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Lu Zhonglian 魯仲連

Dec 2, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Lu Zhonglian 魯仲連, also called Lu Lian 魯連, was a political advisor during the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent-221 BCE).

After the disastrous battle of Changping 長平 (modern Gaoping 高平, Shanxi), the army of Qin laid siege on the capital of Zhao, Handan 邯鄲. Xinyuan Yan 新垣衍, an advisor of the state of Wei 魏, secretly slipped into the besieged city and tried to persuade king Xiaocheng of Zhao 趙孝成王 (r. 265-245) to support the king of Qin 秦 in his wish to proclaim himself emperor. Lu Lian, on the other side, advised against this suggestion. Such a step would totally bring down the spirit of resistance still valid in the hearts of the city's defenders.

After a short while, the army of Wei, under the command of Prince Wuji 魏無忌, Lord Xinling 信陵君, attacked the besieging army from outside and liberated Handan. Lord Pingling 平陵君 of Zhao wanted to bestow Lu Lian a title of nobility as a reward for his plan of perseverance, but Lu Lian declined. Later on Lu Lian served general Tian Dan 田單 of the state of Qi 齊, who wanted to reconquer the city of Liaocheng 聊城 that had been occupied by the army of Yan 燕. With a simple letter to the commander of Yan, Lu Lian forced the troops of Yan to surrender. When Tian Dan wanted to reward the glorious advisor, the latter again declined and left by the sea, where he disappeared.

The imperial bibliography Yiwenzhi 藝文志 in the official dynastic history Hanshu 漢書 records a 14-chapters long book Lu Zhongliangzi 魯仲連子 "Master Lu Lianzi", which is unfortunately lost, barring some fragments collected by the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Ma Guohan 馬國翰.

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