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Generals of the South

The foundation and early history of the Three Kingdoms state of Wu

Internet edition 2004


Rafe de Crespigny

Faculty of Asian Studies
Australian National University

Dedicated to the memory of George William Symes 1896-1980, soldier and scholar


NOTE: This document contains the text of a work which was originally published in 1990 as No. 16 of the Asian Studies Monographs: New Series of the Faculty of Asian Studies at The Australian National University.

© The whole work is copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism, or review, as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission. Inquiries should be made to the publisher National Library of Australia.


book cover

The complete text of Generals of the South is published below as a set of PDF documents and image maps.


Parts from FOREWORD to CHRONOLOGY [ pdf large file 131 kb]

FOREWORD to Internet edition 2004

PREFACE to the 1990 hard-copy edition and ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS



CHRONOLOGY of the history of the Sun family and of the state of Wu 155-229

CHAPTER 1: South China under the Later Han Dynasty [ pdf large file 296 kb]
Introductory summary
Han and the south
Jing province and the middle Yangzi
Jiao province and the far south coast
Yang province and the lower Yangzi
The enforcement of authority
CHAPTER 2: Founder of the Family: Sun Jian [ pdf large file 307 kb]
Introductory summary
His birth, his background and his early career (c. AD 155-184)
The rise to high command (184-189)
The war against Dong Zhuo (189-191)
Civil war and the last campaigns (191-192)
A Note on the Great Seal of State
CHAPTER 3: The Young Gentleman: Sun Ce [ pdf large file 278 kb]
Introductory summary
His early life and his service with Yuan Shu (175-195)
The south of the Yangzi and the break with Yuan Shu (195-197)
The move west and the middle Yangzi (198-199)
The last campaigns (200)
Sun Ce and the legend of Gan Ji: a medley of texts
CHAPTER 4: To the Red Cliffs: Sun Quan 200-208 [ pdf large file 311 kb]
Introductory summary
The succession to Sun Ce
The establishment of Sun Quan
The war against Huang Zu
Flight of a crossbow bolt
Red Cliffs
Some Notes on Ships and Naval Warfare
CHAPTER 5: Warlord state [ pdf large file 291 kb]
Introductory summary
The first settlement of Jing province (209-210)
The defences of Yang province
The hills people south of the Yangzi
The far south
CHAPTER 6: Struggle for Jing Province [ pdf large file 300 kb]
Introductory summary
Liu Bei in the west (211-214)
The second settlement of Jing province (215)
The great betrayal (219)
CHAPTER 7: Claim to the Mandate 222-229 [ pdf large file 306 kb]
Introductory summary
Liu Bei's revenge
Security in the north
Expansion in the south
Parity of esteem
CHAPTER 8: Empire in the South [ pdf large file 340 kb]
Introductory summary
The forms of government
Patterns in the later history of Wu (230-280)
The social and economic structure of Wu
The achievement of Wu
CHAPTER 9: An Essay on the Sources for the History of Wu 170-230 [ pdf large file 317 kb]
Introductory summary
Chen Shou and Pei Songzhi
Historians of the South
Historical writing in the third and fourth centuries
Story cycles: exaggeration and allegory
The distortions of Romance
BIBLIOGRAPHY [ pdf large file 269 kb]
Part I: Early Chinese Works before 1800
Part II: Modern Chinese and Japanese Works
Part III: Works in Western Languages
Part IV: Literary and Historical Works
Map 01: The provinces of the Later Han empire
Map 02: The China of Sun Jian
Map 03: The region of Luoyang 189-190
Map 04: Yang province in the time of Sun Ce
Map 05: The lower Yangzi about 200
Map 06: Jing province at the time of the Red Cliffs
Map 07: The Red Cliffs campaign 208
Map 08: Expansion in the southeast
Map 09: The far south in the time of Shi Xie
Map 10: Western China in the time of Liu Bei
Map 11: Jing province in contention 210-220
Map 12: The destruction of Guan Yu
Map 13: The northern frontier of Wu
Map 14: The establishment of counties in the territory of Wu 140-280
Map 15: South China at the end of Han
Map 16: The empire of Wu in 229