Why is Cao Cao willing to let his three biological daughters “serve three women and one husband”?

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It is an indisputable fact that Cao Cao has many children, but the history books do not clearly record how many daughters he had in his life. However, Cao Cao used his daughter’s marriage to maintain and stabilize his power and married many of his daughters to princes and ministers, which is still covered in historical books. Chen Shou’s “annals of the Three Kingdoms” and Fan Ye’s “book of the later Han Dynasty” have provided us with sporadic materials to preliminarily understand that Cao Cao has at least seven daughters recorded, they are Cao Xian, Cao Jie, Cao Hua, Princess Qinghe, Princess Anyang, Princess Jinxiang and Princess Linfen. One of the most shocking is the story of Cao Cao’s three daughters “serving a husband together”.

In history, the daughters of Cao Cao have never been valued by historians. However, in Cao Cao’s political career, the fate of his daughters has always been controlled by him, and their marriage has become a means for him to stabilize and expand his power.

According to historical records, Cao Cao had seven daughters in total. In addition to the two daughters Cao Jie and Cao Hua who lived with Bian Fu, there were also Cao Xian, Princess Qinghe, Princess Anyang, Princess Jinxiang and Princess Linfen. In the 18th year of Jian’an (213), Cao Cao gave his three daughters, Cao Xian, Cao Jie and Cao Hua, to Emperor Xian of Han Dynasty Liu Xie as his concubine. Fan Ye’s “empress Ji Xia in the book of the later Han Dynasty” records the bride price given by Liu Xie to marry the daughter of Cao Cao: “empress Mu Cao taboo Festival, Wei Gong Cao Cao’s middle daughter also. In the 18th year of Jian’an, Cao entered three women, Xian, Jie, and Huawei’s wife, and hired 50000 pieces of silk, and the younger one stayed in the country.” It can be seen from this that Cao Cao’s “three female attendants and one husband” is true. What’s more, Cao Cao not only betrothed his three grown daughters to Liu Xie, Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, but also made a “baby marriage” with Liu Xie for all his remaining young daughters, promising not to send them into the palace for the time being, but also to stay in his own country, and then send them into the palace when they can get married. Cao Cao did not hesitate to use his own daughter’s marriage and happiness in exchange for his position and influence in the court to control the emperor. It was really well intentioned.

When Cao Xian, Cao Jie and Cao Hua first entered the palace, they were all positioned as “Ladies”, but in the second year, the three sisters were promoted to “noble people” together. The original Queen of Liu Xie, Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, was Fu Shou. Because she couldn’t bear Cao Cao’s autocratic behavior in the court and the harem, she hoped that the emperor could get rid of the fate controlled by Cao Cao, so she wrote a secret letter to her father Fu Wan, hoping that her father could try to get rid of Cao Cao. Unexpectedly, things inadvertently leaked out, Cao Cao forced Liu Xie, Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, to abolish empress Fu, and put her in the cold palace, where Fu Shou also died of confinement. Later, Cao Cao made the decision and asked Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty to elect a new queen. According to the principle of selecting talents without avoiding relatives, Cao Cao selected his second daughter Cao Jie. During the new year’s Day holiday on the first day of the first month of the 20th year of Jian’an (215), Liu Xie Set Cao Cao’s second daughter Cao Guiren as the queen of the palace. Faced with Cao Cao’s move, civil and military officials dare not speak. Cao Jie, historically known as “empress Mu”.

There are not many records about the three wives surnamed Cao of Liu Xie, Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty. The more famous one should be Cao Jie, who was canonized as Queen. Cao Jie is a traditional woman who abides by ethics. She has a different nature from her father. She is a weak person, and has been completely on the side of her husband since she married Liu Xie.

After Cao Cao’s death, everything changed. Cao Pi inherited the throne of Cao Cao, his father, and began to bully Liu Xie, the emperor of Han Dynasty, to “surrender”, and built a “surrender platform” in Xuchang so that he could accept the throne of the emperor in a righteous manner. Everything has been done, as long as the hand over of the imperial seal. But the jade seal was in empress Cao Jie’s place. Cao Pi sent people to ask for it many times, but Cao Jie just didn’t hand it in. According to the records in the book of the later Han Dynasty, empress Ji Xia, Cao Pi instructed Hua Xin to ask for the seal of the country. After hearing this, Cao Jie was furious, saying nothing, but also blocked the visitors out of the door. So five times and three times, asking for many times, but Cao Jie can only let Cao Pi’s people come in to pick up the jade seal. But in front of the visitor, she began to scold her brother, threw the seal of the Chuan Guo seal under the steps, and scolded with tears on her face, “the sky is not Zuo’er”, so that the messengers did not dare to look up at her, but just lowered their heads, carefully picked up the seal and ran away.

Cao Jie was empress for a total of seven years from his initial marriage to Liu Xie, Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, to his final abolition. After Cao Pi became emperor, he did not kill Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, but appointed Liu Xie as Lord Shanyang and Cao Jie as Lady Shanyang. And gave Liu Xie and his descendants a reward enough to live a comfortable life, eating thousands of households in the city. Liu Xie died of illness at the age of 54 14 years after becoming Lord Shanyang (234). Cao Pi buried him in the Zen mausoleum according to the etiquette of the emperor of the Han family. 26 years after Liu Xie’s death, Cao Jie died of illness in the first year of Jingyuan (260), and was also buried in the Zen mausoleum according to the etiquette of the empress of the Han family, together with Liu Xie, the “Lord of Shanyang”.

However, there is no record about the outcome of Cao Xian and Cao Hua, Cao Cao’s other two daughters. However, in the 1970s, Cao Xian’s tomb was found in the cemetery of Cao Cao’s Bozhou family in Anhui Province. This is another surprising thing. Why did the married daughter be buried in the Cao family’s cemetery? Of course, there is still a lack of historical evidence for this statement, and it cannot be confirmed that this is the tomb of Cao Cao’s eldest daughter. Everything remains to be further verified by archaeologists.

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