Lu Wan (died 194 BC) was an official and vassal king of the early Han dynasty. He served under Liu Bang (Emperor Gaozu), the founding emperor of the Han dynasty.

Lu Wan
King of Yan (燕王)
Tenure202 BC – 195 BC
PredecessorZang Tu
SuccessorLiu Jian
Feng County, Jiangsu
Died194 BC

Early life and careerEdit

Lu Wan was from Feng Town (豐邑), which is in present-day Feng County, Xuzhou, Jiangsu. His father and Liu Bang's father were close friends, as were Liu Bang and him. He shared the same birthday as Liu Bang and studied in the same school as him.[1]

In around 209 BC, when Liu Bang rebelled against the Qin dynasty, Lu Wan supported him in the struggle against Qin forces. After the collapse of the Qin dynasty in 206 BC, Xiang Yu, the de facto leader of the rebel forces that overthrew Qin, divided the former Qin Empire into the Eighteen Kingdoms, each ruled by a king who nominally paid allegiance to Emperor Yi of Chu, the puppet monarch controlled by him. Liu Bang became the "King of Han" (漢王) and was given Hanzhong and the Bashu territories (covering parts of present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) as his domain. He appointed Lu Wan as a General (將軍) and "Palace Attendant" (侍中). Later on, when Liu Bang engaged Xiang Yu in a power struggle – historically known as the Chu–Han Contention (206–202 BC) – for supremacy over China, Lu Wan accompanied him into battle as a "Grand Commandant" (太尉). Because of his close friendship with Liu Bang, he received many gifts from Liu and was allowed to enter Liu's living quarters freely. Even Liu Bang's other close aides, including Xiao He and Cao Shen, did not receive the same level of treatment from their lord as Lu Wan. Liu Bang also enfeoffed Lu Wan as the "Marquis of Chang'an" (長安侯).[2]

Service under the Han dynastyEdit

In the winter of 202 BC, after Liu Bang defeated Xiang Yu at the Battle of Gaixia, he ordered Lu Wan and Liu Jia (劉賈) to lead troops to attack Gong Wei, the King of Linjiang (臨江王). They defeated Gong Wei, conquered Linjiang, and returned by the seventh month of that year. Lu Wan later followed Liu Bang to attack Zang Tu, the King of Yan (燕王), who was defeated. By then, Liu Bang had unified most – if not all – of the Eighteen Kingdoms under his control and established the Han Empire with himself as its first ruler; he is historically known as Emperor Gaozu of the Han dynasty. Although he had already awarded vassal king titles to seven men who were not from the Liu clan, he wanted to make Lu Wan a vassal king as well so he sought his subjects' opinions. They were aware of the emperor's intention, so they nominated Lu Wan on the grounds that he had made great contributions in the military campaigns against the rival kingdoms. In the eighth month of 202, Lu Wan was formally enfeoffed as the "King of Yan".[3]

Secretly contacting Chen Xi and the XiongnuEdit

In the autumn of 197 BC, Chen Xi started a rebellion and declared himself the "King of Dai". Emperor Gaozu personally led an army to suppress the rebellion, while Lu Wan led another army to help the emperor by attacking Chen Xi from the north-east. Chen Xi sent Wang Huang (王黃) as a messenger to seek help from the Xiongnu; Lu Wan also sent his subordinate, Zhang Sheng (張勝), to meet the Xiongnu and spread news that Chen Xi was going to be defeated and urge the Xiongnu to refrain from helping him. On his way to Xiongnu territory, Zhang Sheng met Zang Yan (臧衍), Zang Tu's son, who was living in exile. Zang Yan told him that the Kingdom of Yan was able to remain stable and continue existing because the Han central government was occupied with suppressing the rebellions. He further explained that as long as there was conflict, Yan would continue to serve a useful function: to help the Han central government fight opposing forces. If conflict ceased, Yan would lose its purpose and might end up like the other vassal kingdoms which had already been dismantled (and their rulers were killed, some on false charges of treason). Zhang Sheng heeded Zang Yan's advice to secretly arrange with the Xiongnu to help Chen Xi attack the Kingdom of Yan. When Lu Wan heard that Zhang Sheng was plotting with the Xiongnu to attack his domain, he wrote a memorial to Emperor Gaozu to seek permission to have Zhang Sheng's family executed because Zhang committed treason. However, after Zhang Sheng returned and explained everything to him, Lu Wan realised his folly and spared Zhang Sheng's family. He then sent Zhang Sheng to continue to remain in contact with the Xiongnu, and sent Fan Qi (范齊) to contact Chen Xi and secretly arrange to help Chen prolong the survival of his rebel regime.[4]

Emperor Gao's suspicions towards Lu WanEdit

In 195 BC, Emperor Gaozu led an army to attack Ying Bu, a vassal king who had rebelled against him. At the same time, he ordered Fan Kuai to lead another army to attack Chen Xi. One of Chen Xi's subordinates who surrendered to Fan Kuai revealed that Fan Qi, Lu Wan's subordinate, had been secretly maintaining contact with Chen Xi. Emperor Gao became suspicious of Lu Wan and summoned him to the capital for questioning, but Lu refused to comply and claimed that he was ill. The emperor then sent Shen Yiji (審食其) and Zhao Yao (趙堯) to fetch Lu Wan to the capital and conduct an investigation in the Kingdom of Yan. Lu Wan became very fearful when heard about it so he pretended to be ill and confined himself at home and refused to meet Shen Yiji and Zhao Yao. He told his close aides, "Of all the non-imperial clan nobles, only Wu Chen (吳臣; the King of Changsha) and I are left. Han Xin and Peng Yue lost their lives because of Empress Lü. His Majesty is ill and has entrusted all state affairs to the Empress. The Empress is seeking excuses to eliminate all the non-imperial clan nobles and subjects who have made great contributions." He continued to pretend to be sick. When Shen Yiji returned to the capital, he reported to Emperor Gaozu what Lu Wan said to his aides. The emperor was furious. Later, after learning from Xiongnu prisoners-of-war that Lu Wan had sent Zhang Sheng to contact the Xiongnu, Emperor Gaozu became angrier and more convinced that Lu Wan was plotting a rebellion.[5]


In the second month of 195 BC, Emperor Gaozu ordered Fan Kuai to lead an army to attack Lu Wan. Lu Wan brought together all his family members and subordinates (numbering a few thousand people), escaped from Yan, and settled down at a location near the Great Wall. He planned to turn himself in to Emperor Gaozu and plead for forgiveness after the emperor had recovered from his illness. However, Emperor Gaozu died two months later before Lu Wan could do so. When Lu Wan received news of Emperor Gaozu's death, he brought together his family and subordinates and fled to Xiongnu territory. The Xiongnu gave him the title "King Lu of Donghu" (東胡盧王). Lu Wan suffered during his stay with the Xiongnu and often thought of returning home. He died a year later in exile.[6]

Family and descendantsEdit

When Empress Lü Zhi ruled the Han Empire as a regent after Emperor Gaozu's death, Lu Wan's family members managed to escape from the Xiongnu and return to Han territory. They wanted to meet her but she died of illness before they could meet. Lu Wan's widow also died of illness not long later.[7]

In 144 BC, Lu Wan's grandson, Lu Tazhi (盧他之), in his capacity as "King of Donghu" (東胡王), surrendered to the Han Empire and was enfeoffed as the "Marquis of Yagu" (亞谷侯).[8]



  1. ^ (盧綰者,豐人也,與高祖同里。盧綰親與高祖太上皇相愛,及生男,高祖、盧綰同日生,里中持羊酒賀兩家。及高祖、盧綰壯,俱學書,又相愛也。里中嘉兩家親相愛,生子同日,壯又相愛,復賀兩家羊酒。高祖為布衣時,有吏事辟匿,盧綰常隨出入上下。) Shi Ji vol. 93.
  2. ^ (及高祖初起沛,盧綰以客從,入漢中為將軍,常侍中。從東擊項籍,以太尉常從,出入卧內,衣被飲食賞賜,羣臣莫敢望,雖蕭曹等,特以事見禮,至其親幸,莫及盧綰。綰封為長安侯。長安,故咸陽也。) Shi Ji vol. 93.
  3. ^ (漢五年冬,以破項籍,迺使盧綰別將,與劉賈擊臨江王共尉,破之。七月還,從擊燕王臧荼,臧荼降。高祖已定天下,諸侯非劉氏而王者七人。欲王盧綰,為羣臣觖望。及虜臧荼,迺下詔諸將相列侯,擇羣臣有功者以為燕王。羣臣知上欲王盧綰,皆言曰:「太尉長安侯盧綰常從平定天下,功最多,可王燕。」詔許之。漢五年八月,迺立虜綰為燕王。諸侯王得幸莫如燕王。) Shi Ji vol. 93.
  4. ^ (漢十一年秋,陳豨反代地,高祖如邯鄲擊豨兵,燕王綰亦擊其東北。當是時,陳豨使王黃求救匈奴。燕王綰亦使其臣張勝於匈奴,言豨等軍破。張勝至胡,故燕王臧茶子衍出亡在胡,見張勝曰:「公所以重於燕者,以習胡事也。燕所以久存者,以諸侯數反,兵連不決也。今公為燕欲急滅豨等,已盡,次亦至燕,公等亦且為虜矣。公何不令燕且緩陳豨而與胡和?事寬,得長王燕;即有漢急,可以安國。」張勝以為然,迺私令匈奴助豨等擊燕。燕王綰疑張勝與胡反,上書請族張勝。勝還,具道所以為者。燕王寤,迺詐論他人,脫勝家屬,使得為匈奴間,而陰使范齊之陳豨所,欲令久亡,連兵勿決。) Shi Ji vol. 93.
  5. ^ (漢十二年,東擊黥布,豨常將兵居代,漢使樊噲擊斬豨。其裨將降,言燕王綰使范齊通計謀於豨所。高祖使使召盧綰,綰稱病。上又使辟陽侯審食其、御史大夫趙堯往迎燕王,因驗問左右。綰愈恐,閉匿,謂其幸臣曰:「非劉氏而王,獨我與長沙耳。往年春,漢族淮陰,夏,誅彭越,皆呂后計。今上病,屬任呂后。呂后婦人,專欲以事誅異姓王者及大功臣。」迺遂稱病不行。其左右皆亡匿。語頗泄,辟陽侯聞之,歸具報上,上益怒。又得匈奴降者,降者言張勝亡在匈奴,為燕使。於是上曰:「盧綰果反矣!」) Shi Ji vol. 93.
  6. ^ (使樊噲擊燕。燕王綰悉將其宮人家屬騎數千居長城下,候伺,幸上病愈,自入謝。四月,高祖崩,盧綰遂將其衆亡入匈奴,匈奴以為東胡盧王。綰為蠻夷所侵奪,常思復歸。居歲餘,死胡中。) Shi Ji vol. 93.
  7. ^ (高后時,盧綰妻子亡降漢,會高后病,不能見,舍燕邸,為欲置酒見之。高后竟崩,不得見。盧綰妻亦病死。) Shi Ji vol. 93.
  8. ^ (孝景中六年,盧綰孫他之,以東胡王降,封為亞谷侯。) Shi Ji vol. 93.


Chinese royalty
Preceded by
Zang Tu
King of Yan
202 BCE – 195 BCE
Succeeded by
Liu Jian