Ding Feng (general)

Ding Feng (died 271),[1] courtesy name Chengyuan, was a Chinese military general and politician of the state of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms period of China.[2]

Ding Feng
A Qing dynasty illustration of Ding Feng
Right Grand Marshal (右大司馬)
(alongside Shi Ji)
In office
September 264 (September 264) – 271 (271)
MonarchSun Hao
Succeeded byLu Kang
Left Military Adviser (左軍師)
In office
September 264 (September 264) – 271 (271)
MonarchSun Hao
General-in-Chief (大將軍)
In office
258 (258) – September 264 (September 264)
MonarchSun Xiu
General of the Left (左將軍)
In office
MonarchSun Liang
Personal details
Gushi County, Henan
RelationsDing Fēng (brother)
OccupationMilitary general, politician
Courtesy nameChengyuan (承淵)
PeerageMarquis of Anfeng

Early life and careerEdit

Ding Feng was from Anfeng County (安豐縣), Lujiang Commandery (廬江郡), which is in present-day Gushi County, Henan.[3] He started his career as a soldier under the warlord Sun Quan sometime towards the end of the Han dynasty, and was commissioned as an officer for his courage in battle. He served as a subordinate of various generals under Sun Quan, including Gan Ning, Lu Xun and Pan Zhang. He fought in many wars for his lord and was well known for his valour. He was also wounded in battle several times and had slain many enemy commanders and captured the enemy's flags. He was promoted to Lieutenant-General (偏將軍) for his achievements.[4]

Service under Sun LiangEdit

In 252, Sun Liang succeeded his father Sun Quan as the emperor of the state of Eastern Wu. He appointed Ding Feng as Champion General (冠軍將軍) and enfeoffed him as a Marquis of a Chief Village (都亭侯).[5]

Battle of DongxingEdit

In 252, Sima Shi, the regent of Wu's rival state Wei, sent Zhuge Dan and Hu Zun to lead the Wei armies to attack the Wu garrison at Dongxing (東興; southeast of present-day Chaohu City, Anhui). In response, the Wu regent Zhuge Ke led the Wu forces to resist the enemy, leading to the Battle of Dongxing between Wu and Wei.[6]

The Wu generals said: "When the enemy learns that the Grand Tutor (Zhuge Ke) is coming here personally, they will surely retreat when we reach the shore." However, only Ding Feng had a different view: "No. They are making large movements in their territory. They are prepared, as they have mobilised large numbers of troops from Xuchang and Luoyang, so why would they go back empty-handed? Don't think that the enemy won't come. We should ready ourselves for battle." When Zhuge Ke reached Dongxing, he placed Ding Feng, Liu Zan (留贊), Lü Ju and Tang Zi in charge of the vanguard and they moved west along mountainous terrain. Ding Feng warned: "We are moving too slow. If the enemy seizes favourable ground, it will be harder to deal with them." He then led 3,000 soldiers with him, travelling on a different route from the main bulk of Wu forces.[7]

Strong north winds were blowing at that time. Ding Feng and his 3,000 men reached the frontline within two days and seized control of Xu Embankment (徐塘). It was in winter and there was snowfall. The Wei officers were off guard and having a drinking session, so, despite the feeble size of his army, Ding Feng rallied his men and said: "Today is the day we claim titles and rewards!" He then ordered his troops to remove their armour and helmets, discard their jis and spears, and arm themselves with only shields and short weapons such as swords. The Wei soldiers laughed when they saw this event, and instead refused to ready themselves for combat. Ding Feng and his men fought bravely and destroyed the enemy camp at the front. Just then, another Wu force led by Lü Ju and a few others arrived, therefore joining Ding Feng in attacking the enemy camp. The Wei forces suffered a crushing a defeat.[8]

Ding Feng was promoted to General Who Destroys Bandits (滅寇將軍) and had his marquis rank increased by one grade for his efforts in the battle.[9]

Shouchun rebellionsEdit

In 255, the Cao Wei generals Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin started a rebellion in the Wei-controlled Shouchun (壽春; present-day Shou County, Anhui). However, the revolt failed and Wen Qin fled towards Wu to seek refuge. Ding Feng was appointed as General of Tiger's Might (虎威將軍) and he followed an army led by the Wu regent Sun Jun to receive Wen Qin. They encountered Wei forces pursuing Wen Qin at Gaoting (高亭) and engaged the enemy in battle. Ding Feng, armed with a long spear and on horseback, led a charge into the enemy formation and they slew hundreds of Wei soldiers and seized much of the enemy's weapons and equipment. He was enfeoffed as the Marquis of Anfeng (安豐侯) for his achievements.[10]

In 257, another rebellion led by the Wei general Zhuge Dan broke out in Shouchun again. Zhuge Dan requested aid from Wu and the Wu regent Sun Chen agreed. Sima Zhao personally led the Wei armies to suppress the revolt and they attempted to surround Shouchun. Sun Chen ordered Zhu Yi and Tang Zi to help Zhuge Dan, and later sent Li Fei (黎斐) and Ding Feng to lift the siege on Shouchun. Ding Feng stationed at Lijiang (黎漿) and he fought bravely in battle even though the rebellion was eventually crushed by Wei forces and the Wu army sustained heavy losses. Despite the failure of the campaign, Ding Feng was still held in high regard in Wu, as he was subsequently appointed as General of the Left (左將軍).[11]

Service under Sun XiuEdit

In 258, Sun Chen deposed the second Wu emperor Sun Liang and replaced the latter with Sun Xiu. Sun Xiu was unhappy that Sun Chen monopolised state power so he plotted with the minister Zhang Bu to eliminate Sun Chen. Zhang Bu told the emperor, "Ding Feng may not be proficient in administrating civil affairs, but he is an outstanding strategist and is capable of making important decisions." Sun Xiu then summoned Ding Feng and told him: "Sun Chen usurps state power and is plotting treason. I want you to help me eliminate him." Ding Feng replied: "The Imperial Chancellor (Sun Chen) and his brothers have many supporters. Not everyone in the imperial court is on our side. We cannot confront them directly. I suggest that Your Majesty order your soldiers to kill him during the Laba Festival." Sun Xiu followed Ding Feng's plan and pretended to invite Sun Chen to the palace to celebrate the Laba Festival. When Sun Chen stepped inside, Ding Feng and Zhang Bu signalled to the imperial guards to kill him. For his contributions, Ding Feng was promoted to the position of General-in-Chief (大將軍) and received the additional appointments of Left and Right Protector-Generals (左右都護).[12]

In 259, Ding Feng was appointed as the nominal Governor of Xu Province. In 263, when the state of Wei launched a campaign to conquer Wu's ally Shu, Ding Feng led the Wu forces to attack Shouchun (壽春; present-day Shou County, Anhui) in an attempt to divert Wei attention away from Shu. However, it was too late as the Shu emperor Liu Shan had already surrendered to Wei, marking the end of Shu. When Ding Feng received news of the fall of Shu, he withdrew the Wu armies from Shouchun.[13]

Service under Sun HaoEdit

When Sun Xiu died in 264, Ding Feng and Puyang Xing heeded Wan Yu's advice and decided to install Sun Hao on the throne. After his accession, Sun Hao appointed Ding Feng as Right Grand Marshal (右大司馬) and Left Military Adviser (左軍師).[14]

In 268, Sun Hao ordered Ding Feng and Zhuge Jing to lead an army to attack Hefei, which was under the control of the Jin dynasty (which replaced the state of Wei in 265). Ding Feng exchanged letters with the Jin general Shi Bao (石苞), in which they discussed some trivial things. Shi Bao later ordered the Jin army to retreat.[15]

In 269, Ding Feng was ordered to garrison at Xu Embankment (徐塘) and later attack the Jin territory of Guyang (穀陽). When the residents in Guyang learnt of the Wu army's approach, they immediately evacuated the area and Ding Feng did not obtain anything in the campaign. Sun Hao was furious when he heard about that, and he executed Ding Feng's army guide.[16]


Ding Feng died in 271. His cause of death was not recorded in history.[17] In his later years, Ding Feng gradually became arrogant as he achieved more glory for his contributions on the battlefield. He was slandered and defamed by others after his death. However, Sun Hao still recognised Ding Feng for his meritorious service, so he did not massacre Ding Feng's family and instead exiled them to Linchuan (臨川; present-day Linchuan District, Fuzhou, Jiangxi).[18]

In 2020-2021 four brick tombs belonging to Ding Feng and his family were excavated at Nanjing. The tombs had been robbed, but four land purchase certificates inscribed on brick were found in one tomb, which indicated that the occupants of this tomb were Ding Feng and his wife. The certificates further indicated that Ding Feng and his wife died in 271 and 251 respectively.[19]


Ding Feng's younger brother, Ding Fēng (丁封),[b] also served as a general in Eastern Wu and the highest position he attained was General of the Rear (後將軍). The younger Ding Feng died before his elder brother.[20]

In popular cultureEdit

Ding Feng is first introduced as a playable character in the seventh instalment of Koei's Dynasty Warriors video game series.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Ding Feng's biography in the Sanguozhi recorded that he died in the 3rd year of the Jianheng era (269-271) of Sun Hao's reign.[1]
  2. ^ Note that the Chinese characters for Feng in their names are different.


  1. ^ a b (建衡元年, ... 三年,卒。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  2. ^ de Crespigny (2007), p. 141.
  3. ^ (丁奉字承淵,廬江安豐人也。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  4. ^ (少以驍勇為小將,屬甘寧、陸遜、潘璋等。數隨征伐,戰鬬常冠軍。每斬將搴旗,身被創夷。稍遷偏將軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  5. ^ (孫亮即位,為冠軍將軍,封都亭侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  6. ^ (魏遣諸葛誕、胡遵等攻東興,諸葛恪率軍拒之。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  7. ^ (諸將皆曰:「敵聞太傅自來,上岸必遁走。」奉獨曰:「不然。彼動其境內,悉許、洛兵大舉而來,必有成規,豈虛還哉?無恃敵之不至,恃吾有以勝之。」及恪上岸,奉與將軍唐咨、呂據、留贊等,俱從山西上。奉曰:「今諸軍行遲,若敵據便地,則難與爭鋒矣。」乃辟諸軍使下道,帥麾下三千人徑進。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  8. ^ (時北風,奉舉帆二日至,遂據徐塘。天寒雪,敵諸將置酒高會,奉見其前部兵少,相謂曰:「取封侯爵賞,正在今日!」乃使兵解鎧著冑,持短兵。敵人從而笑焉,不為設備。奉縱兵斫之,大破敵前屯。會據等至,魏軍遂潰。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  9. ^ (遷滅寇將軍,進封都鄉侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  10. ^ (魏將文欽來降,以奉為虎威將軍,從孫峻至壽春迎之,與敵追軍戰於高亭。奉跨馬持矛,突入其陣中,斬首數百,獲其軍器。進封安豐侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  11. ^ (太平二年,魏大將軍諸葛誕據壽春來降,魏人圍之。遣朱異、唐咨等往救,復使奉與黎斐解圍。奉為先登,屯於黎漿,力戰有功,拜左將軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  12. ^ (孫休即位,與張布謀,欲誅孫綝,布曰:「丁奉雖不能吏書,而計略過人,能斷大事。」休召奉告曰:「綝秉國威,將行不軌,欲與將軍誅之。」奉曰:「丞相兄弟友黨甚盛,恐人心不同,不可卒制,可因臘會,有陛下兵以誅之也。」休納其計,因會請綝,奉與張布目左右斬之。遷大將軍,加左右都護。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  13. ^ (永安二年,假節領徐州牧。六年,魏伐蜀,奉率諸軍向壽春,為救蜀之勢。蜀亡,軍還。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  14. ^ (休薨,奉與丞相濮陽興等從萬彧之言,共迎立孫皓,遷右大司馬左軍師。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  15. ^ (寶鼎三年,皓命奉與諸葛靚攻合肥。奉與晉大將石苞書,搆而間之,苞以徵還。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  16. ^ (建衡元年,奉復帥衆治徐塘,因攻晉穀陽。穀陽民知之,引去,奉無所獲。皓怒,斬奉導軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  17. ^ (三年,卒。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  18. ^ (奉貴而有功,漸以驕矜,或有毀之者,皓追以前出軍事,徙奉家於臨川。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.
  19. ^ "南京考古发现"江表之虎臣"之一丁奉及其家族墓地" (in Chinese). 21 January 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
  20. ^ (奉弟封,官至後將軍,先奉死。) Sanguozhi vol. 55.