(45.1) Dèng Zhī 鄧芝 [Bómiǎo 伯苗]

Dèng Zhī, appellation Bómiǎo, was a Yìyáng Xīnyě man, a descendant of Hàn Excellency over the Masses [Dèng] Yǔ. At the end of Hàn he entered Shǔ, but was unknown and did not receive support. At the time the Yìzhōu advisor Zhāng Yù befriended him, and Zhī accompanied him. Yù said to Zhī: “By the time your age has passed seventy, your rank will have reached General-in-Chief and Marquis.” Zhī heard that the Administrator of Bāxī Páng Xī was friendly to scholars, and went to join him.

鄧芝字伯苗,義陽新野人,漢司徒禹之後也。漢末入蜀,未見知待。時益州從事張裕善相,芝往從之,裕謂芝曰:「君年過七十,位至大將軍,封侯。」芝聞巴西太守龐羲好士,往依焉。

When Xiān-zhǔ settled Yìzhōu, he was Commander of Pídǐgé. Xiān-zhǔ went out and arrived at Pí, spoke with him, and was impressed with him, and promoted him to Magistrate of Pí, then to Administrator of Guǎnghàn. Wherever he was he was honest and strict and had achievements in government, and he entered the Court in the Secretariat.

先主定益州,芝為郫邸閣督。先主出至郫,與語,大奇之,擢為郫令,遷廣漢太守。所在清嚴有治績,入為尚書。


Xiān-zhǔ died at Yǒng’ān [223]. Before this, the King of Wú Sūn Quán had asked for peace, and Xiān-zhǔ had successively sent Sòng Wěi, Fèi Yī and others in answer. Chancellor Zhūgě Liàng was very concerned that Quán would hear that Xiān-zhǔ had died and afraid [Sūn Quán] would change his plans, and did not know the situation.

先主薨於永安。先是,吳王孫權請和,先主累遣宋瑋、費禕等與相報答。丞相諸葛亮深慮權聞先主殂隕,恐有異計,未知所如。

Zhī met with Liàng and said: “Now our master is young and has only just ascended. It is appropriate to send a high-ranking envoy to reaffirm our friendship with Wú.”

芝見亮曰:「今主上幼弱,初在位,宜遣大使重申吳好。」

Liàng replied: “I have already been thinking of this for a long time, but had not yet found a man and that is all. Today I have just found him.”

亮答之曰:「吾思之久矣,未得其人耳,今日始得之。」

Zhī asked who this man was, and Liàng said: “The envoy is you, sir.” Therefore he sent Zhī to reaffirm friendship with Quán.

芝問其人為誰?亮曰:「即使君也。」乃遣芝脩好於權。

Quán was indeed suspicious, and would not meet with Zhī at that time. Zhī therefore personally presented a memorial to ask to meet Quán and said: “I your servant have come also for the sake of Wú, not only for the sake of Shǔ.”

權果狐疑,不時見芝,芝乃自表請見權曰:「臣今來亦欲為吳,非但為蜀也。」

Quán therefore met him, and said to Zhī: “I honestly wish to make peace and alliance with Shǔ, but am concerned that the ruler of Shǔ is young, that the state is weak and vulnerable, and when invaded by Wèi will not be able to defend itself fully, and because of this I hesitate and that is all.”

權乃見之,語芝曰:「孤誠願與蜀和親,然恐蜀主幼弱,國小勢偪,為魏所乘,不自保全,以此猶豫耳。」

Zhī answered: “The two states of Wú and Shǔ command the land of four provinces. You, great King, are a great hero of our age, while Zhūgě Liàng is also an outstanding hero. Shǔ has difficult terrain, and Wú has three rivers to defend it, and combining our two positions, holding together as lips and teeth. Advancing we can together seize the realm, and withdrawing we can maintain the tripod balance. This is natural sense. If you, great King, now wish to pledge yourself to Wèi, then Wèi at most will summon you, great King, to enter their Court, and at least summon your Heri-Apparent to serve as their inner attendant. If you do not obey these commands, then they will claim justification to attack you as a rebel. Shǔ will certainly follow the opportunity it sees and advance, and the lands south of the Jiāng will no longer be yours, great King.”

」芝對曰:「吳、蜀二國四州之地,大王命世之英,諸葛亮亦一時之傑也。蜀有重險之固,吳有三江之阻,合此二長,共為脣齒,進可并兼天下,退可鼎足而立,此理之自然也。大王今若委質於魏,魏必上望大王之入朝,下求太子之內侍,若不從命,則奉辭伐叛,蜀必順流見可而進,如此,江南之地非復大王之有也。」

Quán was silent for a long time and then said: “Your words are correct, sir.” Therefore he broke off relations with Wèi and kept peace with Shǔ, and sent Zhāng Wēn in answer to Shǔ.

權默然良久曰:「君言是也。」遂自絕魏,與蜀連和,遣張溫報聘於蜀。

Shǔ again sent Zhī on an important embassy, Quán said to Zhī: “If the realm is at peace, and our two rulers can divide the government, would that not be a joy?”

蜀復令芝重往,權謂芝曰:「若天下太平,二主分治,不亦樂乎!」

Zhī replied: “Just as Heaven cannot have two suns, Earth cannot have two Kings. If after we have together conquered Wèi, you, great King, still do not recognize who truly holds Heaven’s Mandate, then each lord will establish their virtuous authority and each side’s subjects will exert their loyalty, and the officers will beat the drums and the war shall begin and that is all.”

芝對曰:「夫天無二日,土無二王,如并魏之後,大王未深識天命者也,君各茂其德,臣各盡其忠,將提枹鼓,則戰爭方始耳。」

Quán greatly laughed and said: “Your honest frankness is like this!”

權大笑曰:「君之誠款,乃當爾邪!」

Quán wrote a letter to Liàng that said: “Dīng Gōng was dazzling (1) and Yīn Huà rambling without end. In maintaining peace between our two states, there is only Dèng Zhī.”

權與亮書曰:「丁厷掞張,〔一〕陰化不盡;和合二國,唯有鄧芝。」

  • (1) Shàn is pronounced Y(í)+(n)iàn together, or else Yàn.
  • Your Servant Sōngzhī comments:
  • The Hànshū’s Lǐyuèzhì “Treatise on Rites” states: “The Chief presents dazzling light.”
  • Zuǒ Sī’s Shǔdūfù “Rhapsody on Shǔ’s capital” states: “Spreading elegance dazzles Heaven’s Court.”
  • Sūn Quán’s comment was implying that Dīng Gōng’s words were overly colorful and superficial.

〔一〕 掞音夷念反,或作豔。臣松之案漢書禮樂志曰「長離前掞光耀明」。左思蜀都賦「摛藻掞天庭」。孫權蓋謂丁厷之言多浮豔也。

When Liàng went north to station at Hànzhōng, Zhī was appointed Internal Supervisor of the Army and General Raising Martial Ability. When Liàng died [234], he was promoted to Front Master of the Army and General of the Front, with authority as the Inspector of the province and fief as Marquis of Yángwǔ precinct, and shortly afterward he became Commander of Jiāngzhōu. Quán was often in communication with Zhī, and sent generous gifts.

及亮北住漢中,以芝為中監軍、揚武將軍。亮卒,遷前軍師前將軍,領袞州刺史,封陽武亭侯,頃之為督江州。權數與芝相聞,饋遺優渥。

Yánxī sixth year [243] he was promoted to General of Chariots and Cavalry, later with a Staff of Authority. Eleventh year [248] the peoples of Fúlíng killed the local Commandant and rebelled. Zhī led the army to attack them, and after beheading the leaders, the common people were pacified. (2)

延熙六年,就遷為車騎將軍,後假節。十一年,涪陵國人殺都尉反叛,芝率軍征討,即梟其渠帥,百姓安堵,〔二〕

  • Huáyáng Guózhì states: Zhī attacked Fúlíng, and saw dark apes in the mountains. Zhī was good with crossbows, and personally hand shot and struck an ape. The ape pulled out the arrow, and grabbed rolled up tree leaves to block the wound. Zhī said: “Oh, I have violated its nature, and will soon die.” Another version states: Zhī saw an ape carrying its child atop a tree, and used a crossbow to shoot them, hitting the mother ape. The child ape pulled out the arrow, and used tree leaves to block the wound. Zhī therefore sighed and threw his crossbow into the river, knowing that his death was soon.

〔二〕 華陽國志曰:芝征涪陵,見玄猿緣山。芝性好弩,手自射猿,中之。猿拔其箭,卷木葉塞其創。芝曰:「嘻,吾違物之性,其將死矣!」一曰:芝見猿抱子在樹上,引弩射之,中猿母,其子為拔箭,以木葉塞創。芝乃歎息,投弩水中,自知當死。

Fourteenth year [251] he died.

十四年卒。


Zhī was a General for over twenty years, his systems of reward and punishment was clear and decisive, and he cared for the common soldiers. His food and clothes were obtained from the government, he was conscientious and frugal, and in the end he did not manage private wealth. At times his wives and children went hungry and cold, and on the day he died his family had no surplus wealth. By nature he was strict and direct and did not embellish his meaning, so he did not get along with the troops. He was not often respectful or reverent to the men of his time, and only considered Jiāng Wéi as exceptional.

芝為(大)將軍二十餘年,賞罰明斷,善卹卒伍。身之衣食資仰於官,不苟素儉,然終不治私產,妻子不免飢寒,死之日家無餘財。性剛簡,不飾意氣,不得士類之和。於時人少所敬貴,唯器異姜維云。

His son Liáng inherited his noble title, and during Jǐngyào became Left Elector Offical in the Secretariat, and the Jìn Court’s Administrator of Guǎnghàn.

子良,襲爵,景耀中為尚書左選郎,晉朝廣漢太守。

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