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Battle of Yangping

Battle of Yangping
Part of the wars at the end of the Han dynasty
Date 215 CE
Location Hanzhong, Shaanxi, China
Result Cao Cao victory
Cao Cao Zhang Lu
Commanders and leaders
Cao Cao Zhang Lu 
Battle of Yangping
Traditional Chinese 陽平之戰
Simplified Chinese 阳平之战
Battle of Yangping Pass
Traditional Chinese 陽平關之戰
Simplified Chinese 阳平关之战

The Battle of Yangping, also known as the Battle of Yangping Pass, was fought between the warlords Cao Cao and Zhang Lu in 215 CE during the late Eastern Han dynasty. The battle concluded with a victory for Cao Cao.


  • Background 1
  • The battle 2
  • Aftermath 3
  • Modern references 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6


In the third lunar month of 215, Cao Cao launched a campaign against Zhang Lu in Hanzhong commandery. When Cao Cao's army arrived at Chencang (陳倉; present-day Chencang District, Baoji, Shaanxi) and was about to pass through Wudu (武都; around present-day Longnan, Gansu), the Di tribes in the area blocked their path, so Cao sent Zhang He, Zhu Ling and others to attack the Di and clear the way. In the fourth month, Cao Cao's army passed through San Pass (散關) and arrived at Hechi (河池). The Di king, Dou Mao (竇茂), led thousands of tribesmen to resist Cao Cao, but Cao defeated them by the following month and he massacred the Di population. Qu Yan (麴演), Jiang Shi (蔣石) and other generals from Xiping (西平) and Jincheng (金城) killed Han Sui and sent his head to Cao Cao.[1]

In the seventh month, Cao Cao's forces reached Yangping Pass (陽平關; in present-day Ningqiang County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi) after making a long and arduous journey through mountainous terrain. When his soldiers started complaining, Cao Cao announced that he would remember them for their contributions to encourage them to move on.[2]

The battle

Zhang Lu ordered his younger brother Zhang Wei and officer Yang Ang to lead troops to defend the pass. Zhang Wei and Yang Ang had defensive structures built in the mountainous areas, spanning over 10 li, to deter Cao Cao's advances. Cao Cao was unable to overcome the enemy after launching assaults so he withdrew his forces. Zhang Lu's men lowered their defences when they saw Cao Cao retreating. Cao Cao gave secret orders to Xie Biao (解忄剽) and Gao Zuo (高祚) to lead a sneak attack on the enemy at night and they achieved success. Yang Ang was killed in action while Zhang Wei fled under the cover of night.


Zhang Lu retreated to Bazhong (巴中; in present-day eastern Sichuan) when he heard that Yangping Pass had been taken. Cao Cao's army occupied Nanzheng (南鄭; present-day Nanzheng County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi), the capital of Hanzhong commandery, and seized the precious items stored in Zhang Lu's treasuries.[3]

The people in Hanzhong surrendered to Cao Cao, who then renamed the place to "Hanzhong" from its previous name "Hanning" (漢寧).[notes 1] Cao Cao separated Anyang (安陽) and Xicheng (西城) counties from Hanzhong and placed them under the jurisdiction of Xicheng commandery (西城郡) and appointed an Administrator (太守) to oversee the commandery. He also partitioned Xi (錫) and Shangyong commandery (上庸郡) and appointed Commandants (都尉) to govern those areas.[4] In the ninth month, the tribal king Pu Hu (朴胡) and Du Huo (杜濩), the Marquis of Congyi (賨邑侯), led the people in Bayi (巴夷) and Cong (賨) to submit to Cao Cao. Cao Cao split Ba commandery (巴郡) into Badong (巴東; "East Ba") and Baxi (巴西; "West Ba") commanderies and appointed Pu Hu and Du Huo, who also received marquis titles, as their Administrators respectively. Emperor Xian also granted Cao Cao the authority to confer titles upon the nobles and officials in the area.[5]

In the 11th month, Zhang Lu led his followers out of Bazhong and came to surrender to Cao Cao. Cao Cao accepted their surrender and granted marquis titles to Zhang Lu and his five sons. Around the time, Liu Bei had recently seized control of Yi Province (益州; covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) from its governor Liu Zhang and occupied Bazhong after Zhang Lu left. Cao Cao ordered Zhang He to lead a force to attack Liu Bei, but Zhang He was defeated by Liu's general Zhang Fei at the Battle of Baxi.[6]

In the 12th month, Cao Cao left Nanzheng and headed back to Ye (鄴; in present-day Handan, Hebei), leaving behind Xiahou Yuan to guard Hanzhong.[7]

Modern references

The battle is featured as a playable stage in Koei's video game Dynasty Warriors 5: Xtreme Legends and Dynasty Warriors 7.


  1. ^ Hanzhong commandery (漢中郡; covering the area around present-day Hanzhong, Shaanxi) had been called "Hanzhong" since the Warring States period. It was renamed to "Hanning commandery" (漢寧郡) in the late Eastern Han dynasty, but Cao Cao restored its old name "Hanzhong" in 215 after taking control of the place from Zhang Lu.


  1. ^ ([二十年]三月,公西征張魯,至陳倉,將自武都入氐;氐人塞道,先遣張郃、朱靈等攻破之。夏四月,公自陳倉以出散關,至河池。氐王竇茂衆萬餘人,恃險不服,五月,公攻屠之。西平、金城諸將麴演、蔣石等共斬送韓遂首。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
  2. ^ (魏書曰:軍自武都山行千里,升降險阻,軍人勞苦;公於是大饗,莫不忘其勞。) Wei Shu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 1.
  3. ^ (秋七月,公至陽平。張魯使弟衞與將楊昂等據陽平關,橫山築城十餘里,攻之不能拔,乃引軍還。賊見大軍退,其守備解散。公乃密遣解忄剽、高祚等乘險夜襲,大破之,斬其將楊任,進攻衞,衞等夜遁,魯潰奔巴中。公軍入南鄭,盡得魯府庫珍寶。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
  4. ^ (巴、漢皆降。復漢寧郡為漢中;分漢中之安陽、西城為西城郡,置太守;分錫、上庸郡,置都尉。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
  5. ^ (九月,巴七姓夷王朴胡、賨邑侯杜濩舉巴夷、賨民來附,於是分巴郡,以胡為巴東太守,濩為巴西太守,皆封列侯。天子命公承制封拜諸侯守相。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
  6. ^ (十一月,魯自巴中將其餘衆降。封魯及五子皆為列侯。劉備襲劉璋,取益州,遂據巴中;遣張郃擊之。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
  7. ^ (十二月,公自南鄭還,留夏侯淵屯漢中。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.

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