Father Yì 甄逸, Yì’s son Yǎn 甄儼, Yǎn’s son Xiàng 甄像, Xiàng’s son Chàng 甄暢.
Wén-Zhāo “Civil’s Radiant” Empress Zhēn was a Zhōngshān Wújí woman, Emperor Míng’s [Cáo Ruì’s] mother, Hàn Grand Protector Zhēn Hán’s descendant, for generations [the family members were] officials at 2000 dàn [rank]. Her father [Zhēn] Yì was a Shàngcài Magistrate. The Empress at three years old lost her father. (1)
- (1) Wèishū states: [Zhēn] Yì married from Chángshān’s Zhāng clan [as a principle wife], begetting three sons and five daughters: Eldest son Yù, early died; next Yǎn, nominated Filial and Incorrupt candidate, was a General-in-Chief’s Official, Qūliáng Chief; next Yáo, nominated Filial and Incorrupt candidate; eldest daughter Jiāng, next Tuō, next Dào, next Róng, next was the Empress. The Empress in Hàn’s Guānghé Fifth Year Twelfth Moon Dīngyǒu [183 Jan 26] was born. Every time she slept she slept soundly, inside the family it was like seeing someone had with jade clothes covered her, and they always were together bewildered by it. [Zhēn] Yì died, she cried and mourned, and inside and outside increased their wonder at her. Later physiognomist Liú Liáng appraised the Empress and the various children, [Liú] Liáng pointed at the Empress and said: “This girl’s nobility cannot be spoken of.” The Empress from youth to grown, did not enjoy playing. Aged eight years, outside there was a standing on horseback performer, the family members and older sisters all went up the pavilion to watch it, the Empress alone did not go. Her older sisters were bewildered and asked her, the Empress replied saying: “How is this what a woman should watch?” Aged nine years, she liked books, seeing a character then at once remembering it, and repeatedly used her various elder brothers’ pen and ink stone, her elder brothers said to the Empress: “You should practice women’s labor. Using books for study, will you be a female academic scholar?” The Empress replied saying: “One hears that of the ancient worthy women, there has never been those that did not study the previous ages’ successes and failures, to for oneself warn. Not knowing books, how can one understand it?”
Later the realm Under Heaven was in warfare and chaos, and also there was hunger and famine, the common people all sold gold and silver and pearls and jade and treasures, at the time the Empress’s family greatly had stores of grain, and considerably with it bought them. The Empress aged ten years, informed her mother saying: “Now the age is in chaos and yet we greatly buy treasures: ‘a common fellow without crime, [if he] hides jade it is crime.’ Also those around are all hungry and exhausted, it is not as good as using the grain to stir up and provide for relatives and neighbors, to expand favor and grace.” The whole family said it was good, and at once followed the Empress’s advice. (2)
- (2) Wèilüè states: The Empress at fourteen years, lost her middle elder brother Yǎn, her grief and sorrow went beyond regulation, she served her widowed sister-in-law with modesty and respect, served together in her labors, and raised Yǎn’s son, her devotion and love [to her nephew] extremely sincere. The Empress’s mother by nature was strict, treated the various in-law women with constancy, the Empress repeatedly remonstrated her mother: “Elder brother by misfortune early died, sister-in-law is young but holds to integrity [does not remarry], look afters the remaining one son, by great righteousness speaking of it, if treating her should be like an in-law, yet loving her should be like a daughter.” Her mother was moved by the Empress’s words and shed tears, and had the Empress with the sister-in-law together live, sleeping and awake and sitting and rising always together accompanying, favor and love increasing and close.
During Jiàn’ān [196-220], Yuán Shào with his middle son [Yuán] Xī matched her [as a concubine]. [Yuán] Xī was sent out to Yōuzhōu, the Empress remained to care for her husband’s mother. When Jìzhōu was pacified, Emperor Wén [Cáo Pī] wed the Empress [as a concubine] in Yè, she had favor, and bore Emperor Míng [Cáo Ruì] and the princess of Dōngxiāng. (1) Yánkāng Inaugural Year  Standard Moon, Emperor Wén succeeded the King’s Throne, Sixth Moon went on southern campaign, the Empress remained at Yè.
- (1) Wèilüè states: [Yuán] Xī was at Yōuzhōu, the Empress remained to attend to her husband’s mother. When Yè city was defeated, [Yuán] Shào’s wife and the Empress were together seated atop Huáng Hall. Emperor Wén entered [Yuán] Shào’s residence, met [Yuán] Shào’s wife and the Empress, the Empress was afraid, and bowed her head on top of her husband’s mother’s thighs, [Yuán] Shào’s wife with her two hands prostrated herself. Emperor Wén said: “Lady Liú why are you like this? Have your daughter-in-law raise her head.” Her husband’s mother then lifted the Empress to have her look up, Emperor Wén saw her, observed her appearance was not ordinary, and praised and sighed at it. Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] understood his intentions, and therefore for him welcomed marriage.
- Shìyǔ states: Tǎizǔ captured Yè, Emperor Wén first entered Yuán Shàng’s office, there was a woman with loose hair and dirtied face, weeping and standing at [Yuán] Shào’s wife Liú’s rear, Emperor Wén asked her, and Liú replied: “It is [Yuán] Xī’s wife,” turning back to tie up her hair, and with a cloth wiping her face, her beauty and appearance beyond compare. After leaving, Liú said to the Empress: “No worry of death!” Therefore she was accepted [as a concubine], and had favor.
- Wèishū states:
- The Empress’s favor became more grand but she became more deferential, if the Rear Palace [harem] had someone favored she would encourage them, those without favor she would comfort and instruct them, every time she would take advantage of leisure or feast, to always advise the Emperor [Cáo Pī], saying: “In the past Huáng-dì’s descendants flourished, overall was because his concubines were very many, and thus he obtained these blessings and that is all. Therefore may you widely seek virtuous women, to benefit your posterity.” The Emperor in his heart praised this. Afterward the Emperor wished to send away lady Rén, the Empress pleaded to the Emperor saying: “The Rén in their hometown is a famed clan, in virtue and beauty I your concubine cannot match, why send her away?” The Emperor said: “Rén’s nature is impetuous and rash and not tactful or obedient, from beginning to end [the instances of her] angering me is not [just] once, therefore I send her away and that is all.” The Empress shed tears and firmly pleaded saying: “That I your concubine received veneration and encountered kindness, everyone knows, and they will certainly say that Rén’s being sent out, was because of I your concubine. Above I fear ridicule of appearing selfish, below receiving guilt for monopolizing favor, may you again reconsider!” The Emperor did not listen, and therefore sent [lady Rén] out.
- Sixteenth Year  Seventh Moon, Tàizǔ campaigned within the passes, Empress Wǔ-Xuān [lady Biàn] accompanied, remained at Mèngjīn, the Emperor [Cáo Pī] resided and defended Yè. At the time Emperess Wǔ-Xuān’s body had small disturbance, the Empress was not able to visit her, was worried and afraid, day and night weeping; attendants hurriedly went to inquire and reported [everything was alright], the Empress still did not believe it, saying: “The madame at home, every time when ill, then suffered for a time, now just as we inquire over the illness, how could it be [over] so fast? This is wishing to reassure my thoughts and that is all!” Her worry became all the more extreme. Later she obtained Empress Wǔ-Xuān reply letter, saying the illness had already been, the Empress therefore was pleased.
- Seventeenth Year  Standard Moon, the main army returned to Yè, the Empress received Empress Wǔ-Xuān, looking out to the [carriage] curtained seat she was pained and happy, moving [emotionally] the attendants. Empress Wǔ-Xuān saw that the Empress was like this, and also wept, and said to her: “Daughter-in-law you said my former illness was like in previous times’ in severity? My [illness’s length of] time was very small and that is all, a little over ten days it ended, do you not see my [healthy] appearance?” Sighing she said: “This truly is a filial woman.”
- Twenty-first Year , Tàizǔ went on eastern campaign, Empress Wǔ-Xuān, Emperor Wén with Emperor Míng and the princess of Dōngxiāng all accompanied, at the time the Empress due to illness remained at Yè. Twenty-second year  Ninth Moon, the main army returned, Empress Wǔ-Xuān’s attendants saw that the Empress’s appearance was healthy, and bewildered asked her: “You the Empress [anachronistic use] with your two children were separated for a long time, feelings for children cannot be lacking, but yet you the Empress’s appearance is flourishing, why is this?” The Empress laughed and answered them: “[Cáo] Ruì and the rest personally accompanied the madame, I should have what worries?”
- The Empress’s worthiness and wisdom and by ritual maintaining herself was like this.
Huángchū Inaugural Year Tenth Moon, the Emperor ascended the throne. After ascending the throne, the Duke of Shānyáng [Liú Xié] presented two daughters as Imperial concubines to Wèi, Empress Guō and Noble Ladies Lǐ and Yīn all were favored and intimate, the Empress became more frustrated, and had resentful words. The Emperor was greatly angry, Second Year  Sixth Moon, sent envoy to bestow death [order her suicide], buried at Yè. (2)
- (2) Wèishū states: Managers memorialized to establish a Chángqiū Palace [enthrone an Empress], the Emperor with Imperial Sealed letter invited the Empress, for her to go to where he was, the Empress sent up memorial saying: “I your concubine have heard that in the flourishing of previous ages, that they were able to maintain state for a long time, passing down blessings to later posterity, was never not due to the empresses and consorts. Therefore one must carefully select these people, to flourish inner teachings. As it is the beginning of the ascension, it is truly appropriate to raise and advance the worthy and virtuous, to manage the Six Palaces. I your concubine examine myself as ignorant and coarse, and cannot be assigned to the magnificent sacrificial affairs, and moreover am lying ill, and dare hold to [this] small ambition.” Imperial Sealed letter thrice arrived and the Empress thrice declined, her words extremely sincere. At the time it was an exceedingly hot summer, and the Emperor wished to wait for the cool of autumn to then again invite the Empress. It happened that the Empress’s illness became severe. Summer Sixth Moon Dīngmǎo [221 Aug 4], she passed away at Yè. The Emperor grieved and sighed, giving posthumous Empress’s seal and cord.
- Your Servant Sōngzhī believes by the Chūnqiū‘s principles, inner great wrongs are taboo, small wrongs are not written. Emperor Wén not enthroning lady Zhēn, and moreover killing her, the matter has clear evidence. If Wèi scribes believed it a great wrong, then it should have been hidden and not spoken of, if it was said to be a small wrong, then it should not have falsely made this report, with lofty ornamental false writing so that it came to this, is different from what is heard from ancient scribes. Considering this and speaking, their praise of Biàn and Zhēn various Empresses’ goodness in word and conduct, all is difficult to honestly discuss. Mister Chén [Shòu]’s deletions and omissions, truly had their reasons.
Emperor Míng succeeded the throne, managers memorialized to request giving posthumous title, and he sent Excellency of Works Wáng Lǎng Wielding Staff to present talleys and Grand Sacrifice to inform the shrine at the tomb, and also separately installed a temple. (1)
- (1) Wèishū records the Three Excellencies’ Memorial: “Overall the way of filial respect, is sincerity to one’s parents, thus it is how the Four Seas are cultivated, how Heaven and Earth are clearly perceived, it is what is called when living then devote to their care, when gone then illuminate their spirits, reciting and narrating to their utmost beauty, proclaiming and raising to glorify their names. Now Your Majesty by sagely virtue, carry on and continue the vast enterprise, utmost filial piety rising and rising, connecting to the divine enlightenment, when encountering sorrow and mourning, always laboring to modestly defer. When the Former Emperor [Cáo Pī] was moved to his sacred mountain tomb, great ritual was prepared, but as for the former empress [Zhēn], there is not yet prominent posthumous name. In prostration considering that the former empress respectful deference was outstanding in subtlety, utmost conduct prominent in not speaking, cultivation flowing through the state, virtue comparable to the two Nán, therefore she was able to receive divine spirits’ auspicious omens, becoming great Wèi’s first consort. Though in early years she passed away, after ten thousand years, she will forever spread harmony and brilliance, of the achievements of empresses and consorts none are able to match and surpass. According to posthumous name methods: ‘Sagely reputation circulating and reaching is called Zhāo. Virtue and enlightenment with achievement is called Zhāo.’ Zhāo is the utmost of light and illumination, flourishing for long time and yet not dimming. It is appropriate for you the Ascended to honor with posthumous title as Wén-Zhāo Huánghòu [‘Civil’s Radiant Empress’].”
- That Moon, the Three Excellencies again memorialized: “Since ancient times the Zhōu men’s Shǐzǔ [‘First Founder’] was Hòujì [‘lord of millet’], and also specially established temple to sacrifice to [Hòujì’s mother] Jiāng Yuán. Now Empress Wén-Zhāo to ten thousand inheritances, sagely virtue of utmost cultivation, how can it be measured? Having the honor of the Imperial family’s first consort, yet was subdued and deferential and respectful, firmly declining flourishing rank, her divine spirit shifting and transformed, and yet is without resting temple to enjoy sacrifices, this is not the way to repay prominent virtue and brighten filial respect. Inspecting ancient regulations, it is appropriate to follow Zhōu ritual, to for the late mother to separately establish temple.
- Both memorials were permitted.
Tàihé Inaugural Year  Third Moon, he with Wèichāng’s Ānchéng village’s households of a thousand, gave posthumous fief on Yì, posthumous name Jìng-hóu “Respected Marquis,” his successor grandson Xiàng inherited the noble rank. Fourth Moon, first built Ancestral Temples, while digging earth discovered a jade ruler’s seal, square one cùn nine fēn [~4.4 cm], its inscription said: “Heaven’s Son misses and thinks of gentle kin.” Emperor Míng from this changed countenance, with Grand Sacrifice reported to the Temple. Also he once dreamed of seeing the Empress, and therefore investigated his maternal uncle’s clan’s close and distant relations high and low, ordering and employing each on individual basis, bestowments accumulating to the tens of thousands; he appointed Xiàng as Tiger Elite Internal Cadet General. That Moon, the Empress’s mother died, the Emperor wore linen clothes to oversee mourning, the hundred officials in accompaniment.
Fourth Year  Eleventh Moon, as the Empress’s old tomb was humble and low, he sent Xiàng as concurrent Excellency Commandant [this must be an copyist error, probably for Minister of Ceremonies], Wielding Staff to visit Yè, to brightly announce to the Lord of Soil; Twelfth Moon, changed burial to Cháoyáng [“Morning Sun”] Tomb. [Zhēn] Xiàng returned, and was promoted to Cavalier Regular Attendant.
Qīnglóng Second Year  Spring, bestowed posthumous title on the Empress’s elder brother Yǎn as Ānchéng village’s Mù-hóu “Solemn Marquis.” Summer, Wú rebels plundered Yáng Province, appointed Xiàng as Overcoming Waves General, Wielding Staff to supervise the various officers on eastern campaign, returned, and was again made Shooting Sound Colonel. Third Year  he died, posthumously ranked General of the Guard, changed fief to Wèichāng county, posthumous name Zhēn-hóu “Pure Marquis,” his son Chàng succeeded. Also fief on Chàng’s younger brothers Wēn, Wěi, Yàn all as ranked Marquis. Fourth Year , changed Yì’s and Yǎn’s base fief all to be Marquis of Wèichāng, posthumous names as before. Fief on Yǎn’s principal wife Liú as Lady of Dōngxiāng, also posthumous fief on Yì’s principal wife Zhāng as Lady of Ānxǐ.
Jǐngchū Inaugural Year  Spring, managers discussed setting the Seven Temples. Winter, they again memorialized: “Overall in the rise of Emperors and Kings, there is the ruler receiving the Mandate, and also there is sagely consort according with the divine spirits, afterward attaining prosperity in the age, to complete the royal enterprise. In the past Gāoxīnshì divined his four consorts’ sons would all have the realm Under Heaven, and Dì Zhì, Táo Táng, Shāng, and Zhōu successively rose. The Zhōu people above reached Hòu Jì, to accompany August Heaven, recollecting the royal beginnings, origins in Jiāng Yuán, and specially established Palace Temple, for generation to generation to enjoy sacrifices, what the Zhōu Lǐ calls: ‘Play the Yízé, sing the Zhōnglǚ, dance the Dàhuò, for the benefit of the former mother’ was this. Poets eulogized her: ‘The origins birthing the people, this was Jiāng Yuán,” speaking of the origins of the royal influence, of the birth of the people. Also states: “Hidden Temple has silence, solid solid timbered timbered, brilliant brilliant Jiāng Yuán, her virtue not flawed.” What the Shī and Lǐ states of the Jī clan’s rising, its glory was like this. Great Wèi’s phase cycles, continues from Yǒuyú, however in esteeming the vast Emperor’s Way, the Three Reigns are more prosperous, the Temple Hall’s count, truly is with Zhōu the same. Now Wǔ-Xuān Huánghòu and Wén-Dé Huánghòu each accompany the inexhaustible blessings, as for Wén-Zhāo Huánghòu receiving Heaven’s spiritual signs, giving birth to the enlightened sage, achievement in relieving the living people, virtue filling the universe, opening the various later successions, therefore how the way’s influence rose. Resting Temple special sacrifices, also would be Jiāng Yuán’s Hidden Temple, but there is not yet made no regulation of not dismantling, one fears that the principles of discussion of achievements and repaying of virtue, for all ages will have some deficiencies, and is not how to shine filial piety to show later generations. For Wén-Zhāo Temple it is appropriate to from generation to generation enjoy sacrifices and perform music, to with the Ancestral Temples be the same, with standard of forever not dismantling, to spread aura of sagely good.”
Therefore the Seven Temples was discussed and engraved on metal seals, stored in metal coffers.
The Emperor thought of his maternal uncle’s clans without end. Chàng was still young, but at Jǐngchū’s end, Chàng became Shooting Sound Colonel, added Cavalier Regular Attendant, and also specially for him raised a great mansion, Imperial Carriage personally overlooking it. Also in his Rear Garden for Xiàng’s mother was raised a tower and temple, naming his borough as Wèiyáng borough, in memorial for his mother. Jiāpíng Third Year  Standard Moon, Chàng died, posthumously titled General of Chariots and Cavalry, posthumous name Gōng-hóu “Respectful Marquis.” His son Shào succeeded.
Tàihé Sixth Year, Emperor Míng’s beloved daughter Shū died, posthumous fief and posthumous name on Shū as Píngyuán Yì Gōngzhǔ “Exemplary Princess of Píngyuán,” and for her established a temple. He took the Empress’s deceased cousin’s grandson [Zhēn] Huáng to with her be together buried, posthumous fief on Huáng as a Ranked Marquis, with the lady Guō’s younger cousin [Guō] Dé as their descendant, carrying on the Zhēn clan surname, fief on Dé as Marquis of Píngyuán, succeeding the princess’s noble rank. (1)
- (1) Sūn Shèng states: In Ritual, wives are without fief rank standards, so all the more for children, so how could there be establishment of great fief? Dé was from a different clan, assisting succession of a different family, not accomplished and not kin, yet succeeded his mother’s notble rank, the violation of feelings and turning back on standards, was this extreme. Chén Qún though in opposition spoke, Yáng Fú cited matters for comparison, however both were not able to utmostly explain the Ritual of the Former Kings, enlighten the principles of fief establishment and succesison inheritance; words of utmost loyalty, yet have deficiences! The Shī says: “Impressive impressie Master Yǐn, the people toward you gaze.” The highest officials, they can be omitted!
- Jìn Zhūgōng Zàn states: Dé appellation Yànsūn. Sīmǎ [Shī] Jǐng-wáng assisted teh government, and had his daughter wed as wife to Dé. The wife early died, and [Sīmǎ Zhāo] Wén-wáng again with his daughter continued the household, this was Jīngzhào elder princess. Jǐng and Wén two Kings wished to connect themselves to Empress Guō, and therefore repeatedly arranged marriages. Dé though was without talent or learning, yet he was respectful and reverent and humble and obedient. Zhēn Wēn appellation Zhòngshū, with Guō Jiàn and Dé and the rest were all of the Empress’s clan, for serving appropriately met with favor. At Xiánxī’s beginning, enfeoffed Jiàn as Línwèi county Duke, Dé as Guǎng’ān county Duke, fief both of 1800 households. Wēn was originally a state Marquis, advanced to Assisting the State General-in-Chief, added Attendant Internal, designate Shooting Sound Colonel, Dé was Defending the Army General-in-Chief. Tàishǐ Inaugural Year, Jìn received the abdication, added Jiàn, Dé, and Wēn three men rank as Specially Advanced. Dé as a man was chaste and pure, and moreover was Shìzǔ [Sīmǎ Yán]’s elder sister’s husband, and therefore he was noble at the time. Dé in declining years office was changed to Minister of the Imperial Clan, promoted Attendant Internal. During Tàikāng, Marshal-in-Chief King of Qí [Sīmǎ] Yōu about to be sent out as a vassal, Dé with Left Guard General Wáng Jì together remonstrated and pleaded, and at the time people praised them. Shìzǔ [Sīmǎ Yán] because of this observed Dé, and from this set out Dé as Minister Herald, added Attendant Internal, Merit Grandee, and due to illness died, posthumously titled Central Army General-in-Chief, Open Office and Attendant Internal as before, posthumous name Gōng-gōng “Respectful Duke,” his son Xǐ succeeded. Xǐ was refined and had magnanimity, successively was Internal Documents Cadet, Right Guard General, Attendant Internal, rank reached Assisting the State General-in-Chief, added Cavalier Regular Attendant. Xǐ with the state was an in-law, and encountered King of Zhào [Sīmǎ] Lún and King of Qí [Sīmǎ] Jǐong’s matters, was able to predict opportunities, but as his talents were limited, so also was able to withdraw and escape them.
During Qīnglóng, also gave fief on the Empress’s elder cousin’s son [Zhēn] Yì and Xiàng’s younger brothers of three men, all as Ranked Marquis. Yì repeatedly sent up memorial explaining the current government, office reaching Yuè Cavalry Colonel. During Jiāpíng, restored fief on Chàng’s sons of two men as Ranked Marquis. The Empress’s elder brother Yǎn’s granddaughter was the King of Qí’s [Cáo Fāng] Empress, the Empress’s father was already gone, fief was given on the Empress’s mother as Guǎnglè village Lady.