Biography (SGZ): Zhang Yang (Zhishu)

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Zhang Yang (Zhishu)
張楊 (稚叔)
Lived: ?–198

Sanguozhi Officer Biography
Pei Songzhi in Blue, Translator Notes in Green
Translated by Zhai Rong

Zhang Yang, styled Zhishu, came from Yunzhong. Because of his reknown for courage in Bingzhou, he was made Martially Fierce Assistant Officer. Towards the end of Emperor Ling’s reign, all under heaven was in chaos. The Emperor pandered to the desires of Junior Attendants at the Yellow Gates Jian Shuo, making him General-in-Chief of the Grand Army of the Western Garden and Commandant of the Capital Troops, intending to use him as the conduit to pass on imperial orders to all. All the heroes under heaven viewed this as a biased decision. (1)

The Great Ancestor (I), Yuan Shao and others were made Colonels.

I: Cao Cao.
1: According to The Records of Emperor Ling: The General of the Gentleman of the Households who Exhibits the Ferocity of a Tiger Yuan Shao became Colonel of the Centre Army, Colonel of the Garrison Cavalry Bao Hong became Colonel of the Lower Army, Cao Cao became Colonel that sets Examples to the Army, Zhao Rong and Feng Fang became Colonels who Assist the Army, Xia Mou and Chunyu Qiong became the Colonels of the Left and Right.

Bingzhou Inspector Ding Yuan appointed Zhang Yang as Acting Major and sent him to visit Jian Shuo. After Emperor Ling’s death, Jian Shuo was killed by He Jin. Under He Jin’s orders, Zhang Yang returned to his own province to recruit soldiers. He raised in excess of a thousand men and stationed himself at Shangdang, from where he attacked mountain bandits. After He Jin’s demise, Dong Zhuo spread disorder. Zhang Yang led his troops to attack the Governor of Shangdang at Huguan. While he was unsuccessful there, he captured a few counties and the size of his contingent rose to several thousand. Later, armies were raised in Shandong with the intention of punishing Dong Zhuo.

When Yuan Shao was at Henei, Zhang Yang joined him and Yu Fuluo, the Xiongnu Chanyu (II), to station troops at Zhangshui. When the Chanyu revolted, neither Yuan Shao nor Zhang Yang followed his lead. The Chanyu forced Zhang Yang into joining him, and Yuan Shao sent his general Qu Yi to attack them just south of Ye, where Yu Fuluo was defeated. Yu Fuluo took Zhang Yang to Liyang, there defeating the army of Geng Zhi, General who Crosses the Liao, and their force recovered.

II: Chanyu is title of Xiongnu rulers.

Dong Zhuo appointed Zhang Yang to the posts of General who Establishes Righteousness and Governor of Henei. When the Son of Heaven was at Hedong, Zhang Yang led his troops to Anyi, receiving an appointment as General who Brings Peace to the Nation and was enfeoffed as Marquis of Jinyang. Zhang Yang wanted to bring the Son of Heaven back to Luoyang, but the other generals rejected his proposal, so he returned to Yewang. In the first year of Establishing Calm (196 AD), Yang Feng, Dong Cheng and Han Xian were taking the Son of Heaven to return to the old capital and met with a shortage of provisions. Zhang Yang sent provisions to supply them along the way and escorted them to Luoyang. To all the generals, he said “The fate of all under heaven is bound up with with that of the Son of Heaven, and it is fortunate that he has such honourable ministers and great officials. As Yang hails from distant lands, what business have I in the capital?” He forthwith returned to Yewang. He was appointed Commander-in-Chief. (2)

2: According to the Record of Heroes: Zhang Yang was by nature harmonious and was lacking when it came to imposing his authority. When his subordinates were discovered to have plotted rebellion, they faced him with tears and he would accept this blithely without enquiring into the roots of the problem.

Zhang Yang had a warm relationship with Lü Bu. When Lü Bu was surrounded by the Great Ancestor, Zhang Yang wished to rescue him but lacked the ability to do so. He deployed his troops out at Dongshi to act as a diversionary force. His general Yang Chou killed him and attempted to surrender to the Great Ancestor. Another general of Zhang Yang’s, Sui Gu, then killed Yang Chou and took the whole host north to join Yuan Shao. Cao Cao sent Shi Huan to attack him, defeating him at Quancheng. Sui Gu was executed and Shi Huan accepted the entire defeated force into his own.

According to Dian Lüe: Sui Gu was styled Baitu. After killing Yang Chou, he encmaped at Shequan. At that time, a sorcerer told Sui Gu “General, your style is Rabbit while the city’s name is Dog[3]. When a rabbit sees a dog, it is naturally afraid. You ought to move elsewhere as soon as possible.” Sui Gu did not heed this advice and was killed as a result of the battle.

III: Sui Gu’s style Baitu means White Rabbit, Quancheng means Dog City and Shequan means Dog Shooting.

Copyright © 2011 Zhai Rong. All Rights Reserved.
Translated from Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi with Pei Songzhi’s Commentary