|Minister Coachman (太僕)|
|Administrator of Wei Commandery |
212 or after –?
|Chief Clerk (長史)|
(under Cao Cao)
|Monarch||Emperor Xian of Han|
|Courtesy name||Zini (子尼)|
Guo Yuan (fl. 190s – 210s), courtesy name Zini, was an official and scholar serving under the warlord Cao Cao in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.
A courtesy name, also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.
Cao Cao, courtesy name Mengde, was a Chinese warlord and the penultimate Chancellor of the Eastern Han dynasty who rose to great power in the final years of the dynasty. As one of the central figures of the Three Kingdoms period, he laid the foundations for what was to become the state of Cao Wei and ultimately the Jin dynasty, and was posthumously honoured as "Emperor Wu of Wei". He is often portrayed as a cruel and merciless tyrant in subsequent literature; however, he has also been praised as a brilliant ruler and military genius who treated his subordinates like his family.
Guo Yuan was from Gai County (蓋縣), Le'an Commandery (樂安郡), which is around present-day Shouguang, Shandong. In his younger days, he studied under the tutelage of the Confucian scholar Zheng Xuan.At the time, although Guo Yuan was a nobody, Zheng Xuan regarded him highly and once said, "Guo Zini is a beautiful talent. After observing him, I am sure that in the future he will become an important subject of the state."
Shouguang is a county-level city in the north-central part of Shandong Province, China, situated on the southwest shore of the Laizhou Bay. Under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Weifang, it has 1,139,454 people residing within the municipality and its surrounding towns and villages as of the 2010 Census, even though the built-up area is much smaller.
Shandong is a coastal province of the People's Republic of China, and is part of the East China region.
Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a way of life, Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
When the Yellow Turban Rebellion broke out in 184, Guo Yuan, along with Bing Yuan, Guan Ning and others, fled north to Liaodong Commandery (遼東郡; around present-day Liaoyang, Liaoning) to evade the chaos.While living in the countryside of Liaodong, Guo Yuan earned a reputation as a well-read Confucian scholar and gained much prestige among the literati after he frequently gave public lectures.
The Yellow Turban Rebellion, also translated as the Yellow Scarves Rebellion, was a peasant revolt in China against the Eastern Han dynasty. The uprising broke out in 184 AD during the reign of Emperor Ling. Although the main rebellion was suppressed by 185 AD, pockets of resistance continued and smaller rebellions emerged in later years. It took 21 years until the uprising was fully suppressed in 205 AD. The rebellion, which got its name from the colour of the cloths that the rebels wore on their heads, marked an important point in the history of Taoism due to the rebels' association with secret Taoist societies. The revolt was also used as the opening event in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Guan Ning (158–241), courtesy name You'an, was a writer and scholar of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was from Zhuxu County (朱虛縣), Beihai Commandery (北海郡), which is near present-day Linqu County, Shandong. His father died when he was 16. He was friends with Hua Xin and Bing Yuan (邴原).
Liaodong Commandery was a commandery in imperial China that existed from the Warring States period to the Northern dynasties. It was located in modern Liaoning, to the east of the Liao River.
After returning to his native commandery sometime between 196 and 208,Guo Yuan served as an assistant official under the warlord Cao Cao, who controlled the Han central government and the figurehead Emperor Xian. He was known for being very outspoken and direct, but honest and impartial, whenever he spoke up during debates in the imperial court.
Emperor Xian of Han, personal name Liu Xie, courtesy name Bohe, was the 14th and last emperor of the Eastern Han dynasty in China. He reigned from 28 September 189 until 11 December 220.
When Cao Cao implemented the tuntian system of agriculture, he put Guo Yuan in charge of supervising the implementation of the policy. Guo Yuan performed his role well and achieved commendable results. He assessed the costs and benefits, conducted a population census and divided the land into smaller units accordingly, appointed officials to oversee the various units, and established a clear set of rules and regulations governing the entire system. Within five years, the granaries were fully stocked with food supplies and the people got along with their livelihoods.
The tuntian system was a state-promoted system of agriculture which originated in the Western Han dynasty. It was extensively used towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty when the warlord Cao Cao was the de facto head of the Han central government.
In 211,when Cao Cao personally led his forces on a campaign in the Guanzhong region, he appointed Guo Yuan as his Chief Clerk (長史) and ordered him to remain behind to oversee the daily activities of the Imperial Chancellor's office.
The Battle of Tong Pass, also known as the Battle of Weinan, was fought between the warlord Cao Cao and a coalition of forces from Guanxi between April and November 211 in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. The battle was initiated by Cao Cao's western expansion, which triggered uprisings in Guanxi. Cao Cao scored a decisive victory over the Guanxi coalition and established a hold of the Guanzhong region.
Guanzhong, or Guanzhong Plain, is a historical region of China corresponding to the lower valley of the Wei River. It is called Guanzhong or 'within the passes', as opposed to 'Guandong' or 'east of the pass', i.e., the North China Plain. The North China Plain is bordered on the west by mountains. The Yellow River cuts through the mountains at the Hangu Pass or Tong Pass separating Guanzhong from Guandong.
In the following year,Guo Yuan assisted the general Cao Ren in suppressing a rebellion by Tian Yin (田銀) and Su Bo (蘇伯) in Hejian Commandery (河間郡; around present-day Cangzhou, Hebei). After the revolt was crushed, many rebels were rounded up and sentenced to death. Guo Yuan advised Cao Cao to grant clemency to those rebels because they were not the masterminds. Cao Cao approved. Over 1,000 rebels were spared due to Guo Yuan's effort. At the time, it was not uncommon for officials to exaggerate their achievements in the reports they submitted after winning battles or suppressing rebellions. Guo Yuan, however, gave the exact figures in his report. When a surprised Cao Cao asked him why, Guo Yuan said that it was not something he was proud of because the rebellion was a sign of government failure. Cao Cao was so pleased when he heard what Guo Yuan said that he promoted him to be the Administrator (太守) of Wei Commandery (魏郡; around present-day Handan, Hebei).
During Guo Yuan's tenure in Wei Commandery, there was an incident where an anonymous person wrote libelous pamphlets and circulated them. Cao Cao, who hated defamatory behaviour, ordered Guo Yuan to investigate and find out who the culprit was. Guo Yuan kept the pamphlets and ordered his subordinates to keep it secret. After examining the pamphlets, he realised that they contained lines from the two "Metropolis Rhapsodies". He instructed one of his subordinates: "Wei Commandery is a big commandery. Even though it is a capital city, there are few scholars living here. These pamphlets can serve as something for the young to study. I want you to find three persons to study under the scholars." After his subordinate found him three young men, Guo Yuan told them, "You still have much to learn. The two "Metropolis Rhapsodies" are important works of literature, yet they are often neglected and very few scholars understand them. You should find a scholar who understands the two "Metropolis Rhapsodies" and ask him to teach you." He then secretly gave them other instructions. The three men found a scholar who was well-versed in the two "Metropolis Rhapsodies", got him to write an article, and passed it to Guo Yuan. Guo Yuan compared the scholar's handwriting with the handwriting in the pamphlets and saw that they were similar. He then arrested and questioned the scholar, who admitted that he was the culprit and confessed everything.
Guo Yuan was later promoted to the position of Minister Coachman (太僕) in the imperial court. Although he was a high-ranking minister, he led a simple and frugal lifestyle, and was known for being polite and humble towards everyone. He never accumulated any personal wealth and instead used it to help his relatives, friends and acquaintances in need. He died in officemost probably before the end of the Eastern Han dynasty in 220.
Guo Yuan had a son, Guo Tai (國泰). After Guo Yuan's death, Cao Cao recruited Guo Tai to serve as a government official.
Xiahou Dun, courtesy name Yuanrang, was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He served for a few months under Cao Cao's successor, Cao Pi, before his death. As one of Cao Cao's most trusted generals, Xiahou Dun aided the warlord in his campaigns against Lü Bu, Liu Bei, Sun Quan and others.
Xiahou Yuan, courtesy name Miaocai, was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He is known for his exploits in western China in the 210s, during which he defeated Cao Cao's rivals Ma Chao and Han Sui in Liang Province and the surrounding areas, and forced several Di and Qiang tribal peoples into submission. He was killed in action at the Battle of Mount Dingjun while defending Hanzhong Commandery from attacks by a rival warlord Liu Bei. Xiahou Yuan's death was highly dramatised in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, in which he was slain by Liu Bei's general Huang Zhong during a surprise raid.
Cao Ren, courtesy name Zixiao, was a military general serving during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China under the warlord Cao Cao, who was also his older second cousin.. He continued serving in the state of Cao Wei – founded by Cao Cao's son and successor, Cao Pi – during the Three Kingdoms period. He played a significant part in assisting Cao Cao in the civil wars leading to the end of the Han dynasty. He was appointed as the Grand Marshal (大司馬) when Cao Pi ascended the throne, and was also credited by the latter for the establishment of Wei. However, Cao Ren was also once derided as a mediocre commander by Zhu Huan, a general from Wei's rival state Eastern Wu.
Guo Jia (170–207), courtesy name Fengxiao, was an adviser to the warlord Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. Throughout his 11 years of service, Guo Jia aided Cao Cao greatly with his brilliance and foresight, and his strategies were instrumental to Cao Cao's triumphs over rival warlords such as Lü Bu and Yuan Shao. For example, four years before Cao Cao's decisive victory over Yuan Shao at the Battle of Guandu, Guo Jia already foresaw that Cao Cao would win when he pointed out ten advantages Cao Cao had over Yuan Shao.
Fa Zheng (176–220), courtesy name Xiaozhi, was a key adviser to the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han dynasty. Born in a family of high social status and of noble descent, Fa Zheng travelled to Yi Province in the late 190s and became a subordinate of Liu Zhang, the provincial governor. However, his feelings of alienation and perception of Liu Zhang as an incompetent governor eventually led him to betray Liu Zhang and defect to Liu Bei in 211. Between 211 and 214, Fa Zheng assisted Liu Bei in overcoming Liu Zhang and seizing control of Yi Province, and became one of Liu Bei's most trusted advisers. In 217, he urged Liu Bei to launch the Hanzhong Campaign to capture the strategic Hanzhong Commandery from a rival warlord, Cao Cao, but died a year after Liu emerged victorious in the campaign.
Xun You (157–214), courtesy name Gongda, was a statesman who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China and served as an adviser to the warlord Cao Cao. Born in the influential Xun family of Yingchuan Commandery, Xun You was recruited into the civil service by the general He Jin. When the warlord Dong Zhuo hijacked and controlled the Han central government between 189 and 192, Xun You plotted with four others to assassinate him but was discovered and imprisoned. Following his release after Dong Zhuo's death, he wanted to serve as the Administrator of Shu Commandery but eventually settled as an official in Jing Province.
Jia Xu, courtesy name Wenhe, was an official of the state of Cao Wei during the early Three Kingdoms period of China. He started his career in the late Eastern Han dynasty as a minor official. In 189, when the warlord Dong Zhuo took control of the Han central government, he assigned Jia Xu to the unit led by Niu Fu, his son-in-law. In 192, after Dong Zhuo was assassinated by Lü Bu, Jia Xu advised Li Jue, Guo Si and Dong Zhuo's loyalists to fight back and seize control of the imperial capital, Chang'an, from a new central government headed by Lü Bu and Wang Yun. After Li Jue and the others defeated Lü Bu and occupied Chang'an, Jia Xu served under the central government led by them. During this time, he ensured the safety of the figurehead Han emperor, Emperor Xian, who was being held hostage by Li Jue. He also attempted to prevent internal conflict between Li Jue and Guo Si, but with limited success. After Emperor Xian escaped from Chang'an, Jia Xu left Li Jue and briefly joined the general Duan Wei before becoming a strategist of the warlord Zhang Xiu. While serving under Zhang Xiu, he advised his lord on how to counter invasions by the warlord Cao Cao, who had received Emperor Xian in 196 and taken control of the central government. In 200, during the Battle of Guandu between Cao Cao and his rival Yuan Shao, Jia Xu urged Zhang Xiu to reject Yuan Shao's offer to form an alliance and instead surrender to Cao Cao. Zhang Xiu heeded his advice. Jia Xu then became one of Cao Cao's strategists.
Man Chong, courtesy name Boning, was a military general of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He previously served under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han dynasty. He is best known for defending the city of Hefei from a series of invasions by Wei's rival state, Eastern Wu, between 230 and 235.
Lady Zhen, personal name unknown, was the first wife of Cao Pi, the first ruler of the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period. In 226, she was posthumously honoured as Empress Wenzhao when her son, Cao Rui, succeeded Cao Pi as the emperor of Wei.
Yu Fan (164–233), courtesy name Zhongxiang, was an official and scholar of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Initially a minor officer under Wang Lang, the Administrator of Kuaiji Commandery, Yu Fan later served under the warlord Sun Ce, who conquered the territories in the Jiangdong region in a series of campaigns from 194–199. Sun Ce regarded him highly and once enlisted his help in persuading Hua Xin, another commandery administrator, to surrender. After Sun Ce's death, Yu Fan continued serving under Sun Quan, Sun Ce's younger brother and successor, as a Cavalry Commandant. Sun Quan confined him for some time due to his rude and disrespectful behaviour, but released him in 219 and allowed him to accompany the general Lü Meng to attack Jing Province. During the Jing Province campaign, Yu Fan warned Lü Meng about a possible ambush when Lü Meng was celebrating a minor victory, and was proven right later.
Wu Can, courtesy name Kongxiu, was an official of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period of China.
Huan Jie, courtesy name Boxu, was a Chinese official who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty and served under the warlord Cao Cao. After the fall of the Eastern Han dynasty, he briefly served in the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period.
Cui Yan, courtesy name Jigui, was an official serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. In his early life, he served briefly in the local district office before leaving home to study under the tutelage of the Confucian scholar Zheng Xuan. In the late 190s, Cui Yan became a subordinate of the northern warlord Yuan Shao but did not make any significant achievements under the latter, who ignored his suggestions. Following Yuan Shao's death in 202, Cui Yan was imprisoned when he refused to help either of Yuan's sons—Yuan Shang and Yuan Tan—in their struggle over their father's territories. After he was freed, Cui Yan came to serve under Cao Cao, the de facto head of the Han central government. Throughout his years of service under Cao Cao, Cui Yan performed his duties faithfully and diligently, maintaining law and order within his bureau and recommending talents to join the civil service. In 216, in an incident widely regarded as a case of grievous injustice, Cui Yan was accused of defaming Cao Cao in a letter and ended up being stripped of his post, thrown into prison and subsequently forced to commit suicide.
Zhang Miao, courtesy name Mengzhuo, was an official who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.
The war between Cao Cao and Zhang Xiu was fought between the warlords Cao Cao and Zhang Xiu between 197 and 199 in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. It concluded with Zhang Xiu's surrender to Cao Cao.
Wei Kang, courtesy name Yuanjiang, was an official who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.
Liang Mao, courtesy name Bofang, was an official serving under the warlord Cao Cao in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.
Ren Jun, courtesy name Boda, was a military officer serving under the warlord Cao Cao in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.
Su Ze, courtesy name Wenshi, was an official of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Born in the late Eastern Han dynasty, he started his career as the Administrator of various commanderies in northwest China and is best known for governing Jincheng Commandery between 215 and 220. During his tenure, he rebuilt the war-torn commandery, gained the support of local non-Han Chinese tribes, opened up trade along the Hexi Corridor, and suppressed rebellions in the neighbouring Xiping, Wuwei, Jiuquan and Zhangye commanderies. After the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, Su Ze served in the Cao Wei state under its first ruler, Cao Pi, as a Palace Attendant. An upright and outspoken man, he did not hesitate to speak up when he disagreed with Cao Pi, who became wary of him. In 223, Su Ze died of illness while travelling to present-day Shandong to assume a new appointment.
Zhao Yan, courtesy name Boran, was a government official and military general of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He previously served under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han dynasty.