Wang Chang (Three Kingdoms)

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Wang Chang
General and politician of Cao Wei
Born (Unknown)
Died 259[1]
Traditional Chinese 王昶
Simplified Chinese 王昶
Pinyin Wáng Chǎng
Wade–Giles Wang Ch'ang
Courtesy name Wenshu (Chinese: 文舒; pinyin: Wénshū; Wade–Giles: Wen-shu)
Posthumous name Marquis Mu (Chinese: 穆侯; pinyin: Mù Hóu; Wade–Giles: Mu Hou)

Wang Chang (died 259),[1] courtesy name Wenshu (文舒), was a military general and politician of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period.

Early life[edit]

Wang Chang was from the same commandery as Wang Ling, and both of them were already quite well known when they were still young. Wang Chang became a tutor to Cao Pi when the latter was still a prince. After Cao Pi became the first emperor of Cao Wei, Wang was appointed Gentleman of Scattered Cavalry (散騎侍郎), Agriculture Officer (洛陽典農) of Luoyang, and Inspector of Yan Province (兗州刺史). After Cao Pi died, his successor Cao Rui promoted Wang to General Who Spreads Vehemence (揚烈將軍), and granted him a marquis title. When Wang was serving in Yan Province, he was still concerned about affairs in the imperial court. He felt that the system of governance of Cao Wei, inherited from the Qin and Han dynasties, was too strict and flawed. He decided to draft a new constitution for the state, and submitted two memorials, Discussion on Governance (治論) and Military Book (兵書), to the imperial court.

Battles against Eastern Wu[edit]

In 236, Grand Commandant Sima Yi recommended Wang Chang to Cao Rui as a talent. Wang was appointed Inspector of Xu Province, and received the title of Marquis of Wuguanting (武觀亭侯). He was later appointed General Who Conquers the South (征南將軍), and acting supervisor of military affairs in Jing and Yu provinces.

Wang noticed that his base at Wancheng was too far away from Xiangyang, an important city on Cao Wei's southern border. Besides, the military camps in that region were quite scattered and their naval force was far away at Xuanchi. If Eastern Wu attacked, their armies would not be able to provide support in time. Hence, Wang changed his base to Xinye, ordered drills to be conducted for their naval forces, and promoted agriculture to build up food supplies.

In 250, the political turmoil in Eastern Wu had just ended, and general Zhu Ju was recently dismissed by Sun Quan and forced to commit suicide. Wang Chang felt that the time was ripe to attack Eastern Wu, so he ordered Zhou Tai (州泰) to attack Wu (巫), Shigui (柹歸) and (房陵); Wang Ji to attack Yiling (夷陵); while he personally led an attack on Jiangling (江陵). Wang's troops used bamboo splints to build bridges to cross the Yangtze River and defeated the Eastern Wu general Shi Ji (施績), killing Zhongli Mao (鍾離茂) and Xu Min (許旻), returning victorious to Cao Wei with many spoils of war. For his contributions, Wang was promoted to Great General Who Conquers the South (征南將軍) and granted the title of Marquis of Jingling (京陵侯).

In 252, Wang proposed his plan to attack Eastern Wu. At the same time, Zhuge Dan, Hu Zun and Guanqiu Jian also proposed their respective plans. Cao Wei's regent Sima Shi accepted their proposals and ordered them to attack Eastern Wu from three directions. Wang was assigned to attack Nan Commandery, but due to Hu Zun and Zhuge Dan's defeat by Eastern Wu's Zhuge Ke, Wang was forced to retreat.

Suppressing rebellions[edit]

In 255, Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin started a rebellion in Shouchun. Wang was promoted to General of Agile Cavalry (驃騎將軍) for sending troops to help suppress the rebellion. In 257, Zhuge Dan started another rebellion in Shouchun, this time with support from Eastern Wu. Wang Chang led his army to put pressure on Eastern Wu forces at Jiangling, led by Shi Ji (施績) and Quan Xi (全熙), preventing them from reinforcing Zhuge Dan. In 258, after Zhuge Dan's rebellion was crushed, Wang Chang was promoted to Excellency of Works (司空) and rewarded with a thousand households under his control. He died in the following year and was posthumously granted the title of Marquis of Mu (穆侯).


  • Father: Wang Ze (王澤), served as Administrator of Dai Commandery during the Han Dynasty
  • Sons:
    • Wang Hun (王渾), military general of Cao Wei, later served the Jin Dynasty, participated in the conquest of Wu by Jin, appointed Excellency Over the Masses
    • Wang Shen (王深), Inspector of Ji Province
    • Wang Zhan (王湛), Administrator of Runan
  • Grandsons:
    • Wang Shang (王尚), oldest son of Wang Hun, granted a marquis title, died at a young age
    • Wang Ji (王濟), second son of Wang Hun, served as a Palace Attendant during the Jin Dynasty
    • Wang Cheng (王澄), third son of Wang Hun, granted a marquis title, served as an official during the Jin Dynasty
    • Wang Wen (王汶), fourth son of Wang Hun, served as an official during the Jin Dynasty
    • Wang Cheng (王承), son of Wang Zhan, served as Inner Attendant in Donghai
  • Great-grandsons:
    • Wang Zhuo (王卓), oldest son of Wang Ji, served as an official
    • Wang Yu (王聿), second son of Wang Ji, married a Jin Dynasty princess, granted title of Marquis of Minyang
    • Wang Shu (王述), son of Wang Cheng, served as Imperial Secretary and General of the Guards during the Jin Dynasty
  • Great-great-grandson:
    • Wang Tanzhi (王坦之), son of Wang Shu, served as General of the Household, Inspector of Xu and Yan provinces during the Jin Dynasty

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Wang Chang's biography in Records of the Three Kingdoms stated that Wang died in the 4th year of the Ganlu era (256-260) in Cao Mao's reign. (甘露四年薨,謚曰穆侯。)