Jian of Qi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Not to be confused with Duke Jian of Qi.
For Tang Dynasty warlord, see Tian Ji'an.
Jian of Qi
齊王建
King of Qi
Reign 264–221 BC
Predecessor King Xiang of Qi
Full name
Ancestral name: Gui
Clan name: Tian
Given name: Jiàn (建)
House House of Tian
Father King Xiang of Qi

Jian, King of Qi (Chinese: 齊王建; pinyin: Qí Wáng Jiàn; reigned 264–221 BC) was the last king of Qi, one of the seven major states of the Warring States period of ancient China. His personal name was Tian Jian (田建), ancestral name Gui, and he did not have a posthumous title because he was the last king of Qi.[1]

Jian succeeded his father King Xiang of Qi, who died in 265 BC. He reigned for 44 years. At the time he acceded to the throne, there were only a few states left in what is now China. Qi was one of the wealthiest, and it was on the seacoast far from the most aggressive state, Qin. For years, King Jian's mother acted as his advisor. On her deathbed she wanted to tell her son the king which ministers she thought were the best. But when the writing materials arrived she could no longer tell him. After she died, Hou Sheng (后勝) became his prime minister. It was alleged by some sources that Hou Sheng was in the pay of the state of Qin.[2]

One famous anecdote is that after the Battle of Changping in 260 BC, in which, according to the historian Sima Qian, 450,000 soldiers of the state of Zhao were killed by the Qin army, King Jian was advised: "Zhao is a hedge that protects Qi... just as the lips protect the teeth. When the lips are gone, the teeth become cold....Go to the aid of Zhao!"[3] However, the king did nothing; during his reign he tried to stay out of wars, as the future First Emperor Qin Shihuang attacked all the states around him.

The kingdom of Qi was the only opponent of Qin after Qin Shi Huang conquered every other state. King Jian and his prime minister Hou Sheng (后勝), a relation of Jian's wife, sent the Qi army to the western border of Qi to protect the country; but Qin general Wang Ben (王賁), son of Wang Jian, attacked Qi from the north instead and conquered it in 221 BC, completing Qin's unification of China.

King Jian was captured with his entire court.[4] In one story, the king went to Qin voluntarily, resisting the urging of his loyal counselor, after the defeat, because Qin Shihuang, the First Emperor, had promised him a large property of 500 li. Instead, when he arrived in Qin, he was sent to a remote area with his wife and daughter, where he starved to death. The Qi people made a sarcastic ballad to commemorate him. "Oh, pine trees! Oh, cypress trees! Making the king of Qi die in a common village–this was a guest who was good at adapting!"[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Han Zhaoqi (韩兆琦) (2010). "House of Tian Jingzhong Wan". Shiji (史记) (in Chinese). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company. pp. 3711–3717. ISBN 978-7-101-07272-3. 
  2. ^ Ch'an-kuo Tse. Translated by J.I. Crump. University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies. 1996. p. 221. ISBN 0-89264-122-3.  In Strategies of the Warring States, The Book of Qi
  3. ^ Ch'an-kuo Tse. Translated by J.I. Crump. University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies. 1996. p. 218. ISBN 0-89264-122-3.  In Strategies of the Warring States, The Book of Qi
  4. ^ "Discourses on Salt and Iron, chapter XI". Traditions of Exemplary Women. Translated by Esson W. Gale. Taipei, Taiwan: Ch'eng Wen. 1973. Retrieved 25 October 2015.  From Discourses on Salt and Iron
  5. ^ Ch'an-kuo Tse. Translated by J.I. Crump. University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies. 1996. p. 222. ISBN 0-89264-122-3.  In Strategies of the Warring States, The Book of Qi
Jian of Qi
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King Xiang of Qi
King of Qi
264–221 BC
Conquered by Qin