Yue (, Old Chinese: ''*''), also known as Yuyue (), was a state in ancient China which existed during the first millennium BC the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods of China's Zhou dynasty in the modern provinces of Zhejiang, Shanghai and Jiangsu. Its original capital was Kuaiji (modern Shaoxing); after its conquest of Wu, the Kings of Yue moved their court north to the city of Wu (modern Suzhou) and survived until 214 BC. When the Chinese were reunified into Qin Dynasty, Yue become a vassal of the Chinese state.


The name "Baiyue" () was applied indiscriminately to many non-Chinese peoples who had been mentioned in numerous classical texts. A specific kingdom, which had been known as the "Yue Guo" () in modern Zhejiang, was not mentioned until it began a series of wars against its northern Yue neighbor Wu during the late 6th century BC. According to the ''Records of the Grand Historian'' and ''Discourses of the States'', the Yue are descended from Wuyu, the son of Shao Kang which as known as the sixth king of the Xia dynasty. With help from Wu's enemy Chu, Yue was able to be victorious after several decades of conflict. The famous Yue King Goujian destroyed and annexed Wu in 473 BC. During the reign of Wuqiang (), six generations after Goujian, Yue was partitioned by Chu and Qi in 306 BC. During its existence, Yue was famous for the quality of its metalworking, particularly its swords. Examples include the extremely well-preserved Swords of Goujian and Zhougou. The Yue state appears to have been a largely indigenous political development in the lower Yangtze. This region corresponds with that of the old corded-ware Neolithic, and it continued to be one that shared a number of practices, such as tooth extraction, pile building, and cliff burial. Austroasiatic speakers also still lived in the region down to its conquest and sinification beginning about 240 BC. What set the Yue apart from other Sinitic states of the time was their possession of a navy. Yue culture was distinct from the Chinese in its practice of naming boats and swords. A Chinese text described the Yue as a people who used boats as their carriages and oars as their horses.

Rulers of Yue family tree

Their ancestral name is rendered variously as either Si () or Luo (雒 or 駱).


After the fall of Yue, the ruling family moved south to what is now northern Fujian and set up the Minyue kingdom. This successor state lasted until around 150 BC, when it miscalculated an alliance with the Han dynasty. Mingdi, Wujiang's second son, was appointed minister of Wucheng (present-day Huzhou's Wuxing District) by the king of Chu. He was titled Marquis of Ouyang Ting, from a pavilion on the south side of Ouyu Mountain. The first Qin dynasty emperor Qin Shi Huang abolished the title after his conquest of Chu in 223 BC, but descendants and subjects of its former rulers took up the surnames Ou, Ouyang, and Ouhou () in remembrance. When the religious leader Xu Chang launched a rebellion against the Han dynasty in 172 CE, he declared the state of Yue restored and appointed his father Xu Sheng as "King of Yue". The rebels were crushed in 174.


In Chinese astronomy, there are two stars named for Yue: * Yue (along with Wu) is represented by the star Zeta Aquilae in the "Left Wall" of the Heavenly Market enclosure * Yue is also represented by the star Psi Capricorni or 19 Capricorni in the "Twelve States" of the mansion of the Girl.


The virus genus ''Yuyuevirus'' and the virus family ''Yueviridae'' are both named after the state.

People from Yue

*Yuenü, swordswoman & author of the earliest-known exposition on swordplay *Xi Shi, a famous beauty of the ancient Yue Guo.


Possible languages spoken in the state of Yue may have been of Tai-Kadai and Austronesian origins. Li Hui (2001) identifies 126 Tai-Kadai cognates in Maqiao Wu dialect spoken in the suburbs of Shanghai out of more than a thousand lexical items surveyed. According to the author, these cognates are likely traces of 'old Yue language' (gu Yueyu 古越語). Wolfgang Behr (2002) points out that some scattered non-Sinitic words found in the two ancient Chinese fictional texts, ''Mu tianzi zhuan'' 穆天子傳 (4th c. BC) and ''Yuejue shu'' 越絕書 (1st c. AD),The author notes that these two texts are only preserved in corrupt versions and share a rather convoluted editorial history. can be compared to lexical items in Tai-Kadai languages: *"吳謂善「伊」, 謂稻道「缓」, 號從中國, 名從主人。" "The say ''yī'' for 'good' and ''huăn'' for 'way', i.e. in their titles they follow the central kingdoms, but in their names they follow their own lords." 伊 ''yī'' < MC ʔjij < OC *bq(l)ij ← Siamese ''diiA1'', Longzhou ''dai1'', Bo'ai ''nii1'' Daiya ''li1'', Sipsongpanna ''di1'', Dehong ''li6'' < proto-Tai *ʔdɛiA1 | Sui ''ʔdaai1'', Kam ''laai1'', Maonan ''ʔdaai1'', Mak ''ʔdaai6'' < proto-Kam-Sui/proto-Kam-Tai *ʔdaai1 'good' 缓 uăn< MC hwanX < OC *awan ← Siamese ''honA1'', Bo'ai ''hɔn1'', Dioi ''thon1'' < proto-Tai *xronA1| Sui ''khwən1-i'', Kam ''khwən1'', Maonan ''khun1-i'', Mulam ''khwən1-i'' < proto-Kam-Sui *khwən1 'road, way' | proto-Hlai *kuun1 || proto-Austronesian *Zalan (Thurgood 1994:353) *yuè jué shū 越絕書 (The Book of Yuè Records), 1st c. A.D. 絕 ''jué'' < MC dzjwet < OC *bdzot ← Siamese ''codD1'' 'to record, mark' (Zhengzhang Shangfang 1999:8) *"姑中山者越銅官之山也, 越人謂之銅, 「姑」。" "The Middle mountains of ''Gū'' are the mountains of the Yuè's bronze office, the Yuè people call them 'Bronze ''gūūú''." 「姑」 gūdú < MC ku=duwk < OC *aka=alok ← Siamese ''kʰauA1'' 'horn', Daiya ''xau5'', Sipsongpanna ''xau1'', Dehong ''xau1'', ''xău1'', Dioi ''kaou1'' 'mountain, hill' < proto-Tai *kʰauA2; Siamese ''luukD2l'' 'classifier for mountains', Siamese ''kʰauA1''-''luukD2l'' 'mountain' || ''cf.'' OC 谷 ''gǔ'' < kuwk << *ak-lok/luwk < *akə-lok/yowk < *blok 'valley' *"越人謂船爲「須盧」。" "... The Yuè people call a boat ''xūlú''. ('beard' & 'cottage')" 須 ''xū'' < MC sju < OC *bs(n)o ? ← Siamese saʔ 'noun prefix' 盧 ''lú'' < MC lu < OC *bra ← Siamese ''rɯaA2'', Longzhou ''lɯɯ2'', Bo'ai ''luu2'', Daiya ''hə2'', Dehong ''hə2'' 'boat' < proto-Tai *drɯ,o'' | Sui ''lwa1''/''ʔda1'', Kam ''lo1''/''lwa1'', Be ''zoa'' < proto-Kam-Sui *s-lwa(n)A1 'boat' *"築吳市西城, 名曰「定錯」城。" "íuJiă (the king of Jīng 荆) built the western wall, it was called ''dìngcuò'' settle(d)' & 'grindstone'wall." 定 ''dìng'' < MC ''dengH'' < OC *adeng-s ← Siamese ''diaaŋA1'', Daiya ''tʂhəŋ2'', Sipsongpanna ''tseŋ2'' 'wall' 錯 ''cuò'' < MC tshak < OC *atshak ? ← Siamese ''tokD1s'' 'to set→sunset→west' (''tawan-tok'' 'sun-set' = 'west'); Longzhou ''tuk7'', Bo'ai ''tɔk7'', Daiya ''tok7'', Sipsongpanna ''tok7'' < proto-Tai *tokD1s ǀ Sui ''tok7'', Mak ''tok7'', Maonan ''tɔk'' < proto-Kam-Sui *tɔkD1

See also

* Tai languages * Tai-Kadai languages * Austronesian languages * Austro-Tai languages * Tai peoples * Austronesian peoples * Austro-Tai peoples * Baiyue * Minyue * Wu (state) * Dong'ou Kingdom * Âu Việt




* * * * *

Further reading

*Zhengzhang Shangfang 1999. "An Interpretation of the Old Yue Language Written in Goujiàn's ''Wéijiă lìng''" 践"维甲"令中之古越语的解读 In ''Minzu Yuwen'' 4, pp. 1–14. *Zhengzhang Shangfang 1998. "Gu Yueyu" 古越語 he old Yue language In Dong Chuping 董楚平 et al. Wu Yue wenhua zhi 吳越文化誌 ecord of the cultures of Wu and Yue Shanghai: Shanghai renmin chubanshe, 1998, vol. 1, pp. 253–281. *Zhengzhang Shangfang 1990. "Some Kam-Tai Words in Place Names of the Ancient Wu and Yue States" 吴越地名中的侗台语成份 In ''Minzu Yuwen'' 6.

External links

* Eric Henry
The Submerged History of Yuè
(''Sino-Platonic Papers'' 176, May 2007) {{DEFAULTSORT:Yue Category:334 BC Category:4th-century BC disestablishments in China Category:History of Jiangsu Category:History of Shanghai Category:History of Zhejiang Category:Shaoxing Category:States and territories disestablished in the 4th century BC