Chen Dao

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Chen Dao
Area Commander of Yong'an (永安都督)
In office
226 (226) – ? (?)
MonarchLiu Shan
ChancellorZhuge Liang
General Who Attacks the West (征西將軍)
In office
c. 223 (c. 223) – ? (?)
MonarchLiu Shan
ChancellorZhuge Liang
Army Protector (護軍)
In office
c. 223 (c. 223) – ? (?)
MonarchLiu Shan
ChancellorZhuge Liang
Personal details
Courtesy nameShuzhi (叔至)
Peeragevillage marquis (亭侯)

Chen Dao (fl. third century), courtesy name Shuzhi, was a military general of the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period of China. He previously served under the warlord Liu Bei, the founding emperor of Shu Han, in the late Eastern Han dynasty.

Historical sources on Chen Dao's life[edit]

Little is recorded about Chen Dao in history; unlike other notable persons of the late Eastern Han dynasty and Three Kingdoms period, he does not have a biography in the 3rd-century text Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi), the authoritative source for that era in Chinese history. Information on him is scattered throughout the biographies of other persons in the Sanguozhi and other sources such as the Chronicles of Huayang (Huayang Guo Zhi) and Taiping Yulan.

Life and career[edit]

Chen Dao was from Runan Commandery (汝南郡), which covers parts of present-day southern Henan.[1] He started following the warlord Liu Bei sometime in the 190s when Liu Bei held the appointment of Governor of Yu Province.[2][3]

Chen Dao served under the Shu Han state, founded by Liu Bei, during the Three Kingdoms period. In the early Jianxing era (223–237) of Liu Shan's reign, he was appointed General Who Attacks the West (征西將軍) and Army Protector (護軍), and awarded the title of a village marquis (亭侯). In 226, when the Shu regent Zhuge Liang was preparing to launch a military campaign against Wei (Shu's rival state), he reassigned the general Li Yan to Jiangzhou (江州; in present-day Chongqing) and put him in charge of logistics. Chen Dao was ordered to replace Li Yan at his previous post in Yong'an County (永安縣; present-day Fengjie County, Chongqing) near the border between Shu and its ally state Wu.[4][5][6][7]


Pei Songzhi, who annotated the Sanguozhi in the 5th century, mentioned that Chen Dao was second to the Shu general Zhao Yun in terms of fame and status, and that he exhibited loyalty and courage throughout his life.[8]

Zhuge Liang, the Shu regent from 223 to 234, mentioned in a letter to his brother Zhuge Jin that Chen Dao led a military unit called "white feathers" (白毦) which was one of the most elite units in the Shu army at the time.[9]

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms[edit]

Chen Dao does not appear in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which romanticises the historical figures and events before and during the Three Kingdoms period. This is because the fictionalised Zhao Yun in the novel already sufficiently represents both the historical Zhao Yun and Chen Dao, hence there is no need for two separate characters.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ([陳]叔至名到,汝南人也。) Annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 45.
  2. ^ (自豫州隨先主, ...) Annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 45.
  3. ^ ([陶]謙表先主為豫州刺史,屯小沛。 ... 先主還小沛,復合兵得萬餘人。呂布惡之,自出兵攻先主,先主敗走歸曹公。曹公厚遇之,以為豫州牧。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
  4. ^ (建興初,官至永安都督、征西將軍,封亭侯。) Annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 45.
  5. ^ ([建興]四年, ... 以諸葛亮欲出軍漢中,嚴當知後事,移屯江州,留護軍陳到駐永安,皆統屬嚴。) Sanguozhi vol. 40.
  6. ^ (以尚書令李嚴為都督,造設圍戍。嚴還江州,征西將軍汝南陳到為都督。) Huayang Guo Zhi vol. 1.
  7. ^ ([建興]四年,永安都護李嚴還督江州, ... 以征西將軍汝南陳到督永安,封亭侯。) Huayang Guo Zhi vol. 7.
  8. ^ (... 名位常亞趙雲,俱以忠勇稱。) Annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 45.
  9. ^ (諸葛亮《與瑾書》曰:兄嫌白帝兵非精練,到所督則先主帳下白毦,西方上兵也。嫌其少也,當復部分江州兵,以廣益之。) Taiping Yulan vol. 341.