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Zhonghang Huanzi 中行桓子 Xun Linfu 荀林父

Nov 1, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Xun Linfu 荀林父, courtesy name Xun Bo 荀伯, posthumous title Zhonghang Huanzi 中行桓子 or Xun Huanzi 荀桓子, was a high minister in the state of Jin 晉 during the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE).

He was a member of the house of Zhonghang 中行 and served Duke Wen 晉文公 (r. 637-628) as a military commander in a campaign against the Rong tribes 戎.

After the successful battle of Chengpu 城濮 in 632, Duke Wen created Three Divisions (sanhang 三行), and Xun Linfu was made commander of the Central Division (zhonghang 中行). His descendants were therefore allowed to use the term of the office as a family name.

Xun Linfu for some time also commanded the Upper Division (shangjun 上軍) that defeated the army of Qin 秦 in the battle of Yao 殽.

In 579, he was given the title of Marshal of the Central Army (zhongjun yuanshuai 中軍元帥) which allowed him to participate in governmental decisions. When he was defeated in the battle of Bi 邲 (near modern Yingyang 滎陽, Henan) against the army of Chu 楚, Xun Linfu offered his suicide, but Duke Jing 晉景公 (r. 600-581) declined because Shi Bo 士伯 urgently plead for Xun Linfu's life.

In 594, he again successfully led the troops of Jin against the Red Di tribes 赤狄 in the battle of Quliang 曲梁 (near modern Lucheng 潞城, Shanxi).

Source:
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), 401.