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Chinese History - The Feudal State of Cao 曹

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See other feudal states of the Zhou period.

Cao 曹 was a rather unimportant mid-sized feudal state of the Zhou period 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE) with an unspectacular history (at least as far as historiography informs us). The first ruler of Cao was Cao Shu Zhenduo 曹叔振鐸, a brother of King Wu of Zhou 周武王. Earl You 曹幽伯 (r. 834-826) was killed by his younger brother, Earl Dai 曹戴伯 (r. 825-796). During the reign of Duke Gong 曹共公 (r. 652-618), Prince Chong'er 重耳 of Jin 晉 stayed in Cao and was not treated with the necessary respect. When he became duke of Jin (Duke Wen 晉文公, r. 636-628), he took revenge and attacked Cao. Duke Gong of Cao was captured and only released after a while. Duke Cheng 曹成公 (r. 577-555) met the same fate and was taken prisoner by Jin for a while. Duke Dao 曹悼公 (r. 523-515) was taken prisoner by the state of Song 宋. When he was absent, his brother, Prince Ye 野, was enthroned as Duke Sheng 曹聲公 (r. 515-512). Duke Gong died in Song, but his corpse was transferred to Cao to be buried. Duke Sheng was assassinated by his uncle, who mounted the throne as Duke Yin 曹隱公 (r. 511-506). Duke Yin himself was killed by a brother of Duke Sheng, Duke Jing 曹靖公 (r. 505-502). These fratricidal phase was ended with Duke Jing's son, Prince Yang 陽, who was also the last ruler of Cao, known as Earl Yang 曹伯陽 (r. 501-487). The history of Cao ends with a dream, in which only a certain Gongsun Qiang 公孫彊 would be able to save the state. Gongsun Qiang was a hunter, and because of the dream, he stood in high favour of Earl Yang. He suggested to the duke to become a hegemonial lord (ba 霸), and in the belief to be on the safer side, the Earl offended the ruler of Song and ignored to pay reverence to Jin. When the army of Song attacked, the duke of Jin refused to help Cao. The Earl and Gongsun Qiang were executed, and the dynasty was ended. Cao became part of Song.

Source: Shiji 史記 35, Guan Cai [Cao] shijia 管蔡世家.

Rulers of Cao 曹
Capital: Taoqiu 陶丘 (modern Dingtao 定陶, Shandong)
Note: The reign dates are given according to Western reckoning. In Chinese chronicles, the year after the first New Year of a rule is seen as the first year of reign. Example: Duke Zhao died in 653, his son Duke Gong immediately acceeded to the throne, yet Chinese chronicles see 652 as his first (full) year of reign (Cao Gongong 1).
dynastic title See also titles of rulers. personal name time
Cao Shu Zhenduo 曹叔振鐸Ji Zhenyi 姬振鐸
Brother of King Wu of Zhou 周武王.
Cao Taibo 曹太伯Ji Pi 姬脾
Cao Zhongjun 曹仲君Ji Ping 姬平
Cao Gongbo 曹宮伯Ji Hou 姬侯
Cao Xiaobo 曹孝伯Ji Yun 姬雲
Cao Yibo 曹夷伯Ji Xi 姬喜865-835
Cao Youbo 曹幽伯Ji Qiang 姬疆835-826
Cao Daibo 曹戴伯Ji Su 姬蘇826-796
Cao Huibo 曹惠伯Ji Zhi 姬雉796-760
Cao Mugong 曹穆公Ji Wu 姬武760-757
Cao Huangong 曹桓公Ji Zhongsheng 姬終生757-702
Cao Zhuanggong 曹莊公Ji Shegu 姬射姑702-671
Cao Xigong 曹釐公 or 僖公Ji Ji 姬羈671-661
Cao Zhaogong 曹昭公Ji Ban 姬班661-653
Cao Gonggong 曹共公Ji Xiang 姬襄653-618
Cao Wengong 曹文公Ji Shou 姬壽618-595
Cao Xuangong 曹宣公Ji Jiang 姬彊595-578
Cao Chenggong 曹成公Ji Fuchu 姬負芻578-555
Cao Wugong 曹武公Ji Sheng 姬勝555-528
Cao Pinggong 曹平公Ji Xu 姬須528-524
Cao Daogong 曹悼公Ji Wu 姬午524-515
Cao Xianggong 曹襄公 or Shenggong 聲公Ji Ye 姬野515-512
Cao Yinggong 曹隱公Ji Tong 姬通512-506
Cao Jinggong 曹靖公Ji Lu 姬露506-502
Yang, Baron of Cao 曹伯陽Ji Yang 姬陽502-487
487 Cao conquered by Song 宋.

2000ff. © Ulrich Theobald · Mail

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