|Emperor Zhaolie of Han|
|Emperor of Shu Han|
|Reign||15 May 221 – 10 June 223|
|King of Hanzhong (漢中王)|
(under the Han Empire)
|Tenure||219 – 15 May 221|
Zhuo County, Zhuo Commandery, Han Empire (present-day Zhuozhou, Baoding, Hebei)
|Died||10 June 223 (aged 62)|
Baidicheng, Shu Han
|House||House of Liu (Shu Han)|
|Battles/wars||Yellow Turban Rebellion|
Invasion of Xu Province
Campaign against Yuan Shu
Battle of Xiapi
Battle of Guandu
Battle of Bowang
Battle of Changban
Battle of Red Cliffs
Battle of Jiangling
Invasion of Yi Province
Territorial dispute in Jing Province
Battle of Xiaoting
|Alternative Chinese name|
|Literal meaning||(courtesy name)|
|Part of a series on|
Liu Bei (Chinese: 劉備, pronunciation (help·info); Mandarin pronunciation: [ljǒu pêi]; 161 – 10 June 223), courtesy name Xuande (玄德), was a warlord in the late Eastern Han dynasty who founded the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period and became its first ruler. Though he was a distant relative of the Han imperial family, Liu Bei's father died when he was a child and left his family impoverished. To help his mother, he sold shoes and straw mats. When he reached the age of fifteen, his mother sent him to study under Lu Zhi. In his youth, Liu Bei was known as ambitious and charismatic. He gathered a militia army to fight the Yellow Turbans. Liu Bei fought bravely in many battles and started getting famous. Rather than join the coalition against Dong Zhuo, he joined his childhood friend Gongsun Zan and fought under him against Yuan Shao many times with recognition.
Later he was sent to help Tao Qian against Cao Cao. Thanks to the support of the influential Mi and Chen families along with Tao Qian's last will, Liu Bei inherited the Xu Province. After his defeat against Cao Cao, Lü Bu joined him and seized the province while Liu Bei was away fighting Yuan Shu. After many conflicts, he joined Cao Cao and they defeated Lü Bu at the Battle of Xiapi. Although he was treated well, Liu Bei received a secret edict from the emperor to kill Cao Cao and rebelled against him taking back Xu province. After a brief alliance with Yuan Shao, Liu Bei was quickly defeated by Cao Cao and had to flee to the warlord in the north. He was sent by Yuan Shao to raise uprisings behind Cao Cao's main base but he was ultimately defeated by Cao Cao and joined his kinsman Liu Biao. Liu Biao doubted his loyalty so he located him at Xinye to serve as a shield against Cao Cao. After Liu Biao's death, Liu Bei led many civilians to join Liu Qi to Xiakou where they allied with Sun Quan to oppose Cao Cao at the Battle of Red Cliffs.
After Cao Cao's defeat, Liu Bei quickly took control of the majority of Jing Province, then he married Sun Quan's sister who recognised his legitimacy over the province and agreed to "lend" him Nan Commandery. Liu Bei later led his army to join another kinsman, Liu Zhang in his war against the warlord Zhang Lu. Under the advices of his advisors, he betrayed Liu Zhang and seized the Yi Province from him. After some disputes and seeing Cao Cao growing closer to the Yi province. Liu Bei agreed to yield half of the Jing province to Sun Quan and led his army against Xiahou Yuan at Hanzhong and seized it. Liu Bei then declared himself "King of Hanzhong" and set up his headquarters in Chengdu. However soon after Guan Yu was killed by Liu Bei's "ally" Sun Quan who took the rest of Jing province for the "lending" of Nan commandery. Liu Bei was furious and after declaring himself emperor to challenge Cao Pi's authority, he led his army against his former "ally". Though some early success, his army was soon blocked into a stalemate against Lu Xun and was finally defeated. Ashamed by his failure, he never returned to Chengdu and settled in Baidicheng until his death one year later. Urging his heir to not emulate him and being as virtuous as possible he appointed to help him Zhuge Liang in charge of domestic matters and Li Yan for the military matters.
Despite early failings compared to his rivals and lacking both the material resources and social status they commanded, he gathered support among disheartened Han loyalists who opposed Cao Cao, the warlord who controlled the Han central government and the figurehead Emperor Xian, and led a popular movement to restore the Han dynasty through this support. Liu Bei overcame his defeats to carve out his own realm, which at its peak spanned present-day Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Hunan, and parts of Hubei and Gansu. Culturally, due to the popularity of the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei is widely known as an ideal benevolent, humane ruler who cared for his people and selected good advisers for his government. His fictional counterpart in the novel was a salutary example of a ruler who adhered to the Confucian set of moral values, such as loyalty and compassion. Historically, Liu Bei, like many Han rulers, was greatly influenced by Laozi. He was a brilliant politician and leader whose skill was a remarkable demonstration of "Confucian in appearance but Legalist in substance" .[a]
The historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms as well as other historical records described Liu Bei as a man seven chi and five cun tall (approximately 1.73 metres), with long arms, large ears, and almost no facial hair, .
According to the 3rd-century historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei was born in Zhuo County, Zhuo Commandery (present-day Zhuozhou, Hebei). He was a descendant of Liu Sheng, who was the ninth son of Emperor Jing and the first King of Zhongshan in Han dynasty. However, Pei Songzhi's 5th-century commentary, based on the Dianlue (典略), said that Liu Bei was a descendant of the Marquis of Linyi (臨邑侯). As the title "Marquis of Linyi" was held by Liu Fu (劉復; a great-nephew of Emperor Guangwu) and later by Liu Fu's son Liu Taotu (劉騊駼), who were descendants of Liu Fa (劉發), King Ding of Changsha – another son of Emperor Jing, it was possible that Liu Bei descended from this line rather than Liu Sheng's line.
Liu Bei's grandfather Liu Xiong (劉雄) and father Liu Hong (劉弘) both served in provincial and commandery offices. Liu Bei's grandfather, Liu Xiong did well and was recommended as a candidate for civil office in the xiaolian process. Then, he rose to become prefect of Fan (范) in Dong Commandery.
Early life (161-184)
However Liu Bei's father, Liu Hong didn't live long and Liu Bei grew up in a poor family, having lost his father when he was still a child. Also because of the (推恩令) even if Liu Bei is still related the royal family tree, his generation is no longer considered different than normal people. To support themselves, Liu Bei and his mother sold shoes and straw-woven mats. Even so, Liu Bei was full of ambition from childhood. In the southeast of his house, there was a mulberry tree that was very tall (11,5 meters high). When looked from far away, the tree's shade was similar to a small cart. People from all around the village felt that this tree was unique with some saying that the house would produce a person of nobility. A fortune teller named Li Ding (李定) of Zhuo stated: "This family will certainly produce an estimable man.". When he was a kid, Liu Bei would play beneath the tree with other children from the village. He would often say: "I must ride in this feather covered chariot (emperor chariot)." Liu Bei's uncle Zijing (子敬) thought of Liu Bei's dream as foolish and that he would bring destruction to his house.
In 175, when he was near his 15. His mother sent him to study with Lu Zhi, a distinguished man and former grand administrator of Jiujiang Commandery. Lu Zhi was from Zhuo Commandery, the same as Liu Bei. One of his fellow-students was Gongsun Zan of Liaodong with whom he became friends, since Gongsun Zan was the eldest, Liu Bei treated him as an elder brother. Another fellow-student was his kinsman Liu Deran (劉德然). Liu Deran's father, Yuanqi 元起, often gave Liu Bei material support to help him and his mother and treated him the same as his son, Liu Deran. Yuanqi's wife wasn't happy about this and told him: “Each has his own family. How can you regularly do this?” Yuanqi answered: “This boy is in our clan, and he is an extraordinary person.”.
The adolescent Liu Bei was said to be unenthusiastic in studying however he was fond of dogs and horses and displayed interest in hunting, music and dressing in fine clothing. He enjoyed associating with braves (haoxia), and in his youth he fought and hung out with them. He would not manifest his anger or happiness in front of others. Concise in speech, calm in demeanour and kind to his friends. Liu Bei was well liked by his contemporaries 
Around this time, Two great horse merchants from Zhongshan. Zhang Shiping (張世平) and Su Shuang (蘇雙), were very wealthy and had riches of several thousands in gold. They sold horses, and they passed through Zhuo commandery. They met Liu Bei and were struck by his appearance and personality. So they gifted him much money and wealth. Thanks to their assistance, Liu Bei was able to assemble a large group of followers.
Yellow Turban Rebellion (184-189)
In 184, at the end of the reign of Emperor Ling. The Yellow Turbans rose up and started the Yellow Turban Rebellion, every procinces and commandery would call for righteous man to defend the country. Liu Bei saw what was happening and became much more politically aware. He called for the assembly of a militia to help government forces suppress the rebellion. And rallied a group of loyal followers, including among them Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Jian Yong.
Liu Bei led his militia to join the local government forces led by Colonel Zou Jing and participated in battles against the rebels with distinction. Around this time, Liu Ziping of Pingyuan heard of Liu Bei's reputation as a brave man. And when Zhang Chun (張純) rebelled, the Qing Province was ordered by imperial decree to send an attendant official to lead an army to defeat Zhang Chun. As they passed through Pingyuan, Ziping recommended Liu Bei to the attendant official. Liu Bei accepted and joined him. When they met the rebels in the landscape. Liu Bei was grievely wounded and had to fake death. After the rebels left, a friend of him loaded him into a cart and carried him away. Thus he was able to escape. In recognition of his contributions, the Han central government appointed Liu Bei as the Prefect (令) of Anxi County (安喜縣; northwest of present-day Anguo, Hebei), one of the counties in Zhongshan Commandery (中山郡).
Later, the Han central government decreed that any official who had gained the post as a reward for military contributions was to be dismissed and an inspector was sent to Liu Bei's prefecture. Liu Bei doubted that he would be among those to be dismissed. When Liu Bei saw the inspector he recognized him and wanted to meet him however the inspector refused to see him and claimed illness. Liu Bei was furious, he returned to his office and led clerks and soldiers to the postal relay station and forced his enter through the door and said: "I have been secretly instructed by the Commandery Administrator to arrest the inspector!" Thereupon he tied the inspector and led him to the outskirts of the district then he bound the inspector to a tree, undid his ribbon of office and tied the inspector's neck and gave him more than one hundred strokes with a bamboo stave. Liu Bei was ready to kill him but the inspector begged him for mercy and so he didn't. After that, he left his office.
He then travelled south with his followers to join another militia. Around this time, the General-in-Chief He Jin sent the Chief Commandant Guanqiu Yi (毌丘毅) to Danyang with the mission to recruit soldiers, and Liu Bei joined him in fighting the Yellow Turbans remnants in Xu Province. When they reached Xiapi, they met rebels army and Liu Bei fought hard with talent. As a reward for his contributions, the Han central government appointed him as the Prefect (令) and Commandant (都尉) of Gaotang County.
In Gongsun Zan's service (189–194)
Liu Bei never participated in the Campaign against Dong Zhuo, although he is said to have raised troops for the purpose. Instead, he opted to move north to join an old friend, the warlord Gongsun Zan. In 191, they scored a major victory against another warlord Yuan Shao (leader of the former alliance against Dong Zhuo) in their struggle for control of Ji Province and Qing Province . Gongsun Zan nominated Liu Bei to be the Chancellor (相) of Pingyuan State and sent him to join his subordinate Tian Kai in fighting Yuan Shao's eldest son Yuan Tan in Qing Province.[b] In defending against the shepherd of Ji province, Yuan Shao, he fought in battles with distinction. He was appointed probationary prefect of Pingyuan and later was made concurrent chancellor of Pingyuan.
At this time, a resident of Pingyuan, Liu Ping 劉平, had since long held Liu Bei in low esteem so he was ashamed at having to serve under him. Liu Ping hired an assassin to kill Liu Bei. Liu Bei didn't realize his intention and treated him generously, so much so that the assassin could not bring himself to kill him and so he informed Liu Bei before he left. Such was the extent to which the Liu Bei had won the hearts of the people. Pingyuan was poor and so people were starving and they banded together to commit robbery. Liu Bei externally guarded against bandits and internally he generously carried out economic measures. He would make persons who ranked beneath the elite sit on the same mat and eat from the same pot. He felt no cause to be picky, so people attached themselves to him in droves.
Succeeding Tao Qian (194)
In 194, Yuan Shao's ally, Cao Cao, attacked Tao Qian, the Governor of Xu Province. At the time, there were two opposing alliances – Yuan Shu, Tao Qian and Gongsun Zan on one side, Yuan Shao, Cao Cao and Liu Biao the other. In face of strong pressure from Cao Cao, Tao Qian appealed to Tian Kai for help. Tian Kai and Liu Bei led their armies to support Tao Qian. Liu Bei himself led over 5000 soldiers with mixed barbarian cavalry from the Wuhuan of You province. He also conscripted several thousand among the people.
Despite initial success in the invasion, Cao Cao's subordinate Zhang Miao rebelled and allowed Lü Bu to take over Cao Cao's base in Yan Province, forcing Cao Cao to retreat from Xu Province. Tao Qian asked Liu Bei to station his army in nearby Xiaopei and gave him 4,000 more troops from Danyang, in addition to the thousands troops and Wuhuan cavalry already under his command. Thus, Liu Bei broke with his supervisor Tian Kai for Tao Qian. Tao Qian became Liu Bei's mentor and Liu Bei benefited greatly under the tutelage of Tao Qian, who governed like a Confucian populist, which influenced Liu Bei's future governance. Then, Tao Qian memorialized the court to have Liu Bei appointed as the inspector of Yu province. Liu Bei led his army to Xiaopei, he then proceed to raise troops around the area, and actively built up connections with influential clans and people of the region. In a rather short period of time, he had gained the support of the two most powerful families in Xu Province: the Mi family led by Mi Zhu and Mi Fang, and the Chen family led by Chen Gui and Chen Deng.
Soon Tao Qian's illness became serious and he told to the mounted escort Mi Zhu: "Other than Liu Bei, there is no one who can bring peace to this province." Upon Tao Qian's death in 194, the Mi family backed Liu Bei, instead of one of Tao Qian's sons, to be the new Governor of Xu Province. Mi Zhu then led the residents of the province to meet Liu Bei, however he was hesitant and apprehensive about taking the post. He then consulted Kong Rong and Chen Deng.
Chen Deng told him: "Today the House of Han is in decline and the empire is in chaos. The time to establish merit and to accomplish affairs is today. That province is rich, with a population of a million. We wish to impose on you the post of the inspector and have you assume charge of the affairs of the province." Liu Bei answered: "Yuan Shu is nearby at Shouchun. That man is from a line of four dukes in five generations. The empire is turning to him. You can give the province to him.” Chen Deng then said: "Gonglu is arrogant. He is not the ruler to bring order out of the chaos. Now, I wish to assemble 100,000 infantry and cavalry for my lord. Above, you can assist our sovereign and bring aid to the common people then you could fulfill the calling of the Five Hegemons. Below you could allocate territory and preserve the boundaries. Finally, you could write your achievements on bamboo and silk to be recorded for the posterity. If the inspector does not assent then I also dare not to obey the inspector."
Kong Rong at that time was the chancellor of Beihai and told him: "Is Yuan Gonglu someone who will be concerned about the state and forget his family? In what way are dried bones in the grave worthy of our attention? As far as today's matter is concerned, the people will adhere to men of talent and ability. If one does not accept what heaven offers to him then it will be too late if you regret it later.” Both of them advised him to form an alliance with Yuan Shao.
At that time, Chen Deng with Mi Zhu and the others sent a messenger to call on to Yuan Shao saying: "Heaven has sent down disastrous stench and misfortune has fallen upon our humble and small region. Recently, Tao Qian has died and the people are without a ruler. They fear that greedy rapace will one day take advantage of the opening to extend themselves and so are very anxious. However, they will embrace the former Administrator of Pingyuan, Liu Bei, as their rightful leader. Hence allowing the people to know that hey have someone to rely on. Just now rebel are around all the region; there's not a moment of peace to remove his armor. And so we respectfully send lower officials to report this to the officials in charge." Yuan Shao answered: "Liu Xuande is liberal and refined. He is also known as a man of trust and righteousness. Now that Xu region happily accepts him. This matches my own desires." Liu Bei finally took over Xu Province after Yuan Shao recognised the legitimacy of his governorship.
Conflict with Lü Bu (195–198)
In 195, Lü Bu was defeated by Cao Cao and sought shelter under Liu Bei. In the next year, Yuan Shu sent his general Ji Ling with an army to invade Xu Province. In response, Liu Bei led his troops to counter Ji Ling's advances near present-day Xuyi County and stopped him at Xuyi and Huaiyin (淮陰). Around this time, Cao Cao memorialized to appoint Liu Bei as General Who Subdues The East and enfeoffed him as marquis of Yicheng Village. This was in the first year of the Jian'an period (196).
Liu Bei and Yuan Shu had a standoff for about a month without any decisive result. In the meantime, Zhang Fei, whom Liu Bei left in charge of Xiapi Commandery (下邳郡; around present-day Pizhou, Jiangsu), the capital of Xu Province, murdered Cao Bao, the Chancellor of Xiapi, after an intense quarrel. Cao Bao's death stirred up unrest in Xiapi Commandery which provided the warlord Lü Bu an opportunity to link up with defectors from Liu Bei's side to seize control of Xiapi Commandery and capture Liu Bei's family.
Upon receiving news of Lü Bu's intrusion, Liu Bei immediately headed back to Xiapi Commandery but most of his troops deserted along the way. With his remaining men, Liu Bei moved eastward to take Guangling Commandery, where Yuan Shu's forces defeated him. Liu Bei then retreated to Haixi County (海西縣; southeast of present-day Guannan County, Jiangsu). At this time, Yang Feng and Han Xian were brigands who raided the area between Yang and Xu provinces. Liu Bei caught and defeated them. After his victory, he had both of them executed.
However, surrounded by hostile forces and facing a lack of food supplies, Liu Bei and his men resorted to cannibalism. Pressed by poverty and hunger, Liu Bei's men wanted to return to Xiopei. Liu Bei eventually had no choice but to send an official request to surrender to Lü Bu who accepted his surrender and ordered Liu Bei to return to the seat of Xu and to combine their strength to defeat Yuan Shu. He then prepared the regional inspector's chariot and returned his family to the bank of the Si River as an act of good faith. Before Liu Bei left, there was a farewell banquet and everyone was content.
Lü Bu, fearing that Yuan Shu would turn on him after eliminating Liu Bei, obstructed Yuan Shu's attempts to destroy Liu Bei. At this time, Lu Bu's commanders said to him: "Liu Bei has changed his allegiance too often. It is difficult to know what he is going to do and develop relations with him. Soon, you will have to think of a way to take care of him." However, Lu Bu didn't listen and even related the matter to Liu Bei. Liu Bei was alarmed and maneuvered to distance himself, sending a messenger to Lü Bu with a request to be relocated to Xiaopei. Lü Bu agreed, and Liu Bei was able to safely arrive at Xiaopei where he immediately raised 10,000 troops.
Upon seeing Liu Bei's growing power, Lü Bu became worried that Liu Bei would turn against him, so he launched a preemptive attack on Xiaopei. Liu Bei fled to the imperial capital, Xuchang,[c] where he took shelter under Cao Cao, the warlord who had been controlling the Han central government since he had brought the figurehead Emperor Xian of Han to Xuchang in 196. Cao Cao welcomed Liu Bei warmly, used Emperor Xian's name to appoint him as the Governor of Yu Province, and put him in command of some troops. Liu Bei then returned to Xiaopei to keep an eye on Lü Bu.
In 198, Lü Bu renewed his alliance with Yuan Shu to counter Cao Cao's growing influence and sent Gao Shun and Zhang Liao to attack Liu Bei at Xiaopei. Cao Cao sent Xiahou Dun to support Liu Bei but he was unable to rescue Liu Bei and they were defeated by Gao Shun again he had his family captured by Gao Shun who sent them to Lu Bu. Liu Bei fled to Xuchang to take shelter under Cao Cao, who brought Liu Bei along as he personally led an army to attack Lü Bu in Xu Province. Later that year, the combined forces of Cao Cao and Liu Bei defeated Lü Bu at the Battle of Xiapi; Lü Bu was captured and executed after his defeat. Liu Bei recovered his wife and children and followed Cao Cao back to Xu. Cao Cao sent a memorial to have Liu Bei promoted as General Of The Left. Cao Cao treated treated him with great sympathy. When they went out, they would ride in the same chariot and when they sat, it was on the same mat.
Role in the Cao–Yuan conflict (199–201)
By 199, Cao Cao enjoyed a strong political advantage over his rivals because he had Emperor Xian and the Han central government firmly under his control. During this time, Liu Bei participated in a conspiracy with Dong Cheng, Colonel of the Chang River Encampment Zhong Ji (種輯), General Wu Zilan (吳子蘭) and General Wang Zifu (王子服) to assassinate Cao Cao, after Dong Cheng had received a secret edict from within the Emperor Xian's clothing and girdle to kill Cao Cao. Around this time, Cao Cao said brusquely to Liu Bei: "Currently among the heroes of the empire, there is only you and I. The ilk of Benchu are not worth counting.” At this moment, Liu Bei was taking a bite and from the shock dropped his chopstick and spoon. He excused himself on account of a clap of thunder and told to Cao Cao: "When the wise said, “If there is a sudden clap of thunder and a fierce wind, I must change my countenance” it was truly with reason. The awesomeness of a single clap can cause this!"
However, at the same time, Liu Bei was anxious to leave Xuchang and be free of Cao Cao's control. Thus, upon hearing news that Yuan Shu was on his way to join Yuan Shao after his defeat, Liu Bei requested permission from Cao Cao to lead an army to stop Yuan Shu. Cao Cao agreed and sent Liu Bei and Zhu Ling to lead an army to block Yuan Shu, who retreated back to his base in Shouchun and died there later that year. While Zhu Ling returned to Xu, Liu Bei remained in command of the army and led them to attack and seize control of Xu Province after murdering Che Zhou (車冑), the provincial governor appointed by Cao Cao. Liu Bei then moved to Xiaopei while leaving Guan Yu in charge of Xu Province's capital, Xiapi.
Chang Ba (昌霸) of Donghai used this occasion to rebel. Also, many commanderies and prefectures entered in rebellion and joined Liu Bei against Cao Cao. Soon, their mass totaled more than ten thousands of persons. In the meantime, Yuan Shao had defeated Gongsun Zan and was preparing to attack Cao Cao in the Henan region. Liu Bei then sent his adviser Sun Qian to meet Yuan Shao and request that he launch an immediate attack on Cao Cao, but Yuan Shao refused. In 200, Cao Cao discovered Dong Cheng's conspiracy and had all the participants rounded up and executed along with their families. Liu Bei survived the purge because he was not in Xuchang.
Having achieved stability in Xuchang, Cao Cao turned his attention towards preparing for a battle with Yuan Shao. He fortified many key crossing points along the south banks of the Yellow River and set up a main camp at Guandu. At the same time, he sent his subordinates Liu Dai (劉岱) [d] and Wang Zhong to attack Liu Bei in Xu Province but they were defeated. Cao Cao then made a highly risky move: He predicted that Yuan Shao would not make any advances so he secretly left his defensive position along the Yellow River and personally led an army to Xu Province to attack Liu Bei. Under the weight of Cao Cao's attacks, Liu Bei's forces quickly disintegrated and Xu Province fell to Cao Cao. Zhang Fei protected Liu Bei as he fled from Xiaopei after his defeat; Guan Yu, isolated in Xiapi Commandery, was captured by Cao Cao's forces and decided to surrender and temporarily serve under Cao Cao. Liu Bei headed north to join Yuan Shao.
Liu Bei first went to Qing province which was under Yuan Tan's supervision. Before Liu Bei had formerly recommended Yuan Tan as an "abundant talent' and so they had good relation, Yuan Tan himself led infantry and cavalry to welcome him. Both of them then left for Pingyuan. Yuan Tan then sent a messenger to report to his father. Yuan Shan then sent a commander to greet Liu Bei and personally went 200 li from Ye to welcome him. Both Yuan Shao and Yuan Tan greatly esteemed Liu Bei. He then stayed a month and a few days, and soon his soldiers regrouped under him. He participated in the Battle of Yan Ford alongside Yuan Shao's general Wen Chou against Cao Cao's forces, but they suffered a defeat and Wen Chou was killed in battle.
As Liu Pi, a former Yellow Turban rebel, started a revolt in Runan Commandery (southeastern Henan), Liu Bei convinced Yuan Shao to "lend" him troops to assist Liu Pi. At this time, Guan Yu rejoined Liu Bei. Liu Bei and Liu Pi then led their forces from Runan Commandery to attack Xuchang while Cao Cao was away at Guandu, but they were defeated by Cao Ren. Liu Bei then returned to Yuan Shao and urged him to ally with Liu Biao, the Governor of Jing Province. Yuan Shao then sent him with some troops to Runan Commandery to assist another rebel leader, Gong Du (共都/龔都). Liu Bei and Gong Du defeated and killed Cai Yang (蔡陽), one of Cao Cao's officers who led troops to attack them.
Taking refuge under Liu Biao (201–208)
In 201, Cao Cao led his army to attack Liu Bei in Runan Commandery after his victory over Yuan Shao at the Battle of Guandu. Liu Bei sent Mi Zhu and Sun Qian as ambassadors to Liu Biao. Liu Biao himself came to the outskirts to greet Liu Bei and his followers and treated them with utmost courtesy due an honoured guest. He gave him some troops and sent him to station at Xinye County in northern Jing Province to guard against Cao Cao's advances. Soon many men of talents joined Liu Bei and his rank greatly increased. Liu Biao didn't trust him completely and secretly guarded against Liu Bei.
In 202, Liu Biao ordered Liu Bei to fend off Xiahou Dun, Yu Jin and the other officers at Bowang. Liu Bei led his army and set up an ambush. Eventually, he set fire to his own camp and faked a retreat. When Xiahou Dun led his soldiers to the pursuit, they were crushed by the troops lying in ambush at Battle of Bowang. Liu Bei stayed in Jing Province for about seven years. When he was talking with Liu Biao, he rose up to go to the toilet. Then, he noticed that the flesh in his thighs had had increased, he sighed heavily and wept. When he returned to his seat, Liu Biao was surprised and asked him about it. Liu Bei replied: "When I was younger, I've never left the saddle. My thighs were thin. Now I do not ride anymore, they has grown. The days and months pass like a stream, and old age will come, but I have achieved nothing. That's why I am sad."
Once, Liu Bei camped at Fancheng with his soldiers. Liu Biao was friendly to him however he was also anxious about Liu Bei's conduct and did not place much trust in him. One day, had asked Liu Bei to him for a banquet. Kuai Yue and Cai Mao wanted to use this as an occasion to kill Liu Bei. Liu Bei saw through this and pretended to go to the toilet and nimbly escaped. His horse was named Dilu (的盧), and he quickly ride him. However, during the pursuit, he fell into the waters of the Tan Stream west of Xiangyang city. Liu Bei was drowning and couldn't get away from the river. He then cried: "Dilu! Today I'm in dire straits! Give it your all!" Dilu then jumped three zhang (7 meters) in a single leap and thus both of them got across. Quickly they found a ferry and crossed the river. While they were at half of the river, the pursuers caught up to them and could only apologize on Liu Biao's behalf while saying: "Why are you leaving already?"
In 207, Cao Cao planned a campaign to conquer the Wuhuan in the north, but was apprehensive that Liu Biao might attack his base but he was assured by Guo Jia that Liu Biao would not do so for fear of Liu Bei being more powerful than he was. Cao Cao agreed and Guo Jia's point was proven later, when Liu Biao refused to attack Xu when Liu Bei advised him to do so. When Cao Cao returned from Liucheng. Liu Biao told to Liu Bei: "I didn't adopt your proposal and now I lost this great opportunity." Liu Bei answered: “Now the empire is in chaos and every days there are battles. What seem to be a good opportunity may present himself later. If you are able to respond to them accordingly then this isn't worth regret."
Away from the battlefields in the east and under Liu Biao's efficient rule, Jing Province was prosperous and a popular destination for literati fleeing from the destruction of war. Liu Bei asked Sima Hui, a revered recluse, about scholars. Sima Hui's friend Pan Degong named Zhuge Liang and Pang Tong as exceptional talents who could comprehend important events of their time well. Xu Shu also urged Liu Bei to call on Zhuge Liang. Liu Bei went to see Zhuge Liang and finally had an audience with him after three visits. Zhuge Liang presented Liu Bei with his Longzhong Plan, a general long-term plan outlining the takeover of Jing Province and Yi Province to set up a two-pronged final strike at the imperial capital.
Liu Biao died in 208 and his younger son Liu Cong succeeded him and surrendered to Cao Cao without informing Liu Bei. By the time Liu Bei heard news of Liu Cong's surrender, Cao Cao's army had already reached Wan. When he head of his surrender, he had someone close to him ask about it. Liu Zhong then sent Song Zhong (宋忠) to Liu Bei. When they met, Cao Cao was at Wan and Liu Bei was furious, he said to Song Zhong: "All of you act in such undesirable way and are not honest with us from the start. Now only when catastrophe is near do you dare to show your face. Are you thinking of me as a fool?" Liu Bei pulled his sword on Song Zhong and said: "If I were to behead you now, It would quell my rage. However, it would be a shame for a man of my stature to kill someone like you when they are about to fall." Liu Bei sent Son Zhong away and summoned his officers to discuss of the next strategy. Among them, some wanted for Liu Bei to forced Liu Zhong, his officials and the elites (吏士) of Jing province to flee south of Jiangling. However Liu Bei replied: "When Liu Biao was near death, he confided me with his orphaned sons. Now I would have to betray him and his trust to save myself and this isn't something I am ready to do. After death, how could I face him!"
Liu Bei led his troops away and abandoned Fancheng, leading civilians and his followers on an exodus to the south. Around this time, Zhuge Liang advised Liu Bei to launch an attack on Liu Cong, then Jing province may belong to him. Liu Bei answered that he couldn't bear to do it. Then he passed near Liu Cong's city and wanted to see him. However Liu Cong was afraid and would not move. Many of Liu Cong's supporters and the people of Jing joined him. Around this time, Liu Bei took his leave at Liu Biao's grave. He wept at the situation Jing province was.
By the time they reached Dangyang (當陽; south of present-day Duodao District, Jingmen, Hubei), his followers numbered more than 100,000 and they moved only 10 li a day. Liu Bei sent Guan Yu ahead to wait for him in Jiangling, where abundant supplies and arsenal were stored, with Jing Province's fleet. Among Liu Bei's followers, some said to him: “You should move fast and then hold Jiangling. Although our force is large, few among them have military equipment. If Cao Cao's army comes, how will you stop him?” Liu Bei answered to them: “In coping with a situation one must alway consider men as fundamental. Now that men are joining me, how can I reject them!”
Afraid that Liu Bei might reach Jiangling County which had military stores before him, Cao Cao led his cavalry on pursuit for Xiangyang. When he learned that he already passed through there. He urged his 5000 elite troops, in a day and a night they covered over 300 li and Cao Cao caught up with Liu Bei and captured most of his people and baggage at the Battle of Changban. Leaving his family behind, Liu Bei fled with only scores of followers. He made it to the Han Ford where he met with Guan Yu's fleet, they crossed the Mian River to Jiangxia Commandery and the Yangtze River to Xiakou, where they took shelter under Liu Qi, Liu Biao's elder son and met up with over 10,000 followers. Liu Qi objected to his brother's surrender to Cao Cao and was able to maintain Jiangxia Commandery and Xiakou allowing more of his father's former subordinates to escape from Cao Cao.
Alliance with Sun Quan
Battles of Red Cliffs and Jiangling (208-211)
When Liu Bei was still at Dangyang, Lu Su met him, discussed with him of the situation in the empire and hinted that he should ally with the warlord Sun Quan against Cao Cao. After that, Lu Su asked Liu Bei where he wanted to go next. Liu Bei answered that him and Wu Ju (吳巨) the Administrator of Cangwu Commandery were friends and that he desired to join him. Lu Su told Liu Bei: "Sun Quan is talented and kind. His treats both the elites and the worthies with respect. All the heroes from the south of the Yangtze river already joined him. He also holds the six commanderies, his troops trained and the supplies abundant. You should join him. Now, I propose this plan to you. You should send a confidant of you as an envoy to the east and establish connections, promote the gains of this alliance and together we shall follow the same goal. But you speak of Wu Ju. He has no talents and command a distant commandery. He will soon be under another. How could you entrust yourself to him?". Liu Bei agreed with Lu Su.
Zhuge Liang, as Liu Bei's representative, followed Lu Su to meet Sun Quan at Chaisang County (柴桑縣; southwest of present-day Jiujiang, Jiangxi), where they discussed the formation of a Sun–Liu alliance against Cao Cao. Liu Bei and Sun Quan formed their first alliance against the southward expansion of Cao Cao. Both sides clashed at the Battle of Red Cliffs, which concluded with a decisive victory for the Sun–Liu side. Liu Bei and the Sun troops advanced by land and water until Cao Cao was pushed to Nan Commandery. Cao Cao retreated north after his defeat and left behind Cao Ren and Xu Huang to guard Jiangling County and Yue Jin to defend Xiangyang.
Sun Quan's forces, led by Zhou Yu, attacked Cao Ren after their resounding victory to wrestle for control of Jiangling County. Liu Bei recommended Liu Qi to be the new Inspector of Jing Province and led his men to capture the four commanderies in southern Jing Province – Changsha (長沙) led by Han Xuan, Lingling (零陵) led by Liu Du, Guiyang led by Zhao Fan and Wuling led by Jin Xuan. Lei Xu (雷緒) of Lujiang (廬江) also amassed many followers and led ten thousands of soldiers to Liu Bei. Liu Bei set up his base at Gong'an County and continued to strengthen his forces.
When Liu Qi died in 209 shortly after Liu Bei secured his position in southern Jing Province. All of Liu Qi's followers wanted for Liu Bei to succeed him as the new Inspector of Jing Province with his administrative seat at Gongan which he accepted. To further strengthen the Sun–Liu alliance, Liu Bei travelled to Sun Quan's territory to marry Sun Quan's younger sister, Lady Sun. After the political marriage, Sun Quan not only recognised the legitimacy of Liu Bei's control over southern Jing Province, but also agreed to "lend" Nan Commandery to him.
Sun Quan sent an envoy to Liu Bei and expressed his desire for both of them to conquer Yi province. The emissary reported to Liu Bei:"The Rice Bandit, Zhang Lu has made his base in Ba and acted as a king. He served as Cao Cao's ears an eyes and want to conquer Yi province. Liu Zhang is weak and can't defend himself. If Cao Cao gained Yi province the Jing would be in danger! Now, you should first conquer Liu Zhang then Zhang Lu. The tail and the head are connected. Once we united Wu and Chu even if there is ten Cao Cao, there would be no need for worry."
Liu Bei's officers thought Liu Bei should conquer this land alone since Sun Quan couldn't extend his land beyond Jing province. Yin Guan (殷觀) at this time was master of records of Jing province, he said: "If you act as the vanguard for Sun Quan and moved your army but fall to conquer Yi province then while you are away, Sun Quan could use this to his advantage and everything would be lost! For the time being, you should only encourage his attack on Yi while you explain that you recently conquered several commanderies and cannot act yet. Sun Quan would not dare to pass through us to take Yi alone. With such a strategy of advance and withdrawal, you can reap the both the benefits of Sun Quan and the Yi province.” Liu Bei agreed and followed this plan, he then had Yin Guan promoted to be mounted escort attendant.
And so Liu Bei answered to Sun Quan: "The people of Yi province are strong and rich moreover the land is hard to conquer. Even if Liu Zhang is weak, he can defend himself. Zhang Lu is crafty and may not be loyal to Cao Cao. Now with the fierce soldiers of Yi and the complicate terrain, the battle is far more harder and may be something that Wu Qi couldn't accomplish even less an officer of Sun. Even if Cao Cao wanted to destitute the emperor, he still is officially his protector. And when the civils saw his defeat at Cibhi, they said that his ambition was over and his power ended. However he already possesses two thirds of the empire and he surely wants to take his horse to the farest of the world and led his army to Wu-Gui Commanderies. Why would he allow us expend ourselves while waiting for his death? Now if we were to attack an ally (Liu Zhang) without reason, Cao Cao would use this opportunity to crushed us while we are infighting. This is not a good plan."
Sun Quan didn't listen and sent Sun Yu to led his troops and camped at Xiakou (夏口). However Liu Bei blocked this army and would not allow them to pass. He said to Sun Yu: "If you take Yi then I shall let my hair down, go into the mountains and become an hermit so I would not lose the trust of the empire."Also he ordered Guan Yu to encamp at Jiangling, Zhang Fei at Zigui, Zhuge Liang in Nan commandery and Liu Bei himself led his men at Zhanling. When Sun Quan saw this, he grasped Liu Bei's intentions and had to order Sun Yu to return.
Subsequently, former subordinates of Liu Biao who were unwilling to serve Cao Cao came to join Liu Bei. After the death of Zhou Yu in 210 and Liu Bei's growing influence in southern Jing Province, Sun Quan's position in the north became more untenable. Lu Su succeeded Zhou Yu as the frontline commander of Sun Quan's armies and moved the headquarters to Lukou (陸口), yielding all commanderies of Jing Province (except Jiangxia Commandery) and access to Yi Province to Liu Bei.
|Summary of major events|
|161||Born in Zhuo County, Zhuo Commandery.|
|184||Volunteered in the fight against the Yellow Turban rebels.|
|194||Assumed governorship of Xu Province.|
|198||Defeated by Lü Bu.|
Allied with Cao Cao and won the Battle of Xiapi.
|200||Defeated by Cao Cao.|
Escaped to join Yuan Shao.
Joined Liu Biao.
|208||Allied with Sun Quan and won the Battle of Red Cliffs.|
Took over Jing Province.
|215||Defeated Liu Zhang and took over Yi Province.|
Declared himself King of Hanzhong.
|221||Proclaimed himself Emperor of Shu Han.|
|222||Lost the Battle of Xiaoting against Eastern Wu.|
|223||Died in Baidicheng.|
Establishing the Shu kingdom
Conquering Yi Province (211-215)
In 211, Liu Zhang, the Governor of Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing), heard that Cao Cao planned to attack the warlord Zhang Lu in Hanzhong Commandery. As Hanzhong Commandery was a strategic location and the northern "gateway" into Yi Province, Liu Zhang was afraid. At this time, the mounted escort Zhang Song told him: "Cao Cao's armies are strong and without a match in the empire. If he was able to use Zhang Lu's grain stores and launch an invasion of Yi province, who could stop him." Liu Zhang answered that he was worried but without a plan. Zhang Song answered: "Liu Bei is of the same clan as you and he is an unstoppable rival of Cao Cao. He commands troops with talent. If we used him to conquer Zhang Lu, Zhang Lu would surely be defeated. With Zhang Lu vanquished, Yi province would be safe and even if Cao Cao were to come, he would be defeated."
After listening to the advice from Zhang Song, Liu Zhang sent Fa Zheng with 4000 men to form an alliance with Liu Bei and presented him with many expensive gifts. Zhang Song and Fa Zheng privately disapproved of Liu Zhang's governance and looked at Liu Bei as a solution for a legitimate successor. When Liu Bei met them, he welcomed them warmly and treated them with kindness. He used this opportunity to lear more about Yi province mostly the weaponry, stores and number of horses as well as other strategic locations and their distance to each other. Zhang Song and his entourage told him about everything and furthmore drew a map of Yi province with the location of the mountains and rivers. With their help, Liu Bei learned all about Yi province. Liu Zhang invited Liu Bei to join him in Yi Province to capture Hanzhong Commandery before Cao Cao did.
Liu Bei led an expedition force of several ten thousands soldiers into Yi Province after leaving behind Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun to guard Jing Province. Liu Zhang welcomed Liu Bei, when they saw each other, both of them were friendly. Before this Zhang Song told Fa Zheng to report to Liu Bei, that with the consellor Pang Tong backing, they could ambush Liu Zhang at the meeting spot. However Liu Bei thought that the plan was too hasty for such an important act.
Liu Zhang then sent a proposition to have Liu Bei be made Commander in Chief and colonel director of the retainers. Liu Bei also proposed Liu Zhang to be General Who Subdues The West and Gouvernor of Yi province. Liu Zhang provided him with more troops under his command and have him supervised the White River Army. With those reinforcement, Liu Bei's army was over 30 000 men with plenty of weapons and horses. While Liu Zhang left for Chengdu, Liu Bei headed to Jiameng Pass (southwest of present-day Guangyuan, Sichuan) at the border between Liu Zhang and Zhang Lu's territories. Instead of engaging Zhang Lu, Liu Bei halted his advance and focused on building connections and gaining influence around the area. He was kind and virtuous and so he soon gained the hearts of the masses
Next year, in 212, Cao Cao launched a campaign against Sun Quan and he soon called Liu Bei for help. Liu Bei sent a messenger to Liu Zhang: "Cao Cao campaigned against Sun and now they are in danger. Both me and them were like "lips and teeth". Moreover, Guan Yu is fighting against Yue Jian at Qingni (清泥). If I don't go to help him now and he is defeated then he will invade Jing province and the danger will be greater than Zhang Lu. Zhang Lu is looking to preserve his state. He isn't worth to worry about."and he requested that another 10,000 soldiers and additional provisions aid in the defence of Jing Province. Liu Zhang gave him only 4,000 troops and half of the other supplies he requested. Liu Bei used this as a way to motivate his troops: "I'm fighting the ennemies of the province. My men are tired and cannot enjoy a peaceful life. While Liu Zhang amasses wealth in his palaces but reward mertis feebly. He hopes for the wothies and the brave to go fight in his place. But how can he thinks as such?"
Fa Zheng, Zhang Song and Meng Da set into motion their plan but they worried that Liu Bei would leave. They said to him that now that success is near, how could he give up and leave. At this time, Zhang Su(張肅), Zhang Song's brother, discovered his brother's secret communications with Liu Bei and reported the issue to Liu Zhang. Liu Zhang was furious and stunned when he heard that Zhang Song had been helping Liu Bei to take over Yi Province from him – he executed Zhang Song and ordered his officers guarding the passes to Chengdu to keep secret documents and letters to Liu Bei.
When Liu Bei found out from the spies he planted around Liu Zhang, he was furious. Fa Zheng and Meng Da defected to Liu Bei's side before Yang Huai (楊懷) and Gao Pei (高沛), Liu Zhang's subordinates guarding Boshui Pass, knew about Liu Bei's true motive. Liu Bei lured Yang Huai and Gao Pei into a trap and executed them for behaving disrespectfully towards him. He then took command of Yang Huai's and Gao Pei's troops, numbering under 5,000. Liu Bei then had Huang Zhong and Zhuo Ying lead his soldiers against Liu Zhang. When he enterred the different passes, he took the commanders as hostage along with their family. He then advanced with his troops and turned to attack Fu County (涪縣; present-day Mianyang, Sichuan).
In the spring of 213, Liu Zhang sent Liu Gui, Ling Bao, Zhang Ren, Deng Xian, Wu Yi and other officers to stop him at Fu. However all were soundly defeated and had to retreat to Mianzhu. They were killed or captured by Liu Bei's forces. Despite being the most trusted vassal of Liu Zhang, Wu Yi soon changed allegiance, Li Yan and Fei Guan were sent to help them at Mianzhu, but they surrendered to Liu Bei as well. Liu Bei's army was getting stronger and he sent commanders to pacify the other prefectures. Among them were Zhuge Liang, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun. They led their army and pacify Baidi Jiangzhou and Jiangyang. Only Guan Yu stayed behind to defend Jing province.
Now the remnant force was under command of Liu Zhang's son, Liu Xun, and he retreated to Luo County (northwest of Chengdu, Sichuan). There, Pang Tong was killed by a stray arrow, and the siege became a prolonged one for nearly a year. In 214, after Luo County fell to Liu Bei. Liu Zhang continued to hold up inside Chengdu. Ma Chao, a former warlord and vassal under Zhang Lu, defected to Liu Bei's side and joined him in attacking Chengdu. Although Chengdu's citizens were terrified by Ma Chao's army, they insisted on putting up a desperate fight against the enemy. However, Liu Zhang surrendered to Liu Bei after stating that he did not wish to see further bloodshed. Liu Bei then succeeded Liu Zhang as the Governor of Yi Province and relocated him to Gong'an County in Jing Province. The Yi province was rich and prosper, Liu Bei had a banquet prepared for the officers and soldiers. He used the gold and silver to repay them and distributed ilk and grain to the common people.
Liu Bei married Wu Yi's sister and went on numerous public tours to consolidate his control on the newly conquered Yi Province. He promoted Zhuge Liang to an office that granted him control over all affairs of state and appointed Dong He as Zhuge Liang's deputy. Fa Zheng as his strategist. Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Ma Chao as his commanders. Xu Jing, Mi Zhu and Jian Yong as his guests. The rest of Liu Bei's followers, new and old, were entrusted with new responsibilities and promoted to new ranks with Liu Zhang's followers promoted into prominent positions so their talents would not be wasted. Among the talented with ambitions, all competed for Liu Bei's attention.
Sun–Liu territorial dispute (215-217)
After Liu Bei's conquest of Yi Province, Sun Quan sent Lu Su as an emissary to demand the return of the commanderies in southern Jing Province, but Liu Bei refused and told him to wait until he took Liang province. Sun Quan was furious then sent Lü Meng and Ling Tong to lead 20,000 men to attack southern Jing Province and they succeeded in capturing Changsha, Guiyang and Lingling commanderies. In the meantime, Lu Su and Gan Ning advanced to Yiyang County with 10,000 men to block Guan Yu) and took over command of the army at Lukou. Liu Bei personally went to Gong'an County with 50 000 soldiers while Guan Yu led 30,000 men to Yiyang County. When war was about to break out, Liu Bei received news that Cao Cao was planning to attack Hanzhong Commandery after Zhang Lu fled to Baxi.
Liu Bei became worried about Cao Cao seizing Hanzhong Commandery. and requested for a border treaty with Sun Quan for the Jing province with Jiangxia, Changsha and Guiyang going to Sun Quan while Nan commandery, Lingling and Wuling would go back to Liu Bei, setting the new border along the Xiang River. Liu Bei led his army back to Ba commandery and had Huang Quan sent to lead troops to meet Zhang Lu, however he already had surrendered to Cao Cao.
Hanzhong Campaign (217-219)
In 215, Cao Cao defeated Zhang Lu at the Battle of Yangping and seized Hanzhong Commandery. Sima Yi and Liu Ye advised him to take advantage of the victory to attack Yi Province, since it was still unstable under Liu Bei's new government and Liu Bei himself was away in Jing Province. Cao Cao, who was not fond of the terrain of the region, refused and left Xiahou Yuan, Zhang He and Xu Huang to defend Hanzhong Commandery.
In anticipation of a prolonged war, Zhang He led his army to Dangqu Commandery (宕渠郡; around present-day Qu County, Sichuan) in order to relocate the population of Ba Commandery (巴郡; present-day Chongqing and eastern Sichuan) to Hanzhong Commandery. Meanwhile, Liu Bei appointed Zhang Fei as the Administrator of Baxi Commandery (巴西郡) and ordered him to take over the region. Zhang Fei and Zhang He faced each other for 50 days, which concluded with a victory for the former following a surprise attack on the latter. Narrowly escaping, Zhang He retreated to Nanzheng County on foot, and the Ba region became part of Liu Bei's territory.
In 217, Fa Zheng pointed out the strategic necessities of seizing Hanzhong Commandery and advised Liu Bei to drive Cao Cao's force out of the area. Liu Bei sent Zhang Fei, Ma Chao and others to capture Wudu Commandery (武都郡), while he assembled an army and advanced to Yangping Pass. Zhang Fei was forced to retreat after his aides Wu Lan (吳蘭) and Lei Tong (雷銅) were defeated and killed by Cao Cao's forces. Liu Bei, engaging Xiahou Yuan at Yangping Pass, tried to cut the enemy's supply route by sending his general Chen Shi to Mamingge (馬鳴閣), but was routed by Xiahou Yuan's subordinate, Xu Huang. Liu Bei then pressed on Zhang He at Guangshi (廣石) but failed to achieve any success; at the same time, Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He were not able to hinder Liu Bei from mobilising forces around the area. The war turned into a stalemate, and Cao Cao decided to gather an army in Chang'an to fight Liu Bei.
In the spring of 218, Liu Bei and Xiahou Yuan had faced each other for over a year. Liu Bei led the main army to the south of the Mian River (沔水) and ordered Huang Zhong to set up camps on Mount Dingjun, where Xiahou Yuan's encampment in the valley below could be easily monitored. One night, Liu Bei sent 10,000 troops to attack Zhang He in Guangshi and set fire to Xiahou Yuan's barricades. Xiahou Yuan then led a small detachment to put out the fire and sent the main army to reinforce Zhang He. Fa Zheng saw an opportunity for attack and signalled to Liu Bei to launch an assault. Liu Bei sent Huang Zhong to attack the weakened enemy from above. Huang Zhong targeted Xiahou Yuan's unit and completely routed it. Both Xiahou Yuan and Zhao Yong, Cao Cao's appointed Inspector of Yi Province, were killed in the battle.
Zhang He, who had been informally elected to succeed Xiahou Yuan by Du Xi and Guo Huai, retreated to the northern bank of the Han River, and awaited Cao Cao's reinforcement from Chang'an. Liu Bei knew Cao Cao would come yet he knew he would hold Hanzhong. He secured all strategic points at the exit of the passes linking Chang'an and Hanzhong Commandery while Cao Cao was approaching via Xie Valley. Liu Bei faced Cao Cao for several months but never engaged the latter in battle, effectively forcing Cao to retreat as many of his soldiers started to desert. Zhang He also retreated to Chencang County (陳倉縣; east of present-day Baoji, Shaanxi) to set up defences for a potential invasion by Liu Bei. Liu Bei led his main army to Nanzheng County and sent Meng Da and Liu Feng to capture Fangling (房陵) and Shangyong (上庸) commanderies from Shen Dan (申耽).
In 219, after Liu Bei conquered Hanzhong Commandery, his subjects urged him to declare himself a vassal king too to challenge Cao Cao, who was enfeoffed as a vassal king ("King of Wei") by Emperor Xian in 219. Liu Bei thus declared himself "King of Hanzhong" (漢中王) and set up his headquarters in Chengdu, the capital of Yi Province.
He designated his son Liu Shan as his heir-apparent. Wei Yan was put in charge of Hanzhong Commandery. Xu Jing and Fa Zheng were respectively appointed as Grand Tutor and Prefect of the Masters of Writing in Liu Bei's vassal kingdom, while Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Ma Chao and Huang Zhong were respectively appointed Generals of the Vanguard, Right, Left and Rear.) Sanguozhi vol. 32.</ref>
Becoming an emperor (219-221)
In early winter 219, Sun Quan's forces led by Lü Meng invaded Liu Bei's territories in Jing Province and captured and executed Guan Yu. After learning of Guan Yu's death and the loss of Jing Province, Liu Bei turned furious and ordered his troops to begin preparing for war with Sun Quan. In early 220, Cao Cao died and was succeeded by his son, Cao Pi. Later that year, Cao Pi usurped the throne from Emperor Xian, ended the Eastern Han dynasty and established the state of Cao Wei with himself as the emperor. With some report saying that the Han Emperor had been killed, Liu Bei declared mourning and adopted mourning clothes. He gave the emperor the posthumous title of The Filial Commiserating Emperor (孝愍皇帝).
When Meng Da learned that Liu Bei was going to launch a campaign against Sun Quan, he became concerned that he would be punished for not sending reinforcements to Guan Yu earlier, so he defected to Wei. At the same time, Zhao Yun, Qin Mi and others reminded Liu Bei that he should focus his attack on Cao Pi instead of Sun Quan, but Liu Bei rejected their advice. Seeing that Liu Bei did not prepare strong defences against Wei, Meng Da suggested a plan to Cao Pi to attack Fangling, Shangyong and Xicheng commanderies. Liu Bei's adopted son, Liu Feng, fought a desperate battle against the invaders, but he was betrayed by his subordinates and defeated. Upon his return to Chengdu, Liu Bei was furious with Liu Feng's loss and his refusal to send reinforcement to Guan Yu in 219. Upon Zhuge Liang's suggestion, Liu Bei had Liu Feng commit suicide and wept after he died.
In 221, Liu Bei declared himself emperor too and established the state of Shu Han; he claimed that his intention was to keep the Han dynasty's lineage alive. He changed the reign year and made Zhuge Liang his chancellor and Xu Jing his minister over the masses. He established a bureaucracy and an ancestral temple where he offered sacrifices to Emperor Gao (the founding emperor of the Han Dynasty). He designated Lady Wu as his empress and made his son Liu Shan as crown prince. Later, he named his son Liu Yong prince of Lu and his other son Liu Li prince of Liang.
Defeat and death (221-223)
In the autumn of 222, Liu Bei personally led an army to attack Sun Quan to avenge Guan Yu and retake his lost territories in Jing Province, while leaving Zhuge Liang in charge of state affairs in Chengdu. Sun Quan sent a letter seeking for peace but Liu Bei refused. Even though Zhang Fei was murdered by his subordinates during the onset of the battle, Liu Bei was still able to achieve initial victories against the Sun commandants stationed at Wu and Zigui until Lu Xun, the frontline commander of Sun Quan's forces, ordered a retreat to Yiling. Lu Xun held his position there and refused to engage the invaders.
By summer, the Shu troops were camped along their invasion route and had grown weary due to the hot weather. Liu Bei then moved his camp into a forest for shade and ordered Huang Quan to lead a portion of his navy to camp just outside the forest. Knowing that his enemy was not expecting a sudden strike, Lu Xun ordered a counterattack and set fire to the Shu camps linked to each other by wooden fences. 40 camps of Liu Bei's expedition force were destroyed in the fire attack and the remaining troops were defeated and forced to flee west to Ma'an Hills (northwest of Yiling), where they set up a defence. Lu Xun caught up with and besieged Liu Bei there before his men could recuperate. Liu Bei managed to escape overnight to Baidicheng by ordering his men to discard their armour and set them aflame to form a fire blockade. Lu Xun was unable to overcome the blockade and did not press any further attack. Eventually because of Cao Pi's invasion of Wu, Lu Xun and Liu Bei renewed their alliance.
Liu Bei stayed in Baidicheng until his death in spring of 223. Sun Quan heard that Liu Bei was in Baidi and sent an envoy for peace, Liu Bei accepted and had Zhong Wei (宗瑋) sent in response. When Huang Yuan (黃元) administrator of Hanjia heard that Liu Bei was ill, he rebelled because he feared that after his death, his bad relation with Zhuge Liang would bring him problems. He was defeated by Cheng Hu (陳曶) and executed.
Mostly all of his longterm closest officials were passed on and he was shamed by his defeat. Liu refused to return to his capital in Chengdu, ate poorly, drank often and neglected his health, his oncoming death was pronounced. On his deathbed, he named Zhuge Liang and Li Yan as regents to support Liu Shan and encouraged his sons to live well and do right.
Liu Bei's posthumous decree to Liu Shan was as such:
"At first, my illness was only minor but it later evolved into other serious diseases. Those were more dangerous and couldn't be cured. If a man dies at fifty, it is not considered an early death. I am already past sixty. What is there further to regret? I'm not worried about me; but I'm worried about you and your brothers. When Master She (射君) came, he told me that the chancellor thought highly of you and saw you as a bright man exceeding his expectation. If he thinks so highly of you then I can leave. Be vigilant! Be vigilant! If an evil is minor, resist it nonetheless. If a good deed is trifling, perform it all the same. Only wisdom and virtue can truly win men's devotion. I was not a virtuous man; do not emulate me. You should study the History of the Former Han and the Record of Rites in your free time and read different philosophers such as the Six Bowcases and the Book of Lord Shang which elevate the soul. Then you can seek the worthies."
When he was near death, he told his son Liu Yong to treat with his brothers the chancellor as a father and do their utmost to help him.
His body was brought back to Chengdu and entombed at Huiling (惠陵; southern suburb of present-day Chengdu) four months later. Liu Bei was given the posthumous name Zhaolie. Liu Shan succeeded him as the emperor of Shu Han, while Zhuge Liang later solidified peace with Sun Quan and rebuilt the old Sun–Liu alliance against Cao Pi formally.
From the Former Lord's magnanimity, determination, tolerance and generosity to his judgment of men and treatment of elites assuredly had the air of Emperor Gaozu (Liu Bang) and the aura of a hero about him. When he entrusted the state and his son to Zhuge Liang, his mind was without ambivalence. It was truly the ultimate of selflessness of a ruler and his minister, and it is an excellent model for all time.
Though he was able to respond to situations and was an able strategist, he could not match Emperor Wu of the Wei (Cao Cao) and as a consequence his dominion was restricted. Though he might be broken, however he would not yield and in the end he could not be subjugated. Perhaps, he surmised that Cao Cao would be incapable of accepting him. He was not only competing for advantage but also simply sought thereby to avoid harm.
Chang Qu, historian and compiler of the Chronicles of Huayang in the 4th-century later used by Pei Songzhi in his annotations to the historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi) also gave his appraisal of Liu Bei:
At the end of the Han dynasty and there was great chaos. Following this, many leaders arose. Among them were Dong Zhuo, Lü Bu, Yuan Shao, Yuan Shu, Han Sui, Ma Teng, Zhang Yang, Liu Biao and their kind. All of them were put in charge of provinces and commandaries, they commanded armies numbering in the tens of thousands and they would claim that they were following in the footsteps of Gaozu (Liu Bang) and inspire themselves from the examples of Duke Huan of Qi and Duke Wen of Jin. Yet in the end, all of them were crushed and slaughtered by Wu of Wei (Cao Cao), for he possessed divine martial valor and exceptional strategic thinking.
Looking at Liu Bei; he was a man of modest reputation and an obscure background however he was able to rise like a dragon and soar like a phoenix. He was a leader in Yu and a ruler in Xu later he acquired the regions of Jing and Chu and would rise and ascend in the territory of Yi and Hanzhong. He inherited the legacy of the Han dynasty and split the land into three with Wu and Wei. Could such a man have enjoyed such successes if he did not possess heroic talents or enjoy Heaven's mandate?
However, when the Cao family replaced the Han dynasty. Liu Bei should have supported his faith into the dynasty in order to demonstrate his intentions to all. When he claimed the title of King, it wasn't what the righteous should do. When he was near death, as Chen Shou commented, Liu Bei "entrusted the state and his son to Zhuge Liang without ambivalence". And Chen Shou thought that this relationship between a ruler and his minister is an excellent model for all time.
However, the opinions of modern historians are more negative. As Rafe de Crespigny writes in Fire over Luoyang: A History of the Later Han Dynasty 23–220 AD:
Liu Bei must be one of the most over-rated heroes in history. During the early years of the civil war, he suffered several defeats in operations on the North China plain before surrendering to Cao Cao. Though treated generously, he joined an assassination plot and fled to Yuan Shao when it was discovered. Following Yuan Shao's defeat, Liu Bei took refuge with Liu Biao, and as Cao Cao approached in 208 he fled once more to the south.
Despite romantic legend, the subsequent victory at the Red Cliffs was largely the achievement of Sun Quan's troops led by Zhou Yu, but Liu Bei took advantage of the success to occupy the greater part of Jing province south of the Yangzi. He later took Yi province from Liu Zhang and was successful at Dingjun Mountain. After his officer Guan Yu was surprised by Sun Quan's general Lü Meng in 219, Liu Bei launched a revenge attack down the Yangzi to regain Jing province, but suffered a humiliating defeat in 222 and died soon afterwards
It was a picaresque career, and extraordinarily successful for a man of humble background, but Liu Bei was never much more than a soldier of remarkably good fortune.
Rafe de Crespigny also gave a more neutral appraisal of Liu Bei in A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220 AD):
Liu Bei was a typical condottiere, primarlly concerned with the loyalty of his followers and showing limited interest in a long-term stable future.[e] He was remarkably successful, for he was an effective fighting general and had several good advisers and officers, but the basics of his survival and that of his state was his isolation in the west and the fortunate series of chances which had led him there. From his earliest days, Liu Bei had changed his coat and his allegiance at any time it seemed to suit, and his take-over of Yi Province was a betrayal of the kinsman who had sought his aid. It is not inappropriate that the destruction of his wider ambitions came through an even greater and quite unexpected act of treachery and trickery by his ally Sun Quan.
However, behind the ostensible realities of history and the exaggerations of the romance, we may perceive a man who could inspire great loyalty and admiration, and whose recovery from repeated set-backs – in an age when defeat so frequently brought death – reflects personal qualities and a presence which can no longer be properly reconstructed. From humble back-ground with an erratic record, Liu Bei was a man of remarkable character: certainly courageous, surely un-trustworthy to superiors and rivals, but clearly loyal to his subordinates; in many respects an ideal hero for an age of individuals.
Family and descendants
In Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms is a 14th-century historical novel which romanticises the historical figures and events before and during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Written by Luo Guanzhong more than 1,000 years after the Three Kingdoms period, the novel incorporates many popular folklore and opera scripts into the character of Liu Bei, portraying him as a benevolent and righteous leader, endowed with charismatic potency (called de 德 in Chinese) who builds his state on the basis of Confucian values. This is in line with the historical background of the times during which the novel was written. Furthermore, the novel emphasises that Liu Bei was related, however distantly, to the imperial family of the Han dynasty, thus favouring another argument for the legitimacy of Liu Bei's reign.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms gives additional features Liu Bei's physical appearance. It mentions that Liu Bei is seven chi and five cun tall, with ears so large that they touch his shoulders and that he can even see them, long arms that extend beyond his knees, a fair and jade like face, and lips so red that it seems as though he is wearing lipstick. He wields a pair of double edged swords called shuang gu jian (雙股劍).
See the following for some fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms involving Liu Bei:
- Oath of the Peach Garden
- Battle of Hulao Pass
- List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms#Three visits to the thatched cottage
- List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms#Liu Bei's horse leaps across the Tan Stream
- List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms#Liu Bei and Lady Sun's marriage
- Battle of Xiaoting#In fiction
General worship of Liu Bei
Liu Bei is worshipped as the patron of shoemakers in Chengdu, which is also known as the "City of Shoes" as more than 80 million pairs of shoes totalling five billion yuan in sales are manufactured there annually. It is said that in 1845, during the reign of the Daoguang Emperor in the Qing dynasty, the shoemakers guild in Chengdu, who called themselves "disciples of Liu Bei", sponsored the construction of the Sanyi Temple in Liu Bei's honour. After being relocated many times, the temple can be found in Wuhou District today.
Since the Chinese government loosened its control on religious practices in recent years, the worship of Liu Bei among shoemakers has again gained popularity in Chengdu. In 2005, a large procession was carried out in front of the Sanyi Temple to commemorate Liu Bei — the first such event since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.
A commentary carried by the Yangtse Evening Post criticised such practice as mere commercial gimmickry to exploit the fame of Liu Bei. It argued that although Liu Bei sold straw-woven shoes and mats for a living when he was young, he was hardly the inventor of shoes. According to legend, it was Yu Ze who made the first pairs of shoes with softwood during the time of the Yellow Emperor. However, the criticism did not dampen the enthusiastic shoe industry owners in their decision to erect a statue of Liu Bei in the West China Shoe Center Industrial Zone, which was still under construction in Wuhou District as of August 2005.
In popular culture
Film and television
Notable actors who have portrayed Liu Bei in films and television series include: Sun Yanjun in Romance of the Three Kingdoms (1994); Chang Fu-chien in Guan Gong (1996); Elliot Ngok in Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon (2008); You Yong in Red Cliff (2008–09); Yu Hewei in Three Kingdoms (2010); Alex Fong in The Lost Bladesman (2011); Yan Yikuan in God of War, Zhao Yun (2016); Tony Yang in Dynasty Warriors (2019).
In the collectible card game Magic: The Gathering there is a card named "Liu Bei, Lord of Shu" in the Portal Three Kingdoms set. In the selection of hero cards in the Chinese card game San Guo Sha, there is also a "Liu Bei" card that players can select at the beginning of the game.
Liu Bei is featured as a playable character in all instalments of Koei's video game series Dynasty Warriors, as well as Warriors Orochi, a crossover between Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors. He also appears in other Koei video game series such as the Romance of the Three Kingdoms series and Kessen II.
Liu Bei is the protagonist in Destiny of an Emperor, a RPG on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). Released in the United States by Capcom in 1989, the game also loosely follows the plot of the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
Liu Bei's armour (based on the designs appearing in the Dynasty Warriors series) is available in the MMORPG MapleStory. Also featured are Cao Cao, Guan Yu, Zhuge Liang, Sun Quan, and Diaochan's designs.
- Liu Bei's somewhat Confucian tendencies were also dramatized compared to his rival states' founders, Cao Pi and Sun Quan, who both ruled as pure Legalists. His political philosophy can best be described by the Chinese idiom "Confucian in appearance but Legalist in substance" (儒表法里; 儒表法裡; rú biǎo fǎ lǐ; ju2 piao3 fa3 li3), a style of governing which had become the norm after the founding of the Han dynasty.
- Pingyuan State lay on the border between Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan's territories, and was the only commandery/state Yuan Tan controlled before his expansion. Tian Kai assumed the appointment of Inspector of Qing Province under Yuan Shao, and acted as Liu Bei's direct supervisor.
- Xu Province (徐州) and Xuchang (許昌) have similar Romanisations in Pinyin but they refer to separate places.
- This Liu Dai was not the same person as Liu Dai (Gongshan), an Inspector of Yan Province who died in 192.
- [A perceptive comment by Pei Qian is recorded in SSXY; Mather 76:196-197]
- de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. p. 478. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0.
- Throughout Chinese history, no successful emperor had ruled purely based on Confucianism (though some did purely use Legalism). Numerous studies such as Political Reality of Transforming Legalism by Confucianism in the Western Han Dynasty as Seen from Selection System by Wang Baoding, or Aspects of Legalist Philosophy and the Law in Ancient China: The Chi'an and Han Dynasties and Rediscovered Manuscript of Mawangdui and Shuihudi by Matthew August LeFande, have pointed out most ancient Chinese dynasties after Qin had ruled by a mix of Legalism and Confucianism.
- (身長七尺五寸，垂手下膝，顧自見其耳。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主姓劉，諱備，字玄德，涿郡涿縣人，漢景帝子中山靖王勝之後也。勝子貞，元狩六年封涿縣陸城亭侯，坐酎金失侯，因家焉。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《典略》曰：備本臨邑侯枝屬也。〉先主祖雄，父弘，世仕州郡。雄舉孝廉，官至東郡範令。) Dianlüe annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- "推恩令", 维基百科，自由的百科全书 (in Chinese), 2020-07-10, retrieved 2020-09-21
- (先主少孤，與母販履織蓆為業。舍東南角籬上有桑樹生高五丈餘，遙望見童童如小車蓋，往來者皆怪此樹非凡，或謂當出貴人。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (漢晉春秋》曰：涿人李定雲：「此家必出貴人。」) Han Jin Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主少時，與宗中諸小兒於樹下戲，言：「吾必當乘此羽葆蓋車。」叔父子敬謂曰：「汝勿妄語，滅吾門也！」) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms 23-220 AD. Leiden: Brill. p. 478. ISBN 9789004156050.
- (年十五，母使行學，與同宗劉德然、遼西公孫瓚俱事故九江太守同郡盧植。德然父元起常資給先主，與德然等。元起妻曰：「各自一家，何能常爾邪！」起曰：「吾宗中有此兒，非常人也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- Crowell, Bill (2006). "Sanguo zhi 32 (Shu 2): Biography of Liu Bei". Cite journal requires
- (而瓚深與先主相友。瓚年長，先主以兄事之。先主不甚樂讀書，喜狗馬、音樂、美衣服。身長七尺五寸，垂手下膝，顧自見其耳。少語言，善下人，喜怒不形於色。好交結豪俠，年少爭附之。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. p. 1075. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0.
- de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. p. 760. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0.
- (中山大商張世平、蘇雙等貲累千金，販馬周旋於涿郡，見而異之，乃多與之金財。先主由是得用合徒眾。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (靈帝末，黃巾起，州郡各舉義兵，) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主率其屬從校尉鄒靖討黃巾賊有功，除安喜尉。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈典略曰：平原劉子平知備有武勇，時張純反叛，青州被詔，遣從事將兵討純，過平原，子平薦備於從事，遂與相隨，遇賊於野，備中創陽死，賊去後，故人以車載之，得免。後以軍功，為中山安喜尉。 〉) Dianlüe annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (督郵以公事到縣，先主求謁，不通，直入縛督郵，杖二百，解綬繫其頸着馬枊，〈五葬反。〉棄官亡命。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈典略曰：其後州郡被詔書，其有軍功為長吏者，當沙汰之，備疑在遣中。督郵至縣，當遣備，備素知之。聞督郵在傳舍，備欲求見督郵，督郵稱疾不肯見備，備恨之，因還治，將吏卒更詣傳舍，突入門，言「我被府君密教收督郵」 。遂就床縛之，將出到界，自解其綬以繫督郵頸，縛之著樹，鞭杖百餘下，欲殺之。督郵求哀，乃釋去之。〉) Dianlüe annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (頃之，大將軍何進遣都尉毌丘毅詣丹楊募兵，先主與俱行，至下邳遇賊，力戰有功，除為下密丞。復去官。後為高唐尉，遷為令。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- de Crespigny, Rafe (2006). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23-220 AD). Leiden: Brill. pp. 1012–1013. ISBN 9789047411840. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
- (〈《英雄記》云：靈帝末年，備嘗在京師，後與曹公俱還沛國，募召合眾。會靈帝崩，天下大亂，備亦起軍從討董卓。〉) Yingxiong Ji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (為賊所破，往奔中郎將公孫瓚，瓚表為別部司馬，使與青州刺史田楷以拒冀州牧袁紹。數有戰功，試守平原令，後領平原相。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (郡民劉平素輕先主，恥為之下，使客刺之。客不忍刺，語之而去。其得人心如此。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《魏書》曰：劉平結客刺備，備不知而待客甚厚，客以狀語之而去。是時人民饑饉，屯聚鈔暴。備外禦寇難，內豐財施，士之下者，必與同席而坐，同簋而食，無所簡擇。眾多歸焉。〉) Wei Shu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (袁紹攻公孫瓚，先主與田楷東屯齊。曹公征徐州，徐州牧陶謙遣使告急於田楷，楷與先主俱救之。時先主自有兵千餘人及幽州烏丸雜胡騎，又略得饑民數千人。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (既到，謙以丹楊兵四千益先主，先主遂去楷歸謙。謙表先主為豫州刺史，屯小沛。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (謙病篤，謂別駕麋竺曰：「非劉備不能安此州也。」謙死，竺率州人迎先主，先主未敢當。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (下邳陳登謂先主曰：「今漢室陵遲，海內傾覆，立功立事，在於今日。彼州殷富，戶口百萬，欲屈使君撫臨州事。」先主曰：「袁公路近在壽春，此君四世五公，海內所歸，君可以州與之。」登曰：「公路驕豪，非治亂之主。今欲為使君合步騎十萬，上可以匡主濟民，成五霸之業，下可以割地守境，書功於竹帛。若使君不見聽許，登亦未敢聽使君也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (北海相孔融謂先主曰：「袁公路豈憂國忘家者邪？冢中枯骨，何足介意。今日之事，百姓與能，天與不取，悔不可追。」先主遂領徐州。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (獻帝春秋曰：陳登等遣使詣袁紹曰：「天降災沴，禍臻鄙州，州將殂殞，生民無主，恐懼奸雄一旦承隙，以貽盟主日昃之憂，輒共奉故平原相劉備府君以為宗主，永使百姓知有依歸。方今寇難縱橫，不遑釋甲，謹遣下吏奔告於執事。」紹答曰：「劉玄德弘雅有信義，今徐州樂戴之，誠副所望也。」) Xiandi Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (袁術來攻先主，先主拒之於盱眙、淮陰。曹公表先主為鎮東將軍，封宜城亭侯，是歲建安元年也。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主與術相持經月，呂布乘虛襲下邳。下邳守將曹豹反，閒迎布。布虜先主妻子，先主轉軍海西。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (楊奉、韓暹寇徐、揚閒，先主邀擊，盡斬之。先主求和於呂布，布還其妻子。先主遣關羽守下邳。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (英雄記曰：備軍在廣陵，飢餓困踧，吏士大小自相噉食，窮餓侵逼，欲還小沛，遂使吏請降布。布令備還州，並勢擊術。具刺史車馬僮僕，發遣備妻子部曲家屬於泗水上，祖道相樂。) Yingxiong Ji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (魏書曰：諸將謂布曰：「備數反覆難養，宜早圖之。」布不聽，以狀語備。備心不安而求自託，使人說布，求屯小沛，布乃遣之。 〉復合兵得萬餘人。) Wei Shu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (自出兵攻先主，先主敗走歸曹公。曹公厚遇之，以為豫州牧。將至沛收散卒，給其軍糧，益與兵使東擊布。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (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。將至沛收散卒，給其軍糧，益與兵使東擊布。布遣高順攻之，曹公遣夏侯惇往，不能救，為順所敗，復虜先主妻子送布。曹公自出東征，) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈英雄記曰：建安三年春，布使人齎金欲詣河內買馬，為備兵所鈔。布由是遣中郎將高順、北地太守張遼等攻備。九月，遂破沛城，備單身走，獲其妻息。十月，曹公自征布，備於梁國界中與曹公相遇，遂隨公俱東征。〉助先主圍布於下邳，生禽布。先主復得妻子，從曹公還許。表先主為左將軍，禮之愈重，出則同輿，坐則同席。) Yingxiong Ji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主未出時，獻帝舅車騎將軍董承〈臣松之案：董承，漢靈帝母董太后之侄，於獻帝為丈人。蓋古無丈人之名，故謂之舅也。〉辭受帝衣帶中密詔，當誅曹公。先主未發。是時曹公從容謂先主曰：「今天下英雄，唯使君與操耳。本初之徒，不足數也。」先主方食，失匕箸。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《華陽國志》云：於時正當雷震，備因謂操曰：「聖人云『迅雷風烈必變』，良有以也。一震之威，乃可至於此也！」〉遂與承及長水校尉種輯、將軍吳子蘭、王子服等同謀。會見使，未發。事覺，承等皆伏誅。 〈《獻帝起居注》曰：承等與備謀未發，而備出。承謂服曰：「郭多有數百兵，壞李傕數萬人，但足下與我同不耳！昔呂不韋之門，須子楚而後高，今吾與子由是也。」服曰：「惶懼不敢當，且兵又少。」承曰：「舉事訖，得曹公成兵，顧不足邪？」服曰：「今京師豈有所任乎？」承曰：「長水校尉種輯、議郎吳碩是我腹心辦事者。」遂定計。〉) Huayang Guo Zhi annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (袁術欲經徐州北就袁紹，曹公遣先主督朱靈、路招要擊術。未至，術病死。先主據下邳。靈等還，先主乃殺徐州刺史車冑，留關羽守下邳，而身還小沛。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (東海昌霸反，郡縣多叛曹公為先主，眾數萬人，遣孫乾與袁紹連和， ) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (曹公遣劉岱、王忠擊之，不克。五年，曹公東征先主，先主敗績。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《魏書》曰：是時，公方有急於官渡，乃分留諸將屯官渡，自勒精兵征備。備初謂公與大敵連，不得東，而候騎卒至，言曹公自來。備大驚，然猶未信。自將數十騎出望公軍，見麾旌，便棄眾而走。〉曹公盡收其眾，虜先主妻子，並禽關羽以歸。) Wei Shu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主走青州。青州刺史袁譚，先主故茂才也，將步騎迎先主。先主隨譚到平原，譚馳使白紹。紹遣將道路奉迎，身去鄴二百里，與先主相見。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈魏書曰：備歸紹，紹父子傾心敬重。 〉駐月餘日，所失亡士卒稍稍來集。) Wei Shu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (曹公與袁紹相拒於官渡，汝南黃巾劉辟等叛曹公應紹。紹遣先主將兵與辟等略許下。關羽亡歸先主。曹公遣曹仁將兵擊先主，先主還紹軍，陰欲離紹，乃說紹南連荊州牧劉表。紹遣先主將本兵復至汝南，與賊龔都等合，眾數千人。曹公遣蔡陽擊之，為先主所殺。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (曹公既破紹，自南擊先主。先主遣麋竺、孫乾與劉表相聞，表自郊迎，以上賓禮待之，益其兵，使屯新野。荊州豪傑歸先主者日益多，表疑其心，陰禦之。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (使拒夏侯惇、于禁等於博望。久之，先主設伏兵，一旦自燒屯偽遁，惇等追之，為伏兵所破。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (九州春秋曰：備住荊州數年，嘗於表坐起至廁，見髀裡肉生，慨然流涕。還坐，表怪問備，備曰：「吾常身不離鞍，髀肉皆消。今不復騎，髀裡肉生。日月若馳，老將至矣，而功業不建，是以悲耳。」) Jiuzhou Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (《世語》曰：備屯樊城，劉表禮焉，憚其為人，不甚信用。曾請備宴會，蒯越、蔡瑁欲因會取備，備覺之，偽如廁，潛遁出。所乘馬名的盧，騎的盧走，墮襄陽城西檀溪水中，溺不得出。備急曰：「的盧：今日厄矣，可努力！」的盧乃一踴三丈，遂得過，乘桴渡河，中流而追者至，以表意謝之，曰：「何去之速乎！」孫盛曰：此不然之言。備時羈旅，客主勢殊，若有此變，豈敢晏然終表之世而無釁故乎？此皆世俗妄說，非事實也。〉) Shiyu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (十二年，曹公北征烏丸，先主說表襲許，表不能用。)Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《漢晉春秋》曰：曹公自柳城還，表謂備曰：「不用君言，故為失此大會。」備曰：「今天下分裂，日尋干戈，事會之來，豈有終極乎？若能應之於後者，則此未足為恨也。」〉) Han Jin Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (子琮代立，遣使請降。先主屯樊，不知曹公卒至，至宛乃聞之，遂將其眾去。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (琮令宋忠詣備宣旨。是時曹公在宛，備乃大驚駭，謂忠曰：「卿諸人作事如此，不早相語，今禍至方告我，不亦太劇乎！」引刀向忠曰：「今斷卿頭，不足以解忿，亦恥大丈夫臨別復殺卿輩！」遣忠去，乃呼部曲議。或勸備劫將琮及荊州吏士徑南到江陵，備答曰：「劉荊州臨亡託我以孤遺，背信自濟，吾所不為，死何面目以見劉荊州乎！」〉) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (過襄陽，諸葛亮說先主攻琮，荊州可有。先主曰：「吾不忍也。」〈孔衍《漢魏春秋》曰：劉琮乞降，不敢告備。備亦不知，久之乃覺，遣所親問琮。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (乃駐馬呼琮，琮懼不能起。琮左右及荊州人多歸先主。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《典略》曰：備過辭表墓，遂涕泣而去。〉) Dianlüe annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (比到當陽，眾十餘萬，輜重數千兩，日行十餘里，別遣關羽乘船數百艘，使會江陵。或謂先主曰：「宜速行保江陵，今雖擁大眾，被甲者少，若曹公兵至，何以拒之？」先主曰：「夫濟大事必以人為本，今人歸吾，吾何忍棄去！」〈習鑿齒曰：先主雖顛沛險難而信義愈明，勢偪事危而言不失道。追景升之顧，則情感三軍；戀赴義之士，則甘與同敗。觀其所以結物情者，豈徒投醪撫寒含蓼問疾而已哉！其終濟大業，不亦宜乎！) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (曹公以江陵有軍實，恐先主據之，乃釋輜重，輕軍到襄陽。聞先主已過，曹公將精騎五千急追之，一日一夜行三百餘里，及於當陽之長坂。先主棄妻子，與諸葛亮、張飛、趙雲等數十騎走，曹公大獲其人眾輜重。先主斜趨漢津，適與羽船會，得濟沔，遇表長子江夏太守琦眾萬餘人，與俱到夏口。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主遣諸葛亮自結於孫權，) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《江表傳》曰：孫權遣魯肅弔劉表二子，並令與備相結。肅未至而曹公已濟漢津。肅故進前，與備相遇於當陽。因宣權旨，論天下事勢，致殷勤之意。且問備曰：「豫州今欲何至？」備曰：「與蒼梧太守〔吳巨〕有舊，欲往投之。」肅曰：「孫討虜聰明仁惠，敬賢禮士，江表英豪，咸歸附之，已據有六郡，兵精糧多，足以立事。今為君計，莫若遣腹心使自結於東，崇連和之好，共濟世業，而云欲投〔吳巨〕，〔巨〕是凡人，偏在遠郡，行將為人所併，豈足託乎？」備大喜，進住鄂縣，即遣諸葛亮隨肅詣孫權，結同盟誓。 〉) Jiang Biao Zhuan annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (與曹公戰於赤壁，大破之，焚其舟船。先主與吳軍水陸並進，追到南郡，時又疾疫，北軍多死，曹公引歸。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主表琦為荊州刺史，又南征四郡。武陵太守金旋、長沙太守韓玄、桂陽太守趙範、零陵太守劉度皆降。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《三輔決錄注》曰：金旋字元機，京兆人，歷位黃門郎，漢陽太守，徵拜議郎，遷中郎將，領武陵太守，為備所攻劫死。子禕，事見《魏武本紀》。〉廬江雷緒率部曲數萬口稽顙。) Sanfu Jue Lu Zhu vol. 32.
- (琦病死，羣下推先主為荊州牧，治公安。權稍畏之，進妹固好。先主至京見權，綢繆恩紀。 Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《山陽公載記》曰：備還，謂左右曰：「孫車騎長上短下，其難為下，吾不可以再見之。」乃晝夜兼行。臣松之案：魏書載劉備與孫權語，與蜀志述諸葛亮與權語正同。劉備未破魏軍之前，尚未與孫權相見，不得有此說。故知蜀志為是。 〉) Shanyang Gong Zaiji vol. 32.
- (權遣使云欲共取蜀，或以為宜報聽許，吳終不能越荊有蜀，蜀地可為己有。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《獻帝春秋》曰：孫權欲與備共取蜀，遣使報備曰：「米賊張魯居王巴、漢，為曹操耳目，規圖益州。劉璋不武，不能自守。若操得蜀，則荊州危矣。今欲先攻取璋，進討張魯，首尾相連，一統吳、楚，雖有十操，無所憂也。」) Xiandi Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (荊州主簿殷觀進曰：「若為吳先驅，進未能克蜀，退為吳所乘，即事去矣。今但可然贊其伐蜀，而自說新據諸郡，未可興動，吳必不敢越我而獨取蜀。如此進退之計，可以收吳、蜀之利。」先主從之，權果輟計。遷觀為別駕從事。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (備欲自圖蜀，拒答不聽，曰：〉益州民富彊，土地險阻，劉璋雖弱，足以自守。張魯虛偽，未必盡忠於操。今暴師於蜀、漢，轉運於萬里，欲使戰克攻取，舉不失利，此吳起不能定其規，孫武不能善其事也。曹操雖有無君之心，而有奉主之名，議者見操失利於赤壁，謂其力屈，無復遠志也。今操三分天下已有其二，將欲飲馬於滄海，觀兵於吳會，何肯守此坐須老乎？今同盟無故自相攻伐，借樞於操，使敵承其隙，非長計也。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈權不聽，遣孫瑜率水軍住夏口。備不聽軍過，謂瑜曰：「汝欲取蜀，吾當被髮入山，不失信於天下也。」使關羽屯江陵，張飛屯秭歸，諸葛亮據南郡，備自住孱陵。權知備意，因召瑜還。〉) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (十六年，益州牧劉璋遙聞曹公將遣鍾繇等向漢中討張魯，內懷恐懼。別駕從事蜀郡張松說璋曰：「曹公兵強無敵於天下，若因張魯之資以取蜀土，誰能御之者乎？」璋曰：「吾固憂之而未有計。」松曰：「劉豫州，使君之宗室而曹公之深讎也，善用兵，若使之討魯，魯必破。魯破，則益州強，曹公雖來，無能為也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (璋然之，遣法正將四千人迎先主，前後賂遺以巨億計。正因陳益州可取之策。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《吳書》曰：備前見張松，後得法正，皆厚以恩意接納，盡其殷勤之歡。因問蜀中闊狹，兵器府庫人馬眾寡，及諸要害道里遠近，松等具言之，又畫地圖山川處所，由是盡知益州虛實也。〉) Wu Shu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主留諸葛亮、關羽等據荊州，將步卒數萬人入益州。至涪，璋自出迎，相見甚歡。張松令法正白先主，及謀臣龐統進說，便可於會所襲璋。先主曰：「此大事也，不可倉卒。」) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (璋推先主行大司馬，領司隸校尉；先主亦推璋行鎮西大將軍，領益州牧。璋增先主兵，使擊張魯，又令督白水軍。先主並軍三萬餘人，車甲器械資貨甚盛。是歲，璋還成都。先主北到葭萌，未即討魯，厚樹恩德，以收眾心。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (明年，曹公徵孫權，權呼先主自救。先主遣使告璋曰：「曹公徵吳，吳憂危急。孫氏與孤本為脣齒，又樂進在青泥與關羽相拒，今不往救羽，進必大克，轉侵州界，其憂有甚於魯。魯自守之賊，不足慮也。」乃從璋求萬兵及資（寶），欲以東行。璋但許兵四千，其餘皆給半。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《魏書》曰：備因激怒其眾曰：「吾為益州徵強敵，師徒勤瘁，不遑寧居；今積帑藏之財而吝於賞功，望士大夫為出死力戰，其可得乎！」〉) Wei Shu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (張松書與先主及法正曰：「今大事垂可立，如何釋此去乎！」松兄廣漢太守肅，懼禍逮己，白璋發其謀。於是璋收斬松，嫌隙始構矣。 璋敕關戍諸將文書勿複關通先主。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主大怒，召璋白水軍督楊懷，責以無禮，斬之。乃使黃忠、卓膺勒兵向璋。先主徑至關中，質諸將並士卒妻子，引兵與忠、膺等進到涪，據其城。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (璋遣劉跂、冷苞、張任、鄧賢等拒先主於涪，皆破敗，退保綿竹。璋復遣李嚴督綿竹諸軍，嚴率眾降先主。先主軍益強，分遣諸將平下屬縣，諸葛亮、張飛、趙雲等將兵溯流定白帝、江州、江陽，惟關羽留鎮荊州。先主進軍圍雒；時璋子循守城，被攻且一年。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (十九年夏，雒城破) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主遣人迎超，超將兵徑到城下。城中震怖) Sanguozhi vol. 36.
- (城中尚有精兵三萬人，谷帛支一年，吏民咸欲死戰。璋言：「父子在州二十餘年，無恩德以加百姓。百姓攻戰三年，肌膏草野者，以璋故也，何心能安！」遂開城出降，群下莫不流涕。) Sanguozhi vol. 31.
- (蜀中殷盛豐樂，先主置酒大饗士卒，取蜀城中金銀分賜將士，還其穀帛。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (先主復領益州牧，諸葛亮為股肱，法正為謀主，關羽、張飛、馬超為爪牙，許靖、麋竺、簡雍為賓友。及董和、黃權、李嚴等本璋之所授用也，吳壹、費觀等又璋之婚親也，彭羕又璋之所排擯也，劉巴者宿昔之所忌恨也，皆處之顯任，盡其器能。有誌之士，無不競勸。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (二十年，孫權以先主已得益州，使使報欲得荊州。先主言：「須得涼州，當以荊州相與。」權忿之，乃遣呂蒙襲奪長沙、零陵、桂陽三郡。先主引兵五萬下公安，令關羽入益陽。是歲，曹公定漢中，張魯遁走巴西。先主聞之，與權連和，分荊州、江夏、長沙、桂陽東屬，南郡、零陵、武陵西屬，引軍還江州。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (遣黃權將兵迎張魯，張魯已降曹公。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (曹公使夏侯淵、張郃屯漢中，數數犯暴巴界。先主令張飛進兵宕渠，與郃等戰於瓦口，破郃等，收兵還南鄭。先主亦還成都。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (二十四年春，自陽平南渡沔水，緣山稍前，於定軍山勢作營。淵將兵來爭其地。先主命黃忠乘高鼓譟攻之，大破淵軍，斬淵及曹公所署益州刺史趙顒等。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (及曹公至，先主斂眾拒險，終不交鋒，積月不拔，亡者日多。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (曹公自長安舉眾南征。先主遙策之曰：「曹公雖來，無能為也，我必有漢川矣。」及曹公至，先主斂眾拒險，終不交鋒，積月不拔，亡者日多。夏，曹公果引軍還，先主遂有漢中。遣劉封、孟達、李平等攻申耽於上庸。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (秋，群下上先主為漢中王，表於漢帝曰：平西將軍都亭侯臣馬超、左將軍（領）長史鎮軍將軍臣許靖、營司馬臣龐羲、議曹從事中郎軍議中郎將臣射援、) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (於是還治成都。拔魏延為都督，鎮漢中。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈《典略》曰：備於是起館舍，築亭障，從成都至白水關，四百餘區。〉) Dianlüe annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (時關羽攻曹公將曹仁，禽于禁於樊。俄而孫權襲殺羽，取荊州。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (二十五年，魏文帝稱尊號，改年曰黃初。或傳聞漢帝見害，先主乃發喪制服，追諡曰孝愍皇帝。是後在所並言眾瑞，日月相屬，故議郎陽泉侯劉豹、青衣侯向舉、偏將軍張裔、黃權、大司馬屬殷純、益州別駕從事趙莋、治中從事楊洪、從事祭酒何宗、議曹從事杜瓊、勸學從事張爽、尹默、譙周等上言：臣聞河圖、洛書，五經讖、緯，孔子所甄，驗應自遠。謹案洛書甄曜度曰：『赤三日德昌，九世會備，合為帝際。』洛書寶號命曰：『天度帝道備稱皇，以統握契，百成不敗。』洛書錄運期曰：『九侯七傑爭命民炊骸，道路籍籍履人頭，誰使主者玄且來。』孝經鉤命決錄曰：『帝三建九會備。』臣父群未亡時，言西南數有黃氣，直立數丈，見來積年，時時有景雲祥風，從璿璣下來應之，此為異瑞。又二十二年中，數有氣如旗，從西竟東，中天而行，圖、書曰『必有天子出其方』。加是年太白、熒惑、填星，常從歲星相追。近漢初興，五星從歲星謀；歲星主義，漢位在西，義之上方，故漢法常以歲星候人主。當有聖主起於此州，以致中興。時許帝尚存，故群下不敢漏言。頃者熒惑復追歲星，見在胃昴畢；昴畢為天綱，經曰『帝星處之，眾邪消亡』。聖諱豫睹，推揆期驗，符合數至，若此非一。臣聞聖王先天而天不違，後天而奉天時，故應際而生，與神合契。原大王應天順民，速即洪業，以寧海內。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (章武元年夏四月，大赦，改年。以諸葛亮為丞相，許靖為司徒。置百官，立宗廟，祫祭高皇帝以下。 〈臣松之以為先主雖雲出自孝景，而世數悠遠，昭穆難明，既紹漢祚，不知以何帝為元祖以立親廟。於時英賢作輔，儒生在宮，宗廟制度，必有憲章，而載記闕略，良可恨哉！〉五月，立皇后吳氏，子禪為皇太子。六月，以子永為魯王，理為梁王。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (車騎將軍張飛為其左右所害。初，先主忿孫權之襲關羽，將東征，秋七月，遂帥諸軍伐吳。孫權遣書請和，先主盛怒不許，吳將陸議、李異、劉阿等屯巫、秭歸；將軍吳班、馮習自巫攻破異等，軍次秭歸，武陵五谿蠻夷遣使請兵。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (二年春正月，先主軍還秭歸，將軍吳班、陳式水軍屯夷陵，夾江東西岸。二月，先主自秭歸率諸將進軍，緣山截嶺，於夷道猇亭〈猇，許交反。 〉駐營，自佷山〈佷，音恆。〉通武陵，遣侍中馬良安慰五谿蠻夷，咸相率響應。鎮北將軍黃權督江北諸軍，與吳軍相拒於夷陵道。夏六月，黃氣見自秭歸十餘里中，廣數十丈。後十餘日，陸議大破先主軍於猇亭，將軍馮習、張南等皆沒。先主自猇亭還秭歸，收合離散兵，遂棄船舫，由步道還魚復，改魚復縣曰永安。吳遣將軍李異、劉阿等踵躡先主軍，屯駐南山。秋八月，收兵還巫。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (司徒許靖卒。冬十月，詔丞相亮營南北郊於成都。孫權聞先主住白帝，甚懼，遣使請和。先主許之，遣太中大夫宗瑋報命。冬十二月，漢嘉太守黃元聞先主疾不豫，舉兵拒守。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (三年春二月，丞相亮自成都到永安。三月，黃元進兵攻臨邛縣。遣將軍陳曶〈音笏。〉討元，元軍敗，順流下江，為其親兵所縛，生致成都，斬之。先主病篤，託孤於丞相亮，尚書令李嚴為副。夏四月癸巳，先主殂於永安宮，時年六十三。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (〈諸葛亮集載先主遺詔敕後主曰：朕初疾但下痢耳，後轉雜他病，殆不自濟。人五十不稱夭，年已六十有餘，何所復恨，不復自傷，但以卿兄弟為念。射君到，說丞相嘆卿智量，甚大增脩，過於所望，審能如此，吾復何憂！勉之，勉之！勿以惡小而為之，勿以善小而不為。惟賢惟德，能服於人。汝父德薄，勿效之。可讀漢書、禮記，間暇歷觀諸子及六韜、商君書，益人意智。聞丞相為寫申、韓、管子、六韜一通已畢，未送，道亡，可自更求聞達。臨終時，呼魯王與語：「吾亡之後，汝兄弟父事丞相，令卿與丞相共事而已。」) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (五月，梓宮自永安還成都，諡曰昭烈皇帝。秋，八月，葬惠陵。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (評曰：先主之弘毅寬厚，知人待士，蓋有高祖之風，英雄之器焉。及其舉國託孤於諸葛亮，而心神無貳，誠君臣之至公，古今之盛軌也。機權幹略，不逮魏武，是以基宇亦狹。然折而不撓，終不為下者，抑揆彼之量必不容己，非唯競利，且以避害雲爾。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
- (譔曰：漢末大亂，雄桀並起。若董卓、呂布、二袁、韓、馬、張楊、劉表之徒，兼州連郡，眾踰萬計，叱吒之間，皆自謂漢祖可踵，桓、文易邁；而魏武神武幹略，戡屠盪盡。於時先主名微人鮮，而能龍興鳳舉，伯豫、君徐，假翼荊楚，翻飛梁益之地，克胤漢祚，而〔與〕吳、魏「與之」鼎峙。非英才命世，孰克如之。然，必以曹氏替漢，宜扶信順以明至公。還乎名號，為義士所非。及其寄死，託孤於諸葛亮而心神無貳。陳子以為君臣之至公，古今之盛軌也。) Chronicles of Huayang vol. 6.
- de Crespigny, Rafe (2017). Fire over Luoyang: A History of the Later Han Dynasty 23–220 AD. Brill. p. 496–97. ISBN 978-90-04-32491-6.
- de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms 23-220 AD. Leiden: Brill. p. 483. ISBN 9789004156050.
- Roberts 1991, p. 942
- (生得身長七尺五寸，兩耳垂肩，雙手過膝，目能自顧其耳，面如冠玉，唇如塗脂) Sanguo Yanyi ch. 1.
- "武侯祠祭"鞋神"劉備". 四川在線. Archived from the original on April 6, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2005. ; "宣傳成都民俗文化 武侯祠祭祀"鞋神"刘备". 文化産業網. Archived from the original on April 6, 2007. Retrieved August 26, 2005. (Both sources in Simplified Chinese)
- "劉備啥時候成了"鞋神"". 揚子晚報. Archived from the original on May 3, 2006. Retrieved August 26, 2005.
- "Liu Bei stats, skills, evolution, location | Puzzle & Dragons Database". puzzledragonx.com. Retrieved October 23, 2015.
- Chen, Shou (3rd century). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
- de Crespigny, Rafe (1996). To Establish Peace: being the Chronicle of the Later Han dynasty for the years 189 to 220 AD as recorded in Chapters 59 to 69 of the Zizhi tongjian of Sima Guang. Volume 1. Canberra: Faculty of Asian Studies, The Australian National University. ISBN 978-0-7315-2526-3.
|volume=has extra text (help)
- Fang, Achilles (1952). The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms (220–265). Chapters 69–78 from the Tzu Chih T'ung Chien of Ssu-ma Kuang. Volume 1. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
|volume=has extra text (help)
- Luo, Guanzhong (14th century). Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Yanyi).
- Pei, Songzhi (5th century). Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).
- Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.
- Crowell, Bill (2006). "Sanguo zhi 32 (Shu 2): Biography of Liu Bei". Cite journal requires
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Liu Bei.|