Sanguozhi Officer Biography
Translator Notes in Green
Translated by Jack Yuan
The Grand Martial Progenitor Emperor was a man from Qiao in Peiguo. He was surnamed Cao, named Cao, styled Mengde and a descendant of Cao Can, former Han Chancellor of the State. In the age of Emperor Huan, Cao Teng, The ‘Great Prolonger of Autumn’ Regular Palace Attendant, was enfeoffed as Marquis of Feiting. His adopted son Cao Song succeeded the title and himself reached the position of Grand Commandant. It is unknown, however, the details of his birth. Cao Song begot the Grand Progenitor [Cao Cao].
In his youth, the Grand Progenitor was clever, resourceful and demonstrated a deftness in politics. He often took the law into his own hands and was casual or frivolous, paying little attention to his duties. This led few of his contemporaries to regard him highly. Only Qiao Xuan of Liangguo and He Yong of Nanyang surmised that he had uncommon abilities. Qiao Xuan said to the Grand Progenitor: “All Under Heaven will soon fall into disorder, only a man of renowned ability can provide salvation. I fear that the only person who can restore peace will be you.” At the age of twenty, the Grand Progenitor was recommended as ‘Filially Pious and Incorrupt’ and became a Gentleman official, being appointed as the Northern Commandant of Luoyang. Later, he was transferred to Dunqiu as prefect and was made a Gentleman-consultant of the Imperial Court.
At the end of the Guanghe era , the Yellow Turbans rebelled. The Imperial Court appointed the Grand Progenitor as Chief Commandant of Cavalry and he led troops to campaign against the Yingchuan Yellow Turbans. Later, he was transferred to become Chancellor of Ji’nan. Within the borders of the kingdom there were more than ten prefectures. The greater portion of the Prefects attached themselves to Imperial clansmen and were corrupt and venal, bringing upon themselves notorious reputations. Subsequently, the Grand Progenitor reported their disreputes to the Imperial Court, resulting in the dismissal of eight or nine prefects. Additionally, unfair regulations and excessive ancestral rites were eliminated; the wicked were driven out and peace established within the commandery. After a time, the Grand Progenitor was recalled by the Imperial Court and reappointed as the Grand Administrator of Dongjun. He did not undertake the assignment, instead returning to his hometown under the pretext of illness.
Not long after, Wang Fen, Inspector of Jizhou; Xu You of Nanyang; and Zhou Qi of Peiguo and others conspired with other various men of prominence to despose Emperor Ling in favour of the Marquis of Hefei. They told the Grand Progenitor of their plans but he refused to take part in such activities. In the finality, Wang Fen and the rest failed in their undertaking.
Bian Zhang and Han Sui of Jincheng killed the Inspector and Grand Administrator and rebelled with their followers ten thousand strong. Thus there was a upheavel in the Empire. The Grand Progenitor was assigned Colonel in Charge of the Army. At that time, Emperor Ling of Han passed away and the Crown Prince succeeded to the throne, with the Empress Dowager undertaking affairs of state. General-in-chief He Jin and Yuan Shao conspired to eliminate the eunuchs but the Empress Dowager did not consent. Hence He Jin called Dong Zhuo to the capital, planning to use his troops for coercion. Before Dong Zhuo reached the capital, He Jin was killed by the eunuchs. Dong Zhuo entered the capital, relegated the Young Emperor to the title of King of Hongnong and in his place established Emperor Xian, thus causing turmoil in Luoyang. Dong Zhuo recommended the Grand Progenitor as Colonel of the Resolute Cavalry to the Imperial Court, with the aim of dominating affairs of state with his aid. Subsequently, the Grand Progenitor changed his name and travelled by a minor road east. Emerging from Hulao Pass and passing through Zhongmou, he received the suspicion of the local chief, who arrested him and brought him to the prefect. Fortunately a local recognised him and pleaded on his behalf, as a result of which he was released. Dong Zhuo killed the Empress Dowager and King of Hongnong. After the Grand Progenitor reached Chenliu, he sold off his family properties and enlisted righteous troops, preparing to campaign against Dong Zhuo. In the twelfth month—winter—the Grand Progenitor began to raise his army at Yiwu. That year was the six year of Zhongping .
In the first month of the first year of the Chuping era , Yuan Shu, General of the Rear; Han Fu, Governor of Jizhou; Kong Zhou, Inspector of Yuzhou; Liu Dai, Inspector of Yanzhou; Wang Kuang, Grand Administrator of Henei; Yuan Shao, Grand Administrator of Bohai; Zhang Miao, Grand Administrator of Chenliu; Qiao Mao, Grand Administrator of Dongjun; Yuan Yi, Grand Administrator of Shanyang; Bao Xin, Chancellor of Jibei and others raised troops together, each numbering several ten-thousand strong. They elected Yuan Shao as alliance leader. The Grand Progenitor undertook the acting position of General Who Displays Firmness.
In the second month, Dong Zhuo heard that the Allied armies had risen, and coerced the Son of Heaven to transfer the capital to Chang’an. He himself remained in Luoyang and razed the palaces and offices of state. At that time Yuan Shao garrisoned Henei; Zhang Miao, Liu Dai, Qiao Mao and Yuan Yi garrisoned Suanzao; Yuan Shu garrisoned Nanyang; Kong Zhou garrisoned Yingchuan and Han Fu was at Ye. Dong Zhuo’s troops were strong, so Yuan Shao and the others dared not approach. The Grand Progenitor said: “The great host who have raised righteous troops to destroy oppression and disorder have now united, so why do various lords hesitate? As Dong Zhuo hears that the righteous troops have risen in Shandong, he will employ the power of the Imperial Court to occupy the strategic lands of the twin Zhous and dispatch troops east to dominate the Empire. Even though his actions are perverse and defy morality and justice, they nonetheless represent a grave peril. Now he has razed the palaces of the Luoyang, forced the emperor to transfer capital and caused disorder throughout the nation. The people do not know whom to follow: this is the time which Heaven has decreed to be Dong Zhuo’s doom. We need only to win a single battle in order to secure All Under Heaven. Do not lose this opportunity.” Subsequently Cao Cao led his army west to occupy Chenggao. Zhang Miao send his general Wei Zi with a division to aid the Grand Progenitor. Reaching the Bian River of Xingyang, they encountered Dong Zhuo’s general Xu Rong. They suffered heavy losses and were defeated. The Grand Progenitor was struck by stray arrows and his horse was wounded under him. His younger cousin Cao Hong offered his own horse and only then was the Grand Progenitor able to escape into the night. Xu Rong saw that the Grand Progenitor’s troops were few in number and fought vigorously for an entire day. Seeing that Suanzao would be hard to take, he led his army in withdrawal.
The Grand Progenitor reached Suanzao, the troops of the various armies—numbering more than 100’000 in strength—feasted every day without a thought of advancing. The Grand Progenitor reproached them, and suggested his plan: “Listen to my stratagem various lords. Let the lord of Bohai [Yuan Shao] lead the host of Henei to Meng Ford and the various generals of Suanzao defend Chenggao, garrison Aocang, secure Huanyuan and Taigu, thus occupying all strategic points. Let General Yuan Shu lead the army of Nanyang to the Dan and Xi in order to enter Wu Pass and disrupt the Three Capital Districts. Then we should all take position behind high walls and deep trenchs, and not engage the enemy in open battle, employing instead deceptive deployments. By showing All Under Heaven our strong position and using righteousness to subdue the rebels, peace can be established very quickly. At present our troops have joined because our cause is just, but if we hesitate and delay we will lost the hopes of the empire. I feel shame for you, my various lords!” Zhang Miao and the others refused to accept his suggestion.
The Grand Progenitor’s troops were few, so he travelled with Xiahou Dun and the others to Yangzhou to recruit soldiers. Chen Wen, Inspector of the province and Zhou Xin, Grand Administrator of Danyang, provided him with more than four thousand men. Later, at Longken, many of the soldiers revolted. Reaching Zhi and Jianping, another thousand men were recruited and advanced to garrison Henei.
Liu Dai and Qiao Mao possessed an enmity against each other. Liu Dai killed Qiao Mao and made Wang Gong Grand Administrator of Dongjun.
Yuan Shao and Han Fu conspired to establish Liu Yu, Governor of Youzhou, as emperor. The Grand Progenitor opposed this. Yuan Shao came into possession of the Imperial Jade Seal and sitting with the Grand Progenitor, purposely raised it to nudge Cao Cao’s arm. From this point on, the Grand Progenitor both scorned and resented Yuan Shao.
In the second month—spring—Yuan Shao and Han Fu tried to establish Liu Yu as emperor. Ultimately Liu Yu dared not undertake such a role.
In the fourth month—summer—Dong Zhuo returned to Chang’an.
In the seventh month—autumn—Yuan Shao menaced Han Fu and took Jizhou.
Yu Du, Bai Rao, Sui Gu and the rest of the leaders of the Heishan bandits led more than 100’000 men to take Weijun and Dongjun. Wang Gong could not withstand the onslaught so the Grand Progenitor led his troops into Dongjun and defeated Bai Rao at Puyang. Subsequently Yuan Shao recommended the Grand Progenitor to the throne for the role of Grand Administrator of Dongjun, administering East Wuyang.
In the spring of the third year , the Grand Progenitor’s army was at Dunqiu. Yu Du and the others besieged East Wuyang. The Grand Progenitor led troops west into the mountains to besiege the base of Yu Du and his confederates. Yu Du heard of this and returned from Wuyang. The Grand Progenitor attacked Sui Gu, and then Yufuluo the Xiongnu at Neihuang, defeating them completely.
In the fourth month—summer—the Minister of the Masses Wang Yun, together with Lü Bu, killed Dong Zhuo. Dong Zhuo’s generals Li Jue, Guo Si and others killed Wang Yun and besieged Lü Bu. Lü Bu was defeated and retreated east through the Wu Pass. Li Jue and the rest took power in the Imperial Court.
The horde of Qingzhou Yellow Turbans entered Yanzhou, killing the Chancellor of Rencheng Zheng Sui, and then invaded Dongping. Liu Dai wished to attack them but Bao Xin advised him: “At present the Yellow Turban army numbers in the millions. The local population fear them and the soldiers have no morale to do battle. Thus we are no match for them. I have observed that the bandit host travels with a huge family population without any weapons or grain supplies to speak of. They rely solely on pillage to survive. It would be advisable for us to conserve the strength of our troops, defending in the fortified cities. The bandits will be unable to gain success in battle or siege and hence their power will surely dissipate. Then, selecting elite soldiers and occupying strategic points, we will surely succeed in our advance.” Liu Dai did not heed Bao Xin’s advice and battled the Yellow Turban army. Sure enough he was killed in battle. Bao Xin then travelled with the officials of Yanzhou to Dongjun to invite the Grand Progenitor to become Governor of Yanzhou. The Grand Progenitor then led troops to the east of Shouzhang to attack the Yellow Turban army. Bao Xin fought to the death and only then was Yellow Turban army defeated. The Grand Progenitor searched for Bao Xin’s body but in the end could not find it. His followers could only carve a wooden likeness of Bao Xin and weeping, conduct a funeral for him. The Grand Progenitor pursued the Yellow Turban army to Jibei. The Yellow Turban army sought to surrender. In the winter, the Grand Progenitor received the surrender of more than 300’000 soldiers and more than a million men, women and elderly. He reorganised them, selecting the elite to form the so-called Qingzhou Army.
There was conflict between Yuan Shu and Yuan Shao. Yuan Shu sought reinforcements from Gongsun Zan. Gongsun Zan sent Liu Bei to garrison Gaotang, Dan Jing to garrison Pingyuan, Tao Qian to garrison Fagan, so as to force Yuan Shao’s move. The allied forces of the Grand Progenitor and Yuan Shao advanced against Gongsun Zan and defeated all the generals.
In the spring of the fourth year  the army of the Grand Progenitor was at Juancheng. Liu Biao, Governor of Jingzhou, cut off Yuan Shu’s grain supply. Yuan Shu led his army into Chenliu, garrisoning Fengqiu. The bandits of Heishan and the Shanyu opposed him. Yuan Shu sent his general Liu Xiang to garrison Kuangting. The Grand Progenitor attacked Liu Xiang; Yuan Shu reinforced him. Both sides battled and Yuan Shu was badly defeated. Yuan Shu retreated to defend Fengqiu and the Grand Progenitor subsequently moved to surround the town. Before the movement was completed, Yuan Shu fled to Xiangyi. The Grand Progenitor pursued to Taishou and diverted the waters of the Qu River from Xiangyi. Yuan Shao fled to Ningling and the Grand Progenitor pursued on. Yuan Shao then fled to Jiujiang. In the summer, the Grand Progenitor withdrew with his army to Dingtao.
Jue Xuan of Xiapi assembled several thousand followers and declared himself Son of Heaven. Tao Qian, Governor of Xuzhou, raised troops together with him, took Hua, Fei of Taishan and invaded Rencheng. In autumn, the Grand Progenitor campaigned against Tao Qian. More than ten cities fell and Tao Qian dared not to emerge from the security of his city.
In that year, Sun Ce was ordered by Yuan Shu across the Jiang [Yangzi River] and within a few years had occupied Jiangdong.
In the spring of the year of Xingping , the Grand Progenitor returned from Xuzhou. Earlier, the father of the Grand Progenitor, Cao Song, had resigned his official post and returned to his homeland of Qiao. In the time of Dong Zhuo’s turmoil, he fled to Langya and was murdered by Tao Qian. Thus the Grand Progenitor swore to campaign east to avenge his father’s death. In the summer, he ordered Xun Yu and Cheng Yu to defend Juancheng and personally led his army to campaign once more against Tao Qian. The Grand Progenitor felled five fortified cities in succession and fought all the way to Donghai commandery. Tao Qian’s lieutenant generals Cao Bao and Liu Bei occupied the east part of Tan prefecture, on the Grand Progenitor’s route of withdrawal. They ambushed the Grand Progenitor. The Grand Progenitor defeated them and then besieged and occupied Xiangben. The greater part of the areas which had been passed by the Cao army, suffered pillage and massacre.
At the same time, Zhang Miao and Chen Gong rebelled together and accepted Lü Bu into their ranks. Various commanderies and prefectures supported them. Xun Yu and Cheng Yu defended Juancheng; Fan and Donga held out. The Grand Progenitor returned with his army. Lü Bu arrived, could not take Juancheng by siege and so garrisoned Puyang. The Grand Progenitor said: “Lü Bu acquired a province early, yet he did not occupy Dongping nor did he sever the route between Gangfu and Taishan to utilise the strategic position to ambush us. Instead he garrisons Puyang, which is why I surmise that he had little ability.” Then he led his army to attack Lü Bu. In battle, Lü Bu used his cavalry in the first clash of arms, charging against the Qingzhou Army. The Qingzhou Army fled in terror and the formations of the Grand Progenitor were in complete disarray. Fleeing from a great fire, the Grand Progenitor fell from his horse, suffering burns on his left palm. The Grand Progenitor was supported onto a horse by Sima Lou and then led his soldiers in retreat. Before reaching the camp, the army halted. Most generals had not sighted the Grand Progenitor and were fearful of his safety. The Grand Progenitor then strained himself to rouse his officers, ordering that siege weapons be prepared immediately so that Lü Bu could be besieged once again. The Cao army and Lü Bu faced each other off for more than a hundred days. At that time, there was a locust plague and the commoners were extremely hungry. Lü Bu had also used up all his grain supplies so both sides were forced to withdraw.
In the ninth month—autumn—the Grand Progenitor reached Juancheng. Lü Bu reached Chengshi and was defeated by Li Jin, who come from the former’s own hometown. Thus Lü Bu went east to occupy Shanyang. Subsequently Yuan Shao sent a man to convince the Grand Progenitor to ally with him. Because the Grand Progenitor had just lost Yanzhou and his army was fresh out of grain, he was inclined to agree. Cheng Yu argued against such a line of action and the Grand Progenitor followed his advice. In the tenth month—winter—the Grand Progenitor travelled to Donga.
In that year, one hu of millet cost more than half a million cash. There appeared the phenomenon of cannibalism. Subsequently the Grand Progenitor dismissed the newly recruited soldiers and officials. In that year Tao Qian died of illness and Liu Bei replaced him as Governor of Xuzhou.
In the spring of the second year of Xingping  the Grand Progenitor attacked Dingtao. Wu Zi, Grand Administrator of Jiying, defended the southern wall and could not be felled. By chance Lü Bu’s army arrived and was defeated again. In the summer Lü Bu’s general Xue Lan and Li Feng occupied Juye. The Grand Progenitor besieged it; Lü Bu reinforced Xue Lan. Xue Lan was defeated and Lü Bu fled. The Grand Progenitor subsequently beheaded Xue Lan and the others. Lü Bu, with Chen Gong, then led more than 10’000 men from Dongmin to battle. At that time the Grand Progenitor had few soldiers and so laid down an ambush. He used shock troops to attack and completely routed Lü Bu. Lü Bu escaped in the night and the Grand Progenitor advanced once more, taking Dingtao and dispersing troops to pacify the surrounding prefectures. Lü Bu joined Liu Bei in the east and Zhang Miao followed him, sending his younger brother Zhang Chao with relatives to Yongqiu. In the eighth month—autumn—the Grand Progenitor besieged Yongqiu. In the tenth month—winter—the Son of Heaven made the Grand Progenitor Governor of Yanzhou. In the twelfth month, Yongqiu’s defending soldiers were defeated and Zhang Chao committed suicide. The Grand Progenitor killed all of Zhang Miao’s clansmen. Zhang Miao travelled to Yuan Shu to ask for aid but was murdered by his subordinates. The Grand Progenitor pacified Yanzhou then invaded the land of Chen in the east.
In that year, there was upheavel in Chang’an and the Son of Heaven travelled east. The troops guarding him were defeated at Caoyang and forced to cross the He [Yellow River] to Anyi.
In the first month of the year of Jian’an , the Grand Progenitor closed on Wuping and Yuan Si, who had been appointed by Yuan Shu as Chancellor of Chenguo, surrendered.
The Grand Progenitor prepared to hail the Son of Heaven but there were doubts among his generals. However, Xun Yu and Cheng Yu encouraged and supported him, and so the Grand Progenitor sent Cao Hong west with troops as an escort for the Emperor. Because Dong Cheng, General of the Guards, and Yuan Shu’s general Chang Nu occupied the strategic areas, Cao Hong could not approach.
He Yi, Liu Bi, Huang Shao, He Man and the rest of the Ru’nan-Yingchuan Yellow Turbans, commanded a host of tens of thousands. Initially they supported Yuan Shu, then turned to Sun Jian. In the second month, the Grand Progenitor advanced to subdue them, beheaded Liu Bi, Huang Shao and the others. He Yi and his followers subsequently surrendered. The Son of Heaven conferred on the Grand Progenitor the title of General who Establishes Virtue. In the sixth month—summer—his title was transferred to that of General who Guards the East, with enfeoffment as Marquis of Feiting. In the seventh month—autumn—Yang Feng, Han Xian escorted the Son of Heaven back to Luoyang, with Yang Feng garrisoning Liang. The Grand Progenitor followed to Luoyang, flanked the capital and Han Xian fled. The Son of Heaven conferred on the Grand Progenitor the powers of the ceremonial Battle-axe, as Intendant of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing. Luoyang was dilapidated so Dong Zhao and others advised the Grand Progenitor to transfer the capital to Xu. In the ninth month, the carriage procession of the Emperor travelled east from Huanyuan. The Grand Progenitor was made General-in-chief and enfeoffed as Marquis of Wuping. Since the Son of Heaven had moved to Chang’an, the Imperial Court had become more disordered by the day. Only at this time were the rites of the ancestral temples and gods reinforced.
When the Son of Heaven had moved east, Yang Feng thought of ambushing the party but could not catch up. In the tenth month—winter—the Duke [Cao Cao] campaigned against Yang Feng; Yang Feng fled south of Yuan Shu. The Grand Progenitor then besieged the Liang garrison, and it fell. After this, the role of Grand Commandant was conferred upon Yuan Shao but Yuan Shao was insulted to be subordinate to the Duke and refused. The Duke then steadfastly declined the role of General-in-chief, refusing it in favour of Yuan Shao. In that year, he followed the advice of Zao Di, Han Hao and others, and began the policy of military agricultural colonies [tuntian].
Lü Bu attacked Liu Bei and took Xiapi. Liu Bei came in flight and Cheng Yu said to the Duke: “By observation, Liu has the endowment of a hero and holds the hearts of the people. He will never follow others forever; we would be wise to take care of him early.” The Duke replied: “This is a time to accept heroes into our camp. To kill one person would be to lose the hearts of All Under Heaven. We cannot.”
Zhang Ji fled from Guanzhong to Nanyang. Zhang Ji died and his nephew Zhang Xiu took command of his followers. In the first month of the second year —spring—the Duke reached Wan. Zhang Xiu surrendered, but soon afterwards regretted it and rebelled once more. The Duke battled with him and his army was defeated. He was struck by stray arrows and his eldest son Cao Ang and his nephew Cao Anming were killed. The Duke said to his generals: “My failure in accepting Zhang Xiu’s surrender was that I did not immediately obtain his loyalty, with the consequence of the present situation. I understand the origin of defeat. Let those present bear witness, from now on there will no longer be defeat.” Subsequently he returned to Xu.
Yuan Shu wished to declare himself emperor at Huainan and sent an emissary to inform Lü Bu. Lü Bu received the emissary and reported it to the Imperial Court. Yuan Shu was angry and besieged Lü Bu, but was defeated by Lü Bu. In the ninth month—autumn—Yuan Shu invaded Chen and the Duke campaigned east against him. Yuan Shu heard that the Duke himself was coming and led his army in retreat, leaving Qiao Rui, Li Feng, Liang Gang and Le Jiu. The Duke arrived and defeated Qiao Rui and the rest, beheading them all. Yuan Shu fled across the Huai River. The Duke returned to Xu.
The Duke returned from Wuying; the prefectures of Nanyang and Zhangling revolted to Zhang Xiu. The Duke sent Cao Hong to attack but he was defeated. Cao Hong retreated to She and was constantly harassed by Zhang Xiu and Liu Biao. In the eleventh month—winter—the Duke campaigned south and reached Wan. Liu Biao’s general Deng Ji occupied Huyang. The city fell, the people surrendered and Deng Ji was captured alive. Wuying was besieged and fell.
In the first month of the third year —spring—the Duke returned to Xu and established for the first time the position of Advisor who is Awarded Wine. In the third month, the Duke surrounded Zhang Xiu at Rang. In the fifth month—summer—Liu Biao sent troops to relieve Zhang Xiu and to cut off the Duke’s route of withdrawal. As the Duke planned to withdraw with his army, Zhang Xiu’s came in pursuit. The Duke’s army could not maneovre and established linked camps for a protracted withdrawal. The Duke wrote to Cheng Yu: “The bandits have come to pursue me and even though my army can advance only a few miles a day, by my reckoning, Zhang Xiu will be defeated when the army reaches Anzhong.” At Anzhong, Zhang Xiu and Liu Biao’s troops defended the strategic points and the Duke’s army was harrassed on both sides. The Duke subsequently tunnelled across by night and sent the entire baggage train over, preparing shock troops in reserve. At dawn, the bandits thought that the Duke had fled and sent their entire army in pursuit. The Duke unleased his shock troops, attacking the enemy with infantry and cavalry, completely routing the enemy. In the seventh month—autumn—the Duke returned to Xu. Xun Yu asked the Duke: “How is it that initially you reckoned that the bandits would be defeated?” The Duke said: “The enemy blocked me on my route of retreat, engaging in battle soldiers who had been led to death’s ground. Thus I knew that victory was imminent.”
Lü Bu aided Yuan Shu once more by sending Gao Shun to besiege Liu Bei. The Duke sent Xiahou Dun to relieve Liu Bei but he was unsuccessful. Liu Bei was defeated by Gao Shun. In the ninth month, the Duke campaigned in the east against Lü Bu. In the tenth month—winter—he sacked Pengcheng and captured the Chancellor of the kingdom, Hou Kai. Upon the Duke’s reaching Xiapi, Lü Bu personally engaged him in battle with his cavalry. The Duke completely routed him and captured the courageous general Cheng Lian. The Duke pursued to the city walls; Lü Bu panicked and thought of surrendering. Chen Gong and others blocked such a plan and suggested that he continue to battle whilst requesting aid from Yuan Shu. Lü Bu battled, was defeated and withdrew to hold out once more. At the time the Duke had battled continuously, his soldiers were tired and he thought of withdrawing. He used the strategem proposed by Xun Yu and Guo Jia, by diverting the Si and Xin rivers to flood the city. After more than a month, Lü Bu’s generals Song Xian, Wei Xu and the others arrested Chen Gong and surrendered the city. The Duke captured Lü Bu, Chen Gong and beheaded them. Zang Ba, Sun Guan, Wu Guo, Yin Li, Chang Xi of Taishan assembled their followers. When Lü Bu had defeated Liu Bei, Zang Ba and the others had joined Lü Bu. When Lü Bu was defeated, the Duke gained Zang Ba and the others. The Duke treated Zang Ba well and placed the coastal provinces of Qing and Xu under his administration. Langya, Donghai and Beihai were reorganised into the three commanderies of Chengyang, Licheng and Changlü.
Initially, when the Duke was Governor of Yanzhou, he had as Aide-de-Camp, Bi Chen of Donghai. At Zhang Miao’s rebellion, Bi Chen’s family were abducted. Because of this, the Duke urged Bi to leave, saying: “Your elderly mother is with Zhang Miao, you can go.” Bi Chen showed obeisance and declared his loyalty. The Duke was moved to tears. As soon as Bi Chen left the tent, he left. At the fall of Lü Bu, Bi Chen was captured alive. The host feared for him but the Duke said: “A person is filially pious to his parents, will also be loyal to his lord! This is the man for whom I have been searching.” And then he made him Chancellor of Luguo.
In the second month of the fourth year of Jian’an —spring—the Duke led his army in withdrawal to Changyi. Zhang Chou, general of Zhang Yang, killed Zhang Yang, Gui Gu and then killed Zhang Chou, leading his followers to join Yuan Shao and to garrison Shequan. In the fourth month—summer—the Duke advanced to the He and directed Shi Huan and Cao Ren to cross the He to attack. Gui Gu commanded Xue Hong, former Chief Clerk to Zhang Yang, to defend with Miu Shang, Grand Administrator of Henei. He himself led his troops north to receive Yuan Shao’s reinforcements and encountered Shi Huan and Cao Ren at Quancheng. There was a battle and the Duke’s army defeated their enemy and killed Gui Gu. Subsequently the Duke crossed the He and besieged Shequan. Xue Hong and Miu Shang led their followers in surrender and were enfeoffed as Full Marquises. The Duke withdrew to Aocang and made Wei Zhong Grand Administrator of Henei, giving him jurisdiction over the area north of the He.
Initially the Duke recommended Wei Zhong as ‘Filially Pious and Incorrupt’. At the time of the revolt of Yanzhou, the Duke said: “Only Wei Zhong will never betray me.” When he heard that Wei Zhong had left, the Duke was furious, saying: “Unless Wei Zhong flees south to the Yue or north to the Hu, he will feel my wrath!” At the fall of Shequan, Wei Zhong was captured alive, yet the Duke said: “It was only because he had talent and ability.” And he untied the man, continuing to appoint him.
At the time, Yuan Shao had absorbed Gongsun Zan and ruled the lands of the four provinces with a host of hundreds of thousands. He looked to advance on Xu. The various generals surmised that he would be hard to counter but the Duke said: “I know the character of Yuan Shao; he has great ambition but little wisdom. He looks very stern, but his courage is slight. He is envious and malicious and has little prowess. His soldiers are numerous but his plans are confused, his leaders are proud but his administration is not united. Though his lands are broad and his supplies are plentiful, that simply makes it worth our while to take him over.” In the eighth month—autumn—the Duke’s army advanced to Liyang and directed Zang Ba and others to advance into Qingzhou to besiege Qi, Beihai and Dongan. Yu Jin was left as guard over the He. In the ninth month, the Duke returned to Xu and directed troops to secure Guandu. In the eleventh month—winter—Zhang Xiu led his followers in surrender and was enfeoffed as a Full Marquis. In the twelfth month, the Duke’s army was at Guandu.
From his defeat at Chen, Yuan Shu’s power was steadily weakened. Yuan Tan hailed him from Qingzhou. Yuan Shu wanted to travel north through Xiapi; the Duke sent Liu Bei and Zhu Ling to detain him. By chance, Yuan Shu died from illness. Cheng Yu and Guo Jia heard that the Duke had sent Liu Bei and said to the Duke: “Liu Bei cannot be sent.” The Duke regretted his decision but the courier he sent could not catch up with Liu Bei. Before Liu Bei reached the east, he conspired with Dong Cheng and others in secret to rebel. Upon reaching Xiapi, he subsequently killed the Che Zhou, Inspector of Xuzhou, and garrisoned Pei with his army. The Duke sent Liu Dai and Wang Zhong to attack Liu Bei but to no avail.
Liu Xun, Grand Administrator of Lujiang led his followers in surrender and was enfeoffed as a Full Marquis.
In the first month of the fifth year —spring—the plot to assassinate the Duke was uncovered and all involved were beheaded. The Duke prepared to campaign east against Liu Bei personally but his generals all said: “The one who contests All Under Heaven with my Duke is Yuan Shao. Now Yuan Shao is preparing to advance against us, yet you do not oppose him and instead campaign east against Liu Bei. If Yuan Shao takes the opportunity to cut off our line of supply, what then?” The Duke said: “Liu Bei is prominent amongst men. If this present opportunity is not taken to destroy him, he will return to haunt me. Even though Yuan Shao has great ambitions, his response to situations is slow. Hence he will not redeploy.” Guo Jia also suggested such a opinion to the Duke. The Duke subsequently attacked Liu Bei and defeated him. He captured alive the latter’s general Xiahou Bo. Liu Bei fled to join Yuan Shao and the Duke captured his wife. Liu Bei directed Guan Yu to garrison Xiapi. The Duke besieged it once more and Guan Yu surrendered. Chang Xi had revolted to Liu Bei and was conquered in seige. The Duke returned to Guandu and in the finality Yuan Shao had not emerged.
In the second month, Yuan Shao sent Guo Tu, Chunyu Qiong and Yan Liang to besiege the Grand Administrator of Dongjun Liu Yan at Baima. Yuan Shao led his army to Liyang and prepared to cross the He. In the fourth month—summer—the Duke relieved Liu Yan in the north. Xun You suggested to the Duke: “At present our troops are too few to be effective, and can only be so if the enemy’s power is dispersed. The Duke should go to Yan Ford and look as if to cross the river to assault the enemy’s rear. Yuan Shao will surely move west to counter this, then light infantry can raid Baima. The enemy will be unprepared and Yan Liang can be captured.” The Duke followed this advice. When Yuan Shao heard of the troops crossing the river, he subsequently moved troops west to counter this; the Duke led troops to swiftly take Baima. Not ten miles from Baima, Yan Liang grew alarmed and came to battle. The Duke directed Zhang Liao and Guan Yu forward; they attacked and killed Yan Liang. Then the siege of Baima unravelled, the commoners were evacuated across the west of the He. Yuan Shao then crossed the He to pursue the Duke and was at the south of Yan Ford. The Duke’s soldiers fortified on the southern side of the Baima Slope saw this, reporting: “There are five to six hundred horsemen.” Soon there was another report: “The number of horsemen has steadily increased and the infantry are now too numerous to be counted.” The Duke said: “There is no need for further reports.” He then ordered that cavaliers abandon their horses and saddles. At the time the baggage train from Baima was still on the road. The various generals reckoned that the enemy cavalry were too numerous to match, and it was wiser to swiftly transport the baggage to the safety of the encampment. Xu You said: “This baggage is to lure the enemy into a trap, how can we transport it away?” Yuan Shao’s cavalry generals Wen Chou and Liu Bei led five to six hundred horsemen in pursuit. The various generals spoke once more: “Now is the time to jump on the horses.” The Duke said: “Not yet.” Soon, the enemy horsemen were more numerous and many dismounted to loot the baggage. The Duke said: “Now is the time” and all mounted their horses. At the time Cao’s horsemen numbered not six hundred, and attacked vigorously, defeating the enemy and killing Wen Chou. Yan Liang and Wen Chou were Yuan Shao’s famed generals and their deaths sent shockwaves through Yuan Shao’s ranks. The Duke withdrew to Guandu. Yuan Shao advanced to secure Yangwu and Guan Yu fled back to Liu Bei.
In the eighth month, Yuan Shao constructed linked encampment fortifications from sand and dirt, some ten miles in length from east to west. The Duke also built a camp in response. Battle achieved no result. At the time the Duke’s troops numbered not 10’000 and of those the wounded took up twelve to thirteen percent.
Yuan Shao approached Guandu once more and constructed earthen fortifications and began tunnelling. The Duke did the same within his own ranks to counter the enemy. Yuan Shao fired on the Cao camp and the arrows fell like rain. Those walking in the camp had to cover their bodies with shields and the soldiers were alarmed. At the time the Duke was short on grain supplies and wrote to Xun Yu of his deliberation to return to Xu. Xun Yu reckoned: “Yuan Shao has concentrated all his power at Guandu, wishing to fight a decisive battle. Our strongest enemy will surely take the opportunity to advance if my Duke’s weakness succumbs to his strength. This will decide the future of All Under Heaven. And Yuan Shao is a mediocre leader who, whilst knowing how to gather men of ability, does not know how to employ them. Your aid to the Son of Heaven in punishing the villainous bandits makes you honourable and upright. With the addition of my Duke’s wisdom and prowess, who can we not attack without victory?” The Duke followed his advice.
Sun Ce heard that the Duke was opposing Yuan Shao, and plotted to attack Xu. Before setting out however, he was killed by assassins.
The surrendered Ru’nan bandit Liu Bi and others defected to Yuan Shao and invaded the area of Xu. Yuan Shao sent Liu Bei to aid Liu Bi; the Duke sent Cao Ren to attack. Liu Bei retreated, and Cao Ren subsequently defeated Liu Bi.
Yuan Shao’s grain supplies, transported on several thousand wagons, were nearing his camp. The Duke used Xun Yu’s strategem and sent Xu Huang, Shi Huan to intercept it; they burnt all of the wagons. The Duke and Yuan Shao faced each other for many more months. Their hosts were fewer, grain stores empty and soldiers tired. The Duke said to his grain transporter: “Within fifteen days I will defeat Yuan Shao, there is no need to burden you with another supply trip.” In the tenth month—winter—Yuan Shao’s supply train was sent with an escort of more than 10’000 soldiers under Chunyu Qiong and five other generals. The grain was stored forty miles from Yuan Shao’s main camp. Yuan Shao’s advisor Xu You was corrupt and Yuan Shao refused to retain him, so he fled to the Duke and convinced him to attack Chunyu Qiong and the others. His subordinates were hesitant but Xun You and Jia Yi persuaded him. The Duke ordered Cao Hong to defend the main camp, and set out personally in the night with a 5000-strong mixed infantry-cavalry force, and reached the objective by dawn. Chunyu Qiong and the rest saw that the Duke’s troops were few in number and so fought him outside the camp gates. The Duke attacked vigorously. Chunyu Qiong withdrew to the camp and the Duke then besieged him. Yuan Shao sent horsemen to relieve Chunyu Qiong. The Duke’s subordinates said: “The enemy horsemen are near, please divert troops to counter them.” The Duke angrily exclaimed: “Report when the enemy is at the rear!” The soldiers fought as death was upon them and routed Chunyu Qiong and the others, and killed them all. When Yuan Shao heard news of Chunyu Qiong, he said to his eldest son Yuan Tan: “If I attack the Duke’s encampment as he advances on Chunyu Qiong then I will have no base to return to.” Then he sent sent Zhang He, Gao Lan to besiege Cao Hong. Zhang He and the others heard of Chunyu Qiong’s defeat and subsequently surrendered. Yuan Shao’s followers were greatly alarmed. Yuan Shao and Yuan Tan retreated across the He. Even though the Duke did not catch up with Yuan Shao, he seized the entire baggage train of maps, registars and treasure, and captured many of Yuan’s followers. From the captured letters which had belonged to Yuan Shao, the Duke uncovered many which implicated his followers in Xu and in the army. He burned them all. Most of the commanderies of Jizhou opened their gates and surrendered.
Intially, in the time of Emperor Huan of Han, there appeared a yellow star above the lands of Chu and Song. Yin Kui of Liaodong, learnéd in astronomy, declared that in fifty years time there would be a mandated emperor born between Liang and Pei, whose supremacy would be irresistible. It was fifty years exactly from then to the Duke’s victory over Yuan Shao. There were none Under Heaven who could oppose the Duke.
In the fourth month of the sixth year —summer—the Duke paraded his army on the shore of the He. He attacked Yuan Shao’s army at Cangting and defeated it. Yuan Shao retreated and the Duke reorganised his dispersed soldiers and pacified those commanderies and prefectures which had revolted. In the ninth month, the Duke returned to Xu. Before Yuan Shao’s defeat, he had sent Liu Bei to invade Ru’nan with the Yellow Turban bandit Gong Dou in Ru’nan as his confederate. The Duke sent Cai Yang to attack Gong Dou but was unsuccessful and was instead defeated by Gong Dou. The Duke campaigned south against Liu Bei. Liu Bei heard that the Duke himself was coming and fled to join Liu Biao whilst Gong Dou and the others disbanded.
In the first month of the seventh year —spring—the Duke’s army was at Qiao. He decreed: “I raised righteous troops to punish turmoil in the Empire. The people of my homeland have almost all died. Walking through the kingdom for an entire day, I did not see one person whom I recognised and for this I weep with sorrow. From the time when I assembled righteous troops; for my officers who had lost their descendants, relatives were always found so that they would have heirs. Their relatives were provided with farming land and oxen; and tutors so that they would be educated. Temples were constructed for the living so that they could honour and remember their ancestors. If the ghosts of the dead have supernatural powers, then what regrets can I have when I die?” Then the Duke reached Junyi and repaired the Suiyang irrigation canal. He sent an representative to prepare sacrificial rites in honour of Qiao Xuan. The Duke’s army advanced to Guandu.
After Yuan Shao’s army was defeated, he became ill and heaved up blood. In the fifth month—summer—he died. His youngest son Yuan Shang succeeded him. Yuan Tan named himself General of Chariots and Cavalry and garrisoned Liyang. In the ninth month—autumn—the Duke campaigned against them and they battled. Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang retreated after several defeats to defend Liyang once more.
In the third month of the eighth year —Spring—the Duke besieged many cities outside Liyang. Yuan Tan and others came out to battle once more; the Duke attacked and routed the enemy. Yuan Tan, Yuan Shang fled in the night. In the fourth month—summer—the Duke’s army advanced to Ye. In the fifth month he returned to Xu, leaving Jia Xin to garrison Liyang.
On the day of jiyou in the fifth month, the Duke decreed: “Sima’s Art of War says that ‘generals who flee from battle shall be punished by death’. When the generals of antiquity lost a battle, their families were also punished. Hence Zhao Kuo’s mother begged the King of Zhao not to punish the entire family for Zhao Kuo’s failure. Since I have commanded generals on campaign, rewards have been issued for success but not punishment for defeat. From this moment, it is decreed that those generals who suffer defeat on campaign will be brought to trial and discharged of their official positions and hereditary titles.”
In the seventh month—autumn—the Duke decreed: “It has been fifteen years since the turmoil began. Those born after the upheavels have never seen the prevailing customs and rites of righteous and benevolence. For this I feel great sadness. It is hereby decreed that the various commanderies and kingdoms shall emphasise study of the classics. Those prefectures where the population exceeds five hundred households should establish a Seminary official, and select local men of talent to be educated. In this way, the ways of the former kings may not be lost but be used to benefit the Empire.”
In the eighth month, the Duke campaigned against Liu Biao and his army was at Xiping. When the Duke travelled south from Ye, Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang contested Jizhou. Yuan Tan was defeated and retreated to secure Pingyuan. Yuan Shang laid siege furiously and Yuan Tan sent Xin Pi to surrender to the Duke and request relief. The generals suspected his motives but Xun You convinced the Duke and the Duke subsequently withdrew his army. In the tenth month—winter—the Duke reached Liyang and prepared his son for marriage to Yuan Tan’s daughter. Yuan Shang heard that the Duke was in the north and gave up on Pingyuan, withdrawing to Ye. Lü Kuang and Lü Xiang of Dongping revolted against Yuan Shang and garrisoned Yangping. They led their followers in surrender to the Duke and were enfeoffed as Full Marquises.
In the first month of the ninth year —spring—[the Duke] crossed the He, obstructed the Qi River and diverted its waters into the Bai dyke to facilitate the transportation of grain. In the second month, Yuan Shang besieged Yuan Tan once more, leaving Su You and Shen Pei to garrison Ye. The Duke’s army advanced to the Heng River and Su You surrendered. After reaching Ye, he began constructing earthern fortifications and tunnelling. The Chief of Wuan, Yin Kai garrisoned Maocheng, controlling the route of grain supply from Shangdang. In the fourth month month—summer—Cao Hong was left to besiege Ye whilst the Duke personally led his army to besiege Yin Kai, and returned after defeating the enemy. Yuan Shang’s general Ju Jui defended Handan; the Duke then besieged Handan and the city fell. Han Fan, Prefect of Yiyang and Liang Qi, Chief of She, surrendered their prefectures and were rewarded with enfeoffments as Marquises of the Imperial Domain. In the fifth month the earthworks and tunnels were destroyed and a canal was constructed to divert waters from the Zhang River to flood the city. The greater portion of the people within the city starved to death. In the seventh month—autumn—Yuan Shang returned to relieve Ye. The Duke’s generals surmised that these were all troops returning home and that each soldier would fight to the death so it would be advisable to avoid them. The Duke said: “If Yuan Shang comes by the main road then we will naturally avoid him. If he comes via the western hills, then he will be captured alive.” Yuan Shang travelled by the western hills and encamped near the Fu River. In the night, troops were sent out to besiege the Duke, the Duke battled, routed the enemy and sent them into retreat. He then went to surround the former’s camp. Before the manoeuvre was completed, Yuan Shang became alarmed and sent the former Inspector of Yuzhou Ying Kui with Chen Lin to request to capitulate. The Duke refused and the surrendered became more desperate. Yuan Shang fled in the night to secure Qishan; the Duke pursued and attacked him. The former’s generals Ma Yan and Zhang Yi surrendered before battle and his army was completely defeated. Yuan Shang fled to Zhongshan. The Duke acquired Yuan Shang’s complete baggage train with his seal and sash, insignia and ceremonial Battle-axe. The Duke allowed these items to be shown to the relatives of Yuan Shang, and then there was no prospect for the city of Ye. In the eighth month, Shen Rong, nephew of Shen Pei, opened the eastern gates he was guarding to the Duke’s army. Shen Pei battled, was defeated, captured alive by the Duke and beheaded. Ye was pacified. The Duke personally honoured Yuan Shao at his tomb, weeping woefully and comforting Yuan Shao’s widow. The family’s slaves and treasures were returned and the widow was rewarded silks, with the government taking care of the family’s grain supplies.
Intially, when Yuan Shao and the Duke raised troops together, Yuan Shao asked the Duke: “If the great undertaking is unsuccessful, where would be a place suitable to be occupied?” The Duke said: “What do you think?” Yuan Shao said: “I would occupy the area bordering the He in the south and collaborate with the host of the Di in the northern lands of Yan and Dai to expand south and contest All Under Heaven. Do you think that I can succeed in this way?” The Duke said: “I would employ the wisdom and strength of the Empire, using righteousness to lead them. In this way, there will be nothing which cannot be achieved.”
In the ninth month, the Duke decreed: “The commoners north of the He are hereby exempted from paying rent and tax since they have been plagued by the catastrophes of the Yuan clan.” He then introduced laws restricting the power of local clans, leading to jubilation from the commoners. The Son of Heaven assigned the Duke the role of Governor of Yizhou and the Duke resigned as Governor of Yanzhou.
As the Duke was besieging Ye, Yuan Tan invaded and occupied Ganling, Anping, Bohai and Hejian. Yuan Shang was defeated and withdrew to Zhongshan. Yuan Tan besieged him and Yuan Shang fled to Gu’an and then absorbed Yuan Tan’s forces. The Duke wrote to Yuan Tan, indicating that the latter had broken the agreement and calling off the marriage alliance. His daughter returned and then the Duke advanced. Yuan Tan grew alarmed, gave up Pingyuan and withdrew to secure Nanpi. In the twelfth month, the Duke entered Pingyuan and pacified the prefectures.
In the first month of the tenth year —Spring—[the Duke] besieged Yuan Tan and defeated him. He beheaded Yuan Tan and killed his wife and sons. Jizhou was pacified. He decreed: “Those who have committed atrocities in confederation with the Yuan clan, can from this day start anew.” He decreed that commoners were not to avenge personal grievances, conduct extravagant funerals and that those who violated the orders would be punished according to the law. In that month, Yuan Xi’s great generals Jiao Chu and Zhang Nan revolted against the Yuan clan and besieged Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang. Yuan Xi and Yuan Shang then fled to join the Wuhuan of the Three Commanderies. Jiao Chu and the others opened their gates to the Duke and he was enfeoffed as a Full Marquis. When the Duke was campaigning against Yuan Tan, many commoners fled to avoid labouring in clearing ice so the Duke decreed that these people were not to be allowed to surrender. Not long after, the escaped commoners returned to submit; the Duke said to them: “If you are allowed to surrender, then that will be violating the military ruling. If you are beheaded, then that would be killing those who capitulate. Depart and hide well, do not be captured by the government officials.” Those commoners left weeping and were later arrested.
In the fourth month—summer—Zhang Yan of the Heishan bandits led his host, numbering more than 100’000, in surrender and was enfeoffed as a Full Marquis. Zhao Du and Huo Nu of Gu’an, and others, killed the Inspector of Youzhou and the Grand Administrator of Zhuojun. The Wuhuan of the Three Commanderies besieged Xianyu District at Guangping. In the eighth month—autumn—the Duke campaigned against against them and killed Zhao Du and the others. He then crossed the Lu River to relieve Guangping and the Wuhuan fled beyond the [Great] Wall.
In the ninth month, the Duke decreed: “Factionism was abhorred by the former sages. It is said that it is the custom of Jizhou for fathers and sons to form factions, and to both slander and flatter each other. In the past, there was a man named Zhi Buyi, who did not have a brother. At the time there were those who claimed that he had had relations with his sister-in-law. Diwu Boyu married three orphans and there were those who claimed that he beat his father-in-law. Wang Feng was a tyrannical despot yet Gu Yong compared him to Shen Bo. Wang Shang was loyal and upright yet Wang Kuang condemned him of sinister motives. These men confound black and white, and are guilty of the crime of deceiving Heaven and one’s sovereign. I wish to correct the social custom of Jizhou. I will feel ashamed if these four figures are not destroyed.” In the tenth month—winter—the Duke returned to Ye.
Initially, Yuan Shao made his nephew Gao Gan Governor of Bingzhou. After the fall of Ye, Gao Gan surrendered and subsequently was made Inspector. Gao Gan heard that the Duke was campaigning against the Wuhuan and revolted in his province once more. He arrested the Grand Administrator of Shangdang and directed troops to secure the mouth of Hu Pass. The Duke sent Le Jin and Li Dian to attack and Gao Gan withdrew to defend Huguan. In the first year of the eleventh year —spring—the Duke travelled to campaign against Gao Gan. Gao Gan heard of this and left his subordinate generals to defend the city whilst he travelled to the Xiongnu to beg the aid of the Shanyu. The Shanyu refused. The Duke besieged Huguan for three months and it fell. Gao Gan then fled to Jingzhou and the Chief Commandant of Shangluo, Wang Yan arrested and beheaded him.
In the eighth month—autumn—the Duke campaigned east against the pirate Guan Cheng, reached Chunyu and sent Le Jin and Li Dian to attack. Guan Cheng fled to an island in the sea. The Duke added the three prefectures of Rangben, Tan and Qi and of Donghai to Langya and abolished Changlü.
Taking advantage of chaos in the Empire, the Wuhuan of the Three Commanderies broke into Youzhou and enslaved more than a hundred thousand households of Han commoners. Yuan Shao made their tribal heads Shanyus and married girls of his household to them as his own daughters. At the time the Shanyu of Liaoxi, Tatun, was the most powerful and was treated well by Yuan Shao. Hence Yuan Shang and Yuan Xi fled to join him. They frequently conducted raids from beyond the frontier Wall. The Duke prepared to campaign against them and for this purpose began digging a dyke diverting the waters of the Huduo to the Gu River and decreed that it be called the Pinglu Canal. He also constructed a canal from the mouth of the Ju River to the Lu River and called it the Quanzhou Canal, connected to the sea.
In the second month of the twelfth year —spring—the Duke returned from Chunyu to Ye. On the fifth day of the third month, the Duke decreed: “It has been nineteen years since I raised righteous troops to punish turmoil. Every campaign has ended in conquest, but is this my triumph alone? These are the efforts of all the meritorious statesmen. At present the Empire is not yet pacified and it is the time for me to unite with the statesmen to secure it. How can I be content with the thought I am the only one to receive the honours? Presently it is imperative that they receive honours and rewards.” Then he rewarded more than twenty who had achieved successes, enfeoffing them as Full Marquises. The rest received rewards according to their achievements. Additionally the descendants of those who sacrificed their lives for the Empire received exemption from tax and conscription duties.
The Duke was ready to campaign against the Wuhuan; his various generals said: “Yuan Shang is but a prisoner of war in flight. The barbarian Di are insatiably avaricious and do not recognise even kindred; how can they be employed by Yuan Shang? If we campaign deep into Wuhuan territory now, Liu Bei will surely convince Liu Biao to attack Xu. If there is indeed a shift in the state of affairs, then it will be too late to regret former decisions.” Only Guo Jia deducted that Liu Biao would not trust Liu Bei and hence advocated the campaign to the Duke. In the fifth month—summer—the Duke’s army approached Wuzhong. In the seventh month—autumn—there was a great flood and coastal roads were impassable. Tian Chou requested to act as guide and the Duke agreed. He led the army out of Lulong Fort; there was no passable road so [the Duke] dug through some five hundred miles of hills to reach Baitan. He passed Pinggang and trudged into the grazing grounds of the Xianbei clans and pressed forward to Liucheng. Only when he was two hundred miles distant did the enemy know of it. Yuan Shang, Yuan Xi and Tatun; Louban, Shanyu of Liaoxi; Nengchendizhi, Shanyu of Youbeiping led several hundred thousand troops to battle. In the eighth month, the Duke ascended Mount Bailang and encountered the enemy abruptly; the enemy were numerous. At the time the Duke’s baggage train was at the back and armour-bearing officers were few. His subordinates were extremely alarmed. The Duke clambered to a high place, saw that the enemy ranks were disordered and commanded his troops to attack, sending Zhang Liao as vanguard. The enemy army was thrown into panic and Tatun was killed. Those followers of the other leaders, both Han and Hu, numbering more that two hundred thousand, surrendered. Subuwan, Shanyu of Liaodong, along with the various leaders of Youbeiping, abandoned their clansmen and fled with Yuan Shang and Yuan Xi to Liaodong. At the time their followers still numbered several thousand horsemen. Initially, Gongsun Kang, the Grand Administrator of Liaodong, had not submitted by virtue of distance. As the Duke broke the Wuhuan, there were those who advised the Duke to campaign against Gongsun Kang to capture the Yuan brothers. The Duke said: “I will let Gongsun Kang execute Yuan Shang, Yuan Xi with Subuwan and the others and present their heads. No need to bother the army.” In the ninth month, the Duke led his army in withdrawal from Liucheng. Gongsun Kang had beheaded Yuan Shang, Yuan Xi with Subuwan and the rest, and presented their heads. The generals asked: “My Duke withdrew and then Gongsun Zan beheaded and presented the heads of Yuan Shang and Yuan Xi; why is this?” The Duke said: “Gongsun Zan had always feared Yuan Shang and the others. If I put pressure on him, they were join forces but when I eased off they were sure to betray one another. That’s how it came to be.” In the eleventh month, he reached the Yi River. Pufulu and Nalou, acting Shanyus of the Daijun and Shangjun Wuhuan respectively; and their various generals and lords, came to offer congratulations.
In the first month of the thirteenth year —spring—the Duke returned to Ye. He constructed the Xuanwu Lake to exercise his fleet. The offices of the three Dukes were abolished by the Han court and the posts of Lieutenant-Chancellor and Imperial Clerk Grandee were restored. In the sixth month—summer—the Duke was made Lieutenant-Chancellor.
In the seventh month—autumn—the Duke campaigned south against Liu Biao. In the eighth month, Liu Biao died and his son Liu Zong succeeded, garrisoning Xiangyang. Liu Biao garrisoned Fan. In the ninth month, the Duke reached Xinye and Liu Zong subsequently surrendered; Liu Bei fled to Xiakou. The Duke advanced his army to Jiangling and decreed that the officials and commoners of Jingzhou should be allowed to start anew. Then rewards were distributed to the surrendered officials of Jingzhou, there were fifteen who were enfeoffed as Full Marquises. Liu Biao’s great general Wen Pin was made Grand Administrator of Jiangxia and he was allowed to continue leading his own troops. Han Gao and Deng Yi, the famed statesmen of Jingzhou, were promoted. Liu Zhang, Governor of Yizhou, received the Imperial Court’s order of conscription and sent troops to the Duke’s army. In the twelfth month, Sun Quan aided Liu Bei in besieging Hefei. The Duke campaigned against Liu Bei himself at Jiangling, reached Baqiu and sent Zhang Xi to reinforce Hefei. Sun Quan heard that Zhang Xi had arrived and subsequently retreated. The Duke reached Red Cliffs, battled Liu Bei and was defeated. Then there was great plague, many of the officials and officers died, and the army was forced to withdraw. Liu Bei subsequently acquired the various commanderies of Jingzhou and Jiangnan.
In the third month of the fourteenth year  the army reached Qiao, constructed small rivercraft and conducted naval exercises. In the seventh month—autumn—the Duke entered the Huai River via the Guo, transversed the Fei River and encamped at Hefei. On the day of xinwei, the Duke decreed: “In recent years, the army has been on campaign on a number of occasions. Sometimes they met disease; officers and soldiers have died without returning; husbands and wives cannot unite. The commoners have become destitute and homeless. Do those with benevolence wish to live like this? There is simply no other choice. It is hereby decreed that for those who cannot support themselves, whose deceased relatives had no property, the government will provide food. The local officials and chiefs should offer them care and consolation; only then will they fulfill my wishes.” The officials of Yangzhou were ordered to establish military agricultural colonies at Juebei. In the twelfth month, the army returned to Qiao.
In the spring of the fifteenth year , he decreed: “From antiquity, of the lords who have received the mandate of Heaven or prerogative of restoration, who was there who was not aided by the virtuous and the noble? Of those virtuous men, almost all had not left their local alleys; was that simply a coincidence? It was because those in government had not gone in search of them. At present the Empire has not being completely pacified, so it is an urgent time to find the virtuous. Meng Gongzhuo was apt to be the subjects of Zhao and Wei, the great officials of Jin, but he was not worthy of the highest post in Teng or Xie. If a man must be pure before he can be given office, then how would Duke Huan of Qi have become hegemon? Is there no one under Heaven who holds concealed talent but who wears coarse clothing to fish by the Wei River? Is there no one who is slandered to be incestuous and corrupt, but has not yet met his Wei Wuzhi? You all must help me, and bring to light the humble and obscure. Please recommend men simply for their talents, and I will make use of them.” In the winter, the Copper Peacock Terrace was constructed.
In the first month of the sixteenth year —spring—the Son of Heaven assigned Cao Pi, the Duke’s eldest son by a wife, General of the Gentlemen of the Household for All Purposes, with subordinate officials, to act as Associate to the Lieutenant Chancellor. Shang Yao of Taiyuan and others revolted at Daling. The Duke sent Xiahou Yuan and Xu Huang to besiege Daling, and the enemy was defeated. Zhang Lu occupied Hanzhong. In the third month, Zhong You was sent to destroy him. The Duke sent Xiahou Yuan and others from Hedong to reinforce Zhong You.
At the time, the various generals in Guanzhong suspected that Zhong You would attack them and subsequently Ma Chao rebelled with Han Sui, Yang Qiu, Li Kan and Cheng Yi. The Duke sent Cao Ren to campaign against them. Ma Chao and the others garrisoned Tong Pass, the Duke said to his generals: “The soldiers of Guanxi are elite and strong, you should garrison the fortress walls firmly and not engage in battle.” In the seventh month—autumn—the Duke campaigned in the west and opposed Ma Chao and the others at the Pass. The Duke pinned down the enemy, and covertly sent Xu Huang, Zhu Ling and others to cross the Puban Ford by night and fortify the west bank of the He. The Duke himself crossed the He at Tong Pass but before he completed the operation, Ma Chao assailed his boats. Colonel Ding Fei let loose cattle and horses to distract the bandits. The bandits fell into disorder to round the beasts up, and the Duke was able to cross and formed a protected road to advance south along the He. The bandits retreated to hold the mouth of the Wei River. The Duke despatched decoy troops by boat onto the Wei, to construct a pontoon bridge, and in the night he sent a detachment to set a post south of the Wei. The bandits besieged the encampment by night, were ambushed and defeated by covert troops. Ma Chao and the others garrisoned south of the Wei and sent an emissary offering to cede the area west of the He and requesting peace. The Duke refused. In the ninth month, the army advanced to cross the Wei River. Ma Chao and the others challenged him several times to battle, but he would not accept. They repeatedly offered to cede territory and to send, and their sons as hostages. The Duke utilised Jia Xu’s strategy and pretended to agree to their request. Han Sui asked to meet with the Duke. The Duke was recommended as ‘Filially Pious and Incorrupt’ in the same year as Han Sui’s father, and was friends of the same generation with Han Sui. He talked with Han Sui on horseback for a while. There was no mention of military matters, they only spoke of old times at the capital and they clasped hands and laughed in pleasure. After the meeting, Ma Chao and others asked Han Sui: “What did the Duke say?” Han Sui said: “Nothing worth repeating.” Ma Chao and the others were suspicious. Another day, the Duke wrote a letter to Han Sui, with many things struck out and altered, as if Han Sui had changed them himself. Ma Chao and the others were even more suspicious of Han Sui. Subsequently the Duke planned a date to battle and employed light troops to skirmish. After a lengthy battle, he let loose his Tiger Cavalry to assail the enemy from both sides. He completely defeated them and killed Cheng Yi, Li Kan and others. Han Sui, Ma Chao and others fled to Liangzhou; Yang Qiu escaped to Anding, and Guanzhong was pacified. One of the generals asked the Duke: “Initially, the bandits secured Tong Pass, and they had no strong guard on the northern bank of the Wei. We did not advance from Hedong to Pingyi but instead stayed at Tong Pass and it was only after some time that we crossed north. Why was that?” The Duke said: “ The bandits secured Tong Pass. Had I entered Hedong they would certainly have guarded every crossing. I would never have been able to cross to Xihe. Because of this I reinforced the soldiers guarding Tong Pass. The bandits’ host faced south, Xihe was empty of preparation and merely two generals could take Xihe. Then the army was led to cross to the north and the bandits were not able to contest Xihe with me, for the mere two generals. Then the carriages were joined up like a palisade and a protected road was constructed to move south. That way we couldn’t be defeated, but it also seemed to show we were weak. I crossed the Wei and made a strong fort, and when the caitiffs arrived and I didn’t come out that was to make them feel superior. Because of this, the bandits did not fortify and encamp but instead asked to cede territory. I gave them favourable words and promises, and the reason I seemed to accept their proposals was to have them feel at ease and not make any preparations. When we finally attacked, it was like ‘when sudden thunder comes there is no time to cover the ears’. The plans of war never follow a single path.” Earlier, when every division of the vandits arrived, the Duke had a pleased expression. After the bandits were defeated, various generals asked the reason. The Duke replied: “Guanzhong is very broad. Had the bandits each defended a strategic barrier, it would have been a year or two before the land could be secured. Now they have all come together, and although their host is large, none will submit to another. Their army has no commander-in-chief and can be destroyed in a single blow. Victory will be relatively simple, for this I am pleased.”
In the tenth month—winter—the army campaigned north from Chang’an against Yang Qiu, and surrounded Anding. Yang Qiu surrendered; his former hereditary title was restored and he was ordered to stay on to look after his people. In the twelfth month, the Duke returned from Anding and left Xiahou Yuan to garrison Chang’an.
In the first month of the seventeenth year —spring—the Duke returned to Ye. The Son of Heaven decreed that the Duke might have the right to perform obeisance without calling his own name, to enter court without hastening step, and to be in the hall of audience with sword and shoes, following the precedent of Xiao He. Ma Chao and his remaining followers, Liang Xing and others, garrisoned Lantian. The Duke sent Xiahou Yuan to attack and pacify them. Dangying, Chaoge and Linlü of Henei; Weiguo, Dunqiu, East Wuyang and Fagan of Dongjun; Yingtao, Quzhou and Nanhe of Julu; Rencheng of Dongping, Xiangguo, Handan and Yiyang of Zhao, were partitioned to form Weijun.
In the tenth month, the Duke campaigned against Sun Quan.
In the first month of the eighteenth year —spring—the army advanced to the mouth of Ruxu and broke Sun Quan’s encampment at Jiangxi. Sun Quan’s Chief Controller Gongsun Yang was captured and subsequently the army withdrew. Imperial edict decreed that the fourteen provinces would be amalgamated and restored to the nine provinces. In the fourth month—summer—the Duke reached Ye.
On the day of bingshen in the fifth month, the Son of Heaven sent the Imperial Clerk Grandee, Chi Lü, with imperial insignia to enfeoff the Duke as Duke of Wei. The pronouncement of enfeoffment said:
“Since We possess few merits, from youth We have been met with disaster and menace, faraway in the western lands, transferred from Tang to Wei. Until the present, We have been as a tassel in the wind; there has been no one to offer sacrifices to the ancestors at the clan temple and there has been no memorial tablets with the gods of land and grain. Many villains have harboured thoughts of usurping the throne and dividing the nation, and the people of the land. We had no power to manage and the Mandate of Heaven, which was received by Gaozu [Liu Bang], was about to fall to the ground. Because of this We could not rest and Our heart was troubled and poignant, saying: ‘Our ancestors and Our father, the great officials who held up former courts, who among you can take pity on me?’ Then Heaven was moved and begot you, Lieutenant Chancellor, to protect and secure Our Imperial clan, to rescue Us from danger and hardship. Truly We have been relying entirely on your merits and virtues. Now according to the rites of the sovereign, a grant will be conferred and We anticipate that you will respect Our decree.
Since Dong Zhuo began the national calamity, the host have left their posts to support the throne. You advanced under office to subdue the bandit armies, this shows your loyalty to the Court. Later, the Yellow Turbans defied the reason of Heaven, invaded our three provinces and brought calamity to the commoners. You defeated them again and pacified the east. These are your merits. Han Xian and Yang Feng were imperious and despotic; you subdueed them and destroyed their threat. The capital was subsequently transferred to Xudu; the new capital was reconstructed, the offices of state reassigned and the sacrifices to the clan and gods’ temples restored. The conventions of antiquity have remained unchanged and the spirits and gods of Heaven and Earth could be at peace. These are your merits. Yuan Shu overstepped his authority and revolted, spreading his tyranny in Huainan, but he feared your martial prowess. You demonstrated your majestic strategy and grand tactics. At the battle of Qiyang, Qiao Rui was beheaded and there was renown for you throughout the south. Thus Yuan Shu was defeated and destroyed. This is also your merit. You returned to campaign in the east; Lü Bu was killed. As you prepared to return to Court, Zhang Yang gave his life; Sui Gu was executed; Zhang Xiu submitted. These are also your merits. Yuan Shao rebelled, confounded the ways of Heaven and plotted to imperil the nation. He relied on his numerous generals and soldiers to rise against the Court. At the time, the monarchy was militarily weak and the Empire was bitterly disillusioned. There was no resolute will to fight, but you defended the great integrity of the Court and moved the Heaven with your spirit. You exerted your military prowess and employed your divine foresight personally at Guandu to defeat the degenerates, delivering the nation from danger. This is also your merit. You led the great army across the He to pacify the four provinces. Yuan Tan and Gao Gan were both beheaded; the pirates fled in disarray;s the Heishan army submitted. These are also your merits. The three Wuhuan have created disorder for two generations, and Yuan Shang employed their power to pressure the frontier from north of the Wall. You led the troops through treacherous territory and destroyed them in one campaign. This is also your merit. Liu Biao revolted, refused to submit taxes to the Court. When you, my lord, led the troops on campaign, your repute preceded you. The hundred cities of eight commanderies clasped their hands, prostrated and surrendered. This is also your merit. Ma Chao and Cheng Yi conspired to create disorder, occupying the He, Tong Pass, demonstrating their sheer avarice. You destroyed them at Weinan with a hundred stratagems for wiping out the enemy. Then the frontier was stabilised, as were relations with the Rong and Di. These are your merits. The Xianbei and Dingling came to the capital on numerous occasions; the Biyu and Baiwu requested hereditary titles and to become subjects. These are your merits. You have the merit of securing the Empire and the noble virtues, consolidating the order of the Empire and propagating moral practices. You gave alms generously to religion, and pursued a prudent policy of punishment by law. The officials have not pursued an oppressive government and the commoners have no thoughts of deceit. You loyally respect the Imperial clan and recommended to the throne to discontinue the succession from marquises and kings of the present generation. For the virtuous and meritorious of the past, you made every reasonable arrangement. Even though Yi Yin can move the heavens, Duke Zhou can blaze across the four seas, compared to you, they seem to be insignificant.
We have heard that the former kings distinguished men who had achieved honour and virtue, conferred on them land, serfs. They made it so that they would receive courteous receptions, receive perfect gifts, all with the purpose of safeguarding the monarchy and support for the sovereign. In the time Cheng of Zhou, Guan and Cai caused disorder. After the rebels were pacified, Cheng thought of meritorious subjects and sent Duke Haokang to confer on the Grand Duke of Qi lands east to the sea, west to the He, south to Muling and north to Wudi, with the right to campaign against the five marquises and nine barons. It was submitted to the East Sea that his descendants could undertake the office of Grand Master. By the time of King Xiang of Zhou, there were also men in Chu who were not subject to royal command. Hence Duke Wen of Jin was made baron of the lords, and given warriors, axes and halbreds, fragrant wine, bows and arrows, to open up the south. His successors were lords of the vassals. That the Zhou house did not fall relied entirely on the support of the two states of Qi and Jin. Now, you have shown brilliant virtues, assured Our security, repaid the Mandate of Heaven and initiated a grand cause. You have pacified the nine provinces and established the rule of law within the Empire. Your merits are greater than those of Yi Yin and Duke Zhou yet your rewards are below those conferred on the lords of Qi and Jin; for this We fell self-reproach. We are an insignificant person. Living above the commoners of the Empire, We will enternally remember the harsh experiences We have suffered. They were indeed as though We were walking on the ice of a deep well. Without your help, We could not have prevailed. Now Hedong, Henei, Weijun, Zhaoguo, Zhongshan, Changshan, Julu, Anping, Ganling, Pingyuan of Jizhou, numbering ten commanderies, are conferred upon you as Duke of Wei. Wrap the black earth which is conferred with white thatch and consult the turtle oracle to select an auspicious date for the establishment of the clan and gods’ temples. In the Zhou dynasty, Duke Bi and Duke Mao were trusted officials within Court, Zhou and Hao were the Grand Master and Grand Guardian and outside Court were two barons. Their roles within and without court are most suitable for you to undertake. You are assigned as Lieutenant-chancellor and Governor of Jizhou as previously. You will also be conferred the Nine Distinctions and We anticipate that you will respect Our decree. You have established various policies of rites and laws as the standard of the commoners, so that they may pursue their vocations in peace; none of them are irresolute and restless. Hence you are conferred the Great Carriage and the War Carriage, one of each, with eight stallions of black and red. You encouraged men to work together and increased agricultural production. The peasants all labour industriously in their fields, grain and cloth are in great supply and the nation highly advanced. Hence you are conferred the Robes and Bonnet of Honour, with Red Shoes to match. You elevated the virtues of modesty and comity so that the commoners lead honest lives and are courteous to each other. There is order within the hierarchy. Hence you are conferred Three Suspended Musical Instruments and the Six Rows of Dancers. You elevated upright customs and teachings throughout the Empire. Those in faraway places have become benevolent from malicious. China is truly prosperous. Hence you are conferred the Vermillion Gate behind which to dwell. Your use of able men is considered and experienced, you understand things which even the ancient emperors would consider challenging. Those men of talent who have achieved excellence are certain to be recommended by you. Hence you are conferred the right of the Inner Staircases by which to ascend at court. You hold the power of the Empire and administer sternly deviations. Even thin instances of indecent thought are not missed in the reforms. Hence you are conferred the Gentlemen as Rapid as Tiger, numbering three hundred men. You are severe and enlightened in administering law, punishing the criminals. Of those who have committed treason, there is not one who is not punished by death. Hence you are conferred the Ceremonial and Battle Axes, one of each. You stride with the spirit of a dragon or tiger, surveying the eight directions, subduing the rebels, defeating enemies everywhere. Hence you are conferred one Scarlet Bow with a hundred Scarlet Arrows, and ten Black Bows with a thousand Black Arrows. You are warm and respectful by disposition, filially pious and friendly as virtues. You are wise and trustworthy, as well as honest, rendering Our heart to be moved. Hence you are conferred one goblet of the Black Millet Herb-flavoured Liquor, with a Jade Libation-cup to match. For Wei to assign a Lieutenant-chancellor and a hundred officials are all in line with the system of kings at the beginning of Han. We hope that after you return to your kingdom, you will respect Our decree and select and establish your subordinates to support you in all endeavours and to complete your merits; so that you may be worthy of Our Progenitor’s [Emperor Gaozu] glorious will.”
In the seventh month—autumn—the clan and gods’ temples of Wei were first constructed. The Son of Heaven took three daughters of the Duke as Honoured Ladies; the youngest stayed on in Wei kingdom until she came of age. In the ninth month, the Gold Tiger Terrace was constructed and a canal was opened to divert the waters of the Zhang through the Bai dyke into the He. In the tenth month—winter—Weijun was divided into east and west parts, each with a Chief Commandant assigned. In the eleventh month, the offices of the Masters of Writing, Palace Attendants and Six Ministers were assigned for the first time to the kingdom of Wei.
Ma Chao was at Hanyang and supported by the Qiang and Hu, created disorder. The Di King’s thousands revolted to back Ma Chao and garrisoned Xingguo. Xiahou Yuan was ordered to subdue them.
In the first month of the nineteenth year , the Duke ploughed the royal field for the first time. Zhao Qu of Nan’an, Yin Feng of Hanyang and others campaigned against Ma Chao and displayed the heads of his wife and sons on the ramparts. Ma Chao fled to Hanzhong. Han Sui was transferred to Jincheng, entered the divisions of the Di King and led the tens of thousands of Qiang and Hu cavalry to battle Xiahou Yuan. Xiahou Yuan attacked and greatly defeated the enemy. Han Sui fled to Xiping. Xiahou Yuan and various generals besieged Xingguo and massacred it. The commanderies of Andong and Yongyang were abolished.
Guanqiu Xing, Grand Administrator of Anding, was about to undertake his post and the Duke advised him: “The Qiang and Hu wish to cooperate with the Middle Kingdom. Their people will come to us. Whatever you do, do not sent someone to them. Benevolent people are hard to come by; anyone who is sent will teach the Qiang and Hu to raise unreasonable demands, so that they can profit personally. If we do not agree to such demands then they will be disappointed and if we agree it will be detrimental to us.” Upon arrival, Guanqiu Xing sent Colonel Fan Ling to the Qiang lands and sure enough Fan Ling taught the Qiang to recommend himself as Chief Commandant of the Dependent State. The Duke said: “I had foreseen this, not from any supernatural powers but merely from greater experience.
In the third month, the Son of Heaven established the Duke of Wei above all the kings, and changed his insignia to a seal of gold, with a red sash and a Cap of Distant Journeys.
In the seventh month—autumn—the Duke campaigned against Sun Quan.
Earlier, Song Jian of Longxi had proclaimed himself King Who Guards the River and Pacifies the Han and risen with his followers at Fuhan. For a period of thirty years, he had altered the reign year and appointed officials. Xiahou Yuan was sent from Xingguo to subdue the rebels. In the tenth month—winter—Fuhan fell and Song Jian was beheaded; Liangzhou was pacified.
The Duke returned from Hefei.
In the eleventh month, the Lady Fu, Empress of Han, was found to have written to her father, the former Colonel of the Garrison Cavalry, that the reigning Emperor hated the Duke for punishing Dong Cheng. Her words were poisoned and after being found out, she was desposed and executed. Her brothers received the same punishment.
In the twelfth month, the Duke reached Mengjin. The Son of Heaven allowed the Duke to assign warriors as escort when he travelled and to place musical bells in his palace. On the day of yiwei, the Duke decreed: “Those men who are virtuous may not necessarily be able to enter public service and those in public service are not necessarily virtuous. Was Chen Ping a virtuous man, or Su Qin a man to be trusted? Yet Chen Ping helped to establish the Empire of Han and Su Qin saved the ailing state of Yan. From this it can be seen that even though a man may have shortcomings, that is no reason not to employ him. The officials in power should consider this and in this way talented men will not be overlooked and the government wil not have wasted undertakings.” He also said: “The laws are in relation to the lives of the people yet there are those who administer law and punishment in the army who do not even hold any official position. I am extremely worried that the life and death of the soldiers of the three armies are in their hands. Men who are practiced in law should be selected to administer the law.” Subsequently the position of Official In Charge of Matters of Truth was established.
In the first month of the twentieth year —spring—the Son of Heaven made the Duke’s second daughter Empress. The commanderies of Yunzhong, Dingrang, Wuyuan, Shuofang were abolished. Each allotted a prefecture to administer the population and were combined to become Xinxing commandery.
In the third month, the Duke campaigned west against Zhang Lu, reached Chencang and personally advanced from Wudu into Dizhong. The Di tried to block the roads but Zhang He, Zhu Ling and others were sent to attack and defeated them. In the fourth month—summer—the Duke advanced from San Pass from Chencang and reached Hechi. The Di King, Douma’s tens of thousands of followers, relied on the difficulties of the terrain, refusing to submit. In the fifth month, the Duke besieged and felled them. The various generals of Xiping and Jincheng, Qu Yan, Jiang Shi and others, beheaded Han Sui and presented his head. In the seventh month—autumn—the Duke reached Yangping. Zhang Lu sent his younger brother Zhang Wei and the general Yang Ang and others to hold Yangping Pass and they constructed a ten-mile wall along the mountain ridges. Siege could not fell it and subsequently the army was forced to withdraw. The bandits saw that the great army had retreated and the defenders’ readiness waned. The Duke then covertly sent Jie Piao, Gao Zuo and others to assault the defences by night and greatly defeated the enemy. They beheaded the general Yang Ren and advanced on Zhang Wei. Zhang Wei and the others fled in the night. Zhang Lu broke the encirclement and fled to Bazhong. The Duke’s army entered Nanzheng and took all the treasures from Zhang Lu’s repository. Ba and Han surrendered. Hanning commandery was restored to Hanzhong and separated Anyang and Xicheng of Hanzhong to form Xicheng commandery with a grand administrator assigned. Xi and Shangyong were also separated, with a Chief Commandant assigned.
In the eighth month, Sun Quan surrounded Hefei. Zhang Liao and Li Dian attacked and defeated him.
In the ninth month, Fuhu, the king of the Seven Clan Barbarians of Ba, and Duhu, Marquis of Congyi, brought the Ba barbarians and the Cong commoners to submission. Then Bajun was divided; Fuhu was made Grand Administrator of Badong, and Duhu Grand Administrator of Baxi. All were enfeoffed as Full Marquises. The Son of Heaven conferred on the Duke the right to enfeoff lords, and assign Grand Administrators and Chancellors.
In the tenth month—winter—there were for the first time appointed the ranks from Marquises of Title to Quintuple Grandee, with the original six ranks of Full Marquis and Marquis of the Imperial Domain, as reward for military service.
In the eleventh month, Zhang Lu surrendered from Bazhong with his generals and remaining followers. Zhang Lu and his five sons were enfeoffed as Full Marquises. Liu Bei attacked Liu Zhang and took Yizhou, subsequently occupying Bazhong. Zhang He was sent to attack.
In the twelfth month, the Duke returned from Nanzheng and left Xiahou Yuan to garrison Hanzhong.
In the second month of the twenty-first year —spring—the Duke returned to Ye. On the day of renyin in the third month, the Duke personally ploughed the imperial field. In the fifth month—summer—the Son of Heaven advanced the Duke’s hereditary title to the King of Wei. The acting Shanyu of the Daijun Wuhuan, Pufulu and his lords came to court in tribute. The Son of Heaven decreed that the King’s daughters become princesses and that they could live from estates proceeds. In the seventh month—autumn—the Shanyu of the Southern Xiongnu Huchuquan and his kings came to court in tribute and were treated with the utmost courtesies. The King kept him at court and had the Qubei, Worthy King of the West, administer their kingdoms. In the eighth month, the Grand Judge Zhong You was made Chancellor of State.
In the tenth month—winter—military exercises were held by the King for the subsequent campaign against Sun Quan. In the eleventh month, he reached Qiao.
In the first month of the twenty-second year —spring—the King’s army was at Juchao. In the second month, the army advanced to garrison Haoxi, west of the Jiang. Sun Quan constructed a fortress at the mouth of Ruxu and defended it. Then the King besieged it and Sun Quan retreated. In the third month, the King led his army in withdrawal and left Xiahou Dun, Cao Ren, Zhang Liao and others to garrison Haoxi.
In the fourth month—summer—the Son of Heaven decreed that the King be granted the banners and flags of the Son of Heaven, and that when he travelled the roads should be cleared of all other traffic. In the fifth month, the Pan Palace was constructed. In the sixth month, the Master of the Army, Hua Xin, was made Imperial Clerk Grandee. In the tenth month—winter—the Son of Heaven decreed that the King should have a ceremonial cap with twelve strands of pearls, that he should ride in a gilded chariot drawn by six horses, and have chariots of the five seasons to escort him. The General of the Gentlemen of the Household for All Purposes, Cao Pi, was made Heir-apparent of Wei.
Liu Bei sent Zhang Fei, Ma Chao, Wu Lan and others to garrison Xiabian. Cao Hong was sent to counter them.
In the first month of the twenty-third year  the Prefect Grand Physician Jie Ben, Privy Treasurer Geng Ji, and the Director of Uprightness Wei Huang and others rebelled and besieged Xu, and razed the Regular Attendant of the Lieutenant Chancellor, Wang Bi’s barracks. Wang Bi and Yan Kuang, Yingchuan Director of Agriculture General of the Gentlemen of the Household, subdued and beheaded them.
Cao Hong defeated Wu Han and beheaded his general Ren Kui and others. In the third month, Zhang Fei and Mao Chao fled to Hanzhong. The Di of Yinping, Qiang Rui killed Wu Lan and presented his head.
In the fourth month—summer—Wuchendi and others of the Daijun and Shanggu Wuhuan revolted. Cao Zhang, Marquis of Yanling, subdued and defeated them.
In the sixth month, the King decreed: “In antiquity, those who were buried were all entombed where the earth was hard and infertile. The elevated area west of the West Gate should be drawn up to be my tomb. There is no need to plough the earth or plant trees. The Rites of Zhou recorded that the lords were buried at the left and right of the royal tomb as well as in front, whilst the trusted officials were buried behind. Those trusted officials and generals who have achieved merits may be buried at Shouling after they die. Shouling’s borders should be wide enough to accommodate them.”
In the seventh month—autumn—there were held military exercises for the subsequent western campaign against Liu Bei. In the ninth month, he reached Chang’an.
In the tenth month—winter—the officer of the garrison at Wan, Hou Yin, rebelled, arrested the Grand Administrator of Nanyang, subjugated the officials and commoners and defended Wan. Initially, Cao Ren campaigned against Guan Yu and garrisoned Fancheng. In that month he was ordered to surround Wan.
In the first month of the twenty-fourth  year, Wan fell to Cao Ren and Hou Yin was beheaded.
Xiahou Yuan battled Liu Bei at Yangping and was killed by Liu Bei. In the third month, the King advanced from Xie Gorge, ordered his army to secure strategic points, approached Hanzhong and subsequently reached Yangping. Liu Bei held out in the defence of the difficult terrain.
In the fifth month—summer—he led the army in withdrawal to Chang’an.
In the seventh month—autumn—Madam Bian was made Queen. Yu Jin was sent to aid Cao Ren in attacking Guan Yu. In the eighth month, the Han River broke its banks and flooded Yu Jin’s army. The army was swamped, Guan Yu captured Yu Jin and subsequently surrounded Cao Ren. Xu Huang was sent as reinforcement.
In the ninth month, the Wei Chancellor of State Zhong You was dismissed from office because he was implicated in the conspiracy of Wei Feng to rebel.
In the tenth month—winter—the army returned to Luoyang. Sun Quan sent an emissary with a memorial expressing a wish to subdue Guan Yu. The King was about to set out south from Luoyang to campaign against Guan Yu but before he left Xu Huang had besieged Guan Yu and defeated him. Guan Yu retreated and the siege of Cao Ren was unravelled. The King’s army was at Mobei.
In the first month of the twenty-fifth year —spring—the King reached Luoyang. Sun Quan attacked and beheaded Guan Yu, presenting his head.
On the day of gengzi, the King passed away at Luoyang at the age of sixty six. His testament read: “At present the Empire is not yet secure, thus ancient rites cannot be strictly followed. After my burial, funeral attire should be discarded. The troops and those garrisoning the frontiers should not leave their garrisons. The officials of every rank should continue to undertake their duties. I shall wear everyday clothing on entombment, without burial of treasures of gold and jade.” He received the posthumous appellation of ‘King Wu’. On the day of dingmao he was entombed at Gaoling.
Appraisal: “At the end of the Han, the Empire was in great turmoil; despots and heroes rose. Yuan Shao occupied four provinces and eyed the rest as a tiger eyeing its prey. His power was commanding and none could oppose him. The Grand Progenitor demonstrated strategy in unifying the Empire. He employed the legalism of Shen Buhai and Shang Yang to administer the state. He possessed the extraordinary tactics of Han Xin and Bai Qi and had their ability for managing the gifted for official positions. He could choose according to the abilities and sentiments of each of man, with consideration of their acumen but without reference to their grievances in the past. In the finality, he was able gain control of Imperial power and complete the grand undertaking because he possessed exceptional wisdom and strategy. Thus it can be said that the Grand Progenitor was an extraordinary figure, undoubtedly a prominent hero of his times.
Copyright © 2002 Jack Yuan. All Rights Reserved.
Translated from Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi