Encyclopedia: Sun Jian

Sun Jian (Wentai); Sun Chien (Wên-t‘-ai); 孫堅 (文台)

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You are viewing the profile of Sun Jian (孫堅), styled Wentai (文台), born in Fu Chun County, Wu Prefecture (Presently Fu Yang, Zhe Jiang Province). “Father of Sun Ce, Sun Quan, and the kingdom of Wu.” Sun Jian was affiliated with the Han Dynasty, Yuan Shu and the Wu Kingdom. Return to the Three Kingdoms Encyclopedia to learn more or explore our Encyclopedia Directory to browse by kingdom or category.


Sun Jian (Wentai) 孫堅 (文台)

Lived: AD 155–192


Served: Han, Yuan Shu, Wu

Father of Sun Ce, Sun Quan, and the kingdom of Wu.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: Sun Chien (Wên-t‘-ai)
Simplified Chinese: 孙坚 (文台)
Pronunciation: Sun1 Jian1 (Wen2tai2Pronunciation
Min-Nan: Sun Kian (Bun-tay)

Birthplace: Fu Chun County, Wu Prefecture
(Presently Fu Yang, Zhe Jiang Province)

Rank and Titles

Major of the Commandery; Assistant Prefect of Yandu (AD 172); Assistant Prefect of Xuyi; Assistant Prefect of Xiapi; Major with a Separate Command. (AD 184); Gentleman-Consultant; Grand Administrator of Changsha; Marquis of Wucheng; General Who Routs the Caitiffs, Inspector of Yu Province; Emperor Wulie (posthumous)

Family and Relationships

Lady Wu, Wu Guotai [Lady Wu] ƒ (Wives); Sun Ce, Sun Quan, Sun Yi, Sun Kuang, Sun Lang (Sons); Lady Sun [Sun Shangxiang], one married to Pan Yi, one married to Hong Zi (Daughter); Sun Qiang (Twin Brother); Sun Jing (Brother); one married to Xu Zhen (Younger Sister); Sun Deng, Sun Lü, Sun He, Sun Ba, Sun Fen, Sun Xiu, Sun Liang, Sun Luban, Sun Luyu (Grandchildren); Sun Hao (Great Grandchildren); Sun Ben, Sun Fu, Sun Hao, Sun Yu, Sun Jiao, Sun Huan, Sun Qian (Nephews); Da Qiao, Lady Wang of Langya, Lady Wang of Nanyang, Lady Xu, Lady Xie, Lady Pan, Lady Bu, Lady Yuan (Daughter-in-laws); Yuan Shu (Relative In-laws)

Fact vs. Fiction

Differences Between Fact and Common Fiction

  • Sun Jian gave the Imperial Seal to Yuan Shu after finding it in a well. He did not hold the Seal for himself.
  • During the coalition against Dong Zhuo, Sun Jian served as a subordinate of Yuan Shu, not as himself.
  • Sun Jian did not withdraw from the anti-Dong Zhuo alliance, but rather was the only general to achieve success in the operations.
  • Sun Jian attacked Liu Biao on Yuan Shu’s orders, not because Liu Biao attacked first. In addition, during this time, Sun Jian was based in Henan, not Changsha as the novel states.
  • Sun Jian never killed the fictional Chen Sheng.
  • The ‘Magnificent Five of Wu’ is a fan creation with no historical basis. Sun Jian was not a part of any such group.

Literary Appearances

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: 2, 5, 6, 7, 8, 15, 21, 39, 42, 46, 82, 120

Sanguozhi: Wu 1, Wu 2

Zizhi tongjian: 59-63

Search Results

Was Sun Jian China’s Best General… when He Died?
Date: 09/18     Replies: 17
Who Did Most to Establish Wu:Sun Jian, Sun Ce, or Sun Quan?
Date: 08/10     Replies: 84
Were Sun Jian and Dong Zhuo Friends?
Date: 03/10     Replies: 11
Sun Jian "Collecting Arrows" in Chapter 7 of SGYY
Date: 11/08     Replies: 11
Isn’t Sun Jian Overrated?
Date: 04/08     Replies: 104
Who’s Better Sun Jian or Cao Cao?
Date: 02/08     Replies: 37
Could Sun Jian Get Wu As Sun Ce Did ..
Date: 12/07     Replies: 10
Sun Jian and the Alliance Against Dong Zhuo
Date: 06/07     Replies: 8
Wang Rui, Cao Yin and Sun Jian
Date: 01/07     Replies: 21
If Sun Jian Lived
Date: 10/05     Replies: 18
What if Su Fei Killed Sun Jian?
Date: 10/04     Replies: 7
Who Would Sun Jian Serve?
Date: 05/04     Replies: 8
Sun Jian (history)
Date: 05/04     Replies: 28
Lady Sun and Sun Jian
Date: 04/04     Replies: 23
Sun Jian
Date: 08/02     Replies: 73


Sun Jian SGYY Bio
Date: 10/03     Replies: 9

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Internet (Trusted)

Sun Jian gained fame in his youth for a daring attack on a group of pirates and then for defeating the rebel Xu Chang. Made Zhu Jun’s Associate Major during the Yellow Turban rebellion, gathering a thousand men and matchless in deed, he was first over the walls at Wancheng.

Sun Jian fought against Bian Zhang in Liang under Zhang Wen and defeated Ou Xing and his allies, for which Wentai was enoffed as Marquis of Wucheng. Sun Jian raised troops against Dong Zhuo, executing Wang Rui and Zhang Zi along the way before meeting up with Yuan Shu. Sun Jian met with great success against the Imperial Army, killing Hua Xiong in the process and was the first into Luo Yang.

Sun Jian was sent against Liu Biao by Yuan Shu where he defeated Huang Zu but was soon killed by an arrow in uncertain circumstances.



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February 17, 2023