Duke Xiang of Song
Last updated on 20 September 2017
Duke Xiang of Song (宋襄公) (died 637 BC) was the leader in the state of Song in the Spring and Autumn period. His personal name was Zifu (子茲甫) and he took his throne in 650 BC.
After the death of the Hegemon of China, Duke Huan of Qi, in 643 BC, Duke Xiang intervened in the War of Qi's succession on the behalf of his ally Prince Zhao. Forming an alliance with Cao, Wey, and Zou, Duke Xiang and his troops invaded Qi and eventually defeated Prince Zhao's rival brothers, crowing him as "Duke Xiao of Qi". With his influence on the rise, Duke Xiang saw a chance to become the next hegemon of China and made war with Chu. In 638 BC he attacked the state of Zheng and met the troops from Chu, who were running to save Zheng. Instead of giving the enemy a surprise attack, he waited for the enemy to go across the river in order to be a real Ren (仁) gentleman. In the Battle of Hongshui (泓水之戰) against the much stronger and fully prepared enemy, Duke Xiang’s troops were defeated thoroughly and he himself was badly hurt. He died in the following year and was succeeded by his son Wangchen known as Duke Cheng of Song.
Despite his failure in expansion, he is considered one of the Five Hegemons by some historians.
Mao Zedong once said about Duke Xiang's humanity in war: "We are not Duke Xiang of Song and have no use for his idiotic virtue and morality".
- ^ Schaberg, David (2001). A Patterned Past: Form and Thought in Early Chinese Historiography. Volume 205 of Harvard East Asian monographs (Illustrated ed.). Harvard University Asia Center. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-674-00861-8.
- ^ Zuo Qiuming. "Book 5. Duke Xi". Zuo Zhuan (in Chinese and English). Retrieved 27 August 2017.
- ^ Schram, Stuart R. (1997). Mao's Road to Power: Revolutionary Writings, 1912-1949. 1 (Illustrated ed.). M.E. Sharpe. p. 369. ISBN 978-1-56324-457-5.
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