King Yu of Chou
King Yu of Chou, a cruel and foolish man. He is ungrateful and impassive, as well as unscrupulous in political intrigue. He spends much of his time eating, drinking, and engaging in lechery. Ignoring the difference between a wife and a concubine, he degrades his consort and elevates his favorite concubine, Pao-ssu. He attempts to make her child his heir and sends another of his sons, the heir apparent, into exile. His foolish effort to amuse his concubine by tricking his vassals with misleading signal fires results in his death and the downfall of his regime.
Kuan Chong, or Kuan I-wu, a master archer, philosopher, and outstanding statesman who becomes prime minister under Duke Huan of Ch’i. He is a close friend of Pao Shu-ya, who recommends him to the duke. He becomes a model of the later idealization of the Chinese ministry.
Duke Huan of Ch’i
Duke Huan of Ch’i, originally named Hsiao-po, the first forceful leader to emerge in China during the Ch’un-ch’iu period. He and his brother Chiu are sons of Duke Hsi by concubines, and they contend the succession between themselves, with Hsiao-po winning. He appoints Kuan as prime minister on Pao Shu-ya’s advice even though Kuan tried to assassinate him.
Duke Hsiang of Sung
Duke Hsiang of Sung, an ambitious man with a delusional concept of reality. He attempts unsuccessfully to bring various princes together in a covenant respecting him as leader. He loses a battle with the army of Ch’u State because he refuses to take the advice of his minister of war regarding tactics; he believes that the minister’s tactics violate Confucian principles of love and duty.
Duke Wen of Chin
Duke Wen of Chin, originally named Ch’uang-êrh, a fugitive for nineteen years after he declines to take a dukedom because he considers the terms dishonorable. He performs a service for a duke and is himself confirmed a duke by imperial decree. He tries to smoke an old friend out of a forest by setting fire to it and inadvertently burns his friend to death.
Po-li Hsi, a native of Yü State. He becomes prime minister in the Ch’in court under Duke Mu.
Duke Mu of Ch’in
Duke Mu of Ch’in, a feudal ruler. His fame rests on...
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