Biography of Gongsun Zan

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Biography of Gongsun Zan

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:50 pm

Early Life

Gongsun Zan’s birth was controversial as his father came from an important family whilst his mother was of common origin. He was considered good looking and was skilled in debate having received a good education from Lu Zhi (where he met Liu Bei) and Liu Kuan. Zan held a local appointment in Liaoxi commandery and came to the attention of Administrator Hou and he married his daughter. He then travelled for his aforementioned education before taking up another local post as a Reporting Officer.

The new administrator fell out of favour with the court however Zan remained loyal to him. He accompanied Liu Ji to the imperial court in Luoyang and made sacrifices in the hops of his restoration to post. However Liu Ji was exiled to Rinan. Rather than be tarnished by his association with Liu Ji this bolstered his local reputation for loyalty. This led to him being recommended as a Filially Pious and Incorrupt candidate.(1)

This was the most common route of entry in to the Higher echelons of the Imperial Government. This appointment meant that Gongsun Zan spent a period of time as a Gentlemen Cadet as a ceremonial guard to the Emperor. This meant that the Emperor personally met all those who would be serving in the higher offices of his court and allowed him to assess their abilities and whether they should be trusted with a post. However by this time it was largely just ceremony and virtually no-one was rejected after serving their time as a candidate.(2)

Following Zan’s time with the Emperor he returned as an assistant magistrate of a county in Liaodeng. The county was troubled by Wuhuan and Xianbi raiders and so Zan led a force against them. This cavalry army was famously made up off archers riding on white horses. He was sacked from his post when he lost many of his force in an attack where he was heavily outnumbered. However his reputation survived amongst his enemies where he was feared and this led to them stopping their raids. According to legend they used his image as target practise in training.(3)

Service under Meng Yi

Gongsun Zan was recalled to service as a magistrate in Zhuo.(4) However in 187AD Zan was appointed a Cavalry commandment and given a force of 3,000 Wuhuan men from Youzhou to help suppress Han Sui’s rebellion in Liangzhou.
Zhang Chun (prefect of Zhongshan) was angry at being overlooked for the position. So before Gongsun Zan could take part in the campaign Zhang Chun rebelled along with Zhang Ju (Prefect of Tiashan) and Qiuliju who was a tribal leader of the Wuhuan. They seized control of Youbeiping and Liaoxi. With a force of over 100,000 men Zhang Ji declared himself Emperor and Chun the King of Anding.

In response to this threat the Imperial Court redirected Gongsun Zan to fight against the rebels and appointed Meng Yi above him as a General of the Gentlemen of the Household. The early skirmishes in 188AD went in Yi and Zan’s favour and they drove them deep into Xianbei territory.(5)

It appears that with just his own initial 3,000 man cavalry force made up of Wuhuan who stayed loyal Gongsun Zan continued to advance. However he pursued them too far and was surrounded in a fort in Liaoxi. Meng Yi subsequently disappears from history and it would seem possible that he was also under attack during this time and died.(6)

After about 200 days Zan was able to escape however he suffered heavy losses (thought to be between 50-60% of his force(7) in the process. Despite this he was promoted to Colonel, had his command increased to 10,000 men and was made Marquis. His reputation amongst the Wuhuan tribes for bravery ferocity was enhanced by these events.(8)

Liu Yu’s appointment and peace with the Wuhuan

The Imperial Court appointed the scion of the Imperial House Liu Yu as the Inspector of Youzhou with a brief to pacify the northern border. Liu Yu decided to pursue a peaceful approach and offered Qiuliju an amnesty in return for Zhang Chun’s head.(9) Gongsun Zan disagreed with this approach and argued his point to Liu Yu however he was ignored.(10) Yun speculates that this may have been because he wanted revenge against the Wuhuan for his earlier losses(11).

After Liu Yi dismissed his objections Zan took drastic action and had the emissary from Qiuliju assassinated before he could meet Liu Yu. However despite these attempts to derail the peace process Qiuliju submitted to the court.(12) However Liu Yu realised what happened and with the permission of the court withdrew all the forces from the border other than Gongsun Zan’s now personally loyal force of 10,000 men.(13) Soon after Dong Zhuo seized power in the capital and made Liu Yu Grand marshal and promoted Gongsun Zan to the rank of General and gave him Marquis of a larder territory in Guanyang which was south of Youbeiping the capital of the You province.(14) In 189AD Zhang Chun was murdered by one of his house guests called Wang Zheng whilst Zhang Ju fled further north and was never heard of again.(15)

Yuan Shu and the anti Dong Zhuo coalition

A coalition was formed against Dong Zhuo and in 190AD following pressure from the allied forces Zhuo was forced to retreat from the capital, Luoyang. During this time Liu He, the son of Liu Yu, was serving in the Han court and he was sent by the Emperor to request that Liu Yu bought troops to aid the Emperor and return him to the capital. However he was captured by Yuan Shu on route. The coalition was beginning to fray as personal ambition began to overtake their desire to do away with Dong Zhuo. Yuan Shu sought an opportunity to gain an advantage over his rivals and sought to manipulate Liu Yu in to helping him.

Yuan Shu promised to send forces to attack Dong Zhuo and in the meantime asked Liu He to send a letter to his father asking him to send troops to escort Liu He back to his father’s base of operations in Youzhou. Liu Yu received the letter and sent a cavalry force to escort him. Gongsun Zan thought this was a bad idea as he didn’t trust Yuan Shu but was again ignored by Liu Yu.

Having been ignored by his superior Gongsun Zan again chose to act independently of him. He sent a 1,000 strong cavalry force under his cousin Gongsun Yue to aid Yuan Shu. Yue was also instructed to attempt to persuade Yuan Shu to permanently imprison Liu He and to absorb Liu Yu’s force in to his own.(16)

Hostilities begin between Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao

The relationship between the warlords in the coalition deteriorated further and they moved in to open hostility with one another. Han Fu who was the superior to Yuan Shao the official leader of the coalition attacked Gongsun Zan at Anping. However he was defeated and in retaliation Zan led his forces in to Han Fu’s territory in Jizhou. Officially this was done in the name of subduing Dong Zhuo but no one was fooled.(17) Han Fu asked Yuan Shao to help him however this proved to be a mistake as before long Yuan Shao took control of the territory away from his previous superior. Han Fu left after fear for his life and committed suicide soon after fearing that Yuan Shao still sought after his death.

The primary reason that Dong Zhuo had fled from Luoyong was because of the advances made by Yuan Shu’s top general Sun Jian. In 191AD Dong Zhuo’s fears were realised and Sun Jian took control of the city. Shortly after Yuan Shao had taken control of Jizhou away from Han Fu he also decided to attack his cousin Yuan Shu. He opened hostilities by sending his general Zhou Mao to attack Sun Jians’s home base. Furious Jian turned around from his conquest to take his revenge. Yuan Shu decided to send Gongsun Yue (who was still serving him with the 1,000 men that Zan had sent to gain Yuan Shu’s trust) to aid Sun Jian in the battle. Sun Jian was victorious but this came at the cost of Gongsun Yue’s death when he was hit by a stray arrow.

Gongsun Zan was furious at the death of his cousin (they are often confused as brothers and it has been suggested that this was due to the closeness of their relationship) and he blamed Yuan Shao for the event. In response he led an army to the Pan River and wrote a memorial to the court where he laid his case against Yuan Shao. Much of Jizhou defected to Zan and terrified Yuan Shao attempted to appease the situation by appointing Gongsun Fan (another of Zan’s cousins) as the Prefect of Bohai.(18)

At the same time a group of Yellow Turbans from the Shandong peninsula had moved north so Gongsun Zan moved to confront them.(19) Gongsun Fan, rather than staying loyal to Yuan Shao who as the Inspector of the Jizhou province was now his superior, moved his new army to aid Zan in the battle against the Yellow Turbans.(20) Gongsun Zan caught the Turbans at a river crossing and killed vast numbers of them.(21)

Having been victorious in that battle he then decided to attack Yuan Shao. Zan declared his general Yan Gang the Inspector of Jizhou, the position held by Yuan Shao making it clear his intention. He then advanced further in to Jizhou where he was soon confronted by Yuan Shao and his army.(22)

The Battle of Jieqiao and its aftermath

Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao confronted each other at the Jie Bridge on the Qing River between Qinghe and Julu.(23) Gongsun Zan had an army of 30,000 infantry men that made up the core of his army with 5,000 cavalry on each flank. Included in this force were his famous white horse archers. Meanwhile we don’t know the numbers of Yuan Shao’s force.(24)

Shao began the battle by commanding his general Qu Yi to advance with an elite but small force of 800 infantry men and 1000 crossbow men. After moving a certain distance forward they crouched behind the pavise shields of the infantry. Gongsun Zan released his cavalry to charge this small force at which point the crossbow men stood up and released a volley slaying many of the cavalry and routing the rest. Yun goes on to suggest that Qu Yi’s infantry were trained in the use of long spears in the style of the Qiang tribe which they used effectively against the fleeing cavalry.(25) Having seen his cavalry beaten soundly Gongsun Zan retreated and Qu Yi harried him in his retreat enforcing heavy loses.(26)

It appears that following the victory Yuan Shao attempted to advance further in to Gongsun Zan’s territory led by Cui Juye.(27) However Zan caught the army at Juma River and defeated the Cui Juye. Having regained the impetus in the struggle it was Gongsun Zan’s turn to drive in to Shao’s territory. Taking 30,000 men Zan attacked deep in to the south of Jizhou, getting as far as Pingyuan in Qingzhou where Gongsun Zan announced Tian Kai Inspector of Qingzhou. This opened a second front in the war between the two forces. Over the next year both sides took heavy loses as battles raged.(28)

Peace with Yuan Shao and war with Liu Yu

This was the state of affairs until 193AD when Zhao Qi an elderly statesman was able to arrange a truce between them.(29) This truce even led a marriage alliance between Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan.(30) Whilst this wouldn’t last for very long it did allow Gongsun Zan to briefly change his attention to other things.

Liu Yu was still angry with Yuan Shu for holding his son hostage and so supported Yuan Shao in the war between the two factions. This meant that he disapproved of Gongsun Zan’s hostility towards Shao. As a result of this Liu Yu withheld supplies from Gongsun Zan.(31) As Inspector of Youzhou Liu Yu was still technically Gongsun Zan’s superior and both men write repeatedly to the court to complain about each other. The Imperial Court however was caught up in their own problems and didn’t have the time to involve itself in their argument.(32)

Having reached peace with Yuan Shao Gongsun Zan set out to build himself a fortress called Yijing.(33) Yun describes it: ‘an incredible fortress in which his generals all lived in high towers on the tops of large mounds, numbering in the thousands. The city was ringed by 10 moats, and Gongsun Zan's own tower was in the centre. It was the tallest tower of all, with an iron door and a huge grain supply inside.’(34)

Liu Yu having decided that the escalating trouble between him and Gongsun Zan could only led to Zan rebelling against him decided to pre-empt it by attacking Gongsun Zan at his new city. He launched his army of 100,000 men however Liu Yu’s troops weren’t well trained and were ill-disciplined. He was also concerned for the men of the province and ordered his men to avoid burning any houses and to avoid killing anyone other than Gongsun Zan!

Zan’s escaped the siege with a small force of elite horsemen using fire to distract and confuse Liu Yu’s army. Liu Yu’s forces morale collapses and his army fled and Liu Yu with the remains of his army escaped to Juyong. After a 3 days siege Zan captured him and his family, however rather than killing Liu Yu straight away he kept him hostage.(35)

An emissary from the Imperial Court at Changan arrived soon after to promote Gongsun Zan to General of the Van and again gave him a bigger fief in Hejian.(36) This emissary also came with news of a promotion to Liu Yu. However Gongsun Zan told them that Liu Yu had plotted with Yuan Shao to make himself Emperor. Whilst this was a lie it had a root in truth, Yuan Shao had once approached Liu Yu about being Emperor during the early days of the anti-Dong Zhuo coalition. However Liu Yu was loyal to the Emperor and had turned it down vehemently. Regardless of the truth the emissary had Liu Yu and his family beheaded.

Before his execution Gongsun Zan supposedly left Liu Yu in the hot sun and said ‘If he is meant to be emperor, let the heavens send rain down, and I will then spare him!’ However this was in the summer and there was no rain so Gongsun Zan had him executed. The people of Youzhou were saddened by this as Liu Yu had been a good ruler to them.(37) With no-one left to challenge the claim Gongsun Zan started to refer to himself as the Inspector of Youzhou.(38)

The Fall of Gongsun Zan

Whilst the peace was holding between Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao in the south Zan’s subordinate Tian Kai was driving out of his holdings in Qingzhao by Yuan Tan (Shao’s son). Gongsun Zan however still dominated the northeast. Left in peace Zan began to destroy himself by ruling badly and alienating the people.(39) In particular his friendship (which may have led to sworn brotherhood) with fortune-teller Liu Weitai, the cloth seller Li Yizi, and the merchant Yue Hedang increasingly damaged his reputation.(40)

As a result of this in 195AD Xianyu Fu a former officer of Liu Yu’s rose up in rebellion against Zan. Yan You of the Wuhuan also joined the battle as the tribes scented an opportunity to take revenge on one of their most aggressive enemies. Yuan Shao scenting an opportunity sent Liu He and Qu Yi to join them.(41)

This army led by Xianyu had approximately 100,000 infantry from Yuan Shao and tens of thousands of tribal cavalry. Gongsun Zan led his own larger army to meet them but suffered a crushing loss. Many of his prefectures defected to the rebels and killed those who remained loyal to Gongsun Zan.(42)

Zan fearing the end locked himself up in his huge fortress at Yijing. Zan shut himself off from the world with all his messages coming via his concubines. He knew he couldn’t defeat the rebels but he also thought his fortress impregnable with enough grain supplies to tide him through until the Han court regained control and could sort the rebellion out for him. Perhaps his largest mistake was that those troops who were outside the fortress were left to fend for themselves. So instead of fighting many killed their generals and surrendered. The rest with no strong leadership were defeated soundly.(43)

Qu Yi reached the gates of Yiling at the head of Yuan Shao’s army fairly easily but the siege lasted for several as the defenders held on. However in 198AD Yuan Shao arrived in person(44) and Gongsun Zan decided the time had arrived to take action. Gongsun Zan sent his son Gongsun Xu to get help from the Heishan rebels in the Taihang Mountains. Zan hoped that if they attacked Jizhou, Yuan Shao’s base, he would be forced to lift the siege.

The rebels agreed to help but not in the way Zan had intended. 100,000 men under the command of Gongsun Xu and Zhang Yan marched to relieve Yijing. Gongsun Zan sent a message to Gongsun Xu telling him to set up an ambush with 5,000 elite cavalry. They would light torches and then Zan would sally out of the city. However the messenger was captured by Yuan Shao and he set his own ambush. When Shao lit the signal torches Zan attacked and was beaten soundly before he was able to retreat to the city.

Yuan Shao dug a tunnel under the city and set fire to it under Gongsun Zan’s fortress. The tunnel collapsed and the fortress along with it. Zan knowing he was defeated killed his family and then set his room on fire. Whether he died from the fire or whether Yuan Shao’s troops reached him in time to kill him is uncertain.(45) Yuan Shao sent Zan’s head to the Imperial Court to declare his victory.(46) Gongsun Xu was killed later by the Xiongnu.(47)

Bibliography

Chen Shou, , Records of the Three Kingdoms, trans Jack Yuan, Kongmings Archives, 2004-05.

De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.

De Crispigny, Rafe, Generals of the South: the Foundation and Early History of the Three Kingdoms State of Wu, Australia: Australian National University, 1990.

Three Kingdoms Question (You Ask and We Answer), Kongmings Archives.

Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum.

Actual battle descriptions, Chinese History Forum.

Footnotes

(1) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(2) De Crispigny, Rafe, Generals of the South: the Foundation and Early History of the Three Kingdoms State of Wu, Australia: Australian National University, 1990, p.81
(3) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006
(4) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(5) Cao Chao, Three Kingdoms Question (You Ask and We Answer), Kongmings Archives, p.866
(6) Cao Chao, Three Kingdoms Question (You Ask and We Answer), Kongmings Archives, p.867
(7) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(8) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(9) Cao Chao, Three Kingdoms Question (You Ask and We Answer), Kongmings Archives, p.866
(10) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(11) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(12) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(13) Cao Chao, Three Kingdoms Question (You Ask and We Answer), Kongmings Archives, p.866
(14) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(15) Cao Chao, Three Kingdoms Question (You Ask and We Answer), Kongmings Archives, p.866
(16) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(17) Chen Shou, Records of the Three Kingdoms, trans Jack Yuan, Kongmings Archives, 2004-05.
(18) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(19) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(20) TigerTally, Three Kingdoms Question (You Ask and We Answer), Kongmings Archives, p.951
(21) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(22) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(23) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(24) RollingWave, Actual battle descriptions, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(25) Yun, Actual battle descriptions, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(26) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(27) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(28) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(29) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(30) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(31) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(32) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(33) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(34) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(35) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(36) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(37) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(38) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(39) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(40) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(41) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(42) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(43) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(44) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(45) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
(46) De Crispigny, Rafe, A Biographical of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220AD), Leiden: Brill Academic Publishers, 2006.
(47) Yun, Gongsun Zan, Liu Yu and Liu Bei, Chinese History Forum, p.1
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Re: Biography of Gongsun Zan

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Dec 09, 2015 3:55 pm

This is a little project I've been working on the last few days. I can't really credit for it, all I've done is consolidate the work of a few others (especially Rafe De Crispigny, Yun and Rolling Wave of CHF and Cao Chao) in to one easy to find source. I hope others find it useful.

I'm well aware I may have made mistakes in here (especially on titles - Inspectors and Governors - whats the difference and I think I may have used different styles of names of places?) if you spot anything please tell me straight away.

Also I can't read Chinese so I haven't been able to use core sources that haven't been translated so I've been relying on other peoples translations!
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Re: Biography of Gongsun Zan

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Wed Dec 09, 2015 4:06 pm

Loved the bio, thanks. The numbers do seem a bit much though. People throwing around 100,000 soldiers quite liberally considering that this was contained in the very northern area. :P
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Re: Biography of Gongsun Zan

Unread postby DragonAtma » Wed Dec 09, 2015 7:01 pm

Governors have more authority than inspectors. They may or may not be the same rank on paper (I'd have to check if that was the case), but even if they were, governors would certainly be considered a step up because they have more power.

Now, administrators run the individual commanderies; an Inspector normally only has one task: overseeing the province's administrators and making sure they aren't corrupt or incompetent. Also, if there was a huge rebellion or bandit problem (to the point where all of a commandery's forces weren't sufficient), the inspector would command the troops that deal with the problem. During the yellow turban rebellion, however, their numbers were so huge that they immediately bypassed inspectors and called on Huangfu Song, Zhu Jun, and Lu Zhi (all of whom did quite well).

Governors, however, not only have the inspector powers but also have administrator powers for the entire province. The position of governor had been lapsed since western Han, but it was revived for Liu Yan in 188 to deal with Yizhou's size and history of troublesome inspectors.

There's two exception to the above model: Jiaozhi and Sili. Because Sili is the capital district, its "inspector" not only keeps tabs on Sili's administrators, but also the imperial govbernment. They have the title Colonel Director of Retainers and higher pay than inspectors. As for Jiaozhi, although they kept the same pay and title, its distance meant that they had the same powers the governors would have. Liu Yan originally applied to be Inspector of Jiaozhi in 188, but changed his mind because Dong Fu said there was an imperial aura corresponding to Yizhou.

As for the biography itself, interesting; in particular, I knew that Xianyu Fu rebelled against Gongsun Zan, but I thought it was just a minor rebellion. Obviously, that's not the case.

EDIT: Governors are Zhou Mu (州牧), Inspectors are Ci Shi (刺史), and Colonel Director of Retainers is sīlì xiàowèi (司隸校尉). Inspectors are sometimes called protectors, but that's just an alternate translation.
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Re: Biography of Gongsun Zan

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:00 am

LiuBeiwasGreat wrote:Loved the bio, thanks. The numbers do seem a bit much though. People throwing around 100,000 soldiers quite liberally considering that this was contained in the very northern area. :P


I agree. I think Zhang Chun's 100,000 man army is relatively realistic as the Wuhuan under Qiuliju were recorded to make up 50,000 men by themselves.

However it seems like a significant jump if Gongsun Zan had 40,000 men (a realistic figure) at Jieqiao for him to be throwing around considerably more men later on. However that's what my sources said. I cut out Yun's claim that Zan lost 200,000 men in the battle against Xianyu Fu because that just seemed to extreme.

DragonAtma wrote:Governors have more authority than inspectors. They may or may not be the same rank on paper (I'd have to check if that was the case), but even if they were, governors would certainly be considered a step up because they have more power.

Now, administrators run the individual commanderies; an Inspector normally only has one task: overseeing the province's administrators and making sure they aren't corrupt or incompetent. Also, if there was a huge rebellion or bandit problem (to the point where all of a commandery's forces weren't sufficient), the inspector would command the troops that deal with the problem. During the yellow turban rebellion, however, their numbers were so huge that they immediately bypassed inspectors and called on Huangfu Song, Zhu Jun, and Lu Zhi (all of whom did quite well).

Governors, however, not only have the inspector powers but also have administrator powers for the entire province. The position of governor had been lapsed since western Han, but it was revived for Liu Yan in 188 to deal with Yizhou's size and history of troublesome inspectors.

There's two exception to the above model: Jiaozhi and Sili. Because Sili is the capital district, its "inspector" not only keeps tabs on Sili's administrators, but also the imperial govbernment. They have the title Colonel Director of Retainers and higher pay than inspectors. As for Jiaozhi, although they kept the same pay and title, its distance meant that they had the same powers the governors would have. Liu Yan originally applied to be Inspector of Jiaozhi in 188, but changed his mind because Dong Fu said there was an imperial aura corresponding to Yizhou.

EDIT: Governors are Zhou Mu (州牧), Inspectors are Ci Shi (刺史), and Colonel Director of Retainers is sīlì xiàowèi (司隸校尉). Inspectors are sometimes called protectors, but that's just an alternate translation.


Thanks for that Dragon, interesting to see the difference. So it seemed likely from that all of them would have been inspectors rather than Governors if that was a little used title?

DragonAtma wrote:As for the biography itself, interesting; in particular, I knew that Xianyu Fu rebelled against Gongsun Zan, but I thought it was just a minor rebellion. Obviously, that's not the case.


Given Gongsun Zan's track record against the Wuhuan I suspect it would have been a minor rebellion if Yuan Shao hadn't sent Qu Yi and part of his army to help out.
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Re: Biography of Gongsun Zan

Unread postby DragonAtma » Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:53 am

Up until 188, it was all inspectors; afterwards, it was a mix of inspectors and governors. Sometimes inspectors were promoted to be governors; I do know that Liu Biao was appointed Inspector of Jing in 190, but was promoted to Governor of Jing in 192.
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Re: Biography of Gongsun Zan

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 11, 2015 6:52 pm

Good read Sun Fin, thanks for doing this.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
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Re: Biography of Gongsun Zan

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Dec 11, 2015 9:56 pm

Having looked in my 3K library (I wish that was as impressive as I make it sound) I found my Leban book about Cao Cao and he has some more detailed information about Gongsun Zan during his wars with Yuan Shao as well as suggesting that Gongsun Yue's death happens after Zan's initial victory against the YT. What confused me and my original sources is that he then did a mopping up operation with Gongsun Fan's men a few months later.

Due to the fact that Leban writes peoples names in the old style (Gongsun Zan becomes Kung-sun Tsan for example) it's going to take me a little bit of time to sort through my information but hopefully this will improve the second half of my biography a bit!
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Re: Biography of Gongsun Zan

Unread postby TigerTally » Fri Dec 11, 2015 11:10 pm

Sun Fin wrote: Yuan Shu decided to send Gongsun Yue (who was still serving him with the 1,000 men that Zan had sent to gain Yuan Shu’s trust) to aid Sun Jian in the battle. Sun Jian was victorious but this came at the cost of Gongsun Yue’s death when he was hit by a stray arrow.

Gongsun Zan was furious at the death of his cousin (they are often confused as brothers and it has been suggested that this was due to the closeness of their relationship) and he blamed Yuan Shao for the event. In response he led an army to the Pan River and wrote a memorial to the court where he laid his case against Yuan Shao. Much of Jizhou defected to Zan and terrified Yuan Shao attempted to appease the situation by appointing Gongsun Fan (another of Zan’s cousins) as the Prefect of Bohai.

At the same time a group of Yellow Turbans from the Shandong peninsula had moved north so Gongsun Zan moved to confront them. Gongsun Fan, rather than staying loyal to Yuan Shao who as the Inspector of the Jizhou province was now his superior, moved his new army to aid Zan in the battle against the Yellow Turbans.(20) Gongsun Zan caught the Turbans at a river crossing and killed vast numbers of them.


Carl Leban wrote:Yüan Shu sent Kung-sun Yüeh to assist [Sun] Chien, and Yüeh was struck and killed by a stray arrow. Tsan blamed [Yüan] Shao for his cousin's death and ostensibly for this reason, but probably because he now felt confident in his newly augmented military power and was still smarting over the loss of Chi Province to Shao, moved to attack Shao by sending a force to garrison P'an-ho. At about the same time, Tsan sent up a strongly worded memorial detailing ten of Shao' s crimes.To mollify Tsan, but probably also to give himself respite to prepare against attack, Shao turned over his seal as Po-hai Grand Administrator to another of Tsan younger cousins, Fan. As might have been expected, Fan first used his new authority to employ the troops of Po-hai to assist Tsan in mopping up the "Yellow Turban" remnants. Then the cousins moved their forces eastward to Kuang-tsung.


TBH I fail to see what is confusing you. Your stories seem identical to me. :?:
I also cant find any reference to "initial victory against the YT" in Leben's work :?
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Re: Biography of Gongsun Zan

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sat Dec 12, 2015 2:34 pm

So what I'm refering to Luban talks about on p180:

Kung-sun Tsan who had probably linger in Chi province after his move against Han Fu, went to met the rebels and defeated them south of Tung-Kuang.


P178 identified those rebels as YT. So that happened before the section you quoted which is on p182!
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