Ma Teng

Ma Teng

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Ma Teng

Pinyin=Mă Téng
Zi=Shòuchéng (寿成)

Ma Teng (156 - 212) was a warlord during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of China. He controlled the Liangzhou (涼州) region together with his sworn brother Han Sui. Ma Teng and Han Sui were involved in efforts to gain autonomy from the central Han government. Ma Teng was the father of Ma Chao and the uncle of Ma Dai, who would later serve the Kingdom of Shu.


He was from the Maoling (茂陵) region of Fufeng Province (扶風郡). His father, Ma Ping, was a minor official in Tianshui, but because of some dispute he was dismissed from his post, and went to live among the Qiang people. He married a Qiang woman, who gave birth to Ma Teng.

When Ma Teng was young, he lived in extreme poverty and it is said that he collected firewood in the mountains and sold it to make money. When he grew up, his height was said to have been over 8 Chinese feet tall, (roughly 1.84 meters). It is also said that although he was fierce in appearance, he was kind to others and wise, and was respected by many.

In 184, during the final years of Emperor Ling of Han's reign, the Qiang people in Liangzhou rose up against the local government. They were joined by warlords Han Sui, Bian Zhong (边章), Beigong Yu (北宫玉), and Liwen Hou (李文侯). The official Han governor of Liangzhou, Geng Bi (耿鄙), gathered forces to put down the rebellion, and Ma Teng volunteered as a foot soldier. His skills in battle against the rebels were recognized, and he rose through the ranks of the soldiery. However, when Geng Bi was killed in battle by the rebel army, Ma Teng switched sides and joined Han Sui. The rebellion would eventually be put down by the Han general Huangfu Song, but Ma Teng escaped along with the rebel warlords. Eventually, he and others involved in the rebellion would be given military titles by the central government.

When Li Jue and Guo Si seized power over Chang'an after Dong Zhuo's assassination, Ma Teng and Han Sui at first pledged allegiance to them, and were given the titles of General who Suppresses the East (征東将軍) and General who Guards the West (鎮西将軍) respectively. However, the relationship between the two sides quickly soured, and Ma Teng and Han Sui led their armies in an attempt to seize Chang'an. They allied themselves with the warlord Liu Yan, but they suffered defeats, and short on supplies they retreated back to Liangzhou.

Although Ma Teng was the sworn brother of Han Sui, the two went to war against each other over control of Liangzhou. The fighting escalated to a point where they were killing each other's wives and children. Cao Cao, who at this point had decisively defeated Yuan Shao at the Battle of Guandu, brokered peace between Ma Teng and Han Sui, who then pledged allegiance to Cao Cao. After this, Ma Teng was summoned to Ye with most of his family, where his military positions were taken away. He was made captain of the city guard. His eldest surviving son Ma Chao remained behind in Liangzhou with Han Sui. When Ma Chao and Han Sui defied Cao Cao and took up arms against him, Ma Teng, along with every member of his family that accompanied him, was executed.

In "Romance of the Three Kingdoms"

In the historical novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", Ma Teng is portrayed as a character who is loyal to the fading Han Dynasty. He joins a plot with Liu Bei and Dong Cheng to assassinate Cao Cao, but the plot is not successful and he returns to Liangzhou.

When he was later recalled to Xuchang by Cao Cao, he decided to again join an assassination plot, this time with Huang Kui (黄奎). However, the plot was discovered and he is executed along with his sons Ma Xiu and Ma Tie. Upon hearing of his father and brothers' demise, Ma Chao becomes filled with rage and goes to war against Cao Cao to avenge their deaths. In the novel, the order of the executions and Ma Chao's rebellion are opposite of that recorded in "Records of Three Kingdoms".


*Ma Yuan (Ancestor)
*Ma Ping (马平) (Father)
*Ma Chao (Son)
*Ma Tie (Son)
*Ma Xiu (Son)
*Ma Dai (Nephew)


This page is a rough translation of the Japanese version, re-arranged and re-formatted.

ee also

*Three Kingdoms
*Personages of the Three Kingdoms
*"Romance of the Three Kingdoms"
*"Records of Three Kingdoms"

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