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Cao Mao (Prince of Laoling)

Cao Mao
Prince of Laoling (樂陵王)
Tenure244 – ?
Prince of Quyang (曲陽王)
Tenure232 – 244
Prince of Liaocheng (聊城王)
Reign227 – 232
Duke of Liaocheng (聊城公)
Tenure227 – 227
Duke of Zhongqiu (中丘公)
Tenure226 – 227
Duke of Chengshi (乘氏公)
Tenure222 – 226
  • Cao Song
  • many other sons
HouseHouse of Cao
FatherCao Cao
MotherConsort Zhao

Cao Mao (fl. 217–260s) was an imperial prince of the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period of China.


Cao Mao was a son of Cao Cao, a warlord who rose to prominence towards the end of the Han dynasty and laid the foundation for the Cao Wei state. His mother was Consort Zhao (趙姬), a concubine of Cao Cao.[1] He was enfeoffed as the "Marquis of Wansui Village" (萬歲亭侯) in 217 by Emperor Xian, the figurehead emperor of the Han dynasty. In the following year, his title was changed to "Marquis of Pingyu" (平輿侯). In his younger days, Cao Mao was never in his father's favour because he was known for being cruel and arrogant.[2]

In 220, following Cao Cao's death, Cao Mao's half-brother Cao Pi usurped the throne from Emperor Xian, ended the Han dynasty, and established the Cao Wei state with himself as the new emperor. Unlike all his other brothers, Cao Mao was not enfeoffed as a prince by Cao Pi. Instead, he was enfeoffed as the "Duke of Chengshi" (乘氏公). His title was changed to "Duke of Zhongqiu" (中丘公) in 226.[3]

In 227, Cao Pi's son and successor, Cao Rui, changed Cao Mao's title to "Duke of Liaocheng" (聊城公). Later that year, Cao Rui issued an imperial edict declaring that the Grand Empress Dowager once said that even though Cao Mao's poor conduct made him unworthy of being a prince, he could still become a prince if he expressed remorse for his past actions and behaved well. As Cao Mao probably improved his behaviour over the years, Cao Rui decided to promote Cao Mao from a duke to a prince under the title "Prince of Liaocheng" (聊城王). In 232, Cao Rui changed Cao Mao's title to "Prince of Quyang" (曲陽王).[4]

When his half-brother Cao Hui, the Prince of Dongping, died in 242, Cao Mao claimed that he was sick and used that as an excuse to not participate in the memorial service. Later, someone reported to the imperial court that Cao Mao lied about his illness because he was seen going about his usual activities during that period. As punishment, Cao Mao had one county with 500 taxable households removed from his princedom. In 244, he was relocated to Laoling Commandery (樂陵郡; around present-day Yangxin County, Shandong), so his title was changed to "Prince of Laoling" (樂陵王). As the taxable households in Cao Mao's princedom provided insufficient revenue to support him and his many sons, the imperial court returned the 500 households to him and added another 700 to his princedom. The number of taxable households in Cao Mao's princedom increased throughout the reigns of the subsequent Wei emperors until it reached 5,000 in the reign of Cao Huan.[5]

Cao Mao had many sons. One of them, Cao Song (曹竦), was designated as the Prince of Xiang (相王) by the imperial court in 255 because the previous prince, Cao Yan (曹偃), died without a son to inherit his princedom.[6]

See also


  1. ^ (武皇帝二十五男: ... 趙姬生樂陵王茂。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  2. ^ (樂陵王茂,建安二十二年封萬歲亭侯。二十三年,改封平輿侯。 ... 茂性慠佷,少無寵於太祖。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  3. ^ (黃初三年,進爵,徙封乘氏公。七年,徙封中丘。 ... 及文帝世,又獨不王。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  4. ^ (太和元年,徙封聊城公,其年為王。詔曰:「昔象之為虐至甚,而大舜猶侯之有鼻。 ... 聊城公茂少不閑禮教,長不務善道。先帝以為古之立諸侯也,皆命賢者,故姬姓有未必侯者,是以獨不王茂。太皇太后數以為言。如聞茂頃來少知悔昔之非,欲脩善將來。君子與其進,不保其往也。今封茂為聊城王,以慰太皇太后下流之念。」六年,改封曲陽王。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  5. ^ (正始三年,東平靈王薨,茂稱嗌痛,不肯發哀,居處出入自若。有司奏除國土,詔削縣一,戶五百。五年,徙封樂陵,詔以茂租奉少,諸子多,復所削戶,又增戶七百。嘉平、正元、景元中,累增邑,并前五千戶。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  6. ^ (正元二年,以樂陵王茂子陽都鄉公竦繼鑠後。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.