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Zhang Jiao
Character information
Force(s): Yellow Turbans
Significant Battle(s):
Historical information
Real name: Zhang Jiao
Chinese name: 張角
Born: 140
Died: 184

Zhang Jiao, better known as Zhang Jue, was the founder of the Yellow Turbans.


A medical scholar by the name of Zhang Jue, who had two younger brothers, Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang, lived in Julu County during the later part of the Han Dynasty. Zhang Jue made history when he met a venerable old man during one of his journeys into the woods to gather medicinal herbs. The old man summoned Zhang Jue into a cave and there, handed Jiao the three volumes of the Book of Heaven. “This book,” said the old man, “is the Way of Peace. With the aid of these volumes, you can convert and rescue mankind. But you must be single-minded, or rest assure, you will greatly suffer.” With a humble bow, Zhang Jue accepted the book and asked for the name of his benefactor. “I am Saint Hermit of the South-Land,” was the reply, as the old man disappeared into thin air. Zhang Jue studied the wonderful book eagerly, and strove night and day to put its principles into action. Before long, he was able to summon the winds and command the rain, and became known as the Mystic of the Way of Peace. In the first month of the first year of Central Stability (AD 184), there was a terrible epidemic that ran throughout the land, whereupon Zhang Jue distributed charmed remedies to the afflicted. The Godly medicine was a great success, and Zhang Jue was titled the Wise and Worthy Master. He began to have a following of disciples, whom he initiated into the mysteries and sent them throughout the land. Like their master, they were able to write charms and recite formulas, and their success increased Zhang Jue’s teaching. Zhang Jue began to organize his followers. He established thirty-six groups, the larger with ten thousand or more members, the smaller with about half the amount. Each group had a chief, who was the given the military title of General. With the growth of his followers, grew Zhang Jue’s ambitions. The Wise and Worthy Master had visions of an Empire, which developed into plans of creating a new empire. Zhang Jue said to his brothers, “For schemes like ours, the most difficult part is gaining the favour of the people. But such is already ours. We cannot let such an opportunity pass.” Thus they began the preparation. Such preparations were carried out through Ma Yuanyi, who was sent to the Imperial Palace with gifts to gain the support of the Ten Eunuchs. Many yellow flags and banners were made, and a day was chosen for the uprising. Consistent to these actions, Zhang Jue began writing letters to Feng Xu, one of the Ten Regular Attendants. However, he betrayed Zhang Jue’s trust and reported the scheme to the Imperial Court. The Emperor summoned the trusty Regent Marshal He Jin, to look into this matter. With the betrayal, Ma Yuanyi was captured and beheaded, while Feng Xu and many others were cast into prisons. Since their plot has been exposed, the Zhang brothers were forced to take the field immediately. They took up grandiose titles of: Zhang Jue Lord of Heaven, Zhang Bao Lord of Earth and Zhang Liang Lord of the People. With these names they put forth this manifesto: “The good fortune of the Han is exhausted, and the Wise and Worthy man has appeared. Discern the Will of Heaven, O ye people, and walk in the way of righteousness, whereby ye alone may attain to peace.”Supports for Zhang Jue’s ideology were consistent. Everywhere, people drape their heads with yellow scarves and joined the army of the rebels. Soon Zhang Jue had the strength of nearly half a million troops, and the Imperial troops melted away at a whisper of his coming. At this time, Regent Marshal and Guardian of the Throne, He Jin, arranged for preparations against the Yellow Scarves. Also an edict was commissioned, calling upon everyone to fight back against the rebels. The three Imperial Commanders, Lu Zhi, Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun marched with their veteran troops to three different directions. Meanwhile, Zhang Jue led his army in Youzhou against the forces of Liu Yan, the Imperial Protector. Zhang Jue sent his subordinate Cheng Yuanzhi with fifty thousand troops into Youzhou. They camped at the foot of Daxing Hills where they encountered the Imperial army, led by Zhou Jing, Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. The enemy only had five hundred volunteer soldiers to oppose Cheng Yuanzhi’s fifty thousand. Flourishing his whip, Liu Bei began to hurl reproaches at the rebels, crying, “O malcontents! Why not dismount and be bound?” Enraged, Cheng Yuanzhi sent forth Deng Mao as his champion. Zhang Fei at once rode forward and struck down Deng Mao with one powerful thrust trough the heart. At this, Cheng Yuanzhi whipped up his steed and rode forth with his sword held high, ready to strike at Zhang Fei. But Guan Yu raised his Green Dragon Sabre and rode towards Cheng Yuanzhi. Overwhelmed by fear, Cheng Yuanzhi was unable to defend himself and was cut in half. Having lost their leader, the Yellow Scarves dropped their weapons and attempted to retreat. The Imperial army pursued and many were captured. Soon after, the Yellow Scarves were defeated by the Imperial army in Qingzhou. And Zhang Jue’s invasion of the northern Zhou’s was a failure. Meanwhile, Zhang Jue himself was facing Lu Zhi’s army at Guangzhong. Zhang Liang and Zhang Bao were firmly entrenched at Yingchuan, opposite Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun. Aided by Liu Bei’s volunteer army, the Imperial army was successful in pushing back the rebels at Yingchuan. Zhang Liang and Zhang Bao retreated from Yingchuan and occupied the Changshe grasslands. However, the Imperial troops were ordered to burn the grasslands at night. When the camp was set ablaze, Zhu Jun and Huangfu Song raided the Yellow Scarves. The rebels panicked and fled in all directions, leaving their camp and equipment behind. The battle with the Imperial troops lasted till dawn. Zhang Liang and Zhang Bao, accompanied by some elite followers, were able to escape the area. But suddenly a troops of soldiers with crimson banners challenged them. Their leader was Cao Cao, son of Cao Song and General of Flying Cavalry. Cao Cao’s troops slaughtered the unprepared and unarmed rebels. He captured their war drums and horses, but was unable to capture Zhang Liang and Zhang Bao. After conferring with Huangfu Song and Zhu Jun, Cao Cao pursued the rebels. Meanwhile at Guangzhong, Dong Zhuo’s Imperial troops were being overrun by Zhang Jue’s hundred and fifty thousand troops. Liu Bei’s army passed Guangzhong just as Zhang Jue’s troops were in pursuit of the Imperials. Liu Bei drove his army into Zhang Jue’s ranks, and the confused rebels retreated some fifteen miles. Liu Bei’s army retreated from the area and Cao Cao had joined up with Huangfu Song to attack Zhang Liang, and a great battle ensued at Quyang. Zhu Jun, aided by Liu Bei, went forth to challenge Zhang Bao, whom had positioned himself at the foot of the hills with some eighty thousand men. Liu Bei led the vanguard against Zhang Bao, he sent out Zhang Fei to duel with Gao Sheng. The latter was wounded and beaten so Liu Bei sounded the attack. Then Zhang Bao, while still mounted, loosened his hair, grasped his sword, and uttered his incantations. Thereupon began the wind to howl and the thunder to roll, while a dense black cloud from the heavens settled upon the field. And therein seemed to be horsemen and footmen innumerable, who swept to attack the imperial troops. Fear came upon them, and Liu Bei led off his troops, but they were in disorder and returned defeated. The next day however, Zhu Jun used the blood of pigs and dogs to counter Zhang Bao’s shamanic arts. Seeing that his magic had failed, Zhang Bao turned around to retreat. However he was being charged by Zhang Fei and Guan Yu in the flanks, and Liu Bei in the rear. Seeing Zhang Bao’s Lord of Earth banner, Liu Bei charged forward hoping to capture the rebel. Zhang Bao was shot in the arm by an arrow but was able to escape the area and entered the city of Yangcheng. He quickly fortified the city and was besieged by Zhu Jun. The next day, scouts delivered news to Zhu Jun regarding the other rebels. Zhang Jue scored many wins over Dong Zhuo’s army, so the latter was to be replaced by Huangfu Song. However, Zhang Jue died in battle before Huangfu Song could take over the post. Zhang Jue’s forces joined with Zhang Liang at Quyang, but they were crushed by Cao Cao’s army, and Zhang Liang was also killed in battle. Zhang Jue’s coffin was taken by Huangfu Song, the body was beheaded and sent in a box to the Capital Luo Yang.