Alright, here's another biography I've compiled from the ZZTJ, all about Zhuge Ke, arguably the last great commander of Wu.
Edited by Zyzyfer
Zhuge Ke (Yuanxun)
Zhuge Ke was the son of Zhuge Jin and the nephew of Zhuge Liang.
In 221, Sun Quan appointed his son Sun Deng as Crown Prince of Wu. At this time, Sun Quan selected a group of men around Sun Deng’s age to serve as his friends and advisers. These men were Zhuge Ke, Zhang Xiu (son of Zhang Zhao), Gu Dan (grandson of Gu Yang), and Chen Biao (son of Chen Wu). In spite of their ruler-subject relationship, Sun Deng treated these men as personal friends rather than his future administrators.
In 234, Zhuge Ke proposed an operation in Danyang. He alleged that if Sun Quan appointed him as an official there for three years, he could gather 40,000 warriors from among the tribes of the region. The general opinion was that this was impossible. The tribes of Danyang were known to be warlike, and the terrain of the region made it easy for them to defend their homes. Even Zhuge Ke's father believed that the task was impossible and feared that Zhuge Ke would bring ruin to their house. Sun Quan decided to give Zhuge Ke a chance, appointing him Prefect of Danyang and General Who Pacifies the Yue. 
Zhuge Ke proceeded to Danyang and ordered the local leaders to defend their towns and train their soldiers extensively. Foreign elements who had surrendered were relocated to military camps, and various commanders were positioned at key points. Zhuge Ke also forbade his people from trading weapons to the tribes. He supervised the harvesting of crops, ensuring that nothing was left behind to steal and everything harvested was taken to secure settlements. The result was that the tribes had almost nothing to eat, so they gradually surrendered to Zhuge Ke in exchange for food. Zhuge Ke ordered that the tribal people were to be treated like any other citizen and should not be viewed with suspicion. Hu Kang, an official in Qiuyang, arrested a criminal named Zhou Yi, who had taken refuge among the tribes. Hu Kang sent him to Zhuge Ke for judgment. However, Zhuge Ke declared that Hu Kang had defied orders by arresting a man who had surrendered, so he had Hu Kang executed. Although this was a harsh judgment, it convinced the tribes that Zhuge Ke meant them no harm, and they began to surrender in large numbers. By 237, Zhuge Ke had easily fulfilled his quota of 40,000. As a reward for his success, Zhuge Ke was made General of the Guards [weibo jiangjun] and Marquis of Duxiang, and stationed at Hankou in Lujiang, as he had requested. 
Once in Hankou, Zhuge Ke established an agricultural colony. Then, using his tribal troops, he led a raid against Shu Commandery [under Wei control], returning to Hankou after taking many people as captives. 
In 241, Sun Quan launched a large assault against Wei. In the fourth month [April 28 – May 27], Quan Cong conquered Huainan and destroyed the dam at Shaopo. Zhu Ran besieged Fan City, Zhuge Jin attacked Zuzong, and Zhuge Ke commanded the attack against Liu'an.  Wang Ling and Sun Li counterattacked, driving off Quan Cong  while Hu Zhi went to reinforce Fan.  Wei's Grand Tutor Sima Yi led troops to reinforce Fan and drove Zhu Ran away. Following Zhu Ran's defeat, all of Sun Quan's forces retreated. 
In the middle of this campaign [during the fifth month, June 26 – July 25], Sun Deng passed away.  In 221, Zhuge Ke had been “appointed” as one of Sun Deng’s close friends and future advisers. The unexpected passing of his future leader cast Zhuge Ke’s future in sudden doubt.
In the sixth month [July 26 – August 23], Zhuge Jin died. Because Zhuge Ke already held his own rank and titles, his younger brother, Zhuge Rong, inherited his father's merits. 
Two years later, in 243, Zhuge Ke launched a surprise attack on Liu'an. He returned home after taking many prisoners.  Afterward, Zhuge Ke made preparations to attack Shouchun. Sima Yi anticipated Zhuge Ke's attack and led an army into a neighboring commandery and prepared to attack Zhuge Ke. Sun Quan called off the attack and transferred Zhuge Ke to Chaisang. 
In 246, Zhuge Ke was promoted to replace the recently-deceased Lu Xun. Sun Quan divided Jing Province in half and appointed Zhuge Ke as Grand General [da jiangjun] to guard the left section.  
In the winter [December 1 – December 29] of 251, Sun Quan fell seriously ill.  He wanted to recall the previously-banished Sun He to be his successor, but was warned against this.  As a result, he appointed his youngest son, Sun Liang, as his heir. Aware that Sun Liang could not rule on his own, Sun Quan sought a guardian for the heir. Sun Jun recommended Zhuge Ke. Sun Quan hesitated because he feared that Zhuge Ke was too strong-willed and would monopolize power. Sun Jun insisted that nobody in the state was as capable as Zhuge Ke. Sun Quan assented and summoned Zhuge Ke from Wuchang. 
As he was leaving Wuchang, Zhuge Ke was warned by Lu Tai to think matters through carefully. In particular, Lu Tai warned him to think everything through ten times. Zhuge Ke responded by growing extremely defensive and quoting a Confucian story in which Confucius admonished one of his disciples for thinking matters through three times, saying that twice was enough. He acted as though Lu Tai had insulted him, implying that he was inferior to the scholar in the story. Commentators have strongly reproached Zhuge Ke for this rudeness. Given the defensiveness of his reply, one might suspect that Zhuge Ke was worried about others doubting his capability and would not tolerate even the slightest admonishment. 
When he reached Jianye, Sun Quan appointed Zhuge Ke as Grand Tutor. Sun Quan then ordered that all matters of government save for those involving executions and pardons were to be presented to Zhuge Ke instead of to Sun Liang. He also appointed Teng Yin  as Minister of Ceremonies. 
Sun Quan lingered on until 252. On his deathbed, Sun Quan summoned Zhuge Ke, Teng Yin, Sun Jun, and Lu Ju and entrusted them with affairs after his death.  In the fourth month [April 26 – May 25], Sun Quan died. 
Sun Hung and Zhuge Ke had been at odds for many years, and now Sun Hung feared that Zhuge Ke would abuse him. Sun Hung intended to keep Sun Quan's death a secret [so that Zhuge Ke would not be invested with his full powers of state] and would not declare mourning for Sun Quan. He plotted to forge an edict and execute Zhuge Ke. Sun Jun informed Zhuge Ke, so Zhuge summoned Sun Hung for a discussion. There, Zhuge Ke killed him. After Sun Hung was disposed of, Zhuge Ke declared mourning for Sun Quan. 
Zhuge Ke quickly instituted sweeping economic reforms. He dismissed many observers and auditors, exempted the people from many taxes, and abolished trade tariffs. The common people rejoiced.  Additionally, he removed many of the Sun relatives from palaces along the Jiang River, which he intended to use for military posts.
One relative, Sun Fen, was particularly reluctant. He was the son of Sun He, who was once Crown Prince, but had lost his father's favor years before. Sun Fen repeatedly ignored the law. He had mobilized soldiers to build and guard his palace and took the law into his own hands, executing people without trial or legitimate authority. Furthermore, he imprisoned an official named Hua Qi, an old friend of Sun Quan's who had remonstrated with him. He also mocked and ignored the official admonishments of Yang Rong, one of the Masters of Writing [shangshu]. Zhuge Ke sent him a threatening letter and Sun Fen agreed to relocate. 
Many years before, Sun Quan attempted to build a dam at Dongxing [which was in Wei territory] but was driven away by Wei forces. Zhuge Ke completed the dam and built fortresses on the hills by the lake. 
In the first month of 253 [February], Wei sent an army to attack the new fortifications at Dongxing. While Guanqiu Jian attacked Wuchang and Wang Chang assaulted Nanjun, Hu Zun and Zhuge Dan led 70,000 soldiers against Dongxing.  Using pontoon bridges, they took over the dam and then surrounded the fortifications on either side.  Zhuge Ke gathered 40,000 soldiers and rode out to defend Dongxing, commanding Ding Feng, Lu Ju, Liu Zan, and Tang Zi. He sent Ding Feng ahead with 3,000 soldiers.  Seeing that Hu Zun's troops were undisciplined and carousing while on duty, Ding Feng decided to attack them on February 8. He had his soldiers remove their armor and carry only swords. Seeing them in such a state, Hu Zun's soldiers did not think they would attack. Ding Feng's assault took the forward elements by surprise, devastating them. At that time, Zhuge Ke arrived with the main body of the army and drove Hu Zun and Zhuge Dan out of Dongxing,  killing the Wei generals Han Zong and Huan Jia and capturing a great deal of supplies.  Han Zong was the son of the famous general Han Dang, who had fought under Sun Jian, Sun Ce, and Sun Quan to build the foundations of their state. Han Zong had defected to Wei after his father's death. Zhuge Ke sent his head as a sacrifice to Sun Quan's tomb. 
In the second month [March 17- April 16] of 253, Zhuge Ke returned from Dongxing. He was named Marquis of Yangdu and put in command of all the armed forces. Zhuge Ke wanted to pursue their advantage and invade Wei. Most of the ministers argued against this. One of them, Jiang Yan, was so adamant that Zhuge Ke removed him from office. He wrote a long memorial to the court defending his position, in which he attempted to argue that Wei was currently very weak, describing Sima Shi [who at the time controlled affairs] as “weak and immature.”  He spoke very insultingly to everyone who disapproved of the plan and insulted foreign officials, even referring to Cao Fang as “stupid and incompetent.” Zhuge Ke insisted that anyone who disagreed with his plan simply did not understand. 
Zhuge Ke ignored the protests of the other officials and in the third month [April 17 – May 14] he gathered an army of 200,000 from across the Sun territories. Leaving Teng Yin in charge of affairs at the capital, he advanced to attack Wei.  Teng Yin was apparently very devoted during his time in charge of the capital, receiving petitioners during the day and reading reports during the night. 
In the fourth month [May 15 – June 13], Zhuge Ke's army reached Huainan, capturing much of the population. Not wanting to penetrate too deeply into enemy territory without a solid base of operations, Zhuge Ke decided to besiege Xincheng.
Sun forces had attacked Hefei County five times in the past. The first invasion was in 209, where they were tricked into retreating due to a ploy by Jiang Ji.  They next invaded in 215, where they were famously defeated by Zhang Liao.  Sun Quan did not return until 231, when he was defeated by Man Chong.  In 233, Man Chong dismantled the previous fortress and rebuilt it. This was called Xincheng. Sun Quan attacked the new fortress of Xincheng later in 233, but was ambushed and defeated by Man Chong once more.  Sun Quan attacked one last time in 234 and was again defeated by Man Chong. Sun Quan never dared to invade Hefei again. 
In the fifth month [June 14 – July 12], Zhuge Ke attacked the city.  In response, Emperor Cao Fang sent Sima Fu with 200,000 soldiers of his own to defend Xincheng.  During this time, an epidemic broke out in Xincheng, resulting in many deaths on both sides. 
Three months passed, during which time Zhuge Ke could not take Xincheng. Sickness ran rampant through Zhuge Ke's camp. For a time, Zhuge Ke believed that many were faking illness [to avoid fighting] and threatened to execute them. After that, the officers stopped reporting illnesses to him. Zhuge Ke grew extremely frustrated and took it out on his officers. When Zhu Yi disagreed with him over a military matter,  Zhuge Ke stripped Zhu Yi of his soldiers and sent him back to Jianye. Zhuge Ke's Chief Commandant [du wei] Cai Lin offered him advice, but Zhuge Ke refused to listen to it, so Cai Lin fled to Wei. In the seventh month [August 12 – September 9], Zhuge Ke withdrew from Xincheng. Many of the sick and wounded soldiers died along the road, and many were taken prisoner by Sima Fu's pursuing army. Zhuge Ke is said to have shown no concern for them. At Xunyang, he halted and made plans to create an agricultural colony. Emperor Sun Liang sent several edicts recalling Zhuge Ke and his army to the capital. Slowly, Zhuge Ke sent the soldiers home. After this, popular opinion turned sharply against Zhuge Ke, as the resentment of the widowed, orphaned, and maimed far outweighing the goodwill he had earned with his economic reforms in 252. 
In the eighth month [September 10 – October 9], Zhuge Ke returned to Jianye. He dismissed every official who had been appointed while he was away and restaffed most of the palace guards with people loyal to him. Surrounding himself with his personal followers, Zhuge Ke began to plan campaigns to take Qing and Xu provinces. Sun Jun told Emperor Sun Liang that Zhuge Ke was plotting to take control of the government. 
In the tenth month, Zhuge Ke was assassinated by either Sun Jun or his agents.  The exact details vary based on the story, and the most popular accounts are, predictably, also the ones that seem to be the most exaggerated. The simplest version simply states that Sun Jun hid soldiers in the palace and ambushed Zhuge Ke, killing him.  More dramatic versions of the story – which seem too dramatic to be easily credible, are as follows:
Sun Jun organized a large banquet, to which Zhuge Ke was invited. Zhuge Ke originally planned not to go. He was unable to sleep that night, and in the morning, bad omens appeared throughout his house. His morning washing-water and clothing smelled terrible, no matter how many times he changed them. Furthermore, his dog attempted to prevent him from leaving the house, as though it knew something was wrong.  Zhuge Ke ignored these omens but remained suspicious. He went to the palace but hesitated at the gate. Though Sun Jun had already hidden his soldiers for the ambush, he feared that Zhuge Ke might enter too soon and discover the trap, so he spoke with Zhuge and urged him to come back later. Zhuge Ke decided to go inside despite his misgivings. 
Previously, Zhuge Ke had received a message from several officials, including Zhang Yue, Zhu En, and some other unnamed officials. They warned him that the preparations for that day seemed unusual, and feared that there was something amiss. Zhuge Ke remained wary as he entered the palace. Before he entered the inner portion, he met Teng Yin. Zhuge Ke complained of a sudden stomachache and declined to enter further into the palace. Teng Yin – who did not know of the reasons for Zhuge Ke's suspicions – urged Zhuge to continue on because Sun Liang was expecting him. Zhuge Ke ultimately took Teng Yin's advice and continued deeper into the palace. 
A slightly different version of events  says that Zhuge Ke showed Teng Yin the letter he received from Zhang Yue, Zhu En, and company. Teng Yin urged Zhuge Ke to heed the warning, but Zhuge Ke said “What can these children do? I am only afraid they may poison me with their wine and food.” So he took some medicated wine and went deeper into the palace. 
Zhuge Ke advanced to the main hall and met with Sun Liang and Sun Jun. At first, Zhuge Ke refused to drink anything. Sun Jun suggested that he was still suffering from a stomachache and offered to have medicated wine fetched for Zhuge Ke. After a little while, Sun Liang left and Sun Jun went to the bathroom. There, he discarded his formal clothing and returned to arrest Zhuge Ke. Zhuge Ke and Zhang Yue – who was also nearby – fought against Sun Jun, but Sun Jun cut off Zhang Yue's arm and killed Zhuge Ke. 
Regardless of the specifics of the tale, Zhuge Ke was certainly assassinated and Sun Jun appears to have been behind it.
Zhuge Ke's family was subsequently purged by Sun Jun's men. His oldest son, Zhuge Chao, was already dead. Zhuge Chao had been conspiring with Sun Ba during an earlier succession crisis. Ultimately, Sun Quan ordered Sun Ba to commit suicide and sent Zhuge Chao to his father for punishment. Zhuge Ke followed Sun Quan's example and poisoned Zhuge Chao.  His other sons, Zhuge Song and Zhuge Jian, tried to flee to Wei with their mother. Sun Jun's man, Liu Cheng, pursued them and killed Zhuge Song at Bodu. Zhuge Jian continued to flee but was subsequently killed by his pursuers as well. It is unlikely that Zhuge Ke's wife met a different fate.  Zhuge Ke's brother, Zhuge Jing, was also killed, along with all three of his sons.  Furthermore, Zhuge Ke's nephews, Zhang Chen and Zhu En, were killed, and their families slaughtered. 
The ZZTJ continues on to list anecdotes about many people predicting that Zhuge Ke would lead his house to ruin in spite of his ability. As they are not directly relevant to the life of Zhuge Ke and are included only to enforce a certain opinion of him, I have elected not to include them there. Interested parties can find these anecdotes in ZZTJ Jiaping 5, passages 26 through 29.
A final story about Zhuge Ke hints that Sun Jun's accusations may be closer to the truth than is commonly believed. Lady Zhang was the wife of Sun He and the niece of Zhuge Ke [the daughter of Ke's sister and Zhang Cheng]. Sun He was banished in 250. He was demoted from Sun Quan's heir to Prince of Nanyang – and because Nanyang was under Wei's control, Sun He was forced to take up residence in Changsha. When he came to power, Zhuge Ke promised Lady Zhang that she would receive greater favor than any other. Shortly after his rise to power, Zhuge Ke intended to relocate the capital from Jianye to Wuchang. It was rumored that he wanted to replace Sun Liang with Sun He. Such accusations may, of course, be simple rumor. 
Zhuge Ke generally receives a reputation as something of a tyrant, which is not entirely undeserved. He ignored the wishes and warnings of other officials, using his unquestionable power to do as he pleased. He cared little for the lives of his soldiers and was very harsh with them. Following his defeat at Xincheng, he restructured the palace staff and filled important positions with his own loyalists. There were rumors that he intended to move the capital to Wuchang and install the deposed Sun He in place of Sun Liang. Given all of these things, it is no wonder that he is remembered as a tyrant. However, given the actions of the later tyrants of Wu – Sun Jun, Sun Chen, and Sun Hao – Zhuge Ke's “evils” seem rather petty. At the end of his life, popular sentiment was very much against him, and there have been very little callings to remember his positive attributes.
In spite of his personal failings, Zhuge Ke was a skilled military commander who accomplished some very impressive feats that others considered impossible. When he first came to power, he loosened economic restrictions that made the lives of many common people much easier to bear and was, at one point, much loved by them.
1 Huangchu 2, 45
2 Qinglong 2, 43
3 Jinchu 1, 20
4 Fang's note 20.10 regarding Jinchu 1, 20
5 Zhengshi 2, 2
6 Zhengshi 2, 3
7 Zhengshi 2, 4
8 Zhengshi 2, 5
9 Zhengshhi 2, 7
10 Zhengshi 2, 8
11 Zhengshi 4, 2
12 Zhengshi 4, 8
13 Western orientation sets left to the west. However, during Sun Quan's time, the Chinese oriented towards the south. Therefore, Zhuge Ke was responsible for the eastern half of Jing, not the western half as we might assume. This is supported by the statement that Lü Tai, who controlled the other half of Jing, held territory from Wuchang to Puchi (west of Wuchang). This was designated as the right section.
14 Zhengshi 7, 3
15 Jiaping 3, 21
16 Jiaping 3, 22
17 Jiaping 3, 23
18 Jiaping 3, 24
19 According to the SGZ biographies of Teng Yin and Sun Liang, Sun Quan named Teng Yin as a guardian in addition to Zhuge Ke.
20 Jiaping 3, 25
21 Jiaping 4, 6
22 Jiaping 4, 7
23 Jiaping 4, 8
24 Jiaping 4, 10
25 Jiaping 4, 11
26 Jiaping 4, 12
27 Jiaping 4, 16
28 Jiaping 4, 17
29 Jiaping 4, 18
30 Jiaping 4, 19
31 Jiaping 4, 21
32 Jiaping 4, 20
33 Jiaping 5, 6
34 Jiaping 5, 7
35 Jiaping 5, 8
36 Fang's note 8.2 regarding Jiaping 5, 8
37 Jian'an 14, C
38 Jian'an 20, L
39 Taihe 4, 20
40 Qinglong 1, 17
41 Qinglong 2, 17
42 Jiaping 5, 11
43 Jiaping 5, 12
44 Fang's note 11.4 regarding Jiaping 5, 11, supported by Jiaping 5, 15
45 According to the Book of Wu [wu shu], Zhu Yi suggested withdrawing from Xincheng to attack Shitoucheng. Zhuge Ke disagreed.
46 Jiaping 5, 15
47 Jiaping 5, 17
48 Jiaping 5, 18
49 This version is found in the SGZ biography of the puppet leader Sun Liang.
50 The specifics of these omens are found in Zhuge Ke's SGZ biography and are repeated in Fang's note 18.3 of Jiaping 5.
51 Jiaping 5, 18; most of this information draws from the SGZ biography of Zhuge Ke.
52 This version is told in Zhuge Ke's SGZ biography, quoted in note 19 of Iaping 5.
53 This is the version Sima Guang uses in the main text of the ZZTJ, and is taken from the Calendar of Wu [wuli]. Sima Guang seems to have adopted this version of events due to the comments of Sun Sheng regarding the version in Zhuge Ke's biography.
54 Jiaping 5, 18
55 Jiaping 5, 20, taken from Zhuge Ke's biography. While the source is official and usually trustworthy, one must suspect that elements of folklore infected the official records on this matter.
56 Fang's note 21.1 of Jiaping 5
57 Jiaping 5, 21 has a condensed version of these events. Fang's note 21.1 expands upon it.
58 Jiaping 5, 23
59 Jiaping 5, 24
60 Jiaping 5, 33
Last edited by capnnerefir
on Tue Mar 26, 2013 9:18 pm, edited 2 times in total.