Lu Zhi 魯芝 was a regional inspector and official under the Wei and Jin Dynasties.

History of Jin official biography [translation]Edit

  Lu Zhi, style name Shiying, was a Mei [county], Fufeng man. He was well-known for his virtue, and came from a noble clan in the western provinces. His father came to harm at the hands of Guo Si, so Zhi was swaddled up and grew up away as a refugee. At 17 [sui] he then migrated [back] to Yong, thinking of his family’s tombs. His commandery made him Reporting Officer (shàng jìlì 上計吏), then his province recruited him as Attendant Officer (biéjià 別駕).


  Wei’s General of Chariots and Cavalry Guo Huai, serving as the Inspector of Yong, greatly esteemed Lu Zhi. Nominated Filial and Incorrupt (xiàolián 孝廉), he was transferred to Gentleman of the Palace (lángzhōng 郎中). When the Shu Chancellor Zhuge Liang invaded Longyou, Huai requested Zhi return as Attendant Officer. When affairs were pacified, he was recommended for service in the Excellencies’ offices, enlisted as an official for the Grand Marshal Cao Zhen, and then changed to Literary Scholar (wénxué 文學) for the Marquis of Linzi (Cao Zhi?). Zheng Mao (JS44) recommended Lu Zhi to the Minister of Works Wang Lang, who promptly received him into his staff.


  Later he became Commandant of Cavalry (jí dūwèi 騎都尉), Advisor to the Army (cān jūnshì 参軍事), and Acting Grand Administrator of Annan, then promoted to Gentleman of the Masters of Writing (shàngshū láng 尚書郎). Cao Zhen went out in command west of Guanzhong, and again Lu Zhi served as counsel for the Grand Marshal’s military affairs. Cao Zhen passed away and Emperor Xuan [Sima Yi] replaced him in command, therefore Zhi was advanced to counsel for the General of Agile Cavalry’s military affairs, and was then transferred to Grand Administrator of Tianshui.


  The commandery [of Tianshui] neighboured Shu and had repeatedly been subject to invasions and raids. The number of registered households diminished while the bandits and robbers swelled to a flood. Zhi poured his heart into his duties, bringing peace and maintaining order, and promoting agriculture and trade. Within several years, everything had returned to normal, and Zhi was promoted to Grand Administrator of Guangping. Tianshui’s Yi (tribal) and Xia (ethnic Chinese) admired Zhi’s virtue, and they all, young and old, came to the city tower to present a petition begging for Zhi to stay. Wei’s Emperor Ming allowed it and moreover awarded Zhi with a commendation likening his efforts to the greatness of Huang Ba,[n 1] and gave him additional rank General Who Attacks Bandits.


  When Cao Shuang was regent, Lu Zhi served as [his] Marshal. Zhi repeatedly gave honest advice and commendable plans that Shuang was unable to accept. When Sima Yi raised soldiers against Shuang, Zhi led [Shuang’s] remaining forces to assault the gates and break through the passes [of Luoyang] to flee to Shuang, urging him: “Lord, you occupy a position as high as Yi Yin and Zhou Dan, but in the case you are found at fault and dismissed, although you may wish to live out an easy life (“lead a yellow dog”), how would that be possible? If you take the Son of Heaven under your wing and protect him in Xuchang, and lean on his great prestige in order to issue an urgent call-to-arms (“feathered dispatch”) for soldiers in all four directions, who would dare not obey! If you stay here instead of leaving, you may as well wish for the Eastern Market (place for executions), wouldn’t that be a bitter end!”


  Shuang was timid and in doubt, did not follow through, and after surrendering himself was subjected to death. Zhi having served Shuang was sent down to prison and sentenced to death, yet in his speech he did not blame others and his will was unyielding and steadfast. Sima Yi commended this, and pardoned him from death. Before long, he rose to Bearing the Staff of Authority (zhíjié 持節), with the offices Emissary to the Xiongnu (Xiōngnú zhōngláng jiāng 匈奴中郎將), General Who Inspires Awe (zhènwēi jiāngjūn 振威將軍), and Inspector of Bing Province. Because of his fine and proper governance, he was promoted to Minister Herald (dà hónglú 大鴻臚).


  Upon Cao Mao’s (“Duke of Gaogui District”) accession, Lu Zhi was granted title as a Secondary Marquis (guānnèi hóu 關內侯) with a fief of 200 households. After Guanqiu Jian was pacified, the fief was increased by 200 households and Zhi made General Who Manifests Firmness (yángwǔ jiàngjūn 揚武將軍) and Inspector of Jing Province. When Zhuge Dan rebelled in Shouchun, Emperor Wen [Sima Zhao] accepted the orders of Emperor of Wei to launch a campaign and levy soldiers from all four directions. Zhi led both civil and military [officers] of Jingzhou to serve as the vanguard. After Dan was pacified, Zhi’s nobility was advanced to Marquis of Wujin Village and fief increased again by 900 households.


  Lu Zhi was then promoted to Great Master of Writing, holding authority for laws on criminal punishment. Upon Duke of Changdao District’s [Cao Huan] accession, his nobility was advanced to Marquis of Taicheng District, and fief increased again by 800 households, and promoted to Supervisor of All Military Affairs in Qingzhou, General Who Inspires Prowess, and Inspector of Qingzhou. He was then changed to General Who Pacifies the East. When the Five Rank system was introduced, he was made Count of Yinping.


  When Sima Yan became Emperor (“Emperor Wu walked the steps leading to the throne”), Lu Zhi was transferred to General Who Maintains the East in Peace (zhèndōng jiāngjūn 鎮東將軍), and his nobility was advanced to Marquis. Because of Zhi’s purity and loyalty in staying to a most correct and plain path, he did not have his own estate, so the Emperor had the army’s soldiers build him a mansion of fifty rooms. Lu Zhi because of this [extravagance] requested to retire, blaming his old age as the reason to resign his position. His submission was sent up more than ten times until he was finally moved to Palace Counsellor with special privileges, an entourage and horse-drawn carriages to wait upon him. Yang Hu, when made General of Chariots and Cavalry, wished to yield his position to Zhi, saying “Imperial Counsellor Lu Zhi of pure conduct and few desires, we are colleagues but are not equals.[n 2] He has dutifully served such that now he is gray haired, and all according to propriety from beginning to end. Yet he did not receive favor such as this. Your Servant’s position will surpass his, how will I deal with the realm’s expectations?” The Emperor did not follow up on this.


  Lu Zhi’s conduct was highly regarded. In the ninth year of Taishi (273 CE), he died at 84 sui. The Emperor conducted mourning for him and contributed a very great amount to his funeral. He was given the posthumous title of “zhen” (貞) and a grave plot of one hundred mu.


See alsoEdit



  1. GJCM notes: died 51 BC. A reputed commandery administrator, later Imperial Counselor and Chancellor.
  2. GJCM notes: perhaps a reference to the same phrase in The Analects (“和而不同”).

Fact vs. FictionEdit




  • Fang Xuanling 房玄齡 (578-648). Jin shu 晉書 “History of Jin”. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju, 1974.
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