History of Chen (2)
Toward the latter part of its history Chen Guo (陳國) was not always a harmonious state but saw many palace intrigues involving assassinations and persistent attacks by its southern neighbour, Chu Guo (楚國). In 700BC one of those who died was the 14th marquis, Chen Ligong (陳歷公)/Gui Yue (媯躍) whose reign was cut short to five months.
Then in 673BC more assassinations arose during a power grab. Chen Ligong’s son, Chen Wan (陳完), style name Jingzhong (敬仲), fearing for his life, fled and took refuge in the neighbouring northern state of Qi Guo (齊國) in Shandong Province (山東省).
Once there he changed his surname from 陳 to 田 (today pronounced Tian) to conceal his identity. In those days, both of these surnames had roughly the same pronunciation Dien. This simple act resulted in the creation of a new surname, Tian and hence its blood ties with the Chen clan. The ruling family of Qi Guo was Jiang (姜) and although they recognized Chen Wan was nobility, they only appointed him a minor official in the Qi court.
Notice that from the 13th generation onwards the Tian name contained the character Wang (王). This meant Tian Wei Wang (田威王) had usurped the throne and the Tian family became the new rulers of Qi Guo thereby displacing the original Jiang (姜) ruling family. The 18th generation also saw the destruction of Qi Guo by the powerful State of Qin (秦國) which was to eventually conquer other states to unite the country as China. The Tians only ruled for six generations.
After the annexation of Qi Guo by Qin, Tian Qi Wang Jian’s third son named Tian Zhen (田軫) fled to a place called Yingchuan (穎川) in Henan Province (河南省). Once there he changed his surname Tian back to Chen (remember in those days it was only a change in the script not pronunciation) to escape detection; the Chen saga had come full circle and returned to its roots in Henan Province (河南省). Thus, Chen Zhen (陳軫) rejuvenated the Chen clan lineage and for that he was honoured as the first ancestor of the Yingchuan Hall Chens (穎川堂陳氏始祖). Yingchuan Hall is by far the largest within the Chen clan. Yingchuan is located in Xuchang, Henan Province (河南省許昌).
The 15th generation ancestor, Chen Shi (陳實) was a famous personage in the Chen clan during the Eastern Han Dynasty and he was titled Donghan Taiqiuzhang (東漢太丘長) where Taiqiu (太丘) is the name of a place north of Yongcheng (永城) in northeastern Henan Province (河南省). He was an ancestor in my family lineage.