|Part of the wars of the Three Kingdoms period|
An illustration of Meng Da being slain by Sima Yi's men
|Cao Wei|| Meng Da |
(with some support from Shu Han and Eastern Wu)
|Commanders and leaders|
|Sima Yi||Meng Da|
The Xincheng Rebellion was a revolt that took place in the state of Cao Wei between late 227and early 228 CE during the Three Kingdoms period. The rebellion was initiated by Meng Da,a former Shu Han general who defected to Wei and was placed in charge of Xincheng Commandery (located in the vicinity of present-day northwestern Hubei) in Jing Province. The revolt was swiftly suppressed within a month by the Wei general Sima Yi. Meng Da was captured and executed.
In 220,Meng Da,a general who formerly served the warlord Liu Bei,defected over to Liu's rival Cao Pi,who had inherited the title of a vassal king –"King of Wei" –from his recently deceased father,Cao Cao. Meng Da brought along his subordinates and their families,numbering over 4,000 in total. Cao Pi was pleased when he heard that Meng Da had come to join him,and he gave Meng a warm welcome. Cao Pi appointed Meng Da as the Administrator (太守) of Xincheng (新城) Commandery,which was located along the southwestern border of Wei.
At the time,many officials felt that Meng Da was untrustworthy and should not be given important responsibilities.The Wei general Sima Yi,who was stationed at Wan (宛;present-day Wancheng District,Nanyang,Henan) and oversaw the military affairs of Jing and Yu provinces at the time, also cautioned Cao Pi against putting too much faith in Meng Da,but Cao did not heed Sima's advice.
Meng Da was deeply favoured by Cao Pi,and he was also close friends with the Wei officials Huan Jie and Xiahou Shang. When Cao Pi died in 226,Huan Jie and Xiahou Shang had also died. Meng Da started feeling uneasy because he had been on the front line for a long time.Throughout Meng Da's service in Xincheng,he had been friendly with Eastern Wu (a state founded by Sun Quan) and had established strong defences against possible attacks from Wei's rival state Shu Han (founded by Liu Bei). Shu's chancellor-regent,Zhuge Liang,hated Meng Da for being capricious, and was also worried that Meng would become a threat to Shu.
There are two accounts of Meng Da's motive for rebelling,both of which are generally similar but there are some slight differences. The first account is from the Weilüe while the second is from the Book of Jin (Jin Shu).
The Weilüe account mentioned that Zhuge Liang planned to induce Meng Da to defect to Shu when he heard that Meng was feeling uneasy in Xincheng. Zhuge Liang wrote several letters to Meng Da and the latter replied. Shen Yi (申儀),the Administrator of Weixing (魏興;around present-day Shiquan County in Shaanxi and Yunxi County in Hubei),who had disagreements with Meng Da,secretly reported to the Wei imperial court that Meng was having dealings with Shu,but the Wei emperor Cao Rui refused to believe. Sima Yi,who was stationed at Wan at that time,sent an advisor Liang Ji (梁幾) to investigate and also urged him to travel to the capital Luoyang. Meng Da became suspicious and feared for his life,so he rebelled.
The Jin Shu account confirmed that Meng Da did have a feud with Shen Yi. Zhuge Liang planned to make use of this incident to lure Meng Da to defect to Shu sooner,so he sent Guo Mo (郭模) to feign surrender to Wei and divulge Meng's plan to Shen Yi. When Meng Da heard that the plot had been leaked out,he immediately made plans for a rebellion. Sima Yi,who was at Wan at that time,became worried that Meng Da would proceed with the revolt quickly,so he wrote a letter to Meng to calm him down. Sima Yi wrote,"General,you previously left Liu Bei and dedicated yourself to our state. Our state entrusted you with the duty of guarding the border and tasked you with planning an invasion on Shu. This is an obvious sign that our state trusts you. The people of Shu are fools and they hate you deeply. Zhuge Liang wants you back in Shu only because he has no other choice. What Guo Mo told Shen Yi is not a small issue. Why would Zhuge Liang so easily ask him to reveal your plot? This dangerous move is not difficult to comprehend." Meng Da was pleased when he received Sima Yi's letter,and he entered a dilemma on whether to rebel or not. During this time,Sima Yi secretly led his forces from Wan towards Xincheng. Sima Yi's subordinates suggested that they observe Meng Da's actions first before advancing,but Sima replied,"(Meng) Da is not a trustworthy person. Now that he is hesitating due to suspicions,we should seize this opportunity to get rid of him." Sima Yi's army then advanced quickly and reached Xincheng within eight days.
Shu Han and Eastern Wu also sent their forces to support Meng Da,which arrived at An Bridge (安橋) at Xicheng (西城) and Mulan Fort (木闌塞) respectively. Sima Yi despatched his subordinates to deal with Meng Da's reinforcements.
Before the battle,Meng Da wrote to Zhuge Liang,"Wan is 800 li away from Luoyang,while I'm 1,200 li away from Luoyang. When (Sima Yi) learns that I'm plotting a rebellion,he'll inform the emperor (Cao Rui). The total time taken for Sima Yi to send a letter to Luoyang and receive a response is around a month. By then my city is fortified and my army is ready. As I'm in an advantageous position,Sima Yi will not dare to come and attack me. Once you arrive I'll have no worries."
However,eight days later,when Sima Yi's army had arrived,Meng Da wrote to Zhuge Liang again,"I plotted a rebellion. Within eight days (Sima Yi)'s army has reached my city. What godspeed is that?" Meng Da was based in Shangyong (上庸),a city in Xincheng which was surrounded on three sides by water,so he set up wooden barriers to defend himself. Sima Yi's forces crossed the waters,destroyed the barriers,and arrived just outside Shangyong. Sima Yi then split up his army to attack Meng Da from eight directions. Sima Yi tempted Meng Da's nephew Deng Xian (鄧賢) and subordinate Li Fu (李輔) into surrendering,which they did so by opening Shangyong's gates after sixteen days of siege. Meng Da was captured and executed,and his head was sent to the Wei capital Luoyang.
Sima Yi and his army captured over 10,000 prisoners-of-war and they returned to Wan.
Shen Yi (申儀) had been in Weixing for a long time and had been behaving arrogantly. He had several official seals carved and distributed without proper authorisation. When he heard of Meng Da's fate,he became apprehensive. Many other officials in the region presented Sima Yi with gifts and congratulated him on his victory. Sima Yi sent a messenger to taunt Shen Yi,so Shen came to meet Sima Yi,who questioned him about the distribution of unauthorised official seals but released him later.
Sima Yi also relocated the 7,000 households from Meng Da's territory to You Province in northern China. The Shu generals Yao Jing (姚靜),Zheng Ta (鄭他) and others led their men,numbering over 7,000,and surrendered to Wei.However,these Shu military officers who only appear in the Book of Jin did not appear in the 11th-century outstanding chronological historical text Zizhi Tongjian .
Sima Yi travelled to the capital Luoyang to meet the Wei emperor Cao Rui,who consulted him on how to counter invasions from Eastern Wu,and then ordered him to return to the garrison at Wan.
The rebellion was mentioned in Chapter 94 of the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms ,in which some fictitious elements were introduced for dramatic effect.
Meng Da invited Shen Yi (申儀),the Administrator of Jincheng (金城),and Shen Dan (申耽),the Administrator of Shangyong (上庸),to join him in the rebellion. Shen Yi and Shen Dan pretended to agree as they were secretly planning to help the Wei army when it arrived to suppress the revolt. They lied to Meng Da that the preparations were insufficient,and Meng believed them.
Sima Yi's messenger Liang Ji (梁畿) arrived at Xincheng and lied to Meng Da that Sima had led an army towards Chang'an to deal with an invasion by Shu Han. Meng Da was pleased and he threw a feast for Liang Ji and then saw Liang out of the city. He then gave orders to Shen Yi and Shen Dan to rebel on the following day. However,just then,he received reports that an army had arrived outside the city. Meng Da rushed to the city wall and saw that the army was commanded by Xu Huang,a veteran Wei general. Xu Huang called for Meng Da to surrender,but Meng fired an arrow which hit Xu in the forehead. Meng Da's archers then rained arrows on Xu Huang's men,forcing them to retreat. Xu Huang died from his arrow wound that night at the age of 59 (by East Asian age reckoning) and his body was placed in a coffin and sent to Luoyang for burial.
By then,Sima Yi's main army had showed up outside Xincheng and completely surrounded the city. The following day,Meng Da saw Shen Yi and Shen Dan's forces arriving and he thought that they had come to help him. He opened the gates and led his men out to attack Sima Yi,but Shen Yi and Shen Dan shouted at him,"You rebel,don't try to escape! Quickly accept your death!" Meng Da sensed trouble and attempted to retreat back into the city,but his subordinates Li Fu (李輔) and Deng Xian (鄧賢) had betrayed him and denied him entry. Shen Dan approached the exhausted Meng Da and killed him,and Meng's men surrendered.
Sima Yi entered Xincheng and restored peace and order to the city. He reported his victory to the Wei emperor Cao Rui,who asked for Meng Da's head to be sent to Luoyang. Shen Yi and Shen Dan were promoted and ordered to accompany Sima Yi to deal with the Shu invasion,while Li Fu and Deng Xian were tasked with guarding Xincheng and Shangyong.
Historically,upon Meng Da's rebellion Shen Dan (申耽) was no longer an official and was not involved in the rebellion,and presumably he had already died. There is also no evidence that Xu Huang participated in suppressing the revolt. The Sanguozhi did not provide much details on his death. It simply stated that he died in the first year of the Taihe era (227–233) in the reign of Cao Rui.
The rebellion is featured as a playable stage in the Koei video game Dynasty Warriors 5:Xtreme Legends ,in which it is known as the "Battle of Xin Castle". The player can only play on the Wei side as Cao Pi,Sima Yi or Xu Huang,and must defeat Meng Da to win the stage. If the player is fast enough,the stage can be completed before Shu reinforcements arrive to help Meng Da.
Sima Yi, courtesy name Zhongda, was a Chinese military general, politician, and regent of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China.
Wei Yan, courtesy name Wenchang, was a military general of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Originally a subordinate of the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han dynasty, Wei Yan rose through the ranks and became a general when Liu Bei seized control of Yi Province in 214. His performance in battle helped him to become a prominent figure in the Shu military in a short period of time. He was later appointed as the Administrator of Hanzhong Commandery and as an Area Commander in 219. Between 228 and 234, he participated actively in the Northern Expeditions led by the Shu regent Zhuge Liang against Shu's rival state, Cao Wei. After Zhuge Liang's death in 234, Wei Yan was killed by another Shu general, Ma Dai, for alleged treason.
Zhuge Jin, courtesy name Ziyu, was a Chinese military general and politician of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Born in the late Eastern Han dynasty, Zhuge Jin started his career in the 200s as an official under the warlord Sun Quan, who later became the founding emperor of Eastern Wu in the Three Kingdoms period. In 215, he served as Sun Quan's representative in a territorial dispute over southern Jing Province between Sun Quan and his ally, Liu Bei. In 219, he joined Sun Quan's general Lü Meng in an invasion of Liu Bei's territories in Jing Province after Sun Quan broke the Sun–Liu alliance. He was subsequently appointed as a general and commandery administrator. Before the Battle of Xiaoting of 221–222, Zhuge Jin attempted to dissuade Liu Bei from going to war with Sun Quan but was unsuccessful. The battle ultimately concluded with victory for Sun Quan's side; both sides made peace later and reestablished an alliance between the Eastern Wu and Shu Han states against their rival state, Cao Wei. From 222 until his death in 241, despite being rather incompetent in military affairs, Zhuge Jin served as one of Eastern Wu's top generals and participated in some battles against Cao Wei forces.
Chen Shou, courtesy name Chengzuo (承祚), was a Chinese historian, politician, and writer who lived during the Three Kingdoms period and Jin dynasty of China. Chen Shou is most known for his most celebrated work, the Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi), which records the history of the late Eastern Han dynasty and the Three Kingdoms period. Chen Shou wrote the Sanguozhi primarily in the form of biographies of notable persons of those eras. Today, Chen's Records of the Three Kingdoms is part of the Twenty-Four Histories canon of ancient Chinese history.
Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions were a series of five military campaigns launched by the state of Shu Han against the rival state of Cao Wei from 228 to 234 during the Three Kingdoms period in China. All five expeditions were led by Zhuge Liang, the Imperial Chancellor and regent of Shu. Although they proved unsuccessful and ended up as a stalemate, the expeditions have become some of the best known conflicts of the Three Kingdoms period and one of the few battles during it where each side fought against each other with hundreds of thousands of troops, as opposed to other battles where one side had a huge numerical advantage.
Cao Zhen, courtesy name Zidan, was a military general of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was an adopted son of Cao Cao, a warlord who rose to power in the late Eastern Han dynasty and laid the foundation for Wei. After Cao Cao's death and the end of the Eastern Han dynasty, Cao Zhen served under Cao Pi and Cao Rui, the first two emperors of Wei. He is best known for leading a successful defence of Wei from the first two of a series of invasions by Wei's rival state, Shu Han, between 228 and 229.
Meng Da, courtesy name Zidu, was a military general of the state of Cao Wei during the early Three Kingdoms period of China. He previously served the warlords Liu Zhang and Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty before defecting to Wei. In Wei, he served under the first two rulers, Cao Pi and Cao Rui. Around late 227, he started a rebellion in Wei and aimed to rejoin the Shu-Han but the revolt was swiftly suppressed by the Wei general Sima Yi. Meng Da was captured and executed for treason.
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.
Fei Yi, courtesy name Wenwei, was a regent and military general of the state of Shu during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Born in the late Eastern Han dynasty, Fei Yi started his career as an attendant to Liu Shan, the eldest son and heir apparent of Liu Bei, a warlord who became the founding emperor of Shu. After Liu Shan became emperor in 223, Fei Yi gradually rose to prominence under the regency of Zhuge Liang, the Imperial Chancellor of Shu. During this time, he concurrently served as a military adviser under Zhuge Liang and as Shu's ambassador to its ally state Wu. He also played a significant role in the conflict between the Shu general Wei Yan and Zhuge Liang's chief clerk Yang Yi. After Zhuge Liang's death in 234, Fei Yi served as a deputy to the new regent Jiang Wan and progressively assumed greater responsibilities as Jiang Wan gradually relinquished his powers due to poor health. In 244, Fei Yi led Shu forces to victory at the Battle of Xingshi against their rival state Wei and succeeded Jiang Wan as regent of Shu two years later following the latter's death. On the first day of the Chinese New Year in 253, Fei Yi was assassinated by a Wei defector, Guo Xiu.
Guo Huai, courtesy name Boji, was a military general of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He started his career towards the end of the Eastern Han dynasty under the warlord Cao Cao as a subordinate of Cao Cao's generals Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He. During the Three Kingdoms period, he served in Wei, the state established by Cao Cao's son Cao Pi, and lived through the reigns of four Wei emperors. From the 220s until his death in 255, he governed and defended Wei's western borders in Yong and Liang provinces. During this time, he resisted multiple invasions by Wei's rival state, Shu Han, and quelled some rebellions by local Qiang, Di and other non-Han Chinese tribes.
Huang Quan, courtesy name Gongheng, was a military general of the state of Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He previously served under the warlords Liu Zhang and Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty and in the state of Shu during the early Three Kingdoms period before defecting to Wei. Liu Bei relied heavily on Huang Quan for counsel in both domestic and foreign policy. Under the Wei government, however, Huang Quan was restricted to only internal affairs because even though the Wei emperor Cao Pi appreciated him for his talent, he doubted Huang Quan's allegiance and believed he was still secretly loyal to Liu Bei.
Hao Zhao, courtesy name Bodao, was a military general of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He is best known for his victory at the siege of Chencang in 229 when he led a successful defence of Chencang against an invasion by a much larger army from Wei's rival state Shu Han. However, he died of illness not long after that.
The Empty Fort Strategy is the 32nd of the Chinese Thirty-Six Stratagems. The strategy involves using reverse psychology to deceive the enemy into thinking that an empty location is full of traps and ambushes, and therefore induce the enemy to retreat. Some examples are listed in the following sections.
Fei Shi, courtesy name Gongju, was an official of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period of China.
The Battle of Wuzhang Plains was fought between the contending states of Cao Wei and Shu Han in 234 CE during the Three Kingdoms period of China. The battle was the fifth and last of a series of Northern Expeditions led by Shu's chancellor, Zhuge Liang, to attack Wei. Zhuge Liang fell ill and died during the stalemate and subsequently the Shu forces retreated.
The Conquest of Shu by Wei was a military campaign launched by the state of Cao Wei ("Wei") against its rival Shu Han ("Shu") in late 263 during the Three Kingdoms period of China. The campaign culminated in the fall of Shu and the tripartite equilibrium maintained in China for over 40 years since the end of the Eastern Han dynasty in 220. The conquest signified the beginning of a reunified China under the Jin dynasty (266–420).
The Battle of Mount Qi was a military conflict which took place around Mount Qi between the states of Cao Wei and Shu Han in 231 during the Three Kingdoms period of China. It was also the most vigorous of the five Shu invasions of Wei, resulting in thousands of deaths on both sides. Although Zhuge Liang was able to make significant achievement in the beginning of the battle, the battle finally concluded with a strategic Wei victory due to the insufficient food supply for the Shu Han army. The insufficient food supply was caused by heavy rain and mistakes made by Li Yan. The Shu regent, Zhuge Liang, spent three years recuperating before launching another invasion on Wei in 234.
Sima Yi (179–251) was a general, politician and regent of the state of Cao Wei (220–266) in the Three Kingdoms period (220–280) in China. Two of his sons, Sima Shi (208–255) and Sima Zhao (211–265), rose to power in the 250s and consecutively served as regents throughout the reigns of the last three Wei emperors. After Sima Zhao died in September 265, his son Sima Yan (236–290) forced the last Wei ruler, Cao Huan (246–303), to abdicate the throne in his favour in February 266, ending the Wei regime and establishing the Jin dynasty (266–420). This article contains the family trees of Sima Yi, his brothers, and their descendants up to Sima Yan's generation. For more details on the family trees of the Jin emperors, see Chinese emperors family tree (early)#Jin Dynasty and Chu.
The Eastern Wu campaign against Cao Wei was a military offensive launched in 241 by the state of Eastern Wu against its rival state, Cao Wei, during the Three Kingdoms period of China. The campaign was initiated by Wu's founding emperor, Sun Quan, two years after the death of the second Wei emperor, Cao Rui. The campaign ended with an overall failure.
Zhou Tai was a military general who served in the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China.