Deng Qiang

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Deng Qiang
General Who Guards the Army (鎮軍將軍)
In office
371 (371) – ? (?)
MonarchFu Jian
Succeeded byMao Dang
Personal details
Diedc. 379
RelationsDeng Yu (ancestor)
ChildrenDeng Jing
Deng Yi

Deng Qiang (died c. 379) was a military general of Former Qin during the Sixteen Kingdoms period. He came to prominence during the reign of Fu Sheng when he helped defeat and kill the Qiang warlord Yao Xiang, but for most of his career he would serve Sheng's successor, Fu Jian. He was a leading figure in the rise of Former Qin, usually in conjunction with Wang Meng, as he led Fu Jian's army to victory against Zhang Ping and Former Yan, stamping out corruption in the government while putting down the rebellions of Fu Jian's relatives and Zhang Yu (張育). He and his peer Zhang Ci were known as the "Enemies of Ten Thousands (萬人敵)", a title previously held by the Shu Han generals Guan Yu and Zhang Fei during the end of the Han dynasty.[1]

Service under Fu Sheng[edit]

Deng Qiang was a native of Anding Commandary (安定郡; in modern-day Pingliang, Gansu) and his ancestor was said to been Deng Yu, an Eastern Han dynasty general during the reign of Emperor Guangwu.[2] He was very fluent in the Art of War which, later during the reign of Fu Jian, he would be instructed to teach Fu Pi about.[3] His first recorded activity was in 356, when the Former Yan general Muyu Zhangqing (慕輿長卿) attacked Former Qin's Fort Peishi. Fu Sheng ordered Deng Qiang to reinforce the fort, and Deng Qiang routed Muyu Zhangqing along with taking his head.[4] Later, Deng Qiang was banished to become Administrator of Xianyang after he protested against Fu Sheng's brutal murder of Qiang Ping (強平).[5]

Defeating Yao Xiang[edit]

The following year, Deng Qiang followed Fu Huangmei (苻黃眉) to defend Guanzhong against the Qiang warlord Yao Xiang. When the Qin forces arrived, Yao Xiang refused to give fight and instead held out at Huangluo (黃洛, in modern-day Tongchuan city, Shaanxi). Deng Qiang knew that Yao Xiang had been flustered by his recent defeats against Huan Wen and Zhang Ping, so he suggested they beat their drums and march straight into his city to provoke him. Deng Qiang carried out his suggestion, inciting Yao Xiang to come out and give chase. Yao Xiang pursued Deng Qiang all the way to Sanyuan where Qin forces under Fu Huangmei and Fu Jian awaited them. Yao Xiang suffered a great defeat and tried to withdraw, but he was killed.[6]

Service under Fu Jian[edit]

War with Zhang Ping[edit]

Fu Sheng would be killed in a coup headed by Fu Jian and Fu Fa later that year. Deng Qiang would continue to serve the state following the regime change with Fu Jian as the new Heavenly King. Also that same year, the Bingzhou warlord, Zhang Ping had broken his allegiance to Former Qin and attempted to create his own state. In 358, Fu Jian led his troops to Fen River with Deng Qiang as his vanguard general. Zhang Ping sent out his adopted son, Zhang Ci, to battle the Qin forces. Deng Qiang and Zhang Ci fought for ten days, with neither side getting the upper hand. When Fu Jian moved to Tongbi (銅壁, in modern-day Tongchuan, Shaanxi), Zhang Ci charged into the enemy lines a couple of times. However, he was then struck by a spear from the Qin general Lü Guang, and Deng Qiang quickly caught him to be brought against Fu Jian. Zhang Ci's capture collapsed the morale in Zhang Ping's army, and Ping surrendered back to Qin.[7]

Quelling revolts and stamping out corruption[edit]

In 359, Deng Qiang campaigned against the rebel Gao Li (高離) in Lüeyang and vanquished him.[8] Later, he was appointed as Middle Assistant to the Imperial Secretary and worked close with Fu Jian's advisor Wang Meng. The two worked very well with each other and within a matter of weeks, they purged the government of corrupted officials and nobles while solving mismanaged law cases. Fu Jian was very pleased with this and exclaimed, "Now I know what a land ruled by law is like!"[9] In 365, Deng Qiang quelled another revolt, this time led by the Xiongnu chieftain Liu Weichen.[10]

Fu Liu, Fu Shuang, Fu Sou and Fu Wu's Rebellion[edit]

In 368, a major rebellion occurred led by Fu Jian's family members, Fu Liu (苻柳), Fu Shuang (苻雙), Fu Sou (苻廋) and Fu Wu (苻武). Deng Qiang and Wang Meng were tasked in defeating Fu Liu, who had made Puban (蒲阪, in modern-day Yuncheng, Shanxi) his base. Fu Liu left his son Fu Liang (苻良) to guard the city while he marched towards Chang'an to capture it. Deng Qiang caught him by surprise with a night raid, forcing him to retreat. Wang Meng then intercepted his retreat, leaving Fu Liu with only a few hundred men back to his base.[11] Wang Meng and Deng Qiang easily captured Puban and executed Fu Liu before joining Zhang Ci and Yang An in their assault against Fu Sou at Shancheng. After all four rebels had been defeated, Deng Qiang was appointed General Who Establishes Valor and Inspector of Luozhou (洛州, covered parts of modern-day Henan and Shanxi).

Conquest of Former Yan by Former Qin[edit]

The following year, the Jin dynasty Grand Marshal, Huan Wen, led his troops to conquer Former Yan. At the advice of Wang Meng, Fu Jian decided to support Yan to prevent Jin from gaining significant land in the north. Fu Jian sent Deng Qiang and Gou Chi (苟池) to Shancheng to oversee the upcoming battle between Yan and Jin.[12] Yan managed to repel Jin thanks to the efforts of Murong Chui at the Battle of Fangtou but had suffered greatly from their losses. Yan had initially promised to Qin that they would surrender Hulao to them but retracted their promise, giving Fu Jian a pretext to invade them. Fu Jian had Deng Qiang, Wang Meng and Liang Chen (梁琛) capture Luoyang, which fell the following year. Shortly after, he defeated Murong Zang at Xingyang.

An altercation nearly broke between Deng Qiang and Wang Meng during the war. Wang Meng intended to execute the general Xu Cheng (徐成) for returning late from scouting. Deng Qiang defended Xu Cheng, stating that Qin needs to preserve its numbers and that Xu Cheng is a high-ranking officer. Wang Meng argued in favor of upholding military laws but Deng Qiang further advocated that Xu Cheng be redeemed by fighting the Yan forces in the upcoming battle. Even then, Wang Meng refused, causing Deng Qiang to rally his men against Wang Meng. Wang was impressed by Deng's dedication to protect Xu Cheng and finally pardoned him. Deng Qiang also apologised and the two reconciled.[13]

As Wang Meng and Murong Ping's armies came face to face at the Battle of Lu River (潞川, in modern-day Changzhi, Shanxi), Wang Meng placed his trust in Deng Qiang to rout them despite Qin's inferior numbers. However, another disagreement occurred between the two. Deng Qiang wanted Wang Meng to appoint him Colonel-Director of Retainers after he wins, but Wang Meng pointed out that he did not have the power to do so, although he tried to compensate him with Administrator of Anding and a Marquis of ten thousand households. Deng Qiang withdrew unsatisfied and when the battle began, he was still asleep in his camp. Wang Meng quickly rode to his tent and made a compromise with Deng. When all was settled, Deng Qiang drank heavily before setting out with Zhang Ci and Xu Cheng. He personally charged into the enemy lines several times and killed several of the Yan troops. By noon, the Yan forces were annihilated and Murong Ping fled alone to Yecheng.[14]

Deng Qiang's last merit in the war would be at Xindu, where he defeated Murong Huan (慕容桓). After Qin conquered Yan, he was rewarded by Fu Jian with Credential Bearer, General Who Conquers The Caitiffs, Administrator of Anding and Marquis of Zhending Commandary (真定, in modern-day Shijiazhuang, Hebei). In 371, Wang Meng decided to honour his promise at Lu River and asked Fu Jian to make Deng Qiang Director of Retainers. However, Fu Jian believed that Deng Qiang deserves better for his past merits as well, and made him General Who Guards the Army and honored him as Specially Advanced.[15]

Zhang Yu and Yang Guang's rebellion[edit]

In 373, Former Qin conquered the region of Yizhou[disambiguation needed] and Liangzhou from the Jin dynasty. However, one year later, two natives, Zhang Yu and Yang Guang (楊光), rebelled and tried to set up their state with the aid of Jin. Fu Jian dispatched Deng Qiang to destroy them while Jin sent Zhu Yao (竺瑤) and Huan Shiqian, who defeated Yao Chang and forced him to retreat to Wucheng. Zhang Yu declared himself King of Shu and besieged Chengdu. However, Zhang Yu got into a quarrel with his followers and they all started fighting each other. Deng Qiang and Yang An quickly routed them, causing Zhang Yu and Yang Guang to pull out to Mianzhu. Deng proceeded to defeat Zhu Yao and Huan Shiqian in the west before finally claiming Zhang Yu and Yang Guang's heads at Mianzhu. Before he left, Deng Qiang carved a stele at the Min Mountains.[16]

Fu Jian had long appreciated Deng Qiang but his recent victory over Zhang Yu impressed him very much. After Deng Qiang returned from Chengdu, Fu Jian called him to the palace, where he told him, "Long ago, your ancestor Zhonghua (Deng Yu) met with Shizu of Han. Now, you too have met with me. The Deng clan must be so fortunate." Deng Qiang replied, "I had always told myself that it was Guangwu who met with Zhonghua, not Zhonghua who met with Guangwu." Fu Jian laughed and said to him, "If it is as you say, then it is not you who is fortunate, rather it is me who was blessed to meet such a worthy man."[17]

Final years[edit]

Deng Qiang participated in Qin's conquest of Dai in 376 but his involvement in it as whole appeared minimal. Nonetheless, he was appointed Inspector of Bingzhou that same year. His final appearance in history would be in 378 during Fu Jian's grand siege of Xiangyang, serving as a vanguard in attacking Fancheng with Yang An.[18] It is safe to assume that Deng Qiang passed away some time in 379 as Zhang Ci took his office of Inspector of Bingzhou that year.


  1. ^ (秦人稱鄧羌、張蚝皆萬人敵。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 100
  2. ^ (十二月,羌至自成都,堅引見東堂,謂之曰:「將軍之先仲華,遇漢世祖於前;將軍復逢朕於後,何鄧氏之多幸。」羌曰:「臣常謂光武之遇仲華,非獨仲華遭光武。」堅笑曰:「將軍蓋以自況,非直將軍之幸,亦朕之遇賢。」) Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms, Volume 4
  3. ^ (「堅與言將略,嘉之,命鄧羌教以兵法。」) Book of Jin, Volume 115
  4. ^ (慕容俊遣將慕輿長卿等率眾七千入自軹關,攻幽州刺史張哲于裴氏堡。晉將軍劉度等率眾四千,攻青州刺史袁朗于盧氏。生遣其前將軍苻飛距晉,建節鄧羌距燕。飛未至而度退。羌及長卿戰于堡南,大敗之,獲長卿及甲首二千七百餘級。) Book of Jin, Volume 112
  5. ^ (衛將軍廣平王黃眉、前將軍新興王飛、建節將軍鄧羌,以平,太后之弟,叩頭固諫,生弗聽,出黃眉為左馮翊,飛為右扶風,羌行咸陽太守,猶惜其驍勇,故皆弗殺。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 100
  6. ^ (姚襄遣姚蘭、王欽盧待招動鄜城、定陽、北地、芹川諸羌胡,皆應之,有眾二萬七千,進據黃落。生遣苻黃眉、苻堅、鄧羌率步騎萬五千討之。襄深溝高壘,固守不戰。鄧羌說黃眉曰:「傷弓之鳥,落於虛發。襄頻為桓溫、張平所敗,銳氣喪矣。今謀固壘不戰,是窮寇也。襄性剛很,易以剛動,若長驅鼓行,直壓其壘,襄必忿而出師,可一戰擒也。」黃眉從之,遣羌率騎三千軍於壘門。襄怒,盡銳出戰。羌偽不勝,引騎而退,襄追之于三原,羌回騎距襄。俄而黃眉與堅至,大戰,斬之,盡俘其眾,黃眉等振旅而歸。黃眉雖有大功,生不加旌賞,每於眾中辱之。黃眉怒,謀殺生自立,事發,伏誅,其王公親戚多有死者。) Book of Jin, Volume 112
  7. ^ (秦王堅自將討張平,以鄧羌為前鋒督護,帥騎五千,軍於汾上;平使養子蚝御之。蚝多力趫捷,能曳牛卻走;城無高下,皆可超越。與羌相持旬餘,莫能相勝。三月,堅至銅壁,平盡眾出戰,蚝單馬大呼,出入秦陳者四、五。堅募人生致之,鷹揚將軍呂光刺蚝,中之,鄧羌擒蚝以獻,平眾大潰。平懼,請降。堅拜平右將軍,以蚝為虎賁中郎將。蚝,本姓弓,上黨人也,堅寵待甚厚,常置左右。秦人稱鄧羌、張蚝皆萬人敵。光,婆樓之子也。堅徙張平部民三千餘戶於長安。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 100
  8. ^ (秦平羌護軍高離據略陽叛,永安威公侯討之,未克而卒。夏,四月,驍騎將軍鄧羌、秦州刺史啖鐵討平之。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 100
  9. ^ (八月,堅下書曰:「咸陽內史猛言彰出納,所在著績,有臥龍之才,宜入贊百揆,絲綸王言。可徵拜侍中、中書令、領京兆尹。」中丞鄧羌,性鯁直,與猛協規齊志,於是百僚肅整,豪右屏風,風化大行。堅歎曰:「吾令始知天下之有法也。」) Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms, Volume 4
  10. ^ (衞辰舉兵伐堅,堅遣其建節將軍鄧羌討擒之。) Book of Northern Wei, Volume 95
  11. ^ (晉公柳數出挑戰,王猛不應。柳以猛為畏之。五月,留其世子良守蒲阪,帥眾二萬西趨長安。去蒲阪百餘里,鄧羌帥銳騎七千夜襲,敗之。柳引軍還,猛邀擊之,盡俘其眾。柳與數百騎入城,猛、羌進攻之。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 101
  12. ^ (八月,遣將軍苟池、洛州刺史鄧羌帥步騎二萬以救燕,出自洛陽,軍至穎川;又遣散騎侍郎姜撫報使於燕。以王猛為尚書令。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 102
  13. ^ (壬戌,猛遣將軍徐成覘燕軍形要,期以日中;及昏而返,猛怒,將斬之。鄧羌請之曰:「今賊眾我寡,詰朝將戰;成,大將也,宜且宥之。」猛曰:「若不殺成,軍法不立。」羌固請曰:「成,羌之郡將也,雖違期應斬,羌願與成效戰以贖之。」猛弗許。羌怒,還營,嚴鼓勒兵,將攻猛。猛問其故,羌曰:「受詔討遠賊;今有近賊,自相殺,欲先除之!」猛謂羌義而有勇,使語之曰:「將軍止,吾今赦之。」成既免,羌詣猛謝。猛執其手曰:「吾試將軍耳,將軍於郡將尚爾,況國家乎!吾不復憂賊矣!」) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 102
  14. ^ (猛望評師之衆,惡之,謂鄧羌曰:「今日之事,非將軍莫可以捷也。成敗之機,在斯一舉也。將軍其勉之。」羌曰:「若以司隸見與者,公無以為憂。」猛曰:「此非吾所及也。必以安定太守、萬戶侯相處。」羌不悅而退。俄而兵交,猛召羌,寢而不應。猛乃馳就,許之。於是大飲帳中,與張眊、徐成等跨馬運矛,馳入評軍,出入數四,傍若無人,攀旗斬將,殺傷甚重,戰及日中,燕師敗績。) Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms, Volume 4
  15. ^ (王猛以潞川之功,請以鄧羌為司隸。秦王堅下詔曰:「司隸校尉,董牧皇畿,吏責甚重,非所以優禮名將。光武不以吏事處功臣,實貴之也。羌有廉、李之才,朕方委以征伐之事,北平匈奴,南蕩揚、越,羌之任也,司隸何足以嬰之!其進號鎮軍將軍,位特進。」) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 103
  16. ^ (夏四月,堅下書曰:「巴夷險逆,寇亂益州,招引吳軍,為唇齒之勢。特進、鎮軍將軍、護羌校尉鄧羌,可帥甲士五萬,星夜赴討。」五月,蜀人張育、楊光等起兵二萬,以應巴獠。晉威遠將軍桓石虔帥衆二萬入據墊江,張育自號蜀王,稱藩于晉。八月,鄧羌敗晉師於涪西,擊張育、楊光,屯於綿竹,皆斬之,益州平,羌勒銘于岷山而還。十二月,羌至自成都,堅引見東堂,謂之曰:「將軍之先仲華,遇漢世祖於前;將軍復逢朕於後,何鄧氏之多幸。」羌曰:「臣常謂光武之遇仲華,非獨仲華遭光武。」堅笑曰:「將軍蓋以自況,非直將軍之幸,亦朕之遇賢。」) Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms, Volume 4
  17. ^ (十二月,羌至自成都,堅引見東堂,謂之曰:「將軍之先仲華,遇漢世祖於前;將軍復逢朕於後,何鄧氏之多幸。」羌曰:「臣常謂光武之遇仲華,非獨仲華遭光武。」堅笑曰:「將軍蓋以自況,非直將軍之幸,亦朕之遇賢。」) Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms, Volume 4
  18. ^ (秦王堅遣征南大將軍、都督征討諸軍事、守尚書令長樂公丕、武衛將軍苟萇、尚書慕容□帥步騎七萬寇襄陽,以荊州刺史楊安帥樊、鄧之眾為前鋒,征虜將軍始平石越帥精騎一萬出魯陽關,京兆尹慕容垂、揚武將軍姚萇帥眾五萬出南鄉,領軍將軍苟池、右將軍毛當、強弩將軍王顯帥眾四萬出武當,會攻襄陽。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 104