Shi Yue (Former Qin)

Shi Yue (died 384) was a military general of Former Qin during the Sixteen Kingdoms period. Initially starting out as an envoy to Former Yan, he helped the Qin army in capturing Xiangyang and in quelling the rebellion of Fu Jian's cousin, Fu Luo. He was most noted to be one of the main oppositions towards Fu Jian's plan to conquer the Jin dynasty (266–420) in 382, whose failure to win him over led to the disastrous defeat of the Qin army at the Battle of Feishui. After the defeat, he was entrusted the important task of defending Ye, where he urged Fu Pi to get rid of the suspicious Murong Chui but failing to convince his superior once more. Shi was killed in battle against Murong Nong in 384, and his head was used as an offering to Nong's father, Chui.

Shi Yue
石越
Gentleman of the Yellow Gates (黃門侍郎)
In office
? (?)–? (?)
MonarchFu Jian
General Who Conquers The Caitiffs (征虜將軍)
In office
378 (378)–? (?)
MonarchFu Jian
Colonel of Camped Cavalry (屯騎校尉)
In office
380 (380)–? (?)
MonarchFu Jian
Inspector of Pingzhou (平州刺史)
In office
380 (380)–? (?)
MonarchFu Jian
Crown Prince's Guard Leader of the Left (太子左衛率)
In office
? (?)–? (?)
MonarchFu Jian
General Who Conquers The Caitiffs (征虜將軍)
In office
370 (370)–? (?)
MonarchFu Jian
General of Agile Cavalry (驍騎將軍)
In office
383 (383)–384 (384)
MonarchFu Jian
Personal details
BornUnknown
Xingping, Shaanxi
Died384

LifeEdit

Nothing much is known about Shi Yue's early life and background apart from being a native of Shiping (始平, in modern Xingping, Shaanxi). He first appeared in 369 but was already a Gentleman of the Yellow Gate by that time. That year, Fu Jian sent Shi to Former Yan to act as an envoy after Yan's triumph over Jin and before their war with Qin. Yan's emperor regent, Murong Ping, treated him lavishly and showed off the state's wealth, but his ministers warned him against it, as they say Shi was only in Yan to observe the state's condition. Ping, however, chose to ignore them. Yan was later conquered by Qin in 370 after a brief and decisive war.[1]

Siege of XiangyangEdit

For the next nine years, Shi Yue grew to become General Who Conquers the Caitiffs. In 378, Fu Jian planned a massive siege on Xiangyang and had Shi lead ten thousand cavalries from Luyang (魯陽; present-day Lushan County, Henan). When Qin forces reached the Mian River (沔水), the Inspector of Liangzhou, Zhu Xu, did not think that the Qin forces were a threat as they did not have any boats, so he paid little concern for them. Shi Yue used this to his advantage. He led 5,000 of his cavalries to swim across the Han River and took Xiangyang by surprise. Zhu Xu withdrew into the city defences while Shi Yue secured the outskirts of the city and captured hundreds of boats for the Qin forces to cross over. The siege of Xiangyang lasted for a year before it was eventually captured in 379 after its Protector, Li Bohu (李伯護), allowed the Qin troops to enter and capture Zhu Xu.[2]

Fu Luo's rebellionEdit

In 380, Fu Jian's cousins, Fu Luo and Fu Chong (苻重) were both disgruntled at Fu Jian's treatment of them and staged a rebellion in Youzhou. Fu Jian sent his generals Lü Guang and Dou Chong to quell them, and after defeating them at Zhongshan, the brothers scattered. Luo was sent to Chang'an while Chong was killed in battle. Shi Yue, serving as Colonel of Camped Cavalry, led ten thousand cavalries to cross the Bohai Sea from Donglai and surprise attacked the rebel's base in Helong. Fu Luo's main co-conspirator, Ping Gui (平規), was killed during the assault and the rebellion was put down.[3] On August 380, Fu Jian split Pingzhou (平州, in modern Qinhuangdao, Hebei) off of Youzhou and made Shi Yue its first Inspector.

Battle of FeishuiEdit

In 382, Fu Jian intended to conquer the southlands from Jin and unify China once and for all. This was met with strong rebuttal from some of his officials such as Fu Rong, Quan Yi, Dao'an and Shi Yue himself. Shi Yue said to him, "The Year and Guard Star currently sits in the South Dipper, fortune lies in Wu. Your attempt to cut them down now will surely bring disaster. Moreover, there is the danger of the Yangtze River, and its people are likely to use it to their advantage. It is impossible to attack them." However, Fu Jian argued, "In the past, King Wu attacked Zhou and disobeyed divinations. The way of heaven is distant and unknown. Fuchai and Sun Hao both relied on their rivers and lakes yet could not escape demise. My army is so huge that if all my men throw their whips into the Yangtze, its flow will stop, so what danger would there be?"[4]

Shi Yue was not swayed by his reasoning. He further said to Fu Jian, "The three lords you mentioned were all sadistic and unruly. Therefore, their enemies conquered them as easy as picking something off the ground. Although there is no virtue in Jin, their crimes are not punish worthy. May Your Majesty build up your army and wait for the provocation." After lengthy discussions in the court, Fu Jian concluded to carry out his campaign in the end. Fu Jian attacked Jin in 382 but was greatly routed in 383 at the Battle of Feishui. Once he return to the north, Fu Jian assigned his generals to different locations to prevent any form of uprising from occurring. This included Shi Yue, who was given 3,000 elite cavalry to guard Ye.[5]

Post-Fei RiverEdit

Rebellions began just as expected, with Qifu Guoren and Zhai Bin being among the first. The Xianbei general, Murong Chui, was sent to attack Zhai Bin but deep down he too had intentions to rebel. Shi Yue warned Fu Jian's son, Fu Pi, against sending any reinforcements to Murong Chui. However, Fu Pi was certain that Murong Chui and Zhai Bin will weaken each other anyway, so he simply sent 2,000 weak soldiers with faulty equipment and 1,000 cavalries led by Fu Feilong (苻飛龍) to assist Murong Chui. Later, an incident occur in Ye where Murong Chui murdered a number of pavilion attendants for not letting him enter the Ancestral Temple of Yan and set the pavilion on fire. Shi Yue urged Fu Pi to use this as justification to kill Chui, but Pi refused, stating Chui's deeds in escorting his father back north after the Battle of Feishui. After withdrawing, Shi Yue lamented and told to the others, "The father and son are bound to these petty acts of benevolence regardless of the bigger picture. We will all be captives at the end of this."[6]

As a result, Chui succeeded in breaking away in 384 and his son, Murong Nong, rose up in support of him. Fu Pi sent Shi Yue to campaign against Murong Nong at Lieren (列人, in modern Feixiang District, Hebei). Despite urges for him to remain in Lieren and defend, Nong chose a more aggressive stance and led his troops to face Shi Yue directly. Shi Yue arrived west of Lieren, where his vanguard was attacked and defeated by Nong's Army Advisor, Qiwu Teng (綦毋滕). Nong then mounted a defence and waited for an opportunity to strike, seeing that Shi had better-equipped soldiers than him. Despite Shi's advantage over Nong, Shi decided to build a barrier and go on the defense, much to Nong's delight. When night came, Nong sent his general Liu Mu (劉木) to break through the barrier as Nong's army followed closely behind. The Qin army was greatly defeated, and Shi Yue was killed. Murong Nong beheaded Shi and sent his head to his father.[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ (秦遣黃門郎石越聘於燕,太傅評示之以奢,欲以誇燕之富盛。高泰及太傅參軍河間劉靖言於評曰:「越言誕而視遠,非求好也,乃觀釁也。宜耀兵以示之,用折其謀。今乃示之以奢,益為其所輕矣。」評不從。泰遂謝病歸。 ) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 102
  2. ^ (遣其尚書令苻丕率司馬慕容暐、苟萇等步騎七萬寇襄陽。使楊安將樊鄧之眾為前鋒,屯騎校尉石越率精騎一萬出魯陽關,募容垂與姚萇出自南鄉,苟池等與強駑王顯將勁卒四萬從武當繼進,大會漢陽。師次沔北,晉南中郎將硃序以丕軍無舟楫,不以為虞,石越遂游馬以渡。序大懼,固守中城。越攻陷外郛,獲船百餘艘以濟軍。丕率諸將進攻中城,遣苟池、石越、毛當以眾五萬屯於江陵。) Book of Jin, Volume 113
  3. ^ (使石越率騎一萬,自東萊出石徑,襲和龍,海行四百餘里。苻重亦盡薊城之眾會洛,次於中山,有眾十萬。沖等與洛戰於中山,大敗之,執洛及其將蘭殊,送于長安。呂光追斬苻重于幽州,石越克和龍,斬平顏及其党與百餘人。) Book of Jin, Volume 113
  4. ^ (太子左衛率石越對曰:「吳人恃險偏隅,不賓王命,陛下親禦六師,問罪衡、越,誠合人神四海之望。但今歲鎮星守斗牛,福德有吳。懸象無差,弗可犯也。且晉中宗,籓王耳,夷夏之情,咸共推之,遺愛猶在於人。昌明,其孫也,國有長江之險,朝無昏貳之釁。臣愚以為利用修德,未宜動師。孔子曰:'遠人不服,修文德以來之。'願保境養兵,伺其虛隙。」堅曰:「吾聞武王伐紂,逆歲犯星。天道幽遠,未可知也。昔夫差威陵上國,而為句踐所滅。仲謀澤洽全吳,孫皓因三代之業,龍驤一呼,君臣面縛,雖有長江,其能固乎!以吾之眾旅,投鞭于江,足斷其流。」越曰:「臣聞紂為無道,天下患之。夫差淫虐,孫皓昏暴,眾叛親離,所以敗也。今晉雖無德,未有斯罪,深願厲兵積粟以待天時。」) Book of Jin, Volume 114
  5. ^ (堅不從,遣其將李蠻、閔亮、尹國率眾三千送垂,又遣石越戍鄴,張蠔戍并州。) Book of Jin, Volume 123
  6. ^ (垂請入鄴城拜廟,丕不許。乃潛服而入,亭吏禁之,垂怒,斬吏燒亭而去。石越言於丕曰:「垂之在燕,破國亂家,及投命聖朝,蒙超常之遇,忽敢輕侮方鎮,殺吏焚亭,反形已露,終為亂階。將老兵疲,可襲而取之矣。」歪曰:「淮南之敗,眾散親離,而垂侍衛聖躬,誠不可忘。」越曰:「垂既不忠於燕,其肯盡忠於我乎!且其亡虜也,主上寵同功舊,不能銘澤誓忠,而首謀為亂,今不擊之,必為後害。」丕不從。越退而告人曰:「公父子好存小仁,不顧天下大計,吾屬終當為鮮卑虜矣。」) Book of Jin, Volume 123
  7. ^ (長樂公丕使石越將步騎萬餘討之。農曰:「越有智勇之名,今不南拒大軍而來此,是畏王而陵我也;必不設備,可以計取之。」眾請治列人城,農曰:「善用兵者,結士以心,不以異物。今起義兵,唯敵是求,當以山河為城池,何列人之足治也!」辛卯,越至列人西,農使趙秋及參軍綦毋滕擊越前鋒,破之。參軍太原趙謙言於農曰:「越甲仗雖精,人心危駭,易破也,宜急擊之。」農曰:「彼甲在外,我甲在心,晝戰,則士卒見其外貌而憚之,不如待暮擊之,可以必克。」令軍士嚴備以待,毋得妄動。越立柵自固,農笑謂諸將曰:「越兵精士眾,不乘其初至之銳以擊我,方更立柵,吾知其無能為也。」向暮,農鼓噪出,陳於城西。牙門劉木請先攻越柵,農笑曰:「凡人見美食,誰不欲之,何得獨請!然汝猛銳可嘉,當以先鋒惠汝。」木乃帥壯士四百騰柵而入,秦兵披靡;農督大眾隨之,大敗秦兵,斬越,送首於垂。越與毛當,皆秦之驍將也,故秦王堅使助二子鎮守;既而相繼敗沒,人情騷動,所在盜賊群起。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 106