(7.2) Zāng Hóng 臧洪 [Zǐyuán 子源]

Zāng Hóng, appellation Zǐyuán, was a Guǎnglíng Shèyáng man. His father Mín served as Internal Cadet-General of the Xiōngnú, and Administrator of Zhōngshān and Tàiyuán, and wherever he was he was famed. (1)

臧洪字子源,廣陵射陽人也。父旻,歷匈奴中郎將、中山、太原太守,所在有名。〔一〕

  • Xiè Chéng’s Hòuhànshū states: Mín had talent in handling affairs, and so entered government, becoming a prominent Hàn official. He began as a Xúzhōu Advisor and was enlisted to the office of the Excellency of the Masses, became Magistrate of Lúnú, and Jìzhōu nominated him as outstanding and unusual. He was promoted to Inspector of Yángzhōu and Administrator of Dānyáng. At the time there were alarms on the border and raiding by the Qiāng and Hú. The three offices nominated him as able and transferred Mín to Internal Gentleman-General of the Xiōngnú. He attacked the bandits with distinction, and was summoned and appointed a Consultant, and returned to the capital. He met Grand Commandant Yuán Féng. Féng asked him about the Western Protectorate’s various states, social customs, peoples, and economy and farming. Mín answered that the Western Protectorate was originally thirty-six states, was later divided into fifty-five, eventually becoming over a hundred states. He said which states were large and small, the roads and distances, the population numbers, the social customs, geography, local plants and animals, rare treasures and famed products, what was similar with the Central States. In all cases his hand answered clearly and his hand drew a map of the terrain. Féng was impressed by his ability, and sighed and said: “Though Bān Gù composed the Xīyùzhuàn ‘Report of the Western Protectorate,’ how could he do better than that?” Mín was transferred to Cháng River Colonel, and ended as Administrator of Tàiyuán.

〔一〕 謝承後漢書曰:旻有幹事才,達於從政,為漢良吏。初從徐州從事辟司徒府,除盧奴令,冀州舉尤異,遷揚州刺史、丹楊太守。是時邊方有警,羌、胡出寇,三府舉能,遷旻匈奴中郎將。討賊有功,徵拜議郎,還京師。見太尉袁逢,逢問其西域諸國土地、風俗、人物、種數。旻具答言西域本三十六國,後分為五十五,稍散至百餘國;其國大小,道里近遠,人數多少,風俗燥濕,山川、草木、鳥獸、異物名種,不與中國同者,悉口陳其狀,手畫地形。逢奇其才,歎息言:「雖班固作西域傳,何以加此?」旻轉拜長水校尉,終太原太守。

Hóng’s body and face were tall and imposing, unique among men, and he was nominated for office as Filial and Incorrupt and became a Cadet. At the time from the Three Bureaus of Cadets were selections to fill vacancies as county chiefs. Zhào Yù of Lángyé became Chief of Jǔ, Liú Yáo of Dōnglái became Chief of Xiàyì, Wáng Lǎng of Dōnghǎi became Chief of Zīqiū, and Hóng became Chief of Qiū. At the end of the reign of Líng-dì he resigned his post and returned home. The Administrator Zhāng Chāo invited Hóng to become his Merit Officer.

洪體貌魁梧,有異於人,舉孝廉為郎。時選三署郎以補縣長;瑯邪趙昱為莒長,東萊劉繇下邑長,東海王朗菑丘長,洪即丘長。靈帝末,棄官還家,太守張超請洪為功曹。


Dǒng Zhuó killed the Emperor [190], endangering the State Altars. Hóng said to Chāo: “Your family, wise governor, has received state favor for generations, and you and your brother command great prefectures. Now the Ruling House is in danger and the treacherous minister has not yet been punished. This is the time for righteous heroes of the realm Under Heaven to repay the state’s favor. Now your prefecture borders are secure, and the officials and the people are safe and prosperous. If you beat the drums [of war], you can raise twenty thousand men, and with them exterminate the traitors to the state and become a foremost exemplar to the realm. This is a great act for justice.”

董卓殺帝,圖危社稷,洪說超曰:「明府歷世受恩,兄弟並據大郡,今王室將危,賊臣未梟,此誠天下義烈報恩效命之秋也。今郡境尚全,吏民殷富,若動枹鼓,可得二萬人,以此誅除國賊,為天下倡先,義之大者也。」

Chāo agreed with this, and with Hóng went west and arrived at Chénliú to meet his elder brother Miǎo and make plans. Miǎo already had the same intentions. They gathered at Suānzǎo. Miǎo said to Chāo: “I have heard that you, younger brother, have become a prefecture administrator, but do not yourself execute the government and maintenance of authority and grace, but rely on Zāng Hóng. Who is this Hóng?”

超然其言,與洪西至陳留,見兄邈計事。邈亦素有心,會于酸棗,邈謂超曰:「聞弟為郡守,政教威恩,不由己出,動任臧洪,洪者何人?」

Chāo said: “Hóng’s ability and wisdom is greater than mine, and I deeply favor him. He is an unusual hero within the Seas.”

超曰:「洪才略智數優超,超甚愛之,海內奇士也。」

Miǎo then summoned and met Hóng, spoke with him and was greatly impressed with him. Therefore he introduced him to Liú Gōngshān [the Inspector of] Yǎnzhōu and Kǒng Gōngxù [the Inspector of] Yùzhōu, and both became close and good friends with Hóng.

邈即引見洪,與語大異之。致之于劉兗州公山、孔豫州公緒,皆與洪親善。

Then they established an altar, to swear an oath of alliance together. All the provincial and prefecture leaders deferred to one another, one daring take the lead, and so they all nominated Hóng. Hóng therefore ascended the altar, grasped the sacrificial platter, smeared blood on his lips and made the oath: “The House of Hàn suffers misfortune, Imperial rule has lost control, the traitor minister Dǒng Zhuó seizes advantage of quarrel to do harm, disaster reaching up to the highest levels and oppression flowing down to the common people. All fear the State Altars shall be destroyed and all within the Four Seas overturned. Inspector of Yǎnzhōu Dài, Inspector of Yùzhōu Zhòu, Administrator of Chénliú Miǎo, Administrator of Dōng-jùn Mào, Administrator of Guǎnglíng Chāo, and others together unite righteous troops, to together resolve the state’s troubles. Everyone in our alliance, must be of one heart and join our strength to be dedicated subjects, and even in the face of lost heads and spilled blood must never harbor second thoughts. Those who break this Oath, shall both lose their lives, and have no descendants. May Heaven and Earth and the Spirits of the Ancestors all bear witness to this!”

乃設壇場,方共盟誓,諸州郡更相讓,莫敢當,咸共推洪。洪乃升壇操槃歃血而盟曰:「漢室不幸,皇綱失統,賊臣董卓乘釁縱害,禍加至尊,虐流百姓,大懼淪喪社稷,翦覆四海。兗州刺史岱、豫州刺史伷、陳留太守邈、東郡太守瑁、廣陵太守超等,糾合義兵,並赴國難。凡我同盟,齊心戮力,以致臣節,殞首喪元,必無二志。有渝此盟,俾墜其命,無克遺育。皇天后土,祖宗明靈,實皆鑒之!」

Hóng spoke these words with fervent spirit and tears flowing down. All those who heard, even to the lowest servants and soldiers, there were none who were not moved. Everyone thought to do their utmost. (1) Shortly afterward, none of the armies advanced, and food supplies were exhausted and the group scattered.

洪辭氣慷慨,涕泣橫下,聞其言者,雖卒伍廝養,莫不激揚,人思致節。〔一〕頃之,諸軍莫適先進,而食盡眾散。

  • (1) Your servant Sōngzhī comments: At the time of this oath there was only Liú Dài and others totally to five men and no more. Wèishì Chūnqiū includes Liú Biǎo and several other men, which are all untrue. Biǎo defended and occupied the Jiāng and Hàn and never once left his borders. How could he have been with Hóng atop the Altar and swear the oath of alliance?

Chāo sent Hóng to meet with Marshal-in-Chief Liú Yú to make plans, but at that time there was the trouble of Gōngsūn Zàn. When he arrived at Hèjiān, he found the soldiers of the two provinces Yōu and Jì in battle, and could not complete his mission. Yuán Shào met Hóng and was also deeply impressed with him, and they became inseparable friends. At the time Inspector of Qīngzhōu Jiāo Hé died, and Shào sent Hóng to command Qīngzhōu and comfort its people. (1)

超遣洪詣大司馬劉虞謀,值公孫瓚之難,至河間,遇幽、冀二州交兵,使命不達。而袁紹見洪,又奇重之,與結分合好。會青州刺史焦和卒,紹使洪領青州以撫其眾。〔一〕

  • (1) Jiǔzhōu Chūnqiū states: During Chūpíng [190-193] Jiāo Hé was appointed Inspector of Qīngzhōu. At the time heroes were all rising up, Yellow Scarves were violently plundering. Hé sought to join the Alliance and enter the capital region, but did not provide any defenses for his people. He led his army along the river west. Before long the two Lords Yuán and Cáo with General [Dǒng] Zhuó at Xíngyáng and were utterly defeated. The Yellow Scarves then spread and slaughtered and destroyed towns and cities. Hé could not resist them. Though the army’s weapons were good and the troops numerous, he did not set up spies or scouts and was afraid whenever he heard any rumor of [enemy] movement and as soon as he saw bandits he fled, never once meeting dust clouds [of enemy advance] with banners and drums. He wished to build an iceberg trap in the river so that the bandits would not be able to cross, made prayers to spirits, asking to be certainly victorious when leading troops. Diviners were always to his front, and shamans never left his side. Though in court his pure rhetoric reached the clouds, out in the field he was muddled and confused and did not know what to do. The province therefore was desolate, and everything was in ruins.

〔一〕 九州春秋曰:初平中,焦和為青州刺史。是時英雄並起,黃巾寇暴,和務及同盟,俱入京畿,不暇為民保障,引軍踰河而西。未久而袁、曹二公卓將戰于滎陽,敗績。黃巾遂廣,屠裂城邑。和不能禦,然軍器尚利,戰士尚眾,而耳目偵邏不設,恐動之言妄至,望寇奔走,未嘗接風塵交旗鼓也。欲作陷冰丸沈河,令賊不得渡,禱祈群神,求用兵必利,耆筮常陳於前,巫祝不去於側;入見其清談干雲,出則渾亂,命不可知。州遂蕭條,悉為丘墟也。

Hóng was at the province for two years, and all the bandits fled away. Shào sighed [in admiration] at his ability, and transferred him to Administrator of Dōng-jùn, governing at Dōngwǔyáng.

洪在州二年,群盜奔走。紹歎其能,徙為東郡太守,治東武陽。


When Tàizǔ besieged Zhāng Chāo at Yōngqiū, Chāo said: “We can only rely on Zāng Hóng. He will come rescue me.”

太祖圍張超于雍丘,超言:「唯恃臧洪,當來救吾。」

Everyone believed Yuán and Cáo were at peace, and Hóng was serving under [Yuán] Shào, so he would certainly not break the alliance and invite disaster to come from afar to them.

眾人以為袁、曹方睦,而洪為紹所表用,必不敗好招禍,遠來赴此。

Chāo said: “Zǐyuán is a righteous hero of the world Under Heaven, and to the end will not turn his back on me. I am only afraid he will meet some prohibition and be kept from reaching us and that is all.”

超曰:「子源,天下義士,終不背本者,但恐見禁制,不相及逮耳。」

Hóng heard of this, and indeed went barefoot and weeping, gathering the soldiers under his command, and also went to Shào to ask for soldiers and horses, seeking to go rescue Chāo, but Shào to the end would not permit him. Chāo and his clan were then exterminated. Because of this Hóng was furious at Shào and cut off relations and communication. Shào led troops to besiege him, but after a year had not overcome him. Shào ordered Chén Lín of the same hometown as Hóng to write a letter to Hóng to inform him of the dangers of the situation and remind him of his duties and loyalty.

洪聞之,果徒跣號泣,並勒所領兵,又從紹請兵馬,求欲救超,而紹終不聽許。超遂族滅。洪由是怨紹,絕不與通。紹興兵圍之,歷年不下。紹令洪邑人陳琳書與洪,喻以禍福,責以恩義。


Hóng answered:

洪答曰:

There is always nostalgia after setting out whether dreaming or awake. It is fortunate enough to meet along the way, but if we choose separate paths, we cannot meet again, and this is unfortunate and sad. That is what is my heart!

Days ago I received your letter explaining the advantages and disadvantages of my position, explaining the potential disasters and joys, and the public and private interests. The reason I have not promptly replied is because my learning is meager and my talent little, and insufficient to answer your scolding. It is also because you my friend are at ease with your master, your house in the east, while I am the enemy.

That you should handle these affairs for another, though that is called showing loyalty and inner devotion, it is as if you have drifted away to the guilty, your sweet words become offensive, you lose your way and cannot help, so how can you sympathize with others? Moreover, with your great talent and knowledge of of ancient ways, how can you play a fool beside a highway and not understand my thoughts!

All that you have said on and on, I already know. Your words are without meaning and inner feeling, and are only to avoid disaster. If we must argue at length, debating right and wrong, then I say that the standards of right and wrong are different throughout the world, so to lay it out is to make things more unclear, and to not speak is no loss.

Besides, hurtful words announcing the intention to end relations are not something I can bear to use, so with paper and pen I give but one answer, and hope that you from afar may ponder my heart, know my intentions, and that they will never change. So I send a letter, citing classics ancient and modern, in diverse and muddled six pages. Even though I originally desired not to speak, this turned out to be impossible!

隔闊相思,發于寤寐。幸相去步武之間耳,而以趣舍異規,不得相見,其為愴悢,可為心哉!前日不遺,比辱雅貺,述敘禍福,公私切至。所以不即奉答者,既學薄才鈍,不足塞詰;亦以吾子攜負側室,息肩主人,家在東州,僕為仇敵。以是事人,雖披中情,墮肝膽,猶身疏有罪,言甘見怪,方首尾不救,何能恤人?且以子之才,窮該典籍,豈將闇于大道,不達余趣哉!然猶復云云者,僕以是知足下之言,信不由衷,將以救禍也。必欲算計長短,辯諮是非,是非之論,言滿天下,陳之更不明,不言無所損。又言傷告絕之義,非吾所忍行也,是以捐棄紙筆,一無所答。亦冀遙忖其心,知其計定,不復渝變也。重獲來命,援引古今,紛紜六紙,雖欲不言,焉得已哉!

I am a petty fellow, but happened to receive appointment, unworthily oversaw a great province, and received extensive favor. I do not happily raise a blade in answer today! Every time I ascend the city walls to lead troops, I look to your master’s flags and drums, recall my old friend’s suffering, draw the bow and hold the arrow, and cannot but have tears flow down my face. Why? For the sake of my former master, I can have no regrets. The favor your master showed me was beyond compare. At the beginning of my appointment, I swore I would do great works to the end, and together serve the Imperial household. How can I know the Son of Heaven’s suffering? My home province met invasion, my commander’s leader faced a danger as great as at Yǒulǐ. Chénliú was overcome and I planned to lead relief troops, but my plans were held back, and I disgraced my loyal and filial name, as if a staff had beaten my back, and I failed my friend.

Considering these two opposing circumstances, I cannot but act against my will. The loss of my reputation as loyal and filial when compared to the righteous way toward one’s friends cannot be of the same severity, and the degree of relation is different. Therefore I must restrain my tears and break relations. If I could compel your master to have some pity for an old friend, show consideration for those who stay and restraint for those who go, not oppress friends who leave, trust in punishment for his assistants, then I would not follow the example of Jìzhá and would not fight today. How did it come to this?

In the past Zhāng Jǐngmíng personally ascended the altar and smeared blood on his lips [to swear alliance], resigned and left, and was sent to convince Governor Hán [Fù of Jìzhōu] to resign his authority, and so your master obtained the territory. But afterward, he acknowledged a Court-appointed master [Lǚ Bù], received fief and was transferred, and in that time, before he could understand what was happening, he suffered death and disaster. (1)

  • (1) Your Servant Sōngzhī comments that Yīngxióngjì says: Yuán Shào sent Zhāng Jǐngmíng, Guō Gōngzé, Gāo Yuáncái, and others to speak with Hán Fù and convince him to yield Jìzhōu. So in the achievement of convincing Fù to abdicate, Jǐngmíng also served in that achievement. The matter of the others is unclear.

〔一〕 臣松之案英雄記云:「袁紹使張景明、郭公則、高元才等說韓馥,使讓冀州。」然〔則〕馥之讓位,景明亦有其功。其餘之事未詳。

Lǚ [Bù] Fèngxiān punished [Dǒng] Zhuó and then came to seek asylum, asked for troops but did not obtain them, and was forced to flee for what crime? He was attacked and barely escaped death.

Liú Zǐqí respectfully served for a long time, resigned but was not permitted to go, feared authority and missed his kin, and so lied to beg for release. He could be said to have loyal and filial intentions, and one without intentions to claim hegemony. But he was beaten to death and unfairly eliminated. (2)

  • (2) Your Servant Sōngzhī comments Gōngsūn Zàn memorialized a list of Shào’s crimes that said: “Shào and former Tiger-Fang General Liú Xūn together raised troops. Xūn was still active, but for a small quarrel he killed Xūn. This was Shào’s seventh crime.” It is possible that this could be Zǐqí.

〔二〕 臣松之案:公孫瓚表列紹罪過云:「紹與故虎牙將軍劉勳首共造兵,勳仍有效,而以小忿枉害于勳,紹罪七也。」疑此是子璜也。

Though I am not able, and can never from the beginning know the end, or from the small know the large, or guess your master’s intentions, but how can it be said that those three deserved death, or that their punishments were appropriate?

He desired to unite the east of the mountains, increased the troops beneath him, but he feared and doubted warriors and could not control them, so he abandoned the Imperial commands to establish his own rule, welcoming the righteous, but those who sought to leave him were killed, all for your master’s benefit, and not for the sake of the aspirations of those wandering heroes. Therefore I learn lessons from past men who were surrounded and exhausted and fought to the death, and though I am foolish I still have heard the words of superior men.

This was truly not my intention. It was your master that forced this. For all this I must renounce my state and people, and give orders to defend this city. This is why I must depart from the way of the superior man, and why I must not follow the ways of an enemy state. Therefore I must thus wrong your master and be attacked for this long time. Yet you cite this doctrine of righteousness to advise me. Is this not saying one thing and meaning another, and not the manner by which a superior man faces calamity?

僕小人也,本因行役,寇竊大州,恩深分厚,寧樂今日自還接刃!每登城勒兵,望主人之旗鼓,感故友之周旋,撫弦搦矢,不覺流涕之覆面也。何者?自以輔佐主人,無以為悔。主人相接,過絕等倫。當受任之初,自謂究竟大事,共尊王室。豈悟天子不悅,本州見侵,郡將遘牖里之厄,陳留克創兵之謀,謀計棲遲,喪忠孝之名,杖策攜背,虧交友之分。揆此二者,與其不得已,喪忠孝之名與虧交友之道,輕重殊塗,親疏異畫,故便收淚告絕。若使主人少垂故人,住者側席,去者克己,不汲汲于離友,信刑戮以自輔,則僕抗季札之志,不為今日之戰矣。何以效之?昔張景明親登壇喢血,奉辭奔走,卒使韓牧讓印,主人得地;然後但以拜章朝主,賜爵獲傳之故,旋時之間,不蒙觀過之貸,而受夷滅之禍。〔一〕呂奉先討卓來奔,請兵不獲,告去何罪?復見斫刺,濱于死亡。劉子琪奉使踰時,辭不獲命,畏威懷親,以詐求歸,可謂有志忠孝,無損霸道者也;然輒僵斃麾下,不蒙虧除。〔二〕僕雖不敏,又素不能原始見終,睹微知著,竊度主人之心,豈謂三子宜死,罰當刑中哉?實且欲一統山東,增兵討讎,懼戰士狐疑,無以沮勸,故抑廢王命以崇承制,慕義者蒙榮,待放者被戮,此乃主人之利,非游士之願也。故僕鑒戒前人,困窮死戰。僕雖下愚,亦嘗聞君子之言矣。此實非吾心也。乃主人招焉。凡吾所以背棄國民,用命此城者,正以君子之違,不適敵國故也。是以獲罪主人,見攻踰時,而足下更引此義以為吾規,無乃辭同趨異,非君子所為休戚者哉!

I have heard that righteousness is not turn one’s back on one’s kin, that loyalty is not to abandon one’s lord and ruler. Because I took the eastern leader [Zhāng Chāo] of my home province as my kin, and as a prefecture officer I supported him in calming the altars of state, with one move I achieved two gains of acting loyal and filial. What was wrong with that? Yet you wish that I would forget my origins and abandon my kin, and only take your master as my lord.

In how your master has treated me, in age he could be my elder brother, and in affection he could be my good friend, but our ways separated so I took my leave. To calm one’s lord and kin can be said to be obedient.

But by your words, one should gather up stores and give one’s life like Wǔ Yuán and not cry out at the Court of Qín. If you are only seeking to avoid misfortune, then who knows if your words have any real meaning.

Or perhaps you see the city’s siege has not been resolved, and no relief troops come, and have feelings toward your relatives by marriage, worry about your status, believe in asking for surrender and living without purpose and surpassing perseverance with morality and then fall.

In the past Yàn Yīng did not surrender and thought only of his drawn blade, while the Southern Historians did not falsify records to save their own lives. Therefore their appearances were recorded in portraits and their names were passed on to later generations. Moreover I depend on the firmness of these metal-hard city walls, the strength of these excellent soldiers and people, these supplies gathered over three years, and believe I have supplies to last one year to relieve poverty and repair deficiencies. To be happy in this world, one does not need to build a house or plow the fields! I only fear the autumn wind will blow up dust, so that [Gōngsūn Zàn] Bógūi’s horses will come south, or Zhāng Yáng’s and [Zhāng] Fēi-Yān’s strength will cause trouble, and so your northern officers will report urgent problems in the counties, and the trusted aides beg to turn back, and that is all.

Your master should know our officials and people, turn back his banners and withdraw his officers, and manage his troops back at Yè. How is it suitable that he should follow his anger for so long and cruelly press on beneath our city walls? You ridicule me, stating that I am depending on the Black Mountain [bandits] for rescue, which is like desiring to ally with the Yellow Headscarves! Moreover, Fēi-Yān’s followers have received Imperial commands now.

In the past Gāo-zǔ [Liú Bāng] defeated Péng Yuè at Jùyě. Guāng-wǔ [Liú Xiù] founded his base at Lùlín. From there they could fly up like a dragon and achieve their Imperial designs. If one can assist one’s master in great change, then what is there to doubt! So I personally believe in the ruler’s seals and letters and follow in their examples.

吾聞之也,義不背親,忠不違君,故東宗本州以為親援,中扶郡將以安社稷,一舉二得以徼忠孝,何以為非?而足下欲吾輕本破家,均君主人。主人之於我也,年為吾兄,分為篤友,道乖告去,以安君親,可謂順矣。若子之言,則包胥宜致命於伍員,不當號哭於秦庭矣。苟區區於攘患,不知言乖乎道理矣。足下或者見城圍不解,救兵未至,感婚姻之義,惟平生之好,以屈節而苟生,勝守義而傾覆也。昔晏嬰不降志於白刃,南史不曲筆以求生,故身著圖象,名垂後世,況僕據金城之固,驅士民之力,散三年之畜,以為一年之資,匡困補乏,以悅天下,何圖築室反耕哉!但懼秋風揚塵,伯珪馬首南向,張楊、飛燕,膂力作難,北鄙將告倒縣之急,股肱奏乞歸之誠耳。主人當鑒我曹輩,反旌退師,治兵鄴垣,何宜久辱盛怒,暴威於吾城下哉?足下譏吾恃黑山以為救,獨不念黃巾之合從邪!加飛燕之屬悉以受王命矣。昔高祖取彭越于鉅野,光武創基兆于綠林,卒能龍飛中興,以成帝業,苟可輔主興化,夫何嫌哉!況僕親奉璽書,與之從事。

Enough Kǒngzhāng! You may seek advantage outside, but Zāng Hóng has received his orders from his lord and kin. You my friend may bow to the Alliance Leader. Zāng Hóng thinks of [the Emperor] at Cháng’ān. You say I will die and my name be lost, but I laugh that you will be without name whether in life or death. How sad! Previously we were together but now we must part. Strive on, strive on! What more is to be said?

行矣孔璋!足下徼利於境外,臧洪授命於君親;吾子託身於盟主,臧洪策名於長安。子謂余身死而名滅,僕亦笑子生死而無聞焉,悲哉!本同而末離,努力努力,夫復何言!


Shào saw Hóng’s letter and knew he had no intention of surrendering, so he added more troops and pressed the attack. Inside the city the food supplies were exhausted, and outside there was no  chance for rescue. Hóng knew he could not escape, so he called his officials and troops and said to them: “Yuán is unprincipled, his intentions are disloyal, and moreover he did not rescue my prefecture’s leader. I for my principles cannot but die, but now there is no reason for you sirs to share this misfortune! Before the city falls, you may all take your wives and children and go.”

紹見洪書,知無降意,增兵急攻。城中糧穀以盡,外無彊救,洪自度必不免,呼吏士謂曰:「袁氏無道,所圖不軌,且不救洪郡將。洪於大義,不得不死,今諸君無事空與此禍!可先城未敗,將妻子出。」

The officials and officers and troops and people all wept and said: “You wise governor and Yuán originally had no quarrel, but now for the sake of the prefecture leader appointed by our Court you have encountered harm. How can your people bear to abandon you!”

將吏士民皆垂泣曰:「明府與袁氏本無怨隙,今為本朝郡將之故,自致殘困,吏民何忍當舍明府去也!」

At first there were rats and leather and sinew to boil, but afterward there was nothing that could be eaten. The Registrar found that the inner kitchen had three dòu of rice, and asked for a portion to make gruel. Hóng sighed and said: “How can I eat this alone?” He made a thin gruel and shared it with everyone, and killed his favorite concubine to feed his officers and troops. The soldiers all wept, and none could look up to face him. Altogether seven to eight thousand men and women laid down and died, but none left or rebelled.

初尚掘鼠煮筋角,後無可復食者。主簿啟內廚米三斗,請中分稍以為糜粥,洪歎曰:「獨食此何為!」使作薄粥,眾分歠之,殺其愛妾以食將士。將士咸流涕,無能仰視者。男女七八千人相枕而死,莫有離叛。


The city fell, and Shào captured Hóng alive. Shào personally met Hóng and brought him into his tent, gathered all the officers in a meeting to see Hóng, and said: “Zāng Hóng, how could you turn against me like this? Today will you at last submit?”

城陷,紹生執洪。紹素親洪,盛施幃幔,大會諸將見洪,謂曰:「臧洪,何相負若此!今日服未?」

Hóng was lying on the ground but his eyes were angry and he said: “The Yuán served Hàn and in four generations had five Excellencies. They can be said to have received favor. But now when the Imperial Household is weak, none of them have the intention of supporting it, and instead intend to take advantage of the situation, harboring evil intentions, killing the loyal and able to install their treacherous authority. I personally saw you call Zhāng [Miǎo of] Chénliú your elder brother, so my former master [Zhāng Chāo] was also your younger brother. He joined his strength together with yours to serve the state in removing evil. How could you hold your armies back and watch him be slaughtered and destroyed? All I regret is that I do not have the strength to raise my blade again to avenge the world Under Heaven. What is this talk of submission?”

洪據地瞋目曰:「諸袁事漢,四世五公,可謂受恩。今王室衰弱,無扶翼之意,欲因際會,希冀非望,多殺忠良以立姦威。洪親見呼張陳留為兄,則洪府君亦宜為弟,同共戮力,為國除害,何為擁眾觀人屠滅!惜洪力劣,不能推刃為天下報仇,何謂服乎!」

Shào originally favored Hóng and hoped to force his surrender and pardon him. Seeing that Hóng was this determined, he knew he could not be employed, and so killed him. (1)

紹本愛洪,意欲令屈服,原之;見洪辭切,知終不為己用,乃殺之。〔一〕

  • (1) Xú Zhòng’s Sānguópíng states: Hóng was kindhearted and world famous for his righteousness. He sought to rescue his former lord from danger. This feeling is enough to make anyone sympathize, and this righteousness is enough to encourage the weak. However Yuán was also a close friend, installed him in the province and prefecture, and though their relationship was not that of master and servant, he was the Alliance Leader and had received their trust, and should not have been betrayed. Yuán and Cáo were at peace, and both sides sought to assist the Imperial House. Lǚ Bù rebelled without reason, his intentions were to rebel and create chaos, but [Zhāng] Miǎo and Chāo without authority installed Bù as provincial Governor. By the Imperial laws, they were all criminals. That Lord Cáo punished them and that Yuán did not rescue them was not without reason. Hóng should not have asked Yuán for troops and should not have blamed him. If Hóng did not have sufficient planners or strength, he could have sought out other powers to ask help for the rescue. If his plans and strength were not enough to assist in matters, then it would be better to not just observe the quarrel but die with Chāo. Why should he swear to defend the city to the end and be inflexible, dying himself and exterminating his own people, failing to establish any achievement? How tragic!

〔一〕 徐眾三國評曰:洪敦天下名義,救舊君之危,其恩足以感人情,義足以勵薄俗。然袁亦知己親友,致位州郡,雖非君臣,且實盟主,既受其命,義不應貳。袁、曹方睦,夾輔王室,呂布反覆無義,志在逆亂,而邈、超擅立布為州牧,其於王法,乃一罪人也。曹公討之,袁氏弗救,未為非理也。洪本不當就袁請兵,又不當還為怨讎。為洪計者,苟力所不足,可奔他國以求赴救,若謀力未展以待事機,則宜徐更觀釁,效死於超。何必誓守窮城而無變通,身死殄民,功名不立,良可哀也!


Hóng’s fellow townsman Chén Róng from youth was a scholar, personally admired Hóng, and had followed Hóng as Deputy of Dōng-jùn. Before the city fell, Hóng sent him out. When Shào gave the order at the meeting, he saw Hóng was about to die, and rose up and said to Shào: “General, you have begun a great work, desiring to remove evil for the world Under Heaven, but now you first execute a loyal and righteous man. How can this be Heaven’s Will?”

洪邑人陳容少為書生,親慕洪,隨洪為東郡丞;城未敗,洪遣出。紹令在坐,見洪當死,起謂紹曰:「將軍舉大事,欲為天下除暴,而專先誅忠義,豈合天意!臧洪發舉為郡將,奈何殺之!」

Shào was ashamed, and sent his attendants to lead him out, and said: “You are not Zāng Hóng’s peer. Why do you act in vain?”

紹慚,左右使人牽出,謂曰:「汝非臧洪儔,空復爾為!」

Róng replied: “To be benevolent and righteous there are standards. Those who follow them are superior men. Those who turn their backs against them are petty men. Today I would rather with Zāng Hóng on the same day die, than with you General on the same day live!” So he too was killed.

容顧曰:「夫仁義豈有常,蹈之則君子,背之則小人。今日寧與臧洪同日而死,不與將軍同日而生!」復見殺。

Those seated around Shào, there were none who did not sigh in amazement. They said to one another: “How could he in one day kill two heroes!”

在紹坐者無不歎息,竊相謂曰:「如何一日殺二烈士!」

Before this, Hóng sent two Majors out to beg help from Lǚ Bù. When they returned, the city had already fallen, so they both charged into battle and died.

先是,洪遣司馬二人出,求救于呂布;比還,城已陷,皆赴敵死。

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