(14.3) Dǒng Zhāo 董昭 [Gōngrén 公仁]

Dǒng Zhāo appellation Gōngrén was a Jǐyīn Dìngtáo man. Nominated filial and incorrupt, sent out as Yíngtáo Chief, Bǎirén Magistrate, Yuán Shào appointed him to Advisor to the Army affairs. [Yuán] Shào opposed Gōngsūn Zàn at Jièqiáo. Jùlù Administrator Lǐ Shào and the prefectural dominant figures, as [Gōngsūn] Zàn’s troops were strong, all wished to subordinate to [Gōngsūn] Zàn. [Yuán] Shào heard this, and sent Zhāo to manage Jùlù, asking: “[You will] Resist them with what methods?” Replied saying: “One man’s minuteness is unable to extinguish the multitudes’ plans, [I] wish to entice and deliver their hearts, to call out with the same discussions, and obtain their feelings, and so wield power to regulate them and that is all. Plans are [made] at the facing the timing, and cannot yet be spoken of.” At the time the prefecture’s dominant clans of Sūn Kàng and others of several tens of men served as planners, disturbing the officials and people. Zhāo arrived at the prefecture, falsely made [Yuán] Shào’s orders announcing to the prefecture saying: “Obtaining bandit scout Ānpíng’s Zhāng Jí’s words, they will attack Jùlù, bandits former Filial and Incorrupt candidate Sūn Kàng and others will answer [as inside support], dispatches arrive to arrest and enact military law, the crime stopping at their persons, wives and children not connected.” Zhāo cited the dispatch and announced orders, and all at once beheaded them. The whole prefecture was terrified, and so he then secured and comforted, and therefore all pacified and gathered. The matter was finished and reported to [Yuán] Shào, [Yuán] Shào praised it good. It happened that Wèi prefecture Administrator Lì Pān was by troops harmed, [Yuán] Shào appointed Zhāo as designate Wèi prefecture Administrator. At the time the prefecture borders were in great chaos, bandits in the tens of thousands, sending messengers back and forth, meeting and exchanging in markets and purchasing. Zhāo generously treated them, and so used them for news, took advantage of weakness in surprise suppression, and at once greatly overcame and defeated. Within two days, feather dispatches thrice arrived.


Zhāo’s younger brother Fǎng was in Zhāng Miǎo’s army. [Zhāng] Miǎo with [Yuán] Shào had discord, [Yuán] Shào accepted slander and was about to apply guilt on Zhāo. Zhāo wished to visit Hàn Xiàn-dì, reached Hénèi, and was by Zhāng Yáng detained. Through [Zhāng] Yáng he sent up and returned seal and ribbon, and was appointed Cavalry Commandant. At the time Tàizǔ was designated Yǎn Province, sent envoy to visit [Zhāng] Yáng, wishing to have communication west to Cháng’ān, [Zhāng] Yáng did not listen. Zhāo persuaded [Zhāng] Yáng saying: “Though Yuán and Cáo are of one party, the situation is [for them to] not long be united. Cáo now although is weak, however in fact he is Under Heaven’s outstanding hero, and [you] should therefore ally with him. Moreover now there is an opportunity, and it is appropriate to connect his sent-up affairs, and also memorialize and recommend him; if the matter is successful, it will ever have deep allocations.” [Zhāng] Yáng therefore connected Tàizǔ’s sent up matters, and memorialized and recommended Tàizǔ. Zhāo for Tàizǔ made a letter to Cháng’ān’s various officers Lǐ Jué, Guō Sì and others, each following lightness or heaviness delivering politeness. [Zhāng] Yáng also sent envoy to visit Tàizǔ. Tàizǔ gifted to [Zhāng] Yáng dogs and horses and gold and silk, and therefore with the western areas had dealings. [When] Heaven’s Son was at Ānyì, Zhāo from Hénèi went, Imperial Order appointed him Consultant Cadet.


Jiàn’ān Inaugural Year [196], Tàizǔ settled Huángjīn at Xǔ, sent envoy to visit Hédōng. It happened Heaven’s Son returned to Luòyáng, Hán Xiān, Yáng Fèng, Dǒng Chéng and [Zhāng] Yáng were each at odds and not at peace. Zhāo as [Yáng] Fèng’s troops and horses were the strongest but had few supporters, for Tàizǔ made a letter to [Yáng] Fèng stating: “I have heard of your reputation and admire your righteousness General, and so show my red heart. Now you General have rescued the Ten Thousand Chariots [the Emperor] from trouble, returning it to the old capital, your achievement of assistance, surpasses the age without peer, how can you stop? Right now crowds of the vicious endanger the heartlands, the Four Seas are not yet pacified, the divine vessels are of utmost heaviness, service is in maintaining assistance; one must amass worthies to purify the ruler’s course, it truly is not what one man alone can establish. Heart and lungs and the four limbs, in truth rely on each other, if one thing is not prepared, then there is deficiency. You General will be inner master, I will be outside support. Now I have provisions, you General have troops, what we have and lack mutually complement, sufficient to rescue one another, death or life or fortune or toil, we will share it.”

[Yáng] Fèng obtained the letter and was pleased, and said to the various Generals: “Yǎn province’s various armies are nearby at Xǔ, have troops and have provisions, what the country should turn to depend on.” Therefore they together memorialized Tàizǔ as Defending East General and to succeed his father’s noble rank as Fèi precinct marquis; Zhāo was promoted to Fúfjié Magistrate.


Tàizǔ attended Court of Heaven’s Son at Luòyáng, summoned Zhāo to together sit, and asked him: “Now I have come like this, what plan should I use?” Zhāo said: “General you have raised righteous troops to punish the rebellious, entering Court of Heaven’s Son, assisting the Ruling House, this is the achievement of the Five Hegemons. These various officers below, they are separated and their intentions different, will not necessarily submit and follow [each other], now to remain and rectify and assist, the situation is not convenient, there is only to move the Chariot [the Emperor] to visit Xǔ and that is all. However the Court is scattered about, newly returned to the old capital, far and near stand to watch, hoping for the whole Court to obtain calm. Now to again relocate the Chariot, does not accord with the masses’ hearts. The enacting of extraordinary affairs, then is to have extraordinary achievement, may you General calculate its value.”

Tàizǔ said: “This was my original intention, only Yáng Féng is nearby at Liáng, one hears his troops are elite, will he not restrain me?”

Zhāo said: “[Yáng] Féng has few associates and assistance, and will alone entrust himself [to you]. The matters of [granting you titles in] Defending East and Fèitíng were all by [Yáng] Féng settled, and also to read the letters and investigate the orders is sufficient to see his trust. It is appropriate to timely send envoy to generously express thanks, to calm his intentions. Say ‘The capital is without provisions, one wishes the Chariot to temporarily visit Lǔyáng, Lǔyáng is near Xǔ, to make transports somewhat easier, to be without worry of shortages.’ [Yáng] Fèng as a man is valorous but with few considerations, and certainly will not be suspicious, sending envoys back and forth is sufficient to settle plans. How can [Yáng] Fèng be a restraint?”

Tàizǔ said: “Excellent.” At once he sent envoy to visit Fèng. Moved the Great Chariot to Xǔ.[Yáng] Fèng because of this lost hope, and with Hán Xiān and others arrived at Dìnglíng to plunder. Tàizǔ did not answer, and secretly went to attack their Liáng camp, subduing and executing and at once settling it. [Yáng] Fèng and [Hán] Xiān lost their forces, and went east to surrender to Yuán Shù.

Third Year [198], Zhāo was promoted to Hénán Intendant. At the time Zhāng Yáng was by his officer Yáng Chǒu killed, [Zhāng] Yáng’s Chief Clerk Xuē Hóng and Hénèi Administrator Miào Shàng defended the city to wait for [Yuán] Shào’s rescue. Tàizǔ ordered Zhāo to alone enter the city, explain the situation to [Xuē] Hóng and [Miào] Shàng and the rest, and that day they led their forces to surrender. Appointed Zhāo as Jì province Governor.


Tàizǔ ordered Liú Bèi to resist Yuán Shù, Zhāo said: [Liú] Bèi is valorous and his ambitions large, Guān Yǔ and Zhāng Fēi are his wing assistants, one fears [Liú] Bèi’s heart cannot yet be discussed!” Tàizǔ said: “I have already permitted it.” [Liú] Bèi arrived at Xiàpī, killed Xú province Inspector Chē Zhòu and rebelled. Tàizǔ personally campaigned against [Liú] Bèi, transferring Zhāo to Xú province Governor.

Yuán Shào sent officer Yán Liáng to attack Dōng prefecture, again transferred Zhāo to be Wèi prefecture Adminsitrator, accompanying in suppressing [Yán] Liáng. After [Yán] Liáng died, advanced to besiege Yèchéng. Yuán Shào’s same clan’s [Yuán] Chūnqīng was [the Yuán’s appointed] Wèi prefecture Administrator, was inside the city, his father Yuángcháng was in Yáng province, and Tàizǔ sent someone to welcome him. Zhāo wrote letter to Chūnqīng saying: “Overall one hears that the filial do not turn back on parents to seek benefit, the benevolent do not forget master to pursue selfishness, the ambitious servicemen does not enter chaos for luck, the wise do not take unsure ways to endanger themselves. You are a great lord, in the past escaped inner troubles, to the south traveling the hundred Yuè, not to neglect bone and flesh [kin] or take pleasure in Wú and Kuài, the wise deeply noted this, alone saying it appropriate. Excellency Cáo sympathized with your holding to will and pure scrupulousness, leaving the masses with few companions, and therefore specially sent envoy to the Jiāng’s east, to welcome and to deliver, and now they arrive. Supposing if that you occupied secure ground, depended on a virtuous and righteous master, your residence having Tài mountain’s firmness, our body having Qiáo Sōng’s form, if using righteousness to speak of it, yet it would be appropriate to turn back on the other to head toward this, and given up the people to join your father. Moreover when Zhū Yífù at first with Duke Yǐn allied, the Lǔ people commended this, and did not write of nobility, as the king had not yet commanded it, the nobility and honor was not achieved, this was the Chūnqiū’s meaning. All the more when you today have entrusted in an endangered and disordered state, and have received command of false accusations? If you do not show this to the masses, and toward your father show no concern, it cannot be said to be filial. To forget that one’s ancestors resided in the current Court, and calmly occupy incorrect and treacherous office, is difficulty to call loyal. Loyalty and filial peity both abandoned, is difficult to call wise. Also you in former days were by Excellency Cáo with courtesy recruited, to grieve clansmen and neglect birth parents, to take residence inside and treat external the Ruling House, to harbor evil salary and betray those who understand you, to be distant from fortune and blessing and draw near danger and destruction, to abandon enlightened righteousness and accept great disgrace, is it not a pity! If you are able to suddenly and completely change to integrity, serve the Emperor and care for your father, entrust yourself to Excellency Cáo, loyalty and filial peity will not fall, and glorious reputation will be clear. It is appropriate to deeply consider this, and early decide on a good plan.”

When Yè was setted, appointed Zhāo to be Remonstrant Consultant Grandee. Later Yuán Shàng relied on the Wūhuán Tàdùn, Tàizǔ was about to campaign against them. Worrying that military provisions were difficult to send, boring the Pínglǔ and Quánzhōu two canals to enter the sea and connect shipments, was by Zhāo established. Tàizǔ memorialized to enfeoff him as Qiānqiū precinct Marquis, transferred appointment to Excellency of Work’s Military Libationer.


Later Zhāo established recommendation: “It is appropriate to restore establishment of enfeoffment in Five Ranks.”

Tàizǔ said: “One to establish the Five Ranks is a sagely man, and also not what a servant of men regulates, how can I bear it?”

Zhāo said: “From since the ancients onward, of a servant of men rectify the world, there has never yet been today’s achievement. In having today’s achievement, there has never yet been one who long occupied the position of a servant of men. Now your enlightened excellency is shamed to have disgraced virtue and not yet be exhaustively good, are pleased to protect name and integrity and be without great reproach, virtue and beauty surpassing Yī and Zhōu, this is the extremity of utmost virtue. However Tàijiǎ and Chéng-wáng were not necessarily able to meet them by chance, now the people are in trouble, extremely in Yīn and Zhōu occupying a great minister’s position, to cause people to due to major events doubt you, this truly cannot be not heavily considered. Your enlightened excellency though strides authority and virtue, enlightened law and technique, but have not settled its foundation, to be a plan for ten thousand ages, yet it is not yet reached. The root of settling foundation, is in land and people, it is appropriately to gradually establish it, to be one’s screen defense. Your enlightened excellency’s loyal integrity is outstandingly revealed, heaven’s authority is in your face, the report of Gěng Yǎn below the bed, the discussion of Zhū Yīng being without absurdity, are not able to surpass it. I Zhāo have received favor out of the ordinary, and do not dare not explain it.” (1)

Later Tàizǔ therefore accepted the Duke of Wèi and King of Wèi titles, both were by Zhāo initiated.


  • (1) Xiàn-dì Chūnqiū states: Zhāo with the Ranked Marquis and various officers discussed, believing the Chancellor should be advanced in noble rank to a state Duke, the Nine Bestowments prepared, to make clear his special merits; letter with Xún Yù said: “In the past Zhōu Dàn and Lǚ Wàng, at the Jī clan’s flourishing, caused the enterprise of the two sages, assisted Chéng-wáng’s youth, achievements and merits resembling his, and yet received the upper nobility ranks, bestowed territory and opening a realm. In later ages Tián Dān, drove strong Qí’s forces, repaying weak Yān’s complaint, captured cities of seventy, welcomed and restored Xiāng-wáng, Xiāng-wáng applied rewards to Dān, having the east to have Yèyì’s enfoeffment, the west to have Zīshàng’s worry. The former age’s recorded achievements, are as generous as these. Now Excellency Cáo encountered Within the Seas overturned, the Ancestral Temples burned, himself wore armor and helmet, traveling all around on campaign, combing with wind and washing in rain, for almost thirty years, cutting down the various evils, to for the Hundred Surnames remove harm, to cause the Hàn House to again be preserved, the Liú clan to maintain its sacrifices. Comparing to the the former time’s various dukes, is like Tài mountain compared to an anthill, how can they in the same day be discussed? Now he is the same as the ranked officers and accomplished ministers, all Marquis of one county, how is this what Heaven’s Under hopes for?”

〔一〕 獻帝春秋曰:昭與列侯諸將議,以丞相宜進爵國公,九錫備物,以彰殊勳;書與荀彧曰:「昔周旦、呂望,當姬氏之盛,因二聖之業,輔翼成王之幼,功勳若彼,猶受上爵,錫土開宇。末世田單,驅彊齊之眾,報弱燕之怨,收城七十,迎復襄王;襄王加賞于單,使東有掖邑之封,西有菑上之虞。前世錄功,濃厚如此。今曹公遭海內傾覆,宗廟焚滅,躬擐甲冑,周旋征伐,櫛風沐雨,且三十年,芟夷群凶,為百姓除害,使漢室復存,劉氏奉祀。方之曩者數公,若太山之與丘垤,豈同日而論乎?今徒與列將功臣,並侯一縣,此豈天下所望哉!」

When Guān Yǔ besieged Cáo Rén at Fán, Sūn Quán sent envoy to say: “Sending troops west upstream, wishing to surprise attack [Guān] Yǔ. Jiānglíng and Gōng’ān are incredibly important, [Guān] Yǔ losing the two cities, is certain to on his own flee, the besieging of Fán’s army, without rescue on its own resolve. Please keep confidential and not divulge, to cause [Guān] Yǔ to have preparations.” Tàizǔ asked the various ministers, the various ministers all said it was appropriate to keep it confidential. Zhāo said: “Military affairs esteem expedience, scheduling by appropriateness. It is appropriate to respond to [Sūn] Quán saying it is confidential, but to inwardly reveal it. [Guān] Yǔ on hearing [Sūn] Quán is going upstream, if he returns to protect himself, the siege will then be quickly resolved, and then quickly take this advantage. It can cause the two rebels to hold together in opposition, and sit and wait for their exhaustion. To keep it confidential and not reveal it, is to cause [Sūn] Quán to obtain his wishes, and not the best strategy. Also, the officers and officials in the siege do not know there is rescue, in calculating provisions are afraid, if unexpectedly there are ulterior ideas, the disaster would not be small. Revealing it to them is appropriate. Moreover [Guān] Yǔ as a man is strong and proud, he will be self-confident that the two cities’ defenses are firm, and certainly will not quickly withdraw.” Tàizǔ said: “Excellent.” At once ordered rescuing officer Xú Huǎng to shoot [Sūn] Quán’s letter into the siege and [Guān] Yǔ’s garrisons. Those inside the siege hearing of it, their resolve increased a hundredfold. [Guān] Yǔ indeed hesitated. [Sūn] Quán’s army arrived, captured his two cities, and [Guān] Yǔ was then defeated.


When Emperor Wén succeeded the king’s throne [220], appointed Zhāo as General Architect. Reaching the Ascension, promoted to Minister Herald, advanced enfeoffment to Yòuxiāng Marquis. Second Year [221], divided from fief one hundred households to bestow on Zhāo’s younger brother Fǎng noble rank as Marquis Within the Passes. Transferred Zhāo to Attendant Internal. Third Year [222], Campaigning East General-in-Chief Cáo Xiū overlooked the Jiāng at Dòngpǔkǒu, personally memorializing: “I wish to command elite troops and tiger infantry to the Jiāng’s south, to answer the enemy and take their resources, the matter is certain to succeed. If I your servant am no more, there is no need to mourn.”

The Emperor feared Xiū would then cross the Jiāng, and with relay horse sent Imperial Order to stop. At the time Zhāo was in attendance at the side, and therefore said: “I humbly observe Your Majesty has worried expression, is it only because [Cáo] Xiū may cross the Jiāng? Now to cross the Jiāng, human relationships are the difficulty, even if [Cáo] Xiū has this ambition, he must wait for the various officers. Zāng Bà and the rest are wealthy and noble, without other expectations, only wishing to finish their natural years, guarding their salaries and blessings and nothing more, why would they agree to ride into danger and throw themselves onto death ground, to seek to rely on luck? If [Zāng] Bà and the rest do not advance, [Cáo] Xiū’s intentions will surely be blocked. I your servant fear even if Your Majesty had Imperial Order commanding a crossing, yet they would certainly mutter in indecision, and not follow command.”

After that very soon violent wind blew the rebel ships, sending all below [Cáo] Xiū’s camps, beheaded and captured alive, and the rebels therefore fled and scattered. Imperial Order commanded the various armies to hurriedly cross. The army did not timely advance, the rebels rescued the ships and so escaped.


The Great Chariot visited Wǎn, Campaigning South General-in-Chief Xiàhóu Shàng and others attacked Jiānglíng and had not taken it. At the time the Jiāng’s waters were shallow, [Xiàhóu] Shàng wished to ride boats to command infantry and cavalry to enter the islets and secure garrisons, build pontoon bridges, to have the south and north connect, of commentators many believed the city certainly could be taken. Zhāo sent up memorial stating: “Imperial Emperor Wǔ’s wisdom and valor surpassed men, but in employing troops he feared the enemy, not daring to be reckless of them like this. That troops enjoy advancing and hate retreating, is normal in its commonality. Flat ground without ruggedness, yet is still dangerous, so to penetrate deeply, the return road should be easy, or troops having advance or retreat cannot be as wished for. Now to garrison the islets is the utmost of deepness. To use pontoon bridges to cross is the utmost of danger. On one road advancing is the utmost of narrowness. These three are what military schools dread, and yet now they are enacted. The rebels repeatedly attack the bridges, if there is leakage, the elite on the islets would no longer be Wèi’s, and transform into Wú’s. I your servant privately worry of this, forgetting to rest and eat, and yet the commentators are happy and do not worry, how is this not foolishness? Moreover the Jiāng waters are long, if in one morning they suddenly increase, how can it be withstood? Even without defeating the bandits, [Xiàhóu] Shàng would on his own be finished. How can one ride into danger and not be afraid? The situation is about to be endangered, may Your Majesty investigate it!”

The Emperor became aware of Zhāo’s report, and at once sent Imperial Order on [Xiàhóu] Shàng and the rest to hurriedly leave. The rebel two ends together advanced, the official troops on one road withdrew and left, did not timely obtain flow, Generals Shí Jiàn and Gāo Qiān barely were able to themselves escape. The army set out for ten days, the Jiāng’s waters suddenly grew. The Emperor said: “Your discussion of these affairs, what carefulness! Even if Zhāng [Liáng] or Chén [Píng] were to do it, what could they add?”

Fifth Year [224], transferred fief to Chéngdū village Marquis, appointed Minsiter of Ceremonies. That year, transferred to Minsiter of Merits, Giving Affairs Internal. Accompanied the Great Chariot on eastern campaign, Seventh Year returned, appointed Minster Charioteer.

When Emperor Míng succeeded the throne, increased fief to Lèpíng Marquis, fief of a thousand households, transferred to Minister of the Guard. Divided fief one hundred households to bestow on one son noble rank as Marquis Within the Passes.


Tàihé Fouth Year, Acting Excellency over the Masses affairs. Sixth Year, appointed true. Zhāo sent up memorial explaining the harms of degeneracy stating: “Overall of those possessing Heaven’s Under, none do not honor and esteem kind and plain and loyal and faithful servicemen, and deeply hate empty and false and untrue men, because they destroy teaching and disorder government, damage custom and injure cultivation. Recently Wèi Fěng then was submitted to execution at Jiàn’ān’s end, Cáo Wěi then was beheaded and killed at Huángchū’s beginning. In prostration to your beginning to end sagely Imperial Orders, they deeply hate the superficial and false, wishing to destroy and scatter evil factions, always using gnashing of teeth [in anger]; and yet officials of enforcing law all fear their power and influence, none are able to investigate and expose, and the destruction of social custom and infringing desires grow extreme. I humbly observe that the present youths no longer take scholarly learning as their foundation, and focus instead on making connections as their enterprise; the state’s servicemen do not take filial and fraternal duty and pure cultivation as head, and then take following trends to chase benefit as first. Gathering factions and linking groups, mutually praising and sighing, taking defamation and slander as punishing and killing, using faction reputation as noble rank and reward, those that attach to them they then sigh with overflowing praise, those that do not attach they then criticize and quarrel. It has reached to them mutually saying: ‘In the present age why worry of not succeeding? It is only seeking human relations not being constant, and gatherings not being plentiful. Also what misfortune is it to not be understood, merely swallow it with drugs and relax.’ Also one hears that some have caused slave retainers to be called as household employees, covering up their going out and going in, dealing in forbidden secrets, communicating letters and reports, and making inquiries. Overall these various affairs, are all what in applying law there is no acceptance, in punishing them there is no pardon. Even the crimes of [Wèi] Fěng and [Cáo] Wěi have nothing to add.”

The Emperor therefore issued cutting Imperial Order reprimanding and dismissing Zhūgě Dàn and Dèng Yáng and others.

Zhāo at eighty one years died, posthumous name Dìng-hóu. His son Zhòu succeeded. Zhòu successively held ranks as a prefecture administrator and in the Nine Ministers.


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