An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Pan Geng 盤庚

Dec 9, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald

Pan Geng 盤庚 (trad. r. 1401-1374 BCE, rather probably 100 years later) or Ban Geng 般庚, personal name Xun 旬, was a ruler of the Shang dynasty 商 (17th to 11th cent. BCE). He was a younger brother of his predecessor, King Yang Jia 陽甲.

Since several generations, internal strife had brought the Shang dynasty into a precarious situation that was aggravated by several natural disasters. After his accession to the throne, Pan Geng decided to move the capital from Yan 奄 (modern Qufu 曲阜, Shandong) to Yin 殷 (modern Anyang 安陽, Henan). This was the fifth and last shift of the capital since the foundation of the Shang dynasty, so that the inhabitants could only persuaded to accept the costly transferral oft he royal seat to a new distance place.

The chapter Pan Geng 盤庚 in the Classic Shangshu 尚書 "Book of Documents" narrates the transferral of the capital. In the new royal seat in Yin 殷, Pan Geng revived the old style of politics used by the dynastic founder, Tang the Perfect 成湯 and restrengthened the authority of the royal court by curtailing the power of the regional rulers (zhuhou 諸侯). The name of the capital was also used for the dynasty, so that the Shang dynasty is also called Yin dynasty.

Pan Geng was succeeded by his younger brother Xiao Xin 小辛.

Chen Quanli 陳全力, Hou Xinyi 侯欣一, ed. (1988). Diwang cidian 帝王辭典 (Xi'an: Shaanxi renmin jiaoyu chubanshe), 10.