An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Sun Ce 孫策

Mar 8, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Sun Ce 孫策 (175-200), courtesy name Bofu 伯符, was a warlord at the end of the Later Han period (25-220) and older brother of Sun Quan 孫權, the eventual founder of the Wu dynasty 吳 (222-280), one of the Three Empires 三國 (220-280).

Sun Ce hailed from Fuchun 富春 (modern Fuyang 富陽, Zhejiang) and experienced an instable life during his youth, caused by the steady campaigns of his father Sun Jian 孫堅. After Sun Jian's death, Sun Ce joined the army of the warlord Yuan Shu 袁術 but his service was never appreciated. So he assembled his own army and took by force the province of Yangzhou 揚州 that was controlled by regional inspector (cishi 刺史) Liu Yao 劉繇 and Wang Lang 王朗, governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Guiji 會稽.

Being the strong person in China's southest from 195 on, Sun Ce was an excellent military leader and knew how to attract capable advisors. He was also able to gain the support of many leading figures of the local gentry, like Zhou Yu 周瑜. In 197, when Yuan Shu proclaimed himself emperor, he took part in the campaigns against his former superior. He was rewarded for his engagement with the title of General elucidating the Han (minghan jiangjuan 明漢將軍) and the post of governor of Guiji. A year later he was awarded the title of General fighting the rebels (taoni jiangjun 討逆將軍) and was given the title of Marquis of Wu 吳侯.

After the death of Yuan Shu, he undertook another campaign against the governor of Lujiang 廬江, Liu Xun 劉勛, and occupied the whole middle Yangtze valley. In order to check the mighty warlord of the north, Yuan Shao 袁紹, he was approached by Cao Cao 曹操, who controlled the central government of the dynasty, to create an alliance against Yuan Shao. In preparation of a campaign against the north, Sun Ce was assassinated. He left back a large, united and economically prospering territory in the south to his younger brother Sun Quan.

Zhu Zongbin 祝總斌 (1992). "Sun Ce 孫策", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, part Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1060.