Cheng Yu bigraphy, stories - Han Dynasty politician

Cheng Yu : biography

141 - 220

Cheng Yu (141-220), originally named Cheng Li (he changed his name to Yu (lit. "lifting the sun") after dreaming of the sun on top of Mount Tai), was one of the major strategists serving under the warlord Cao Cao in the late Eastern Han Dynasty. He died in the same year when the state of Cao Wei was established by Cao Cao's successor Cao Pi, which marked the start of the Three Kingdoms period. Cheng Yu was described to be a very tall man (approximately 1.91m) with a beautiful long beard."長八尺三寸,美須髯。" Description in SGZ, He was from Dong'e County, Dong commandery (near present day Liaocheng, Shandong). Cheng Yu was best known at his time for his abnormal approach to outwit a shortage on grain: instead of sending hostage to Yuan Shao for food, he advised Cao Cao to feed the army with human!世语曰:"初,太祖乏食,昱略其本县,供三日粮,颇杂以人脯,由是失朝望,故位不至公。" See Folklore of the time (《魏晋世语》), compiled by Guo ban. He was also noted for his expertise in military tactics, which helped Cao Cao defeat his rival Yuan Shao in northern China. It was widely agreed that his numerous contributions laid the foundation of Wei, the reason he was not promoted to the rank of a duke was only because of his fore-mentioned strategy to cope with the food shortage in Yan Province.

Cheng Yu was given the posthumous name of "Marquis Su", meaning "solemn marquis"."剛德克就曰肅。執心決斷曰肅" Hardhearted or determined person might receive the posthumous title of "Su". Cheng Yu qualified for both criteria. See . Rules on assigning a posthumous name. Cheng Yu's son, Cheng Wu, continued to serve in Wei.

Performance in Lü Bu's invasion

When Lü Bu claimed his rule over Yan Province, many people gave up resistance and joined him, only Juancheng, Dong'e, and Fan county did not yield. At the time, Cheng Yu was guarding Juancheng with Cao Cao's chief strategist, Xun Yu, who analyzed the defense could only be successful if the three holdings worked together. Cheng Yu was asked for the defense of Dong'e because he could probably convince his hometown to fight with him. Thus, Xun Yu stayed behind to watch over the fortress, and Cheng Yu went to Dong'e. On his way, Cheng Yu passed by Fan county, where Lü Bu's lobbyist, Si Yi (氾嶷) was persuading the Prefect of Fan to switch allegiance to his master. Thus, Cheng Yu required a meeting with the Prefect, and conducted a persuasive speech to the latter, successfully prompting the Prefect to murder Si Yi. When he arrived Dong'e, Xue Ti (薛悌, who became Zhang Liao's strategist in the Battle of Xiaoyao Ford,) and Zao Zhi (枣祗, who invented the tuntian and urged Cao Cao to implement the system) already set up defense around the area, so Cheng Yu split his cavalry force out to take control of Cangting ford to block the advance of Lü Bu's strategist, Chen Gong. Xue Ti then formulated a strategy with Cheng Yu, which enabled the defense of the three cities until Cao Cao's return."兗州從事薛悌與昱協謀,卒完三城,以待太祖。" See SGZ

This year must be a hard one for Cao Cao, not only did he lose to Lü Bu several times in battles around Puyang, a widespread famine also broke out in Yanzhou (but this also forced Lü Bu to retreat). For once, Cao Cao thought about relinquishing his position in Yan Province, and prepared to surrender to Yuan Shao, who was his childhood friend. Nevertheless, Cheng Yu rebuked his master by saying that Cao Cao had a caliber greater than just being a subject under Yuan Shao, and it was shameful for a genius to submit to a man who only enjoyed an overvalued fame. Cheng Yu said to Cao Cao: "Even a mere warrior like Tian Heng knew about shame, how could you act so shamefully to surrender to Yuan Shao?" However, Cheng Yu's heroic speech was way easier to say than to do, because Cao Cao's army had already been running out of food! Nevertheless, not wanting to be called a shameful son of a eunuch, Cao Cao appeared to listen to Cheng Yu, but asked the latter to ready three days of grain. Unprepared to be asked to deal with this problem, Cheng Yu insanely devised a very vicious strategy: he personally led an armed force to pillage his hometown, and abducted his townsfolk, who would then be slaughtered like pigs for the army to feed on.

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine