List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms
The following is a chronologically arranged list of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Yanyi), one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature. Although the novel is a romanticised retelling of the history of the late Eastern Han dynasty and the Three Kingdoms period, due to its widespread popularity, many people falsely believe it to a real account of the events that happened during that era. Some historians[who?] have also used the novel as a source to study the history of the Han dynasty and Three Kingdoms period, regardless of factual basis. The authoritative source for the history of the Three Kingdoms period is Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi), which includes annotations by Pei Songzhi from other historical texts such as the Weilue and the Jiang Biao Zhuan (江表傳). Other sources covering the history of that period include Fan Ye's Book of the Later Han (Houhanshu) and Fang Xuanling's Book of Jin (Jin Shu). Since Sanguo Yanyi is a historical novel, many stories in it are either fictitious or based on folktales and historical incidents that happened in other periods of Chinese history. What follows is an incomplete list of the better known fictitious stories in the novel, each with accompanying text that explains the differences between the story and historical accounts.
- 1 Oath of the Peach Garden
- 2 Zhang Fei thrashes the imperial inspector
- 3 Cao Cao presents a precious sword
- 4 Cao Cao arrested and released by Chen Gong
- 5 Cao Cao murders Lü Boshe
- 6 Guan Yu slays Hua Xiong
- 7 Battle of Hulao Pass
- 8 Battle of Xingyang
- 9 Lü Bu and Diaochan
- 10 Battle of Xiapi
- 11 Guan Yu's three conditions
- 12 Guan Yu slays Yan Liang and Wen Chou
- 13 Guan Yu crosses five passes and slays six generals
- 14 Guo Jia's strategy to pacify Liaodong
- 15 Guan Yu slays Cai Yang at Gucheng
- 16 Liu Bei's horse leaps across the Tan Stream
- 17 Xu Shu
- 18 Three visits to the thatched cottage
- 19 Battle of Bowang
- 20 Battle of Changban
- 21 Zhuge Liang's diplomatic mission to Jiangdong
- 22 Zhou Yu tricks Jiang Gan
- 23 Borrowing arrows with straw boats
- 24 Huang Gai's self-torture ruse
- 25 Pang Tong presents the chain links strategy
- 26 Zhuge Liang prays for the eastern wind
- 27 Guan Yu releases Cao Cao at Huarong Trail
- 28 Taishi Ci's death
- 29 Battle of Changsha
- 30 Liu Bei and Lady Sun's marriage
- 31 Zhou Yu's death
- 32 New Book of Mengde
- 33 Battle of Tong Pass
- 34 Pang Tong's death
- 35 Battle of Jiameng Pass
- 36 Guan Yu attends a banquet alone armed with only a blade
- 37 Hua Tuo heals Guan Yu's arm
- 38 Lü Meng's death
- 39 Events after Guan Yu's death
- 40 Cao Cao's death
- 41 Battle of Xiaoting
- 42 Zhang Liao's death
- 43 Meng Huo captured and released seven times
- 44 Xincheng Rebellion
- 45 Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions
- 46 References
Oath of the Peach Garden
Zhang Fei thrashes the imperial inspector
An inspector was sent to survey Liu Bei's county after the latter had assumed office as a minor county-level magistrate for his efforts in helping to suppress the Yellow Turban Rebellion. The inspector hinted to Liu Bei that he wanted bribes, but Liu did not understand what the inspector meant. Later, even after his assistant explained to him, Liu Bei still refused to give bribes. The inspector was unable to find any fault with Liu Bei's administration so he attempted to force the locals to file a complaint against Liu. Zhang Fei was furious when he heard about it and he barged into the county office, dragged the inspector out, tied him to a post and gave him a severe thrashing. Liu Bei showed up and stopped Zhang Fei. When Guan Yu suggested to kill the inspector and seek their fortune elsewhere, Liu Bei refused and he resigned, returning his official seal to the inspector before leaving.
Liu Bei's biography in the Sanguozhi mentioned that Liu was the one responsible for beating up the inspector. Apparently, the inspector refused to see Liu Bei and claimed that he was ill, but Liu broke into the inspector's room and dragged him out, tied him to a tree and flogged him more than 100 times.
Cao Cao presents a precious sword
Wang Yun lent Cao Cao his Seven Gems Sword after Cao promised to assassinate Dong Zhuo. Cao Cao met Dong Zhuo in the latter's bedroom the following day and attempted to stab Dong with the sword just as Dong faced away. However, Dong Zhuo saw Cao Cao drawing his sword through a reflection in a mirror and immediately turned around to question Cao. Cao Cao sensed trouble and quickly knelt down, lying to Dong Zhuo that he intended to present the sword as a gift. Concurrently, Lü Bu had also returned after Dong Zhuo sent him to choose a new steed for Cao Cao, so Cao escaped from the capital Luoyang on the pretext of test-riding the horse.
Cao Cao's biography in the Sanguozhi stated that Dong Zhuo wanted to appoint Cao Cao as a "Colonel of Valiant Cavalry" (驍騎校尉) and recruit Cao Cao to serve him. Cao Cao refused as he felt that Dong Zhuo was doomed to failure so he disguised himself and escaped back to his hometown. There is no mention about Cao Cao attempting to assassinate Dong Zhuo before his escape.
Cao Cao arrested and released by Chen Gong
Cao Cao fled from the capital Luoyang after failing to assassinate Dong Zhuo. Dong Zhuo ordered notices for Cao Cao's arrest to be put around the areas surrounding Luoyang. During his escape, Cao Cao was spotted in Zhongmu County by an official called Chen Gong and was arrested. Chen Gong had a private conversation with Cao Cao and decided to release the latter after being inspired by Cao's sense of righteousness. Chen Gong even gave up his official post and became Cao Cao's companion.
Cao Cao's biography in the Sanguozhi did mention that when Cao Cao passed by Zhongmu County, a patrol officer suspected him and put him under arrest, but Cao was released later. There is no evidence that Cao Cao attempted to assassinate Dong Zhuo before his arrest and the patrol officer's name was not recorded in history. Besides, in Cao Cao's biography, Chen Gong was first mentioned only after Liu Dai's death in 192 when he urged Cao Cao to assume governorship of Yan Province (兗州; covering present-day southwestern Shandong and eastern Henan). This happened two years after the Campaign against Dong Zhuo was initiated in 190. As such, it contradicts the story in Sanguo Yanyi because, in the novel, Cao Cao initiated the campaign only after he killed Lü Boshe in Chen Gong's presence (see the article on Lü Boshe) and returned to his hometown of Chenliu (陳留; in present-day Kaifeng, Henan).
Cao Cao murders Lü Boshe
Guan Yu slays Hua Xiong
Battle of Hulao Pass
Battle of Xingyang
Lü Bu and Diaochan
Diaochan is a fictional character introduced in the novel. She was sent by Wang Yun to sow discord between Dong Zhuo and Lü Bu and succeeded in her mission, eventually causing the latter to kill the former.
Lü Bu's biographies in the Sanguozhi and the Houhanshu mentioned that Lü Bu had a secret affair with one of Dong Zhuo's maids, and was afraid that Dong would find out about them. Besides, he already bore a grudge against Dong Zhuo, who threw jis (a type of halberd) at him on some occasions to vent his frustration, but Lü Bu dodged the weapons and Dong Zhuo's anger subsided. That is no historical evidence to prove that the maid's name was "Diaochan". "Diaochan" likely referred to the sable (diao) tails and jade decorations in the shape of cicadas (chan), which at the time adorned the headgear of high ranking government officials.
Battle of Xiapi
Guan Yu's three conditions
Cao Cao and Liu Bei joined forces to attack Lü Bu in Xu Province (徐州; covering parts of present-day Shandong and Jiangsu), eventually defeating Lü Bu at the Battle of Xiapi. Cao Cao put Che Zhou (車冑) in charge of Xu Province. Liu Bei broke ties with Cao Cao later and seized control of Xu Province after Guan Yu killed Che Zhou. Cao Cao led an army to attack Liu Bei and take back Xu Province. In one battle, Liu Bei and Zhang Fei led a force to attack Cao Cao's camp but fell into an ambush and were separated during the chaos. Guan Yu, who remained behind to defend Xiapi (Xu Province's capital), was lured out of the city and isolated on a small hill. Cao Cao's forces took control of Xiapi and captured Liu Bei's spouses. Cao Cao sent Zhang Liao to ask Guan Yu to surrender and Guan agreed, provided that three conditions were fulfilled:
- Liu Bei's spouses must not be harmed and must be well taken care of.
- In name, Guan Yu surrenders to the emperor and not Cao Cao (who actually wields state power).
- Guan Yu is allowed to leave and reunite with Liu Bei if he one day he ever finds out the latter's whereabouts.
Cao Cao agreed to Guan Yu's three conditions and Guan served under him temporarily before leaving to rejoin Liu Bei later.
Guan Yu's biography in the Sanguozhi stated that Liu Bei launched a surprise attack on Xu Province and killed Che Zhou. He then placed Guan Yu in charge of defending Xiapi while he moved to Xiaopei. In 200, Cao Cao led an army east to attack Liu Bei, and defeated him. Liu Bei fled to join Yuan Shao. Guan Yu was captured by Cao Cao's forces and brought back to Xuchang, where Cao Cao appointed him as a Lieutenant-General (偏將軍) and treated him well. There was no mention of Guan Yu surrendering nor any preconditions named by Guan if he agreed to surrender.
Guan Yu slays Yan Liang and Wen Chou
Prior to the Battle of Guandu between Yuan Shao and Cao Cao, both sides had engaged in two skirmishes known as the Battle of Boma and Battle of Yan Ford. Yuan Shao sent his generals Yan Liang and Wen Chou to attack Cao Cao's fortress at Boma (白馬; near present-day Hua County, Henan). During the battle, some of Cao Cao's best warriors, including Xu Huang and Zhang Liao, went forth to take up Yan Liang's challenge but were defeated by him. Cao Cao reluctantly allowed Guan Yu to fight Yan Liang and Guan emerged victorious. Wen Chou later came to avenge Yan Liang but was also slain by Guan Yu in a rout. The siege on Boma was lifted as a result.
Guan Yu's biography in the Sanguozhi mentioned that Yuan Shao ordered Yan Liang to besiege Cao Cao's general Liu Yan (劉延) at Boma. Cao Cao then sent Zhang Liao and Guan Yu to lead the vanguard force to attack Yan Liang. In the midst of battle, Guan Yu spotted Yan Liang and charged through enemy lines towards him, killing Yan Liang and taking his head. Yuan Shao's other generals were unable to resist the assault and the siege on Boma was thus lifted. Yuan Shao's biography in the Sanguozhi mentioned that after Yan Liang's death, Yuan Shao's army crossed the Yellow River to the south of Yan Ford (延津; north of present-day Yanjin, Henan), where he sent Liu Bei and Wen Chou to attack Cao Cao. They were defeated and Wen Chou was killed in battle (nothing mentioned about him being slain by Guan Yu). Yuan Shao launched another attack but was defeated again and his generals were captured by Cao Cao.
Guan Yu crosses five passes and slays six generals
In Chapter 26, Guan Yu finally received news that Liu Bei was alive and currently in Yuan Shao's camp. He decided to leave Cao Cao with Liu Bei's wives to rejoin his sworn brother. Guan Yu attempted to bid Cao Cao farewell in person before his departure but Cao did not give him the chance to do so. Frustrated, Guan Yu eventually wrote a farewell letter to Cao Cao and left. He took with him none of the luxuries and gifts Cao Cao gave him, except the Red Hare. He even gave up his title of "Marquis of Hanshou" by leaving behind his official seal. Cao Cao's subordinates felt that Guan Yu behaved far too rudely and arrogantly by leaving without bidding farewell and wanted to pursue him and bring him back. However, Cao Cao knew that no one could stop Guan Yu and he gave orders for the officials along the way to give passage to Guan.
Guan Yu rode beside the carriage carrying his sisters-in-law and escorted them safely all the way. The first pass they reached was Dongling Pass (south of present-day Dengfeng, Henan). The guarding officer Kong Xiu denied Guan Yu passage as Guan did not have an exit permit with him. Infuriated, Guan Yu killed Kong Xiu and forced his way through the pass.
They next reached the city of Luoyang. The governor Han Fu led 1,000 men to block Guan Yu. Han Fu's deputy Meng Tan challenged Guan Yu to a duel but was sliced in two by Guan. While Guan Yu was fighting with Meng Tan, Han Fu secretly took aim and fired an arrow at Guan. The arrow hit Guan Yu's arm and wounded him, but Guan drew the arrow from the wound and proceeded to kill Han Fu. The shocked soldiers immediately gave way and Guan Yu's party passed through safely.
Guan Yu's party arrived at Sishui Pass (north of present-day Xingyang, Henan). The guarding officer Bian Xi received Guan Yu's party with a warm welcome and invited Guan to a feast at the temple outside the pass. In fact, Bian Xi had ordered 200 men to lie in ambush inside the temple and kill Guan Yu. Fortunately, one of the monks called Pujing, who was also from Guan Yu's hometown, hinted to Guan of the hidden danger. The ambush failed and Guan Yu killed Bian Xi and passed through Sishui Pass.
The governor of Xingyang, Wang Zhi, adopted a similar scheme to kill Guan Yu. Like Bian Xi, he pretended to be welcoming towards Guan Yu and led Guan's party to a courier station for them to settle in for the night. After that, Wang Zhi ordered his subordinate Hu Ban to lead 1,000 men to surround the station secretly and set fire to it in the middle of the night. Curious to know how Guan Yu looked like, Hu Ban stole a glance at Guan. Guan Yu noticed Hu Ban and invited him into the room. Guan Yu met Hu Ban's father earlier and carried a letter with him. He gave the letter to Hu Ban and, after reading his father's letter, Hu Ban decided to help Guan Yu. Hu Ban revealed Wang Zhi's plot and opened the city gates secretly for Guan Yu and his party to leave. Wang Zhi caught up with the party a while later but Guan Yu turned back and killed him.
Guan Yu's party finally arrived at a ferry crossing on the southern bank of the Yellow River. Qin Qi, the officer in charge, refused to allow them to cross the river and was killed by Guan Yu in anger. Guan Yu and his party then crossed the river safely and entered Yuan Shao's domain. However, they soon realised that Liu Bei was no longer in Yuan Shao's territory and had already left for Runan. Guan Yu and his party then made their long journey back and were finally reunited with Liu Bei and Zhang Fei at Gucheng.
During this trip of crossing five passes, Guan Yu met many men who would become his subordinates and remain loyal to him until his death, including Liao Hua, Zhou Cang, and his adoptive son Guan Ping.
Guan Yu's biography in the Sanguozhi provides a similar account of the reasons for Guan's departure and the events that happened before he left Cao Cao. However, it does not mention anything about Guan Yu crossing the five passes, nor about the six officers (Kong Xiu, Meng Tan, Han Fu, Bian Xi, Wang Zhi and Qin Qi) killed by Guan.
Guo Jia's strategy to pacify Liaodong
Guan Yu slays Cai Yang at Gucheng
Guan Yu met Zhang Fei at Gucheng (古城) after crossing five passes and slaying six generals. Zhang Fei was initially suspicious of Guan Yu, as he believed that Guan had betrayed their oath of brotherhood and joined Cao Cao. Despite explanation from Liu Bei's spouses, Zhang Fei refused to listen and he attacked Guan Yu. Both of them were locked in a duel when a group of Cao Cao's soldiers led by Cai Yang (蔡陽) showed up. Guan Yu turned around and slew Cai Yang in a duel to prove his loyalty and regain Zhang Fei's faith in him.
Liu Bei's biography in the Sanguozhi mentioned that Yuan Shao sent Liu Bei to Runan, and Liu Bei combined forces with the bandit leader Gong Du there. Cao Cao sent Cai Yang to attack them, and Cai was killed by Liu Bei.
Liu Bei's horse leaps across the Tan Stream
Once, when Liu Bei was stationed at Xinye, he received an invitation from Liu Biao, the governor of Jing Province (荊州; covering present-day Hubei and Hunan), to attend a feast. However, Liu Biao was ill so he asked his sons Liu Qi and Liu Cong to entertain Liu Bei. Liu Bei arrived in Xiangyang (Jing Province's capital) with Zhao Yun and was directed to the feast. Cai Mao and others attempted to use the opportunity to kill Liu Bei but Yi Ji secretly informed Liu Bei about Cai Mao's intention. Liu Bei escaped from Xiangyang under the pretext of going to the latrine. When Cai Mao discovered that Liu Bei had fled, he led a group of soldiers in pursuit. Liu Bei was riding Dilu (的盧), a horse said to bring ill luck to its rider. Liu Bei reached the Tan Stream (檀溪), located west of Xiangyang, and attempted to ride across the stream. After taking a few steps, Dilu fell forward and Liu Bei's clothing became wet. Liu Bei whipped the horse and exclaimed, "Dilu! Dilu! Today you obstruct me!" Dilu suddenly rose above the surface and leapt three zhang (or 30 chi) across the stream to the opposite bank, bringing Liu Bei to safety.
The Shiyu (世語) gave a similar account of this incident. However, Sun Sheng commented on this account: "I disapprove of this saying. At that time, Liu Bei was making calculated moves. There was a big difference in the respective strengths of Liu Bei and Liu Biao's forces. If this incident really happened, why would Liu Bei remain silent about it throughout the period of time when Liu Biao was still alive? Why were there no signs of friction (between them)? This is merely twaddle from the common masses."
Three visits to the thatched cottage
Before leaving for Xuchang, Xu Shu recommended Zhuge Liang to Liu Bei to be his strategist, telling Liu that he needed to recruit Zhuge Liang personally. Accompanied by Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, Liu Bei travelled to Longzhong (in present-day Xiangyang, Hubei) to find Zhuge Liang. They reached Zhuge Liang's house (described to be a "thatched cottage") but Zhuge's servant said that his master was not at home. Liu Bei then asked the servant to pass a message to Zhuge Liang, telling him that Liu Bei came to visit him. Several days later during winter, Liu Bei brought his sworn brothers along with him again to visit Zhuge Liang. This time, the servant led Liu Bei to his "master", who turned out to be actually Zhuge Liang's younger brother Zhuge Jun. Just as he was about to leave, Liu Bei saw someone approaching and thought it was Zhuge Liang, but the person was Zhuge Liang's father-in-law Huang Chengyan. When winter was over and spring came, Liu Bei decided to visit Zhuge Liang again, much to the displeasure of his sworn brothers. This time, Zhuge Liang was at home but was asleep. Liu Bei waited patiently until Zhuge Liang woke up and they had a discussion. Zhuge Liang drafted a Longzhong Plan for Liu Bei and agreed to leave home and become Liu's strategist.
Not much details were provided in the Sanguozhi on how Liu Bei recruited Zhuge Liang. Zhuge Liang's biography briefly mentioned that after Xu Shu recommended Zhuge Liang to Liu Bei, Liu visited Zhuge thrice and met him and their conversation led to the Longzhong Plan. However, the Weilue and the Jiuzhou Chunqiu (九州春秋) presented different accounts on how Liu Bei first met Zhuge Liang. Both the Weilue and Jiuzhou Chunqiu claimed that Zhuge Liang visited Liu Bei first, instead of the other way round. Both Zhuge Liang and Liu Bei did not know each other at first when the former came to visit the latter. Liu Bei did not pay much attention to Zhuge Liang because of his young age. Zhuge Liang remained behind when Liu Bei's other guests left the meeting, but Liu did not ask him if he had anything to say and continued toying with a gift from one of the guests. Zhuge Liang then initiated a conversation with Liu Bei, and Liu recognised his talent and treated him with respect. Pei Songzhi commented that the two accounts contradict Zhuge Liang's own statement in the Chu Shi Biao, which stated: "(Liu Bei) visited me thrice in the thatched cottage, (and) consulted me on the affairs of our time.", and Pei felt that it was obvious from the Chu Shi Biao that Zhuge Liang did not visit Liu Bei first.
Battle of Bowang
Battle of Changban
Zhuge Liang's diplomatic mission to Jiangdong
Before the Battle of Red Cliffs, Zhuge Liang went to Jiangdong on a diplomatic mission to discuss the formation of an alliance between Liu Bei and Sun Quan to counter Cao Cao. Lu Su introduced Zhuge Liang to the civil officials and scholars under Sun Quan. Most of them advocated surrendering to Cao Cao. In a subsequent debate, Zhuge Liang managed to silence those who challenged him through his eloquent responses to their queries and comments. Insults and taunts were exchanged as well. Those who challenged Zhuge Liang included Zhang Zhao, Yu Fan, Bu Zhi, Xue Zong, Lu Ji, Yan Jun and Cheng Bing. Zhang Wen and Luo Tong also wanted to challenge Zhuge Liang, but Huang Gai arrived and stopped the debate.
Lu Su then introduced Zhuge Liang to Zhou Yu. Zhuge Liang and Zhou Yu had a conversation in Zhou's house, with Lu Su present as well. Zhuge Liang said that he had a plan to make Cao Cao to retreat without a war — send Cao Cao the Two Qiaos. He also pretended that he did not know who the Qiao sisters were married to. When Zhou Yu asked Zhuge Liang for evidence that Cao Cao wanted the Two Qiaos, Zhuge said he heard that Cao Cao asked his son Cao Zhi to write a poem called Ode to the Bronze Sparrow Platform (銅雀臺賦). Zhuge Liang recited the poem and pointed out that Cao Cao's desire to have the Qiaos was evident in the poem. Zhou Yu was enraged and he hardened his decision to persuade Sun Quan to ally with Liu Bei and fight Cao Cao.
The debate between Zhuge Liang and the scholars is not mentioned in any of the involved parties' biographies in the Sanguozhi. The biographies of Zhuge Liang, Sun Quan, Zhou Yu and Lu Su all confirmed that Zhuge Liang met Sun Quan on that diplomatic mission, but it remains unknown whether Zhuge met any other person on that trip. Zhuge Liang's biography, in particular, contains a detailed record of a conversation between Zhuge Liang and Sun Quan.
The Bronze Sparrow Platform (銅雀臺) was built in the winter of 210, nearly three years after the Battle of Red Cliffs. Cao Zhi's poem Ode to the Bronze Sparrow Platform was written in 212, two years after the platform was constructed. Besides, the poem in Sanguo Yanyi contains seven additional lines which are not present in the historical version recorded in Cao Zhi's biography in the Sanguozhi. Therefore, the story in Sanguo Yanyi about Zhuge Liang using the poem to incite Zhou Yu's anger towards Cao Cao is purely fiction.
Zhou Yu tricks Jiang Gan
Borrowing arrows with straw boats
Zhou Yu was jealous of Zhuge Liang's talent and felt that the latter would become a threat to his lord in future. He assigned Zhuge Liang the task of making 100,000 arrows in ten days or face execution for failure in duties under military law. Zhuge Liang promised that he could complete the mission in three days. With help from Lu Su, Zhuge Liang prepared 20 large boats, each manned by a few soldiers and filled with human-like figures made of straw and hay. Near dawn, when there was a great fog, Zhuge Liang deployed the boats and they sailed towards Cao Cao's camp across the river. He ordered the troops to beat war drums loudly and shout orders to imitate the noise of an attack. Upon hearing the noise, Cao Cao's troops rushed out to engage the enemy, but they were unsure of the enemy's strength, because their vision was obscured by the fog. They fired volleys of arrows towards the sound of the drums and the arrows became stuck in the straw figures. The boats changed direction when one side became loaded with too much arrows so as to restore balance. In the meantime, Zhuge Liang was enjoying wine with Lu Su inside the cabin and they returned to camp when the fog cleared. By the time they returned to camp, Zhuge Liang had acquired more than 100,000 arrows and Zhou Yu had no choice but to let him off.
This event is not documented in the Sanguozhi and is purely fiction. However, the Weilue mentioned a similar incident during the Battle of Ruxu in 213. Sun Quan sailed on a large vessel to observe Cao Cao's base. Cao Cao ordered his archers to launch arrows at Sun Quan's ship. The arrow were stuck to one side of the vessel and the ship was on the verge of overturning due to the weight of the arrows. Sun Quan ordered the vessel to turn around so the other side would have arrows stuck to it. Balance was restored and Sun Quan sailed back to his camp.
Huang Gai's self-torture ruse
Zhuge Liang prays for the eastern wind
After all preparations for the fire attack on Cao Cao's fleet had been made, Zhou Yu suddenly realised that in order for his plan to succeed, the wind must blow from the southeast or else his own fleet would catch fire. He saw that the wind was blowing from the northwest and vomited blood, fainted. and became ill. Zhuge Liang visited him later and pointed out the root cause of Zhou Yu's "illness". He claimed that he knew Taoist magical arts and had the ability to change the wind direction. An altar was set up and Zhuge Liang performed rituals there for days until the southeast wind started blowing just before the fire attack was carried out. Zhuge Liang left immediately after the wind started blowing as he knew that Zhou Yu would send his men to kill him. As Zhuge Liang expected, Zhou Yu did send Ding Feng and Xu Sheng to kill him, but Zhuge had already fled on a vessel commanded by Zhao Yun.
Nothing was mentioned in historical texts about this event.
Guan Yu releases Cao Cao at Huarong Trail
Guan Yu was sent to guard Huarong Trail (believed to be near Dongshan Town, Huarong County, Hunan) and intercept Cao Cao when the latter was retreating after his defeat at the Battle of Red Cliffs. Initially, Zhuge Liang was reluctant in allowing Guan Yu to take up that responsibility, since he was worried that Guan might take into account the kindness Cao Cao showed towards him when he temporarily served Cao years ago, and release Cao as a result. Guan Yu insisted, claiming that he had already repaid Cao Cao's kindness by slaying Yuan Shao's generals Yan Liang and Wen Chou and lifting the siege on Boma. He made a military pledge not to let Cao Cao off, while Zhuge Liang also stated that he would give up his head to Guan Yu if Cao Cao did not pass through Huarong Trail. As Zhuge Liang predicted, Cao Cao did reach Huarong Trail and encountered Guan Yu there. However, Guan Yu decided to spare Cao Cao in consideration of their past dealings, and after taking pity on the plight of Cao Cao's men and Zhang Liao, whom he saved from death earlier after the Battle of Xiapi. He allowed Cao Cao and his men to pass through Huarong Trail unharmed. When he returned to camp he confessed the truth to Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang. Zhuge Liang ordered Guan Yu to be executed for failing in his mission and agreed to pardon Guan when Liu Bei intervened.
This incident is not mentioned in the Sanguozhi and is entirely fiction. The Shanyang Gong Zaiji (山陽公載記) stated that after Cao Cao lost the Battle of Red Cliffs, he retreated with his surviving men and passed by Huarong Trail. The path was muddy and difficult to access, so Cao Cao ordered the weaker soldiers to lay the ground with straw and hay so that his horsemen can pass. Many of those weaker soldiers were trampled to death when they became stuck in the mud. When Cao Cao finally got out of the dire situation, he expressed joy so his generals asked him why he was happy. Cao Cao replied, "Liu Bei, he's my mate. However, he doesn't think fast; if he had set fire earlier I'd have no chance of escaping." Liu Bei did think of setting fire but it was too late as Cao Cao had already escaped.
Taishi Ci's death
Battle of Changsha
Liu Bei and Lady Sun's marriage
Sun Quan adopted Zhou Yu's "beauty scheme" (美人計) to seize control of Jing Province (荊州; covering present-day Hubei and Hunan) from Liu Bei. In the plan, Liu Bei was lured to Jiangdong under the pretext of marrying Sun Quan's younger sister Lady Sun to affirm the Sun-Liu alliance. Sun Quan would then hold Liu Bei hostage in exchange for Jing Province. Zhuge Liang foiled Zhou Yu's scheme and the marriage became reality. Liu Bei also left Jiangdong and returned to Jing Province safely with his bride. Zhou Yu led some soldiers in an attempt to pursue the couple after they left, but fell into an ambush by Liu Bei's forces and defeated. Liu Bei's men chanted, "Zhou Lang (Zhou Yu's nickname)'s brilliant strategy brings peace to the world. He lost both the lady and his soldiers." (周郎妙計安天下，陪了夫人又折兵！). The infuriated Zhou Yu coughed blood and fainted.
The marriage between Liu Bei and Lady Sun was mentioned in Liu Bei's biography in the Sanguozhi as follows: After Liu Qi died of illness, Liu Bei's subordinates urged him to take up governorship of Jing Province, with the provincial capital at Gong'an (公安; present-day Gong'an County, Hubei). Sun Quan felt slightly uneasy so he married his younger sister to Liu Bei to strengthen relations between him and Liu Bei. This suggests that the marriage took place in Gong'an, as Sun Quan sent his sister there to marry Liu Bei, instead of Liu travelling to Sun's territory for the marriage.
However, Zhou Yu's biography mentioned that Zhou Yu did suggest to Sun Quan to have Liu Bei confined in their territory. After Liu Bei assumed governorship of Jing Province, he went to Jing (京; present-day Zhenjiang, Jiangsu) to meet Sun Quan. At that time, Zhou Yu said to Sun Quan, "Liu Bei possesses characteristics of a fierce and ambitious hero. Besides, he also has under him generals with the might of bears and tigers, such as Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. He's definitely not someone who will remain subservient to another lord. I suggest moving Liu Bei to Wu (吳; in present-day Suzhou, Jiangsu), build a palace for him there, and present him with women and gifts to entertain him. We'll then put the two men (Guan Yu and Zhang Fei) each in a different location. If I can use Liu Bei as a hostage and attack (his men) at the same time, our goal (take over Jing Province) will be accomplished. And now yet we carve out land for them as resources, and allow the three men to be together? I'm afraid once the dragon encounters clouds and rain, it'll no longer remain in a pond." Sun Quan considered that Cao Cao was still a threat in the north, so he thought it would be better for him to have more allies (instead of creating hostility between him and his allies), and besides, he was also worried that Liu Bei's men might not submit to him, so he rejected Zhou Yu's idea. This shows that Zhou Yu did wanted to confine Liu Bei in Wu and use him as a hostage to control his men (Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and others), but nothing was mentioned about him using Lady Sun as a bait to lure Liu Bei into a trap. The women mentioned in the plan were used to entertain Liu Bei during his confinement and distract him from his men. Most importantly, the plan was not carried out because Sun Quan disapproved, therefore the story in Sanguo Yanyi is entirely fiction.
Fa Zheng's biography in the Sanguozhi hinted that Liu Bei and Lady Sun's relationship was not as romantic as described in Sanguo Yanyi, but rather, Liu Bei was suspicious of Lady Sun and feared her. Zhuge Liang once said, "When our lord (Liu Bei) was in Gong'an, he was wary of Cao Cao's influence in the north and fearful of Sun Quan's presence in the east. Even in home territory he was afraid that Lady Sun might stir up trouble." Lady Sun's personality was described as follows in Fa Zheng's biography: Sun Quan married his sister to Liu Bei. She was fierce and tough in character, much like her elder brother. She had about 100 female servants, each of them standing on guard and carrying a sword. Every time Liu Bei entered (her room), he felt a chill in his heart.
Zhou Yu's death
Zhou Yu's death is mentioned in Chapter 57 of Sanguo Yanyi. In the previous chapter, Zhou Yu came up with a plan to help Sun Quan seize Jing Province from Liu Bei. He pretended that he wanted to help Liu Bei attack Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) in western China, and asked for passage through Jing Province. When Liu Bei agreed, Zhou Yu was overjoyed because his true intention was to conquer Jing Province when his army passed through. However, Zhuge Liang saw through Zhou Yu's ruse and set up a trap in Jing Province. Zhou Yu fell into the trap and was surrounded by Liu Bei's forces. He was overwhelmed by fury and fell off his horse. Zhuge Liang later wrote a letter to Zhou Yu, asking the latter to give up on attacking Yi Province and return to Wu instead because Cao Cao might take advantage of Zhou's absence to invade Wu. Zhou Yu then wrote to Sun Quan and told the other Wu generals to give their full support to their lord. He fainted afterwards, regained consciousness and sighed, "If (Zhou) Yu were to be born, why must (Zhuge) Liang exist as well?" He died after repeating that line several times.
This was the third time Zhou Yu had been infuriated by Zhuge Liang after sustaining an arrow wound at the Battle of Jiangling, a follow-up to the Battle of Red Cliffs. The first time was when Liu Bei, acting on the advice of Zhuge Liang, seized control of many territories in Jing Province when Zhou Yu and his men were busy fighting with Cao Cao's forces for control of the province. The second time was when Zhuge Liang foiled his "beauty scheme". (See #Liu Bei and Lady Sun's marriage.) Zhou Yu's condition worsened after each incident and he eventually died on the third time.
Zhou Yu's biography in the Sanguozhi mentioned that Zhou was preparing for a campaign to conquer Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) and Hanzhong in western China when he died of illness at Baqiu (巴丘; present-day Yueyang, Hunan). Nothing was mentioned about Zhuge Liang causing Zhou Yu's death.
New Book of Mengde
In Chapter 60, Liu Zhang sent Zhang Song as an envoy to meet Cao Cao in Xuchang. Zhang Song ridiculed Cao Cao in front of Cao's registrar Yang Xiu. Yang Xiu then showed Zhang Song the New Book of Mengde (孟德新書), a military strategy book written by Cao Cao and based on Sun Tzu's Art of War. Zhang Song looked through the book and laughed and said, "Even young children in Shu can recite this book, how can it be a "new book"? This book was written by an anonymous writer during the Warring States period. Chancellor Cao plagiarised the book, and people like you are deceived by him." Zhang Song then recited the book verbatim to convince Yang Xiu. When Yang Xiu told Cao Cao about the incident later, Cao Cao tore up the book and burnt it.
The Wei Shu (魏書) mentions Cao Cao writing military books and giving them out his generals. The book was also mentioned and quoted in Questions and Replies between Tang Taizong and Li Weigong, a dialogue between Emperor Taizong of the Tang dynasty and Li Jing. Cao Cao's commentary of the Art of War is still extant and is included in many annotated versions of the book.
Battle of Tong Pass
Pang Tong's death
Battle of Jiameng Pass
Guan Yu attends a banquet alone armed with only a blade
Guan Yu attended a banquet hosted by Sun Quan's viceroy Lu Su, armed with only his Green Dragon Crescent Blade. The banquet was actually a mask for an attempt by Lu Su and Sun Quan's generals to coerce Guan Yu to hand over Jing Province (荊州; covering present-day Hubei and Hunan). Lü Meng, Gan Ning and some soldiers were lying in ambush near the banquet area, waiting for a signal from Lu Su to dash out and kill Guan Yu. Guan Yu knew it was a trap for him but he still attended the banquet, chatting with Lu Su. He sensed imminent danger but pretended to be drunk and grabbed Lu Su, using him as a hostage and releasing him only after he had boarded his vessel bound for Jing Province.
The Sanguozhi did mention Guan Yu and Lu Su having talks over the division of Jing Province between their respective lords. During the negotiations, both sides had their soldiers stationed at least a hundred paces away from the meeting area, while each of the generals present at the talks was armed with a blade weapon. See Lu Su#Sun-Liu territorial dispute, Lü Meng#Sun-Liu territorial dispute and Gan Ning#Guan Yu's shallows for details.
Hua Tuo heals Guan Yu's arm
During the Battle of Fancheng, Guan Yu was injured in the arm by a crossbow bolt coated with poison. Just then, a famous physician named Hua Tuo came to Guan Yu's camp and offered to cure Guan's arm. Hua Tuo diagnosed that the poison had already seeped through the flesh into the bone and he needed to perform surgery on Guan Yu's arm. He also told Guan Yu that Guan must be blindfolded and his arm must be secured in place before the surgery was conducted, but Guan told Hua Tuo it was too troublesome and he could just perform the surgery on the spot. Hua Tuo cut open the flesh on Guan Yu's arm, exposing the bone, then scrapped off the venom on the bone and stitched up the wound. Guan Yu showed no sign of pain and continued playing weiqi with Ma Liang during the surgery. He thanked Hua Tuo for healing his arm and wanted to reward the physician but Hua declined.
Hua Tuo's biography in the Sanguozhi did not specify his year of death, but it is certain that he died before 208. (See #Cao Cao's death for more information.) The Battle of Fancheng took place in 219, some 11 years after 208, so it was not possible for Hua Tuo to be around to heal Guan Yu's arm. However, Guan Yu's biography in the Sanguozhi did mention such an incident without Hua Tuo's involvement. (See Guan Yu#Arm injury for details.)
Lü Meng's death
Events after Guan Yu's death
In Chapter 77, after Guan Yu's death at the hands of Sun Quan, his spirit roamed the land, crying out, "Return my head!" His spirit came to Yuquan Hill outside Dangyang County (present-day Dangyang, Hubei), and encountered Pujing, the monk who saved his life several years ago at Sishui Pass. Pujing spoke to the spirit, "Now you ask for your head, but from whom should Yan Liang, Wen Chou, the pass guardians and many others ask for theirs?" Guan Yu's spirit was enlightened and disappeared, but henceforth it manifested itself around the hill and protected the locals from evil. The locals built a temple on the hill to worship the spirit. The Buddhist monk Pujing was said to have built a grass hut for himself at the southeastern foot of Yuquan Hill during the last years of the Eastern Han dynasty. The Yuquan Temple (玉泉寺), the oldest temple in the Dangyang region from where the worship of Guan Yu originated, was built on the exact location of the hut, and its construction was completed only until the Sui dynasty.
Sun Quan sent Guan Yu's head to Cao Cao in the hope of pushing the responsibility of Guan's death to Cao. When Cao Cao opened the box containing Guan Yu's head, he saw that Guan's facial expressions resembled that of a living person. He smiled and spoke to the head, "I hope you are well since we last parted." To his horror, Guan Yu's head opened its eyes and mouth and the long beard and hairs stood on their ends. Cao Cao collapsed and did not regain consciousness until a long time later. When he came to, he exclaimed, "General Guan is truly a god from heaven!" Then he ordered the head to be buried with full honours befitting that of a noble.
Cao Cao's death
When Cao Cao started complaining about splitting headaches in the last days of his life, his subjects recommended Hua Tuo, a physician with remarkable healing skills. Upon examination, Hua Tuo diagnosed Cao Cao's illness to be a form of rheumatism in the skull. He suggested giving Cao Cao a dose of hashish and then splitting open his skull with a sharp axe to extract the pus within. Due to an earlier incident with another physician called Ji Ping, who attempted to poison him, Cao Cao grew suspicious of any physician. He believed that Hua Tuo intended to kill him to avenge Guan Yu so he had Hua imprisoned. Hua Tuo died a few days later in prison. Cao Cao died from his illness not long later.
Cao Cao's biography in the Sanguozhi mentioned that he died in Luoyang in 220 at the age of 66 (by East Asian age reckoning). Hua Tuo's biography mentioned that Cao Cao had Hua Tuo executed when Hua refused to treat his chronic headaches. Cao Cao later regretted killing Hua Tuo because his son Cao Chong died from illness, and he believed that Hua Tuo could have cured Cao Chong. Hua Tuo's biography did not specify his year of death, but it is certain that he died before 208, the year in which Cao Chong died. Therefore, the story in Sanguo Yanyi is entirely fiction.
The Shiyu (世語) and the Cao Man Zhuan (曹瞞傳) provided more dramatic accounts of the events before Cao Cao's death. The Shiyu account stated that Cao Cao wanted to build a palace in Luoyang so he ordered a Zhuolong Shrine (濯龍祠) to be demolished, but blood spilled out from a tree. The Cao Man Zhuan account mentioned that Cao Cao wanted a pear tree to be moved. When the workers uprooted the tree, blood spilled out from its roots, and the workers were all shocked. Cao Cao heard about it and went there to take a closer look. He was disgusted and felt that it was an unlucky omen. He became ill after returning home.
Battle of Xiaoting
Zhang Liao's death
Meng Huo captured and released seven times
The Nanman barbarian leader Meng Huo rebelled against the state of Shu Han. Shu's chancellor Zhuge Liang led an army to pacify the Nanman tribes. Meng Huo was defeated and captured by Zhuge Liang's forces seven times. During the first six times, Meng Huo complained that he was dissatisfied as he was captured by strategy and did not have a chance to fight a real battle, so Zhuge Liang released him each time to come back for another battle. On the seventh time, Meng Huo felt ashamed of himself and swore eternal allegiance to Shu.
Pei Songzhi's annotations to Zhuge Liang's biography in the Sanguozhi contained a line about "capture and release seven times" but no details were provided. Characters associated with Meng Huo such as E'huan (鄂煥), Lady Zhurong, Meng You and King Mulu are purely fictional.
Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 2.
- (督郵以公事到縣，先主求謁，不通，直入縛督郵，杖二百，解綬係其頸著馬枊，五葬反。棄官亡命。 典略曰：其後州郡被詔書，其有軍功為長吏者，當沙汰之，備疑在遣中。督郵至縣，當遣備，備素知之。聞督郵在傳舍，備欲求見督郵，督郵稱疾不肯見備，備恨之，因還治，將吏卒更詣傳舍，突入門，言「我被府君密教收督郵」 。遂就床縛之，將出到界，自解其綬以系督郵頸，縛之著樹，鞭杖百餘下，欲殺之。督郵求哀，乃釋去之。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 4.
- (卓表太祖為驍騎校尉，欲與計事。太祖乃變易姓名，間行東歸。魏曰：太祖以卓終必覆敗，遂不就拜，逃歸鄉里。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 5.
- (出關，過中牟，為亭長所疑，執詣縣，邑中或竊識之，為請得解。世語曰：中牟疑是亡人，見拘於縣。時掾亦已被卓書；唯功曹心知是太祖，以世方亂，不宜拘天下雄俊，因白令釋之。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- (世語曰：岱既死，陳宮謂太祖曰：「州今無主，而王命斷絕，宮請說州中，明府尋往牧之，資之以收天下，此霸王之業也。」宮說別駕、治中曰：「今天下分裂而州無主；曹東郡，命世之才也，若迎以牧州，必寧生民。」鮑信等亦謂之然。信乃與州吏萬潛等至東郡迎太祖領兗州牧。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 8-9.
- (卓常使布守中閤，布與卓侍婢私通，恐事發覺，心不自安。) Sanguozhi vol. 7.
- (然卓性剛而褊，忿不思難，嘗小失意，拔手戟擲布。布拳捷避之，為卓顧謝，卓意亦解。由是陰怨卓。) Sanguozhi vol. 7.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 24-25.
- (先主之襲殺徐州刺史車胄，使羽守下邳城，行太守事，魏書云：以羽領徐州。而身還小沛。建安五年，曹公東徵，先主奔袁紹。曹公禽羽以歸，拜為偏將軍，禮之甚厚。) Sanguozhi vol. 36.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 25-26.
- (紹遣大將軍顏良攻東郡太守劉延於白馬，曹公使張遼及羽為先鋒擊之。羽望見良麾蓋，策馬刺良於萬眾之中，斬其首還，紹諸將莫能當者，遂解白馬圍。) Sanguozhi vol. 36.
- (紹渡河，壁延津南，使劉備、文丑挑戰。太祖擊破之，斬丑，再戰，禽紹大將。) Sanguozhi vol. 6.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 26-28.
- (初，曹公壯羽為人， ... 左右欲追之，曹公曰：「彼各為其主，勿追也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 36.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 28.
- (紹遣先主將本兵復至汝南，與賊龔都等合，眾數千人。曹公遣蔡陽擊之，為先主所殺。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 34-35.
- (世語曰：備屯樊城，劉表禮焉，憚其為人，不甚信用。曾請備宴會，蒯越、蔡瑁欲因會取備，備覺之，偽如廁，潛遁出。所乘馬名的盧，騎的盧走，墮襄陽城西檀溪水中，溺不得出。備急曰：「的盧：今日厄矣，可努力！」的盧乃一踴三丈，遂得過，乘浮渡河，中流而追者至，以表意謝之，曰：「何去之速乎！」) Shiyu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (孫盛曰：此不然之言。備時羈旅，客主勢殊，若有此變，豈敢晏然終表之世而無釁故乎？此皆世俗妄說，非事實也。) Sun Sheng's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 37-38.
- (由是先主遂詣亮，凡三往，乃見。) Sanguozhi vol. 35.
- (亮乃北行見備，備與亮非舊，又以其年少，以諸生意待之。坐集既畢，眾賓皆去，而亮獨留，備亦不問其所欲言。備性好結毦，時適有人以髦牛尾與備者，備因手自結之。亮乃進曰：「明將軍當復有遠志，但結毦而已邪！」備知亮非常人也，乃投毦而答曰：「是何言與！我聊以忘憂耳。」亮遂言曰：「將軍度劉鎮南孰與曹公邪？」備曰：「不及。」亮又曰：「將軍自度何如也？」備曰：「亦不如。」曰：「今皆不及，而將軍之眾不過數千人，以此待敵，得無非計乎！」備曰：「我亦愁之，當若之何？」亮曰：「今荊州非少人也，而著籍者寡，平居發調，則人心不悅；可語鎮南，令國中凡有游戶，皆使自實，因錄以益眾可也。」備從其計，故眾遂強。備由此知亮有英略，乃以上客禮之。) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 35.
- (...三顧臣於草廬之中，諮臣以當世之事。) Zhuge Liang. Chu Shi Biao.
- (臣松之以為亮表云「先帝不以臣卑鄙，猥自枉屈，三顧臣於草廬之中，諮臣以當世之事」，則非亮先詣備，明矣。) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 35.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 43.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 44.
- (備進住夏口，使諸葛亮詣權，權遣同瑜、程普等行。) Sanguozhi vol. 47.
- (時劉備為曹公所破，欲引南渡江。與魯肅遇於當陽，遂共圖計，因進住夏口，遣諸葛亮詣權。) Sanguozhi vol. 54.
- (備遂到夏口，遣亮使權，肅亦反命。) Sanguozhi vol. 54.
- (先主至於夏口，亮曰：「事急矣，請奉命求救於孫將軍。」時權擁軍在柴桑，觀望成敗，亮說權曰：「海內大亂，將軍起兵據有江東，劉豫州亦收眾漢南，與曹操並爭天下。今操芟夷大難，略已平矣，遂破荊州，威震四海。英雄無所用武，故豫州遁逃至此。將軍量力而處之：若能以吳、越之眾與中國抗衡，不如早與之絕﹔若不能當，何不案兵束甲，北面而事之！今將軍外託服從之名，而內懷猶豫之計，事急而不斷，禍至無日矣！」權曰：「苟如君言，劉豫州何不遂事之乎？」亮曰：「田橫，齊之壯士耳，猶守義不辱，況劉豫州王室之冑，英才蓋世，眾士仰慕，若水之歸海，若事之不濟，此乃天也，安能復為之下乎！」權勃然曰：「吾不能舉全吳之地，十萬之眾，受制於人。吾計決矣！非劉豫州莫可以當曹操者，然豫州新敗之後，安能抗此難乎？」亮曰：「豫州軍雖敗於長阪，今戰士還者及關羽水軍精甲萬人，劉琦合江夏戰士亦不下萬人。曹操之眾，遠來疲弊，聞追豫州，輕騎一日一夜行三百餘里，此所謂『彊弩之末，勢不能穿魯縞』者也。故兵法忌之，曰『必蹶上將軍』。且北方之人，不習水戰﹔又荊州之民附操者，逼兵勢耳，非心服也。今將軍誠能命猛將統兵數萬，與豫州協規同力，破操軍必矣。操軍破，必北還，如此則荊、吳之勢彊，鼎足之形成矣。成敗之機，在於今日。」權大悅，即遣周瑜、程普、魯肅等水軍三萬，隨亮詣先主，並力拒曹公。) Sanguozhi vol. 35.
- (十五年春， ... 冬，作銅雀台。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- (Chinese) Ode to the Bronze Sparrow Platform on Chinese Wikisource. The additional seven lines are highlighted in red.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 46.
- (魏略曰：權乘大船來觀軍，公使弓弩亂發，箭著其船，船偏重將覆，權因回船，復以一面受箭，箭均船平，乃還。) Weilue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 47.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 49.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 50-51.
- (山陽公載記曰：公船艦為備所燒，引軍從華容道步歸，遇泥濘，道不通，天又大風，悉使羸兵負草填之，騎乃得過。羸兵為人馬所蹈藉，陷泥中，死者甚眾。軍既得出，公大喜，諸將問之，公曰：「劉備，吾儔也。但得計少晚；向使早放火，吾徒無類矣。」備尋亦放火而無所及。) Shanyang Gong Zaiji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 54-55.
- (琦病死，群下推先主為荊州牧，治公安。權稍畏之，進妹固好。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (劉備以左將軍領荊州牧，治公安，備詣京見權，瑜上疏曰："劉備以梟雄之姿，而有關羽、張飛熊虎之將，必非久屈為人用者。愚謂大計宜徙備置吳，盛為築宮室，多其美女玩好，以娛其耳目，分此二人，各置一方，使如瑜者得挾與攻戰，大事可定也。今猥割土地以資業之，聚此三人，俱在疆場，恐蛟龍得雲雨，終非池中物也。"權以曹公在北方，當廣攬英雄，又恐備難卒制，故不納。) Sanguozhi vol. 54.
- (亮答曰：「主公之在公安也，北畏曹公之強，東憚孫權之逼，近則懼孫夫人生變於肘腋之下；...」) Sanguozhi vol. 37.
- (初，孫權以妹妻先主，妹才捷剛猛，有諸兄之風，侍婢百餘人，皆親執刀侍立，先主每入，衷心常凜凜；...) Sanguozhi vol. 37.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 56-57.
- (是時劉璋為益州牧，外有張魯寇侵，瑜乃詣京見權曰：「今曹操新折衂，方憂在腹心，未能與將軍道兵相事也。乞與奮威俱進取蜀，得蜀而并張魯，因留奮威固守其地，好與馬超結援。瑜還與將軍據襄陽以蹙操，北方可圖也。」權許之。瑜還江陵，為行裝，而道於巴丘病卒，時年三十六。) Sanguozhi vol. 54.
- (此書吾蜀中三尺小童，亦能暗誦，何為『新書』？此是戰國時無名氏所作，曹丞相盜竊以為己能，止好瞞足下耳！) Sanguo Yanyi ch. 60.
- (魏書曰：太祖自統禦海內，芟夷群醜，其行軍用師，大較依孫、吳之法，而因事設奇，譎敵制勝，變化如神。自作兵書十萬餘言，諸將征伐，皆以新書從事。) Wei Shu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- Questions and Replies between Tang Taizong and Li Weigong on Chinese Wikisource.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 66.
- (肅邀羽相見，各駐兵馬百步上，但諸將軍單刀俱會。) Sanguozhi vol. 54.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 74-75.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 77.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 77-78.
- (庚子，王崩於洛陽，年六十六。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- (佗之絕技，凡此類也。 ... 及後愛子倉舒病困，太祖嘆曰：「吾悔殺華佗，令此兒強死也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 29.
- (世語曰：太祖自漢中至洛陽，起建始殿，伐濯龍祠而樹血出。) Shiyu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- (曹瞞傳曰：王使工蘇越徙美梨，掘之，根傷盡出血。越白狀，王躬自視而惡之，以為不祥，還遂寢疾。) Cao Man Zhuan annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 87-91.
- (亮笑，縱使更戰，七縱七禽，而亮猶遣獲。) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 35.
- Chen, Shou. Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
- Fan, Ye. Book of the Later Han (Houhanshu).
- Fang, Xuanling. Book of Jin (Jin Shu).
- Luo, Guanzhong. Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Yanyi).
- Pei, Songzhi. Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).
- Sima, Guang. Zizhi Tongjian.