Cao Pi (pronounced Tsao Pi) was born the second son of Cao Cao, an officer of ancient China, in the year A.D. 187. He grew up as his father rose in rank and power to become one of the most powerful men in the land. In the year 204, he was introduced to Zhen Ji, the wife of Yuan Shao's son Yuan Xi after Cao Cao's successful campaign to take the Yuan-controlled city of Yecheng. Smitten by her beauty, Cao Pi married her shortly after, although her previous husband was still alive at that time. The marriage was met with early turmoil when Zhen Ji gave birth to Cao Rui, Cao Pi's first son, only eight months after their marriage, which inspired rumors that the boy was in fact Yuan Xi's son. Years later, he would later command his wife, upon learning of her displeasure at not being invited to his imperial coronation, to commit suicide.
In the year 211, Cao Pi was granted the position of deputy prime minister of the imperial government to his father, who had previously ascended to become prime minister. For the next several years, Cao Pi waged a political battle with his brother Cao Zhi to be declared their father's successor. Cao Pi, the elder brother, eventually won out in 217 thanks to the advice of his father's adviser Jia Xu. Three years later, in 220, Cao Pi succeeded his father, who died as Prince of Wei in 220. Cao Pi declared himself the new Prince of Wei without the consent of the emperor, but his influence was such that he encountered no resistance. He then usurped the imperial throne from Emperor Xian and declared himself the new emperor of the Wei Dynasty.
Following Cao Pi's theft of the imperial throne, Liu Bei declared himself emperor of Shu later in the year, and Sun Quan declared independence two years later, forming the kingdom of Wu. Though Cao Pi fought to regain control of the territories owned by the upstart nations, he was unable to make any significant gains, and he died in the year 226 with China divided in three.
In Video Games
Cao Pi has made regular appearances in the Dynasty Warriors series as a playable character since Dynasty Warriors 5. In his debut appearance, he fights using a swallow sword; a pair of swords linked at their handles to form a long, double-bladed weapon. In Dynasty Warriors 6, this weapon is replaced with a single sword, but has no story mode of his own. In Dynasty Warriors 7, he uses a pair of swords as his EX weapon and is one of the playable characters in the Wei storyline.
In the Dynasty Warriors series, Cao Pi is depicted as being cold, calculating and ambitious. However, his marriage to Zhen Ji is considerably happier than it was historically, and the couple in fact make a perfect match.