Zhang Yi (Bogong)

Last updated on 21 September 2017

Zhang Yi (died 3 March 264), courtesy name Bogong, was a military general of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period of China.

Zhang Yi
張翼
Zhang Yi 2016 Han Zhao Lie Miao.jpg
Statue of Zhang Yi in a temple in Chengdu, Sichuan
Inspector of Ji Province (冀州刺史)
(nominal)
In office
259 (259) – 263 (263)
Monarch Liu Shan
Left General of Chariots and Cavalry
(左車騎將軍)
In office
259 (259) – 263 (263)
Monarch Liu Shan
Senior General Who Guards the South
(鎮南大將軍)
In office
255 (255) – 259 (259)
Monarch Liu Shan
Senior General Who Attacks the West
(征西大將軍)
In office
? (?) – 259 (259)
Monarch Liu Shan
Master of Writing (尚書)
In office
238 (238) – ? (?)
Monarch Liu Shan
Vanguard Army Commander (前領軍)
In office
234 (234) – 238 (238)
Monarch Liu Shan
Administrator of Fufeng (扶風太守)
(nominal)
In office
234 (234) – 234 (234)
Monarch Liu Shan
Chancellor Zhuge Liang
General of the Household Who Pacifies the South (綏南中郎將)
In office
231 (231) – 234 (234)
Monarch Liu Shan
Chancellor Zhuge Liang
Area Commander Who Subdues (庲降都督)
In office
231 (231) – 234 (234)
Monarch Liu Shan
Chancellor Zhuge Liang
Personal details
Born Unknown
Pengshan District, Meishan, Sichuan
Died (264-03-03)3 March 264
Chengdu, Sichuan
Relations Zhang Liang (ancestor)
Children Zhang Wei
Occupation General
Courtesy name Bogong (伯恭)
Peerage Marquis of a Chief Village
(都亭侯)

Early life

Zhang Yi was from Wuyang County (武陽縣), Jianwei Commandery (犍為郡), which is in present-day Pengshan District, Meishan, Sichuan. He was a descendant of Zhang Liang, an adviser and statesman who served under Liu Bang (Emperor Gao), the founding emperor of the Han dynasty. Two of his ancestors, Zhang Hao (張晧) and Zhang Gang (張綱), served as Minister of Works and Administrator of Guangling Commandery respectively during the reign of Emperor Shun in the Eastern Han dynasty. (They also have biographies written for them in the Book of the Later Han.)

Zhang Yi started his career under the warlord Liu Bei around 214 after the latter seized control of Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) from its previous governor, Liu Zhang. He first served as a shuzuo (書佐; a scribe) under Liu Bei and was later nominated as a xiaolian for higher appointments. He then consecutively served as the Chief (長) of Jiangyang County (江陽縣) and Administrator (太守) of Zitong (梓潼), Guanghan (廣漢) and Shu (蜀) commanderies.

As an area commander

In 231, the Shu government appointed Zhang Yi as Area Commander Who Subdues (庲降都督) and General of the Household Who Pacifies the South (綏南中郎將), and tasked him with maintaining the peace in the commanderies in southern Shu territories. As Zhang Yi lacked the flexibility to adapt the Shu Ke (蜀科; Shu's code of law) to local conditions in his jurisdictions, he became very unpopular among the common people.

When Liu Zhou (劉胄), a local tribal leader, started a rebellion in 233, Zhang Yi led troops to suppress the revolt but failed. The Shu emperor Liu Shan then removed him from his appointments and summoned him back to the imperial capital Chengdu. When Zhang Yi's aides urged him to follow the emperor's orders, Zhang Yi said, "No. The barbarians rebelled because of me, and the emperor summons me back because I am not suited for this position. However, I should stockpile supplies and make preparations for quelling the rebellion (while waiting for the official who will replace me to show up). How can I neglect state affairs just because I have been relieved of my command?"[1] He then directed his troops to transport food supplies to a staging area for the troops and kept them on full alert. His actions not only paved the way for Ma Zhong, who came to replace him, to successfully suppress the rebellion, but also earned him praise from Zhuge Liang, the Imperial Chancellor of Shu.

War with Wei

In 234, when Zhuge Liang launched the last of a series of military campaigns against Shu's rival state Wei, he appointed Zhang Yi as the Chief Controller of the Vanguard (前軍都督) and as the nominal Administrator (太守) of Fufeng Commandery (扶風郡). After Zhuge Liang's death during the standoff at the Battle of Wuzhang Plains later that year, Zhang Yi was designated as Vanguard Army Commander (前領軍), one of the commanders taking charge of the troops at the frontline. He was also enfeoffed as a Secondary Marquis (關內侯) for his contributions during the campaign and for his earlier success in helping Ma Zhong quell Liu Zhou's uprising.

In 238, the Shu government summoned Zhang Yi back to Chengdu to serve as a Master of Writing (尚書) in the Imperial Secretariat. Not long later, he was appointed as an area commander of Jianwei Commandery (建威郡) with imperial authority, and subsequently promoted to Senior General Who Attacks the West (征西大將軍). He was also elevated from the status of a Secondary Marquis to a Marquis of a Chief Village (都亭侯).

In 255, when the Shu general Jiang Wei planned to launch another military campaign against Shu's rival state Wei at Didao (狄道; present-day Lintao County, Gansu), Zhang Yi strongly objected to Jiang Wei's idea in the imperial court. He argued that it would be unwise for Shu, a small state with a small population, to continuously wage war against a larger state. Jiang Wei ignored Zhang Yi's concerns, appointed him as Senior General Who Guards the South (鎮南大將軍), and ordered him to lead troops into battle. During the campaign, Jiang Wei defeated Wang Jing, the Wei-appointed Inspector of Yong Province, and forced him to hold up at Didao with only a few thousand troops. At this juncture, Zhang Yi advised Jiang Wei to stop, or they would forfeit everything they gained earlier. Jiang Wei did not heed Zhang Yi's advice and continued to besiege Wang Jing in Didao, but failed to breach the fortress. He only withdrew his forces and retreated to Zhongti (鐘題) when he learnt that Wei reinforcements led by Chen Tai were approaching Didao. Since then, even though Jiang Wei and Zhang Yi had strong disagreements over whether to wage war against Wei, Jiang Wei still brought Zhang Yi along on his military campaigns, which Zhang Yi reluctantly did.[2]

In 259, the Shu emperor Liu Shan promoted Zhang Yi to Left General of Chariots and Cavalry (左車騎將軍) and appointed him as the nominal Inspector (刺史) of Ji Province (even though Ji Province was not Shu territory).

Fall of Shu

In 263, the Wei regent Sima Zhao launched an invasion against Shu and ordered the generals Zhong Hui, Deng Ai and others to lead Wei forces to attack Shu from three directions. Jiang Wei, Zhang Yi, Liao Hua, Dong Jue and other Shu generals led the defenders into battle. Zhang Yi and Dong Jue received orders to station at Yang'an Pass (陽安關) as backup for the Shu forces on the external perimeter.[3] Later, he joined Jiang Wei and Liao Hua at Jiange (劍閣; present-day Jiange County, Sichuan), a heavily fortified mountain pass, to resist the Wei invaders under Zhong Hui's command. Zhong Hui attacked Jiange several times but failed to breach its walls.

In the winter of 263, the Shu emperor Liu Shan surrendered after a separate Wei army led by Deng Ai showed up outside Chengdu after taking a detour across dangerous mountainous terrain. As a result, the Shu Han state's existence came to an end. Upon learning of Liu Shan's surrender, Zhang Yi and the other Shu generals at Jiange surrendered to Zhong Hui at Fu County (涪縣).

Death

In early 264, Zhang Yi accompanied Zhong Hui back to Chengdu. On 3 March 264, Zhong Hui, with support from Jiang Wei, started a rebellion against the Wei regent Sima Zhao in Chengdu. However, some of his troops, unwilling to join him, mutinied against him and killed him and Jiang Wei. Zhang Yi was killed by the mutinying soldiers during the frenzy.

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms

In the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhang Yi was one of the generals active in Shu in its later years. In 234, before Zhuge Liang died, he named Zhang Yi, Liao Hua, Ma Dai, Wang Ping and Zhang Ni as the loyal generals of Shu who should be given greater responsibilities.

See also

References

  1. ^ (「不然。吾以蠻夷蠢動,不稱職故還耳,然代人未至,吾方臨戰場,當運糧積穀,為滅賊之資,豈可以黜退之故而廢公家之務乎?」) Sanguozhi vol. 45.
  2. ^ (自翼建異論,維心與翼不善,然常牽率同行,翼亦不得已而往。) Sanguozhi vol. 45.
  3. ^ (及鐘會將向駱谷,鄧艾將入沓中。然後乃遣右車騎廖化詣沓中為維援,左車騎張翼、輔國大將軍董厥等詣陽安關口以為諸圍外助。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.

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