Lian Po

Lian Po
General of the Zhao state
Born (unknown)
Died (unknown)
Traditional Chinese 廉頗
Simplified Chinese 廉頗
Pinyin Lían Pō
Wade–Giles Lien P'o
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Lian.

Lian Po (birth and death dates unknown) was a military general of the Zhao state in the Warring States period of Chinese history. He was named by Chinese historians as one of the four greatest generals of the Warring States period, along with Bai Qi, Wang Jian and Li Mu.

In Lian Po's early years, he had victories in the wars against Qi and Wei. Lin Xiangru, a minister of Zhao, was disliked by Lian Po, because of his rapid rise to power and genius. But Lin Xiangru, in several famous incidents, took great steps to avoid Lian Po; in one case he even turned from Lian Po's carriage rather than block the great general's route. Eventually, all this began to cause shame and embarrassment to Lian Po, and he carried sharp brambles on his shoulder without clothing and asked Lin Xiangru to forgive him. Afterwards, they became good friends.

During the Battle of Changping, he became the commander of Zhao. Deciding not to risk his forces by engaging in open battle with the Qin, under their brilliant general Bai Qi, Lian Po instead built a series of forts along the Changping area, successfully stopping the invasion of Qin. However, King Xiaocheng of Zhao (趙孝成王), under the persuasion of many courtiers (most of whom were bribed heavily by Qin spies) became dissatisfied with Lian Po's strategy, and decided to replace him with Zhao Kuo (趙括). Being the son of another famous Zhao general, Zhao She, Zhao Kuo discarded Lian Po's cautious, defensive strategy and attacked with full strength. As a consequence, he was defeated, and Zhao never returned to prominence.

After the Battle of Changping, Lian Po became the commander of Zhao army again to stop the invasion of Yan. He defeated Yan army, but in his late years, he was distrusted by the King of Zhao. Therefore, he decided to escape to Wei, and then Chu.

He died in Shouchun, the capital of the Chu state, living long enough to see the gradual demise of the country he once served.


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