(17.1) Zhāng Liáo 張遼 [Wényuǎn 文遠]

Zhāng Liáo appellation Wényuǎn was a Yànmén Mǎyì man. He was a descendant of Niè Yī but to avoid resentment [of Niè Yī] he changed his surname. In his youth he was a prefecture official. At the end of Hàn, Inspector of Bīng Province Dīng Yuán, because Liáo’s martial ability surpassed other men, summoned him as an Advisor, and send him to lead troops to visit the capital. Hé Jìn sent him to visit the north of the [Yellow] River to recruit troops, and he obtained over a thousand men. When he returned, [Hé] Jìn had been destroyed [189], and so his troops became subordinate to Dǒng Zhuó. Zhuó was destroyed [192], and so his troops became subordinate to Lǚ Bù, and he was promoted to Cavalry Commandant. [Lǚ] Bù was defeated by Lǐ Jué, and he followed [Lǚ] Bù in fleeing east to Xúzhōu. He was given office as Chancellor of Lǔ, at the time aged twenty-eight years.

張遼字文遠,雁門馬邑人也。本聶壹之後,以避怨變姓。少為郡吏。漢末,并州刺史丁原以遼武力過人,召為從事,使將兵詣京都。何進遣詣河北募兵,得千餘人。還,進敗,以兵屬董卓。卓敗,以兵屬呂布,遷騎都尉。布為李傕所敗,從布東奔徐州,領魯相,時年二十八。

Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] destroyed Lǚ Bù at Xiàpī. Liáo then led his army to surrender, and was appointed Internal Cadet-General and given title as Marquis Within the Passes. He repeatedly had outstanding military achievements, and was promoted to Associate-General.

太祖破呂布於下邳,遼將其眾降,拜中郎將,賜爵關內侯。數有戰功,遷裨將軍。

When Yuán Shào was destroyed, Liáo was sent separately to pacify the counties of Lǔ state. Along with Xiàhóu Yuān he besieged Chāng Xī at Dōnghǎi. After several months the provisions were exhausted, and they discussed leading the army back. Liáo said to [Xiàhóu] Yuān: “In the past few days, every time I pass by the siege lines, [Chāng] Xī at once stares at me. Also, the arrows they shoot at us have become sparse. This is certainly because [Chāng] Xī is uncertain in his plans, and so does not exert his strength in battle. I wish to invite him to talk, and can perhaps entice him [to surrender].”

袁紹破,別遣遼定魯國諸縣。與夏侯淵圍昌豨於東海,數月糧盡,議引軍還,遼謂淵曰:「數日已來,每行諸圍,豨輒屬目視遼。又其射矢更稀,此必豨計猶豫,故不力戰。遼欲挑與語,儻可誘也?」

Therefore he sent an envoy to tell Xī: “His Excellency [Cáo] has orders, and has sent me to pass it [to you].” [Chāng] Xī indeed went down to talk with Liáo, and Liáo persuaded him: “Tàizǔ [retroactive change here to avoid using Cáo Cāo’s name] has divine military ability, and will soon with virtue envelop the Four Corners of the world. Those who first join him will receive great reward.” [Chāng] Xī therefore agreed to surrender.

乃使謂豨曰:「公有命,使遼傳之。」豨果下與遼語,遼為說「太祖神武,方以德懷四方,先附者受大賞」。豨乃許降。

Liáo then went alone up the Sāngōng mountain, entered [Chāng] Xī’s house, and paid respects to his wife and children. [Chāng] Xī was very pleased, and therefore went to visit Tàizǔ. Tàizǔ sent [Chāng] Xī back [to his former post], and scolded Liáo: “This was not the way of a commanding officer.” Liáo apologized and said: “With your enlightened excellency’s authority and faith known across the Four Seas, I presented a sagely command. [Chāng] Xī certainly did not dare harm me because of this.”

遼遂單身上三公山,入豨家,拜妻子。豨歡喜,隨詣太祖。太祖遣豨還,責遼曰:「此非大將法也。」遼謝曰:「以明公威信著於四海,遼奉聖旨,豨必不敢害故也。」

He followed in attacking Yuán Tán and Yuán Shàng at Líyáng [202], had achievements, and became Acting Central Resolute General. He followed in attacking [Yuán] Shàng at Yè, and Shàng firmly defended and would not go down. Tàizǔ returned to Xǔ, and sent Liáo with Yuè Jìn to capture Yīn’ān and move its people to Hénán.

從討袁譚、袁尚於黎陽,有功,行中堅將軍。從攻尚於鄴,尚堅守不下。太祖還許,使遼與樂進拔陰安,徙其民河南。

He again followed in attacking Yè [204], Yè was captured, and Liáo led separate campaigns in Zhào state and Chángshān, receiving the surrenders of all the bandits of Yuán mountain and Black Mountain [bandit] Sūn Qīng and others. He followed in attacking Yuán Tán, Tán was destroyed, and he led a separate campaign along the coast, destroying the Liáodōng pirates Liǔ Yì and others. He returned to Yè, and Tàizǔ personally went out to welcome Liáo, traveled together with him, and appointed Liáo General Sweeping Away Bandits. He again led separate attacks on Jīng Province, settled the counties of Jiāngxià, returned to camp at Línyǐng, and was given fief as Marquis of a capital precinct.

復從攻鄴,鄴破,遼別徇趙國、常山,招降緣山諸賊及黑山孫輕等。從攻袁譚,譚破,別將徇海濱,破遼東賊柳毅等。還鄴,太祖自出迎遼,引共載,以遼為盪寇將軍。復別擊荊州,定江夏諸縣,還屯臨潁,封都亭侯。

He followed in the campaign against Yuán Shàng at Liǔchéng [207]. At the end when they encountered the caitiffs, Liáo urged Tàizǔ to do battle, his spirit was very fierce. Tàizǔ commended him, and personally handed the signal flag to Liáo. Therefore he attacked, and greatly defeated them, beheading the Shànyú Tàdùn. (1)

從征袁尚於柳城,卒與虜遇,遼勸太祖戰,氣甚奮,太祖壯之,自以所持麾授遼。遂擊,大破之,斬單于蹋頓。〔一〕

  • (1) Fùzǐ states: Tàizǔ was about to campaign against Liǔchéng, but Liáo admonished him: “Xǔ is where Heaven’s Son is found. Now while Heaven’s Son is at Xǔ and you Lord goes far north on campaign, if Liú Biǎo sends Liú Bèi to attack Xǔ and occupy what is used to command the Four Corners of the realm, you Lord will lose power.” Tàizǔ planned that Biǎo would certainly not appoint Bèi, and therefore went.

〔一〕 傅子曰:太祖將征柳城,遼諫曰:「夫許,天子之會也。今天子在許,公遠北征,若劉表遣劉備襲許,據之以號令四方,公之勢去矣。」太祖策表必不能任備,遂行也。


At the time Jīng Province was not yet settled, he Liáo was again sent to camp at Chángshè. When they were about to set out, within the army there were those plotting rebellion, who in the night set an alarm and a fire, and the entire army was in complete disorder. Liáo said to those around him: “Do not move. This is not even one whole camp rebelling. Certainly it is only someone causing disorder, wishing to cause people unrest and that is all.” Therefore he ordered in the army that all who were not rebelling to calmly sit. Liáo then led his personal troops several tens of men through the lines and established themselves. Immediately things were settled, and they captured the lead rebels and killed them.

時荊州未定,復遣遼屯長社。臨發,軍中有謀反者,夜驚亂起火,一軍盡擾。遼謂左右曰:「勿動。是不一營盡反,必有造變者,欲以動亂人耳。」乃令軍中,其不反者安坐。遼將親兵數十人,中陳而立。有頃定,即得首謀者殺之。

Chén Lán and Méi Chéng led the Dī of six counties to rebel. Tàizǔ sent Yú Jīn, Zāng Bà, and others to suppress [Méi] Chéng, and Liáo with command of Zhāng Hé, Niú Gài, and others to suppress [Chén] Lán.

陳蘭、梅成以氐六縣叛,太祖遣于禁、臧霸等討成,遼督張郃、牛蓋等討蘭。

[Méi] Chéng feigned surrender to [Yú] Jīn and [Yú] Jīn returned. Chéng then led his army to join [Chén] Lán, moving to Qián mountains. Among the Qián [moutains] was Tiānzhù mountain, over twenty lǐ high and steep, the roads were rugged and narrow, foot holds had to be cut out, and [Chén] Lán and the others built fortifications at the top.

成偽降禁,禁還。成遂將其眾就蘭,轉入灊山。灊中有天柱山,高峻二十餘里,道險狹,步徑裁通,蘭等壁其上。

Liáo wished to advance, but his officers said: “Our troops are few and the roads are rugged, it is difficult to penetrate through.” Liáo said: “This is what called ‘one for one.’ The valorous can go forward and that is all.”

遼欲進,諸將曰:「兵少道險,難用深入。」遼曰:「此所謂一與一,勇者得前耳。」

Therefore he advanced to the bottom of the mountain and set up camp, attacked them, beheaded [Chén] Lán and [Méi] Chéng, and captured all the caitiffs of their army. Tàizǔ commented on the achievement to the officers: “Ascending Tiān mountain and treading a high and rugged path to capture [Chén] Lán and [Méi] Chéng is the achievement of the [General] Sweeping Away Bandits.” His fief was increased, and he was given a Acting Staff of Authority.

遂進到山下安營,攻之,斬蘭、成首,盡虜其眾。太祖論諸將功,曰:「登天山,履峻險,以取蘭、成,盪寇功也。」增邑,假節。


When Tàizǔ had campaigned against Sūn Quán and returned, he sent Liáo with Yuè Jìn, Lǐ Diǎn, and others to command over 7000 men to camp at Héféi. Tàizǔ went on campaign against Zhāng Lǔ [215], and left instructions with Protector of the Army Xuē Tì, on the envelope of which was written: “If rebels come then open.” Soon afterward [Sūn] Quán led an army of 100,000 to besiege Héféi, and so they together opened the instructions. The instructions said: “If Sūn Quán comes, Generals Zhāng and Lǐ go out to battle, General Yuè defends, the Protector of the Army [Xuē Tì] does not battle.”

太祖既征孫權還,使遼與樂進、李典等將七千餘人屯合肥。太祖征張魯,教與護軍薛悌,署函邊曰「賊至乃發」。俄而權率十萬眾圍合肥,乃共發教,教曰:「若孫權至者,張、李將軍出戰;樂將軍守護軍,勿得與戰。」

All the officers were doubtful. Liáo said: “The Lord is away on a distant campaign. By the time rescue arrives, they will certainly have destroyed us. Therefore these instructions are to before they are gathered strike and attack them, to break their flourishing strength, and calm the hearts of our army, so that afterward we can defend. The decision between victory and defeat is in this one battle. How can you sirs be doubtful?” Lǐ Diǎn also agreed with Liáo. Therefore that night Liáo recruited soldiers who dared follow him, and obtained 800 men, slaughtered oxen to feast the officers and troops before the next day’s great battle.

諸將皆疑。遼曰;「公遠征在外,比救至,彼破我必矣。是以教指及其未合逆擊之,折其盛勢,以安眾心,然後可守也。成敗之機,在此一戰,諸君何疑?」李典亦與遼同。於是遼夜募敢從之士,得八百人,椎牛饗將士,明日大戰。

At dawn, Liáo donned his armor and grasped his halberd, and led the charge into the enemy lines, killing several tens of men, beheading two Generals, loudly shouting his name, breaking through the [enemy camp] barricades, arriving below [Sūn] Quán’s own banner. [Sūn] Quán was greatly alarmed and his army did not know what was happening, so he fled up a high hill, defending himself with a long halberd. Liáo shouted at [Sūn] Quán to come down to do battle, but [Sūn] Quán did not dare move. He looked out and saw that the army Liáo commanded was small, and so [had his army] gather to surround Liáo with several lines [of troops] thick. Liáo and his attendants and banners were surrounded, and pushed forward to attack, the encirclement opened, and Liáo led several tens of his men under his banner to escape. The rest of the army shouted: “Does the General abandon us?” Liáo turned back and broke the encirclement, and rescued the rest of his army. [Sūn] Quán’s men and horses were all routed, and none dared resist. From dawn the battle lasted to noon, and the Wú men lost their spirits, and returned to build fortifications. The hearts of the army were therefore settled, and all the officers admired [Zhāng Liáo].

平旦,遼被甲持戟,先登陷陳,殺數十人,斬二將,大呼自名,衝壘入,至權麾下。權大驚,眾不知所為,走登高冢,以長戟自守。遼叱權下戰,權不敢動,望見遼所將眾少,乃聚圍遼數重。遼左右麾圍,直前急擊,圍開,遼將麾下數十人得出,餘眾號呼曰:「將軍棄我乎!」遼復還突圍,拔出餘眾。權人馬皆披靡,無敢當者。自旦戰至日中,吳人奪氣,還修守備,眾心乃安,諸將咸服。

[Sūn] Quán kept guard at Héféi for over ten days, but the city could not be taken, so he therefore retreated. Liáo led all the armies to pursue and attack, and almost even captured [Sūn] Quán. Tàizǔ was greatly impressed with Liáo’s strength, and appointed him General Campaigning East. (1)

權守合肥十餘日,城不可拔,乃引退。遼率諸軍追擊,幾復獲權。太祖大壯遼,拜征東將軍。〔一〕

  • (1) Sūn Shèng states: Warfare is undoubtedly a path of deception. The strange and the standard support one another. If one is about to command an excursion attack, one must push appearances of lacking strength, or else depend on a sudden and surprising appearance, or else rely on the power of delaying. If the commanders do not get along, then it is to abandon the way of the commander. As for the defense of Héféi, the county was weak and without support. To appoint the brave would lead to love of battle and create suffering, and to appoint the timid would lead to fearful hearts and difficulty in defense. Moreover, the enemy were many and we few, and so would certainly harbor degeneracy. To use troops ready to die to attack degenerate soldiers is to be certainly victorious. After victory and then defending, then the defense is certain to be strong. Therefore Wèi [Cáo Cāo] selected them out as they had the same unusual thinking, and wrote it in the secret instructions, to announce its use. When the matter arrived and it was used, it was indeed as written. How exceptional!

〔一〕 孫盛曰;夫兵固詭道,奇正相資,若乃命將出征,推轂委權,或賴率然之形,或憑掎角之勢,群帥不和,則棄師之道也。至於合肥之守,縣弱無援,專任勇者則好戰生患,專任怯者則懼心難保。且彼眾我寡,必懷貪墯;以致命之兵,擊貪墯之卒,其勢必勝;勝而後守,守則必固。是以魏武推選方員,參以同異,為之密教,節宣其用;事至而應,若合符契,妙矣夫!

Jiàn’ān twenty-first year [216], Tàizǔ returned to campaign against Sūn Quán. He arrived at Héféi, toured where Liáo had battled, and sighed for a long while. Then he increased Liáo’s troops, increased the garrison armies, and moved camp to Jūcháo.

建安二十一年,太祖復征孫權,到合肥,循行遼戰處,歎息者良久。乃增遼兵,多留諸軍,徙屯居巢。


Guān Yǔ besieged Cáo Rén at Fán [219]. It happened that [Sūn] Quán had declared himself vassal [to Hàn], so Liáo and all the armies were summoned to return to rescue [Cáo] Rén. Before Liáo had arrived, Xú Huǎng had already defeated Guān Yǔ, and the siege of [Cáo] Rén had been resolved. Liáo met Tàizǔ at Móbēi. When Liáo’s army arrived, Tàizǔ rode his out in royal chariot to show appreciation, and he returned to camp at Chén prefecture. When Wén-dì ascended as King [220], he was promoted to General of the Front. (1)

關羽圍曹仁於樊,會權稱藩,召遼及諸軍悉還救仁。遼未至,徐晃已破關羽,仁圍解。遼與太祖會摩陂。遼軍至,太祖乘輦出勞之,還屯陳郡。文帝即王位,轉前將軍。〔一〕

  • (1) Wèishū states: The King bestowed on Liáo 1000 pǐ of silk and 10,000 hú of grain.

〔一〕 魏書曰:王賜遼帛千匹,穀萬斛。

His fief was divided to confer on his elder brother Fàn and one son as full Marquis.

分封兄汎及一子列侯。

Sūn Quán again rebelled, and Liáo was sent to camp at Héféi, and Liáo’s fief was advanced to Marquis of Dūxiāng. Liáo’s mother was bestowed with a chariot, and troops and horses were sent to escort Liáo’s family to visit his camp. It was ordered that when Liáo’s mother arrived, all was to go out to welcome her. The officers and officials of all the armies all lined up to bow to her on the roadside, and all who observed saw how they were honored.

孫權復叛,遣遼還屯合肥,進遼爵都鄉侯。給遼母輿車,及兵馬送遼家詣屯,敕遼母至,導從出迎。所督諸軍將吏皆羅拜道側,觀者榮之。

When Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] ascended [220], he was given fief as Marquis of Jìnyáng, his fief was increased by 1000 households, adding to the previous to a total of 2600 households.

文帝踐阼,封晉陽侯,增邑千戶,并前二千六百戶。

Huángchū second year [221], Liáo came to Court at Luòyáng Palace, and Wén-dì summoned Liáo to meet at Jiànshǐ Palace, and personally asked him about how he had defeated Wú. The Emperor sighed and said to those around him: “He is another Shào Hǔ of old.” He built for [Zhāng Liáo] a mansion, and specially built for Liáo’s mother a Palace Hall, and all the volunteer troops that had followed Liáo in defeating the Wú army were all appointed to the Tiger Elite.

黃初二年,遼朝洛陽宮,文帝引遼會建始殿,親問破吳意狀。帝歎息顧左右曰:「此亦古之召虎也。」為起第舍,又特為遼母作殿,以遼所從破吳軍應募步卒,皆為虎賁。

Sūn Quán again called himself a vassal. Liáo returned to camp at Yōngqiū, and fell ill. The Emperor sent Internal Attendant Liú Yè to lead the Grand Physicians to diagnose the illness. The Tiger Elite asked for news the whole journey. The illness had not recovered, and the Emperor invited Liáo to join him, rode the Imperial Carriage to personally meet, grasped his hand, and bestowed on him Imperial Robes and had the Imperial Palace daily send Imperial food. The illness slightly recovered, and he returned to camp.

孫權復稱藩。遼還屯雍丘,得疾。帝遣侍中劉曄將太醫視疾,虎賁問消息,道路相屬。疾未瘳,帝迎遼就行在所,車駕親臨,執其手,賜以御衣,太官日送御食。疾小差,還屯。

Sūn Quán again rebelled, and the Emperor sent Liáo to travel by ship with Cáo Xiū to Hǎilíng, overlooking the Jiāng. [Sūn] Quán was deeply afraid, and sent orders to his officers: “Though Zhāng Liáo is ill, he cannot be opposed. Be careful of him!” That year, Liáo and the Generals defeated Quán’s General Lǚ Fàn.

孫權復叛,帝遣遼乘舟,與曹休至海陵,臨江。權甚憚焉,敕諸將:「張遼雖病,不可當也,慎之!」是歲,遼與諸將破權將呂範。

Liáo’s illness became critical, and he then died at Jiāngdū. The Emperor wept for him. His posthumous title was Gāng-hóu “Tough Marquis.” His son Hǔ succeeded.

遼病篤,遂薨于江都。帝為流涕,諡曰剛侯。子虎嗣。

Sixth year [225], the Emperor in memorial of the achievement of [Zhāng] Liáo and [Lǐ] Diǎn at Héféi sent an Imperial Order: “In the Héféi campaign, Liáo and Diǎn with 800 infantry defeated 100,000 rebels. From ancient times in the use of troops there has never been anything like it. This has caused the rebels even to now to have lost spirit, and he can be said to be the state’s claws and teeth. Thus we divide from Liáo’s and Diǎn’s fiefs each 100 households to bestow on a son as Marquis Within the Passes.” Hǔ became Assistant-General, died, and his son Tǒng succeeded.

六年,帝追念遼、典在合肥之功,詔曰:「合肥之役,遼、典以步卒八百,破賊十萬,自古用兵,未之有也。使賊至今奪氣,可謂國之爪牙矣。其分遼、典邑各百戶,賜一子爵關內侯。」虎為偏將軍,薨。子統嗣。

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