Qin Lang
General of Valiant Cavalry (驍騎將軍)
In office
227 (227)–238 (238)
MonarchCao Rui
Personal details
ChildrenQin Xiu
Courtesy nameYuanming (元明)
Childhood name"Ah-su" (阿穌)

Qin Lang (fl.199 – 238), courtesy name Yuanming, was a military general of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period of China.

Family background

Qin Lang was born in the late Eastern Han dynasty and his ancestral home was in Xinxing Commandery (新興郡; around present-day Xinzhou, Shanxi).[1] His father was Qin Yilu, a former subordinate of Lü Bu, a warlord who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty. His mother was Qin Yilu's ex-wife, Lady Du (杜氏), who was taken by the warlord Cao Cao as a concubine after Lü Bu's defeat and death at the Battle of Xiapi in 198. At a young age, Qin Lang accompanied his mother and joined Cao Cao's household. Cao Cao adopted Qin Lang as a son and doted on him. Once, during a banquet, Cao Cao told his guests, "Would someone love his foster son (referring to Qin Lang) in the same way as I do?"[2]

During Cao Rui's reign

When Qin Lang grew up, he travelled around China and did not take up any appointments in the civil service or in the military. After Cao Cao's death in 220 CE, he remained in the state of Cao Wei – founded by Cao Cao's son and successor, Cao Pi – during the Three Kingdoms period. In 227, after Cao Rui, Cao Pi's son, ascended the Wei throne upon the death of his father, Qin Lang was appointed General of Valiant Cavalry (驍騎將軍) and Official Who Concurrently Serves in the Palace (給事中), and he constantly accompanied Cao Rui on his tours. During his reign, Cao Rui liked to pick on people's wrongdoings, and many people who committed minor offences were executed by him. Qin Lang never advised Cao Rui against his ways, nor did he recommend any talents to the Wei imperial court, but he was still nonetheless deeply favoured by the emperor, who often consulted him and called him by his childhood name "Ah-su" (阿穌). Cao Rui also showered gifts on Qin Lang and even had a large residence constructed in the capital Luoyang for the latter. Other officials were aware that Qin Lang was not much of a capable and talented person, but they knew that he was close to the emperor Cao Rui, so they often bribed him and attempted to curry favour with him. In return, Qin Lang used his status and close relationship with Cao Rui to help these officials get promotions and even titles of nobility.[3]

In the autumn of 233, the Xianbei chieftain Budugen, who had previously surrendered to Wei, rebelled and collaborated with another Xianbei leader Kebineng. Bi Gui, the Inspector of Bing Province in Wei, led an army from his province to attack the Xianbei but was defeated. Budugen and Kebineng became more united after that and they constantly raided Wei's northeastern borders. Cao Rui ordered Qin Lang to lead another army from the capital to attack the Xianbei, and Qin succeeded in driving the enemy far into the deserts in the north. By winter, Budugen's subordinates had surrendered to Qin Lang in Bing Province, so Qin and his army returned to Luoyang.[4]

In late 238, Cao Rui became seriously ill, and he wanted to appoint Cao Yu, Xiahou Xian (夏侯獻), Cao Shuang, Cao Zhao (曹肇) and Qin Lang to help him administer state affairs in his absence. Xiahou Xian and others had disagreements with the ministers Liu Fang (劉放) and Sun Zi (孫資), so Liu Fang and Sun Zi managed to persuade Cao Rui to change his decision. Cao Rui then appointed Cao Shuang and Sima Yi as the regents instead, while Qin Lang and the others were dismissed from office.[5]


Qin Lang's son, Qin Xiu (秦秀), was known for being a sturdy, strict and outspoken person. He served as an Academician (博士) in the Imperial University (太學) during the reign of Emperor Wu of the Jin dynasty after the end of the Three Kingdoms period.[6]

See also


  1. ^ (魏氏春秋曰:朗字元明,新興人。) Wei Shi Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 3.
  2. ^ (獻帝傳曰:朗父名宜祿, ... 朗隨母氏畜于公宮,太祖甚愛之,每坐席,謂賔客曰:「豈有人愛假子如孤者乎?」) Xiandi Zhuan annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 3.
  3. ^ (魏略曰:朗游遨諸侯間,歷武、文之世而無尤也。及明帝即位,授以內官,為驍騎將軍、給事中,每車駕出入,朗常隨從。時明帝喜發舉,數有以輕微而致大辟者,朗終不能有所諫止,又未甞進一善人,帝亦以是親愛;每顧問之,多呼其小字阿穌,數加賞賜,為起大第於京城中。四方雖知朗無能為益,猶以附近至尊,多賂遺之,富均公侯。) Weilue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 3.
  4. ^ (青龍元年 ... 步度根部落皆叛出塞,與比能合寇邊。遣驍騎將軍秦朗將中軍討之,虜乃走漠北。 ... 冬十月,步度根部落大人戴胡阿狼泥等詣并州降,朗引軍還。) Sanguozhi vol. 3.
  5. ^ (景初二年, ... 其年,帝寢疾,欲以燕王宇為大將軍,及領軍將軍夏侯獻、武衞將軍曹爽、屯騎校尉曹肇、驍騎將軍秦朗共輔政。 ... 命更為詔,帝獨召爽與放、資俱受詔命,遂免宇、獻、肇、朗官。) Sanguozhi vol. 14.
  6. ^ (世語曰:朗子秀,勁厲能直言,為晉武帝博士。) Shiyu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 3.