Encyclopedia: Ma Midi

Ma Midi (Wengshu); Ma Miti (Wêng-shu); 馬日磾 (翁叔)

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You are viewing the profile of Ma Midi (馬日磾), styled Wengshu (翁叔), born in Youfufeng. “Sent as envoy to stop the war between Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan.” Ma Midi was affiliated with Dong Zhuo and the Han Dynasty. Return to the Three Kingdoms Encyclopedia to learn more or explore our Encyclopedia Directory to browse by kingdom or category.


Ma Midi (Wengshu) 馬日磾 (翁叔)

Lived: AD ?–194

None Available

Served: Dong Zhuo, Han

Sent as envoy to stop the war between Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: Ma Miti (Wêng-shu)
Simplified Chinese: 马日磾 (翁叔)
Pronunciation: Ma3 Mi4di1 (Weng1shu1)
Cantonese (Yale): Ma Yatdai (Yung-suk)
Cantonese (Jyutpin): Maa Jatdai (Jung-suk)

Birthplace: Youfufeng

Rank and Titles

Counsellor Remonstrant; Colonel of the Archers Who Shoot at a Sound; Grand Commandant; Grand Master of Ceremonies; Grand Commandant; Grand Tutor

Family and Relationships

Ma Rong (Ancestor)

Literary Appearances

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: 7, 9


Historic (Confirmed)

Ma Midi was a Late-Han scholar. As a peer of Cai Yong’s, he collaborated with him on several occasions. For instance, he was one of several men who proposed that the 5 Confucian classics be engraved in stone. He helped to work on this project, which was finished in AD 183. He played a major role in compiling a history of the Han entitled Han ji (also called Dongguan Hanji), again in collaboration with Cai Yong and several other noted scholars. During the tenure of Emperor Ling, Ma Midi was sometimes consulted as an interpreter of a number of portents. Ma Midi held a number of ranks during the Han dynasty. He was, for instance, a colonel of the Northern Army, Minister of Ceremonies, and Grand Commandment. He continued holding office during Dong Zhuo’s reign as Prime Minister and during Li Jue’s rule over Chang’an.

After Dong Zhuo was assassinated, Wang Yun took over the government and threw Ma Midi’s colleague Cai Yong in prison for showing remorse for Dong Zhuo’s death. This action was contested by Ma Midi and others as being unjust. Ma Midi argued that Cai Yong was compiling an important work of history that he should be allowed to finish. Wang Yun challenged this by stating that the Han scholar Sima Qian had written an account of history that slandered the Han Emperor Wu on several occasions. If Emperor Wu had executed Sima Qian for an earlier fault, such a work would not exist. In the end, Wang Yun wished to avoid any sort of similar “slander,” and kept Cai Yong in prison. Cai Yong died there.

Following the coup d’etat of sorts by Li Jue, Guo Si and others, Ma Midi attained the rank of Grand Tutor. His final major deed was to go try to forge an alliance between Li Jue and the numerous warlords who had formerly opposed Dong Zhuo. However, during the trip, Yuan Shu took Ma Midi hostage. While in Yuan Shu’s custody, Ma Midi became ill and died.

Sources: A Biographical Dictionary of the Late-Han to Three Kingdoms by Dr. Rafe de Crespigny, Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling-Chapter 57 by Dr. Rafe de Crespigny, To Establish Peace-Chapter 60 by Dr. Rafe de Crespigny



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April 10, 2023