fl. 220 b.c.
Chinese general who directed the construction of the Great Wall. The first Ch'in emperor, Shih Huang-ti, entrusted his general, Meng T'ien, to supervise the construction of a 3,000-mile-long (4,828-km-long) fortification designed to defend northern China from nomadic Asian tribesmen. Meng began construction of the wall in 221 b.c., utilizing the services of some 300,000 men. His section of the Wall reportedly took ten years to build, but the Wall was not completed until the Ming Dynasty, around a.d. 1500. Meng is also credited with inventing a type of harpsichord, the cheng, as well as a pen made of hair.