Biography (COB): Chen Gong (Gongtai)

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Chen Gong (Gongtai)Chen Gong (Gongtai)

Comprehensive Officer Biography
Translated & Authored by

Place of Birth: Dongjun County
Lifespan: AD 154 - 198 (44 years)
Title: Magistrate of Zhongmou, Governor of Dongjun

Chen Gong started his career as the Magistrate of Zhongmou. When Cao Cao failed to assassinate Dong Zhuo and fled the area, he was caught by Chen Gong’s men and interrogated. Moved by Cao Cao’s dedication and spirit, Chen Gong released him and abandoned his post as Magistrate to follow Cao Cao.

While they were traveling, Cao Cao and Chen Gong resided with Lu Boshe. However, because Cao Cao was suspicious of him, he killed him and his whole family. It was then that Cao Cao spoke his famous words to Chen Gong: “I would rather betray the world, than let the world betray me!” (1) Disgusted with Cao Cao’s behavior, Chen Gong left him and took up office in Dongjun County.

When Cao Cao was preparing to invade Xu Zhou on a retaliation mission, Chen Gong, as a friend of the Imperial Protector Tao Qian, tried to remedy the situation. He could not keep the peace in Xu Zhou and left to serve Zhang Miao.

During his service to him, Chen Gong got acquainted with Lü Bu; an enemy of Cao Cao. He served Lü Bu as main adviser from that point on to his defeat.

After Lü Bu was beheaded in Xia Pi, Chen Gong chose death over serving Cao Cao and was killed along with his master.

(1) These words were added by Luo Guanzhong for dramatic effect and are not historical in nature. Nevertheless they have become the characteristic description of Cao Cao. <return>

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Zhongguo Lishizhu Professor T.Chen (1965 Peking)