King Nan of Zhou (?–256 BC), born Ji Yan and less commonly known
as King Yin of Zhou, was the 37th and last king of the Chinese Zhou
dynasty, the son of
King Shenjing of Zhou and grandson of King Xian of
Zhou. He was king for fifty-nine years, the longest in the Zhou
1.1 Reign 1.2 Fall
2 Ancestry 3 See also 4 Notes 5 References
5.1 Citations 5.2 Bibliography
At the beginning of his reign in 314 BC, King Nan moved the capital
from Chengzhou to Wangcheng. From then on, the Zhou crown lands
were invaded several times by foreign powers, beginning with Qin's
attack on Yiyang in West Zhou in 307 BC. Only constant political
manoeuvring and ever-changing alliances of the king and the feudal
lords ensured the survival of West and East Zhou, even though the two
Zhou states often weakened themselves by conspiring against each
other. Once, Qin planned to march its troops through East and West
Zhou to attack Han, so that the lords of Zhou feared to be caught in
war between the two states. The Scribe Yan advised King Nan that it
would be of advantage if Han would cede some territory to Zhou and
Zhou send some hostages to Chu. Qin would then suspect the state of
Chu to plan an attack on Qin during its campaign against Han. At the
same time the king of Zhou should, as Yan suggested, explain to the
king of Qin that Han suspected Zhou of conspiring with Qin because of
the present of land made to Zhou. With this method the king of Zhou
would increase his territory and avoid Qin troops marching through his
land. On another occasion, King Nan was summoned to Qin's royal court
to debate the question of attacking the Han city of Nanyang. Instead
of following the request, Nan conspired with Han to block the way
between Zhou and Qin in order to prevent the debate and avoid a
King Nan's rule was not only threatened by outside powers, but also by
the constant conflict between the lords of West and East Zhou. When
they went to war, the state of Han initially supported West Zhou's
nobles, but went on to betray its allies. Instead of fighting East
Zhou, the Han forces looted
Wangcheng and Nan's royal palace, while
avoiding war with the Son of Heaven, King Nan, as they were still
officially "allies". As Zhou grew increasingly weak, the king's
rule was more frequently challenged by expansionist Qin. In 273 BC Ma
Fan developed a plan to protect the
Nine Tripod Cauldrons
"Nowadays, the house of Zhou has been destroyed, [the line of] the Sons of Heaven has been severed. There is no greater turmoil than the absence of the Son of Heaven; without the Son of Heaven, the strong overcome the weak, the many lord it over the few, they use arms to harm each other having no rest."
The title of "Son of Heaven" was eventually adopted by Qin Shi Huang, when he proclaimed himself the First Emperor. Ancestry
Ancestors of King Nan of Zhou
Wu, King Weilie of Zhou 周威烈王午 d. 402 BC
Jiao, King An of Zhou 周安王骄 d. 376 BC
Bian, King Xian of Zhou 周显王扁 d. 321 BC
Ding, King Shenjing of Zhou 周慎靓王定 d. 315 BC
Yan, King Nan of Zhou 周赧王延 316 BC–256 BC
Family tree of ancient Chinese emperors Duke Wen of Eastern Zhou — the last Zhou ruler and claimant to the throne
^ The exact location of Wangcheng and its relation to Chengzhou is disputed and confusing. According to Xu Zhaofeng, "Chengzhou" and "Wangcheng" were originally synonymous and used to name several Zhou capitals of the Spring and Autumn period. "The creation of a distinction between Wangcheng and Chengzhou probably occurred during the reign of King Jing", under whom a new capital "Chengzhou" was built to the east of the old city "Wangcheng". Nevertheless, the new Chengzhou was still sometimes called Wangcheng and vice versa, adding to the confusion.
^ a b Tan (2014), p. 54.
^ a b Shaughnessy (1999), p. 29.
^ a b c d e f g Sima (1995), p. 83.
^ Tan (2014), p. 37, 56.
^ a b c d e Schinz (1996), p. 80.
^ a b Tan (2014), p. 56.
Tan, Koon San (2014). Dynastic China: An Elementary History. Petaling
Jaya: The Other Press Sdn. Bhd.
Shaughnessy, Edward L. (1999). "Calendar and Chronology". In Michael
Loewe; Edward L. Shaughnessy. The
King Nan of Zhou Zhou Dynasty Died: 256 BC
Preceded by King Shenjing of Zhou King of China 314–256 BC Vacant Qin's wars of unification Title next held by Qin Shi Huang as Emperor of China
v t e
Kings of the Zhou dynasty
Wen Wu Duke of Zhou Cheng Kang Zhao Mu Gong Yì Xiao Yí Li Gonghe Regency Xuan You
Ping Huan Zhuang Xi Hui Xiang Qing Kuang Ding Jian Ling Jĭng Dao Jìng Yuan Zhending Ai Si Kao Weilie An Lie Xian Shenjing Nan
Xia → Shang → Zhou → Qin → Han → 3 Kingdoms → Jìn / 16 Kingdoms → S. Dynasties / N. Dynasties → Sui → Tang → 5 Dynasties & 10 Kingdoms → Liao / Song / W. Xia / Jīn → Yuan → Ming →