Wang Hun
General Who Stabilizes the East
In office
? (?)–? (?)
MonarchEmperor Wu of Jin
Supervisor of the Left of the Masters of Writing
In office
285 (285)–297 (297)
MonarchEmperor Wu of Jin/
Emperor Hui of Jin
Minister Over the Masses (司徒)
In office
290 (290)–297 (297)
MonarchEmperor Wu of Jin/
Emperor Hui of Jin
Manager of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing
In office
291 (291)–? (?)
MonarchEmperor Hui of Jin
Personal details
Taiyuan, Shanxi
Died4 September 297 (aged 75)
Spouse(s)Zhong Yan
Relationssee Wang clan of Taiyuan
  • Wang Shang
  • Wang Ji
  • Wang Cheng
  • Wang Wen
  • Pei Kai's wife
  • He Qiao's wife
  • Wei Heng's wife
  • two unnamed daughters
OccupationGeneral and politician
Courtesy nameXuanchong (玄沖)
Posthumous nameDuke Yuan of Jingling
PeerageMarquis of Jingling
Duke of Jingling

Wang Hun (223–297), courtesy name Xuanchong, was a Chinese military general and politician of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period and Western Jin dynasty period. He spent most of his early career serving at the eastern borders of Jin and Eastern Wu, where he occasionally battled with the southern state. He was most known for his role in the Conquest of Wu between 279 and 280, during which he destroyed Wu's main forces under Zhang Ti, as well as his subsequent dispute with Wang Jun, who he accused of going against orders by capturing Jianye on his own and stealing Wang Hun's chance at glory. Despite the controversy surrounding him following the conquest, he remained an accomplished and well-respected figure within the state.

Early life and career

Early career in Cao Wei

Wang Hun was born the son of the Cao Wei general, Wang Chang, who was from the Wang clan of Jinyang County (晉陽; present-day Taiyuan, Shanxi) in Taiyuan Commandery. Wang Hun began his career as a subordinate of the General-In-Chief, Cao Shuang. In 249, Sima Yi carried out a coup at Gaoping Tombs, executing Cao Shuang and many of his partisans. However, Wang Hun was merely dismissed from his office, and he would later return to the government shortly after, serving a series of offices including as military advisor of Sima Zhao.[1]

Service in Xuzhou, Yuzhou and Yangzhou

After Wei was dissolved and Jin was formed in 266, Wang Hun was appointed General Who Spreads Vehemence and the Inspector of Xuzhou. During his time in Xuzhou, a famine had broken out. In response, Wang Hun opened up the granaries and warehouses to feed the people, causing the local populace to highly revere him.[2] Later, he was tasked in defending Xuchang and oversaw military affairs in Huaibei.

Wang Hun was eventually transferred to Yuzhou, where he was given military command over the province and was acting Inspector. As Yuzhou was bordered with Jin's southern rival state, Eastern Wu, Wang Hun began publicizing his state's prestige, attracting many migrants from Wu. At the time, two Wu generals, Xue Ying and Lu Shu, were boasted to have a total of 100,000 soldiers under their wing. The pair attacked Jin at Yiyang and Xinxi (新息; southwest of present-day Xi County, Henan) during a day when most of the Jin soldiers were on leave and only one brigade was defending the areas. Despite that, Wang Hun took what little he had and led them to secretly cross the Huaihe. Xue Ying and Lu Shu did not anticipate the Jin army to attack, so Wang Hun routed them.[3]

Wang Hun was later once again transferred, this time to Yangzhou, where he served as General Who Stabilizes the East as well as Chief Controller of Yangzhou and defended the city of Shouchun. Wu had been heavily cultivating in Wancheng (宛城; in present-day Nanyang, Henan) in preparation to attack. Wang Hun ordered the Inspector of Yangzhou, Ying Chou (應綽), to raid Wancheng's farmlands. Ying Chou destroyed the local garrison in Wancheng and burnt much of Wu's grains, rice seedlings and ships before returning. Afterwards, Wang Hun positioned troops at the eastern border, observing the terrains and enemy cities for Jin's future plans of invasion.[4]

Friendship with Liu Yuan

Wang Hun was friends with a Xiongnu noble named Liu Yuan, who would later be known as the founder of Han Zhao, one of the pivotal states of the Sixteen Kingdoms. At this point, Liu Yuan was still a Jin official, and Wang Hun, along with his son Wang Ji (王濟), would often talk on behalf of him to Sima Yan.[5] Liu Yuan was liked by Sima Yan but not by Sima Yan's advisors. In 279, he was recommended twice to be given command over an army, – first against Wu and then against the Xianbei rebel Tufa Shujineng – but Sima Yan was advised not to in both times.

Liu Yuan became depressed at what he perceived as a mistreatment of him, and this change of behaviour was noticed by Sima Yan's brother, Sima You. Fearing that he would rebel, Sima You told his brother that Liu Yuan should be removed at once. However, Wang Hun intervened and argued that executing someone the emperor had no suspicion with would be both unfair and not a good look for the state. Sima Yan sided with Wang Hun over the matter, so Liu Yuan was spared.[6]

Conquest of Wu

In December 279, Sima Yan launched a grand invasion of Wu to unify China once and for all. Prior to the conquest, Wang Hun sent a petition cautioning that Sun Hao was planning to attack north. The court believed that Sun Hao had no such plan, but did take steps in strengthening the defences to make the conquest easier. Once the conquest began, the Jin generals were divided and marched to different locations, with Wang Hun being Hengjiang (橫江; southeast of present-day He County, Anhui).

Along the way, Wang Hun captured Xunyang (尋陽; southwest of present-day Huangmei County, Hubei), Gaowang (高望; southwest of present-day Pu County 浦縣), and Laixiang (賴鄉) as well as the Wu general Zhou Xing (周興). He also received the surrenders of Chen Dai (陳代) and Zhu Ming (朱明). Hearing of Wang Hun's advances, Sun Hao ordered his Prime Minister, Zhang Ti, along with Zhuge Jing, Sun Zhen (孫震) and Shen Ying (沈瑩) with 30,000 soldiers to cross the Yangtze and resist the Jin general. Zhang Ti scored an early victory, capturing Wang Hun's subordinate Zhang Qiao (張喬), but faced difficulties in his next encounter with Wang Hun's other subordinate, Zhou Jun (周浚). Eventually, Zhou Jun, joined by a rebelling Zhang Qiao, overwhelmed the Wu army. Zhang Ti, Sun Zhen, and Shen Ying were killed alongside 7,800 of their soldiers. Zhuge Jing managed to escape while the surviving soldiers scattered and fled.[7]

Zhang Ti's death shook the state of Wu, and the defeat of his army meant that the bulk of the Wu military had been destroyed. Even so, Wang Hun failed to capitalize on his victory by remaining cautious with his next move. Meanwhile, Wang Hun's colleague Wang Jun began making his preparation on arriving first at Wu's capital, Jianye. Wang Hun's subordinate, He Yun (何惲), alerted him about this, but Wang Hun refused to listen, as he believed that they should wait for further instructions. He also thought that Wang Jun would not go against orders, as it was planned that he would be placed under Wang Hun's authority once Wang Jun reached Jianye.[8]

Shortly after, Wang Hun accepted surrenders from Wu's Minister Over the Masses, He Zhi (何植), and the general Sun Yan (孫晏). He, Wang Jun and Sima Zhou received envoys from the Emperor of Wu, Sun Hao, who stated that he was prepared to give his surrender to anyone of them. On 1 May, Wang Jun quickly sailed over to Jianye to meet with Sun Hao. Wang Hun sent a letter to Wang Jun ordering him to stop and discuss together first, but Wang Jun ignored him. In the end, Wang Jun arrived at Jianye and received Sun Hao's surrender, thus ending the Three Kingdoms and unifying China.[9]

Dispute with Wang Jun

Wang Hun only crossed the Yangtze one day after Wang Jun entered Jianye. After hearing of Sun Hao's surrender, Wang Hun grew dejected and was resentful towards Wang Jun. He was on the verge of attacking Wang Jun, but tensions between the two temporarily subsided after Wang Jun handed Sun Hao over to Wang Hun as a compromise. Not long after, Wang Hun submitted a petition accusing Wang Jun of violating orders and committing crimes. Wang Hun had powerful friends in the court, and Wang Ji was married to Sima Yan's sister, so the court heavily sided with Wang Hun in the ordeal. They called for Wang Jun to be brought back to Luoyang in a prison cart, but Sima Yan refused, although he acknowledged that Wang Jun had committed transgressions during the conquest. Later, Wang Hun and his supporters began raking up accusations against Wang Jun, including claims that he and his men partook in looting and burning palaces, but Wang Jun was able to defend and explain himself.[10]

Sima Yan ordered his minister, Liu Song, to give the final verdict. Liu Song gave Wang Hun the chief achievement while Wang Jun was given the middle achievement.[11] Despite Liu Song's verdict, Sima Yan was not satisfied with the outcome and would reward Wang Jun handsomely at a later time. Although the situation was resolved, the two men held on to their disdain for one another. In court, Wang Hun would often boast about his achievements in the conquest and storm out whenever he felt upset over not getting to claim victory. Meanwhile, Wang Jun increased his personal security, fearing that Wang Hun may kill him one day. During a visit from Wang Hun, Wang Jun surrounded himself with disciplined guards first before letting Wang Hun in.[12]

Later life and career

Shortly after the conquest, Sima Yan would praise Wang Hun for his merits during the war and promoted his peerage to Duke of Jingling, placing 8,000 households under him. In 280, Wang Hun was reassigned as General Who Stabilizes the East and sent back to defend Shouchun. As Jin had just conquered Wu, Wang Hun refrained from carrying out too many punishments and acted decisively. The former people of Wu in Jiangdong who were initially fearful of the new regime were pacified by Wang Hun's rule and came to respect him.[13]

In 282, Sima Yan sent Sima You away from the capital to a princely fief at the advice of Xun Xu and Feng Dan (馮紞), a decision which sparked heated debate. Wang Hun wrote a petition against this, arguing that Sima You should remain in the capital and be more involved in politics, but his petition was rejected. In 285, Wang Hun was made Supervisor of the Left of the Masters of Writing. Wang Hun was said to be inappropriate for the office, so for the most part he consulted Wang Ji who was more capable than him. In 290, Wang Hun was appointed Minister Over the Masses.

Sima Yan died in 290 and his developmentally disabled son, Emperor Hui, ascended the throne. Wang Hun was appointed Palace Attendant and was awarded with his own non-commissioned officers. In 291, a series of coups took place orchestrated by Empress Jia. After killing her co-regent Yang Jun, the Empress and her ally, Sima Wei, planned to kill Sima Liang. Sima Wei sought Wang Hun to use his popular image as a way to downplay his actions to the public. However, Wang Hun refused, pretending to be ill and locking himself up in his residence with more than a thousand guards. Sima Wei did not dare to force Wang Hun out and carried on without him. In the middle of the year, Empress Jia turned on Sima Wei and executed him. Wang Hun led his troops into the palace and was rewarded with the office of Manager of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing.[14]

After becoming Minister Over the Masses, Wang Hun's fame went into a gradual decline. He died at the age of 75 on 4 September 297 and was posthumously named Duke Yuan of Jingling. His eldest son, Wang Shang (王尚) died early, so Wang Ji was established as Wang Hun's heir. However, Wang Ji died before his father, so Wang Hun's feudal titles ended up with his grandson, Wang Zhuo (王卓), instead.[15]


  1. ^ (王渾,字玄沖,太原晉陽人也。父昶,魏司空。渾沈雅有器量。襲父爵京陵侯,辟大將軍曹爽掾。爽誅,隨例免。起為懷令,參文帝安東軍事,累遷散騎黃門侍郎、散騎常侍。) Book of Jin, Volume 42
  2. ^ (武帝受禪,加揚烈將軍,遷徐州刺史。時年荒歲饑,渾開倉振贍,百姓賴之。) Book of Jin, Volume 42
  3. ^ (轉征虜將軍、監豫州諸軍事、假節,領豫州刺史。渾與吳接境,宣佈威信,前後降附甚多。吳將薛瑩、魯淑眾號十萬,淑向弋陽,瑩向新息。時州兵並放休息,眾裁一旅,浮淮潛濟,出其不意,瑩等不虞晉師之至。渾擊破之,以功封次子尚為關內侯。) Book of Jin, Volume 42
  4. ^ (遷安東將軍、都督揚州諸軍事,鎮壽春。吳人大佃皖城,圖為邊害。渾遣揚州刺史應綽督淮南諸軍攻破之,並破諸別屯,焚其積穀百八十餘萬斛、稻苗四千餘頃、船六百餘艘。渾遂陳兵東疆,視其地形險易,曆觀敵城,察攻取之勢。) Book of Jin, Volume 42
  5. ^ (渾又屢言之武帝,帝召見與言,大悅之。後謂王濟曰:「劉元海容貌風儀,機談鑒智,雖金日磾無以加也。」) Spring and Autumn Annals of the Sixteen Kingdoms, Volume 1
  6. ^ (淵與彌友善,謂彌曰:「王、李以鄕曲見知,每相稱薦,適足爲吾患耳。」因歔欷流涕。齊王攸聞之,言於帝曰:「陛下不除劉淵,臣恐幷州不得久安。」王渾曰:「大晉方以信懷殊俗,奈何以無形之疑殺人侍子乎?何德度之不弘也!」帝曰:「渾言是也。」) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 80
  7. ^ (三月,悌等濟江,圍渾部將城陽都尉張喬於楊荷;喬衆纔七千,閉栅請降。諸葛靚欲屠之,悌曰:「強敵在前,不宜先事其小;且殺降不祥。」靚曰:「此屬以救兵未至,力少不敵,故且僞降以緩我,非眞伏也。若捨之而前,必爲後患。」悌不從,撫之而進。悌與揚州刺史汝南周浚,結陳相對,沈瑩帥丹陽銳卒、刀楯五千,三衝晉兵,不動。瑩引退,其衆亂,將軍薛勝、蔣班因其亂而乘之,吳兵以次奔潰,將帥不能止,張喬自後擊之,大敗吳兵于版橋。諸葛靚帥數百人遁去,使過迎張悌,悌不肯去,靚自往牽之曰:「存亡自有大數,非卿一人所支,柰何故自取死!」悌垂涕曰:「仲思,今日是我死日也!且我爲兒童時,便爲卿家丞相所識拔,常恐不得其死,負名賢知顧。今以身徇社稷,復何道邪!」靚再三牽之,不動,乃流淚放去,行百餘步,顧之,已爲晉兵所殺,幷斬孫震、沈瑩等七千八百級,吳人大震。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 81
  8. ^ (初,詔書使王濬下建平,受杜預節度,至建業,受王渾節度。預至江陵,謂諸將曰:「若濬得建平,則順流長驅,威名已著,不宜令受制於我;若不能克,則無緣得施節度。」濬至西陵,預與之書曰:「足下旣摧其西藩,便當徑取建業,討累世之逋寇,釋吳人於塗炭,振旅還都,亦曠世一事也!」濬大悅,表陳預書... 浚固使白之,渾果曰:「受詔但令屯江北以抗吳軍,不使輕進,貴州雖武,豈能獨平江東乎!今者違命,勝不足多,若其不勝,爲罪已重。且詔令龍驤受我節度,但當具君舟檝,一時俱濟耳。」惲曰:「龍驤克萬里之寇,以旣成之功來受節度,未之聞也。且明公爲上將,見可而進,豈得一一須詔令乎!今乘此渡江,十全必克,何疑何慮而淹留不進!此鄙州上下所以恨恨也。」渾不聽。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 81
  9. ^ (時王渾、王濬及琅邪王伷皆臨近境,吳司徒何植、建威將軍孫晏悉送印節詣渾降。吳主用光祿勳薛瑩、中書令胡沖等計,分遣使者奉書於渾、濬、伷以請降。又遺其羣臣,深自咎責,且曰:「今大晉平治四海,是英俊展節之秋,勿以移朝改朔,用損厥志。」使者先送璽綬於琅邪王伷。壬寅,王濬舟師過三山,王渾遣信要濬蹔過論事,濬舉帆直指建業,報曰:「風利,不得泊也。」是日,濬戎卒八萬,方舟百里,鼓譟入于石頭,吳主晧面縛輿櫬,詣軍門降。濬解縛焚櫬,延請相見。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 81
  10. ^ (王濬之入建業也,其明日,王渾乃濟江,以濬不待己至,先受孫晧降,意甚愧忿,將攻濬。何攀勸濬送晧與渾,由是事得解。何惲以渾與濬爭功,與周浚牋曰:「《書》貴克讓,《易》大謙光。前破張悌,吳人失氣,龍驤因之,陷其區宇。論其前後,我實緩師,旣失機會,不及於事,而今方競其功;彼旣不吞聲,將虧雍穆之弘,興矜爭之鄙,斯實愚情之所不取也。」浚得牋,卽諫止渾。渾不納,表濬違詔不受節度,誣以罪狀。渾子濟,尚常山公主,宗黨強盛。有司奏請檻車徵濬,帝弗許,但以詔書責讓濬以不從渾命,違制昧利。濬上書自理曰:「前被詔書,令臣直造秣陵,又令受太尉充節度。臣以十五日至三山,見渾軍在北岸,遣書邀臣;臣水軍風發,徑造賊城,無緣廻船過渾。臣以日中至秣陵,暮乃被渾所下當受節度之符,欲令臣明十六日悉將所領還圍石頭,又索蜀兵及鎭南諸軍人名定見。臣以爲晧已來降,無緣空圍石頭;又,兵人定見,不可倉猝得就,皆非當今之急,不可承用,非敢忽棄明制也。晧衆叛親離,匹夫獨坐,雀鼠貪生,苟乞一活耳;而江北諸軍不知虛實,不早縛取,自爲小誤。臣至便得,更見怨恚,並云守賊百日,而令他人得之。臣愚以爲事君之道,苟利社稷,死生以之。若其顧嫌疑以避咎責,此是人臣不忠之利,實非明主社稷之福也!」渾又騰周浚書云:「濬軍得吳寶物。」又云:「濬牙門將李高放火燒晧僞宮。」濬復表曰:「臣孤根獨立,結恨強宗。夫犯上干主,其罪可救;乖忤貴臣,禍在不測。僞中郎將孔攄說:去二月武昌失守,水軍行至,晧按行石頭還,左右人皆跳刀大呼云:『要當爲陛下一死戰決之,』晧意大喜,意必能然,便盡出金寶以賜與之。小人無狀,得便馳走。晧懼,乃圖降首。降使適去,左右劫奪財物,略取妻妾,放火燒宮。晧逃身竄首,恐不脫死。臣至,遣參軍主者救斷其火耳。周浚先入晧宮,渾又先登晧舟,臣之入觀,皆在其後。晧宮之中,乃無席可坐,若有遺寶,則浚與渾先得之矣。浚等云臣屯聚蜀人,不時送晧,欲有反狀。又恐動吳人,言臣皆當誅殺,取其妻子,冀其作亂,得騁私忿。謀反大逆,尚以見加,其餘謗X,故其宜耳。今年平吳,誠爲大慶;於臣之身,更受咎累。」濬至京師,有司奏「濬違詔,大不敬,請付廷尉科罪。」詔不許。又奏濬赦後燒賊船百三十五艘,輒敕付廷尉禁推。詔勿推。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 81
  11. ^ (渾、濬爭功不已,帝命守廷尉廣陵劉頌校其事,以渾爲上功,濬爲中功。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 81
  12. ^ (王濬自以功大,而爲渾父子及黨與所挫抑,每進見,陳其攻伐之勞及見枉之狀,或不勝忿憤,徑出不辭;帝每容恕之。益州護軍范通謂濬曰:「卿功則美矣,然恨所以居美者未盡善也。卿旋旆之日,角巾私第,口不言平吳之事;若有問者,則曰:『聖人之德,羣帥之力,老夫何力之有!』此藺生所以屈廉頗也,王渾能無愧乎!」濬曰:「吾始懲鄧艾之事,懼禍及身,不得無言;其終不能遣諸胸中,是吾褊也。」... 王渾嘗詣濬,濬嚴設備衞,然後見之。) Zizhi Tongjian, Volume 81
  13. ^ (帝下詔曰:「使持節、都督揚州諸軍事、安東將軍、京陵侯王渾,督率所統,遂逼秣陵,令賊孫皓救死自衛,不得分兵上赴,以成西軍之功,又摧大敵,獲張悌,使皓途窮勢盡,面縛乞降。遂平定秣陵,功勳茂著。其增封八千戶,進爵為公,封子澄為亭侯、弟湛為關內侯,賜絹八千匹。」轉征東大將軍,復鎮壽陽。渾不尚刑名,處斷明允。時吳人新附,頗懷畏懼。渾撫循羈旅,虛懷綏納,座無空席,門不停賓。於是江東之士莫不悅附。) Book of Jin, Volume 42
  14. ^ (楚王瑋將害汝南王亮等也。公孫宏說瑋曰:「昔宣帝廢曹爽,引太尉蔣濟參乘,以增威重。大王今舉非常事,宜得宿望,鎮厭眾心。司徒王渾宿有威名,為三軍所信服,可請同乘,使物情有憑也。」瑋從之。渾辭疾歸第,以家兵千餘人閉門距瑋。瑋不敢逼。俄而瑋以矯詔伏誅,渾乃率兵赴官... 又詔渾錄尚書事。) Book of Jin, Volume 42
  15. ^ (渾所曆之職,前後著稱,及居台輔,聲望日減。元康七年薨,時年七十五,諡曰元。長子尚早亡,次子濟嗣。) Book of Jin, Volume 42