Biography (SGZ): Wen Ping (Zhongye)

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Wen Ping (Zhongye)
文聘 (仲業)
Lifespan Unlisted

Sanguozhi Officer Biography
Pei Songzhi in Blue, Translator Notes in Green
Translated by Stephen So

Wen Pin, styled Zhongye, was from Wan in Nanyang. He was a prominent general under Liu Biao and was tasked with defending the north. Liu Biao then died and his son, Liu Cong, succeeded. The Grand Ancestor (Cao Cao) led an punitive expedition against Jingzhou and Liu Cong offered the region in surrender, calling upon Wen Pin to submit with him, but Wen Pin replied, “Pin was unable to safeguard the region and so I wait for punishment.” It was when the Grand Ancestor crossed the Han river that Wen Pin went to see him. The Grand Ancestor asked, “Why have you come this late?” Wen Pin replied, “Formerly, I was unable to assist Liu Jingzhou (Liu Biao) to serve the state. Even though [Liu] Jingzhou had died, I still intended to guard the Han River (chuan), safeguarding the land and its borders; if I live, I would not let down the weak and lonely; if I die, I would not feel ashamed buried beneath the ground. But now I have no alternative, so thus I have come here. The truth is I feel very sad and ashamed and had no face to come here earlier.” Wen Pin then sobbed and wept. The Grand Ancestor felt sorry for him, saying to him, “Zhongye, you are such a loyal vassal”, and conferred to him many gifts. He was given some troops and dispatched with Cao Chun to pursue Liu Bei at Changban. The Grand Ancestor had Jingzhou settled but Jiangxia was connected to Wu and the people there felt uneasy, and so he sent Wen Pin to serve as Governor (taishou) there. Later he was put in charge of the northern army, then later he gave up this position to work on side matters, and then conferred as Marquis Within the Imperial Domain (guannei hou). Together with Yue Jin, Wen Pin led a punitive expedition against Guan Yu at Xunkou where he succeeded. He was conferred as Marquis of Yanshou village (Yanshou tinghou) and General Who Exterminates Rebels (taoni jiangjun). Again, he went and attacked Guan Yu’s supplies at Hanjin, burning his boats at Jingcheng. The Scholar Emperor (Cao Pi) conferred him as Marquis of Changan county (changan xian hou). Wen Pin, together with Xiahou Shang, surrounded Jiangling. Wen Pin was also was sent to station in Miankou where he resisted some bandits. He was made General of the Rear (houjiangjun) and Marquis of Xinye (xinye hou). Sun Quan with fifty thousand troops surrounded Wen Pin at Danyang. Wen Pin was greatly worried and strongly kept to his defenses, without offering battle. Sun Quan was present there for twenty or so days before he withdrew. Wen Pin then pursued Sun Quan and defeated him. (1) His fief was increased by five hundred households, up from the previous figure of one thousand, nine hundred households.

1: Wei Lue: Sun Quan came with several tens of thousands of troops. At the time, there was a large amount of rain and the city walls were weakened. The common people were leisurely plowing in the fields and there was no-one repairing. When Wen Pin heard of Sun Quan’s arrival, he did not know what to do. He thought of a plan of concealment and make it seem there was no one there, thus raising suspicions. So he gave orders to the people of the city to hide from view while Wen Pin himself lied down in his own residence with no intention of getting up. As predicted, Sun Quan became suspicious and said to his subordinates, “The north considers this person as a loyal vassal and has sent him to this prefecture. Now I have come but he has not acted. If he has no secret plan, then he certainly must have outside support.” Sun Quan dared not attack but withdrew.

[Pei Songzhi:] Wei Lue’s account of this event contradicts that of this SGZ biography.

Wen Pin stayed in Jiangxia for several decades. His rule of mighty as well as kind, enough to shake the enemy state. Also bandits dared not cause trouble. His fief was divided and his son, Wen Dai, conferred as Marquis (liehou). His second cousin, Wen Hou, was conferred as Marquis of the Imperial Domain (guannei hou). When Wen Pin died, he was given the posthumous title, Marquis of Strength (zhuanghou). Wen Dai also died early so Wen Pin’s adopted son, Wen Xiu inherited the title. After he died, his son, Wen Wu continued.

In the middle of [the reign of] Jiaping [AD 249–254], Huan Yu of the Qiao prefecture became Governor (taishou) of Jiangxia. He was pure, frugal, and mighty so was second only to Wen Pin.

Copyright © ~2000 Stephen So. All Rights Reserved.
Translated from Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi with Pei Songzhi’s Commentary