Sun Ce, also known as Sun Ts'e
or Ordinary Name
Son of Sun Jian
, known as the Little Conqueror of Eastern Jiang
, also called "The Little Prince
A character in the early parts of Luo Guan Zhong's epic Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel. A book based on the Three Kingdoms period of China circa 2nd and 3rd century A.D. The character of Sun Ce is based on a historical figure as almost all of the novel's characters are.
Sun Ce was the son of, the Prefect of Changsha, Sun Jian (Sun Chien). Like his father before him, Sun Ce was an excellent commander of troops. Quite possibly he was one of the greatest commanders of the era. He also though was headstrong, rash and prone to getting himself into needless battles. The fact that he won all of his battles even so, is a testament to his skill.
The battles with Liu Biao: Sun Ce becomes Prefect
When Sun Jian started his campaign of revenge against Liu Biao (Liu Piao), he brought Sun Ce with him. Together, the father and son laid waste to Liu Biao's armies, running them back to the city Xiang Yang (Hsiangyang). Outside the city, Sun Jian fell while trying to charge an enemy position, hit by three arrows and a rock flung by the defenders. Jian's body was captured by Liu Biao's troops and a signal was lit. The remaining troops in the city now appeared, charging the now disorganized armies of Sun Jian. The battle continued until daylight, when both armies withdrew from the field.
Only now did Sun Ce learn that he was the new lord. As battle could not be enjoined under this situation, it was decided that peace would discussed, along with the exchange of a prisoner, for Sun Jian's body. Huang Gai (Huan K'ai) arranged the deal. The prisoner Huang Zu (Huang Tzu) would be exchanged for peace and the body of Jian. So Sun Ce left the lands of Biao, burying his father at the border of Chua he then returned home. He then set about to gather the best and brightest officers and advisors and to rule his lands well.
Sun Ce serves Yuan Shu
When a quarrel broke out between the Prefect of Tanyang, the uncle of Sun Ce's mother and Tao Qian (T'ao Ch'ien), Sun Ce was forced to relocate himself and all his followers and family to Chua. There he placed himself under the protection of Yuan Shu. Yuan Shu greatly liked Sun Ce and often reflected how he wished to himself have a son like Sun Ce. Ce was employed in many military actions by Yuan Shu, and he always returned victorious.
Sun Ce eventually won his greatest victory for Yuan Shu, when he defeated Lu K'ang, the Prefect of Lujiang (Luchiang). Sun Ce became the protector of the city, but instead of being glad it depressed him. His family had fallen so far since the death of Sun Jian. Even with Lujiang, Sun Ce was still forced to be under the protection of Yuan Shu. Seizing on a plan offered by his officer, Zhu Zhi (Chu Chih), Sun Ce offered his protector Yuan Shu the Hereditary Seal in return for the loan of troops. Shu, greatly coveting the powers the seal gave to its owner, agreed. Sun Ce was given the title "Exterminator of Brigands" and set out to the east, at the head of a respectable army.
In purest happenstance, the brilliant Zhou Yu (Chou Yu) was traveling, with a body of troops, in the general direction of Sun Ce's army, on his way to Tanyang. The two armies happened to meet. Zhou Yu, realizing that his friend Sun Ce led this other force, come out of his ranks to great Ce.
The two had met during the wars against Dong Zhou (Tung Cho). Zhou Yu's family had fled south, there he met Sun Ce, and the two became close friends.
Sun Ce confided his plans and Zhou Yu immediately agreed to help. Zhou Yu recommended two more officers who Sun Ce persuaded to join the campaign. Sun Ce now had all he needed, troops and great leaders, to expand east.
The Conquest of East Jiang
Invading the lands of Yangchou, ruled by the Prefect Liu Yong (Liu Ye), Sun Ce won his first battle outside the city of Niuzhu. The battle was won in part because of help from a band of brigands led by Zhou Tai (Chou Ta'i) and Jiang Qin (Chiang Ch'in). These two joined Sun Ce's army after the battle. Sun Ce was later ambushed when visiting a temple, the ambush though degenerated into a general battle when both side's armies arrived. Liu Yong's troops were worsted though. Now Sun Ce marched forward toward the army under the command of Hsueh Li. The vanguard of Sun Ce's army smashed in Li's forces, slaying hundreds with almost no losses. So Li hid behind his defenses and nothing Sun Ce could do would draw him out. Then word came that Liu Yong himself was marching on Niuzhu. Sun Ce quit the siege and marched to meet this main army. Here he fought Liu Yong's forces. Personally dispatching two officers, one who was mistakenly crushed to death by Sun Ce as Ce carried the prisoner back to camp. (Yes, this gives you a clearer picture of Sun Ce. Imagine the strength it takes to "mistakenly" crush someone to death.)
So Liu Yong was defeated, the prefect himself fled to Liu Biao. Sun Ce executed over 10,000 prisoners after the battle and then began a march on the city of Moling.
Once at Moling, Sun Ce personally requested the surrender of the city. His only response was an arrow, which hit him in the thigh. Ce's officers quickly got him back to camp, where his wound was treated. The soldiers of his army where then told the news. Sun Ce was dead... The wailing the soldiers let out alerted the defenders. That night, those defending Moling poured out to attack the disorganized troops of Sun Ce's army. When Sun Ce himself appeared in the middle of the fray, the enemy troops began to panic. The battle became a rout and Sun Ce gained possession of Moling.
Now Sun Ce advanced on Chingshien which was held by one of Liu Yong's former officers, Taishi Ci (T'aishih Tzu). Sun Ce ordered the city burned, and Taishi Ci was forced to flee out the east gate, but was captured by the troops of Sun Ce. Sun Ce, upon meeting the captive, showed him kindness and Taishi Ci was won over, joining Ce's forces. Taishi Ci then left camp and marshaled all of Liu Yong's former troops he could find, bringing those who would join Sun Ce back to the camp.
Sun Ce then defeated the White Tiger, Prefect of Soochow. The Tiger fled to Huichi, which was ruled by Wang Lang. Lang supported the White Tiger and sallied forth to face the armies of Sun Ce. At which point Lang was attacked on two sides and fled back into the city. Sun Ce, splitting up his troops, besieged the city on all four sides. When Wang Lang's supplies were threatened, the defenders were forced to sally forth to protect the supply line. As they emerged from the city, they where defeated. Sun Ce had conquered East Jiang.
Sun Ce stationed garrisons at all the strategic points and memorialized the throne with his exploits. He then asked for the return of the seal from Yuan Shu. Shu refused and thus severed all ties with Sun Ce, who now became officially a ruler beholden to no one. Due to this action by Shu, Sun Ce also later joined Cao Cao's (Tsao Tsao) attack on Shu. The attack though came to nothing as Cao was forced to retreat when Liu Biao invaded his lands.
The Final Chapter
Now as Sun Ce consolidated his hold on the east, Cao Cao began to become worried. So Cao Cao began to prevent the memorials of Sun Ce's victories from reaching the emperor. He also actively denied Ce any gain in rank. Eventually Sun Ce began to plan an attack on Cao Cao. One man, the prefect of Wuchun, wrote Cao a letter about possibly destroying Sun Ce. The letter was intercepted and the Prefect himself executed by Ce. Three of the prefect's followers determined that they would get revenge on Sun Ce though.
They got their chance. One day as Sun Ce was on a hunting expedition, he chased a stag deep into the forest. There the three men found him. They proceeded to attack Sun Ce, who was wounded many times, most severely in the cheek and thigh. Sun Ce, having broken his sword in the early parts of the fight was left with only his bow. (A bow in close combat is as useful as using a hand gun to shoot down a plane.) Ce was rescued by his followers, but was in horrible condition.
Upon getting Sun Ce safely home, the doctor Hua Tuo was summoned. Hua Tuo determined that the weapons had been poisoned. While Sun Ce could heal, he needed 100 days of perfect rest; any agitation at all could kill Ce.
Sun Ce could not manage to rest. Whether from reports of Cao's doings or from his guilt after he killed a Tsaoist priest, the wound slowly leeched the life from his body. At the age of 26, Sun Ce died, leaving the lands he had conquered to his brother Sun Quan.
Note :: All names in parentheses () are alternate spellings, or in some cases familiar names that are used very often in the novel.