An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Su Jun 蘇峻

Jun 30, 2018 © Ulrich Theobald

Su Jun 蘇峻 (d. 328), courtesy name Zigao 子高, was an official and rebel during the Eastern Jin period 東晉 (317-420). He hailed from Tingxian 挺縣 in the commandery of Changguang 長廣 (today's Laiyang 萊陽, Shandong). During the disturbances of the Rebellion of the Eight Princes, Su Jun assembled peasant refugees and created an own military base of several thousand men. His forces were expelled by the regional inspector (cishi 刺史) of Qingzhou 青州, Cao Yi 曹嶷, and he decided to move his forces to southeast China.

Prince Sima Rui 司馬睿, who founded the Eastern Jin dynasty as Emperor Yuan 晉元帝 (r. 317-322), gave him the title of General rising eagle (yingyang jiangjun 鷹揚將軍) and made him administrator (xiang 相) of the princedom of Lanling 蘭陵.

Su displayed greatest bravoury in the fight against the rebellious general Wang Dun 王敦 (266-324) and the suppression of insurgent magnates of south China, and was rewarded with the title of General supervising the army (guanjun jiangjun 冠軍將軍) and made chamberlain (neishi 內史) of the Prince of Liyang 歷陽. Even if Su was not a military commander in and outstanding position, he commanded more than 10,000 troops.

During the reign of Emperor Cheng 晉成帝 (r. 325-342), the emperor's uncle and regent Yu Liang 庾亮 (289-340) recognized Su's military potential and ordered him to come to the capital to take over the office of Chamberlain for the National Treasury (dasinong 大司農), yet Su disobeyed. In 328, he decided to rebel and joined Zu Yue 祖約 (d. 330),the regional inspector of Yuzhou 豫州.

They were able to conquer the capital Jiankang 建康 (today's Nanjing 南京, Jiangsu) and gave their troops free hand in plundering the city, burning the palace, raping the palace ladies and maraud the surrounding countryside. Formally, Su Jun took over regency for some time, but he was soon challenged by Wen Jiao 溫嶠 (288-329) and Tao Kan 陶侃 (259-334), who reconquered Jiankang and killed Su Jun. Zu Yue fled to the Later Zhao 後趙 (319-350) empire in north China, where he found his death.

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