Wang Yi (birth and death dates unknown) was the wife of Zhao Ang (趙昂), an official in the late Eastern Han Dynasty who was aligned with the faction that would later become the state of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period. She is known for her morally upright character, and for supporting her husband in the latter's conflict with the warlord Ma Chao in the early-mid 210s.
Wang Yi's exact origins are not recorded in history. All that is known of her heritage was that her family name was "Wang", and that she was married to Zhao Ang (趙昂), an official who lived in the late Eastern Han Dynasty. It is known that she bore Zhao Ang four children (three sons and a daughter).
As Liang Shuang's captive 
When Zhao Ang was serving as the Prefect (令) of Qiangdao (羌道; around present-day Zhouqu County, Gansu), he left Wang Yi behind in Xi (西), one of the counties in the commandery. Around that time, Liang Shuang (梁雙) started a revolt in the commandery and he conquered Xi. Wang Yi's two sons were killed in the conflict. Wang Yi and her six-year-old daughter Zhao Ying (趙英) were left in the city. When Wang Yi saw that her two sons had died, she feared that Liang Shuang would violate her, so she attempted to slit her throat with a sword. However, she gave up when she saw her daughter, and said, "If I killed myself and abandoned you, who would take of you? I heard that people would cover their noses if someone wore unclean clothing, even if the person was Xi Shi. Besides, my looks are not even comparable to Xi Shi." She then rubbed dirt and excrement on her clothes and fasted to make herself become thin. This lasted for about a year.
Liang Shuang later reconciled with the governmental powers in the region, so Wang Yi was spared from disaster. Zhao Ang sent his men to fetch Wang Yi and their daughter. When they were about 30 li away from their destination, Wang Yi suddenly stopped and said to Zhao Ying, "I'd have never left that place if your father did not send someone to fetch us. Whenever I read the stories of Lady Jiang and Lady Bo, I feel inspired by their devotions and convictions. However, I'm still alive after having gone through similar experiences as them, so wouldn't I be ashamed when I face those ladies after I die? I didn't choose death then because of you. Now, since we're close to safety and within the protection of the authorities, I can leave you and die." Having said that, she attempted suicide by consuming poison, but luckily for her, an antidote was available, so she received medical treatment quickly and survived.
Siege of Jicheng 
Sometime between 196-220, during the Jian'an era in the reign of Emperor Xian, Zhao Ang was reassigned as an Army Advisor (參軍事) and he moved to Ji (兾; or Jicheng, in present-day Gangu County, Gansu). Around 211, the warlord Ma Chao started a rebellion against Cao Cao, the de facto head of government in the Han imperial court, but Ma Chao and his allies were defeated by Cao Cao's forces at the Battle of Tong Pass. In the following two or three years after the battle, Ma Chao constantly raided the lands in Liang Province (covering roughly present-day Gansu and Ningxia) and attacked the cities in the area.
When Ma Chao attacked Ji, Wang Yi donned a battledress and armed herself as an archer, and assisted Zhao Ang in defending the city from Ma Chao's forces. She also handed out her personal accessories as rewards to her husband's soldiers, substantially increasing the defenders' morale. However, as Ma Chao pressed on the attack, the city gradually ran short of supplies and its defenders and civilian population began to suffer from hunger. Zhao Ang's superior, Wei Kang (韋康), the Inspector (刺史) of Liang Province, took pity on the plight of the people so he planned to start peace talks with Ma Chao. Zhao Ang tried to dissuade Wei Kang but Wei ignored him. Zhao Ang then returned home and told his wife about it. Wang Yi replied, "A ruler has advisors to provide him counsel; officials also have the right to disregard the command hierarchy and take matters into their own hands when the situation calls for it. There is nothing wrong with you being dictatorial under the current circumstances. Who knows whether reinforcements will arrive soon? We should encourage all the troops to perform their duty to the utmost and lay down their lives if necessary. We must never give in to the rebels' demands." However, by the time Zhao Ang went back to see Wei Kang, the latter had already concluded the peace negotiations with Ma Chao.
Living under Ma Chao's control 
Ma Chao later reneged on his promise - he killed Wei Kang, captured Zhao Ang, and kept Zhao Ang and Wang Yi's son Zhao Yue (趙月) as a hostage in Nanzheng (南鄭; present-day Nanzheng County, Hanzhong, Shaanxi). He hoped that Zhao Ang would comply with his demands and serve him, but was uncertain about Zhao's intentions. Ma Chao's wife Lady Yang (楊氏) heard of Wang Yi's reputation, so she hosted a feast and invited Wang to attend. Wang Yi planned to make use of that opportunity to help her husband gain Ma Chao's trust and wait for a chance to take revenge. She said to Lady Yang, "In the past, Guan Zhong became the chancellor of Qi and he made great achievements; You Yu (由余) entered Qin and played an important role in Duke Mu of Qin's rise to power. Now that Ji had just been pacified, we need men of talent to govern and maintain the city. Only in this way can Liang Province's armies compete with those in the Central Plains. As such, it's imperative that talented people be employed and their abilities put to good use." Lady Yang was very impressed with Wang Yi and thought that Wang was loyal to her husband's faction. She gradually became close to Wang Yi, and Zhao Ang began to gain the trust of Ma Chao. Zhao Ang was able to survive under Ma Chao's control because of his wife's efforts.
Driving Ma Chao out of Liang Province 
When Zhao Ang later secretly plotted with Yang Fu to get rid of Ma Chao, he conveyed his worries about Zhao Yue (who was still held hostage by Ma Chao) to Wang Yi. However, Wang Yi replied in a stern tone, "Loyalty and righteousness are the core virtues a person should possess. Now, we're going to erase our earlier humiliation. We might end up sacrificing our lives and this isn't a cause for concern, so does the loss of a son still mean anything? Xiang Tuo (項託) and Yan Hui left their good names in history because they valued righteousness." Zhao Ang agreed with his wife.
Zhao Ang and Yang Fu's plan was successful and they drove Ma Chao out of Ji. Ma Chao fled to Hanzhong, borrowed troops from the warlord Zhang Lu, and returned to attack Zhao Ang. Zhao Ang and Wang Yi had moved to Mount Qi (祁山; the mountainous regions around present-day Li County, Gansu) by then. Ma Chao's army besieged Zhao Ang's forces at Mount Qi for about 30 days until reinforcements led by Cao Cao's generals Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He arrived and lifted the siege. After his defeat, Ma Chao went to Nanzheng and killed Zhao Yue. For the whole period of time from the siege at Ji to the battle at Mount Qi, Zhao Ang had launched nine attacks on Ma Chao and Wang Yi participated in all of them.
In fiction 
The narrative depicts Zhao Ang and Wang Yi's son Zhao Yue as a Major General (裨將) in Ma Chao's army. After Wei Kang was killed by Ma Chao, Zhao Ang wanted to avenge his superior, but he hesitated because his son was with Ma, so he consulted his wife. Lady Wang's response to her husband was similar to the one documented in Records of the Three Kingdoms, but the last sentence about Xiang Tuo and Yan Hui had been changed to "If you do not carry out your plan because of our son, I'll die first." Ma Chao was enraged so he killed Zhao Yue and later sought revenge for his losses by massacring several civilians in the area. Lady Wang survived because she was with her husband all that while.
Modern references 
Wang Yi appears as a playable character in Koei's Dynasty Warriors 7: Xtreme Legends (her debut as a playable character). She is also playable in Warriors Orochi 3. She also appears in Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdoms video game series.
See also 
- ^ Lady Jiang is better known as "Zhen Jiang" (貞姜; literally: "Chaste Jiang"). She was the wife of King Zhao of the Chu state in the Spring and Autumn Period. One day, King Zhao ventured out on a tour with her, and he left her on a platform on the riverbank while he sailed down the river. Later, he noticed that the river was overflowing and the platform was in danger of being flooded, so he sent a messenger to inform Lady Jiang to move away from the river. However, the king forgot to give a royal tablet (a symbol of his authority) to the messenger, so Lady Jiang refused to move when she saw that the messenger did not have the tablet (which, to her, meant that the messenger was not authorised by the king). The messenger then rushed back to retrieve the tablet, but by the time he returned to the platform, the platform had been completely submerged and Lady Jiang had drowned. King Zhao was very impressed with her devotion to him so he granted her the posthumous name of "Zhen Jiang". Lady Jiang's story was later compiled into the Biographies of Exemplary Women.
- ^ Lady Bo (伯姬) was the wife of Duke Gong of the Song state (宋共公) in the Spring and Autumn Period. She probably lived to an old age, because she was still living when her great-grandson Duke Jing (宋景公) became duke of Song. One night, a fire broke out in the palace and the servants wanted to bring her out. However, she refused because according to palace customs at that time, she was not allowed to leave the palace without being accompanied by her ladies-in-waiting. Her ladies-in-waiting had already fled for their lives, and Lady Bo firmly refused to leave the palace so she died in the blaze. Her firm devotion to the palace rules earned her the praise of many people. Lady Bo's story was later compiled into the Biographies of Exemplary Women.
- (謐又載趙昂妻曰：趙昂妻異者，故益州刺史天水趙偉璋妻，王氏女也。) Annotations from Huangfu Mi's Lie Nü Zhuan to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 25, Biography of Yang Fu.
- (昂為羌道令，留異在西。會同郡梁雙反，攻破西城，害異兩男。異女英，年六歲，獨與異在城中。異見兩男已死，又恐為雙所侵，引刀欲自刎，顧英而歎曰：「身死爾棄，當誰恃哉！吾聞西施蒙不絜之服，則人掩鼻，況我貌非西施乎？」乃以溷糞涅麻而被之，尠食瘠形，自春至冬。) Annotations from Huangfu Mi's Lie Nü Zhuan to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 25, Biography of Yang Fu.
- (雙與州郡和，異竟以是免難。昂遣吏迎之，未至三十里，止謂英曰：「婦人無符信保傅，則不出房闈。昭姜沈流，伯姬待燒，每讀其傳，心壯其節。今吾遭亂不能死，將何以復見諸姑？所以偷生不死，惟憐汝耳。今官舍已近，吾去汝死矣。」遂飲毒藥而絕。時適有解毒藥良湯，撅口灌之，良乆迺蘇。) Annotations from Huangfu Mi's Lie Nü Zhuan to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 25, Biography of Yang Fu.
- (建安中，昂轉參軍事，徙居兾。) Annotations from Huangfu Mi's Lie Nü Zhuan to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 25, Biography of Yang Fu.
- (會馬超攻兾，異躬著布韝，佐昂守備，又悉脫所佩環、黼黻以賞戰士。) Annotations from Huangfu Mi's Lie Nü Zhuan to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 25, Biography of Yang Fu.
- (及超攻急，城中饑困，刺史韋康素仁，愍吏民傷殘，欲與超和。昂諫不聽，歸以語異，異曰：「君有爭臣，大夫有專利之義；專不為非也。焉知救兵不到關隴哉？當共勉卒高勳，全節致死，不可從也。」比昂還，康與超和。) Annotations from Huangfu Mi's Lie Nü Zhuan to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 25, Biography of Yang Fu.
- (超遂背約害康，又劫昂，質其嫡子月於南鄭。欲要昂以為己用，然心未甚信。超妻楊聞異節行，請與讌終日。異欲信昂於超以濟其謀，謂楊曰：「昔管仲入齊，立九合之功；由余適秦，穆公成霸。方今社稷初定，治亂在於得人，涼州士馬，迺可與中夏爭鋒，不可不詳也。」楊深感之，以為忠於己，遂與異重相接結。昂所以得信於超，全功免禍者，異之力也。) Annotations from Huangfu Mi's Lie Nü Zhuan to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 25, Biography of Yang Fu.
- (及昂與楊阜等結謀討超，告異曰：「吾謀如是，事必萬全，當柰月何？」異厲聲應曰：「忠義立於身，雪君父之大恥，喪元不足為重，況一子哉？夫項託、顏淵，豈復百年，貴義存耳。」昂曰：「善。」) Annotations from Huangfu Mi's Lie Nü Zhuan to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 25, Biography of Yang Fu.
- (遂共閉門逐超，超奔漢中，從張魯得兵還。異復與昂保祁山，為超所圍，三十日救兵到，乃解。超卒殺異子月。凡自兾城之難，至于祁山，昂出九奇，異輒參焉。) Annotations from Huangfu Mi's Lie Nü Zhuan to Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms, Volume 25, Biography of Yang Fu.
- Roberts, Moss (1991). Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel. California: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-22503-1.
- (原來趙昂之子趙月，現隨馬超為裨將。) Luo Guanzhong. Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Chapter 64.
- (趙昂當日應允，歸見其妻王氏曰：「吾今日與姜敘，楊阜，尹奉一處商議，欲報韋康之讎。想吾子趙月現隨馬超，今若興兵，超必先殺吾子，奈何？」其妻厲聲曰：「雪君之父大恥，雖喪身亦不惜，何況一子乎？君若顧子而不行，吾當先死矣。」趙昂乃決。次日一同起兵。姜敘，楊阜屯歷城，尹奉，趙昂屯祁山。王氏乃盡將首飾資帛，親自往祁山軍中，賞勞軍士，以勵其眾。 ... 昂妻王氏因在軍中，得免於難。) Luo Guanzhong. Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Chapter 64.
-  Famitsu scan, exact date unknown.
- "Warriors Orochi 3 Character List - Koei Warriors". Koei Warriors. Retrieved 2012-01-02.
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