Cao Mao
Cao Mao (DWB)
Character Information
Force(s): Wei
Weapon Type: Sword
Dual blade (Blast)
Unit Type: Special
Significant Battle(s):
First Appearance: Dynasty Warriors 7
Historical Information
Real name:
Cáo Máo
Chinese name:
Style name:
Chinese name:
Possibly born in 242.

Cao Mao (onyomi: Sō Bō) is Cao Pi's grandson who succeeded the throne after Cao Fang's removal from power via Dowager Guo's act by the request of Sima Shi; but due to Cao Mao's young age at the time, Sima Shi was still technically in control of the court.

He eventually tried to reclaim power from the Sima clan, but was killed in his coup. He was the fourth emperor of Wei who held actual power before Cao Huan becomes the fifth and last emperor after his death.

Role in GamesEdit

In Dynasty Warriors 7, he is shown as a strict and disciplined emperor with high hopes of controlling the kingdom as he is only a figurehead when he ascended the throne. He is mentioned for having Zhuge Dan rebel in an attempt to reclaim power from Sima Zhao. After Zhuge Dan's rebellion failed he set out and started a coup d'état against Sima Zhao. Eventually he is cornered and killed in his throne room by Sima Zhao.

His role in Dynasty Warriors 8 remains the same. He sends unnamed reinforcements to Zhuge Dan at Shouchun and attempts a coup against Sima Zhao in Luoyang. After his defeat, the fearful Cao Mao tries to crawl away from Sima Zhao and his officers. Sima Zhao tells him not to be so cowardly, until Jia Chong kills the emperor. In Jin's hypothetical route, Cao Mao is captured by Zhong Hui, who wants to become emperor himself. After Cao Mao is freed by Sima Yi and Zhang Chunhua and Zhong Hui captured, he willingly abdicates in favor of Cao Huan.

Cao Mao is an above average officer in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. He has decent politics and charisma and average battle skills, making him by far the best out of the three puppet emperors of Wei. However, he usually dies at a young age.


  • "Sima Zhao's intentions are now known to all in the land."
  • "I will not sit here and wait for death. I will kill him, and reclaim Wei!"
  • "Brave warriors of Wei! Fight alongside me!"

Historical InformationEdit

Cao Mao was the son of Cao Lin, the second son of Cao Pi. At the age of three, he became the "Duke of Gaogui", since his father was a prince. In 249, Cao Lin died and his rank of "Prince of Donghai" was succeeded by Cao Mao's older brother Cao Qi. Five years later in 254, the regent Sima Shi discovered a plot against him and had ministers Xiahou Xuan, Li Feng and the empresses' father Zhang Qi executed, as well as emperor Cao Fang deposed due to his lack of proper attitude and handling of affairs. Sima Shi intended to make Cao Pi's brother Cao Ju emperor, but Cao Rui's widow Empress Dowager Guo persuaded him to make Cao Mao emperor instead. Cao Mao was 13 years old at that time and he refused imperial ceremonies until he was enthroned as emperor, earning him popular support. He was known to be humble and intelligent.

In 255, after the death of Sima Shi, Cao Mao attempted to retake power by issuing an edict that Sima Shi's successor Sima Zhao should stay in Xuchang, saying that the situation in Shouchun was not yet pacified. Sima Zhao ignored the edict at Zhong Hui's and Fu Jia's advice and returned to Luoyang. In the subsequent years, Cao Mao created a literary circle and gathered some Sima loyalists around him.

After the failed rebellion of Zhuge Dan, Cao Mao received report of the sighting of two yellow dragons, a sign of divine favor. Cao Mao wrote a poem about it, interpreting the sighting as a sign of divine disfavor instead, angering Sima Zhao. In 259, Sima Zhao forced Cao Mao to issue an edict granting him the nine bestowments, which he refused.

In 260, Sima Zhao again forced Cao Mao to issue the edict and refused the nine bestowments again. Cao Mao decided to retake power in a coup and gathered his soldiers to attack Sima Zhao's residence. Sima Zhao was told of Cao Mao's plan by two defectors of the Wang clan and made preparations. Cao Mao first met Sima Zhou, who fled after initially opposing him. Eventually, Jia Chong ordered Sima Zhao's subordinate Cheng Ji to protect Sima Zhao at all cost, so Cheng Ji took a spear and killed Cao Mao.

Sima Zhao forced Empress Dowager Guo to reduce the late Cao Mao's rank to a commoner, but after the advice of Sima Fu, he reinstated Cao Mao as Duke and later Prince. Cheng Ji was executed with his entire family afterwards, but Sima Zhao decided to spare Jia Chong for this. Cao Huan then succeeded Cao Mao as emperor.

Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit

Romance of the Three Kingdoms introduces him and his enthronement in chapter 109. He was Empress Dowager Guo's last hope of returning power to the Cao family. Following Wang Su's advice, Cao Mao promoted Sima Zhao to Regent Marshal. Cao Mao discussed the matter of Zhuge Dan's rebellion with Sima Zhao and raised an army. The rest of his historical activities are faithfully replicated.