Lü Dai

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Lü Dai
Grand Marshal (大司馬)
In office
252 (252) – 21 October 256 (21 October 256)
Monarch Sun Liang
Senior General-in-Chief (上大將軍)
In office
246 (246) – 252 (252)
Monarch Sun Quan
Chancellor Bu Zhi (until 247)
Zhu Ju (249–250)
Governor of Jiao Province (交州牧)
In office
239 (239) – 246 (246)
Monarch Sun Quan
Chancellor Gu Yong (until 243)
Lu Xun (244–245)
Bu Zhi (from 246)
General Who Guards the South (鎮南將軍)
In office
? (?) – 239 (239)
Monarch Sun Quan
Chancellor Gu Yong
General Who Pacifies the South (安南將軍)
In office
? (?) – ? (?)
Monarch Sun Quan
Inspector of Jiao Province (交州刺史)
In office
220 (220) – ? (?)
Monarch Sun Quan
Preceded by Bu Zhi
Administrator of Luling (廬陵太守)
In office
? (?) – 220 (220)
Personal details
Born 161[1]
Taizhou, Jiangsu
Died (256-10-21)21 October 256 (aged 95)[1][a]
Children Lü Kai
Occupation General
Courtesy name Dinggong (定公)
Peerage Marquis of Panyu

Lü Dai (161 – 21 October 256),[1] courtesy name Dinggong, was a military general of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He started his career in the late Eastern Han dynasty under the warlord Sun Quan, who later became the founding emperor of Eastern Wu in the Three Kingdoms era.


Lü Dai was from Hailing County (海陵縣), Guangling Commandery (廣陵郡), which is around present-day Taizhou, Jiangsu. He started his career as a minor official in the local commandery office before fleeing south to the Jiangdong region to evade the chaos in central China in the 190s. He then came to serve under the warlord Sun Quan, who controlled the territories in the Jiangdong region in the late Eastern Han dynasty. During this time, he served as the Chief (長) of Yuyao County (餘姚縣) and assisted Jiang Qin in quelling rebellions in five counties in Kuaiji Commandery, after which he was promoted to the rank of a General of the Household (中郎將).

In 211, Sun Quan ordered Lü Dai and Yin Yi (尹異) to lead 2,000 troops to lure Zhang Lu, a warlord based in Hanzhong Commandery, to attack him. However, their path to Hanzhong Commandery was obstructed so they could not advance. Sun Quan later ordered them to retreat. Around the time, Sun Quan and Wu Fan (吳範) were discussing whether Sun Quan's ally, Liu Bei, could successfully seize control of Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) from the provincial governor Liu Zhang. Wu Fan predicted that Liu Bei would completely takeover Yi Province by 214. When Lü Dai returned from Hanzhong Commandery, which was near Yi Province, Sun Quan asked him what he thought about Liu Bei. Lü Dai said he believed that Liu Bei could not win Liu Zhang because he had seen how Liu Bei suffered heavy losses in the battles against Liu Zhang. However, contrary to what Lü Dai mentioned, Liu Bei ultimately defeated Liu Zhang and completely seized control of Yi Province by 214 – just as Wu Fan predicted.

Over the 210s, Lü Dai gradually rose through the ranks and became the Administrator (太守) of Luling Commandery (廬陵郡) at some point in time. In 220, Sun Quan appointed him as the Inspector (刺史) of Jiao Province. Later, after Lü Dai suppressed a revolt by Wang Jin (王金) in Guiyang Commandery (桂陽郡), Sun Quan further promoted him to General Who Pacifies the South (安南將軍), granted him imperial authority, and awarded him the title of a Marquis of a Chief District (都鄉侯). He continued serving Sun Quan after the end of the Eastern Han dynasty in 220 and became a subject of the Eastern Wu state (founded by Sun Quan) in the Three Kingdoms period.

In 226, Shi Xie, the Administrator of Jiaozhi Commandery, died, so Lü Dai proposed to Sun Quan to divide Jiao Province into two provinces as follows: Jiaozhi, Jiuzhen (九真) and Rinan (日南) commanderies would remain part of Jiao Province, with Dai Liang (戴良) serving as the provincial Inspector; Cangwu (蒼梧), Nanhai (南海), Yulin (鬱林) and Hepu (合浦) commanderies would form the new Guang Province (廣州), with Lü Dai himself serving as the provincial Inspector. Sun Quan agreed and sent Dai Liang to assume office. However, Shi Xie's son Shi Hui and the rest of the elite Shi family in Jiaozhi Commandery refused to obey the order and rebelled against Sun Quan's rule by blocking Dai Liang from entering Jiao Province. After gaining permission from Sun Quan, Lü Dai led 3,000 troops to attack Shi Hui and caught him off completely by surprise. Lü Dai sent Shi Kuang, a cousin of Shi Hui, to persuade Shi Hui to surrender, promising them that they would be pardoned if they did so. However, after Shi Hui and his brothers surrendered, Lü Dai broke his promise and had them arrested and executed. He then continued to lead troops to attack other hostile forces in Jiao Province which refused to submit to Eastern Wu rule and completely eliminated them. For his efforts, he was promoted from a Marquis of a Chief District to a county marquis under the title "Marquis of Panyu" (番禺侯). After pacifying Jiao Province, he led Eastern Wu forces further south to force the rulers of the Funan, Linyi and Tangming (堂明; or Daoming 道明) kingdoms (in Mainland Southeast Asia) to surrender and pay tribute to Eastern Wu. In recognition of Lü Dai's achievements, Sun Quan promoted him to the position of General Who Guards the South (鎮南將軍).

In 231, Sun Quan summoned Lü Dai back from the south and ordered him to station at a military garrison at Oukou (漚口) in Changsha Commandery (長沙郡). Over the following years, Lü Dai suppressed a number of revolts by the local residents and tribes in the region.

In 239, following Pan Jun's death, Sun Quan put Lü Dai and Lu Xun in charge of military affairs in Jing Province and station at Wuchang (武昌; present-day Ezhou, Hubei). In the same year, when Liao Shi (廖式) started a rebellion and seized control of Linhe Commandery (臨賀郡), Lü Dai volunteered to lead troops to quell the revolt and received permission from Sun Quan to do so. Sun Quan also appointed Lü Dai as the Governor (牧) of Jiao Province. Lü Dai defeated Liao Shi and pacified Linhe Commandery after a year. By then, he was already close to 80 years old but he was still physically fit and capable. The people in Jiao Province respected him for his loyalty and humility.

In 243, Lü Dai sent his subordinates Zhu Ying (朱應) and Kang Tai (康泰) to survey the lands south of Eastern Wu (in Mainland Southeast Asia) and spread Chinese culture there. Kang Tai wrote the Wu Shi Waiguo Zhuan (吳時外國傳), which recorded what he saw during his travels in Mainland Southeast Asia.

In 246, following Lu Xun's death in the previous year, Sun Quan ordered Zhuge Ke to replace Lu Xun by taking charge of military affairs at the border between Eastern Wu and its rival state Cao Wei. At the same time, he also divided Jing Province into two parts, with Zhuge Ke in charge of the territories east of Wuchang (武昌; present-day Ezhou, Hubei) and Lü Dai in charge of the lands west of Wuchang. Sun Quan also promoted Lü Dai to the position of Senior General-in-Chief (上大將軍).

Sun Quan died in 252 and was succeeded by his son, Sun Liang, as the second emperor of Eastern Wu. After ascending the throne, Sun Liang promoted Lü Dai from Senior General-in-Chief to the position of Grand Marshal (大司馬). Lü Dai died on 21 October 256 at the age of 96 (by East Asian age reckoning). He was one of the few notable persons of the late Eastern Han dynasty and Three Kingdoms period known to have lived until such an old age.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sun Liang's biography in the Sanguozhi mentioned that Lü Dai died on the jichou day of the 9th month in the 1st year of the Taiping era (or 3rd year of the Wufeng era) of Sun Liang's reign.[2] This date corresponds to 21 October 256 in the Gregorian calendar, according to this tool: http://sinocal.sinica.edu.tw/


  1. ^ a b c de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. p. 626. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0. 
  2. ^ ([太平元年九月]己丑,大司馬呂岱卒。) Sanguozhi vol. 48.