Thursday, May 19, 2011
King Goujian of Yue (reigned 496 BCE - 465 BCE) was the king of the Kingdom of Yue Goujian was the son of Marquess Yunchang of Yue.
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King Goujian's reign coincided with arguably the last major conflict of the Spring and Autumn Period, the struggle between Wu and Yue, wherein he eventually led his state to victory, annexing the rival. As such King Goujian is sometimes considered the last of the Five Hegemons.
After ten years of economic and political reforms the last phase of the war began, by which time the State of Yue had come a long way from its previous defeat; as described in the Shiji, Ten years of reforms; the state is rich, the warriors well-rewarded. The soldiers charge in the face of arrows like thirsty men heading for drink... making use of Fuchai's expedition to struggle with Jin for hegemony Goujian led his army and successfully attacked the Wu capital, killing the crown prince. In the 24th year of his reign (473 BCE), Goujian led another expedition, laying siege to the capital for three years before it fell. When a surrender from Fuchai was refused, he committed suicide, and Wu was annexed by Yue. After his victory, Goujian ruthlessly killed Fuchai's scholars and his own scholars who helped him, not allowing himself to make the same mistake Fuchai had made by sparing the lives of his enemies.
King Goujian's army was known for scaring its enemies before battle by forcing its front line, composed of criminals sentenced to death, to commit suicide by decapitating themselves.