Zhang Ji (Han dynasty)
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Zhang Ji (died 196) was a general serving under the warlord Dong Zhuo during the late Han Dynasty era of Chinese history. He was the uncle of Zhang Xiu and was married to the beautiful Lady Zou. He was promoted to General of Valiant Cavalry before the Coalition against Dong Zhuo formed.
Controlling the emperor
In Luo Guanzhong's historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Zhang Ji participated in the Battle of Hulao Pass, which was a defeat for Dong Zhuo's forces. After Dong Zhuo's assassination by Lu Bu, Dong Zhuo's loyalists, led by Li Jue, Guo Si, Fan Chou, and Zhang Ji, defeated Lü Bu and Wang Yun, taking control of the capital, Chang'an. Li Jue and Guo Si propose to kill the emperor, but Zhang Ji and Fan Chou persuade them to instead control the emperor, like Dong Zhuo did, and secure power within the Imperial Court. Two years later, they defeated the western army of Ma Teng and Han Sui by starving them.
After the capital is moved back to Luoyang, which Dong Zhuo had burned, Zhang Ji and his allies are defeated by the White Wave Bandits, led by Han Xian, Yang Feng, Xu Huang, Dong Cheng, and Zhu Zhi, who captured Emperor Xian. An attempt to recover the emperor fails when a secret imperial degree brings Cao Cao to the battle. Cao Cao's forces defeat the White Wave Bandits and take control of the emperor.
After losing the emperor, Zhang Ji brings his men to Jing Province, which is governed by Liu Biao. Due to a lack of supplies, Zhang Ji and his men attack Jing Province, and Zhang Ji is killed by a stray arrow during the battle. After Zhang's death, his men are either executed or serve Liu Biao, Huang Zu, or later Liu Bei.
Role in Fiction
Zhang Ji is an important character in the story "Switchblade". After the execution of Dong Zhuo, he joins Li Jue and Guo Si's loyalist force, becoming as major a general as them. He is stirred by the execution of Wang Fang and Li Meng. In 195, he refuses to enter battle with his old friend Cao Cao. Li Jue tries to kill him but is prevented by Guo Si and Zhang Xiu. Li Jue then poisons Zhang Ji's tea.