King You of Zhou
King of the Zhou dynasty
Reign781–771 BC
PredecessorKing Xuan of Zhou
SuccessorKing Ping of Zhou
BornJi Gongsheng
795 BC
Died771 BC
SpouseConsort Shen
Bao Si
IssueKing Ping of Zhou
Crown Prince Bofu
Ancestral name: (姬)
Given name: Gōngshēng (宮湦) or Gōngniè (宮涅)
HouseZhou dynasty
FatherKing Xuan of Zhou
MotherQueen Jiang
King You of Zhou
Posthumous name
Literal meaningThe Secluded King of Zhou

King You of Zhou (Chinese: ; pinyin: Zhōu Yōu Wáng; 795–771 BC), personal name Ji Gongsheng, was the twelfth king of the Chinese Zhou dynasty and the last from the Western Zhou dynasty. He reigned from 781 to 771 BC.


In 780 BC, a major earthquake struck Guanzhong. A soothsayer named Bo Yangfu (伯陽甫) considered this an omen foretelling the destruction of the Zhou Dynasty.

In 779 BC, a concubine named Bao Si entered the palace and came into the King You's favour. They had a son named Bofu.[1] King You deposed Queen Shen (申后) and Crown Prince Yijiu. He made Baosi the new queen and Bofu the new crown prince.[2]

Queen Shen's father, the Marquess of Shen, was furious at the deposition of his daughter and grandson Crown Prince Yijiu and mounted an attack on King You's palace with the Quanrong. King You called for his nobles using the previously abused beacons but none came. In the end, King You and Bofu were killed and Baosi was captured.[3]

After King You died, nobles including the Marquess of Shen, the Marquess of Zeng (繒侯) and Duke Wen of Xu (許文公) supported the deposed Prince Yijiu as King Ping of Zhou[4] to continue the Zhou Dynasty. As the national capital Haojing had suffered severe damage, and was located near the potentially dangerous Quanrong, in 771 BC, King Ping of Zhou moved the capital eastward to Luoyang, thus beginning the Eastern Zhou Dynasty and ushering in the Spring and Autumn period which would last for more than 300 years.[5]

In literature

In the traditional Mao Commentary to the Shijing, the minor court hymn "Cai Shu" (采菽) is said to be a criticism of King You for squandering feudal lords' respect and humiliating them, although this interpretation is disputed.[6]

The Zuozhuan states that Baosi did not laugh easily. After trying many methods and failing, King You tried to amuse his favorite queen by lighting warning beacons and fooling his nobles into thinking that the Quanrong nomads were about to attack. The nobles arrived at the castle only to find themselves laughed at by Baosi. Even after King You had impressed Baosi, he continued to abuse his use of warning beacons and lost the trust of the nobles.[7] The earliest warning beacons appeared in the Han dynasty, and this story is a considered fabricated.[8] According the Xinian, carried by the excavated Tsinghua Bamboo Slips, King You of Zhou attacked the Marquess of Shen, who allied with the Quanrong to defeat the royal army.





King Yih of Zhou (899–892 BC)
King Yi of Zhou (d. 878 BC)
Wang Bo Jiang
King Li of Zhou (890–828 BC)
Wang Ji of E
King Xuan of Zhou (d. 782 BC)
Shen Jiang of Shen
King You of Zhou (d. 771 BC)
Duke Gui of Qi (d. 902 BC)
Duke Xian of Qi (d. 850 BC)
Duke Wu of Qi
Queen Jiang of Qi

See also


  1. ^ Revised Chinese Dictionary, Ministry of Education, Taiwan
  2. ^ Sima Qian. Records of the Grand Historian. Vol. 4.
  3. ^ Cambridge History of Ancient China,1999, pages 546 and 551
  4. ^ Bamboo Annals
  5. ^ Phương Thi Danh (2001), Niên biểu lịch sử Trung Quốc
  6. ^ Shih-Ching, Minor court hymns, Yuzao Zhi Shi, Cai Shu
  7. ^ Giles, Herbert A. (1912). The Civilization of China. Tutis Digital Publishing. ISBN 81-320-0448-5. Chapter 1
  8. ^ "资讯_凤凰网". Retrieved 2023-04-10.
King You of Zhou Zhou Dynasty Died: 771 BC Regnal titles Preceded byKing Xuan of Zhou King of China 781–771 BC Succeeded byKing Ping of Zhou