Chen Shi (Three Kingdoms)

Chen Shi (fl. 217–229) was a military officer of the state of Shu Han in the Three Kingdoms period of China. He previously served under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han dynasty. His name is sometimes recorded as Chen Jie.[1][2]

Chen Shi
Traditional Chinese陳式
Simplified Chinese陈式
Chen Jie
Traditional Chinese陳戒
Simplified Chinese陈戒


Little is recorded about Chen Shi in history. Information about him is scattered throughout the biographies of different persons and across different years in the Records of the Three Kingdoms, the authoritative source for the history of the Three Kingdoms period.

Chen Shi was first mentioned in 217 when he participated in the Hanzhong Campaign under Liu Bei's command. Liu Bei sent him and ten other officers to lead their troops to cut off the enemy's route along the gallery roads at Maminge Path (馬鳴閣道; in present-day Guangyuan, Sichuan). However, they were driven back by Xu Huang, a general under Liu Bei's rival Cao Cao, and many of Liu Bei's soldiers fell off the gallery roads into the deep valleys and died during the attack.[3]

The second mention of Chen Shi was in 221–222 during the Battle of Xiaoting, which was fought between Liu Bei and his ally-turned-rival, Sun Quan, the founding emperor of the Eastern Wu state. Liu Bei, then already the emperor of the Shu Han state, had amassed an army to attack Sun Quan and seize back Jing Province, which Sun Quan captured from him in 219. In the initial stages of the battle, Liu Bei ordered Chen Shi and Wu Ban to lead the Shu navy and station at Yiling (; southeast of present-day Yichang, Hubei) in between the east and west banks of the Yangtze River.[4]

Chen Shi was mentioned for the third and last time in 229, during the reign of Liu Bei's son and successor, Liu Shan. He participated in the third of a series of military campaigns led by Shu's chancellor, Zhuge Liang, against Shu's rival state Wei. This is historically known as the Battle of Jianwei. Acting on Zhuge Liang's order, Chen Shi led troops to attack Wudu (武都) and Yinping (陰平) commanderies and conquered them for Shu.[5] The Wei general Guo Huai attempted to seize back the two commanderies from Chen Shi, but retreated when he heard that Zhuge Liang had personally led an army from Jianwei (建威) to reinforce Chen Shi.[a][6]

In Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit

In the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Chen Shi was captured at the Battle of Mount Dingjun by Xiahou Yuan's forces, but was released in exchange for Xiahou Shang, who was captured by Liu Bei's forces. In the novel, during Zhuge Liang's third Northern Expedition, after committing a strategic blunder, he tried to push the blame to Wei Yan but Zhuge Liang held him responsible and executed him.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Chen Shi is erroneously referred to in Zhuge Liang's biography in the Sanguozhi as "Chen Jie" (陳戒).


  1. ^ (春,漢諸葛亮遣其將陳戒攻武都、陰平二郡,雍州刺史郭淮引兵救之。) Zizhi Tongjian vol. 71.
  2. ^ (七年,亮遣陳戒攻武都、陰平。) Sanguozhi vol. 35.
  3. ^ (備遣陳式等十餘營絕馬鳴閣道,晃別征破之,賊自投山谷,多死者。) Sanguozhi vol. 17.
  4. ^ ([章武]二年春正月,先主軍還秭歸,將軍吳班、陳式水軍屯夷陵,夾江東西岸。) Sanguozhi vol. 32.
  5. ^ ([建興]七年春,亮遣陳式攻武都、陰平,遂克定二郡。) Sanguozhi vol. 33.
  6. ^ ([建興]七年,亮遣陳戒攻武都、陰平。魏雍州刺史郭淮率衆欲擊戒,亮自出至建威,淮退還,遂平二郡。) Sanguozhi vol. 35.