Biography (COB): Li Dian (Mancheng)

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Li Dian (Mancheng)Li Dian (Mancheng)
李典 (曼成)

Comprehensive Officer Biography
Translated & Authored by

Place of Birth: Juye County, Shanyang Commandery (Presently Juye in Shandong Province)
Lifespan: AD 174 – 209 (39 Years) (1)
Titles: Deputy Commander, Lord of Sympathy

Li Dian served as an officer under Cao Cao. History says that Li Dian had such a noble personality, that he forgot all self-serving thoughts in the face of more significant tasks and events.

Unlike other officers, Mancheng did not like to compete for ranks or titles, and instead was known for being reserved and humble. He advocated learning, especially from the classic literature. Li Dian was also very sophisticated and elegant (2).

He showed great respect for scholars and teachers, and always benefited from their knowledge. Among officers and soldiers, Li Dian had the nickname “Father Figure”. The only rank he held in the military was Deputy Commander.

Li Dian died at the young age of thirty-nine, due to natural causes. When Cao Pi ascended the throne as Emperor of Wei, he posthumously titled Li Dian Lord of Sympathy.

(1) There appears to be a slight disagreement in dates. One source says that Li Dian died shortly after the battle of Chi Bi, however, another writer suggests that Li Dian died at age thirty-six, which means either the date of birth, or of death is inaccurate. <return>

(2) The writer compares Mancheng to people such as Jian Yong, Sun Qian, Chen Jiao and Man Chong. Evidently, Li Dian must have been praiseworthy in composure in Lord Cao’s court. <return>

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Major Sources: Beifangshi - Han/Ming Professor E.Lin (1982 Beijing)