Wang Chen (Three Kingdoms)

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Wang Chen (王沈) (? – 266) is a politician, official, military general, and historian of Cao Wei of the Chinese history.

He is a grandson of Wan Rou (王柔). His father is Wang Ji(王機) (Administrator (太守) of Dong commandery (東郡)). He was a cousin of Wang Chang (王昶) (? – 259) and the father of Wang Jun (王浚) (252–314).


Being fond of reading books, his literary skill was outstanding. He was orphaned at an early age and so was raised by his uncle Wang Chang (王昶) who treated him as a son.

As Wang Chen had close relationships with Cao Shuang's associates, he became 中書門下侍郎---Office of Chancellors (中書門下, Zhongshu Menxia) Vice Minister (侍郎). After Cao Shuang's associates were executed, he was dismissed from his office, however later he became Imperial Clerk Preparer of Documents (治書侍御史), the director of the archival bureau (秘書監, Mishu Jian).

After Cao Mao became the Emperor, Cao Mao used to call Wang Chen as the Teacher of Books (文籍先生). He was promoted to Attendant of Scattered Cavalry (散騎常侍) and Palace Attendant (侍中). Cao Mao loved to have talks with Sima Wang (205–271), Pei Xiu (裴秀: 224 – 271), Zhong Hui (225–264) and Wang Chen at the Palace of (東御殿).

At those days, Wang Chen compile a history book named Book of Wei (魏書) in company with Xun Yi (荀顗) and Ruan Ji (阮籍). However it is said that his book was affected by the contemporary situations and that it received lower value than the Records of Three Kingdoms.

Liu Zhiji (661–721) said, at the part of 曲筆篇 in his history book Shitong (史通), that Wang Chen should be accused of having written flattering accounts to his superiors, and that Wang Chen, along with Chen Shou (233–297) of Records of Three Kingdoms, who asked bribery in return for inclusion of someone's biography in his book, must be blamed as "enemies of history records, masters of ghostwritings", and even further said that nobody would not care even when their books were thrown to the mouths of tigers (豺虎).

In 260, enraged at the Sima Zhao's abusing his authority, Emperor Cao Mao made a plan to attack in person Sima Zhao, and asked the advices of Wang Chen and Wang Ye (王業) and Wang Jing (王經). For this, as Wang Chen and Wang Ye went to Sima Zhao and leaked Cao Mao's plan, Sima Zhao could make preparations.

Cao Mao took lead of the imperial guards, armed himself with a sword, and set out toward Sima Zhao's mansion. Cao Mao was killed by one of the officers under Jia Chong's command, Cheng Ji (成濟). Wang Chen's behavious during this incident were criticized of being unloyal to his emperor. Later, he became 尚書, 監豫州諸軍事, 奮武将軍, 豫州刺史.

Afterwards, he became 征虜将軍・持節・都督江北諸軍事・博陵侯.

In 266, when Sima Yan ascended the throne, Wang Chen became 御史大夫, 守尚書令, 給事中. Sima Yan owed his becoming emperor heavily to the works of Yang Hu (221–278) and Xun Xu (荀勗: ? – 289), Pei Xiu (裴秀: 224 – 271), Jia Chong (217–282) and Wang Chen.

In 266, Wang Chen died.

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