The Info List - State Of Wu

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WU (Chinese : 吳; Old Chinese : _*ŋʷˤa_) was one of the states during the Western Zhou Dynasty and the Spring and Autumn period . It was also known as GOUWU (勾吳) or GONGWU (工吳) from the pronunciation of the local language.

Wu was located at the mouth of the Yangtze River east of the State of Chu . Its first capital was at Meili (probably in modern Wuxi ) and was later moved to Gusu (modern central Suzhou ) and then Helu City (the old town of present-day Suzhou).


* 1 History * 2 Kings of Wu family tree

* 3 Culture

* 3.1 Literature

* 4 Legacy

* 4.1 Possible connection with ancient Japan
* 4.2 Wu in astronomy * 4.3 In popular culture

* 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Further reading


The rulers of the State of Wu had the surname Ji (姬), the same as the Zhou royal family. According to the _Records of the Grand Historian _, this was because the rulers of Wu are descended from Taibo , the elder uncle of King Wen . Realizing that his youngest brother, Jili, was wiser than he and deserved to inherit the throne, Taibo fled to Wu and settled there with his other brother Zhongyong . They established their first capital at Meili (梅里), believed to be today's Meicun in Wuxi .

The State of Jin aided Wu's rise to power as a useful ally against the State of Chu
State of Chu
. In 584 BC, Wu rebelled against Chu upon the advice of Wuchen, a Jin minister who defected from Chu.

Afterwards, Wu would be a constant threat to the Chu until its demise. Wu fomented rebelliousness among Chu's vassals in the Yangtze valley. In 506 BC, Wu launched a surprise attack and occupied the capital of Chu. Afterwards, Wu was briefly the most powerful nation and turned to other campaigns, defeating the State of Qi in 484 BC.

Ironically, Wu was later threatened by an upstart state to its own south, Yue ; Chu then aided Yue's rise as a counter to Wu. Although Wu won a major victory against Yue in 494 BC, it failed to completely subjugate it, in part because of Yue's timely bribing of an important Wu minister. While Wu was engaged in a military campaign in the north, Yue launched a surprise attack on Wu in 482 BC and conquered the capital. Over the next decade, Wu was unable to recover and Yue absorbed the state in 473 BC.

Wu, Yue, and Chu all proclaimed themselves kings in the 6th century BC, showing the drastic weakening of the Zhou court's authority during the Spring and Autumn period .

Wu and Yue were masters of metallurgy, fabricating excellent swords with incised messages, geometric patterns, and inlaid gold or silver. Wu and Yue swords tend to use much more tin than copper compared to those of other states. Wu often sent swords as gifts to northern states, such as Qi and Cai . Examples include the spearhead of King Fuchai and the sword of Prince Guang .


The kings of Wu claimed descent from Wu Taibo , the uncle of King Wen of Zhou . Their ancestral name was Ji and their clan name was Gufa.


Tai King of Zhou 周太王

(1)TAIBO 太伯 (2) Zhongyong 仲雍

Jili King of Zhou 季歷

(3)JIJIAN 季简

Chang 昌 Wen of Zhou 周文王 1099–1152BC –1056-1050

(4)SHUDA 叔达

Wu of Zhou ?-1046–1043BC

(5)ZHOUZHANG 周章 Yuzhong 虞仲 State of Yu 虞国 _ Zhou dynasty _





(10)KELU 柯卢

(11) ZHOUYAO 周繇

(12) QUYU 屈羽

(13) YIWU 夷吾

(14) QINCHU 禽处

(15) ZHUAN 转

(16)POGAO 颇高

(17) GOUBEI 句卑

(18) QUQI 去齐

(19) SHOUMENG 寿梦 ?-586–561 BC

(23)LIAO 僚 ?-527–515 BC Jueyou 蹶由 (20) ZHUFAN 诸樊 ?-561–548 BC (21) YUJI 余祭 ?-548–531 BC (22) YUMEI 餘昧 ?-531–527 BC Yanyu 掩余 Zhuyong 烛庸 Jizha 季札

Crown Prince Zhufan 太子诸樊 Qingji 庆忌 Tong 通

(23) HELü 阖闾 ?-515–496 BC FUGAI 夫概 ?-505 BC-?

Cheng 逞

Zhonglei 终累 (24) FUCHAI 夫差 ?-496–473 BC Zishan 子山

Crown Prince You 太子友 Prince Gucao 王子姑曹 Prince Di 王子地


The _ Records of the Grand Historian _ states that the people in Wu wore their hair short and sported tattoos. This observation is likely meant to illustrate their supposed barbarism, as in Sima Qian 's time neither men nor women were allowed to cut their hair or otherwise modify their body - doing so was considered an offence against the ancestors from which one had inherited one's physical features.

Wu rulers did not receive Chinese-language posthumous names after death.


As Sun Zi served under King Helü, his Art of War was possibly written or edited in Wu.


"Wu" continues to be used as a name for the region around Suzhou and Shanghai
and their regional speech, Wu Chinese . It was employed by other states and princes holding power in the region, most notably Eastern Wu of the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms
, and Wu and Wuyue of the Ten Kingdoms .


Ambassadorial visits to Japan
by the later Chinese dynasties Wei and Jin recorded that the Wō people of Japan
claimed to be descendants of Taibo of Wu, traditionally believed to be the founder of Wu. Genetic and archeologic researches link the early Japanese people (Yayoi) with the Yangtze river and the early inhabitants, the Yue people , which are also the source of the later Wu people.


Wu, together with Yue , is represented with the star ZETA AQUILAE in asterism _Left Wall_, Heavenly Market enclosure (see Chinese constellations ).


In Kingdom , Wu was under drought when Qin helped them, but the attacked the latter when the drought went to Qin. The king of Qin was cornered until Mountain Tribes attack the Wu army, dragging the Wu king.


* King of Wu * Wu Zixu * Yue * Sun Tzu


* ^ 曹锦炎 . 吴王寿梦之子剑铭文考释 . 文物 . Feb 2005. (in Chinese) * ^ _Encounters of the Eastern Barbarians_, Wei Chronicles * ^ http://www.trussel.com/prehist/news111.htm * ^ AEEA (Activities of Exhibition and Education in Astronomy) 天文教育資訊網 2006 年 6 月 23 日 (in Chinese)


* Zhengzhang Shangfang 1990. "Some Kam-Tai Words in Place Names of the Ancient Wu and Yue States" . In _Minzu Yuwen_ 6. (in Chinese)

* v * t * e

Zhou dynasty states



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