Gongjin's Campaign Memorials
Gongjin's Campaign Memorials

Pei Songzhi 裴松之 was a writer commissioned by Emperor Wen of the Liu Song Dynasty to write a commentary to Chen Shou's Records of Three Kingdoms. His commentary, completed in 429 AD, became integral to later editions of the Records of Three Kingdoms, making the joint work three times as long as the original.[1]


Pei Songzhi was born into an important and influential family. His family's home of record was Wenxi county in Hedong commandery 河東, Sili Province 司隸州.[2] Although we cannot be sure where Pei Songzhi was born, it would not have been at Wenxi.[3] He held office under Liu Yu 劉裕, a general originally in the service of Eastern Jin who seized the imperial title in 420 and established his own dynasty of [Liu] Song 宋.

Annotating Records of the Three Kingdoms[]

See also: List of cited texts in Records of the Three Kingdoms

Pei Songzhi was ordered to annotate Chen Shou's work and by doing so made it roughly three times longer than the original text. His additions come from various material in the form of biographies, histories, poems, essays, classics and many more. Though these additions are considered citations or quotations, they aren't always an exact quotation of the original text.

For example, for the biography of Liu Bei Pei Songzhi quoted the Shenxian zhuan. The original text was:

“李意期者,蜀郡人也,傳世識之。云是漢文帝時人也,無妻息。[。。。] 劉玄德欲東伐吳,報關羽之怨,使人迎意期,”

The text in Liu Bei's biography was:


Among minor changes (蜀郡 becoming 蜀; 人也 becoming 人) the most notable change is probably 劉玄德 (Liu Xuande) becoming 先主 (Former Lord).

Furthermore Pei Songzhi's annotations may not always be representative of the truth, or what Pei Songzhi thought to be true. His memorial which he presented to Emperor Wen of Liu-Song along with his annotations says:

However, its defects lie in its brevity, and sometimes it omits things. I have received your decree to seek out details and have striven for thoroughness. On the one hand, I have searched old accounts, and on the other, have collected what was missing. [...] In order to fill the gaps in Chen Shou's account, I have recovered all those events not set down by Chen of which it is proper to keep a record. Some of he sources relate the same event, but their language is contributory and confused in placed; in some, the occurrence of an event basically differs. When I have been uncertain and unable to make a decision, I have copied everything down together in order to provide different versions.


  • Pei Gui 裴珪 (father)
  • Pei Mei 裴昧 (grandfather)



  1. Yuet Keung Lo. "Pei Songzhi", in A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing, edited by D. R. Woolf (Garland Reference Library, 1998), p. 701.
  2. Cutter & Crowell, Empresses and Consorts, page 66
  3. Cutter & Crowell, Empresses and Consorts, page 67


  • Cutter, Robert Joe and William Gordon Crowell. Empresses and Consorts - Selections from Chen Shou's Records of the Three States with Pei Songzhi's Commentary. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1999.
  • Yuet Keung Lo. "Pei Songzhi", in A Global Encyclopedia of Historical Writing, edited by D. R. Woolf (Garland Reference Library, 1998)