Jia Chong

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Jia Chong
Official of the Jin dynasty
Born 217
Died 282 (aged 65)
Names
Traditional Chinese 賈充
Simplified Chinese 贾充
Pinyin Jiǎ Chōng
Wade–Giles Chia Chung
Courtesy name Gonglü (公閭)
Posthumous name Duke Wu of Lu (魯武公)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Jia.

Jia Chong (217–282), courtesy name Gonglü, was an official who lived in the late Three Kingdoms period and early Jin dynasty. He started his career as an advisor to Sima Shi and Sima Zhao, the regents of the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms era, and subsequently served as an official in the court of Sima Zhao's son, Sima Yan (Emperor Wu), after the establishment of the Jin dynasty.

Early life and career in Cao Wei[edit]

Jia Chong's father, Jia Kui, was a military general in Wei and was considered an epitome of faithfulness to the state. He did not have a son until late in his life; when Jia Chong was born, he was very pleased. Jia Chong's mother was Lady Liu (柳氏). Jia Chong inherited his father's marquis title after the latter's death. He later served under the regent Sima Shi, and then under Sima Shi's younger brother and successor, Sima Zhao. In 257, Sima Zhao sent him to probe the general Zhuge Dan's intentions should he decided to usurp the Wei throne. Zhuge Dan rebuked Jia Chong when the latter incessantly praised Sima Zhao in front of him. After Jia Chong returned to the capital Luoyang, he warned Sima Zhao that Zhuge Dan would most likely be unwilling to submit to his regency. Sima Zhao therefore summoned Zhuge Dan back to the capital, forcing him to start a rebellion that was quickly crushed. After the incident, Jia Chong became even more highly regarded by Sima Zhao.

In 260, the Wei emperor Cao Mao, unable to contain his anger about Sima Zhao's monopolisation of power, attempted a coup d'état to try to take back power from the regent. When forces led by Sima Zhao's brother Sima Zhou quickly collapsed against Cao Mao's forces, it was Jia Chong who was willing to stand against the emperor and who further ordered his subordinate, Cheng Ji (成濟), to take any measure to defeat the emperor and his loyalists. Cheng Ji killed Cao Mao by spearing him to death. In the aftermath of the incident, the people demanded for Cheng Ji and Jia Chong to be executed. Sima Zhao considered the matter for more than 10 days, eventually resolving to kill Cheng Ji (and his clan) but sparing Jia Chong, not wanting to execute someone who had been so loyal to him. From that point on, however, Jia Chong's reputation among the people was one of regicide.

Jia Chong also played a key role in Sima Zhao's suppression of Zhong Hui's rebellion in 264. Before the rebellion, Sima Zhao had foreseen that Zhong Hui was likely to rebel against Wei and had made preparations beforehand, including putting Jia Chong in charge of an army to counter any possible attack from Zhong Hui. Zhong Hui was killed by his soldiers who, unwilling to join his rebellion, mutinied against him.

Career under the Jin dynasty[edit]

In 265, after Sima Zhao's death, his son Sima Yan forced the last Wei emperor Cao Huan to abdicate the throne to him, thus ending Wei's existence and replacing it with the Jin dynasty; Sima Yan himself ascended the throne as Emperor Wu of Jin. Jia Chong, as a loyal subject of the Sima family, continued to be an important figure in the Jin government. Emperor Wu commissioned him to draft the laws of the Jin dynasty, initially considered to be far more merciful than the strict laws under the Wei regime. However, uneven enforcement of these laws meant that the main beneficiaries were nobles. The emperor also enfeoffed Jia Chong as the "Duke of Lu".

For years, Jia Chong had engaged his political rivalry with Ren Kai (任愷) and Yu Chun (庾純). In 271, Ren Kai and Yu Chun were able to persuade Emperor Wu to send Jia Chong to lead Jin forces to attack Xianbei rebels led by Tufa Shujineng (禿髮樹機能). Jia Chong did not want to fight the rebels at all. He was able to avoid being sent into battle by getting his wife to flatter and convince Emperor Wu's wife, Empress Yang, to recommend his daughter, Jia Nanfeng, to marry Emperor Wu's developmentally disabled crown prince, Sima Zhong. In 272, Jia Chong retaliated against Ren Kai and Yu Chun and succeeded in forcing them out of politics.

In 279, Emperor Wu wanted to launch a major invasion against Eastern Wu, the last of the Three Kingdoms, as part of his grand plan to reunify China under the Jin dynasty. Jia Chong opposed the emperor's idea and argued that Wu was too difficult to conquer. Emperor Wu not only ignored his advice, but also appointed him as the coordinator of a six-pronged attack on Wu. When Jia Chong declined, Emperor Wu told him to coordinate anyway, or else the emperor himself would personally coordinate. Jia Chong relented, but continued to oppose military action. In early 280, despite some military successes against Wu, Jia Chong continued to press for the invasion to be stopped after Jin forces had conquered the western half of Wu. Soon after he wrote a memorial to Emperor Wu arguing against the campaign, the Wu emperor Sun Hao surrendered to the Jin dynasty, thus ending Wu's existence. Jia Chong felt so ashamed that he offered to resign. However, Emperor Wu did not accept the resignation and even rewarded him for what he perceived to be Jia's contributions during the campaign.

Death[edit]

When Jia Chong became critically ill in 282, Emperor Wu bestowed upon him a special honour by ordering the crown prince Sima Zhong to pay a special visit to Jia. After Jia Chong died, his second wife Guo Huai (郭槐) wanted Jia Chong's maternal grandson, Han Mi (韓謐), to inherit his ducal title. Emperor Wu approved, even though it was considered inappropriate for a maternal grandson to inherit his maternal grandfather's title. Because of this, the official Qin Xiu (秦秀), who was responsible for selecting important officials' posthumous names, initially wanted to select "Huang" (荒; literally "performer of illegal acts") as Jia's posthumous name, but Emperor Wu overrode Qin Xiu's recommendation and chose "Wu" (武; literally "martial") as Jia's posthumous name.

Family[edit]

Jia Chong had a younger brother, Jia Hun (賈混), who held the title "Marquis of Yongping" (永平侯). He had three sons, Jia Yi (賈彝), Jia Zun (賈遵) and Jia Mo (賈模), who served as officials under the Jin dynasty.

Jia Chong's first wife, Li Wan (李婉), was a daughter of Li Feng, who was executed by Sima Shi in 254 for allegedly conspiring with the Wei emperor Cao Fang to unseat Sima Shi from power. At the point in time, Li Wan had already bore Jia Chong two daughters: Jia Bao (賈褒) and Jia Yu (賈裕). As Jia Chong wanted to pledge his loyalty to Sima Shi, he divorced Li Wan, who was sent into exile.

Jia Chong then married Guo Huai (郭槐), a niece of the Wei general Guo Huai (郭淮). Guo Huai bore Jia Chong two daughters as well: Jia Nanfeng and Jia Wu (賈午). She also bore him a son, Jia Limin (賈黎民), but her unusual jealousy and cruelty doomed her son. One day, when Jia Limin was still a toddler, Jia Chong returned home and caressed his son, who was being carried by his wet nurse. Guo Huai saw this and misinterpreted it as her husband having an affair with the wet nurse, so she killed the wet nurse. Jia Limin was so distressed by his wet nurse's death that he fell sick and died. Guo Huai bore Jia Chong another (unnamed) son later, but the entire tragedy repeated itself when Guo Huai suspected her son's wet nurse of having an affair with her husband. Jia Chong had no son left to succeed him when he died.

Among Jia Chong's daughters, Jia Nanfeng married Emperor Wu's crown prince Sima Zhong and eventually became empress after Sima Zhong was enthroned as Emperor Hui. Jia Bao, one of Jia Chong's daughters born to his first wife, married Emperor Wu's younger brother, Sima You (the Prince of Qi). At one point, when Emperor Wu was ill, Sima You was touted as a possible candidate to be the next emperor if Emperor Wu died – instead of Emperor Wu's developmentally disabled son Sima Zhong. One official, Xiahou He, tried to persuade Jia Chong to support Sima You and pointed out that both the crown prince and Sima You were Jia's sons-in-law. However, Jia Chong declined to express support for Sima You. Another of Jia Chong's daughters born to Guo Huai, Jia Wu, married Han Shou (韓壽), and had a son, Han Mi (韓謐). Han Mi inherited his maternal grandfather's ducal title.

In 265, when Emperor Wu ended the Cao Wei state and established the Jin dynasty, he declared a general amnesty for political prisoners under the former regime. Jia Chong's first wife, Li Wan, was thus allowed to return from exile. As Emperor Wu believed that Jia Chong wanted to have his first wife back, he offered to approve of Jia Chong having two formal spouses (both Li Wan and Guo Huai). However, Jia Chong never accepted Li Wan again despite pleas from his two daughters born to Li Wan. Instead, he had a separate residence built for Li Wan but never visited her. Guo Huai, who was jealous of Li Wan, secretly sent spies to carry out surveillance at Li Wan's house for any signs of visit from Jia Chong. Guo Huai herself then went to visit Li Wan once with the intention of humiliating her, but she ended up being humiliated herself when she tripped and landed at Li Wan's feet; she never visited Li Wan again. After Li Wan's death, Jia Nanfeng, who had become Emperor Hui's empress by then, did not allow Li Wan to be buried with Jia Chong. Li Wan was only interred together with Jia Chong in 300 CE after Jia Nanfeng was deposed from her position as empress.

Appointments and titles held[edit]

The following appointments and titles were held by Jia Chong when he served the state of Wei
  • Marquis of Yangli Village (陽里亭侯) - inherited by Jia Chong from his father Jia Kui
  • Gentleman of Writing (尚書郎)
  • Duzhi Kaoke (度支考課)
  • Gentleman of the Yellow Gate (黃門侍郎)
  • General of the Household of Agriculture in Ji Commandery (汲郡典農中郎將)
  • Army Advisor (參軍事) to General-in-Chief Sima Shi
  • Marquis of Yiyang District (宜陽鄉侯)
  • Minister of Justice (廷尉)
  • Central Protector of the Army (中護軍)
  • Marquis of Anyang District (安陽鄉侯)
  • Attendant of Scattered Cavalry (散騎常侍)
  • Marquis of Linyi (臨沂侯)
The following appointments and titles were held by Jia Chong when he served under Sima Yan, who was then King of Jin
  • General of the Guards (衛將軍)
  • Jishizhong (給事中)
  • Marquis of Linying (臨潁侯)
The following appointments and titles were held by Jia Chong when he served the Jin dynasty
  • General of Chariots and Cavalry (車騎將軍)
  • Attendant of Scattered Cavalry (散騎常侍)
  • Supervisor of the Masters of Writing (尚書僕射)
  • Duke of Lu Commandery (魯郡公)
  • Prefect of the Masters of Writing (尚書令)
  • Palace Attendant (侍中)
  • Senior General of Agile Cavalry (驃騎大將軍)
  • Excellency of Works (司空)
  • Grand Commandant (太尉)
  • Crown Prince's Tutor (太子太保)
  • Manager of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing (錄尚書事)
The following titles were granted to Jia Chong posthumously
  • Duke Wu (武公)
  • Grand Minister (太宰)

In popular culture[edit]

Jia Chong is first introduced as a playable character in the eighth instalment of Koei's Dynasty Warriors video game series.

See also[edit]

References[edit]