Encyclopedia: Tadun

Tadun; T‘atun; 蹋顿

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Tadun 蹋顿

Lived: AD ?–c.207

None Available

Served: Wuhuan

A Wuhuan chief. Slain in battle with Zhang Liao’s troops.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: T‘atun
Simplified Chinese: 蹋顿
Pronunciation: Ta4 Dun4

Other Names: King Tadun, King Mao Dun, Mao Dun

Name Notes: Mistranslated as ‘Mao Dun’ in the online Brewitt-Taylor translation.

Rank and Titles

Shanyu of Liaoxi

Family and Relationships

Supuyan (Countryman)

Literary Appearances

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: 33, 40

Sanguozhi: Wei 1, Wei 11, Wei 14, Wei 17


Source Undefined

Ta Dun was the nephew of King Qiuliju of the Wuhuan, and rose to power when his uncle died and his uncle’s son was too young to rule. After gaining authority over Wuhuan chieftains Nanlou, Supuyan and Wuyan, Ta Dun aligned himself with Yuan Shao and had the Wuhuan help Yuan Shao in Shao’s war against Gongsun Zan. For this deed the Wuhuan chieftains, including Ta Dun, received imperial seals and ribbons from Yuan Shao. When King Qiuliju’s son came of age, the many chieftains of the Wuhuan decided to appoint him as another powerful chief and have Ta Dun become king of the Wuhuan domains in Liaoxi, while the rest of the tribal chiefs kept their semi-autonomous authority in Bei Ping and other regions.

Following Ta Dun’s ascension to become king, relations between Yuan Shao and the Wuhuan became very close. Yuan Shao would have the daughters of several of his vassals become the wives of Wuhuan chieftains, and the Wuhuan essentially worked as horsemen mercenaries for Yuan Shao. The Wuhuan horsemen were called the ‘greatest cavalry under heaven’ later on, and under Yuan Shao’s guidance they were frequently sent to raid and pillage other Han territories. They kidnapped many people and were at the height of their power when Yuan Shao was still alive. When Yuan Shao died, the Wuhuan continued their alliance with his son Yuan Shang.

Unfortunately Yuan Shang was defeated many times by Cao Cao. When Yuan Shang fled to the territories of Ta Dun, Ta Dun attempted to win back territory for Yuan Shang but to no avail. Cao Cao, the chief enemy of Yuan Shang, was advised by his strategist Guo Jia to wage war against the Wuhuan barbarians. Ta Dun and other chieftains such as Supuyan and Louban (the now mature son of King Qiuliju) realized that Cao Cao was going to attack them a little bit late, but the Wuhuan still managed to muster up thousands of cavalry to oppose Cao Cao on Mount Bolang. There, in pitched battle, Cao Cao’s officer Zhang Liao led Cao Cao’s vanguard and defeated Ta Dun by exploiting a weak point in the Wuhuan barbarian’s formation. Ta Dun would be slain in the battle along with tons of Wuhuan barbarians. Supuyan, one of the surviving Wuhuan chieftains of the fight, would later flee with Yuan Shang and Yuan Tan to the lands of Gongsun Kang. Gongsun Kang pretended to support the three warlords but later executed all of them and sent their heads to Cao Cao.



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April 10, 2023