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Persons in Chinese History - Xun Yu 荀彧, Xun Yun 荀惲, Xun Han 荀甝, Xun Yi 荀霬

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Xun Yu 荀彧 (163-212), courtesy name Xun Wenruo 荀文若, was an advisor to the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220) politician Cao Cao 曹操. Xun Yu hailed from Yingchuan 穎川 (modern Xuchang 許昌, Henan) and came from an eminent family of state officials. His grand-uncle Xun Shuang 荀爽 had been appointed to one offices of the Three Dukes 三公. Xun Yu was first a follower of the warlord Yuan Shao 袁紹 and later turned his loyalty to Cao Cao. He was famous for his wit and excellent advices and was therefore appointed a district magistrate (xianling 縣令). During Cao Cao's campaign against Tao Qian 陶謙, Xun Yu was installed as temporary governor of the province of Yanzhou 兖州. When Zhang Miao 張邈 rebelled against Cao Cao's growing power, Xun Yu was entrusted with, together with Cheng Yu 程昱, to suppress Zhang's uprising. Xun Yu was a great supporter of Cao Cao's plans to shift the capital from Chang'an 長安 (modern Xi'an 西安; Chang'an that had become capital again after Dong Zhuo's 董卓 devastation of Luoyang 洛陽) to Cao Cao's stronghold in Xuxian 許縣. In this new place, Xun Yu was palace attendant (shizhong 侍中) with the actual function of Director of the Imperial Secretariat (shangshuling 尚書令). He became Cao Cao's most entrusted political and military advisor. Xun Yu suggested hiring Guo Jia 郭嘉 and other competent persons and promoted the campaigns against Lü Bu 呂布 and the rebels Han Sui 韓遂 and Ma Teng 馬騰. During the campaign against Yuan Shao in 200 CE, Cao Cao wanted to redraw his troops on the battlefield of Guandu 官渡 because of lacking supplies, yet Xun Yu claimed not to do so. Cao Cao followed Xun Yu's advice and acheived a major victory that wom him the dominance over the whole of northern China. Three years later, Cao Cao rewarded Xun Yu by enfeoffing him as Marquis of Wansuiting 萬歲亭侯. The rift between Cao Cao and Xun Yu opened when the latter brought forward objections against Cao Cao's self-enfeoffment as Duke of Wei 魏公. The mighty politician thereupon forced his loyal subject to commit suicide by taking poison.

Source: Zhu Zongbin 祝總斌 (1992), "Xun Yu 荀彧", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 3, pp. 1346-1347.


Xun Yun 荀惲, courtesy name Xun Changqian 荀長倩, was a general of the Wei empire 曹魏 (220-265), one of the Three Kingdoms 三國 (220-280). He was the oldest son of Xun Yu 荀彧 and inherited his father's title of Marquis and became Leader of the palace gentlemen (huben zhonglangjiang 虎賁中郎將). Xun Yun was befriended with Cao Zhi 曹直, but hated by the latter's brother, Emperor Wen 魏文帝 (r. 220-226, Cao Pi 曹丕). He died in a relatively young age.

Source: Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽 (ed. 1992), Sanguozhi cidian 三國志辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), p. 279.


Xun Han 荀甝 was a high official in the Wei empire 曹魏 (220-265), one of the Three Kingdoms 三國 (220-280), and a grandson of general Xun Yu 荀彧. Xun Han rose to the office of cavalier attendant-in-ordinary (sanji changshi 散騎常侍) and was rewarded with the title of Township Marquis of Guangyang 廣陽鄉侯. He died already with the age of thirty sui.

Source: Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽 (ed. 1992), Sanguozhi cidian 三國志辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), p. 280.


Xun Yi 荀霬 was a high official in the Wei empire 曹魏 (220-265), one of the Three Kingdoms 三國 (220-280), and a grandson of general Xun Yu 荀彧. He was highly estimated by Emperor Wen 魏文帝 (r. 220-226, Cao Pi 曹丕) because he his mother was the emperor's sister, and therefore rose to the office of Capital Commandant (zhonglingjun 中領軍). Xun Yi was even posthumously awarded the title of General of Cavalry (piaoji jiangjun 驃騎將軍). His honorific title is Marquis Zhen 貞侯.

Source: Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽 (ed. 1992), Sanguozhi cidian 三國志辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), p. 280.

June 25, 2011 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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