Encyclopedia: Liu Tao

Liu Tao (Ziqi); Liu T‘ao (Tzŭ-ch‘i); 劉陶 (子奇)

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You are viewing the profile of Liu Tao (劉陶), styled Ziqi (子奇), born in Yingchuan. “Accused the eunuchs of bringing down the Han and was murdered.” Liu Tao was affiliated with and the Han Dynasty. Return to the Three Kingdoms Encyclopedia to learn more or explore our Encyclopedia Directory to browse by kingdom or category.


Liu Tao (Ziqi) 劉陶 (子奇)

Lived: AD ?–185

None Available

Served: Han

Accused the eunuchs of bringing down the Han and was murdered.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: Liu T‘ao (Tzŭ-ch‘i)
Simplified Chinese: 刘陶 (子奇)

Birthplace: Yingchuan

Other Names: Liu Taotu, Liu Wei

Rank and Titles

County Magistrate in Runan; Clerk for Excellency; Imperial Clerk of the Censorate; Marquis; Palace Attendant; Counsellor Remonstrant

Literary Appearances

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: 2


Historic (Confirmed)

Liu Tao claimed descent from royalty and was a scholar and official during the Late-Han. During the 150s he studied at the Imperial University in Luoyang. In 153, he successfully protested against the imprisonment of Zhu Mu, the Inspector of Ji province. He continued to be involved in politics thereafter, being nominated Filial and Incorrupt eventually. The government appointed him to be a magistrate in Runan, which he administered with great success. After retiring from this position, Liu Tao continued to play a role in politics at court. In particular, he warned the Emperor about both the Yellow Scarves and the eunuchs. Attacking the latter eventually cost Liu Tao his life. The eunuchs accused him of various crimes and had him tortured to death.

During his lifetime, Liu Taotu wrote several commentaries and treatises. He argued in favor of the works of Laozi and Mencius and against the Legalist doctrine of Han Feizi. His commentaries on the History and Chunqiu were thousands of characters long. He wrote severalother political and scholarly works as well. (De Crespigny 548)


De Crespigny, Rafe. A Biographical Dictionary of Later-Han to the Three Kingdoms (AD 23–220. Leiden: Brill, 2007. Print.



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April 10, 2023