An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Gao Rou 高柔

Jun 9, 2016 © Ulrich Theobald

Gao Rou 高柔, courtesy name Wenhui 文惠, was a high minister of the Wei dynasty 曹魏 (220-265) during the Three Kingdoms period 三國 (220-280).

His native town was Yu 圉 in the commandery of Chenliu 陳留 (today's Qixian 杞縣, Henan) and was a small officer in the army of the warlord Yuan Shao 袁紹. When Cao Cao 曹操 defeated Yuan, Gao Rou was appointed cleark of the granaries section of the Counsellor-in-chief (chengxiang cangcao yuan 丞相倉曹掾), then secretarial court gentleman (shangshu lang 尚書郎) and cleark in the judicial section of the Counsellor-in-chief (chengxiang licao yuan 丞相理曹掾). Gao was known for his direct and sincere character.

Cao Cao's son Cao Pi 曹丕 (Emperor Wei 魏文帝, r. 220-226) therefore appointed him secretarial censor (zhishu shi yushi 治書侍御史) and granted him the title of a Marquis within the Passes (guanneihou 關內侯). Somewhat later he was given the office of secretarial censor (zhishu zhifa 治書執法) and then Chamberlain for Law Enforcement (tingwei 廷尉).

During the reign of Emperor Ming 魏明帝 (r. 226-239 CE), Gao Rou was given the title of Neighbourhood Marquis of Yanshou 延壽亭侯 and given the title of Chamberlain for Ceremonials (taichang 太常), then Minister of Works (sikong 司空) and finally Minister of Education (situ 司徒). After the downfall of the regent Cao Shuang 曹爽 the Empress Dowager made Gao Rou Commander-in-chief commissioned with a warrant (jiajie da jiangjun 假節大將軍). The execution of Cao Shuang brought him a promotion to Township Marquis of Wansui 萬歲鄉侯. Emperor Cao Mao 曹髦 (r. 254-260 CE) made him Marquis of Anguo 安國侯 and gave him the honorific title of Defender-in-chief (taiwei 太尉). Gao died with the age of 90 sui. His posthumous title was Marquis Yuan 萬歲元侯.

Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽, ed. (1992). Sanguozhi cidian 三國志辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 370.