Biography (COB): Sun Ben (Boyang)

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Sun Ben (Boyang)Sun Ben (Boyang)
孫賁 (伯陽)

Comprehensive Officer Biography
Author Notes in Blue
Authored by Steven Trinkl

Place of Birth: Fuchun county in Wu territory
Served: Sun Jian (under Yuan Shu), Yuan Shu, Sun Ce
Lifespan: AD ???—209
Family: Sun Qiang (father); Sun Jian, Sun Jing (uncles); Cao Zhang (son-in-law); Sun Lin (son); Sun Ce, Sun Quan, Sun Yi, Sun Kuang, Sun Lang, Sun Hao, Sun Yu, Sun Jiao, Sun Huan, Sun Qian (cousins); Sun Fu (brother)

Sun Ben was born in Fuchun county in the Wu territory to Sun Qiang (styled Shengtai), the twin brother of Sun Jian. He was the eldest of two sons. Sun Qiang died early, and so his sons were taken in by their uncle, Sun Jian. Sun Ben followed his uncle in battle after Sun Jian’s return from Luo Yang, and led a unit during Sun Jian’s attack on Liu Biao. When Sun Jian died, Sun Ben, being older than Sun Ce, gathered many of the soldiers and generals and went to Yuan Shu, who had been Sun Jian’s liege.

Sun Ben served under Yuan Shu for a time, along with Sun Jian’s brother-in-law, Wu Jing (the brother of Sun Jian’s wife). He served as Inspector of Yu province, but the position was mostly honorary, for he was still young. He met Sun Ce’s sworn brother, Zhou Yu, and joined him to aid Wu Jing, who was under attack from Liu Yao. Sun Ce soon arrived as well, and both Zhou Yu and Sun Ben joined his army. Wu Jing was saved, and Sun Ben was reunited with his family under Yuan Shu.

As a reward for his duties, Sun Ben was made Grand Administrator of Yuzhang, while Sun Fu was sent to Luling. When Yuan Shu went out to battle Liu Bei, Sun Ben was assigned to defend Shou Chun. When Yuan Shu declared himself emperor, Sun Ben, Wu Jing, Zhou Yu, and Lu Su all abandoned him and joined Sun Ce. Sun Ben’s wife and children, however, were detained in the city and were unable to join him until later.

In AD 197, Sun Ce and Lü Bu allied with each other to defeat Yuan Shu. Sun Ben and Sun Fu led the attack against Liu Xun, easily scoring a victory.

In AD 200, Sun Ce passed away, and both Sun Ben and Sun Fu were uneasy about the young Sun Quan being his heir, both being his elder. The two were stationed in Yuzhang when Cao Cao began his advance southward. Sun Fu wrote a letter intending to surrender to Cao Cao, but he was stripped of all rank, and his advisors were executed. Sun Ben also was contemplating surrender, but it is said that Zhu Zhi dissuaded him, and he served at Chi Bi. A few months after, however, Sun Ben passed away of illness. His son, Sun Lin, would succeed him.

At the time of his death, it is said that an edict was in Sun Ben’s possession—an edict delivered from the capital offering him a high rank under Cao Cao. It is possible that Sun Ben died of distress.

Copyright © 2004 Steven Trinkl
A biography assembled using the following sources:
Sanguozhi – Chen Shou with Pei Songzhi’s Commentary
Generals of the South – Rafe de Crespigny