An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Wang Ling 王陵

Mar 2, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Wang Ling 王陵 was a general of the state of Qin 秦 during the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE).

After the battle of Changping 長平 in 260, the victorious Bai Qi 白起 (d. 257 BCE) from Qin massacred the surrending troops of Zhao 趙 and planned to use this chance to destroy the state of Zhao. Yet the chief counsellor of Qin, Fan Ju 范雎 (d. 255 BCE), was convinced by the advisor Su Dai 蘇代 that the troops of Qin needed repose. King Zhaoxiang 秦昭襄王 (r. 307-251) Qin therefore was content with cessation of territory by Zhao.

This proved to be an error because it gave Zhao the chance to send out Yu Qing 虞卿 to ally with the six mightest regional states against Qin. Enraged, King Zhaoxiang ordered Bai Qi to resume his attacks on Zhao, but the general believed that this was a bad moment, as the people of Zhao, backed by the other states, would resist stubbornly. He therefore suggested to wait for a better moment.

Yet King Zhaoxiang did not consider this argument and sent out general Wang Ling to attack Handan 邯鄲 (today in Hebei), the capital of Zhao. The army of Zhao was led by Lian Po 廉頗 and Lord Pingyuan 平原君 (d. 251 BCE), two decided commanders. Wang Ling was heavily defeated and dismissed. Bai Qi refused to take over the command. King Zhaoxiang thereupon entrusted Wang He 王齕 (d. 244) with the siege of Handan.

The possibility cannot be excluded that Wang Ling 王陵 (d. 181), follower and counsellor of Liu Bang 劉邦 (Emperor Gaozu 漢高祖, r. 206-195 BCE, the founder of the Han dynasty 漢, 206 BCE-220 CE), is identical with the Qin general.