Jiang Ziya

Jiang Ziya (c. 1156 – c. 1017 B.C.), surnamed Jiang, Lu, was named Shang, Ziya, and Fei Xiong. He was an outstanding politician, military man and tactician in ancient China, the founding father of the Zhou Dynasty, and the founder of military science in the late Shang and early Zhou dynasties.

Half of his life was humble

Jiang Ziya, also known as Jiang Shang, was a man from the East China Sea or a man from Makino. His ancestor was an official of the Four Mountains, and was instrumental in assisting Xia Yu to control the water and land. When Shun and Yu were sealed in the land of Lv, so he was also called Lv Shang. Some were sealed in Shen, surnamed Jiang. In Xia and Shang dynasties, some of Shen and Lv were sealed to the descendants of side branches, and some descendants were reduced to commoners, and Lv Shang was its distant descendants. Lv Shang was originally surnamed Jiang, because of the name of his fiefdom, so called Lv Shang.

When Jiang Ziya was born, his family had already lost, so when Jiang Ziya was young, he was a butcher who slaughtered cattle and sold meat, and he also opened a hotel and sold wine to make up for the lack of rice. But Jiang Ziya’s poor will is not short, whether slaughtering cattle or business, always diligently study astronomy and geography, military strategy, study the way to govern the country and the state, hoping to one day show talent for the country, but until the age of 70 is still useless, idle at home.

When Jiang Ziya was 72 years old, he was fishing at Panxi, the shore of Wei Shui (in Baoji, Shaanxi Province), and took the opportunity to see Ji Chang, who, before going out to hunt, divined a fortune and said, “The prey to be found is not a dragon, not a chi dragon, not a tiger, not a bear; the prey to be found is an auxiliary minister to achieve the king’s career.” Ji Chang then went out hunting and met Jiang Ziya on the north bank of the Wei River. After talking with Jiang Ziya, Ji Chang was delighted and thought Jiang Tai Gong was a genius, saying, “Ever since our late ruler Tai Gong said, ‘A sage will come to Zhou, and Zhou will prosper because of this. This is you, right? We, Taigong, have been looking forward to you for a long time.” Therefore, Jiang Ziya was called “Taigongwang”, and the two of them returned together in a chariot, and were honored as Tai Shi.

This is the origin of the saying “Jiang Taigong fishes, and the one who wants to catch the bait”.

Some people say that Jiang Ziya was knowledgeable and knowledgeable and worked for Shang Zhou. When Shang Zhou was incompetent, Jiang Ziya left. He went around to persuade the lords of the kingdoms, but did not know the king he met, and finally went west to follow Ji Chang. Some people say that Jiang Ziya was a virtuoso, living in seclusion on the seashore. When Ji Chang was imprisoned in Yili, Ji Chang’s ministers, San Yisheng and Ma Yao, had heard of Jiang Ziya’s name and invited him. Jiang Ziya also thought, “I heard that Ji Chang is virtuous, and always respect and care for the elderly, why not go?” In order to rescue Ji Chang, the three of them searched for beautiful women and treasures and offered them to King Zhou to ransom Ji Chang. Ji Chang was thus released and returned to the Zhou Dynasty. Although the legend of Jiang Ziya’s return to Zhou varies, the general idea is that he was the teacher of Ji Chang and Ji Fa.

After Ji Chang returned from the Pile, he and Jiang Ziya secretly planned how to implement virtuous policies to overthrow the regime of Shang Zhou, many of which were military strategies and strange plans. Jiang Ziya assisted Ji Chang to accumulate goodness and virtue, and to do benevolence; externally, he urged Ji Chang to contact other vassal states that were not too happy with King Zhou to pay tribute to him, so that King Zhou could relax his vigilance; internally, he set up the policy of loving the people, and did things to benefit the people, promoted production, and trained soldiers and horses; therefore, future generations who talk about the way of using the army and the hidden power of the Zhou Dynasty all respect the basic strategy of Jiang Ziya. Ji Chang’s administration was clear and fair, especially after he broke up the disputes between Yu and Rui, and was praised by poets as having received the mandate of heaven. Ji Chang also crushed Chongguo, Mishu and Inuyi, and built Feng Yi on a large scale. Two-thirds of the vassals under the sky were all converted to Zhou, mostly as a result of Taigong’s planning.

After Ji Chang’s death, Ji Fa assumed the throne. In nine years, Ji Fa wanted to continue to complete Ji Chang’s great work, and conquered Shang Zhou in the east to see if the lords would gather to respond. At the time of the army’s departure, Jiang Ziya, who was honored as “Shi Shang Fu”, held a yellow battle-axe in his left hand and a white banner in his right hand and vowed to the army, saying, “Cang Xiao Cang Xiao, lead all the soldiers, assemble the ships, and behead those who are late.” So the troops arrived at the alliance. The vassals of all countries came without being called, and there were eight hundred of them. All the lords said, “We can conquer Shang Zhou now.” Ji Fa said, “Not yet.” He returned from the army and wrote the “Oath of Tai” with Jiang Ziya.

After another two years, Shang Zhou killed Prince Bigan and imprisoned Ke Zi. At this time, King Zhou was so despotic and tyrannical that Jiang Ziya saw that the time was ripe and proposed to Ji Fa to conquer Zhou. Ji Fa then notified the lords to join the expedition. Jiang Ziya selected 300 chariots, 3,000 warriors and 45,000 soldiers to form an army to conquer Zhou. When the army was launched, Ji Fa divined that the tortoise omen was inauspicious; on the way to the army and encountered a storm, Ji Fa and all the ministers’ determination was once shaken. Jiang Ziya forcefully rebutted all the opinions, and firmly Ji Fa’s confidence to conquer Zhou. On the first day of the eleventh month, the Zhou army reached Makino, 70 miles outside the Shang capital Chaoge, and the vassals met at the rate of 4,000 chariots. King Zhou of Shang also gathered 700,000 (170,000) soldiers and horses to Muye. As soon as the battle was opened, Jiang Ziya personally led a small group of elites as the vanguard to challenge in front, followed by Ji Fa leading a large group to attack the army of King Zhou of Shang. The Shang army was very strong, but the soldiers were separated from King Zhou and turned against him. The Zhou army took advantage of the situation to attack and a large number of Shang troops were killed. Seeing that the situation was over, King Zhou hurriedly fled back to Chaoge, mounted the Deer Terrace and burned himself to death. Jiang Ziya led Ji Fa into Chaoge, the capital of Yin, and announced that the Shang Dynasty had fallen and the Zhou Dynasty was born.

The next day, Ji Fa stood on the altar of the society, the ministers held the bright water, Wei Kang Shu Feng spread the colorful mat, Shi Shang Fu brought the sacrificial animal, Shi An prayed according to the book of strategy, and reported to the gods about the crusade against the evil Shang Zhou. He distributed the coins that Shang Zhou had accumulated in Lutai and the grain that Shang Zhou had accumulated in Juiqiao to help the poor people. He built and raised the tomb of Bigan and released the imprisoned Minzi. He moved the Nine Cauldrons, the symbol of the supreme power of the world, to the Zhou Dynasty, repaired the Zhou administration, and began to create a new era together with the people of the world.

Enclosing the country and securing the state

After King Wu destroyed the Shang Dynasty, he discussed with Jiang Ziya, Zhou Gong Dan and others to divide the whole country into a number of vassal states, which were assigned by the Son of Zhou to the Ji surname relatives and meritorious officials who contributed to the great work of destroying the Shang Dynasty to build a capital and act as a barrier to the ruling center of the Zhou Dynasty, that is, the so-called “feudal relatives to build a vassal state to screen the Zhou Dynasty”. Because of Jiang Ziya’s outstanding merits in the rise of the Zhou and the destruction of the Shang, and was the first feudal in Qi Yingqiu (i.e. Linzi District, Zibo City) to establish the Qi State, in order to stabilize the East.

In 1045 B.C., Jiang Ziya led his men to Yingqiu. Because they were very tired from the long journey, the marching speed was very slow. One evening they came to camp not far from Yingqiu and prepared to reach Yingqiu tomorrow. Someone said, “There is a rare opportunity. These people sleep sweetly and peacefully, which looks like a country to build a capital”. After listening to this, Jiang Ziya lost all sleep and ordered his men and horses to rush to Yingqiu under the stars and the moon. At dawn, he arrived at the west bank of the Zizhi River and saw that the army of Lai was wading to Yingqiu, and the situation was critical. It turned out that Lai and Yingqiu were very close to each other, and they were the vassal states of King Zhou of Shang. The two armies faced each other on the west bank of the Zizhi River. Jiang Ziyia commanded calmly and the soldiers fought bravely and tenaciously, and the Lai army was killed and returned unhappily.

After Jiang Ziya established the state of Qi, he first ruled the country by law and settled the hearts of the people. When the kingdom of Qi was established, Jiang Ziya firstly ruled the state by law and settled the hearts of the people. Jiang Ziya considered them selfish and self-serving, not doing their duty for the state, and “black sheep”, so he ordered them to be killed. In time, there was no more disobedience to the laws and regulations of Qi, and the chaotic situation was quickly stabilized. In only five months, Jiang Ziya went to the Duke of Zhou to “report his achievements”.

Strengthening the State and Enriching the People

Jiang Ziyia implemented the policy of respecting virtuous people and giving credit to them. He selected talented people to be officials and absorbed a large number of talents from the local Dong Yi indigenous people to join the ruling class of Qi, so that they could play a proper role in the construction of the state. Those who passed the examination and met the criteria for selection of virtuous people were used regardless of their affinity, so as to give full play to their active creativity. This line of employment broke the shackles of the Western Zhou orthodoxy based on blood relations. Jiang Tai Gong also elevated the employment of people to the level of the rise and fall of the state and proposed the theory of “six guards”, “eight conquests” and “six rejects” for talents. In practice, his thinking of employing people not only pioneered the use of talent by merit, but also laid the foundation for the later domination of Qi over the other states.

Culturally, he pursued the enlightened policy of “simplifying the rites and rituals according to the customs”. The Duke of Qi thought that if the Zhou rites were strongly implemented in Qi, it would easily create conflicts and would not be conducive to the governance of the state. After much deliberation, he decided to simplify the rites and rituals according to the actual situation in Qi, without forcibly interfering with them, and pragmatically created a new system that was acceptable to the Qi people and not too contrary to the Zhou rites.

According to the Book of Han – Geography, “Qi is a land of sea and lagoon, with few grains and few people.” The “Treatise on Salt and Iron” says: “In the past, Taigong Feng Yingqiu, opened up the grass and lived there. The land was thin and the people were few.” In the face of the extremely poor natural conditions, Jiang Taigong, since the beginning of the state of Qi, took advantage of the rich mineral deposits and fish and salt resources in the territory to develop handicraft industries such as smelting, silk and linen textile, fishing and salt, while focusing on the development of millet and rice production; he also took advantage of the convenient transportation in Qi and the people’s tradition of business to develop commerce and implement the foreign trade policy of currency with other countries. Under the guidance of this macro strategy of “agriculture, industry and commerce”, the crown, sash, clothes and footwear made in Qi were sold all over the world, fish and salt were circulated to other countries, and vassals came to pay homage to Qi, which gradually developed from a small and poor country in the remote and desolate area to a large and rich country in the East.

Settling the Zhou Dynasty

After Jiang Ziya established the state of Qi, he spent much of his time in the central authority of the Zhou dynasty in the capital of Hao, assisting his grandson, King Cheng of Zhou, Ji Chant, and his grandson, King Kang of Zhou, Ji Zhao. His eldest son, Jiang Kai, Duke Ding of Qi, did not go to Linzi to govern the state of Qi, but was always in the position of Huben, in charge of the royal palace garrison in Haojing. For more than thirty years after the founding of Qi, Yingqiu was basically guarded by Duke Qiumu, the third son of Jiang Tai Gong. During the reign of King Cheng, Guanshu, Caishu and Huoshu, Huaiyi, Xuyi and the “Five Marquises of the East of Yin” rebelled against the Zhou Dynasty, Jiang Tai Gong and his sons assisted Duke Dan of Zhou, either by sitting in Kyoto and planning the strategy, or by leading the army to the east and charging into battle, or by echoing the rebellion from left to right and from east to west. They quickly put down the rebellion and made a great achievement for the second peace of Zhou.

Later, when King Cheng of Zhou died, Jiang Ziya and his sons accepted the legacy of King Cheng and took up the important task of supporting the crown prince, and later, together with all the ministers, set up the crown prince Ji Zhao to the throne, known as King Kang of Zhou.

The end of his life in the capital

In the sixth year of King Kang of Zhou, Jiang Ziya died in the capital of Zhou, at the age of 139 years, and his son, Duke Ding, succeeded him. His son, Duke Ding, succeeded him. Duke Ding continued to assist King Kang of Zhou, becoming the second most important advisor after the first advisor, Zhaogong Shi, and was in charge of the Zhou Dynasty’s elite force of 3,000 Huben to defend Fenghao.

Tai Gong fishes for the willing

According to folk tales, Lv Shang was not rewarded by the lords of Yin Shang, so he went fishing in Wei Shui, hoping to meet a wise master.

It is said that Jiang Ziya fished with a straight line of metal wire without bends. Three months later, King Wen of Zhou found Jiang Ziya when he went on a tour to the Wei River. When King Wen of Zhou saw that Lu Shang’s hook was straight, he asked curiously, “The hooks used by fishermen are curved, why do you use a straight hook?” Lv Shang said to him, “My hooks are willing to hook themselves, so there is no need to hook the fish with a curved hook. He who is willing will come, and he who is unwilling will be left alone.” King Wen of Zhou thought this was a reference to himself who was thirsty for talent, so he said, “King Zhou is incompetent and the people are not living, so I hope you can be my teacher and revitalize the world, is that OK?” Lu Shang agreed. King Wen of Zhou asked Lu Shang to get into the car, dismissed the rickshaw puller, and personally invited Lu Shang back to the capital, a distance of about 800 paces. Although this story is not found in the orthodox historical records, and is more likely to be a fiction of the later wild history novels, it is still widely circulated among the people. This is the origin of the saying: “The fisher of wills is the bait of the fisher of wills”.

Overall evaluation

Jiang Ziya’s life was full of ups and downs, yet he was a great and mysterious man. Throughout his life, Jiang Ziya has made outstanding contributions to military, political and economic thinking, especially in the military field, which is the most important, so that the Duke of History said, “When the future generations talk about military and the Yin power of Zhou, they all refer to Taigong as the original plan”.

Jiang Ziya is an all-wise and all-powerful figure in Chinese history, as well as a “tall, big and complete” figure on the Chinese literary stage, and a divine master above all gods on the Chinese altar. As a religious deity, he is a god of war and wisdom, and is worshipped as a deity of protection who is “here, there is nothing forbidden”. From the time when King Wu was in power, he was called “Tai Gong Wang”, and when King Wu was in power, he was also called “Shi Shang Fu”. When King Wu was in power, he was called “Master Shangfu,” and he was honored with the title of “Master. King Wen appointed Taigong as “Tai Shi”, the highest official among the “three gongs” of the Western Zhou Dynasty, who was in charge of both military and political affairs. There was a saying that “the world was divided into three parts, and two of them were returned to the Zhou Dynasty, and Taigong’s strategies were the most important”, which shows the importance of Taigong’s position in the Zhou Dynasty.

Jiang Ziya ruled the country and established the policy of “simplifying the rites and rituals due to its customs, opening up the business and industry, and facilitating the profit of fish and salt”, which has been passed down from generation to generation in the development history of Qi for hundreds of years and has made a great impact and established the historical status of Qi culture. More than 3,000 years after his death, the people worship his noble character, mourn his great achievements, and make up many myths and stories to praise him with simple feelings. It is said that he had studied the Tao in Kunlun Mountain, and then was ordered by his master to come down to help the Zhou to destroy the Shang, and after the destruction of the Shang, he was ordered by his master to issue a list of gods. This gradually deified him in books such as “Taiping Yuran” and “The Book of the Sealed Gods”. In the Ming Dynasty, Xu Zhonglin made up a book called “Feng Shen Yi Yi” to reverence Taigong as a god who is in charge of all the gods in the world, and the magic and majesty of Taigong became the idol to drive away evil and help the righteous. Although these are beyond the historical reality, but reflects the high status of Jiang Ziya in people’s mind.

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