Song (state)
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Song State

11th century BC-286 BC
Map of Zhou dynasty states, including Song
Map of Zhou dynasty states, including Song
CapitalShangqiu ()
Chinese folk religion, ancestor worship, Taoism
o Established
11th century BC
o Conquered by Qi
286 BC
CurrencyChinese coin
Succeeded by
Chinese states in the 5th century BC

Sòng (Chinese: ?; Old Chinese: *[s]?u?-s) was a state during the Zhou dynasty of ancient China, with its capital at Shangqiu. The state was founded soon after King Wu of Zhou conquered the Shang dynasty to establish the Zhou dynasty in 1046 BC. It was conquered by the State of Qi in 286 BC, during the Warring States period. Confucius was a descendant of a Song nobleman who moved to the State of Lu.


After King Wu overthrew the last ruler of Shang, marking the transition to the Zhou Dynasty, the victor was honor-bound by feudal etiquette to allow the defeated house (Shang) to continue offering sacrifices to their ancestors. As a result, for a time Shang became a vassal state of Zhou, with the Shang heir Wu Geng allowed to continue ancestor worship at Yin (?). This practice was referred to as Èr wáng S?n kè (?).

However, after King Wu's death, Wu Geng fomented a rebellion with an alliance of eastern states, and was killed by the Duke of Zhou. Another Shang royal family descendant, Weizi (), was granted land at Shangqiu ( 'the hill of Shang'), where the capital of the new State of Song was built.

A sign of its descent from the Shang is that the Song in its early period followed the succession principle of agnatic seniority, rather than agnatic primogeniture like the Zhou.


In 701 BC, a political marriage between Lady Yong of Song () and Duke Zhuang of Zheng (as well as the capture of Zhai Zhong (), a leading warrior) empowered Song to manipulate the administration of Zheng.

In 651 BC, Duke Huan of Song () died, leaving the district to be ruled by Duke Xiang, who reigned from 651 to 637BC. He was considered a Hegemon by some, but was unable to maintain that role. He eventually fell to the troops of Chu.

In 355BC, Dai Ticheng (), a distant relative of the ruling royal line and once a minister of Duke Huan II, managed to usurp the throne. In 328BC, Dai Yan, a younger brother of Ticheng, took the throne and declared himself to be King Kang of Song, with Ticheng murdered or exiled. The king was ambitious and had succeeded in beating troops from Chu, Wei and Qi and annexing Teng. However, the kingdom was finally annexed by Qi in 286BC, with troops from Chu and Wei serving on behalf of Qi. Qin, which had been an ally of Song, refused to intervene for strategic and diplomatic reasons after being convinced by Su Dai from Wei. Su's predictions were proven correct and Qin benefited from the downfall of its former ally.

The philosopher Mozi references this state in the chapter "Obvious Existence of Ghosts", in which he mentions a number of Spring and Autumn Annals, including those of the Zhou, Yan, and Qi. The Spring and Autumn Annals of Song has not survived.

Rulers of the state

Unless otherwise indicated, the ruler is the son of his predecessor.

  1. Weizi (Qi ?), brother of the last king of Shang, Di Xin
  2. Weizhong (Yan ?), younger brother of the above
  3. Ji, Duke of Song
  4. Duke Ding (Shen ?)
  5. Duke Min I (Gong ?), ancestor of Confucius
  6. Duke Yang (Xi ?), younger brother of the above
  7. Duke Li (Fusi ), son of Duke Min I
  8. Duke Xi (Ju ?), 859-831
  9. Duke Hui (Jian ?), 830-800
  10. Duke Ai , 799
  11. Duke Dai , 799-766
  12. Duke Wu (Sikong ), 765-748
  13. Duke Xuan (Li ?), 747-729
  14. Duke Mu (He ?), 728-720, younger brother of the above
  15. Duke Shang (Yuyi ), 719-711
  16. Duke Zhuang (Feng ?), 710-692
  17. Duke Min II (Jie ?), 691-682
  18. You, Duke of Song , assassinated less than 3 months after accession.
  19. Duke Huan I (Yuyue ), 681-651, younger brother of Duke Min II
  20. Duke Xiang (Zifu ), 650-637
  21. Duke Cheng (Wangchen ), 636-620
  22. Yu, Duke of Song , younger brother of the above, assassinated less than one month after accession.
  23. Duke Zhao I (Chujiu ), 619-611, son of Duke Cheng
  24. Duke Wen (Bao ?), 610-589, younger brother of the above
  25. Duke Gong (Xia ?), 588-576
  26. Duke Ping (Cheng ?), 575-532
  27. Duke Yuan (Zuo ?), 531-517
  28. Duke Jing (Touman ), 516-451
  29. Duke Zhao II (De ?), 450-404, great-grandson of Duke Yuan; possibly 468-404, making him one of the longest-reigning monarchs.
  30. Duke Dao (Gouyou ), 403-396
  31. Duke Xiu (Tian ?), 395-373
  32. Duke Huan II (Bibing ), 372-370
  33. Ticheng, Lord of Song ?, 369-329, descendant of the 11th duke, Dai
  34. Yan, King of Song , King Kang , 328-286, younger brother of the above


Confucius was a descendant of the Dukes of Song, as are his descendants, the Dukes of Yansheng.

The title of Duke of Song and "Duke Who Continues and Honours the Yin" (?) were bestowed upon Kong An ( ()) by the Eastern Han dynasty because he was part of the Shang dynasty's legacy.[1][2] This branch of the Confucius family is a separate branch from the line that held the title of Marquis of Fengsheng village and later Duke Yansheng.

Song in astronomy

Song is represented by the star Eta Ophiuchi in the asterism Left Wall, Heavenly Market enclosure (see Chinese constellation).[3]

See also


  1. ^ Rafe de Crespigny (28 December 2006). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220 AD). BRILL. pp. 389-. ISBN 978-90-474-1184-0.
  2. ^ ·?:?,,,?,?,,,,?,,,",,,,,?,,,,?,;?,,:'?,?',",?
  3. ^ (in Chinese) AEEA (Activities of Exhibition and Education in Astronomy) ? 2006 ? 6 ? 23 ?

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