|Attendant Officer (別駕)|
(under Yuan Shao)
c. 191 –200
|Monarch||Emperor Xian of Han|
Julu County, Hebei /
Nanpi County, Hebei
|Courtesy name||Yuanhao (元皓)|
Tian Feng (died 200), courtesy name Yuanhao, was an official and adviser serving under the warlord Yuan Shao during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.
There are two accounts of Tian Feng's origins: One said that he was from Julu Commandery (鉅鹿郡), which is around present-day Julu County, Hebei; the other claimed that he was from Bohai Commandery (勃海郡), which is around present-day Nanpi County, Hebei. He lost his parents at a young age and lived a rather unhappy life. However, he was known for being well-read, knowledgeable and intelligent. He started his career probably sometime during the reign of Emperor Ling (r. 168–189) as a minor official in the office of the Grand Commandant (太尉). Later, he was nominated as a maocai (茂才; outstanding civil service candidate) and promoted to an Imperial Clerk (御史). When the eunuch faction dominated the imperial court, Tian Feng felt so disillusioned with politics that he resigned and returned home.
Around 190, the warlord Yuan Shao joined a coalition of warlords in a campaign against the tyrannical warlord Dong Zhuo, who controlled the Han central government and the figurehead Emperor Xian. He had heard of Tian Feng and wanted to recruit him as an adviser, so he sent Tian Feng expensive gifts and wrote him a letter in a humble and sincere tone. Tian Feng accepted the invitation because he saw it as an opportunity for him to serve the Han Empire and save it from collapse. Yuan Shao appointed him as an Attendant Officer (別駕).
Around 195, Tian Feng advised Yuan Shao to welcome Emperor Xian to Ji Province so that he could control the Emperor and use him as a "trump card" against rival warlords. However, Yuan Shao refused after listening to his other advisers.Eventually, Yuan Shao's rival Cao Cao welcomed Emperor Xian to his base in Xu (許; present-day Xuchang, Henan) and established the new imperial capital there.
Throughout the 190s, Yuan Shao engaged Gongsun Zan in a war for supremacy over northern China. During the Battle of Jieqiao in 192, when Yuan Shao came under attack by Gongsun Zan, Tian Feng urged him to take cover behind a wall, but Yuan Shao threw his helmet to the ground and said it would be cowardly of him to hide behind a wall.Nevertheless, Yuan Shao heeded Tian Feng's advice and managed to defeat Gongsun Zan at the Battle of Yijing in 199. After securing his control over the four provinces in northern China, Yuan Shao prepared to wage war against Cao Cao and launch an attack on the imperial capital Xu. Tian Feng and Ju Shou advised Yuan Shao to adopt a slow, steady and step-by-step approach, so as to gradually wear out Cao Cao's forces. However, Yuan Shao heeded the advice of Guo Tu and others instead, and chose to start an all-out war against Cao Cao immediately.
In 200, when Cao Cao was away attacking Liu Bei in Xu Province, Tian Feng urged Yuan Shao to seize the opportunity to launch an attack on Cao Cao's base at Xu. However, Yuan Shao refused and said that he was more concerned about his son, who was sick. The frustrated Tian Feng hit the ground with his staff and said, "What a pity that he let a rare opportunity slip by just because of a child's illness!" In the meantime, Cao Cao defeated Liu Bei and retook Xu Province. Liu Bei fled north after his defeat and took shelter under Yuan Shao.
Later in 200, before the Battle of Guandu, Tian Feng analysed the situation, advised Yuan Shao to fight a long-term war against Cao Cao and pointed out how it would work to Yuan Shao's advantage. When Yuan Shao refused to listen, Tian Feng repeatedly attempted to push his ideas through. Yuan Shao, thinking that Tian Feng was trying to dampen his troops' morale, became furious and ordered Tian Feng to be put in chains and thrown into prison.
After Yuan Shao lost the Battle of Guandu against Cao Cao, someone told Tian Feng, "Your talents will be put to good use again." Tian Feng, however, replied, "If our army won the battle, I will survive; if they lost, I will die." Tian Feng was not on good terms with Pang Ji, one of Yuan Shao's other advisers. After the battle, Pang Ji lied to Yuan Shao that Tian Feng had clapped his hands and had rejoiced upon hearing of their defeat. Yuan Shao became so angry that he ordered Tian Feng's execution.
Liu Bei, courtesy name Xuande (玄德), was a warlord in the late Eastern Han dynasty who founded the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period and became its first ruler. Though he was a distant relative of the imperial family, Liu Bei's father died when he was a child and left his family impoverished. To help his mother, he sold shoes and straw mats. When he reached the age of fifteen, his mother sent him to study under Lu Zhi. In his youth, Liu Bei was known as ambitious and charismatic. He gathered a militia army to fight the Yellow Turbans. Liu Bei fought bravely in many battles and started getting famous. Rather than join the coalition against Dong Zhuo, he joined his childhood friend Gongsun Zan and fought under him against Yuan Shao many times with recognition.
Lü Bu, courtesy name Fengxian, was a military general and warlord who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of Imperial China. Originally a subordinate of a minor warlord Ding Yuan, he betrayed and murdered Ding Yuan and defected to Dong Zhuo, the warlord who controlled the Han central government in the early 190s. In 192, he turned against Dong Zhuo and killed him after being instigated by Wang Yun and Shisun Rui, but was later defeated and driven away by Dong Zhuo's followers.
Zhang Fei, courtesy name Yide, was a military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han dynasty and early Three Kingdoms period of China. Zhang Fei and Guan Yu, who were among the earliest to join Liu Bei, shared a brotherly relationship with their lord and accompanied him on most of his early exploits. Zhang Fei fought in various battles on Liu Bei's side, including the Red Cliffs campaign (208–209), takeover of Yi Province (212–214), and Hanzhong Campaign (217–218). He was assassinated by his subordinates in 221 after serving for only a few months in the state of Shu Han, which was founded by Liu Bei earlier that year.
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.
Li Dian, courtesy name Mancheng, was a military general serving under the warlord Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He participated in the Battle of Guandu in 200 between Cao Cao and Yuan Shao. He also played a significant role in the defence of Hefei during the Battle of Xiaoyao Ford of 214–215 against the forces of Sun Quan.
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.
Zhuge Dan, courtesy name Gongxiu, was a Chinese military general and politician of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. When he held key military appointments throughout his middle to late career, he was involved in all of the three rebellions which broke out in Shouchun between 251 and 258. During the second rebellion, he actively assisted the Wei regent Sima Shi in suppressing the revolt. After the rebellion, the Wei government put him in charge of Shouchun. As the Sima clan became more powerful and established themselves as the de facto rulers of Wei, Zhuge Dan feared that he would end up slain like Wang Ling and Guanqiu Jian – the leaders of the first two rebellions – so he started the third rebellion against Sima Zhao, who succeeded Sima Shi as regent of Wei in 255. Although he received some support from Wei's rival state Eastern Wu, his rebellion was eventually suppressed by Wei imperial forces and he met his end at the hands of Hu Fen, a military officer under Sima Zhao.
Chen Deng, courtesy name Yuanlong, was a government official and military general who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. Born in a family of government officials in Xu Province, he started his career as a county chief at the age of 24 and later became an agriculture official under Tao Qian, the Governor of Xu Province. After Tao Qian's death in 194, Chen Deng supported Liu Bei to be the new Governor. However, in 196, he was forced to become a subordinate of the warlord Lü Bu after the latter seized control of Xu Province from Liu Bei. During this time, Chen Deng and his father Chen Gui pretended to be loyal towards Lü Bu, while secretly undermining his influence by dissuading him from allying with another warlord Yuan Shu. Chen Deng also secretly agreed to serve as a mole in Xu Province for the warlord Cao Cao, who controlled the Han central government. Chen Deng was then appointed as the Administrator of Guangling Commandery. During the Battle of Xiapi of 198–199, Chen Deng led his troops to join Cao Cao and assisted him in defeating Lü Bu. After the victory, Chen Deng was given an additional appointment as General Who Calms the Waves. During his tenure in Guangling Commandery, he gained high popularity among the people for good and benevolent governance – to the point where the people even wanted to follow him after learning that he had been reassigned to another commandery. He also resisted two invasions by the forces of Sun Ce, a warlord who controlled territories in the Jiangnan region. He died in an unknown year at the age of 38 due to an illness caused by intestinal parasites.
Xun Chen, courtesy name Youruo, was an official who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. Born in the influential Xun family of Yingchuan Commandery, he was the fourth brother of Xun Yu and a second cousins once removed of Xun You. He initially served as an adviser to the warlord Han Fu and later to another warlord, Yuan Shao.
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.
Guan Jing, courtesy name Shiqi, was an official serving under the warlord Gongsun Zan during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. In 198, during Yuan Shao's invasion in the Battle of Yijing, Gongsun Zan wished to ride out and cut off Yuan Shao's rear, but Guan Jing recommended against this action, and for Gongsun Zan to stay within the city of Yijing. In 199, Yuan Shao tricked and ambushed Gongsun Zan as the latter rode out, expecting to meet reinforcements from Gongsun Zan's son Gongsun Xu and Zhang Yan. After this defeat, Gongsun Zan committed suicide by self-immolation. Guan Jing expressed regret that he could not convince Gongsun Zan to stay in the end, and rode into the army of Yuan Shao and died.
Chen Gui, courtesy name Hanyu, was a government official who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.
Zhang Miao, courtesy name Mengzhuo, was an official who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.
Xin Ping, courtesy name Zhongzhi, was a Chinese official who served under the warlords Han Fu, Yuan Shao and Yuan Tan during the late Eastern Han dynasty.
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.
Xin Pi, courtesy name Zuozhi, was an official of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Along with his elder brother Xin Ping, he started his career in the late Eastern Han dynasty as an adviser to the warlord Yuan Shao. Following Yuan Shao's death and a power struggle between Yuan Shao's sons Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang, Xin Pi initially sided with Yuan Tan but later defected to Yuan Shao's rival Cao Cao, while seeking Cao Cao's aid on Yuan Tan's behalf in the fight against Yuan Shang. As a result, his family members were executed by Shen Pei, a Yuan Shang loyalist who blamed Xin Pi for the downfall of the Yuan family. After avenging his family, Xin Pi served as an official under Cao Cao, who controlled the Han central government and the figurehead Emperor Xian. After the Cao Wei state replaced the Eastern Han dynasty, Xin Pi continued serving under Cao Cao's successor Cao Pi, the first Wei emperor, and later under Cao Rui, Cao Pi's son. Throughout his service in Wei, he was known for being outspoken and critical whenever he disagreed with the emperors and his colleagues. His highest appointment in the Wei government was the Minister of the Guards (衞尉). He died around 235 and was survived by his son Xin Chang and daughter Xin Xianying.
Jiang Ji, courtesy name Zitong, was an official and military general of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Born in the late Eastern Han dynasty, Jiang Ji started his career as a low-level official in his native Yang Province before becoming a subordinate of Cao Cao, the warlord who controlled the central government towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty. After the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, he served in the state of Cao Wei through the reigns of the first three emperors – Cao Pi, Cao Rui and Cao Fang – and held various appointments in the military before rising to Grand Commandant, one of the top positions in the central government. During his service in Wei, he was known for being candid in giving advice to the emperor on various issues, including consolidating power, halting labour-intensive construction projects, and officials' abuses of power. In February 249, he joined the regent Sima Yi in staging a successful coup d'état against his co-regent Cao Shuang, but died from illness a few months later.