Cao Pi

Cao Pi (187 – 29 June 226), formally known as Emperor Wen of Wei, was the first emperor of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history. Born in Qiao County, Pei Commandery (present-day Bozhou, Anhui), he was the second son of the late Han Dynasty warlord Cao Cao.

Cao Pi, like his father, was a poet. The first Chinese poem using seven syllables per line (七言詩) was the poem Yan Ge Xing (燕歌行) by Cao Pi. He also wrote over a hundred articles on various subjects.

Cao Pi was the eldest son of Cao Cao and his concubine (later wife) Lady Bian. Of all his brothers, Cao Pi was the most shrewd. Instead of studying hard or conducting military affairs, he was always in the presence of court officials in order to gain their support. He was mostly in charge of defense at the start of his career. After the defeat of rival warlord Yuan Shao at the Battle of Guandu, he took the widow of Yuan Shao's son Yuan Xi, Lady Zhen, as a consort, although eventually she lost his favor and was forced to commit suicide. After he became emperor, his other favorite, Guo Nüwang, became empress.

In 220, Cao Pi forced Emperor Xian, last ruler of the Han Dynasty, to abdicate and proclaimed himself Emperor of Wei. Cao Pi continued his father's war against the rival states of Shu Han and Eastern Wu but was unsuccessful. Unlike his father, he concentrated most of his efforts on his home country. During his reign, he formally established Chen Qun's nine-rank system as the base for civil service nomination, which drew many talents into his government. On the other hand, he drastically reduced the power of princes, stripping off their power to oppose him, but at the same time, rendering them unable to assist the emperor if a crisis arose within the state.

Read more about Cao Pi:  Family Background and Early Career, As King of Wei, Family, Era Name, Appointments and Titles Held, Modern References

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