Tian Bu

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Tian Bu (田布) (785 – February 6, 822 [1] ), courtesy name Dunli (敦禮), was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty. He was the son of the general Tian Hongzheng, and after Tian Hongzheng's death at the hands of Chengde Circuit (成德, headquartered in modern Shijiazhuang, Hebei) mutineers was put in command of Tian Hongzheng's old command Weibo Circuit (魏博, headquartered in modern Handan, Hebei) to try to avenge Tian Hongzheng. With his own soldiers close to mutiny themselves during the campaign, however, Tian Bu committed suicide.

Courtesy name name bestowed in adulthood in East Asian cultures

A courtesy name, also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.

History of China account of past events in the Chinese civilisation

The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was recorded as the twenty-first Shang king by the written records of Shang dynasty unearthed. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, and Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia. The Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, which is commonly held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River. These Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, and is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization.

Tian Hongzheng (田弘正), né Tian Xing (田興), courtesy name Andao (安道), formally Duke Zhongmin of Yi (沂忠愍公), was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty. Under his governance, Weibo Circuit, which had not been under actual imperial control for decades, submitted to imperial control, but he was killed by mutineers while later serving as military governor (Jiedushi) of Chengde Circuit.

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Background

Tian Bu was born in 785, during the reign of Emperor Dezong. He was the third son of the Weibo Circuit officer Tian Xing, although it is not known whether he was older or younger than his two brothers who were known to history, Tian Qun (田群) and Tian Mou (田牟). When he was young, his father Tian Xing served as the defender of Linqing (臨清, in modern Xingtai, Hebei) under then-military governor ( Jiedushi ) of Weibo, Tian Ji'an, who was ruling Weibo in a de facto independent manner from the imperial government. It was said that despite Tian Bu's youth, he was able to see that Tian Ji'an's position was not secure and counseled his father to eventually declare loyalty to the imperial government. [2]

Emperor Dezong of Tang emperor of the Tang Dynasty

Emperor Dezong of Tang, personal name Li Kuo, was an emperor of the Chinese Tang Dynasty and the oldest son of Emperor Daizong. His reign of 26 years was the third longest in the Tang dynasty. Emperor Dezong started out as a diligent and frugal emperor and he tried to reform the governmental finances by introducing new tax laws. His attempts to destroy the powerful regional warlords and the subsequent mismanagement of those campaigns, however, resulted in a number of rebellions that nearly destroyed him and the Tang Dynasty. After those events, he dealt cautiously with the regional governors, causing warlordism to become unchecked, and his trust of eunuchs caused the eunuchs' power to rise greatly. He was also known for his paranoia about officials' wielding power, and late in his reign, he did not grant much authority to his chancellors.

Xingtai Prefecture-level city in Hebei, Peoples Republic of China

Xingtai is a prefecture-level city in southern Hebei province, People's Republic of China. It has a total area of 12,486 square kilometres (4,821 sq mi) and administers 2 districts, 2 county-level cities and 15 counties. At the 2010 census, its population was 7,104,103 inhabitants whom 1,461,809 lived in the built-up area made of 2 urban districts and Xingtai and Nanhe Counties largely being conurbated now. It borders Shijiazhuang and Hengshui in the north, Handan in the south, and the provinces of Shandong and Shanxi in the east and west respectively.

Hebei Province

Hebei is a province of China in the North China region. The modern province was established in 1911 as Zhili Province or Chihli Province. Its one-character abbreviation is "冀" (Jì), named after Ji Province, a Han dynasty province (zhou) that included what is now southern Hebei. The name Hebei literally means "north of the river", referring to its location entirely to the north of the Yellow River.

Service under Tian Hongzheng

In 812, after Tian Ji'an died, his young son Tian Huaijian initially became nominal ruler of Weibo, without imperial sanction, but soon, the soldiers mutinied and supported Tian Xing as their leader. [3] Tian Xing subsequently submitted to imperial orders and was made the military governor of Weibo and was subsequently renamed Tian Hongzheng by then-ruling Emperor Xianzong. [4] Tian Bu served under his father and commanded the elite troops of Weibo. [2]

Tian Huaijian (田懷諫) was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty, who, in his childhood, briefly served as the ruler of Weibo Circuit, which had been held by his family for generations. The soldiers soon overthrew him and replaced him with his distant relative Tian Xing, and he was delivered to the Tang capital Chang'an.

Emperor Xianzong of Tang emperor of the Tang Dynasty

Emperor Xianzong of Tang, personal name Li Chun, né Li Chun (李淳), was an emperor of the Chinese Tang Dynasty. He was the eldest son of Emperor Shunzong, who reigned for less than a year in 805 and who yielded the throne to him late that year.

In 815, when imperial troops were in the middle of a campaign against the warlord Wu Yuanji, who controlled Zhangyi Circuit (彰義, headquartered in modern Zhumadian, Henan), Tian Hongzheng sent Tian Xing to aid the campaign, commanding 3,000 soldiers. [4] It was said that Tian Bu contributed to victories in 18 battles. [2] In particular, in 817, when the chancellor Pei Du was at the front to oversee the operation, there was an occasion when Pei was reviewing the building of a fort at Tuokou (沱口, in modern Luohe, Henan), when the Zhangyi officer Dong Chongzhi (董重質) made a surprise attack on Pei's location, nearly reaching Pei. It was due to the efforts of Tian Bu and Li Guangyan that Pei was able to flee, and it was said that, after Tian cut off the Zhangyi soldiers' escape route, the Zhangyi soldiers fell into a ditch and suffered more than 1,000 casualties as a result. [5] After the Zhangyi campaign ended in victory later in the year, Tian Bu was made a general of the imperial guards. In 818, when his mother died, he left governmental service to observe a mourning period for her, but was soon recalled to again serve as general of the imperial guards. [2]

Wu Yuanji (吳元濟) was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty who tried to control Zhangyi Circuit without approval from Emperor Xianzong after the 814 death of his father Wu Shaoyang, who had governed the circuit in a de facto independent manner from the imperial government. Emperor Xianzong declared a campaign against Wu, and imperial troops under Li Su were eventually able to defeat and capture him. He was delivered to the Tang capital Chang'an and executed there.

Zhumadian Prefecture-level city in Henan, Peoples Republic of China

Zhumadian is a prefecture-level city in southern Henan province, China. It borders Xinyang to the south, Nanyang to the west, Pingdingshan to the northwest, Luohe to the north, Zhoukou to the northeast, and the province of Anhui to the east.

Henan Province

Henan is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Henan is often referred to as Zhongyuan or Zhongzhou (中州) which literally means "central plain land" or "midland", although the name is also applied to the entirety of China proper. Henan is the birthplace of Chinese civilization with over 3,000 years of recorded history, and remained China's cultural, economical, and political center until approximately 1,000 years ago.

As Jiedushi

In 820, Wang Chengzong the military governor of Chengde Circuit, who had previously ruled Chengde in a de facto independent manner but who had offered to submit to imperial orders after Wu Yuanji's defeat, died. The soldiers supported his brother Wang Chengyuan to succeed him, but Wang Chengyuan, not wanting to continue to hold Chengde, declined. In response, then-ruling Emperor Muzong (Emperor Xianzong's son) made a series of military governor transfers for the circuits in the region — transferring Tian Hongzheng from Weibo to Chengde, Wang Chengyuan to Yicheng Circuit (義成, headquartered in modern Anyang, Henan), Li Su from Wuning Circuit (武寧, headquartered in modern Xuzhou, Jiangsu) to Weibo, and Liu Wu from Yicheng to Zhaoyi Circuit (昭義, headquartered in modern Changzhi, Shanxi). He also made Tian Bu the military governor of Heyang Circuit (河陽, headquartered in modern Jiaozuo, Henan). [6] He thus served as military governor at the same time as his father Tian Hongzheng. At that time, the general Han Hong and his son Han Gongwu (韓公武) were also both serving as military governors, but it was said that popular opinion at the time held the Tians in greater esteem than the Hans. In spring 821, Tian Bu was transferred to Jingyuan Circuit (涇原, headquartered in modern Pingliang, Gansu). [2]

Wang Chengzong (王承宗) was a general of the Chinese Tang Dynasty who served a military governor (Jiedushi) of Chengde Circuit. He, like his grandfather Wang Wujun and father Wang Shizhen before him, ruled the circuit in a de facto independent manner from the imperial government, drawing two imperial campaigns against him, both of which he withstood. After the defeat of his ally Wu Yuanji in 817, he submitted to imperial authority, and, after his death, his brother Wang Chengyuan left the circuit, ending his family's hold on Chengde.

Wang Chengyuan (王承元), formally the Duke of Qi (岐公), was a general of the Tang dynasty of China. His family had, for generations, controlled Chengde Circuit, but he declined the command of Chengde after the death of his older brother Wang Chengzong. He subsequently served as a general under imperial command until his death.

Emperor Muzong of Tang emperor of the Tang Dynasty

Emperor Muzong of Tang, personal name Li Heng, né Li You (李宥), was an emperor of the Tang Dynasty of China. He reigned from 820 to 824. Emperor Muzong was the son of Emperor Xianzong. He was created crown prince in 812 during the reign of Emperor Xianzong and, after Emperor Xianzong was allegedly assassinated by a eunuch, Li Heng was proclaimed emperor in 820.

However, Emperor Muzong's transfers backfired, to Tian Hongzheng's detriment, as the Chengde soldiers resented him for the previous warfare between Weibo and Chengde. In fall 821, Chengde soldiers led by Wang Tingcou mutinied and killed Tian Hongzheng and his staff members. Li Su, as Tian Hongzheng's successor, mourned Tian Hongzheng and planned to lead the Weibo soldiers in a campaign to avenge Tian Hongzheng, but fell ill and could not do so. Emperor Muzong thus recalled Tian Bu, who was then observing a mourning period for Tian Hongzheng, to serve as the military governor of Weibo. Tian Bu declined several times, but the imperial government insisted. Tian Bu bid farewell to his wife, children, and household guests, stating, "I will not come back!" He reported to Weibo without the customary fanfare with banners and guards, and while he was still some 30 li (roughly 15 kilometers) away from Weibo's capital Wei Prefecture (魏州), he changed into mourning clothes and entered the city in tears. He sold ancestral properties and distributed the proceeds to the soldiers, while turning down his own salary. He also respected the senior officers as if they were his older brothers. [7]

Wang Tingcou, formally the Duke of Taiyuan (太原公), was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty who, in 821, during the reign of Emperor Muzong, took over control of Chengde Circuit and thereafter ruled it in a de facto independent manner from the imperial government. He was said to be particularly cruel even for a warlord. After his death, his family held onto control of the circuit, even after the end of Tang Dynasty, until his great-great-grandson Wang Rong was overthrown in 921 – 100 years after Wang Tingcou had initially taken over the circuit.

The li, also known as the Chinese mile, is a traditional Chinese unit of distance. The li has varied considerably over time but was usually about a third as long as the English mile and now has a standardized length of a half-kilometer. This is then divided into 1,500 chi or "Chinese feet".

In winter 821, Tian Bu launched his 30,000 troops to attack Wang, capturing two Chengde outposts just south of Nangong (南宮, in modern Xingtai). However, as recounted in a petition from Bai Juyi to Emperor Muzong at the time, he then became bogged down because his soldiers, who had been accustomed to rich rewards from the imperial government, lost their motivation. Meanwhile, as there were heavy snowstorms at the time, the supplies to be shipped by the imperial government's director of finances were not arriving, and Tian ordered that revenues be diverted from the six Weibo prefectures for military use — causing the officers to resent him for stripping the six prefectures of their wealth. The ambitious officer Shi Xiancheng thus used this opportunity to foster dissent in the Weibo ranks. In spring 822, when there was an imperial order for some Weibo soldiers to report to the camp of Li Guangyan the military governor of Zhongwu Circuit (忠武, headquartered in modern Xuchang, Henan) to attack Chengde from the east, the Weibo soldiers largely deserted Tian and fled to Shi's camp. Tian was only able to maintain control over 8,000 soldiers and was forced to return to Wei Prefecture. [7]

Once Tian returned to Wei Prefecture, he again discussed with his senior officers about launching another campaign against Chengde. The officers refused to follow his orders and stated that they would only follow him if he agreed to reassert independence from the imperial government. He saw the hopelessness of the situation he was in, and he wrote a final petition to Emperor Muzong and entrusting it to his staff member Li Shi (who would eventually be chancellor), stating: [7]

I, your subject, see that my people's desire are to turn against the grace of the state. Since your subject did not achieve anything, how can I forget my responsibility to die? I lie prostrate and beg Your Imperial Majesty to do everything possible to rescue Li Guangyan and Niu Yuanyi [(牛元翼, a Chengde officer who had refused to follow Wang and whom Wang was sieging)]. Otherwise, the righteous and the faithful subjects will soon be all slaughtered by the Heshuo [(河朔, i.e., the region north of the Yellow River)] rebels.

Tian then drew his sword and pierced his heart with it. After Shi heard of this news, he returned to Wei Prefecture with the troops, and they supported him to succeed Tian. Emperor Muzong mourned Tian and gave him posthumous honors but allowed Shi to take over Weibo. He also gave Tian Bu the posthumous name of Xiao (孝, "filial"). Later, during the reign of Emperor Muzong's brother Emperor Xuānzong, Tian Bu's son Tian Hui (田鐬), then serving as a prefectural prefect, was accused of corruption and sentenced to death, but the chancellor Cui Xuan pointed out Tian Bu's death for the state and begged for forgiveness for Tian Hui, and so Tian Hui was only demoted. [8]

Notes and references

  1. http://dbo.sinica.edu.tw/ftms-bin/kiwi1/luso.sh?lstype=2&dyna=%AD%F0&king=%BFp%A9v&reign=%AA%F8%BCy&yy=2&ycanzi=&mm=1&dd=&dcanzi=%AC%D1%A5f
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Old Book of Tang , vol. 141.
  3. Zizhi Tongjian , vol. 238.
  4. 1 2 Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 239.
  5. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 240.
  6. Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 241.
  7. 1 2 3 Zizhi Tongjian, vol. 242.
  8. New Book of Tang , vol. 148.

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