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Persons in Chinese History - Sun Li 孫禮

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Sun Li 孫禮, courtesy name Deda 德達, was a high minister of the state of Wei 曹魏 (220-265) during the Three Kingdoms period 三國 (220-280). He hailed from Rongcheng 容城 in the commandery of Zhuojun 涿郡 (today in Hebei) and was clerk to the military advisor of the Minister of Works (sikong junmou yuan 司空軍謀掾) of the warlord Cao Cao 曹操. Afterward he was governor (taishou 太守) of several commanderies, first Shanyang 山陽, then Pingyuan 平原, Pingchang 平昌, and finally Langye 瑯琊. Sun belonged to the staff of Cao Xiu 曹休 during a campaign against the state of Wu 吳 (222-280) in the southeast and was rewarded with the post of governor of Yangping 陽平, and then appointed secretarial court gentleman (shangshu 尚書). Under Emperor Ming 魏明帝 (r. 226-239 CE) he was supervisor of construction projects and then given the post of aide to the General-in-chief (da jiangjun changshi 大將軍長史) to support Cao Shuang 曹爽, who was regent for the young emperor Cao Fang 曹芳 (r. 239-254). Yet Cao Shuang did not like Sun's direct way of criticism and made him regional inspector (cishi 刺史) of the province of Yangzhou 揚州 (northern Anhui and Jiangsu), but bestowed on him the title of General putting down the waves (fubo jiangjun 伏波將軍) and that of a Marquis within the Passes (guanneihou 關內侯). When Quan Cong 全琮, a general of Wu, attacked the region, Sun Li threw the invador back in the battle of Shapo 芍陂. Sun was rewarded with the title of Chamberlain for the Palace Revenues (shaofu 少府) and was made regional governor (mu 牧) of the province of Jizhou 冀州 (approx. modern Shanxi). Cao Shuang's competitor of power, Sima Yi 司馬懿, sent Sun Li to quell uprisings in Qinghe 清河 and Pingyuan, and Sun thus provoked the anger of Cao Shuang, who had him arrested. After five years of punishment, Sun Li was again taken into service and made regional inspector of Bingzhou 幷州 and given the title of General wielding martiality (zhenwu jiangjun 振武將軍) and of Commander protecting the Xiongnu tribes (hu Xiongnu zhonglangliang 護匈奴中郎將). Sima Yi, having finally eliminated Cao Shuang, appointed Sun Li metropolitan commandant and granted him the honorific title of Minister of Works (sikong 司空) and that of Neighbourhood Marquis of Dali 大利亭侯. Sun's posthumous title was Marquis Jing 大利景侯.

Sources: Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽 (ed. 1992), Sanguozhi cidian 三國志辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), p. 392.

June 9, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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