Annotated Translation regarding the Qiang state of Later Qin            Jin Shu Chapter 116: Chronicles of Minor states, N...
Li Yuan, was from Gansu. One of his ancestors included Li Gao, founder of Western Liang(400-421), which was centred in the...
Issues concerning the historical background of Yao Yizhong1. Fact and inference    The description of Yao Yizhong’s backgr...
(滇吾), a powerful leader of the Shaodang Qiang, and his subsequent defeat by Ma Wu and    flight beyond the borders.3 At so...
northwest are the various states of Shanshan and Jushi.” In other words, the Qiang         territory stretched from the Si...
Biography tells us that there were thirteen generations from Shaodang back to someone     called Yan, who had been the tri...
MAIN TEXT OF CHAPTER 116 OF THE BOOK OF JINYao Yizhong was a Qiang from Chiting in Nan’an.16 He was of the descendants of ...
seems the Qiang enjoyed a period of relative stability from Qianna to Yao Yizhong as they stayed inthe Dingxi region, alth...
power himself and Yizhong said that he was ill and did not go to congratulate Jilong. Jilongrepeatedly summoned him so he ...
rebelled.50 You (汝) have been sick for a long time and the son you have appointed is smallchild.51 If you don’t recover fr...
Among Yizhong’s troops there was a learned man of literary talent called Ma Heluo. Zhang Chaiwas an assistant to Shi Shi (...
Yao Xiang’s courtesy name was Jing Guo and he was the 5th son of Yao Yizhong. When he was 17years old he was nearly two me...
Yao Xiang had exceptional prestige and was an unusually powerful warrior, erudite and fond oflearning and highly skilled i...
forced further west. Whoever the author is of this text, he continues to extol Yao Xiang in the samemanner that he extolle...
replied, “He has the bearing of a god and is comparable to Sun Ce101 but his military abilitysurpasses that of Sun Ce.” Su...
After Yao Xiang’s death, Yao Chang surrendered to Former Qin and as was the case with his fatherand brother, his allegianc...
Chong came forward and said, “Rulers should not joke. This expedition will prove to beinauspicious. Only Your Majesty can ...
advanced and stationed his soldiers in Beidi,128 training them and storing up grain while hewatched how things were develo...
Murong Chong sent Gao Gai, his Major General of Chariots and Cavalry, with 50,000 peopleagainst Yao Chang and the battle t...
households from Anding to Chang’an and appointed his younger brother Zheng Luxu as SiliColonel with a garrison in Chang’an...
defected [from Fu Deng]. Murong Yong156 attacked them and Lan Du sent an envoy asking forhelp. Yao Chang was about to go t...
had often been defeated by him. Near and far, everyone had switched loyalties back and forthwith only Qi Nan (‘Attacking t...
his domain is in upheaval. The Yi within China (夷夏) have all betrayed him, why don’t you dothe same?” Shen said, “My lords...
time his troops numbered less than 2,000 whereas Wei Hefei and Lei E’di’s troops were several10,000 as well as countless D...
The Founding of the Qiang state of Later Qin: a translation of Jin Shu Chapter 116
The Founding of the Qiang state of Later Qin: a translation of Jin Shu Chapter 116
The Founding of the Qiang state of Later Qin: a translation of Jin Shu Chapter 116
The Founding of the Qiang state of Later Qin: a translation of Jin Shu Chapter 116
The Founding of the Qiang state of Later Qin: a translation of Jin Shu Chapter 116
The Founding of the Qiang state of Later Qin: a translation of Jin Shu Chapter 116
The Founding of the Qiang state of Later Qin: a translation of Jin Shu Chapter 116
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The Founding of the Qiang state of Later Qin: a translation of Jin Shu Chapter 116


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Chapter 116 of the Book of Jin describes the migration of Qiang people under Yao Yizhong from Gansu into eastern China at the beginning of the 4th century AD and their subsequent return and establishment of the Qiang-ruled state of Later Qin, governed from Chang'an (Xi'an)

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The Founding of the Qiang state of Later Qin: a translation of Jin Shu Chapter 116

  1. 1. Annotated Translation regarding the Qiang state of Later Qin Jin Shu Chapter 116: Chronicles of Minor states, No 16 Yao Yizhong, Yao Xiang, Yao Chang. 晋书 卷一百一十六 载记第十六 姚弋仲 姚襄 姚苌 Rachel Meakin 1: IntroductionPage 3: Issues concerning the historical background of Yao YizhongPage 7: Main text: chapter 116 of the Book of JinPage 28: Jin Shu Chapter 116 place names in alphabetical orderPage 31: A list of the states of the Sixteen Kingdoms periodPage 31: BibliographyIntroductionChapters 116 – 119 of the Jin Shu are all accounts of the state of Later Qin (384-417 AD) andits rulers, the Yao (姚) family of Qiang origin. Chapter 116, translated below, covers eventsleading to the founding of the Later Qin state by Yao Chang, son of Yao Yizhong. Chapters117 and 118 describe the rule of Yao Chang’s son, Yao Xing, and chapter 119 is about thedemise of the Later Qin state under Yao Hong, son of Yao Xing.The final comment of chapter 119 gives an interesting summary of the Yao family and theLater Qin state: “Yao Yizhong was upright and firm and demonstrated outstanding moralintegrity from beginning to end, Yao Xiang was honest, wise and resolute and only YaoChang was both treacherous and outstanding. Later Qin arose in the beginning with a loftystructure which commanded respect but Yao Hong finally brought about its destruction.This bequeaths a warning to those in the future: if you are not true to your word you willwalk a dangerous road.”The Book of Jin, a history of the Jin period from 265-420 AD, was compiled in 648 by Tangdynasty officials drawing mainly on earlier historical documents. The Qiang-ruled state ofLater Qin existed parallel to the Eastern Jin dynasty in the south and gave way in 417 AD tothe Northern Wei in the north. The Eastern Jin dynasty fell just three years later in 420 ADand was followed by the Liu Song state in the south. Whoever the original authors were ofthe chapters regarding the Later Qin state, they seem to have been highly favourabletowards Yao Yizhong and his sons, lauding their exceptional character and ability. Thispositive description may have come directly from Jin period accounts written by Later Qinscribes. It seems unlikely that accounts by Jin officials would have had such favourable andpersonal records of enemies to the north, although the collapse of Western Jin and theensuing chaos in the north meant Yao Yizhong was forced into certain alliances rather thandeliberately rebelling against Jin. At the end of his life, with the fall of the state of Later Zhaoin the north, he did surrender to Eastern Jin and was treated with great honour. Anotherpossibility influencing such favourable records is the connection of the Tang court with thenorthwest of China. The Tang capital was Chang’an (Xi’an region) and the founder of Tang,
  2. 2. Li Yuan, was from Gansu. One of his ancestors included Li Gao, founder of Western Liang(400-421), which was centred in the Gansu corridor and was a vassal of Later Qin.It is not clear why the Di of the Former Qin and the Qiang of the Later Qin chose to nametheir states after the 3rd century BC Qin Dynasty. It may have been due to some sense ofethnic affinity or simply because their states were centred on the region of the original Qinstate. Taking the name Qin also possibly implied grand aspirations of uniting China underthe rule of north-western peoples. When Yao Yizhong yielded to Shi Jilong (see text) he toldJilong that the chieftains of northern Shaanxi and Gansu were ‘fierce and strong in themanner of Qin.’Between this brief introduction and the actual translation I have included a discussion ofsome issues concerning the background of the Yao clan.I apologise for any inaccuracies in the translation and would appreciate any comments tothe email address above. My aim has been to give an overall insight into the Qiang identityand 4th century migrations of the Yao clan as well as the establishment of the Qiang state ofFormer Qin or Great Qin (大秦) as they themselves referred to it.Rachel MeakinJune 2012Text notes:- Spelling: Shaanxi (陕西) is used to distinguish it from Shanxi (山西).- The Chinese text frequently omits the first character of a name after initial mention of a person. For clarity, I have often included the first character, even if it is omitted in the Chinese text, e.g. Yao Xing instead of simply Xing.- I have translated some titles of military and civilian officials but where the translation is complex I have simply used the pinyin.Abbreviations:HHS: Hou Han Shu (Book of Later Han)WQB: Western Qiang Biography (chapter 117 of the Book of Later Han)ZZTJ: Sima Guang’s Zizhi Tongjian
  3. 3. Issues concerning the historical background of Yao Yizhong1. Fact and inference The description of Yao Yizhong’s background in the first paragraph of the main text (p7) is an interesting mixture of straightforward fact and curious inference: a. The apparent facts: - Yao Yizhong was a Qiang from Nan’an (Dingxi, Gansu). - He was a descendant of the Yu clan (虞). - His ancestors included Tianyu (填虞) of the Shaodang Qiang (mid 1st century AD) and Qianna (迁那), two generations later, who moved with his people to Nan’an. - His father, Kehui, was the great-great grandson of Qianna and was a senior official in the state of Wei in the Three Kingdoms period.1 - In the chaotic Yongjia period (307-313), Yao Yizhong moved east with his people from Nan’an to Yumei (Baoji region of Shaanxi). b. The inferred connections: - Back in the time of Yu the Great (2200-2100 BC) the youngest son of the previous ruler, Shun, was made feudal lord over the Western Rong, from whence came generations of Qiang chiefs. Inference: Yao Yizhong was descended from these early Western Rong. - There is a leap across more than 2,000 years from the time of Yu the Great to Tianyu of the Shaodang Qiang in the 1st century AD. Inference: despite any reference by name to ancestors earlier than Tianyu, Yao Yizhong’s ancestral line somehow stretched all the way back to the Western Rong of c.2100 BC in the period of the Sage Kings at the beginning of China’s recorded history.2. Name changes There are two revealing name changes relating to Yao Yizhong which require analysis.a. Qiang names, like those of his ancestors, Tianyu (填虞) and Qianna (迁那), were often two syllables and rarely included standard Chinese family names. It is therefore noteworthy that although Yao Yizhong’s father is simply recorded as Kehui (柯回),2 Yao Yizhong and his sons (e.g. Yao Chang, Yao Xiang) all have the traditional Chinese name Yao (姚). This Yao was also the ancestral name of Emperor Shun. It was a common custom from the Han period onwards to assist assimilation of non-Chinese and reward their submission by giving them a Chinese surname and grafting them into Chinese ancestry. It seems that this was being put into practice with the adoption of the ancient and illustrious name of Yao and with the inference that Yao Yizhong’s line stretched back at least to the time of Shun’s son.b. The second name is that of Yao Yizhong’s ancestor, Tianyu (填虞) of the Shaodang Qiang. He is recorded here as invading and harassing China’s western regions in around 57 AD but was defeated by Ma Wu and moved away beyond the borders. The Western Qiang Biography in the Hou Han Shu covers this period of history but does not mention anyone called Tianyu (填虞). However, it does record an attack on the Longxi border region in 57 AD by Dianwu1 The Three Kingdom period: Wei: 220-265; Shu: 221-263; Wu: 222-280. Western Jin period: 265-317;Eastern Jin: 317-420.2 In chapter five of Cui Hong’s “The Sixteen Kingdoms – Spring and Autumn,” compiled between 501 and522, Kehui is simply referred to as Ke 柯.
  4. 4. (滇吾), a powerful leader of the Shaodang Qiang, and his subsequent defeat by Ma Wu and flight beyond the borders.3 At some point in the writing of history, Dianwu’s name was changed to Tianyu to incorporate the Chinese clan name of Yu (虞), to which Yao Yizhong apparently belonged. The significance of this increases with the fact that whereas there are no Qiang recorded in the Western Qiang Biography with the name Yu (虞), it was the clan name of Emperor Shun. Dian (滇) has also been changed to Tian (填). Dian (滇) was the name of an ancient ethnic group to the south of Shu4 so the change of Dianwu’s name from Dian to Tian helps to further distance Yao Yizhong from any connection with a non-Chinese ancestry. The logical conclusion is that part of Yao Yizhong’s ancestral history has been constructed to incorporate the addition of a Chinese surname (Yao 姚) and the introduction of a Chinese clan name (虞) in his ancestry. Added to this is the posthumous replacement of his ancestor’s obviously non-Chinese name, Dian, to Tian and the introduction of an implied lineage dating back at least to the time of Shun’s son, planting Yao Yizhong firmly within a Chinese history.3. Comparison with the Western Qiang Biography of the Hou Han Shu As mentioned above, the Western Qiang Biography mentions the conflict between Ma Wu and Dianwu (滇吾) and also takes Qiang ancestry back to the time of the Sage Kings but with an ambivalence that makes it difficult to translate: a. “The roots of the Qiang came from San Miao and they are a branch of those named Jiang.” This seems to say that the Qiang are descended from San Miao as are the Jiang of whom they are a branch.5 b. “His/their domain was near Nan Yue [in Hunan] and when Shun removed the four wicked ones, he shifted him/them to San Wei (三危), which is the Qiang territory southwest of Heguan.” The ambivalence is in whether this should be translated as referring to the Qiang or to San Miao. Because the Qiang are the main subject matter it would be natural to assume that the Qiang domain was near Nan Yue and that Shun moved them to San Wei. However, an earlier work, the Canon of Shun in the Shang Shu,6 states very simply and with no reference to any Qiang that when Shun dealt with the four wicked ones, one of whom was San Miao, he exiled San Miao to San Wei. So it would seem that it is San Miao’s domain that was near Nan Yue and he was then moved to San Wei, which was in Qiang territory. c. The text is also ambivalent regarding what refers to the time of Shun (c.2200 BC) and what refers to the time of the Hou Han Shu (early AD). The Qiang territory is then described as bordering “the Cizhi,7 stretching to the head of the river, extending 1,000 li.8 … In the south it borders Shu and Han and the Man Yi beyond the borders and in the3 This is also recorded in Chapter 44 of the ZZTJ with the name Dianwu (滇吾) rather than Tianyu (填虞).4 E.g. see Shiji Chapter 129. Considering that the region of Dian was not known as a Qiang area, it iscurious that in chapter 116 of the Shiji, Emperor Wu’s envoy, Zhang Qian, mentions a king of Dian calledChang Qiang 滇王尝羌. Nowadays Dian is also an alternative name for the province of Yunnan.5 西羌之本,出自三苗,薑姓之别也。其国近南嶽。及舜流四凶,徙之三危,河关之西南羌地是也.6 Shang Shu, Canon of Shun: 流共工于幽洲,放驩兜于崇山,竄三苗于三危,殛鯀于羽山,四罪而天下咸服。 The Canon of Shun is one of the New Texts in the ShangShu, probably written in the 4th century BC. The Old Texts are deemed to be forgeries written c.320 AD.7 赐支: This is thought to be the upper reaches of the Yellow River, which rises in Qinghai’s Bayan Harmountains and flows around the Anye Machen mountains before entering Gansu.8 1000 li often referred to a great distance rather than being a literal measurement.
  5. 5. northwest are the various states of Shanshan and Jushi.” In other words, the Qiang territory stretched from the Sichuan-Gansu border region northwest to the border region of Qinghai, the Gansu corridor and Xinjiang. This area reflected the known Qiang region in the Han period of the Western Qiang Biography. It is highly unlikely that this description was referring to territory 2,000 years previously. As with parts of Yao Yizhong’s history, there seemed to be a desire to connect the Qiang back to Shun but the connection was by implication rather than any concrete evidence.4. Sima Qian’s Historical Records The earliest clue to the origin of the connection between Yao Yizhong and the Western Rong in the time of Shun seems to be in Sima Qian’s Historical Records (early 1st century BC). a. In the first chapter of his Historical Records, Sima Qian refers to San Miao and gives a two-fold reason as to why Shun sent him and his people west: firstly, because they were causing trouble in the Huai River region and, secondly, because they could be used to reform the Western Rong in San Wei.9 This reformation of the Western Rong is not found in the earlier Shang Shu account of San Miao’s exile to San Wei but it does reflect the efforts of Emperor Wu, the Han ruler in Sima Qian’s time, to suppress the Qiang and other tribes in the northwest. As with the Western Qiang Biography there seems to be a merging of contemporary knowledge and the distant past. b. Sima Qian also points to a link between the Qiang and the time of Yu the Great (c.2200- 2100 BC) but the context suggests this is in the form of a metaphorical allusion. The first three chapters of the Historical Records cover the feats of Yu the Great and the records of the Xia and Shang dynasties but there is no mention of any Qiang. However, in chapter fifteen, Sima Qian is commenting on how advanced the west is compared to the east and describes those living in the northwest as people who made substantial achievements whereas those in the southeast were just labourers. Following this he draws an analogy that Yu, who was famous for controlling treacherous floodwaters, rose among the Western Qiang, whereas Tang (first ruler of the Shang dynasty) arose in Bo (in eastern Henan). If Sima Qian had been convinced that Yu was historically of the Western Qiang, it seems logical to assume that he would have mentioned it in chapter two, which begins with Yu’s origins, but although Yu’s ancestry is traced back via three ancestors (Gun, Chang Yi and Zhuan Xu) to the Yellow Emperor, there is no mention of any Qiang connection.10 Despite its metaphorical nature, this phrase is picked up by later histories as evidence that Yu the Great was Qiang.115. The earliest known ancestor of Yao Yizhong and the Shaodang Qiang clan Tianyu/Dianwu and the Shaodang Qiang provide the common link between the Yao Yizhong biography below and the Western Qiang Biography in the Hou Han Shu. The Western Qiang9 “三苗在江淮、荆州数为乱。于是舜归而言于帝,请….迁三苗于三危,以变西戎.” Sima Qian’s Shiji, Chapter Two: 夏禹,名曰文命。禹之父曰鲧,鲧之父曰帝颛顼,颛顼之父曰昌意,昌意之父曰黄帝。… Yu of Xia, his name was WenMing. His fathers name was Gun and Guns father was called Emperor Zhuan Xu and Zhuan Xus fatherwas called Chang Yi and Chang Yis father was called Emperor Huang (the Yellow Emperor).11 E.g. the Discourse on Salt and Iron by Huan Kuan (Ch 5) says that Yu came from the Western Qiang andKing Wen from the northern Yi. This was published several years after Sima Qian’s Shiji which waswritten between 109 and 91 BC. This King Wen (r.1099-1050 BC) was the founder of the Zhou dynasty.
  6. 6. Biography tells us that there were thirteen generations from Shaodang back to someone called Yan, who had been the tribal leader in the time of Duke Xiao of Qin (r.362-338 BC). The name of the tribe changed from Yan to Shaodang because Shaodang was a particularly powerful leader. From Yan we have a clear ancestral line as far back as the 5th century BC but no further. Yan’s father, Ren, who lived in the Huangzhong area12 in the time of Duke Xian of Qin (r.385-362 BC), had nine sons and Ren’s brother Wu had seventeen sons and the Qiang flourished from this time on.13 Ren’s great-grandfather, Wuyi Yuanjian,14 is the first named Qiang of this ancestral line and the Western Qiang Biography states specifically that ‘it wasn’t known what kind of Rong15 Yuanjian was.’ He had been captured by the Qin state in the time of Duke Li of Qin (r.477-443) and became a slave but then managed to escape to the region of Huangzhong (eastern Qinghai) and the Qiang were so impressed with him that they elected him as their chief. This means there is a traceable ancestral line from Yao Yizhong in the 4th century AD back via Qianna and Dianwu/Tianyu to Shaodang, Yan and Ren and then to Wuyi Yuanjian, who was a non-Chinese tribal leader of the Qiang of the eastern Qinghai region in the 5th century BC and of unknown earlier origins.12 湟中: Huangzhong was centred on the Huang River valley including the Xining area and extendingwestwards towards Qinghai Lake13 This comment suggests that the Yan/Shaodang clan were a very significant ancestral component offuture generations of Qiang.14 无弋爰劒: this could be translated as “no arrow, hence a sword” which may suggest a nickname ratherthan a birth name or descriptively selected characters in the transliteration of a foreign name. The WQBsays ‘wuyi’ was the Qiang word for ‘slave’ (羌人谓奴为无弋).15 戎: generic term for north-western non-Chinese. ‘Rong’ also means weapons/military so the implicationis that these peoples were skilled in warfare and weaponry.
  7. 7. MAIN TEXT OF CHAPTER 116 OF THE BOOK OF JINYao Yizhong was a Qiang from Chiting in Nan’an.16 He was of the descendants of the Yu clan (虞氏).17 Shun’s youngest son was enfeoffed by Yu (禹) as feudal lord over the Western Rong fromwhence came generations of Qiang chiefs.18 After that, the Shaodang became powerful in theregion between Tao and Han,19 and a seventh generation descendant called Tianyu (填虞)20invaded and harassed the western provinces towards the end of the Han Zhongyuan period (57AD) but was defeated by Ma Wu, Marquis of Yangxu, and moved away beyond the borders. Aninth generation descendant of Yu (虞)21 called Qianna (迁那) led his people to submit and theHan court praised him and made him Guanjun General, Colonel of the Western Qiang andPrince22 who has Pledged Allegiance and moved him to Chiting in Nan’an. His great-greatgrandson Kehui (柯回) was ‘Guarding the West’ General, ‘Pacifying the Rong’ Colonel andCommander of the Western Qiang in the state of Wei.23 Kehui was the father of Yizhong, whopossessed rare wisdom and bravery. Yizhong did not engage in any occupation for profit butwas engaged instead with providing relief and shelter to those in need and the people allrespected and revered him. In the chaos of the Yongjia period (307-313),24 he moved east toYumei,25 accompanied by several 10,000 of the Rongxia26 carrying their goods on their backs,27and called himself Colonel of the Western Qiang, governor of Yongzhou,28 and Duke of Fufeng.29The Western Qiang Biography of the HHS records the generations from Shaodang to Dianliang30 asliving north of the river in Da Yun valley which was in the region of Gonghe county in Qinghai’sHainan prefecture, south of Qinghai lake and north of the Yellow River. We then learn above thatthey were later in the Linxia area near the Tao River and eventually moved to the Dingxi region ofGansu under the Qiang leader, Qianna, who was Yao Yizhong’s great-great-great grandfather. It16 南安之赤亭: west of today’s Longxi county, Dingxi, Gansu. Chiting means Red Pavilion.17 虞氏: Yu was the name of a dynasty established by Shun. It was also the name of a small vassal state inthe Zhou period, near present day Pinglu county 平陆县 in Shanxi (山西). It is also a surname.18 Yu the Great (大禹) was the founder of the Xia dynasty and Shun was king before him (i.e. pre-Xia). Therelationship of Shun’s son to the Western Rong is simply that of feudal lord, not a blood relationship.19 洮 and 罕: the Tao River area and Fuhan (枹罕 - northeast of Linxia in Gansu). This was an areasouthwest of Lanzhou.20 See above: “Issues concerning the historical background of Yao Yizhong” for a discussion ofDianwu/Tianyu.21 I.e. Tianyu22 王: literally a king but often translated as ‘prince’ in a vassal or feudal context because they would havebeen subject to a greater power. Qianna is presumably mentioned specifically because of his submissionto the Han and his move with his people to Nan’an.23 魏: Wei state of the Three Kingdoms period24 In the Yongjia period of Emperor Huai of Western Jin, troops of the five ‘barbarians’ (i.e. non-Chineseforces) captured Luoyang and killed thousands. This ultimately led to the fall of Jin as a unified dynastyand the establishment of the Eastern Jin dynasty with various non-Chinese vying for power in the north.For a useful background to this period see Rafe de Crespigny’s: The Three Kingdoms and Western Jin: Ahistory of China in the Third Century AD. Internet edition 2003, Faculty of Asian Studies, AustralianNational University. 榆眉: East of today’s Qianyang (干阳) county in the Baoji region of Shaanxi.26 戎夏: This seems to be a mixture of non-Chinese who had submitted to China – i.e. the various Rongwho had submitted to Xia (an old expression for China) but possibly included some Chinese.27 襁负: this can also mean to carry infants on one’s back.28 雍州: In the Sixteen Kingdoms period Yongzhou was moved to include Anding commandery (in theregion of today’s Zhenyuan in Gansu) and Puban in today’s Yongji in Shanxi. This was a wide areastretching from eastern Gansu across Shaanxi to the westernmost edge of Shanxi.29 扶风: the Baoji region of Shaanxi.30 滇良: father of Dianwu/Tianyu and Shaodang chief of the early 1 st century AD.
  8. 8. seems the Qiang enjoyed a period of relative stability from Qianna to Yao Yizhong as they stayed inthe Dingxi region, although this came to an end with Yao Yizhong’s move to Yumei. It is of notethat Yao Yizhong’s father, Kehui, held the military position of ‘Commander of the Western Qiang’,evidence that the term ‘Western Qiang’ was still in use in the late 3rd – early 4th century AD.Liu Yao, who had pacified Chen An,31 appointed Yao Yizhong as ‘Pacifying the West’ General andenfeoffed him as Duke of Pingxiang32 and his towns were in Upper Long.33 When Shi Jilong34conquered Shanggui35 Yizhong said to him, “Sir, I hold 100,000 troops who are highly skilled atthis present time so today is an expedient time to change things. Upper Long has many chiefsand we are fierce and strong in the manner of Qin. If principles are noble we then submit but ifprinciples are ignoble we soon rebel. You should move the strong chiefs of Upper Long andstrengthen their loyalty in order to strengthen your own imperial domain.” Jilong agreed withthis and told Shi Le36 who appointed Yizhong as ‘Pacifying the West’ General and Commander ofthe Right37 of the Six Yi (夷). After this Zu Yue, governor of the Jin province of Yu fled to Shi Lewho treated him with great respect but Yizhong presented a memorial saying, “Zu Yue hascaused severe damage to the Jin dynasty, forcing the death of the empress dowager and beingdisloyal to his master, yet the Emperor bestows favour on him. I fear the seeds of treacherousdisorder will spring from him.” Shi Le saw this as good advice and later actually executed Zu Yue.So at this time Yao Yizhong commanded a force of 100,000 from Gansu and northern Shaanxi andhad initially submitted to the Xiongnu (匈奴) Han Zhao state under Liu Yao but with the demise ofHan Zhao he then yielded to Shi Le and Shi Jilong of the Jie (羯)38 state of Later Zhao. His boldnessand morality are seen here both in his warning to Shi Jilong about principles and in his advice toShi Le regarding Zu Yue’s behaviour. In the following paragraph Jilong moves Yao Yizhong and hispeople further east to Hebei. Yao Yizhong is still a Major Commander of the Western Qiang andcourageously stands up to Shi Jilong, despite Shi Jilong’s obviously cruelty to those who stand in hisway. Yizhong’s own people are now less than 100,000, implying that some stayed behind, whichseems to be the case as seen further on in the chapter.After Shi Le’s death, Shi Jilong took control.39 He considered Yizhong’s words and then movedthe chiefs of Qinzhou40 and Yongzhou to east of the passes. Yizhong led several 10,000 of hispeople to Qinghe41 and was made Military General and Major Commander of the WesternQiang42 and enfeoffed as Duke of Xiangping43 county. Jilong then overthrew Shi Hong and took31 Liu Yao (r.318-329) was a Xiongnu ruler of the Han Zhao State (304-329) of the Sixteen Kingdomsperiod. In 318 he moved the Han Zhao capital to Chang’an. Chen An (d.323) was governor of Qinzhouunder Liu Yao but then rebelled and was eventually killed in 323 AD by one of Liu Yao’s generals.32 平襄: northwest of Tongwei county in Dingxi, Gansu.33 陇上: ‘Long’ is nowadays a short name for Gansu province. Upper Long included northern Shaanxiprovince and much of Gansu province.34 石季龙 (295-349): senior official and then emperor of the Jie state of Later Zhao. His birth name was ShiHu (石虎), Shi Jilong was his courtesy name.35 上邽: Tianshui region of Gansu. Shi Jilong conquered Shanggui in 329 AD which brought to an end theXiongnu-ruled state of Han Zhao.36 Shi Le preceded Shi Jilong as emperor of Later Zhao.37 ‘Right’ was usually equivalent to ‘west’ in such a context.38 Jie identity theories include Sogdian and Yeniseian origins.39 When Shi Le died in 333, Shi Jilong affirmed Shi Hong as ruler but it was Jilong himself who held thegreatest power. He used this period to move those loyal to him into strategic positions and in 334 heusurped the throne and had Shi Hong and others put to death.40 秦州: modern eastern Gansu.41 清河: today’s Qinghe county in Hebei, on the Hebei-Shandong border and southeast of Shijiazhuang.42 This seems to infer that the people under Yao Yizhong were still viewed as Western Qiang despitehaving moved to Hebei.
  9. 9. power himself and Yizhong said that he was ill and did not go to congratulate Jilong. Jilongrepeatedly summoned him so he then attended and with a stern face said to Jilong, “Why do youwalk side by side with someone and gain their trust and then rebel and seize him?” Jilong wasafraid of his uprightness and frankness and did not reprove him. He was then promoted tobecome Diplomatic Envoy, Major Commander of the Six Yi of the Ten Commanderies and MajorGuanjun General. He was just and honest, lived simply and spoke frankly. He did not cultivate animpressive demeanour but frequently contributed his unbiased advice, without trying to evadeanything, and Jilong valued him highly. In the important conferences at court, he alwaysparticipated in strategic decisions and the high-ranking officials feared and deferred to him. Amilitary official of Wucheng44 was the younger brother of Jilong’s favourite concubine and heonce harassed Yizhong’s region so Yizhong captured him. The military official then treated himwith frivolity and arrogance45 and Yizhong ordered his attendant to behead him. The officialkowtowed until blood flowed from his forehead and the attendant remonstrated with Yizhongwho then spared the official. Yizhong’s upright and outspoken manner and avoidance of evilconduct was always like this.Yao Yizhong was probably an enigma to Jilong. His high principles meant he wouldn’t havecontested Jilong’s position as ruler and his troops significantly augmented Jilong’s power but hisfrank criticism of anything unprincipled was the price for Yizhong’s loyalty. In the section below,Yao Yizhong and his troops are fighting for Shi Jilong in the border region of Hebei and Henan.Yizhong continues to speak very boldly to Jilong about moral and tactical issues and is promoted.At the end of Jilong’s reign (d.349), Liang Du46 defeated Li Nong at Xingyang47 and Jilong wasgreatly afraid and rapidly summoned Yao Yizhong. Yizhong led more than 8,000 of his troopsand stationed them to the south (of Xingyang) and sent his light cavalry to Ye.48 At that timeJilong was sick and could not immediately receive Yizhong, so he sent for him to come to hismilitary headquarters and receive the kind of food that was provided for Jilong as emperor.Yizhong was angry and refused the food saying, “You summoned me to fight the enemy, whywould I come scavenging for food! I don’t know if Your Majesty is alive or dead but if I see you,even if you are dead I will not regret seeing you.”49 His attendants passed this on and he wasgiven an audience with Jilong. Yizhong rebuked Jilong saying, “You are suffering anxiety becauseof your son’s death? Even to the extent that its making you sick! If you don’t employ a goodperson to instruct your sons when they are young, it can even result in them killing each other.Your son committed errors but punishing those under him is too extreme, that is why they have43 襄平县: today’s Liaoyang region in Liaoning Province, northeast of Hebei.44 武城: in north-western Shandong near the Hebei border.45 Perhaps the man assumed that his relationship with Jilong’s concubine would protect him.46 Liang Du 梁犊 (d.349) was from Dingyang (定阳), in the region of today’s Yichuan county in Shaanxi. Hewas a Later Zhao military commander loyal to the Shi Jilong’s son, the crown prince, Shi Xuan. Shi Xuankilled his half-brother Shi Tao and was subsequently killed by Shi Jilong. Li Nong 李农 was one of ShiJilong’s particularly close ministers.47 荥阳: a county in Henan to the west of Zhengzhou.48 鄴: in the region of today’s Linzhang county in Handan, Hebei.49 ZZTJ, Ch 98: “Your majesty summoned me to attack the enemy, to receive me face to face and give memy instructions, why would I be bothered with food? Moreover, if your majesty doesn’t receive me, howcan I know whether you are alive or dead?” Shi Hu managed to see him despite his sickness and Yizhongreproved him saying, “Your son is dead so why continue in anxiety to the extent that you are sick? If youdont choose a good person to teach your children when they are young, it will result in theirdisobedience; you have already put him to death because of his disobedience, so why are you still anxious!Moreover, you have been sick for a long time and you have chosen a young child to succeed you. If youdont recover there will be chaos across the land. This should be your primary concern, not worryingabout the enemy!” In 348 AD, Shi Jilong’s original elected successor, his son Shi Xuan, killed his half-brother, Shi Tao, and had also planned to kill Jilong. Jilong subjected him to a particularly cruel death andchose his youngest son, Shi Shi 石世, as heir.
  10. 10. rebelled.50 You (汝) have been sick for a long time and the son you have appointed is smallchild.51 If you don’t recover from your illness there will be chaos across the land. That’s whatyou should be concerned about rather than troubling yourself over such enemies. Because LiangDu and his people have it in their heart to return to their old territory,52 they have togetherbecome villainous thieves. The destruction they are causing is the only reason to capture them[i.e. not for Xuan’s crimes]. This old Qiang53 requests an advance force of troops ready to fight tothe death, so that they can be dealt with at one stroke.” Yizhong’s character was upright andhonest and his custom was to treat everyone as equal, not differentiating in his attitude betweensuperiors or inferiors.54 Jilong was angry but didn’t reprove him and conferred on him the titlesof Diplomatic Envoy, Shizhong and ‘Attacking the West’ Major General and presented him witharmour and a war-horse. Yizhong said, “Do you think this old Qiang can defeat the enemy ornot?” So Yizhong put on his armour and mounted his horse in the yard, whipped his horse andgalloped southwards without taking his leave55 and utterly defeated Liang Du. For thisaccomplishment he was given greatly preferential treatment and could enter the court at hisleisure (without taking off his sword or shoes). He was promoted as Duke of Xipingcommandery.56Shi Jilong died in 349 AD and although his son Shi Shi succeeded him, Shi Shi was quickly replacedby another son, Shi Jian, who was then killed by Ran Min57 as were thousands of Jie people. Anotherof Jilong’s sons, Shi Zhi, tried to wrest power back from Ran Min, declaring himself ruler andappointing Yao Yizhong to extremely high office, an indication of how much he valued anddepended on Yao Yizhong’s support.In the time of chaos of Ran Min, Yizhong led his people to attack Ran Min by Hun Bridge.58 ShiZhi took power in Xiangguo59 and appointed Yizhong as prime minister of the Right, treatinghim with the utmost courtesy. Shi Zhi and Ran Min attacked each other and Yizhong sent his sonYao Xiang to rescue Shi Zhi. He exhorted Yao Xiang saying, “Your talent is ten times that of RanMin. If you don’t bravely capture him, don’t ever bother coming to see me again.” Yao Xiangattacked Ran Min at Changlu Marsh,60 winning a resounding victory, and returned. Yizhong wasangry that Yao Xiang hadn’t captured Ran Min and caned him 100 times.50 Liang Du had been Shi Xuan’s captain of the guard so when Shi Jilong granted a general amnesty herefused to include Liang Du and his people in it.51 I.e. Jilong’s youngest son, Shi Shi 石世. Yizhong disputed the wisdom of choosing such a young heir.52 归: in this context it may mean that they want to come under Shi Jilong’s command but cannot becausehe wants to punish them for Shi Xuan’s crimes.53 Liang Du rebelled in 349 and Yao Yizhong died in 352 aged 73 so he was about 70 years old at this time.54 This refers to Yao Yizhong’s use of ‘you -汝’ which was a general ‘you’ rather than a respectful way ofaddressing an emperor.55 The implication here is that he was offended by the gift of armour and war horse because it suggestedthat without them he might fail in his task, hence his question and his departure without waiting to bedismissed.56 西平郡: Xiping commandery was in the Xining region of Qinghai, where Yizhong’s Shaodang ancestorshad dwelt. The Later Zhao state under the Shi clan never extended that far west so this seems to havebeen an aspirational title unless it referred to a different region under Later Zhao rule. Nowadays there isa Xiping county about 200km south of Zhengzhou in Henan.57 冉闵: Ran Min (d.352), also known as Shi Min (石闵), was emperor of the short-lived state of Ran Wei(冉魏: 350-352) and was known for his cruel slaughter of the Jie people of Later Zhao. Ran 冉 is anuncommon Chinese surname but is the same character as a people group in western Sichuan in the Handynasty called the Ran 冉.58 混桥: Location unclear. The conflict with Ran Min centred around Yecheng (邺城), in the region oftoday’s Anyang on the Hebei-Henan border. Yecheng had been the capital of Later Zhao since 335 AD.59 襄国: Xingtai, Hebei province (to the north of Anyang). This had been the Later Zhao capital pre-335 AD.60 常卢泽: location unknown.
  11. 11. Among Yizhong’s troops there was a learned man of literary talent called Ma Heluo. Zhang Chaiwas an assistant to Shi Shi (石世)61 and Ma Heluo betrayed Yizhong and went over to Zhang Chaiwho made him Shangshu Lang official. When Zhang Chai was defeated Ma Heluo went back overto Yizhong. Everyone urged Yizhong to kill him but Yizhong said, “Today is precisely the day torecruit talent and accept one who excels. It is better to receive his talents than to harm him.”Yizhong made him a senior staff officer. That’s what his forgiveness was like.With the death of Shi Zhi in 351 AD and the final demise of Later Zhao, as well as the fall of RanMin in 352, there seems to have been a power vacuum in the Later Zhao region. The Di state ofFormer Qin was only established in 351 AD and the other main remaining power in the Later Zhaoregion was the Xianbei state of Former Yan, which had dealt the final blow to Ran Min. YaoYizhong could possibly have established his own power base but instead chose to look south andsurrendered to Eastern Jin. He was given several high official titles including Duke of Gaoling(north of Xi’an in Shaanxi) and commander of military affairs in Jiang and Huai which was theregion between the Huai and Yangtze Rivers. With 42 sons, his good reputation and a following ofat least tens of thousands his allegiance was clearly welcomed.Yao Yizhong had 42 sons and often exhorted them saying, “My native place suffered great chaosbecause of the House of Jin and the Shi clan treated me with great kindness and therefore, inorder to repay their goodness to me, I wanted to deal with those who conspired against them.Today the Shi clan has already been wiped out, and the central plains have no ruler. Sinceancient times there has never been a Rong Di (戎狄)62 serving as Son of Heaven (i.e. emperor).When I die, it is in your interest to come under Jin rule. At that time, you must do your utmost tomaintain the principles worthy of high officials and not resort to unrighteousness.” He thendispatched an envoy to request surrender. In the 7th Yonghe year63 (351 AD) Yao Yizhong wasappointed as Senior Diplomatic Envoy, Major Commander of the Six Yi (夷), commander of allmilitary affairs in Jiang and Huai, Major General of Chariots and Cavalry, Yitong Sansi (仪同三司), and Great Shanyu64 and was also enfeoffed as Duke of Gaoling65 commandery. He died in the8th Yonghe year (352 AD) aged seventy-three.That Yao Yizhong commanded an unusual and extensive level of respect is evident in the followingoccurrence. When his son Yao Xiang attempted to take his body within the passes, possibly wantingto take it back to their old territory of Nan’an, he was attacked by Fu Sheng, founder of the state ofFormer Qin. However, when Fu Sheng discovered Yao Xiang was accompanying Yizhong’s body hecommanded a grand burial for Yizhong in Tianshui, southeast of Nan’an.Yao Yizhong’s son, Yao Xiang, entered within the passes and was defeated by Fu Sheng but whenFu Sheng found out about Yizhong’s coffin he ordered a grand burial ceremony for him in Jicounty in Tianshui.66 When Yao Chang (later) seized power67 he conferred a posthumous titleon Yao Yizhong of Emperor Jingyuan and gave him the temple name of Shizhu. Yao Chang calledthe grave High Tomb Mound (高陵) and established a settlement there with 500 households.61 Zhang Chai and the mother of Shi Shi (石世) were the power behind the young emperor but Shi Jilongappointed two regents for him, Shi Zun and Shi Bin. Shi Zun eventually killed Zhang Chai.62 Presumably although Yao Yizhong is Qiang, he sees the Qiang as a part of the Rong Di. The twocharacters used together generally indicated the non-Chinese of the north and the west.63 The Yonghe reign period of Emperor Mu of Eastern Jin was from 345-357. Yao Yizhong came over to Jinas Ran Min was in his cruel two year reign after the decimation of the Shi clan.64 Originally the title of the highest Xiongnu leaders, this had become a lesser and more widely used title.65 高陵: north of Xi’an in Shaanxi province.66 天水冀县: the region of today’s Gangu (甘谷) county, northwest of Tianshui on the Wei River.67 姚苌: 24th son of Yao Yizhong, brother of Yao Xiang and founder of the state of Later Qin in 384 AD.
  12. 12. Yao Xiang’s courtesy name was Jing Guo and he was the 5th son of Yao Yizhong. When he was 17years old he was nearly two meters tall, his arms reached to below his knees and he had greatmilitary talent and skill, was sharp and very perceptive and good at accepting and nurturingpeople. The regular soldiers loved and respected him and they all requested that he be the heir.Yizhong did not permit this but the common people who persisted in their request numberedabout one thousand each day so he then accepted them as soldiers. When Shi Zhi declaredhimself emperor (in 350) he had appointed Yao Xiang as Senior Diplomatic Envoy, PiaoqiGeneral, Colonel Protector of the Wuwan,68 governor of Yuzhou,69 and Duke of Xinchang.70 TheJin court then dispatched an envoy to appoint Yao Xiang as Diplomatic Envoy, ‘Pacifying theNorth’ General, governor of Bingzhou71 and Duke of Jiqiu.72Like his father, Yao Xiang was seen as a significant ally by the Later Zhao and also then by the Jincourt. His skills and popularity were such that he commanded considerable personal power.Despite his father’s advice to submit to Jin, he deliberately withheld the news of his father’s deathuntil he had appointed his own officials and extended his power base.When Yizhong died, Yao Xiang kept it a secret and did not inform anyone or arrange a funeral73but led 60,000 households south to attack Yangping, Yuancheng and Fagan74 and defeated themall, killing and plundering more than 3,000 households and stationing his forces at Qiao’aoFord.75 He appointed Wang Liang of Taiyuan as his chief minister, Yin Chi of Tianshui as Sima,Fu Zi of Lüeyang became Commander of the Left, and Lian Qi of Nan’an became Commander ofthe Right. Hei Na of Lüeyang became Commander of the advance troops, Qiang Bai becameCommander of the rear troops, and Xue Zan of Taiyuan and Quan Yi, Prince of Lüeyang, becamesenior staff officers.76 It was not until he reached as far south as Xingyang77 that he began towear mourning garments and inform people about Yizhong’s death. He fought Gao Chang and LiLi78 at Matian (Hemp Field) and his horse was hit and killed by a stray arrow but his youngerbrother, Yao Chang, rescued him. The Jin court placed Yao Xiang in Qiaocheng79 and hedispatched five of his younger brothers to serve Jin as hostages and then rode alone across theHuai River to see the Yuzhou governor, Xie Shang, in Shouchun.80 Xie Shang sent out a formalescort for him and welcomed him with a turban,81 at the same time giving him a financial giftbut also welcoming him as if he had known him all his life.68 乌丸: Wuwan was another name for the Wuhuan people (乌桓).69 豫州: during the Jin period this was centred on Henan.70 新昌: in Zhejiang province.71 并州: this was mainly today’s southwestern Shanxi in the Sixteen Kingdoms period, with its capital atPuban 蒲坂, southwest of today’s Yongji.72 即丘: in the region of today’s Linyi city (临沂市) in Shandong.73 I.e. giving him time to consolidate his power.74 阳平, 元城 and 发干. Yangping commandery was administered from Yuancheng and was east of today’sDaming county in Hebei. Fagan was in Guan county not far from Daming but across today’s border intoShandong.75 碻磝津: southwest of Chiping county (茌平) in Shandong.76 太原: Taiyuan, today’s capital of Shanxi province; 天水: Tianshui in eastern Gansu; 略阳: Lüeyang – insouthwestern Shaanxi; 南安: Nan’an, west of today’s Longxi county, Gansu. I.e. he is surrounding himselfwith leaders from central northern China instead of the eastern provinces where Yao Yizhong hadeventually been based.77 荥阳: west of Zhengzhou in Henan78 Former Qin generals.79 谯城: modern Qiaocheng in Anhui.80 寿春: also in Anhui.81 幅巾: this was a silk turban expressing refined attire.
  13. 13. Yao Xiang had exceptional prestige and was an unusually powerful warrior, erudite and fond oflearning and highly skilled in discussions. He was famous in the southern part of China as thehero of Ji.82 Yin Hao, who was General of the Central Army and governor of Yangzhou,83 fearedhis renown and because of Yao Xiang’s various younger brothers,84 he repeatedly sent assassinsto kill Xiang but the assassins all had confidence in Yao Xiang and told him the truth and YaoXiang treated them as before. Yin Hao secretly sent General Wei Jing with 5,000 troops to launcha surprise attack on Xiang but Xiang then beheaded Jing and took over his troops. Yin Haoloathed him even more and then sent General Liu Qi to protect Qiaocheng and Yao Xiang movedto Litai in the state of Liang85 where he was put in charge of civilian affairs. Yao Xiang sent QuanYi to visit Yin Hao: Yin Hao:"When Yao pacified the north, all his movement was unrestricted. How is it that he has such a reputation?"86 Quan Yi: "The General (i.e. Yin Hao) has rashly believed treacherous words and is creating his own suspicion. In my humble opinion he is suspicious and jealous of Yao Xiangs freedom of movement but this is not directly related to Yao Xiang.” Yin Hao: "Yao is a ruler who indulges lowly people who steal my horses. Is that indeed the norm for his subjects?" Quan Yi: "The General says Yao pacified the north in order to strengthen his own power87 but from start to finish stabilising the north was a difficult task. The officers and soldiers trained the people and warned them that those who behaved disrespectfully would be punished. Those who took horses wanted them in order to defend themselves in battle, that’s all." Yin Hao: "That is highly unlikely.”Following this Yin Hao sent Xie Wan to attack Yao Xiang and Yao Xiang counter-attacked anddefeated him. Yin Hao was furious. At that time he heard that there was a revolt in Guanzhongso he set out on a northern expedition and Yao Xiang intercepted and defeated him atShansang,88 beheading and capturing 10,000 and taking his supplies and weapons. Yao Xiangsent his older brother, Yao Yi, to protect Shansang by building ramparts while he himself wentonce again to Huainan.89 Yin Hao sent Li Qi and Wang Bin to attack Shansang and Yao Xiangreturned from Huainan to attack and eliminate them. He crossed the Huai River using drums tosound his advance and stationed his troops in Xuyi.90 He recruited refugees who had beenplundered and his people numbered about 70,000. He then divided them up into regionalofficials and encouraged them to study farming and silk production. He sent an envoy to Jianye91to bring an indictment against Yin Hao and give his own personal account.This clash between Yin Hao and Yao Xiang clearly served to distance Yao Xiang from his allegianceto Jin, pushing him once again to strengthen his own power base and turn northwards. Afterattempting to take Luoyang, Yao Xiang was then defeated by another Jin general, Huan Wen, and82 济: an area around the lower reaches of the Yellow River in Shandong.83 Yin Hao, a Jin Dynasty general. 扬州: in central Jiangsu, east of Anhui.84 This presumably refers to those who were hostages at the Jin court cementing the alliance between YaoXiang and Jin, which Yin Hao mistrusted and was threatened by.85 梁国蠡台: in today’s Shangqiu region in eastern Henan, on the border with Anhui. Liang state was aminor polity at this time.86 I.e. It was an easy task so why should he have such wide renown?87 As a general of the Jin dynasty at this time, it would have been treachery to strengthening his ownpower.88 山桑: in the Bozhou region of Anhui, north of Mengcheng county.89 淮南: south of the Huai River in Anhui.90 盱眙: Xuyi county in Huai’an, Jiangsu, on the lower reaches of the Huai River (near northern Anhui).91 建鄴: southwest of Nanjing in Jiangsu. Jianye became known as Jiankang 建康 in the Eastern Jin periodand was the capital of Eastern Jin.
  14. 14. forced further west. Whoever the author is of this text, he continues to extol Yao Xiang in the samemanner that he extolled Yao Yizhong’s virtues.One of these refugees, Guo Yi, with 1,000 of his people, captured Liu Shi, a Tangyi interiorminister92 under Jin, who surrendered to Yao Xiang. The court was greatly shaken by this andappointed Zhou Min, the serving minister of personnel, as General of the Central Army, toprepare defences at the river. Yao Xiang’s high-ranking military officers were all people from thenorth and they all urged Yao Xiang to return to the north. Yao Xiang headed north and declaredhimself Major General and Great Shanyu. He then advanced to attack Waihuang93 but wasdefeated by the Jin state’s border forces. Yao Xiang gathered up his scattered soldiers anddiligently reassured them, thus restoring order among his troops. He then seized and occupiedXuchang94 and was about to go east of the river to try and take Guanyou,95 over-confident thathe could then attack Luoyang, but a month later he had still failed to take it. His senior minister,Wang Liang, remonstrated with him, “Sir, your courage and wise strategies are known acrossthe land, your people serve you with all their strength, you cannot risk decreasing your powerand exhausting your people as you keep watch near this isolated city. You should go back northof the river and accomplish great achievements elsewhere. Yao Xiang replied, “AlthoughLuoyang is small, the mountains and rivers around it are strong defences and it is a veryfavourable position militarily. I want to capture Luoyang first and then establish the throne.”Not long after this, Wang Liang died and Yao Xiang wept with deep sorrow saying, “Did thisgreat general not want to accomplish my plans? Wang Liang has abandoned me and gone!”Huan Wen, who was ‘Attacking the West’ Major General of Jin, set out from Jiangling96 on amilitary expedition against Yao Xiang. The battle was north of the Yi River97and Yao Xiang wasdefeated by Huan Wen and fled on horseback with several thousand of those under hiscommand to the northern mountains. That night, more than 5,000 people left their wives andchildren to go with Yao Xiang and together they seized and occupied Yangxiang98 and a further4,000 households joined him. Around Yao Xiang there were many who were defeated and inmourning and when people discovered where he was they would immediately go to himbringing their whole family, young and old. Sometimes those who transferred to Yao Xiang wereheavily wounded and of no use. None of the young men and women captured by Huan Wen’sarmy could look north without tears in their eyes.99 Such was the nature of Yao Xiang’sprinciples and emphasis on people’s feelings and morale.Initially, Yang Liang of Hongnong100 went over to Yao Xiang who treated him with the etiquettedue to a guest. Later, Yang Liang fled to Huan Wen who asked him about Yao Xiang. Yang Liang92 堂邑内史: Tangyi – in the Nanjing area of Jiangsu. The post of ‘interior minister’ had existed since thetime of Western Han and involved responsibility for civil affairs. It generally referred to vassal states so itis possible that Liu Shi did not have strong loyalty to Jin. The ZZTJ, chapter 99, refers to Li Shi as theChenliu (陈留) ‘interior minister.’ Chen Liu was in the region of Kaifeng, Henan and was a minor state (陈留国) in the Jin period.93 外黄: in the area of Qi county in today’s Kaifeng, Henan.94 许昌: a city in Henan, south of Zhengzhou and Kaifeng.95 关右: the area west of Tong Pass in Shaanxi, close to the Henan border, which represented the easternextent of Guanzhong.96 江陵: Jingzhou in Hubei province, west of Wuhan.97 伊水: The Yi River rises in Luoyang’s Luanchuan county and eventually flows through Luoyang.98 阳乡: location unknown.99 The implication here is that Yao Xiang would still accept people who were of no military use to him orneeded medical help, apparently a contrast to Huan Wen’s treatment of them. This is an interestingcomment – critical of a Jin general and extolling Yao Xiang.100 弘农: today’s Lingbao municipality in Henan, on the border with Shaanxi and not far from Xi’an.
  15. 15. replied, “He has the bearing of a god and is comparable to Sun Ce101 but his military abilitysurpasses that of Sun Ce.” Such was the high regard with which Yao Xiang was viewed.Yao Xiang then continued pressing westwards into Shaanxi and towards his clan’s old territory inGansu, sending troops ahead to take territory and to recruit other non-Chinese who viewed themfavourably and who had probably been former allies or neighbours of Yao Yizhong. Yao Xiang waskilled in battle at Sanyuan, near Xianyang in Shaanxi, by Fu Jian (苻坚) of the new Di-ruled state ofFormer Qin in 357. This was the year that the throne of Former Qin passed from Fu Sheng to FuJian.102Yao Xiang continued on to Beiqu,103 planning to aim for Guanzhong, and advanced his troops toXingcheng.104 He dispatched Yao Lan, his older cousin who was also one of his ministerialassistants, to invade the territory of Fucheng105 and sent his older brother, Yao Yi, and GeneralWang Qinlu to assemble the Rong Xia of Beidi106 and those who submitted to them numberedmore than 50,000 households. Fu Sheng107 sent his General Fu Fei to resist Yao Lan who wasdefeated and beheaded by Fu Fei. Yao Xiang led his people westwards and Fu Sheng again sentFu Jian108 and Deng Qiang to intercept him. Yao Xiang was about to engage them in battle but aBuddhist monk109 with great wisdom strongly admonished him saying he should give his menmilitary training to improve their skills, gather more people and think about doing this sometime in the future rather than immediately. Yao Xiang said, “Two strong men cannot rule side byside, I hope God/Heaven will not abandon virtue and will save the common people. My plan isdecided.” At that time Deng Qiang was closing in on Yao Xiang which infuriated him and hepushed ahead with his advance and fought at Sanyuan110 but was defeated and killed agedtwenty-seven by Fu Jian in the first Shengping year of Jin (357 AD). Fu Sheng gave him a publicburial ceremony. When Yao Chang made himself ruler [of Later Qin] he bestowed on Yao Xiangthe posthumous title of Prince Wu of Wei111 and enfeoffed Yao Xiang’s grandson as Marquis ofDongcheng.112101 Sun Ce was founder of the Three Kingdoms state of Eastern Wu. Assassinated in his mid-twenties hewas described in the Three Kingdoms annals as “a handsome man who was full of laughter. He was also agenerous and receptive man who employed people according to their abilities. As such, his subjects werewilling to risk their lives for him.” Fu Sheng (苻生) ruled Former Qin from 355 to 357 AD and was succeeded by Fu Jian (苻坚 r.357-385)who should not be confused with the founder, Fu Jian (苻健 r.351-355). The Former Qin state lasted until394 AD. It was initially known as Qin and only later became Former Qin to differentiate it from the Qiangstate of Later Qin and possibly also from the BC Qin state.103 北屈: in the region of Ji county in Linfen, Shanxi, near the Shanxi-Shaanxi border. In the Jin period theregion was famous for its abundance of good horses.104 杏城: southwest of Shaanxi’s Huangling in Yan’an county.105 鄜城: in the area of today’s Fu county in Shaanxi, between Huangling and Yan’an.106 北地: in the Jin period Beidi was centred on Tongchuan, Shaanxi. Some of these Rongxia probablynumbered among the 100,000 originally commanded by Yao Yizhong. See n.25.107 Second ruler of the Di State of Former Qin from 355-357 (after Fu Jian 苻健)108 Fu Jian (r.357-385) of Former Qin “vigorously supported Buddhism. In the year 379 he conqueredXianyang and captured the eminent monk Dao’an 道安 (312-385). He issued this order: “Any student [ofBuddhism] with doubts, whether inside or outside the religion, should take Dao’an as his master.”” Bycontrast, he opposed Daoism and the ideology of Laozi and Zhuangzi. See: Early Chinese Religion: ThePeriod of Division (220-589 AD). Part two, Volume 1. Brill, 2009. Edited by John Lagerwey, Lü Pengzhi,p215-216.109沙门: shamen, from Sanskrit ‘Sramana’.110 三原: Sanyuan county in Xianyang, Shaanxi.111 魏武王: this would have been a very deliberate choice, being the same posthumous title accorded toCao Cao of the Wei state in the Three Kingdoms period. Like Yao Xiang, Cao Wei had great military andliterary talents and was an exceptionally gifted leader.112 东城侯: possibly in Anhui’s Dingyuan county.
  16. 16. After Yao Xiang’s death, Yao Chang surrendered to Former Qin and as was the case with his fatherand brother, his allegiance was highly valued. He seems to have been extraordinary in variousways. Before his death, Yao Xiang dreamed of Yao Chang becoming emperor and later, when YaoChang was on a military expedition to Sichuan with Former Qin forces, he was resting by a riverand those with him saw a strange light shining above him.Yao Chang’s courtesy name was Jing Mao (景茂) and he was Yao Yizhong’s 24th son. He wasunusually intelligent and wise and an excellent tactician.113 Magnanimous, headstrong,forthright, sincere and unpretentious, he did not engage in any profession and his brothers allwondered at him. When he accompanied Yao Xiang on his military expeditions he was alwayscoming up with big plans. In Yao Xiang’s attack on Luoyang, Yao Xiang had dreamed that YaoChang was wearing imperial robes and ascended to the imperial throne. In the dream thevarious chiefs and elders were all serving Yao Chang. At daybreak he told his high-rankingofficials saying: “This is the kind of dream I just had. This child has unusual strength of will.Perhaps he will truly be able to restore our people [the Qiang].” When Yao Xiang was defeated atMatian,114 a stray arrow killed his horse and Yao Chang dismounted to rescue him. Yao Xiangsaid to him, “Why don’t you escape?” Yao Chang said, “As long as I save my older brother, myenemies won’t dare to harm me!” At that time he saved him and they both escaped.When Yao Xiang died, Yao Chang led all his brothers to surrender to Fu Sheng [of Former Qin].Fu Jian appointed Yao Chang as Yangwu General. He served as Defence General of the Left,commandery head of Eastern Gansu, Ji commandery, Hedong, Wudu, Wuwei and Western Ba,and governor of the three provinces of Ning, You and Yan.115 He again became Yangwu Generaland Colonel of Infantry and was enfeoffed as Marquis of Yidu.116 As Fu Jian’s general herepeatedly achieved great accomplishments.In the early days, Yao Chang accompanied Yang An on a military expedition to Shu117 and oncetook a nap in the daytime beside a river. Above him a miraculous light was shining and thosearound were all astonished by it. Fu Jian invaded Jin and appointed Yao Chang as LongxiangGeneral and supervisor of all military affairs of Yizhou and Liangzhou118 and said to him, “Ioriginally became Longxiang of Jianye and have never before awarded the title of Longxiang toanyone else. My awarding it to you today is exceptional because the matter south of themountains can only be entrusted to a high-ranking official.” Fu Jian’s General of the Left, Dou113 少聪哲,多权略: this may mean “lacking intelligence and wisdom but an excellent tactician.”particularly with the contrast between ‘少’ and ‘多.’ However, 少 can also mean rare/unusually as used inthe description of Yao Yizhong in the first paragraph of the text (少英毅).114 See p.12 for this event.115 This was a huge area and indicated a great amount of trust or ambition on the part of Fu Jian. 陇东:Eastern Gansu; 汲郡: Xinxiang in Henan; 河东: Yuncheng-Linfen region in Shanxi; 武都: southern Gansunear the Sichuan border; 武威: in the eastern end of the Gansu corridor; 巴西: roughly eastern Sichuan; 扶风: Baoji area of southwestern Shaanxi; 宁州: Huaning county south of Kunming in Yunnan; 幽州:southern Liaoning- northern Hebei region; 兗州: southwestern Shandong. See map of Former Qin inrelation to Eastern Jin: 益都: in the Qingzhou region of Shandong.117 蜀: centred on the Sichuan basin. Shu was a geographical region. The borders of Yizhou (n.115 below),which was an administrative region, varied over different periods but generally included large parts ofShu. Former Qin conquered parts of Shu/Sichuan in 373 AD.118 益、梁州: in the last years of the Three Kingdom period, Cao Wei defeated the state of Shu Han anddivided it into Yizhou and Liangzhou and they remained thus through the Western and Eastern Jinperiods. Liangzhou included Hanzhong (Shaanxi) and eastern Sichuan. Yizhou included most of the rest ofthe Sichuan basin and some of the foothills west of the basin. It bordered Ningzhou in the south. See mapat:$90cebeecf217700527979103
  17. 17. Chong came forward and said, “Rulers should not joke. This expedition will prove to beinauspicious. Only Your Majesty can inquire into this.” Fu Jian was silent.Fu Jian was then defeated south of the Huai River119 and returned to Chang’an.120 Murong Hongrose up with his troops and rebelled against Fu Jian.121 Fu Jian sent his son Rui to attack MurongHong and appointed Yao Chang as Sima official. They were defeated by Murong Hong and Fu Ruidied. Yao Chang sent the Longxiang senior official Zhao Du to visit Fujian and to apologise forthis offense (i.e. the defeat and the death of Fu Rui). Fu Jian went into a rage and killed Zhao Du.Yao Chang was afraid and fled north of the Huai River and then to the horse pastures.122 YinXiang, Zhao Yao, Wang Qinlu, Niu Shuang, Di Guang and Zhang Qian,123 who were all non-Chinese chieftains of the western province,124 led 50,000 households and they all elected YaoChang as leader of their alliance.Although Yao Yizhong and his sons had moved far from their home region of Dingxi, Gansu to theeast of China, this moment sees the victorious return of the Yao clan to their old region, forming analliance, as seen below, with chiefs from Tianshui and Nan’an (Dingxi).Yao Chang was about to reject this but Yin Wei of Tianshui said to him, “Today we are alreadypast the ‘106 day festival’125 and we have already seen the omen that [Former] Qin is in demise.Your prestige and power as a general are known far and wide. You are the one who can relievethe problems of this era so the chiefs have come with great haste and all are in agreement withthe request that you be elected. Sir, you should restrain your own will and yield to this so as tomeet the hopes of the people. You cannot just watch while people are drowning and not savethem.” Yao Chang then agreed with Yin Wei’s proposal and in the 9th Taiyuan year (384 AD)proclaimed himself Major General, Great Shanyu and Wannian Prince of Qin and issued anamnesty within his borders. He took the reign name of White Bird126 and handled affairs withthe authority of an emperor. He appointed Yin Xiang of Tianshui and Pang Yan of Nan’an asministers of the Left and Right, Yao Huang of Nan’an and Yin Wei as Sima of the Left and Right,and Di Bozhi, Jiao Qiang, Liang Xi, Pang Wei and Ren Qian, all of Tianshui, as Zhonglang officials.He appointed Jiang Xun and Yan Zun as aides to the officials and Wang Ju, Jiao Shi, Jiang Xiu, YinYannian, Niu Shuang and Zhang Qian as senior staff officers and Wang Qinlu, Yao Fangcheng,Wang Polu, Yang Nan, Yin Song, Pei Qi, Zhao Yao, Di Guang and Dang Shan as commanders.At that time, Murong Chong127 and Fu Jian attacked each other with many troops. Yao Chang wasabout to go west but was afraid that Murong Chong would cut him off so he sent an envoy tomake peace, using his son Yao Chong (崇) as a hostage for Murong Chong (冲). He then119淮南: Huainan. Today’s Huainan city is to the north of central Anhui.120 Chang’an was about 770km/480 miles from Huainan.121 慕容冲: Murong Hong was the Xianbei founder of the short-lived Western Yan state (384-394). He waskilled by Xianbei officials in 384 and replaced by his younger brother Murong Chong (慕容冲) who ruledas emperor from 385-386. Fu Jian of Former Qin had destroyed the earlier Xianbei state of Former Yanand settled many Xianbei around Chang’an who later rebelled. See below: Murong Chong eventuallyentered Chang’an and then took his people back east.122 马牧: this may just be a general area for horse grazing but could also be the Xingping region of Shaanxi,west of Xi’an and north of the Wei River.123 尹详、赵曜、王钦卢、牛双、狄广、张乾. Yao Xiang had previously sent Wang Qinlu to gather theRong Xia of Beidi so the non-Chinese chiefs were probably these Rong Xia.124 西州: in this context the Shaanxi region is indicated.125 106 days after the winter solstice 百六之数126 白雀: ‘que’ can be sparrow but is a general term for small birds.127 Murong Chong (d.386) was of the Xianbei and a son of the Former Yan emperor. He became an officialof Former Qin after it destroyed Former Yan (in 370) but rebelled in 383 and in 385 he took Chang’an.
  18. 18. advanced and stationed his soldiers in Beidi,128 training them and storing up grain while hewatched how things were developing. Fu Jian had earlier transferred Li Xiang of Jin with severalthousand households to Fulu129 but Li Xiang surrendered to Yao Chang and those Qiang Hu ofBeidi, Xinping130 and Anding131 who surrendered numbered more than 100,000 households. FuJian led his various generals to attack them but could not overcome them.As mentioned earlier, Beidi in this period was based on Tongchuan to the north of Chang’an, whichwas the capital of Former Qin, so this was a serious challenge to Fu Jian’s power, especially as hewas now losing huge numbers to Yao Chang and was also under pressure from Murong Chong. Thesurrender to Yao Chang of such a large number of Qiang Hu households from Beidi, Xinping andAnding was a huge disaster for Fu Jian, who had already been badly defeated the year before at theBattle of Fei River (383 AD) in a disastrous attempt to conquer Eastern Jin and attain Fu Jian’sgoal of reuniting China under Former Qin. In 384 Fu Jian was further weakened by the desertion ofhis ally, Murong Chui, who returned to the north-east to establish the state of Later Yan.Yao Chang heard that Murong Chong had attacked Chang’an and he discussed a rapid advancebut the people under him all said, “You should first seize Xianyang132 so that you can haveeverything under your control.” Yao Chang said, “[The state of] Yan yearns for the ‘old order’and is raising troops so if we move quickly to accomplish matters they will all be thinking ofmoving east and then how will they be able to consolidate Qinchuan133 for any length of time? Iwant to move troops north of the mountain range, extensively gather supplies and wait for thedemise of [Former] Qin and for Yan to move back [east], and then I will easily take Xianyang.The troops can win without any bloodshed and I will bring peace and stability to the whole land,dealing with the two simultaneously like Bian Zhuangzi.”134 Fu Jian’s ‘Pacifying the North’General, Song Fang, led 3,000 cavalry from Yunzhong135 towards Chang’an and Yao Chang wentout from Erxian136 and intercepted and defeated him. Song Fang escaped alone on his horse andhis Sima official, Tian Huang, led the people to surrender to Yao Chang. Yao Chang sent hisvarious generals to attack Xinping and they conquered it so he pressed on and invaded Andingafter which the various towns north of the mountains eagerly submitted to him.At that time Fu Jian was under pressure from Murong Chong and moved to WujiangMountain.137 Murong Chong entered Chang’an. Fu Jian’s Sili Colonel, Quan Yi, the Shangshuofficial, Zhao Qian, the Dahonglu minister, Huangfu Fu, the Guanglu Dafu official, Xue Zan, andthe head of Fufeng commandery, Duan Keng, along with several hundred civil and militaryofficials, all fled over to Yao Chang. Yao Chang then sent his Elite Cavalry General, Wu Zhong,with his cavalry to surround Fu Jian and Yao Chang went to Xinping. After a while Wu Zhongcaptured Fu Jian and sent him to Yao Chang.128 北地: in the region of Tongchuan in Shaanxi, north of Xi’an.129 敷陆: southeast of Luochuan in Shaanxi. Luochuan is between Tongchuan and Yan’an.130 新平: the administrative centre of Xinping was in Shaanxi’s Bin county in Xianyang.131 安定: in the region of Zhenyuan county in Qingyang, Gansu.132 咸阳: west of today’s Xi’an, Shaanxi.133 秦川: another name for the Guanzhong plain, stretching from Baoji in the west to the Yellow River inthe east, and lying north of the Qinling Mountains in Gansu and Shaanxi. The Wei River flows through theGuanzhong plain. Chang’an lay just south of the Wei River.134 卞庄子: Bian Zhuangzi, a warrior of Lu state in the Spring and Autumn period once saw two tigersattacking an ox. He was going to kill them but a friend said the tigers would attack each other, one woulddie and then Bian Zhuangzi could easily kill the other which would already be wounded, so both would bedead with little effort. The idiom from this story is ‘sitting on a hill watching tigers fight’ 坐山观虎斗.135 云中: in the region of Shanxi’s Yuanping county, north of Taiyuan.136 贰县: northwest of today’s Huangling county in Yan’an, Shaanxi (just south of Luochuan).137 五将山: an area northwest of Xi’an and north of Liquan county. I.e. he has abandoned Chang’an.
  19. 19. Murong Chong sent Gao Gai, his Major General of Chariots and Cavalry, with 50,000 peopleagainst Yao Chang and the battle took place south of Xinping. Gao Gai was defeated and withseveral thousand people under his command he surrendered to Yao Chang who conferred anofficial title on him (散骑常侍).Murong Chong then led his people east and Chang’an was empty. Haonu of Lushui138 proclaimedhimself emperor in Chang’an and the people north of the Wei River were quick to respond tohim. Wang Lin of Fufeng was holding Mawei139 with several thousand people and Haonu sent hisyounger brother, Haoduo, to attack Wang Lin. Yao Chang then sent troops against Wang Lin anddefeated him and he escaped to Hanzhong. Yao Chang captured Haoduo and then advanced toattack Haonu who surrendered.140With the capture of Fu Jian of Former Qin and the defeat and surrender of Xianbei forces underGao Gai as well as the defeat and surrender of the Lushui Hu, Yao Chang had no serious contendersand declared himself emperor in Chang’an. This was 32 years since the death of his father andmore than 70 years since his father had first moved east from Nan’an to Yumei.In the 11th Taiyuan year (386 AD), Yao Chang promptly declared himself emperor in Chang’anand issued a general amnesty. He changed the reign title to Jianchu and the name of his statewas Great Qin.141 The name of Chang’an (长安) was changed to Chang’an (常安 - ConstantPeace). Yao Chang established his wife, Lady She, as empress and his son Yao Xing as crownprince and installed officials of all ranks and descriptions. He spoke of himself as using ‘fire’ toinherit the ‘wood’ of the Fu clan.142 The style and colour of his clothing was like that which theHan clan had inherited from the old customs of the Zhou.143 He moved more than 5,000138 卢水: this is often used in the phrase 卢水胡, a group which seems to have included Xiongnu andYuezhi people as well as some Jie, Di and Qiang. Ch 53 of the HHS mentions the Lu Shui Qiang Hu 卢水羌胡. The Lu River flowed through Anding commandery and other parts of today’s Ningxia and Gansu. For auseful article on the Lushui Hu see: Ethnicity and the Suppression of Buddhism in Fifth-Century North China:The Background and Significance of the Gaiwu Rebellion. Liu Shufen. 马嵬: west of Xinping, Shaanxi.140 Chapter 106 of the ZZTJ records Haonu more specifically as a Lushui Hu from Xingcheng (杏城卢水胡郝奴), which was southwest of today’s Huangling in Yan’an, Shaanxi. Although the characters aredifferent, the WQB mentions a Haoduo (号多) belonging to the Shaodang Qiang. The names Haonu (郝奴)and Haoduo (郝多) of the Lushui Hu are very similar to Shaodang Qiang names mentioned in the WesternQiang Biography, e.g. Haowu (号吾, son of Dianwu), Dongwu (东吾, son of Dianwu), Donghao (东号, son ofDongwu), Manu (麻奴, son of Donghao), Haoduo (号多), Haoliang (号良). Many of these were Shaodangtribal leaders based in today’s eastern Qinghai and frequently attacking further east into Gansu. Somesubmitted to the Han while others persistently rebelled, attacking and then retreating into inner Qinghai,away from the Han. It may be that Haoduo and Haonu were also Qiang and that Hao (号), which was not astandard Chinese surname, was at some point changed to Hao (郝) which is a regular surname.141 大秦: Da Qin. The state is generally known as Later Qin now in order to differentiate it from the Diruled state of Former Qin. Da Qin was also the Han dynasty name for the Roman Empire.142 火德: this refers to the ‘fire’ in the five elements in Chinese philosophy (metal, wood, water, fire andearth). In the theory of these elements wood feeds fire so the Former Qin state of the Fu clan hadprovided the fuel for the ‘fire’ of Yao Chang’s new state, Great Qin.143 This is possibly the one-piece style called the shenyi (深衣). The “Shenyi is made up of an upper andlower piece of clothing, tailored and sewn together in a unique way. … in the Warring States period …. Ithad to be long enough not to expose the skin, but short enough not to drag o the floor. … Moderatelyformal, the shenyi was designed both for men of letters and warriors, being both functional and simple instyle. Shenyi of this period can be seen in silk paintings unearthed from ancient tombs, as well as on clayand wooden figurines… The material…tended to be linen…. By the time of the Han Dynasty, shenyi evolvedinto …the qujupao or curved gown…” Chinese Clothing (Introductions to Chinese Culture). Mei Hua. CUP. 3rdedition, 2011. pp 12-13.
  20. 20. households from Anding to Chang’an and appointed his younger brother Zheng Luxu as SiliColonel with a garrison in Chang’an.Yao Chang went to Anding and attacked a Hu144 called Jin Xi from Pingliang and Mo Yiyu of theXianbei145 and defeated them. Then he went to Qinzhou146 and confronted Fu Jian’s Qinzhougovernor, Wang Tong. More than 20,000 households of the Tuge147 of Tianshui and the LüeyangQiang Hu148 responded to Yao Chang, so Wang Tong was afraid and surrendered. Yao Changprovided a feast for the officers and men in Shanggui149 so Gucheng Shen of Nan’an came andsaid, “The people of my province are flourishing and the territory is of great strategicsignificance, there are many outstanding men and as a state we are trained in warfare. ThePrince of Qinzhou150 did not select virtuous and able people so the three different groups allrebelled while he sat and amused himself with his luxuries to the extent that it has come to this.Your majesty should distribute the gold and silks of Qinzhou among the six armies, honouringthose of ability and virtue, as befits the expectations of my province.” Yao Chang thought thiswas good and promoted him to the position of Shangshu Lang official. Yao Chang also appointedhis own younger brother, Yao Shuode, as commander of military matters in Longyou,151‘Attacking the West’ General, governor of Qinzhou, and Colonel overseeing the Eastern Qiang,152with his garrison at Shanggui.Yao Chang returned to Anding and established his benevolent rule, appointing praiseworthyofficials working for the good of the people and economising on non-urgent expenses in order tosave the era from its problems. Among the officials over the common people there wereoutstanding people of great kindness and the difference was apparent to everyone.Unless this is simply biased reporting, there was a great difference in the ethos of Yao Chang’s rulecompared to that which the people had previously experienced.153 This would have beenparticularly true for groups like the Qiang. The HHS records several earlier incidents where theyhad been mistreated and it would have been remarkable for them to be ruled by their own people.Although Yao Chang had captured Fu Jian, the Former Qin state limped on with reduced territoryuntil 394 AD. Fu Jian’s son, Fu Pi, held power from 385-386, followed by Fu Deng (a distant relative)ruling from 386-394 and finally Fu Deng’s son, Fu Chong, ruled for just several months and died in394.Yao Chang went to Qinzhou again and was defeated by Fu Deng, which is recorded in theBiography of Deng. Yao Chang appointed his crown prince, Yao Xing, to guard Chang’an andrepelled Fu Deng. Lan Du, who was governor of Fengyi154 under Fu Deng, and Fu Shinu155144 胡: this may have been a remnant Xiongnu tribe or some other north-western non-Chinese group. ‘Hu’was a general term for non-Chinese in the northwest, at times applied to the Xiongnu, the Lesser Yuezhi,the Qiang and others. Although it is often translated ‘barbarian’ this is misrepresentative.145 没奕于: could also read ‘Mei Yiyu’.146 秦州: modern eastern Gansu.147 屠各: The Tuge were a Xiongnu tribe.148 略阳: northwest of Hanzhong in southwestern Shaanxi, close to the Gansu border.149 上邽: in the Tianshui region. It was the capital of Qinzhou.150 This seems to be Wang Tong, a Former Qin general in charge of Qin Province.151 陇右: the region west of today’s Liupan Mountains which stretch from Baoji in Shaanxi up acrossGansu into Ningxia.152 This is the only such reference in the text although ‘Colonel of the Eastern Qiang’ is a title mentioned inother chapters of the Jin Shu, more in relation to Guanzhong and eastern Gansu than further west.153 See n. 23 regarding Rafe de Crespigny’s ‘The Three Kingdoms and Western Jin’ for further comment.154 冯翊: in today’s Dali county of Weinan in Shaanxi.155 苻师奴: a high level Former Qin general, Duke of Shuofang and in charge of Bingzhou, i.e. withinfluence from today’s eastern Gansu eastwards to Yichuan in Shaanxi and into sw Shanxi.
  21. 21. defected [from Fu Deng]. Murong Yong156 attacked them and Lan Du sent an envoy asking forhelp. Yao Chang was about to go to the rescue but the Shangshu official, Yao Min, and the Pusheof the Left, Yin Wei, said to Yao Chang, “Fu Deng is near Wa Ting157 and your Majesty should notact rashly.” Yao Chang said, “Deng is slow and indecisive, he often misses opportunities. Whenhe hears I myself am on the move there is no way he will advance far with limited forces whilehe is busy gathering soldiers and resources from a wide area. Two months will be more thanenough to conquer these three scoundrels, I’m sure of this.” Then his troops stayed in Woyuan.Fu Shinu led his people towards Yao Chang who engaged him in battle and defeated him,capturing most of his people. He also captured Lan Du and took his troops and horses. YaoChang then dug up Fu Jian’s corpse and flogged it many times, took the clothes off it andwrapped it in thorns before burying it in a pit in the ground. Wang Xuan, who was MurongYong’s ‘Attacking the West’ General, led his people to surrender to Yao Chang.Yao Chang’s treatment of Fu Jian’s (苻坚) corpse may have been related to Fu Jian capturing andkilling Yao Chang’s older brother Yao Xiang in 357 AD when Fu Jian was still a general under FuSheng. Yao Chang had earlier risked his own life to save Yao Xiang and had no doubt loved andesteemed this charismatic older brother so to lose him (aged 27) would have been a great tragedy.As we see in this chapter, a conquered leader and his troops seem often to have become part of thevictor’s forces and the fact that Fu Sheng gave Yao Xiang a public burial ceremony (p.16) suggestssome regret over his death – unless the burial was just to appease his followers. Yao Changbecame a senior general under Fu Jian but later fled in fear when Fu Jian killed his messengersannouncing the death in battle of Fu Jian’s brother, Fu Rui. Could Fu Jian have suspected YaoChang was somehow implicated in Fu Rui’s death to avenge Yao Xiang? Interestingly, both thischapter and Cui Hong’s brief account of Yao Chang158 tell us that Fu Jian was captured and sent toYao Chang but omit any mention of how he died. However, chapter 106 of the ZZTJ recounts afuller tale. Fu Jian was furious at Yao Chang’s request for his abdication and for the imperial sealand said, “This small Qiang dares to put pressure on the Son of Heaven but the Qiang name is noteven in the Five Hu sequence.159 The state seal has already been given to the Jin court so you cannotobtain it!” Yao Chang desperately wanted to begin his rule with the mandate of heaven, whichnecessitated the seal and Fu Jian’s abdication, so Fu Jian’s refusal would have been galling. Heeventually had Fu Jian strangled in the Buddhist temple in Xinping whereupon Fu Jian’s consortand son committed suicide. The last sentence in the ZZTJ account is a clue to why none of this ismentioned in the Jin Shu or in Cui Hong’s account: “The Later Qin officers and men were allprofoundly grieved because of this. Yao Chang wanted the deed to remain unknown and gave FuJian the posthumous title of Heroic Emperor (壮烈天王).” Yao Chang later suffered considerableguilt over the death and subsequent violation of Fu Jian’s corpse.160Initially, the tribal chiefs west of the passes believed that the Fu clan was already at an end andthat Yao Chang had great aspirations and wide renown and could settle all affairs across theland in a short time. Yao Chang had already been in conflict with Fu Deng for many years and156 Murong Yong (d.394) was the last emperor of the Xianbei state of Western Yan (384-394 AD). Thecapital was in Chang’an from 385-6 and then in Zhangzi (长子), Shanxi under Murong Yong from 386-394.157 瓦亭: southwest of Pingliang county in Gansu.158 Cui Hong: see n.2159 The Five Hu are generally seen as the Xiongnu, Di, Xianbei, Jie and Qiang so this seems a surprisingcomment. However, in his ‘New Explanation of the Five Hu’, Wu Honglin explains that this definition wasfirst used only in the Southern Song period by an official called Wang Yinglin (1223-1296). Previously, the‘five’ did not indicate five ethnic groups but related to a kind of augury connected with mystical Confucianphilosophy of the Eastern Han period which examined the legality of the establishment of political statesby the Hu on the basis of their relation to the five elements in Chinese philosophy. (See n.139). ‘“五胡”新释’ 《陕西师范大学学报 (哲学社会科学版)》 2009 年第 4 期. 作者: 吴洪琳 See p27.
  22. 22. had often been defeated by him. Near and far, everyone had switched loyalties back and forthwith only Qi Nan (‘Attacking the Enemy’ official), Xu Luosheng (Guanjun official), Liu Guodan(assistant state administrator), Mijie Pochu (Guanwei official), Zhao E’di (Longxiang official),and Liang Guo’er (Northern Garrison official) staying loyal and dedicated to Yao Chang. Theyhad left their younger clansmen to guard the army camps, continuing to provide army supplies,and had personally accompanied Yao Chang with their best troops on his military campaigns. Atthat time there were already many camps so Yao Chang’s was called the ‘great camp,’ a termwhich stems from this period. At that time there was a great snowfall and Yao Chang deliveredan edict blaming and severely punishing himself.161 He distributed the beautiful woven silkfabrics and jewels of his inner courts162 to provide for military concerns, just ate one kind offood, and his wife did not dress in splendour. Commanders who had risked their lives for theking were promoted to second rank and those troops who had died in battle all receivedhonours. Yao Chang established an Imperial College with etiquette in the manner of the ancientsages.Suo Luyao of Dunhuang offered to assassinate Fu Deng. Yao Chang said, “A high official gives hisbody to die for his country. For what will you die?” Luyao said, “After I die, my greatest requestis that you place trust in my friend Xin Xian of Longxi.” Yao Chang dispatched Luyao but he waskilled by Fu Deng and Yao Chang appointed Xin Xian as Cavalry Commander.Fu Deng advanced on Anding and Yao Chang’s various generals urged him into battle but YaoChang said, “To compete for victory with an enemy who is in a weakened situation is not worthyof a military strategist. I will use tactics [rather than might] to take him.” As a result Yao Changleft his Shangshu official, Yao Min, guarding Anding and made a night-time attack on Fu Deng’ssupply wagons in Dajie163 and captured them. Some of the various generals wanted to attack FuDeng because he was alarmed and in confusion but Yao Chang dismissed this saying, “AlthoughDeng’s people are in disarray they are still full of fury and we shouldn’t underestimate that.” YaoChang knew that Anding was a narrow place164 and for the time being he closed in on Fu Dengand sent Yao Shuode to garrison Anding. He moved more than 1,000 households from Anding tosettle in Yinmi165 and sent his younger brother, Yao Jing, who was ‘Attacking the South’ official,to watch over them.Yao Chang established his state in Chang’an. Those common people who were particularlyvirtuous were appointed as second-rank Dafu at the age of 70 years old and were given anannual gif t of cattle and wine.166Although Later Qin was now established, Yao Chang still had much to do to consolidate his powerand win over local chiefs and leaders. In all the chaos of states rising and falling, it seems thatchiefs like Lei E’di and Gucheng Shen didn’t know where to place their loyalties for their own sakeand the sake of their people. Persuasion and leniency seem to have won them and others over toYao Chang and the Later Qin state.Yin Wei and Yao Min said to Gucheng Shen,167 “Fu Deng is a much weakened enemy but over theyears he has not been wiped out. He is an unscrupulous opportunist and a brutal opponent and161 Natural disasters indicated that a ruler had in some way displeased heaven. It seems likely that YaoChang interpreted the snowfall in relation to his treatment of Fu Jian.162 后宫: this frequently refers to imperial concubines.163 大界: between Bin County in Shaanxi’s Xianyang region and Jingchuan county in Pingliang, Gansu.164 Anding was in the region of Zhenyuan, Gansu which is in a narrow river valley flanked by mountains(See Google Earth).165 阴密: in today’s Lingtai county in Pingliang, Gansu.166 岁赐牛酒: A traditional gift as a present or a reward or as sacrificial offerings.167 Gucheng Shen was from Nan’an (see p.20) and was a non-Chinese who had submitted to Former Qin.
  23. 23. his domain is in upheaval. The Yi within China (夷夏) have all betrayed him, why don’t you dothe same?” Shen said, “My lords, such schemes are improper. Those who do good will berewarded and those who do evil will be punished. Talented and virtuous officials all give theirallegiance gladly. Think of what would happen if you dont succeed and the Di enemy is notwiped out?” Yin Wei said, “Even if Fu Deng, this much weakened foe, is not wiped out and thisambitious scoundrels domain is stirred up and unites, do you think we will let fear will dictateour path?” Shen said, "Of all the powers that exist in the rich territory of San Qin,168 yourmaster’s is already the most prosperous. At present only Fu Deng, Yang Ding and Lei Edi169 givemuch cause for concern, the rest are nothing to worry about and not worth a mention. However,Lei Edis territory is narrow and his people are few, not enough to bother us. Fu Deng makesuse of a disorganised rabble of captives and convicts, drifting purposelessly and often at deathsdoor, expecting them to be wise and brave but they are not suitable material for an emperor.When Xiang Yu arose170 he had to be eliminated, after which came the great task of pacification.In former times, when Han and then Wei rose up, they were both able to unify the land after tenyears or more, so five or six years should not be regarded as a long time. Your master is anexceptional strategist, his heart is just and honourable and he is handsome, brave and outgoing.It could even be said there is no-one to match him throughout the land. If he attacks and seizesFu Deng this will not seriously deplete his power. My desire is to spread virtue and benevolenceand I will seek out able men and prepare for battle and wait for a heaven-sent opportunity. Ifthis great undertaking is unsuccessful, I, Shen, ask to be cut in half as an apology to yourlordship." Yin Wei told this to Yao Chang who was delighted and gave Gucheng Shen the noblerank of Marquis Within the Passes.Lei E’di led his people to surrender to Yao Chang and he was appointed as ‘Guarding the East’General. Wei Hefei [one of Fu Deng’s generals] appointed himself as Major General andChongtian Prince and led several 10,000 of the Di and Hu171 to attack the ‘Stabilising the North’official, Yao Dangcheng, in Xingcheng.172 Lei E’di aligned himself with Wei Hefei and attacked the‘Guarding the East’ official, Yao Hande, in Lirun.173 Yao Chang conferred with his generals aboutattacking Lei E’di and the entire body of ministers all said, “You are not worried about Fu Dengwho is 60 li away, so why are you worried about Hefei who is 600 li away?” Yao Chang replied,“Deng is not able to wipe us out in a hurry and he is also not able to plot against my city in ahurry. Lei E’di is a very wise and exceptional man. If he draws Hefei south and forms an alliancewith Dong Cheng in the east, using fine words to achieve his conspiracy, then he will seizeXingcheng and Lirun and control near and far, like a pair of wings, and the area northeast ofChang’an will not come back under my control.” So Yao Chang secretly sent out troops. At that168 Guanzhong was the birthplace of the state of Qin which emerged in the Zhou period (c.8 th century BC).After the demise of the Qin Dynasty, the warlord, Xiang Yu, appointed Liu Bang (founder of the HanDynasty) as Prince of Han, based in Hanzhong and governing southern Shaanxi, Ba and Shu. Afraid thatLiu Bang’s power would expand, Xiang Yu divided Guanzhong and northern Shaanxi into three regionsunder three surrendered Qin generals, hence ‘Three Qin.’ Nowadays northern and southern Shaanxi andGuanzhong are referred to as ‘San Qin’.169 雷恶地: Chapter 107 of the ZZTJ refers to Lei E’di as a Qiang of Xinping and says: “Yao Chang heard thatE’di had visited Fu Deng and said to his generals, “This Qiang is seeing Deng, this matter must notsucceed!” Fu Deng thought E’di was a great warrior and secretly dreaded him. E’di was afraid andsurrendered to the Later Qin and Yao Chang made him ‘Zhenjun’ General.” E’di later rebelled and wentover to Hefei … when he later surrendered to Yao Chang, Yao Chang showed him mercy and appointedhim to an official position again. E’di then said, “I say of myself that I am wise, brave and outstandingwhen at my best, but when I encountered Yao’s great tactical ability in extreme circumstances I realisedthere is absolutely no doubt as to the extent of his talent.”170 Xiang Yu (232-202 B.C.) – see n.156 above. He was finally defeated by Liu Bang, founder of the Handynasty, after a long power-struggle.171 氐胡: probably Di and Xiongnu here.172 杏城: southwest of Shaanxi’s Huangling, which is south of Yan’an and SSW of Linfen.173 李润: in the Dali – Pucheng region of Weinan, Shaanxi. The remains of Lirun fortress are in this region.
  24. 24. time his troops numbered less than 2,000 whereas Wei Hefei and Lei E’di’s troops were several10,000 as well as countless Di and Hu who were also with them. Whenever Yao Chang sawtroops approaching, he would immediately look very cheerful. The people under him thoughtthis strange and asked him why and Yao Chang said, “Today they all assemble together,conspiring to do evil and I must take advantage of my victorious position and finish things off. Atone stroke I will overturn their nest and the northeast will have been comprehensively dealtwith.” Hefei and his people thought Yao Chang’s soldiers were few so they sent all their troopsinto battle. Yao Chang held firm and didn’t fight, giving the impression that he was weak, but hesecretly sent his son Yao Chong with several hundred cavalry to take the enemy by surprise andride at them from behind. Hefei’s soldiers were thrown into disorder and Yao Chang then sentWang Chao, the ‘Guarding the Distant Regions’ official, and Tan Liang, the ‘Pacifying the DistantRegions’ official, with infantry and cavalry to attack them. Hefei’s multitudes were badly routedand he and more than 10,000 of his people were beheaded. Lei E’di asked to surrender and YaoChang received him as before.174 Lei E’di often said to people, “I say of myself that I have beengranted sufficient wisdom and courage to be a hero for a season. Among my officers there areseveral mighty men, all worthy of being my followers and all willing to attack and hold distantterritory, like roaring animals covering a vast distance. However, when I encountered DukeYao’s [i.e. Yao Chang] wisdom and courageous strength my own abilities paled in comparison –such is my lot.” Lei E’di was valiant and strong-willed, quiet and serious, and would not doanything unrighteous and the various chiefs north of the mountains175 all revered him.Yao Chang ordered his general, Yao Dangcheng,176 to make a fence of transplanted trees placedin fencing holes as a banner proclaiming their military success. The rest of the year, if peopleasked about it, Dangcheng would say, “The camp was extremely small so we later expanded it.”Yao Chang would say, “Our past warfare has not always been this gratifying. Using 1,600 peopleto crush 30,000 is an accomplishment for our state, which is why we proclaim our victory. Smallis wonderful, large is of no special value!”Cao Yin and Wang Da of the Ercheng Hu177 presented Yao Chang with 3,000 horses. Cao Yin wasappointed as ‘Guarding the North’ General and governor of Bing province178 and Wang Dabecame ‘Guarding the Distant Regions’ General and head of Jincheng commandery.179Yao Chang’s character was plain and straightforward and when people under him mademistakes, he would sometimes scold and humiliate them to their face. Quan Yi, who wasMinister of Ceremonies, said to him, “Your majesty is magnanimous, influential and confident,not spending time on small trifles but controlling many powerful people, including someremarkable and outstanding people. Put aside your grudges and remember the good things withthe capacity that your ancestors had. If you have a disrespectful attitude then you deserve tolose your position.” Yao Chang said, “This is the kind of character I have. I don’t share any part of174 Considering that Lei E’di had gone over to Hefei after initially surrendering to Yao Chang this was verygracious but also tactical because Lei E’di was an extremely talented Qiang leader and killing him mayhave alienated his Qiang followers. He must have feared for his life knowing that 10,000 of Hefei’s troopsbeheaded.175 岭北: north of Shaanxi’s Qinling mountain range.176 姚当城: with Yao Yizhong having had 42 sons, it is not surprising that there are so many militaryofficials under Yao Chang with the same Yao clan name.177 贰城胡: These ‘Hu’ were Xiongnu. Ercheng was northwest of today’s Huangling county in Yan’an,Shaanxi. Chapter 119 of the Jin Shu records that in the time of the last ruler of Later Qin, Yao Hong,several 10,000 settlements of Bingzhou (Shanxi), Dingyang (Yichuan county, Shaanxi) and Ercheng Hurebelled against Yao Hong and elected the Xiongnu, Cao Hong (曹弘), as Great Shanyu (416 AD).178 并州: modern Shanxi region.179 金城: in the Lanzhou region.