Li Sheng (Three Kingdoms)

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Li Sheng (李勝: died 249) was an official of the Cao Wei. His style name is Gongzhao(公昭). He was the son of Li Xiu(李休).


During the last period of the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE), Li Sheng's father, Li Xiu, served Zhang Lu of the Hanzhong region and there was a time that he requested Zhang Lu to ascend the throne. After Zhang Lu surrendered to Cao Cao in 215, Li Xiu became a feudal lord of Cao Cao.

When he was young, he went to the capital to study, and there he was known as having elegance and being sagacity. Having intimite relationships with Cao Shuang and Xiahou Xuan (209-254), he became a member of a group named as four sages and eight masters (四聡八達). However Emperor Cao Rui expelled the members of the group from the office as Cao Rui thought the group is of flatulent, frivolous and fruitless. After Cao Rui died in 239, as Cao Shuang was selected as a regent of the newly enthronded and child Emperor Cao Fang, Cao Shuang entered the scene. Cao Shuang became 県令 of Luoyang(洛陽) also.

In 244, Cao Shuang and Xiahou Xuan made a plan of attacking Shu Han, and Li Sheng concurred with it and was appointed Chief Clerk (長史) by the General Who Attacks the West (征西將軍) Xiahou Xuan. However their military action resulted in a disaster, and for this reason Sima Yi got a bad feeling about Li Sheng.

He was appointed as Administrator of Xingyang (滎陽太守) and Intendant of Henan (河南尹). When he was Intendant of Henan (河南尹), it is said that he gained temporary fame by liberalizing the laws and rules compared to the strict rules of his preceding officer Liu Jing (劉靖). One year after, there were bad omens. He was appointed as Inspector of Jing Province (荊州刺史). Since according to the tradition of Han Dynasty, one must not be appointed to the Inspector of his hometown, Li Sheng's appointment was an irregular one.

In 248, Cao Shuang bade Li Sheng to inform Sima Yi about his appointment of Inspector of Jing Province and to check Sima Yi's health condition at the same time. Inveigled by Sima Yi's play, Li Sheng made a conclusion that Sima Yi was a real patient, reported Cao Shuang that Sima Yi would not be a threat any longer. According to the Records of the End of Wei (魏末傳), it is said that as Sima Yi played a patient with dementia, Li Sheng burst into tears.

In 249, before Li Sheng came into the office of Inspector of Jing Province, Sima Yi launched a coup d'état, and Cao Shung surrendered to Sima Yi. Members of Cao Shuang's faction were arrested on charges of treason and they all were executed. Li Sheng was one of them.

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