3.1.2 The Revolt of the Eight Kings

Contents
3.1.2.1 The Political Disorder of the Empress Chia and the Beginning of the Revolt of the Eight Kings
3.1.2.2 The Revolt of King Lun of Chao
3.1.2.3 The Revolt of the Three Kings
3.1.2.4 The Great Melee of the Eastern and Western Kings after King Yüeh of Tung-hai Take Over the Reins of Government
3.1.2.5 The Death of King Yüeh of Tung-hai
A Brief Chart of the Eight Kings
Name Kingdom Mil Office and Garr Relationships and Connections
King of Ju-nan, Liang
汝南王 亮
Ju-nan Tu-tu for the various armies of Yü-chou and the garrison at Hsü-ch'ang (許昌) 4th son of Hsuan-ti and Hui-ti's paternal grandfather's younger brother
King of Chu, Wei
楚王 緯
Chu Initially the Tu-tu of armies of Ching-chou, later served as the Guard General at the Capitalson of Wu-ti, younger brother of Hui-ti
King of Chao, Lun
趙王 倫
Chao Initially the Cheng-hsi General garrisoned in Kuan-chung later Chariots and Cavalry General9th son of Hsuan-ti and Hui-ti's paternal grandfather's younger brother
King of Ch'i, Chiung
齊王 冏
Ch'iPing-tung General garrison Hsü-ch'angson of Hui-ti's father's older brother
King of Chang-sha, I
長沙王 乂
Chang-shason of Wu-ti, younger brother of Hui-ti
King of Ch'eng-tu, Ying
成都王 穎
Ch'eng-tugarrison Yeh-ch'engson of Wu-ti, younger brother of Hui-ti
King of Ho-chien, Yung
河間王 顒
Ho-chien
King of Tung-hai, Yüeh
東海王 越
Tung-haison of t'ai king of lung-hsi

The Eight Kings named above are taken from the Chin Shu (晉書), but if instead you use the Chin Lueh then they are: King of Liang, King of Huai-nan, King of Chao, King of Ch'i, King of Chang-sha, King of Ch'eng-tu, King of Ho-chien and King of Tung-hai so the only differences are that one lists Ju-nan and Chu while the other uses Liang and Huai-nan and that is all.



Map of the Kingdoms and Garrisons of the Eight Kings

On the map Ch'ang-an (Kuan-chung), Yeh-ch'eng and Hsü-ch'ang are three major strategic garrisons

3.1.2.1 The Political Disorder of the Empress Chia
and the Beginning of the Revolt of the Eight Kings

Chin Wu-ti's (晉武帝) Empress Yang, named Yen and courtesy name Ch'iung-chih, was intelligent and skilled in writing, was endowed with great beauty and Wu-ti loved her deeply. But the Imperial Heir that she gave birth to, Chung (衷), was by disposition quite foolish not understanding the affairs of men and Wu-ti was very concerned about this. He planned to get the Imperial Heir married at an early date, selecting a capable wife for him in the hope that she might compensate for his shortcomings. At that time a woman surnamed Kuo who was the wife of the Chin Court's influential Shih-chung Shang-shu Ling (侍中尚書令 Director of the Department of State Affairs) Chia Ch'ung (賈充), and when men were sent out to select (candidates) she bribed the court eunuchs to choose her daughter as the Consort of the Imperial Heir. Quite unexpectedly the disposition of the Consort Chia was cunning, lewd and cruel, spitefully wielding power in complete disregard of morality. The Imperial Heir was two years younger than her and feared her as he would a tiger. In 274 (T'ai-shih 10) as the Empress Yang lay ill and dying, she feared that Wu-ti would set up another Consort as the Empress so when she was on the verge of death she set her head on the Emperor's knee and cried saying, "The daughter, Chih, of my father's younger brother, Chün, has virtue and beauty, I want your majesty to prepare her for the Six Palaces (the Imperial Harem)," and Wu-ti with tears streaming assented to this. Afterwards Yang Chih (楊芷) was admitted into the palace according to the agreement and as expected her gentle warmth and beautiful face led to her being named Empress in 276 (Hsien-ning 2) and because at the time she was only 19 she came be called the "Young Empress Yang"(小楊皇后). Because of this the Empress's father, Yang Chün (楊駿), became wealthy and influential, being appointed to the office of Chariots and Horses General (車騎將軍 ) and enfeoffed as the Marquis of Lin-chin (臨晉候). After 14 years had passed, Chin Wu-ti died and in his will directed that the King of Ju-nan (汝南王), Ssu-ma Liang (司馬亮), and Yang Chün jointly assist in the government and so the Crown Prince, Ssu-ma Chung succeeded to the throne as Chin Hui-ti (晉惠帝) with the year title changed to Yung-hsi (290, also T'ai-k'ang 11), with Yang Chün becoming the T'ai-fu (太傅 Imperial Tutor) and the young Empress Yang elevated to Empress Dowager at the age of 33.

The Imperial Tutor, Yang Chün, wanted to monopolize power so as soon as Hui-ti came to the throne he hid the imperial will and forced Liang King of Ju-nan to leave for the garrison at Hsü-ch'ang (許昌). The power of the Court lay in a single hand and in every affair he would only discuss it with the Empress Dowager and then deal with it immediately. These two, father and daughter, monopolized everything and Hui-ti suddenly became a puppet emperor. Hui-ti, Ssu-ma Chung, was an imbecile and a fool and although he had fallen from political power there was nothing he could do about it, but it still triggered his Consort Chia's jealousy. Since the Lady Chia's character did not accord with proper feminine behavior, she also aspired to interfere in politics, she could not compare with the Empress Dowager Yang and the sight of Yang Chün and his daughter was like having nails driven into her eyes. She then secretly plotted with the Yellow Palace Gate () eunuch Tung Meng() and the Tien-chung Chung-lang (殿中 郎), Meng Kuan(), and Li Chao () to kill Yang Chün. At first Li Chao tried to persuade Liang King of Ju-nan to mobilize troops making it known he was going to supress Yang Chün but Liang did not dare. They also contacted the Ching-chou Governor-General () Wei, the King of Ch'u (), and he gladly accepted the order, then inviting the Governor-General of Yang-chou (), Ch'ung the King of Huai-nan () to go together with him to the court. Meng Kuan and Li Chao took advantage of the opportunity to submit a report to Hui-ti that secretly reported Yang Chün was planning a revolt. Thus, martial law proclaimed everywhere and an order handed down to arrest Yang Chün. Wei, the King of Ch'u, Ch'ung the King of Huai-nan and Ssu-ma Yao (), the Duke of Tung-an (Tung-an Kung) all stopped the progress of their troops to accept the death of Yang Chün and also dismissed the Empress Dowager Yang, making her a commoner and then confining her to Chin-yung Ch'eng (金墉城 Golden Wall Fort, a city northwest of Ch'ang-an on the Yellow River). They also killed the mother of the Empress Dowager, Kung, and at the time of her execution the Empress Dowager held her mother in her arms and screamed, she then cut off her hair and bowed (as she would to those who would attend her mother's funeral) and petitioned the Empress Chia, naming herself a concubine to ask for her mother's life but the Empress Chia did not consent to it and afterwards the Empress Dowager Yang was deprived of food and drink and starved to death. Several thousand people died in this single coup d'etat. At the time Tung Yang () was visiting the Imperial School (太學 T'ai-hsueh) and upon hearing the news sighed saying: "The order of the Heavenly being is already destroyed, great turmoils will begin soon." ( )

Since Yang Chün had been executed, in court the various Kings all considered that the qualifications of the King of Ju-nan were the highest, so they proclaimed that Liang, the King of Ju-nan be summoned to serve as the Crown Minister (太宰 T'ai-tsai) and together with the Imperial Guardian(), Wei Kuan(), jointly assist the government. In addition, Chien the King of Ch'in () was made a Great General, Mao the King of Tung-p'ing () was made the "Comfort the Army" Great General (Fu-chun Ta Chiang-chun), Wei the King of Ch'u (楚王) became the Guard General (衛將軍 Wei Chiang-chün), and Yao the Duke of Tung-an was elevated to the rank of King and appointed the Left Retainer of the Department of State Affairs (Pu-she). When Liang King of Ju-nan entered the court to assist the government in order to make the people's hearts glad he evaluated the merits of executing Yang Chün and there were 1,810 officers and marquis who were reproved. Wei the King of Ch'u was the fifth son of Wu-ti and the younger brother of Hui-ti who had both an obstinate nature and a fondness for killing, when he entered the court at the head of an army, with the greatest contribution his attitude was arrogant, he was not on good terms with either Liang the King of Ju-nan or the Imperial Protector Wei Kuan. At the same time Ssu-ma Liang and Wei Kuan both deeply disliked Wei. At the time Wei was the Northern Army Chung-hou commanding officer, so Liang and Kuan immediately abolished his military office, commanding him to return to his fief. Wei the King of Ch'u did not obey, secretly reporting to the Empress Chia falsely the accusation that Liang and Kuan had secret plots and intended to plan dethronements and enthronements. The Empress Chia then told Hui-ti to personally hand down a secret edict to Wei to bring about the removal of Liang and Kuan. Wei was overjoyed when he received the edict and immediately led an army to capture and kill Liang the King of Ju-nan and the Imperial Protector Wei Kuan. The Crown Prince's Junior Preceptor (), Chang Hua (), sent Tung Meng to inform the Empress Chia, saying: "Wei the King of Ch'u himself comes to defy authority and cause the death of the two Dukes (Liang and Kuan), his awesome power is even greater, how will the Court be able to restrain him, we had better concentrate even more attention on killing him to punish him for his crimes and put an end to this disaster." The Empress Chia deeply felt that this was the case and then instructed Hui-ti to send out emisarries to announce an imperial edict declaring that the King of Ch'u used a forged edict to legitimize a revolt. When the soldiers led by the King of Ch'u heard of this edict in a great tumult they scattered to the four winds, and King Wei was then arrested and beheaded. Since King Wei of Ch'u had been executed, Chang Hua was then made the Shih-chung Chung-shu Chien (Palace Attendant and Secretariat Supervisor), and all of the Chia Clan became important people in the Court. The Empress Chia's third cousin, Chia Mu, was appointed a Palace Attendant (Shih-chung), her maternal cousin Kuo Chang became the General of the Right Bodyguards, and her nephew Chia Mi was made the Cavalry Skirmisher Permanent Attendant, and all played a part in government affairs. Chia Mi's lifestyle was lavish beyond comparison, but was quite good in literature associating with the famous scholars of the empire becoming the friend of Shih Chung, Ou-yang Chien, P'an Yüeh, Lu Chi, Lu Yun and others, twenty-four men in all, known as the "Twenty-four Friends". From the execution of Yang Chün down to the murder of King Wei of Ch'u, these two coups d'etats both occurred in 291 (T'ai-k'ang 1).


3.1.2.2 The Revolt of the King Lun of Chao

In 294 (Yuan-k'ang 4) in the region of Shang-tang in the north the Hsiung-nu tribe of Hao San revolted and afterwards Hao San fled into Kuan-chung where he was killed by the Tu-wei, Feng I. San's younger brother, Tu-yuan, contacted An Ting of the Lu-shui Hu to stage an uprising and they killed the Magistrate of Pei-ti. Ssu-ma T'ung, the King of Liang and Governor-General of Yung and Liang, was instructed to go and put down the rebels but he was also defeated by Hao Tu-yuan. Because the revolt of Hao Tu-yuan also triggered a large-scale rebellion among the Ti and Ch'iang of the Ch'in-Yung region (Shen-hsi) they collectively put the Ti Commander-in-Chief, Ch'i-wan-nien, forward as their leader and proclaimed him as the emperor. The government troops suffered frequent defeats and the Chien-wei General (Establishing Authority) Chou Ch'u was killed in action. This great tumult carried on for quite a few years and by 298 (Yuan-k'ang 8) Ch'i-wan-nien was deposed by Meng Kuan but the northwest after this still had troubled times. A Ti by the name of Yang Mao gathered together a horde to guard Chiu-Ch'ih, an area encircled by mountains with diffucult terrain that is easily defended and hard to attack, and from then on it became a small, independent country. The two Ti brothers, Li T'e and Li Hsiang, led over 100,000 refugees from the six chun of Lueh-yang and T'ien-shui through Han-chung to flee into I-chou to form a reactionary power. At the same time in Ching-chou, Yang-chou, Ch'ing-chou, Hsu-chou, Yen-chou and Yu-chou a flood occurred and in the famine that followed many peasants starved to death. When the state was first established they then began to agitate. However, Hui-ti quite surprisingly was completely in the dark and did not know one thing about it. Others informed him that the common people were starving and had nothing to eat and he replied in wonder, "Why do they not eat meat and porrige?" He heard the croaking of the roads in the garden and then asked those around him saying, "This thing that calls out, does it belong to this Imperial family or is it privately owned?" His wife interfered in the administration and in addition she openly had orgies in the Imperial Palace living quarters, having affairs with court ministers and he did not even ask about it.

The Empress Chia herself had not given birth to any childred but hated the Crown Prince Ssu-ma Yu. Because Ssu-ma Yu was borm of the Concubine Hsieh, the Empress Chia devised a plan to bring about the death of Concubine Hsieh and destroyed Crown Prince Yu on trumped up charges, causing Hui-ti to depose him and have him held in seclusion in Hsü-ch'ang later ordering the traitorous Court Physician () Ch'eng Chu () to use poison to kill Crown Prince Yu. This kind of brutal and licentious activity finally triggered widespread public indignation among the government and the people as well as members of the Imperial family.

There was a group of those who had supported the Crown Prince who plotted together with King Lun of Chao who at that time was the General of the Right at Court (Lun was the ninth son of Ssu-ma I). By means of a forged edict King Lun of Chao sent the I-chun Hsiao-wei (), Prince Chiung of Ch'i () to force soldiers into the palace to take the Empress Chia prisoner and confine her to the palace and confine her to the Chin-yung Ch'eng (Golden Walled Castle, the same place where she had confined the Empress Yang). They also killed Chia Mi, Chang Hua, Tung Meng, Ch'eng Chu and many among the Chia clan's personal faction and also dismissed the Ssu-t'u (Minister of Education and Culture) Wang Jung from office. King Lun then himself became the Prime Minister and the Superintendant of Army Affairs, and used his favorite, Sun Hsiu, as the Chung-shu Ling (Administrator of the Secretariat) and shortly thereafter sent men to kill the Empress Chia. At the time King Chung of Huai-nan was the General of the Horses and Chariots and had troops stationed in the capital, seeing that Lun, the King of Chao's manner was in defiance of authority he harbored a deep discontent. Sun Hsiu faked an imperial edict to revoke his military authority so Chung, the King of Huai-nan uncovered the deception. Chung flew into a rage and immediately led troops to attack Lun the King of Chao. These two had a fierce battle in the city of Lo-yang and the result was the death of King Chung and the defeat of his army, several thousand men dying in this single instance. With Chung the King of Huai-nan already dead, King Lun also came to fear Chiung the King of Ch'i and announced that he had become the P'ing-tung General (Pacify the East General) and dispatched him to the garrison of Hsü-ch'ang. The events from the execution of Empress Chia down to the slaying of the King of Huai-nan all took place during the year 300 (Yung-k'ang 1). Since King Lun of Chao had already seized overall power, in the 1st lunar month of Yung-k'ang 2 he proclaimed himself Emperor with Hui-ti becoming the Retired Emperor (T'ai-shang-huang) and confined him to the Golden Wall Castle. Although King Lun had become the emperor in reality overall political power fell into the hands of his favorite, Sun Hsiu.

At this time King Chiung of Ch'i (the son of Yu King of Ch'i and younger paternal cousin of Hui-ti) was given the additional title of Chen-tung Chiang-chun (Quells the East General) with a garrison in Hsü-ch'ang; Ying King of Ch'eng-tu (the 17th son of Wu-ti and Hui-ti's younger brother) became the Cheng-pei Chiang-chun (Conquers the North General) with a garrison at Yeh-ch'eng; Yung King of Ho-chien (grandson of Ssu-ma Fu, the younger paternal cousin of Hui-ti's father) became the P'ing-hsi Chiang-chun (Pacify the East General) with a garrison in Kuan-chung. When King Chiung had himself been forced by King Lun to leave the capital, he was soon to hold a great resentment, and upon hearing of the usurpation of King Lun he immediately sent out a call to arms to all the lands under heaven announcing the crimes of King Lun of Chao and Sun Hsiu, at the same time uniting with Ying the King of Ch'eng-tu, Yung the King of Ho-chien, I the King of Ch'ang-shan (the sixth son of Wu-ti), and Hsin the Duke of Hsin-yeh (the son of Ssu-ma Chun) to jointly condemn King Lun. King Chiung led troops to the north from Hsü-ch'ang and King Ying led troops to the south from Yeh-ch'eng to attack Lo-yang from two sides. King Lun went into a great panic hastily dividing his forces to resist the attack with the result that Lun's army was defeated on both fronts. Ying crossed the river with a large force to directly threaten Lo-yang. With this those in the city of Lo-yang fell into a great uproar and precipitated a mutiny among the troops. Wang Yu, the General of the Left Guard, dispatched troops to seize and kill Sun Hsiu, and forced Lun the King of Chao to resign from politics welcoming Hui-ti back to his throne. After Hui-ti was returned to the throne, T'ung the King of Liang (the son of Ssu-ma I) memorialized the throne saying King Lun's treachery deserved punishment so the throne instructed Lun to commit suicide. Ying the King of Ch'eng-tu, Yung the King of Ho-chien, I the King of Ch'ang-shan and Chiung the King of Ch'i thereafter one after the other entered into Lo-yang. This campaign to put down King Lun had been a very fierce one, from start to finish only some 60 (+) days (from the third to the 5th lunar month of the year Yung-ning 1) but almost 100,000 men had been killed in battle.


3.1.2.3 The Revolt of the Three Kings

Lun the King of Chao had already been executed when Hui-ti instructed that Chiung King of Ch'i be made the Great War Minister (Ta Ssu-ma) augmented with "Nine Hsi", Ying the King of Ch'eng-tu be appointed a Great General, Yung the King of Ho-chien become a Court Attendant and Grand Marshall (T'ai-wei), and the King of Liang become the Prime Minister. Not long after both the King of Ch'eng-tu and the King of Ho-chien separately left to return to their garrison leaving only Chiung the King of Ch'i in the capital to assist the government. In the following year King T'ung of Liang died. King Chiung was then in complete control of the government quickly testing the limits of this new found power. Personally summoning all the officials, using the fu and chih (administrative mandamus writs and imperial decrees) to command the "Three T'ai" (the Yu-shih T'ai: Censor; the Shui T'ai: in charge of river transport and dikes; and the Yeh-che T'ai: in charge of official receptions) his arrogance and cruelty were no worse than that of King Lun of Chao. The Imperial Court looked askance at this, and all both in and out of court were disappointed. There was one Li Han, originally the Chang-shih of the King of Ho-chien, who at the time had been summoned to court to become the I-chun Hsiao-wei (Colonel). Because he had a dispute with those around King Chiung, he then secretly proceeded to Ch'ang-an falsely stating that he had received a secret imperial edict and make King Yung of Ho-chien condemn King Chiung. King Yung then offered up a memorial describing in sequence the crimes of the King of Ch'i. His words having already assembled a force of 100,000 and then immediately along with Ying the King of Ch'eng-tu, Hsin King of Hsin-yeh and Hsiao the King of Fan-yang assembled an army in the vicinity of Lo-yang. On the one hand he sent Li Han and Chang Fang in command of an army to advance eastward. On the other he made an agreement with I, the King of Ch'ang-sha () (formerly the King of Ch'ang-shan () now change to King of Ch'ang-sha) in his call-to-arms that I was to start an uprising from within the court and together quell the King of Ch'i. King Chiung having learned of this, suspected that King Yin and the King of Ho-chien had previously been in collusion, he immediately dispatched troops to attack I, while I at the same time dispatched troops bearing the Emperor's orders to counter attack the residence of the Grand Minister of the Mounts (T'ai Ssu-ma). Inside the wall of Lo-yang was once again a confused battle with the killing continuining for three days and three nights until King Chiung of Ch'i was finally defeated and then executed, over 2,000 peoples dying at this one time. After hostilities ceased and the situation stabilized the year was then changed from Yung-ning 2 to T'ai-an 1. At the time King Ying of Ch'eng-tu was the Grand General in command of an army stationed at Yeh-ch'eng and the administrative affairs at court were often referred to him. As the days wore on he naturally could not avoid some political friction with King I of Ch'ang-sha and in addition King Yung of Ho-chien was also jealous and suspicious of the King of Ch'ang-sha. The end result of this was that once again a sitatuion of contradiction was formed.

At the time Li Han was once again summoned to become the Metropolitan Prefect of Ho-nan (Ho-nan Yin) and Yung the King of Ho-chien passed on to Li Han the idea of plotting against King I from the inside. The General of the Left, Huang-fu Shang informed the King of Ch'ang-sha of this so King I then had Li Han murdered. When King Yung heard of this he flew into a rage and immediately allied with King Ying to begin military action to jointly suppress the King of Ch'ang-sha using the slogan of "purifying the ruler's flanks (to remove bad advisors)". King Yung ordered his trusted lieutenant Chang Fang to lead a force of 70,000 to proceed quickly from Han-ku to Lo-yang. King Ying used the P'ing-yun Nei-shih, Lu Chi as the General of the Van, directing a force of 200,000 soldiers south towards Lo-yang from Yeh-ch'eng and encamping at He-ch'iao. King I received Hui-ti's command to meet them in combat and crushed Lu Chi's army at Seven Li Stream, so that the bodies of the dead blocked the stream. King Ying was so angered by this that he arrested Lu Chi as well as his younger brother Lu Yun who was the Ch'ing-ho Nei-shih and had them both beheaded. Chi and Yun were two sons of Lu K'ang and were well-known scholars from Chiang-tung and by means of their compositions their fame quickly spread throughout the empire, the men of the time calling them the "Two Lu". It is unfortunate that they unexpectedly died in this savage civil war. Just before the time of his execution Lu Chi sighed and said, "I want to hear the cries of the cranes of Hua-t'ing, can I do this once more?" Having already executed Lu Chi, King Ying built up his troops levels to continue the assault on Lo-yang, while Chang Fang advanced from the west to just outside the walls of Lo-yang. The King of Ch'ang-sha could not hold out against this double pronger attack and he could only close the gates and hold out to the end. Within the city there was a shortage of provisions and the morale was changeable. At the time the Yüeh King of Tung-hai (the nephew of Ssu-ma I and the son of Ssu-ma T'ai) was the Fu-kuo Chiang-chün and had been appointed a Court Attendant (Ssu-k'ung Ling Chung-shu Chien) seeing that the situation was tense he then initiated a coup in the city leading soldiers to seize King I and sent him to the Golden Wall Castle and afterwards received the troops of the two Kings into the city. By edict King Ying of Ch'eng-tu was named the Prime Minister and King Yüeh of Tung-hai became the Ssu-k'ung and Prefect of the Master of Documents (Shang-shu Ling). King Ying arrived in Lo-yang and as soon as arrangements were made he went back to Yeh-ch'eng, using the name of the Imperial younger brother (Huang-t'ai-ti) to preside over the affairs of the state from afar. Chang Fang then roasted the King of Ch'ang-sha to death and after this forcibly seized over 10,000 male and female slaves, both state-owned and private, from Lo-ang and went west leaving nothing behind (Literally - he rolled up his mat and went west). This social and political upheaval brought about by the war stated in the 8th lunar month of T'ai-an 2 (303) and ended in the 1st lunar month of Yung-hsing 1 (304) lasting for a period of three months during the military action was very brutal and the losses they caused were very large. History calls this the Revolt of the Three Kings, and sometimes also the Revolt of the Four Kings. (The three Kings are the King of Ch'i, the King of Ho-chien and the King of Ch'eng-tu or they refer to Ho-chien, Ch'eng-tu and Ch'ang-sha and when taken together are the four Kings.)


3.1.2.4 The Great Melee of the Eastern and Western Kings after King Yüeh of Tung-hai takes over the Reins of Government

Who would have thought that as soon as the wave had settled that the tide would rise again. Originally when the King of Ch'ang-sha had been killed there were many among the troops both high and low who had complaints so that when Ying the King of Ch'eng-tu entered into Lo-yang there was also a great slaughter of the bodyguards of those around the Son of Heaven, and also packing up the Emperor and his veteran bodyguards (su-wei) and moved them all to Yeh-ch'eng. Although the King of Ch'eng-tu had the title of Prime Minister he appeared as if he were the same as the Son of Heaven and the people increasingly resented this. Because of this the contradiction between Lo-yang and Yeh-ch'eng (one the nominal capital, the other the actual) once again came to the surface. Then in the autumn of 304 (Yung-hsing 1) in the 7th lunar month the General of the Left Guard, Ch'en Chen, led troops into the palace to force the Emperor to hand down an edict instructing the suppression of Ying the King of Ch'eng-tu, while also setting Yüeh the King of Tung-hai as the Great Governor-General. King Yüeh immediately took over as the commander of a large army and in accorddance with the wishes of the Emperor he went north to campaign. Ying the King of Ch'eng-tu sent the general Shih Ch'ao in command of troops to meet the nenmy and his forces met those of King Yüeh in battle with the result that Yüeh's army suffered a great defeat and scattered, Chin Hui-ti was captured and brought into Yeh-ch'eng and King Yüeh of Tung-hai fled to safety in Tung-hai. Ch'en Chen, Shang-kuan I and others then served the Crown Prince T'an who was kept in Lo-yang. In Kuan-chung when King Yung of Ho-chien heard that King Yüeh was leading troops to suppress the King of Ch'eng-tu, he made a point of sending his trusted subordinate Chang Fang to attack Lo-yang. Shang-kuan I and the others fled after their defeat and Chang Fang entered Lo-yang to occupy it and depose Crown Prince T'an.

At this time Wang Chun the Pacifies the North General and controlled the area of Yu-chou and who had up to now been on bad terms with King Ying of Ch'eng-tu, called up all of the soldiers of Yu-chou and the Wu-huan and Hsien-pei to unite with the yonger brother of King Yüeh, the Ping-chou Prefect Duke T'eng of Tung-ying, and rise in support of Yüeh with a large-scale campaign to the south against the King of Ch'eng-tu. The King of Ch'eng-tu sent out a general to meet them in battle and suffered a great defeat that sent shock waves into Yeh-ch'eng with the scholars and their associates scattering quickly. Only the King of Ch'eng-tu, Ying, along with several tens of his retainers (tent-below) still waited upon Hui-ti, and riding in a cow cart the Emperor hurried away to Lo-yang. Since Wang Chun had stormed Yeh-ch'eng he neither advanced nor stood his ground, allowing the Hsien-pei and Wu-huan that he commanded to engage in wholesale plunder and then leave to return again to Chi-ch'eng. When King Ying of Ch'eng-tu and Hui-ti returned to Lo-yang they were unexpectedly waylaid by Chang Fang. He then moved Hui-ti and King Ying to Kuan-chung. Those who remained behind in Lo-yang such as the Department of State Affairs Attendant (Shang-shu P'u-yeh), Hsun Fan, and the Ho-nan Metropolitan Prefect, Chou Fu, managed and carried out the state function. King Yung of Ho-chien then went out to meet Hui-ti when he arrived at Ch'ang-an and in order to pacify the east instructed the King of Kao-mi, Lueh, be appointed as the "Quells the South" General with the authority to garrison Lo-yang, and Ssu-ma Mo the Mid-east Court Officer (Tung-chung Lang-chiang) as the " Tranquilizes the North" General with the authority to garrison Yeh-ch'eng and still further ordered Yüeh the Ssu-k'ung (an honorary office, the highest in the bureaucracy) to become the Grand Guardian with the command to continue to assist the state, and at the same time sent King Ying to return to the east (Yeh-ch'eng) to wait for the state to settle down and then return the capital to the Eastern Capital. However, King Yüeh refused to follow the command and instead returned to Tung-hai (modern T'an-ch'eng in Shan-tung) and using the plan of the Chung-wei (lieutenant) Liu Hsia, in the 7th lunar month of 305 (Yung-hsing 2) he issued a summons to Shan-tung condemning Chang Fang's plundering the Imperial carriage. As a result of this Wang Chun the "Pacifies the North" General, Hsiao the King of Fan-yang and Mao the King of Tung-p'ing together rose up in response, electing King Yüeh as the leader of their alliance. Taking control the King of Tung-hai made use of King Hsiao of Fan-yang to take control of the post of Prefect of Yu-chou replacing the original Prefect Liu Ch'iao, also using Jui the King of Lang-yeh as the "Pacifies the East" General in command of Hsu-chou. Liu Ch'iao thought that King Yüeh ahd forged the imperial edict and for that reason ignored it dispatching troops to advance on Hsü-ch'ang to cut off King Hsiao of Fan-yang. King Yung of Ho-chien at the time was the Viceroy and Superintendant of Army Affairs, upon hearing that troops had risen up in revolt in Shan-tung he immediately sent up a report to the Emperor making King Ying of Ch'eng-tu the "Suppresses the East" Great General and military commander of Ho-pei, ordering him to return to Yeh-ch'eng to oppose the eastern army. He also instructed the " Supresses the South" Great General Liu Hung and the Grand General Chang Fang to gather together an army of 100,000 men to advance toward Hsu-ch'hang. Liu Hung refused to order his troops to advance and instead first sent a letter to exhort King Yüeh and Liu Ch'iao to give up their hatred, disperse their soldiers and jointly aid the state. Yüeh and Ch'iao did not pay any attention to this. At the time Liu Ch'iao had already stormed Hsü-ch'ang defeating the army of the King of Fan-yang, and crossing the Yellow River to enter Ho-pei the Yu-chou Prefect Wen Hsien voluntarily yielded his position to the King of Fan-yang. King Hsiao of Fan-yang since he had obtained Chi-chou he sent an emissary to Wang Chun to borrow 5,000 sallying cavalry to proceed down south to counter attack where they defeated King Ying of Ch'eng-tu killing his capable commander Shih Ch'ao and then took possession of Lo-yang. Hsiao also sent another general to aid the King of Tung-hai in his assault on Liu Ch'iao and Ch'iao's troops were routed and fled so that the King could then advance and garrison Yang-wu. Liu Hung had also allied himself with the King of Tung-hai so that the eastern army was large and majestic. The Imperial Minister King Yung of Ho-chien was afraid upon hearing the news and it so happened that Chang Fang had stationed his troops at Pa-shang and did not advance, and the rumors were that Chang Fang harbored secret designs so Yung sent men to kill Chang Fang and sent his head to the King of Tung-hai in order to seek a truce but the King still refused. At the same time King Yüeh had sent his generals Ch'i Hung, Sung Chou and Ssu-ma Tuan in command of a force to enter the passes (into Kuan-chung) and meet the Imperial carriage while he himself led troops to garrison Wen-hsien. Yung sent P'eng Sui and Tiao Mu to oppose the assault but they were defeated by Ch'i Hung with Hung and the others advancing into Ch'ang-an, over 20,000 died and Yung fled into the mountains to hide so Hung and the others took the Emperor and returned east. After Hung's soldiers had left Yung then returned to Ch'ang-an. The King of Tung-hai then became the Grand Guardian to record the affairs of the Master of Documents, Ch'iao the King of Fan-yang became the Ssu-k'ung (Imperial Secretary) and garrisoned Yeh-ch'eng, Mu the Duke of Hsü-ch'ang became the "Suppresses the East" Grand General stationed in Hsü-ch'ang and Wang Chun became the "Valiant Cavalry" Grand General, Ho-pei Military Commander and Yu-chou Prefect. Having been defeated by Ch'iao the King of Fan-yang, Ying the King of Ch'eng-tu fled west to Hua-yin and grom there went south through the Wu-kuan pass north to cross the Yellow River when he was captured by the Tun-ch'iu Magistrate Feng Ch'ung and sent to Yeh-ch'eng where the King of Fan-yang imprisoned him. In the 10th lunar month of 306 (Kuan-his 1) the King of Fan-yang died and his administrator feared that men would make use of the King of Ch'eng-tu to create confusion and therefore forged an imperial order that he commit suicide. This wild melee began in the 7th lunar month of 304 and continued for two full years until the 6th lunar month of 306 and the field of battle extended in the east from Ch'ing, Chi, Yen and Yu (Shan-tung and Ho-pei) west to Kuan-chung. Confusion and chaos covered the land. The common people suffered severely and the strength of the nation was almost completely destroyed.

The source of the Revolt of the Eight Kings was not solely the result of the eight Kings struggle for power as a detailed analysis of its background shows the depth of its complexity. Moreover, one very important factor was that among the staffs of the Kings and among the assistants and strategists there were only a few politically ambitious, conspiratorial elements who would often sow discord to create contradictions to sate their desire for power creating chaos under heaven only to serve their own interests (e.g. Sun Hsiu and Li Han). This was not only the background to the Revolt of the Eight Kings but also in in the same way became the principal backdrop of all the rebellions of the Two Chin, Southern and Northern Dynasties period. Therefore among these rebellious Kings there obviously were several unbalanced families but there were also quite a few pitiful personalities that were made use of by others. In this regard Hui-ti's younger brother Ssu-ma Ying, the King of Ch'eng-tu, while young and with an honest personality stationed for a long time at Yeh-ch'eng he was very popular but nevertheless he was often misled by his favorite Meng Chiu. Afterwards he became involved in this civil war so that when the brothers took up arms he was finally strangled to death by Liu Yu, an extremely tragic death. Just before his death he asked his guardian (chien-shou) T'ien Wei, " Minister, how old are you?" The minister replied and said fifty years old. The King sighed and said, "I hear fifty and know heaven's will, how could you not know heaven's will? I do not know if after my death all under heaven will be tranquil. Will it be disturbed?" (See the Chin-shu, ch. 59, The Biography of Ying). At the time of this death he was only 28 and the people in Yeh-ch'eng mourned his passing. From the record of this incident it is possible to intuitively bring to the fore the sorrow of history.



3.1.2.5 The Death of Yüeh the King of Tung-hai

Since the King of Tung-hai, Yüeh, had already returned the Emperor to the capital, in the 8th lunar month of 306 (Kuang-hsi 1) Yüeh became the Grand Guardian and the Recorder of Affairs of the Master of Documents and was in complete control of the government both in and out of the court, but during the 11th lunar month at the same time that the King of Ch'eng-tu, Ying, was being strangled to death in Yeh-ch'eng, Chin Hui-ti unexpectedly ate some poisoned biscuits and died in Lo-yang so Yüeh then set up his younger brother Ssu-ma Ch'ih as the Emperor to become Chin Huai-ti. During the 12th lunar month Yung the King of Ho-chien was summoned to become the Ssu-t'u (highest honorary office in the bureaucracy) but was fatally injured in the course of his journey so that almost all of the Kings were dead and political finally returned to Yüeh the King of Tung-hai. Hui-ti was on the throne for 17 years and this period roughly correpsonds with the beginning and end of the Revolt of the Eight Kings. With the death of Hui-ti, Huai-ti came to the throne and paying particular attention to government affairs he wanted to wrest power away from Yüeh the King of Tung-hai. The King was displeased at this and then left for the garrison of Hsü-ch'ang to control events in Lo-yang from afar in imitation of the account of Wei Wu-ti, Ts'ao Ts'ao's garrison at Yeh-ch'eng. Later because of the strategic importance of the region of Yen-chou he transferred the Yen-chou Prefect, Hsun Hsi, to Ch'ing-chou managing it himself as the Yen-chou Magistrate transferring the garrisons to Chuan-ch'eng. Every time that he visited the court he was certain to engage in killing in order to establish his authority with the result that both officials and commoners looked at him with disapproval and once again their morale disintegrated.

At this time although the Revolt of the Eight Kings was drawing to a conclusion the revolt of the Hu-chieh had already taken shape. The Liu clan of the Hsiung-nu had already proclaimed an emperor in P'ing-yang while the T'o-pa, Tuan, Yu-wen and Mu-jung clans of the Hsien-pei tribe had divided and occupied the north, the Li clan of the Ti-man occupied Ch'eng-tu and set up a king, the situation was deteriorating on all sides and the war beacons were alight throughout the land. In 310 (Yung-chia 4) Liu Ts'ung separately sent out Liu Yao, Wang Mi and Shih Le to invade. When Shih Le led his troops across the Yellow River and proceeded directly to Nan-yang, Yüeh the King of Tung-hai requested to lead out an expedition against Shih Le himself but upon reaching Hsiang-ch'eng he took ill and died so that after this his duties were entrusted to Wang Yen who at the same time was the Grand Colonel and next in rank after King Yüeh in the army. Wang Yen then led the army bearing Yüeh's body eastward back to Tung-hai. Shih Le and his great army from Nan-yang rolled up the north like a mat, storming Hsü-ch'ang and met up with the funeral procession of Yüeh at Kung-hsien (east of Lu-I in He-nan) and the Chin force of over 100,000 men was completely routed and broken. Shih Le broke open Yüeh's coffin and burned his corpse saying, "That which disturbs all under heaven is this man!" Wang Yen and all of the other great ministers along with 48 kings of the Chin royal house were all put to death by Shih Le; the year was Yung-chia 5 (312). With this the revolt of the Eight Kings was brought to an end and in reality the fortune of the Western Chin state also came to an end with the revolt of the Five Barbarians that followed after this.

The above is a brief description of the course of the Revolt of the Eight Kings which began in 291 when the Empress Chia murdered Yang Chün and ended with the death of Yüeh King of Tung-hai in 311, a full twenty years of upheaval and those who participated in the revolt were not limited to just the Eight Kings, as history selected the important ones among them and out of habit called it the Revolt of the Eight Kings.