An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Meng Mubo 孟穆伯 Gongsun Ao 公孫敖

Oct 20, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

"Ducal grandson" Gongsun Ao 公孫敖 (d. 613 BCE), posthumous title Meng Mubo 孟穆伯, was a high noble in the state of Lu 魯 during the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE). He was the son of Qing Fu 慶父 and a grandson of Duke Huan 魯桓公 (r. 712-694).

He served the dukes Xi 魯僖公 (r. 660-627) and Wen 魯文公 (r. 627-609) of Lu as a high minister. In 645 he commanded an army of allied regional rulers (zhuhou 諸侯) supporting the semi-barbarian state of Xu 徐 against an attack of the large state of Chu 楚 in the south, yet almost a generation later, Xu attacked the statelet of Ju 莒 in the vicinity of Lu, which Gongsun Ao defended against Xu.

At this occasion, Gongsun Ao arranged the marriage of his cousin "Ducal Son" Gongzi Sui 公子遂 (Xiang Zhong 襄仲, a son of Duke Zhuang 魯莊公, r. 694-662) with a princess of Ju. Yet when he travelled to Yanling 鄢陵 to receive the princess, he was stunned by her beauty and took her in his own harem.

In 619 Gongsun Ao was sent out to express condolences for the death of King Xiang of Zhou 周襄王 (r. 652-619), but he never travelled to the capital and remained in Ju, where he was practically exiled.

His son Gu 谷 had been nominated the heir of the position of family head, yet he died in the same year as his father (posthumous name Meng Wenbo 孟文伯 "Earl Wen"), so that Ao's younger son Nan 難 became the heir. He is posthumously known as Meng Huishu 孟惠叔.

Nan's father Gongsun Ao died in Qi 齊, and the duke of Lu refused to receive his corpse for a proper interment in Lu. Only a year later Huishu obtained the permission to bury his father properly.

Xiong Tieji 熊鐵基, Yang Youli 楊有禮 ed. (1994). Zhongguo diwang zaixiang cidian 中國帝王宰相辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), 382.