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Qi (state)

Coordinates: 36°51′54″N 118°20′24″E / 36.865°N 118.340°E / 36.865; 118.340
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(Redirected from State of Qi)

1046 BCE–221 BCE
Qi in 260 BCE
Qi in 260 BCE
  • Regional State (1046–323 BCE )
  • Kingdom (323–221 BCE )
CapitalYingqiu (11 c.–866 BCE )
Bogu (866–859 BCE )
Linzi (859–221 BCE )
Lord of Qi 
• 685–643 BCE
Duke Huan of Qi
• 547–490 BCE
Duke Jing of Qi
• 685–645 BCE
Guan Zhong
• 556–500 BCE
Yan Ying
• Enfeoffment of Duke Tai
1046 BCE
• Conquered by Qin
221 BCE
CurrencyKnife money
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Qin dynasty
"Qi" in seal script (top), Traditional (middle), and Simplified (bottom) Chinese characters
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
The Great Wall of Qi on Dafeng Mountain

Qi, or Ch'i[1] in Wade–Giles romanization, was a regional state of the Zhou dynasty in ancient China, whose rulers held titles of Hou (), then Gong, before declaring themselves independent Kings. Its capital was Linzi, located in present-day Shandong. Qi was founded shortly after the Zhou conquest of Shang, c. 1046 BCE. Its first monarch was Jiang Ziya (Lord Tai; r.1046–1015 BCE ), minister of King Wen and a legendary figure in Chinese culture. His family ruled Qi for several centuries before it was replaced by the Tian family in 386 BCE .[2] Qi was the final surviving state to be annexed by Qin during its unification of China.


Bronze knife-shaped coins of State of Qi, collected in Shandong Museum



During the Zhou conquest of Shang, Jiang Ziya, a native of Ju County served as the chief minister to King Wu, the same position he had held in service to King Wu's father. Following the Zhou victory, the lands comprising much of the Shandong peninsula and some nearby surrounds were established as the state of Qi, with Jiang charged with ruling and defending them. After King Wu's death, Ziya remained loyal to the Duke of Zhou's regency during the Three Guards' failed rebellion. The Shang prince Wu Geng had joined the revolt along with the Dongyi polities of Yan, Xu, and Pugu, located within the boundaries of Qi. These were suppressed by 1039 BCE, but the Bamboo Annals suggest that the native people of Pugu continued to revolt for about another decade before being destroyed a second time c. 1026.

Transmitted documents from the Western Zhou period are scant, but it is known that King Yi of Zhou (r.865–858 BCE) attacked Qi and boiled Duke Ai to death. During the time of King Xuan of Zhou (r. 827–782), there was a local succession struggle. Throughout this period, many of the native Dongyi peoples were absorbed into the Zhou cultural sphere.

Spring and Autumn period

Sacrificial horses discovered in the tomb of Duke Jing of Qi

The succession crisis following the violent death of King You of Zhou led to a dramatic and unrecoverable loss of political and military authority in the Zhou royal court. Under this new geopolitical situation, Qi rose to prominence under Duke Huan of Qi (r. 685–643 BCE ). He and his minister Guan Zhong strengthened the state by consolidating power in the hands of the central government at the expense of the landed aristocracy, establishing a system of counties (; xiàn) ruled directly by ministers of the state court.[3] Qi annexed 35 neighboring polities – including Tan – and brought others into submission. Guan Zhong's administrative reforms also included state monopolies on salt and iron, and in general were characteristic of the later political philosophy of Legalism.[4]: 526 

In 667 BCE, the lords of Qi, Lu, Song, Chen, and Zheng assembled in one of the first great interstate conferences, and Duke Huan was elected as their leader. Subsequently, King Hui of Zhou pronounced him (; 'big brother[5]'), the "hegemon-protector" sworn to protect the royal house of Zhou and uphold the authority of the Son of Heaven (the Zhou king). The first of five such hegemons,[6] he earned a tribute from the other states, and had the honour of paying the royal court a larger tribute than anyone else. His calls to arms were as binding as the king's own. Using this authority, during the first eleven years of his hegemony, Duke Huan intervened in a power struggle in Lu; protected Yan from encroaching Western Rong nomads; drove off Northern Di nomads after their invasions of Wey and Xing, providing the people with provisions and protective garrison units; and led an alliance of eight states to conquer Cai and thereby block the northward expansion of Chu.[7]

After Duke Huan's death, a war of succession between rival claimants greatly weakened Qi and ending its reign of hegemony. In 632 BCE, Qi helped Jin defeat Chu at the Battle of Chengpu, only to be defeated by Jin itself at the Battle of An in 589. In 579, the four great powers of Qin, Jin, Chu, and Qi met to declare a truce and limit their military strength.

Warring States period - Tian Qi


Early in the period, Qi annexed a number of smaller states. Qi was one of the first states to patronize scholars. In 532 BCE, the Tian clan destroyed several rival families and came to dominate the state. In 485, the Tian clan killed the heir to the house of Jiang and fought several rival clans. Four years later, the Tian chief killed a puppet ruler, most of his family, and a number of rival chiefs. He took control of most of the state and left the monarch with only the capital of Linzi and the area around Mount Tai. In 386, the house of Tian fully replaced the house of Jiang as rulers of Qi. The Warring States period ended with the Qin conquest of Qi, which was the last to fall, in 222. So ended Qi, and the era of Imperial China began.

Culture of Qi


Before Qin unified China, each state's customs, culture, dialects, and orthography had pronounced differences. According to the Yu Gong or Tribute of Yu, composed in the fourth or fifth century BCE and included in the Classic of Documents, there were nine distinct cultural regions of China, which are described in detail. The work focuses on the travels of the titular sage, Yu the Great, throughout each of the regions.

Other texts also discussed these cultural variations. One of these texts was The Book of Master Wu, written in response to a query by Marquis Wu of Wei on how to cope with the other states. Wu Qi, the author of the work, declared that the government and nature of the people were reflective of the terrain of the environment in which they inhabited. Of Qi, he said:

Although Qi's troops are numerous, their organization is unstable... The people of Qi are by nature unyielding and their country prosperous, but the ruler and officials are arrogant and care nothing for the people. The state's policies are not uniform and not strictly enforced. Salaries and wages are unfair and unevenly distributed, causing disharmony and disunity. Qi's army is arrayed with their heaviest hitters at the front while the rest follow behind, so that even when their forces appear mighty, they are in reality fragile. To defeat them, we should divide our army into three columns and have two attack the left and right flanks of Qi's army. Once their battle formations are thrown into disarray, the central column should be in position to attack and victory will follow.

— Wu Qi, Wuzi

While visiting Qi, Confucius was deeply impressed with perfection of performance of Shao music () therein.[8]

During the Warring States period, Qi was famous for Linzi's Jixia Academy, where renowned scholars of the era from all over China would visit. Modern scholarship understands the Jixia Academy not to be a physical institution, but an informal collaboration of sponsored scholars engaged in intellectual work. One impressive surviving achievement of the Jixia school of thought is the Yanzi Chunqiu.[9]: 283–285 

Qi architecture

Remains of Ancient Linzi city sewer passing underneath the former city wall of the Qi kingdom.

The state of Qi was known for having well organized cities that were nearly rectangular in shape, with roads that were neatly knit into a grid-like pattern. The palace was strategically positioned facing the south. To the left (eastwardly direction) of the palace resided the ancestral temple, to its right (westward) the temple of the gods, both one hundred paces away. This ensured that balance was achieved. In front of the palace was the court also one hundred paces away and to the back of the palace was the city. This type of layout influenced greatly the way cities were designed in subsequent generations.

Smaller estates known as chengyi (城邑) were abundant throughout Qi. They typically stretched 450 meters from south to north and 395 meters from east to west. The perimeter was usually surrounded by a wall with the living headquarters situated within and a nearly perfect square-shaped courtyard occupying the center.[citation needed]

The Great Wall of Qi (齊長城) is the oldest existing Great Wall in China.[10] Construction of the wall started in 441 BCE to defend against attacks from the states of Jin and Yue.[11] Construction ended during the Warring States period, with the wall enhancing Qi's defense against enemies states like Ju, Lu, and Chu.[12] The wall stretches from Guangli village of today's Changqing District, Jinan, running across the mountain ridges of central Shandong Province to the Yellow Sea in the present-day city of Qingdao.[12] Its total length has been estimated at 600 km (370 mi).[13] Most of the wall is still visible.

Qi in astronomy


Qi is represented by the star Chi Capricorni in the "Twelve States" asterism in the "Girl" lunar mansion in the "Black Turtle" symbol. Qi is also represented by the star 112 Herculis in the "Left Wall" asterism in the "Heavenly Market" enclosure.[14]



House of Jiang

Title Name Reign (BC) Relationship Notes
Duke Tai
11th century Enfeoffed by King Wu of Zhou, with capital at Yingqiu
Duke Ding
10th century 5th-generation descendant of Duke Tai Traditionally believed to be son of Duke Tai
Duke Yǐ
10th century Son of Duke Ding
Duke Gui
c. 10th century Son of Duke Yǐ
Duke Ai
9th century Son of Duke Gui Boiled to death by King Yi of Zhou
Duke Hu
9th century Son of Duke Gui Moved capital to Bogu, killed by Duke Xian
Duke Xian
859?–851 Son of Duke Gui Moved capital back to Linzi
Duke Wu
850–825 Son of Duke Xian
Duke Li
824–816 Son of Duke Wu Killed by supporters of Duke Hu's son.
Duke Wen
815–804 Son of Duke Li
Duke Cheng
803–795 Son of Duke Wen
Duke Zhuang I
794–731 Son of Duke Cheng Reigned for 64 years
Duke Xi
730–698 Son of Duke Zhuang I
Duke Xiang
697–686 Son of Duke Xi Committed incest with sister Wen Jiang, murdered her husband Duke Huan of Lu, conquered the state of Ji, murdered by cousin Wuzhi
none Wuzhi
686 Cousin of Duke Xiang, grandson of Duke Zhuang I Killed by Yong Lin.
Duke Huan
685–643 Younger brother of Duke Xiang First of the Five Hegemons, when Qi reached zenith of its power. Starved to death by ministers
none Wukui or Wugui
無虧 or 無詭
643 Son of Duke Huan Killed by supporters of Duke Xiao
Duke Xiao
642–633 Son of Duke Huan Crown prince of Qi
Duke Zhao
632–613 Son of Duke Huan His supporters murdered the son of Duke Xiao
none She
613 Son of Duke Zhao Murdered by uncle Shangren
Duke Yì
612–609 Uncle of She, son of Duke Huan Killed by two ministers
Duke Hui
608–599 Son of Duke Huan Defeated Long Di invaders
Duke Qing
598–582 Son of Duke Hui Defeated by Jin at the Battle of An
Duke Ling
581–554 Son of Duke Qing Annexed the State of Lai; defeated by Jin at the Battle of Pingyin, capital Linzi burned
Duke Zhuang II
553–548 Son of Duke Ling Ascended throne by killing Prince Ya with the help of Cui Zhu; committed adultery with Cui's wife, killed by Cui
Duke Jing
547–490 Half brother of Duke Zhuang II Killed Cui Zhu. Had famous statesman Yan Ying as prime minister
An Ruzi
489 Youngest son of Duke Jing Deposed by Tian Qi and killed by Duke Dao. Also called Yan Ruzi
Duke Dao
488–485 Son of Duke Jing Killed by a minister, possibly Tian Heng
Duke Jian
484–481 Son of Duke Dao Killed by Tian Heng
Duke Ping
480–456 Brother of Duke Jian
Duke Xuan
455–405 Son of Duke Ping
Duke Kang
404–386 Son of Duke Xuan Deposed by Duke Tai of Tian Qi, died in 379

House of Tian

Title Name Reign (BC) Relationship Notes
Duke Tai
Tian He
404–384 Son of Tian Bai Officially recognized as Qi ruler in 386 BC
none Tian Yan
383–375 Son of Duke Tai Killed by Duke Huan.
Duke Huan
Tian Wu
374–357 Brother of Tian Yan
King Wei
Tian Yinqi
356–320 Son of Duke Huan Most powerful Qi ruler of the Warring States.
King Xuan
Tian Bijiang
319–300 Son of King Wei
King Min
Tian Di
300–283 Son of King Xuan Temporarily declared himself "Emperor of the East".
King Xiang
Tian Fazhang
283–265 Son of King Min
none,known as Houzhu of Qi Tian Jian
264–221 Son of King Xiang Qi conquered by Qin

Famous people


All dates are BCE




  1. ^ "Qi – ancient state, China [771–221 BCE]". Encyclopedia Britannica. 2008.
  2. ^ Xunzi (2003) [c. 230s BCE]. Burton Watson (ed.). Xunzi: Basic Writings. Columbia University Press. p. 1. ISBN 9780231521314.
  3. ^ Cho-Yun Hsu, "The Springs and Autumns Period", in Cambridge History of Ancient China 1999, pp. 553–554.
  4. ^ Kiser, Edgar; Cai, Young (2003). "War and bureaucratization in Qin China: Exploring an anomalous case". American Sociological Review. 68 (4): 511–39. doi:10.2307/1519737. JSTOR 1519737.
  5. ^ Goldin, Paul R. (2021). "Etymological Notes on Early Chinese Aristocratic Titles". T'oung Pao. 107 (3–4). Leiden: Brill: 475–480. doi:10.1163/15685322-10703005. S2CID 239636418.
  6. ^ Cho-Yun Hsu, "The Springs and Autumns Period", in Cambridge History of Ancient China 1999, p. 555.
  7. ^ Cho-Yun Hsu, "The Springs and Autumns Period", in Cambridge History of Ancient China 1999, pp. 555–556.
  8. ^ Confucius (attributed). "17 ("Shu er"):14". Analects 論語.
  9. ^ Weingarten, Oliver (2015). "Debates around Jixia: Argument and Intertextuality in Warring States Writings Associated with Qi". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 135 (2): 283–307. doi:10.7817/jameroriesoci.135.2.283. JSTOR 10.7817/jameroriesoci.135.2.283.
  10. ^ Christopher Knowles (2001). Fodor's Exploring China. Fodor's, original from the University of Virginia. p. 56. ISBN 0-676-90161-1.
    Atlas of World Heritage: China. Long River Press. 2008. p. 74. ISBN 978-1-59265-060-6.
  11. ^ Pines, Yuri (2018). "The Earliest 'Great Wall'? Long Wall of Qi Revisited" (PDF). Journal of the American Oriental Society. 138 (4): 743–762. doi:10.7817/jameroriesoci.138.4.0743.
  12. ^ a b "Ancient sites from Zhou Dynasty discovered in the Qi Great Wall in Shandong". Cultural China. 2 February 2009. Archived from the original on 26 March 2012.
  13. ^ "List of heritage sites in Shandong" (in Chinese). Archived from the original on 2007-10-31. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
  14. ^ Chen Huihua (陳輝樺), ed. (24 Jun 2006). 中國古代的星象系統 (54): 天市左垣、市樓. Activities of Exhibition and Education in Astronomy 天文教育資訊網 (in Chinese).
  15. ^ Jens Østergård Petersen (1992). "What's in a Name? On the Sources concerning Sun Wu". Asia Major. Third Series. 5 (1). Academica Sinica: 1–31. JSTOR 41645475.



Further reading


36°51′54″N 118°20′24″E / 36.865°N 118.340°E / 36.865; 118.340