Cao Lin
Prince of Donghai (東海王)
Tenure232 – 5 February 251
SuccessorCao Qi
Prince of Guantao (館陶王)
Prince of Hedong (河東王)
Tenure8 April 222 – 225
Died(251-02-05)5 February 251[a]
IssueCao Qi
Cao Mao
Family name: Cao (曹)
Given name: Lin (霖)
Posthumous name
Prince Ding (定王)
HouseHouse of Cao
FatherCao Pi
MotherLady Qiu

Cao Lin (died 5 February 251)[1] was an imperial prince of the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period of China. He was a son of Cao Pi, the first Wei emperor, and the biological father of Cao Mao, the fourth Wei emperor.


Cao Lin's father was Cao Pi, the first emperor of Wei. His mother, whose maiden family name was Qiu (仇), was a concubine of Cao Pi holding the rank of zhaoyi (昭儀; translated "Lady of Bright Deportment").[2] He was enfeoffed as the Prince of Hedong (河東王) in 222 during the reign of his father. In 225, his title was changed to "Prince of Guantao" (館陶王).[3]

In 227, after Cao Pi's death, Cao Lin's half-brother Cao Rui succeeded their father and became the second emperor of Wei. Cao Rui treated Cao Lin in an exceptionally generous manner in accordance with their father's final wishes. Cao Lin was known for being prone to domestic violence; he abused and killed servants and concubines alike. In 232, his title was changed again to "Prince of Donghai" (東海王). He died on 5 February 251 during the reign of Cao Fang, the third emperor of Wei. He was honoured with the posthumous title "Prince Ding" (定王).[1][4]

Cao Lin had two sons: Cao Qi (曹啟) and Cao Mao (曹髦). The elder one, Cao Qi, inherited his princedom and became the next Prince of Donghai. Over the reigns of the subsequent Wei emperors, the number of taxable households in the Donghai princedom increased until it reached 6,200. Cao Lin's younger son, Cao Mao, initially held the title "Duke of Gaogui District" (高貴鄉公). In 254, following Cao Fang's death, Empress Dowager Guo selected Cao Mao to be the fourth emperor of Wei. In accordance with imperial customs, Cao Mao was adopted as a posthumous son of Cao Rui so that his succession would be considered legitimate.[5]




Cao Song (d. 193)
Cao Cao (155–220)
Lady Ding
Cao Pi (187–226)
Bian Guang
Bian Yuan
Lady Zhou
Empress Wuxuan (161–230)
Cao Lin (d. 251)
Lady Qiu

See also


  1. ^ The Sanguozhi mentioned that Cao Lin died on the jiachen day in the 12th month of the 2nd year of the Jiaping era in Cao Fang's reign.[1] This date corresponds to 5 February 251 in the Gregorian calendar, according to this tool:


  1. ^ a b c ([嘉平二年]十二月甲辰,東海王霖薨。) Sanguozhi vol. 4.
  2. ^ (文皇帝九男: ... 仇昭儀生東海定王霖, ...) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  3. ^ (東海定王霖,黃初三年立為河東王。六年,改封館陶縣。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  4. ^ (明帝即位,以先帝遺意,愛寵霖異於諸國。而霖性麤暴,閨門之內,婢妾之間,多所殘害。太和六年,改封東海。嘉平元年薨。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.
  5. ^ (子啟嗣。景初、正元、景元中,累增邑,并前六千二百戶。高貴鄉公髦,霖之子也,入繼大宗。) Sanguozhi vol. 20.