Lu Xun (Three Kingdoms)

Lu Xun (Three Kingdoms)

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Lu Xun

Kingdom=Eastern Wu
Pinyin=Lù Xùn
WG=Lu Hsün
Zi=Boyan (伯言)
Other=Lu Yi (陸議)

Lu Xun (183 – 245) was an officer of Eastern Wu during the Three Kingdoms era of China. He was instrumental in causing Guan Yu's downfall, but is most famous for defeating Liu Bei in the celebrated Battle of Yiling.


Early life

Lu Xun was born into one of the four most prestigious and richest families in the Wu district (Zhu, Lu, Gu, Zhang). In an attempt to rally these powerful families to his side, the ruler of Eastern Wu, Sun Ce, married off his daughter to Lu Xun. Lu Xun began his career as a minor official under Sun Ce, who was then still a general and provincial warlord. Lu Xun was soon given a minor post as commandant and civil officer, where he distinguished himself as both a skilled civil leader, and as a military commander. As a military commander, he pacified south eastern tribes of Yue and brought them within the Chinese influence. As a civil official, he was successful in integrating northern refugees and minorities into the social and economic structure of Wu.

Taking Jing province

In 208, the allied forces of Sun Quan and Liu Bei defeated the powerful warlord Cao Cao at the Battle of Chibi, halting Cao Cao's southern expansion and cementing Wu's place in the Three Kingdoms. Liu Bei, however, controlled virtually no land at the time, so Sun Quan agreed to lend Liu Bei the province of Jing until such time as Liu managed to take the lands of Shu. By 219, Liu Bei had taken Shu, but balked at returning Jing. Guan Yu, a general under Liu Bei, who was appointed the governor of Jing province, was, in some measures, an arrogant man who provoked some of his subordinates, including Liu Bei's brother-in-law, Mi Fang.

An opportunity presented itself when Guan Yu began a campaign against Cao Wei in the north, leaving his eastern front undermanned.

Lu Xun proposed an idea to Sun Quan, and the plan was fleshed out. Lu Xun pretended to take command of the armed forces of Lü Meng and sent a flattering letter to Guan Yu, stating his awe in being allowed to work alongside such a great general and that he desired to depend on Guan Yu's skill. Guan Yu bought it, and further dropped his guard, moving away his last reserves. Lü Meng and Lu Xun then staged a lightning attack into Jing province and snatched away the province before Guan Yu knew what was happening. Afterwards, Guan Yu's arrogance doomed him as many of his subordinates defected to the Eastern Wu army.

To demoralize Guan Yu's troops, Lü Meng asked the family members of Guan Yu's troops to write them letters. After receiving these letters, Guan Yu's army simply melted away and returned home to their families. In his attempt to escape to Shu, Guan Yu was captured and executed.

The Battle of Yiling

When Liu Bei found out that Jing province had been taken and that Guan Yu, one of his closest generals, had been executed, he was enraged. He led the army of Shu eastward to reclaim Jing province and to avenge Guan Yu. After several defeats of Wu, Lu Xun was given command of the army and ordered to counter this threat.

Lu Xun established several forts and reinforced the existing citadels instead of directly contesting Liu Bei's advance. Although this strategy sacrificed territory, it gained him critical time to organize and transport the Wu troops. The critical points thus established also served to tie down enemy troops and disrupt enemy supply routes.

Few generals were happy with the choice of Lu Xun as supreme commander; many were hardened veterans from the days of Sun Jian, whereas Lu Xun was someone new and something of an unknown (Lü Meng had received most of the credit for the capture of Jing province). They wished to attack Liu Bei while his troops were presumably exhausted from the march. Lu Xun denied them, stating that he discerned that Liu Bei had planned for that, and open battle would be too risky. Liu Bei then sent some forces forward to lure the Wu army into an ambush; the generals wanted to fight, but Lu Xun, predicting an ambush, once again denied them.

After several months of inactivity, Lu Xun suddenly struck, first tricking the Shu commanders with a mock attack on one of their camps, then ordering his troops to move forward with torches and set fire to all the other camps of Liu Bei's army. This was followed by a devastating attack from three sides by all of the Wu forces, and Liu Bei's army was utterly destroyed. Liu Bei fled west and died a year later in the city of Baidicheng. After this, the Wu generals no longer criticized Lu Xun, seeing that he had devised most of the winning strategies of the battle.

The Wu army prepared for a follow-up campaign into Shu, but Lu Xun perceived that Cao Pi, Emperor of Wei, would take the opportunity to attack Wu, and held off. Sure enough, Wei led armies against Eastern Wu shortly thereafter.

Later campaigns

Lu Xun had cemented his position as head of the army, and was named the Governor of Jing province. In the Battle of Shiting, Zhou Fang, a provincial official feigned defection to Wei, luring a large Wei army commanded by Cao Xiu deep into Wu territory. An ambush was set up by Lu Xun in which the much larger army of Wei was surrounded and all but destroyed, rescued by Jia Kui, who predicted the ambush and tried to convince Cao Xiu beforehand, but was rejected.

At a later date, Wu launched a campaign northward, but one of their trusted couriers was captured and news of their military plans leaked out. Zhuge Jin, one of the generals leading the campaign, began to panic and wrote to Lu Xun, seeking advice on how to retreat; Lu Xun did not reply, but instead spent his time playing chess and planting beans. Zhuge Jin, perplexed, went to find out what Lu Xun was up to. Lu Xun explained that if they fled immediately, the army would be in chaos and the enemy would be able to take advantage, pursue, and destroy them. Instead, by acting calm, they would suspect some ploy by Lu Xun and thus hesitate, allowing the Wu forces to quietly withdraw. Just as he said, the enemy hesitated and the Wu forces were able to withdraw safely.

Lu Xun was a highly respected advisor to Sun Quan; he was known for his virtue and humility, as well as his keen insight. After Sun Quan named himself Emperor, Lu Xun was made Chancellor.

Later life

A dispute arose between two of Sun Quan's sons: Sun He, then heir to the throne, and Sun Ba, Prince of Lu. Sun He's position as Crown Prince was threatened by Sun Ba, who received a great deal of favor from his father. Lu Xun sided with Sun He and begged Sun Quan to firmly establish He as Crown Prince, stating that Sun Ba's power was a threat to the stability of the Kingdom of Wu. He sent letter after letter; they were all ignored. Furthermore, he was dismissed from office, and Sun Quan repeatedly sent officers to reprimand him. Filled with grief, Lu Xun fell ill and died at the age of 63.

He was father to Lu Yan and Lu Kang; Kang eventually re-established his father's name, and went on to become one of the greatest officers of Wu.

Modern references

*In the Koei video game series "Dynasty Warriors", Lu Xun is portrayed as a young, idealistic and firm supporter of Wu. He has a strong relationship with his mentor, Lü Meng, and credits much of his strategic knowledge to both Lü Meng and Zhou Yu. In "Dynasty Warriors 6" he has shorter hair and wields only one sword called the Phoenix Sword.

*Lu Xun is also featured in "Warriors Orochi". He leads an army which consisted of Wu officers who refused to accept Orochi as their new leader. Oda Nobunaga was looking for experienced officers to help him defeat Orochi. He saved Lu Xun from a Wei ambush, who later accepted the offer to join the Oda clan.

*In the popular trading card game, , Lu Xun is honored on his own card, [ Lu Xun, Scholar General] , in the starter set, .

ee also

*Three Kingdoms
*Personages of the Three Kingdoms
*"Records of Three Kingdoms"
*"Romance of the Three Kingdoms"

External links

* [ Lu Xun's Sanguo Zhi biography]

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