Translation:Records of the Three Kingdoms/Volume 01

Records of the Three Kingdoms by Chen Shou
Volume 1: Annals of Emperor Wu
Original text by Chen Shou in black. Annotated text by Pei Songzhi in green. Translated by User:GreaterBear and User:IBayern. UNFINISHED.

Annals of Emperor Wen



Emperor Wu of Wei, posthumous title Emperor Taizu, was from his hometown of Qiao, Pei County. He bore the surname Cao (曹), name Cao (操), and the courtesy name of Mengde (孟德). He was a descendent of the Han dynasty official Cao Shen (曹參), who had held the office of Grand Chancellor (相國).



Taizu's first name was Jílì (吉利), meaning lucky or fortunate; Cao Cao's nickname was Aman (阿瞞). Wáng Chén (王沈) and the Weishu (魏書)[1] both said that Cao Cao's body and spirit came from the Yellow Emperor. In the reign of Gaoyang (高陽), the son of Lu Zhong was named An (安) and had the surname of Cao (曹). After King Wu of Zhou destroyed the Shang dynasty and honoured[2] his ancestors, he gave the Cao family Xia (俠) and Chu (邾). During the Spring and Autumn Period, many states formed coalitions, leading to the Warring States period, and the states were destroyed along with the state of Chu (楚)[3]. The Cao family dispersed in all directions, and found a new home in Pei County. After the beginning of the Han dynasty and Emperor Gaozu (高祖)'s reign, Cao Shen (曹參) was granted the title of Marquis of Pingyang (平陽侯) because of his achievements. This hereditary noble land is still now part of Rongcheng (容城). During the reign of Emperor Huan (桓), Cao Teng (曹騰) served as Central Regular Attendant (中常侍)[4], as the Empress's Chamberlain (大長秋), and was granted the title of Marquis of Fei (費). Sima Biao (司馬彪), who wrote the Continuation of the Hanshu[5], said: Cao Teng's father Jie (節)[6], courtesy name Yuánwěi (元偉), was known for his kindness and moral character. Once, neighbours of Cao Jie owned hogs of the same type (or kind) as Cao Jie's hogs. They believed Cao Jie's hogs to be theirs, so they took Cao Jie's hogs back home while Cao Jie did not protest. Once the neighbours returned to their home and found their hogs, they were exceedingly embarrassed, so they returned Cao Jie's hogs and thanked Cao Jie. Cao Jie laughed and accepted their thanks. This action was praised by the people[7] of Cao Jie's community. Cao Jie's eldest son was Bóxìng (伯興), his second son was Zhòngxìng (仲興), and his third son was Shūxìng (叔興). Cao Teng's courtesy name was Jìxìng (季興). In his youth, Cao Teng became an official as an eunuch Attendant at the Yellow Gates. On the first year of Eternal Peace (Yǒngníng or 永寧), Empress Dowager Deng (鄧太后) ordered the leader of the Attendants of the Yellow Gates to select young and meticulous eunuchs from the attendants of the Yellow Gates with the intention of pairing those eunuchs with the crown prince; Cao Teng was selected. The crown prince especially adored Cao Teng, so Cao Teng was rewarded with special food unlike the other eunuchs. After the succession of Emperor Shun (順)[8], Cao Teng reached the rank of Central Regular Attendant (中常侍) and the Empress's Chamberlain (大長秋). During the some thirty years of Cao Teng's service serving four emperors, he expressed his abilities fully and was never hurt.[9] During Cao Teng's tenure, the people he recommended and promoted: Yú Fàng (虞放) of Chenliu (陳留郡), Biān Sháo (邊韶), Yán Gù (延固) of Nanyang (南陽郡), Zhāng Wēn (張溫), Zhāng Huàn of Hongnong (弘農郡), Táng Xī (堂谿) of Yingchuan (潁川郡), et cetera were all good and fair ministers of the Han central government.[10] The Administer of Shu Commandery (蜀郡太守) treated Cao Teng with utmost respect and honor and sent a letter to Cao Teng which the Inspector of Yi Province (益州刺史) Zhǒng Gǎo (种暠)[11] found evidence of this letter at Hangu Pass (函谷關), and reported this to the Emperor, saying that Cao Teng as an interior official (內臣)[12] should not be conversing with border officials, which was improper, and that Cao Teng should have had his ranks removed, his responsibilities relieved, and that he should serve punishment.[13] The Emperor said: "Even though a letter was written to Cao Teng, Cao Teng did not reply. Therefore there has not been a crime." He then rejected the evidence of Zhǒng Gǎo (种暠). However, Cao Teng did not mind Zhǒng Gǎo (种暠)'s reporting, and often praised Zhǒng Gǎo, thinking that Zhǒng Gǎo was a person of great integrity and moral character. After Gǎo became Minister of the Masses (司徒), he would say: "I could only have achieved the rank of Minister because of Central Attendant Cao. All of the matters that Cao Teng handled he handled in such a way. After the succession of Emperor Huan, because of Cao Teng's years of service of the former emperors, he granted Cao Teng the rank of Marquis of Fei (費) and granted Cao Teng the extra position of Tèjìn (特進), literally "Special Advance"[14] During the third year of Utmost Harmony (太和三年), Cao Teng was given the posthumous name of Emperor Gao[15] Cao Teng's foster son Cao Song (曹嵩) inherited his property and marquisate and reached the rank of Grand Marshal (太尉), but nothing can be found of his original roots or family. The Continuation of the Hanshu said that the courtesy name of Cao Song was Jùgāo (巨高), and that he was prudent and cautious in handling affairs as well as being loyal and filial. Cao Song was originally a Colonel-Director of Retainers (司隷校尉) before serving concurrently as Minister of Finance (大司農) and Minister Herald (大鴻臚) in the court of Emperor Ling. He eventually attained the rank of Grand Commandant (太尉) after replacing Cuī Liè (崔烈). During the first year of Yellow Beginning (黃初元年), Cao Song was given the posthumous name of Emperor Tai (太皇帝)[15]. The people of Wu (吳人) who made the Cao Man Chuan and Guō Bān (郭頒) both once said: "Song[16] was a son of the Xiahou lineage and the paternal uncle of Xiahou Dun (夏侯惇). Thus, the fathers of Taizu[17] and Xiahou Dun were brothers. Cao Song gave birth to Taizu (太祖)[17]

3+ UnfinishedEdit

Emperor Wu was clever and very calm when dealing with things. However, he had crazy ambition and always went his own way. He never cared the behaver and study. So, the others didn't believe that such a person would do great things. But Qiao Xuan from Liang and He from Nanyang. Qiao told the Emperor:'This kingdom will fall in chaos. The one without talents to rule the world can't deal with the chaos, but you might be the chosen one.'


  1. Book of Wei
  2. Or saved
  3. where Cao Cao's family lived
  4. An influential court position and the highest position held by eunuchs
  5. The continuation of the Book of Han was written by Sima Biao (司馬彪) as an extension of the original work by Ban Gu (班固). Not to be confused with the Houhanshu or Book of Later Han by Fan Ye (范曄), which included references from the Continuation of the Hanshu.
  6. Cao Jie, also known as Cao Meng (曹萌) in some sources
  7. 鄉黨, which could also refer to the scholar-gentry
  8. The former crown prince whom Cao Teng served
  9. May have a multitude of meanings. The original phrase is: 好進達賢能,終無所毀傷
  10. Original phrase: 皆致位公卿,而不伐其善。
  11. This name could be pronounced in a multitude of names: see and
  12. Meaning an official serving within the capital.
  13. Such communication was improper since it was often evidence that the interior official was taking bribes from the often powerful administrators of the provinces, or else plotting a rebellion.
  14. This position was the equivalent of the three Ministers and was first established during the Western Han dynasty.
  15. 15.0 15.1 This was given as he was the ancestor of Cao Pi who founded the state of Wei (魏).
  16. Cao Song
  17. 17.0 17.1 Emperor Taizu of Wei, or Cao Cao (曹操).