Tian Dan (simplified Chinese :田单; traditional Chinese :田單; pinyin :Tián Dān) was a general and nobleman of the major state of Qi during the Warring States period of ancient China. He was known for a spectacular military tactic called "Fire Cattle Columns". After the kingdom was nearly destroyed under the rule of King Min of Qi in 284 BC, he helped regain its territory and restored the king's son. He later fought the Beidi nomads, either in the far north or some pocket of these people living in or between the Chinese states.
Simplified Chinese characters are standardized Chinese characters prescribed in the Table of General Standard Chinese Characters for use in mainland China. Along with traditional Chinese characters, they are one of the two standard character sets of the contemporary Chinese written language. The government of the People's Republic of China in mainland China has promoted them for use in printing since the 1950s and 1960s to encourage literacy. They are officially used in the People's Republic of China and Singapore.
Traditional Chinese characters are Chinese characters in any character set that does not contain newly created characters or character substitutions performed after 1946. They are most commonly the characters in the standardized character sets of Taiwan, of Hong Kong and Macau, and in the Kangxi Dictionary. The modern shapes of traditional Chinese characters first appeared with the emergence of the clerical script during the Han Dynasty, and have been more or less stable since the 5th century.
Hanyu Pinyin, often abbreviated to pinyin, is the official romanization system for Standard Chinese in mainland China and to some extent in Taiwan. It is often used to teach Standard Mandarin Chinese, which is normally written using Chinese characters. The system includes four diacritics denoting tones. Pinyin without tone marks is used to spell Chinese names and words in languages written with the Latin alphabet, and also in certain computer input methods to enter Chinese characters.
In 314 BC, Zizhi, the Chancellor of Yan Kingdom, rebelled against his king and brought the country into months of inner fighting. King Xuan of Qi desired to take advantage of Yan's weakened defences and launch a military attack on Ji (near modern Beijing), the capital of Yan. However, the attack was unsuccessful.
Yan was an ancient Chinese state during the Zhou dynasty. Its capital was Ji. During the Warring States period, the court was also moved to another capital at Xiadu at times.
Beijing, formerly romanized as Peking, is the capital of the People's Republic of China, the world's third most populous city proper, and most populous capital city. The city, located in northern China, is governed as a municipality under the direct administration of central government with 16 urban, suburban, and rural districts. Beijing Municipality is surrounded by Hebei Province with the exception of neighboring Tianjin Municipality to the southeast; together the three divisions form the Jingjinji metropolitan region and the national capital region of China.
In 286 BC, King Min of Qi attacked the state of Song and destroyed it, annexing its land into Qi territory. Although successful, the attack incited hostility against Qi from the remaining six kingdoms. King Zhao of Yan used that chance to raise a military alliance against Qi. The army of Yan and its allies under the command of Yue Yi managed to inflict a crushing defeat on Qi, captured 70 cities. Only two cities remains in Qi possession, Jimo and Ju. King Min was later killed at Ju, his son Tian Bijiang was crowned by the local people as King Xuan of Qi.
Sòng was a state during the Zhou dynasty of ancient China, with its capital at Shangqiu. The state was founded soon after King Wu of Zhou conquered the Shang dynasty to establish the Zhou dynasty in 1046/46 BC. It was conquered by the State of Qi in 286 BC, during the Warring States period. Confucius was a descendant of a Song nobleman who moved to the State of Lu.
Yue Yi, enfeoffed as Lord of Changguo, was a prominent military leader of the State of Yan during the Warring States period of ancient China. He was the son of the prime minister of the state of Zhongshan, but when Zhongshan was destroyed by King Wuling of Zhao, he was forced to wander from country to country. His talents were recognized by King Zhao of Yan, and he was made a minister. He served with great skill and helped forge alliances with the states of Zhao, Wei, Chu, Han and Qin against the threat posed by Qi. He led the allied armies and crushed the Qi forces. The cruel King of Qi was driven away, and, except for two cities, the entire territory of Qi was brought under control. Soon thereafter, King Zhao of Yan suddenly died. Due to the scheming of Tian Dan of Qi, King Hui of Yan mistrusted him and he fled to the state of Zhao, where he was enfeoffed as Lord of Wangzhu. His son Yue Jian (樂間) inherited his title Lord of Changguo in Yan.
King Xuan of Qi was from 319 to 301 BC ruler of Qi, one of the seven major states of the Warring States period of ancient China. King Xuan's personal name was Tian Bijiang (田辟疆), ancestral name Gui (媯), and King Xuan was his posthumous title.
Yan army's onslaught led to many of Qi's citizens fleeing. Many of Qi people's chariots were broken due to overuse. However, Tian Dan had reinforced his chariots' axles with metal. Therefore, his family was able to safely escape to Jimo. The Qi citizens in Jimo praised Tian Dan's intelligence and elected Tian Dan as Jimo's military commander after the previous commander was killed in battle.
In 279 BC, King Zhao of Yan died. He was succeed by King Hui of Yan who disliked Yue Yi. Tian Dan sent his spies to Yan who created rumours about Yue Yi's possible treachery. The rumours successfully misled King Hui who then dismissed Yue Yi and replaced him with Ji Jie. This enraged Yan troops who deeply respected their former commander.
It was said that Tian Dan had his spies spread the rumour : "If Yan troops cut the nose of Qi prisoners and put them in the first line, Qi troops will be defeated." Yan troops believed the rumour and did as Tian Yan said. The Qi people were enraged then refused to surrender because they didn't want to be mistreated.
Tian Dan's spies spread another rumour: "If Yan troops dig up our ancestor's graves and dishonour the deceased people, it will be very disheartening." Yan troops again believed the rumour and destroyed Qi graves and burned the dead bodies. The Qi people were again enraged and strongly sought revenge.
After boosting Qi's morale and weakened the Yan troops, Tian Dan was able to launch a successful counter-attack and retook the lost territory of Qi.
This counter-attack was reliant on an unconventional assault which included inducing panic in a herd of oxen, who were then set upon the Yan army. It is described by Sima Qian in the Records of the Grand Historian within his biography of Tian Dan:
Sima Qian was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty. He is considered the father of Chinese historiography for his Records of the Grand Historian, a Jizhuanti-style general history of China, covering more than two thousand years from the Yellow Emperor to his time, during the reign of Emperor Wu of Han, a work that had much influence for centuries afterwards on history-writing not only in China, but in Korea, Japan and Vietnam as well. Although he worked as the Court Astrologer, later generations refer to him as the Grand Historian for his monumental work; a work which in later generations would often only be somewhat tacitly or glancingly acknowledged as an achievement only made possible by his acceptance and endurance of punitive actions against him, including imprisonment, castration, and subjection to servility.
The Records of the Grand Historian, also known by its Chinese name Shiji, is a monumental history of ancient China and the world finished around 94 BC by the Han dynasty official Sima Qian after having been started by his father, Sima Tan, Grand Astrologer to the imperial court. The work covers the world as it was then known to the Chinese and a 2500-year period from the age of the legendary Yellow Emperor to the reign of Emperor Wu of Han in the author's own time.
"Tian Dan collected more than one thousand oxen from the people in the city. He had them dressed with red silk, and had multicolour lines, like those of dragons, painted on them. Sharp blades were adjusted to their horns, and reeds dipped in grease, so that their tips could be set aflame, were attached to their tails. Several passages were dug in the city walls, and on one night, the oxen were released, followed by five thousand sturdy men. The oxen, their tail on fire, charged the army of Yan, creating panic. The torches attached to the tails illuminated the night, the troops of Yan saw the lines on their bodies, which looked like dragons, and all those who met their horns were either killed or wounded. Then, the five thousand men, their mouths closed with pieces of wood, attacked them. They were followed by the sound of shouts and drums from the city, and all the old people and children struck metal pots. The noise shook heaven and earth. The soldiers of Yan panicked. They were defeated and repealed, and the people of Qi killed his general, Ji Jie. As the army of Yan was falling back, in disorder and confusion, the soldiers of Qi chased it, and destroyed it as they pushed it northwards. All the cities it went through revolted, and rallied Tian Dan, whose troops were larger every day. As he fled from a victory to another, the army of Yan was defeated every day, and finally reached the northern bank of the Yellow River. At this time, more than seventy cities had returned back to Qi."
Year 285 BC was a year of the pre-Julian Roman calendar. At the time it was known as the Year of the Consulship of Canina and Lepidus. The denomination 285 BC for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.
The Warring States period was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest that saw the annexation of all other contender states, which ultimately led to the Qin state's victory in 221 BC as the first unified Chinese empire, known as the Qin dynasty.
Qi was a state of the Zhou dynasty-era in ancient China, variously reckoned as a march, duchy, and independent kingdom. Its capital was Yingqiu, located within present-day Linzi in Shandong.
Jimo District, formerly Jimo City (即墨市)) is a District of Qingdao, Shandong.
The Chu–Han Contention was an interregnum between the Qin dynasty and the Han dynasty in Chinese history. Following the collapse of the Qin dynasty in 206 BC, Xiang Yu split the former Qin Empire into the Eighteen Kingdoms. Two major contending powers emerged, Western Chu and Han, which engaged in a struggle for supremacy over China. Western Chu was led by Xiang Yu, while the Han leader was Liu Bang. Several minor kings also warred, but these were largely independent of the main conflict between Western Chu and Han. The war ended in 202 BC with total victory for Han, with Liu Bang soon proclaiming himself first emperor of the Han dynasty.
Sun Bin was a military strategist who lived during the Warring States period of Chinese history. An alleged descendant of Sun Tzu, Sun Bin was tutored in military strategy by the hermit Guiguzi. He was accused of treason while serving in the Wei state and was sentenced to face-tattooing and had his kneecaps removed, permanently crippling him. Sun escaped from Wei later and rose to prominence in the Qi state, by serving as a military strategist and commander. He led Qi to victory against the Wei state at the Battle of Guiling and Battle of Maling. Sun authored the military treatise Sun Bin's Art of War, which was rediscovered in a 1972 archaeological excavation after being lost for almost 2000 years.
Nanyue or Nam Viet was an ancient kingdom that covered parts of northern Vietnam and the modern Chinese provinces of Guangdong, Guangxi, and Yunnan. Nanyue was established in 204 BC at the collapse of the Qin dynasty by Zhao Tuo, then Commander of Nanhai. At first, it consisted of the commanderies Nanhai, Guilin, and Xiang.
King Zhaoxiang of Qin, or King Zhao of Qin (秦昭王), born Ying Ji (Chinese: 嬴稷, was the king of Qin from 306 BC to 251 BC. He was the son of King Huiwen and younger brother of King Wu.
Tian Chengsi, formally the Prince of Yanmen, was a general of the Chinese rebel state Yan, who later submitted to and became a general of Tang Dynasty, from which Yan had rebelled. As was in the case of several other Yan generals who submitted to Tang but who had substantial army and territorial holdings, Tian was allowed to retain his command and territory, semi-independent of the Tang imperial government structure, and among these generals, he was particularly defiant of the Tang imperial government.
Tian Xu, formally the Prince of Yanmen, was a general of the Chinese dynasty Tang Dynasty who ruled Weibo Circuit semi-independently from the imperial government.
Qin's wars of unification were a series of military campaigns launched in the late 3rd century BC by the Qin state against the other six major states — Han, Zhao, Yan, Wei, Chu and Qi — within the territories that formed modern China. By the end of the wars in 221 BC, Qin had unified most of the states and occupied some lands south of the Yangtze River. The territories conquered by Qin served as the foundation of the Qin dynasty.
King Wei of Qi, whose personal name was Tian Yinqi (田因齊), was the king of the northern Chinese state of Qi during the Warring States period, when Qi was one of the most powerful states in China. He reigned from 356 to 320 BC. or according to another source from 378 to 343 BC. He was the first ruler of Qi to style himself "king".
King Min of Qi was a notoriously unsuccessful king of the northeastern Chinese state of Qi during the Warring States period. "Famous for his paranoia and megalomania, the king was the archetype of the unworthy and unaware ruler." A generation later, the philosopher Xunzi wrote of King Min: "The king of Qi perished and his state was destroyed, punished by all under Heaven. When later generations speak of bad men, they are sure to mention him."
Tian Ji, courtesy name Qi (齐), was a military general of the Qi state during the early Warring States period of Chinese history. Tian Ji met Sun Bin and recommended him to King Wei of Qi as a military strategist. Tian Ji commanded the Qi armies in the Battle of Guiling and Battle of Maling, scoring victories against the Wei state with help and guidance from Sun Bin.
Sima Rangju (Chinese:司馬穰苴) or Tian Rangju was a famous Chinese military general during the Spring and Autumn period, often seen as the spiritual successor of Jiang Ziya. He served in the State of Qi, defending it from the states of Jin and Yan, and went as high in the army as Da Sima, the Minister of War. As a result, he is also sometimes called Sima Rangju. He was later dismissed by Duke Jing of Qi, who apparently listened to hypocrites, falsely accusing Rangju. He was depressed and fell ill, resulting in his death. Little is known about his life due to the lack of historical records, but his thoughts and ideas passed on. His works were later composed into a book called The Methods of the Sima. He was highly praised by Sima Qian, a famous Chinese historian.
Li Xin (李信) was a general of Qin during the Warring States era. Li Xin is primarily known for his role in assisting Qin Shi Huang in his conquest of the six Warring States. Aside from his career in the Warring States campaigns, he is also a fifth generation ancestor of the Han dynasty "Flying General" Li Guang. He by extension, is an ancestor of the Tang Emperors.
The Qin Empire III is a 2017 Chinese television series based on Sun Haohui's novel of the same Chinese title, which romanticises the events in China during the Warring States period primarily from the perspective of the Qin state under King Zhaoxiang. It was first aired on CCTV-1 in mainland China in 2017. It was preceded by The Qin Empire (2009) and The Qin Empire II: Alliance (2012) and followed by The Qin Empire IV (2019), which were also based on Sun Haohui's novels.