Duke Mu of Qin

Duke Mu of Qin
Ruler of Qin
Reign 659–621 BC
Predecessor Duke Cheng of Qin
Successor Duke Kang of Qin
Died 621 BC
House House of Ying
Father Duke De of Qin

Duke Mu of Qin (Chinese: 秦穆公; pinyin: Qín Mù Gōng, died 621 BC) was from 659 to 621 BC the fourteenth ruler of the Zhou Dynasty State of Qin. His ancestral name was Ying (), given name Renhao (任好), and Duke Mu was his posthumous title.[1] Sometimes considered one of the Five Hegemons of the Spring and Autumn period, he greatly expanded the territory of Qin during the reign of King Xiang of Zhou.

He acquired many talented advisors, such as Baili Xi, Jian Shu (蹇叔), Pi Bao (丕豹), and Gong Sun (公孫).

He was the son of Duke De of Qin and the younger brother of Duke Cheng. He married Mu Ji (), the daughter of Duke Xian of Jin, and married his daughter Huai Ying (懷嬴) to two of Duke Xian's sons. He helped his son-in-law win the Battle of Chengpu against Chu; these two marriages led to the saying "the Friendship of Qin and Jin" (秦晉之好) to denote political marriages and alliances based on marital bonds.

He had at least two sons: Ying and Hong. Ying succeeded him as Duke Kang of Qin. He also had several known daughters: Huai Ying (wife of Dukes Huai and Wen of Jin), Wen Ying (wife of Duke Wen of Jin), Qin Ying (wife of King Gong of Chu), Jianbi, and Nongyu (wife of Xiao Shi). There are doubts as to whether Huai Ying and Wen Ying were different names for the same daughter; likewise, some argue for the conflation of Jianbi and Nongyu.

At this time Qin and Jin were the most powerful states in China. Duke Wen of Jin expelled the Di barbarians and drove them into the region west of the Yellow River between the Yun and Luo rivers; there they were known as the Red Di and the White Di. Shortly afterwards, Duke Mu of Qin, having obtained the services of You Yu, succeeded in getting the eight barbarian tribes of the west to submit to their authority.

Thus at this time there lived in the region west of Long the Mianzhu, the Hunrong, and the Diyuan tribes. North of Mts. Qi and Liang and the Jing and Qi rivers lived the Yiqu, Dali, Wuzhi, and Quyuan tribes. North of Jin were the Forest Barbarians and the Loufan, while north of Yan lived the Eastern Barbarians and Mountain Barbarians. All of them were scattered about in their own little valleys, each with its own chieftain. From time to time they would have gatherings of a hundred or so men, but no one tribe was capable of unifying the others under a single rule.[2]

He is also noted as the retainer of Bole, the horse expert.



  1. Sima Qian. 秦本纪 [Annals of Qin]. Records of the Grand Historian (in Chinese). guoxue.com. Retrieved 1 May 2012.
  2. Watson (1993), p. 132.


Duke Mu of Qin
Died: 621 BC
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Duke Cheng of Qin
Duke of Qin
659–621 BC
Succeeded by
Duke Kang of Qin
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