Biography (SGYY): Zhuge Zhan (Siyuan)

Home | Forum | SimRTK | History | Games | Graphics | Writing | Products | Links | Site Map

Zhuge Zhan (Siyuan)
諸葛瞻 (思遠)
Lifespan: Unlisted

Sanguo yanyi Officer Biography
Author Notes in Blue
Authored by Sam Wrest

Zhuge Zhan (Siyuan)

Zhuge Zhan, styled Siyuan, was the son of Zhuge Liang. From his youth, Zhan had been perceptive and intelligent. His mother, from the house of Huang, had been a woman of undistinguished looks but rare ability who could interpret the constellations and the contours of terrain. On her deathbed she bequeathed Zhuge Zhan a single teaching: strive to be loyal and to be filial. He took to wife a daughter of the Second Emperor and as an imperial son-in-law served as military commander. Zhuge Zhan later succeeded his father’s rank as lord of Wuxiang, and in the fourth year of Jing Yao, AD 261, was promoted to acting supervisory general. However, when the eunuch Huang Hao was employed by the Second Emperor Liu Shan, Zhuge Zhan stopped attending court on the pretext of illness.

When Sima Zhao organised an invasion of the Riverlands, Deng Ai was put in charge of the expedition. By slipping through Yinping Pass, Ai successfully took Jiangyou and Fucheng. When word of this got to Chengdu, Liu Shan held court to formulate a plan. Xi Zheng stepped forth from the ranks and petitioned the Emperor, “The crisis is upon us. Your Majesty must summon the son of the Martial Lord to advise us on repelling the invaders.” The Second Emperor approved Xi Zheng’s advice and issued three edicts summoning Zhuge Zhan to the imperial quarters. Zhan received each edict and immediately went forth to see the Second Emperor. Tearfully, Liu Shan stated the problem: “Deng Ai has occupied Fucheng, and Chengdu stands in grave danger. For the sake of your late father, come to my rescue.” Also in tears, Zhuge Zhan petitioned: “As servants to your house, my father and I enjoyed many kindnesses from your late father as well as Your Majesty’s special favour—debts no sacrifice can repay. I would like Your Majesty to send forth all the troops in Chengdu under my command for a fight to the finish.” The Second Emperor immediately placed seventy thousand soldiers and their commanders under Zhuge Zhan.

After taking leave of the Emperor, Zhuge Zhan marshalled his forces and gathered his commanders around him. “Who dares take the van?” he asked. A young commander stepped forward. “Since my father wields great power,” he said, “his son volunteers for the van.” The speaker was Zhuge Shang, eldest son of Zhuge Zhan, age 19. Zhuge Zhan thereupon assigned his son to the van and went forth to confront the invaders from Wei. The Riverlanders encountered the northerners, commanded by Shi Zuan and Deng Zhong, at Mianzhu. Zhuge Zhan had his forces assume the Eight Ramparts formation and had a four-wheeled carriage bearing a wooden statue of his father, Zhuge Liang, made. Alongside the carriage hung a yellow banner inscribed “Prime Minister of Han, the Martial Lord Zhuge.” At the sight, Shi Zuan and Deng Zhong burst into sweat and, turning toward their officers, said, “So Kongming still lives! We are done for.” and attempted to retreat, but Zhuge Zhan and Zhuge Shang led their army forward and drove the northerners back in a major defeat, stopping the onslaught only when Deng Ai arrived with reinforcements.

Upon learning that the figure seated in the carriage was but a wooden statue of Zhuge Liang, Deng Ai again sent Shi Zuan and Deng Zhong against the Shu forces with ten thousand men. Zhuge Shang went forth to meet the two and successfully drove them back—Zhuge Zhan then led his soldiers on both sides against the Wei forces. Shi Zuan and Deng Zhong, unable to resist the Riverlanders, suffered many casualties and were even injured themselves. Zhuge Zhan and Zhuge Shang pursued with their forces for twenty li and then took up positions to parry a counterattack.

After having suffered two successive defeats at the hands of Zhuge Zhan, Deng Ai confided to his commanders, “The Riverlands has a true heir to Zhuge Liang’s cause in Zhuge Zhan. Twice he has defeated us, killing over ten thousand. If we do not crush the Westeners quickly, the end will be near for us.” It was at this time that Zhuge Zhan received a letter from Deng Ai, which read:

From General Deng Ai, Conqueror of the West, to General Zhuge Zhan, supervisory general: scrutinizing the talents of the present age, we find none to compare with your late honoured father. Years ago he left his thatched dwelling, predicting the three kingdoms. He conceived the conquest of Jingzhou, then the Riverlands, and the establishment of Liu Bei’s patrimony. In history such accomplishment is rarely found. Later, he directed six expeditions from the Qishan hills; he failed to defeat Wei only because Heaven did not ordain it, not because his wisdom and strength were deficient. But the present sovereign, the Second Emperor, is muddleheaded and incompetent; his kingly spirit is gone. I, Deng Ai, hold a mandate from the Son of Heaven to lead this well-armed mass of troops in punitive expedition against the Riverlands; most of its territory we have taken already. Chengdu stands in imminent danger. Sir, comply with the will of Heaven and man and accept service under Wei for honour’s sake. I, Deng Ai, will petition to have you named prince of Langye for the greater glory of your ancestral line—no empty promise, this. Favour us with your considered reflection.

After reading the letter, Zhuge Zhan exploded in anger; he tore the letter to shreds and executed the bearer. He had the northern escort carry the severed head back to Deng Ai in the Wei camp. Zhan then began preparing for another attack on the invaders, but before completion, reports came of the approach of Deng Ai. Zhuge Zhan led his men directly into the enemy lines. Deng Ai fled, Zhan in close pursuit. Suddenly from either side ambush parties led by Wang Qi and Qian Hong came out fighting, forcing the Riverlanders to withdraw. They retreated to Mianzhu, to which Deng Ai laid siege.

When the situation began to look dire, Zhuge Zhan ordered Peng He to take a letter to the Southland requesting aid. Upon receiving the letter, the ruler of Wu, Sun Xiu, ordered Ding Feng, with a force of fifty thousand, to relieve the Riverlands army. Zhuge Zhan, however, seeing no relief on the way, said to his commanders, “Prolonging our defence is poor policy,” and left Zhuge Shang to guard Mianzhu along with Zhang Zun (Zhang Fei’s grandson). Zhan then led his army out of the three gates of the city to attack the besiegers. Deng Ai withdrew before the Riverlands force, Zhan in pursuit. Before long, a bombard sounded and Zhan’s forces were attacked from four sides. Zhuge Zhan fought furiously, killing hundreds of northerners, but his army was overcome when Deng Ai had his archers rake them with arrows—one arrow hit Zhan and knocked him from his horse. “I can fight no more; I give my life for my kingdom,” he cried and slit his throat with his sword. After seeing his father fall, Zhuge Shang too plunged into the fighting, but suffered the same fate as his father. Deng Ai was so moved by their loyalty that he had father and son buried together. Later someone left these lines in praise of Zhan and Shang, father and son:

Think not Shu’s vassals failed in policy!
Heaven ended Liu’s reign, fire-signed,
Though Zhuge Liang left worthy heirs to Shu,
To carry on the Martial Lord’s design.

Copyright © 2004 Sam Wrest
Based on the novel, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, attributed to Luo Guanzhong