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Persons in Chinese History - Xun You 荀攸

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Xun You 荀攸 (157-214), courtesy name Xun Gongda 荀公達, was an an advisor of the late Eastern Han period 東漢 (25-220 CE) warlord Cao Cao 曹操. He came from Yingchuan 潁川 (modern Xuchang 許昌, Henan) from a wealthy family. When He Jin 何進 became regent of the empire and recruited two dozen of competent advisors, Xun You was among them. He was appointed gentleman attendant at the palace gate (huangmen shilang 黃門侍郎). Together with Zheng Tai 鄭泰 and He Yong 何顒 he planned to assassinate the powerful general Dong Zhuo 董卓. The plot was reveiled, but Dong Zhuo pardoned him. Xun You asked to be appointed governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Shujun 蜀郡 (modern Chengdu, Sichuan), but he never reached this destination and stayed in Jingzhou 荊州. Cao Cao, the most important competitor for power, used this chance to invite Xun You, and appointed him governor of Runan 汝南. Later on Xun You became chief secretary (shangshu 尚書) and military consultant (canzan junshi 參贊軍事). He took part in the campaign against Zhang Xiu 張繡. It was Xun You who suggested to Cao Cao to attack Lü Bu 呂布 and the warlord Yuan Shao 袁紹 who had taken control over the imperial court. After Cao Cao's victory Xun You was enfeoffed with the title of Marquis of Lingshuting 陵樹亭侯. When Cao Cao adopted the title of King of Wei 魏 Xun You became the director of his secretariat (shangshuling 尚書令).
During his career under Cao Cao he was one of the most important strategists of the warlord. He died during a campaign against the southeastern powerholder Sun Quan 孫權. His posthumous title is Duke Jing 敬公.


Source: Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽 (ed. 1992), Sanguozhi cidian 三國志辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), p. 278.


July 12, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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