Sun Kuang

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Sun Kuang
Born Unknown
Died Unknown
Other names Jizuo (季佐)
Spouse(s) Cao Cao's niece
Children Sun Tai
Relatives See Eastern Wu family trees

Sun Kuang (fl. 190s), courtesy name Jizuo, was a younger brother of Sun Quan, a Chinese warlord who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty and became the founding emperor of the state of Eastern Wu in the Three Kingdoms period.


Sun Kuang was the fourth son of the warlord Sun Jian and his wife Lady Wu. Little is known about his life. When he was around the age of 19, he was nominated as a xiaolian and maocai (茂才) to join the civil service. However, he never held any offices and died in his early 20s.[1]

Sun Jian was killed in action at the Battle of Xiangyang in 191 and was succeeded by his eldest son, Sun Ce. The Wei Shu recorded that Sun Ce, who should rightfully inherit his father's title "Marquis of Wucheng" (烏程侯), declined to accept the title and offered it to Sun Kuang instead.[2][3] Between 194 and 199, Sun Ce embarked on a series of conquests in the Jiangdong region and established his power base there. Around the time, the warlord Cao Cao, who controlled the Han central government and the figurehead Han ruler, Emperor Xian, became wary of Sun Ce's growing influence in the south, so he sought to establish marital ties with Sun. Cao Cao's son, Cao Zhang, married the daughter of Sun Ben, a cousin of Sun Ce, while Cao Cao's niece married Sun Kuang.[4]

Discrepancies in historical records[edit]

The Jiang Biao Zhuan recorded that Sun Kuang served under his second brother, Sun Quan (Sun Ce's successor), as General of the Household Who Solidifies Martial Might (定武中郎將). He fought in the Wu army at the Battle of Dongkou of 222–223 against Wei invading forces commanded by Cao Xiu. During the battle, he ordered the Wu general Lü Fan to set fire, but accidentally destroyed a large portion of the Wu army's supplies, resulting in a shortage. Lü Fan immediately sent Sun Kuang back to the Wu capital. Sun Quan was furious with his younger brother and he punished his brother by forcing him to change his family name to "Ding" (丁) and placing him under permanent house arrest.[5]

Pei Songzhi, who annotated Sun Kuang's biography in the Sanguozhi, commented that the Jiang Biao Zhuan account contradicted the original claim in the Sanguozhi that Sun Kuang did not hold any offices before his death because the Jiang Biao Zhuan stated that Sun Kuang was appointed as a general. Besides, the Battle of Dongkou took place in 222–223, about 31 years after Sun Jian's death, so if Sun Kuang died in his early 20s (as mentioned in the Sanguozhi), he could not have possibly lived until 222. Pei believed that the "Sun Kuang" mentioned in the Jiang Biao Zhuan was actually Sun Lang, a younger half-brother of Sun Kuang, after he compared the Jiang Biao Zhuan account with records from the San Chao Lu and the Zhilin.[6]

Family and descendants[edit]

Sun Kuang's son, Sun Tai (孫泰), was born to Cao Cao's niece (whom Sun Kuang married), and served as a Colonel of Changshui (長水校尉) under his uncle, Sun Quan. In 234, he participated in the Battle of Hefei against Wu's rival state Wei, but was killed by a stray arrow in the midst of battle.[7]

Sun Tai's son, Sun Xiu (孫秀), served as General of the Vanguard (前將軍) and Area Commander of Xiakou (夏口督) during the reign of the fourth and last Wu emperor, Sun Hao (a grandson of Sun Quan). Sun Hao considered Sun Xiu a threat because Sun Xiu was a member of the imperial clan and wielded military power. In 270, Sun Hao sent an officer, He Ding (何定), to lead 5,000 troops to Xiakou for a hunting expedition. Sun Xiu suspected that Sun Hao had sent He Ding to Xiakou to kill him, so he brought along his family and bodyguards, numbering a few hundred people in total, and defected to Wu's rival state, the Jin dynasty. The Jin emperor Sima Yan received Sun Xiu warmly and appointed him as General of Agile Cavalry (驃騎將軍) and enfeoffed him as the Duke of Kuaiji (會稽公).[8] Sun Hao was furious with Sun Xiu's betrayal so he banished him from the Sun clan and announced that Sun Xiu had changed his family name to "Li" (厲).[9] In 280, Sun Hao surrendered to invading forces from Jin, bringing an end to the Wu regime. Many Jin officials went to congratulate Sima Yan, but Sun Xiu claimed that he was ill and remained at home. He faced his native land in the south and lamented the fall of Wu. The Jin imperial court praised him for that.[10] After the fall of Wu, Sun Xiu was demoted from General of Agile Cavalry to General Who Calms Waves (伏波將軍) but was still allowed to have his own administrative office. He died sometime in the Yongning era (301–303) of the reign of Emperor Hui (Sima Yan's son and successor). Sun Xiu's son, Sun Jian (孫儉), continued serving in the Jin government as an Official Who Concurrently Serves in the Palace (給事中).[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ (孫匡字季佐,翊弟也。舉孝廉茂才,未試用,卒,時年二十餘。) Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  2. ^ (漢朝錄前後功,封堅烏程侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 46.
  3. ^ (魏書曰:策當嗣侯,讓與弟匡。) Wei Shu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 46.
  4. ^ (是時哀紹方彊,而策并江東,曹公力未能逞,且欲撫之。乃以弟女配策小弟匡,又為子章取賁女, ...) Sanguozhi vol. 46.
  5. ^ (江表傳曰:曹休出洞口,呂範率軍禦之。時匡為定武中郎將,遣範令放火,燒損茅芒以乏軍用,範即啟送匡還吳。權別其族為丁氏,禁固終身。) Jiang Biao Zhuan annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  6. ^ (臣松之案本傳曰:「匡未試用卒,時年二十餘。」而江表傳云呂範在洞口,匡為定武中郎將。旣為定武,非為未試用。且孫堅以初平二年卒,洞口之役在黃初三年,堅卒至此合三十一年,匡時若尚在,本傳不得云卒時年二十餘也。此蓋權別生弟朗,江表傳誤以為匡也。朗之名位見三朝錄及虞喜志林也。) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  7. ^ (子泰,曹氏之甥也,為長水校尉。嘉禾三年,從權圍新城,中流矢死。) Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  8. ^ (泰子秀為前將軍、夏口督。秀公室至親,捉兵在外,皓意不能平。建衡二年,皓遣何定將五千人至夏口獵。先是,民間僉言秀當見圖,而定遠獵,秀遂驚,夜將妻子親兵數百人奔晉。晉以秀為驃騎將軍、儀同三司,封會稽公。) Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  9. ^ (江表傳曰:皓大怒,追改秀姓曰厲。) Jiang Biao Zhuan annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  10. ^ (干寶晉紀曰:秀在晉朝,初聞皓降,羣臣畢賀,秀稱疾不與,南向流涕曰:「昔討逆弱冠以一校尉創業,今後主舉江南而棄之,宗廟山陵,於此為墟。悠悠蒼天,此何人哉!」朝廷美之。) Jin Ji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  11. ^ (晉諸公贊曰:吳平,降為伏波將軍,開府如故。永寧中卒,追贈驃騎、開府。子儉,字仲節,給事中。) Jin Zhugong Zan annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  • Chen, Shou (3rd century). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
  • de Crespigny, Rafe (1990). Generals of the South: the foundation and early history of the Three Kingdoms state of Wu. Canberra: Faculty of Asian Studies, Australian National University. ISBN 0-7315-0901-3.
  • Pei, Songzhi (5th century). Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).