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Hu Yan 狐偃

Nov 7, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Hu Yan 狐偃 (died 622), courtesy name Zifan 子犯, also called Jiu Ji 臼季, Jiu Ji 咎季, Jiu Fan 舅犯, Jiu Fan 咎犯, or "Minister of Works" Sikong Jizi 司空季子, was a nobleman in the state of Jin 晉 during the Spring and Autum period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE). He was a son of Hu Tu 狐突, who was a chieftain of the Di tribes 翟 (or was a descendant of Tang Shu Yu 唐叔虞, a brother of King Wu of Zhou 周武王), and served his nephew Duke Wen of Jin 晉文公 (r. 636-628) as a high military leader.

Prince Chong'er 重耳 (i.e. Duke Wen) had lived in exile for nineteen years, during which he had dwelled in many different feudal states. Hu Yan supported the prince returning home and mounting the throne of Jin. Hu Yan participated in the reenthronement of King Xiang of Zhou 周襄王 (r. 652-619 BCE) and helped eliminating the usurper of the royal throne, Prince Shu Dai 叔帶.

In 633, Duke Wen created the Three Armies (sanjun 三軍), and Hu Yan was appointed assistant commander of the Central Army (zhongjun zuo 上軍佐; or general of the Upper Army, shangjun 上軍, assisted by his brother Hu Mao 狐毛). In 632 he participated in the battle of Chengpu 城濮 (near modern Zhencheng 鄄城, Shandong), where the army of Chu 楚 was defeated.

Two years later he took part in the conference of the noble representants of the feudal states of Lu 魯, Song 宋, Qi 齊, Chen 陳, Qin 秦 and Cai 蔡 who met with royal Prince Hu 虎 at Diquan 狄泉 (near modern Luoyang 洛陽, Henan) to create a general alliance.

Sources:
Cang Xiuliang 倉修良, ed. (1991). Shiji cidian 史記辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe.), 300.
Xiong Tieji 熊鐵基, Yang Youli 楊有禮, ed. (1994). Zhongguo diwang zaixiang cidian 中國帝王宰相辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), 399.