Chen Zhen
陳震
Statue of Chen Zhen in the Zhuge Liang Memorial Temple in Chengdu, Sichuan
Minister of the Guards (衛尉)
In office
229 (229)–235 (235)
MonarchLiu Shan
ChancellorZhuge Liang
Prefect of the Masters of Writing (尚書令)
In office
225 (225)–229 (229)
MonarchLiu Shan
ChancellorZhuge Liang
Master of Writing (尚書)
In office
225 (225)–225 (225)
MonarchLiu Shan
ChancellorZhuge Liang
Administrator of Jianwei (犍為太守)
In office
? (?)–? (?)
Administrator of Wenshan (汶山太守)
In office
? (?)–? (?)
Commandant of the North District of Shu Commandery (蜀郡北部都尉)
In office
214 (214)–? (?)
Personal details
BornUnknown
Nanyang, Henan
Died235[1]
ChildrenChen Ji
OccupationOfficial
Courtesy nameXiaoqi (孝起)
PeerageMarquis of Chengyang Village (城陽亭侯)

Chen Zhen (died 235),[1] courtesy name Xiaoqi, was an official of the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period of China. When Liu Bei became Governor of Jing Province, Chen Zhen was hired to serve as a local officer and was stationed in various commanderies. When Liu Bei entered Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing), Chen Zhen remained in his service, where he progressed in rank and soon became Prefect of the Masters of Writing at the capital. When Sun Quan declared himself emperor and established the state of Eastern Wu in 229, Liu Shan sent Chen Zhen to offer his congratulations and to form an alliance, which he did, and they also drew out their respective states' boundaries.

Life

Chen Zhen was from Nanyang Commandery, which is around present-day Nanyang, Henan. When Liu Bei was Governor of the Jing Province in 209, Chen was recruited among Liu Bei's staff an attendant clerk with authority over the various prefectures.[a] Chen Zhen followed Liu Bei into Yi Province. When the conflict was settled in 214, Liu Bei trusted him and made him Commandant of the North District of Shu Commandery (蜀郡北部都尉). Later because the prefecture name was changed he became Administrator of Wenshan(汶山太守), then he was transferred to be Administrator of Jianwei(犍為太守).[2]

In 225, Chen Zhen joined the court and was appointed as Master of Writing(尚書). Chen Zhen did well and he was promoted to Prefect of the Masters of Writing(尚書令). Later, he was sent as an envoy to Eastern Wu.[3]

Four years later, in 229. Sun Quan declared himself emperor. At the same time, Chen Zhen was appointed as Minister of the Guards(衛尉) and was sent with the perilous task to congratulate Sun Quan's ascension. Zhuge Liang thought highly of him and wrote to his elder brother Zhuge Jin in Wu: “Xiaoqi is of honest and loyal nature yet he becomes even wise as he grows older, He speaks praise of all things, is joyful and peaceful and want to bring the best to the East and the West. He is praiseworthy.”[4]

When Chen Zhen entered Wu's borders, he sent a message to the captain of the pass. He said:

“The East joined with the West is such that the messenger comes and goes. Their caps and canopies in plain sight, They extend the pledge to reaffirm the friendship of before. Each days producing new model of it. And so the respected ruler of the East accepts the sacred blessing to rule. He proclaimed his acceptance of the seals, judges the land and space and receive Heaven's signs. The realm responds in answer, and each and every pays respect. Now that it has come to this, Both of our state may join our hearts and be of one mind to defeat the bandit rebels and when we attack how can we fail to crush them! The western court’s lord and ministers all eagerly await this happy alliance. I, Zhen, though I am an untalented man, was chosen to accomplish my mission as an envoy. And to respectfully arrange union, respect and friendship between us. I step over our border and leap with joy entering as Wu as if I'm returning home. When Xianzi(獻子) went to Lu, he violated their taboo concerning their hills, and the Spring and Autumn Annals ridiculed him. I expect that you will inform me to certainly serve as messenger to establish friendship. In the next few days I will address the crowds, and each side will pledge alliance. I must follow the current, floating swiftly. The state laws here are different, and I fear I may commit some violation. Hopefully I will certainly be instructed and shown what should be done.”[5]

Chen Zhen was treated with respect by Sun Quan. And when he arrived at Wuchang. Both, Sun Quan and him ascended the Altar and together smeared their mouths with blood to pledge to the formed alliance between Wu and Shu. Then, they divided the realm Under Heaven; and so Xu, Yu, You and Qīng belong to Wu; While Bing, Liang, Ji and Yan belong to Shu Han. The lands of Si province would be divided with Hang Valley Aass(函谷關) as the border.[b] After his mission was accomplished, Chen returned to Shu and was given a fief as Marquis of Chengyang Village(城陽亭侯).[6]

In 231, during Zhuge Liang's fourth expedition Li Ping failed to provide supplies to Zhuge Liang's camp and falsely called off the campaign to hide it. Zhuge Liang with Chief Clerk Jiang Wan and Internal Attendant Dong Yun wrote this letter to the court: “When Xiaoqi previously went to Wu, he informed us that Zhengfang kept the supplies. And that the locals believe it could not be sent. I assumed the supply manager would not make this mistake and that is all. And I had not thought there would be another incident like with Su Qin(蘇秦) and Zhang Yi(張儀)[c], and so we were surprised. Only Xiaoqi saw through this.”[7]

Chen Zhen died in 235. His son Chen Ji succeeded him.[8]

Appraisal

Chen Shou, who wrote Chen Zhen's biography in the Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi), appraised Chen Zhen as follows: "Chen Zhen was faithful and respectful and as he grew older he was increasingly sincere.... Along with Dong He, Liu Ba, Ma Liang and Dong Yun, he was one of the best officials in Shu."[9]

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Chen Zhen first appears in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms as a subordinate of the warlord Yuan Shao. His actions under Yuan Shao are not unlike his duties with Liu Bei, where he performs diplomatic tasks such as delivering Liu Bei's letter to Guan Yu in Luoyang, and meeting with Sun Ce to request aid against Cao Cao. Also in the novel, it was he who suggested to Liu Bei that he meet the seer Li Yi (李意) while mourning the deaths of his brothers.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Fang Beichen said that Chen Zhen's mission was to assure the timely submission of documents and report any illegal activities committed by commandery officials
  2. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Kingdoms#/media/File:Han_provinces.jpg
  3. ^ Su Qin and Zhang Yi were diplomats famous for their duplicity during the Warring States period of Chinese history.

References

  1. ^ a b Chen Zhen's biography in the Sanguozhi stated that he died in the 13th year of the Jianxing era (223-237) in Liu Shan's reign. (十三年,震卒。)
  2. ^ (陳震字孝起,南陽人也。先主領荊州牧,辟為從事,部諸郡,隨先主入蜀。蜀既定,為蜀郡北部都尉,因易郡名,為汶山太守,轉在犍為。) Sanguozhi vol. 39.
  3. ^ (建興三年,入拜尚書,遷尚書令,奉命使吳。) Sanguozhi vol. 39.
  4. ^ (七年,孫權稱尊號,以震為衛尉,賀權踐阼,諸葛亮與兄瑾書曰:「孝起忠純之性,老而益篤,及其贊述東西,歡樂和合,有可貴者。」) Sanguozhi vol. 39.
  5. ^ (震入吳界,移關候曰:「東之與西,驛使往來,冠蓋相望,申盟初好,日新其事。東尊應保聖祚,告燎受符,剖判土宇,天下響應,各有所歸。於此時也,以同心討賊,則何寇不滅哉!西朝君臣,引領欣賴。震以不才,得充下使,奉聘敘好,踐界踊躍,入則如歸。獻子適魯,犯其山諱,春秋譏之。望必啟告,使行人睦焉。即日張旍誥眾,各自約誓。順流漂疾,國典異制,懼或有違,幸必斟誨,示其所宜。」) Sanguozhi vol. 39.
  6. ^ (震到武昌,孫權與震升壇歃盟,交分天下:以徐、豫、幽、青屬吳,并、涼、冀、兗屬蜀,其司州之土,以函谷關為界。震還,封城陽亭侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 39.
  7. ^ (九年,都護李平坐誣罔廢;諸葛亮與長史蔣琬、侍中董允書曰:「孝起前臨至吳,為吾說正方腹中有鱗甲,鄉黨以為不可近。吾以為鱗甲者但不當犯之耳,不圖復有蘇、張之事出於不意。可使孝起知之。」) Sanguozhi vol. 39.
  8. ^ (十三年,震卒。子濟嗣。) Sanguozhi vol. 39.
  9. ^ (評曰: ... 陳震忠恪,老而益篤, ... 皆蜀臣之良矣。) Sanguozhi vol. 39.