Zhou Tai 周泰 was brave, valiant and willing to sacrifice himself to protect his lord. Zhou Tai braved a mob of bandits to defend a young Sun Quan with his own body, and was wounded a dozen times in the process.
In 193 A.D. when Sun Ce crossed the Yangzi to seize the lands of old Wu, Zhou Tai followed him. Sun Ce appointed Zhou Tai as bodyguard. Zhou Tai was respectful of Sun Ce and performed meritorious service for him through several battles. Once Sun Ce had taken Kuaiji (會稽), Zhou Tai was made a Senior Major and given a command.
Sun Quan admired Zhou Tai's character and personally requested that he be assigned to Sun Quan's command. Sun Ce was pacifying the mountain bandits of six counties and at that time, Sun Quan was residing in Xuancheng (宣城) with fewer than 1,000 bodyguards. The mountain bandits came with a force of several thousand to surround Sun Quan. Sun Quan mounted his horse and attempted to flee, but the bandits' vanguard had already surrounded his small forces. The bandits were quickly overwhelming Sun Quan's paltry forces and none of his men could stand against them, Sun Quan himself was even in great danger as one of the bandits had managed to hack at his saddle.
Fortunately for Sun Quan, Zhou Tai arrived. He cut through the bandits to protect Sun Quan, then used his own body to shield his lord from their blows. Zhou Tai had twice the courage of an ordinary man and he emboldened all around him, filled with hope, Sun Quan's guard cut through the bandits until they finally dispersed. Zhou Tai had been wounded a dozen times and he was unconscious for a long time before he recovered. Had Zhou Tai not been there, surely Sun Quan would have died that day; and Sun Ce praised him for saving the life of his brother, and appointed him Chief of Chungu (春穀).
In 199 A.D., Zhou Tai followed in the battle of Wan (皖) city then the battle at Jiangxia (江夏). As Zhou Tai was passing through Yuzhang (豫章), Zhou Tai was appointed to fill the vacant position as Chief of Yichun (宜春).
Service to Sun QuanEdit
In 203 A.D., Zhou Tai was among the myriad of officers sent to subdue the Poyang (鄱陽) bandits. Zhou Tai was made a Chief.
In 208 A.D., Zhou Tai followed in the attack on Huang Zu at Xiakou (夏口), the defeat of Cao Cao at Chibi and the defeat of Cao Ren at Nan commandery. With Jing province settled, Zhou Tai was stationed at Cen (岑).
In 217 A.D., Cao Cao attacked Ruxu (濡須) a second time. Zhou Tai fought the Wei forces and Cao Cao retreated. Zhou Tai remained behind as Commander of Ruxu and was also appointed as General Who Pacifies Caitiffs. At that time, Zhu Ran and Xu Sheng were garrisoned at Ruxu, they, and many of the other generals, refused to obey Zhou Tai. Sun Quan heard and made an unscheduled trip to Ruxu and arranged a feast for the various generals stationed at Ruxu. Once the feast was underway, Sun Quan asked Zhou Tai to show the generals all the scars he had received in the line of duty, for each one, Sun Quan told Zhou Tai to relay how he was injured.
Sun Quan took Zhou Tai by the arm, wept and said to him: "Tai, you are my brother. In time of war, with no thought for your own safety, you fight like a bear or a tiger. You have been wounded scores of times and your skin is like an engraving. It is only natural that I hold you in my heart as a brother, and you surely deserve your high command. You have performed great service for me; you and I share honours and disgraces; share joys and sorrows. Tai, whatever your ambitions, you can achieve them, do not back down simply because you have humble origins."
Before Sun Quan left, he had all the soldiers line the streets beating drums and blowing horns as a show of respect for Zhou Tai. Thereafter, Xu Sheng, Zhu Ran and the others would loyally submit to Zhou Tai.
After the death of Guan Yu in 219 A.D., Zhou Tai was appointed Grand Administrator of Hanzhong (漢中), promoted to General Who Manifests Prestige and enfeoffed as Marquis of Lingyang (陵陽).
During the Huangwu year reign (222-228 A.D.) Zhou Tai died.[n 1]
- Zhou Shao (周邵) - Appointed as Commandant of Cavalry upon his father's death. Earned merit defending Ruxu during Cao Pi's Invasion of Wu and also during the Battle of Shiting. Eventually was promoted to Major-General then died in 230 A.D.
- Zhou Cheng (周承) - Received Zhou Shao's rank and troops upon his death.
- ↑ Zhu Huan replaced Zhou Tai as Commander of Ruxu in 222 A.D.
Fact vs. FictionEdit
- ↑ "周泰字幼平，九江下蔡人也。"
Chen Shou, Book of Wu 10 in Records of the Three Kingdoms.
- ↑ de Crespigny, A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms, biography of Zhou Tai page 1148.
- ↑ SGZ: Biography of Sun Quan.
- ↑ de Crespigny. Chapter 68 in To Establish Peace Vol 2, Jian'an 22, section D
- ↑ SGZ: Accounts from South of the Yangzi quoted in Biography of Zhou Tai.
- 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).
- de Crespigny, Rafe. A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23 - 220 AD). Leiden: BRILL, 2007.