Sima Fang

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Sima Fang
Politician of Han Dynasty
Born 149
Died 219 (aged 70)
Traditional Chinese 司馬防
Simplified Chinese 司马防
Pinyin Sīmǎ Fáng
Wade–Giles Szu-ma Fang
Courtesy name Jiangong (Chinese: 建公; pinyin: Jiàngōng; Wade–Giles: Chien-kung)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Sima.

Sima Fang (149–219), courtesy name Jiangong, was a politician who lived in the Eastern Han Dynasty. He was a son of Sima Jun. Sima Fang served in various appointments, including "Prefect of Luoyang" (洛陽令) and "Intendant of Jingzhao" (京兆尹; "Intendant of the Capital").

Relationship with Cao Cao[edit]

The Cao Man Zhuan (曹瞞傳; Biography of Cao Man), an unofficial biography of Cao Cao (a prominent warlord who lived in the late Eastern Han Dynasty) claimed that when Sima Fang was serving as a Right Assistant (右丞) in the Imperial Secretariat (尚書), he once recommended Cao to assume the appointment of "Commandant of the North District" (北部尉) in Luoyang (the Eastern Han capital).[1]

However, the Sitishu Shixu (四體書勢序; Preface to Forms of the Four Modes of Writing) mentioned that Cao Cao was recommended by another official Liang Hu (梁鵠).[2] Pei Songzhi, who annotated Cao Cao's biography in the Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi), commented that the Cao Man Zhuan account was correct because, according to Wang Yin (王隱)'s Jin Shu (晉書), during the Jin Dynasty, an Academician (博士) once raised an example about Sima Fang recommending Cao Cao to be the "Commandant of the North District".[3]

In 216, after Cao Cao was conferred the title of a vassal king – "King of Wei" (魏王) – by Emperor Xian, he summoned Sima Fang to meet him in Ye (鄴; the capital of his vassal kingdom, in present-day Handan, Hebei). He joked with Sima Fang, "Do you think the Cao Cao of today can still be a Commandant of the North District?" Sima Fang replied, "When I recommended Your Highness to assume that appointment, I knew you were capable of performing your duty well." Cao Cao laughed.[1]


Sima Fang had eight sons: Sima Lang, Sima Yi, Sima Fu, Sima Kui, Sima Xun, Sima Jin, Sima Tong and Sima Min. Among them, the most notable one was Sima Yi, who served as a military commander and politician in the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. Sima Fang's great-grandson, Sima Yan, later became the founding emperor of the Jin Dynasty.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b (曹瞞傳曰:為尚書右丞司馬建公所舉。及公為王,召建公到鄴,與歡飲,謂建公曰:「孤今日可復作尉否?」建公曰:「昔舉大王時,適可作尉耳。」王大笑。建公名防,司馬宣王之父。) Annotations from the Cao Man Zhuan (曹瞞傳) to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 1, Biography of Cao Cao.
  2. ^ (四體書勢序曰:梁鵠以公為北部尉。) Annotations from the Sitishu Shi Xu (四體書勢序) to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 1, Biography of Cao Cao.
  3. ^ (臣松之案司馬彪序傳,建公不為右丞,疑此不然,而王隱晉書云趙王篡位,欲尊祖為帝,博士馬平議稱京兆府君昔舉魏武帝為北部尉,賊不犯界,如此則為有徵。) Pei Songzhi. Annotations to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 1, Biography of Cao Cao.
  • Fang Xuanling. Book of Jin, Volume 1, Biography of Sima Yi.
  • Yu Huan. Weilüe.
  • Sakaguchi, Wazumi (ed.) (2005) 坂口和澄・著 Seishi Sangokushi Gunyu Meimeiden 『正史三國志群雄銘銘傳』 Kojinsha:Tokyo.
  • Watanabe, Seiichi (ed.) (2006) 渡辺精一・監修 Moichidomanabitai Sangokushi 『もう一度学びたい 三国志』 Seitosha:Tokyo.