Sima Wei

Sima Wei

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Sima Yi

Sima Yi (179 – September 7, 251) was a general and politician of the state of cao wei during the three kingdoms era of Chinese history. He is perhaps best known for defending Wei from Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions. His success and subsequent rise in prominence paved the way for his grandson Sima Yan's founding of the jin dynasty, which would eventually bring an end to the three kingdoms era. In 265 after the jin dynasty was established, Sima Yi was posthumously honored as Emperor Xuan of Jin with the temple name of Gaozu.

Sima Yi was one of eight brothers, all of whom were famous due to their lineage. Each of them had a Chinese style name ending with the character Da (達). Because of this, the brothers were known collectively as the "Eight Da of Sima" (司馬八達). This was a term of respect, as other groups of eight talented administrators in previous eras had been referred to in this way. His family resided in Luoyang when Dong Zhuo occupied the city, destroyed it, and moved the capital to Chang'an. Sima Yi's elder brother, Sima Lang led the family to their ancestral home in the Wen district (温縣), and then, correctly predicting that it would become a battlefield, moved them again to Liyang (黎陽). In 194, as Cao Cao did battle with Lü Bu, Sima Yi accompanied his family back to Wen district.

Accounts on how Sima joined the service of Cao differ, but he accepted his first position in Cao's camp at the age of 30. According to the Book of Jin, Sima believed that the han dynasty would soon come to an end, and felt no motivation to join Cao, which had already taken control of the Han seat of government. He refused Cao's requests to serve, saying that he was suffering from a disease. Cao did not believe Sima's excuse, and sent agents to check on him at night. Sima, knowing this in advance, stayed in bed all night and did not move. In 208, Cao became Imperial Chancellor and ordered Sima to serve him, saying "If he dallies, arrest him." Afraid of what would befall him, Sima finally accepted the position of Wenxueyuan (文学掾).

according to Weilüe, Cao Hong, Cao Cao's younger cousin, requested the presence of Sima in order to start a friendship with the latter, who did not have a very high opinion of Cao Hong and feigned illness by carrying a cane in order to avoid meeting him. Cao Hong went to Cao Cao in anger and told him what had happened, after which Cao Cao directly requested the presence of Sima. Only then did Sima officially enter Cao Cao's service.

In the Chancellor's service, he rose through the ranks of Dongcaoyuan (東曹掾 in charge of bringing officials into service), Zhubo (主簿 an administrative position), and Sima (司馬 position in charge of aids and advisors). In 215, when Cao Cao defeated Zhang Lu and forced him to surrender, Sima advised that Cao Cao continue to advance south into Yi Province, since Liu Bei had still not stabilized his control of that area. However, Cao Cao did not listen to his advice. Sima was among other advisors who urged for the implementation of the tuntian system and for Cao Cao to take the position of Prince of Wei.

Even before Cao Cao's death, Sima Yi was close to his successor, Cao Pi. When Cao Pi was designated Crown Prince of Wei in 216, Sima was made his secretary. When Cao Cao wavered on choosing between Cao Pi and his younger brother Cao Zhi, Sima was believed to be among those who backed Cao Pi and helped him secure the succession. Due to the fact Sima had been a long time friend of Cao Pi since the latter held the position of General of the Household, he became greatly trusted when the latter ascended the throne. He was also involved in Cao Zhi's demotion and removal from politics.

In 225, Cao Pi advanced against Sun Quan's Wu, and entrusted Sima Yi with command over the capital in his absence. He compared Sima Yi to Xiao He, whose quiet contributions behind the battle lines earned him much praise. Upon returning from the military expedition, Cao Pi once again praised his servant, saying "As I did battle in the East, you stayed in the capital and guarded our kingdom against Shu in the West. When I go to battle in the West against Shu, I'll entrust you with defense against Wu in the East." Sima Yi was soon given the post of Lushang Shushi (録尚書事), which at that time held the same real
power and responsibilities as Imperial Chancellor. Sima Yi's position within Wei was now all but unassailable.

In 226, as Cao Pi lay on his deathbed, he entrusted his successor Cao Rui to the care of Sima Yi, Cao Zhen, and Chen Qun. When Cao Rui became Emperor of Wei, he trusted Sima Yi greatly and appointed him Piaoqi General (骠骑大将军) and military commander of Yuzhou and Jingzhou (督荊豫二州諸軍事) and was placed on the border between Wei and Wu to defend against Sun Quan's forces.


The Kingdom of Cao Wei was established in 220 AD after Cao Pi forced the last Emperor of the Han Dynasty, Liu Xie, to abdicate his throne following the death of his powerful father, Cao Cao, who had been the regent of China and the dominant warlord since 197 AD. Cao Cao had united northern China after several victories against other major warlords in the 190s and 200s AD, gaining control of their large armies and fusing them with his own forces (at the Battle of Chibi in 208 AD, he fielded an army of 800,000 troops). Cao Pi declared himself Emperor of Cao Wei, and ruled over northern and eastern China. However, after his victory against Liu Bei's army at the Battle of Yiling in 222 AD, Sun Quan decided to rebel against his Wei masters and became the independent Emperor of Eastern Wu, leaving his vassalage. Cao Pi attempted to invade Wu on multiple fronts, but he was defeated at Ruxukou, Jiangling, Dongkou, and Guangling by Wu forces. In 223 AD, Liu Bei declared his lands independent as the Kingdom of Shu Han, but he died soon after, succeeded by his son Emperor Liu Shan with Chancellor Zhuge Liang as regent.

Wei was a powerful state ruled by the Cao clan, with strong generals such as Cao Ren, Sima Yi, Xu Huang, Zhang He, Deng Ai, and Guo Huai leading their armies from the front, and with intelligent officials such as Dong Zhao, Zhong Yao, Xin Pi, and Man Chong managing the empire's interior. Wei was not as nearly as corrupt as Wu, which was ruled by several military dictators who poisoned opponents (and even the emperor in 260 AD) and killed each other to seize power, following Sun Quan's death in 252 AD. Shu was also weak, as their generals clung to the ideals of people who died long before. Wei, meanwhile, sought to establish a land ruled by those of talent, and wanted to unite the land through any means possible.

Cao Pi died in 225 AD after several failed invasions of Eastern Wu, leaving Cao Rui as the emperor. As Cao Rui was too young to rule, Sima Yi was the true leader of Wei. Sima Yi was an intellectual recruited by Cao Cao shortly before the Battle of Chibi in 208 AD, and he had a mind that could rival that of the Shu chancellor and renowned intellectual Zhuge Liang. In 227 AD, Zhuge Liang began his Northern Campaigns, leading several invasions of Wei in Yong Province. Sima Yi was able to resist them by staying on the defensive. The first northern campaign was the only successful one, with Zhuge Liang convincing Wei strategist Jiang Wei to defect to Shu, gaining a pupil to succeed him when he died. However, when he left his army under the command of the inept strategist Ma Su, the Wei forces were able to cut him off from his water supplies and encircle his army at Jieting in 228 AD. The Shu army was destroyed, and Zhuge Liang tearfully executed Ma Su on Liu Shan's orders. Shu's invasion at Chencang from 228-229 AD and at Mt. Qi in 230 AD were both repulsed, albeit with heavy Wei casualties, and in 234 AD, the Shu and Wei armies met for a final time at the Battle of Wuzhang Plains. Zhuge Liang fell ill during the battle, so he decided to fight one last battle, which could allow Shu to conquer the Wei secondary capital of Chang'an if they were victorious. Sima Yi fell prey to taunts by Shu commanders asking for him to come out of his castle and fight, and when he saw a star fall, he believed that Zhuge Liang died. He headed to the Shu main camp, but a wooden figure of Zhuge Liang scared him off, and he retreated. He had his army go on the offensive, taking advantage of Shu general Wei Yan's unwillingness to obey orders and fall back, and wiped out Wei Yan's force. His army then destroyed Gao Xiang's wooden ox and flowing horse supply convoy before assaulting Zhuge Liang's main camp. Zhuge Liang died of illness, and the Shu army was forced to withdraw south to their capital of Chengdu. Sima Yi, whose army had suffered heavy losses (including an ambush of his general Xiahou Ba by Shu general Yan Yan), was also forced to retreat, and he moved back north.

In 238 AD, the next chapter in Wei's history began when it experienced its first major uprising. Prefect Gongsun Yuan of Liaodong declared himself the "King of Yan" after flirting with Eastern Wu for a while, and Sima Yi was dispatched to quell the uprising in Liaodong. The campaign took one year, and Sima Yi and Guanqiu Jian besieged him in Xiangping Castle. They lured out his forces when they were sent to attack the Wei main camp, and after defeating them, the Cao Wei army assaulted Gongsun Yuan's castle. Gongsun Yuan attempted to surrender, but Sima Yi told him that the fact that he had the temerity to believe that his uprising stood a chance would not be worthy of letting him live. Sima Yi had Gongsun Yuan and his family executed, and Cao Wei restored order to the Liaodong Peninsula.

Shortly after Gongsun Yuan's Rebellion was quelled, Emperor Cao Rui died, and he was replaced by the young Cao Fang. Sima Yi and general Cao Shuang were appointed as his regents, and Cao Shuang, wary of Sima Yi's power, forced him to retire. Sima Yi feigned illness, pretending to be going deaf, and he retired from public life. Cao Shuang took control of the Wei government and planned an invasion of Shu in 244 AD. However, Cao Shuang lacked leadership abilities. At the Battle of Mt. Xingshi, he ignored the veteran general Deng Ai's advice and attacked the Shu supply camp, but as Deng Ai predicted, the Shu army attacked his main camp and set it on fire. Cao Shuang was forced to retreat, and several more of his troops were slain in ambushes by the Shu army as he withdrew north. Cao Shuang's defeat at Mt. Xingshi was exacerbated by the lavish festivals that he held, wasting Wei's resources. Several people cried for Sima Yi to retake power, and in 249 AD, Sima Yi finally decided to overthrow Cao Shuang.

With the assistance of a core of loyal officers, Sima Yi seized control of Luoyang from Cao Shuang's forces while Cao Shuang and Cao Fang were paying their respects to Gaoping Tombs, where the Wei emperors were interred. By the time that Cao Shuang and his main force had returned, Sima Yi was in full control of the capital.

Service under Cao Cao [ edit | edit source ]

Accounts on how Sima Yi joined the service of Cao Cao differ, but he accepted his first position in Cao's camp at the age of 30. According to the Book of Jin, Sima Yi believed that the Han Dynasty would soon come to an end, and felt no motivation to join Cao Cao, which had already taken control of the Han government. He refused Cao Cao's requests to serve, saying that he was suffering from a disease. Cao Cao did not believe Sima Yi's excuse, and sent agents to check on him at night. Sima Yi, knowing this in advance, stayed in bed all night and did not move. In 208, Cao Cao became Imperial Chancellor and ordered Sima Yi to serve him, saying "If he dallies, arrest him." Afraid of what would befall him, Sima Yi finally accepted the position of Wenxueyuan (文学掾). ΐ] However, according to the Weilüe, Cao Hong, Cao Cao's younger cousin, requested the presence of Sima Yi in order to start a friendship with the latter, who did not have a very high opinion of Cao Hong and feigned illness by carrying a cane in order to avoid meeting him. Cao Hong went to Cao Cao in anger and told him what had happened, after which Cao Cao directly requested the presence of Sima Yi. Only then did Sima Yi officially enter Cao Cao's service. Α]

Under Cao Cao, Sima Yi rose through the ranks of Dongcaoyuan (東曹掾 in charge of bringing officials into service), Registrar (主簿 an administrative position), and Major (司馬 position in charge of aids and advisors). In 215, when Cao Cao defeated Zhang Lu and forced him to surrender, Sima Yi advised that Cao Cao continue to advance south into Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing), since Liu Bei had still not stabilised his control of that area. However, Cao Cao did not listen to his advice. Sima Yi was among other advisors who urged for the implementation of the tuntian system and for Cao Cao to take the title of a vassal king - "King of Wei". ΐ]

The Annals of History: Episode 4 - Jia Chong

Jia Chong, styled Gonglu, Advisor to Kings! As before, details exclusive to the novel will be written in bold text, while historical-exclusive details will be in italics. Information written in plain text is information that pertains to both.

Jia Chong was the son of Wei general Jia Kui, the Wei general who saw though Zhou Fang's false defection at Shiting and rescued Cao Xiu. He inherited his father's position as Marquis after his death, and became an advisor to Sima Shi and then Sima Zhao when they took control over the Wei court after Sima Yi's death. He was initially married to Li Wan, the daughter of Li Feng, but when Li Feng conspired against Sima Shi and was executed for it, Jia Chong divorced and exiled Li Wan to prove his loyalty to the Simas. He re-married quickly, marrying Guo Huai.

Okay, that made you do a double-take, admit it. He didn't marry that Guo Huai. Guo Huai, the Wei general whose Dynasty Warriors persona is portrayed as sickly, had a niece who was also named Guo Huai (郭槐, as opposed to 郭淮). She married Jia Chong.

Jia Chong's first major deed carried out on behalf of the Simas was to visit Zhuge Dan to probe his loyalty, as Wei had faced several anti-Sima rebellions from men like Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin, and Zhuge Dan was suspected of being similarly rebellious. Jia Chong paid a visit to Zhuge Dan's domain and heaped praise upon Sima Zhao, only for Zhuge Dan to rebuke him rather than agree. Returning, Jia Chong reported the situation and the expectation that Zhuge Dan would rebel. A summons was sent for Zhuge Dan to report to the capital, and rather than heed it and place himself in Sima Zhao's power, he rebelled earlier than he had intended to. Jia Chong's shrewdness in outing Zhuge Dan's intentions won him praise, and Sima Zhao grew more fond of him.

A few years later, in 260, Sima Zhao heard reports of discontent from within Shu, and asked Jia Chong whether it was the right time to invade them. Jia Chong said an invasion would be a mistake, with Wei Emperor Cao Mao not trusting Sima Zhao. He would need to be dealt with before any campaign against Shu could happen. Sima Zhao agreed, and Jia Chong said he would deal with it.

The details of the clash between Jia Chong and Cao Mao varies slightly between the novel and history. After being embarrassed at court by Sima Zhao, Cao Mao gathered what few loyalists he could muster, a few hundred men, to try to take back his dignity. As he marched them out, he came upon Jia Chong and some armed guards. When Cao Mao asked Jia Chong how he dared to bring soldiers into the Forbidden City, Jia Chong ordered his subordinate Cheng Ji to attack, saying that the Emperor must die. Cheng Ji heeded him, charged Cao Mao and killed him with a spear thrust, putting an end to the attempted coup dɾtat before it really got started. Sima Zhao feigned surprise when he found out what had happened. Cao Mao, frustrated at Sima Zhao repeatedly forcing him to give him the Nine Bestowments only to refuse each time to show his 'loyalty', gathered his personal guard with the intention of killing Sima Zhao. The first soldiers the Emperor's force came upon were led by Sima Zhou, brother of Sima Zhao. When the Emperor shouted at them to stand down, they did just that, not daring to raise arms against their Emperor. After that, the next group of soldiers they encountered was that of Jia Chong. Jia Chong did not stand down as Sima Zhou did, instead ordering his subordinate, Cheng Ji, to put down the attempted coup dɾtat, and Cheng Ji killed Cao Mao with his spear.

Chen Tai, sympathetic to the Emperor, demanded that Jia Chong be put to death for his actions, but Sima Zhao would not do so, instead blaming it on Cheng Ji and saying he should be the one punished. Cheng Ji was livid, saying he was only acting on the orders of Jia Chong and Sima Zhao, so Sima Zhao had his tongue cut out and then ordered him and his entire family to be executed. Jia Chong was spared any punishment, to the frustration of Wei loyalists and the common people alike. Cao Huan was placed upon the throne as a new puppet Emperor.

Later, when Sima Zhao was preparing to attack Shu, Jia Chong advised against the attack, saying that Sima Zhao should instead simply try to assassinate Jiang Wei to put an end to the constant attacks on their border. Sima Zhao instead listened to the advice of Xun Xu, who recommended an invasion led by Deng Ai and Zhong Hui.

When Sima Zhao suspected Deng Ai of intending to rebel following the subjugation of Shu, Jia Chong advised that Zhong Hui be ordered to arrest him. When subsequent inflammatory letters from Deng Ai (modified to be inflammatory by Zhong Hui) arrived, Sima Zhao ordered Jia Chong to take an army and march it to the west to be prepared to handle it. Jia Chong, before leaving, said that he was concerned about Zhong Hui as well, and Sima Zhao said that he was sending Jia Chong to handle all matters that might arise. Jia Chong's army marched to the west, ready to handle any trouble that might come from Zhong Hui, who Sima Zhao had suspected of rebelling. Forced to act earlier than heɽ hoped as a result, Zhong Hui attempted to revolt along with Jiang Wei, only to be killed by his own soldiers.

After Sima Zhao's death, Jia Chong was among the officers suggesting that Sima Yan usurp the throne and become Emperor. Sima Yan overthrew Cao Huan in 265, declaring himself the Emperor of the Jin Dynasty. Jia Chong drafted the laws of the Jin Dynasty, which were less strict than those of Wei, but were enforced unevenly, benefiting the nobility. He was granted the title Duke of Lu. Subsequently, through the help of his wife Guo Huai's flattery, he was able to convince Sima Yan to have his mentally challenged son, Sima Zhong, marry Jia Chong's daughter Jia Nanfeng.

In 279, Sima Yan desired to invade Wu. Jia Chong was against this invasion, saying Wu would be too difficult to conquer. Not only did Sima Yan ignore his advice, he put Jia Chong in charge of planning the attack. Jia Chong refused to take the post, but Sima Yan ordered him to manage it anyway, or else he would do it himself. Jia Chong thus organized the attack, dispatching Wang Jun, Du Yu and others in a six pronged strike. Even as the attack was underway, Jia Chong continued to suggest that it be called off. Soon after writing another memorial arguing against the campaign, Wu Emperor Sun Hao surrendered to Jin. Jia Chong was ashamed that heɽ been wrong in his assessment, and offered to resign his post, but Sima Yan not only did not accept the resignation, but he rewarded Jia Chong heavily for his contributions.

When Sun Hao came to Luoyang to surrender, Jia Chong asked him about the harsh punishments heɽ heard about for crimes in Wu, such as gouging out eyes and flaying off faces. He asked what crimes were punished so, and Sun Hao said the murder of princes and disloyal conduct was so punished. Jia Chong grew ashamed of the jab at his own actions and went silent.

Jia Chong died in 282, just a couple of years after Wu's fall. Neither of his male children survived infancy, leaving him without a proper heir. His daughter, Jia Nanfeng, married to the disabled heir to the throne Sima Zhong, went on to become Empress of Jin after Sima Yan's later death, and her actions in that role helped spark the War of the Eight Princes, a civil war that set Jin up for collapse at the hands of northern barbarians.

Jia Chong's actions against Cao Mao make it easy to call him a villain of the period. Only Dong Zhuo had dared to kill an Emperor before then, and even then, he deposed him first. No one else dared to lift a weapon against their Emperor, the Son of Heaven. Even when Emperor Xian actively plotted against Cao Cao's life, Cao Cao spared him, choosing only to punish those near him instead.

What would you have done in Jia Chong's shoes? Would you have defied tradition and done the will of your lord Sima Zhao, even knowing it would ruin your reputation and cause your name to be disparaged throughout history?

Next week: Lu Su - How positive an impact did he have on Shu-Wu relations, and was his death a major factor in their falling out?


Sima Yi started serving the Wei forces as a simple vassal, albeit a genius one that puts his allies to shame. He works his way up the ranks, due to his repeated successes and strategies against both of Cao Cao's main rivals, the Shu forces and the Wu forces. After Cao Cao's death, he is appointed as supreme warlord by emperor Cao Pi.

Meanwhile in Shu, the legendary and unparalleled military genius, Zhuge Liang, starts to feel threatened by Sima Yi and begins an expedition into Wei. Cao Pi's vassals advised Pi against Sima Yi taking control of military authority due to Sima Yi's potentially dangerous ambition, but Sima Yi was the only strategist who could match Zhuge Liang's genius on even terms so the emperor of Wei had little choice.

After many battles and years, Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi's rivalry reaches a stand off at the Battle of the Wuzhang Plains. During this legendary battle. Zhuge Liang falls gravely ill, and decides to end the battle quickly. Sima Yi, knowing that without Zhuge Liang the Shu forces are nothing, plans for a long, drawn out battle, hoping for Zhuge Liang's death.

After Zhuge Liang dies, Sima Yi wins the battle but at the same time admits defeat as Zhuge Liang managed trick him one final time before his demise by making him think he was alive, which causing Sima Yi to retreat his army. Although they were rivals, Sima Yi has great respect for Zhuge Liang, and orders a memorial in honor of his fallen rival.

A few years later, Shu is conquered as Zhuge Liang is no more to help them and his student and Zhuge Liang's son unable to defend the country due to the foolish ruling of Liu Bei's son, and Wei looks as if it will unify the entire land. However, Sima Yi, along with his sons, see this as an opportunity to overthrow Cao Pi's incompetent son Cao Rui to take power for themselves as fears of Cao Pi's vassals had come to pass and vindicated.

Although the Cao family is the ruling family, the Sima family are actually the ones that have garnished the most power, including the army. After Sima Yi's dies from poison wind, which is a Chinese term for a sickness that involves the suffer being weakned overtime and eventually dies, the Sima's sons successfully overthrows the Wei Empire, and establishes the Jin Empire. Seeing that Jin rule is inevitable, Wu surrenders, which is also because of its blundering ruler, Sun Quan's son. China is unified under the Jin Empire.


Dynasty Warriors

Sima Yi is a scholar who thoroughly believes in his intellect. He appears sometime after Chi Bi (Guan Du in Dynasty Warriors 3 if playing as him) as the master strategist of Wei. After Cao Cao's death, he is often depicted as the leader for Wei and appears in many of the series's decisive battles. He stars in Zhuge Liang's Northern Campaigns, and he is known in most titles to see through Ma Su's plot at Jie Ting. He also correctly reads the sign of his rival's death at Wu Zhang Plains and orders the army to charge. Depending on the title, he may then live to suppress the remnants of Shu and Wu.

His Legend Mode in Dynasty Warriors 4: Xtreme Legends takes place at Mount Qi at the Shang Fang Yu/Valley. Thinking that Wei Yan will feed him with inside information, Sima Yi is led into one of Zhuge Liang's traps. Surrounded by archers and trapped in a fire attack, he is saved by rainfall. With the heavens on his side, he fights his way through perilous odds, which forces Zhuge Liang to issue an all-out attack. Slaying the Shu generals, Sima Yi is able to escape safely.

In Dynasty Warriors 5, Sima Yi was born from a prestigious family and studied his life to become a renowned scholar. Summoned by Cao Cao to join Wei, Sima Yi demonstrates his skills as main strategist at Fan Castle and ask Wu for reinforcements. He serves Cao Pi after his liege's demise and kills Ma Su at Jie Ting. During the conflict, he meets Zhuge Liang and deems the Prime Minister to be his greatest threat. However, when his rival perishes at Wu Zhang Plains, he fears nothing while he crushes the other two kingdoms. With Wei as the land's ruler, it's implied that he plans to overthrow his master in due time.

His Legend Mode in the Xtreme Legends expansion pairs him with Cao Pi and Xu Huang. The trio work together to punish the traitor, Meng Da, at Xin Castle. While he holds himself within the castle's walls, he forces several Wei generals to fight their master. Sima Yi notes their weakened resolve and orders his allies to spark mutiny among Meng Da's troops. Striking the final blow against Meng Da, the defector accuses Sima Yi for false loyalties before he dies. The strategist replies that he is only biding his time.

Cao Cao summons for Sima Yi's talents before the Battle of Chi Bi in Dynasty Warriors 6. Originally bored and unimpressed by the land's chaos, he becomes fascinated by Zhuge Liang's tactics and his experience in battle. As he spends more time with his master, Sima Yi begins to form his own ambitions and image for the land. Consumed with his inner desires, he loses interest with his rival and works to destroy the other two kingdoms. Although ordered to keep watch in Han Zhong for rebellion, Sima Yi stages a coup d'état at Xu Chang with Zhang He and others. Upon murdering Cao Cao, his lord expresses his wishes to make a land for the people with his dying breath. Sima Yi, though acting uninterested, complies with his master's ideals to an extent during his rule.

Dynasty Warriors 7 has Sima Yi appear as a minor character during the Three Kingdoms Story Modes as a supporter for Wei. During Wei's story, he appears as a strategist for Cao Cao during the conquest for Hanzhong. Feeling no remorse for Xiahou Yuan's death, he oversees the alliance with Sun Quan for the sake of slaying Guan Yu. He acts as the main commander at Fan Castle, directing Xiahou Dun's set of objectives on the field. During Shu's Story Mode, he appears as the commander at Wuzhang Plains. Sima Yi also joins the defense at Dongkou in Wu's Story Mode.

In Jin's Story Mode, he begins as Wei's Grand Commander. Shu, Wu, and Wei have lost many heroes due to the war, and their conflicts have lead to an uneasy stalemate. Sima Yi feels the land has become worse than before due to people constantly repeating the same tiring mistakes, deepening the warfare that continues to plague the land. He feels his talents should be used to attend to the wavering situation, but his duty instead dictates he attends to fruitless internal rebellions. Frustrated by witnessing generals act in the endless monotony, he spares no mercy to Gongsun Yuan when he attempts to plead for forgiveness, having him executed for his crimes. Reminiscing of his past battles with Shu, he realizes that Zhuge Liang was the only man worthy to face his intelligence. With his rival gone, Sima Yi feels his role in the wars are futile and withdraws his support for the current Wei emperor, Cao Fang. His retreat from politics allows Cao Shuang, Cao Fang's other influential supporter, to gain prominence in the court. When Cao Shuang orders a half-cocked invasion in Shu, Sima Yi entrusts his son, Sima Zhao, to stop it in its tracks. His son's stunning performance and Cao Shuang's incompetence to try to deal with rumors of Jiang Wei's invasion led to his family gaining a better reputation with those in Wei.

Coping with the fact that there are none living in the world who can match his intelligence, Sima Yi decides that it's his new goal to at least end the cycle of stupidity he despises. After Sima Shi reports that his father is suffering from an illness that doesn't allow for visitors, Sima Yi decides to use this opportunity to kill Cao Shuang. Abhorring Cao Shuang's selfish desires and petty excuses for Wei's future, he has the Grand Commander executed and reclaims his title. Not soon afterwards, Sima Yi and his sons march out to deal with Jiang Wei's invasion at Mt. Niutou. They return to learn of Wang Ling scheming with Wu in an attempt to lower the Sima family's favor to Cao Fang. Sima Yi leads his family to quickly deal with the threat and repels Wu's attempted invasions. Their efforts further instill the Sima family's reputation as an unshakable pedestal in Wei. The constant string of battles take their toll on his body, finally making Sima Yi bedridden with the illness he stubbornly kept hidden from his family. After he passes on the right to lead the family to Sima Shi, Sima Yi dies.

His first Legendary Battle lets players control his side of Wuzhang Plains present in Shu's Story Mode. Sima Yi's second Legendary Battle has him pit a contest between his family and the entire Zhuge family to prove who has the heftiest brainpower between them.

Wei's final chapter in Dynasty Warriors Next marks the appearance of Sima Yi. A contributor to Shu's downfall, he uses the alliance with Wu to have Guan Yu killed and ruins Ma Su's strategy by cutting off his water supply. His perspective of Wuzhang Plains has him predict Zhuge Liang's moves, debunking the latter's faked death and capturing the opposing army's headquarters. Still wary of the Shu strategist's plans, however, he allows his nemesis to retreat until they meet again at Chengdu. During Shu's final scenario, his ambushes mostly serve to distract the player while he sets forth to take their main camp.

Jin's chapter is dedicated to Sima Yi's own unification of the land. Remembering Cao Pi's last words to him, he and his followers stage a rebellion against Cao Shuang's faction to control Wei. With him at the helm, the kingdom is able to rebuild its military power. After having Sima Shi delay Wu's advance, he entrusts the invasion of Shu's capital to Sima Zhao who leaves nothing to chance for his father's well-being. Their conquest of Shu gives Sima Yi closure over his rivalry with Zhuge Liang. Eager to end Wu with his own hands, he personally thwarts the enemy's diversionary tactics and slays Sun Quan. He then forces the Wei Emperor to abdicate while establishing the Jin Dynasty to rule over the entire land. Having proved his belief that those with intellect reign supreme, he goes on to rally his troops outside the palace while doing his trademark laugh.

In the eighth installment, Sima Yi first appears in both Wei and Shu's story, often appearing to fight against Zhuge Liang during the latter's northern campaigns. In the alternate paths of both Shu and Wu, Sima Yi is often seen with his family defending Wei and loyally serving both Cao Cao and Cao Pi.

In Jin's story, Sima Yi starts at Wuzhang Plains, having heard of Zhuge Liang's passing. He, together with his family, charge and defeat the retreating Shu forces. Disappointed at the death of, perhaps, the only man that could truly challenge him, Sima Yi explains at how he and his sons need to hone their talents in order to gain supremacy over the untalented. He is once again angered by the increase of untalented men thinking highly of themselves, and is quick to put down Gongsun Yuan's rebellion. Shortly after he leaves his sons to work on politics, but after seeing Cao Shuang's incompetence, decides to temporarily rebel against the Cao. After killing Cao Shuang, he declares his retirement from politics, and soon disappears alongside his wife in Jin's story.

In the alternate path, he continues to live peacefully under retirement, however his retirement is cut short thanks to Zhong Hui rebelling, and is forced to put it down at the behest of his wife. He then defeats the traitorous general, and decides to once again reenter politics. Like many Jin officers, he participates in the final battle at Chibi.

In Shu's story, Sima Yi leads an assault unit at Chibi and meets Zhuge Liang for the first time. Just before retreating, Sima Yi alludes to Xu Shu having joined the Wei forces. In the historical route Sima Yi faces Zhuge Liang and the Shu forces at Wuzhang Plains. He falls for Zhuge Liang's faked death and is defeated by the Shu forces. This eventually turns into a victory for Sima Yi as Zhuge Liang indeed passes away during the fight. This ending leads directly to the Jin storyline.

Shu's hypothetical route has Sima Yi arrive at Fan Castle alongside Xiahou Dun as the Wei forces are being driven back. They attempt to restart the failed flood attack only to withdraw. At Luoyang, Sima Yi springs a trap to divide the Shu forces lead by Jiang Wei. He also joins Wei's last stand at Xuchang where he is slain alongside Cao Pi and Zhenji.

In Wu's hypothetical route, Sima Yi and his family appear defending Runan from the Wu forces lead by Lu Su. Despite setting numerous traps and ambushes, Sima Yi is defeated and flees to Xuchang. Sima Yi fights the attacking Wu forces when they invade Xuchang but complies when Cao Pi surrenders. Sima Yi appears with his his wife and Li Dian as representatives of Wei at the banquet celebrating Sun Quan's new alliance between the three kingdoms.

Dynasty Warriors: Unleashed has Sima Yi appear in the Chibi campaign as an enemy officer. The player is tasked with keeping him from ruining Zhuge Liang's prayer ceremony.

Sima Yi's bond story starts off with him submitting to Cao Cao under the threat of death. Unenthusiastic at first, he starts to harbor ambitious ideas after working with Cao Pi to catch Meng Da. It grows to the point that he launches a coup against the incompetent Cao Shuang to centralize power for himself and his family. His story ends with Wang Ling and Linghu Yu plotting to oust Sima Yi behind his back only for him to hear wind of their true intentions.

Sima Yi's story in Dynasty Warriors 9 begins shortly after Xiahou Yuan's death at Hanzhong. With the soldiers in disarray, Sima Yi moves to help Zhang He gather the army's remains. Thanks to their stiff fight at Hanzhong, Guan Yu mobilizes his men to Fan Castle, and Sima Yi is sent to aid in the castle's defense while Hanzhong is given up.

Slaying Guan Yu at the end, Sima Yi briefly speaks with Cao Cao before his death, and the two speak about Cao Pi's growth. Sima Yi notes that while the prince has the same desire for peace, his methods are far different from each his father's. Shortly after their discussion, Cao Cao passes to illness. Hoping for a more aggressive stance against Shu after Liu Bei's death, Sima Yi proposes an invasion on five fronts while Zhuge Liang is sick. To his surprise, he finds his rival well and able, and Wu's halfhearted support eventually leads to a battle between them and Wu at Guangling.

After Guangling, however, Cao Pi falls ill and dies shortly after Cao Xiu's defeat at Shiting, and power is now in the hands of Cao Rui. Lamenting his lord's death, Sima Yi moves to disrupt his rival's northern campaign at Tianshui. While he is victorious, false rumors and jealous officials like He Yan slander Sima Yi into a brief retirement. As Zhuge Liang launches another campaign in Wuzhang Plains, Cao Rui secretly recalls Sima Yi back into action. Shortly after, Zhuge Liang dies in his final campaign, but so too does Cao Rui.

Achieving even more success by suppressing Gongsun Yuan, Sima Yi's influence begins to threaten the Cao family, and Cao Shuang leads an attack on Mt. Xingshi against Sima Yi's advice. Predictably, Cao Shuang is utterly defeated, but he refuses to take responsibility of the loss and proceeds to waste the treasury on pointless hunts. Using his trip away as an opportunity, Sima Y launches a coup d'etat, taking Luoyang, and capturing Cao Shuang. While Cao curses the strategist for attacking him even though he is an official of Wei, Sima Yi responds by saying that it is exactly because he is an official of Wei that he reprimanded the man. Not wishing to have Cao Cao and Cao Pi's work be in vain, Sima Yi executes Cao Shuang, with Sima Yi's eldest son, Sima Shi, delivering the executional blow to end Cao Shuang's life.

Cao Shuang's execution, however, leads to a great uprising at Shouchun led by Wang Ling. Breaking the man's rebellion from within, Sima Yi triumphs and returns back to Wei. While many officials cower before him, he meets his sons to talk about the late Cao Cao. Surprised that his master, who knew fully well the strategist's own ambitions, still picked him for his talent, Sima Yi notes that Cao Cao's only miscalculation was Cao Pi's early demise. Learning from their mistakes, Sima Yi urges his sons to raise worthy heirs long after he is gone.

During Zhong Hui's personal DLC, the general submits himself to Sima Yi during the revolt against Cao Shuang, and Sima Yi orders him to deal with Jiang Wei's forces at the border to prevent any attempt to take advantage of Wei's chaos. When Xiahou Ba attempts to escape, Zhong Hui offers to persuade him to return as the general wasn't at Luoyang when Cao Shuang was killed and couldn't immediately be linked to the Sima family, a proposition Sima Yi accepts. Following this incident, Sima Yi learns that Wang Ling is attempting to defect, something that grieves Guo Huai, but Wang Ling is defeated before he can make a rebellion by Zhong Hui.

Aware of Zhong Hui's ambitions, Sima Yi mirrors the late Cao Pi by encouraging Zhong Hui to pursue his own ambitions. When the general asks what of the strategist's sons, Sima Yi simply replies that if his sons cannot match Zhong Hui's talent, they are not the ones fit to rule the land. Like in the main story, Sima Yi passes away shortly after, leaving control to Sima Shi.

In Cao Pi's scenario, Sima Yi retains his position at the helm of Wei's western front during his lord's attack on the Wu forces at Yiling and the capture of Liu Bei at Baidi Castle. As Cao Pi begins marching for Shu from the south, Sima Yi predicts a rebellion from Meng Da and Xu Shu and promptly pulls his troops back, much to the suspicions of many Wei officers. To his delight, Cao Pi sees the true the intention of the strategist and assists him in dealing with the rebels before officially taking control of the battle against Ma Chao at Hanzhong. Following the fall of Hanzhong and the annexation of Shu, Sima Yi continues to support Cao Pi in his final expeditions against Wu. Like other key subordinates, Cao Pi orders them to do as they please should he meet an abrupt end.

He retains his role as a defender of Wei during Fa Zheng's personal DLC, still acting as the enemy commander in the altered Wuzhang Plains. During Lu Su's personal DLC, he acts as Cao Pi's main strategist and launches an attack on Jing Province in an attempt to turn the tide against the Wu and Shu forces.

Warriors Orochi

In the first game, Sima Yi serves Orochi faithfully, gladly breaking his bonds with Wei in spite of Cao Pi's desertion and will work alongside Zhuge Liang and Dong Zhuo against the prince at Yamazaki. He can join the Samurai forces during one of their gaiden stages. If the player successfully executes the two fleeing officers, therefore ruining Sima Yi's trap, he will be in awe of the coalition's genius and joins their cause.

Warriors Orochi 2 has Sima Yi first working for Masamune's army. During the Samurai storyline, he faces the Sakon's forces at Changban and is outwitted by Shingen. Impressed by Shingen's tactics, he decides to accompany them. In other faction story modes, he will survive to serve Orochi X. His dream stage teams him with Mitsunari and Masamune. The trio unite their strategies at Xia Pi to drive the coalition back.

Sima Yi is first seen in the past in Warriors Orochi 3. He and Cao Pi once led an army of followers to surround and defeat Da Ji at Tong Gate. Following this, Sima Yi mentioned that he was once stationed at Luo Castle but was surrounded by a demon army. Because of this, he requested for reinforcements from Guo Jia, who subsequently took control of the castle for Sima Yi. Like many other officers, Sima Yi was among those that went missing or were killed during the Hydra's appearance.

The Coalition forces under Sima Zhao and other Wei officers from the future soon arrive and aid Da Ji against the Wei army at Tong Gate. Although he and Cao Pi are genuinely convinced of the Coalition's intent, neither are able to provide direct support as they are key figures in Wei, but they do send Sima Shi, Xu Zhu and Mitsunari Ishida to join the Coalition. He later joins the other officers in aiding the Takeda-Uesugi alliance at Shizugatake, but is defeated once again. He fights against the Coalition a final time at Fan Castle, and after their defeat, Cao Cao allies himself with the Coalition and sends messengers to unite the other warlords. Joining Cao Pi and Sima Zhao at Hulao Gate, they are tasked with eliminating the Hydra's heads that have emerged in the area, where they are the first to utilize the Yashio'ori.

Upon learning that Guo Jia was nowhere to found in the future after he moved to Luo Castle, Sima Yi opted to have the Coalition's help in defeating the demon army at Luo Castle, thereby removing Guo Jia's reason to leave. Taking control of the Coalition in the altered Fan Castle, Sima Yi is able to see through Guo Jia's strategies and captures him after the battle. When Kaguya explains what they had done to keep him from leaving, Guo Jia is happy to join the Coalition.

As a member of the coalition in the future, he and Masamune seek to investigate a strange rumor of a "girl within a box" within the Yellow Turbans' possession. Their search leads to Gracia and Zhang Jiao joining humanity's cause. He also assists the coalition in locating Guo Jia's whereabouts in the past. Later Sima Yi and his entourage return to the past to search for Wang Yi, an acquaintance whose talents on the battlefield perks his interest for her recruitment. Although she is ashamed by her revenge marring his trust in her, Sima Yi is still adamant in his acceptance for her.

In the downloadable stage, "Domestic Disputes", Sima Yi stops various husbands and wives from arguing and has them work together to fight the demon army.

In Ultimate, Sima Yi continues to serve Wei, and helps Cao Pi attack the Oda forces at Nanjun after a fake Nobunaga accompanies and aids Da Ji. He also travels back to Fu Xi's past, and helps assist in rescuing the Heavenly Emperor when Orochi first spawned.

Warriors Orochi 4 places him and his wife as Wei's representatives in their alliance with the Date and the Oda. When Liu Bei's rebel army attacks Sima Yi and the Date, they are defeated by the sudden arrival of Zhuge Liang and Guan Yu's forces. After which, both parties pledge allegiance to Liu Bei's cause. Sima Yi later accompanies Liu Bei's men as they attempt to rescue Naotora and Yukimura from the strategist's children. He and Mitsuhide lead an army to rescue the Mystic Kaguya during one of the stages and manage to add her along with Zhang Liao, Ling Tong, and Gan Ning into their ranks. He later works alongside Cao Pi and Mitsunari at Guandu when Odin emerges.

In one of the side stages, he comes up with a plan to test his son, an idea supported by Tadakatsu, Zhang Fei, and Naotora, who want to challenge their respective children. He challenges Zhao by unleashing ambush troops hidden around him.

Dynasty Tactics

Dynasty Tactics has Sima Yi be Cao Cao's second strategist after Guo Jia possibly dies. In one scenario, while charged with Xu Chang's protection, Sima Yi betrays Wei and leads a group of rebels. After the rebellion fails, Sima Yi, Zhuge Liang, and Liu Bei are executed without trial.


Sima Yi is a confident and talented magician for Wei in Kessen II. He serves as a strategist and adviser for Cao Cao. He is first seen strutting into Cao Cao's throne room midway through the game, wondering why he can't find the "great hero of the land". He bluntly ventures that Cao Cao is the cause of the land's natural disasters as they continue due to the conqueror's selfish desires. He states that the lord will lose to Liu Bei if this continues, which gets an angered response from Cao Cao. Sword drawn to the offender, he growls for his name to which Sima Yi politely bows and introduces himself. Cao Cao likes the sorcerer's fearless nature and recruits him on the spot. His battle strategy is one of the best ways to fend off an angry Ma Chao.

Did Sima Yi actually betray Cao Cao?

I feel like his respect for Cao Cao was sincere. Would Cao Cao have agreed to Sima Yi taking over the reigns of his dynasty? After all, he's never really been interested in the prestige of a name for its own sake, only competence.

It's hard to believe Yi was that conniving, youɽ think Cao Cao would have smelled it on him years ago.

On the questions posed, yes 100%, his reactions to Cao Cao seem a bit mixed, no he certainly would not have done, it depends how seriously you take the records love of foreshadowing

Yes. 100% yes. One can argue many positive things about the coup of 249 but it not being a betrayal isn't a strong one. He endangered the Emperor (and then refused to give power to said Emperor), killed members of the imperial clan and stripped many of them of power, flouted custom, established his family to run the court despite an able Dowager and an of age Emperor.

Did he betray Cao Cao? While I don't think the primary thought at the time was of Cao Cao, yes. He endangered Cao Cao's family, wrecked the dynasty of Cao Cao's family, broke promises to Cao Cao's family, the regime he brought in went against the types of things Cao Cao stood for.

He is accused of trying to avoid service under Cao Cao and while he served on the personal staff, there isn't an indication they were close. He was close to Cao Pi and a personal friend. One would assume Sima Yi did respect Cao Cao given his successes but then again, Sima Yi eventually stood for the opposite of what Cao Cao did so maybe not entirely.

3) Cao Cao would have been happy letting dynasty being taken over. No

Cao Cao long planned who would succeed him and there were a long list of candidates at various times. Cao Pi, Cao Zhi, Cao Zhang, Cao Chong, Cao Ju, Cao Bao.

You mean have noticed a pattern or two, 1) they all had the same Daddy, 2) they were all Cao's. No chances for even Xiahou's, let along senior ministers like Xun Yu. Cao Cao spent his life ensuring the security and prosperity of his family, once he chose Cao Pi he made moves to secure the succession including several deaths. He didn't do that so it could be handed to a non-Cao.

In theory, there was precedent in ye very very old times of passing throne to a man of non family. Funnily enough, it had been a very long time since that happened, dynastic succession was the established route. Cao Cao showed no interest in going back against that. Cao Cao may have sought to appoint people by merit but he was well aware of the need to appoint men of key family and he never considered a succession outside his own family. We may not know Cao Cao's exact final intent for the Han, perhaps he himself didn't know, but given the danger to his family if they lost power and the actions through his life, it was not "and then it should go to someone other then my descendants"

The other thing is it wasn't like "Sima Yi came in and to bring in Wei with a bit of a twist" or restored the ways of Cao Cao, Sima Yi gathered support by standing against things the Cao family had done. While the main charges where against Cao Shuang, parts of it where things Cao Cao had brought in like marriage to those of "poor" family or the need to keep the gentry at a distance. Sima Yi stood as the gentry candidate to bring back gentry power that Wei had tried to contain and restrict, the reverse what the Cao's, including Cao Cao, had done.

4) Why didn't Cao Cao sense it.

There are two potential answers in this. There are tales where Cao Cao is aware of Sima Yi's ambition and warns against it but also can't be without his talent. Ancient Historians loved this sort of thing, foreshadowing both great talent and great treason, be it omens or major figures going "so and so is so awesome/untrustworthy" (delete as applicable). Sima Yi was a divisive figure (his biography has the pull between those that felt ht was a great example and those who felt he was a big traitor) but he was a certainly a major one worthy of such foreshadows

From what I can tell, those tales aren't taken too seriously nowadays. Sima Yi in his 70's was likely a different man from the one that served Cao Cao and certainly the situation he was in was very very different, it is also hard to see "Sima Yi is a danger. lets make him Cao Pi's friend" being a logical leap. At the time Sima Yi was a medium level offical at most, clearly talented but not particularly important, his father had been a friend and his elder brother had served loyally, Sima Yi was friends to Cao Cao's designated successor. There was no reason to think Sima Yi was going to be a problem

Cao Wei

Cao Cao was originally a warlord of Yan Province, but made several conquests in his early years. He took part in Han coalitions such as the anti-Yellow Turbans and the Alliance against Dong Zhuo, while also expanding his territory. After defeated Dong Zhuo in the battle of Hulao Gate, Cao Cao begins to reunify China. Cao Cao already controlled the central plain of China and had become a force worthy of being taken into account. In the eight years that followed he conquered all of the north, Ji province, becoming the dominant force in China. Over time, its territory reached the entire north of the country, delimiting south with Hanzhong, much of Jing Province and the Changjiang River. When Guan Yu was killed at the battle of Fan Castle, but leading to Shu's invasion of Wu.

After Cao Cao's death, and his second position was occupied by his second son Cao Pi. When Cao Pi founded the kingdom of Wei and dethroned Emperor Xian, thus ending the Han dynasty and proclaiming himself as the emperor of Wei. However, his throne was disputed immediately by Liu Bei of Shu Han, followed by Sun Quan from Eastern Wu. After Cao Pi's death, but his son Cao Rui was succeeded him. He had to cope with the invasions of Zhuge Liang, but he left that to Sima Yi, who was becoming a rising star.

Sima Yi took control of Wei militarily that he crushed Gongsun Yuan, and became much stronger than Cao Shuang. Several people cried for Sima Yi to retake power, Sima Yi finally decided to overthrow Cao Shuang. With the assistance of a core of loyal officers, Sima Yi seized control of Luoyang from Cao Shuang's forces while Cao Shuang and Cao Fang were paying their respects to Gaoping Tombs, where the Wei emperors were interred. When Cao Shuang and his main force returned, Sima Yi completely controlled the capital. Jiang Wei began invading Wei and Wang Ling, Guanqiu Jian, Wen Qin, and Zhuge Dan was rebelled. Sima Shi and Sima Zhao defeated both threats, but Sima Zhao focused on invading Shu. But later on, Cao Mao tried to recapture Sima Zhao's state power in the coup, but was killed by Cheng Ji, an officer serving under Jia Chong, a subordinate to the Simas. After Cao Mao's death, Cao Huan was appointed as the fifth ruler of Wei. However, under the control of Sima Zhao, Cao Huan is just a jealousy, much like his predecessor.

After Wei successfully defeated Shu Han, but later year, Wei was overthrown by Sima Yan, the grandson of Sima Yi as well as the new emperor. Sima Yan then founded the Jin Dynasty. Overall, there were five kings of Wei empire.


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