Cao Ang (pronunciation ) (c. 177 – February or March 197),[a] courtesy name Zixiu, was the eldest son of Cao Cao, a warlord who rose to power towards the end of the Han dynasty and laid the foundation of the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was killed at the Battle of Wancheng in 197.[1]

Cao Ang
Bornc. 177[1]
Diedbetween February 5th to March 6th[a] 197 (aged 20)[1]
Wancheng District, Nanyang, Henan
Family name: Cao (曹)
Given name: Ang (昂)
Courtesy name: Zixiu (子脩)
Posthumous name
Prince Min (愍王)
HouseHouse of Cao
FatherCao Cao
MotherConsort Liu


Cao Ang was the first son of Cao Cao and his concubine Lady Liu (劉夫人). Lady Liu also bore Cao Cao another son, Cao Shuo (曹鑠), and a daughter, Grand Princess[3] Qinghe (清河長公主).[4][5] However, as Lady Liu died early, Cao Ang was raised by Cao Cao's first official spouse, Lady Ding (丁夫人), who treated Cao Ang as though he was her real son.[6]

Nothing was recorded in history about Cao Ang's early life, except that he was nominated as a xiaolian (civil service candidate) when he reached the age of adulthood (around 19 years old).[7] In February or March 197, Cao Ang followed his father on a campaign against the warlord Zhang Xiu in Wan (宛; or Wancheng, in present-day Wancheng District, Nanyang, Henan). Zhang Xiu surrendered initially, but rebelled later, launched a surprise attack on Cao Cao and caught him completely off guard. Cao Cao was injured in the right arm by a stray arrow during the battle while his horse, Jueying (絕影), was hit in the neck and leg.[8] Cao Ang could not ride on horseback so he offered his own steed to his father, who managed to escape from Wancheng. Cao Ang died in the battle.[9][10][11]

Post-mortem events and successionEdit

Lady Ding wept often on Cao Ang's death and accused Cao Cao of getting Cao Ang killed and not thinking of him. Cao Cao became angry and sent her back to her family in the hope she might change her mind but when he went to see her around 200,[12] she refused to speak to him so he agreed to a divorce. After her death and when Cao Cao was unwell, he wondered how he could face Cao Ang's spirit if Ang asked about Lady Ding.[13]

In 221, after Cao Pi (another of Cao Cao's sons) ended the Han dynasty and established the state of Cao Wei (which marked the start of the Three Kingdoms period), he granted Cao Ang the posthumous title "Duke Dao of Feng" (豐悼公). Three years later, Cao Ang was posthumously elevated to the status of a prince, so his posthumous title became "Prince Dao of Feng" (豐悼王). In 229, during the reign of Cao Pi's son Cao Rui, Cao Ang's posthumous title was changed to "Prince Min of Feng" (豐愍王).[14]

Cao Ang had no son to succeed him when he died. However, in 222, Cao Wan (曹琬), a son of Cao Ang's half-brother, Cao Jun (曹均), was designated as Cao Ang's heir and was enfeoffed as a Zhongdu Duke (中都公). Later that year, Cao Wan was reassigned as a Zhangzi Duke (長子公). In 254, during the reign of Cao Fang, Cao Wan was promoted to "Prince of Feng" (豐王) and given the princedom "Feng", per Cao Ang's posthumous title. The number of taxable households in his princedom increased through the reigns of Cao Mao and Cao Huan until it reached 2,700. After Cao Wan died, he was posthumously honoured as "Prince Gong of Feng" (豐恭王) and was succeeded by his son, Cao Lian (曹廉).[15]

A tomb discovered at the Cao Cao Mausoleum in Anyang which contained clothes but no human remains may belong to Cao Ang, as his body was never found.[16][17][18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b The Zizhi Tongjian recorded that the Battle of Wancheng took place in the 1st month of the 2nd year of the Jian'an era of the reign of Emperor Xian of the Eastern Han dynasty.[2] This month corresponds to 5 February to 6 March 197 in the Gregorian calendar.


  1. ^ a b c de Crespigny (2007), p. 33.
  2. ^ Sima (1084), vol. 62.
  3. ^ Lee, Lily; Wiles, Sue, eds. (2015). Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women. Vol. II. Routledge. p. 609. ISBN 978-1-317-51562-3. An emperor's [...] sister or a favorite daughter was called a grand princess (zhang gongzhu); and his aunt or grand-aunt was called a princess supreme (dazhang gongzhu).
  4. ^ (武皇帝二十五男: ... 劉夫人生豐愍王昂、相殤王鑠, ...) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  5. ^ (魏略曰:太祖始有丁夫人,又劉夫人生子脩及清河長公主。) Weilue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 5.
  6. ^ (魏略曰:太祖始有丁夫人,又劉夫人生子脩及清河長公主。劉早終,丁養子脩。子脩亡於穰,丁常言:「將我兒殺之,都不復念!」遂哭泣無節。) Weilue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 5.
  7. ^ (豐愍王昂字子脩。弱冠舉孝廉。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  8. ^ (魏書曰:公所乘馬名絕影,為流矢所中,傷頰及足,并中公右臂。) Wei Shu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 5.
  9. ^ (世語曰:昂不能騎,進馬於公,公故免,而昂遇害。) Shiyu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 1.
  10. ^ (二年春正月,公到宛。張繡降,旣而悔之,復反。公與戰,軍敗,為流矢所中,長子昂、弟子安民遇害。) Sanguozhi vol. 1.
  11. ^ (隨太祖南征,為張繡所害。無子。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  12. ^ de Crespigny, Rafe (2010). Imperial Warlord A Biography of Cao Cao 155-220 AD (ebook). Brill. p. 401. ISBN 9789004188303. Retrieved 10 January 2022.
  13. ^ Weilue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 5.
  14. ^ (黃初二年追封,謚曰豐悼公。 ... 五年,追加昂號曰豐悼王。太和三年改昂謚曰愍王。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  15. ^ (三年,以樊安公均子琬奉昂後,封中都公。其年徙封長子公。 ... 嘉平六年,以琬襲昂爵為豐王。正元、景元中,累增邑,并前二千七百戶。琬薨,謚曰恭王。子廉嗣。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  16. ^ Everington, Keoni (26 March 2018). "Tomb of legendary Chinese general Cao Cao found". Taiwan News. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  17. ^ Zhou, Laura (26 March 2018). "Archaeologists confident they have found body of fabled Chinese warlord Cao Cao". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
  18. ^ "梟雄出土 河南考古找到曹操遺骸 [A xiaoxiong is unearthed; Henan archaeologists discover Cao Cao's remains]". Apple Daily (in Chinese). 25 March 2018. Retrieved 27 March 2018.