Yel­low Em­peror vic­to­ri­ous in Zhuolu Bat­tle

Shanghai Daily - - CULTURE -

Em­peror, rule here by de­cree. My word is the law. It would be bet­ter for you to sur­ren­der now.”

The Yel­low Em­peror looked askance. “The Yan Em­peror, as the fa­ther of herbal medicine, is famed the world over for his wis­dom and his love of his peo­ple. How dare you call your­self Em­peror Yan and at­tempt to rule through bru­tal­ity and greed!”

Chiyou smirked, and flexed his brawny arms say­ing, “The ruler of the world should be the might­i­est of the world!”

“If war is what you de­mand, then war it is!” replied the em­peror in mea­sured tones.

At first, the Yel­low Em­peror’s ar­se­nal of wooden ba­tons, bam­boo spears and stone axes was no match for the metal weapons Chiyou’s men wielded with sav­agery and skill. But the em­peror’s men were un­daunted. The coura­geous soldiers stood strong and their dis­ci­pline and strat­egy grad­u­ally be­gan to win the day.

Sud­denly, Chiyou waved a magic red flag and sand­storm blasted the bat­tle­field. From within the swirling dust emerged a bat­tal­ion with cow horns on the heads and cop­per weapons in their hands. The em­peror’s troops re­treated, de­feated, and the first bat­tle was lost.

Chiyou and his 81 broth­ers kept up their mys­ti­cal trick­ery and a dense fog de­scended. Un­able to see any­thing, for days the Yel­low Em­peror’s troops could go nei­ther for­ward nor back­wards.

Ex­hausted and frus­trated, the em­peror sat un­der a tree, try­ing to think his way out of the cri­sis. A golden ray of light pierced the soupy murk. Where the ray struck the earth, a god­dess with a women’s head and a bird’s body ap­peared.

“I am Jiu­tian Xuannu. The Lord of Heaven learned of your plight and sent me to help you,” said she, pulling a ker­chief from her sleeve, as the em­peror fell into a faint.

When he opened his eyes again, he found him­self alone in the gloom, a golden cloth held tightly in his hand. On the cloth was the im­age of an eight-sided bat­tle for­ma­tion. The em­peror called his troops to or­der and formed them up in an oc­tagon ac­cord­ingly. He then called upon his most skilled of crafts­men and or­dered them to mount a gi­ant lode­stone on a wagon — com­pass cart. On the cart stood a wooden fig­ure with its arm point­ing.

Un­der the cover of the fog and guided by the com­pass cart, the em­peror’s army took Chiyou’s troops by sur­prise and sent them flee­ing. Chiyou roared with rage and led his 81 broth­ers and many mon­sters in a fu­ri­ous charge against the Yel­low Em­peror’s army.

The em­peror calmly took out a great drum made from the skin of the demon Kui and bran­dished a drum­stick made of the mon­ster’s thigh­bone. Kui from the East Sea was also known as the Thun­der Mon­ster and the drum was known as the Thun­der Drum.

As the em­peror beat the Thun­der Drum, the life­like peals and crashes it made scared the mon­sters wit­less and sent them scat­ter­ing in all direc­tions.

His army in tat­ters, a fu­ri­ous Chiyou waved his jade axe, try­ing to rally his men. But Gen­eral Limu’s bat­tal­ion charged and en­cir­cled the last ves­tiges of the Ji­uli troops. Aware of his en­croach­ing doom, Chiyou cast a re­sound­ing roar into the air, and per­ished on the spot in fury and in shame.

On vic­tory, the mer­ci­ful em­peror spared Chiyou’s fam­ily and even ap­pointed his son to a post in the army. Chiyou’s tribes paid al­le­giance to the Yel­low Em­peror, and a new unity was born. Though he lost the war, Chiyou is still re­mem­bered for his valor. He was later wor­shiped as a god of war.

Zhuolu, also known as Peng Cheng, is said to have been the first cap­i­tal of the Yel­low Em­peror’s land at to­day’s Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province.

Af­ter the vic­tory at Zhuolu, many other tribal lead­ers chose to pledge al­le­giance to the em­peror and he be­came the leader of a new na­tion: the Han.

The Bat­tle of Zhuolu led di­rectly to the Yel­low Em­peror’s uni­fi­ca­tion of the whole Chi­nese na­tion.

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