Rènchéng Wēi-wáng “Powerful King” [Cáo] Zhāng appellation Zǐwén. When young he was good at shooting and riding, his bodily strength surpassed others, hand matched wild beasts, and did not avoid danger. He repeatedly accompanied campaigns, his will and intentions vehement and fervent. Tàizǔ once restrained him saying: “You do not attend to studying books and admiring sagely principle, but enjoy riding warhorse and striking with sword, this is for dealing with one man, how is it sufficient to esteem?” He instructed Zhāng to study the Shī and Shū, but Zhāng said to those around him: “A man should be like Wèi [Qīng] and Huò [Qùbìng], commanding a hundred thousand cavalry galloping across the desert, driving on Róng and Dí, establishing achievement and reputation and that is all, how can I be a Academic Scholar?”
Tàizǔ once asked his various sons what they enjoyed, having each say their ambitions. Zhāng said: “I wish to be a General.” Tàizǔ said: “As a General what can be done?” [Cáo Zhāng] replied: “Wearing firm [armor] and wielding sharp [weapon], facing danger and not turning away, leading ahead soldiers; reward certainly given, punishment certainly trusted.” Tàizǔ greatly laughed.
Jiàn’ān Twenty-first Year , he was given fief as Yānlíng Marquis.
Twenty-Third Year , Dài prefecture’s Wūhuán rebelled, and Zhāng was appointed North Internal Cadet General, Acting Valiant Cavalry General. He was about to set out, and Tàizǔ warned Zhāng: “Residing at home we are father and son, in receiving matters were are ruler and servant, actions must be by the Ruler’s Law followed, you must be on guard of this!”
Zhāng campaigned north, entered Zuō prefecture’s border, and rebelling Hú of several thousand cavalry and soldiers arrived. At the time the troops and horses were not yet gathered, and he had only infantry of a thousand men, cavalry of several hundred. Using Tián Yù’s plan, he firmly defended critical gaps, and the caitiffs therefore withdrew and scattered. Zhāng pursued them, personally fighting in battle, shooting Hú riders, and those that fell at the bow shot from beginning to end were found everywhere. They battled for over half a day, Zhāng’s armor was struck repeatedly with arrows, his intentions and aura became more severe, and he followed up on victory pursuing north, reaching Sāngqián, (1) from Dài over two hundred lǐ [~83 km].
- (1) Your Servant Sōngzhī comments: Sāngqián county is part of Dài prefecture, now the northern caitiffs occupy it, calling it the Suǒgān’s capital.
The Chief Clerk and various officers all believed they had newly crossed far, the soldiers and horses were weary, and also they had received restrictions, to not go past Dài, and they could not deeply advance, violating orders and underestimating the enemy. Zhāng said: “Leading army and going, only victory is considered, how can it be restricted? The Hú fleeing have not yet gone far, and pursuing them they are certain to be defeated. To follow orders and release the enemy, is not to be a good General.” Therefore he mounted horse, and gave order in the army: “The late to set out are beheaded.” In one day and one night he reached the caitiffs, struck, and greatly defeated them, beheading and capturing alive in the thousands. Zhāng therefore greatly gave out large bestowments to the officers and soldiers, and of the officers and soldiers none were not pleased.
At the time Xiānbēi Chieftain Kē Bǐnéng commanded several tens of thousands of cavalry to observe who was strong and week, and seeing that Zhāng energetically fought, and wherever he faced was all defeated, then asked to submit. The north was all pacified.
At the time Tàizǔ was at Cháng’ān, and summoned Zhāng to visit and go where he was. Zhāng from Dài passed Yè, and the Heir-Apparent [Cáo Pī] said to Zhāng: “You newly have achievement, now going west to see his Highness, you should not boast of yourself, and in replies always speak of your deficiencies. Zhāng arrived, and did as the Heir-Apparent advised, attributing the achievement to the various officers. Tàizǔ was pleased, and grabbed Zhāng’s beard: “My yellow bearded boy is indeed greatly surprising!” (2)
- (2) Wèilüè states: Tàizǔ was at Hànzhōng, and Liú Bèi perched on mountain top, sending Liú Fēng down to challenge battle. Tàizǔ scolded him: “Selling shoes boy, sending your adopted son to resist your Excellency? Wait for my yellow beard to come, to strike him.” Therefore he summoned Zhāng. Zhāng morning and night advanced on road, to the west reaching Chāng’ān but Tàizǔ had already returned, from Hànzhōng and going back. Zhāng’s beard was yellow, and therefore he was called that.
Tàizǔ eastward returned, appointed Zhāng Acting Yuè Cavalry General, to remain at Cháng’ān. Tàizǔ reached Luòyáng, fell ill, and urgently summoned Zhāng, but before he arrived, Tàizǔ perished.
- (1) Wèilüè states: Zhāng arrived, and said to Línzī Marquis [Cáo] Zhí: “That the late King summoned us, was to wish to establish you [as heir].” [Cáo] Zhí said: “It cannot be. Did you not see the Yuán clan brothers?”
Wén-dì [Cáo Pī] succeeded the King’s throne, and Zhāng with [his brothers] the various lords were sent to their [fief] states. (2)
- (2) Wèilüè states: The Heir-Apparent succeeded position, arrived at the burial, and sent Zhāng to his [fief] state. At first Zhāng because he had under the Late King met with appointment and had achievement, hoped that because of this he would therefore meet with employment, but hearing he would follow the same case [as his other brothers], his thoughts were deeply displeased, and not waiting for dispatch he left. At the time as Yānlíng’s lands were meager, he was headquartered at Zhōngmù. When the Emperor accepted the abdication, therefore he was given fief as King of Zhōngmù. After this when the Imperial Chariot visited Xǔchāng, the northern province’s various vassals high and low, all feared Zhāng’s firm severity; every time they passed Zhōngmù, they did not dare not be quick.
Imperial Order said: “The Way of Former Kings, was to employ meritorious close kin, and also establish younger brothers of the same mother, to found [vassal] states and carry on the family, and therefore be able to be vassal screens protecting the Main Clan, to resist and oppose troubles. Zhāng previously received command to campaign north, purified and settled the northern lands, his achievements abundant. Increase his fief by five thousand, adding to the previous to ten thousand households.”
Huángchū Second Year , he was advanced in rank to Duke. Third Year , he was established as King of Rènchéng. Fourth Year , he attended Court at the capital, fell ill and died in his lodging house, posthumous name Wēi “Authoritative.” (3) At the burial, he was bestowed with Imperial Chariot, Dragon Flags, Tiger Elite [escort guard] of a hundred men, following Hàn’s King of Dōngpíng’s precedent [of receiving Imperial honors for burial].
- (3) Wèishì Chūnqiū states: Previously, Zhāng asked about the [King of Wèi’s] Seal and Ribbon, about to have other intentions, and therefore when he came to Court he could not at once obtain audience. Zhāng was furious and suddenly died.
His son Kǎi succeeded, moved in fief to Zhōngmù. Fifth Year , changed fief to Rènchéng county. Tàihé Sixth Year , again changed fief to Rènchéng state, with supply fief of five counties and 2500 households. Qīnglóng Third Year , Kǎi in connection to privately sending his subordinate officials to visit the Central Craftsmen to make forbidden objects, lost counties and 2000 households. Zhèngshǐ Seventh Year , moved fief to Jǐnán, 3000 houesholds. Zhèngyuán [254-255] to Jǐngyuán [260-263]’s beginning, continuously increased fief, altogether 4400 households. (4)
- (4) Kǎi in Tàishǐ’s [265-274] beginning became Chónghuà’s Minister Treasurer, see Bǎiguānmíng.