Cao Pi

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Cao Pi (Chinese: 曹丕; Hanyu pinyin: Cáo Pī) was the son of Cao Cao and the first emperor of the Cao Wei dynasty during the Three Kingdoms period.


Early life

Cao Pi was born in 187 to Lady Bian. Little is known about his early life before he entered service under his father at the age of 17. In 204, he participated in the battle against the minor lord Yuan Xi. Here, he met Lady Zhen, the wife of Yuan Xi, who would later become his empress. After the death of Cao Cao, Cao Pi sent Han Xian into exile and declared himself emperor.


The Cao Wei empire was much more aggressive under Cao Pi; however, they had only minor success in expanding the empire. In domestic matters, Cao Pi was generally viewed as a competent, but unspectacular, administrator.

While the empire was very stable under Cao Pi, his personal life was very chaotic. He had few sons, probably because he spent little time with his wife or concubines, instead spending his nights gaming and drinking wine with his officers. When he died in 226, he had only one son old enough to take the throne - Cao Rui - who was probably not Cao Pi's true child.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Cao Pi is a cold, unfeeling man, both as an officer as a ruler. Luo Guanzhong seemed to respect him more than Cao Cao; Cao Pi is shown as fair, if sometimes cruel. He is shown as a skilled tactician; most notably, he developed a plan to turn Liu Bei against Sun Quan by defeating Guan Yu.