Encyclopedia: Zhao Yu

Zhao Yu (Triệu Ẩu); Chao Yü; 趙嫗

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You are viewing the profile of Zhao Yu (Triệu Ẩu) (趙嫗) born in Son Trung Village in Trieu Son District, Thanh Hoa Province (present day Northern Vietnam). “Trieu Au, female warrior of the Nanyue tribe. Rebelled against Wu. Defeated by Lu Yin.” Zhao Yu (Triệu Ẩu) may not have existed in history. Return to the Three Kingdoms Encyclopedia to learn more or explore our Encyclopedia Directory to browse by kingdom or category.


Zhao Yu (Triệu Ẩu) 趙嫗


Lived: AD 225–248

None Available

Served: Miscellaneous

Trieu Au, female warrior of the Nanyue tribe. Rebelled against Wu. Defeated by Lu Yin.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: Chao Yü
Simplified Chinese: 赵妪
Pronunciation: Zhao4 Yu4  Pronunciation
Cantonese (Yale): Jiu Yu
Cantonese (Jyutpin): Ziu Jyu

Birthplace: Son Trung Village in Trieu Son District, Thanh Hoa Province
(present day Northern Vietnam)

Other Names: Trieu Au (Triệu Ẩu), Lady Trieu

Name Notes: Known to the Vietnamese as Trieu Thi Trinh (Triệu Thị Trinh) or Trieu Au (Triệu Ẩu; Lady Trieu). I have pronounced the Chinese Zhao Yu, but dont know how to pronounce the Viet.

Family and Relationships

Zhao Guoda (Triệu Quốc Đạt) (Brother)

Fact vs. Fiction

Differences Between Fact and Common Fiction

  • While a revolt did occur in AD 248, no mention of Trieu Au appears in historic documents until the late Ming Dynasty. It is quite possible that she is a fictional character of folklore.
  • One accounting of her death states that she was tampled by elephants, but it is more commonly accepted that she drown herself to avoid the disgrace of being captured.

Search Results

Trieu Au—Female Heroine
Date: 11/06     Replies: 41


Internet (Consistent)

Zhao Yu, sometimes called Trieu Thi Trinh, Trieu Au or Ba Trieu by the Vietnamese, was a brave woman of great ability in martial arts born in Son Trung village (Trieu Son District) on October 2nd, AD 225. According to legend, Zhao Yu and her brother, Zhao Guoda (referred to as Trieu Quoc Dat by the Vietnamese), led a rebellion against the Chinese Wu ruler in AD 248. Riding to battle on a grand elephant, donning golden armor and carrying a sword in each hand, Zhao Yu inspired fear in her enemies in every battle she fought in. After her brother was slain in a skirmish with Wu, Zhao Yu became the sole leader of the rebellion while she was only in her 20s. Supposedly Zhao Yu managed to win over 30 battles against her Chinese foes. Defeated at last by the Wu general Lu Yin, Zhao Yu allegedly fled into the mountains and disappeared (although some stories state that she instead drowned herself after being defeated).

Historically a revolt did occur in AD 248 in Wu’s Jiao commandery (which today contains part of Northern Vietnam). Because Lu Yin quashed this mutiny relatively swiftly, however, it is probable that if Zhao Yu did win any fights against Wu, she only won a few small engagements before being decisively beaten. Chinese histories (including the Sanguozhi) make no mention of Zhao Yu, and she is not mentioned in Vietnamese histories written before the late Ming and Qing in which mentioned leaders include Gao Liang, Qu Shuai, and Huang Wu. She does appear in many modern Vietnamese histories.

Because no official Chinese records reference Zhao Yu, some historians even go so far as to contend that she is a fictional folk-hero. Other people argue that Zhao Yu is not listed in many existing primary records because revolts show the weakness of an Empire and the Wu kingdom did not want to draw attention to its problems. Regardless, Zhao Yu is revered by the Vietnamese as a great ancient heroine. She is often compared to Joan of Arc.



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April 10, 2023