(Zhou Fu was a native of Wei.

Tian Dan pretended to tie up his slave. Ying Shao remarked, "In ancient times, it was the policy that one had to first inform the local officials before killing one's slave. Tian Dan had been planning to kill the Prefect, thus he pretended to tie up his slave in order to get a meeting with him." The "local office" was the county office.)


故齊王田氏之族儋。亦殺縣令自立為齊王。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

A kinsman of the royal Tian clan of the state of Qi, Tian Dan, also killed the Prefect of his county and declared himself the King of Qi.


韓廣將兵北徇燕,燕地豪桀欲共立廣爲燕王。廣曰︰「廣母在趙,不可!」燕人曰︰「趙方西憂秦,南憂楚,其力不能禁我。且以楚之強,不敢害趙王將相之家,趙獨安敢害將軍家乎!」韓廣乃自立爲燕王。居數月,趙奉燕王母家屬歸之。

26. It was earlier mentioned that Wu Chen had sent Han Guang north towards the Yan region. Once Han Guang led his army into Yan, the Yan gentry all wanted to acclaim him as King of Yan.

Han Guang objected, "My mother is still in Zhao, so I cannot do that!"

But the people of Yan told him, "Zhao still has to worry about Qin to their west and Chu to their south, so they will not have the strength to stop you. Besides, Chu was stronger than Zhao, yet they did not dare to harm the families of the King of Zhao or his ministers and generals. How then could Zhao dare to harm your own family, General?"

So Han Guang declared himself King of Yan. And after a few months, Zhao returned his family and dependents to him.

燕人欲立廣。廣曰。母在趙不可也。燕人曰。夫以楚之強不敢害趙。趙獨安敢害將軍之家。廣乃自立為王。而趙亦歸其家。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

The people of Yan wanted to acclaim Han Guang as King of Yan.

Han Guang objected, "My mother is still in Zhao, so I cannot do that!"

But the people of Yan told him, "Chu was stronger than Zhao, yet they did not dare to harm the family of the King of Zhao. How then could Zhao dare to harm your own family, General?"

So Han Guang declared himself King of Yan. And Zhao returned his family to him.


趙王與張耳、陳餘北略地燕界,趙王間出,爲燕軍所得。燕囚之,欲求割地;使者往請,燕輒殺之。有廝養卒走燕壁,見燕將曰:「君知張耳、陳餘何欲?」曰:「欲得其王耳。」趙養卒笑曰:「君未知此兩人所欲也。夫武臣、張耳、陳餘,杖馬箠下趙數十城,此亦各欲南面而王,豈欲爲將相終已耶!顧其勢初定,未敢參分而王,且以少長先立武臣爲王,以持趙心。今趙地已服,此兩人亦欲分趙而王,時未可耳。今君乃囚趙王。此兩人名爲求趙王,實欲燕殺之;此兩人分趙自立。夫以一趙尚易燕,況以兩賢王左提右挈而責殺王之罪,滅燕易矣!」燕將乃歸趙王,養卒爲御而歸。

27. When Wu Chen traveled north to the border region with Yan along with Zhang Er and Chen Yu, he became separated from them and was captured by the Yan army. Yan imprisoned him, and asked Zhao to formally recognize the border between them. Zhao sent envoys asking for Wu Chen to be returned, but Yan killed them all.

A Zhao stablehand fled to the Yan ramparts and said to their generals, "Don't you know what it is that Zhang Er and Chen Yu want?"

The generals said, "They just want to get their king back."

The stablehand laughed and said, "You don't know what those two are really after. Wu Chen was nothing more than their riding crop to keep the dozens of Zhao cities under control. Both of them really want to face south and rule as kings in their own right. How could either of them settle for merely being a general or a minister? It's just that they had only recently established their influence in Zhao, and they didn’t dare to split the region into three parts, so they supported Wu Chen because of his seniority in order to grasp the hearts of the people of Zhao. By now, the Zhao region has become compliant, and so they want to split it up to rule between them, but lacked the opportunity to do so. Yet you have done them the favor of imprisoning the King of Zhao. The two of them ostensibly want to get him back, but really they are hoping that you will kill him, and then they can split Zhao and both rule. And even the single Zhao under Wu Chen was already capable of defeating Yan, so how much worse will it be for you when those two worthy gentlemen will be supporting one another hand in hand against you, and denouncing you for the death of their king? How easily they would crush Yan!"

The Yan generals then returned Wu Chen, with the Zhao stablehand accompanying him as an escort.

〈如淳曰:廝,賤者也。《公羊傳》曰:廝役扈養。韋昭曰:析薪爲廝,炊烹爲養。〉〈箠,馬撾也。〉〈參,猶三也。〉

(The Zhao servant is more precisely described as a 廝養. Ru Chun remarked, "廝 means a poor person." The Gongyang Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals states, "They are stable servants and groomsmen." Wei Zhao remarked, "One who gathers firewood is a 廝, and one who tends the fire is a 養."

A riding crop is used to beat horses.

The term 參 here means to divide into three parts.)


趙王略地燕界。間行為燕軍所得。囚之以求割地。趙使請王。燕輒殺之。有廝養卒請使燕軍。說燕將曰。夫張耳陳餘與武臣俱。杖馬策下趙數十城。豈樂為人臣哉。顧其勢初定。且以長幼相次。先立武臣以持趙心。今趙地已服。此二人名為求王。實欲令燕殺之。而分王其地。夫以一趙尚陵少燕。今以兩賢王立。左提右挈。而齎直義。破燕必矣。燕乃遣趙王。廝養卒為御而歸。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

When Wu Chen traveled north to the border region with Yan, he became separated and was captured by the Yan army. Yan imprisoned him, and asked Zhao to formally recognize the border between them. Zhao sent envoys asking for Wu Chen to be returned, but Yan killed them all.

A Zhao stablehand asked to go as an envoy to the Yan army. He said to their generals, "Wu Chen was nothing more than Zhang Er's and Chen Yu's riding crop to keep the dozens of Zhao cities under control. How could either of them settle for merely being a servant? It's just that they had only recently established their influence in Zhao, and they supported Wu Chen because of his seniority in order to grasp the hearts of the people of Zhao. By now, the Zhao region has become compliant. The two of them ostensibly want to get Wu Chen back, but really they are hoping that you will kill him, and then they can split Zhao and both rule. And even the single Zhao under Wu Chen was already capable of defeating little Yan, so how much worse will it be for you when those two worthy gentlemen will be supporting one another hand in hand against you, and denouncing you for a righteous cause? They would surely crush Yan!"

Yan then returned Wu Chen, with the Zhao stablehand accompanying him as an escort.


周巿自狄還,至魏地,欲立故魏公子寧陵君咎爲王。咎在陳,不得之魏。魏地已定,諸侯皆欲立周巿爲魏王。巿曰:「天下昏亂,忠臣乃見。今天下共畔秦,其義必立魏王後乃可。」諸侯固請立巿,巿終辭不受;迎魏咎於陳,五反,陳王乃遣之,立咎爲魏王,巿爲魏相。

28. After Zhou Fu returned from Di and entered the Wei region again, he wanted to support Wei Jiu, who was the Lord of Ningling and a scion of the former Wei royal family, as the new King of Wei. But Wei Jiu was in Chen and could not come to Wei. And since the Wei region was already settled by then, the local lords all wanted to support Zhou Fu himself as the new King. But Zhou Fu told them, "The realm is in confusion and turmoil, as any loyal subject can see. Now since we are all united against Qin, righteousness demands that we support a descendant of the former Kings of Wei." The lords continued to insist on supporting Zhou Fu, but he refused to accept at all.

Zhou Fu asked that Wei Jiu be sent to him from Chen. After refusing five times, Chen Sheng eventually sent him to Wei, where they supported Wei Jiu as the new King. Zhou Fu became Chancellor of Wei.

〈寧陵卽漢之寧陵縣,屬陳留郡。《括地志》曰:宋州寧陵城,古寧陵也。〉

(This Ningling was the same place as Han's Ningling county, part of Chenliu commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The city of Ningling in Songzhou was the ancient Ningling.")


魏人周市為陳王定魏。魏人欲立市。市曰。國家昏亂。忠臣乃見。乃請於陳王。立故魏公子咎為魏王。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

A native of Wei, Zhou Fu, settled the Wei region on behalf of Chen Sheng. The people of Wei wanted to support him as their king. But Zhou Fu told them, "The realm is in confusion and turmoil, as any loyal subject can see." So they requested a scion of the former royal house of Wei, Wei Jiu, from Chen Sheng and supported him as the King of Wei.

魏豹者,故魏諸公子也。其兄魏咎,故魏時封為寧陵君。秦滅魏,遷咎為家人。陳勝之起王也,咎往從之。陳王使魏人周市徇魏地,魏地已下,欲相與立周市為魏王。周市曰:「天下昏亂,忠臣乃見。今天下共畔秦,其義必立魏王後乃可。」齊、趙使車各五十乘,立周市為魏王。市辭不受,迎魏咎於陳。五反,陳王乃遣立咎為魏王。(Records of the Grand Historian 90, Biography of Wei Bao)

Wei Bao was a scion of the royal family of the state of Wei. His elder brother was Wei Jiu.

During the last years of the Warring States era, Wei Jiu had been appointed as Wei's Lord of Ningling. After Qin conquered Wei, Wei Jiu was made a commoner. When Chen Sheng rose in rebellion against the Qin dynasty and declared himself a king, Wei Jiu came to join him.

Chen Sheng sent a native of Wei, Zhou Fu, to march through the Wei region. After the Wei region had submitted to him, the local lords all wanted to support Zhou Fu as the new King of Wei. But Zhou Fu told them, "The realm is in confusion and turmoil, as any loyal subject can see. Now since we are all united against Qin, righteousness demands that we support a descendant of the former Kings of Wei." Fifty carriages of local families from the Qi and Zhao regions came to Zhou Fu to insist that he become the King of Wei, but he refused to accept at all.

Zhou Fu asked that Wei Jiu be sent to him from Chen. After refusing five times, Chen Sheng eventually sent him to Wei, where they supported Wei Jiu as the new King.

魏豹,故魏諸公子也。其兄魏咎,故魏時封為甯陵君,秦滅魏,為庶人。陳勝之王也,咎往從之。勝使魏人周市徇魏地,魏地已下,欲立周市為魏王。市曰:「天下昏亂,忠臣乃見。今天下共畔秦,其誼必立魏王後乃可。」齊、趙使車各五十乘,立市為王。市不受,迎魏咎於陳,五反,陳王乃遣立咎為魏王。(Book of Han 33, Biography of Wei Bao)

Wei Bao was a scion of the royal family of the state of Wei. His elder brother was Wei Jiu.

During the last years of the Warring States era, Wei Jiu had been appointed as Wei's Lord of Ningling. After Qin conquered Wei, Wei Jiu was made a commoner. When Chen Sheng rose in rebellion against the Qin dynasty and declared himself a king, Wei Jiu came to join him.

Chen Sheng sent a native of Wei, Zhou Fu, to march through the Wei region. After the Wei region had submitted to him, the local lords all wanted to support Zhou Fu as the new King of Wei. But Zhou Fu told them, "The realm is in confusion and turmoil, as any loyal subject can see. Now since we are all united against Qin, righteousness demands that we support a descendant of the former Kings of Wei." Fifty carriages of local families from the Qi and Zhao regions came to Zhou Fu to insist that he become the King of Wei, but he refused to accept at all.

Zhou Fu asked that Wei Jiu be sent to him from Chen. After refusing five times, Chen Sheng eventually sent him to Wei, where they supported Wei Jiu as the new King.


是歲,二世廢衞君角爲庶人,衞絕祀。

29. During this year, the Second Emperor demoted the Lord of Wey to be a commoner. The lineage of the state of Wey was thus ended.

〈周之列國,衞最後亡。〉

(Of all the feudal states that had been created during the Zhou dynasty, Wey was the last to end.)
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BOOK 8

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:07 pm

二年(癸巳、前二○八)

The Second Year of the Second Emperor’s Reign (The Guisi Year, 208 BC)


冬,十月,泗川監平將兵圍沛公於豐,沛公出與戰,破之;令雍齒守豐。十一月,沛公引兵之薛。泗川守壯兵敗於薛,走至戚;沛公左司馬得殺之。

1. In winter, the tenth month (of 209 BC), the Chief of Sichuan, Ping, led troops to besiege Liu Bang at Feng. Liu Bang came out to offer battle, and he routed Ping. He assigned Yong Chi to guard Feng while he was away.

In the eleventh month, Liu Bang led his troops out to Xue. The forces of the Administrator of Sichuan, Zhuang, were defeated at Xue, and he fled as far as Qi. But Liu Bang's Marshal of the Left captured and killed him.

〈泗川郡卽泗水郡。秦,郡置守、尉、監。文穎曰:秦時御史監郡,若今刺史。平,人名。〉〈雍,姓也。《風俗通》:雍姓,周文王子雍伯之後。〉〈壯者,泗川守之名。班《志》,戚縣屬東海郡。《括地志》:沂州臨沂縣有戚縣故城。余以地理考之,沛郡之與東海相去頗遠,壯兵敗而走,未必能至東海之戚。班《志》,沛郡有廣戚縣。章懷太子賢曰:廣戚故城在今徐州沛縣東,恐是走至廣戚之戚也。師古曰:得者,司馬之名。貢父曰:得殺之者,得而殺之;《漢書》多以獲爲得。司馬掌兵,周之夏卿。春秋之時,晉置三軍及新軍,各有卿、佐,復置司馬以掌軍中刑戮之事;後復分爲左、右;又其後也,軍行有軍司馬、假司馬;下至部曲,有候,有司馬。〉

(The place that this passage calls Sichuan was the same place as Sishui commandary.

For each commandary, the Qin dynasty had appointed an Administrator, a Commandant, and a Chief. Wen Ying remarked, "In the time of the Qin dynasty, there were Supervisory Chiefs of commandaries, analogous to what we (in the Han dynasty) would now call Inspectors."

Ping was the given name of this Chief (his full name is presumably unknown).

雍 Yong is a surname. The Fengsu Tong states, "Those with the surname Yong are the descendants of King Wen of Zhou's son Yong Bo."

Zhuang was the given name of the Administrator of Sichuan (again, presumably his full name is unknown).

This passage mentions that Zhuang fled to 戚 Qi before being killed. According to the Book of Han, there was a 戚 Qi county in Donghai commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer also states that "The capital city of Qi county was in the modern Linzhe county in Zhehou." But I (Hu Sanxing) have to object that this cannot be the place in question, since judging by the map, Donghai commandary was quite distant from Pei commandary. Considering that Zhuang's troops had just been defeated and he was on the run, it is rather unlikely he could have fled all the way to this Qi county in Donghai. But the Book of Han does also mention that there was a 廣戚 Guangqi county in Pei commandary. Crown Prince Zhuanghuai, Li Xian, remarked, "The capital city of Guangqi was in the east of Pei county in modern Xuzhou." So I assume that this was the "Qi" that Zhuang fled to.

This passage states that Liu Bang's Marshal of the Left "得 [and?] killed Zhuang". There is some uncertainty about the exact meaning of the character 得 here. Yan Shigu argues that 得 "De" was the name of the Marshal in question. But Liu Gongfu argues that 得 should be understood as a word rather than a name, in the sense that the Marshal "obtained" Zhuang, that is, he captured him. As Liu Gongfu remarks, "There are many instances in the Book of Han where 得 is used in this sense of 'to capture'."

The Marshal was in command of soldiers; it had been the Summer Minister during the beginning of the Zhou dynasty. By the time of the Spring and Autumn era, the state of Jin had created the Three Armies and the New Army, each of which had their own Ministers and Assistants, and these armies also each received a Marshal whose duties were to supervise the army and oversee the administration of justice and punishments. The single office of Marshal was later split into Marshals of the Left and Right, and afterwards the armies would sometimes have Marshals of the Army or Provisional Marshals. And even the smaller regiments would have their own Supervisors and Marshals.)


沛公二年冬十月。秦將圍沛公於豐。出與戰敗之。十一月。沛公引兵之薛。令雍齒守豐。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In Liu Bang's second year as Duke of Pei (208 BC), in winter, the tenth month (of 209 BC), a Qin general besieged Liu Bang at Feng. Liu Bang came out to offer battle, and he defeated the enemy.

In the eleventh month, Liu Bang led his troops out to Xue. He assigned Yong Chi to guard Feng while he was away.


周章出關,止屯曹陽,二月餘,章邯追敗之;復走澠池,十餘日,章邯擊,大破之。周文自刎,軍遂不戰。

2. It was earlier mentioned that the rebel general Zhou Zhang (Zhou Wen) had been defeated by the Qin general Zhang Han during his attempted invasion of the Qin capital region. Zhou Zhang had fallen back outside of Hangu Pass and had halted to camp at Caoyang. After more than two months, Zhang Han pursued Zhou Zhang and defeated him once again. Zhou Zhang now fled to Mianchi, but about a dozen days later, Zhang Han once again attacked, and this time he greatly routed the rebels. Zhou Wen cut his throat, and his army no longer offered any resistance.

〈晉灼曰:曹陽亭在弘農東十三里,魏武改曰好陽。師古曰:曹水之陽也。其水出陝縣西峴頭山而北流入河,今謂之好陽澗,在陝縣西四十五里。《括地志》:在陝州桃林縣東十四里。〉

(Regarding Caoyang, Jin Zhuo remarked, "Caoyang Point was thirteen li east of Hongnong. It was later renamed to Haoyang by Wu of Wei (Cao Cao)." Yan Shigu remarked, "It was named Caoyang because it was north of the Cao River. This river emerges in the western hills of Shan county, at Mount Tou, then flows north into the Yellow River. It is now called the Haoyang Gully, and is forty-five li west of Shan county." The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "It was fourteen li east of Taolin county in modern Shanzhou.")


章邯敗楚軍。殺周文於邯鄲。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Zhang Han defeated the Chu army and killed Zhou Wen at Handan.


吳叔圍滎陽;李由爲三川守,守滎陽,叔弗能下。楚將軍田臧等相與謀曰:「周章軍已破矣,秦兵旦暮至。我圍滎陽城弗能下,秦兵至,必大敗,不如少遺兵守滎陽,悉精兵迎秦軍。今假王驕,不知兵權,不足與計事,恐敗。」因相與矯王令以誅吳叔,獻其首於陳王。陳王使使賜田臧楚令尹印,以爲上將。

3. It was also earlier mentioned that one of the rebel leaders, Wu Guang, had marched west to besiege Xingyang. Li You was Qin’s Administrator of Sanchuan, and he was defending Xingyang. Wu Guang had still not been able to subdue the city.

Some of the Chu generals, Tian Zang and others, plotted with one another, saying, "Zhou Zhang's army has already been routed, and the Qin army will be here any day now. We have kept Xingyang under siege, but still haven't been able to subdue it. If the Qin army gets here, we'll certainly suffer a great defeat. We would do better to leave a skeleton force here to maintain the siege of the city while sending all our elite soldiers to face the Qin army. But the Acting King (Wu Guang), arrogant as he is, know nothing of how to lead soldiers. There is no point in making plans with him. We fear defeat is certain."

So they forged a decree from Chen Sheng ordering them to execute Wu Guang, and they sent his head to Chen Sheng. Chen Sheng sent envoys to present Tian Zang a seal as Chief Minister and appoint him as Supreme General.

〈秦滅周置三川郡,其治所當在洛陽;由蓋守滎陽以扞楚。宋白曰:秦立三川郡,初理洛陽,後徙滎陽。〉〈遺兵,留兵也。〉〈陳涉之自王也,以吳叔爲假王。〉〈師古曰:矯,託也,託言受王令也。〉

(Li You was the Administrator of Sanchuan. But when the Qin dynasty conquered the Zhou dynasty and reorganized their former capital region into Sanchuan commandary, they had selected Luoyang to be the administrative center of the commandary. Why then was Li You at Xingyang? It must have been in order to threaten the Chu rebels. Song Bai remarked, "When the Qin dynasty established Sanchuan commandary, originally its headquarters was at Luoyang, but later it was moved to Xingyang."

The plotters propose that they should 遺 soldiers at Xingyang; this means "leaving behind" some soldiers.

When Chen Sheng had declared himself King, he had appointed Wu Guang as an Acting King.

Yan Shigu remarked, "The rebels forged a decree as a pretext, pretending that they had the King's orders to act.")


是時吳廣別圍滎陽。不能下。將軍田臧等謀曰。假王驕。不可與計謀。乃矯陳王命誅吳廣。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

At this time, Wu Guang was besieging Xingyang with another army, but he had not been able to subdue it. Some of the Chu generals, Tian Zang and others, plotted with one another, saying, "The Acting King (Wu Guang) is arrogant. There is no point in making plans with him." So they forged a decree from Chen Sheng ordering them to execute Wu Guang.


田臧乃使諸將李歸等守滎陽,自以精兵西迎秦軍於敖倉,與戰;田臧死,軍破。章邯進兵擊李歸等滎陽下,破之,李歸等死。陽城人鄧說將兵居郯,章邯別將擊破之。銍人伍逢將兵居許,章邯擊破之。兩軍皆散,走陳,陳王誅鄧說。

4. Tian Zang then assigned several generals, Li Gui and others, to maintain the siege at Xingyang, while he personally led the elite troops west to face the Qin army at the Ao Granary. The two armies clashed; Tian Zang died in battle, and the rebels were routed. Zhang Han advanced and attacked Li Gui and the others below the walls of Xingyang; he routed them as well, and Li Gui and the others all died.

A native of Yangcheng, Deng Shuo, led some of the remaining rebels to Tan. Zhang Han split off a division to go attack them, and these rebels were routed. A native of Zhi, Wu Feng, led other rebels to Xu. Zhang Han attacked and routed him as well. These two forces both scattered and fled back to Chen, where Chen Sheng executed Deng Shuo.

〈周宣王狩于敖。《左傳》:晉師在敖、鄗之間。《後漢志》:滎陽有敖亭,秦立敖倉。孟康曰:敖,地名,在滎陽西北山上,臨河有大倉。〉〈師古曰:郯,東海縣。《索隱》曰:非也。此時章邯軍未至東海,此郯別是地名;或恐「郯」當作「郟」,郟是郟鄏之地。《史記正義》曰:郟是春秋時郟地,楚郟敖葬之,今汝州郟縣城是。鄧說,陽城人。陽城,河南府縣,與郟縣相近,又近陳。余按《索隱》以爲河南之郟鄏,《正義》以爲汝州之郟;時章邯兵至滎陽,則已過郟鄏而東矣,《正義》之說近之。〉〈伍,姓也。春秋時,楚有伍舉、伍奢。許,春秋許子之國,班《志》屬潁川;魏文帝改曰許昌;唐爲許州。〉

(Ao was the place where King Xuan of Zhou liked to hunt. The Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals mentions that "the Jin army was between Ao and Hao". The Records of Later Han states, "There was an Ao Point at Xingyang, where the Qin dynasty established Aocang ('the Ao Granary')." Meng Kang remarked, "Ao was the name of a place in the mountains northwest of Xingyang. There was a great granary there, along the Yellow River."

Regarding Tan, Yan Shigu remarked, "Yan was a county in Donghai commandary." But the Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "This cannot be the place in question. At this time, Zhang Han had not marched as far as Donghai. This Tan must have been the name of a different place. In fact, what is written as 郯 Tan may be an error for 郟 Jia, or Jiaru." The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "Jia was the name of a place during the Spring and Autumn era, the burial place of Jia Ao of Chu. It is the same location as the city of Jia county in modern Ruzhou." Deng Shuo was a native of Yangcheng. Yangcheng was a subordinate county of Henan commandary; it was relatively close to both Jia county and Chen. As for my own (Hu Sanxing's) thoughts, I note that the Suoyin commentary identifies the place in question as the Jiaru of Henan commandary, while the Zhengyi commentary identifies it as the Jia of Ruzhou. But since by this time Zhang Han's army had reached Xingyang, they would have already passed east of Jiaru. So I think that the Zhengyi commentary is closer to the truth.

伍 Wu is a surname. During the Spring and Autumn era, there was a Wu Ju and a Wu She in Chu.

During the Spring and Autumn era, Xu was the fief of the Viscount of Xu. According to the Book of Han, it was part of Yingchuan commandary. Emperor Wen of Cao-Wei (Cao Pi) later renamed it to Xuchang. During Tang, it was Xuzhou.)


進兵而西... 殺田臧於敖倉。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Tian Zang and the others then advanced west. But Zhang Han killed Tian Zang at the Ao Granary.


二世數誚讓李斯:「居三公位,如何令盜如此!」李斯恐懼,重爵祿,不知所出,乃阿二世意,以書對曰:「夫賢主者,必能行督責之術者也。故申子曰:『有天下而不恣睢,命之曰「以天下爲桎梏」者,無他焉,不能督責,而顧以其身勞於天下之民,若堯、禹然,故謂之桎梏也。』夫不能修申、韓之明術,行督責之道,專以天下自適也;而徒務苦形勞神,以身徇百姓,則是黔首之役,非畜天下者也,何足貴哉!故明主能行督責之術以獨斷於上,則權不在臣下,然後能滅仁義之塗,絕諫說之辯,犖然行恣睢之心而莫之敢逆。如此,羣臣、百姓救過不給,何變之敢圖!」二世說,於是行督責益嚴,稅民深者爲明吏,殺人衆者爲忠臣,刑者相半於道,而死人日成積於市;秦民益駭懼思亂。

5. The Second Emperor repeatedly denounced Li Si, telling him, "You are one of the Three Excellencies! How could you let the situation with the rebels get this bad?"

Li Si was afraid, because he enjoyed a high position and a heavy salary, and he was worried of losing them. So he appeased the Second Emperor's thinking, by writing him a letter stating, "A worthy ruler must be able to implement the supervision of crimes and the infliction of punishments. It was for such reasons that Shenzi (Shen Buhai) declared that 'one who possesses the realm but cannot indulge their own desires is merely shackled by the realm, none other. For in failing to hold the realm to account, they must exhaust themselves on behalf of the people of the realm, as Yao and Yu did. Thus are they shackled.' So if one does not maintain the wise practices of Shenzi and Hanzi (Han Feizi) and administer punishments with a steady hand, that would only mean allowing the people of the realm to decide for themselves what is best. Shall you then slave away and toil yourself with great labors, sacrificing yourself as an example for the common people? That is the sort of labor proper for a commoner, not one who presides over the realm! How could it be worthy of honor?

"Thus will the wise ruler oversee the administration of punishments and reserve decisions for themselves. Then power and authority will not ebb away into the hands of subjects and subordinates. You may purge the dregs of benevolence and righteousness, put a stop to the prattle of criticism, and bind the wishes of self-indulgent hearts, so that none will dare go against you. By doing so, your ministers and your subjects will spend all their time hoping that their faults will not condemn them. How then could there be anyone who dared to plot against you?"

The Second Emperor was pleased with this proposal, and he took a personal role in supervising punishments and ensuring they were even more strict and severe. His idea of wise officials was those who imposed heavy taxes on the people, and his view of loyal ministers were those who killed many people. Executed criminals filled the streets, and every day a heap of corpses piled up in the marketplace. The people of Qin became even more shocked and afraid, and more of them harbored thoughts of rebellion.

〈誚,責也。秦以丞相、太尉、御史大夫爲三公,漢因之。〉〈《索隱》曰:督者,察也;察其罪,責之以刑罰也。〉〈睢,謂肆情放縱也。〉〈桎梏,械也;在足曰桎,在手曰梏。〉

(To denounce is to censure.

The Qin dynasty had the three offices of Prime Minister, Grand Commandant, and Imperial Secretary, which were called the Three Excellencies. The Han dynasty maintained this tradition of Three Excellencies.

The Suoyin states, "The 'supervision' of crimes meant the investigation of them; the ruler would investigate the crimes and then charge the guilty with sentences and punishments."

The term 睢 here means to indulge one's desires and act unrestrained.

Shackles are bindings or fetters. The full term is 桎梏; a 桎 is a shackle for the feet, while a 梏 is a shackle for the hands.)


趙李良已定常山,還報趙王。趙王復使良略太原;至石邑,秦兵塞井陘,未能前。秦將詐爲二世書以招良。良得書未信,還之邯鄲,益請兵。未至,道逢趙王姊出飲,良望見,以爲王,伏謁道旁。王姊醉,不知其將,使騎謝李良。李良素貴,起,慚其從官。從官有一人曰︰「天下畔秦,能者先立。且趙王素出將軍下,今女兒乃不爲將軍下車,請追殺之!」李良已得秦書,固欲反趙,未決;因此怒,遣人追殺王姊,因將其兵襲邯鄲。邯鄲不知,竟殺趙王、邵騷。趙人多爲張耳、陳除耳目者,以故二人獨得脫。

6. It was earlier mentioned that the King of Zhao, Wu Chen, had sent his general Li Liang to pacify the area around Changshan. By now, Li Liang had brought Changshan under control and had come back to report.

Wu Chen once again sent him out, this time to subdue Taiyuan. But Li Liang was only able to march as far as Shiyi, because Qin soldiers were blocking the way through Jingxing and he could advance no further. The local Qin generals forged a letter, supposedly from the Second Emperor, and sent it to Li Liang, offering to have him defect to Qin. Li Liang received the letter, but did not yet put any faith in the offer. He instead turned back toward the Zhao capital at Handan, planning to request more soldiers for his army.

Before Li Liang had actually reached Handan, he suddenly encountered Wu Chen's elder sister along the road, since she had gone out drinking and was escorted by more than a hundred riders. When Li Liang saw her group approaching, he thought that it was the King himself, and he prostrated himself by the side of the road to offer his respects. But Wu Chen's sister, who was drunk, did not recognize Li Liang, and she merely sent a rider to offer some nominal thanks for his show of submission. Li Liang was used to honorable treatment, and when he got up again, he was obviously ashamed as he rejoined his subordinates.

One of them told him, "Since the whole realm is struggling against Qin, those of ability should be the most highly esteemed. Yet the King of Zhao has long held you in little regard, General, and now even this woman will not get down from her carriage to acknowledge you! You should go after her and kill her!"

Li Liang had already considered rebelling against Zhao after having received the letter from the Qin army, but he had not yet made up his mind to do so. But this outrage decided him. He sent someone to pursue and kill the King's sister, and he led his troops to launch a surprise attack against Handan. The city was caught completely defenseless, and Li Liang's army killed Wu Chen and Shao Sao. However, since Zhang Er and Chen Yu had many eyes and ears among the people of Zhao, they were able to make their escape.

〈去年,趙王使李良略常山。〉〈班《志》,石邑縣屬常山郡,井陘山在西。〉〈【章:十二行本「飲」下有「從百餘騎」四字;乙十一行本同;孔本同;張校同;退齋校同。】〉〈拜謁而起,顧從官而慚也。〉

(Wu Chen had sent Li Liang to attack Changshan in the previous year (Book 7, -209.18).

According to the Book of Han, Shiyi county was part of Changshan commandary, and Mount Jingxing was west of it.

Some versions add that the King's sister "was escorted by more than a hundred riders".

Li Liang was getting up from his prostration, and he looked ashamed as he rejoined his subordinates.)


趙將李良為章邯所招。遂叛。以兵襲武臣。武臣死。張耳陳餘出走。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

The Zhao general Li Liang was enticed by Zhang Han, so he rebelled against Zhao and launched a surprise attack against them. Wu Chen died, while Zhang Er and Chen Yu fled.


陳人秦嘉、符離人朱雞石等起兵,圍東海守於郯。陳王聞之,使武平君畔爲將軍,監郯下軍。秦嘉不受命,自立爲大司馬;惡屬武平君,告軍吏曰:「武平君年少,不知兵事,勿聽!」因矯以王命殺武平君畔。

7. Qin Jia of Chen, Zhu Jishi of Fuli, and others rose up with soldiers and besieged the Administrator of Donghai at Tan. When Chen Sheng learned of this local uprising, he sent Lord Wuping, Pan, to take command as general and supervise these troops under Chu authority. But Qin Jia was not willing to accept Chen Sheng's orders, and he declared himself Grand Marshal. Furthermore, he did not want to be a subordinate of Lord Wuping. So he told the army officers, "Lord Wuping is too young, and he doesn't know anything about military affairs. Don't listen to him!" And he forged a royal decree ordering him to kill Lord Wuping.

〈「陳」當作「凌」;《陳勝傳》作「凌人秦嘉」。秦,姓也;春秋時,魯有秦堇父。班《志》曰:東海郡,漢高帝置;應劭《註》曰:卽秦郯郡。余按裴駰所云三十六郡,本亦無郯郡,漢東海郡則治郯耳。〉

(秦 Qin is a surname. During the Spring and Autumn era, there was a Qin Jinfu in the state of Lu.

This passage identifies Qin Jia as a native of 陳 Chen, but it ought to say a native of 凌 Ling; after all, the Biography of Chen Sheng in the Records of the Grand Historian identifies him as "Qin Jia of Ling".

There is some uncertainty about the supposed "Administrator of Donghai" in this passage. The Book of Han states, "Donghai commandary was originally established by Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang)." Ying Shao's commentary on that passage states, "It was known as Tan commandary during the Qin dynasty." I (Hu Sanxing) note that there is no Tan commandary listed among the thirty-six commandaries that the Qin dynasty divided the realm into. It must have been that Tan was simply the administrative center of what Han would later establish as Donghai commandary.)


二世益遣長史司馬欣、董翳佐章邯擊盜。章邯已破伍逢,擊陳柱國房君,殺之;又進擊陳西張賀軍。陳王出監戰。張賀死。

8. The Second Emperor sent his Chief Clerks, Sima Xin and Dong Yi, out to assist Zhang Han in fighting the rebels.

By this time, Zhang Han had already routed Wu Feng. He now attacked Chu's Pillar of State, Cai Ci, and killed him. He then advanced and attacked the army of Zhang He west of the city of Chen. Chen Sheng came out of the city to direct the battle. Zhang He was killed in the fighting.

〈時章邯爲上將,將兵東討,故使欣爲長史以佐之。據《項籍傳》,翳爲都尉。《姓譜》:飂叔安裔子董父好龍,帝舜嘉焉,因賜姓董。〉

(At this time, Zhang Han was the supreme commander of the Qin armies, and he was leading the Qin soldiers east to campaign against the rebels. This was why Sima Xin and Dong Yi were sent to assist him as his Chief Clerks. According to the Biography of Xiang Yu, Dong Yi was appointed as a Commandant.

Regarding the surname 董 Dong, the Registry of Surnames states, "Shu'an of the state of Lu had a descendant named Dongfu who was skilled with dragons. Emperor Shun commended him, and granted him the surname Dong.")


楚將皆敗。秦遂攻陳破之。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

The Chu generals were all defeated. Qin then attacked Chen and took it.


臘月,陳王之汝陰,還,至下城父,其御莊賈殺陳王以降。初,陳涉旣爲王,其故人皆往依之。妻之父亦往焉,陳王以衆賓待之,長揖不拜。妻之父怒曰:「怙亂僭號,而傲長者,不能久矣!」不辭而去。陳王跪謝,遂不爲顧。客出入愈益發舒,言陳王故情。或說陳王曰:「客愚無知,顓妄言,輕威。」陳王斬之。諸故人皆自引去,由是無親陳王者。陳王以朱防爲中正,胡武爲司過,主司羣臣。諸將徇地至,令之不是,輒繫而罪之。以苛察爲忠;其所不善者,弗下吏,輒自治之。諸將以其故不親附,此其所以敗也。

9. In the twelfth month (of 209 BC), Chen Sheng was returning from Ruyin. But when he reached Lower Chengfu, his driver Zhuang Jia killed him and surrendered to Qin.

Earlier, when Chen Sheng had declared himself King, his old friends had all come to visit him. His wife's father came to see him as well. But Chen Sheng received him in the company of his other guests, and he did not offer a respectful bow to him. His wife's father angrily declared, "He's taken advantage of some turmoil to claim a title for himself, and he's too proud to bow to his elders! He won't last for long!" And he left without taking his leave. Chen Sheng tried to kneel and apologize, but his wife's father no longer cared to listen.

Chen Sheng would receive more and more guests, and they freely came and went and made themselves at home. Then someone advised him, "These people are ignorant fools offering empty flattery, and they are making a mockery of your dignity." So Chen Sheng executed some of them. This caused all of Chen Sheng's other friends to leave him, and from then on no one was close to him.

Chen Sheng appointed Zhu Fang as Rectifier and Hu Wu as Director of Faults, and had them supervise his other ministers. Whenever his generals advanced through regions, if they did anything contrary to what these two wished, they were always bound and charged with crimes. They were overly harsh in their investigations of loyalty, and if there were any of his subordinates that these two disliked, they never handed them over to the lower officials but always dealt with the accused themselves. Thus none of Chen Sheng's generals were close to or adhered to him.

These were the things that led to Chen Sheng's defeat.

〈張晏曰:秦之臘月,夏之九月。臣瓚曰:建丑之月也。師古曰:《史記》云:胡亥二年十月,誅葛嬰;十一月,周文死;十二月,陳涉死:瓚說是也。〉〈之,往也。〉〈師古曰:下城父,地名,在沛郡城父縣東。劉昭曰:汝南山桑縣,故屬沛,有下城父聚。〉〈史言陳王棄其親故,遂死於莊賈之手,故先以故人二字發其端,乃及慢其妻父事,次及客事。客先與陳王傭耕,及其據陳而王,遮道求見,陳王載與俱歸;後以客言其故情,遂殺之。輕威者,言輕其爲君之威重也。〉

(This passage more properly identifies the month of these events as the 臘 month, which meant the last month of the calendar year. Zhang Yan remarked, "The Qin dynasty's 臘 month was the same as the Xia dynasty's ninth month (because the Qin calendar began in the Xia dynasty's tenth month)", which would make this the ninth month. But Chen Zan remarked, "It was the Jianchou month (that is, the twelfth month of the Xia calendar)." Yan Shigu remarked, "The Records of the Grand Historian lists Ge Ying's execution as being in the tenth month of the second year of the Second Emperor's reign, Zhou Wen's death as being in the eleventh month, and Chen Sheng's death as being in the twelfth month, so Chen Zan must be correct in this instance.”

The term 之 in this instance means "towards".

Regarding Lower Chengfu, Yan Shigu remarked, "It was the name of a place, in the east of Chengfu county in Pei commandary." Liu Zhao remarked, "Shansang county in Henan commandary was originally part of Pei commandary, and there was a Lower Chengfu Gathering Place there."

This passage is meant to demonstrate that Chen Sheng died at the hands of Zhuang Jia because he had earlier cast away his friends and associates. Thus it brings up the incidents of his old acquaintances, displaying first his slowness in showing respect to his father-in-law and next the incidents with his guests. These guests had once plowed the fields alongside Chen Sheng, and after he occupied Chen and declared himself King, they came from afar to see him, such that Chen Sheng was always associating with them. Later, his guests spoke about the old times, and he killed them. They were "making a mockery of his dignity" in that associating with such people was beneath Chen Sheng's new dignity and prestige as a king.)


十二月。陳勝之御莊賈。殺陳勝以降秦... 初。勝嘗與人傭耕。相謂曰。富貴無相忘。耕者笑曰。汝今傭耕。何富貴也。勝曰。鷰雀安知鴻鵠之志哉。及勝為王。耕者叩門曰。吾欲見涉。勝見之。出入輕慢。益發舒。勝貧賤故。毀傷威重。勝斬之。故人皆棄而去。由是無親勝者。以朱房為忠正。胡武為司過。以苛察為忠。而勝任之。是故諸將不親附。此其所以亡也。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In the twelfth month (of 209 BC), Chen Sheng's driver Zhuang Jia killed him and surrendered to Qin.

Years earlier, when Chen Sheng had been plowing the fields with other people, he had told them all, "I will not forget you folks when I become rich and powerful."

The other plowers all laughed and said, "But you're nothing more than a plowsman."

Chen Sheng told them, "How can mere swallows grasp the ambitions of a swan?"

After Chen Sheng became King, his old fellows came knocking on his gate, saying, "We want to see Chen She." Chen Sheng met them, and they frequently and frivolously came in and out of his residence and made themselves more at home, causing Chen Sheng's funds to be exhausted and damaging his authority and prestige. But when Chen Sheng executed some of them, this caused all of Chen Sheng's other friends to leave him, and from then on no one was close to him.

Chen Sheng appointed Zhu Fang as Rectifier and Hu Wu as Director of Faults. They were harsh in their investigations of loyalty, yet Chen Sheng retained them. Thus none of Chen Sheng's generals were close to or adhered to him.

These were the things that led to Chen Sheng's defeat.


陳王故涓人將軍呂臣爲蒼頭軍,起新陽,攻陳,下之,殺莊賈,復以陳爲楚;葬陳王於碭,諡曰隱王。

10. At this time, one of Chen Sheng's former retainers, the general Lü Chen, was serving in the Greenheads army (in Wei). He rose up at Xinyang, attacked Chen and subdued it, killed Zhuang Jia, and restored the city to Chu control. He buried Chen Sheng at Dang, and gave him the posthumous title King Yin ("the Hidden").

〈魏有蒼頭二十萬,蓋前乎此時已有蒼頭軍矣。應劭曰:時軍皆著青巾,故曰蒼頭。服虔曰:蒼頭,謂士卒青帛巾,若赤眉之號以相識別也。〉〈班《志》,新陽縣屬汝南郡;應劭曰:在新水之陽。《括地志》:新陽故城,在豫州眞陽縣西南四十二里。〉

(The old state of Wei had once had an army of two hundred thousand of these Greenheads. They must have already have been putting together a new version of them. Ying Shao remarked, "The soldiers of this army all wore green scarves, thus their name as Greenheads." Fu Qian remarked, "The Greenheads were so-called because their soldiers wore green silk scarves; their title was descriptive in much the same way as the later Red Eyebrows."

According to the Book of Han, Xinyang county was part of Runan commandary. Ying Shao remarked, "It was north of the Xin River." The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Xinyang was forty-two li southwest of Zhenyang county in Yuzhou.")


初,陳王令銍人宋留將兵定南陽,入武關。留已徇南陽,聞陳王死,南陽復爲秦;宋留以軍降,二世車裂留以徇。

11. Earlier, Chen Sheng had sent Song Liu of Zhi to lead troops to pacify Nanyang and enter Wu Pass. But by the time that Song Liu had brought Nanyang under control, he heard that Chen Sheng was dead. Nanyang once again declared for Qin. Song Liu surrendered his army to Qin. The Second Emperor had Song Liu torn apart by chariots as an example.

魏周巿將兵略豐、沛,使人招雍齒。雍齒雅不欲屬沛公,卽以豐降魏。沛公攻之,不克。

12. The Wei general Zhou Fu led troops to march towards the regions around Feng and Pei, while sending agents to entice Yong Chi to defect to his side. Yong Chi had never been satisfied to be a subordinate of Liu Bang, so he surrendered Feng to Wei. Liu Bang attacked him, but to no avail.

〈【章:十二行本「略」下有「地」字;乙十一行本同;孔本同。】〉〈雅,素也。〉

(Some versions add that Zhou Fu was marching to "the regions around" the cities of Feng and Pei.

The term 雅 here means "always, for a long time".)


雍齒以豐叛降于魏。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Yong Chi rebelled against Liu Bang and surrendered Feng to Wei.


趙張耳、陳餘收其散兵,得數萬人,擊李良;良敗,走歸章邯。

13. In Zhao, Zhang Er and Chen Yu gathered up their scattered soldiers, until they once again had an army of several dozen thousand. They attacked Li Liang and defeated him, and Li Liang fled to Zhang Han.

春正月。張耳陳餘收趙眾擊李良。良敗走歸章邯。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In spring, the first month, Zhang Er and Chen Yu gathered up the scattered soldiers of the Zhao army and attacked Li Liang. They defeated him, and Li Liang fled to Zhang Han.


客有說耳、餘曰:「兩君羇旅,而欲附趙,難可獨立;立趙後,輔以誼,可就功。」乃求得趙歇。春,正月,耳、餘立歇爲趙王,居信都。

14. People advised Zhang Er and Chen Yu, "You two gentlemen are strangers and wanderers to this land, yet you wish to have the people of Zhao support you. It would be difficult to achieve that by yourselves. But if you supported an heir to the Zhao royal house and assisted him as regents, then you could achieve something."

So they sought out and found a certain Zhao Xie. In spring, the first month, they acclaimed Zhao Xie as King of Zhao, and they resided at Xindu.

〈項羽改信都曰襄國;漢復爲信都縣,屬信都國;後漢復曰襄國。〉

(Xiang Yu later renamed Xindu to Xiangguo. During the Han dynasty, its name was restored to Xindu county, as part of the Xindu princely fief. During Later Han, it was renamed again to Xiangguo.)


耳餘乃立舊趙之後趙歇為趙王。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Zhang Er and Chen Yu then acclaimed a descendant of the former royal family of Zhao, Zhao Xie, as the new King of Zhao.


東陽甯君、秦嘉聞陳王軍敗,迺立景駒爲楚王,引兵之方與,欲擊秦軍定陶下;使公孫慶使齊,欲與之幷力俱進。齊王曰:「陳王戰敗,不知其死生,楚安得不請而立王!」公孫慶曰:「齊不請楚而立王,楚何故請齊而立王!且楚首事,當令於天下。」田儋殺公孫慶。

15. Lord Ning of Dongyang and Qin Jia heard that Chen Sheng's army had been defeated. So they acclaimed a certain Jing Ju as the new King of Chu, and they led their troops to Fangyu, planning to attack the Qin army beneath the walls of Dingtao.

They sent Gongsun Qing as an envoy to visit the state of Qi, hoping that Qi would join forces with them and advance together against Qin. The King of Qi, Tian Dan, asked Gongsun Qing, "Since King Chen has been defeated in battle and we don't even know if he is still alive or not, why did you people in Chu immediately set up a new king without even consulting with us first?"

Gongsun Qing replied, "Didn't you also name yourself King of Qi without asking permission from Chu? Why then should Chu have to consult with you before naming a new king? Besides, Chu began this whole affair, so we ought to be the ones giving orders to everyone else anyway."

Tian Dan killed Gongsun Qing.

〈文穎曰:秦嘉,東陽郡人,爲甯縣君。臣瓚曰:《陳勝傳》:「凌人秦嘉」,然則嘉非東陽人。嘉起於郯,號大司馬,又不爲甯縣君。東陽甯君自一人,秦嘉又一人。師古曰:瓚說是。東陽者,爲所屬縣;甯君者,姓甯,時號爲君。《姓譜》:衞卿甯氏之後;又晉有甯嬴,以邑爲姓。〉〈班《志》,方與縣屬山陽郡,定陶縣屬濟陰郡。《史記正義》曰:方與,今濟州縣;定陶,今曹州縣。〉〈首事,謂最先起兵伐秦。〉

(Once again, there is some debate about the string of characters 東陽甯君秦嘉 in this passage. The last two are, of course, Qin Jia, who was mentioned earlier. But regarding the first four, Wen Ying argued, "Since Qin Jia was a native of 東陽 Dongyang, he had been named as 甯君 Lord of Ning, Ning county being part of that commandary." But Chen Zan argued, "The Biography of Chen Sheng refers to Qin Jia as being from Ling, so he could not have been a Dongyang native. Furthermore, when Qin Jia rose in rebellion at Tan, the title that he gave himself was Grand Marshal, not Lord of Ning county. So Qin Jia was one person, and this 'Lord Ning of Dongyang' was a different person." Yan Shigu remarked, "Chen Zan is correct here. 'Dongyang' refers to the commandary that the title was subordinate to, 'Ning' was this man's surname, and 君 'Lord' was a title of the time." The Registry of Surnames states, "People with the surname 甯 Ning are the descendants of the Wey minister Master Ning. And in the state of Jin, there was a Ning Ying who took the name of his residence as his surname."

According to the Book of Han, Fangyu county was part of Shanyang commandary, while Dingtao county was part of Jiyin commandary. The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "Fangyu was the modern Jizhou county, while Dingtao was the modern Caozhou county."

By "the whole affair", Gongsun Qing meant that Chu had been the first ones to raise troops in rebellion against Qin.)


是時勝先令將軍秦嘉掠地。及勝死。嘉立景駒為楚王。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Chen Sheng had earlier ordered his general Qin Jia to plunder some territory. After Chen Sheng's death, Qin Jia acclaimed Jing Ju as the new King of Chu.


秦左、右校復攻陳,下之。呂將軍走,徼兵復聚,與番盜黥布相遇,攻擊秦左、右校,破之青波,復以陳爲楚。

16. Qin's Colonels of the Left and Right attacked Chen and subdued it.

Lü Chen led his army to flee, but then sent out proclamations ordering his scattered soldiers to reassemble. He also happened to meet the forces of a bandit leader from Fan, Qing Bu, and joined forces with him. They attacked Qin's Colonels of the Left and Right and routed them at Qingbo, then retook Chen for Chu.

〈《索隱》曰:左、右校,卽左、右校尉。〉〈如淳曰:徼,要也,徼散卒復相聚也。〉〈番,卽番陽縣,漢屬豫章郡。英布爲盜於江中,番陽令吳芮妻之以女,故謂番盜。番,蒲何翻。〉

(The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "What is abbreviated here as 校 means 校尉 Colonel."

Ru Chun remarked, "These proclamations were calls to arms, calling the scattered soldiers to band together once again."

"Fan" was Fanyang county, which during Han was part of Yuzhang commandary. Qing Bu (also known as Ying Bu) was a bandit leader in the Southland; the Prefect of Poyang, Wu Rui, had married his daughter to Qing Bu, thus he was known as a bandit leader from Fan. Po is pronounced "pe (p-e)".)


黥布者,六人也,姓英氏,坐法黥,以刑徒論輸驪山。驪山之徒數十萬人,布皆與其徒長豪桀交通,乃率其曹耦亡之江中爲羣盜。番陽令吳芮,甚得江湖間民心,號曰番君。布往見之,其衆已數千人。番君迺以女妻之,使將其兵擊秦。

17. This Qing Bu was a native of Liu. He was originally named Ying Bu. But after being charged with a crime, his face was tattooed (黥 Qing) and he was sent with other convict laborers to work at Mount Li. At the time that he was there, there were several hundred thousand convict laborers at Mount Li. Qing Bu established ties with many of the leaders of the convicts, then led his fellows to flee to the Southland and become bandits.

The Prefect of Poyang, Wu Rui, had greatly won the regard of the fugitives living out among the lakes and streams, and they called him the Lord of Po. Qing Bu came to see him; by then, he already led a band of several thousand people. Wu Rui thus married his daughter to Qing Bu and had him lead his soldiers to attack Qin.

〈六,春秋之六國也;秦爲縣,屬九江郡;漢屬六安國。《括地志》:六故城,在壽州安豐縣南百三十里。宋白曰:今蘄州東廣濟縣卽秦、漢之六縣。英布都六,古城猶存。〉〈《姓譜》:英出自偃姓,皋陶之後封於英,因以爲氏。〉〈曹,輩也。〉

(六 Liu had been the state of Liu during the Spring and Autumn era. The Qin dynasty had organized it into a county, as part of Jiujiang commandary. During Han, it was part of the Liu'an princely fief. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Liu was a hundred and thirty li south of Anfeng county in modern Shouzhou." Song Bai remarked, "Eastern Guangji county in modern Qizhou was known as Liu county during Qin and Han.”

Qing Bu later set his capital at Liu, an ancient city that still exists.

The surname 英 Ying came out of those surnamed 偃 Yan. When Gao Yao's descendants were granted a fief at Ying, they took the name of their fief as their surname.

The term 曹 here means "fellows".)


布。六人也。少時客相之。當黥而王。及其黥也。乃欣然而喜。輸徒驪山。遂亡走至江中。聚徒屬而從項梁。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Qing Bu was a native of Liu. When he was young, a physiognomer studied his face and told him, "You'll be tattooed as a criminal someday, but you'll also be a king." Later, when Qing Bu was indeed tattooed for some crime, he was actually pleased about his future. Qing Bu was sent as a convict laborer to Mount Li, but he fled to the Southland. He later gathered together some followers and followed Xiang Liang.


楚王景駒在留,沛公往從之。張良亦聚少年百餘人欲往從景駒,道遇沛公,遂屬焉;沛公拜良爲廐將。良數以《太公兵法》說沛公;沛公善之,常用其策;良爲他人言,皆不省。良曰:「沛公殆天授!」故遂留不去。

18. At this time, Jing Ju was at Liu. Liu Bang now came to join him. Another man, Zhang Liang, was also leading a group of some hundred youths to join Jing Ju as well. The two groups met on the road, and Zhang Liang decided to become Liu Bang's subordinate; Liu Bang appointed him as his General of the Stable.

Zhang Liang often provided advice to Liu Bang based upon the Art of War of the Grand Duke (Jiang Ziya; this text is also known as the Six Secret Teachings). Liu Bang approved of his advice and often employed his strategies. Zhang Liang had earlier tried to perform the same service for others, but none of them had heeded his advice. So he thought to himself, "What natural talents this Duke of Pei has!" And he decided to stay with him rather than leave.

〈班《志》,留縣屬楚國。《括地志》:留城在徐州沛縣東南五十里,卽張良封處。〉〈廐將蓋掌馬。〉〈張良從沛公始此。〉

(According to the Book of Han, 留 Liu county was part of the Chu princely fief. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The city of Liu was fifty li southeast of Pei county in Xuzhou; it was the place granted to Zhang Liang as his fief."

The "General of the Stable" must have been in charge of managing the horses.

This was when Zhang Liang first began to serve Liu Bang.)


沛公將見景駒。遇張良于留。良韓人。其先五世相韓。及韓亡。良弟死不葬。悉以家財求客。報讎彊秦。秦始皇東游。良募力士擊之。誤中副車。亡匿下邳。游于圯上。有一老父至。直墮其履。顧謂良曰。孺子下取履。良甚怪愕。為其老。乃取履跪而進之。父曰。孺子可教矣。後五日與吾會此。及期而良後至。老父怒之。凡三期而良先至。老父乃喜。遺書一編。曰讀此即為王者師。後十三年。見我于齊北穀城山下。黃石即我矣。遂去不復見。其書乃太公兵法也。良乃以說沛公。沛公善之。良曰。沛公殆天所授。故遂屬焉。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Liu Bang led his troops to see Jing Ju. He encountered Zhang Liang at Liu.

Zhang Liang was a native of the former state of Hann. His family had been Chancellors of Hann for five generations. After Hann fell, rather than pay the expenses to properly bury his younger brother, Zhang Liang used all of his family's wealth to hire retainers, hoping to avenge his state against Qin. When the First Emperor of Qin was traveling in the east, Zhang Liang hired a strong man to attack him, but the man mistakenly struck the wrong carriage. Zhang Liang was forced to go into hiding at Xiapi and wandered around Yishang.

Around this time, Zhang Liang encountered an old man whose sandal suddenly fell off. The old man turned to Zhang Liang and said, "Boy, fetch my sandal." Zhang Liang was greatly astonished at this audacity, but, respecting his senior, he got the sandal and knelt to put it back on. The old man said, "Boy, you're the sort of fellow that can be taught. Meet me here again in five days." When the time came, Zhang Liang returned, but he arrived after the old man, which angered the old man. Only on the third occasion did Zhang Liang manage to arrive first, and then the old man was pleased. The old man gave him a book and said, "Read this to understand how to be a teacher of kings. You'll see me again, thirteen years from now, at the foot of Mount Gucheng in Jibei; I'll be the yellow stone." And he left and was not seen again. The book was the Arts of War of the Grand Duke.

After meeting Liu Bang, Zhang Liang provided him with advice, and Liu Bang approved of him. Zhang Liang said to himself, "What natural talents this Duke of Pei has!" And he decided to become one of his subordinates.


沛公與良俱見景駒,欲請兵以攻豐。時章邯司馬X將兵北定楚地,屠相,至碭。東陽甯君、沛公引兵西,與戰蕭西,不利,還,收兵聚留。二月,攻碭,三日,拔之;收碭兵得六千人,與故合九千人。三月,攻下邑,拔之;還擊豐,不下。

19. Liu Bang and Zhang Liang went to see Jing Ju together, and they asked him for troops so that they could try attacking Feng again. But meanwhile, Zhang Han's Marshal, Yi, was leading Qin soldiers to pacify the north of Chu; he sacked the city of Xiang, then marched to Dang. Lord Ning of Dongyang and Liu Bang led troops west and fought Yi west of Xiao, but they had the worst of the fighting, so they turned back and gathered their soldiers at Liu.

In the second month, they attacked Dang, and after three days, they took it. They gathered up six thousand soldiers from the area around Dang, so combined with their earlier troops they now had nine thousand soldiers.

In the third month, they attacked Xiayi and took it as well.

Then they turned back and attacked Feng again, but they still could not subdue it.

〈師古曰:X,古夷字。《類篇》曰:古仁字;又延知翻。〉〈班《志》,相縣爲沛郡治所。《括地志》:故相城,在徐州符離縣西九十里。〉〈班《志》,蕭縣屬沛郡;唐屬徐州。蕭西,謂在蕭縣之西。〉〈班《志》,下邑縣屬梁國。〉

(Regarding the pronunciation of Zhang Han's Marshal's name X, Yan Shigu remarked, "X is an ancient form of the character 夷 Yi." The Leipian dictionary states, "It is an ancient form of the character 仁 Ren, but is also pronounced 'yi (y-i)'."

According to the Book of Han, Xiang county was the administrative center of Pei commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Xiang was ninety li west of Fuli county in Xuzhou."

As for Xiao county, the Book of Han states that this was also part of Pei county. During Tang, it was Xuzhou. By "west of Xiao", the passage means west of that county.

The Book of Han states that Xiayi county was part of the Liang princely fief.)


廣陵人召平爲陳王徇廣陵,未下。聞陳王敗走,章邯且至,迺渡江,矯陳王令,拜項梁爲楚上柱國,曰:「江東已定,急引兵西擊秦!」梁迺以八千人渡江而西。聞陳嬰已下東陽,遣使欲與連和俱西。陳嬰者,故東陽令史,居縣中,素信謹,稱爲長者。東陽少年殺其令,相聚得二萬人,欲立嬰爲王。嬰母謂嬰曰:「自我爲汝家婦,未嘗聞汝先世之有貴者,今暴得大名,不祥;不如有所屬。事成,猶得封侯;事敗,易以亡,非世所指名也。」嬰乃不敢爲王,謂其軍吏曰:「項氏世世將家,有名於楚;今欲舉大事,將非其人不可。我倚名族,亡秦必矣!」其衆從之,乃以兵屬梁。

20. Sometime earlier, Chen Sheng had sent Zhao Ping of Guangling to attack Guangling, but Zhao Ping had not yet subdued it. When Zhao Ping learned that Chen Sheng's army had been defeated and had run away, and that Zhang Han was close at hand, he fled to the far side of the Yangzi. There he forged a decree from Chen Sheng, appointing Xiang Liang as Chu's Supreme Pillar of State, and he declared, "The Southland is already settled; let us lead our troops west at once to attack Qin!" So Xiang Liang crossed north of the Yangzi with eight thousand troops and marched west.

Xiang Liang heard that Chen Ying had already subdued Dongyang, so he sent envoys to him, hoping that they could join forces and march west together.

This Chen Ying had originally been a clerk for Dongyang county, working in the county office. He had always been trustworthy and cautious, and he considered himself most senior. When the youths of Dongyang killed their Prefect, they banded together into an army twenty thousand strong and planned to support Chen Ying as their king.

But Chen Ying's mother warned him, "In all the time since I joined your family as your father's wife, I've never heard anything about even one of your ancestors having an exalted title. Yet now you are going to receive this grand title out of nowhere? That is an ill omen. You would do better to make yourself the subordinate of someone else. If this affair turns out well, it won't be too late for you to still be named as a marquis. And if things fall apart, you'll be able to get away easily enough, nor will posterity point the finger of blame at you."

Chen Ying agreed, and he dared not accept the offered title of king. He told the officers and officials, "The Xiang clan has been a family of generals for generations, and they have an established reputation in Chu. So if we are going to carry out such a grand undertaking, no one else but one of them will do. I pledge my name and my family on it; Qin will be destroyed!"

His followers agreed, so Chen Ying led his troops to serve under Xiang Liang.

〈廣陵縣屬九江郡。班《志》爲廣陵國都;唐爲揚州。《姓譜》:召姓,周文王子召公奭之後。召,寔照翻。〉〈班《志》,東陽縣屬臨淮郡;明帝分屬下邳;後復分屬廣陵。《括地志》:東陽故城,在楚州盱眙縣東七十里。《水經註》曰:淮陰縣,楚、漢之間爲東陽郡。〉〈蘇林曰:令史,曹史也。晉灼曰:《漢儀註》:令吏曰令史,丞吏曰丞史。師古曰:晉說是。〉

(Guangling county was part of Jiujiang commandary. According to the Book of Han, it was the capital of the Guangling princely fief. During Tang, it was Yangzhou.

The Registry of Surnames states, "Those with the surname 召 Shao are the descendants of the ancient Duke of Shao, King Wen of Zhou's son Ji Shi." Shao is pronounced "shao (sh-ao)".

According to the Book of Han, Dongyang county was part of Linhuai commandary. Emperor Ming of Han later split it off as part of Xiapi commandary, and later it was split off again as part of Guangling commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Dongyang was seventy li east of Xuyi county in Chuzhou." The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "Huaiyin county was known as Dongyang commandary during the Chu-Han Contention."

This passage describes Chen Ying's original position as a 令史. Su Lin argued, "This means a management clerk." But Jin Zhuo argued, "In such titles, 吏 is equivalent to 史, such that a 令吏 'prefect's clerk' is the same as a 令史 'prefect's official', and the same with the titles 'minister's clerk' and 'minister's official'." Yan Shigu remarked, "Jin Zhuo is correct here.")


項梁以八千人渡江。聞陳嬰已下東陽。欲與連和。嬰者故果陽令吏。縣中欲立為王。嬰母曰。汝家世貧賤。今暴得大名不祥。不如以兵屬人。事成猶得封侯。事不成。禍有所歸。而易以亡。嬰遂以兵屬梁。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Xiang Liang crossed the Yangzi with eight thousand troops. When he heard that Chen Ying had already subdued Dongyang, he wanted to join forces with him.

Chen Ying had originally been a clerk for the Prefect of Guoyang county. The people of the county now wanted to acclaim him as a king. But Chen Ying's mother warned him, "Your family has been poor and humble for generations. It would be an ill omen to take advantage of this chaos to suddenly claim a great title for yourself. You would do better to make your troops the subordinate of someone else. If this affair turns out well, you could still be named as a marquis. And if things fall apart, you won't be the one whom disaster claims." So Chen Ying placed his troops under Xiang Liang's command.


英布旣破秦軍,引兵而東;聞項梁西渡淮,布與蒲將軍皆以其兵屬焉。項梁衆凡六七萬人,軍下邳。

21. Since Qing Bu had already routed the Qin army in his area, he led his own troops back east. And when he heard that Xiang Liang had crossed the Huai River and was heading west, he and General Pu led their troops to serve under him.

By now, Xiang Liang had an army of sixty to seventy thousand soldiers, and he was camped at Xiapi.

〈班《志》,下邳縣屬東海郡。應劭曰:邳在薛,其後徙此,故曰下邳。臣瓚曰:有上邳,故曰下邳。《史記正義》曰:下邳,泗水縣也。〉

(According to the Book of Han, Xiapi county was part of Donghai commandary. Ying Shao remarked, "Pi had originally been at Xue, but was later moved to its current location. Thus it became known as Xiapi or 'Lower Pi'." Chen Zan remarked, "There already existed a Shangpi or 'Upper Pi', thus this place was named Xiapi." The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "Xiapi was the same place as Sishui county.")


黥布亦以兵屬梁焉。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Qing Bu also placed his troops under Xiang Liang's command.


景駒、秦嘉軍彭城東,欲以距梁。梁謂軍吏曰:「陳王先首事,戰不利,未聞所在。今秦嘉倍陳王而立景駒,大逆無道!」乃進兵擊秦嘉,秦嘉軍敗走。追之,至胡陵,嘉還戰。一日,嘉死,軍降;景駒走死梁地。

22. Jing Ju and Qin Jia had their army east of Pengcheng. They wanted to oppose Xiang Liang.

Xiang Liang said to his officers and officials, "When King Chen was leading the uprising, we never once heard of him faltering in battle. Yet now, Qin Jia has done away with King Chen and propped up this Jing Ju in his place. They are great traitors, without principle!" And he led his troops forward to attack Qin Jia. Qin Jia's army was defeated and fled. Xiang Liang's army pursued them to Huling, where Qin Jia turned back and offered battle again. But that day, Qin Jia was killed and his army surrendered.

Jing Ju fled to the Liang region, where he died.

〈胡陵卽湖陸,班《志》屬山陽郡,漢章帝改曰湖陵。〉〈梁地,故魏地也。〉

(What this passage refers to as 胡陵 Huling was the same place as 湖陸 Hulu, which according to the Book of Han was part of Shanyang commandary. Emperor Zhang of Han later renamed it to 湖陵 Huling.

The Liang region had once been part of the state of Wei.)


夏四月。項梁殺景駒、及秦嘉止薛。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In summer, the fourth month, Xiang Liang killed Jing Ju and caught up with Qin Jia at Zhixue.


梁已幷秦嘉軍,軍胡陵,將引軍而西。章邯軍至栗,項梁使別將朱雞石、餘樊君與戰。餘樊君死;朱雞石軍敗,亡走胡陵。梁乃引兵入薛,誅朱雞石。

23. Now that he had taken over Qin Jia's army, Xiang Liang camped his army at Huling, preparing to lead them further west.

Zhang Han's army was at Li. Xiang Liang sent detachments under Zhu Jishi and Lord Yufan to fight him. But Lord Yufan died in battle, and when Zhu Jizhi's army was defeated, he fled back to Huling. Xiang Liang then led his troops into Xue, and he executed Zhu Jishi.

〈班《志》,栗縣屬沛郡。〉〈《括地志》曰:故薛城,古薛侯國也,在今徐州滕縣界。〉

(According to the Book of Han, Li county was part of Pei commandary.

The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The former city of Xue had once been the site of the Marquisate of Xue. It was located in Teng county in modern Xuzhou.")


沛公從騎百餘往見梁;梁與沛公卒五千人,五大夫將十人。沛公還,引兵攻豐,拔之。雍齒奔魏。

24. Liu Bang led some hundred riders to come visit Xiang Liang. Xiang Liang gave him five thousand soldiers and ten generals of the fifth rank. Liu Bang then returned to attack Feng once again, and this time he took it. Yong Chi fled to Wei.

沛公往從之。梁益沛公兵。遂攻豐拔之。雍齒奔魏。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Liu Bang came to join Xiang Liang, who gave him some more troops. Liu Bang then attacked Feng and retook it. Yong Chi fled to Wei.


項梁使項羽別攻襄城,襄城堅守不下;已拔,皆阬之,還報。

25. Xiang Liang sent Xiang Ji, now known as Xiang Yu, to lead another detachment to attack Xiangcheng. The people of Xiangcheng defended their walls and would not submit. So when Xiang Yu took the city, he had them all buried alive. Then he came back to report.

〈班《志》,襄城縣屬潁川郡。《史記正義》曰:今許州縣。〉

(According to the Book of Han, Xiangcheng county was part of Yingchuan commandary. The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "It is now a county in Xuzhou.")


梁聞陳王定死,召諸別將會薛計事,沛公亦往焉。居鄛人范增,年七十,素居家,好奇計,往說項梁曰:「陳勝敗,固當。夫秦滅六國,楚最無罪。自懷王入秦不反,楚人憐之至今。故楚南公曰:『楚雖三戶,亡秦必楚。』今陳勝首事,不立楚後而自立,其勢不長。今君起江東,楚蠭起之將皆爭附君者,以君世世楚將,爲能復立楚之後也。」於是項梁然其言,乃求得楚懷王孫心於民間,爲人牧羊;夏,六月,立以爲楚懷王,從民望也。陳嬰爲上柱國,封五縣,與懷王都盱眙。項梁自號爲武信君。

26. By now, Xiang Liang had learned that Chen Sheng was truly dead. So he summoned his generals to a meeting at Xue in order to figure out what they should do next, and Liu Bang also came to attend.

There lived a certain Fan Zeng of Juchao, who by this time was sixty-nine years old. He had lived in obscurity at his home for a long time, but he was a master of unique strategies. So he now came to see Xiang Liang and advised him, "It only made sense that Chen Sheng was defeated in the end. After all, out of all the Six States that Qin conquered, Chu was the most blameless of them. Even today, the people of Chu lament the fact that when King Huai of Chu went to Qin, he never returned. And the southern elders of Chu have their saying: 'So long as Chu still has even three households in it, it will defeat Qin someday.' Yet when Chen Sheng launched this uprising against Qin, rather than support a descendant of the royal house of Chu, he simply named himself as King. Thus his influence could not extend very far.

"Sir, now that you have organized your own uprising in the Southland and come here, the reason that so many generals have swarmed to join you is because you come from a family that has long served the state of Chu as generals. They hope to see you restore a scion of the house of Chu to the throne."

Xiang Liang heeded his advice, and he sought out a grandson of King Huai, Xiong Xin, who was living among the common people. He found the youth serving as a shepherd somewhere.

In summer, the sixth month, Xiang Liang acclaimed Xiong Xin as King Huai of Chu, in order to appeal to the feelings of the people. Chen Ying was appointed as Supreme Pillar of State and granted a fief of five counties, and he and King Huai set the new capital at Xuyi. Xiang Liang named himself as Lord Wuxin.

〈班《志》,居巢縣屬廬江郡。《春秋》「楚人圍巢」,巢,國也。《史記正義》曰:卽夏桀所奔地。〉〈事見四卷周赧王十九年。〉〈服虔曰:南公,南方之老人。虞喜《志林》曰:南公者,道士,識廢興之數,知亡秦者必楚。《漢書‧藝文志》:《南公》十三篇,六國時人,在陰陽家流。臣瓚曰:楚人怨秦,雖三戶足以亡秦。〉〈師古曰:蠭,古蜂字;蠭起,如蠭之起,言其衆也。一說:蠭,與鋒同,言鋒銳而起者。《爾雅翼》曰:蠭,近其房,輒羣起攻人,故曰蠭起之將。〉〈徐廣曰:順民望,以其祖諡爲號。〉〈班《志》,盱眙縣屬臨淮郡。《史記正義》曰:今楚州縣。阮勝之《南兗州記》:盱眙,本春秋善道地;宋屬泗州。〉

(According to the Book of Han, Juchao county was part of Lujiang commandary. The Spring and Autumn Annals has a passage that states, "The people of Chu besieged Chao", so Chao must have been the name of another state. The Zhengyi commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals states, "This was the place that King Jie of Xia fled to."

King Huai of Chu's death in exile in Qin is mentioned in Book 4, in King Nan of Zhou's nineteenth year (296 BC).

Fan Zeng attributes his saying about the households of Chu to 南公. Fu Qian remarked, "By 南公 he meant the 南 'southern' 公 'elders'." But Yu Xi's Forest of Records states, "This 南公 'Southern Master' was a Daoist, able to predict the rise and fall of states, and he knew that the one to overthrow Qin would be Chu." And the Records of Literature in the Book of Han states, "The Southern Master wrote in thirteen volumes; he was from the era of the Six States, and a follower of the Naturalist philosophy." As for the content of the saying, Chen Zan remarked, "It meant that the people of Chu hated Qin so much that even just three households of them would still be enough to overthrow Qin."

This passage describes the other generals as 蠭ing to join Xiang Liang. Yan Shigu remarked, "蠭 is an ancient form of the character 蜂 'bee', meaning 'to swarm'; they swarm like a host of insects, in that they assemble together. It is also said that 蠭 is the same as 'to come together at a point', like in a vanguard, so the people form into a point and rise up." The Notes to the Erya dictionary states, "蠭 means for bees to gather together near a horse, then rise together to attack people. Thus these generals were described as 'swarming'."

Xu Guang remarked, "Xiang Liang named this young man King Huai because he wanted to capture the appeal of his grandfather the first King Huai and bend the hopes of the people towards him."

According to the Book of Han, Xuyi county was part of Linhuai commandary. The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "It is now a county in Chuzhou." Ruan Tengyi's Records of Southern Yanzhou states, "Xuyi was originally the Shandao region during the Spring and Autumn era. During the Song dynasty, it was part of Sizhou.")


居巢人范增年七十餘。說梁曰。秦滅六國。楚最無罪。自懷王入秦不反。楚人憐之。故語曰。楚雖三戶。亡秦必楚。今陳勝首事不立楚後。其勢不長。今君起江東。楚蜂起之將皆爭附君者。以君世世楚將。為能復立楚後也。梁乃求懷王之孫心。心為人牧羊。六月。楚心立。號曰懷王。陳嬰為上柱國。梁為大將軍。號武信君。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

There lived a certain Fan Zeng of Juchao, who by this time was more than seventy years old. He advised Xiang Liang, "Out of all the Six States that Qin conquered, Chu was the most blameless of them. Even today, the people of Chu lament the fact that when King Huai of Chu went to Qin, he never returned. Thus the saying: 'So long as Chu still has even three households in it, it will defeat Qin someday.' Yet when Chen Sheng launched this uprising against Qin, he did not support a descendant of the royal house of Chu. Thus his influence could not extend very far.

"Sir, now that you have organized your own uprising in the Southland and come here, the reason that so many generals have swarmed to join you is because you come from a family that has long served the state of Chu as generals. They hope to see you restore a scion of the house of Chu to the throne."

Xiang Liang thus sought out a grandson of King Huai, Xiong Xin, who was living among the common people. He found the youth serving as a shepherd somewhere.

In the sixth month, Xiang Liang acclaimed Xiong Xin as King Huai of Chu. Chen Ying was appointed as Supreme Pillar of State. Xiang Liang was appointed as Grand General and Lord Wuxin.


張良說項梁曰:「君已立楚後,而韓諸公子橫陽君成最賢,可立爲王,益樹黨。」項梁使良求韓成,立以爲韓王。以良爲司徒,與韓王將千餘人西略韓地,得數城,秦輒復取之;往來爲游兵潁川。

27. Zhang Liang advised Xiang Liang, "Sir, I see that you've established a descendant of the house of Chu as the new King. Now consider the scions of the former King of Hann. Lord Hengyang is the most worthy among them. You might appoint him as King of Hann, and thus gain another ally to support your cause."

So Xiang Liang sent Zhang Liang to seek out Lord Hengyang, and he acclaimed him as King of Hann, with Zhang Liang serving as his Minister Over The Masses. The two of them led more than a thousand soldiers to march west through the former Hann territory. They were able to capture several cities, but Qin eventually retook them all. But they remained in the Yingchuan area as a wandering army.

〈潁川,故韓地,秦置郡。〉

(Yingchuan had originally been part of the state of Hann's territory. Qin had organized it into a commandary.)


張良亦說項梁立韓公子成為韓王。良為司徒。略韓地。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Zhang Liang also persuaded Xiang Liang to support Cheng, the son of the former King of Hann, as the new King of Hann, with Zhang Liang serving as his Minister Over The Masses. They marched through the Hann region.


章邯已破陳王,乃進兵擊魏王於臨濟。魏王使周巿出,請救於齊、楚;齊王儋及楚將項它皆將兵隨巿救魏。章邯夜銜枚擊,大破齊、楚軍於臨濟下,殺齊王及周巿。魏王咎爲其民約降;約定,自燒殺。其弟豹亡走楚,楚懷王予魏豹數千人,復徇魏地。齊田榮收其兄儋餘兵,東走東阿;章邯追圍之。齊人聞田儋死,乃立故齊王建之弟假爲王,田角爲相,角弟間爲將,以距諸侯。

28. Since Zhang Han had already crushed Chen Sheng's forces, he now advanced to attack the King of Wei, Wei Jiu, at Linji. Wei Jiu sent Zhou Fu to oppose Zhang Han, and he asked for aid from Qi and Chu. Tian Dan and the Chu general Xiang Ta both led their troops to join Zhou Fu and assist Wei. But Zhang Han launched a surprise attack them during the night, keeping sticks in the mouths of his soldiers to maintain their silence, and he greatly routed the Qi and Chu armies beneath the walls of Linji. He killed Tian Dan and Zhou Fu.

Wei Jiu arranged to surrender on behalf of his people, and once the surrender terms were finalized, he burned himself to death. Wei Jiu's younger brother Wei Bao fled to Chu. King Huai assigned him several thousand soldiers, and Wei Bao returned to march through Wei territory.

Tian Dan's cousin Tian Rong gathered up Tian Dan's remaining soldiers and fled east to Dong'a. Zhang Han pursued and besieged him. When the people of Qi heard that Tian Dan was dead, they acclaimed Tian Jia as the new King of Qi; Tian Jia was a younger brother of the former king, Tian Jian. Tian Jue was appointed as Chancellor and his younger brother Tian Jian was appointed as a general, so that they could oppose the other lords.

〈《後漢志》,陳留郡平丘縣有臨濟亭。《水經註》曰:田儋死處。《史記正義》曰:今齊州臨濟縣。又曰:故城在淄州高苑縣北二里。余按《正義》所云臨濟,乃田儋所起狄縣地也,非魏王咎所居臨濟也。《後漢志》及《水經註》爲是。〉〈它,徒河翻,〉〈師古曰:銜枚者,止言語讙囂,欲令敵人不知其來也。《周官》有銜枚氏。枚狀如箸,橫銜之,繣結於項。繣結,礙也,絜繞也,蓋爲結紐而繞項也。〉〈班《志》,東阿縣屬東郡。《括地志》:東阿故城,在濟州東阿縣西南二十五里。〉

(According to the Records of Later Han, there was a Linji Point in Pingqiu county in Chenliu commandary. And the Commentary on the Water Classic states, "This was the place that Tian Dan died." The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian does state, "It was the modern Linji county in Jizhou." It also states, "Its former capital was two li north of Gaoyuan county in Zizhou." But I (Hu Sanxing) argue that considering that Tian Dan rose in rebellion in the area of Di county, the Linji mentioned in the Zhengyi commentary could not be the same Linji that Wei Jiu resided in. The Records of Later Han and the Commentary on the Water Classic must be correct.

Xiang Ta's given name 它 is pronounced "te (t-e)".

Yan Shigu remarked, "The purpose of keeping a stick in the mouth is to quell any talk or noises and ensure that the enemy remains unaware of one's approach. And the Offices of Zhou mentions a Master Xianmei (Master Stick-in-Mouth). The stick is made in the shape of a chopstick and held in the mouth horizontally, then wrapped to the back of the neck." By 'wrapped', it means tied up and bound; it must have been wrapping the stick tight between the mouth and neck.

According to the Book of Han, Dong'a county was part of Dong commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Dong'a was twenty-five li southwest of Dong'a county in Jizhou.")


章邯遣兵攻魏。魏將周市請救于齊楚。市以二國師不至。章邯擊殺市。遂圍臨濟。魏王咎偽使其人納降而自殺。章邯進伐齊。殺田儋。儋從弟榮收餘兵保東阿。齊王建之弟田假自立為齊王。田角為相。田簡為將軍。章邯圍東阿。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Zhang Han sent troops to attack Wei. The Wei general Zhou Fu asked for aid from Qi and Chu. But before their armies could arrive, Zhang Han attacked and killed Zhou Fu. Zhang Han then besieged Linji. Wei Jiu pretended to send envoys claiming that he would surrender, but then killed himself.

Zhang Han advanced to campaign against Qi. He killed Tian Dan. Tian Dan's cousin Tian Rong gathered up his remaining soldiers and defended Dong'a. Tian Jia declared himself the new King of Qi; Tian Jia was a younger brother of the former king, Tian Jian. Tian Jue was appointed as Chancellor and Tian Jian was appointed as a general.

Zhang Han besieged Dong'a.

章邯已破陳王,乃進兵擊魏王於臨濟。魏王乃使周市出請救於齊、楚。齊、楚遣項它、田巴將兵隨市救魏。章邯遂擊破殺周市等軍,圍臨濟。咎為其民約降。約定,咎自燒殺。魏豹亡走楚。楚懷王予魏豹數千人,復徇魏地。(Records of the Grand Historian 90, Biography of Wei Bao)

After Zhang Han had crushed Chen Sheng's forces, he advanced to attack Wei Jiu at Linji. Wei Jiu sent Zhou Fu to oppose Zhang Han, and he asked for aid from Qi and Chu. Qi and Chu sent the generals Xiang Ta and Tian Ba to lead their troops to join Zhou Fu and assist Wei. But Zhang Han attacked Zhou Fu and the others and routed their armies, then besieged Linji.

Wei Jiu arranged to surrender on behalf of his people, and once the surrender terms were finalized, he burned himself to death. Wei Jiu's younger brother Wei Bao fled to Chu. King Huai assigned him several thousand soldiers, and Wei Bao returned to march through Wei territory.

章邯已破陳王,進兵擊魏王於臨濟。魏王使周市請救齊、楚。齊、楚遣項它、田巴將兵,隨市救魏。章邯遂擊破殺周市等軍,圍臨濟。咎為其民約降。約降定,咎自殺。魏豹亡走楚。楚懷王予豹數千人,復徇魏地。(Book of Han 33, Biography of Wei Bao)

After Zhang Han had crushed Chen Sheng's forces, he advanced to attack Wei Jiu at Linji. Wei Jiu sent Zhou Fu to oppose Zhang Han, and he asked for aid from Qi and Chu. Qi and Chu sent the generals Xiang Ta and Tian Ba to lead their troops to join Zhou Fu and assist Wei. But Zhang Han attacked Zhou Fu and the others and routed their armies, then besieged Linji.

Wei Jiu arranged to surrender on behalf of his people, and once the surrender terms were finalized, he killed himself. Wei Jiu's younger brother Wei Bao fled to Chu. King Huai assigned him several thousand soldiers, and Wei Bao returned to march through Wei territory.


秋,七月,大霖雨。武信君引兵攻亢父,聞田榮之急,迺引兵擊破章邯軍東阿下;章邯走而西。田榮引兵東歸齊。武信君獨追北,使項羽、沛公別攻城陽,屠之。楚軍軍濮陽東,復與章邯戰,又破之。章邯復振,守濮陽,環水。沛公、項羽去,攻定陶。

29. In autumn, the seventh month, there were heavy storms.

Xiang Liang led his troops to attack Kangfu. But when he learned of Tian Rong's distress, he marched to attack Zhang Han's army beneath the walls of Dong'a. He routed them, and Zhang Han fled back west. Tian Rong led his troops east to return to Qi.

Xiang Liang led a pursuit to the north by himself. In the meantime, he sent Xiang Yu and Liu Bang to attack Chengyang, and they sacked it.

The Chu army camped east of Puyang, where they once again attacked Zhang Han and again routed him. But Zhang Han rallied his forces and held out in Puyang, surrounding the city with water to use as a barrier. So Liu Bang and Xiang Yu once again left, to attack Dingtao.

〈雨三日以往爲霖。〉〈《括地志》:濮州雷澤縣,本漢城陽,在州東九十一里。余按班《志》,濟陰成陽縣有雷澤。此成陽與定陶、濮陽皆相近,非城陽國之城陽。〉〈班《志》,濮陽縣屬東郡。《括地志》:濮陽縣在濮州西八十六里。濮,音卜。〉〈李奇曰:振,整也。如淳曰:振,起也;收散卒,自振迅而起。〉〈文穎曰:決水以自環守爲固。〉

(The precise term this passage uses to describe the storms is 霖; this means three days of rain.

Regarding Chengyang, the Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "Leize county in Puzhou was originally Chengyang during the Han dynasty. It was ninety-one li east of the provincial capital." I (Hu Sanxing) note that according to the Book of Han, there was a place called Leize in Chengyang county in Jiyin commandary, and this Chengyang would have been relatively close to both Dingtao and Puyang. So it cannot have been the Chengyang in the Chengyang princely fief.

According to the Book of Han, Puyang county was part of Dong commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "Puyang county was eighty-six li west of Puzhou." The first character of Puyang, 濮, is pronounced "bo".

Li Qi remarked, "To rally is to restore." Ru Chun remarked, "To rally is to raise up; that is, to gather together scattered soldiers and spur them to action."

Wen Ying remarked, "One may divert a river to surround oneself with water to fortify one's position.")


沛公項梁救之。大破章邯。秋七月大雨霖。至于八月。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Liu Bang and Xiang Liang came to rescue Dong'a, and they greatly routed Zhang Han.

In autumn, the seventh month, there were heavy storms which lasted until the eighth month.


八月,田榮擊逐齊王假,假亡走楚。田間前救趙,因留不敢歸。田榮迺立儋子巿爲齊王,榮相之。田橫爲將,平齊地。章邯兵益盛,項梁數使使告齊、趙發兵共擊章邯。田榮曰:「楚殺田假,趙殺角、間,乃出兵。」楚、趙不許。田榮怒,終不肯出兵。

30. In the eighth month, Tian Rong attacked Tian Jie and drove him out, and Tian Jie fled to Chu. Tian Jue fled to Zhao. And since Tian Jian was already away helping Zhao, he too did not dare to return to Qi. Tian Rong then supported Tian Dan's son Tian Fu as the new King of Qi, with Tian Rong serving as his Chancellor. Tian Heng served as general, and he pacified the territory of Qi.

Zhang Han was slowly gaining more soldiers. Xiang Liang thus sent several envoys to ask Qi and Zhao to send out their troops to attack Zhang Han together. But Tian Rong told the envoys, "Qi will not send out our soldiers unless Chu kills Tian Jie and Zhao kills Tian Jue and Tian Jian." Chu and Zhao declined to do so. This angered Tian Rong, and he refused to send out troops to help them.

〈【章:十二行本「楚」下有「田角亡走趙」五字;乙十一行本同;孔本同;張校同;退齋校同。】〉

(Some versions add that "Tian Jue fled to Zhao.")


田榮歸逐田假。立儋子市為王。己為相。榮從弟橫為將軍。田假奔楚。田角田簡奔趙。項梁遂追秦軍。使召齊王兵俱西。榮曰。楚殺田假。趙殺角。簡乃出兵。梁曰。田假窮來投我。我不忍殺。齊使曰。夫虺蝮螫手則斷手。螫足則斷足。為其害體也。夫田假角簡之在楚趙。豈有手足之戚。何故不殺。梁不聽。齊遂不肯出兵。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Tian Rong returned to Qi and drove out Tian Jie. He supported Tian Dan's son Tian Fu as the new King of Qi, with Tian Rong serving as his Chancellor. Tian Rong's cousin Tian Heng served as general. Tian Jie fled to Chu, and Tian Jue and Tian Jian fled to Zhao.

Xiang Liang was pursuing the Qin army. He sent envoys to summon the Qi soldiers to march west together with him. Tian Rong told the envoys, "Qi will not send out our soldiers unless Chu kills Tian Jie and Zhao kills Tian Jue and Tian Jian."

When the Qi envoy expressed this demand to Xiang Liang, Xiang Liang replied, "Tian Jie fled to us in adversity. We cannot bear to kill him."

The Qi envoy retorted, "When a viper bites your hand, you cut the hand off; when a viper bites your foot, you cut the foot off. That is all for the sake of preserving the rest of the body from harm. Now Tian Jie, Tian Jue, and Tian Jian do not even have the same closeness to Chu and Zhao that one's hand or foot does to one's body. How could you refrain from killing them?"

But Xiang Liang did not listen. So Qi never sent troops to support him.


郎中令趙高恃恩專恣,以私怨誅殺人衆多;恐大臣入朝奏事言之,乃說二世曰:「天子之所以貴者,但以聞聲,羣臣莫得見其面故也。且陛下富於春秋,未必盡通諸事;今坐朝廷,譴舉有不當者,則見短於大臣,非所以示神明於天下也。陛下不如深拱禁中,與臣及侍中習法者待事,事來有以揆之。如此,則大臣不敢奏疑事,天下稱聖主矣。」二世用其計,乃不坐朝廷見大臣,常居禁中;趙高侍中用事,事皆決於趙高。

31. Qin's Prefect of the Palace Gentlemen, Zhao Gao, became arrogant and presumptuous because of the favor he had received up until now. He indulged his grudges by arranging the execution or deaths or many people. But he was afraid that the great ministers of state would speak up against him in open court.

Zhao Gao thus advised the Second Emperor, "A Son of Heaven makes himself exalted by only allowing the word of his commands to go forth, without permitting any of his ministers to speak to him face to face. Besides, Your Majesty still has many years of life ahead of you, and it is not a given that you will always conduct yourself with total perfection. Suppose that during a court meeting, you happened to censure or praise someone undeserving of it. That would mean that your error would be noticed by your chief ministers, and is certainly no way to spread a reputation of your sagacity and wisdom through all the realm. So Your Majesty would do better to remain secluded deep within your palace, interacting only with myself and your other Palace Attendants and executing your orders through us, who are familiar with the laws. By doing so, the chief ministers would never dare to question your orders, and so the whole realm would acclaim you as a sagacious lord."

The Second Emperor followed Zhao Gao's advice. He no longer sat before his chief ministers in open court, but spent all his time within the palace. Zhao Gao supervised the affairs of all the Palace Attendants, and he decided all concerns.

〈班《表》:郎中令,秦官,掌宮殿掖門戶。臣瓚曰:掌郎內諸臣,故曰郎中令;武帝改光祿勳。〉〈謂少年,此云春秋多也。〉〈譴,責也。〉〈蔡邕曰:本爲禁中,門閣有禁,非侍御之臣不得妄入;行道豹尾中亦爲禁中。〉〈班《表》:秦制:侍中、左‧右曹、諸吏、散騎、中常侍皆加官,所加或列侯、卿、大夫、將軍、將、都尉、尚書、太醫、太官令,至郎中亡員,多至數十人;侍中、中常侍得入禁中。應劭曰:入侍天子,故曰侍中。《後漢志》:侍中,比二千石,掌侍左右,贊導衆事,顧問應對。〉

(The Book of Han states, "Prefect of the Palace Gentlemen was an office created during the Qin dynasty; it supervised the forbidden gates and chambers of the palaces and great halls." Chen Zan remarked, "This office was in charge of the various servants within the palace, thus its name. Emperor Wu of Han later renamed this office to Superintendent of the Imperial Household."

Zhao Gao more precisely describes the Second Emperor as being "rich in years". That is to say, he still had many years ahead of him, because he was a young man.

The term 譴 here means "to censure".

Cai Yong remarked, "The palace was originally known as the 'forbidden chambers', because people other than the immediate imperial entourage could not rashly enter it. And while on the road, the 'leopard tail' imperial carriages also had such restricted access."

Regarding the palace offices, the Book of Han states, "The system of the Qin dynasty was that the superior offices among the palace servants were the Palace Attendants, Managers of the Left and Right, the various officials, the Cavaliers In Regular Attendants, and the Regular Palace Attendants. Below them were the various Marquises, chief ministers and grandees, generals, officers, and commandants, the Masters of Writing, the Imperial Physician, the Prefect of the Grand Bureau, and the Palace Gentlemen without specific appointments, several dozen people in all. The Palace Attendants and Palace Regular Attendants were the ones able to enter the forbidden chambers." Ying Shao remarked, "They were able to enter and attend the Son of Heaven, thus the name Palace Attendants." The Records of Later Han states, "The office of Palace Attendant was an Equivalent To Two Thousand 石 salary rank. It oversaw the other attendants, supervised and guided affairs, and listened to requests and answered appropriately.")


高聞李斯以爲言,乃見丞相曰:「關東羣盜多,今上急益發繇,治阿房宮,聚狗馬無用之物。臣欲諫,爲位賤,此眞君侯之事;君可不諫?」李斯曰:「固也,吾欲言之久矣。今時上不坐朝廷,常居深宮。吾所言者,不可傳也;欲見,無閒。」趙高曰:「君誠能諫,請爲君候上閒,語君。」於是趙高侍二世方燕樂,婦女居前,使人告丞相:「上方閒,可奏事。」丞相至宮門上謁。如此者三。二世怒曰:「吾常多閒日,丞相不來;吾方燕私,丞相輒來請事!丞相豈少我哉,且固我哉?」趙高因曰:「夫沙丘之謀,丞相與焉。今陛下已立爲帝,而丞相貴不益,此其意亦望裂地而王矣。且陛下不問臣,臣不敢言。丞相長男李由爲三川守,楚盜陳勝等皆丞相傍縣之子,以故楚盜公行,過三川城,守不肯擊。高聞其文書相往來,未得其審,故未敢以聞。且丞相居外,權重於陛下。」二世以爲然,欲案丞相;恐其不審,乃先使人按驗三川守與盜通狀。

32. Zhao Gao heard that Li Si wanted to meet with the Second Emperor. So he came to see him and said, "The rebels east of the passes are growing ever more numerous, yet in the face of such an emergency we are still increasing the corvee labor drafts in order to complete Epang Palace and gather up a bunch of useless dogs and horses. Even I have wished to speak up against such things, but my position is too lowly for that. Only someone of your great stature, Sir, could have an effect. Will you not say something?"

Li Si replied, "It is indeed as you say, and I have wished to offer my thoughts for some time now. But our sovereign no longer appears in court, and is always spending his time secluded in the palace. So I have had no way to convey my thoughts to him, nor have I had the opportunity to see him in person."

Zhao Gao said, "Sir, if you indeed wish to remonstrate with our sovereign, then allow me to arrange an opportunity for you. I will send word to you when the moment is right."

Zhao Gao then attended upon (or, waited until) the Second Emperor (as he) was enjoying a moment of lewdness and decadence with his concubines, then sent someone to tell Li Si, "Now is the moment, and you had better come at once." Li Si thus came to the palace gates to present himself, with lamentable results. And this charade occured three different times.

"I have ample days of idleness," raged the Second Emperor, "so why doesn't the Prime Minister come to see me then? Why does he only ever come to ask something of me whenever I am just about to enjoy some personal pleasure? Does he think me a child? Or a fool?"

Zhao Gao told him, "The Prime Minister was involved in your accession, during the affair at Shaqiu. Yet in the time since Your Majesty has become established as Emperor, he has gained no greater glory than he enjoyed before. His ambition must be to carve out territory for himself so that he may become King in his own right. Your Majesty might have spoken to me about this earlier, but you never did so, nor did I dare to broach the subject. I further note that the Prime Minister's eldest son Li You is currently serving as Administrator of Sanchuan, and Chen Sheng and the other Chu rebels were all native sons of the Prime Minister's old homeland. That was why the Chu rebels were able to roam freely, passing right through Sanchuan, while Li You could not bear to attack them. I'd even heard rumors that he's been sending letters back and forth with the rebels, although I haven't been able to look into it, so I didn't dare to bring it up. Lastly, the Prime Minister resides outside the palace, and his authority surpasses even Your Majesty's own power."

The Second Emperor took these arguments to heart, and he wanted to condemn Li Si. However, uncertain because he lacked any direct proof, he decided to first send some agents to investigate if anything had been going on between Li You and the rebels.

〈繇,役也;古字借用。〉〈閒,隙也;又讀曰閑,餘暇也。〉〈【章:十二行本「侍」作「待」;乙十一行本同;孔本同;張校同。】〉〈少我,謂輕我以爲幼少也。固我,謂輕我以爲固陋也。〉〈事見上卷始皇三十七年。〉〈傍縣,近縣也。李斯,汝南上蔡人;陳勝,潁川陽城人:汝南、潁川相近也。〉〈【章:十二行本「守」作「皆」。】〉

(Zhao Gao uses the term 繇, equivalent to 役 "corvee labor". In this case, an ancient character has been borrowed for its meaning.

The term 閒 means "gap, opening", and when used in the sense it is in this passage can also mean "free time".

Some versions state that Zhao Gao "waited until" the Second Emperor was busy with his concubines rather than that he was "attending upon" him at the time.

The Second Emperor asks if Li Si is 少ing or 固ing him. In this case, 少 means to think little of someone because of their young age, and 固 means to think little of them because of their ignorance.

"The Shaqiu affair" was when Li Si and Zhao Gao had conspired together at the time of the First Emperor's death at Shaqiu to place Ying Huhai on the throne to ensure their own authority would be maintained. This is mentioned in the previous book, in the First Emperor's thirty-second year (210 BC).

Zhao Gao more precisely states that Chen Sheng and the other rebels were from Li Si's "adjoining counties", adjoining meaning adjacent or nearby. Li Si was a native of Shangcai county in Runan commandary, while Chen Sheng was a native of Yangcheng county in Yingchuan commandary. These two commandaries were close to one another.

Some versions state blandly that "the rebels were in no cases attacked" while they passed through Sanchuan rather than state directly that "Li You" did not attack them.)


李斯聞之,因上書言趙高之短曰:「高擅利擅害,與陛下無異。昔田常相齊簡公,竊其恩威,下得百姓,上得羣臣,卒弑簡公而取齊國,此天下所明知也。今高有邪佚之志,危反之行,私家之富,若田氏之於齊矣,而又貪欲無厭,求利不止,列勢次主,其欲無窮,劫陛下之威信,其志若韓玘爲韓安相也。陛下不圖,臣恐其必爲變也。」二世曰:「何哉!夫高,故宦人也;然不爲安肆志,不以危易心,潔行脩善,自使至此,以忠得進,以信守位,朕實賢之;而君疑之,何也?且朕非屬趙君,當誰任哉!且趙君爲人,精廉強力,下知人情,上能適朕;君其勿疑!」二世雅愛趙高,恐李斯殺之,乃私告趙高。高曰:「丞相所患者獨高;高已死,丞相卽欲爲田常所爲。」

33. When Li Si learned of what was going on, he wrote a letter to the Second Emperor denouncing Zhao Gao's faults. He wrote, "Zhao Gao's current ability to grant favor or harm is now no different from Your Majesty's own authority. In former times, when Tian Chang was the Chancellor of Qi during the reign of Duke Jian of Qi, he presumed upon the favor he had been shown and the power that he wielded. He won over the people below and gained the support of the ministers above, and in the end he murdered Duke Jian and usurped the state of Qi for himself. Everyone in the realm knows this story. And Zhao Gao is much like the Tian clan of Qi, for he has sinister ambitions, improper conduct, and has personally enriched himself. His corruption and desire knows no shame, and his greed has no end. He wields power second only to a sovereign and has boundless hunger. He is taking advantage of Your Majesty's authority and your trust in him. The situation is no different from when Han Qi served as Chancellor to King An of Hann. And if Your Majesty does not get rid of him, I fear he will lead a coup someday."

But the Second Emperor told Li Si, "How can this be? Zhao Gao is a mere eunuch, so for what reason would he indulge reckless ambitions or court danger? He has gotten to his position through honest living and good conduct; I have promoted him for his loyalty and employed him for his trustworthiness. To me, he is most worthy. Yet you would suspect him. Why is that? And if I cannot have Lord Zhao as my subordinate, then whom should I have? For he has a refined and modest spirit, a strong and powerful energy; he knows the feelings of the people below and can perceive my wishes above. You cannot suspect him!"

The Second Emperor was very fond of and trusted Zhao Gao, and he feared that Li Si would try to kill Zhao Gao, so he secretly informed Zhao Gao of what Li Si had said. Zhao Gao replied, "This is because I am the only one who can still pose a threat to the Prime Minister. Once I am dead, it is he who will wish to play the part of Tian Chang."

〈事見《左傳》。〉〈言趙高居中用事,其位列權勢次於人主也。〉〈《索隱》曰:「玘」,一作「起」,並音怡,韓大夫,弑其君悼公者。然韓無悼公,或鄭之嗣君。按《表》:韓玘事昭侯,昭侯以下四世至王安,斯說非也。余觀李斯書意,正以胡亥亡國之禍近在旦夕,故指韓安以其用韓玘而亡韓之事警動之。韓安之時,其臣必有韓玘者,特史逸其事耳。李斯與韓安同時,而韓安亡國之事接乎胡亥之耳目,所謂「殷鑒不遠」也。《索隱》於數百載之下議其說爲非,可乎!〉〈所謂臨亂之君,各賢其臣也。〉〈【章:十二行本「趙」作「信」;乙十一行本同。】〉

(Tian Chang's dominance of the state of Qi is mentioned in the Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals.

Li Si was saying that since Zhao Gao was residing within the palace and was in control of affairs, he held a position and wielded power and authority second only to a sovereign.

Li Si refers to a "Han Qi" serving as Chancellor to King An of Hann. The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "Han Qi's given name was 玘, also written as 起, both pronounced 'yi'. He was a chief minister of the state of Hann, and he murdered his sovereign, Duke Dao." But this cannot be the case, since there was no such person as Duke Dao of Hann. Perhaps the commentary meant the heir to the state of Zheng. It is true that the Treatises mention a Han Qi that lived during the reign of Marquis Zhao of Hann. But Marquis Zhao ruled forty years before the reign of King An, so this cannot be the same Han Qi that Li Si is referring to. Now it seems plain to me (Hu Sanxing) that the thrust of Li Si's letter was that the Second Emperor's dynasty was on the brink of disaster, and he brought up the example of this Han Qi to illustrate how Hann had fallen soon after, in order to warn the Second Emperor that the same thing might happen to him. So there must have been another Han Qi who served King An, who has simply been overlooked by the histories. Besides, Li Si had lived at the same time as King An of Hann, and the fall of Hann had occurred during the Second Emperor's own lifetime, so such an example fit with the saying that "the beacon-fire of Yin is not far distant". Surely it is possible that the Suoyin commentary, written hundreds of years after the Records of the Grand Historian, made a mistake in discussing this letter!

To think that the Second Emperor thought so highly of Zhao Gao! But it is as they say: 'even the lord of a doomed state still thinks that their ministers are worthy ones'.

Some versions state that the Second Emperor was fond of "and trusted" Zhao Gao rather than write his surname again.)


是時,盜賊益多,而關中卒發東擊盜者無已。右丞相馮去疾、左丞相李斯、將軍馮劫進諫曰︰「關東羣盜並起,秦發兵誅擊,所殺亡甚衆,然猶不止。盜多,皆以戍、漕、轉、作事苦,賦稅大也。請且止阿房宮作者,減省四邊戍、轉。」二世曰:「凡所爲貴有天下者,得肆意極欲,主重明法,下不敢爲非,以制御四海矣。夫虞、夏之主,貴爲天子,親處窮苦之實以徇百姓,尚何於法!且先帝起諸侯,兼天下,天下已定,外攘四夷以安邊境,作宮室以章得意;而君觀先帝功業有緒。今朕卽位,二年之間,羣盜並起,君不能禁,又欲罷先帝之所爲,是上無以報先帝,次不爲朕盡忠力,何以在位!」下去疾、斯、劫吏,案責他罪。去疾、劫自殺;獨李斯就獄。二世以屬趙高治之,責斯與子由謀反狀,皆收捕宗族、賓客。趙高治斯,榜掠千餘,不勝痛,自誣服。

34. By now, the rebels were growing ever more numerous, and more and more people in Guanzhong were being drafted to go east and fight them. The Prime Minister of the Right, Feng Quji, the Prime Minister of the Left, Li Si, and the general Feng Jie stepped forward and remonstrated with the Second Emperor. They told him, "Ever since the various rebels rose up east of the passes, Qin has sent out troops to execute (or pursue) and attack them. This has led to a great many of the rebels being killed or lost, yet the rebellion still has not stopped. Many of the rebels have been drawn from the ranks of the disgruntled army troops, sailors, porters, and corvee laborers, and taxes have been greatly increased. So we ask you to cease drafting corvee laborers to work on Epang Palace and decrease or dismiss the conscripts being used as garrison soldiers or porters."

But the Second Emperor replied, "One who would be honored as a Son of Heaven should be able to fulfill their desires and gratify all their wishes. It is when the sovereign is supreme and the laws are clear that those below will not dare to go against him and all within the Four Seas can be controlled. Yu the Great and the rulers of Xia were honored as Sons of Heaven, yet they exhausted themselves with toil and suffering on behalf of the common people. How is that a better way than the laws? Furthermore, His Late Majesty first rose above the other feudal lords and united all the realm, and once the realm was at peace he extended his reach to the barbarians of the four directions in order to safeguard the border regions. He began building the Epang Palace as a sign that he had attained his desires, and you gentlemen were present to witness the progress of his achievements and his endeavors. Yet in the two years since I have risen to the throne, these rebels have all risen up and you have been unable to suppress them, and now you want to stop what His Late Majesty had started. You have failed to repay your debt to His Late Majesty, and you are failing to grant me your full loyalty and support. How can you keep your positions?"

He had Feng Quji, Li Si, and Feng Jie handed over to his officials, where they were investigated and charged with other crimes. Feng Quji and Feng Jie killed themselves; only Li Si remained alive and in prison. The Second Emperor had Zhao Gao oversee Li Si's case, and charged him and his son Li You with having plotted rebellion. Li Si's clan and his retainers were all arrested as well. Zhao Gao led the interrogation and had Li Si beaten and flogged more than a thousand times. Unable to resist the tortue, Li Si incriminated himself.

〈【章:十二行本「誅」作「追」;乙十一本同。】〉〈戍,征戍也;漕,水運也;轉,陸運也;作,役作也。事苦,言其事勞苦也。〉〈謂君臣之勢,上之所主者重則下之勢輕,主重,猶言居重也。〉〈言尚何事於法也。〉〈榜,笞擊也。掠,考箠也。〉〈自誣以反而服其罪也。〉

(Some versions state that the Qin soldiers "pursued" rather than "executed" the rebels.

The ministers refer to the four groups of conscripts as 戍, 漕, 轉, and 作. The 戍 were the army draftees, the 漕 were the water-based transporters or sailors, the 轉 were the land-based transporters or porters, and the 作 were the corvee laborers for building projects. They were saying that these people were disgruntled with the toils of these labor demands.

The Second Emperor was saying that when there was a proper relationship between a sovereign and their subjects, then the sovereign above would be supreme while those below would have little power; the sovereign would be supreme though occupying the supreme position.

The Second Emperor was asking how the methods of the ancient sovereigns would be better than that of the law.

"Beating" was being beaten with a cane; "flogging" was being questioned while being whipped.

Li Si confessed to the charges of rebellion and admitted to his supposed crimes.)


斯所以不死者,自負其辯,有功,實無反心,欲上書自陳,幸二世寤而赦之。乃從獄中上書曰:「臣爲丞相治民,三十餘年矣。逮秦地之陿隘,不過千里,兵數十萬。臣盡薄材,陰行謀臣,資之金玉,使游說諸侯;陰脩甲兵,飭政敎,官鬬士,尊功臣;故終以脅韓,弱魏,破燕、趙,夷齊、楚,卒兼六國,虜其王,立秦爲天子。又北逐胡、貉,南定百越,以見秦之強。更剋畫平斗斛、度量、文章,布之天下,以樹秦之名。此皆臣之罪也,臣當死久矣!上幸盡其能力,乃得至今。願陛下察之!」書上,趙高使吏棄去不奏,曰:「囚安得上書!」

35. Li Si did not die because he thought he could persuade the Second Emperor, and because he had many achievements and did not actually have any intention to rebel. He wanted to write a letter defending himself, hoping that the Second Emperor would realize his innocence and pardon him. So he sent a letter from the prison, stating, "It has been more than thirty years since I became Prime Minister and governed the people. When I came to Qin, it was a meager place of no more than a thousand li in territory and several tens of thousands of soldiers, but I worked all my little talents on its behalf. I offered my humble advice, and so the gold and jade of the state were sent out among the feudal lords to win them over; I offered my humble service, and so armor and weapons were maintained, proper administration and education were put in order, the government was filled with gentlemen, and accomplished subjects were honored.

"That was why Qin was eventually able to coerce Hann, annex Wei, smash Yan and Zhao, conquer Qi and Chu, unite all the territory of the Six States and capture their kings, and establish its own ruler as the Son of Heaven. Then to the north Qin drove away the Hu and the Hao people, and to the south they conquered the Baiyue people, thus demonstrating the strength of Qin. Furthermore, Qin standardized all weights, measures, and scales and spread these standards across the realm, thus bolstering its reputation.

"Are these things the crimes which I am guilty of? Then I ought to have died a long time ago! But it was because my sovereign received the full measure of my talents and devotion that the dynasty was able to reach its current state. I implore Your Majesty to consider this!"

The letter was sent, but Zhao Gao had someone intercept it and throw it out so that it could not be presented. He sneered, "How could a prisoner send a letter to the sovereign?"

〈貉,莫客翻,北方國,豸種。〉

(Hao was a state to the north of the realm. It was a branch of the Zhi people. Hao is pronounced "me (m-e)".)


趙高使其客十餘輩詐爲御史、謁者、侍中,更往覆訊斯,斯更以其實對,輒使人復榜之。後二世使人驗斯,斯以爲如前,終不敢更言。辭服,奏當上。二世喜曰:「微趙君,幾爲丞相所賣!」及二世所使案三川守由者至,則楚兵已擊殺之。使者來,會丞相下吏,高皆妄爲反辭以相傅會,遂具斯五刑論,腰斬咸陽市。斯出獄,與其中子俱執。顧謂其中子曰:「吾欲與若復牽黃犬,俱出上蔡東門逐狡兔,豈可得乎!」遂父子相哭而夷三族。二世乃以趙高爲丞相,事無大小皆決焉。

36. Zhao Gao sent about a dozen of his retainers to visit Li Si, posing as imperial clerks, envoys, and Palace Attendants, to see if he would recant his confession. Li Si answered them honestly that he was innocent. They responded by bringing people to beat him again. Later, the Second Emperor sent his actual agents to visit Li Si and see if he had recanted. But Li Si believed that this was another trick, so this time he never dared to deny his confession. He complied with the charges, and presented acknowledgement of his guilt. The Second Emperor was pleased, declaring, "If it hadn't been for Lord Zhao, I would have been sold out by the Prime Minister!"

At this time, the agents whom the Second Emperor had earlier sent off to investigate Li You at Sanchuan returned with the news that Li You had already been killed by the Chu rebels, and they met with the subordinate officials of the Prime Minister's office. Zhao Gao rashly declared that they were exchanging notes in order to keep their stories straight, and he immediately arranged to have Li Si subjected to the Five Punishments and then cut in half at the waist in the Xianyang marketplace.

When Li Si came out of the prison, he and his middle son were both arrested. He turned to his son and said, "How I hoped to someday once again leash up my old yellow dog and go hunting for those wily hares outside the east gate of Shangcai! But what hope is there now?" And father and son wept together. They were executed, along with all of Li Si's clan to the third degree.

The Second Emperor appointed Zhao Gao as the new Prime Minister. Now every affair, great or small, was decided by Zhao Gao.

〈御史之名,《周官》有之;戰國亦有御史,秦、趙澠池之會,各命書其事,則皆記事之職;至秦、漢爲糾察之任。更,迭也。覆,審也。訊,問也。〉〈奏當者,獄具而奏當處其罪也。漢路溫舒曰:奏當之成,雖咎繇聽之,猶以爲死有餘辜。〉〈班《志》:秦法:當三族者,皆先黥、劓、斬左右止,笞殺之,梟其首,葅具骨肉於市;其誹謗、詈詛者,又先斷舌:謂之其五刑。〉

(One of the offices that Zhao Gao's retainers posed as was the Imperial Clerk. This office is present in the text Offices of Zhou, and there were also Imperial Clerks during the Warring States era. During the meeting between Qin and Zhao at Mianchi, both sides ordered these clerks to record their orders. So it must have been a records office. And by the time of the Qin and Han dynasties, it was responsible for assembling and investigating cases.

更 "again" in this passage means in the sense of "change, recant"; 覆 here means "the investigation"; 訊 means "questioning". That is to say, the agents were seeing if Li Si wanted to change his mind from the results of the earlier investigation against him.

The acknowledgment of guilt was a prison tool used to present admission of guilt. Lu Wenshu of Han remarked, "Once the acknowledgement of guilt was completed, although sentences of hard labor were still enforced, there were cases of pardons from the death penalty."

According to the Book of Han, under the laws of Qin, someone whose family was going to be executed to the third degree was first subject to a series of punishments. They would have their face tattooed, their nose cut off, and their left and right extremities severed. Then they would be beaten to death with a cane, their head would be cut off and hung up, and their bones and innards would be pickled and displayed in the marketplace. And those who had been charged with slander or curses in particular would first have their tongues cut out as well. These were what were called the Five Punishments.")


項梁已破章邯於東阿,引兵西,北至定陶,再破秦軍。項羽、沛公又與秦軍戰於雍丘,大破之,斬李由。項梁益輕秦,有驕色。宋義諫曰:「戰勝而將驕卒惰者,敗。今卒少惰矣,秦兵日益,臣爲君畏之!」項梁弗聽。乃使宋義使於齊,道遇齊使者高陵君顯,曰:「公將見武信君乎?」曰:「然。」曰:「臣論武信君必敗;公除行卽免死,疾行則及禍。」二世悉起兵益章邯擊楚軍,大破之定陶,項梁死。

37. Meanwhile, Xiang Liang had already routed Zhang Han at Dong'a, and after leading his troops west and then north (or, as far as) to Dingtao, he routed the Qin army again. Xiang Yu and Liu Bang also fought a Qin army at Yongqiu, where they greatly routed the enemy and killed Li You.

Xiang Liang now thought very little of the Qin soldiers, and he showed an arrogant expression. Song Yi remonstrated with him, saying, "When the general becomes arrogant and the soldiers complacent after winning an initial victory, they are sure to be defeated in the end. Now our soldiers are indeed growing complacent, while the Qin soldiers grow more numerous every day. Sir, I am most afraid for you!" But Xiang Liang did not listen to him.

Xiang Liang sent Song Yi as an envoy to the state of Qi. While on the road, Song Yi encountered one of Qi's envoys, the Lord of Gaoling, Xian. Song Yi asked him, "Sir, are you going to see Lord Wuxin (Xiang Liang)?"

The Lord of Gaoling replied, "I am."

Song Yi told him, "I am afraid that Lord Wuxin is about to suffer a great defeat. Sir, you had better hold back so that you can escape disaster. If you hurry on, you will suffer the same fate."

The Second Emperor sent more troops to Zhang Han and ordered him to attack the Chu army. Zhang Han greatly routed the rebels at Dingtao, and Xiang Liang was killed.

〈【章:十二行本「北」作「比」;孔本同。】〉〈班《志》,雍丘縣屬陳留郡,故杞國也。《史記正義》曰:雍丘,今汴州縣。〉〈晉灼曰:高陵縣屬琅郡。〉

(Some versions state that Xiang Liang marched "as far as" rather than "north to" Dingtao.

According to the Book of Han, Yongqiu county was part of Chenliu commandary; it had once been the state of 杞 Qi. The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "Yongqiu is now a county in Bianzhou."

Jin Zhuo remarked, "Gaoling county was part of Lang commandary.")


沛公項梁敗秦師于雍丘。斬秦將李由。而梁益輕秦。有驕色。故楚令尹宋義諫曰。臣聞戰勝將驕卒惰者敗。今卒少惰矣。秦兵日盛。臣為君畏之。梁不聽。使宋義于齊。遇齊使者。義曰。武信君必敗。公徐行即免。疾行必及禍矣。九月。章邯大破楚於定陶。項梁死。齊使徐行。不及禍也。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Liu Bang and Xiang Liang defeated a Qin army at Yongqiu and took the head of the Qin general Li You.

Xiang Liang now thought very little of the Qin soldiers, and he showed an arrogant expression. The former Prefect-Intendant of Chu, Song Yi, remonstrated with him, saying, "I have heard that when the general becomes arrogant and the soldiers complacent after winning an initial victory, they are sure to be defeated in the end. Now our soldiers are indeed growing complacent, while the Qin soldiers grow more numerous every day. Sir, I am most afraid for you!" But Xiang Liang did not listen to him.

Xiang Liang sent Song Yi as an envoy to the state of Qi. While on the road, Song Yi encountered one of Qi's envoys. Song Yi told him, "Lord Wuxin is about to suffer a great defeat. Sir, you had better hold back so that you can escape disaster. If you hurry on, you will suffer the same fate."

In the ninth month, Zhang Han greatly routed the Chu army at Dingtao and killed Xiang Liang. The Qi envoy had slackened his pace, so he had not been caught up in the disaster.


時連雨,自七月至九月。項羽、沛公攻外黃未下,去,攻陳留;聞武信君死,士卒恐,乃與將軍呂臣引兵而東,徙懷王自盱眙都彭城。呂臣軍彭城東;項羽軍彭城西;沛公軍碭。

38. Rainfall continued from the seventh month until the ninth month.

Xiang Yu and Liu Bang had been attacking Waihuang, but had been unable to subdue it. They had left to go attack Chenliu. But when they heard that Xiang Liang was dead, their officers and soldiers became afraid. So they and the general Lü Chen led their troops back east again, and they shifted King Huai's capital from Xuyi to Pengcheng. Lü Chen camped his army east of Pengcheng, and Xiang Yu had his army west of it, while Liu Bang's army camped at Dang.

〈班《志》,外黃縣屬陳留郡。張晏曰:魏郡有內黃,故曰外。《括地志》曰:故周城卽外黃之地,在雍丘縣之東。〉〈班《志》,陳留縣屬陳留郡。孟康曰:留,鄭邑也,後爲陳所幷,故曰陳留。臣瓚曰:宋亦有留,彭城留是也;留屬陳者稱陳留。《括地志》:陳留,汴州縣,在州東五十里。〉〈班《志》,彭城縣屬楚國。《彭門記》:彭祖,顓頊之玄孫,至商末壽及七百六十七歲,今墓猶存,故邑號彭城。〉

(According to the Book of Han, Waihuang county was part of Chenliu commandary. Zhang Yan remarked, "This county was called Waihuang ('Outer Huang') because in Wei commandary there was another county called Neihuang ('Inner Huang')." The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Zhoucheng was in the region of Waihuang, east of Yongqiu county."

According to the Book of Han, Chenliu county was part of Chenliu commandary. Meng Kang remarked, "Liu had originally been a district of the state of Zheng. It was later annexed by the state of Chen, and was thus renamed to Chenliu." Chen Zan remarked, "There was another Liu within the state of Song; this was the Liu at Pengcheng. So the Liu in Chen was called Chenliu to distinguish it." The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "Chenliu is a county in Bianzhou, fifty li east of the provincial capital."

According to the Book of Han, Pengcheng county was part of the Chu princely fief. The Records of the Peng Clan states, "The Progenitor of the Peng clan was the great-great-grandson of the ancient emperor Zhuanxu. He had exceptional longevity; by the end of the Shang dynasty, he was 766 years old. His tomb still exists, and his district was named Pengcheng ('City of Peng').")


楚懷王都彭城。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

King Huai shifted his capital to Pengcheng.


魏豹下魏二十餘城;楚懷王立豹爲魏王。

39. It was earlier mentioned that Wei Jiu's younger brother Wei Bao had marched back into the Wei region. He subdued more than twenty cities in Wei. King Huai acclaimed Wei Bao as the new King of Wei.

魏王咎之弟豹復收眾自立為魏王。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Wei Jiu's younger brother Wei Bao gathered up his remaining soldiers and declared himself the new King of Wei.

項羽已破秦,降章邯。豹下魏二十餘城,立豹為魏王。豹引精兵從項羽入關。(Records of the Grand Historian 90, Biography of Wei Bao)

By the time Xiang Yu had routed the Qin army and accepted Zhang Han's surrender, Wei Bao had subdued more than twenty cities in the Wei region. King Huai acclaimed Wei Bao as the new King of Wei. He led elite troops to follow Xiang Yu into Guanzhong.

項羽己破秦兵,降章邯,豹下魏二十餘城,立為魏王。豹引精兵從項羽入關。(Book of Han 33, Biography of Wei Bao)

By the time Xiang Yu had routed the Qin army and accepted Zhang Han's surrender, Wei Bao had subdued more than twenty cities in the Wei region. King Huai acclaimed Wei Bao as the new King of Wei. He led elite troops to follow Xiang Yu into Guanzhong.


後九月,楚懷王幷呂臣、項羽軍,自將之;以沛公爲碭郡長,封武安侯,將碭郡兵;封項羽爲長安侯,號爲魯公;呂臣爲司徒,其父呂青爲令尹。

40. In the second ninth month, King Huai assumed direct control of the armies of Lü Chen and Xiang Yu. He appointed Liu Bang as Chief of Dang commandary and Marquis Wu'an and placed him in command of the soldiers of Dang commandary. He appointed Xiang Yu as Marquis Chang'an and Duke of Lu. He appointed Lü Chen as Minister Over The Masses and his father Lü Qing as Prefect-Intendant.

〈文潁曰:卽閏九月。時律曆廢,不知閏,故謂之後九月。如淳曰:時因秦以十月爲歲首,至九月則歲終;後九月卽閏月。師古曰:文說非也。若以律曆廢不知閏者,則當徑謂之十月,不應有後九月。蓋秦之曆法,應置閏者總置於歲末,此意當取《左傳》歸餘於終耳。何以明之?據《漢表》及《史記》,漢未改秦曆之前,迄至高后、文帝,屢書後九月;是知固然,非曆廢也。貢父曰:予謂顏說後九月亦爲未盡。秦知置曆有閏,何故皆以爲九月乎?蓋司馬氏爲《史記》,旣以秦正月稱十月,遂以閏月溥爲後九月。是司馬氏如此敍之,非秦法也。〉〈蘇林曰:長,如郡守也。〉

(The mention of a "second ninth month" naturally deserves some comment. Wen Ying argued, "This was an intercalary month after the normal ninth month. At this time, the calendar system was in disarray and no one knew that this month was an intercalary month, so it was simply called the second ninth month." Ru Chun argued, "It must be remembered that the Qin calendar began each new year in the tenth month, making the ninth month the end of the previous year. So the 'second ninth month' would have been an intercalary month." But Yan Shigu argued, "It cannot be as Wen Ying says. If the calendar system had really been in disarray and no one knew that the month following the ninth month was an intercalary month, surely they would have simply called it the tenth month instead of the second ninth month. It must have been that it was the policy of Qin's calendar system to place any intercalary months at the end of the year, following the same sort of principle mentioned in the Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals whereby excess time is added to the end of the year. How can I be sure of this? Because if we consult the annals of the Book of Han and of the Records of the Grand Historian, we see the same policy being followed during the early Han dynasty. It was only later that the Han dynasty changed the calendar to make the first month the beginning of the new year again, and for the first few reigns of the dynasty, they maintained the tenth month system of the Qin dynasty. And indeed, during those reigns of Empress Dowager Lü and Emperor Wen, we see several other instances of a 'second ninth month' mentioned. So it being called a 'second ninth month' was a deliberate decision, not an oversight." Liang Fu later argued, "I think that Yan Shigu's argument regarding the second ninth month is incomplete. Since the Qin dynasty was adding intercalary months, what reason would they have to call them 'ninth months'? The source of this term must have been the historian Sima Qian when he was recording these events in the Records of the Grand Historian; since the Qin calendar began each year in the tenth month, it must have been Sima Qian's policy to note the intercalary months as the second ninth months. It was a narrative device from Sima Qian, not an aspect of Qin law."

Regarding this instance of the term Chief, Su Lin remarked, "A Chief was similar to the Administrator of a commandary.")


封沛公為武安侯。為碭郡長。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In the sixth month, Xiang Liang appointed Liu Bang as Marquis Wu'an and Chief of Dang commandary.


章邯已破項梁,以爲楚地兵不足憂,乃渡河,北擊趙,大破之;引兵至邯鄲,皆徙其民河內,夷其城郭。張耳與趙王歇走入鉅鹿城,王離圍之。陳餘北收常山兵,得數萬人,軍鉅鹿北;章邯軍鉅鹿南棘原。趙數請救於楚。

41. Now that Zhang Han had routed Xiang Liang, he felt that the remaining Chu forces no longer posed any threat. So he crossed the Yellow River and marched north to attack Zhao. He greatly routed their army, then led his troops as far as their capital at Handan. He relocated all of their people to Henei, and he sacked their cities and towns.

Zhang Er and Zhao Xie fled into the city of Julu, where the Qin general Wang Li besieged them. Chen Yu went north to gather up the soldiers of Changshan commandary, until he had gained an army of several tens of thousands, then camped north of Julu. Zhang Han camped his army south of Julu at Jiyuan.

Zhao sent several requests to Chu, begging them for help.

〈班《志》,鉅鹿縣屬鉅鹿郡。應劭曰:鹿,林之大者。臣瓚曰:山足曰鹿。《括地志》曰:今邢州平鄕城本鉅鹿。宋白曰:《十三州志》:鉅鹿,堯時大麓之地;禹爲大陸之野;秦滅趙,置鉅鹿郡。鉅,亦大稱也。〉

(According to the Book of Han, Julu county was part of Julu commandary. Ying Shao remarked, "The 鹿 in Julu means a great forest." Chen Zan remarked, "It means the foot of a mountain." The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The city of Pingxiang in modern Xingzhou was originally Julu." Song Bai remarked, "The Records of the Thirteen Provinces states, 'During the reign of Emperor Yao, Julu was the region of 大麓 Dalu, and during the reign of Yu the Great, it was the field of 大陸 Dalu. After the state of Qin conquered the state of Zhao, it organized this area as Julu commandary.'" The 鉅 in Julu also means "great acclaim.")


章邯既敗項梁。以楚不足憂。乃北伐趙。大破之。趙王歇保鉅鹿。秦將王離圍之。章邯軍其南。築甬道而輸之粟。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Now that Zhang Han had defeated Xiang Liang, he felt that the remaining Chu forces no longer posed any threat. So he marched north to campaign against Zhao, and greatly routed them. Zhao Xie defended Julu. The Qin general Wang Li besieged the city, while Zhang Han camped his army to the south and built covered roads to maintain the flow of supplies.


高陵君顯在楚,見楚王曰:「宋義論武信君之軍必敗;居數日,軍果敗。兵未戰而先見敗徵,此可謂知兵矣!」王召宋義與計事而大說之,因置以爲上將軍,項羽爲次將,范增爲末將,以救趙。諸別將皆屬宋義,號爲「卿子冠軍」。

42. The envoy from Qi, the Lord of Gaoling, had arrived at Chu. He met King Huai and told him, "Song Yi told me earlier that Lord Wuxin's army would surely be defeated, and several days later it happened just as he said. He must truly know military matters, since he was able to predict this defeat before the battle had even taken place!"

So King Huai summoned Song Yi and discussed plans with him, and was greatly pleased with him. He appointed Song Yi as the Supreme General, Xiang Yu as the Secondary General, and Fan Zeng as the Subordinate General and sent them to rescue Zhao. All other generals were made subordinate to Song Yi, who was called Champion General of the Noble Youths.

〈如淳曰:卿者,大夫之號;子者,子男之爵;冠軍,人之首也。文穎曰:卿子,人相褒尊之稱,猶言公子也;上將,故言冠軍。劉伯莊曰:公之子爲公子,卿子,謂卿之子也。師古曰:冠軍,言其在諸軍之上。〉

(The end of this passage describes Song Yi's title as 卿子冠軍. Ru Chun argued, "卿 was a term for the great ministers of state, while 子 in this sense meant literally 'Viscount' or more generically the nobles of the state. 冠軍 meant the leader of the people." Wen Ying argued, "卿子 was a term that people would use to praise one another, similar to the term 公子, in this case 'Sir'. And 冠軍 meant the supreme commander." Liu Bozhuang argued, "Just as 公子 meant the 子 'sons' of 公 'nobles', 卿子 meant the 子 'sons' of 卿 'chief ministers'." Yan Shigu argued, "冠軍 meant the commander of the other generals.")


楚救趙。以宋義為上將。號曰卿子冠軍。項羽為次將。范增為下將。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Chu sent reinforcements to Zhao. Song Yi was appointed as the Supreme General and was called Champion General of the Noble Youths. Xiang Yu was appointed as the Secondary General, and Fan Zeng as the Subordinate General.


初,楚懷王與諸將約:「先入定關中者王之。」當是時,秦兵強,常乘勝逐北,諸將莫利先入關;獨項羽怨秦之殺項梁,奮願與沛公西入關。懷王諸老將皆曰:「項羽爲人,慓悍猾賊,嘗攻襄城,襄城無遺類,皆阬之;諸所過無不殘滅。且楚數進取,前陳王、項梁皆敗,不如更遣長者,扶義而西,告諭秦父兄。秦父兄苦其主久矣,今誠得長者往,無侵暴,宜可下。項羽不可遣;獨沛公素寬大長者,可遣。」懷王乃不許項羽,而遣沛公西略地,收陳王、項梁散卒以伐秦。

43. Sometime earlier, King Huai had pledged to his generals, "The first person to enter and conquer Guanzhong shall become its King." But during all this time, since the Qin armies had been strong and had often been pressing their victories to push the rebels back north, none of the rebel generals had seen any benefit in being the first to enter Guanzhong. Only Xiang Yu, who hated Qin for having killed Xiang Liang, passionately wanted to march into Guanzhong together with Liu Bang.

But the veteran Chu generals told King Huai, "Xiang Yu is a zealous, bold, crafty, and violent man. When he attacked Xiangcheng, he buried the whole population alive, leaving not a single survivor. He never passes any settlement without cruelly sacking it. Besides, despite earlier attempts to advance and take Guanzhong, both King Chen and Xiang Liang were defeated in the attempt. So you would do best to send some leader who will hold fast to righteousness as they advance west and will argue their case to the elders of the Qin region. The elders of Qin have been sick of their rulers for a long time now, so if some leader presents himself, they will truly submit to him without any resistance. You cannot send Xiang Yu. Only the Duke of Pei (Liu Bang) has long been a grand and magnanimous leader. You should send him."

So King Huai refused to send Xiang Yu west. He sent Liu Bang to march west instead, ordering him to gather up the scattered former soldiers of Chen Sheng and Xiang Liang as he campaigned against Qin.

〈秦地西有隴關,東有函谷關,南有武關,北有臨晉關,西南有散關:秦地居其中,故謂之關中。註已見前。〉〈言莫有以入關爲利者,蓋畏秦也。〉〈【章:乙十一行本「奮」下有「勢」字;孔本同;張校同。】〉〈慓,疾也;悍,勇也;猾,狡也;賊,殘害也。〉〈師古曰:扶,助也,以義自助也。余謂扶義,猶言杖義也。〉

(The Qin region was generally known as Guanzhong, or "the Land Within The Passes". This was because it was enclosed by border passes on five sides: Long Pass to the west, Hangu Pass to the east, Wu Pass to the south, Linjin Pass to the north, and San Pass to the southwest. See the earlier notes on this subject.

This passage was saying that none of the rebel generals saw any benefit to entering Guanzhong. It must have been that they were afraid of Qin.

Some versions add the character 勢 after 奮 in this passage.

The veteran generals described Xiang Yu as being 慓, 悍, 猾, and 賊. 慓 means zealous; 悍 means bold; 猾 means crafty; 賊 means violent and harmful.

The generals advocate a leader who will 扶 righteousness. Yan Shigu remarked, "扶 means assist; that is, they will help themselves through righteousness." But I (Hu Sanxing) say that 扶 means to hold fast to righteousness.)


約諸侯曰。先入咸陽者王之... 遣沛公別西入關。於是灌嬰以中涓從。嬰。洛陽販繒者也。是時曹參數有戰功。封為執帛侯。號建成君。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

King Huai pledged to the feudal lords, "The first person to enter Xianyang shall become its King."

King Huai sent Liu Bang with a different army to march into Guanzhong.

Liu Bang appointed Guan Ying as his retainer. Guan Ying had been a silk merchant in Luoyang.

Since Cao Can had by this time achieved much in battle, he was appointed as Marquis Zhibo and granted the title Lord Jiancheng.


沛公道碭,至陽城與杠里,攻秦壁,破其二軍。

44. Liu Bang set out from Dang and marched to Yangcheng and Gangli. He attacked the Qin ramparts at those places and routed the two garrisons.

〈道碭,自碭取道而西也。此據班《書》書之。「陽城」,《史記》作「成陽」。韋昭《註》曰:在潁川,則是謂陽城也。《索隱》曰:在濟陰,則是謂成陽也。杠里,孟康、虔皆以爲縣名,而班《志》無之。余按沛公之兵自碭而攻秦,道成陽與杠里,而後破東郡尉於成武。成陽縣屬濟陰,成武縣屬山陽。濟陰,唐爲曹州,成武屬焉。若取道潁川之陽城,當自此西趨洛、陝,安得復至成武耶!書成陽爲是。杠里之地,蓋在成陽、成武之間。杠,音江。〉

(Liu Bang "set out" from Dang in that he took up the road from Dang and marched west.

This passage follows the account of the Book of Han in stating that the place that Liu Bang attacked at this time was "Yangcheng". But the Records of the Grand Historian states that it was "Chengyang". Wei Zhao's Annotations states, "The place was in Yingchuan commandary, thus it was called Yangcheng." The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "It was in Jiyin commandary, thus it was called Chengyang." As for Gangli, Meng Kang and Fu Qian both claim that this was the name of a county. But the Book of Han does not list any county by that name. As I (Hu Sanxing) see it, consider the order of events: Liu Bang's troops first set out from Dang to attack Qin, then along the way marched by Chengyang and Gangli, then later routed Qin's Commandant of Dong commandary at Chengwu. Now Chengyang county was part of Jiyin commandary, and Chengwu county was part of Shanyang commandary. During the Tang dynasty, Jiyin was known as Caozhou, and Chengwu was part of it. If Liu Bang had instead marched along a route that put him at Yangcheng in Yingchuan commandary, then by marching west from there he would have ended up at Luoyang and Shan. How could he have somehow doubled back to end up at Chengwu instead? So the accounts that state that Chengyang was the place he went to are the correct ones. And Gangli must have been somewhere in between Chengyang and Chengwu. The first character of Gangli, 杠, is pronounced "jiang".)
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Mon Nov 18, 2019 12:38 am, edited 10 times in total.
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BOOK 8

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Sun Sep 15, 2019 5:21 pm

三年(甲午,前二零七)

The Third Year of the Second Emperor's Reign (The Jiawu Year, 207 BC)


冬,十月,齊將田都畔田榮,助楚救趙。

1. In winter, the tenth month (of 208 BC), the Qi general Tian Du rebelled against Tian Rong and joined the Chu army to assist Zhao.

〈爲項羽封田都張本。〉

(This was why Xiang Yu later appointed Tian Du as King of Qi.)


沛公三年冬十月。齊將田都叛田榮。將兵助楚。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In Liu Bang's third year as Duke of Pei (207 BC), in winter, the tenth month (of 208 BC), the Qi general Tian Du rebelled against Tian Rong and led his troops to help Chu.


沛公攻破東郡尉於成武。

2. Liu Bang attacked and routed Qin's Commandant of Dong commandary at Chengwu.

〈秦滅衞,置東郡。尉,郡尉也。班《志》,成武卽衞楚丘地。《括地志》:今曹州縣。〉

(After Qin had conquered the state of Wey, they had created Dong commandary.

This Commandant was the Commandant of the commandary.

According to the Book of Han, Chengwu was a hilly area between the former states of Wey and Chu. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "It is now a county in modern Caozhou.")


宋義行至安陽,留四十六日不進。項羽曰:「秦圍趙急,宜疾引兵渡河;楚擊其外,趙應其內,破秦軍必矣!」宋義曰:「不然。夫搏牛之蝱,不可以破蟣蝨。今秦攻趙,戰勝則兵疲,我承其敝;不勝,則我引兵鼓行而西,必舉秦矣。故不如先鬬秦、趙。夫被堅執銳,義不如公;坐運籌策,公不如義。」因下令軍中曰:「有猛如虎,狠如羊,貪如狼,強不可使者,皆斬之!」

3. In Zhao, Song Yi advanced to Anyang. But there he remained for forty-six days without advancing any further.

Xiang Yu said to him, "The Qin army has Zhao under heavy siege, and we should be advancing with all haste to lead our troops across the Yellow River. With Chu attacking them from without and Zhao responding from within, the Qin army will surely be smashed!"

But Song Yi replied, "Not so. When scrubbing the back of an ox, one cannot use the same force to brush off horseflies as one does when smashing the eggs of lice. Now the Qin army is currently attacking Zhao. If they succeed in defeating Zhao, they will have become exhausted by the effort, and we can then take advantage of their weakness. And if they do not succeed, then we can immediately beat the drums and march west, and Qin will surely fall. That is why it is best for us to stand by for now and observe the struggle between Qin and Zhao. Sir, I admit that when it comes to holding a battle line or pressing a charge, I am inferior to you. But when it comes to developing long-term strategies, you cannot compare to me."

And Song Yi sent out orders to his army stating, "If any fellow wild as a tiger, crafty as a sheep, or greedy as a wolf tries to go against my orders, have them beheaded!"

〈師古曰:今相州安陽縣。《索隱》曰:《傅寬傳》云「從攻安陽、杠里」,則當俱在河南;師古以爲相州縣,按此兵猶未渡河,不應卽至相州安陽。《後魏書‧地形志》:己氏有安陽城,後改己氏爲楚丘,今宋州楚丘西北四十里有安陽故城是也。〉〈蘇林曰:蝱喻秦,蝨喻章邯等,小大不同勢,欲滅秦當先寬邯等也。如淳曰:言本欲以大力伐秦而不可以救趙也。師古曰:搏,擊也;言以手擊牛之背,可以殺其上蝱而不能破蝨。今將兵力欲滅秦,不可盡力與邯戰,卽未能禽,徒費力也。如說近之。〉〈鼓行者,擊鼓而行,堂堂之陳也。〉〈此併下三語,指項羽也。〉

(Regarding Anyang, Yan Shigu remarked, "This was the same place as Anyang county in modern Xiangzhou." But the Suoyin commentary states, "The Biography of Fu Kuan in the Book of Han states that he 'followed the army to attack Anyang and Gangli'. So this Anyang must have been on the south side of the Yellow River. Yan Shigu thought that it was the same Anyang as the county in Xiangzhou, but according to the main account, the Chu army had not yet crossed the Yellow River, so it could not have been the Anyang in Xiangzhou. The Geographical Records of the Book of Northern Wei states, 'There is a city of Anyang in Jishi', and that 'Jishi was later renamed to Chuqiu'. And there is a city of Anyang forty li northwest of Chuqiu in modern Songzhou. This must have been the Anyang in question."

Regarding Song Yi's expression about lice, Su Lin argued, "By the horseflies, Song Yi meant Qin, while by lice, he meant Zhang Han and the other Qin generals. His idea was that one could not use the same degree of force against both of them. He wanted to conquer Qin, but do so by first showing leniency to Zhang Han and the others." But Ru Chun argued, "Song Yi was saying that he wanted to use his main strength to campaign against Qin, and thus could not rescue Zhao." Yan Shigu argued, "To scrub is to strike. Song Yi was saying that when one scrubs the back of an ox with one's hand, one can kill the upper horseflies but still be unable to destroy the lice underneath. Song Yi wanted to use the full strength at his command for a campaign against Zhao, and did not want to employ his full strength to fight a battle against Zhang Han, since by doing so he would exhaust his strength and his resources with nothing to show for it. Ru Chun was closer to the mark."

To "beat the drums and advance" meant to beat the drums for spurring on the troops and then advance on campaign, displaying an impressive show of force.

Song Yi was naturally referring to Xiang Yu when listing the three beastly qualities of any potential dissenters.)


十有一月。楚師至于河上。項羽謂宋義曰。疾引兵渡河。我擊其外。趙應其內。破秦軍必矣。義曰。不然。今秦攻趙。戰勝則兵罷。我承其弊。不勝。則我鼓行而西。必舉秦矣。故不如鬥秦趙。夫擊輕銳。我不如公。坐運籌策。公不如我。因令軍中曰。猛如虎。很如羊。貪如狼。彊不可令者。皆斬。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In the eleventh month (of 208 BC), the Chu army reached the banks of the Yellow River.

Xiang Yu said to Song Yi, "We should be advancing with all haste to lead our troops across the Yellow River. With us attacking the Qin army from without and Zhao responding from within, the Qin army will surely be smashed!"

But Song Yi replied, "Not so. The Qin army is currently attacking Zhao. If they succeed in defeating Zhao, their troops will have become exhausted by the effort, and we can then take advantage of their weakness. And if they do not succeed, then we can immediately beat the drums and march west, and Qin will surely fall. That is why it is best for us to stand by for now and observe the struggle between Qin and Zhao. Sir, I admit that when it comes to holding a battle line or pressing a charge, I am inferior to you. But when it comes to developing long-term strategies, you cannot compare to me."

And Song Yi sent out orders to his army stating, "If any fellow wild as a tiger, hasty as a sheep, or greedy as a wolf tries to go against my orders, have them beheaded."


乃遣其子宋襄相齊,身送之至無鹽,飲酒高會。天寒,大雨,士卒凍飢。項羽曰:「將勠力而攻秦,久留不行。今歲饑民貧,士卒食半菽,軍無見糧,乃飲酒高會。不引兵渡河,因趙食,與趙幷力攻秦,乃曰『承其敝』。夫以秦之強,攻新造之趙,其勢必舉。趙舉秦強,何敝之承!且國兵新破,王坐不安席,掃境內而專屬於將軍,國家安危,在此一舉。今不恤士卒而徇其私,非社稷之臣也!」

4. Song Yi even sent his son Song Xiang to serve as an envoy to Qi; he accompanied him as far as Wuyan, where he held a great feast with plenty of wine.

Now at this time, the weather had turned cold with heavy rain, and the officers and soldiers of the Chu army were freezing and starving. Xiang Yu said to himself, "We ought to be exerting all our strength to attack Qin, instead of waiting here for so long without moving. This has been a lean year, and the people are poor. The officers and soldiers are forced to eat handfuls of beans without ever seeing a hint of provisions. All this, while Song Yi drinks wine and throws a great feast.

"We ought to be leading our troops across the Yellow River to forage for supplies in the Zhao region, then join with the Zhao army to combine our forces and attack Qin. Yet Song Yi says that we are waiting to 'take advantage of their weakness'. But the Qin army is so strong, and they are attacking a Zhao army that has only just been assembled, so they will surely crush the Zhao army. Qin will enjoy an easy victory over Zhao; what 'weakness' will there be to take advantage of?

"Besides, our own soldiers have recently been routed as well, such that the King cannot sit in peace. He scoured the state for more men and assigned all of them to Song Yi. The safety or danger of the state itself all depends upon this one campaign. Yet rather than reassure the officers and the soldiers, Song Yi indulges his own personal interests instead. He is no fit subject to safeguard the fortunes of state!"

〈班《志》,東平國有無鹽縣。《索隱》曰:在今鄆州之東。〉〈師古曰:高會者,大會也。〉〈菽,豆也。臣瓚曰:士卒食蔬菜,以菽雜半之。〉〈言軍無見在之糧。〉〈徇其私,謂身送其子相齊也。〉

(According to the Book of Han, there was a Wuyan county in the Dongping princely fief. The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "It was in the east of modern Yunzhou."

Song Yi's feast is described as a 高會. Yan Shigu remarked, "This means a grand assembly."

The scanty food that the soldiers ate is listed as 菽s; this means beans. Chen Zan remarked, "The officers and soldiers had scant rations, so they supplemented them with lean beans."

Xiang Yu was saying that the army saw no hint of provisions.

Song Yi was "indulging his personal interests" by personally accompanying his son and sending him to become an envoy to Qi.)


遣其子襄相齊。身送之至無鹽。飲酒高會。羽曰。將軍戮力伐秦。而久留不行。歲飢民貧。卒食半菽。軍無見糧。乃更飲酒高會。不因趙食與并擊秦。乃曰承其弊。夫以秦之彊。攻新造之趙。其勢必舉趙。趙亡而秦益彊。何弊之承。且國兵新破。王寢不安席。埽境內而屬之將軍。國家安危。在此一舉。今不卹士卒而徇私。非社稷之臣也。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Song Yi sent his son Song Xiang to serve as an envoy to Qi; he accompanied him as far as Wuyan, where he held a great feast with plenty of wine.

Xiang Yu said to himself, "The General ought to be exerting all our strength to attack Qin, instead of waiting here for so long without moving. This has been a lean year, and the people are poor. The officers and soldiers are forced to eat handfuls of beans without ever seeing a hint of provisions. All this, while Song Yi drinks wine and throws a great feast.

"We ought to be foraging for supplies in the Zhao region, then joining with the Zhao army to attack Qin. Yet Song Yi says that we are waiting to 'take advantage of their weakness'. But the Qin army is so strong, and they are attacking a Zhao army that has only just been assembled, so they will surely crush the Zhao army. Qin will enjoy an easy victory over Zhao; what 'weakness' will there be to take advantage of?

"Besides, our own soldiers have recently been routed as well, such that the King cannot sleep easy at night. He scoured the state for more men and assigned all of them to Song Yi. The safety or danger of the state itself all depends upon this one campaign. Yet rather than reassure the officers and the soldiers, Song Yi indulges his own personal interests instead. He is no fit subject to safeguard the fortunes of state."


十一月,項羽晨朝上將軍宋義,卽其帳中斬宋義頭。出令軍中曰:「宋義與齊謀反楚,楚王陰令籍誅之!」當是時,諸將皆慴服,莫敢枝梧,皆曰:「首立楚者,將軍家也;今將軍誅亂。」乃相與共立羽爲假上將軍。使人追宋義子,及之齊,殺之。使桓楚報命於懷王。懷王因使羽爲上將軍。

5. In the eleventh month (of 208 BC), Xiang Yu came to make his morning report to Song Yi. But once inside Song Yi’s tent, he cut off Song Yi's head. Then he came outside and sent out an order throughout the army: "Song Yi and Qi were plotting together to turn against Chu! The King of Chu had secretly ordered me to execute Song Yi!"

At that time, the other generals were submissive and afraid, and none dared to hesitate. All of them said, "It was General Xiang's family that led the establishment of Chu. Now the General will quell the chaos." And they acclaimed Xiang Yu as acting Supreme General.

Xiang Yu sent people to pursue Song Yi's son; they caught up with him at Qi and killed him.

Xiang Yu sent Huan Chu to report what had happened to King Huai. King Huai confirmed Xiang Yu as Supreme General.

〈如淳曰:枝梧,猶枝扞也。臣瓚曰:小柱爲枝,邪柱爲梧,今屋極邪柱也。〉〈以未得懷王之命,故且爲假。〉

(This passage states that none of the other generals dared to 枝梧. Ru Chun remarked, "This means to object." Chen Zan remarked, "A small pillar is called a 枝, while the main pillar is called a 梧; this is the same as the main pillar of a residence."

Xiang Yu was acclaimed as "acting" Supreme General because he had not yet received an official appointment to that title from King Huai.)


羽乃晨朝宋義。即入帳中。斬宋義頭以出。令軍中曰。宋義與齊王謀反。王陰令籍誅之。乃使報命於王。王以羽為大將軍。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Xiang Yu came to make his morning report to Song Yi. But once inside Song Yi’s tent, he cut off Song Yi's head. Then he came outside and sent out an order throughout the army: "Song Yi and the King of Qi were plotting rebellion together. The King of Chu had secretly ordered me to execute Song Yi."

Xiang Yu sent a report of what had happened to King Huai. King Huai appointed Xiang Yu as Supreme General.


十二月,沛公引兵至栗,遇剛武侯,奪其軍四千餘人,幷之;與魏將皇欣、武滿軍合攻秦軍,破之。

6. In the twelfth month (of 208 BC), Liu Bang led his troops to Li, where he encountered the Marquis of Gangwu. Liu Bang took over the Marquis's army, more than four thousand strong. Then Liu Bang joined forces with the armies of the Wei generals Huang Xin and Wu Man to attack a Qin army, and they routed it.

〈應劭曰:剛武侯,楚懷王將。《功臣表》:「棘蒲剛侯陳武」,武,一姓柴,宜爲「剛侯武」,魏將也。孟康曰:《功臣表》:「以將軍起薛,至霸上,入漢中」,非懷王將,又非魏將,例未有稱諡者。師古曰:史失其姓名,惟識其爵號,不知誰也。不當改「剛武侯」爲「剛侯武」;應說非也。〉〈皇,姓也。《左傳》,鄭有大夫皇頡。〉

(Regarding this Marquis of Gangwu, Ying Shao argued, "He was a general of King Huai of Chu. The Records of Accomplished Ministers lists a 'Marquis Gang of Jipu, Chen Wu'. This Chen Wu, also surnamed Chai, would thus have been 'the Marquis Gang, Wu', a general of Wei." But Meng Kang argued, "The Records of Accomplished Ministers states of this fellow that 'he rose up as a general at Xue, marched to Bashang, and entered Hanzhong'. So he cannot have been a general either of King Huai or of Wei, nor could he have received a posthumous title." And Yan Shigu argued, "Ths historical records have omitted the surname and given name of this fellow, and all we know of him is his title; we do not know who he actually was. By no means can we parse 'the Marquis of Gangwu' as 'the Marquis Gang, Wu'. Ying Shao is incorrect."

皇 Huang was the surname of this Wei general. The Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals mentions that one of the great ministers of the state of Zheng was named Huang Xie.)


沛公又敗秦軍于栗邑。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Liu Bang also defeated a Qin army at Liyi.


故齊王建孫安下濟北,從項羽救趙。

7. Tian An, a grandson of the former King of Qi, Tian Jian, compelled the Jibei region to submit and then joined Xiang Yu to help rescue Zhao.

〈濟水以北之地,聊城、博陽諸城是也。〉〈爲項羽王田安張本。〉

(Jibei, as the name implies ('north of the Ji River'), was the region north of the Ji River. It was home to such cities as Liaocheng and Boyang.

This was why Xiang Yu later appointed Tian An as King of Jibei.)


章邯築甬道屬河,餉王離。王離兵食多,急攻鉅鹿。鉅鹿城中食盡、兵少,張耳數使人召前陳餘。陳餘度兵少,不敵秦,不敢前。數月,張耳大怒,怨陳餘,使張黶、陳澤往讓陳餘曰:「始吾與公爲刎頸交,今王與耳旦暮且死,而公擁兵數萬,不肯相救,安在其相爲死!苟必信,胡不赴秦軍俱死;且有十一二相全。」陳餘曰:「吾度前終不能救趙,徒盡亡軍。且餘所以不俱死,欲爲趙王、張君報秦。今必俱死,如以肉委餓虎,何益!」張黶、陳澤要以俱死。餘乃使黶、澤將五千人先嘗秦軍,至,皆沒。當是時,齊師、燕師皆來救趙,張敖亦北收代兵,得萬餘人,來,皆壁餘旁,未敢擊秦。

8. Zhang Han built a covered road from the Yellow River to keep Wang Li supplied.

Wang Li had abundant troops and supplies, and he was fiercely assaulting Julu. The food within the city was exhausted, and there were few remaining defenders. Several times, Zhang Er sent agents to urge Chen Yu to march closer to the city. But Chen Yu, believing that his own troops were too few and no match for the Qin armies, did not dare to advance. After several months of Chen Yu's inaction, Zhang Er became furious. He sent Zhang Yan and Chen Ze to reprimand Chen Yu, telling him, "You and I once pledged that we would die together. But now, while the King and I are trapped here and are going to die any day, you stand by with tens of thousands of soldiers and do nothing to come and save us. Is this any way to die together? I assure you, we will all be killed by Qin if we do not unite. But together, at least we might have some chance of saving ourselves."

Chen Yu told them, "I had already determined that I could no longer save Zhao; to fight would merely throw away my entire army. Besides, rather than die here, I ought to live on so that I can avenge the King of Zhao and Lord Zhang. If all of us died here, that would be nothing more than throwing more meat to a ravenous tiger. What good would that do?"

But Zhang Yan and Chen Ze insisted that they wanted to fight to the death. So Chen Yu gave them five thousand soldiers and sent them on ahead to probe the enemy. But they were all lost in battle.

By now, reinforcements from Qi and Yan had arrived to aid Zhao, and Zhang Ao, who had been gathering up soldiers in the Dai region in the north and had gained an army of some ten thousand, had returned as well. But they all camped around Chen Yu's ramparts, and did not dare to attack the Qin armies.

〈恐敵抄其糧運,故夾築垣牆以通餉道。〉〈召前者,召陳餘使前救鉅鹿也。〉〈《史記正義》:澤,音釋。〉〈言十分之中冀有一二分得以勝秦而相保全也。〉〈嘗,試也。〉〈張敖,耳之子也。〉

(Zhang Han was concerned about the prospect of his enemies cutting his supply lines. Thus he built a walled road to ensure that supplies could still travel to the front.

Zhang Er's agents wanted to summon Chen Yu forward to rescue Julu.

According to the Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian, Chen Ze's given name 澤 is pronounced "shi".

The precise expression of desperate hope that Zhang Er uses is 十一二相全. This meant that there might be at least the prospect of 十一二 "one or two chances in ten" to defeat the Qin armies and 相全 "save one another".

The term 嘗 here means "to test or probe".

This Zhang Ao was Zhang Er's son.)


鉅鹿之圍。陳餘以數萬人軍在鉅鹿北。力不能救趙。張耳令張靨陳釋召餘。餘遣靨釋將五千人當秦軍。皆沒。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

During the siege of Julu, Chen Yu had kept his army of tens of thousands of soldiers north of Julu, feeling his strength was not enough to save Zhao. Zhang Er ordered Zhang Yan and Chen Ze to summon Chen Yu. Chen Yu gave them five thousand soldiers and sent them to face the Qin army. But they were all lost in battle.


項羽已殺卿子冠軍,威震楚國,乃遣當陽君、蒲將軍將卒二萬渡河救鉅鹿。戰少利,絕章邯甬道,王離軍乏食。陳餘復請兵。項羽乃悉引兵渡河,皆沈船,破釜、甑,燒廬舍,持三日糧,以示士卒必死,無一還心。於是至則圍王離,與秦軍遇,九戰,大破之;章邯引兵卻。諸侯兵乃敢進擊秦軍,遂殺蘇角,虜王離;涉閒不降,自燒殺。當是時,楚兵冠諸侯;軍救鉅鹿者十餘壁,莫敢縱兵。及楚擊秦,諸侯將從壁上觀。楚戰士無不一當十,呼聲動天地,諸侯軍無不人人惴恐。於是已破秦軍,項羽召見諸侯將;諸侯將入轅門,無不膝行而前,莫敢仰視。項羽由是始爲諸侯上將軍,諸侯皆屬焉。

9. Since Xiang Yu had killed Song Yi, he wielded enough power to dominate the affairs of Chu. So he now sent the Lord of Dangyang and General Pu to lead twenty thousand soldiers across the Yellow River to save Julu. The rebels were able to gain a slight advantage, enough to cut off Zhang Han's canal. Wang Li's army was left weak and hungry.

Chen Yu sent word asking for Chu to send more troops. So Xiang Yu led his entire army across the Yellow River. Once all the soldiers were across, he sank all his boats, smashed all his pots and utensils, and burned all of his lodging gear, keeping only three days' rations. He did this to demonstrate to his officers and soldiers that there could be no turning back, and no one could think of retreat.

Xiang Yu's army then advanced towards Wang Li's siege lines, where they encountered his army. They fought nine battles, and in the end greatly routed the enemy. Zhang Han led his own troops to fall back. Only now did the soldiers of the other states dare to advance and attack Wang Li’s army as well, and they killed Su Jiao and captured Wang Li. She Xian, refusing to surrender, burned himself to death.

At this time, the soldiers of the Chu army surpassed the soldiers of any of the other states. They had marched to save Julu and other strongholds, more than ten in all, none of whom dared to sally forth soldiers themselves. But when the Chu army attacked Wang Li’s army, the generals of the other states all went atop their ramparts to watch the fighting. Every single soldier in the Chu army fought with the strength of ten men, and their cries and shouts shook the heavens and the earth, so that all the soldiers of the other states were terrified of them.

Having routed Wang Li’s army, Xiang Yu summoned the generals of the other states to come see him. They came to him at the carriage gate of his camp; all of them entered by scooting forward on their knees, and none of them dared to look up at him. And from this time on, Xiang Yu became the supreme commander of all the states, and the feudal lords all served as his subordinates.

〈言其戰略有利也。〉〈涉,姓也;閒,名也。〉〈【章:十二行本「將」下有「皆」字;乙十一行本同;孔本同;張校同。】〉〈張晏曰:軍行,以車爲陳,轅相向爲門。師古曰:《周禮》掌舍:王行則設車宮、轅門。杜佑曰:昂車,以其轅表門。〉

(This passage is saying that the initial 20,000 troops were able to achieve some initial successes.

Regarding the fellow who burned himself to death, 涉 She was his surname and 閒 Xian his given name.

Some versions add that "all" of the generals of the other states went up onto the ramparts to watch the Chu army fight.

The gate that the generals came to visit Xiang Yu at was more properly called the 轅 gate. Zhang Yan remarked, "When an army is on the move, it uses its carts to form its defenses, with the 轅 'shafts of the carriages' each forming gates." Yan Shigu remarked, "The Rites of Zhou states regarding residences that 'when the King is traveling, he sets up a carriage palace with a wheel-shafts gate'." Du You remarked, "This was a gate formed by the projecting shafts of a high carriage.")


十有二月。項羽濟河。沈船破釜。燒廬舍。令人持三日糧。至則圍王離。與秦軍遇。九戰九勝。絕甬道。大破秦軍。虜王離。當此時諸侯救鉅鹿者十餘壁。莫敢進。及楚擊秦。諸侯皆從壁上望。楚戰士無不一當十。又羽呼聲動天地。諸侯軍人人莫不怖懼。於是既破秦軍。羽見諸侯上將。入轅門。膝行而前。莫敢仰視羽者。由是為諸侯上將軍。兵皆屬羽焉。於是羽威權遂振四海。初。宋義與項羽將五萬。距秦三將。當王離與羽大戰時。精兵四十萬眾。并章邯軍故也。是時枉矢西流如火。流星蛇行。若有首尾。廣長如一匹布著天。矢星墜至地即石也。枉矢所觸。天下所共伐也。凡枉矢之行。以亂平亂。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In the twelfth month (of 208 BC), Xiang Yu crossed the Yellow River. He sank all his boats, smashed all his pots and utensils, and burned all of his lodging gear, ordering his troops to keep only three days' rations.

Xiang Yu's army then advanced towards Wang Li's siege lines, where they encountered his army. They fought and won nine battles, severed the covered road maintaining Qin's supply lines, and in the end greatly routed the Qin army and captured Wang Li.

At this time, there were more than ten ramparts full of troops from the other feudal lords who had come to save Julu, but none of them had dared to sally forth soldiers themselves. But when the Chu army attacked the Qin army, the generals of the other states all went atop their ramparts to watch the fighting. Every single soldier in the Chu army fought with the strength of ten men, and Xiang Yu's cries and shouts shook the heavens and the earth, so that all the soldiers of the other states were terrified of them.

Having routed the Qin army, Xiang Yu summoned the generals of the other states to come see him. They came to him at the carriage gate of his camp; all of them entered by scooting forward on their knees, and none of them dared to look up at him. And from this time on, Xiang Yu became the supreme commander of all the states, and the feudal lords all served as his subordinates. His power and authority shook the whole realm within the Four Seas.

Now originally, Song Yi and Xiang Yu had commanded no more than fifty thousand soldiers to oppose the three Qin generals, while during the great fighting between Xiang Yu and Wang Li, Wang Li's army numbered four hundred thousand elite troops when combined with Zhang Han's forces as well. But at that time, a 'wild arrow' (a shooting star) flew to the west like fire, and comets shot across the sky in strange patterns, like a head and tail; they were so broad and long that they were like a cloth covering the heavens. The stars fell to the ground as stones, brought down by the wild arrow. This was Heaven's aid against Qin; the wild arrow was fighting chaos with chaos.

Xiang Yu led a campaign against Qin.


於是趙王歇及張耳乃得出鉅鹿城謝諸侯。張耳與陳餘相見,責讓陳餘以不肯救趙;及問張黶、陳澤所在,疑陳餘殺之,數以問餘。餘怒曰:「不意君之望臣深也!豈以臣爲重去將印哉?」乃脫解印綬,推與張耳;張耳亦愕不受。陳餘起如廁。客有說張耳曰:「臣聞『天與不取,反受其咎。』今陳將軍與君印,君不受;反天不祥。急取之!」張耳乃佩其印,收其麾下。而陳餘還,亦望張耳不讓,遂趨出,獨與麾下所善數百人之河上澤中漁獵。趙王歇還信都。

10. Zhao Xie and Zhang Er came out of Julu to thank the armies of the other states for saving them. But when Zhang Er saw Chen Yu, he rebuked and blamed him for refusing to help save Zhao. He asked what had happened to Zhang Yan and Chen Ze; suspecting that Chen Yu had killed them, he kept asking Chen Yu about them.

Chen Yu angrily replied, "Why do you insist on blaming me for everything? Do you think I value this general's seal so much that I won't part with it?" And he ripped off his seal and ribbons and tried to foist them upon Zhang Er, who was startled and refused to take them.

Chen Yu then got up to go to the lavatory. While he was away, one of the guests advised Zhang Er, "I have heard it said, 'He who does not accept Heaven's blessing shall eventually endure its curse'. General Chen has just tried to give you his general's seal, Sir, yet you would not accept it. This is an act of Heaven, and disaster will await you if you refuse it. Take it at once!"

So Zhang Er took the seal and wore it himself, then gathered up Chen Yu's subordinates. Once Chen Yu returned, angry that Zhang Er had refused to stop him from resigning, he departed, taking with him only a few hundred trusted followers to hunt and fish in the marshes along the Yellow River.

Zhao Xie returned to Xindu.

〈望,怨望也,又責望也。《爾雅翼》曰:怨者必望,故以望爲怨,「不意君之望臣深」是也。〉〈重,難也;言豈以去將印爲難也。豈,疑辭。〉〈《索隱》曰:此辭出《國語》。〉〈爲張耳、陳餘相攻殺張本。〉

(The term 望 here means "angry" or "reproachful". The Erya dictionary states, "Someone who is angry must be hopeful, thus hope is expressed as anger, as in the sentence 'why do you insist on blaming me'."

The term 重 here means "hard", in the sense that it would have been hard to part with the general's seal. 豈 is a term expressing suspicion or surprise ("can it be that...").

Regarding the proverb that the guest quoted, the Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "This is taken from the Discourses of the States."

This was why Zhang Er and Chen Yu later fought one another to the death.)


及罷圍。耳責怒餘。餘曰。所以不進死。欲報秦也。今赴秦軍。如以肉餧虎。當何益也。耳又以為餘殺靨釋。餘怒曰。不意君之望臣深也。乃解印綬去。耳取之。遂收其軍。餘與數百人之河上漁獵。初。耳餘為刎頸交。俱隱身為里監門。餘常父事耳。由是有隙。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

After the siege of Julu was lifted, Zhang Er angrily rebuked Chen Yu. Chen Yu told him, "I didn't rush to die here because I wanted to avenge Zhao against Qin. If I had attacked the Qin army now, it would've been nothing more than throwing more meat to a ravenous tiger. What good would that do?"

Zhang Er also believed that Chen Yu had killed Zhang Yan and Chen Ze. Chen Yu angrily replied, "Why do you insist on blaming me for everything?" And he ripped off his seal and ribbons and left. Zhang Er took them and gathered up Chen Yu's army, while Chen Yu took only a few hundred followers to hunt and fish along the Yellow River.

Originally, Zhang Er and Chen Yu had been such good friends that they had sworn to die together, and they had both lived in hiding while working as gate guards. Chen Yu even regarded Zhang Er like a father. But from this time on, there was a grudge between them.


春,二月,沛公北擊昌邑,遇彭越;彭越以其兵從沛公。越,昌邑人,常漁鉅野澤中,爲羣盜。陳勝、項梁之起,澤間少年相聚百餘人,往從彭越曰:「請仲爲長。」越謝曰:「臣不願也。」少年強請,乃許;與期旦日日出會,後期者斬。旦日日出,十餘人後,後者至日中。於是越謝曰:「臣老,諸君強以爲長。今期而多後,不可盡誅,誅最後者一人。」令校長斬之。皆笑曰:「何至於是!請後不敢。」於是越引一人斬之,設壇祭,令徒屬,皆大驚,莫敢仰視。乃略地,收諸侯散卒,得千餘人,遂助沛公攻昌邑。

11. In spring, the second month, Liu Bang marched north and attacked Changyi. Here he encountered Peng Yue, who brought his troops to join Liu Bang.

This Peng Yue was a native of Changyi county. He spent much of his time fishing in the marshes of Juye county, and he led a group of bandits.

When Chen Sheng and Xiang Liang had risen up, about a hundred of the young men of the marshes had come to Peng Yue and told him, "Zhong, please be our leader."

Peng Yue had tried to decline, saying, "I'm not interested."

But the young men had forcefully insisted. So Peng Yue had at last agreed, but he arranged a time for all of them to assemble the following morning, and declared that anyone who arrived late would be beheaded. The next morning, most of the young men had assembled, but more than ten of them were late, and the last of them didn't arrive until noon. Peng Yue had told the youths, "I'm an old man, and it was you gentlemen who pressed me to serve as your leader. How could so many of you have arrived late? But I can't kill all of the latecomers. I'm just going to execute the last one." And he had ordered his sergeant to behead the man.

The young men had laughed and said, "Surely you're not going that far? We swear never to be late again."

But Peng Yue had insisted, and he took the latest man and beheaded him. Then he had raised an altar and ordered his new followers to swear an oath to obey him. They were all shocked, and none of them had dared to raise their eyes.

From then on, Peng Yue had led his bandits throughout the region, gathering up soldiers who had deserted from the armies of the feudal lords. Eventually, he helped Liu Bang to attack Changyi.

〈班《志》,昌邑縣屬山陽郡。《括地志》曰:曹州成武縣東北三十二里有梁丘故城,是也。賢曰:昌邑故城,在兗州金鄕縣西北。〉〈《姓譜》:彭姓,大彭之後。〉〈班《志》:山陽郡鉅野縣有大野澤。鉅野縣,唐屬鄆州。〉〈彭越,字仲。〉〈《索隱》曰:旦日,謂明日之朝日出時也。〉〈校長,一校之長。〉

(According to the Book of Han, Changyi county was part of Shanyang commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Liangqiu was thirty-two li northeast of Chengwu county in Caozhou". This was the same place. Li Xian remarked, "The capital city of Changyi was northwest of Jinxiang county in Yanzhou."

The Registry of Surnames states, "Those with the surname 彭 Peng are the descendants of the rulers of the ancient state of Peng."

According to the Book of Han, there was a Daye Marsh in Juye county in Shanyang commandary. During Tang, Juye county was part of Yunzhou.

Peng Yue's style name was Zhong.

Peng Yue arranged a "dawn meeting". The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "This meant a meeting time the following morning."

The sergeant was the squad leader.)


越者。昌邑人也。初少年相聚百餘人。請越為長。與期會。十餘人後至。越曰。請斬最後至一人。眾皆笑曰。何至如是。越遂斬之。立約束而盟。徒屬皆驚而不敢仰視。(Records of Former Han 2, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Peng Yue was a native of Changyi. Originally, a band of more than a hundred youths had asked Peng Yue to be their leader. Peng Yue arranged a time for them to all meet, but more than ten people were late. Peng Yue said, "Allow me to execute the man who arrived last."

They all laughed and said, "Surely it won't come to that?"

But Peng Yue indeed beheaded the man, and he ordered his new followers to swear an oath to obey him. They were all shocked, and none of them had dared to raise their eyes.


昌邑未下,沛公引兵西過高陽。高陽人酈食其,家貧落魄,爲里監門。沛公麾下騎士適食其里中人,食其見,謂曰:「諸侯將過高陽者數十人,吾問其將皆握齪,好苛禮,自用,不能聽大度之言。吾聞沛公慢而易人,多大略,此眞吾所願從游,莫爲我先。若見沛公,謂曰:『臣里中有酈生,年六十餘,長八尺,人皆謂之狂生。生自謂「我非狂生」。』」騎士曰:「沛公不好儒,諸客冠儒冠來者,沛公輒解其冠,溲溺其中,與人言,常大罵;未可以儒生說也。」酈生曰:「第言之。」騎士從容言,如酈生所誡者。

12. Liu Bang was still unable to subdue Changyi. So instead he led his troops west, and they marched past Gaoyang.

In Gaoyang lived a man named Li Yiji. This Li Yiji came from a poor and humble family, and he worked as a gate director. One of Liu Bang's cavalrymen happened to be Li Yiji's old neighbor, and when Li Yiji now saw him, he said to the man, "I've seen dozens of the generals of the feudal lords pass through Gaoyang before, and from what I heard of them, they were all harsh men, quick to be brash and always in a rush, self-important, and unable to receive long-term advice. But I've heard that this Duke of Pei is a deliberate and adaptable fellow, with many great plans. That is just the sort of man I would wish to follow, but I have had no one to introduce me. If you get a chance, tell him, 'I have a neighbor named Li Yiji, who is about sixty years old and eight chi tall. Everyone says he is wild, but he says of himself, 'I am no madman'."

The cavalryman said, "The Duke of Pei has no fondness for literati. Whenever scholars come to see him, he rips off their scholars' caps and promptly urinates in them. Not to mention, he is often very abrasive when talking to people. I don't think a learned fellow like yourself will have much to say to him."

Li Yiji replied, "Even so, tell him."

Later, when he had a chance to mention it, the cavalryman indeed broached the subject of Li Yiji to Liu Bang.

〈文穎曰:高陽,聚邑名,屬陳留圉縣。臣瓚曰:《陳留傳》:高陽在雍丘西南。《水經註》:睢水首受陳留浚儀浪蕩水,東逕高陽故亭北。〉〈《姓譜》:黃帝之支孫封於酈,後以爲氏。食其,音異基。應劭曰:落魄,志行衰薄之貌。師古曰:落魄,失業無次也。〉〈握齪,急促貌。苛,細也。〉〈《索隱》曰:先,謂先容,言無人爲我作紹介也。〉〈第,但也。〉

(Regarding Gaoyang, Wen Ying remarked, "Gaoyang was the name of a gathering place or town, in Yu county in Chenliu commandary." Chen Zan remarked, "The Records of Chenliu states, 'Gaoyang was southwest of Yongqiu’." The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Sui River receives the waters of the Langdang River in Junyi county in Chenliu commandary, then flows east, passing north of the old Gaoyang Point."

The Registry of Surnames states, "Regarding the surname 酈 Li, one of the descendants of the Yellow Emperor was granted a fief at Li, and his descendants took the name of this fief as their clan name." Li Yiji's given name 食其 is pronounced "yiji".

Li Yiji's family is described as being 落魄. Ying Shao remarked, "This means having the appearance of lowly and meager ambitions and conduct." Yan Shigu remarked, "This means lacking a livelihood or means of support."

Li Yiji describes the other generals as being 握齪; this means a hurried look. And 苛 means slight or minute.

Regarding Li Yiji's use of the term 先 in this passage, the Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "In this instance it means 'to have had someone speak for me'; that is, he meant that no one had previously introduced him."

The term 第 here means "still, even so".)


春二月。沛公過高陽。酈食其為里監門。年六十餘。縣中謂之狂生。乃求見沛公。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In spring, the second month, Liu Bang passed through Gaoyang. A certain Li Yiji, more than sixty years old, lived in Gaoyang as a gate director, and the locals called him a wild man. He asked for a meeting with Liu Bang.


沛公至高陽傳舍,使人召酈生。酈生至,入謁。沛公方倨牀,使兩女子洗足而見酈生。酈生入,則長揖不拜,曰:「足下欲助秦攻諸侯乎,且欲率諸侯破秦也?」沛公罵曰:「豎儒!天下同共苦秦久矣,故諸侯相率而攻秦,何謂助秦攻諸侯乎!」酈生曰:「必聚徒、合義兵誅無道秦,不宜倨見長者!」於是沛公輟洗,起,攝衣,延酈生上坐,謝之。酈生因言六國從橫時。沛公喜,賜酈生食,問曰:「計將安出?」酈生曰:「足下起糾合之衆,收散亂之兵,不滿萬人;欲以徑入強秦,此所謂探虎口者也。夫陳留,天下之衝,四通五達之郊也;今其城中又多積粟。臣善其令,請得使之令下足下;卽不聽,足下引兵攻之,臣爲內應。」於是遣酈生行,沛公引兵隨之,遂下陳留;號酈食其爲廣野君。酈生言其弟商。時商聚少年得四千人,來屬沛公,沛公以爲將,將陳留兵以從。酈生常爲說客,使諸侯。

13. Liu Bang came to a lodging house at Gaoyang and sent someone to fetch Li Yiji to see him. Li Yiji arrived and came inside to pay his respects. He found Liu Bang seated on the edge of a bed, with two girls washing his feet for him. When Li Yiji entered the room, he offered a nominal greeting, but did not show proper obeisance.

Li Yiji said to Liu Bang, "Well now, my good fellow, do you really intend to help the feudal lords to smash Qin? Or are you planning to help Qin to attack the feudal lords?"

Liu Bang spat back, "You rotten pedant! The whole realm has always hated the tyranny of Qin, and that is why the feudal lords have banded together to attack them. How can you suggest that I mean to help Qin against them?"

Li Yiji replied, "Because surely the commander of a host of soldiers leading a righteous uprising against the wickedness of Qin would not receive his elder while plopped on the edge of a bed!"

Liu Bang hastily made the girls stop washing his feet, got up, put his clothing in order, and led Li Yiji to the seat of a guest of honor and apologized to him.

Li Yiji spoke with Liu Bang about the recent histories of the wars between Qin and the Six States, how they had variously allied with some states to fight others only to exchange their friends and foes in later struggles. Liu Bang was glad for the discussion, and gave Li Yiji a meal to eat. He asked him, "What do you propose that I do now?"

Li Yiji replied, "My good fellow, your current army is in truth just a random scattering of deserters from the chaos and other such types, and is not even ten thousand strong. Yet you would lead such an army to fight against the strength of Qin? You might as well be sticking your head straight into the tiger's mouth. But now, consider the city of Chenliu. It is a crossroads of the realm, 'an intersection of four routes and five paths', and it currently has great stores of grain within. I happen to be good friends with the Prefect of Chenliu. Allow me to arrange to have him surrender to you, my friend. And if he does not listen, then you may lead your troops to attack the city, while I support you from within."

Liu Bang thus sent Li Yiji to see the Prefect, while following in his wake with his army. Chenliu soon agreed to surrender. Liu Bang appointed Li Yiji as Lord Guangye.

Li Yiji also mentioned his younger brother, Li Shang. At this time, Li Shang had gathered up an army of four thousand youths. He led them to serve under Liu Bang, who appointed him as a general and placed the garrison of Chenliu under his command.

Li Yiji often served as a host to Liu Bang's guests and as an envoy to the other feudal lords on Liu Bang's behalf.

〈師古曰:傳置之舍,人所止息,前人已去,後人復來,轉相傳也。〉〈樂彥曰:牀邊曰倨。〉〈【章:十二行本無「共字」;乙十一行本同;孔本同。】〉〈《史記正義》曰:攝,斂著也。余謂攝衣,起而持其衣也。〉〈如淳曰:四面往來通之,幷數中央爲五達也。臣瓚曰:四通五達,言無險阻。〉〈令下之令,使也。下,降也。〉

(Yan Shigu remarked, "A lodging house was a residence established on the road where people could stop to rest. Once the first person had left, another would soon arrive to take their place. It thus changed hands regularly."

This passage states that Liu Bang was sitting on a 倨. Yue Yan remarked, "This means the side of a bed."

Some versions do not have Liu Bang state that "all" the realm detested Qin's tyranny.

Liu Bang is described as 攝ing his clothing. The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "This means to gather up clothing." I (Hu Sanxing) reckon that it means to grip the clothing.

Regarding Li Yiji's expression "an intersection of four routes and five paths", Ru Chun remarked, "This means a crossroads of four roads and a central intersection of five paths." Chen Zan remarked, "The expression means an open route with no obstacles."

In the term 令下, the 令 means "to have someone do something" and the 下 means "to submit".)


沛公方踞床。令兩女子洗足。食其長揖不拜。曰足下必欲舉義兵。誅無道秦。不宜距見長者。沛公輟洗謝之。食其進計曰。天下之郡。陳留當衝。四通五達之郊也。又多積粟。臣請使其令下公。即不聽。舉兵攻之。臣為內應。破陳必矣。於是沛公引兵隨而攻之。遂取陳留。號食其為廣野君。食其言弟商以為將軍。時商聚黨數千人。以兵屬焉。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Li Yiji found Liu Bang seated on the edge of a bed, with two girls washing his feet for him. Li Yiji offered a nominal greeting, but did not show proper obeisance. Then he said, "My good fellow, if you really wish to lead a righteous uprising against the wickedness of Qin, you would not receive your elder while plopped on the edge of a bed."

Liu Bang sent away the washers and apologized. Li Yiji then stepped forward and advised Liu Bang, "Of all the commandaries of the realm, Chenliu is the crossroads, 'an intersection of four routes and five paths', and it currently has great stores of grain within. Allow me to arrange to have the Prefect of Chenliu surrender to you. And if he does not listen, then you may lead your troops to attack the city, while I support you from within, and you will surely take the city."

Liu Bang then led his troops and attacked Chenliu, and was able to take it. He appointed Li Yiji as Lord Guangye.

Li Yiji also mentioned his younger brother, Li Shang, was a general. At this time, Li Shang had gathered up an army of several thousand people. He led these troops to serve under Liu Bang.


三月,沛公攻開封,未拔;西與秦將楊熊會戰白馬,又戰曲遇東,大破之。楊熊走之滎陽,二世使使者斬之以徇。

14. In the third month, Liu Bang attacked Kaifeng, but was unable to take it. He marched further west, where he fought the Qin general Yang Xiong at Baima and then again east of Quyu and greatly routed him. Yang Xiong fled to Xingyang, where the Second Emperor sent agents to behead him as an example.

〈班《志》,開封縣屬河南郡。宋白曰:今縣南五十里開封古城,是漢理所。〉〈《後漢志》,河南中牟縣有曲遇聚。蘇林曰:遇,音顒。〉

(According to the Book of Han, Kaifeng county was part of Henan commandary. Song Bai remarked, "The old city of Kaifeng is fifty li south of the current county; it was established by the Han dynasty."

According to the Records of Later Han, there was a Quyu Gathering Place in Zhongmou county in Henan commandary. Su Lin remarked, "The second character of Quyu, 遇, is pronounced 'yong'.")


夏,四月,沛公南攻潁川,屠之。因張良,遂略韓地。時趙別將司馬卬方欲渡河入關,沛公乃北攻平陰,絕河津南,戰洛陽東。軍不利,南出轘轅,張良引兵從沛公;沛公令韓王成留守陽翟,與良俱南。

15. In summer, the fourth month, Liu Bang marched south. He attacked Yingchuan (at Yangdi) and sacked it. Thanks to Zhang Liang, Liu Bang was easily able to pass through the Hann region.

At this time, the Zhao general Sima Ang was just about to cross the Yellow River and enter Hangu Pass. To prevent this, Liu Bang marched north to attack Pingyin, where he seized control of the south side of the fords across the Yellow River.

Liu Bang fought a battle east of Luoyang, but had the worst of the fighting, so he went south through Huanyuan Pass.

Zhang Liang led troops to meet up with Liu Bang. Liu Bang ordered King Cheng of Hann to stay behind and guard Yangdi, while he and Zhang Liang marched south together.

〈潁川郡治陽翟。〉〈文穎曰:河南新鄭南至潁川,皆韓地也。張良家世相韓,故因之。〉〈班《志》,平陰縣屬河南郡。《史記正義》曰:今河陰是。〉〈《後漢志》:河南緱氏縣有轘轅關。臣瓚曰:險道名也,在緱氏縣東南。《索隱》曰:轘轅爲九十二曲,是險道也。〉

(Yingchuan commandary was governed from Yangdi.

Wen Ying remarked, "The area from Xinzheng county in Henan commandary south to Yingchuan commandary had all once been the territory of the state of Hann. Zhang Liang came from an established line of Chancellors of Hann, thus he was able to help Liu Bei march through the region."

According to the Book of Han, Pingyin county was part of Henan commandary. The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "It is now Heyin."

According to the Records of Later Han, there was a Huanyuan Pass in Goushi county in Henan commandary. Chen Zan remarked, "It was so named because of the narrowness of the road through it. It was southeast of Goushi county." The Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "Huanyuan Pass was a narrow road with ninety-two bends in it.")


六月,與南陽守齮戰犨東,破之,略南陽郡;南陽守走保城,守宛。沛公引兵過宛,西;張良諫曰:「沛公雖欲急入關,秦兵尚衆,距險;今不下宛,宛從後擊,強秦在前,此危道也!」於是沛公乃夜引軍從他道還,偃旗幟,遲明,圍宛城三匝。南陽守欲自剄,其舍人陳恢曰:「死未晚也。」乃踰城見沛公曰:「臣聞足下約先入咸陽者王之。今足下留守宛,宛郡縣連城數十,其吏民自以爲降必死,故皆堅守乘城。今足下盡日止攻,士死傷者必多;引兵去宛,宛必隨足下後。足下前則失咸陽之約,後有強宛之患。爲足下計,莫若約降封其守;因使止守,引其甲卒與之西。諸城未下者,聞聲爭開門而待足下,足下通行無所累。」沛公曰:「善!」秋,七月,南陽守齮降,封爲殷侯;封陳恢千戶。

16. In the sixth month, Liu Bang fought Qin's Administrator of Nanyang, Yi, east of Chou and routed him, then passed through Nanyang commandary.

The Administrator of Nanyang fled to hold out at the city of Wan. Liu Bang was going to lead his troops to march west and bypass Wan. But Zhang Liang remonstrated with him, saying, "Duke, I know that you are eager to enter Guanzhong. But the Qin soldiers are still numerous, and they occupy difficult terrain. So if you do not subdue Wan first, then once you march past the city and are occupied with the Qin defenses at the passes, the garrison at Wan will come out and strike you from behind while the soldiers at the passes attack you from the front. You would be placing yourself in grave danger!" So Liu Bang took another road to march back to Wan during the night, with his flags and banners kept low and hidden, and by dawn he had surrounded Wan with three lines.

The Administrator of Nanyang was planning to cut his throat. But his retainer Chen Hui told him, "No need to die so soon."

And Chen Hui climbed over the walls and went to see Liu Bang. He told him, "Good sir, I have heard that you are involved in a pact that whomever is the first to enter Xianyang will become its king. Yet now, here you are lingering at Wan and laying siege to it. But this commandary and its counties have dozens of sturdy cities, and the officials and the people believe that attempting to surrender would mean certain death, so they will passionately defend the cities against you. If you insist on pressing an assault against Wan, it will take you many days, and you will suffer many killed and wounded in the fighting. And if you leave Wan behind and lead your troops away, then the garrison of Wan will follow in your wake. So that if you take the first option, you will surely lose out on your race to be first to Xianyang, while if you take the second, you will leave a powerful enemy in your rear.

"You will find no greater strategy than to offer the city generous terms of surrender, and pledge that any leader who agrees to submit to you shall be granted noble title over their domain. That will cause the city to abandon their defense, and the armored soldiers of the garrison will join you on your march west. And when the remaining defiant cities you approach along the way hear of how generous you were with Wan, they will all surge forward to open their gates and wait for your arrival. Thus you will be able to advance without any difficulty."

Liu Bang replied, "Excellent!"

In autumn, the seventh month, the Administrator of Nanyang, Yi, surrendered to Liu Bang. Liu Bang appointed Yi as Marquis of Yin, and he granted Chen Hui a fief of a thousand households.

〈班《志》,犨縣屬南陽郡。《水經註》:滍水出魯陽縣西,逕犨縣故城北。〉〈宛,南陽郡治所。《括地志》曰:宛故城,在宛大城之南隅,其西南有二面是。師古曰:宛,於元翻。〉〈依險以距敵也。〉〈旗,旂之屬。幟,卽幖也。或曰:旗幟,總稱。〉〈文穎曰:遲,未也,天未明之頃已圍其城矣。師古曰:文說得其大意耳。此言圍城事畢,然後天明。明遲於事,故曰遲明。〉〈【章:十二行本「止」作「上」;乙十一行本同。】〉

(According to the Book of Han, Chou county was part of Nanyang commandary. The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Zhi River has its origin in the west of Luyang county, then flows north of the capital city of Chou county."

Wan was the administrative center of Nanyang commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The capital city of Wan was at the southern edge of the great walls of Wan; its southwest had two sides." Yan Shigu remarked, "宛 is pronounced 'yuan (y-uan)'."

The Qin troops in the passes relied upon the rough local terrain to help resist enemies.

The things that Liu Bang dipped were his 旗幟s. A 旗 is a kind of flag or banner, and a 幟 is also a flag or banner. Some argue, "旗幟 is a combined term, a generic term for flags and banners."

This passage describes the time that Liu Bang returned to Wan as 遲明. Wen Ying argued, "遲 means something that has not yet taken place; that is to say, the day was 遲 'not yet' 明 'bright' before Liu Bang had already besieged the city." But Yan Shigu argued, "Wen Ying has only grasped the general idea of the meaning of this term. The full meaning is that, after Liu Bang had completed his siege lines, only then did the day become bright. The brightness of day had not yet occured, thus the term."

Some versions write the character 止 "stop" as 上 "above" in the sentence about the costs of launching an assault.)


夏六月。沛公攻宛。韓王使張良從南陽太守呂齮保城不下。沛公欲遂西。張良曰。彊秦在前。宛兵在後。此危道也。乃圍宛。宛急。南陽太守呂齮擬自殺。其舍人陳恢。逾城出見沛公曰。宛吏懼死。皆堅守。足下盡力攻之。死傷者必眾。引兵西去。宛必隨之。足下前則失咸陽之約。後有彊宛之患。不如降之。封其守。引其甲卒而西。北城未下者。必開門而待足下矣。沛公曰善。秋七月。封南陽太守齮為殷侯。封陳恢為千戶侯。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In summer, the sixth month, Liu Bang attacked Wan. The King of Hann sent Zhang Liang to join Liu Bang.

The Administrator of Nanyang, Lü Yi, defended Wan and would not submit. Liu Bang was going to lead his troops to march west and bypass Wan. But Zhang Liang said to him, "That would let the garrison at Wan come out and strike you from behind while the soldiers at the passes attack you from the front. You would be placing yourself in grave danger." So Liu Bang besieged Wan instead.

The situation in Wan became so serious that Lü Yi considered killing himself. But his retainer Chen Hui climbed over the walls and came to see Liu Bang. He told Liu Bang, "The officials of Wan are scared to death of you, and that is why they are guarding the city so fiercely. If you insist on pressing an assault against Wan, you will suffer many killed and wounded in the fighting. And if you leave Wan behind and lead your troops to the west, then the garrison of Wan will follow in your wake. So that if you take the first option, you will surely lose out on your race to be first to Xianyang, while if you take the second, you will leave a powerful enemy in your rear.

"You should instead allow the Administrator to surrender and then grant him Wan as his own fief, then led his armored troops to the west. Then the remaining defiant cities will all open their gates and wait for your arrival."

Liu Bang replied, "Excellent."

In autumn, the seventh month, Liu Bang appointed Lü Yi as Marquis of Yin, and he appointed Chen Hui as a marquis with a fief of a thousand households.


引兵西,無不下者。至丹水,高武侯鰓、襄侯王陵降。還攻胡陽,遇番君別將梅鋗,與偕攻析、酈,皆降。所過亡得鹵掠,秦民皆喜。

17. As Liu Bang resumed his march west, every city submitted before him. And when he came to Danshui, the Marquis of Gaowu, Sai, and the Marquis of Xiang, Wang Ling, surrendered to him.

Liu Bang then returned and attacked Huyang, where he was joined by another general of the Lord of Po (Wu Rui), named Mei Xuan. Together they attacked Xi and Li, which both surrendered. Liu Bang's army refrained from plunder or kidnapping in the areas they passed through, and the people of Qin were all pleased with them.

〈班《志》,丹水縣屬弘農郡。《括地志》曰:故丹城,在鄧州內鄕縣西南百二十里,南去丹水二百步。《汲冢紀年》曰:后稷放帝子丹朱於丹水。《輿地志》云:卽秦時丹水縣。〉〈鰓,人名也,史失其姓。韋昭曰:漢封王陵爲安國侯。陵初起兵在南陽,南陽有穰縣,疑「襄」當爲「穰」,而無「禾」,字省耳。臣瓚曰:時韓成封穰侯。江夏有襄,是陵所封也。師古曰:王陵亦非安國者;韋昭改「襄」爲「穰」,蓋亦穿鑿。《索隱》曰:王陵封安國侯,是定天下爲丞相時封耳;此言襄侯,當如臣瓚解,蓋初封江夏之襄也。〉〈《姓譜》:梅本自子姓,殷有梅伯,爲紂所醢。〉〈班《志》,南陽郡有湖陽縣,故廖國。析縣屬弘農郡,本楚之白羽也。酈縣屬南陽郡。師古曰:析,今內鄕縣;酈,今菊潭縣。鋗,呼玄翻。酈,直益翻,又郎益翻。〉〈亡,古毋、無二字通。鹵,與虜同。〉

(According to the Book of Han, Danshui county was part of Hongnong commandary. The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The old city of Dancheng was a hundred and twenty li southwest of Neixiang county in Dengzhou; the Dan River was two hundred paces to its south." The Annals of the Tomb at Ji states, "Houji released the Emperor's son Danzhu into the Dan River." The 輿地志 states, "This was the Danshui county of the Qin dynasty era."

鰓 Sai was the given name of this Marquis of Gaoyang. The histories have omitted his surname.

Regarding Wang Ling's title, Wei Zhao argued, "The Han dynasty later appointed Wang Ling as Marquis of Anguo. He had first risen up with troops at Nanyang commandary, and there is a Rang county in that commandary. I suspect that Wang Ling's title, here listed as Marquis of 襄 Xiang, should thus properly be Marquis of 穰 Rang, and is merely missing the 禾 radical of the latter character due to some clerical error." But Chen Zan argued, "It was Cheng of Hann who held title as Marquis of Rang at this time. There was a Xiang county in Jiangxia commandary; this was the fief which Wang Ling was granted." And Yan Shigu argued, "Wang Ling was never known as Marquis of Anguo, and Wei Zhao's interpretation of Xiang supposedly being Rang is also a stretch. When the Suoyin commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states that 'Wang Ling was appointed as Marquis of Anguo', this was merely a title granted to someone who had settled the realm and was serving as Prime Minister. And as for the title Marquis of Xiang, Chen Zan had the right understanding; Wang Ling must have originally been appointed as Marquis of the Xiang in Jiangxia commandary."

The Registry of Surnames states, "The surname 梅 Mei was originally the surname 自子 Zizi. There was a Mei Bo during the Yin (Shang) dynasty, who was chopped into mincemeat by King Zhou of Shang."

According to the Book of Han, there was a Huyang county in Nanyang commandary, which had anciently been the state of Liao.

Xi county was part of Hongnong commandary, and had originally been Baiyu in the state of Chu. Li county was part of Nanyang commandary. Yan Shigu remarked, "Xi is now Neixiang county, and Li is now Jutan county." Li county is pronounced "zhi (zh-i)" or "li (l-i)".

Mei Xuan's given name 鋗 is pronounced "huan (h-uan)".

The term 亡 here is an ancient way of saying "forbade" or "there was not". And 鹵 means "to capture or kidnap".)


引兵而西。無不下者。軍所過不虜掠。秦民喜。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

As Liu Bang resumed his march west, every city submitted before him. Liu Bang's army refrained from plunder or kidnapping in the areas they passed through, and the people of Qin were all pleased with them.


王離軍旣沒,章邯軍棘原,項羽軍漳南,相持未戰。秦軍數卻,二世使人讓章邯。章邯恐,使長史欣請事;至咸陽,留司馬門三日,趙高不見,有不信之心。長史欣恐,還走其軍,不敢出故道。趙高果使人追之,不及。欣至軍,報曰:「趙高用事於中,下無可爲者。今戰能勝,高必疾妬吾功;不能勝,不免於死。願將軍孰計之!」

18. Since Wang Li's army had been defeated, Zhang Han's army was now camped at Jiyuan. Xiang Yu had marched his army south of the Zhang River. The two sides were now locked in stalemate, without fighting.

Since the Qin army had fallen back several times, the Second Emperor sent agents to reprimand Zhang Han. Afraid for his position, Zhang Han sent his Chief Clerk, Sima Xin, back to the capital to request precise instructions. But when Sima Xin arrived at Xianyang, he was kept waiting at the Marshal's Gate for three days; Zhao Gao refused to see him, and did not trust him. Sima Xin too became afraid, and he fled back to Zhang Han's army. Sima Xin did not even dare to go back along the same route that he had taken to the capital, and indeed, Zhao Gao had sent people to pursue Sima Xin, but they could not catch him. When Sima Xin arrived, he reported to Zhang Han, "Zhao Gao is in charge of everything, and those below him can do nothing. By now, even if you win a victory, Zhao Gao will surely be jealous of your success. And if you do not win, you will not be able to escape death. General, please think of something quickly!"

〈《括地志》:濁漳水一名漳水,今俗名柳河,在邢州平鄕縣南。〉〈師古曰:凡言司馬門者,宮垣之內,兵衞所在,四面皆有司馬主武事;總言之,外門爲司馬門。〉〈孰,古熟字通;後以義推。〉

(The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "The Zhuozhang River flows through the south of Pingxiang county in Xingtai; it is also called the Zhang River, and these days frequentally called the Liu River."

Regarding the "Marshal's Gate", Yan Shigu remarked, "This was a general term for the outer gate of the palace; the palace interior had soldiers and guards stationed all around, and all martial affairs within the complex were under the supervision of the Marshal, thus the name."

Sima Xin uses the term 孰; this is an ancient version of the character 熟 "quickly", which later achieved the same meaning.)


陳餘亦遺章邯書曰:「白起爲秦將,南征鄢郢,北阬馬服,攻城掠地,不可勝計,而竟賜死。蒙恬爲秦將,北逐戎人,開榆中地數千里,竟斬陽周。何者?功多,秦不能盡封,因以法誅之。今將軍爲秦將三歲矣,所亡失以十萬數;而諸侯並起滋益多。彼趙高素諛日久,今事急,亦恐二世誅之,故欲以法誅將軍以塞責,使人更代將軍以脫其禍。夫將軍居外久,多內郤,有功亦誅,無功亦誅。且天之亡秦,無愚智皆知之。今將軍內不能直諫,外爲亡國將,孤特獨立而欲常存,豈不哀哉!將軍何不還兵與諸侯爲從,約共攻秦,分王其地,南面稱孤!此孰與身伏鈇質,妻子爲戮乎?」

19. Chen Yu also sent a letter to Zhang Han, stating, "You should reflect on the fate of Qin generals of the past. Bai Qi was a Qin general. He campaigned against the Chu capitals at Yan and Ying in the south and buried alive the army of Mafu (Zhao Kuo) in the north. He attacked so many cities and plundered so much territory that his victories were beyond counting. Yet in the end he was compelled to commit suicide. Meng Tian, too, was a Qin general. He drove out the barbarians to the north and expanded the dynasty by thousands of li into the Liuzhong region. Yet he was eventually executed at Yangzhou. Why did these great generals fall? Because they were too successful. Qin could no longer reward them properly for their achievements, and so turned the law against them and executed them.

"As for you, General, in the three years that you have been a Qin general, you have lost more than a hundred thousand of your own soldiers, while the armies of the feudal lords have only become greater and greater. Zhao Gao has done little more than flatter your sovereign day after day. So with the situation this urgent for Qin, he will surely fear that the Second Emperor might execute him. Thus he will make the first move by having you executed, General, to shift the blame to someone else and let another man reap the misfortune that he deserves. You have been away from the capital for a long time by now, General, and the courtiers are suspicious of you. Whether you succeed in the field or not, your execution is already certain.

"Besides, Heaven has already decreed that Qin is doomed, and anyone, wise or foolish, can recognize this fact. Within, you will not be able to withstand the criticism of the capital ministers, and without, you will be unable to avert the fall of your state. Isn't it lamentable to think that you are thus caught between two fires, and yet you still believe that you can save yourself?

"Why not bring your soldiers to join the side of the feudal lords instead? You could help them to attack Qin, and in return you might claim a slice of land as your own and become its king, facing south and ruling as a sovereign. Wouldn't that be far better than to wait for the axe and the chopping block and for your wife and children to suffer the same fate?"

〈馬服,謂趙括也。白起事,並見五卷《赧王紀》。〉〈事見上卷《始皇紀》。〉〈何休曰:伏鈇質,要斬之罪。崔浩曰:質,斬人椹也。師古曰:質,謂鍖也。古者斬人,加於鍖上而斫之。〉

("Mafu" refers to Zhao Kuo, whom Bai Qi defeated at the battle of Changping. For the affairs of Bai Qi's life, see Book 5, during the reign of King Nan of Zhou.

For the events of Meng Tian's life, see Book 6, during the reign of the First Emperor of Qin.

He Xiu remarked, "To be 'under the executioner's axe' is to suffer the punishment of decapitation." Cui Hao remarked, "The term 質 in this expression 鈇質 means the block upon which a person is decapitated." Yan Shigu remarked, "It means the chopping block. When the ancients were decapitated, they were first placed upon the block and then chopped.")


陳餘遺章邯書曰。白起為秦將。南拔鄢郢。北坑馬服。攻城略地。不可勝計。卒賜死于杜郵。蒙恬北逐戎人。開榆中之地數千里。竟死于雲陽。何者。功多而秦不能封。因以法誅之。今將軍為將三年。所亡失以十萬數。而諸侯並起。丞相趙高專政日久。今事急。恐二世誅之。必因以法誅將軍以塞責。使人更代以免其禍。將軍居外久。多內隙。有功必死。無功亦死。且夫天亡秦。愚智皆知之。今將軍內不能直諫。外為亡國將。孤立而欲長存。豈不哀哉。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Chen Yu sent a letter to Zhang Han, stating, "Bai Qi was a Qin general. He took the Chu capitals at Yan and Ying in the south and buried alive the army of Mafu (Zhao Kuo) in the north. He attacked so many cities and plundered so much territory that his victories were beyond counting. Yet in the end he was compelled to commit suicide at Duyou. Meng Tian, too, was a Qin general. He drove out the barbarians to the north and expanded the dynasty by thousands of li into the Liuzhong region. Yet he eventually died at Yunyang. Why did these great generals fall? Because they were too successful. Qin could no longer reward them properly for their achievements, and so turned the law against them and executed them.

"As for you, General, in the three years that you have been a Qin general, you have lost more than a hundred thousand of your own soldiers, while the armies of the feudal lords have only become greater and greater. The Prime Minister, Zhao Gao, is grasping more and more power over the government day after day. So with the situation this urgent for Qin, he will surely fear that the Second Emperor might execute him. Thus he will make the first move by having you executed, General, to shift the blame to someone else and let another man reap the misfortune that he deserves. You have been away from the capital for a long time by now, General, and the courtiers are suspicious of you. Whether you succeed in the field or not, your execution is already certain.

"Besides, Heaven has already decreed that Qin is doomed, and anyone, wise or foolish, can recognize this fact. Within, you will not be able to withstand the criticism of the capital ministers, and without, you will be unable to avert the fall of your state. Isn't it lamentable to think that you are thus caught between two fires, and yet you still believe that you can save yourself?"


章邯狐疑,陰使候始成使項羽,欲約。約未成,項羽使蒲將軍日夜引兵渡三戶,軍漳南,與秦軍戰,再破之。項羽悉引兵擊秦軍汙水上,大破之。章邯使人見項羽,欲約。項羽召軍吏謀曰:「糧少,欲聽其約。」軍吏皆曰:「善!」項羽乃與期洹水南殷虛上。已盟,章邯見項羽而流涕,爲言趙高。項羽乃立章邯爲雍王,置楚軍中;使長史欣爲上將軍,將秦軍爲前行。

20. Zhang Han was now indecisive as a fox. He secretly sent one of his scouts, Shi Cheng, to visit Xiang Yu and ask for peace terms. But before any terms could be concluded, Xiang Yu sent General Pu to march all day and all night to lead troops across the river at Sanhu. Once they were south of the Zhang River, they fought Zhang Han's army and routed it again. Xiang Yu then led all his troops to attack the Qin army again on the banks of the Wu River and greatly routed them.

Zhang Han once again sent envoys to see Xiang Yu and ask for peace. Xiang Yu summoned his generals and officials and told them, "Our supplies are running low. I want to agree to peace terms."

They all replied, "Excellent!"

So Xiang Yu arranged for a meeting between the two sides at the ruins of the ancient capital of the Yin dynasty, south of the Huan River.

Once the peace terms were concluded, Zhang Han came to see Xiang Yu and wept, telling him how Zhao Gao now held sole power in the Qin capital. Xiang Yu appointed Zhang Han as King of Yong and assigned him some of the troops of the Chu army, and he appointed Sima Xin as Supreme General and had him lead the remaining Qin troops as the vanguard.

〈狐性多疑,每渡河,聽冰,且聽且渡;故以喻人之懷疑不決者。〉〈鄭氏曰:候,軍候也。始,姓也;成,名也。〉〈服虔曰:三戶,漳水津也。孟康曰:在鄴西三十里。《水經註》曰:漳水東逕三戶峽,爲三戶津。《括地志》:三戶津,在相州滏陽縣界。〉〈《水經註》:汙水出武安山東南,逕汙城北入漳。《郡國志》:鄴縣有汙城。師古曰:汙水在鄴西南。《史記正義》曰:汙水源出懷州河內縣太行山。又云:故邘城在河內縣西北二十七里,古邘國地也。余據此時章邯與項羽相持于邢、相之間,《正義》以爲河內汙水,非也。汙,音于。〉〈應劭曰:洹水在湯陰界。殷虛,故殷都也。臣瓚曰:洹水在今安陽縣北,去朝歌殷都一百五十里,然則此殷虛非朝歌也。《汲冢古文》曰:昔殷盤庚遷於北冢,曰殷虛,南去鄴三十里。是舊殷乎!然則朝歌非盤庚所遷者。《索隱》曰:按《釋例》,洹水出汲郡林慮縣,東北至長樂入清水,是也。《汲冢古文》曰:盤庚自奄遷于北冢,曰殷虛,南去鄴三十里。是殷虛舊地名號北冢也。宋白曰:相州安陽縣,其地卽紂之都。《戰國策》云:紂聚兵百萬,左飲淇水竭,右飲洹水不流。按邑地在淇、洹二水之間,本殷墟;所謂北冢,卽此地。七國時爲魏寧新中邑。《史記》曰:秦昭襄王拔魏寧新中邑,更名安陽。〉

(A fox is naturally very uncertain and indecisive; whenever crossing a river, it always listens to the flow of the river first, and then continues to keep its ears open even as it is crossing the river. Thus "indecisive as a fox" became an expression to refer to anyone who was full of doubts and could not make up their mind.

Zheng Xuan remarked, "By scout, this passage means an army scout. 始 Shi was the surname of this scout, and 成 Cheng his given name."

Fu Qian remarked, "Sanhu was a crossing point over the Zhang River." Meng Kang remarked, "It was thirty li west of Ye." The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Zhang River flows east through the Sanhu Gorge, where the Sanhu Crossing is located." The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "Sanhu Crossing is within Fuyang county in Xiangzhou."

The Commentary on the Water Classic states, "The Wu River emerges from the southeastern side of Mount Wu'an, then flows north of the city of Wucheng and enters the Zhang River." The Records of Commandaries and Fiefs states, "There is a city of Wucheng in Ye county." Yan Shigu remarked, "The Wu River was southwest of Ye." The Zhengyi commentary to the Records of the Grand Historian states, "The Wu River emerges from Mount Taixing in Henei county in Huaizhou." It also states, "The old city of Wucheng was twenty-seven li northwest of Henei county; in ancient times it was the territory of the state of 邘 Wu." As for my (Hu Sanxing's) thoughts, I note that considering that at this time Zhang Han and Xiang Yu were locked in stalemate in the area between the Wu and Xiang Rivers, the Zhengyi commentary cannot be correct in claiming that the Wu River of this passage was the same Wu River as the one in Henei. Wu is pronounced "yu".

Regarding the "ruins of Yin", Ying Shao argued, "The Huan River was within Tangyin county. The ruins of Yin were the old Yin (Shang) capital." But Chen Zan argued, "The Huan River is in the north of modern Anyang county, a hundred and fifty li from the former Yin capital, which was at Chaoge. So the 'ruins of Yin' mentioned in this passage cannot have been Chaoge. And the Ancient Records of the Tomb at Ji states, 'In ancient times, Pangeng of Yin moved the Yin capital to Beizhong, called Yinxu (which could be read as "the ruins of Yin"); it was thirty li north of Ye.’ Surely this was the ancient Yin city that this passage refers to! Besides, Chaoge was not the place that Pangeng moved to." The Suoyin commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals states, "According to the Explanations of the Spring and Autumn Annals, the Huan River emerged in Linlü county in Ji commandary, then flows northeast to Changle, where it enters the Qing River. This was the same Huan River as the one in this passage. The Ancient Records of the Tomb at Ji states, 'Pangeng shifted the capital to Beizhong, called Yinxu; it was thirty li north of Ye.' So Yinxu must have been the original name of the place later called Beizhong." Song Bai remarked, "The capital of King Zhou of Shang was in Anyang county in modern Xiangzhou. The Strategies of the Warring States states, 'King Zhou assembled an army of a million soldiers. On the left side, the army drank the Qi River dry; on the right side, they drank the Huan River so deep that it no longer flowed.' So judging by this story, the region between the Qi and the Huan Rivers would have been the site of the 'ruins of Yin', and the place called Beizhong must've been the same place. During the era of the Warring States, it was in the area of Ningxin in the state of Wei. The Records of the Grand Historian states, 'King Zhaoxiang of Qin captured Wei's region of Ningxin and renamed it to Anyang’.")


章邯狐疑。陰與項羽約。未決... 章邯遂降項羽。盟于殷墟之上。立邯為雍王。置軍中。長史欣為上將。將秦降卒前行。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Zhang Han was indecisive as a fox. He secretly made a peace agreement with Xiang Yu, but it was not yet concluded.

Zhang Han surrendered to Xiang Yu, and they arranged peace terms at the ruins of Yin. Xiang Yu appointed Zhang Han as King of Yong and assigned him some of the troops of the Chu army, and he appointed Sima Xin as Supreme General and had him lead the remaining Qin troops as the vanguard.


瑕丘申陽下河南,引兵從項羽。

21. Shen Yang of Xiaqiu caused Henan to submit, then led troops to join Xiang Yu.

〈服虔曰:瑕丘,縣名;申,姓;陽,名也。班《志》,山陽郡有瑕丘縣。河南,卽漢河南郡地。《姓譜》:四岳之後封於申,周有申伯。《左傳》,齊有申鮮虞,楚有申叔。〉

(The subject of this sentence is 瑕丘申陽. Fu Qian remarked, "瑕丘 Xiaqiu was the name of a county, while 申 Shen was this man's surname and 陽 Yang his given name." According to the Book of Han, there was a Xiaqiu county in Shanyang commandary. The Registry of Surnames states, "A descendant of Siyue was granted a fief at 申 Shen, and during the Zhou dynasty there was a Shen Bo. And the Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals mentions a Shen Xianyu in the state of Qi and a Shen Shu in the state of Chu."

"Henan" was the same region that became Henan commandary during the Han dynasty.)


初,中丞相趙高欲專秦權,恐羣臣不聽,乃先設驗,持鹿獻於二世曰:「馬也。」二世笑曰:「丞相誤邪,謂鹿爲馬?」問左右,或默,或言馬以阿順趙高,或言鹿者。高因陰中諸言鹿者以法。後羣臣皆畏高,莫敢言其過。

22. Sometime earlier, Qin's Prime Minister of the Palace, Zhao Gao, had intended to seize power. But he had been afraid that the other ministers might not go along with his plans, so he wanted to test them first.

Zhao Gao brought a deer into court and presented it to the Second Emperor, declaring, "A horse for Your Majesty."

The Second Emperor smiled and said, "The Prime Minister is surely mistaken, calling a deer a horse?"

Zhao Gao then asked the other ministers what they thought the beast was. Some remained silent; others flattered Zhao Gao by agreeing that it was a horse; still others declared it a deer. Zhao Gao secretly remembered who had called it a deer and had them dealt with by law.

From then on, the remaining ministers were so afraid of Zhao Gao that none of them dared to contradict him.

〈《史記》,李斯旣死,二世拜趙高爲中丞相,蓋以其宦人,得入禁中。〉〈【章:十二行本重「左右」二字;乙十一行本同。】〉

(We had earlier seen Zhao Gao appointed as 丞相 Prime Minister, but this passage lists him as 中丞相 Prime Minister of the Palace. According to the Records of the Grand Historian, it was this latter title that the Second Emperor appointed Zhao Gao to after the death of Li Si. It must have been because Zhao Gao was a eunuch, and so he was in charge of palace affairs.

Some versions repeat the phrase "the other ministers" such that the sentence becomes "Zhao Gao asked the other ministers what they thought. Of the other ministers, some..." etc.)


高前數言「關東盜無能爲也」;及項羽虜王離等,而章邯等軍數敗,上書請益助。自關以東,大抵盡畔秦吏,應諸侯;諸侯咸率其衆西鄕。八月,沛公將數萬攻武關,屠之。高恐二世怒,誅及其身,乃謝病,不朝見。

23. Now all during this time, Zhao Gao had constantly been telling the Second Emperor, "The rebels east of the passes cannot achieve anything." Yet at the same time, Xiang Yu had captured Wang Li and other Qin generals and Zhang Han, reeling from several defeats, had been sending back letters urging more reinforcements. In fact, all of the Qin officials in the whole region east of Hangu Pass had been purged, and those regions had risen in support of the feudal lords. By now, the armies of the other states were all leading their forces west. And in the eighth month, Liu Bang led several thousand soldiers to attack Wu Pass, which he took and sacked.

Zhao Gao was thus afraid that the Second Emperor would be so angry at the advance of the rebels that he would execute even him. So he no longer attended court, pleading illness.

八月。沛公攻武關。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

In the eighth month, Liu Bang attacked Wu Pass.


二世夢白虎齧其左驂馬,殺之,心不樂,怪問占夢。卜曰:「涇水爲祟。」二世乃齋於望夷宮,及弟趙成謀曰:「上不聽諫;今事急,欲歸禍於吾。欲易置上,更立子嬰。子嬰仁儉,百姓皆載其言。」乃使郎中令爲內應,詐爲有大賊,令樂召吏發卒追,劫樂母置高舍。遣樂將吏卒千餘人至望夷宮殿門,縛衞令僕射,曰:「賊入此,何不止?」衞令曰:「周廬設卒甚謹,安得賊,敢入宮!」樂遂斬衞令,直將吏入,行射郎、宦者。郎、宦者大驚,或走,或格;格者輒死,死者數十人。郎中令與樂俱入,射上幄坐幃。二世怒,召左右;左右皆惶擾不鬬。旁有宦者一人侍,不敢去。二世入內,謂曰:「公何不早告我,乃至於此!」宦者曰:「臣不敢言,故得全;使臣早言,皆已誅,安得至今!」閻樂前卽二世,數曰:「足下驕恣,誅殺無道,天下共畔足下;足下其自爲計!」二世曰:「丞相可得見否?」樂曰:「不可!」二世曰:「吾願得一郡爲王。」弗許。又曰:「願爲萬戶侯。」弗許。曰:「願與妻子爲黔首,比諸公子。」閻樂曰:「臣受命於丞相,爲天下誅足下;足下雖多言,臣不敢報!」麾其兵進。二世自殺。閻樂歸報趙高。趙高乃悉召諸大臣、公子,告以誅二世之狀,曰:「秦故王國;始皇君天下,故稱帝。今六國復自立,秦地益小,乃以空名爲帝,不可;宜如故,便。」乃立子嬰爲秦王。以黔首葬二世杜南宜春苑中。

24. The Second Emperor dreamed that a white tiger bit the left horse of his carriage and killed it. He was disturbed by the dream, so he asked a diviner to explain what it meant. The diviner told him, "You are being haunted by the spirit of the Jing River." The Second Emperor thus went to spend some time at the Wangyi Palace, where he hoped to pray to the spirit of the Jing River and drown four white horses in it as a sacrifice.

The Second Emperor sent agents to reprimand Zhao Gao for failing to deal with the rebels. Zhao Gao was afraid for his life. So he plotted with the Prefect of Xianyang, his son-in-law Yan Yue, and his younger brother Zhao Cheng. He told them, "Our sovereign does not listen to criticism, and now the situation is most urgent. I am afraid that even I will be caught up in disaster. Thus I want to change our ruler, and support Ziying to be our sovereign instead. Ziying is benevolent and frugal, and the people will all heed his words."

Zhao Gao arranged for the Prefect of the Household Gentlemen to support the coup from within the palace. Then he pretended that a great host of bandits had just appeared nearby, and he ordered Yan Yue to summon all the officials to go out and pursue them, while forcing Yan Yue's mother to stay in his own residence. He had Yan Yue lead the officials and soldiers, more than a thousand people, to march to the gates of Wangyi Palace. There they tied up the Prefect-Supervisor of the Guards and demanded of him, "Why didn't you stop the bandits from getting in?"

The Prefect-Supervisor protested, "Barracks are placed all around the walls of the palace; how then could bandits ever dare to get inside?"

But Yan Yue cut off his head.

Yan Yue then led the officials straight into the palace, driving off the cadets and the eunuchs before them. The cadets and eunuchs were astonished at this display; some ran, while dozens of others were cut down while trying to stop the invaders.

The Prefect of the Palace Gentlemen joined Yan Yue, and they rushed further inside and shot arrows at the canopy surrounding the audience seat. The Second Emperor, furious, ordered his attendants to protect him. But they were all too afraid to move to help him. Only one eunuch stood by his side, not daring to leave him. The two of them fled further within, where the First Emperor demanded of the sole remaining eunuch, "Why didn't you ever warn me earlier? How did things come to this?"

The eunuch told him, "It's because I never dared to say anything before now that I am still alive today. If I ever had said something, you would have executed me, and I wouldn't be here now!"

Yan Yue stood before the Second Emperor and denounced him, saying, "You were an arrogant and conceited fellow, and you killed and executed people and acted without principle. The whole realm wishes to destroy you. How do you intend to take responsibility?"

The Second Emperor said, "Can I not see the Prime Minister?"

"Impossible!" declared Yan Yue.

The Second Emperor said, "I am willing to be merely the king of a single commandary."

But Yan Yue refused.

The Second Emperor said, "I shall be no more than a marquis of ten thousand households."

But Yan Yue refused.

The Second Emperor begged, "At least allow me and my wife to live like commoners. We shall be no greater than the other princes."

Yan Yue said, "I have an order from the Prime Minister to kill you on behalf of the realm! You may beg all you like, but I dare not respond to your pleas!" And he ordered his troops to advance. The Second Emperor killed himself.

Yan Yue went back and reported what had happened to Zhao Gao.

Zhao Gao then summoned all the great ministers and the princes and told them the circumstances of the Second Emperor's execution. He continued, "Qin was originally just a kingdom like the other states. It was only after the First Emperor presided over all the realm that he assumed the title of Emperor. But by now, the other Six States have already risen up and established themselves again, and the territory that Qin actually controls is small. To call our new sovereign Emperor would now merely be an empty title. Let him be a King, as before." So they acclaimed Ying Ziying as the King of Qin.

The Second Emperor was buried at Yichun Park in Dunan, with the rites fit for a commoner.

〈以馬駕車夾轅曰服,兩旁曰驂。〉〈《周禮》:春官之屬有占夢,掌其歲時,觀天地之會,辨陰陽之氣,以日、月、星、辰占六夢之吉凶:一曰正夢,二曰噩夢,三曰思夢,四曰寤夢,五曰喜夢,六曰懼夢。〉〈祟,人禍也,鬼厲也。〉〈張晏曰:望夷宮在長陵西北,長平觀道東故亭處是也;臨涇水作之,以望北夷。《括地志》曰:在雍州咸陽縣東南八里。〉欲祠涇水,沈四白馬。使使責讓高以盜賊事。高懼,乃陰與其壻咸陽令閻樂〈《姓譜》:太伯曾孫仲奕封於閻鄕。又曰:唐叔虞之後,晉成公子懿食采於閻。《左傳》,齊有閻職,晉有閻嘉。〉〈衞尉掌宮門屯兵,其屬有衞士令。秦官自侍中、尚書、博士、郎及軍屯吏騶、永巷皆有僕射,取其領事之號。〉〈胡廣曰:周廬者,衞士於周垣內爲區廬。師古曰:區廬者,今之仗宿屋。薛綜曰:士傅宮外,內爲廬舍,晝則巡行非常,夜則警備不虞。〉〈郎屬郎中令,宦者屬少府。〉〈《三禮圖》曰:上下四旁悉周曰幄。幃,單帳也。〉〈【章:十二行本「宜」下有「爲王」二字;乙十一行本同;孔本同。】〉〈宜春苑在杜縣南,漢起宜春觀於此地。〉

(The harness for a carriage horse is called a 服, and one for two horses side by side is called a 驂.

Regarding the divination of dreams, the Rites of Zhou states, "Among the subordinates of the Spring Minister was the Diviner of Dreams. This person would supervise the years and seasons, observe the alignments of the heavens and the earth, analyze the ethers of nature, and interpret the good or ill omens of the six types of dreams, according to the Sun, the Moon, the stars, and the celestial bodies. The six types of dreams were rectifying dreams, shocking dreams, contemplative dreams, revelatory dreams, pleasant dreams, and fearful dreams."

Haunting is a misfortune caused by harsh spirits or beings.

Regarding Wangyi Palace, Zhang Yan remarked, "This palace was northwest of Changle, at the same site as the old pavilion east of the Changping Viewing Road. It was named Wangyi ('Watching the Barbarians') because it was built along the Jing River in order to watch the northern tribes." The Comprehensive Gazetteer states, "It was eight li southeast of Xianyang county in Yongzhou."

Regarding the surname 閻 Yan, the Registry of Surnames states, "Taibo's great-grandson Zhongyi was granted his fief at Yan District." It also states, "Among the descendants of Shuyu of Tang, Duke Cheng of Jin's son Yi was granted his fief at Yan." The Zuo Commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals mentions a Yan Zhi in Qi and a Yan Jia in Jin.

The Commandant of the Guards was in charge of the soldiers stationed within the palace, and among this office's subordinates was the Prefect of the Guards. And during the Qin dynasty, there were many bureaus which were overseen by Supervisors, from the Palace Attendants Masters of Writing, Academicians, Palace Gentlemen, and even the palace troops. Thus the combined title of this fellow, the Prefect-Supervisor.

The Prefect-Supervisor mentioned that many guards are placed all around the 周廬s. Hu Guang remarked, "This term refers to the small huts that the guards set up all around the palace walls." Yan Shigu remarked, "This term refers to what we would now call 'barracks'." Xue Zong remarked, "The palace guards would alternate between patrolling outside the palace and residing in these barracks. Thus during the day they could guard against anything unusual, while during the night they could remain on alert without worrying."

The Palace Gentlemen, or the "cadets", were subordinate to the Prefect of the Palace Gentlemen, while the eunuchs were subordinate to the Privy Treasurer.

The Charts of the Three Rites states, "Something surrounded by curtains on all sides is called a canopy." And a bed-curtain is a simple version of this.

Some versions have Zhao Gao specify that they should acclaim Ziying "as King".

Yichun Park was in the south of Du county. This was the same place where the Han dynasty later established the Yichun Overlook.)


趙高殺二世以請和。求分王關中。沛公不聽。高乃立二世兄之子嬰為王。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Zhao Gao killed the Second Emperor and asked for peace, offering to split up Guanzhong and let Liu Bang rule part of it as King. But Liu Bang refused. So Zhao Gao supported the Second Emperor's nephew, Ying Ziying, as King.


九月,趙高令子嬰齋戒,當廟見,受玉璽;齋五日。子嬰與其子二人謀曰:「丞相高殺二世望夷宮,恐羣臣誅之,乃詐以義立我。我聞趙高乃與楚約,滅秦宗室而分王關中。今使我齋、見廟,此欲因廟中殺我。我稱病不行,丞相必自來;來則殺之。」高使人請子嬰數輩,子嬰不行。高果自往,曰:「宗廟重事,王柰何不行?」子嬰遂刺殺高於齋宮,三族高家以徇。

25. In the ninth month, Zhao Gao ordered Ying Ziying to fast and to visit the Ancestral Temple, where he would receive the Imperial Seal; he was ordered to fast for five days.

But Ying Ziying plotted with his son, saying, "The Prime Minister, Zhao Gao, killed the Second Emperor at Wangyi Palace. Then, fearing that the other ministers would execute him, he feigned a righteous motive in order to elevate me to the throne. But I have heard that the Prime Minister has already arranged a peace agreement with Chu, and he plans to wipe out our royal family and rule Guanzhong himself as its king. Now he bids me fast and to visit the Ancestral Temple. He must plan to kill me when I go there. So I will claim to be sick and not go out. The Prime Minister will be obliged to come to me, and then I can kill him."

Zhao Gao sent agents several times to ask Ying Ziying to come, but he would not go out. So Zhao Gao indeed came to visit Ying Ziying, saying, "Visiting the Ancestral Temple is an important affair. King, why will you not go?"

Ying Ziying then stabbed and killed Zhao Gao in the fasting house.

Ying Ziying had Zhao Gao's family purged to the third degree to serve as an example.

〈【章:十二行本無「戒」字;乙十一行本同。】〉〈玉璽,卽以卞和玉所刻傳國璽。〉〈【章:十二行本「詐」作「詳」;孔本同。乙十一行本作「佯」。張校作「徉」。】〉

(Some versions omit the character 戒 in the term 齋戒 "fasting".

The Imperial Seal was the jade seal carved from the Jade of Bian He, also called the Seal of Transmitting The State.

Where this passage states that Zhao Gao 詐 "feigned", other versions variously write it as 詳 "meticulously", 佯 "pretended", or 徉 "vacillated".)


嬰立。誅滅趙高。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

After becoming King, Ying Ziying executed Zhao Gao.


遣將兵距嶢關,沛公欲擊之。張良曰:「秦兵尚強,未可輕。願先遣人益張旗幟於山上爲疑兵,使酈食其、陸賈往說秦將,啗以利。」秦將果欲連和;沛公欲許之。張良曰:「此獨其將欲叛,恐其士卒不從;不如因其懈怠擊之。」沛公引兵繞嶢關,踰蕢山,擊秦軍,大破之藍田南。遂至藍田,又戰其北,秦兵大敗。

26. Ying Ziying sent his generals and soldiers to reinforce the Qin defenses at Yao Pass.

Liu Bang wanted to attack the pass. But Zhang Liang told him, "The Qin soldiers are quite strong now, and you cannot take them lightly. I advise you to first send out some people to raise and spread more flags and banners atop the hills as false soldiers. At the same time, you should send Li Yiji and Lu Jia ahead to persuade the Qin generals and whet their appetites."

The Qin generals indeed wanted to come to an understanding with Liu Bang. Liu Bang was going to agree to their terms at once. But Zhang Liang now advised him, "It is only the generals themselves who want to switch sides. I fear their officers and soldiers will not go along with them. You should take advantage of the generals' complacency and attack them now."

So Liu Bang led his troops to circle around Yao Pass and climb up Mount Kui. Then they attacked the Qin army, and greatly routed them south of Lantian. Liu Bang advanced to Lantian and fought another battle north of it, and the Qin army was once again greatly defeated.

〈應劭曰:嶢山之關。李奇曰:在上洛北,藍田南,武關之西。《土地記》:嶢關,地名;嶢柳道通荊州。《晉‧地道記》曰:嶢關當上洛西北。〉〈師古曰:啗者,本爲食啗耳;以食餧人,令其啗食。今言以利誘之,取食爲譬。〉〈宋敏求《長安志》曰:嶢關卽藍田關,在縣東南九十里。蕢山在縣東南二十五里。蕢,鄭氏音匱;師古從蘇林音蒯。〉

(Regarding Yao Pass, Ying Shao remarked, "This pass was at Mount Yao." Li Qi remarked, "Yao Pass was north of Shangluo, south of Lantian, and west of Wu Pass." The Records of Lands and Regions states, "Yao Pass was the name of a place; Yaoliu passed through to Jingzhou." The Geographical Records of the Book of Jin states, "Yao Pass was northwest of Shangluo."

Zhang Liang uses the expression 啗利. Yan Shigu remarked, "To 啗 originally meant simply to feed; one presents the food to someone and bids them consume it. It has since become an expression for enticing someone by appealing to their interests, using food as an example."

Song Minqiu's Records of Chang'an states, "Yao Pass was the same place as Lantian Pass; it was ninety li southeast of Lantian county. Mount Kui was twenty-five li southeast of the county." Regarding the name of this mountain, 蕢, Zheng Xuan states that it is pronounced "gui", while Yan Shigu agrees with Su Lin in pronouncing it as "kuai".)


遣兵距嶢關。張良曰。秦兵尚彊。未可輕也。願益張旗幟諸山上為疑兵。令酈食其持重寶以啗秦將。秦將果欲連和俱西。沛公欲聽之。良曰。今獨其將欲叛。士卒恐不從。從必危。不如因其懈而擊之。乃擊秦軍。大破之。遂至藍田。(Records of Former Han 1, Annals of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang))

Ying Ziying sent soldiers to oppose Liu Bang at Yao Pass.

Zhang Liang told Liu Bang, "The Qin soldiers are quite strong now, and you cannot take them lightly. I advise you to first send out some people to raise and spread more flags and banners atop the hills as false soldiers. At the same time, you should send Li Yiji bearing valuable treasures to whet the appetites of the Qin generals."

The Qin generals indeed wanted to come to an understanding with Liu Bang and march wes together with him. Liu Bang was going to agree to their terms. But Zhang Liang now advised him, "It is only the generals themselves who want to switch sides. I fear their officers and soldiers will not go along with them, so to agree to their plan would only endanger us. Better for you to take advantage of the generals' complacency and attack them now."

So Liu Bang attacked the Qin army and greatly routed them, then marched to Lantian.
Last edited by Taishi Ci 2.0 on Wed Oct 16, 2019 2:32 am, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: Zizhi Tongjian: The Han Dynasty (In Progress)

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:53 pm

Dude, this is awesome. Thank you for translating from the non-3K sections of ZZTJ.
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Re: Zizhi Tongjian: The Han Dynasty (In Progress)

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Sun Sep 15, 2019 9:42 pm

Just finished reading the whole damn thing, I look forward to the rest of the translation. I have to say your dedication to translating the ZZTJ is inspiring. Keep up the good work.
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Re: Zizhi Tongjian: The Han Dynasty (In Progress)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Sep 16, 2019 8:39 am

Amazing! I'm very excited for this! :D
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Re: Zizhi Tongjian: The Han Dynasty (In Progress)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Sep 16, 2019 12:02 pm

Fantastic Jordan, you have really helped flesh out the community knowledge with works like this
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Re: Zizhi Tongjian: The Han Dynasty (In Progress)

Unread postby Taishi Ci 2.0 » Wed Sep 18, 2019 3:51 pm

I'm not Jordan though...
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Re: Zizhi Tongjian: The Han Dynasty (In Progress)

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Wed Sep 18, 2019 5:20 pm

You are now! :lol:
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