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Sun Yi

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Sun Yi

Sun Yi
General of Sun Quan
Born 184
Died 203 (aged 19)
Traditional Chinese 孫翊
Simplified Chinese 孙翊
Pinyin Sūn Yì
Wade–Giles Sun I
Courtesy name Shubi (Chinese: 叔弼; pinyin: Shūbì; Wade–Giles: Shu-pi)
Other names Sun Yan (traditional Chinese: 孫儼; simplified Chinese: 孙俨; pinyin: Sūn Yán; Wade–Giles: Sun Yen)[1]

Sun Yi (184–204), courtesy name Shubi, was a younger brother of Sun Quan, a warlord who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty and became the founding emperor of the state of Eastern Wu in the Three Kingdoms period.


Sun Yi was the third son of the warlord Sun Jian, who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty, and Sun Jian's wife, Lady Wu. He was known for his martial valour and fiery personality, which made him resemble his eldest brother Sun Ce very much. He was nominated as a xiaolian (civil service candidate) by Zhu Zhi and served in the office of the Minister of Works.[2] Sun Jian was killed in action at the Battle of Xiangyang in 191 and was succeeded by Sun Ce. Between 194 and 199, Sun Ce launched a series of conquests in the Jiangdong region (around present-day southeastern China) and established his domain in the area. In 200 CE, when Sun Ce was mortally wounded during a hunting expedition, his adviser Zhang Zhao and other subjects believed that he would name Sun Yi as his successor, but Sun Ce chose his second brother Sun Quan instead.[1]

In 202, Sun Quan killed Sheng Xian, the Administrator (太守) of Wu commandery (吳郡). Some of Sheng Xian's associates and protégés went into hiding in the mountainous areas of Jiangdong. In the following year, Wu Jing, the maternal uncle of Sun Quan and his brothers, died in office while serving as the Administrator of Danyang commandery (丹楊郡). Sun Yi, who was 19 years old then and held the rank of a Lieutenant-General (偏將軍), was appointed as the new Administrator of Danyang.[3] Danyang was adjacent to Wu commandery, so Sun Yi reached out to some of the disgruntled followers of Sheng Xian, enticing them to Danyang and offering them positions in the Danyang administration in order to stabilise the region. Two of these men, Gai Lan (媯覽) and Dai Yuan (戴員) came to work for Sun Yi. Dai Yuan was appointed as a "Civil Assistant" (郡丞) while Gai Lan was given a high military command with the slightly irregular title "Grand Chief Controller" (大都督).[4][5]

Gai Lan and Dai Yuan were still dissatisfied and they harboured the intention of rebelling. They forged close ties with Bian Hong (邊鴻, also rendered 邊洪), an aide of Sun Yi. Once, when Sun Quan was away on a campaign, they took advantage of the situation to set their plans into motion. At the time, the various Chiefs of the counties in Danyang were scheduled to meet Sun Yi in the commandery capital. Before the meeting, Sun Yi asked his wife, Lady Xu (徐氏), who was versed in divination, to predict the events of the meeting. Lady Xu predicted ill luck and advised her husband to postpone the meeting, but Sun Yi wanted to settle the meeting quickly because the Chiefs had been waiting for some time since they arrived, so he hosted a banquet for them. Sun Yi often carried a sword with him when he travelled around, but he became tipsy after the feast so he was unarmed when he saw the guests off. Just then, Bian Hong attacked him from behind. The scene was thrown into disarray and no one came to Sun Yi's rescue so Sun died at the hands of Bian Hong. Bian Hong escaped to the hills after murdering Sun Yi, but was later killed by Gai Lan and Dai Yuan.[6][7]

Post-mortem events

After Sun Yi's death, Sun He, a relative of Sun Quan's family, came to Wanling county (宛陵縣; present-day Xuancheng, Anhui), the capital of Danyang commandery, to restore order. He blamed Gai Lan and Dai Yuan for Sun Yi's murder but was unable to exert control over the military forces in the commandery. Gai Lan and Dai Yuan became worried because Sun He, who had no blood relations with Sun Yi, was already so upset over Sun Yi's death. They believed that they would be in deeper trouble if Sun Quan (Sun Yi's brother) personally came to Danyang to pursue the matter, so they murdered Sun He as well. They then sent a messenger to Liu Fu, the Inspector (刺史) of Yang Province, and expressed their willingness to defect to Liu's side.[8]

The other officers in Danyang were well aware that Gai Lan and Dai Yuan were the masterminds behind Sun Yi's murder but were unable to take action against the two men because their powers were limited. Gai Lan took over Sun Yi's residence and seized Sun's concubines and servants for himself. When he wanted to take Lady Xu (Sun Yi's widow), she declined, said that it was too soon after her husband's death to remarry, and told him to wait for a month. During the intervening period, Lady Xu secretly contacted Sun Gao (孫高), Fu Ying (傅嬰) and other former subordinates of Sun Yi, informed them of the circumstances, and plotted with them to avenge her husband. On the appointed day, Lady Xu changed out of her mourning garments and invited Gai Lan to her personal quarters, where Sun Gao and Fu Ying, in disguise as maids, ambushed and killed Gai while the others slew Dai Yuan.[9][10][11] Gai Lan and Dai Yuan's heads were cut off and offered as propitiation at Sun Yi's altar. This incident shocked everyone in Danyang. Shortly thereafter, Sun Quan came to Danyang to reward those who remained loyal to Sun Yi and punish those who conspired with Gai Lan and Dai Yuan.[12]

Family and descendants

Sun Yi's son, Sun Song (孫松), served as a "Colonel of Trainee Archers" (射聲校尉) and received the title of a "Marquis of a Chief District" (都鄉侯).[13] Sun Song was known for being a gregarious and generous person and was the closest to Sun Quan among all of Sun Quan's younger male relatives. When Sun Song was stationed in Baqiu (巴丘), he was often reprimanded by Lu Xun, a senior Wu general and minister, for not maintaining good discipline in his unit and allowing his men to fool around. On one occasion, Lu Xun punished Sun Song's subordinates by ordering their heads to be shaved.[14][15] Sun Song died in 231.[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b (典略曰:翊名儼,性似策。策臨卒,張昭等謂策當以兵屬儼,而策呼權,佩以印綬。) Dianlue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  2. ^ (孫翊字叔弼,權弟也,驍悍果烈,有兄策風。太守朱治舉孝廉,司空辟。) Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  3. ^ Generals of the South, p. 229 (chapter 4)
  4. ^ Generals of the South, p. 229 note 34
  5. ^ (初,孫權殺吳郡太守盛憲,憲故孝廉媯覽、戴員亡匿山中,孫翊為丹楊,皆禮致之。覽為大都督督兵,員為郡丞。) Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  6. ^ (建安八年,以偏將軍領丹楊太守,時年二十。後年為左右邊鴻所殺,鴻亦即誅。) Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  7. ^ (吳歷曰:媯覽、戴員親近邊洪等,數為翊所困,常欲叛逆,因吳主出征,遂其姧計。時諸縣令長並會見翊,翊以妻徐氏頗曉卜,翊入語徐:「吾明日欲為長吏作主人,卿試卜之。」徐言:「卦不能佳,可須異日。」翊以長吏來久,宜速遣,乃大請賔客。翊出入常持刀,爾時有酒色,空手送客,洪從後斫翊,郡中擾亂,無救翊者,遂為洪所殺,迸走入山。徐氏購募追捕,中宿乃得,覽、員歸罪殺洪。) Wu Li annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  8. ^ (及翊遇害,河馳赴宛陵,責怒覽、員,以不能全權,令使姧變得施。二人議曰:「伯海與將軍踈遠,而責我乃耳。討虜若來,吾屬無遺矣。」遂殺河,使人北迎揚州刺史劉馥,令住歷陽,以丹楊應之。) Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  9. ^ Generals of the South, pp. 230–231 (chapter 4)
  10. ^ (會翊帳下徐元、孫高、傅嬰等殺覽、員。) Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  11. ^ (吳歷載翊妻徐節行,宜與媯覽等事相次,故列於後孫韶傳中。) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  12. ^ (諸將皆知覽、員所為,而力不能討。覽入居軍府中,悉取翊嬪妾及左右侍御,欲復取徐。恐逆之見害,乃紿之曰:「乞須晦日設祭除服。」時月垂竟,覽聽須祭畢。徐潛使所親信語翊親近舊將孫高、傅嬰等,說:「覽已虜略婢妾,今又欲見偪,所以外許之者,欲安其意以免禍耳。欲立微計,願二君哀救。」高、嬰涕泣荅言:「受府君恩遇,所以不即死難者,以死無益,欲思惟事計,事計未立,未敢啟夫人耳。今日之事,實夙夜所懷也。」乃密呼翊時侍養者二十餘人,以徐意語之,共盟誓,合謀。到晦日,設祭,徐氏哭泣盡哀畢,乃除服,薰香沐浴,更於他室,安施幃帳,言笑歡恱,示無戚容。大小悽愴,怪其如此。覽密覘視,無復疑意。徐呼高、嬰與諸婢羅住戶內,使人報覽,說已除凶即吉,惟府君勑命。覽盛意入,徐出戶拜。覽適得一拜,徐便大呼:「二君可起!」高、嬰俱出,共得殺覽,餘人即就外殺員。夫人乃還縗絰,奉覽、員首以祭翊墓。舉軍震駭,以為神異。吳主續至,悉族誅覽、員餘黨,擢高、嬰為牙門,其餘皆加賜金帛,殊其門戶。) Wu Li annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  13. ^ (子松為射聲校尉、都鄉侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  14. ^ (射聲校尉松於公子中最親,戲兵不整,遜對之髠其職吏。) Sanguozhi vol. 58.
  15. ^ (吳錄曰:松善與人交,輕財好施。鎮巴丘,數咨陸遜以得失。嘗有小過,遜面責松,松意色不平,遜觀其少釋,謂曰:「君過聽不以其鄙,數見訪及,是以承來意進盡言,便變色,何也?」松笑曰:「屬亦自忿行事有此,豈有望邪!」) Wu Lu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 51.
  16. ^ (黃龍三年卒。蜀丞相諸葛亮與兄瑾書曰:「旣受東朝厚遇,依依於子弟。又子喬良器,為之惻愴。見其所與亮器物,感用流涕。」其悼松如此,由亮養子喬咨述故云。) Sanguozhi vol. 51.

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