This notable officer was born in 163 in the city of Xia Cai, where he is said to have initially wandered as a bandit. He was one of the first officers to join with Sun Ce alongside his fellow pirate Jiang Qin, and was instrumental in the defeat of Zhang Ying in the battle of Niuzhu by setting his headquarters on fire. Zhou Tai served as Sun Ce’s commander until his death. When Sun Quan inherited the army, Zhou Tai became one of his closest officers and served as the emperor’s personal bodyguard whenever he took to the battlefield.
Zhou Tai is remembered most for when he protected a very young Sun Quan in an ambush, earning himself several, nearly fatal wounds in the process. His loyalty merited him a promotion to magistrate. He was later made general after his participation in the victorious battles against Huang Zu, the battle of Chi Bi, and the invasion of Nan Jun. He defended Ruxu against Cao Cao, forcing him to flee back north, and later saved Sun Quan again from certain death when the emperor found himself completely surrounded by Wei soldiers. At great personal risk, Zhou Tai rescued Sun Quan, then went back to get Xu Sheng. He was honored as a brother for this.
When Lu Meng schemed to capture Guan Yu, Zhou Tai and his old pirate friend Jiang Qin were given starring roles. Jiang Qin was the one sent to taunt Guan Yu with a duel, then retreating to draw him out as he set chase. Zhou Tai and other units followed to ambush the vulnerable Guan Yu, so that Lu Meng was eventually able to capture him. Zhou Tai then defended against Liu Bei’s retaliation at the battle of Jing, in which he managed to kill the venerated Shu general Huang Zhong.
Zhou Tai was one of many older generals who found it unpalatable when Lu Xun was made commander-in-chief, often disagreeing with him. He was only appeased when Lu Xun sent him to participate in a massive battle against Shu near Yi Ling, in which Wu managed to set fire to the enemy camps once again. Zhou Tai also defeated the tribal king Sha Moke, who was the killer of Gan Ning, at this time.
He is marked in history as having had countless scars, and once told how he got each one at a banquet at Sun Quan’s behest. Though beloved and an important contributor in Wu history, Zhou Tai died in 225, four years after Sun Quan declared himself emperor.