Concept

King Zhou of Shang

Summary
King Zhou (ʈ͡ʂoʊ; ) was the pejorative posthumous name given to Di Xin of Shang () or King Shou of Shang (), the last king of the Shang dynasty of ancient China. He is also called Zhou Xin (). In Chinese, his name Zhòu (紂) also refers to a horse crupper, the part of a saddle or harness that is most likely to be soiled by the horse. It is not to be confused with the name of the succeeding dynasty, which has a different character and pronunciation (). In the Records of the Grand Historian, Sima Qian wrote that Di Xin, in the early part of his reign, had abilities which surpassed those of the ordinary man, and was quick-witted and quick-tempered. According to legend, he was intelligent enough to win all of his arguments, and he was strong enough to hunt wild beasts with his bare hands. He was the younger brother of Zi Qi (子啓) and Zi Yan (子衍) (later rulers of Zhou's vassal state Song) and father of Wu Geng. His father Di Yi had two brothers, Ji Zi and Bi Gan. Di Xin added to the territory of Shang by battling the tribes surrounding it, including the Dongyi to the east. A significant amount of information regarding Di Xin's life had been falsified by following dynasties. Thus, many modern-day historians believe that he was, in fact, reasonable and intelligent, without several of the cruelties attributed to him. The following are accounts of him written in records published in the millennium following his death, during which many misconceptions surrounding him arose. In his later years, Di Xin gave himself over to drinking, women, and abandoned morals, preferring these to the proper governance of the country, and ignored almost all affairs of state. According to Sima Qian, he even hosted festive orgies, where many people engaged in immoral things at the same time with his concubines and created songs with crude (erotic) lyrics and poor rhythm. In legends, he is depicted as having come under the influence of his wicked wife Daji, and committing all manner of evil and cruel deeds with her.
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