Biography (SGZ): Chen Zhen (Xiaoqi)

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

Chen Zhen (Xiaoqi)
陳震 (孝起)
(AD ?-235)

San Guo Zhi Officer Biography
Translated by

Chen Zhen, styled Xiaoqi, was a man from Nanyang. When the First Sovereign [Liu Bei] took over the position of Governor of Jing province, Chen Zhen was hired as a local officer and was stationed in various commanderies. He then followed the First Sovereign into Shu. Once Shu was secured, he was made Chief Commandant of the Northern Region; later, when the northern region was renamed Wenshan Commandery, Chen Zhen was made its Grand Administrator. Afterwards, he was transferred to Qianwei commandery. In the third year of Jianxing (AD 225), he was summoned to the capital as an Imperial Secretariat, and in time was promoted to Head of the Imperial Secretarial Office and sent as an envoy to Wu.

In the seventh year (AD 229), Sun Quan declared himself emperor. Chen Zhen was made Commandant of the Palace GuardA and sent to congratulate Quan’s assumption of the throne. Zhuge Liang wrote thus to his elder brother, Zhuge Jin, “The pure and loyal character of Xiaoqi becomes even better with age. He contribution is most invaluable, in praising both the East and the West, causing the two sides to be joyfully at peace together.”

When Chen Zhen crossed the border into Wu, he wrote an official document to the officers at the border. It said, “Between the East and the West emissaries travel unceasingly back and forth, and ever can the carriage of one see another on the road. Day by day we make progress in renewing our friendship and alliance with each other. The Lord of the East, having received the Sacred Mandate, has accordingly performed the ritual sacrifices and thus granted the imperial title. [Together our two countries shall] divide up the earthly realm, rallying all under Heaven to our cause, and the people [of each land] shall know their lord. At this time, if we cooperate to fight the evildoers,B what enemy would we encounter and not vanquish? Lord and vassal alike in the Western court look to you now, hearts gladdened at having such a reliable ally.

Though possessing no talent to speak of, I, Chen Zhen, have the good fortune to serve as a lowly emissary to visit and to articulate our friendship. Since I passed into your lands, I have rejoiced – for [the hospitality is such that] I feel as if I am at home. When Xianzi went on a mission to Lu state, he violated the taboo [on the name of the lord of Lu] when asking of the name of a mountain, and he was ridiculed by the Spring and Autumn Annals for that. I hope you will let us know [the taboos of your kingdom], so that we travellers may remain in peace with you. On this day I will announce with banners to my subordinates that each man should behave responsibly as part of our alliance. We now travel swiftly down the river; as kingdoms vary in their laws and ordinances, I worry that we would violate [your laws] by chance, and thus pray that you may instruct us and let us know what the proper ways are.”

Once Chen Zhen arrived at Wuchang, Sun Quan and him went up to the altar together, and swore an oath of alliance and of divvying up the world: Xu, Yu, You, and Qing provinces would belong to Wu, while Bing, Liang, Ji, and Yan would go to Shu. The land of SiliC was split along the Han’gu Pass.

Upon his return, Chen Zhen was made Marquis of Chengyang Commune. In the ninth year (AD 231), Chief Commissioner Li PingD was dismissed due to his supplying the court with false information. Zhuge Liang wrote thus to Chief Clerk Jiang Wan and Privy Counsellor Dong Yun, “Right before Xiaoqi last went to Wu, he told me that ZhengfangE seemed like one who has scales over his bosom – even his friends and neighbours find him difficult to get close to. I had thought that one with scales should be alright as long as he is left alone, but I did not expect him to be like Su Qin and Zhang YiF in his deception. Let Xiaoqi know about this.” In the thirteenth year (AD 235), Chen Zhen died. His son Chen Ji succeeded him.

Translator Notes
(A) One of the Nine Ministers. <return>

(B) Implying Wei. <return>

(C) The central administrative region including the city of Luoyang. <return>

(D) i.e., Li Yan. <return>

(E) Li Yan’s style name. <return>

(F) Su Qin and Zhang Yi were politician-strategists of the late Warring State era – one advised the powerful Qin state in the taking of the other six states, and the other lobbied the six states to join forces to repel Qin. Zhuge Liang here is comparing Li Yan/Ping’s using deceptive words for his own purposes to Su and Zhang’s using words to control the rulers of the warring states. <return>

Copyright © 2004
Translated from Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi with Pei Songzhi’s Annotations