Qiáo Zhōu appellation Yǔnnán was a Bāxī Xīyǔn man. His father Pīn appellation Róngshǐ studied the Shàng shū and also read the various classics and the Tú and Wěi. The province and prefecture recruited and invited him, but all he did not answer, the province accepted him as temporary Teacher Friend Attending Official. Zhōu when young was fatherless, with his mother’s elder brother together resided. When grown, he focused on ancient diligent study, his family was poor but he did not once investigate business, recited and read books, happy to laugh alone, forgetting to rest and eat. He researched the Six Classics, and was exceptionally good at calligraphy. He somewhat understood Heaven’s Signs [astrology], but did not leave attention to it. The written works of the various masters were not where his heart was, so he did not completely read them. His height was eight chǐ, his appearance unadorned, his nature focused on sincerity and was not decorated. He was without skill in fast debate, but he was secretly knowledgeable and inwardly clever.
During Jiànxīng, Chancellor [Zhūgě] Liàng was designate Yì province Governor, ordering Zhōu as Urging Study Attending Official. (1) [Zhūgě] Liàng died on the battle field, Zhōu was at home and heard, and at once hurried to go, soon there was Imperial Order forbidding this, only Zhōu due to the speed of his travels was able to arrive. General-in-Chief Jiǎng Wǎn as designate Inspector transferred him to Standard Study Attending Official, managing the province’s scholars.
- (1) Shǔjì states: When Zhōu first met [Zhūgě] Liàng, [Zhūgě Liàng’s] left and right attendants all laughed. After he went out, managers requested to identify those that laughed. [Zhūgě] Liàng said: “Even I could not bear it, all the more for my left and right!”
When Hòuzhǔ [Liú Shàn] enthroned an Heir-Apparent [Liú Xuán], appointed Zhōu as [Heir-Apparent’s] Charioteer, transferred to [Heir-Apparent’s] Household Director. At the time Hòuzhǔ tended to go out to tour and observe, and expanded music. Zhōu sent up memorial remonstrating that said:
“In the past at Wáng Mǎng’s defeat, towering figures all rose up, striding provinces and occupying prefectures, wishing to wield the Divine Vessels, and therefore the worthy talents and wise servicemen thought of and looked for where to submit, not necessarily by whether their power was wide or narrow, but whether their virtue was meager or thick. Therefore at the time Gēngshǐ [Liú Xuán] and Gōngsūn Shù and those with large forces were many and already wide-spread, however none of them did not indulge feelings and follow desires, negligent of doing good, traveling and hunting and drinking and eating, not sympathizing with the people. When Shìzǔ [Liú Xiù] first entered the Hé’s north, Féng Yì and the rest urged him saying: “You must do what others cannot do.” Therefore he attended to resolving injustices, was frugal in drink and food, his actions complied with law, and therefore the northern provinces sang and sighed, its sound spreading in four directions. Therefore Dèng Yǔ from Nányáng followed after him, Wú Hàn and Kòu Xún did not yet know Shìzǔ but from afar heard of his virtuous conduct, and therefore with expedient plans raised Yúyáng and Shànggǔ to rush cavalry to welcome him at Guǎng’ē. The rest watching for and admiring virtue Pī Róng, Gěng Chún, Liú Zhí and their sort, that went as far as to arrive with carriages of the sick and with coffins and carrying children on their backs, cannot be counted, and therefore he was able to turn the weak into the strong, slaughter Wáng Láng, absorb the Tóngmǎ, break the Chìméi, and achieve the Emperor’s enterprise. When at Luòyáng, he once wished to make a small excursion, the Carriage was already prepared, Yáo Qī remonstrated saying: “Heaven’s Under is not yet peaceful, I your servant truly do not wish for Your Majesty to repeatedly go out on trifling journeys.” Immediately he turned back the carriage. Reaching to the campaign against Wěi Āo, Yǐngchuān bandits rose up, Shìzǔ returned to Luòyáng, only sending Kòu Xún to go, [Kòu] Xún said: “Yǐngchuān because of Your Majesty’s distant campaign therefore had the treacherous and sly rise in rebellion, do not yet know Your Majesty has returned, and one fears they will not timely surrender. If Your Majesty personally faces them, the Yǐngchuān bandits will certainly at once surrender.” Therefore he arrived at Yǐngchuān, and indeed it was as [Kòu] Xún said. Therefore if it is not an urgent task, to wish for a small excursion and not dare to, and if it is an urgent task, to wish to be at ease and to not do so, is therefore an Emperor’s wish for the good like this. Therefore the Zhuàn saying: ‘The Hundred Surnames do not for no reason attach,” truly is virtue taking precedence. Now Hàn has encountered misfortune, Heaven’s Under divided in three, the time of imposing and wise servicemen thinking and watching. Your Majesty’s natural character is of utmost filial piety, mourned for over three years, speaking of the passing in tears, even Zēng Mǐn does not surpass it. You respect the worthy and appoint the talented, causing them to devote their strength, surpassing Chéng Kāng. Therefore the state’s interior is harmonious everywhere, large and small join strength, what your servant cannot describe. However your servant cannot bear but have a giant hope, hoping to again expand to what others cannot do. To pull the large heaviness, those using strength are unfortunately not many, to select out the large hardships, those with good techniques are unfortunately not widespread, and moreover to carry on the affairs of the Ancestral Temple, is not to seek fortune and blessings, it is how to lead the people to honor superiors. As for the four season sacrifices, there are some not overseen, but in the observing of ponds and parks, there are still excursions. I your servant am muddled and slow and privately am not at ease. One concerned with responsibility on oneself, does not have time to devote to exhaustive music. The Former Emperor’s ambition is formed but not yet completed, it truly is not the time for exhaustive music. One hopes for reduction of music offices and the additional work of the Rear Palace, to only focus on cultivating what the Former Emperor bequeathed, and be for descendants a lesson of frugality.”
Transferred to Internal Scattered Grandee, while remaining an attendant to the Heir-Apparent.
At the time the armies repeatedly set out, the Hundred Surnames were conscripted and worn, Zhōu with Secretariat Documents Director Chén Zhī discussed its benefits and harms, withdrew and wrote it, calling it Chóu Guó lùn [Discussion on Enemy States]. Its words said:
“Yīnyú state was small, and Zhàojiàn state was large, they battled at the time and became enemies. Yīnyú state’s Gāo Xiánqīng asked Fú Yúzǐ saying: ‘Now the state’s affairs are not yet settled, high and low labor hearts, in the ancient past’s affairs, those able to use the weak to overcome the strong, what were their methods?’ Fú Yúzǐ said: ‘I have heard of it, the residing large and without suffering are often sluggish, the residing small and with worries consider the good; often sluggish then produces chaos, considering the good then produces governance, a constant of reasoning. Therefore Zhōu Wén cared for the people, with a few taking the many, Gōujiàn sympathized with the masses, with the weak killing the strong, this is the method.’ Xiánqīng said: ‘In former times Xiàng was strong and Hàn was weak, they met in battle, without a day of rest, however Xiàng Yǔ with Hàn made treaty to divide with Hónggōu as border, each wishing to return to rest the people; Zhāng Liáng believed the people’s wills were already settled, and so difficult to move, and commanded pursuit of [Xiàng] Yǔ, in the end killing Xiàng shì, how is it required to follow Wén-wáng’s example? Zhàojiàn state now has epidemic, if we take advantage of this opening, invade their border areas, we can add to their epidemic and kill them. Fú Yúzǐ said: “At the time of Yīn and Zhōu, the kings and lords were for generations honored, the ruler and ministers for a long time firm, the people accustomed to the government; deep roots are difficult to pull out, the residing in firmness are difficult to move. At this time, how could even Hàn Zǔ wield sword and whip horse to seize Heaven’s Under? Then after Qín abolished lords and installed administrators, the people wearied of Qín’s conscription, Under Heaven the lands collapsed, some years changing ruler, some moons changing lords, birds startled and beasts alarmed, none knowing who to follow, therefore the large and strong all fought, as tigers breaking and wolves dividing, the fast and extensive obtained much, the slow and late were swallowed. Now we with Zhàojiàn all have transferred states and changed generations, already not the time of boiling cauldron of Qín’s end, truly there is the situation of the Six States all residing, and therefore we can be Wén-wáng, and it is difficult to be Hàn Zǔ. If the people are weary then the omens of disturbance appear, if high is sluggish and low is violent then the appearances of collapse rise. Proverb states: ‘Shooting by fortune frequently failing, is not as good as carefully firing.’ Therefore the wise do not for small benefits shift eyes, do not for thinking of resemblance change step, when the timing is permittable then afterward move, the numbers coincide and afterward rise, and therefore the forces of Tāng and Wǔ did not twice battle and succeeded, it truly was valuing the people’s labors and judging timing carefully. If then maximizing warfare and constantly campaigning, the situation of lands collapsing appears, if in misfortune there is encountering of trouble, then even if there are sages they are not able to plan for it. If then there is one of strange changes weave and warp, going out and going in are without gap, charging waves cutting paths, crossing valleys passing mountains, not by boats and oars yet crossing Méngjīn, I Yúzǐ truly do not match.
[Translator’s note: Qiáo Zhōu in naming his hypothetical states and individuals uses satirical character choices. The characters in Yīnyú can be literally understood as ‘remnant,’ Zhàojiàn as ‘newly established,’ Gāo Xiánqīng as ‘high worthy minister,’ Fú Yúzǐ as ‘submitting foolish master.]
Later promoted to Merit Grandee, rank second to the Nine Ministers. Zhōu though did not participate in government affairs, for his classicist conduct met with courtesy, at the time in inquiring on great discussions, at once according to the classics he answered, and so later those with good service also consulted and asked him about their doubts.
Jǐngyào Sixth Year , Wèi Chief General Dèng Ài overcame Jiāngyóu, increasing speed and advancing. But Shǔ originally said the enemy would not arrive, did not build city fortifications and defending preparations, on hearing [Dèng] Ài had already entered Yīnpíng, the Hundred Surnames were disturbed, all fleeing into mountains and fields, and could not be restricted and controlled. Hòuzhǔ had the various ministers gather to discuss, not knowing what to do. Some believed Shǔ and Wú originally were allied states and they could flee to Wú; some believed Nánzhōng’s seven prefectures were rugged and cut off, easy to use for self defense, and they could flee south. Only Zhōu believed: “Since the ancients onward, there has never been one who took refuge in another state who was Heaven’s Son, now if we enter Wú, assuredly it would be to submit as a subject. Moreover when governments are not different, then the large is able to swallow the small, this calculation is self-evident. By this speaking of it, then that Wèi is able to conquer Wú and Wú unable to conquer Wèi is obvious. To declare oneself subject to the small, and to do so to the large, the shame of two disgraces, how does it compare to one disgrace? Moreover if one wishes to flee south, then it should have earlier been planned and afterward it could be realized; now the large enemy is near, disaster and defeat about to arrive, the hearts of the various subordinates, can every one be guaranteed? One fears that on the day of setting out, if there is a change unexpected, how could there be an arrival to the south?”
Of the various ministers some criticized Zhōu saying: “Now [Dèng] Ài is not far away, one fears he will not accept surrender, what then?”
Zhōu said: “Right now eastern Wú has not submitted, the situation is such that he cannot but accept, and after accepting it, he cannot but be respectful. If Your Majesty surrenders to Wèi, if Wèi does not divide territory to give fief to Your Majesty, I Zhōu will personally visit their capital, to with ancient principles argue it.” Of everyone none were able to change Zhōu’s reasoning.
Hòuzhǔ yet had doubts for fleeing south, Zhōu sent up memorial that said: “Some persuade Your Majesty that the northern troops penetrate deeply, and have wish for a plan to escape south, I your servant humbly believe it not secure. Why? The lands of the southern regions’ distant Yí have ordinarily been without giving offerings and service, and have yet repeatedly rebelled, from since Chancellor [Zhūgě] Liàng’s Southern Campaign, military power forced them, and in destitution they then submitted. Afterward in providing and sending out officials and taxes, in taking them to provide for the troops, they resent and complain, these are people that endanger the state. Now when destitute and oppressed, to wish to go depend on them, one fears they will certainly again rebel. This is first. The northern troop’s coming, is not only to take Shǔ and nothing more, if we flee to the south, they will certainly follow up on decline of our manpower, and at once pursue and chase. This is second. If we reach the south, outside opposing and resisting the enemy, inside collecting supplies and services, the costs will expand and spread, with nowhere else to obtain, the costs on the various Yí will certainly be extreme, in being extreme they will certainly quickly rebel. This is third. In the past Wáng Láng in Hándān usurped title, at the time Shìzǔ was at Xīndū, feared to be threatened by [Wáng] Láng, wished to abandon it and return to Guānzhōng, Pī Róng remonstrated stating: ‘If your enlightened excellency returns west, then Hándān city’s people will certainly not agree to abandon their fathers and mothers and abandon the city’s master and over a thousand lǐ escort your excellency; their desertion and rebellion could be certain.’ Shìzǔ followed this, and therefore defeated Hánsān. Now the northern troops arrive, Your Majesty goes south, one truly fears Pī Róng’s words will again be proven in the present. This is fourth. May Your Majesty early plan for this, and be able to obtain noble rank and land; if you then escape south, and when power is exhausted then submit, this disaster will certainly be deep. The Yì states: ‘Overbearing as a word, is understanding gains but not understanding loss, understanding survival but not understanding destruction; those who understand gains and losses and survival and destruction and not losing their standards, this only is a sage!’ It says a sage understands fate but is not lax in certainty. Therefore Yáo and Shùn as their sons were not good, understood Heaven gave bestowal, and sought a bestowal to another; the sons though were not worthy, the disaster yet did not sprout, and to welcome the bestowal to another, all the more when disaster has arrived! Therefore Wēi-zǐ as the Yīn King’s kinsman, face bound and bearing annulus submitted to King Wǔ; how was he happy? He could not but do so.”
Therefore followed Zhōu’s plan. The Liú clan being without worry, the whole country obtaining reliance, was Zhōu’s plan. (1)
- (1) Sūn Chuò’s Appraisal states: Qiáo Zhōu persuading Hòuzhǔ to surrender, was it permit able? Said: To from being Heaven’s Son and yet beg to surrender and plead for life, how deep the disgrace! To for the State Altars die then die for it, for the State Altars perish then perish for it. His late father corrected Wèi’s usurpation, to not with them share the sky. To push blame to his father, and bow head and serve the enemy, can be called pointlessly surviving, how is it the great path of residing in the correct?
- Sūn Shèng states: By the Chūnqiū‘s meanings, the state’s rulers dies for the State Altars, the ministers and grandees die for the throne, all the more for one who claims to be Heaven’s Son and yet can be disgraced by another! Zhōu saying a lord of ten thousand chariots should pointlessly live and temporarily escape, abandons propriety to seek profit, hoping for minuscule glory, is baffling. Moreover discussing the situation, the reasoning is not yet exhaustive. Why? [Liú] Shàn though was a mediocre ruler, he truly was without the ruthlessness of Jié and Zhòu, battles though were repeatedly lost, there was yet no chaos of lands collapsing, even if they could not ruler and ministers firmly defend, with backs to the city walls all together, surely they could withdraw east to consider later plans. At the time Luó Xiàn with heavy troops occupied Báidì, Huò Yì with strong soldiers defended Yèláng. Shǔ’s lands were rugged and narrow, the mountains and rivers severe and dividing, cut off by peaks and rushing waters, not what infantry can wade. If they all fetched boats and oars, defending and occupying Jiāngzhōu, levying troops from Nánzhōng, begging for forces from the eastern state [Wú], like this then Jiāng [Wéi], Liào [Lì] five officers would naturally as clouds follow, Wú’s three armies would carrying command as lightning arrive, why claim there was nothing to be done and think of certain destruction? The coming of Wèi’s forces, had lifted the state in great mobilization, to wish to pursue then boats and oars were not supplied, to wish to remain then the forces would always have many worries. Moreover bending and stretching have opportunities, situation changes would rise, slowly in response using people thinking of exerting themselves, to attack arrogant and lazy troops, this was how the King of Yuè defeated Hélǘ, Tián Dān destroyed Jì Jié, why hurriedly rush to make oneself a prisoner, descend from firm ramparts to the enemy, to cause the utmost regret of chopping stone? [Jiāng Wéi’s troops reportedly chopped stones in frustration upon hearing of the surrender] Gě Shēng has a saying: “If the matter cannot be saved then it is finished, how can one again be a subordinate?” How strong these words, able to restore a coward’s will. Observing the ancient Yān, Qí, Jīng, Yuè defeats, some states overturned ruler and were destroyed, some as fish hung [on trees] and birds scuttled [on ground; idioms for exile], to in the end be able to establish achievement and set affairs, restore the State Altars, how is it said to be Heaven’s Assistance, it also was Man’s planning. Even if accepting the plan for pointless life, accepting Qiáo Zhōu’s words, how is it the state’s foundations being able to be established, good reputation being able to be obtained? Shàn was an ignorant ruler, Zhōu truly a worn out minister, compared to Shēn Bāo, Tián Dān, Fàn Lǐ, Dàifū Zhǒng, were they not also far!
At the time Jìn King Wén [Sīmǎ Zhāo] was Wèi’s Chancellor of State, as Zhōu had the achievement of preserving state, enfeoffed him as Yángchéng precinct Marquis. Also sent down letter to recruit Zhōu, Zhōu set out and reached Hànzhōng, was severely ill and did not advance. Xiánxī Second Year  Summer, Bā prefecture’s Wén Lì from Luòyáng returned to Shǔ, passed and met Zhōu. Zhōu spoke with him, then wrote register to show to [Wén] Lì that said: “Managing Wǔ neglected! Moon Yǒu Lost!” Managing Wǔ is to say (‘Directing Horse’) Sīmǎ, Moon Yǒu is to say Eighth Moon. [Wǔ and Yǒu are two of the Twelve Earthly Branches. In the mapping to the twelve animals, Wǔ corresponds to the Horse. In mapping to the months, Yǒu corresponds to the eighth month of the calendar system.] Reaching the Eighth Moon King Wén indeed died. (1) The Jìn House ascended the throne, repeatedly sent down Imperial Order to where he was to send Zhōu. Zhōu therefore on carriage hurriedly visited Luò, Tàishǐ Third Year  arrived. Due to illness he could not rise, was appointed Cavalry Commandant, Zhōu then himself explained he was without achievement and yet enfeoffed, requested to return his noble rank and land, all were not permitted.
- (1) Huàyáng Guózhì states: Wén Lì appellation Guǎngxiū, when young studied the Máo shī, Sān Lǐ, also read the various books. Inspector Fèi Yī ordered him to be Attendant Official, entered to be Secretariat Documents Cadet, again was recruited to be [Fèi] Yī’s General-in-Chief’s East Department Official, gradually promoted to Secretariat Documenter. When Shǔ was conquered by Wèi, Liáng province was established, he first became Separate Harness Attending Official, nominated as Exceptional Talent. Jìn Tàishǐ Second Year , appointed Jǐyīn Administrator, promoted to Heir-Apparent’s Internal Resident. Lì sent up word: “The descendants of Shǔ’s great officials and utmost loyalty to the death in service, though they serve in prefectures and states, if some are not talented, they must be treated the same as the common people. Also Zhūgě Liàng, Jiǎng Wǎn, Fèi Yī and the rest’s descendants have relocated to the central capital region, each should be judged in talent and in order employed, to comfort the hearts of Bā and Shǔ, and overturn the expectations of the Wú men.” The matters were all put into effect. Transferred to Cavalier Regular Attendant, presented any good and replaced any evil, and had many patching accepted. Gradually promoted to Minister of the Guard, the Central Court acknowledged his worthy elegance, and was the time’s famed Minister. At Xiánníng’s end died. Lì’s memorials and poems and rhapsodies and discussions and eulogies altogether were several tens of piān.
Fifth Year, I [Chén Shòu] once was my home prefecture’s Central Rectifier, the purifying settling matters finished, and I requested rest and to return home, and went to with Zhōu take leave. Zhōu said to me: “In the past Kǒng-zǐ was seventy-two, Liú Xiàng and Yáng Xióng were seventy-one and died, now my years pass seventy, all admire Kǒng-zǐ’s legacy air, and can with Liú and Yáng be of the same course, I fear I will not go out to the later year, and certainly will forever pass, and not see you again.” One suspects Zhōu used a technique to know this, and feigned this to speak. Sixth Year Autumn, became Cavalier Regular Attendant, his illness was serious and he did not accept, reaching winter he died. (1) Altogether his writings, compiled and settled laws and teachings, discussions on the five classics, ancient history examinations are over a hundred piān. (2) Zhōu’s three sons were Xī, Xián, Tóng. The youngest son Tóng enjoyed Zhōu’s enterprise, also took loyal sincerity and quality as conduct, was nominated filial and incorruptable, sent out as Xī Magistrate, East Palace Herald, summoned but did not accept. (3)
- (1) Jìn Yángqiū records Imperial Order stating: “We extremely mourn him, bestow Court dress of one set, robe of one suit, cash of one hundred fifty thousand.” Zhōu’s son Xī sent up word, that Zhōu on facing the end entrusted Xī stating: “[I have] for a long time been bound by illness, have not once in Court met, if the state graciously bestows Court dress and clothes, do not apply it to my body. [I am] about to return to the old [family] graves, the roads are rugged and paths difficult, in advance make a light coffin. When the encoffining is already finished, send up and return what is bestowed.” Imperial Order recalled the clothes and gave coffin supplies.
- (2) Yìbù Qíjiù zhuàn states: Yì Province Inspector Dǒng Róng painted Zhōu’s portrait at the provincial academy, ordering Attending Official Lǐ Tōng to eulogize him, stating: [Omitted for now, I can’t do it justice.]
- (3) Zhōu’s eldest son Xī. Xī’s son Xiù, appellation Yuányán.
- Jìn Yángqiū states: Xiù by nature was pure and calm, did not interact in worldly affairs, knew there was about to be great chaos, in advance cut off from human affairs, not meeting together with his cousins and various kin. The province and prefecture summoned him, when Lǐ Xióng plundered Shǔ, a small chariot summoned Xiù, also [Lǐ] Xióng’s father’s younger brother [Lǐ] Xiāng and Xiāng’s son Shòu summoned him, all did not answer. He always wore deer skin cap, personally plowing mountains and marshes. Yǒnghé Third Year , Securing West General Huán Wēn pacified Shǔ, memorialized and recommended Xiù stating: [Omitted for now]. When Xiāo Jìng rebelled, he fled the troubles into Dàngqú rivers, his townsmen and clansmen that hurried to depend on him were in the hundreds. Xiù was aged eighty, everyone believed him old, and wished to take his place in bearing burdens, Xiù refused saying: “Each have their old and young, and should first rescue them. My vigor is sufficient to endure this, and not in declining years bind you sirs.” After over ten years he died at home.