Comprehensive Officer Biography
Translated & Authored by
Place of Birth: Mayi County, Yanmen Commandery (Presently Su County
in Shanxi Province)
Lifespan: AD 169 – 222 (53 Years)
Titles: General Who Conquers the East, General of the Forward Army, Lord of Jinyang, Forthright Lord
Family: Zhang Hu (son)
It is said that Zhang Liao was the descendant of Nie Yi of the Eastern Han Dynasty. To avoid the envy and hatred of others however, the family name was changed to Zhang. Zhang Liao started his career as an Aid to Ding Yuan. When Zhang Liao returned to the Capital after recruiting soldiers for Commander-in-Chief He Jin, Wenyuan learned of his assassination and allied himself with Dong Zhuo, the general who occupied the territory.
Zhang Liao was appointed as Cavalry Commander and helped Lü Bu after the death of Dong Zhuo. When Li Jue and Guo Si attacked and defeated Lü Bu’s forces, Wenyuan fled with his Lord to Xu Zhou.
In the first year of Rebuilt Tranquility (AD 196), Zhang Liao took up the post of Chancellor of Lu Kingdom at the age of twenty-eight. On Lü Bu’s orders, Wenyuan fought against Liu Bei, Lord Cao and Yuan Shu. His skill in battle caught the eye of many, and after the death of Lü Bu, Zhang Liao accepted the post of Imperial Corps Commander under Lord Cao, and received the title of Lord of the Second Rank. In addition, Lord Cao also appointed him as Deputy General of the eastern forces.
When Lord Cao was attacking Zhang Lu in Han Zhong, Sun Quan took the opportunity to invade He Fei. Zhang Liao defended so vigorously that the civilians and the people on the Xiaoyao ferry-way were in awe of his strength.
For this, Lord Cao promoted Wenyuan to General Who Conquers the East. During the reign of Cao Pi, Zhang Liao was elevated to the rank General of the Forward Army and titled Lord of Jinyang.
Zhang Liao died of natural causes in the year AD 222 in Jiangdu County. Zhang Liao was known as a brave and intelligent commander, his personal friends included Guan Yu, Xu Huang and Lord Cao himself (1). His son Zhang Hu continued to serve Wei as an officer. Cao Pi posthumously titled him Forthright Lord.
(1) Zhang Liao persuaded Guan Yu to join Lord Cao when Guan Yu was separated from Liu Bei’s main force. In order to guard the life of his sisters, Guan Yu accepted Zhang Liao’s offer and served Lord Cao. In the service of Lord Cao, Guan Yu scored important victories against Yuan Shao. <return>
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A Kongming’s Archives Exclusive Production
Major Sources: Beifangshi - Han/Ming Professor E.Lin (1982 Beijing)