Cao Cao's forces
|Weapon Type:|| Jian (2~7)|
General's sword (8)
|4th Weapon:|| |
Wrath of Heaven (3~5)
Sword of Heaven (WO3)
|First appearance:||Dynasty Warriors|
|Real name:|| |
|Chinese name:|| |
|Style name:|| |
|Chinese name:|| |
March 15, 220
| Posthumously known as Emperor Wu|
|Personal Item:|| |
Journal of Cao Cao
Cao Cao (rōmaji: Sō Sō) was the Chancellor of the Han Dynasty who laid the foundations for the future kingdom of Wei. A clean-cut, tall, and crafty individual, Cao Cao excelled in war and politics. He was loved and feared for his perceptiveness and swift retaliations. Chen Shou commented that he was a leader who possessed an unique mindset and was a timeless hero. Romance of the Three Kingdoms famously villainies him to be a hot-blooded, sly, yet occasionally dumbfounded schemer who sometimes survived his hardships on luck alone. His legitimate successor is Cao Pi. Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, Cao Ren, and Cao Hong are his well-known cousins.
His Dynasty Warriors incarnation is 36 years old and his height is 174 cm (5'8 1/2"). He ranked in seventeenth place in Gamecity's Dynasty Warriors 7 character popularity poll. In Famitsu's character survey, he is the number one character fans would want as their boss.
His height in Kessen II is 180 cm (close to 5'11").
Role in GamesEdit
- "Well fought, you who would be Emperor."
- ―Nu Wa; Warriors Orochi 2
Cao Cao is a leader who dedicates himself to his ambitions. A childhood friend of Yuan Shao, he joins him at the Yellow Turban Rebellion and in the Allied Forces. After Dong Zhuo's death, however, Cao Cao disagrees with Yuan Shao and they face one another at Guan Du. Cao Cao wins the conflict and gains Yuan Shao's territory soon after. A few titles also state his army capturing Guan Yu and having the general momentarily serve within his army during this time. Cao Cao often desires to have the brave general to serve him, but he respects Guan Yu's wishes to depart from Xu Chang.
As the largest force of power in the land, he then targets Liu Bei and chases him at Chang Ban. His naval fleet suffers defeat at Chi Bi, and Cao Cao's army is crippled from the loss. Even so, Cao Cao is able to rebound from the loss and orders Ma Teng's execution. His order sparks Ma Chao's rebellion and he gathers the regional lords around Quan Zhong to be his allies. In most titles, Cao Cao has the opportunity to speak to Han Sui, and the latter's defection at Tong Gate turns the tides against Ma Chao. With Tong Gate under his control, Cao Cao may participate in Wei's battles at He Fei or Mt. Ding Jun. In most titles, he lives to end either Shu or Wu. In recent scenarios, he may pass away due to illness after the events of Fan Castle.
His Legend Mode in Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends details his escape from Chi Bi. With the army already faltering from the Allied Force's fire attack, Cao Cao runs for his life to escape Shu's generals. Cutting his way past Liu Bei and Sun Quan's generals, he faces Guan Yu guarding the exit. Mentioning the kindness he previously treated the general, Guan Yu turns his back on his duty and repays the debt that he owes Cao Cao.
Described as a scholar during peace and a villain during chaos, Cao Cao is a talented leader in Dynasty Warriors 5. Knowing that a better land lies beyond the chaos, he joins the efforts to defeat the early insurgents of the age. Zuo Ci magically appears near Cao Cao and repeatedly asks the warlord his vision for the land. Cao Cao does not grant him an answer, yet he is offended when the elderly sage compares him to the rogues he stands against. After assisting Liu Bei's request to slay Lu Bu at Xia Pi, he sets his sights on the nearest enemy to him. Knowing that Yuan Shao only believes in his family pride and neglects the good console of his advisors, Cao Cao believes his former friend to be threat to the land. For these reasons, he slays Yuan Shao at Guan Du.
He then attacks Liu Bei, but his forces lose horribly at Chi Bi. Narrowly escaping with their lives, he rebuilds his forces and, to avenge his humiliation from Chi Bi, he claims victory at He Fei. Wu withdraws and Liu Bei passes away. In honor of the only man who he deemed to be the land's hero, Cao Cao decides to conquer Shu at Wu Zhang Plains. Zuo Ci, impressed with Cao Cao's longevity, remarks that he will slay him for the good of the land. Cao Cao prevails in the conflict and Sun Quan dies at He Fei Castle. Though the land's wars are at an end, Cao Cao continues to fight in order to fashion a land worthy of his image.
He has two Legend Modes in the Xtreme Legends expansion. One he shares with Xiahou Dun, Dian Wei and Xu Zhu. To further his ambitions, Cao Cao leads an expedition to rescue the emperor from remnants of Dong Zhuo's army. With the young highness escorted to safety, Cao Cao designates himself as the emperor's new protector. He shares his second Legend Mode with Xiahou Yuan, Cao Ren and Zhang He as they band together against the Five Bushel sect. Cao Cao has two goals he wants met in this battle. On one hand, he thinks the sect's teachings are preposterous and doesn't want a sham religion to proclaim to help the people. He also wants Yang Ping Gate subjugated as it impedes their march against Liu Bei in Han Zhong.
Dynasty Warriors 6 has Cao Cao start as a member of the Allied Forces. Although he is interested to end Dong Zhuo, his primary goal in the battle is to judge the other regional lords. He is the only one present who sets his eyes on the future and designates himself the land's hero as a result. To secure his lands, Cao Cao puts aside his fond memories of Yuan Shao and claims victory at Guan Du. After winning victory against Liu Bei and Sun Quan at Chi Bi, the emperor congratulates his efforts and offers the throne to Cao Cao. The conqueror refuses, stating that he only wants to dedicate his efforts to creating the new future that he sees for the land. To do so, he is willing to sacrifice his body and soul for this vision. He then leads another march and claims Mt. Ding Jun from the newly appointed king of Han Zhong, Liu Bei. Although he knows that Liu Bei is weakened, he remains weary of the former's ability to gain the people's trust and leaves Han Zhong in charge of his son.
With his forces keeping an eye on Liu Bei, Cao Cao decides to deal with Wu to bring a quicker end to the land's strife. Cao Ren struggles at Shi Ting and Cao Cao decides to personally reinforce his relative. Wu eventually falls in the wars and all that remains is Liu Bei. Deeming his final foe a worthy opponent, he wins the battle, and the new land he envisions is created. He decides to leave the fate of the land to the people. Cao Pi presumably assumes position as the new emperor and his generals protect the land's peace. Left with no other ambitions, Cao Cao removes himself from the capital and declares that he now walks the path of the heavens.
In Dynasty Warriors 7, Cao Cao begins his usual role of suppressing the Yellow Turbans Rebellion with his cousins. He desires to create a new world in which one's effort, not status, nourishes the land. Ignoring Yuan Shao's demands to eliminate the Ten Eunuchs as the Han Dynasty falls into decay, Cao Cao suspects Dong Zhuo to be the greater threat and is invited to Luoyang Castle. Using the opportunity to observe the tyrant for himself, Cao Cao refuses to help Dong Zhuo and stages a dramatic escape. He then joins Yuan Shao's coalition to rout Dong Zhuo. The lop-sided balance of power ends with the warlords disputing and Cao Cao low on men. Therefore, he decides to subjugate the remnant Yellow Turbans in Yan Province for himself, gaining Dian Wei and Xu Zhu in his command after compelling them with his resolve. Tao Qian aims to eliminate him at Xu Province, but Cao Cao's forces are too strong to topple.
His influence in the center is undeniable, which is instrumental for his right to house the emperor at Xuchang. Choosing to first deal with Zhang Xiu, he invades the area surrounding Wan Castle. Due to Jia Xu's plot to feign a harmless surrender, Cao Cao and company are unknowingly trapped in an ambush at the castle. Cao Cao barely escapes the attack at the unfortunate cost of Dian Wei's life. Reuniting with his forces outside the castle, they lead a counteroffensive to drive Zhang Xiu into submission. Cao Cao personally corners Jia Xu and, though Xiahou Dun protests, decides to spare the man responsible for Dian Wei's death. While he compliments his new strategist's talents, he grimly warns Jia Xu to never double cross him. Soon after, Cao Cao and Liu Bei deal with Lu Bu at Xia Pi.
After he orders Liu Bei to deal with Yuan Shu, Cao Cao learns the emperor had plotted an assassination for his life. He therefore confronts the emperor in person to learn the frightened man's intentions. Learning that the emperor is afraid of being killed by him, Cao Cao affirms his denial of the claim. A land without an emperor would cause the people to riot and render his ambitions meaningless. With the emperor left as his puppet to power, Cao Cao leads his army to conquer his former ally, Liu Bei, establishing Xu Province as his own. Uniting the north by defeating Yuan Shao, the common folk who fear Cao Cao follow Liu Bei's leadership. Demolishing Liu Bei's position in Jing Province, he orders that Liu Bei and the peasants be eliminated at Chang Ban. He reasons that they have made their choice against his vision and are not worth of mercy.
He continues to pursue Liu Bei south and his navy suffers a deafening defeat at Chi Bi. Although heavily surrounded, Cao Cao escapes to safety. He inwardly feels unease by the losses he experienced and his uncertainties leak through at times, despite his will to suppress them for his ambition. After driving back Ma Chao's army, he seeks to take Hanzhong as his own and orders the majority of his army westward. Upon Xiahou Yuan's death, however, Cao Cao makes the hard choice of avoiding revenge and orders the withdraw from Mt. Ding Jun. He does so in order to decimate Guan Yu's position in Jing Province, a man whose prowess stayed with Cao Cao as an impressive yet dangerous threat. With Guan Yu's death at Fan Castle, Cao Cao fortifies a strong future for Wei. Six months later, an ailing Cao Cao drops the pretense of living solely for his ambition. He speaks his honest thanks to Xiahou Dun, looks forward to reuniting with Dian Wei, and apologizes to Xiahou Yuan before he dies in bed.
Cao Cao's first Legendary Mode has him taking down Dong Zhuo before he can retreat to Xinyang. He fights through several officers blocking his path, including Lu Bu. In his second Legendary Mode, Cao Cao fights both Dong Zhuo and Yuan Shao to protect the emperor.
In Orochi's scenario, Cao Cao leads one of the main forces who initially opposed the snake demon. His army does well until they're bombarded by cannon fire, something that the men of Wei have never seen before. Quick to overcome the shock, he counters with a fire attack. Despite his efforts, he is defeated and wounded. Dian Wei carries him off to safety and hides from the public eye. Since many reports said that he died, Cao Pi becomes Wei's ruler in his absence.
In Warriors Orochi, he triumphantly returns to reinforce his son late in Wei's story mode. Though he is reinstated as Wei's ruler, he lets Cao Pi be the commander in their final attack against Orochi.
Cao Cao resumes his role as Wei's leader in Warriors Orochi 2, joined by the Mystic, Nu Wa. The latter decides to test Cao Cao's might and keeps quiet about the otherworldly events, including the Sun Wukong-led enemy army at Si Province. After defeating Lu Bu at Si Shui Gate, Cao Cao, who had seen through Nu Wa's charade, demands an explanation, and she reveals that Da Ji was planning to resurrect Orochi, prompting the Hero of Chaos to look to merge his forces with other factions.
As the war progresses, Nu Wa finds herself surprised how Cao Cao is able to turn any against-the-odds battle into a gain and oppurtunity. She fears if ever he would stray from the correct path, furthered by the straightforward words of Da Ji, who herself was scared that Nu Wa would not be able to stop Cao Cao.
After Orochi's second defeat, Cao Cao wanted to unify the land under his country's name in Warriors Orochi 3's original timeline. He once fought against Nobunaga for control but, during their power struggle, their forces were scattered and obliterated by Hydra and the serpent army. When the coalition return to Da Ji's past, Cao Cao's forces blocks their advance to Chengdu with a staunch defense at Fan Castle. Cao Cao and company oppose them on the assumption that they are obediently following Da Ji.
Although Ma Chao desires to avenge his slain clan when Cao Cao is defeated, the general spares him for the sake of saving the dimensional world's future. Convinced by the act of mercy, Cao Cao repays them by joining their cause. He later leads their army to reinforce Liu Bei at Chengdu.
In one of his story routes in Dynasty Tactics 2, Cao Cao spots Sun Shang Xiang fighting on the battlefield. He is amused by her abilities and desires to have her in his army. During a later stand off with Liu Bei, she proudly stands by her husband and declares her loyalty to him. Cao Cao is startled to learn of her relation with his rival but continues his conquest to end Shu. If he wins, he spares the fleeing Liu Bei and Sun Shang Xiang, stating that he's content with being the land's ruler.
Cao Cao is one of the protagonists in Kessen II. He is a feared conqueror who wants to conquer the land and eventually travel west to Rome. He is chosen by heaven to rule and befriends Liu Bei in an attempt to one day overthrow him. After hearing his fortune from the prophet, Himiko, he betrays Liu Bei and kidnaps Diao Chan. He often demands for her to reveal the location of the Imperial Seal. At first, he's cruel but he softens once he spends more time with her. She begins to remind him of his mother, who was separated from him when he was a child.
Later in the game, his uncle, Cao Bu, reveals that he's actually Liu Bei's older brother. His mother gave birth to Liu Bei sometime after she disappeared from Cao Cao's life. He becomes torn by the news as he previously thought he had nothing to live for. Before his last battle with his rival, Cao Cao decides to create a peaceful land. In Shu's ending, he dies due to wounds sustained in battle. In Wei's ending, he becomes the new leader of the land. In gratitude for her support, he sets Diao Chan free and begins to appreciate his steadfast adviser, Xun Yu.
Cao Cao is seen as a cunning yet feared man. Relentless in his desire to end the land's chaos, he will use any means to achieve his plans, even if it makes him an enemy to the other kingdoms. Fuelled by his ambition to rule the land, he believes his rule to be predestined and is undeterred when Shu or Wu call him a traitor to the Han Empire. However, he also has a fierce temper and will often scold his men's incompetence if the battle goes badly for him.
Caring little about status or olden traditions, he judges men solely based on their achievements and skill (often referring to his skilled officers as "talent"). Belying his bad reputation, he treasures his retainers and will treat them with generosity. He's particularly close to Xiahou Dun, as they seem to instinctively understand one another. Many of his retainers admire his integrity and swear to never abandon him. He respects his son and is confident that Cao Pi will one day be his able successor.
His personality in Kessen II is similar yet slightly different from his Dynasty Warriors counterpart. He's depicted as a ruthless tyrant with "a heart of ice". Harshly changed by war and forced to suppress his emotions, he's arrogant in his rightful rule with the Mandate of Heaven. However, he privately mourns losing his mother from a young age and truly wishes to make a world of peace. Meeting Diao Chan and learning his relation with his rival helps him overcome his warmongering bravado.
In the Japanese version of Dynasty Warriors 4: Empires, Cao Cao is given the nickname of "The Majestic Premier" while the English version changes it to "The Hero of Chaos". As a dominant ruler in Dynasty Warriors 5: Empires, he along with Sima Yi and Dong Zhuo call their five greatest warriors the "Five Great Generals".
The swords famed to have been wielded by Cao Cao in the novel appear in both Dynasty Warriors and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The one he had by his side, the Heavenly Sword, acts as his third, fourth, and Standard weapons in Dynasty Warriors. Treasured by Cao Cao, its name means to "cut through" the heavens and it could slice through solid rocks with ease. Its counterpart is literally translated as "Blue Band", but it is sometimes known as "Sword of Light". Cao Cao wields the blade himself in the games as his Strength weapon. In the novel, he left it in the care of Xiahou En. When he heard Zhao Yun had ran off with it, Cao Cao immediately wanted the valorous warrior to be captured and brought to his side.
Cao Cao's fourth weapon is often named after "the villainy or cruelty of heaven" in English ports, referencing to how in most of the works Cao Cao appears in states "that heaven is on his side", usually during the times where Cao Cao is spared after humiliating and crushing defeats with a sudden momentum shift. The lack of defense for the weapon in Dynasty Warriors 5 may be a reference to Cao Cao's overall impatience and short-temper in Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
His Skill weapon, the Seven Star Sword, is a long sword of legend said to be engraved with the mythical Big Dipper constellation. Just as how the constellation is said to protect highest power of the universe, the sword is fabled to do the same for the land. It has the power to mystically guard a nation's prosperity and ward off any enemies. The particular star set in the center of the formation is associated as a fierce commander's star, which implies the sword additionally has the power to guarantee victory from any battle. In the novel, Cao Cao tried to use the sword's reputation to assassinate Dong Zhuo.
Cao Cao's personal item in the Asian ports of Warriors Orochi is the "New Book of Mengde" (Mengde being his style name). In order to educate his followers in the novel, Cao Cao authored the book for them while taking inspiration from the Art of War. While the intentions seemed righteous, the narrative twists it to instead be just another pompous act of Cao Cao's authority. Its existence caused him to look foolish in an incident when Zhang Song, who was angered by Cao Cao's rejection, instantly recited the book's contents on the spot. Upset by his own writings being used against him, Cao Cao ordered for Zhang Song to suffer one hundred whippings and for his work to be incinerated. The book in the novel is said to be roughly based on Cao Cao's actual notes on the Art of War, a compilation which is commonly titled Emperor of Wei's Annotation of Art of War. The main difference between the two books is that the historical text is actually praised and still being used today.
- Robert Belgrade - Dynasty Warriors 2 (English)
- Ivan Buckley - Dynasty Warriors 4 (English)
- Douglas Rye - Dynasty Warriors 5~7, Warriors Orochi series (English)
- Kirk Thornton - Kessen II (English)
- Lee Jeong-gu - Dynasty Warriors 2 (Korean)
- Kim Hwanjin - Dynasty Warriors 3 (Korean)
- Jeong Seunguk - Dynasty Warriors 4~5 (Korean)
- Yukimasa Kishino - Dynasty Warriors series, Warriors Orochi series, Dynasty Tactics 2, Sangokushi Koumeiden (Japanese)
- Banjō Ginga - Dynasty Tactics (Japanese), Romance of the Three Kingdoms drama CD series
- Makio Inoue - Kessen II (Japanese)
- Junko Noda - Kessen II; as a child (Japanese)
- Yukitoshi Hori - Romance of the Three Kingdoms 12 (Japanese)
- See also: Cao Cao/Quotes
- "A smaller force defeating a much larger army... That is the beauty of strategy."
- "No matter how many bodies you throw in my path, you cannot stop the might of Wei!"
- "Together we must open a path to a new world! We must let none stand in our way!"
- "What can you do with compassion? Liu Bei, you do not have what it would take to change the world."
- "Cao Cao! People can grow without the change you propose. It is that growth that will change the land!"
- "Can you not see? It is that which invites chaos! Mine is the only way!"
- ~~Liu Bei and Cao Cao; Dynasty Warriors 6
- "My lord, I hear you have taken up writing books lately."
- "You're well informed, as usual. I have been organizing the teachings of Sun Tzu."
- "That sounds... interesting. But couldn't you just leave that to one of your subordinates?"
- "The teachings of Sun Tzu are too important. By my hand, they shall become immortal!"
- ~~Jia Xu and Cao Cao; Dynasty Warriors 7
- "Orochi 'n me are good pals now, so don't expect to face him until you've dealt with me first. And I promise not to make this easy for you! Ha ha!"
- "Ha! You look like an interesting individual."
- "And you sound like a guy who knows how to enjoy a fight. Pleased to meet ya!"
- ~~Keiji and Cao Cao; Warriors Orochi
- "You handle yourself pretty well in a fight. What would you say about joining us, the winning side?"
- "Know to whom you speak! I am Cao Cao, ruler of Wei!"
- ~~Sun Wukong and Cao Cao; Warriors Orochi 2
- "Having fought alongside you, Master Cao Cao, something has started to become clear to me. I see you, walking alone along the steep and harsh path of conquest, carrying an almighty burden on your back."
- "Everyone has their burdens, and their own solitary journey. Which is why they sometimes wish to share their path with others."
- ~~Ieyasu and Cao Cao; Warriors Orochi 3
- "Hahaha! You don't have what it takes to handle the Master of Mayhem."
- ~~Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI
- "Xiahou Ba, sometimes a general must choose to act like a coward in the field. You can't defeat tens of thousands by making a mad dash into oblivion."
- ~~Cao Cao reprimanding Xiahou Ba; Kessen II
- See also: Cao Cao/Movesets
|Keys||Normal Attack •||Charge Attack •||Musou •||Jump/Mount|
Dynasty Warriors 7Edit
Cao Cao is affiliated with the sword in this appearance. When he is equipped with it, he can perform a unique attack exclusive to him. Upon performing his Musou techniques, he will automatically use the weapon in his attacks.
- EX Attack: , : Summons a volley of ice arrows.
- Musou - Conquest (覇道): : Sends several large ice shards forward.
- Aerial Musou - Arctic Storm (氷嵐): , : Sends several large ice shards downward.
- Warriors Orochi
His moveset has been changed in Warriors Orochi 3.
- R1: Draws dark energy from the ground.
Dynasty Warriors 8Edit
Cao Cao is affiliated with the general's sword in this appearance. When he is equipped with it, he can perform a unique attack exclusive to him. Upon performing his Musou techniques, he will automatically use the weapon in his attacks.
- Alternate Musou - (鳳皇剣舞): R1 + : Stabs enemy before initiating several slashes, ending the attack with a wide cut across the screen.
- Awakening Musou: Spins around repeatedly with sword in hand. It ends with the user's shadow performing a single swipe that sends nearby opponents flying away. The extension causes the user to run around while sending out shadows to slash back and forth, adding in a few extra swings after moving.
Cao Cao by far is a notably good character for beginners, with later installments making him even better. His C3 in the fourth and fifth games can be a difficult task in directing properly. Cao Cao is often associated with death elements, and can thus be a powerful bruiser who can K.O. foes with ease, especially with his 4th weapon in the third game, and the Vorpal Orb from the fourth title. Note that his 4th weapon in Dynasty Warriors 5 gives no defense stat bonuses, making Cao Cao defensively weak to balance out his power as a result. Some of his charge attacks can also be a bit slow, such as his C6 for instance.
- See also: Cao Cao/Weapons
Dynasty Warriors 8Edit
Fifth Weapon AcquisitionEdit
- Stage: Battle of Baidi Castle
- Requirements: Open the castle gates within 14 minutes.
- "Lord, your clear-thinking is superior to Yuan Shao. Your daring is superior to Yuan Shao. Your ways of employing men is superior to Yuan Shao. Your decisiveness is superior to Yuan Shao."
- ―Jia Xu at the Battle of Guan Du.
Cao Cao was technically born to the Xiahou family, but his father was adopted into the Cao family so Cao Cao name stayed with the latter. This makes him related to two of his most trusted generals, Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan. He was a handful growing up as he was very cunning and mischievous. He had a passion for hunting and the arts as a child and his childhood friend was Yuan Shao (whom who he would later become enemies with). He was said to be kind and fair.
Rise to PowerEdit
Cao Cao was given a post in now days would equivalent to the police force in the capital Luoyang when he was older, and did not discriminate as to punishments. Once when a high ranking minister broke the curfew he gave him 50 lashes, this troubled the ministers enough that they "promoted" him to get him out that post. Cao did little noteworthy after which until the Yellow Turban where he proved himself as a general and given a high post. From this post he spoke out against Dong Zhuo when he usurped the throne. He joined the coalition against Dong Zhuo and supported Yuan Shao leading the coalition. Although they failed, Dong Zhou was killed by Lu Bu. In the chaos in the capital Cao convinced the emperor to come to Xu Chang under his control. This gave Cao Cao considerable influence in the courts. He thought Yuan Shao to be a good adviser to the Han and tried to put him in that post. This infuriated Yuan Shao as the post was actually lower than his current post. Cao Cao appeased him by giving his title.
Cao Cao was fairly quiet for the next few years till Lu Bu chased Liu Bei out his city. At this, Cao Cao drove an army to Xia Pi and besieged Lu Bu's forces, diverting the nearby river to flood the city. After Lu Bu was captured by his own men, the warrior attempted to sweet talk Cao Cao into letting him join his army, claiming that together, they could easily conquer all of China. Cao Cao, always on the lookout for powerful recruits, almost accepted Lu Bu's offer, but Liu Bei reminded Cao Cao that Lu Bu had betrayed and murdered his several previous masters, so Cao Cao had Lu Bu executed as a precaution. Liu Bei stayed with Cao Cao a while but tensions strained and he left. Later on Yuan Shao raised a massive army to Guan Du to retake the emperor. Although they overwhelmed Cao Cao's army in numbers, Yuan Shao ignored good advisers and they defected to Cao Cao and told him how to defeat Yuan Shao. Cao listened to their advise and burned Yuan Shao's supplies then chased his army down. Yuan Shao died shortly afterward and Cao Cao extinguished what was left of his army. Cao Cao then expanded his territory south, fear making it so that military action was unnecessary.
Conflict with the Three KingdomsEdit
Inflamed by arrogance he started his army into a navy and went south to conquer Wu at Red Cliffs. However due to his arrogance in numbers he was careless and lost spectacularly, virtually wiping out his navy. It was a while before he himself could admit this defeat. A few years after the battle, he was shaken by the news of Liu Bei gaining land as he saw him as a man with potential. Both admired and rejected each other. He would have continued strife and skirmishes with both kingdoms mostly small scale rather than huge battle. In 216, Cao Cao took the title "King of Wei", named so after the districts he governed.
Historically, Cao Cao died in 220 from a severe stroke (thought to be a tumor due to his odd behavior and shaking). There are other ideas of how he died, including the influence of the mystic Zuo Ci. After his death, Cao Cao became part of the Chinese equivalent of the western phrase "Speak of the Devil" ("Speak of Cao Cao, and thus Cao Cao appears"). He governed the Wei district but wasn't a ruler of a kingdom. He was named as such posthumously.
Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit
- "In peace you are an able subject, in chaos you are a crafty hero."
- ―An apprehending of Cao Cao by Xu Shao.
Cao Cao, in his youthful years, loved the hunt and song and dance. His father, Xiahou Song, was a descendant of the Xiahou bloodline, but was adopted by the Eunuch Cao Teng, and thus, Xiahou Song became Cao Song. Cao Cao was said to be extremely clever, as well as scheming and wild. His uncle, enraged at his nephew's constant antics, complained to Cao Song, who reprimanded his son. The next time Cao Cao saw his uncle, he pretended to be in a fit. The uncle, terrified, reported what happened to Cao Song, who rushed to his son only to find him calmly normal. Cao Song asked Cao Cao what was wrong and he responded, "Nothing of the sort ever happened. My uncle accuses me of everything because I have lost favor with him." Cao Song believed his son, and from then on ignored his brother's claims, leaving Cao Cao to do as he pleased, and grew up uncontrolled.
Around this time, a man by the name of Qiao Xuan said to Cao Cao, "The empire is near ruin only by a man capable of dominating the age. You could be the one." Throughout his youthful years, Cao Cao received much more praise. Another man, He Yu, said, "The house of Han is going to fall. Yet I feel certain this is the man to steady the realm." Cao Cao sought a reading from Xu Shao in Ru Nan, who was known for his insight into one's human character. "What manner of man am I?" he asked Xu Shao, who refused to answer. The fortune teller eventually said, "In peace you are an able subject, in chaos you are a crafty hero."
The Han in Peril and the Seven-Star SwordEdit
When Zhang Jue and his followers rose to cause what is known as the Yellow Turban Rebellion, Cao Cao had already been promoted to the rank of Cavalry Commander, and led five thousand mounted soldiers to the district of Yingchuan for the imperial Han. There he encountered a fleeing troop of Yellow Turbans headed by two of the three rebel leaders, Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang, who were also Zhang Jue's brothers. Cao Cao's troop killed thousands in the ensuing battle, while also taking horses, banners, gongs, and other military apparel. The two rebel leaders escaped, splitting up, with Cao Cao joining with the main imperial force and pursuing Zhang Liang. With seven consecutive victories against Zhang Liang, the Rebellion crumbled with its leaders dying off.
Cao Cao later helped in defeating the corrupt Ten Eunuchs. Though he was called "inferior" by the Regent-Marshal He Jin, he voluntarily helped in guarding He Jin before the his death.
With Emperor Xian without close advisers, Dong Zhuo took the position as one and essentially took over the imperial court. Yuan Shao called for the minister Wang Yun to come up with a plan to assassinate the self-proclaimed Prime Minister Dong Zhuo, and under the guise of a birthday, Wang Yun gathered all of the other officials into his home. He and the others began weeping at the thought of Dong Zhuo's tyranny, but Cao Cao mocked them, asking, "This courtful of nobles can weep 'till morning and round to the next evening, too. But can you weep Dong Zhuo to death?"
He later volunteered to assassinate Dong Zhuo, as Cao Cao was close and trusted enough by him. He was given the Seven-Star Sword, a jeweled dagger, and the next day, Cao Cao arrived at the prime minister's private quarters, went behind Dong Zhuo's back, and prepared to stab him. However, Dong Zhuo quickly turned around and asked what Cao Cao was doing, as he could see the weapon from the metal reflectors on his person. Cao Cao saw Lü Bu, the powerful adoptive son of Dong Zhuo, and, shakily dropping to his knees, proposed the weapon as a gift to distract Dong Zhuo. The prime minister accepted the gift, and Cao Cao fled.
Escape from Dong ZhuoEdit
- "I would rather betray the world than have the world betray me!"
- ―Cao Cao
Because he was found out, Cao Cao was named as a wanted fugitive. He was passing Zhongmou county for his home district when he was arrested by the guards at the gates and taken for questioning. When questioned, Cao Cao said his surname was Huangfu and was a traveling merchant, however, the magistrate recognized him and after folling with him for some while said, "I knew you as Cao Cao when I was in Luoyang seeking office. Why are you concealing your identity? You are under arrest. Tomorrow I will deliver you to the capital for the reward." The guards were sent away by the official, and that night, he took Cao Cao and questioned where was Cao Cao going. Cao Cao responded by saying he'd go back to his village and rally the other lords for a unified military action against Dong Zhuo. Afterwards, the magistrate personally removed Cao Cao's bonds, and introduced himself as Chen Gong. Together and armed with a sword each, they set out for the village.
After three days worth of traveling, they stopped at a location called Chengao, and came to the home of Cao Cao's father's oath brother, Lu Boshe. After conversing of the recent events and welcoming Chen Gong for saving the Cao clan's lives, Lu Boshe went out and said he was going to get wine. After sitting awhile, Cao Cao overheard knives being sharpened, and someone shout "Let's tie 'em up an' kill'm." Cao Cao and Chen Gong both went into the farmhouse where they heard the mumbling, slaughtered everyone in the house, but almost immediately saw a trussed pig for slaughtering. The two fled the scene, and later encountered the wine-carrying Lu Boshe back on the road, while the uncle tried stopping Cao Cao, earnestly saying he was supposed to have his family slaughter a pig for dining. Cao Cao and his companion rode on, but the former rode back and called out to Lu Boshe before cutting him down. Chen Gong, astounded, said, "What had happened at the farm was a mistake ― But why this?"
Cao Cao reasoned with speculation that Lu Boshe after finding out about the killings would have a mob after the murderers, but was met with: "But you murdered him knowing he was innocent ― a great wrong." Cao Cao said, "I would rather betray than have the world betray me!"
The next day, Cao Cao realized Chen Gong had left after thinking him inhumane, and went out to his home, relaying the recent events to his father and suggested him to have the family property sold to recruit troops. Instead, a wealthy local by the name of Wei Hong, was convinced by Cao Cao's ambition to donate his funds to the cause of raising an army. Cao Cao forged a imperial decree and had it sent to various areas, recruited some volunteers and raised a white flag bearing the words "Loyalty and Honor." Support came pouring in, and one day, two men named Yue Jin and Li Dian came to offer their service. They were assigned as headquarters guards. Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, Cao Ren, and Cao Hong, all of whom were Cao Cao's relatives from different sides of the family, also came, bringing a total of one thousand men each. Clothing, banners, grain, and armor later came in from Wei Hong and other benefactors.
The Allied ForcesEdit
Yuan Shao arrived later with an army of thirty thousand to form an alliance with Cao Cao, and soon seventeen other lords came and camped outside of the area. Cao Cao recommended Yuan Shao as leader of the Allied Forces, considering his family's importance in the Han court from the previous four generations.
When Dong Zhuo's forces were retreating from Tiger Trap Pass and Luoyang, Cao Cao asked the other lords why weren't they pursuing the confused army of the enemy, but they all agreed it would be better to rest the troops. Cao Cao, disagreeing, led his own force of ten thousand to pursue Dong Zhuo. After being beat back, Cao Cao's army was ambushed by a command led by Xu Rong. Cao Cao rode blindly, running into Xu Rong, who then hit Cao Cao in the upper arm with an arrow. He quickly fled, but was again ambushed by a pair of soldiers who cut down his horse and seized him. Cao Hong rode out, slayed the two soldiers, and the two escaped. Dawn came, and, yet again, Xu Rong appeared to kill Cao Cao. Just in time, Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan appeared with several dozen horsemen scattered Xu Rong, who himself was killed by Xiahou Dun.
His whole force reunited, Cao Cao came back to Luoyang, where the allied forces were headquartered, and was met with a banquet in hopes of cheering him up. Despaired, Cao Cao explained his plan of having the lords occupy and protect each of the surrounding regions, letting their power be known to the land, gain the support of commoners, and eventually defeat Dong Zhuo. He then made clear how the anti-Dong Zhuo armies lost the confidence of the commoners, and his own shame. Cao Cao left his allies, as did Gongsun Zan and Liu Bei.
Building His ForcesEdit
Cao Cao was recommended by Zhu Jun to put down a Yellow Turban rebellion in Qingzhou. As such, he was sent with Bao Xin, another governor, to put the uprising down. Bao Xin was later killed in his own charge, and Cao Cao soon merged the troops left from Bao Xin with his own. Wherever he went, rebels swore alleigance to him and were merged with his force. In only one hundred days, Cao Cao had the surrender of over three hundred thousand troops, and one million noncombatants. His fame spread through the land, and he was promoted to General who Guards the East.
Xun Yu, and his nephew, Xun You were later summoned into Cao Cao's service. They recommended Cheng Yu, who recommended Guo Jia, who recommended Liu Ye, who in turn recommended Man Chong and Lu Qian into service. Mao Jie was also advised to be accepted. A warrior by the name of Yu Jin entered Cao Cao's service with several hundred troops, and Xiahou Dun had a colossal man by the name of Dian Wei come into the army.
- "Cao Cao in all his vaunted cunning,
- Slew his hosts and kept on running.
- Now that his whole clan's been slain,
- The scales of Heaven are level again.
- ―A poet describing the event.
Cao Cao wished to reunite with his family, so his father and entire clan loaded up and traveled to Cao Cao. They passed through Xu province, whose imperial inspector was Tao Qian, a warm man who had always wished to be associated with Cao Cao. He treated the passing Cao clan with the utmost hospitality, and even held a two-day banquet for them. Tao Qian personally escorted them out of the area and had one of his generals, Zhang Kai, accompany them for safety along with five hundred men. However, during a stormy travel, Zhang Kai and his followers discussed slaying the Cao clan and stealing their goods to become rich. They did so, and burned down the temple they were staying at. Some messengers were able to escape and made their way to Cao Cao to report what had happened.
Cao Cao fell to the ground, crying, and gnashed his teeth together, swearing revenge against Tao Qian, whom Cao Cao believed allowed his family to die. He ordered a full-scale invasion of Xu province, leaving only thirty thousand of his men to guard his teritorry. His armies slaughtered all of the inhabitants of the province wherever they went. He rejected the pleadings for ceasefire by Chen Gong, who had sought to bring peace, and Liu Bei.
Word soon came that Lu Bu was attacking Cao Cao's territory of Puyang, so Cao Cao withdrew his forces.
Cao Cao would later found the empire that would become the Wei dynasty, with his successor Cao Pi abdicating the emperor after Cao Cao's death.
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