The Family Slave

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The Family Slave

Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:39 am

I only realized the complex relationship between Yuan Shu and Yuan Shao today, while reading a book on "Family and Clan in the Han to Jin Dynasties" (thanks, Starscream!) which contains an explanation of why Yuan Shu referred to Yuan Shao as the "family slave".

So I started digging around for more information. Here's what I could find, plus some questions.

- Yuan Shao/Shu's grandfather, Yuan Tang, had four sons: Yuan Ping, Yuan Cheng, Yuan Feng, and Yuan Wei.

- Yuan Shu's father is Yuan Feng.

- Who is Yuan Shao's father? HHS says that he is Yuan Cheng's son (HHS: 74 (64)), and Yuan Shu's older cousin (HHS: 75 (65)). Wei Shu as quoted by Pei Songzhi in Yuan Shao's SGZ bio claims that he is Yuan Feng's son, and Yuan Shu's half-brother, but adopted by Yuan Cheng.

However, Records of Heroes (Yingxiong Ji) (as noted by Pei in Yuan Shao's SGZ bio) says that "Soon after Yuan Shao was born, his father died. The two dukes doted on him. He was made a courtier at a young age [...] Then his mother died. After observing the mourning period for her, he observed the mourning period for his father belatedly."

From this, Pei concluded that Yuan Shao's father seemed to be Yuan Cheng (Yuan Cheng is noted elsewhere to have died young. If Yuan Shao was born of Yuan Feng, the "father" referred to in Yingxiong Ji can only refer to the foster father, Yuan Cheng. Pei said that it wasn't customary for people to observe mourning belatedly for a foster parent).

- Yuan Shao's mother must have been a handmaid of sorts instead of a proper wife or concubine (1). History of Wei referred to him as Feng's 庶子, which means a son not born of one's main wife. Gongsun Zan's petition to declare war on Yuan Shao lists this as Yuan Shao's "Transgression the Ninth": "As dictated by the Spring and Autumn Annals, the status of a son is dependent on the status of his mother. Yuan Shao's mother was a serving woman, and thus Shao himself should be lowly as well. Yet he assumes a high rank and enjoys benefits from the state." If Gongsun Zan's own mother was of a low status (HHS: 73 (63)), and yet he would go pick on Yuan Shao for the status of his mother, Yuan Shao's mother must have been really lowly in the household. That's why Yuan Shu would go around calling Yuan Shao the "family slave" (HHS: 75 (65)).

- In fact, Yuan Shu wrote repeatedly to Gongsun Zan telling him that Yuan Shao wasn't even of the Yuan bloodline (SGZ: Gongsun Zan's bio; HHS: 75 (65)).

- Yuan Shao made his older cousin, Yuan Yi, Inspector of Yangzhou, but Yuan Shu went and destroyed Yuan Yi and took his state. Who is Yuan Yi's father? (I guess the Yuan brothers really had no qualms about fighting each other...)

- Gongsun Zan's petition lists as Yuan Shao's tenth transgression that "Yuan Shao made Zhou Ang steal Sun Jian's rank and cut off Sun Jian's supplies, thus hindering Sun Jian from entering [Luoyang] and destroying Dong Zhuo." Sure, Gongsun Zan was in cahoots with Yuan Shu, so there's no way he'd blame the Sun Jian incident on Yuan Shu. But Zhou Ang? Isn't this too much of a stretch?

- Sun Jian defeated and killed Zhang Zi, Governor of Nanyang. And yet Yuan Shu was the one who took Nanyang, and then recommended Sun Jian to Yuzhou. Why?

- Yuan Shu was recommended to the post of Governor of Nanyang by Liu Biao. What caused them to turn on each other? Was it just because Liu Biao eventually allied with Yuan Shao?

- Yuan Shao had Zhou Xin invade Yuzhou because Sun Jian wasn't back from attacking Dong Zhuo. This pissed Yuan Shu off, so he attacked Zhou Xin and chased him off. Why would Yuan Shu be pissed off? Assuming that he had already turned on Sun Jian by denying him provisions, why would he still get upset because Sun Jian's territory was being attacked?

---
(1) Yan, Aimin. 2005. Han-Jin Jiazu Yanjiu (Studies on Family and Clan of the Han and Jin). Shanghai People's Publishing House: Shanghai.
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Re: The Family Slave

Unread postby Xiahou Mao » Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:19 am

Lady Wu wrote:- Gongsun Zan's petition lists as Yuan Shao's tenth transgression that "Yuan Shao made Zhou Ang steal Sun Jian's rank and cut off Sun Jian's supplies, thus hindering Sun Jian from entering [Luoyang] and destroying Dong Zhuo." Sure, Gongsun Zan was in cahoots with Yuan Shu, so there's no way he'd blame the Sun Jian incident on Yuan Shu. But Zhou Ang? Isn't this too much of a stretch?

- Yuan Shao had Zhou Xin invade Yuzhou because Sun Jian wasn't back from attacking Dong Zhuo. This pissed Yuan Shu off, so he attacked Zhou Xin and chased him off. Why would Yuan Shu be pissed off? Assuming that he had already turned on Sun Jian by denying him provisions, why would he still get upset because Sun Jian's territory was being attacked?


I can answer these two. You're getting the "Yuan Shu denies supplies" situation mixed up with the novel. In the novel, Yuan Shu denies Sun Jian supplies to cause his defeat at Si Shui Gate. Historically, Yuan Shu denies Sun Jian supplies briefly when Sun Jian has success against Dong Zhuo, fearing Sun Jian is becoming too powerful and ambitious. Sun Jian heard of that and rode back to speak to Yuan Shu personally, assauging his worries and mending relations right away. So it was a much more minor incident that barely slowed Sun Jian's progress.

Yuan Shao was also worried about Sun Jian's progress on behalf of Yuan Shu, so he appointed Zhou Ang the Inspector of Yuzhou and tasked him with harassing Yuan Shu and Sun Jian. The attacks of Zhou Ang on Yuan Shu's supply train forced Sun Jian to retreat and deal with him. That's what Gongsun Zan is referring to in his tenth transgression. Furthermore, in the resulting battle between Sun Jian and Zhou Ang, Gongsun Yue who was helping Sun Jian was killed.

For your second point above, though it was Zhou Ang and not his brother Zhou Xin that was tasked to attack, Sun Jian's forces at that point were Yuan Shu's forces. Sun Jian didn't have his own 'territory' any more than Zhang Xun did. The attack by Zhou Ang was meant to hamper Sun Jian's progress, but in doing so Yuan Shao was striking at Sun Jian's master, Yuan Shu.
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Re: The Family Slave

Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Jan 01, 2008 7:24 am

Yeah, but I still don't get when the Yuan Shao/Shu break happened. Was it during the alliance? Was Gongsun Zan being truthful about Zhou Ang (I guess that would have to have happened after Yuan Shu denied Sun Jian grains)? Why would Yuan Shao sabotage people in the alliance (while he's the chief of the alliance)?
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Tue Jan 01, 2008 7:47 am

The alliance was a mockery from the beginning. I suspect that the Shu/Shao break came mostly because of Shu's posturing - I think the source of contention was that Yuan Shu resented Yuan Shao being the leader when his status was supposedly lower than Shu's.

Gongsun Zan allied with Yuan Shu mostly because of his actions against Liu Yu. Yuan Shu had also detained Liu Yu's son, Liu He, and was keeping him captive, so it made sense for Gongsun to get on Shu's good side, especially if he wanted to oppose Yuan Shao. I don't think that the alliance served much purpose beyond the Yangcheng incident with Sun Jian, Zhou Ang, and Gongsun Yue, however, as that was the last time that Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shu would ever be able to militarily cooperate ever again.

I would guess that Yuan Shao felt simltaneously insulted that Shu would belittle him and threatened by the prospect of being sandwiched between Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shu's forces, so he most likely made a pre-emptive strike. Sun Jian just happened to be closely affiliated with Yuan Shu, so he got dragged into the fight as well. He doesn't seem to have been too happy to see the coalition breaking apart after he pretty much single-handedly drove Dong Zhuo out of Luoyang, however.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jan 01, 2008 7:50 am

Professor Rafe does speculate that Yuan Shu withheld the supplies after Li Jue and other envoys entered Sun Jian's camp then left alive. Consdiering envoy's from both sides had been massacred, I can see why Shu would be worried


Sun Jian defeated and killed Zhang Zi, Governor of Nanyang. And yet Yuan Shu was the one who took Nanyang, and then recommended Sun Jian to Yuzhou. Why?


Yuan Shu was more powerful and could be of great support, take the city for him and he will gain Yuan Shu's favour and be rewarded.

Yuan Shu was recommended to the post of Governor of Nanyang by Liu Biao. What caused them to turn on each other? Was it just because Liu Biao eventually allied with Yuan Shao?


Shu and Shao were at war and alliances were made. Liu Biao held Jing, was clearly a threat to Yuan Shu due to his alliance with Shao and so best to have him dealt with.

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Unread postby Tarrot » Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:26 pm

What Rafe says:

A grandson of Yuan Tang, Yuan Shao was probably a son of Yuan Feng by a concubine, adopted to maintain the lineage of his uncle Cheng. YYS 19b. There is a confusion, however, about Yuan Shao's status in the family, and particularly his relationship to Yuan Shu. As the son of Yuan Feng by his chief wife, Yuan Shu was the senior legitimate member of the clan in that generation, while Yuan Shao, son of a concubine of Yuan Feng, was his half-brother. On the other hand, when Yuan Shao was adopted into the lineage of Yuan Cheng, he became the representative of Yuan Feng's felder brother, and thus a senior cousin to Yuan Shu. Yuan Shao is always described as the elder brother/cousin and Yuan Shu as the younger, but we are told that Yuan Shu, envious of Yuan Shao's greater prestige and popularity, referred to him on one occasion as "our family slave" while in a letter to Gongsun Zan, he claimed that Shao was not a true member of the Yuan Clan: HHS 75/65:2439.


To try to answer your questions as best I can off of Rafe:

No info on Yuan Yi's father, just a cousin of Shao/Shu.

Zhou Ang was sent by Yuan Shao to attack Sun Jian as he returned from taking Luoyang. Zhou Ang was historically a brother of Zhou Xin and Zhou Yu, named an Administrator of Jiujiang by Yuan Shao, and defeated by Sun Ben, an officer of Yuan Shu, in 192.

Sun Jian apparently came to join Yuan Shu and killed Wang Rui and Zhang Zi along the way. Zhang Zi got killed because he refused to give Sun Jian supplies because he thought he left his territory without authority. Close as I can come here.

Far as I can figure our, Yuan Shao and Liu Biao would ally before Yuan Shu sent Sun Jian against him. This was in part of the in-general breakdown of the coalition, with Yuan Shao allying with the Black Mountain Bandits and Liu Biao and Liu Yu vs. Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shu.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:43 pm

Thanks.

Some questions about Rafe's position:

- The term "elder cousin" in Chinese culture refers to a cousin who is older than oneself (Ego) in actual age. The relative ages of Ego's father and the cousin's father doesn't matter. If my father's elder brother's son is younger than me, he'd still be my "younger cousin". Therefore, Yuan Shao must be older than Yuan Shu, regardless of who his father is.

- HHS makes no mention of Yuan Shao's adoption. It just states outright that he's Cheng's son.

- If Yingxiong Ji (as quoted by Pei) is to be trusted, Yuan Shao's father died right after Yuan Shao was born, and Shao was taken care of by the "two dukes". The "two dukes" seems to refer to Yuan Feng and Yuan Wei (Ping and Cheng were not made dukes; Yuan Tang was a duke, but it seems weird to lump Yuan Shao's grandfather and uncle together). If that's so, Yuan Shao can't be Yuan Feng's son.
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Unread postby Tarrot » Tue Jan 01, 2008 9:50 pm

Well... the HHS can be misleading at times, but I'm not certain about that. One more thing though about Yuan Shao and his adoption to continue the family line, on Yuan Tan actually:

He sent Yuan Tan out again to Qing province and had him adopted into the lineage of Yuan Shao's nominal elder brother, the long-dead son of Yuan Cheng: see sub Yuan [personal name unknown] above. Though Yuan Shao himself had been adopted in this way, in the present case the arrangement served to prevent Yuan Tan from succeeding to his natural father's position.


Also, on Yuan Cheng, the full bio:

Second son of Yuan Tang, he succeeded his father's feif. [HHS 45/35 describes Yuan Cheng as the eldest son of Yuan Tang, but SGZ 6 mentions Yuan Ping, who was Yuan Cheng's senior.] As a General of the Household he became a trusted adviser to Liang Ji.

Yuan Cheng died young, leaving no sons to succeed him: on a putative son who predeceased him, see sub Yuan [personal name unknown] above. The marquisate went to his brother Yuan Feng, while Yuan Feng's son Yuan Shao was transferred to maintain his lineage. - HHS 45/35:1523, 74/64A:2373, SGZ 6:188.


Oddly enough, looking at the sources, Rafe's info comes from the HHS, just a different interpretation. the YSS is the HHS complied by Yuan Shanson in the Qijia HHS compiled by Weng Wentai in 1974. I can't really go any further on how Rafe got this info though from my research.
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:41 pm

It seems that the situation Yuan Shao was in also helps to explain the rivalry between Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang. Interesting.
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Re: The Family Slave

Unread postby Xia Kyoto » Thu Aug 12, 2010 10:07 pm

Wow. all this time i always thought that Yuan Shao and Yuan Shu could have formed an alliance since they were cousins, and could have teamed up on Cao Cao.

If i was Yuan Shao, and my cousin was calling me the 'family slave' then there would be no way in hell id give any sympathy to Yuan Shu.
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