Biography (COB): Liu Yao (Zhengli)

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Liu YaoLiu Yao (Zheng Li)
刘繇 (正礼)

Comprehensive Officer Biography
Translated & Authored by

Place of Birth: Donglai County, Mouping Commandery
Lifespan: AD 155 - 197 (42 Years)
Titles: Gentleman of the Palace, Imperial Inspector, Grand Administrator, Marquis of Mouping
Family: Liu Dai (older brother), Liu Wei (father), Liu Chong (paternal uncle)

Liu Yao styled Zheng Li, hailed from Donglai county in Mouping Commandery. A relative of Emperor Shao, he was conferred the title of Marquis of Mouping. His paternal uncle Liu Chong served as Grand Commandant of the Han Dynasty. His older brother Liu Dai (styled Gongshan), served as a minor official in Yan Province.

When he was nineteen, he followed his father Liu Wei in battle against thieves, he took hostages and then relieved the city. He was then recommended as filialy pious and incorrupt (孝廉) and appointed as Gentleman of the Palace (郎中) (1). Later he was appointed as Imperial Inspector (刺史) of Yang Province.

(1) The recommendation of Xiaolian, filially pious and incorrupt, was a recommendation from the beginning of the eastern Han that was used to recommend young men for office. Usually these recommendations were given out of people who performed exceptional tasks or those who completed Imperial exams. At the end of the Han though, this recommendation had lost its significance, and many officials gave it out without the proper procedures. For example Sun Ce gave the same recommendation to his younger brother Quan, without verifying it with the Imperial Inspector or the Emperor.

Yuan Shu was at this point located in Huai Nan, and Lui Yao feared him so much that he would not dare to exercise his authority over him. Liu Yao had his sights sent on Danyang and Qu’e, which were held by Wu Jing and Sun Ben respectively (2). Yuan Shu then planned to oppose Liu Yao and sent out men to attack Liu Yao. In response, Liu Yao sent Fan Neng and Zhang Ying to camp by the river and hold the troops back. Thereupon Yuan Shu intended to install himself as the Imperial Inspector of Yang, and together with Sun Ben and Wu Jing tried to fight back the troops of Liu Yao. Later, Sun Ce joined the battle, he was leading 10,000 troops and crushed Zhang Ying’s resistance.

(2) Wu Jing was the older brother of the Lady Wu, the wife of Sun Jian and the mother of Sun Ce and Sun Quan. Sun Ben is the son of Sun Jian’s twin brother Sun Qiang and the cousin of Sun Ce.

Liu Yao retreated to Hui Ji, and sent Zhang Ying up the river to station his troops at Pengze. Ze Rong was also dispatched and ordered to kill the Grand Administrator Zhu Hao. Ze Rong was defeated at Zouru Mountain, and in the same year, Liu Yao died of illness at the age of forty-two (3).

(3) The SGZ biography of Taishi Ci, a Lieutenant of Liu Yao and later Commander of Sun Ce, mentions that before his death, Liu Yao declared himself Grand Administrator of Danyang, the title that was held by Wu Jing through Yuan Shu.

Copyright © 2004
A Kongming’s Archives Exclusive Production
Major Sources: Sanguo Zhi (Chen Shou)