Biography (COB): Taishi Ci (Ziyi)

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Taishi Ci (Ziyi)Taishi Ci (Ziyi)
太使慈 (子義)

Comprehensive Officer Biography
Translated & Authored by

Place of Birth: Huang County, Dong Lai (Presently Dong Lai in Shan Dong Province)
Lifespan: AD 166 – 206 (40 Years)
Titles: Imperial Corps Commander who oppresses the Enemy with Ferocity, Men Xiu Du, Zhong Lang Jiang
Family: Taishi Heng (son)

Taishi Ci was a diligent scholar of his time and had a magnificent beard. He started his career as Junior Official in his home county of Dong Lai. Kong Rong, the Governor of Bei Hai and descendant of Kong Zi, admired Taishi Ci very much and to show his respect to him and his mother, Kong Rong provided them with gold and splendid food.

When Kong Rong was besieged by remainders of the Yellow Turban rebels, Taishi Ci followed his mother’s orders and led a small army to rescue the Governor. However, Kong Rong did not want Taishi Ci to risk his own life for him and wanted to ask Liu Bei for reinforcements, but they were not able to break through the siege. Taishi Ziyi then spent his days practicing archery with two of his sergeants. As soon as Taishi Ci noticed a weakness in the enemy’s formation, he charged right in and managed to break the siege without help. Since then, Kong Rong regarded Taishi Ci very highly.

Ziyi returned to the southlands and served Liu Yong. During this time, Sun Ce was rapidly gaining territory and had his eyes set on Liu Yong’s cities. One day, Taishi Ci spotted the enemy Lord Sun Ce praying on a hill and was going to arrest him. The two dueled on the hill and were equally matched. When Sun Ce’s officers arrived, Taishi Ci quickly retreated to Liu Yong and prepared for war (1).

Taishi Ci left Liu Yong’s service after the latter refused his strategies and lost his cities to Sun Ce. Ziyi took his remaining troops to Dang Yan and proclaimed himself Governor. Sun Ce attacked the city and captured Taishi Ci. Impressed with Ziyi’s skills and wisdom, Sun Ce wasted no time in employing him and gave him a high position in his army. He was appointed Imperial Corps Commander Who Oppresses the Enemy with Ferocity, and also held the ranks of Men Xiu Du and Zhong Lang Jiang (2).

While under Sun Quan’s leadership, Taishi Ci held responsibility for all affairs in the south of Wu. Ziyi died of natural causes in the eleventh year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 206) (3).

(1) The incident of the duel is mentioned in both SGYY and SGZ and is one of the few real duels in the Sanguo period. <return>

(2) These ranks were taken from SGZ and I will provide the additional English translation when I can be certain of its exact meaning. Zhong Lang Jiang was a title also held by Zhou Yu. <return>

(3) Taishi Ci died before the battle of He Fei occurred and was not killed by Zhang Liao as stated in SGYY. <return>

Copyright © 2002 – 2003
A Kongming’s Archives Exclusive Production
Major Sources: Zhongguo Lishizhu – Professor T.Chen (1965 Peking)
annotations from Wu Jianxiang dachen nianbiao and Wu Li
Generals of the South – Rafe de Crespigny