|Court physician of Han dynasty|
Ji Ben (died 218) was a court physician who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty. In 218, he started a rebellion with several others in the capital Xu (許; present-day Xuchang, Henan), but the revolt was suppressed and the conspirators were captured and executed for treason.
Error in name
Ji Ben's given name was actually "Pi" (Chinese: 丕; pinyin: Pī). His name is believed to have been erroneously recorded as "Ben" (Chinese: 本; pinyin: Běn) in historical texts to avoid naming taboo, because "Pi" was the personal name of Cao Pi, the first ruler of the Cao Wei state. Besides, the Chinese character for "Pi" might have actually been 㔻 instead of 丕. There were instances where 㔻 had been mistakenly written as 丕.[a]
Ji Ben served as a Court Physician (太醫令) in the imperial court of the Eastern Han dynasty during the reign of Emperor Xian. Around the time, the Han central government had fallen under the control of Cao Cao, the Chancellor. Emperor Xian was merely a figurehead ruler. In 216, Emperor Xian granted Cao Cao the title of a vassal king – "King of Wei" (魏王) – and allowed him to establish a vassal kingdom in northern China which was still nominally under the Han administration.
In late 217 or early 218, Ji Ben plotted a rebellion in the capital, Xu (許; present-day Xuchang, Henan), together with several others, including: Geng Ji (耿紀), a Minister Steward (少府); Wei Huang (韋晃), a Sizhi (司直); Jin Yi; his sons Ji Miao (吉邈; courtesy name "Wenran" (文然)) and Ji Mu (吉穆; courtesy name "Siran" (思然)). Their plan was to kill Wang Bi (王必), a Chief Clerk (長史) serving under the Chancellor Cao Cao, after which they would take Emperor Xian hostage, attack Cao Cao's vassal kingdom, and render assistance to Cao's rival Liu Bei, a warlord who controlled parts of southern and western China. Around the time, Liu Bei's general Guan Yu was achieving success at the Battle of Fancheng against Cao Cao's general Cao Ren, while Cao Cao himself was away in Ye (in present-day Handan, Hebei) and had left Wang Bi in charge of Xu.
Ji Miao led the Ji family's retainers and other supporters, numbering about 1,000 people, to attack Wang Bi's camp at night and set fire to the gate. Jin Yi was very trusted by Wang Bi, so he used the opportunity to plant spies in Wang's camp before the revolt started. Wang Bi was injured in the arm by an arrow during the attack. As he was unaware of the true identities of the rebels, he escaped from the camp and sought shelter in Jin Yi's house, not knowing that Jin was actually one of the conspirators. Jin Yi's servants did not recognise Wang Bi and thought that he was Ji Miao, so they replied, "Is Chief Clerk Wang dead? Your plan has succeeded!" Wang Bi then left and headed to the south of Xu. With assistance from Yan Kuang (嚴匡), an Agriculture General of the Household (典農中郎將), Wang Bi succeeded in suppressing the revolt when he led troops back to his camp to attack the rebels and defeated them. Ji Ben and the conspirators were all captured and executed for treason. Wang Bi died from his wounds several days later.
Ji Ben appeared as a character in Chapter 23 of the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, which romanticises the events before and during the Three Kingdoms period. In the novel, Ji Ben was renamed to "Ji Tai" (吉太), courtesy name "Ping" (平), hence he was referred to as "Ji Ping" (吉平). He served as a physician in the Han imperial court. Around 199, Ji Ping became involved in a plot masterminded by Dong Cheng, Liu Bei and others to assassinate Cao Cao. They had the tacit support of Emperor Xian, who had issued a secret imperial decree written in blood to Dong Cheng, ordering Dong to get rid of Cao Cao. Cao Cao experienced chronic headaches and required constant medical treatment, so Ji Ping thought of adding poison to Cao's medicine. However, Dong Cheng was betrayed by his servant Qin Qingtong (秦慶童), who reported his master's plan to Cao Cao. Ji Ping was arrested when he came to serve medicine to Cao Cao and was subsequently subjected to severe torture to force him to confess. Cao Cao even ordered Ji Ping to be tortured in the presence of Dong Cheng and the others (excluding Liu Bei, who had already left the capital), who eventually admitted to their roles in the assassination plot. Cao Cao had all of them captured and executed along with their families.
- 胡玉縉曰：潘說非也。 《說文·一部》：丕，大也。從一，不聲。段注：丕，隸書中直引長，故云“丕之字不十”。漢《石經》作“㔻”，可證。非與“丕”殊字也。段說甚瞭，潘氏以隸變駁篆文，顛矣。
- ([二十一年]夏五月，天子進公爵為魏王。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- (三輔決錄注曰：時有京兆金禕字德禕，自以世為漢臣，自日磾討莽何羅，忠誠顯著，名節累葉。覩漢祚將移，謂可季興，乃喟然發憤，遂與耿紀、韋晃、吉本、本子邈、邈弟穆等結謀。紀字季行，少有美名，為丞相掾，王甚敬異之，遷侍中，守少府。邈字文然，穆字思然，以禕慷慨有日磾之風，又與王必善，因以閒之，若殺必，欲挾天子以攻魏，南援劉備。時關羽彊盛，而王在鄴，留必典兵督許中事。) Sanfu Jue Lu Zhu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- (文然等率雜人及家僮千餘人夜燒門攻必，禕遣人為內應，射必中肩。必不知攻者為誰，以素與禕善，走投禕，夜喚德禕，禕家不知是必，謂為文然等，錯應曰：「王長史已死乎？卿曹事立矣！」必乃更他路奔。一曰：必欲投禕，其帳下督謂必曰：「今日事竟知誰門而投入乎？」扶必奔南城。會天明，必猶在，文然等衆散，故敗。後十餘日，必竟以創死。) Sanfu Jue Lu Zhu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- (二十三年春正月，漢太醫令吉本與少府耿紀、司直韋晃等反，攻許，燒丞相長史王必營，必與潁川典農中郎將嚴匡討斬之。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 23.
- Chen, Shou. Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
- Luo, Guanzhong. Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Yanyi).
- Pei, Songzhi. Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).