The Western Garden corps (Xiyuán jūn 西園軍) was an army established in September 188 during the reign of Emperor Ling. It seems this force had been designed as an imperial private corps of the Emperor.
In 184 AD, after being accredited of having discovered Yellow Turban Ma Yuanyi's plans, Emperor Ling endowed his brother-in-law He Jin 何進[note 1] with a Marquisate. Shortly after he was also made General-in-Chief, one of the highest titles available which granted He Jin the power to overpower men of court and eunuchs. He Jin also held much military might.
In the eight lunar month of 188 (September), the Emperor established a wholly new army in the capital Luoyang, called the Western Garden corps, with eight colonels. At the head of the corps was Jian Shi 蹇碩, a eunuch.
The eight colonels were:
- Jian Shi 蹇碩, Colonel of the First Army (Shàngjūn xiàowèi 上軍校尉).
- Yuan Shao 袁紹, Colonel of the Centre Army (Zhōngjūn xiàowèi 中軍校尉).
- Bao Hong 鮑鴻, Colonel of the Third Army (Xiàjūn xiàowèi 下軍校尉).
- Cao Cao 曹操, Colonel Who Arranges the Army (Diǎnjūn xiàowèi 典軍校尉).
- Zhao Rong 趙融, Colonel of the Left Assisting the Army (Zhùjūn zuǒ xiàowèi 助軍左校尉).
- Feng Fang 馮芳, Colonel of the Right Assisting the Army (Zhùjūn yòu xiàowèi 助軍右校尉).
- Chunyu Qiong 淳于瓊 became Colonel of the Left (Zuǒjūn xiàowèi 佐軍校尉).
- Xia Mou 夏牟, Colonel of the Right (Yòujūn xiàowèi 右軍校尉).
The corps would never be sent to battle. Perhaps the corps was established because the Emperor hoped to counter increasing pressure from the He family, most notably He Jin.
The Western Garden corps was a privately funded corps and received direct orders from Emperor Ling. The chief of the corps, Jian Shi, was a strong, warlike person and a favourite of Emperor Ling. Jian Shi not only became chief of his fellows, but the General-in-Chief He Jin was also placed under his orders.[note 2]
When Emperor Ling died he was succeeded by his son Liu Bian (of Empress He). Jian Shi wished to install Emperor Ling's other son Liu Xie on the throne. Expecting He Jin, uncle of Liu Bian, to cause difficulties, Jian Shi plotted to kill He Jin, and later He Jin would on his turn plot against Jian Shi. When He Jin obtained proof in the form of a letter that Jian Shi attempted to kill him, he had Jian Shi arrested and executed. He Jin took over Jian Shi's troops.
In 189 AD He Jin was assassinated by the eunuchs. The Western Garden corps was thus never used.
- He Jin
- Jian Shi
- Struggle against The Regular Attendants
- List of titles of Later Han, Three Kingdoms and Western Jin
- List of people of the Three Kingdoms
- ↑ He Jin was a half-brother of Emperor Ling's wife, the Lady He 何氏.
- ↑ In the summer of 189 Jian Shuo even used his power over He Jin to try and send him to attack Han Sui and Bian Zhang.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Beck, The fall of Han, page 326
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 De Crespigny. Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling, Zhongping 5 - Notes.
- ↑ "是時，置西園八校尉" (“Western Garden corps with eight colonels”) Fan Ye. Biography of He Jin in History of the Later Han 卷69
- ↑ "以小黃門蹇碩為上軍校尉" (“Junior Attendant of the Yellow Gates Jian Shuo was made Colonel of the First Army”) Fan Ye. Biography of He Jin in History of the Later Han 卷69
- ↑ "虎賁中郎將袁紹為中軍校尉" (“General of the Gentleman as Rapid as Tigers Yuan Shao was made Colonel of the Centre Army”) Fan Ye. Biography of He Jin in History of the Later Han 卷69
- ↑ "屯騎都尉鮑鴻為下軍校尉" (“Colonel of the Garrison Cavalry Bao Hong was made Colonel of the Third Army”) Fan Ye. Biography of He Jin in History of the Later Han 卷69
- ↑ "議郎曹操為典軍校尉" (“Gentlemen-Consultant Cao Cao was made Colonel Who Arranges the Army”) Fan Ye. Biography of He Jin in History of the Later Han 卷69
- ↑ "趙融為助軍校尉" (“Zhao Rong was made Colonel on the Left Assisting the Army”) Fan Ye. Biography of He Jin in History of the Later Han 卷69
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 "又有左右校尉" (“And also a Colonel for the Left and Right”) Fan Ye. Biography of He Jin in History of the Later Han 卷69
- ↑ "淳于瓊為佐軍校尉" (“Chunyu Qiong was made Colonel on the Right”) Fan Ye. Biography of He Jin in History of the Later Han 卷69
- ↑ De Crespigny. Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling, "Zhongping 5".
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 De Crespigny. A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms, biography of Jian Shi.
- ↑ Leban, Ts'ao Ts'ao and the Rise of Wei, page 127
- Beck, Burchard J. Mansvelt. "The fall of Han" in The Cambridge History of China vol. 1 (1986): 317-376.
- de Crespigny, Rafe. A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23 - 220 AD). Leiden: BRILL, 2007.
- —. Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1989.
- Fan Ye 范曄 (398–445). Hou Han shu 後漢書 “History of the Later Han”.
- Leban, Carl. Ts'ao Ts'ao and the Rise of Wei: The Early Years. Columbia University, Ph. D., 1971.
- Sima Guang 司馬光 (1019–1086). Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑒 “Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government”.