Zhu Zhi 朱治 was a military general who served three generations of the Sun family, joining Sun Jian in 188 and serving Sun Quan at his death in 224.


In his youth, Zhu Zhi served as a county official after having been nominated as Filially Pious and Incorrupt. He soon followed Sun Jian 孫堅 on his early campaigns and was given the rank of Major in 188 A.D. Zhi followed in the battles against the southern bandits, Zhou Chao 周朝 and Su Ma 蘇馬, of Changsha (長沙), Lingling (零陵) and Guiyang (桂陽) commanderies. For his merits, Sun Jian memorialised the throne that Zhi be promoted to Commandant.

In 191 A.D., he continued to follow Sun Jian in the campaign against Dong Zhuo 董卓. He participated in the defeat of Zhuo's forces at Yangren (陽人) and entered the former capital Luoyang (洛陽). Sun Jian again memorialised the throne that Zhi should be promoted to Colonel Who Supervises the Army with special command over infantry and cavalry. Zhi was then sent east to assist Tao Qian 陶謙 against the Yellow Turbans invading Xu province.

Coup in WuEdit

After Sun Jian's death, Zhu Zhi helped support his son, Sun Ce 孫策, by bringing him to Yuan Shu 袁術[n 1]. But after time, Zhi relaised the Shu was not competent in politics or wealthy in virtue, thus Zhi encouraged Sun Ce to head east over the Yangzi river and pacify the regions of Wu. Though at this time, Sun Ce chose to remain in the service of Shu.

In 193 A.D., Zhu Zhi was a protege to Ma Midi 馬日磾 in Shouchun (壽春) then was transferred to serve as Commandant of Wu commandery. At that time, Sun Ce had been ordered by Yuan Shu to attack Grand Administrator of Lujiang (廬江) Lu Kang 陸康, because Kang had refused to provide Shu with grain,[1] so Sun Ce left Qu'a (曲阿) to head towards Lujiang. Liu Yao 劉繇 had been appointed Inspector of Yang province, but Shu had already elected to appoint the title to himself, so Yao feared he could not take his appointment. Yao was welcomed into the southern lands by Sun Ce's uncle, Wu Jing 吳景, but because Sun Ce was serving Shu, Yao felt insecure and so seized the lands east of the Yangzi.[2] Zhu Zhi was nearby and, hearing of the events, sent people back to Qu'a to collect Sun Ce's mother, Sun Quan 孫權 and Sun Quan's younger brothers, and escort them westwards across the Yangzi.

Zhu Zhi had sent the Sun family west but was still at Qiantang (錢唐) in Wu commandery and was planning to seize power there. As Commandant, he was the chief military advisor to Grand Administrator Xu Gong 許貢 and in the perfect position to stage a coup.[3] Gong met Zhi's forces at Youquan (由拳), and inflicted a great defeat on Gong's forces. Gong was forced to flee south, where he joined up with the mountain bandit, White Tiger Yan 嚴白虎. And because Sun Ce had returned to the southern banks of the Yangzi, Zhi also decided to submit to him. Sun Ce also decided to appoint Zhi as Grand Administrator of Wu.[4]

At this time, Zhu Zhi had no sons of his own, so he petitioned Sun Ce that he be allowed to adopt his nephew, Zhu Ran 朱然. Zhu Ran was then brought to Wu and adopted.[5]

Service to Sun QuanEdit

When Sun Quan was 15 years of age, Zhu Zhi nominated him as Filially Pious and Incorrupt; and when Sun Ce died in 200 A.D., Zhi, Zhang Zhao 張昭, and many of the other officers all pledged to faithfully serve Sun Quan. In 202 A.D., Sun Quan petitioned the court that Zhu Zhi be appointed the Grand Administrator of Wu in earnest[n 2], Zhi was also provisionally appointed General Who Upholds Righteousness (扶義將軍) and Gelou (割婁), Youquan, Wuxi (無錫) and Piling (毗陵) were given to him as a fief.

In 208 A.D. when Cao Cao invaded Jing province, all the south feared Cao Cao's might. Grand Administrator of Yuzhang (豫章) Sun Ben 孫賁, Sun Quan's cousin, was particularly fearful because his daughter was married to one of Cao Cao's sons[n 3]. Ben also wanted to send his son to Cao Cao as a hostage. Zhu Zhi heard of Sun Ben's distress and went to speak with him, saying:[6]

"In former times, General Who Smashes the Caitiffs Sun Jian commanded righteous troops to punish Dong Zhuo, his achievements rang out throughout the Central Plains and righteous warriors everywhere praised him. General Who Attacks Rebels Sun Ce then continued his legacy, settling six commanderies. And because he was so friendly with yourself and the other lords, Sun Ce petitioned the imperial court that he may split up the area so that each general could establish themselves. He was the honoured champion of the entire clan and from far and near, all looked up to him."
"Add to that General Who Exterminates Caitiffs Sun Quan, who is both acutely discerning and possessing divine martial prowess. He inherited the great undertaking, united heroes and provided succour to the world. And now, the army is flourishing and the state prospering. It is because of this that Liu Bei 劉備 has come from afar and begs him for salvation. The entire empire knows this."
"Whilst on the road heading west, I heard rumours that you, General, had an unusual inclination and which very much startled me. At the moment, Cao Cao obstructs loyal soldiers, overturns the Han dynasty, the young Emperor has been displaced and the common people do not know where to turn to. The Central Plains are desolated, in some places there are no settlements, or signs of life, for 100 li; cities and towns are vacant; and on the roads you can see people dead from starvation. Outside, scholars are sighing, and inside, women are complaining. He increases his military forces but because of this he has no farmers and so there is famine. With the condition of his state, how can he possibly cross the Yangzi and find advantage vying with us?"

"General, with things as they are, would you really want to betray your own flesh and blood, disregard a foolproof plan, cut the flesh of those with the same spirit, entice the mouths of tigers and wolves, and all because of a single daughter? Think it over and change your plans."[7]

Forthwith, Sun Ben ceased his worrying.

Zhu Zhi followed in the punitive campaigns against the Yue barbarians, assisted in the settling of the southeast, captured remnants of the Yellow Turbans and defeated their leaders, Lei Chen 類陳 and Wan Bing 萬秉. In 222 A.D., Zhu Zhi was enfeoffed as Marquis of Piling. The following year he was promoted to General Who Gives Tranquility to the State, he was given the gold seal and purple tassel and his fief moved to Guzhang (故鄣).

Even after Sun Quan had took the throne of Wu, he would still show Zhu Zhi high honours. Sun Quan would personally welcome Zhi, prepare feasts for him and bestow rewards; great favour and respect was always shown to Zhi. The attendants following Zhi also received specials gifts and face-to-face meetings with superiors. Zhi was especially honoured in this way. Sun Quan would often sigh at the level of concern Zhu Zhi put into serving the King.

At this time, Danyang commandery was unstable and the people frequently rebellious; Zhu Zhi was also fairly old in years and he was longing to see the landscape of his home again, so he petitioned Sun Quan that he be allowed to return to Guzhang in order to help stabilise the Shanyue. A veritable procession of local elders and old friends would pay a visit to Zhi, and he would always warmly greet them with a feast and the locals would felt honoured.


Zhu Zhi remained in Guzhang for over a year before returning to Wu. In 224 A.D., Zhi then died in the commandery he had served for 31 years, aged 69. By nature, Zhu Zhi was frugal, despite being a wealthy noble; and his clothing and chariot were plain and simple.



  • Zhu Ran 朱然 - Adoptive son, biological nephew.
  • Zhu Cai 朱才
  • Zhu Ji (朱紀) - Younger brother to Cai. Married to one of Sun Ce's daughters.
  • Zhu Wei (朱緯) - Younger brother to Ji. Died young.
  • Zhu Wansui (朱萬歲) - Younger brother to Wei. Died young.


  • Zhu Wan (朱琬) - Became General Who Maintains the West in Peace.


  • Unknown name - Married a member of the Shi clan, birth mother of Zhu Ran.

See alsoEdit


  1. Sun Jian had served Yuan Shu well, so Zhi could expect Sun Ce would be taken care of.
  2. Zhu Zhi previous "appointment" was made by Sun Ce, instead of imperial court, so it was not official. Cao Cao had also appointed his own Grand Administrator in an attempt to undermine Sun Ce's power.
  3. Occurred approximately a decade earlier, Cao Cao was worried about Sun Ce's rapid rise to prominence and one of his daughters was married into the Sun clan and Sun Ben's daughter was married into the Cao clan.

Fact vs. FictionEdit



  1. SGZ: Biography of Sun Ce.
  2. SGZ: Biography of Liu Yao.
  3. de Crespigny. Chapter 61 in To Establish Peace Vol 1, Xingping 2, section QQ
  4. SGZ: Biography of Sun Ce.
  5. SGZ: Biography of Zhu Ran.
  6. SGZ: Accounts from South of the Yangzi quoted in the SGZ Biography of Zhu Zhi.
  7. SGZ: Accounts from South of the Yangzi quoted in the SGZ Biography of Zhu Zhi.


  • Chen Shou 陳壽 (233–297). Sanguo zhi 三國志 “Records of the Three Kingdoms”, with official commentary compiled by Pei Songzhi 裴松之 (372-451).