Biography (SGZ): Zhu Ran (Yifeng)

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Zhu Ran (Yifeng)

Sanguozhi Officer Biography
translated by Duke of Goats

Zhu Ran, styled Yifeng, was son of sister of Zhu Zhi. He was originally called Shi Ran. Earlier on, Zhu Zhi didn’t have a son, he was thus adopted by Zhi at age 13. When he was young, he studied together with Sun Quan, and hence became very good friends. When Sun Quan became the ruler, Zhu Zhi was 19 at the time, Sun Quan was amazed at Zhu Ran’s abilities and appointed him to be governor of Danyang. He was later given 2,000 men to settle some mountain bandits, claimed victory within 1 month. Cao Cao invaded Ruxu, Zhu Ran managed to race time and constructed the fortifications before Cao’s arrival. He was promoted to General of Pian for this. In AD 219, he participated in Lü Meng’s invasion of Jingzhou, Zhu Ran captured Guan Yu in Linju.

On Lü Meng’s deathbed, Sun Quan asked Meng, "Who should I appoint as commander after you?" Meng replied, "Zhu Ran is the capable one." After Meng died, Sun Quan appointed Zhu Ran as governor of Jiangling. In AD 222, Liu Bei lead an angry revenging army to attack Wu. Zhu Ran fought under Lu Xun, he was given only 5,000 men, Ran crushed Liu Bei’s spearhead, pursued Liu Bei’s retreating army, and cut down several of Shu supply lines. He was appointed to be Marquis of Yong’an, General of Zhengbei.

In AD 223, Cao Pi sent Cao Zhen, Xiahou Shang and Zhang He to attack Jiangling. Situations were getting desparate, Sun Quan send Sun Sheng, Pan Zhang and Yang Yue to reinforce Jiangling, but efforts were in vain. Many of Jiangling’s officers were seeking to defect to Wei. Zhu Ran killed Yao Tai (the leader of defecting officers), and settled the morale. He managed to held off the Wei siege for six months. Wei ultimately retreated as a consequence of food shortage. Thus, Zhu Ran’s reputation was spread amongst Wei ranks.

In AD 229, Zhu Ran was promoted to General of Piaoji upon Sun Quan’s declaration of emperor. Once, Wei generals Pu Zhong and Hu Zhi, assaulted Zhu Ran each leading a few thousand men. Zhu Ran only had 800 men at camp at the time, and fought off the invaders.

Upon Lu Xun’s death, he was appointed as the Great General, his duties shifted more toward the political side. He ran Wu court for several years with Zhuge Jin’s son Zhuge Ke and Bu Zhi’s son Bu Xie. The final years of Zhu Ran, when he was constantly ill, Sun Quan lost many pounds from worry and loss of sleep. Zhu Ran’s funeral was believed to be third largest funerals in Wu history (amongst Wu servants), after Lü Meng and Ling Tong.

Duke of Goats: Chen Shou gave many positive opinions of Zhu Ran, in particular on his method of managing his army. He developed new weaponries, and never lived in luxury. When he’s on the battle field, he would always maintain calm and clear minded. When he’s off battlefield, he would still stay alert, never let things lose. Thus, he claimed many victories against his opponents.

Copyright © 2002 - 2003 Duke of Goats
Translated from Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi