Advised Emperor Ling’s court. Hated the eunuchs. Died honoring Dong Zhuo.
Wade-Giles: Ts‘ai Yung (Po-chieh)
Simplified Chinese: 蔡邕 (伯喈)
Pronunciation: Cai4 Yong1 (Bo2jie1)
Name Notes: In some Wade-Giles translations of the novel Cai Yong is incorrectly listed as Ch’ai Yung.
Rank and Titles
Senior Clerk in the Office of the Minister over the Masses; Gentleman-Consultant; Libationer; Palace Attendant; General of the Gentlemen of the Household on the Left; Marquis of Gaoyang
Family and Relationships
Cai Leng (Father); Lady Yuan (Mother); Cai Yan, Lady Cai (Daughters); Cai Gu (Cousin); Cai Zhi (Uncle); Yang Hu (Grandson); Yang Dao, Wei Zhongdao, Ce Xian, Dong Si (Son-in-laws)
Romance of the Three Kingdoms:
Sanguozhi: Wei 1, Wei 4, Wei 6, Wei 12, Wei 21, Wei 28
Hou Han shu: 60, 84, 94, 105, 107
Zizhi tongjian: 57, 59, 60, 141, 145
Cai Yong was born in AD 135. He became a scholar of well-renown. Under the tutor Hu Guang, he studied composition, mathematics, astrology, and music. He was also talented in calligraphy.
Cai Yong famously worked with several other men on a dynastic history of the Han. He also wrote several treatises. Cai Yong was recognized in the Han court as an expert on rituals and omens. While he was in the capital, Cai Yong advised the Emperor against giving the Imperial Eunuchs power. Consequently, Cai Yong fell out of favor with the Imperial court due to his anti-eunuch political views. He fled to the Southeast of China and lived there for many years until Dong Zhuo called him to the capital.
Cai Yong followed Dong Zhuo to Chang’an, and gasped when he heard the news of Dong Zhuo’s death in AD 192. This reaction was considered inappropriate by Wang Yun, who had taken over the government in Chang’an. Cai Yong was thrown in prison and died there. Many of his works were granted to his daughter, Cai Yan, and student, Wang Can.
A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (AD 23–220) by Dr. Rafe de Crespigny