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Du Wei (Three Kingdoms)

Du Wei
Counsellor Remonstrant (諫議大夫)
In office
224 (224) – ? (?)
MonarchLiu Shan
Preceded byZhuge Liang
Personal details
Mianyang, Sichuan
Courtesy nameGuofu (國輔)

Du Wei (fl. 190s – 220s), courtesy name Guofu, was an official of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period of China.


Du Wei was from Fu County (涪縣), Zitong Commandery (梓潼郡), which is in present-day Mianyang, Sichuan. He was born sometime in the mid- or late Eastern Han dynasty. In his younger days, he studied under the tutelage of Ren An (任安; 124–202), a famous scholar and polymath.[1] Liu Zhang, the Governor of Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing), heard about Du Wei and offered him the position of an Assistant Officer (從事) in the provincial government. However, Du Wei claimed that he was ill and declined the offer.[2] In 214,[3] after the warlord Liu Bei seized control of Yi Province from Liu Zhang, he wanted to recruit Du Wei to serve in his administration. Du Wei claimed that he could not serve because he was deaf, and stayed at home.[4]

In 224, Zhuge Liang, the Imperial Chancellor of the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period, was actively searching for talented and virtuous people to serve in the Shu government. Among the candidates he selected, he appointed Qin Mi as an Assistant Officer (別駕), Wu Liang (五梁)[a] as an Officer of Merit (功曹), and Du Wei as a Registrar (主簿).[6]

When Du Wei declined again, Zhuge Liang sent a carriage to his residence to fetch him to the office. Upon Du Wei's arrival, Zhuge Liang came out to welcome him in person. Du Wei thanked Zhuge Liang for the offer but did not accept. As Zhuge Liang heard that Du Wei was deaf, he wrote a note beforehand and passed it to Du Wei when he showed up.[7] The note read:

"I have heard of your virtuous character and have longed to meet you. However, as the pure do not interact with the impure, I never had the chance to consult you in person. Wang Yuantai, Li Boren, Wang Wenyi, Yang Jixiu, Ding Jungan, Li Yongnan and his brother(s), Wen Zhongbao and others have long admired you for your lofty character but never had the chance to meet you. Although I have been tasked with the important responsibility of governing this province, I am so untalented and lacking in virtue that I constantly worry about being unable to perform my role well. His Majesty has just turned 18 this year. He is kind, loving and intelligent. He appreciates people of virtuous character and treats them with respect. Everyone misses the days of the Han Empire and hopes that you will follow the will of Heaven and the people, serve our wise Emperor, assist him in rebuilding the Han Empire, and leave your good name in history. As the wise do not work with the foolish, you decided to remain in seclusion. You have been working hard at home and refusing to degrade yourself."[8]

After reading the note, Du Wei tried to turn down the offer once more, claiming that he was old and feeble and therefore unfit to serve. Zhuge Liang, given his strong admiration for Du Wei,[9] refused to give up, so he produced another note and showed Du Wei.[10] It read:

Cao Pi committed regicide, usurped the throne, and declared himself Emperor. His legitimacy is like a dragon made from mud and a dog made from straw. I hope to work together with people of virtue and talent to destroy the evil and pretentious Cao Pi in the name of righteousness. As you do not want to assist and advise me, and instead choose to return to the countryside, my wish cannot be fulfilled. Cao Pi has led his armies to attack the Wu and Chu lands. As he is currently so busy with many things, our State should use the opportunity to secure our borders, promote agriculture, educate the people, and train the troops. After Cao Pi gets defeated in his battles against Wu, we shall seize the chance to attack Wei and pacify the Empire with minimal efforts and losses. You should put your talents and virtues to good use by serving in the government. I am not asking you to participate in military affairs. Why are you so quick to reject me and leave?[11]

When Du Wei finally relented and agreed to serve in the Shu government, Zhuge Liang appointed him as a Counsellor Remonstrant (諫議大夫), whose tasks and responsibilities suited his preferences.[12]


  1. ^ Wu Liang (五梁), whose courtesy name was Deshan (德山), was from Nan'an County (南安縣), Qianwei Commandery (犍為郡), which is in present-day Leshan, Sichuan. He was known for being well-versed in Confucian studies and for his virtuous character. He started serving as a Consultant (議郎) in the Shu government before being promoted to Counsellor Remonstrant (諫議大夫) and later General of the Household for All Purposes (五官中郎將).[5]

See also


  1. ^ (杜微字國輔,梓潼涪人也。少受學於廣漢任安。) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  2. ^ (劉璋辟為從事,以疾去官。) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  3. ^ Zizhi Tongjian vol. 67.
  4. ^ (及先主定蜀,微常稱聾,閉門不出。) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  5. ^ (五梁者,字德山,犍為南安人也,以儒學節操稱。從議郎遷諫議大夫、五官中郎將。) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  6. ^ (建興二年,丞相亮領益州牧,選迎皆妙簡舊德,以秦宓為別駕,五梁為功曹,微為主簿。) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  7. ^ (微固辭,轝而致之。旣至,亮引見微,微自陳謝。高以微不聞人語,於坐上與書曰: ...) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  8. ^ (「服聞德行,饑渴歷時,清濁異流,無緣咨覯。王元泰、李伯仁、王文儀、楊季休、丁君幹、李永南兄弟、文仲寶等,每歎高志,未見如舊。猥以空虛,統領貴州,德薄任重,慘慘憂慮。朝廷主公今年始十八,天姿仁敏,愛德下士。天下之人思慕漢室,欲與君因天順民,輔此明主,以隆季興之功,著勳於竹帛也。以謂賢愚不相為謀,故自割絕,守勞而已,不圖自屈也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  9. ^ (其敬微如此。) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  10. ^ (微自乞老病求歸,亮又與書荅曰: ...) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  11. ^ (「曹丕篡弒,自立為帝,是猶土龍芻狗之有名也。欲與羣賢因其邪偽,以正道滅之。怪君未有相誨,便欲求還於山野。丕又大興勞役,以向吳、楚。今因丕多務,且以境勤農育養民物,並治甲兵,以待其挫,然後伐之,可使兵不戰民不勞而天下定也。君但當以德輔時耳,不責君軍事,何為汲汲欲求去乎!」) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  12. ^ (拜為諫議大夫,以從其志。) Sanguozhi vol. 42.
  • Chen, Shou (3rd century). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
  • de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms 23-220 AD. Leiden: Brill. p. 184. ISBN 9789004156050.
  • Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.