(9.3) Cáo Rén 曹仁 [Zǐxiào 子孝]

younger brother Chún 曹 [Zǐhé 子和]

Cáo Rén appellation Zǐxiào was Tàizǔ‘s younger cousin. (1) When young he enjoyed bow and horse shooting and hunting. Later when powerful figures all rose up, Rén also secretly gathered youths, obtaining over a thousand people, going about the Huái and Sì, and then followed Tàizǔ as a Separate Division Major, Acting as Severe Vanguard Colonel.


In Tàizǔ‘s defeat of Yuán Shù [192], those Rén beheaded and captured were very many. In following the campaign against Xú province [193], Rén always commanded the cavalry, serving as the army’s front vanguard. He separately attacked Táo Qiān’s officer Lǚ Yóu, defeated him, and returned to rejoin the main army at Péngchéng, greatly defeating [Táo] Qiān’s army. He followed in attacking Fèi, Huá, Jímò, Kāiyáng, and [Táo] Qiān sent separate division officers to rescue these various counties, and Rén with cavalry struck and defeated them. Tàizǔ campaigned against Lǚ Bù [194], and Rén separately attacked Jùyáng, captured it, and captured alive [Lǚ] Bù’s officer Liú Hé.


Tàizǔ pacified the Yellow Headscarves, welcoming Heaven’s Son to set capital at Xǔ, and as Rén repeatedly had achievements, he was appointed Guǎngyáng Administrator. Tàizǔ was impressed with his valor and planning, and did not send him to that prefecture, and had him as Consultant Cadet command cavalry. Tàizǔ campaigned against Zhāng Xiù, and Rén separately went about the neighboring counties, capturing its men and women of over 3000 people. Tàizǔ‘s army returned, was by [Zhāng] Xiù pursued, the army was not successful, and the soldiers were demoralized. Rén led his strict officers and soldiers to extremely exert themselves, Tàizǔ was impressed with them, and they therefore defeated [Zhāng] Xiù.


  • (1) Wèishū states: Rén’s grandfather [Cáo] Bāo was a Yǐngchuān Administrator. His father Chì was an Attendant Internal and Cháng River Colonel.

〔一〕 魏書曰:仁祖褒,潁川太守。父熾,侍中、長水校尉。

Tàizǔ with Yuán Shào were long locked together at Guāndù [200], and [Yuán] Shào sent Liú Bèi to go about Yǐnqiáng’s various counties, and many gathered to answer in support of him. From Xǔ on south, the officials and people were not secure, and Tàizǔ believed it worrisome. Rén said: “The south believes the main army has emergency in front of its eyes, and its strength cannot also save them, so with Liú Bèi leading strong troops to overlook them, their betrayal is surely appropriate. [Liú] Bèi newly commands [Yuán] Shào’s troops, and cannot yet obtain their use, so striking them they can be defeated.” Tàizǔ agreed with his words, and therefore sent him to command cavalry to strike [Liú] Bèi, defeating and driving him away, and Rén completely recovered the various rebelling counties and returned. [Yuán] Shào sent separate officer Hán Xún to plunder and cut off the western roads, Rén struck [Hán] Xún at Jīluò mountain, and greatly defeated him. Because of this [Yuán] Shào did not dare again divide troops to send out. He again with Shǐ Huàn and others plundered [Yuán] Shào’s transport carts, burning their provisions and grain.


When the Hé’s north was settled, he followed in besieging Húguān. Tàizǔ‘s Order said: “When the city is taken, bury them all.” For continuous moons it was not taken. Rén said to Tàizǔ: “A besieged city must be shown a survival gate, and therefore open a road to survival. Now it is publicly announced they will certainly die, causing the people to defend themselves. Moreover the city is firm and its provisions many, if attacking them then the soldiers are injured, if defending against them then the days stretch long; now arranging troops firmly below the city, to attack certain to die enemies, is not a good plan.” Tàizǔ followed this, and the city surrendered. Therefore recording Rén’s beginning to end achievements, he was given fief as a capital precinct Marquis.


He followed in pacifying Jīng Province [208], and Rén was made Acting General Campaigning South, remaining to garrison Jiānglíng, and resisted Wú officer Zhōu Yú. [Zhōu] Yú commanded an army of several tens of thousands to come attack, its front line of several thousand men first arrived, Rén ascended the city wall to observe them, and therefore recruited and gained 300 men, sending his close retainer commander Niú Jīn to oppose and challenge them to battle. The rebels were many, [Niú] Jīn’s army was few, and therefore were by them surrounded.


Chief Clerk Chén Jiǎo was also atop the city wall, saw that [Niú] Jīn and the rest were almost destroyed, and those around all lost color. Rén’s thoughts and spirit became very furious, and he said to those around him to bring his horse, [Chén] Jiǎo and the rest together grabbed him, saying to Rén: “The rebel army is flourishing, and cannot be opposed. Supposing we lose several hundred men, what is the hardship? But you General personally go to them!”


Rén did not answer, and therefore donned armor and mounted horse, commanding his bannermen soldiers of several tens of cavalry to go out of the city. He was from the rebels over a hundred bù, reached a gully, and [Chén] Jiǎo and the rest believed Rén would station above the gully, to be [Niú] Jīn’s support. Rén directly crossed the gully and went forward, charging into the rebel encirclement, and [Niú] Jīn and others thus obtained escape. The rest of the army were not yet completely out, Rén again directly returned and charged to them, drawing out [Niú] Jīn’s troops, the lost were [only] several men, and the rebel army therefore withdrew.


[Chén] Jiǎo and others previously saw Rén go out, and all were afraid, and when they saw Rén return, they then sighed and said: “You General are truly a Heavenly Man!” The Three Armies admired his valor. Tàizǔ increased his impression of him, and transferred his fief to Ānpíng precinct Marquis.


Tàizǔ suppressed Mǎ Chāo, appointing Rén as Acting General Securing West, to command the various officers resisting at Tóngguān, and they defeated [Mǎ] Chāo at the Wèi’s south. Sū Bó and Tián Yín rebelled, and Rén was Acting General of Valiant Cavalry, Regional Commander of seven armies to suppress [Tián] Yín and the rest, and defeated them.


Again Rén was Acting as General Campaigning South, with Acting Staff, garrisoning Fán, and defending Jīng Province. Hóu Yīn led Wǎn to rebel, plundering the surrounding counties of several thousand people, Rén led the various armies to attack and defeated [Hóu] Yīn, beheading his head, returned to garrison Fán, and was appointed General Campaigning South.


Guān Yǔ attacked Fán [219], at the time the Hàn river suddenly flooded, Yú Jīn’s and other’s seven armies were all drowned, and [Yú] Jīn surrendered to [Guān] Yǔ. Rén’s men and horses of several thousand defended the city, and of the city wall what was not submerged was only several bǎn [in height]. [Guān] Yǔ rode boat to face the city, the encirclement was several lines, outside and inside was cut off, the provisions were almost exhausted, and rescue troops had not arrived. Rén roused his officers and soldiers, showing he would certainly die [before surrender], the officers and soldiers were moved by this and all had no second [thoughts]. Xú Huǎng’s rescue arrived, and the water also gradually receded, [Xú] Huǎng from outside struck [Guān] Yǔ, Rén was able to disperse the encirclement and go out, and [Guān] Yǔ retreated and fled.


Rén when young did not cultivate conduct and restraint, but when grown and became an officer, he was strict and orderly in carrying out law and orders, always setting up regulations about him, and consulting them when carrying out affairs. Marquis of Yānlíng [Cáo] Zhāng campaigned north against the Wūhuán, Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] was at the East Palace, and made letter warning [Cáo] Zhāng: “As a General carrying out law, should not one be like the [General] Campaigning South [Cáo Rén]!” When [Cáo Pī] succeeded as King, he appointed Rén as General of Chariots and Cavalry, Regional Commander over Jīng, Yáng, and Yì Provinces’ various Military affairs, advancing fief to Marquis of Chén, and increasing fief by 2000, adding with the previous to 3500 households. He gave posthumous bestowment on Rén’s father [Cáo] Chì with posthumous name as Chén Mù-hóu “Solemn Marquis,” installing ten families to guard the tombs.


Later he was summoned back to garrison Wǎn. Sūn Quán sent his officer Chén Shào to occupying Xiāngyáng, and Imperial Order had Rén suppress them. Rén with Xú Huǎng attacked and defeated [Chén] Shào, and therefore entered Xiāngyáng, sending General Gāo Qiān and others to relocate the people south of the Hàn [river] who had attached [to Wèi] to the Hàn’s north. Wén-dì sent envoy to appoint Rén as General-in-Chief, and also had Imperial Order to Rén to shift garrison to Línyǐng, promoted to Marshal-in-chief, again commanding the various armies occupying Wūjiāng, returning to garrison Héféi.


Huángchū Fourth Year [223] he died, posthumous name Zhōng-hóu “Loyal Marquis.” (1) His son [Cáo] Tài succeeded, office reaching General Defending East, with Acting Staff, transferred fief to Marquis of Nínglíng. [Cáo] Tài died, and his son [Cáo] Chū succeeded. Also they divided fief to [Cáo] Tài’s younger brothers Kǎi and Fàn all as Ranked Marquis, and Niú Jīn’s office reached General of the Rear.


  • Wèishū states: Rén at the time was fifty-six years.
  • Fù-zǐ states: Marshal-in-Chief Cáo [Rén]’s valor, [Mèng] Bēn and [Xià] Yù could not surpass. Zhāng Liáo is next after him.

〔一〕 魏書曰:仁時年五十六。傅子曰:曹大司馬之勇,賁、育弗加也。張遼其次焉。

Rén’s younger brother Chún, (1) previously as Consultant Cadet was Advisor to the Excellency of Work’s Military affairs, commanded the Tiger-Leopard Cavalry in following the siege of Nánpí. Yuán Tán went out to battle, and of the soldiers many died. Tàizǔ wished to withdraw them, but Chún said: “Now we have crossed a thousand lǐ to oppose them, if advancing we cannot overcome them, then retreating will certainly damage our authority; moreover the division brigades are penetrated deeply, and difficult to last long. They are winning and so arrogant, we are losing and so afraid, using fear to oppose arrogance, they can certainly be overcome.” Tàizǔ agreed with his words, and therefore urgently attacked them, and Yuán Tán was defeated. Chún’s bannermen cavalry beheaded Tán’s head.


At the northern campaign against the Three Prefectures [Wúhuān], Chún’s division of cavalry captured Shànyú Tàdùn. For his beginning to end achievements he was given fief as Gāolíng precinct Marquis, with fief of 300 households. He followed the campaign against Jīng Province, pursued Liú Bèi at Chángbǎn, capturing his two daughters and heavy wagons, and collecting his scattered troops. He advanced and accepted the surrender of Jiānglíng, and followed back to Qiáo.


Jiàn’ān Fifteenth Year [210] he died. When Wén-dì succeeded the throne, he gave posthumous name Wēi-hóu “Authoritative Marquis.” (2) His son [Cáo] Yǎn succeeded, office reaching General Managing the Army, and during Zhèngyuán [254-255] was advanced in fief to Pìnglè village Marquis. [Cáo] Yǎn died and his son [Cáo] Liàng succeeded.


  • (1) Yīngxióng Jì states: Chún appellation Zǐhé. At fourteen years he lost his father, and with his elder brother of the same womb Rén had a separate residence. He succeeded his father’s business, wealthy in property, and his servants and guests were several hundred. Chún in managing and directing, did not lose reason, and in the village all believed him able. He enjoyed learning, and respected and favored scholars, and of scholars many joined him, and because of this far and near praised him. At eighteen years, he became Yellow Gate Attendant Cadet. At twenty, he followed Tàizǔ at Xiāngyì to recruit troops, and therefore always followed in campaign and battle.

〔一〕 英雄記曰:純字子和。年十四而喪父,與同產兄仁別居。承父業,富於財,僮僕人客以百數,純綱紀督御,不失其理,鄉里咸以為能。好學問,敬愛學士,學士多歸焉,由是為遠近所稱。年十八,為黃門侍郎。二十,從太祖到襄邑募兵,遂常從征戰。

  • (2) Wèishū states: Chún’s commanded Tiger-Leopard Cavalry, who were all the realm Under Heaven’s most valiant and elite. Someone with a hundred men asked to fill vacancies in them, but Tàizǔ believed it difficult to for him to be commander. Chún was selected as commander, comforting about and deeply gaining the people’s hearts. When he died, managing officials said to select a successor. Tàizǔ said: “One comparable to Chún, how can it again be obtained! Can I myself not be the interim commander?” Therefore he did not select.

〔二〕 魏書曰:純所督虎豹騎,皆天下驍銳,或從百人將補之,太祖難其帥。純以選為督,撫循甚得人心。及卒,有司白選代,太祖曰:「純之比,何可復得!吾獨不中督邪?」遂不選。

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