Deng Ai

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Deng Ai
Deng Ai Qing portrait.jpg
A Qing dynasty portrait of Deng Ai
General of Cao Wei
Born 197
Yiyang, Jing Province
Died 264
Chengdu, Yi Province
Traditional Chinese 鄧艾
Simplified Chinese 邓艾
Pinyin Dèng Ài
Wade–Giles Teng Ai
Courtesy name Shizai (traditional Chinese: 士載; simplified Chinese: 士载; pinyin: Shìzǎi; Wade–Giles: Shih-tsai)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Deng.

Deng Ai (197-264),[1] courtesy name Shizai, was a military general of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period.

Early career[edit]

Deng Ai was originally from Yi Yang county Ji Yang Xian. He lost his father when he was young and moved to Ru Nan county after Cao Cao capture Jing Zhou. At 12 years old, Deng Ai accompanied his mother to Ying Chuan county. its reported that Deng Ai had a habit of stuttering and thus was given only a lowly post in charge of guarding the farmland. It was said that whenever he saw a hill or wide valley, he would immediately size up the best places to store grain and position troops, which resulted Subsequently, Deng Ai was promoted to be a minor administrative officer. During a trip to the court. Soon afterwards His talent was recognized by Sima Yi, who recommended him to take up greater appointments and immediately transfer him to his department.

Supply administration[edit]

Later on Deng Ai was soon promoted to the post of Shang Shu Lang. as administrator intended to embark on agricultural projects in order to increase the supply for huge army of Wei. Particularly, Deng Ai dispatched to inspect Chen Xuan, Xiang Xuan and the further east region up until Shou Chun . From his inspection tour, Deng Ai suggesting in a report entitled “Ji He Lun” for systematic large scale irrigation projects in order to maximize land productivity regions. Deng Ai believed that adequate administration of food supply for military it were crucial to successful military operations. Deng Ai was able to observe another supply administration problem, Due to the under-developed farmlands in the newly conquered prefectures which mentioning region south of Huai Shui, food supplies for large-scale military operations had to be imported through transportation from other regions. According to Deng Ai’s observation, the number of soldiers used in transportation of supplies often measures more than half of the total number of military personnel in campaign. then Deng Ai proposed an alternative solution to increase efficiency by suggesting cultivate the region around Huai Shui by diverting more irrigation channels to it and reducing channels intended for the regions of Chen Xuan and Shang Cai Xuan, which according to Deng Ai, was already very fertile themselves. Through this plan, Deng Ai postulated that after 6 to 7 years the food supplies obtained from the Huai river region would be sufficient for the consumption by 100,000 soldiers in a period of 5 years. Sima Yi accepted his proposal and carried Deng Ai's administration plan in Zhen Shi 2nd year. the project was successful as food supplies were sufficient in the region of the Huai River and additionally due to irrigation system there was no flood for many years.

Military services[edit]

Deng Ai was subsequently transferred out of the capital and placed under grand general of Wei, Guo Huai and was promoted to become the governor of Nan An. In Jia Ping 1st year, Deng Ai and Guo Huai repelled a northern invasion by Jiang Wei. at one point Guo Huai wanted to take this opportunity to invade the Qiang tribe but Deng Ai advised against it, citing a reason that Jiang Wei probably will return for a surprise attack. Guo Huai listened and dispatched Deng Ai to guard the northern coast of Bai Shui. As predicted Jiang Wei dispatched Liao Hua to camp at the southern coast of Bai Shui as a ruse while he himself intended to launch a sneak attack at Tao Cheng 3 days later. However Deng Ai was already occupying Tao Cheng before Jiang Wei, thus forcing him to retreat. Thus for this successful operation Deng Ai promoted to be Duke of Guan Nei, Tao Kou Jiang Jun, and governor of Cheng Yang for his meritorious services.[2]

At the same time the Right Virtuous King or Zuo Xian Wang of the Huns, Liu Bao managed to unite several Huns tribes in Bing Zhou. Deng Ai proposed to the court a strategy to disintegrate the Huns to prevent them from being united and growing too strong. According to Deng Ai, effective defense of the northern borders could only be achieved when the enemies were disunited. As such, Deng Ai proposed several strategies aiming to cause disunity in the Hun tribes. In addition, Deng Ai proposed that in different phases, the Qiang and Hu people who had assimilated with the Central Plains people should be segregated and sinicized to reduce crimes and atrocities.[3]

After the Bing Zhou plan Deng Ai was appointed governor of Ru Nan. On his appointment, he proceeded to locate the father of an official whom had aided him greatly in his younger days. On realizing that the person had already died, Deng Ai showed his gratitude by sending gifts to the widow and securing a job for his son. In the places that Deng Ai toured, barren land was cultivated and the standard of living for the populace and army were high.[4]

Later on after Zhuge Ke's disastrous campaign capture Xin Ching in He Fei, Deng Ai commented to Sima Shi that Zhuge Ke would not survive for long. His reasons were Zhuge Ke was arrogant, was disliked by populace of Wu and had brought disasters for the people of Wu through his failures. True enough, Zhuge Ke was murdered by Sun Jun after he returned to Wu. Soon, Deng Ai was promoted to be the governor of Yan Zhou and Zhen Wei Jiang Jun and he proposed to the court for a change in the system of reward.[5]

In 255, rebellions were broke out as Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin, who were stationed in Shouchun, were disgruntled with the Simas and decided to rebel only months after the installment of Cao Mao to the Wei throne.[6] Sima Shi assemble the troops to deal with rebellion. Deng Ai received news of the rebellion and then led tens of thousands of troops to aid Sima Shi. Deng Ai was ordered to take his forces into Yuejia garrison, with small numbers of troops. Wen Qin rushed for the attack but was intercepted by the main force. Wen Qin ordered a retreat but was ultimately routed by Sima Ban. At the same moment Eastern Wu force was marching to aid the rebels and Zhuge Dan dispatched Deng Ai to defend FeiYang but the latter istead bringing his troops to Fu Ting and managed to repel the northward incursion by Wu. Deng Ai was promoted again to Duke of Fang Cheng Xiang and deputy An Xi Jiang Jun for rendering exemplary services.[7] Later on the same year Jiang Wei led another campaign to attack Wei and won a great victory at Mount Tao. However Chen Tai and Deng Ai immediately reinforced the city of Didao and able to defeat Jiang Wei in the Battle of Didao.[8]

In 257, Jiang Wei once again resumed his incursions against Wei which is coincided with the revolt from Deng Ai's former superior, Zhuge Dan. However Deng Ai along was able to defeat Jiang Wei at Duan Valley while his future rival, Zhong Hui managed to suppress Zhuge Dan rebellion[9]

In 263, Deng Ai took part in the campaign against Shu with Zhong Hui. Jiang Wei fended them off somewhere south of Hanzhong. Deng Ai suggested to pass troops through Yinping (陰平) but Zhong Hui rejected the idea.

Deng Ai then carried out his own plan with his son Deng Zhong and troops and it turned out to be a great success. He briefly met a few resistances such as from Huang Chong but He was too afraid to face Deng Ai's force.[10] They eventually managed to enter Chengdu, and the Shu emperor Liu Shan surrendered. Zhong Hui and Deng Ai became fierce rivals due to the race to Chengdu, where Deng Ai won due to his riskier yet shorter road while Zhong Hui was stalled by Jiang Wei's resistance.

Jiang Wei, however, did not want Shu to fall. He determined that Zhong Hui wanted to rebel against Wei. They united, defamed Deng Ai, and ordered Wei Guan to capture him. Jiang Wei's plan failed and the Wei army killed Zhong Hui and Jiang Wei. These soldiers tried to rescue Deng Ai, but Wei Guan feared that they might take vengeance on him so he killed both Deng Ai and Deng Zhong.


When Deng Ai was still stationed at Longxi County, Gansu, he repaired the fortifications and also built the new ones. The civilians and officials in that region were benefitted because these forts protected them from revolts of Qiang tribe during the Tai Shi period.[11]

Modern references[edit]

Deng Ai is first introduced as a playable character in the seventh installment of Koei's Dynasty Warriors video game series. In the game, he is erroneously portrayed as an officer of Western Jin, although he died a year before it was founded.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. p. 109. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0. 
  2. ^ Deng Ai Sanguozi Copyrighted translation by Battleroyale
  3. ^ Deng Ai Sanguozi Copyrighted translation by Battleroyale
  4. ^ Deng Ai Sanguozi Copyrighted translation by Battleroyale
  5. ^ Deng Ai Sanguozi Copyrighted translation by Battleroyale
  6. ^ Declercq, Dominik (1998). Writing Against the State: Political Rhetorics in Third and Fourth Century China. Leiden ; New York ; Köln Brill. p. 175. "The previous sovereign, Cao Fang, had been deposed when the regent, Sima Shi, discovered his involvement in a plot aimed at reversing the Simas' grip on power; the chief conspirators had been killed and their families exterminated to third degree of kinship."
  7. ^ *Yuan, Tingdong, War in Ancient China, 1st Edition, published by Sichuan Academy of Social Science Publishing House & Distributed by New China Bookstore in Chengdu, 1988, ISBN 7-80524-058-2.
  8. ^ Chen Shou's Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms AD 255; Quotations of Sima Guang. Zizhi Tongjian and Translation Achilles Fang. N.p.: Harvard University Press, 1952. and Victor Cunrui. Xiong. The A to Z of Medieval China. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2010. Print.
  9. ^ Zhong Hui historical biography; Sima Guang. Zizhi Tongjian. Trans. Achilles Fang. N.p.: Harvard University Press, 1952. Print.
  10. ^ (到涪縣,瞻盤桓未近,祟屢勸瞻宜速行據險,無令敵得入平地。瞻猶與未納,祟至於流涕。) Chen Shou. Records of Three Kingdoms, Volume 43, Biography of Huang Quan.
  11. ^ Deng Ai Sanguozi Copyrighted translation by Battleroyale