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Zhao She 趙奢

Mar 2, 2019 © Ulrich Theobald

Zhao She 趙奢 was a military leader of the state of Zhao 趙 during the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE). He was originally an official in the ministry of revenue (tianbu 田部) and was because of his impartiality recommended for higher service by the Lord of Pingyuan 平原君 (d. 251).

After having served some time as Minister of Revenue, he decided to engage in military affairs. In 282, he conquered the town of Maiqiu 麥丘(Shanghe 商河, Shandong ), belonging to the state of Qi 齊. In 270, when the state of Qin 秦 had defeated the state of Han 韓, he was made commander of a relief army and took over the defense of Eyu 閼與 (today's Heshun 和順, Shanxi), where he build large fortifications. His strategy was to present an image of defence, while secretly making ready his army for offensive. The army of Qin was surprised by Zhao She's attack and defeated. The victor was rewarded with the title of Lord Mafu 馬服君.

Zhao She was known as a honest and impartial person who treated persons high and low with respect, and was willing to adopt reasonal suggestions from his officers. In his military tactics, he likewise displayed flexibility. Historiographical books report of a discourse between Zhao She and Tian Dan 田單, a general of Qi. Both concluded that times had changed and armies were constantly growing.

Zhao She's son Zhao Kuo 趙括 was a pure theoretician, and his father therefore believed that the son would not be a good general. History proved this assessment as correct.

Sources:
Fang Fingming 方定明 (1992). "Zhao She 趙奢", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Junshi 軍事 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1272.
Huang Banghe 黃邦和, Pi Mingxiu 皮明庥, ed. (1987). Zhong-wai lishi renwu cidian 中外歷史人物詞典 (Changsha: Hunan renmin chubanshe), 319.
Wei Wei 魏崴 (1992). "Zhao She 趙奢", in Junshi Kexue Yuan Junshi Baike Yanjiu Bu 軍事科學院軍事百科研究部, ed. Junshi renwu baike quanshu 軍事人物百科全書 (Beijing: Zhonggong zhongyang dangxiao chubanshe), 534.
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Zhang Huizhi 張撝之, Shen Qiwei 沈起煒, Liu Dezhong 劉德重, ed. (1999). Zhongguo lishi renming da cidian 中國歷代人名大辭典 (Shanghai: Shanghai guji chubanshe), Vol. 2, 1637.
Zhang Jianhua 張建華, ed. (1996). Handan cidian 邯鄲辭典 (Beijing: Kexue puji chubanshe), 81.
Zhang Ke 張克, Huang Kangbo 黃康白, Huang Fangdong 黃方東, ed. (1991). Shiji renwu cidian 史記人物辭典 (Nanning: Guangxi renmin chubanshe), 206.