An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

The Regional State of Ju 莒

Nov 1, 2018 © Ulrich Theobald

The small state of Ju 莒 was one of the minor regional states of the Zhou period 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE). It was located in the southwestern parts of the Shandong Peninsula, and was influenced by the larger states around, mainly Lu 魯, Qi 齊, and Chu 楚. Its rulers had the family name Ji 己 (some sources say, Ying 嬴) and claimed to be descendants of the Yellow Emperor 黃帝. King Wu 周武王, founder of the Zhou dynasty, confirmed the territorial rights of the house of Yi. The state was conquered in 431 BCE by Chu, even if its territory was later occupied by Qi.

The land of Ju was very important for the ducal house of Qi, when the state of Yan 燕 conquered the largest part of Qi. King Xiang of Qi 齊襄王 (r. 283-265) held out in Qi, and from there reconquered the land of his fathers. This event served as a paradigm for Chiang Kai-shek 蔣介石 (1887-1975, who compared the island of Taiwan with Ju, from where the motherland, occupied by the Communists, would be reconquered.

Of the history of Ju, not much is known. According to local customs, the rulers of Ju did not use posthoumous honorific titles for their ancestors, barring a few exceptions.

In the early Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE), the lords of Ju expanded their territory and raided the land of Qi 杞 and conquered Xiang 向, but had good relationships with Lu and Qi. This changed when Duke Huan of Qi 齊桓公 (r. 685-643) adopted the title of hegemonial lord (ba 霸). Qi and Ji 紀 threatened the northern flank of Ju, and from then on, the relation with Lu and Zeng 鄫 worsened, too. Under the leadership of the hegemonial states, Ju took regularly part in the many alliance (meng 盟) meetings of the time.

The dukes of Qi in the north of Ju were not very happy about Ju's alliances with the states of Song 宋 or Jin 晉 in the west. In 596, Qi began a series of attacks on the territory of Ju, but with the defeat of Qi in 589 against an alliance of other states, Ju was saved for some time.

In 567, Ju conquered the state of Zeng, and in the following years several times raided villages of Lu, where internal quarrels weakened the government. In 555, it took part in the war against Qi. The chronicles say that Duke Libi of Ju 莒黎比公 (r. 576-542) was a cruel lord who was more interested in power games than in good governance.

With the downfall of the ducal house of Jin, Ju lost its most important supporter, and suffered under invasions by Qi and Lu. Moreover, the nobleman Zhan Ju 展輿 rebelled against Duke Libi. After Duke Zhuqiu's 莒著丘公 (r. 541-528) death, the Marquis of Puyu 蒲余侯 killed their heir apparent, Prince Gongzi Yihui 公子意恢. In 532, Lu occupied the border town of Geng 郠, and so added an external threat to the inner disturbances. In the end, Ju was attacked from three sides, and then destroyed by Chu.

Table 1. Rulers of the regional state of Ju 莒
Capital: Jiegen 介根 (Jiaozhou 膠州, Shandong), Ju 莒 (Juxian 莒縣, Shandong)
dynastic title personal name time
Ziyuqi 茲輿期
... 11 generations ...
Ju Zi Pi Gong 莒茲丕公 (Ju Pinggong 莒平公, Ju Pingfu 莒平父) Ju Qi 莒其, Ji Qi 己其
Ju Jigong 莒紀公 Ji Shu Qi 己庶其 ?-609
Ju Ligong 莒厲公 Ji Ji Tuo 己季佗 609-?
Ju Quqiu Gong 莒渠丘公 (Ju Zi Zhu 莒子朱) Ji Zhu 己朱 ?-577
Ju Libi Gong 莒犂比公 Ji Mizhou 己密州 (or Maizhuchu 己買朱鉏) 576-542
Ju Zi Yu 莒子輿 (Ju Zhan 莒展) Zhan Yu 展輿, Ji Ju 己輿 541
Ju Zhuqiu Gong 莒著丘公 Ji Qubing 己去疾 541-528
Ju Jiao Gong 莒郊公 (Ju Mugong 莒穆公, Ju Aogong 莒敖公, Ju Zi Kuang 莒子狂) Ji Kuang 己狂 528-527
Ju Gonggong 莒共公 Ji Gengyu 己庚輿 527-519
Ju Jiaogong (again) 519-481
431 Ju destroyed by Chu
Chen Houyao 陳厚耀 (1800). Chunqiu shizu pu 春秋世族譜 (Lianghu Shuyuan Zhengxuetang edition 兩湖書院正學堂本, 1899).
Wang Wenyuan 王文源 (1845). Chunqiu shizu jilüe 春秋世族輯略 (Xuxiu siku quanshu 續修四庫全書. 124).