Ren Jun (died 204), courtesy name Boda, was a military officer serving under the warlord Cao Cao in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China.[1]

Ren Jun
Changshui Colonel (長水校尉)
In office
? (?)–204 (204)
Agriculture General of the Household
In office
c. 196 (c. 196)–? (?)
Cavalry Commandant (騎都尉)
In office
c. 190 (c. 190)–? (?)
Registrar (主簿)
(under Yang Yuan)
In office
189 (189) – c. 190 (c. 190)
MonarchEmperor Xian of Han
Personal details
Zhongmu County, Henan
SpouseCao Cao's cousin
  • Ren Xian
  • Ren Lan
OccupationMilitary officer
Courtesy nameBoda (伯達)
Posthumous nameMarquis Cheng (成侯)
PeerageMarquis of a Chief Village (都亭侯)


Ren Jun was from Zhongmu County (中牟縣), Henan Commandery (河南郡) which is present-day Zhongmu County, Henan.[2] He was probably born sometime in the mid or late Eastern Han dynasty.

In 189, the tyrannical warlord Dong Zhuo took advantage of the power vacuum, created in the aftermath of the conflict between the regent He Jin and the eunuch faction, to seize control of the Han central government and hold the figurehead Emperor Xian hostage in the imperial capital, Luoyang.[3] Yang Yuan (楊原), the Prefect of Zhongmu County, started panicking and wanted to abandon his post and leave.[4] Ren Jun advised him to stay and urged him to take the lead in calling for everyone to rise up against Dong Zhuo and overthrow him. When Yang Yuan asked him what he should do, Ren Jun advised him to assume the position of acting Intendant of Henan (河南尹),[a] bring all the counties in Henan Commandery under his leadership, and rally as many men as possible to form an army to fight Dong Zhuo's forces.[5] Yang Yuan appointed Ren Jun as his Registrar (主簿) and proceeded to implement his suggestions.[6]

Around the time (late 189 to early 190),[3] the warlord Cao Cao had raised an army to join a coalition of warlords on a campaign against Dong Zhuo. When he entered Zhongmu County, the various officials in Henan Commandery could not decide on whether they should follow Cao Cao. After discussing with Zhang Fen (張奮), Ren Jun decided that they should all follow Cao Cao, so he led all the soldiers recruited in Henan Commandery to join Cao Cao's army. He also gathered all his family members, relatives, servants and retainers, numbering a few hundred people in total, and brought them along to join Cao Cao. Cao Cao was so pleased to gain such support from Ren Jun that he appointed him as a Cavalry Commandant (騎都尉). He also arranged for Ren Jun to marry one of his second cousins and treated Ren Jun as a close aide.[7]

Since then, whenever Cao Cao went on military campaigns against rival warlords, he put Ren Jun in charge of logistics and the provision of supplies for his troops at the frontline.[8] In 196, he received Emperor Xian and brought him to his base in Xu County (許縣; present-day Xuchang, Henan), which became the new imperial capital. Cao Cao effectively gained control over the Han central government and the figurehead emperor.[9] Around the time, when a famine broke out and there were insufficient food supplies, an official Zao Zhi (棗祗) suggested implementing the tuntian system of agriculture to produce a sustainable supply of grain for Cao Cao's growing army. Cao Cao heeded Zao Zhi's suggestion and appointed Ren Jun as Agriculture General of the Household (典農中郎將) to supervise the implementation of the tuntian system. Within years, the tuntian system turned out to be a success as the granaries became fully stocked with grain.[10]

In 200,[11] during the Battle of Guandu between Cao Cao and his rival Yuan Shao, Ren Jun was in charge of logistics and transportation of weapons, equipment, supplies, etc., to the frontline. After Yuan Shao's forces attacked Cao Cao's supply trains on a number of occasions, Ren Jun organised the supply trains into groups of 1,000 wagons and arranged for them to travel along several different routes heavily protected by camps and pickets. Yuan Shao's forces did not dare to attack Cao Cao's supply trains after that.[12]

Although Zao Zhi was the one who came up with the idea of the tuntian system, Cao Cao thought that Ren Jun deserved the highest credit for the success of the system because he was the one who supervised its implementation. He thus proposed to the Han imperial court to commend Ren Jun for his achievement by enfeoffing him as a Marquis of a Chief Village (都亭侯) with a marquisate of 300 taxable households. Later, he promoted Ren Jun to the position of a Changshui Colonel (長水校尉).[13]

Ren Jun died in 204. Cao Cao shed tears when he learnt of Ren Jun's death.[14]


Ren Jun's eldest son, Ren Xian (任先), inherited his father's peerage and marquisate. As he had no son to succeed him, his marquisate was abolished after his death.[15]

In late 220, Cao Cao's son and successor Cao Pi usurped the throne from Emperor Xian, ended the Eastern Han dynasty, and established the state of Cao Wei with himself as the new emperor.[16] After his coronation, Cao Pi awarded Ren Jun the posthumous title "Marquis Cheng" (成侯) to honour him for his contributions. He also enfeoffed Ren Lan (任覽), another of Ren Jun's sons, as a Secondary Marquis (關內侯).[17]


Ren Jun was known for being generous, understanding and magnanimous. Cao Cao highly regarded him and often heeded his advice and suggestions. During times of famine, Ren Jun provided much assistance to his friends, acquaintances and distant relatives and did not hesitate to use his personal wealth to help the needy and poor. He gained much respect and admiration from the people for his kindness.[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The Intendant of Henan (河南尹) refers to the highest-ranking government official in charge of Henan Commandery (河南) in the Eastern Han dynasty. The Han imperial capital, Luoyang, was a county under Henan Commandery.


  1. ^ a b de Crespigny (2007), pp. 716–717.
  2. ^ (任峻字伯達,河南中牟人也。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  3. ^ a b Zizhi Tongjian vol. 59.
  4. ^ (漢末擾亂,關東皆震。中牟令楊原愁恐,欲棄官走。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  5. ^ (峻說原曰:「董卓首亂,天下莫不側目,然而未有先發者,非無其心也,勢未敢耳。明府若能唱之,必有和者。」原曰:「為之柰何?」峻曰:「今關東有十餘縣,能勝兵者不減萬人,若權行河南尹事,總而用之,無不濟矣。」) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  6. ^ (原從其計,以峻為主簿。峻乃為原表行尹事,使諸縣堅守,遂發兵。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  7. ^ (會太祖起關東,入中牟界,衆不知所從,峻獨與同郡張奮議,舉郡以歸太祖。峻又別收宗族及賔客家兵數百人,願從太祖。太祖大恱,表峻為騎都尉,妻以從妹,甚見親信。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  8. ^ (太祖每征伐,峻常居守以給軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  9. ^ Zizhi Tongjian vol. 62.
  10. ^ (是時歲饑旱,軍食不足,羽林監潁川棗祗建置屯田,太祖以峻為典農中郎將,數年中所在積粟,倉廩皆滿。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  11. ^ Zizhi Tongjian vol. 63.
  12. ^ (官渡之戰,太祖使峻典軍器糧運。賊數寇鈔絕糧道,乃使千乘為一部,十道方行,為複陳以營衞之,賊不敢近。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  13. ^ (軍國之饒,起於棗祗而成於峻。太祖以峻功高,乃表封為都亭侯,邑三百戶,遷長水校尉。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  14. ^ (建安九年薨,太祖流涕者乆之。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  15. ^ (子先嗣。先薨,無子,國除。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  16. ^ Zizhi Tongjian vol. 69.
  17. ^ (文帝追錄功臣,謚峻曰成侯。復以峻中子覽為關內侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  18. ^ (峻寬厚有度而見事理,每有所陳,太祖多善之。於饑荒之際,收卹朋友孤遺,中外貧宗,周急繼乏,信義見稱。) Sanguozhi vol. 16.
  • 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. ISBN 9789004156050.
  • Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.