(9.6) Cáo Zhēn 曹真 [Zǐdān 子丹]

Cáo Zhēn appellation Zǐdǎn was Tàizǔ’s [Cáo Cāo’s] distant cousin’s son. Tàizǔ raised troops, and Zhēn’s father [Cáo] Shào recruited followers, but was by the provincial and prefecture [government] killed. (1)

曹真字子丹,太祖族子也。太祖起兵,真父邵募徒眾,為州郡所殺。〔一〕

  • (1) Wèilüè “Summary of Wèi” states: Zhēn was originally surnamed Qín, adopted by the Cáo clan. Some say his father [Qín] Bónán from childhood was friendly with Tàizŭ. Xīngpíng’s end [195], Yuán Shù’s faction with Tàizǔ fought battle, Tàizǔ escaped, was by the enemy pursued, and fled to the Qín clan, and [Qín] Bónán opened the door to receive him. The enemy asked where Tàizǔ was, and he answered: “I am he,” and therefore they killed him. Because of this Tàizǔ thought of this achievement, and therefore changed his [Zhēn’s] surname.
  • Wèishū “History Book of Wèi” states: [Cáo] Shào because he was loyal and true and had ability and wisdom, was by Tàizǔ made a trusted aide. During Chūpíng [190-193], Tàizǔ raised righteous troops, and [Cáo] Shào recruited followers, following Tàizǔ all around. At the time Inspector of Yùzhōu Huáng Wǎn wished to kill Tàizǔ, Tàizǔ escaped this but [Cáo] Shào alone was murdered.

〔一〕 魏略曰:真本姓秦,養曹氏。或云其父伯南夙與太祖善。興平末,袁術部黨與太祖攻劫,太祖出,為寇所追,走入秦氏,伯南開門受之。寇問太祖所在,答云:「我是也。」遂害之。由此太祖思其功,故變其姓。魏書曰:邵以忠篤有才智,為太祖所親信。初平中,太祖興義兵,邵募徒眾,從太祖周旋。時豫州刺史黃琬欲害太祖,太祖避之而邵獨遇害。

Tàizǔ pitied that Zhēn was young orphaned, and adopted and cared for him like for his own sons, having him stay with Wén-dì [Cáo Pī]. Once he was hunting, was by a tiger pursued, turned back and shot the tiger, and at the sound it fell. Tàizǔ recognized his fierce valor, and had him command the Tiger Leopard Cavalry. He suppressed Línqiū rebels, conquered them, and was given fief as Marquis of Língshòu precinct. As an Assistant-General he commanded troops to strike Liú Bèi’s separate division Generals at Xiàbiàn, defeated them, and was promoted to Central Firm General. He followed to Cháng’ān, with command as Central Manager of the Army.

太祖哀真少孤,收養與諸子同,使與文帝共止。常獵,為虎所逐,顧射虎,應聲而倒。太祖壯其鷙勇,使將虎豹騎。討靈丘賊,拔之,封靈壽亭侯。以偏將軍將兵擊劉備別將於下辯,破之,拜中堅將軍。從至長安,領中領軍。

At that time [219], Xiàhóu Yuān perished at Yángpíng, and Tàizǔ mourned him. Zhēn became Protector of the Army Campaigning against Shǔ, commanding Xú Huǎng and others to defeat Liú Bèi’s separate division General Gāo Xiáng at Yángpíng. Tàizǔ reached Hànzhōng, pulled back the various armies, sending Zhēn to Wǔdū to call back Cáo Hóng and the rest to return to garrison Chéncāng.

是時,夏侯淵沒於陽平,太祖憂之。以真為征蜀護軍,督徐晃等破劉備別將高詳於陽平。太祖自至漢中,拔出諸軍,使真至武都迎曹洪等還屯陳倉。

[220] Wén-dì succeeded as King, appointed Zhēn as General Defending the West, with Staff of Authority as Regional Commander over Yōng and Liáng provinces various military affairs. For his achievements from beginning to end, he was advanced in fief to Marquis of Dōng village. Zhāng Jìn and others rebelled at Jiǔquán, and Zhēn sent Fèi Yào to suppress and defeat them, beheading [Zhāng] Jìn and the rest.

文帝即王位,以真為鎮西將軍,假節都督雍、涼州諸軍事。錄前後功,進封東鄉侯。張進等反於酒泉,真遣費曜討破之,斬進等。

Huángchū third year [222] he returned to the capital, and Zhēn was appointed General-in-Chief of the Upper Army, Regional Commander of inner and outer military affairs, with Acting Staff and Battle-Ax of Authority. With Xiàhóu Shàng and others he campaigned against Sūn Quán, striking the Niúzhǔ garrison, destroying it. He was transferred to General-in-Chief of the Central Army, with added interior government authority.

黃初三年還京都,以真為上軍大將軍,都督中外諸軍事,假節鉞。與夏侯尚等征孫權,擊牛渚屯,破之。轉拜中軍大將軍,加給事中。

Seventh year [226], Wén-dì was lying ill, Zhēn with Chén Qún, Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng and others received final Imperial Order to assist the government. Míng-dì [Cáo Ruì] succeeded, and advanced his fief to Marquis of Shàolíng, (2) and promoted to General-in-Chief.

七年,文帝寢疾,真與陳群、司馬宣王等受遺詔輔政。明帝即位,進封邵陵侯,〔二〕遷大將軍。

  • (2) Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: Zhēn’s father’s personal name was Shào. The fief of Shàolíng, if it is not a recording error, then the matter cannot be understood.

  〔二〕 臣松之案:真父名邵。封邵陵侯,若非書誤,則事不可論。


[228] Zhūgě Liàng encircled Qíshān, and Nán’ān, Tiānshuǐ, Āndìng, three prefectures rebelled in answer to [Zhūgě] Liàng. The Emperor sent Zhēn to command the various armies at Méi, and he sent Zhāng Hé to strike [Zhūgě] Liàng’s General Mǎ Sù, and greatly defeated him. Āndìng man Yáng Tiáo and others seized the officials and people and defended Yuèzhī city. Zhēn advanced the army to besiege them. [Yáng] Tiáo said to his army: “The General-in-Chief has himself come, I wish to quickly surrender and that is all.” Therefore he bound himself and went. The three prefectures were all pacified.

諸葛亮圍祁山,南安、天水、安定三郡反應亮。帝遣真督諸軍軍郿,遣張郃擊亮將馬謖,大破之。安定民楊條等略吏民保月支城,真進軍圍之。條謂其眾曰:「大將軍自來,吾願早降耳。」遂自縛出。三郡皆平。

Zhēn knew because [Zhūgě] Liàng was punished at Qíshān and so would afterward certainly set out through Chéncāng, therefore sent Generals Hǎo Zhāo and Wáng Shēng to guard Chéncāng and repair its city walls. Next year [229] spring, [Zhūgě] Liàng indeed encircled Chéncāng, but it was already prepared and he could not overcome it. [Zhēn’s] fief was increased, adding to the previous to 2900 households. Fourth year [230] he attended Court at Luòyáng, was promoted to Marshal-in-Chief, bestowed with honors to with sword and shoes ascend the Palace Hall, and enter Court without hastening step.

真以亮懲於祁山,後出必從陳倉,乃使將軍郝昭、王生守陳倉,治其城。明年春,亮果圍陳倉,已有備而不能克。增邑,并前二千九百戶。四年,朝洛陽,遷大司馬,賜劍履上殿,入朝不趨。

Zhēn believed: “Shǔ has repeatedly set out to attack the borders, and it is appropriate to therefore  attack them. Taking several paths to invade can greatly overcome them.” The Emperor followed this plan. Zhēn was about to set out on western expedition, and the Emperor personally sent him off. Zhēn in the eighth moon left Cháng’ān, following Zǐwǔ path to enter south. Sīmǎ [Yì] Xuān-wáng went up the Hàn river, to join with them at Nánzhèng. Of the various armies some followed Xiégǔ road, some through Wǔwēi entered. It happened that there was great storm and rain for over thirty days, some of the plank roads were cut off, and Imperial Order had Zhēn return with the army.

真以「蜀連出侵邊境,宜遂伐之。數道並入,可大克也」。帝從其計。真當發西討,帝親臨送。真以八月發長安,從子午道南入。司馬宣王泝漢水,當會南鄭。諸軍或從斜谷道,或從武威入。會大霖雨三十餘日,或棧道斷絕,詔真還軍。


Zhēn when young with his clansman Cáo Zūn and fellow villager Zhū Zàn all worked for Tàizǔ. [Cáo] Zūn and [Zhū] Zàn died young, Zhēn pitied them, and asked to divide his fief to give fief to [Cáo] Zūn’s and [Zhū] Zàn’s sons. Imperial Order said: “The Marshal-in-Chief [Cáo Zhēn] has the benevolence of a younger uncle comforting orphans, and the nature of Yàn Píng not forgetting where he came from. The gentleman helps people achieve goodness, and so Zhēn’s fief is divided to bestow on [Cáo] Zūn and [Zhū] Zàn’s sons as Marquis Within the Passes, each with 100 households.”

真少與宗人曹遵、鄉人朱讚並事太祖。遵、讚早亡,真愍之,乞分所食邑封遵、讚子。詔曰:「大司馬有叔向撫孤之仁,篤晏平久要之分。君子成人之美,聽分真邑賜遵、讚子爵關內侯,各百戶。」

Zhēn in every campaign, labored together with the officers and soldiers, and when the army rewards were not sufficient, then he would use his family wealth to bestow them, and the soldiers all were willing to serve.

真每征行,與將士同勞苦,軍賞不足,輒以家財班賜,士卒皆願為用。

Zhēn fell ill and returned to Luòyáng, and the Emperor personally visited his mansion to check on his illness. [231] Zhēn died, posthumous name Yuán-hóu “Origin Marquis.” His son [Cáo] Shuǎng succeeded.

真病還洛陽,帝自幸其第省疾。真薨,諡曰元侯。子爽嗣。

The Emperor memorialized Zhēn’s achievements, and Imperial Order said: “The Marshal-in-Chief [Cáo Zhēn] walked with loyalty and integrity, served the mandates of the Two Founders [Cāo and Pī], inside he did not rely on favor of family relation, outside he was not arrogant to people of ordinary households. It can be said that he was the sort able to to defend prosperity and protect position, with virtue to labor with modesty. So in all cases fief is given to Zhēn’s five sons Xī, Xùn, Zé, Yàn, Ái, all as Ranked Marquis.” Previously, Wén-dì divided from Zhēn’s fief 200 households to give fief to Zhēn’s younger brother Bīn as a full Marquis.

帝追思真功,詔曰:「大司馬蹈履忠節,佐命二祖,內不恃親戚之寵,外不驕白屋之士,可謂能持盈守位,勞謙其德者也。其悉封真五子羲、訓、則、彥、皚皆為列侯。」初,文帝分真邑二百戶,封真弟彬為列侯。

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