Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

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Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Wed May 09, 2018 3:20 pm

Deng Ai, style Shizai (???-264)

Deng Ai was born sometime before 208 in what would become Yiyang Commandery. When he was very young, much like Zhang Hua if you recall from the previous case I did, his father passed away. In 208 Cao Cao gained full control of Jingzhou, and thus Deng Ai’s home. [1] During this time Cao Cao transported large portions of civilians from Jingzhou to Runan, in Yuzhou. They were known as Tun Tian, a kind of farmer relocated as the “spoils of war”. [2] Deng Ai, his mother and relatives were apart of this move. When he was twelve, he and his mother moved to Yingchuan. [3]

Deng Ai, inspired by the stele of a man named Chen Shi who was the great grandfather of Chen Tai, changed his name to Deng Fan and his style name to Shizi in honor of this man that he was in awe of. However a kinsman of his shared the same name and it was considered taboo to take a sibling’s name, thus he reverted to his original name. [4]

It is noted that during his youth he had a bad habit of stuttering. This reflected poorly on him as it would only grant him the lowliest of work on farms. As we know though, Deng Ai was far from dimwitted. He had an tactical eye and whenever he looked toward different sorts of terrain, like mountains or swamps he would imaging position army camps in the most effective locations and formations as if he was a commander of his own army. [5] Yeah, like that’ll ever happen!

Deng Ai was promoted to a minor administrative post which placed him in charge of keeping records on the agricultural output of Yingchuan. [6] The Shiyu, for what it’s worth, tells a story between Deng Ai and Shi Bao. The two were around the same age and quite close friends. A higher ranking official in the region named Guo Xuanxin who was implicated in a revolt in Ye was to be escorted to the capital, Xu City at the time, for trial. Deng Ai and Shi Bao both escorted him and the three of them spoke the whole way, with Guo Xuanxin saying that the two of them would be leading figures in the country one day. [7]

Sometime between 235 and 239 Deng Ai was sent to Luoyang to deliver account records. While he in the city he had a meet cute with destiny, and that destiny took the form of Sima Yi, the Grand Commandant of Great Wei. The two of them spoke for some time and Sima Yi immediately recognized the talent hidden away in this man of lowly post, and so he promoted him to Gentleman of Writing , a member of the Imperial Secretariat. [8]

Several years later in 241 the Wei court desired to open up more lands for farming in Yangzhou and Yuzhou. Sima Yi personally put Deng Ai on the task of making a tour of inspection through the region. Deng Ai was of the opinion that very furtile soil, but lack of water would not benefit the land, so they should start digging of canals for irrigation and store up military supplies in event of using the canals as a system of transportation is required. [9]

Deng Ai penned an essay on the topic entitled Discussion of River Utility [10],

“Formerly, Taizu’s (Cao Cao’s) destruction of the Yellow Turbans was due to his instituting the tuntian (military agricultural colonies) by which he stored up grain in the capital Xu, in this manner controlling the four quarters. Now three quarters of the Empire are settled, and only the region south of the Huai is troubled.

Whenever a large force goes out on an expedition, more than half the army consists of transport troops. The expense amounts to millions of cash, and this is considered a serious item.

In the region of Chen and Cai, the terrain is low and the land good. We may spare the various rice fields around Xuchang and descend to the east following the course of the water. Have twenty thousand men settle in military agricultural colonies north of the Huai, and thirty thousand men south of the Huai. Of these, put two tenths on leave [in turn], so that there will always be forty thousand to attend to agriculture and to garrison duty. Let us dig more and more canals, thus increasing irrigation and facilitating water transportation. Deducting the various expenses, we will still get five million hu of grain to serve as military stores. Within six or seven years we shall be able to store up thirty million hu on the Huai—tantamount to five years’ provisions for a host of a hundred thousand. If with this at our disposal we fall on the Wu, victory is guaranteed.”

For those that want the TL;DR, Deng Ai’s essay presents the importance of supply lines and provisions, stating that Cao Cao’s success had relied on his logistical mind more than his martial one. He maintained that larger armies wasted more supplies as a large portion of the army was specifically there for transportation of supplies, which in itself was a drain on the supplies. He supports the idea of setting up two agricultural colonies on opposite sides of the Huai river to supply and protect the area. All in all, he said his plan would be enough to keep an army of 100,000 soldiers supplied for 5 years. When folks like myself say Deng Ai was a genius, here’s a prime example.

Sima Yi was blown away by Deng Ai’s plan and he followed every suggestion presented. Canals were dug for transportation and it’s noted that campaigns in the south east benefited greatly from this. Logistical errors were never an issues and floods were minimal. [11] The madman was right. His whole essay worked perfectly when put into practice.

Over the course of the next few years Deng Ai officially saw his post transfer out of the capital and under Guo Huai, becoming the governor of Nanan. [12]

In the year 249 the bandit Jiang Wei launched one of his famously pathetic northern campaigns by invading Great Wei. He built two forts and placed Guo An and Li Xin to protect the two of them. Reaching out the Qiang tribe, he worked in tandem with them to attack Wei. [13] Guo Huai and Chen Tai led an army to fight them. Chen Tai, being the ever incredible genius he was, said that while one of the forts, Chushan, was formidable, it’s position was easily compromisable as it far from Shu’s lands, the roads were steep and supplies had yet arrived. He cited the Qiang are suffering due to Jiang Wei and are not loyal. Chen Tai states that besieging them now would cause the defenders to give up without a fight, and even if reinforcements come the terrain is suited for them, and not the Shu forces. Guo Huai agreed and Chen Tai, with Deng Ai at his side, besieged Chushan. The roads were cut off as was the water supply. Guo An, the defender left by Jiang Wei, tried to taunt the Wei forces into attacking, but Chen Tai wouldn’t budge. The rebels rationed their food and used the snow on the ground as water in order to hold a little longer. [14]

Jiang Wei’s reinforcements arrived and Chen Tai stated that the soldiers would not engage. They should strengthen their defenses, and then sent a message to Guo Huai to inform him of his plan. He was going to cross the mountains in the south and cut off Jiang Wei’s retreat so that they in one move could capture the defenders in the forts, as well as Jiang Wei. The moment Guo Huai moved, Jiang Wei and his soldiers fled like little bitch rebels back to Shu. The defenders in their forts immediately surrendered to Wei. [15]

Guo Huai led a campaign west against the Qiang that sided with Jiang Wei, but Deng Ai advised it would be best to leave a force behind as Jiang Wei wasn’t too far away. If he returns they can defeat him. Guo Huai agreed and Deng Ai was left north of Baishui. Three days later, true to his prediction, Liao Hua came with a force past Baishui. [16]

Deng Ai spoke to his men, saying

“Now Jiang Wei has come. Our troops being as few as they are, the thing for him to do would be to cross the river; but he is building no bridge. This shows that Jiang Wei is letting Liao Hua keep us occupied so we will not withdraw. It is certain that Jiang Wei himself is attacking to the east to take Taocheng.” [17]

Deng Ai’s army marched in secret during the night and just as he predicted again Jiang Wei had crossed the river and Ai defeated him, saving Taocheng from harm. [18]

With the defeat of the Shu army in spectacular fashion, Deng Ai was award a position as Count, as well as the title General Who Defeats/Suppresses Bandits and governor of Changyang. [19] While located in Qingzhou, Deng Ai had met a growing concern with the Xiongnu tribes under the “Worthy King of the Left, Liu Bao. The same man that abducted and violated the famous Cai Yan. [20] Deng Ai offered the strategy to fraction the tribes, any who were relocated to Wei lands be segregated and reeducate, all in an effort to reduce crimes and troubles. He also erected defenses positions along the northern borders. [21]

Sometime later Deng Ai was transferred to become the governor of Runan. While he was there he sought out the father of an official who had aided him in his youth, however he found out that made was dead. So Deng Ai, in a show of thanks, sent the widow gifts and gave the son a job. Ai made a sacrifice for the deceased man as well. He also toured around the commandary and tilled the land. The standard for living in Runan become exemplary because of Deng Ai. [22] Seriously, Deng Ai was a sweet heart. How can you not love this man?

Our story jumps ahead to 253 when Zhuge Ke attacked what we know as New Hefei Castle. This invasion was a disaster. The long and short of it was that Zhuge Ke mismanaged the campaign greatly. Aside from push back from the court against the campaign, Zhuge Ke also dismissed Zhu Yi from his post, refused to believe his soldiers were ill due to a plague that had rocked the area and generally threw away a lot of lives. It was a disaster for Wu, much like every attack on Hefei on the past. Deng Ai spoke with Sima Shi about this, and he said

“Since Sun Quan died, the high officials of Wu have not been submissive. In Wu the prominent clans and powerful families all have their military retainers; by checkmating with their royal troops and making a show of power, they are capable of disobeying royal commands. Zhuge Ke has recently been taking charge of the government, and is oblivious of any Sovereign within, nor does he give thought to soothing and relieving high and low to lay a foundation for power. Instead, he is bent on external affairs and uses the people harshly; he has mobilized the country’s masses and pitched them against a strongly walled city, and the dead can be counted by thousands. He has gone back loaded with disaster. Indeed, this forebodes a day when Zhuge Ke will be incriminated.

Of old, Wu Zixu, Wu Qi, Shang Yang and Yue Yi were all trusted by the Sovereigns of their time. Still, with the death of their masters, they came to ruin. Zhuge Ke, inferior in ability to these four worthies, is not worried at the impending catastrophe. His downfall can be expected any time.” [23]

The TL;DR version of this being Deng Ai predicting Zhuge Ke would not live much longer, citing his arrogance, his lack of support and a dreadful campaign. Much like every previous prediction Deng Ai made, this one came true. Sun Jun and Sun Liang assassinated Zhuge Ke and exterminated his clan later that year. [24]

Deng Ai was promoted to become Inspector of Yanzhou and General Who Manifests Might. He also sent a memorial to the court under Sima Shi

"The most important policy areas are agriculture and war. If the state is wealthy, the army will be powerful. If the army is powerful, it will win battles. Therefore, the key to victory lies in agriculture. Confucius mentioned before, ‘abundance in food supplies and number of troops’. Having abundant food supplies is important to maintaining a powerful army. If the state does not designate any officials to be in charge of collecting taxes and food supplies, there will be no one to accumulate wealth from the masses. As of now, the system of giving rewards based on merit is aimed at collecting food supplies and distributing them to the people. If not, the state will break off all its trade routes with the outside world, and a wealthy and prosperous state will become isolated.” [25]

When Cao Mao ascended the throne after Sima Shi deposed Cao Fang as a result of a failed assassination attempt on his life, Deng Ai was promoted to Marquis of Fangcheng Village. [26] Not long after this Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin rose up in rebellion in Shouchun. They claimed to hold an edict from the Empress Dowager, something I personally believe may have been real. Guanqiu Jian cites Sima Shi as the true danger to the Empire, while stating that Sima Fu and Zhao were upstanding men of honor. [27]

Guanqiu Jian had sent a messenger to Deng Ai in Yanzhou, requesting that he join him in rising up against the Sima. Deng Ai, however, owed his career to the Sima and did not see them as a threat to Wei. He therefor executed the messenger and, with soldiers from Zhuge Xu, marched over 10,000 soldiers at lightning speed to Luojia. He contrusted a bridge and awaited for Sima Shi to arrive. Wen Qin had launched an attack on Deng Ai, however Sima Shi’s forces were able to sneakily arrive to the city. [28]

Wen Qin sent his son that isn’t named Wen Hu against the city, though he was unaware of the large reinforcements that had arrived and failed. When Wen Qin realized how large the reinforcing army was, he retreated but Yue Chen and Sima Ban rode the army down and put them to the slaughter. Wen Qin and his kids escaped. [29] Sun Jun, the Wu regent that killed the former Zhuge Ke, arrived together with a host claimed to be 100,000 though this isn’t the case. Zhuge Dan ordered Deng Ai to defend Feiyang, however Deng Ai felt Feiyang was too far from the enemy and he would be useless. So Deng Ai went against orders and marched to Futing and intercepted the Wu army, smashing them and prevent any reinforcements. [30] Guanqiu Jian had fled Shouchun city sometime after Wen Qin was defeated, however he was caught and killed. [31] Deng Ai was eneoffed as a marquis of Fangcheng District and General Who Stabilizes the West after being Colonel of Changshui. [32]

In 255 Jiang Wei lead yet another Northern Campaign of his. He had designs on siezing Didao from Wei. [33] Chen Tai was in command of the defenses this time and he ordered Wang Jing, the Inspector of Yongzhou, to march to Didao and hold it. His orders were to wait for Chen Tai’s army to move and surround the enemy, allowing them to unite and crush the Shu forces. Chen Tai was located at Chencang, but Wang Jing had grown impatient. He marched to Gu Pass and met Zhang Yi in battle. Wei suffered a massive defeat in this battle, with many soldiers drowning in the Tao river. Wang Jing fell back to Didao. Chen Tai knew that he would meet with disaster and so he lead his men to assist him. [34]

Zhang Yi requested that they not push the battle lines any further as doing so would only destroy what they accomplished, however this infuriated Jiang Wei and he attacked Didao against the advice. [35] Deng Ai was promoted to acting General Who Calms the West and sent to aid the failing Wei army. [36] Chen Tai used these reinforcements to surround Jiang Wei, particularly making use of a mountain in his strategy. Chen Tai knew that the defenders in Didao could not hold out, nor did they have the provision for an all out attack. So Chen Tai leaked a plan to the Shu army that stated he was going to launch an attack on all sides. After Jiang Wei lead an unsuccessful attack on Chen Tai’s position, this news reached him and he fled to Zhongti. [37] Deng Ai was made General Who Calms the West for his efforts and kept him there. [38]

There were many in the ranks of Wei that fealt Jiang Wei was beaten and his army was depleted, however Deng Ai felt the exact opposite.

“The defeat at Taoxi was not an insignificant loss. The loss of troops and officers, depletion of stores and reserves, and displacement of refugees are signs pointing towards imminent destruction. I shall explain the situation. First, the enemy is riding on a wave of victories, while we are actually weak. Second, the enemy forces are well-trained and battle-ready, while ours are newly recruited and not well-equipped. Third, the enemy is less tired than us because we travel by land whereas they travel by water. Fourth, the enemy focuses on attacking Didao only, while we spread our defences across four locations – Didao, Longxi , Nan'an and Mount Qi. Fifth, Nan'an and Longxi have grain produced by the Qiang people, while there are fields of wheat beyond Mount Qi. The enemy is cunning. They will definitely come for the wheat.“ [39]

The TL;DR of it being Deng Ai citing geographical advantages of the Shu army, the grain of the Qian tribe and the recent failure at Gu Pass being a shot to Wei’s morale. As always, Deng Ai was right. Jiang Wei came back with yet another attack in mind. It must get tiresome being right all the time.

Jiang Wei lead the rebel army to Qishan, but when he heard the news that Deng Ai had read his movements, he was terrified and tried to outflank him and attacking Nanan. But again, Deng Ai read his movements and met him at Wuchangshan and defeated him on the steep terrain. Later that night, Deng Ai used the darkness to cross the Wei river and march along the mountains in secret. When Jiang Wei’s army was marching through Duangu, Deng Ai attacked and scattered is army, sending Jiang Wei fleeing back to Shu. Deng Ai was promoted to General Who Guards the West, Marshal of Longyou and Marquis of Deng. His song, Zhong, also fought in this campaign was eneoffed as Marquis of Ting. [40]

During Zhuge Dan’s rebellion in 255, which you can read all about in my case for it here, as well as for Hu Fen, Zhu Yi and Zhong Hui, Jiang Wei launched yet another campaign to the north looking to take advantage of Wei’s civil war. [41] The rebels marched against Qinchuan with 10,000 soldiers. There was a storehouse at Changcheng that housed a lot of supplies and Jiang Wei had a desire to sieze it, however Deng Ai and Sima Wang lead their forces to hold it. When Jiang Wei arrived, they repelled his attack. The rebels then camped on the shores of the Mangshui and taunted the Wei army, however they refused to move. [42] When news reached of Zhuge Dan’s defeat, Jiang Wei withdrew to Shu territory. [43]

In 262 Jiang Wei launched his final campaign against Wei, attacking Caoyang. Deng Ai’s army intercepted him at Houhe and defeated him as per usual without much effort. [44] During this same year in the court, Sima Zhao had desires to invade the rebels land in Yizhou and conquer it in order to stop Shu from ever invading again. Every minister, including Deng Ai opposed this idea. They cited terrain difficulties, The Shu army not being weak enough and the logistical nightmare it would be to plan such a campaign. There was one lone voice that advised for this, and that was Zhong Hui. Her arguments were persuasive, and he was able to talk every minister excluding Deng Ai into accepting his proposal. [45] Sima Zhao was rather worried that Deng Ai would never comply, and so he assigned a personal officer of his named Shi Zuan to Deng Ai. Zuan conveyed the orders, and despite still objecting Deng Ai obeyed. [46]

Zhong Hui was named General Who Guards the West and Marshal of Guanzhong. He was given 100,000 soldiers and sent against Hanzhong. [47] Deng Ai was named General Who Subdues the West and with 30,000 soldiers he was to Taizhong to fight Jiang Wei. [48] The Inspector of Yongzhou, Zhuge Xu, was sent with another 30,000 soldiers to cut off JIang Wei’s retreat, and the Minister of Justice Wei Guan was designed to be the Inspector of the Forces. [49]

Wang Qi and Qianhong, two Administrators under Deng Ai, were to lead a direct assault on Jiang Wei while Yang Xing, another Administrator, was to cut off his path of retreat. [50] News had reached Jiang Wei of Hanzhong’s capture by Zhong Hui, so he fled to Dazhong in an attempt to aid the Shu forces defense. However Deng Ai’s persuit was too quick and he defeated the Shu army at the Qiang river. Zhuge Xu was able to stop Jiang Wei from entering Hanzhong, however Jiang Wei was able to outmaneuver him and get to Jiange pass where he and the rest of the main Shu army would hold out against Zhong Hui’s onslaught. [51]

Zhong Hui’s initial success at Hanzhong wasn’t transferring to Jiange. The terrain and the bottle-necking of his forces wasn’t allowing any success, and the lack of supplies was hurting the army. He was contemplating calling off the invasion as he had seized a sizable portion of Yizhou. [52] Deng Ai completely disagreed with this. When he reached Yinping with Zhuge Xu he asked that he join him in taking this dangerous route to Chengdu, but Zhuge Xu refused. He said his orders were to deal with Jiang Wei, and going west would violate Imperial Orders. He then withdrew and joined Zhong Hui who proceeded to slander him and take control of his soldiers. Deng Ai sent a petition to the court that read as thus, [53]

“The rebels are already crushed. We ought to take advantage of this opportunity. We should proceed from Yinping, through Xiejing, past Deyangting of the Han dynasty, to Fou, and appear at a place a hundred li west of Jiange and three hundred odd li distant from Chengdu. With our mobile detachment we should storm their base and take them unawares. Then will the troops defending Jiange have to retreat towards Fou, in which case Zhong Hui can advance in double columns; if the troops defending Jiange should not retreat, then the troops assigned to defend Fou will be insufficient." [54]

Deng Ai’s army proceeded to march through inhospitable terrain. 700 li, roughly 217 miles. Roads were created out wooden blanks, bridges were hung up. The terrain was high mountains, harsh cliffs and deep gorges. Food was running short and there was no option for retreat. [55] Deng Ai and his men discarded any heavy equipment, wrapped themselves in rugged furs and rolled down the side of a mountain. They descended upon the garrison at Jiangyou which surrendered immediately. [56]

Zhuge Zhan, son of the famous Zhuge Liang, marched his army to Fou in order to resist Deng Ai. His adviser Huang Chong, son of Huang Quan, advised him that he must occupy a better location as to prevent Deng Ai’s army from meeting them on even ground. Zhuge Zhan did not listen, but Huang Chong continued to plead with tears. Deng Ai’s army came in force and defeated Zhuge Zhan just as Huang Chong saw. [57] The rebels withdrew to Mianzhu garrison, and Deng Ai sent a letter to Zhuge Zhan asking for his surrender, making the promise to eneoff of him as a Prince. This infuriated Zhuge Zhan who killed the messenger. [58] Deng Ai sent his son Zhong and Shi Zuan to attack initially, but Zhuge Zhan repelled their first assault. Deng Ai then told them that if they cannot defeat these rebels, they will be put to death. Deng Ai’s entire force then attacked as one, killing Zhuge Zhan and Huang Chong. [59] Zhuge Zhan’s son, Shang, rode into the Wei army to his death while lamenting the fall of his state.[60]

Having defeated the last bit of resistance, and the capital not having any resistance of it’s own to fend off Deng Ai as the main bulk of the army was preoccupied with Zhong Hui, Liu Shan official surrendered. [61] He had Zhang Shao, son of Zhang Fei, deliver his Imperial Seal. Deng Ai praised them greatly. [62] When he met Liu Shan, the later sovereign came with his hands tied and a coffin carried. Deng Ai burnt the coffin, broke the bindings and invited Liu Shan to speak. [63] The soldiers were told not to plunder, restored those who surrender to their former functions, appointed Liu Shan to a princedom, as well as met out rewards for his subordinates as well. His intention was to soothe the populace by making Wei, and the Sima be viewed as benevolent rulers. [64] However he was presuming Imperial Authority as only the Emperor (Sima Zhao, to be frank) had the authority to do all of this.

The rumors of Huang Hao’s corrupt spread far and wide. He was a eunuch that Liu Shan befriended, and trusted more than anyone else. He held a firm grasp on the court and drove a wedge between Liu Shan and any loyal men of Shu. When Deng Ai arrived in Chengdu he immediately arrested him and had intentions of killing him. Huang Hao, however, was able to bribe the guards and he fled. [65] His fate is unknown as far as I am aware.

For their accomplishments in this campaign, on February 8th, 264 Deng Ai was appointed to Grand Commandant and his fief was increased by 20,000 households. His sons were also eneoffed as Marquis as well. [66] Zhong Hui was appointed to Minister over the Masses and his fief was increase by 10,000 households. [67] The two of them were now holding two of the Three Excellency ranks. Thus making Deng Ai the highest ranking Minister in Wei.

Deng Ai had become rather arrogant after his great feats, something I personally think is understandable and well deserved conscider what he accomplished, [68] Zhong Hui would use this too his advantage when furthering his own personal ambition. It was obvious when one looks at the facts that Zhong Hui had designs on the Imperial Throne before he met Jiang Wei. His slander of Zhuge Xu is certainly evidence of that. Due to his position at Jiange, he was between Chengdu and Luoyang, thus able to intercept any correspondence between the King of Jin and the Grand Commandant, which is what he did. Zhong Hui, a noted calligrapher and forger, would alter letters from Deng AI to Sima Zhao, making Ai appear more arrogant and disloyal. He would destroy letters from Sima Zhao to Deng Ai and rewrite them, thus making Sima Zhao’s language more suspect of Deng Ai. [69] When Deng Ai’s actual letters reached Sima Zhao, they seemed defensive and speaking of grand plans to take Wu. Sima Zhao was incensed by this and told him to only act when given his personal approval by Sima Zhao. Hu Sanxing dryly states that how can we trust the letters recorded that were from Deng Ai if Zhong Hui altered them. [70] Zhong Hui was able to convince Shi Zuan, Wei Guan, Hu Lie and many others in Shu that Deng Ai was truly rebellious at heart, and all of them signed a memorial to the court that requested Deng Ai be arrested. Sima Zhao agreed and ordered Zhong Hui to do the deed. [71]

Zhong Hui, with his sinister plan in motion, ordered Wei Guan to arrest Deng Ai. His plan was for Deng Ai to react violently and kill Wei Guan, thus allowing him to kill Deng Ai and seize immediate authority and brand Deng Ai as a traitor and then declare his rebellion once he was ready. [72] Deng Ai did not react violently however. Though he made his opinion known, he went willingly into the cage cart with his sons and he was shipped off to Luoyang. [73] Zhong Hui would eventual attempt to rise up in Luoyang under the possible false banner of the recently deceased Empress Dowager, only to be killed by mutineer soldiers under Hu Yuan. [74] During this chaos Shi Zuan and several of Deng Ai’s men realized the mistake they made in turning against the Deng’s, and so they left the city to find their cage cart. They released the Deng’s and started making their way back to Chengdu. [75] Wei Guan, fearing a relationship from Deng Ai for arresting him, enlisted the aid of a man named Tian Xu who felt personally wronged by Deng AI. Tian Xu refused to follow Deng Ai through yinping and onto Jiangyou, and so Deng Ai said he would execute him. However when Deng Ai reached Chengdu he tossed the charges away as he was overjoyed that the Conquest succeeded. Tian Xu still held a grudge. [76] Tian Xu took soldiers and they hunted down Deng Ai and they came up on him, his sons and Shi Zuan on the road and they put the whole group to the slaughter. [77] There exists a chengyu related to this incident, describing Shi Zuan specifically,

身无完肤, “body doesn’t have all of its skin,” beaten until unrecognizable [78]

Deng Ai’s sons were executed in Luoyang that hadn’t followed him to Shu and his wife, along with daughters and other descendants were exiled. It wasn’t until the Western Jin Sima Yan was on the receiving end of countless ministers memorializing the Deng’s be pardoned that they would finally return from exile and the crimes expunged. [79]

Deng Ai lived one marvelous life. He rose from nothing to the highest minister in Wei. His career was success after success. He had a remarkable ability to read enemy movements, and know the perfect places to set up armies, something he had done ever since childhood. He was a charitable man and did his best to aid the common people. His efforts in destroying Wen Qin and Sun Jun were remarkable and his legend only grew with each time he defeated Jiang Wei. Everything culminated in one master stroke of genius, bravery, loyalty and heroism when he crossed inhospitable terrain, overcame fresh Shu soldiers at Mianzhu and ended the Shu Han Dynasty. However his story doesn’t have a happy ending. Zhong Hui, in his cruel heart, turned his allies and lord against him. Even crueler people then hunted him down and brutally killed him and his sons. His family was partially exterminated and expelled to the far off lands. It took far too long for them to finally return. It’s a shame any of that happened in the first place. Deng Ai deserved far better than what happened to him. He is truly a legend among heroes, and legends never truly die.


[1] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[2] Professor Luo Kai Yu, Zhong Hua Shu Ju, Jiuyangda believes that slaves, as this source describes them, is not an accurate way to put it.
[3] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[4] Rafe de Crespigny, Biographical Dictionary of the Later Han to Three Kingdoms
[5] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[6] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[7] Shiyu annotation from Pei Songzhi, Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[8] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[9] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[10] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[11] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[12] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[13] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[14] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[15] Chen Tai’s Sanguozhi biography
[16] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[17] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[18] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[19] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[20] Cai Yan’s Hou Han Shu biography
[21] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[22] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[23] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[24] Zhuge Ke’s Sanguozhi biography
[25] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[26] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[27] Guanqiu Jian’s Sanguozhi biography
[28] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[29] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[30] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[31] Guanqiu Jian’s Sanguozhi biography
[32] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[33] Jiang Wei’s Sanguozhi biography
[34] Chen Tai’s Sanguozhi biography
[35] Jiang Wei’s Sanguozhi biography
[36] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[37] Chen Tai’s Sanguozhi biography
[38] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[39] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[40] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[41] Jiang Wei’s Sanguozhi biography
[42] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[43] Jiang Wei’s Sanguozhi biography
[44] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[45] Zhong Hui’s Sanguozhi biography
[46] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[47] Zhong Hui’s Sanguozhi biography
[48] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[49] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[50] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[51] Jiang Wei’s Sanguozhi biography
[52] Zhong Hui’s Sanguozhi biography
[53] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[54] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[55] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[56] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[57] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[58] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[59] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[60] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[61] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[62] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[63] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[64] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[65] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[66] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[67] Zhong Hui’s Sanguozhi biography
[68] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[69] Zhong Hui’s Sanguozhi biography
[70] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[71] Zhong Hui’s Sanguozhi biography
[72] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
[73] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[74] Zhong Hui’s Sanguozhi biography
[75] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[76] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[77] Deng Ai’s Sanguozhi biography
[78] Translated by Catigereptile
[79] Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Achilles Fang, Zizhi Tongjian, Sima Guang.
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Re: Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu May 10, 2018 2:43 pm

Thank you DaoLunOfShiji! That was a great read! :D
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Re: Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Thu May 10, 2018 3:35 pm

Thank you, thank you. Glad you enjoyed it.
I've got two Wu based biographies I am going to put up on here as well.
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Re: Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Thu May 10, 2018 5:34 pm

Thanks for posting. :mrgreen:

I've always considered Deng Ai's story to be one of the greater tragedies of the 3K era, and share your sentiment that he deserved better.

The story of his incredible rise and equally incredible fall is like something straight out of Shakespeare. (Except better. ;))
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Re: Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

Unread postby greencactaur » Tue May 15, 2018 3:53 pm

I respected Deng Ai before, but now my respect for him has raised even further. It is a shame how his life ended =(.
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Re: Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

Unread postby CaTigeReptile » Wed May 16, 2018 12:41 pm

These are fantastic! I'm glad you're posting them!

You might want to consider making a master thread to put them all in, that way they're all in a central location for people to get to.

Thanks for all your work!

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Re: Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Thu May 17, 2018 7:02 am

CaTigeReptile wrote:These are fantastic! I'm glad you're posting them!

You might want to consider making a master thread to put them all in, that way they're all in a central location for people to get to.

Thanks for all your work!

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Yeah definitely.

Did capnnerefir's stuff (I think it was capn) ever get stored somewhere? Like as in linked to by KMA? That was some really good stuff, too.

edit: I see they are stickied :)
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Re: Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu May 17, 2018 8:40 am

Yeah I put a thread together for Capn's stuff. I then added plunged's biographies. If DaoLun is happy I could put a list of his biographies in the same thread?
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Re: Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Thu May 17, 2018 9:22 am

That's actually something I never thought of. Sure, I think adding them onto there would be great. Ease of access for people who want to read more.
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Re: Comprehensive Biography for Deng Ai

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu May 17, 2018 3:19 pm

Sun Fin wrote:Yeah I put a thread together for Capn's stuff. I then added plunged's biographies. If DaoLun is happy I could put a list of his biographies in the same thread?


Did I ever move that into the archive section of the forum?
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