The story of the rebellion of the Ninth Dynasty


Zhong Ding was the son of King Tai Wu of Shang, who moved the capital of the Shang dynasty from Bo to Cai during his reign, and sent troops to attack Lan Yi. After Zhong Ding’s death, his brothers vied for the throne by virtue of their personal power. Zhong Ding’s younger brother, Wai Non, succeeded to the throne after Zhong Ding’s death, causing chaos in the succession of the Shang dynasty for more than 100 years.

Genealogy of the nine generations of Shang kings


During the reign of Waenon, the power of the Shang dynasty began to show signs of decline and the tribes of Pi and Susumu revolted. After the death of Waenon, his younger brother, He Danjia, succeeded him. Dan Jia was the son of King Dawei of Shang and the brother of King Zhong Ding of Shang and Waenon. During his reign, Danjia waged many foreign wars, causing the Shang dynasty to decline again. He moved the capital to Xiang (in Neihuang County, Henan Province), conquered Lan Yi and Ban Fang, and sent Peng Bo and Wei Bo to conquer the betrayed Pi and Susumu tribes. After the death of Danjia, his son Zu Yi succeeded to the throne. Zu Yi first moved the capital from Xiang to Geng, and then moved it to Pei (present-day Dintao County, Shandong Province) due to flooding. During his reign, Zu Yi reused the wise minister Wuxian and made the Shang dynasty flourish again. After his death, he was succeeded by his son Zuxin. After his death, Zuxin was succeeded by his younger brother, Wujia. After his death, his nephew, Zu Xin’s son Zu Ding, succeeded him. After Zu Ding’s death, he was succeeded by his cousin, Nangeng, son of King Wogia of Shang, who moved the capital from Pei to Am (Qufu, Shandong Province) during his reign. After his death, he was succeeded by Yangjia, son of Zuding. During Yangjia’s reign, the Shang dynasty was once again weakened.

Emperor Yangjia died and was succeeded by his younger brother Pangeng. When Pan Geng reigned, he moved the capital to Yin (Xiaotun village in Yindu district, northwest of Anyang City, Henan Province).

Pan Geng crossed the Yellow River and set his capital in Bo, south of the Yellow River, and returned to his former residence in Cheng Tang.

Therefore, the people of the Yin Dynasty complained and did not want to suffer from the relocation.

When Pan Geng saw this, he told the vassals and ministers, “The former king Cheng Tang and your ancestors pacified the world together, and the laws and rules they passed down should be followed. If we abandon them and do not strive to implement them, how can we achieve virtue?”

In this way, they finally crossed the Yellow River, moved south to Bo, repaired the former palace of Cheng Tang, and followed Cheng Tang’s decrees. After that, the people gradually settled down and the Yin dynasty flourished once again. Because Pan Geng followed the benevolent rule of Cheng Tang, the vassals also came to visit him. According to the Bamboo Book of Chronicles, the Shang dynasty did not move its capital again for two hundred and seventy-three years until the death of King Zhou of the Shang Dynasty.


The rebellion of the Ninth Dynasty led to the destruction of the succession system of the Shang dynasty, which combined “the death of a brother and his younger brother” and “the death of a father and the succession of his son”. Minorities in the northwest, such as the Tufang, Gifang, and Qiangfang, took advantage of the opportunity to develop their strength and increasingly threatened the rule of the Shang dynasty. The chaos intensified the conflicts within the Shang aristocracy, and the royal nobles were either arrogant and reckless or lascivious and extravagant, and the centrifugal force was increasing.


The story of the rebellion of the Ninth Dynasty is only found in “The Records of the Grand Historian” (Shi Ji – Vol. 3 – The Records of Yin). According to “The Doubt of the Records of the Grand Historian” by Liang Yuxiang, during the period of the rebellion of the Ninth Dynasty, Zu Yi rose to power, and the three generations of Zhong Ding, Huai Ren, and He Danjia were in line with the tradition of the Shang dynasty of having a brother at the end of his life.

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