Wen Ping

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Wen Ping
General of Cao Wei
Born (Unknown)
Died (Unknown)
Traditional Chinese 文聘
Simplified Chinese 文聘
Pinyin Wén Pìng
Wade–Giles Wen P'ing
Courtesy name Zhongye (traditional Chinese: 仲業; simplified Chinese: 仲业; pinyin: Zhòngyè; Wade–Giles: Chung-yeh)
Posthumous name Marquis Zhuang (traditional Chinese: 壯侯; simplified Chinese: 壮侯; pinyin: Zhuàng Hóu; Wade–Giles: Chuang Hou)

Wen Ping (birth and death years unknown),[1] courtesy name Zhongye, was a military general who lived in the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms period. During his tenure as a general under the warlord Cao Cao, he was credited with defeating Guan Yu and defending Cao's interest in Jiangxia from the eastern warlord Sun Quan.

Early life[edit]

Wen Ping was a native of Nanyang, he originally served under Liu Biao, the Governor of Jing Province, and was tasked with defending the province's northern frontier. When Liu Biao's successor, Liu Cong, submitted to Cao Cao's authority, Wen Ping was hesitant to surrender, and was asked by Cao why he was so late to yield. Wen Ping promptly replied Cao Cao that he was indeed considering resistance because he was tasked by Liu Biao to do so, and it was not his plan to yield.[2] Cao Cao was impressed by Wen Ping's response and gave him back the power to command a portion of his own Jing Province troops.

Service under Cao Cao[edit]

Wen Ping participated at the Battle of Changban against Liu Bei, and routed the latter, but Liu was able to flee and formed an alliance with the eastern warlord Sun Quan. During the subsequent Battle of Red Cliffs against the combined forces of Liu Bei and Sun Quan, the forces of Cao Cao suffered a total disaster, as a result, Wen Ping was granted the command of a portion of the northern troops, made the Administrator of Jiangxia, and was asked to stay in the border to wrestle over the area for Cao Cao.

Wen Ping was made the lowest rank of marquis and supported Cao Ren during the Battle of Jiangling when Sun Quan's general Zhou Yu led his forces into the heart of Jing Province. While Liu Bei's trusted general Guan Yu attempted to cut Cao Ren's connection, Wen Ping and his colleague Yue Jin defeated Guan at Xiukou, and Wen was granted the title of "Marquis of Yanshou" and promoted to the rank of "General Who Strikes Rebels". Motivated by his victory, Wen Ping further overtook Guan Yu's supply depot at Han Ford; then caught Guan on the Han River, and burned down most of his warships. At the time, Wen Ping and Yue Jin successfully secured the supply and communication lines of Jiangling; however, the casualties on Cao Cao's forces were beyond affordable level after nearly a year of intense fighting, so Cao admitted defeat and ordered his generals to forfeit Jiangling. Thus, Wen Ping entered into a defensive position in the eastern flank to resist Sun Quan's general, Cheng Pu, who assumed the position of Governor of Jiangxia.

Service under Cao Pi[edit]

After the death of Cao Cao, Wen Ping went on to serve Cao Pi, who ascended the throne and formally established the state of Cao Wei. Following the outbreak of the Liu-Sun conflict after Sun Quan captured and executed Guan Yu and seized southern Jing Province, Cao Pi formulated a three-pronged attack on Sun, whose forces were overstretched and diluted. Wen Ping was granted the title of "Marquis of Chang'an" and ordered to assist Zhang He and Cao Zhen on their attack on Jiangling. Like last battle of Jiangling, the Wei forces enjoyed numerical advantage, but this time, they were on the offensive; however, the progress again did not go well because the defenders were determined to fight back, and the siege became a long one. Several months later, enemy reinforcements attempted to get into Jiangling, a branch of Sun Quan's navy entered the Mian River, but Wen Ping was able to hold Miankou (a choke-point of the Mian River) with his warships. Although the attack on Jiangling was canceled when additional enemy relief forces arrived the battlefield, Wen Ping's performance was recognized as he was promoted to "General of the Rear". However, the campaign was not aborted just because they could not seize one city; Wen Ping was ordered to lead his troops to join Cao Pi, who was personally heading toward the city of Stones, which was guarded by Sun Quan's general Xu Sheng. Obscured by heavy fog, Wen Ping and Cao Pi fell victim to Xu Sheng's plot when the latter erected straw figures and flags along the city walls. Believing Xu Sheng had already set up defense and gathered a grand force with geographic advantage, the Wei forces retreated, and was pursued by Sun Shao, who was able to capture the bulk of the Wei army's baggage.

Later life[edit]

Wen Ping's last battle occurred at Shiyang, where he was surrounded by Sun Quan's 50,000 strong army. He firmly defended his smaller army for 20 days, and pursued his opponent when the latter retreated. He routed Pan Zhang in the process, but was repelled by Zhu Ran, who came to Pan's rescue. He was succeeded by his adopted son, Wen Xiu, because his biological son died before him.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. p. 862. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0. 
  2. ^ 「先日不能輔弼劉荊州以奉國家,荊州雖沒,常願據守川漢,保全土境,生不負於孤弱,死無愧於地下,而計不得已,以至於此。實懷悲慚,無顏早見耳。」 See Records of the Three Kingdoms. Book of Wei. Chapter 18.