Thursday, September 4, 2008

Cao Fang

Cao Fang, 曹芳, . cáo fāng, wg. Ts'ao-Fang , courtesy name Lanqing was an emperor of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. He retained the title Prince of Qi after he was deposed by Sima Shi, and that is the title he is known for in the ''Records of the Three Kingdoms''. He was the adopted son of Cao Rui and rumored to be a grandson of Cao Zhang, who was in turn the second son of Cao Cao and .

After Cao Wei ended in 265, Cao Fang was created "Duke" of Shaoling County by of the . When he died in 274, he was given the rather unflattering posthumous name "Duke Li of Shaoling."


Cao Fang was probably born in 231, into a princely household of Cao Wei royalty and adopted by the emperor Cao Rui at a young age, perhaps as an infant. It is not conclusively known who his parents were, although official histories themselves speculated that he was the son of Cao Kai , the Prince of Rencheng, who was the son of Cao Zhang and grandson of Cao Cao. Cao Kai was therefore a cousin of the emperor, and his son would be in the right generation to be an adopted son of Cao Rui. He had an adoptive brother, Cao Xun , who might have been born in 230 and who was adopted with him, but for reasons unknown Cao Rui favored Cao Fang.

In 235, both Cao Fang and his brother Cao Xun were created princes by their adoptive father -- Cao Fang was created the Prince of Qi, while Cao Xun was created the Prince of Qin.

Around the new year of 239, when Cao Rui grew ill, he resolved to pass the throne to Cao Fang. He initially wanted to entrust Cao Fang to his uncle Cao Yu , to serve as the lead regent, along with Xiahou Xian , Cao Shuang, Cao Zhao , and Qin Lang . However, his trusted officials Liu Fang and Sun Zi were unfriendly with Xiahou and Cao Zhao and were apprehensive about their becoming regents, and managed to persuade him to make Cao Shuang and Sima Yi (who was then with his troops at Ji regents instead. Cao Yu, Cao Zhao, and Qin were excluded from the regency.

Half a month later, as Cao Rui neared death, Sima finally arrived at Luoyang. Cao Rui held Sima's hand and summoned Cao Fang and Cao Xun to his bedside, and then pointed Cao Fang out for Sima and told Cao Fang to hug Sima's neck. He then created Cao Fang crown prince and died the same day.


Cao Fang would have the longest reign in Cao Wei's history, but during no time did have real imperial authority. During his reign, the political scene was first dominated by Cao Shuang, then by Sima Yi, and eventually, when Cao Fang tried to resist the power grab by Sima Yi's son Sima Shi, he was deposed by Sima Shi.

Under Cao Shuang's regency

Initially, Cao Shuang and Sima Yi shared power, but Cao Shuang quickly used a number of political maneuvers to honor Sima with honorific titles while stripping his actual power. Cao Shuang then made all important decisions and stopped consulting Sima. Quickly, Cao's associates, including Deng Yang , Li Sheng , He Yan , and Ding Mi , who were known for their talents but lack of wisdom, all became powerful, and they excluded other officials who would not associate with them from positions of power. Sima was still given military authority , but no real authority on governance.

In 243, Cao Fang married his first wife, , a granddaughter of his grandmother Zhen Luo's brother Zhen Yan .

In 244, Cao Shuang, who wanted to garner for himself a military reputation as well, made a major attack against Shu Han's major border city of Hanzhong , without careful logistics planning. The battles themselves were inconclusive, but after Cao Wei forces ran out of food supplies, Cao Shuang was forced to withdraw at great loss of life. Despite his failure on the battlefield, however, Cao Shuang held onto power firmly. In 247, Sima, upset at his actual powerlessness, claimed that he was ill and retired from government service.

In 249, Sima made his move in an coup later known as the Incident at Gaoping Tombs. While Cao Fang and Cao Shuang were outside the capital on an official visit to Cao Rui's tomb, Sima, with support from a number of anti-Cao Shuang officials, claiming to have an order from to do so, closed all city gates of Luoyang and submitted a report to Cao Fang, accusing Cao Shuang of dominating and corrupting the government and demanding that Cao Shuang and his brothers be deposed. Cao Shuang was stricken with panic and did not know how to react, and even though his senior advisor Huan Fan recommended that he take Cao Fang to the secondary capital Xuchang and then resist Sima with his troops, Cao chose to surrender his troops and powers, under promise by Sima that he would still be able to maintain his titles. However, Sima soon reneged on the promise and had Cao Shuang and his associates, as well as their clans, executed on charges of treason.

Under Sima Yi's regency

After Sima Yi's takeover, he carefully but inexorably removed people who were actual or potential threats to his authority. Very quickly he established what his intent would be -- by having Cao Fang offer to grant him the nine bestowments -- a sign of a coming usurpation -- and then declining it. The 18-year-old Cao Fang was left with little power. Sima, however, had the support of the people by removing corruption and ineffiency that characterized Cao Shuang's regency and promoting a number of honest officials.

In 249, the powerful general Wang Ling, who was in charge of the key southeastern city of Shouchun began to plan a revolt against Sima's hold on power, in association with Cao Biao , the Prince of Chu and a son of Cao Cao . In 251, Wang was ready to carry out his plans when his associates Huang Hua and Yang Hong leaked the plan to Sima. Sima quickly advanced east before Wang could be ready and promised to pardon him. Wang knew that he was not ready to resist, so he submitted, but Sima again reneged on his promise and forced Wang and Cao Biao to commit suicide. Wang's clan and the clans of his associates were all slaughtered. Sima died later that year, but Cao Fang still could not recover any power, as power became firmly held by Sima's son Sima Shi.

Also in 251, Empress Zhen died.

Removal by Sima Shi

Sima Shi was a capable politician and administrator, but he also quickly wanted to prove his military reputation. In 252, he made a major attack against Eastern Wu, whose founding emperor Sun Quan had recently died and whose current emperor, Sun Liang, was under the regency of Zhuge Ke. Zhuge was able to deal Sima's forces a major blow, but Sima maintained himself well by making humble admissions of faults to the public and promoting the generals who tried to stop his campaign. In 253, after Sima defeated Zhuge in a major battle, his reputation was established, while Zhuge's own was undermined , and Zhuge soon fell while Sima's power was affirmed.

In 254, Sima made a violent move to consolidate his power, at Cao Fang's expense. Cao Fang had endeared himself to the minister Li Feng, and there had been suspicious by Sima that they were plotting against him. He summoned and interrogated Li, and when Li refused to disclose his conversations with the emperor, Sima beat him to death with a sword handle and then accused Li and his friends Xiahou Xuan and Zhang Qi of treason, and had them and their clans executed. Cao Fang was further forced to depose his wife , who was Zhang Ji's daughter. He created to succeed her.

Cao Fang was very angry about the deaths of Li and Zhang, and later in 254, his associates submitted a plan to him -- that when Sima's brother Sima Zhao would arrive at the palace for an official visit before heading to his defense post at Chang'an, to kill Sima Zhao and seize his troops, and then use those troops to attack Sima Shi. Cao Fang was apprehensive and paralyzed, and did not implement the plan, but news was still leaked to Sima Shi. Sima Shi then forcibly deposed Cao Fang, although sparing his life and giving him his old title of the Prince of Qi.

After removal

After Cao Fang was removed, he was given a palace in Henei , but it was likely that he was under virtual house arrest. After Sima Zhao's son Sima Yan usurped the throne in 265, thus ending Cao Wei and establishing , Cao Fang, along with all Cao Wei princes, was reduced in rank to Duke . He died in 274 and was presumably buried with the ceremonies due a duke, rather than an emperor. There were no records of any descendants.

Era names

*''Zhengshi'' 240-249

*''Jiaping'' 249-254

Personal information

* Adoptive father

** Cao Rui

* Biological father

** Rumored to be Cao Kai , Prince of Rencheng, son of Cao Zhang, Prince Wei of Rencheng, son of Cao Cao

* Wives




Cao Mao

Cao Mao , courtesy name Yanshi was an emperor of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. He was a grandson of Cao Pi and the Duke of Gaoguixiang. He was described as intelligent and studious, and he made repeated attempts to take power back from the powerful officials Sima Shi and Sima Shi's brother Sima Zhao, but failed. He was killed in an abortive coup d'etat against Sima Zhao and posthumously demoted back to duke, and so therefore is usually known by his duke title in traditional histories.

Family background and ascension to the throne

Cao Mao was born in 241, the son of Cao Lin , the Prince of Donghai, who was the son of Cao Wei's first emperor Cao Pi, making him the cousin of Cao Fang, the emperor at the time of his birth. In 244, at age three, in accordance with Cao Wei's regulations that the sons of princes were to be created dukes, he was created the Duke of Gaoguixiang. When he was young, he became known for his intelligence and studiousness.

In 249, Cao Mao's father Prince Cao Lin died. Cao Mao was eight. His older brother Cao Qi became the Prince of Donghai.

By 254, the governance of the empire was firmly in the hands of the Simas, whose patriarch Sima Yi had seized power from Cao Fang's regent Cao Shuang in 249. After Sima Yi's death in 251, the Simas were led by his son Sima Shi. In 254, after falsely accusing the emperor's father-in-law Zhang Ji and Zhang's associates Li Feng and Xiahou Xuan of treason, Sima Shi had them and their clans executed, and when Cao Fang considered a coup against the Simas later that year, Sima Shi had him deposed.

It was at this time that Cao Fang's stepmother made a last ditch attempt at preserving Cao Wei's imperial authority, by injecting herself into the process of selecting the next emperor. When Sima Shi notified her that he intended to make Cao Pi's brother Cao Ju , the Prince of Pengcheng, emperor, she managed to persuade him that such a succession would be improper -- that since Cao Ju was the uncle of her husband Cao Rui, such a succession would leave Cao Rui effectively sonless with no heir. Sima Shi was forced to agree with her, and he made, as she suggested, Cao Mao emperor instead. When Sima Shi asked her for the imperial seal, she again reasoned with him and refused politely, under the reasoning that she had met Cao Mao before and wanted to personally hand him the seal. When Cao Mao was summoned to the capital, he acted in accordance with the ceremonies due a duke, rather than putting on imperial pretensions immediately, until he was enthroned. This earned him popular support and praise as a humble young emperor.

Reign: domination by the Simas

Despite Empress Dowager Guo's intentions and Cao Mao's own intelligence, however, they made very little impact in trying to stem the tide of the Simas' growing power. In 255, the general Guanqiu Jian, the commander in the important eastern city of Shouchun, along with another general Wen Qin, raised a rebellion against the Simas, but were quickly crushed by Sima Shi's forces. Guanqiu was killed, and his clan was slaughtered. Wen and his sons fled to Eastern Wu.

Sima Shi, however, was already ill when Guanqiu and Wen started the rebellion, and he grew sicker during the campaign and died less than a month after the defeat of Guanqiu and Wen, at Xuchang. In the aftermaths of Sima Shi's death, the 14-year-old emperor made an effort to regain imperial power. With Sima Shi's brother and heir Sima Zhao also at Xuchang, Cao Mao issued an edict which, under the rationale that Sima Shi had just defeated Guanqiu and Wen's rebellion and that the southeastern empire was still not complete pacified, ordered Sima Zhao to remain at Xuchang and that Sima Shi's assistant Fu Gu return to the capital Luoyang with the main troops. Under Fu and Zhong Hui's advice, however, Sima Zhao returned to Luoyang anyway against edict, and was able to maintain control of the government. Indeed, from that point on, he would not let Cao Mao or Empress Dowager Guo to be out of his control.

Also in 255, Cao Mao created his wife empress.

In the next few years, Cao Mao was further known for his diligent studies. He gradually established a circle around him -- a number of officials who were unquestioned in their support of the Simas, but who might also have something to gain from allegiance to the emperor, including Sima Zhao's cousin Sima Wang, Wang Chen , Pei Xiu, and Zhong Hui, all of whom were known for their literary talent. By doing this, he was hoping that he could minimize suspicion against him but at the same time gradually win their heart. He often met with them to discuss literature, and, because Sima Wang lived farther from the palace than the others, he gave Sima Wang a fast two-wheeled wagon and five imperial guardsmen as escorts.

As it became clearer that Sima Zhao had designs on the throne, the general Zhuge Dan, who succeeded Wuqiu as the commander at Shouchun, became uneasy. When Sima Zhao sent his associate Jia Chong to Shouchun to discuss military matters with Zhuge and Jia probed whether Zhuge could support a Sima takeover -- which Zhuge sternlly rebuke Jia about. After Jia returned to Luoyang, he advised Sima to summon Zhuge back to the capital under the guise of promoting him to Prime Examiner , and Sima did so. Zhuge, in response, declared a rebellion and sought help from Eastern Wu . Sima acted swiftly and quickly surrounded Shouchun, but not until an Eastern Wu detachment led by Wen entered the city to help its defense. However, the main Eastern Wu forces, under the command of the powerful but incompetent general Sun Lin, failed to advance on Shouchun, and was of little help to Zhuge. By spring 258, Zhuge and Wen were trapped inside the city, and they got into an argument as to proper strategy. Zhuge killed Wen, whose sons then defected to Sima, leading to the fall of the city. Zhuge was captured and killed, along with his clan, except for his son Zhuge Jing , who had been sent as a messenger to Eastern Wu. After Zhuge's failure, no other general or official dared to resist Sima's might. Cao Mao became desperate, and in 259, after reports of discovery of yellow dragons in two wells, Cao Mao commented that it was actually a sign of divine ''disfavor'' and wrote the following poem, entitled ''The Ode to the Hidden Dragon'' :

:''The poor dragon is trapped, alone and cold;''

:''He cannot leap out of the depths;''

:''He cannot rise to the heavens;''

:''He cannot even descend onto fields.''

:''The poor dragon fell into the deep well;''

:''Even catfish dance before him;''

:''He hides his teeth and claws and sighs;''

:''And I am this depressed as well.''

This greatly displeased Sima Zhao, who paid more attention to the emperor's activities afterwards.

Also in 258, under pressure from Sima, Cao Mao issued an edict granting him the nine bestowments -- a sign of impending usurpation -- and while Sima declined, it became even clearer what his intentions were.

Attempted coup against Sima Zhao and death

In 260, at age 19, Cao Mao was forced to again issue an edict granting Sima Zhao the nine bestowments, which Sima declined again, but which drew Cao Mao's ire. He gathered his associates Wang Chen, Wang Jing , and Wang Ye and told them that, while he knew the chances of success were slight, he was going to act against Sima Zhao. He stated that he was willing to die if needed -- but that he felt he has some chance of success. Despite urging from Wang Jing to call it off as a sure disaster, he went into the palace to report to Empress Dowager Guo his intentions; Wang Chen and Wang Ye fled to report to Sima, but Wang Jing, despite his opposition to the plan, did not desert.

Cao Mao then led the imperial guards and servants and, arming himself with a sword, set out to head for Sima's mansion. Sima Zhao's brother Sima Zhou tried to resist, but after Cao Mao's attendants yelled loudly, Sima Zhou's forces deserted. Jia Chong then arrived and intercepted the imperial troops. Cao Mao fought personally, and Jia Chong's troops, not daring to attack the emperor, were also deserting, when one of the officers under Jia's command, Cheng Ji , after asking Jia what to do and was told by Jia to defend the Sima power regardless of the consequences, took a spear and killed Cao Mao with it.

After Cao Mao's death, public sentiments called for Jia's death, but what Sima Zhao did first was to force Empress Dowager Guo to posthumously demote Cao Mao to common citizen status and order that he be buried as such. He also executed Wang Jing and his clan. The next day, after pleas from his uncle Sima Fu, Sima Zhao instead had Empress Dowager Guo order that Cao Mao be demoted back to duke but buried with the ceremonies of an imperial prince. Sima Zhao then summoned Cao Huang , the Duke of Changdaoxiang and a grandson of Cao Cao to the capital to become the emperor; by now, Empress Dowager Guo was powerless to speak further. 19 days later, however, Sima Zhao publicly accused Cheng and his brothers of treason and had them and their clan executed, to appease public sentiment, while sparing Jia.

Era names

*''Zhengyuan'' 254-256

*''Ganlu'' 256-260

Personal information

* Father

** Cao Lin , Prince Ding of Donghai, son of Cao Pi

* Wife


Cao Huan

Cao Huan, 曹奐, . cáo hùan, wg. Ts'ao-Huan was a grandson of Cao Cao and last emperor of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. He is also known as the Emperor Yuan of Wei, ch. 魏元帝, py. wèi yúan dì, wg. Wei Yüan-ti. His courtesy name was Jingming .

In 265, Cao Huan abdicated in favor of Sima Yan, then of , and Sima created him the Prince of Chenliu , a title he carried until death and the title he is known for in the ''Records of the Three Kingdoms''. After his death, he was buried with honors due an emperor and given a posthumous imperial name.

Family background and ascension to the throne

The future emperor was born as Cao Huang in 246. His father Cao Yu was the Prince of Yan and one of the youngest sons of Cao Cao, the father of Cao Wei's first emperor, Cao Pi , who was considered as regent for the emperor Cao Fang by Cao Fang's father, Cao Rui , in 238. In 258, at age twelve, in accordance with Cao Wei's regulations that the sons of princes were to be created dukes, he was created the Duke of Changdaoxiang .

In 260, after then-emperor Cao Mao was killed in a failed attempt to take power back from Sima Zhao, for reasons unknown, Sima decided to make Cao Huang emperor, even though Cao Pi still had living male issue.


At the time Cao Huang became emperor, his name was changed to "Cao Huan", because it was difficult to observe naming taboo with the name "Huang" . During Cao Huan's reign, the Simas had actual power of the regime, and he was even more of a figurehead than his predecessors Cao Fang and Cao Mao. In 263, he created his wife empress.

For the first few years of Cao Huan's reign, there were constant attacks by Shu Han's commander of armed forces, Jiang Wei. While Jiang's attacks were largely easily repelled, Sima was sufficiently annoyed that he planned a major counterattack, with the goal to destroy Shu Han once and for all. In 263, Sima launched the attack, with 180,000 men commanded by Zhong Hui and Deng Ai. Initially, the attack was stalled, until Deng Ai bypassed Shu Han's main forces, led by Jiang, by going deep through treacherous mountain routes and defeating and killing Zhuge Zhan in battle. Once that happened, Jiang was trapped between the two main Cao Wei forces and could not react, and Deng proceeded to the Shu Han capital Chengdu, forcing Shu Han's emperor Liu Shan to surrender.

After the destruction of Shu Han, Deng became arrogant, and Zhong, who had grander ambitions, used Deng's arrogance against him by falsely accusing him of treason and forging letters to and from Deng to show such alleged treason. Sima ordered Zhong to arrest Deng and seize Deng's troops -- which was exactly what Zhong hoped for. Jiang, who had then surrendered to Zhong, wanted to use this chance to try to revive Shu Han, and he encouraged Zhong to declare a rebellion in early 264. Jiang tried to persuade Zhong to execute all of the Cao Wei generals, as they might oppose him. Zhong hesitated, and as he did, the generals started a counterinsurgency and killed him and Jiang. In the confused aftermaths, Deng was also killed. Shu Han's former territory was incorporated into Cao Wei.

Abdication and later life

Cao Wei itself did not last much longer, however. In 263, Sima again forced Cao Huan to grant him the nine bestowments and this time finally accepted, signifying that an usurpation was near. In 264, he was promoted to the Prince of Jin -- the final step before usurpation. After he died in 265, his son Sima Yan inherited his position, and later that year forced Cao Huan to abdicate in favor of him, establishing the . He created Cao Huan the Prince of Chengliu, the title that Cao Huan would carry for the rest of his life.

Not much is known about Cao Huan's life as a prince under Jin rule. Sima Yan permitted Cao Huan to retain imperial banners and wagons and to worship ancestors with imperial ceremonies. He also permitted Cao Huan not to refer to himself as a subject of his. He died in 303, during the reign of Sima Yan's son Emperor Hui of Jin. He was buried with honors due an emperor and given an imperial posthumous name.

Era names

*''Jingyuan'' 260-264

*''Xianxi'' 264-265

Personal information

* Father

** Cao Yu , the Prince of Yan, son of Cao Cao

* Wife


Liu Bei

Liu Bei , Xuándé , was a general, warlord, and later the founding emperor of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms era of China. Although having a later start than his rivals, also lacking both the material resources and social status they commanded, Liu Bei overcame his many defeats to carve out his own realm, that at its peak spanned modern day Sichuan, Guizhou, Hunan, part of Hubei, and part of Gansu.

Culturally, due to the tremendously popular novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, Liu Bei is widely known as the ideal benevolent, humane ruler who cared for his people and picked good advisors. His character was to advocate the set of moral values, such as loyalty and compassion.


Early life

Born in Zhuo Commandery , Liu Bei was a descendant of Liu Sheng, a son of . His grandfather Liu Xiong and father Liu Hong were both employed as local clerks.

Liu Bei grew up poor, having lost his father when he was still a child. To support themselves, he and his mother sold shoes and straw-woven mats. At age fourteen, Liu Bei, sponsored by a more well-off relative who saw his potentials, went to study under . There he met and befriended Gongsun Zan.

The adolescent Liu Bei was said to be unenthusiastic in studying but rather fond of hunting, music, and nice clothings. Few of words, calm in demeanor, and kind to his friends, Liu Bei was well-liked by his contemporaries. He was said to have long arms and large earlobes.

Yellow Turban Rebellion

In 184, at the outbreak of the Yellow Turban Rebellion, Liu Bei called to raise a volunteer army. For that, he got financial contributions from two wealthy horse merchants and he gained a group of loyal followers, most famous amongst whom were Guan Yu and Zhang Fei.

Liu Bei led his army to join with the provincial army. Together they scored several victories against the rebels. As reward, he was appointed Prefect of Anxi , Zhongshan commandery —a position he soon left by refusing to bend to a corrupted inspector.

He then traveled south with his followers to join another volunteer army to suppress the Yellow Turbans, who flared up again in Xu Province . For that achievement, he was appointed Prefect and Captain of Gaotang .

Succeeding Tao Qian

In 192, after the coalition against Dong Zhuo broke up, the country sank into war and chaos. Overran by rebels, Liu Bei moved north to seek safety with Gongsun Zan, who at the time was fighting with Yuan Shao for control of Ji Province and Qing Province . Gongsun Zan sent him to help Tian Kai in Shandong. For this, he was later made Prefect of , then Chancellor of Pingyuan, located on the border of Yuan Shao.

In 194, Cao Cao launched a campaign against in Xu Province. At the time, there were two opposing alliances—Yuan Shu and Gongsun Zan on one side, Yuan Shao and Cao Cao the other. Because Tao Qian was being hard pressed, he appealed to Tian Kai for help. Tian Kai and Liu Bei moved to save him.

However, Zhang Miao rebelled and called in Lü Bu to take over Cao Cao's base . Cao Cao had to withdraw. Tao Qian asked Liu Bei to station in nearby Xiaopei and gave him 4000 more troops, in addition to 1000 or so troops and some Wuhuan cavalry already under his command.

Later that year, Tao Qian died. On his deathbed, he had resolved to have Liu Bei taking over his domain and entrusted Mi Zhu to carry out the transfer of power. Hesitant initially, Liu Bei refused but eventually accepted on advices from Kong Rong and Chen Deng.

Conflicts with Lü Bu

In 195, Lü Bu was eventually defeated by Cao Cao and sought refuge under Liu Bei. In the next, Yuan Shu invaded Xu Province. Liu Bei led his army to and Huaiyin to counter. They faced each other for a month without any decisive result.

Zhang Fei, left by Liu Bei to hold Xiapi , quarreled and killed Cao Bao , Chancellor of Xiapi from the time of Tao Qian, causing unrest in the city. Lü Bu took this opportunity and made a surprise attack to capture Xiapi, with it the families of Liu Bei and his officers.

Liu Bei returned on receiving the news, but his army had disintegrated by the time he reached Xiapi. Gathering whatever he could, he then moved to Guangling but was defeated by Yuan Shu. Liu Bei then retreated to Haixi , Donghai Commandery . Faced with enemies on both sides and desperate little supplies , Liu Bei requested a truce with Lü Bu, who accepted and returned Liu Bei's family as an act of good faith, because he was becoming apprehensive of Yuan Shu. Lü Bu, fearing isolation, obstructed further attempt by Yuan Shu to eliminate Liu Bei.

Liu Bei moved his camp to Xiaopei. There he rebuilt his strength, gathering over ten thousand men. Lü Bu became concerned and attacked Xiaopei. Liu Bei fled to Xuchang, where Cao Cao received him well, gave him some troops, provisions, and official appointment of Governor of Yu Province , stationing in Pei to keep an eye on Lü Bu.

In 198, Lü Bu renewed his alliance with Yuan Shu to stem Cao Cao's growing influence and sent Gao Shun and Zhang Liao to attack Liu Bei. Cao Cao sent Xiahou Dun to support Liu Bei but he was defeated by Gao Shun. Liu Bei had to flee to Cao Cao again. Cao Cao himself led an army against Lü Bu, and eventually captured and executed the latter at Xiapi.

Role in the Cao-Yuan conflict

By 199, Cao Cao had in his control and was issuing orders under pretense of imperial decrees. Liu Bei joined a conspiracy headed by Dong Cheng, a cousin of the emperor, and some other men to remove Cao Cao. Moreover, he was anxious to leave Cao Cao's stronghold Xuchang. Hence, on hearing that Yuan Shu had surrendered to and was on his way, via Xiapi, to join Yuan Shao in the north, Liu Bei asked to lead a force to . Before his advisers were able to change his mind, Cao Cao consented, commissioned Liu Bei and an army to move south. Having his path blocked, Yuan Shu turned back to Shouchun and died there.

Zhu Ling returned to Xuchang, but Liu Bei stayed behind with the army. He took the opportunity to kill Che Zhou , Cao Cao's appointed Governor of Xu Province, and took over the region once again. He left Guan Yu to guard Xiapi while he himself garrisoned Xiaopei.

Yuan Shao, having defeated Gongsun Zan, started moving against Cao Cao, set up camps on the north bank of the Yellow River. Liu Bei sent Sun Qian to Yuan Shao to request an alliance.

In 200, Dong Cheng's plot was discovered. All conspirators and their families were summarily executed.

Having to confront Yuan Shao at Guandu, Cao Cao sent his subordinates Liu Dai and Wang Zhong against Liu Bei. Liu Bei defeated them. Predicting Yuan Shao would be hesitant to attack Xuchang, Cao Cao turned south, overran Liu Bei's position. Not knowing if Liu Bei was dead or alive, Guan Yu submitted to Cao Cao.

Liu Bei fled north to Yuan Shao. There Yuan Shao and Yuan Tan treated him with honor. Liu Bei participated in the battles of Boma, in which Yuan Shao successively lost two of his best generals Yan Liang and Wen Chou, the former slain by Guan Yu.

Liu Pi in Runan rebelled against Cao Cao. Yuan Shao sent Liu Bei and some troops south to help them. Liu Bei and Liu Pi attacked Xuchang but were defeated by Cao Ren. Around this time, Guan Yu left Cao Cao and returned to Liu Bei. The defeated Liu Bei returned to the north and urged Yuan Shao to ally with Liu Biao, governor of Jing Province . Yuan Shao sent him south to Runan again to aid the bandit Gong Du. There Liu Bei defeated and killed Cao Cao's general Cai Yang.

Taking refuge with Liu Biao

After defeating Yuan Shao at the Battle of Guandu, Cao Cao led his army to attack Runan in 201. Liu Bei fled to Jing Province to seek refuge with Liu Biao.

Liu Biao welcomed Liu Bei personally, treating him as an honored guest. He also gave Liu Bei some troops and asked him to station in Xinye.

Liu Bei stayed in Jing Province several years. One time he was in attendance upon Liu Biao and he got up to go to the lavatory. As he came back, he was weeping. Surprised, Liu Biao asked what was the matter. Liu Bei answered "In earlier times, I never left the saddle. My thighs were thin. Now I do not ride anymore, they are fat and flabby. The days and months pass like a stream, and old age will come, but I have achieved nothing. That's why I am sad."

In 202, Cao Cao sent Yu Jin and Xiahou Dun to attack Liu Bei. Liu Bei ambushed and defeated them at .

In 207, Cao Cao planned a campaign to conquer the Wuhuan in the north, but was apprehensive that Liu Biao might attack his base. Guo Jia assured him that Liu Biao wouldn't move, because "he knows his ability is no match for Liu Bei. If he gives Liu Bei an important post, he must be concerned that Liu Bei will become too powerful. But if he gives him a lesser position, Liu Bei would be reluctant to serve him." Cao Cao agreed. Indeed when Liu Bei advised Liu Biao to attack Xuchang while Cao Cao was away, Liu Biao would not agree—only to express regret when the opportunity was gone.

Away from the battlefields in the east and under the capable rule of Liu Biao, Jing Province was prosperous and a popular destination for literati fleeing the destruction of war. Liu Bei inquired Sima Hui, a revered recluse, about scholars. Sima Hui named Zhuge Liang and Pang Tong as exceptional men that comprehended the important affairs of the age. Xu Shu also urged Liu Bei to call on Zhuge Liang.

So Liu Bei went to see Zhuge Liang. He had to make three trips before he was able to see him. Zhuge Liang showed Liu Bei the Longzhong plan, a long-term strategy that outlined how Liu Bei could compete with Cao Cao.

In 208, Liu Biao died. His younger son succeeded him and instantly submitted to Cao Cao, without informing Liu Bei. By the time Liu Bei heard something, Cao Cao had reached Wancheng . Abandoning his camp at Fancheng, Liu Bei led his troops away. Many of Liu Cong's attendants and the people of Jing Province turned to Liu Bei. By the time he reached Dangyang , his followers numbered more than one hundred thousands, moving only 10 a day. He however sent Guan Yu ahead to wait for him in Jiangling, where the arsenal was, with Jing Province's fleet.

Afraid that Liu Bei might reach Jiangling before him, Cao Cao led his cavalry on a chase. In a day and a night, they caught up with Liu Bei and captured all his people, army, and baggage at the Battle of Changban. Leaving his family behind, Liu Bei fled with only scores of followers. With Guan Yu's fleet, they crossed the Mian River to Jiangxia then the Yangzi to Xiakou with , Liu Biao's eldest son, and his men.

The Battle of Red Cliffs

When Liu Bei was still at Changban, Sun Quan's envoy Lu Su hinted to him that he should ally with Sun Quan against Cao Cao. Zhuge Liang, as Liu Bei's envoy, together with Lu Su went to meet Sun Quan at Chaisang to seal the alliance.

Liu Bei and Sun Quan formed their first coalition against the southward expansion of Cao Cao. The two sides clashed at the Red Cliffs . Cao Cao boasted 830,000 men , while the alliance at best had 50,000 troops.

However, Cao Cao's men, mostly from the north, were ill-suited to the southern climate and naval warfare, and thus entered the battle with a clear disadvantage. Furthermore, a plague that broke out undermined the strength of Cao Cao's army. The fire tactic used by Huang Gai and Zhou Yu also worked effectively against Cao Cao's vessels, which were chained together and thus allowed the fire to quickly spread. A majority of Cao Cao's troops were either burned to death or drowned in the river. Those who tried to retreat to the near bank were ambushed and annihilated by enemy skirmishers. Cao Cao himself barely escaped the encounter.

Cao Cao returned to the north, leaving Cao Ren and Xu Huang to hold Jiangling, Yue Jin to hold Xiangyang .

Master of Jing Province

While Zhou Yu, followed up his resounding victory, was fighting Cao Ren for Jiangling on the north bank, Liu Bei, after recommending Liu Qi to be the new Inspector of Jing Province , mopped up the four commanderies south of the Yangzi—Changsha, Lingling , , and Wuling . Liu Bei set his base at Gong'an and began building up strength. When Liu Qi died, Liu Bei succeeded him as Governor of Jing Province. Sun Quan gave his younger sister as wife to Liu Bei to bolster the alliance.

Officials and men who previously served Liu Biao now turned to Liu Bei. Under the pressure of Liu Bei's growing influence on the south Jing Province, Sun Quan's position on the north Jing Province became untenable especially after the death of Zhou Yu in 210. Lu Su, successor to Zhou Yu's command post, moved his headquarter further east from Jiangling to Lukou , yielding western Jing province and access to northern Jing Province to Liu Bei. Diplomatically, they were "lending" Liu Bei Jing Province—a debt that Liu Bei however never recognized.

Conquering Yi Province

In 211, , governor of Yi Province , heard that Cao Cao planned to attack Zhang Lu in Hanzhong. As Hanzhong provided an excellent platform for further incursion into Yi Province, and persuaded by Zhang Song—a malcontent ambitious advisor looking for better master, Liu Zhang sent Fa Zheng to conclude an alliance with Liu Bei, inviting the latter into Yi Province to attack Hanzhong before Cao Cao did.

Leaving Zhuge Liang and Guan Yu behind to hold Jing Province, Liu Bei led an expedition force into Sichuan. Liu Zhang added to Liu Bei's troops, also supplied him generously with provisions and equipments. Before heading to Jiameng Pass on the northern border with Zhang Lu, Liu Bei acted with generosity and grace to win over the locals.

In 212, Pang Tong outlined three plans and urged Liu Bei to choose—either advance rapidly to Chengdu with picked men before Liu Zhang could react, or take over Liu Zhang's armies in the north then proceed to Chengdu, or return to Baidicheng to link up with the base before attack. Liu Bei picked the middle plan.

Under pretext that Sun Quan was under attacks from Cao Cao and needed help, Liu Bei asked Liu Zhang for 10,000 soldiers with money and provision to assist the defense of Jing Province. Liu Zhang allowed him only 4,000 troops, and half of the other things he asked for.

Discovered that Zhang Song had been communicating in secret with Liu Bei, Zhang Su , Song's older brother, reported the matter to Liu Zhang, who promptly had Song killed. Liu Zhang also ordered all the passes not to allow any further message to reach Liu Bei.

Angry, Liu Bei summoned Yang Huai and Gao Pei , Liu Zhang's commanders of Boshui Pass, charged them with discourtesy and executed them, and took the pass and their troops as his own. He then moved to attack Fucheng .

In Spring 213, Liu Zhang sent Liu Gui , Ling Bao , Zhang Ren, Deng Xian , Wu Yi , and others to repel Liu Bei. They were beaten, and retreated to Mianzhu . Wu Yi went out to surrender. Liu Zhang sent Li Yan and Fei Guan to take over the command of Mianzhu. They too surrendered. The remnant force under command of Liu Zhang's son Liu Xun retreated to defend Luo . Pang Tong was killed by a stray arrow.

In 214 Luo fell, Liu Bei proceeded to siege Chengdu, where he was joined by Zhuge Liang, Zhang Fei, and Zhao Yun, who made incursion into Yi Province via southern routes.

Liu Zhang continued to hold out. Ma Chao, warlord from Liang Province that recently submitted to Liu Bei, appeared and set his camp north of Chengdu. The people in the city were surprised and shaken. Liu Bei sent in Jian Yong to talk to Liu Zhang. Liu Zhang surrendered.

Liu Bei allowed Liu Zhang to keep his treasure, conferred on him the seal and tassel of General Who Inspires Awe and moved him to Gong'an.

Liu Bei now assumed the role of Governor of Yi Province and set up new government. Zhuge Liang was made General Master of the Army in charge of the Office of the General of the Left , Dong He was made General of the Gentlemen of the Household Manager of the Army , acting deputy to Zhuge Liang. Old and new followers were granted ranks and given responsibilities.

First Wu-Shu conflict

In 215, Sun Quan sent Zhuge Jin as emissary to demand Jing Province back, but Liu Bei refused after taking Liang Province. Sun Quan sent Lü Meng and 20,000 men to attack southern Jing Province and capture Changsha and Guiyang. Lu Su advanced to Yiyang with 10,000 men , and took over the command at Lukou himself. Liu Bei himself went to Gong'an and sent Guan Yu to retake the south of Jing Province.

Because Cao Cao was moving against Hanzhong, Liu Bei requested a truce. Liu Bei asked Sun Quan to attack Hefei in return for Jiangxia, Changsha, and Guiyang. Sun Quan accepted, setting the new border on Xiang River.

Hanzhong Campaign

In the fall of 215, Cao Cao had Zhang Lu and took over Hanzhong. Sima Yi advised him to take the opportunity to attack Yi Province while it was still newly settled and Liu Bei was still away in Jing Province. Cao Cao hesitated, then left, leaving Xiahou Yuan, Zhang He, Xu Huang to defend Hanzhong.

Cao Cao entrusted Zhang He to take charge of operations in the region of Ba . Zhang He led his army to Dangqu . Liu Bei appointed Zhang Fei Administrator of Baxi and him to face Zhang He. They faced each other for two months. Zhang Fei made a surprise attack and complete defeated him. Zhang He had to retreat to Nanzheng . The Ba region hence belonged to Liu Bei.

In 217, Fa Zheng advised Liu Bei to attack Hanzhong, because "Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He are no match for our commanders." Liu Bei sent Zhang Fei, Ma Chao, Wu Lan and others to Xiabian , Wudu (to block reinforcement from Chang'an, while he and the rest of the army camped at Yangping Pass . Cao Cao sent Cao Hong to face them.

In Spring 218, Cao Hong, assisted by Cao Xiu, defeated and killed Wu Lan. Zhang Fei and Ma Chao retreated.

Liu Bei was facing Xiahou Yuan, Zhang He, and Xu Huang at Yangping Pass. He sent Chen Shi and others to barricade Mamingge , but Chen Shi was attacked and defeated by Xu Huang. Liu Bei then pressed against Zhang He at Guangshi also without success. He sent back instructions to mobilize all the force of Yi Province.

In the fall, Cao Cao decided to come in person and take command himself. He stopped at Chang'an to collect troops.

Spring 219, Liu Bei and Xiahou Yuan had each other for over a year. He moved across to the south of Mian river and made camp at Dingjun Mountain. Xiahou Yuan made camp at the valley below below to face him. Liu Bei sent 10,000 troops to attack Zhang He at Guangshi by night, and he set fire to the Xiahou Yuan's defense perimeter. Xiahou Yuan had to split his force to fight the fire and reinforce Zhang He. Fa Zheng saw the opportunity, and signaled Liu Bei for an attack. Liu Bei sent Huang Zhong to charge Xiahou Yuan's weakened force from above and completely annihilated them. Xiahou Yuan and Zhao Yong , Cao Cao's appointed Inspector of Yi Province, were killed.

Zhang He, elected as replacement commander by Du Xi , and Guo Huai, withdrew to Hanzhong, defending the northern bank of . Cao Cao arrived from Chang'an via Yegu Pass with his army. Liu Bei observed "Even if Cao Cao comes, he can do nothing. We will hold the Han River." He led his troops to hold strategic points.

Cao Cao and Liu Bei each other across the Han River for several months. As his army became demoralized, the disheartened Cao Cao withdrew to Chang'an. Hanzhong hence belonged to Liu Bei.

Liu Bei then sent Meng Da to conquer Fangling , then Liu Feng, combined with Meng Da, to conquer Shangyong . His campaigning in Hanzhong was thus completed.

Founding of Shu Han

Responding to Cao Cao's ascension to King of Wei , in the Fall of 219, Liu Bei declared himself King of Hanzhong and set his headquarters at Chengdu. He appointed Liu Shan Heir-apparent. Wei Yan was made General Who Maintains Distant Lands in Peace , and Administrator of Hanzhong , Xu Jing Grand Tutor , Fa Zheng Prefect of the Masters of Writing , Guan Yu General of the Van , Zhang Fei General of the Right , Ma Chao General of the Left , and Huang Zhong General of the Rear . All of Liu Bei's officers were granted promotion.

In the same year, forces of Sun Quan led by Lü Meng captured Guan Yu, who was promptly executed, and conquered Jing Province. A year later, Cao Cao died and his successor Cao Pi forced Emperor Xian to abdicate. Cao Pi then declared himself emperor of Cao Wei. Upon hearing the rumor that Emperor Xian had been usurped, Liu Bei also declared himself emperor of Shu Han so as to carry on the lineage of the Han Dynasty.

In 221, Liu Bei made his son Liu Shan the heir apparent.

Defeat and death

In autumn, he personally led a force against Sun Quan to avenge Guan Yu and retake Jing province. After initial victories, , commander-in-chief of the Eastern Wu forces, ordered a retreat to Yiling . There he held his position and refused to engage with the invaders.

By summer, Liu Bei's troops were scorched and low in morale. Liu Bei was forced to camp within the forest for shade. Lu Xun then ordered a counterattack. Using fire, he easily set Liu Bei's entire campground ablaze and forced the enemy to retreat west to Ma'an Hill . Lu Xun's force then besieged the hill. With most of his troops routed, Liu Bei escaped under cover of the night to Baidicheng. The two parties made peace again in the winter of the same year.

Liu Bei died in Baidicheng in the spring of 223. His body was brought back to Chengdu and entombed at Huiling four months later. He was given the posthumous name of Zhaolie , literally meaning apparent uprightness. Liu Shan, who succeeded him, eventually surrendered to Cao Wei in 263.

Liu Bei in ''Romance of the Three Kingdoms''

''Romance of the Three Kingdoms'' is a 14th century historical novel based on the events that occurred before and during the Three Kingdoms era. Written by Luo Guanzhong more than a millennium after the said period, the novel incorporated many popular folklore and opera scripts into the character of Liu Bei, portraying him as a compassionate and righteous leader who built his kingdom on the basis of Confucian values. This is in line with the historical background of the times during which the novel was written. Furthermore, the author acknowledged the legitimacy of Liu Bei's claim to the throne, since Liu Bei was related, however distantly, to the ruling family of the Han Dynasty. Famous and notable stories involving Liu Bei from the novel include:

Sworn brotherhood in the garden of peach blossoms

One of the most well-known stories from the novel, found in the first chapter, speaks of Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei who, having met by chance in the county of Zhuo in 188, found that all three shared the same desire to serve the country in the tumultuous times. They swore to be brothers the next day in Zhang Fei's backyard, which was a garden full of peach blossoms. Liu Bei was ranked the eldest, Guan Yu the second, and Zhang Fei the youngest. Having done this, they recruited more than 300 local men, acquired horses, forged weapons and joined the resistance against the Yellow Turban rebels.

There is no record of the three ever swearing brotherhood. The concept was passed down in popular folklore. The ''Records of Three Kingdoms'' says the three often shared a bed, and treated one another as brothers. According to a later biography of Guan Yu, he was a year older than Liu Bei.

General worship of Liu Bei

Liu Bei is also worshipped as the patron of shoemakers in Chengdu, which is also known as the "City of Shoes" as more than 80 million pairs of shoes totaling 5 billion in sales are manufactured there annually. It was said that in 1845, during the reign of the Daoguang Emperor, the shoemakers guild in Chengdu who called themselves disciples of Liu Bei sponsored the construction of the Sanyi Temple in Liu Bei's honor. After many times of relocation, the temple can be found in Wuhou District today. Since Mainland China loosened its control on religious practices in recent years, the worship of Liú Bèi among shoemakers had again gained popularity in Chengdu. In 2005, a large procession was carried out in front of the Sanyi Temple to commemorate Liu Bei—the first such event since the founding of the People's Republic of China.

A commentary carried by the Yangtse Evening News criticized such practice as mere commercial gimmick to exploit the fame of Liu Bei. It argued that although Liu Bei sold straw-woven shoes and mats for a living when he was young, he was hardly the inventor of shoes. According to legends, it was Yu Ze who made the first pairs of shoes with softwood during the time of the Yellow Emperor. However, the criticisms did not dampen the enthusiastic shoe industry owners in their decision to erect a statue of Liu Bei in the West China Shoes Centre Industrial Zone, which is still under construction in Wuhou District as of August 2005.

Modern references

Video games

*Liu Bei appears as a humble and virtuous playable character in Koei's popular ''Dynasty Warriors'' video game series, in which his weapon of choice are two swords called "Strength and Virtue".

*He also appears in another Koei title, ''''. The standard storyline of the game follows the plot of the novel ''Romance of the Three Kingdoms'' more closely than ''Dynasty Warriors'', wherein Liu Bei rises from a rogue leader to a sovereign. Player's actions, however, determine the development of events, which could deviate vastly from the original plot.

*Liu Bei is also the protagonist in ''Destiny of an Emperor'', a role-playing game on the Nintendo Entertainment System . Released in the United States by Capcom in 1989, the game also loosely follows the plot of the historical novel.

*Liu Bei's armour is available in the MMORPG, ''MapleStory''. Also featured is Cao Cao, Guan Yu, Zhuge Liang, Sun Quan, and Diao Chan's designs.

*Liu Bei also appears in ''Warriors Orochi'', where he is kidnapped by Orochi and eventually rescued by the coalition army led by Zhao Yun.


* Father

** , descendant of Liu Sheng , Prince Jing of Zhongshan, son of Emperor Jing of Han

* Uncles

** , 's younger brother

* Wives

** Lady Mi

** Lady Sun , daughter of Sun Jian and sister of Sun Ce and Sun Quan


* Major Concubine

** Lady Gan , mother of Liu Shan, died sometime before 210, later posthumously honored as Empress Zhaolie

* Children

** Liu Shan , the Crown Prince, later emperor

** Liu Yong , initially the Prince of Lu , later Prince of Ganling

*** One son whose name is unknown

**** Liu Xuan , last heir of Liu Bei

** Liu Li , initially the Prince of Liang , later Prince Dao of Anping

*** Liu Yin

*** Liu Cheng

*** Liu Ji

** Two daughters who were captured by Cao Chun in the Battle of Changban.

* Adopted Child

** Liu Feng

Sun Quan

Sun Quan , son of Sun Jian, courtesy name Zhòngmóu , formally Emperor Da of Wu was the founder of Eastern Wu, during the Three Kingdoms period, in China. He ruled from 222 to 229 as ''Wu '' and from 229 to 252 as Emperor of the Wu Dynasty.

In his youth Sun Quan spent time in his home county of Fuchun, and after his father's death in the early 190s, at various cities on the Lower Yangtze River. His elder brother Sun Ce carved out a warlord state in the region, based on his own followers and a number of local clan allegiances. When Sun Ce was assassinated by the retainers of Xu Gong, whom Sun Ce had killed in battle several years prior, in 200, the eighteen-year-old Sun Quan inherited the lands southeast of the Yangtze River from his brother. His administration proved to be relatively stable in those early years. Sun Jian and Sun Ce's most senior officers, such as Zhou Yu, Zhang Zhao, Zhang Hong, and Cheng Pu remained loyal; in fact it was mentioned in Romance of the Three Kingdoms that Sun Ce had at his deathbed reminded Sun Quan that "in internal matters, consult Zhang Zhao, in external matters, consult Zhou Yu." Thus throughout the 200s Sun Quan under the tutelage of his able advisors continued to build up his strength along the Yangtze River. In early 207, his forces finally won complete victory over Huang Zu, a military leader under Liu Biao, who dominated the Middle Yangtze.

In winter of that year, the northern warlord Cao Cao led an army of some 200,000 to conquer south to complete the reunification of China. Two distinct factions emerged at his court on how to handle the situation. One, led by Zhang Zhao, urged surrender whilst the other, led by Zhou Yu and the young diplomat Lu Su, opposed capitulation. In the finality, Sun Quan decided to oppose Cao Cao in the Middle Yangtze with his superior riverine forces. Allied with the refugee warlord Liu Bei and employing the combined strategies of Zhou Yu and Huang Gai, they defeated Cao Cao decisively at the Battle of Red Cliffs.

In 220, Cao Pi, son of Cao Cao, seized the throne and proclaimed himself to be the Emperor of China, ending the nominal rule of the Han Dynasty. At first Sun Quan nominally served as a Cao Wei vassal with the Cao Wei-created title of Prince of Wu, but after Cao Pi demanded that he send his son Sun Deng as a hostage to the Cao Wei capital Luoyang and he refused, in 222, he declared himself independent by changing era name. It was not until the year 229 that he formally declared himself to be emperor.

Because of his skill in gathering important, honourable men to his cause, Sun Quan was able to delegate authority to capable figures. This primary strength served him well in gaining the support of the common people and surrounding himself with capable generals.

Sun Quan died in 252 at the age of 70. He enjoyed the longest reign among all the founders of the Three Kingdoms. He was succeeded as Emperor of Eastern Wu by his son Sun Liang.

Early life

Sun Quan was born in 182, while his father Sun Jian was still an general. After his father's death in 191, he became the charge of his brother Sun Ce. Sun has greenish-blue eyes and redish hair. As he grew up, he became an officer under his brother during his brother's conquest of the region south of the Yangtze River. He was made a county magistrate in 196, at age 14, and continued to rise through the ranks as his brother gave him more and more important tasks.

The ''Sanguo Zhi'' records that Sun Quan's father Sun Jian was a descendant of Sun Tzu, the great military strategist of the Warring States period. According to later tradition, Sun Quan was born on Sunzhou , an islet at the intersection of the Fuchun River and one of its tributaries. Local folklore relates a story about how Sun Quan's grandfather Sun Zhong was originally a melon farmer on the islet.

As warlord after Sun Ce's death

Prior to the Battle of Red Cliffs

Sun Ce was assassinated in 200 during a hunt. On his deathbed, he knew that his son was still too young to be considered a realistic heir, so he entrusted the 18-year-old Sun Quan to his faithful subordinates. Initially, Sun Quan mourned so greatly that he could do nothing, but at Zhang Zhao's behest, he changed into a general's clothing and set out to visit the commanderies under his brother's control. Many of Sun Ce's subordinates thought that Sun Quan was too young to sustain Sun Ce's domain and wanted to leave, but Zhang and Zhou Yu saw special qualities in the young man and chose to stay to serve Sun Quan. Zhang Hong, whom Sun Ce had earlier sent as a liaison to the paramount warlord Cao Cao, also returned from Cao's domain to assist Sun Quan. He listened carefully to his mother Lady Wu's encouraging words, and greatly trusted Zhang Zhao and Zhang Hong with regard to civilian affairs and Zhou, Cheng Pu, and Lü Fan with regard to military matters. He also sought out talented young men to serve as his personal advisors, and it was around this time that he befriended Lu Su and Zhuge Jin, who would later play prominent roles in his administration. Throughout this period and decades to come, Sun Quan's leadership would be characterized by his ability to find men of character and entrust important matters to him, and his ability to react swiftly to events.

For the next several years, Sun Quan was largely interested in first defending his realm against potential enemies, but he gradually sought to harass and weaken Liu Biao's key subordinate, Huang Zu -- particularly because Huang had killed his father Sun Jian in battle. In 208, he was finally able to defeat Huang Zu and kill him in battle. Soon after, Liu Biao himself died while Cao Cao was preparing a major campaign to subjugate both Liu Biao and Sun Quan under his control, precipitating a major confrontation.

Battle of Red Cliffs

After Liu Biao's death, a succession struggle for his domain came into being, between his sons Liu Qi and younger son , whom Liu Biao's second wife Lady Cai favored . After Huang's death, Liu Qi was therefore given Huang's post as the governor of Jiangxia Commandery . Liu Cong therefore succeeded Liu Biao after his death, and Liu Qi was displeased and considered, but did not carry out, an attack against his brother. Nevertheless, Liu Cong, in fear of having to fight Cao Cao and his brother on two fronts, surrendered to Cao Cao against the advice of Liu Biao's key ally Liu Bei. Liu Bei, unwilling to submit to Cao Cao, fled south. Cao Cao caught up to him and crushed his forces, but Liu Bei escaped with his life; he fled to Dangyang . Cao Cao took over most of Jing Province, and appeared set on finally unifying the empire.

Sun Quan was well aware of Cao's intentions, and he quickly entered into an alliance with Liu Bei and Liu Qi to prepare for a Cao assault. Cao Cao wrote Sun with a letter intending to intimidate, and in face of Cao Cao's overwhelming force , many of Sun Quan subordinates, even including the highly capable Zhang Zhao, advocated surrender. Sun Quan refused, under advice from Zhou Yu and Lu Su .

Sun put Zhou in charge of his 30,000 men, largely stationed on naval ships, and Zhou set up in a defense position in conjunction with Liu Bei, whose army was stationed on land. About this time, there was a plague developing in Cao's forces which significantly weakened it. Zhou set up a trap where he pretended to be punishing his subordinate Huang Gai, and Huang Gai pretended to be in such fear that he was willing to surrender to Cao. Zhou then sent ships under Huang's command to pretend to surrender and, as Huang's ships approached Cao's fleet, they were lit on fire to assault Cao's fleet, and Cao's fleet was largely destroyed by fire. Cao led his forces to escape on land, but much of the force was destroyed by Sun Quan and Liu Bei's land forces. The death rate was said to be over 50%.

Uneasy alliance with Liu Bei

Immediately, after Cao Cao withdrew, Sun Quan took over the northern half of Jing Province. Liu Bei marched south and took over the southern half. The Sun-Liu alliance was further cemented by a marriage of Sun Quan's sister to Liu Bei. Zhou was suspicious of Liu Bei intentions, however, and suggested to Sun Quan that Liu Bei be seized and put under house arrest and his forces be merged into Sun Quan's; Sun Quan, believing that Liu Bei's forces would rebel if he did that, declined. Sun Quan did agree to Zhou Yu's plans to consider attacking Liu Zhang and Zhang Lu to try to take over their territories, but after Zhou Yu died in 210, the plans were abandoned. However, Sun Quan was able to persuade the warlords in modern Guangdong, Guangxi, and northern Vietnam to submit to him, and they became part of his domain. He then yielded northern Jing to Liu Bei as well, agreeing with Liu Bei that southern Jing was insufficient to supply his troops.

In 215, the Sun-Liu alliance appeared on the verge of break-up, because Sun Quan demanded that Liu Bei return Jing Province and Liu refused. Sun Quan made an initial attack against Liu Bei's general Guan Yu, who was left in charge of Jing Province by Liu Bei, and most of the eastern Jing Province quickly surrendered. However, after a face-to-face summit between Guan Yu and Lu, the sides renewed their alliance, dividing Jing Province at the Xiang.

Breaking of alliance with Liu Bei

In 219, Guan Yu advanced north, attacking Fancheng, scoring a major victory over Cao's nephew Cao Ren. While Fancheng did not fall at this time, Guan put it under siege, and the situation was severe enough that Cao Cao considered moving the capital away from Xu. However, Sun, resentful of Guan's prior constant instigation of hostilities , took the opportunity to attack Guan from the rear, and Guan's forces collapsed. Guan was captured by Sun's general Lü Meng; once captured, Sun Quan executed Guan Yu, Jing Province became Sun's once more, and the Sun-Liu alliance was over. Sun instead nominally submitted to Cao and, indeed, urged him to take the throne. Cao declined, but prepared for his son Cao Pi to do so.

After Cao Cao's death in 220, Cao Pi did indeed force Emperor Xian to yield the throne to him, ending the Han Dynasty and establishing Cao Wei. Sun did not immediately declare himself a Cao Wei subject or declare independence after Cao Pi's enthronement, but took a wait-and-see attitude; by contrast, in early 221, Liu Bei declared himself emperor, establishing Shu Han. Immediately, Liu planned a campaign against Sun to avenge Guan. After attempting to negotiate peace and receiving no positive response from Liu, fearing attack on both sides, Sun declared himself a Cao Wei subject. Cao Pi's strategist Liu Ye suggested that Cao decline -- and in fact attack Sun on a second front, effectively partitioning Sun's domain with Shu Han, and then eventually seek to destroy Shu Han as well. Cao declined, in a fateful choice that most historians believe doomed his empire to ruling only the northern and central China -- and this chance would not come again. Indeed, against Liu Ye's advice, he created Sun the Prince of Wu and granted him the nine bestowments.

In 222, at the Battle of Xiaoting, Sun's general dealt Liu a major defeat, stopping the Shu Han offensive. Shu Han would not again pose a threat to Sun from that point on. Later that year, when Cao Pi demanded that Sun send his crown prince Sun Deng to the Cao Wei capital Luoyang as a hostage , Sun refused and declared independence , thus establishing Eastern Wu as an independent state. Cao Pi therefore launched a major attack on Eastern Wu, but after Cao Wei defeats in early 223, it became clear that Eastern Wu was secure. After Liu Bei's death later that year, Zhuge Jin's brother Zhuge Liang, the regent for Liu Bei's son and successor Liu Shan, reestablished the alliance with Sun Quan, and the two states would remain allies until Shu Han's eventual destruction in 263.

Reign as the monarch of Eastern Wu

Early reign

Early in Sun Quan's reign, the Eastern Wu administration was known for its efficiency, as Sun showed a knack for listening to correct advice and for delegating authorities to the proper individuals. For example, he correctly trusted the faithful Lu Xun and Zhuge Jin, so much so that he made a duplicate imperial seal and left it with Lu; whenever he would correspond with Shu Han's emperor Liu Shan or regent Zhuge Liang, he would deliver the letter to Lu first , and then if, in Lu's opinion, changes were needed, he would revise the letter and then restamp it with Sun's imperial seal. Further, Lu and Zhuge Jin were authorized to coordinate their actions with Shu Han without prior imperial approval. Sun treated his high level officials as friends and addressed them accordingly , and in accordance they dedicated all effort to Eastern Wu's preservation. He also knew what were the proper roles for officials that he trusted; for example, in 225, when selecting a prime minister, while the key officials all respected Zhang Zhao greatly and wanted him to be prime minister, Sun declined -- reasoning that while he respected Zhang greatly, a prime minister needed to handle all affairs of state, and Zhang, while capable, had such strong opinions that he would surely be in conflict with Sun and other officials at all times. He also repeatedly promoted his official Lü Fan even though, while he was young, Lü had informed to Sun Ce about his improper spending habits, understanding that Lü did so only out of loyalty to Sun Ce.

In 224 and 225, Cao Pi again made attacks on Eastern Wu, but each time the Eastern Wu forces were able to repel Cao Wei's with fair ease -- so easily that Cao made the comment, "Heaven created the Yangtze to divide the north and south." However, Sun was himself equally unsuccessful in efforts to make major attacks on Cao Wei. After Cao Pi's death in 226, for example, Sun launched an attack on Cao Wei's Jiangxia Commandery but was forced to withdraw as soon as Cao Wei relief forces arrived despite Cao Pi's recent death. However, later that year, he was able to increase his effective control over Jiao Province when his general Lü Dai was able to defeat the warlord Shi Hui and end the effective independence that the Shi clan had. In addition, the several independent kingdoms in modern Cambodia, Laos, and southern Vietnam all became Eastern Wu vassals as well.

The one major victory that Eastern Wu would have over Cao Wei during this period came in 228, when, with Sun's approval, his general pretended to be surrendering to Cao Wei after pretending to have been punished repeatedly by Sun. This tricked the Cao Wei general Cao Xiu, who led a large army south to support Zhou. He walked into the trap set by Zhou and Lu Xun and suffered major losses, but was saved from total annihilation by Jia Kui.

In 229, Sun declared himself emperor, which almost damaged the alliance with Shu Han, as many Shu Han officials saw this as a sign of betrayal of the Han Dynasty -- which Shu Han claimed to be the legitimate successor to. However, Zhuge Liang opposed ending the alliance and in fact confirmed it with a formal treaty later that year, in which the two states pledged to support each other and divide Cao Wei equally if they could conquer it. Later that year, he moved his capital from Wuchang to Jianye, leaving his crown prince Sun Deng, assisted by Lu Xun, in charge of the western empire.

Middle reign

In 230, however, the first sign of the deterioration of Sun Quan's reign occurred. That year, he sent his generals Wei Wen and Zhuge Zhi with a navy of 10,000 into the East China Sea to seek the legendary islands of Yizhou and Danzhou to seek to conquer them, despite strenuous opposition of Lu Xun and Quan Cong. The navy was not able to locate Danzhou but located Yizhou, and returned in 231 after capturing several thousand men -- but only after 80-90% of the navy had died of illnesses. Instead of seeing his own fault in this venture, Sun simply executed Wei Wen and Zhuge Zhi. Perhaps concerned about this deterioration in Sun Quan's judgment, Sun Deng left the western empire in Lu's hands in 232 and returned in Jianye, and would remain at Jianye until his own death in 241.

In 232, Sun had another misadventure involving his navy -- as he sent his generals Zhou He and Pei Qian to the nominal Cao Wei vassal Gongsun Yuan, in control of Liaodong Commandery , to purchase horses, against the advice of Yu Fan -- and indeed, he exiled Yu to the desolate Cangwu Commandery as punishment. Just as Yu predicted, however, the venture would end in failure -- as Zhou and Pei, on their way back, were intercepted by Cao Wei forces and killed. Regretting his actions, Sun tried to recall Yu back to Jianye, only to learn that Yu had died in exile.

The next year, however, Sun would have yet another misadventure in his dealings with Gongsun, as Gongsun sent messengers to him, offering to be his subject. Sun was ecstatic, and created Gongsun the Prince of Yan and granted him the nine bestowments, and further sent a detachment of 10,000 men by sea north to assist Gongsun in his campaign against Cao Wei, against the advice of nearly every single one of his high level officials, particularly Zhang Zhao. Once the army arrived, however, Gongsun betrayed them, killing Sun's officials Zhang Mi and Xu Yan , whom Sun had sent to grant the bestowments and seized their troops. Once that happened, the enraged Sun wanted to personally head north with a fleet to attack Gongsun, and initially, not even Lu's opposition was able to stop him, although he eventually calmed down and did not follow through. To his credit, he also personally went to Zhang's house and apologized to Zhang. Further, despite the deterioration in his previous clear thinking, he was still capable of making proper decisions at times. For example, in 235, when, as a sign of contempt, Cao Wei's emperor Cao Rui offered horses to him in exchange for pearls, jade, and tortoise shells, Sun ignored the implicit insult and made the exchange, reasoning that his empire needed horses much more than pearls, jade, or tortoise shells.

In 234, in coordination with Zhuge Liang's final against Cao Wei, Sun personally led a major attack against Cao Wei's border city Hefei, while having Lu and Zhuge Jin attack Xiangyang, with the strategy of trying to attract Cao Wei relief forces and then attacking them. However, Cao Wei's generals correctly saw the situation and simply let Sun siege Hefei. Only after Sun's food supplies ran low did Cao Rui personally arrive with relief forces, and Sun withdrew, as did Lu and Zhuge.

In 238, when Gongsun was under attack by Cao Wei's general Sima Yi, Sun, despite his prior rage against Gongsun, correctly judged the situation as one where he might be able to take advantage if Sima were initially unsuccessful, did not immediately refuse Gongsun's request for help. However, as Sima was able to conquer Gongsun quickly, Sun never launched the major attack that he considered if Sima got stuck in a stalemate with Gongsun. That year, he also recognized how his head secretary Lü Yi had been falsely accusing his officials, and had Lü executed; he then further confirmed his trust in the high level officials by personally writing an emotional letter to Zhuge Jin, Bu Zhi, Zhu Ran, and Lü Dai, blaming himself for the recent problems with his administration while urging them to speak out honestly whenever they saw faults in him.

In 241, Sun would launch the last major assault against Cao Wei of his reign, in light of Cao Rui's death in 239, but he rejected a strategy offered by Yin Zha to attack Cao Wei in coordinated effort with Shu Han on four different fronts, and the campaign ended in failure as well.

Late reign

Later in 241, Crown Prince Deng died -- an event that left open the issue of succession and appeared to mark the start of a precipitous decline in Sun Quan's mental health. In 242, he created his son Sun He, by Consort Wang, crown prince. However, he also favored another son by Consort Wang, Sun Ba the Prince of Lu, and permitted Sun Ba to have the same staffing level as the crown prince -- a move that was objected to by a number of officials as encouraging Prince Ba to compete with Prince He, but Sun Quan did not listen to them. After 245, when Crown Prince He and Prince Ba began to have separate residences, their relationship detriorated further, and Prince Ba began to scheme at how to seize heir status from Prince He. Fanned by gossip from his daughter Sun Dahu , Sun Quan blamed the princes' mother Consort Wang for this -- and she died in fear. He also cut off Crown Prince He and Prince Ba's access to the officials who supported them in hopes of receiving future favors, but this could not stop Prince Ba's machinations. Indeed, when Lu Xun tried to intervene to protect Crown Prince He, Prince Ba falsely accused him of many crimes, and Sun Quan became provoked so much that he repeatedly rebuked Lu -- causing Lu to die in anger.

In 250, fed up with Prince Ba's constant attacks against Crown Prince He, Sun Quan carried out an inexplicable combination of actions -- he forced Prince Ba to commit suicide, while deposing Crown Prince He , and instead creating his youngest son, Sun Liang, crown prince to replace Prince He. This move was opposed by his son-in-law Zhu Ju , but Zhu's pleas not only did not help Prince He, but also resulted in his own death, as Sun forced him to commit suicide. Many other officials who also opposed the move, as well as officials who had supported Prince Ba, were executed.

Around this time, Sun also had his generals destroy a number of levees near the border with Cao Wei, creating large areas of flooding, in order to obstruct potential attacks from Cao Wei.

In 251, Sun created the first empress of his reign -- Crown Prince Liang's mother . Later that year, however, he realized that Prince He was blameless and wanted to recall him from his exile, but was persuaded not to do so by his daughter Princess Dahu and Sun Jun, who had supported Crown Prince Liang's ascension. He realized that he was getting very old and, at Sun Jun's recommendation, commissioned Zhuge Jin's son Zhuge Ke as the future regent for Crown Prince Liang -- even though he correctly had misgivings about how Zhuge Ke was arrogant and had overly high opinion of his own abilities -- because at that time, virtually the entire empire, awed by Zhuge's prior military victories, was convinced that Zhuge would be the correct choice for regent.

In 252, as Sun Quan neared death, Empress Pan was murdered -- but how she was murdered remains a controversy. Eastern Wu officials claimed that her servants, unable to stand her temper, strangled her while she was asleep, while a number of historians, including Hu Sansheng, the commentator to Sima Guang's ''Zizhi Tongjian'', believed that top Eastern Wu officials were complicit, as they feared that she would seize power as empress dowager after Sun's death. Later that year, Sun died at the age of 70, and Crown Prince Liang succeeded him. Sun Quan was buried in a mausoleum at Purple Mountain in present-day Nanjing.

Modern references

Sun Quan is a playable character in the Koei video game series, ''Dynasty Warriors''. He is portrayed as a stolid man with an intensely serious personality, which is in stark contrast to his brother, Sun Ce, who is informal and care-free.

Sun Quan was portrayed by Chang Chen in the 2008 movie ''Red Cliff'', directed by John Woo.

Era names

* ''Huangwu'' 222-229

* ''Huanglong'' 229-231

* ''Jiahe'' 232-238

* ''Chiwu'' 238-251

* ''Taiyuan'' 251-252

* ''Shenfeng'' 252

Personal information

* Father

** Sun Jian

* Mother

** Lady Wu

* Brothers

** Sun Ce

** Sun Kuang

** Sun Yi

** Sun Lang

* Sister

** Sun Shang Xiang

* Wives

** Lady Xie

** Lady Xu, adoptive mother of Crown Prince Deng

** Lady Bu , posthumously honored as empress

** , mother of Crown Prince Liang

* Major Concubines

** Consort Wang, mother of Crown Prince He and Prince Ba and grandmother of Sun Hao, posthumously honored as Empress Dayi

** Consort Wang, mother of Sun Xiu , posthumously honored as Empress Jinghuai

** Consort Zhong, mother of Prince Fen

** Consort Yuan, daughter of Yuan Shu

* Children

** Sun Deng , the Crown Prince

** Sun Lü , the Marquess of Jianchang

** Sun He , initially the Crown Prince , later the Prince of Nanyang

** Sun Ba , the Prince of Lu

** Sun Fen , the Prince of Qi , later the Marquess of Zhang'an

** Sun Xiu , the Prince of Langye , later Emperor Jing

** Sun Liang , the Crown Prince , later emperor

** Sun Dahu , also known as Princess Quan

** Sun Xiaohu , also known as Princess Zhu

Sun Liang

Sun Liang was an emperor of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period. He was the founding emperor Sun Quan's youngest son and heir. He is also known as the Prince of Kuaiji or Marquess of Houguan , which were his successive titles after his removal in 258 by the regent Sun Lin following his failed attempt to remove Sun Lin from power. He was succeeded by his brother Sun Xiu, who was successful in having Sun Lin killed. Two years after Sun Liang's removal, he was falsely accused of treason and demoted to marquess, and he committed suicide.

Early life

Sun Liang was born in 243, to Sun Quan and one of his favorite consorts, . As Sun Quan's youngest son, he was well-cared for by his father, who was very happy to have a son in his old age . He was also born into a palace atmosphere where officials were aligning themselves with either of his two older brothers who were fighting for supremacy -- Sun He the crown prince and Sun Ba the Prince of Lu, who had designs on the position. In 250, fed up with Prince Ba's constant attacks against Crown Prince He, Sun Quan inexplicably ordered Prince Ba to commit suicide and deposed Crown Prince He. At the urging of his daughter Sun Dahu , who had been involved with falsely accusing Crown Prince He and his mother Consort Wang of crimes and therefore wanted to see Crown Prince He removed, he created Prince Liang as the new crown prince. Princess Dahu then had Crown Prince Liang married to a grand niece of her husband Quan Cong . In 251, Sun Quan created Crown Prince Liang's mother Consort Pan empress.

In 252, Crown Prince Liang would lose both of his parents in rapid succession. Early that year, Empress Pan was murdered -- but how she was murdered remains a controversy. Eastern Wu officials claimed that her servants, unable to stand her temper, strangled her while she was asleep, while a number of historians, including Hu Sansheng, the commentator to Sima Guang's ''Zizhi Tongjian'', believed that top Eastern Wu officials were complicit, as they feared that she would seize power as empress dowager after Sun Quan's death. Later that year, Sun Quan died, and Crown Prince Liang succeeded to the throne.


Zhuge Ke's regency

Prior to his death, Sun Quan had selected Zhuge Jin's son Zhuge Ke as the regent for Sun Liang, at the endorsement of his trusted assistant Sun Jun . The people of the empire also greatly admired Zhuge Ke, as he was already known for his military and diplomatic successes involving the indigenous and for his quick wit. However, Sun's only reservation -- that Zhuge was arrogant and had overly high opinion of his own abilities -- would turn out to be prophetic.

In 252, in light of Sun Quan's death, Cao Wei's regent Sima Shi made a major three-pronged attack against Eastern Wu. Zhuge's forces, however, were able to defeat the main Cao Wei force, inflicting heavy losses. Zhuge's reputation became even more established. In 253, he carried out a plan he had for a while -- to gather up nearly all service-eligible young men of Eastern Wu to make a major attack against Cao Wei -- despite opposition by a number of other officials. He further coordinated his attack with ally Shu Han's regent Jiang Wei. However, his strategy turned out to be faulty -- as he was initially targeting Shouchun but, on his way, changed his mind and attack Hefei instead, despite the fact that Hefei's defenses were strong and intended to withstand major Eastern Wu attacks. Zhuge's forces became worn out by the long-term siege and suffered plagues -- which Zhuge ignored. He eventually withdrew after Cao Wei reinforcements arrived, but instead of returning to the capital Jianye and apologize for his erroneous strategies, he remained from the capital for some time and never apologized to the people for the heavy losses suffered.

When Zhuge eventually did return to Jianye, he further sternly tried to wipe out all dissent, punishing all those who disagreed with him. He further planned another attack against Cao Wei, disregarding the recent heavy losses the people had suffered and their resentment. Sun Jun decided that he had to kill Zhuge. He told Sun Liang that Zhuge was planning treason, and he set up a trap at the imperial feast for Zhuge. During the middle of the feast, assassins that Sun Jun had arranged for killed Zhuge, and Sun Jun's forces then wiped out the Zhuge clan.

Sun Jun's regency

After Sun Jun killed Zhuge Ke, he quickly moved to consolidate his power. He initially, on the surface, shared power with the prime minister Teng Yin , but he, with control of the military, soon became even more dictatorial than Zhuge. In particular, he falsely accused the former crown prince Sun He of conspiring with Zhuge, and forced Sun He to commit suicide. His autocratic actions led to a conspiracy between Sun Ying the Marquess of Wu and the army officer Huan Lü , but he discovered the plan in 254, and both Sun Ying and Huan were executed.

In 255, in the midst of Cao Wei's having to deal with a rebellion by Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin , Eastern Wu forces, led by Sun Jun, tried to attack Cao Wei's border region, but withdrew after Sima Shi quickly put down the rebellion. Later that year, another plot against Sun Jun was discovered, and a large number of officers were executed, along with Sun Quan's daughter Sun Xiaohu , falsely implicated by her sister Princess Dahu.

In 256, Sun Jun, at Wen's urging, was planning an attack against Cao Wei, when he suddenly fell ill, and he commissioned his cousin Sun Lin to succeed him as regent and died soon after.

Sun Lin's regency

Sun Jun's death would precipitate a major confrontation. The general Lü Ju , who was set to lead the main force against Cao Wei, was angry that the autocratic Sun Jun appointed Sun Lin, who up to that point had not shown himself distinguished in any way. Lü openly called for Teng to become regent instead, and Teng agreed to act with him. Sun Lin struck back militarily, and his forces defeated Teng's and Lü's. Teng and his clan were executed, while Lü committed suicide. In light of his defeat of Teng and Lü, Sun Lin began to become extremely arrogant.

In 257, at the age of 14, Sun Liang began to personally handle some important matters of state. He established a personal guard corps, consistent of young men and officers with age similar to his, stating that he intended to grow up with them. He also sometimes questioned Sun Lin's decisions. Sun Lin began to be somewhat apprehensive of the young emperor.

Later that year, Cao Wei's general Zhuge Dan, believing that the Cao Wei regent Sima Zhao was about to usurp the throne, declared a rebellion and requested Eastern Wu assistance. A small Eastern Wu detachment, led by Wen, quickly arrived to assist him, but Sun Lin led the main forces and chose to camp a long distance away from Shouchun, where Zhuge was being sieged by Sima, and did nothing. When Sun Lin instead ordered the general Zhu Yi to try to relieve Shouchun with tired and unfed troops, Zhu refused -- and Sun Lin executed him, bringing anger from the people, who had admired Zhu's military skills and integrity. With Sun Lin unable to do anything, Zhuge's rebellion failed in 258, and Wen's troops became captives of Cao Wei.


Sun Lin knew that the people and the young emperor were both angry at him, and chose not to return to Jianye, but instead sent his confidants to be in charge of the capital's defenses. Sun Liang became angrier, and plotted with Princess Dahu, the general Liu Cheng , his father-in-law Quan Shang , and his brother-in-law Quan Ji , to have Sun Lin overthrown. However, Quan Shang did not keep the plot secret from his wife, who was Sun Lin's cousin, and she told Sun Lin. Sun Lin quickly captured Quan Shang and killed Liu, and then surrounded the palace and forced the other officials to agree to depose Sun Liang -- falsely declaring to the people that Sun Liang had suffered psychosis. Sun Liang was demoted to the title of the Prince of Kuaiji.

After removal

Sun Lin then made Sun Liang's older brother Sun Xiu, the Prince of Langye, emperor. Several months later, Sun Xiu set a trap for Sun Lin and had him arrested and killed. However, Sun Liang's position in exile did not become any safer, as Sun Xiu deeply feared that there would be plots to return Sun Liang to the throne. In 260, there were rumors that Sun Liang would be emperor again, and Sun Liang's servant girls falsely accused him of employing witchcraft. Sun Xiu demoted Sun Liang to the title of the Marquess of Houguan, and sent him to his . On the way, Sun Liang died -- and while most historians believe that he committed suicide, an alternative theory is that Sun Xiu had him poisoned.

Era names

* ''Jianxing'' 252-253

* ''Wufeng'' 254-256

* ''Taiping'' 256-258

Personal information

* Father

** Sun Quan

* Mother


* Wife

** Empress Quan

Sun Xiu

Sun Xiu , courtesy name Zilie , formally Emperor Jing of Wu, was the third emperor of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period in ancient China.

Early life

Sun Xiu was born in 235 to the founding emperor of Eastern Wu, Sun Quan, and his concubine Consort Wang. In his young age, he was known for his studiousness. About 250, Sun Quan had him marry the daughter of his sister Sun Xiaohu and her husband Zhu Ju.

In 252, just before Sun Quan's death, he was created the Prince of Langye, with his fief at Hulin . Later that year, after his younger brother Sun Liang became emperor under the regency of Zhuge Ke, Zhuge did not want the princes to be based near the important military bases along the Yangtze River, so he moved Sun Xiu to Danyang . Unlike his brother Sun Fen the Prince of Qi, who initially resisted, Sun Xiu did not put up any resistance to the move. Once he was at Danyang, however, the governor of Danyang Commandery, Li Heng , found many excuses to bully the young prince. Sun Xiu could not endure it, and so he petitioned his brother for another move; his brother had him moved to Kuaiji .

In 255, at the instigation of Sun Xiu's sister Sun Dahu , the regent Sun Jun, who had killed and replaced Zhuge in 253, killed Princess Xiaohu. Sun Xiu became fearful, and sent his wife Princess Zhu back to the capital Jianye, effectively offering to divorce her, but Sun Jun declined by sending Princess Zhu back to Sun Xiu.

In 258, after Sun Liang had tried to but failed to remove Sun Lin, Sun Jun's cousin and successor, Sun Lin had Sun Liang removed from the throne. He welcomed Sun Xiu to the capital and had him declared emperor.

Sun Xiu's killing of Sun Lin

Sun Xiu, in order to appease Sun Lin, added five counties to his and created his brothers marquesses as well. However, Sun Lin soon had a fallout with the new emperor over a relatively small incident -- Sun Lin had brought beef and wine to the palace, intending to feast with the emperor, but Sun Xiu refused the offering, and so Sun Lin took the food and wine to the house of the general Zhang Bu . He expressed to Zhang his disappointment at Sun Xiu's refusal -- including a remark that perhaps he should choose another emperor -- and Zhang reported Sun Lin's complaints to Sun Xiu. Sun Xiu became concerned about Sun Lin, but continued to outwardly show favor to Sun Lin. Sun Lin became concerned about his standing with the emperor and offered to leave Jianye to head up the defense of the secondary capital Wuchang . Sun Xiu approved.

However, Sun Xiu then became concerned that Sun Lin would take over that city and rebel. He conspired with Zhang and the senior general Ding Feng to kill Sun Lin at the Laba festival. Somehow, the news leaked, but Sun Lin, even though apprehensive, showed up at the festival anyway and was seized by Ding and Zhang's soldiers. Sun Lin begged Sun Xiu for his life, offering to be exiled to Jiao Province or to become a slave, but Sun Xiu declined -- stating to Sun Lin that he did not give Teng Yin , whom he killed in 256, or Lü Ju , who committed suicide after Teng's death, those choices. Sun was executed, as were members of his clan.


As emperor, Sun Xiu was known for being tolerant of differing opinions, as well as his studiousness. However, he did not appear to be a particularly capable emperor, either in military or domestic matters, and he entrusted most of the important affairs to Zhang and Puyang Xing , neither of whom was particularly capable either. Both were also moderately corrupt. The government was therefore not efficient or effective. For example, in 260, at Puyang's suggestion, a costly project was started to create an artificial lake known as the Puli Lake to create a defense against the rival Cao Wei, even though most other officials believed the project to be too costly and futile. Eventually, the project had to be abandoned when it became clear that it could not be completed.

Also in 260, Sun Xiu, who had always been concerned about plots regarding his deposed brother, the former emperor Sun Liang, acted after receiving false reports that Sun Liang had used witchcraft. He had Sun Liang demoted from being the Prince of Kuaiji to the Marquess of Houguan and sent him to his . Sun Liang died on the way -- with the prevalent theory being that he committed suicide, but with some historians believing that Sun Xiu poisoned him.

According to the Eastern Wu ambassador Xue Xu , who visited Eastern Wu's ally Shu Han in 261 at the order of Sun Xiu, the status that Shu Han was in at this point was:

:''The emperor is incompetent and does not know his errors; his subordinates just try to get by without causing trouble for themselves. When I was visiting them, I heard no honest words, and when I visited their countryside, the people looked hungry. I have heard of a story of swallows and sparrows making nests on top of mansions and being content, believing that it was the safest place, not realizing that the haystack and the support beams were on fire and that disaster was about to come. This might be what they are like.''

However, historians largely believe that Xue was not just referring to Shu Han, but rather using Shu Han's situation to try to awaken Sun Xiu so that he would realize that Eastern Wu was in a similar situation. Sun Xiu did not appear to realize this, however.

In 262, Sun Xiu created his wife Princess Zhu empress. He also created his oldest son Sun Wan crown prince.

In 263, due to the corruption of the commandery governor Sun Xu , the people of the Commandery rebelled, and they were joined by people of Jiuzhen and Ri'nan Commanderies, and the rebels sought military assistance from Cao Wei.

Also in 263, Shu Han was targeted by a major Cao Wei attack and sought assistance from Eastern Wu. Sun Xiu sent two separate forces, one attacking Shouchun and one heading toward Hanzhong to try to alleviate pressures on Shu Han, but neither was at all successful, and Shu Han's capital Chengdu and its emperor Liu Shan surrendered later that year without having received major help from Eastern Wu. Sun Xiu then heard that many Shu Han cities were still not decided as to what to do, and he sent a detachment to try to occupy them, but his forces were repelled by the former Shu Han general Luo Xian , the governor of Badong Commandery , who wanted to carry out Liu Shan's orders to surrender to Cao Wei, and was unable to seize any former Shu Han territory.

In summer 264, Sun Xiu fell ill and was unable to speak but still could write, so he wrote an edict summoning Puyang to the palace, where he pointed and entrusted Crown Prince Wan to him. Sun Xiu died soon thereafter. However, Puyang did not follow his wishes. Rather, after consulting with Zhang, they believed that the people were, in light of Shu Han's recent fall, yearning for an older emperor. At the recommendation of the general Wan Yu , who was friendly with former crown prince Sun He's son Sun Hao the Marquess of Wucheng, Puyang and Zhang declared Sun Hao emperor instead.

Era name

* ''Yong'an'' 258-264

Personal information

* Father

** Sun Quan

* Mother

** Consort Wang, posthumously honored as Empress Jinghuai

* Wife


* Children

** Sun Wan, the Crown Prince , later the Prince of Yuzhang

** Sun Gong, the Prince of Ru'nan

** Sun Mang , the Prince of Liang

** Sun Bao, the Prince of Chen