Xiahou Yuan


Xiahou Yuan

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Xiahou Yuan


Caption=Portrait of Xiahou Yuan from a Qing Dynasty edition of the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms"
Title=Military general
Kingdom=Cao Cao
Born=
Died=219
Simp=夏侯渊
Trad=夏侯淵
Pinyin=Xiàhóu Yuān
WG=Hsiahou Yuan
Zi=Miaocai (妙才)
Post=Marquis Min (愍侯)

Xiahou Yuan (? – 219) was a military general under the powerful warlord Cao Cao during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of China. Known for his decisiveness and cautiousness, Xiahou Yuan had emerged victorious in many campaigns and established a name for himself as one of the most prominent generals of the Kingdom of Wei.

Xiahou Yuan was killed in the Battle of Mount Dingjun against Liu Bei's general Huang Zhong in 219. He was given the posthumous title of Marquis Min (愍侯), literally meaning the sympathetic marquis.

Life

Xiahou Yuan was born in the county of Qiao (谯, present day Bozhou, Anhui). He was a benefactor to Cao Cao, his later lord, even during their younger days in the county. The "Records of Three Kingdoms" records an incident where Cao Cao committed a crime, for which Xiahou Yuan took the blame, though the innocent man was eventually acquitted through efforts by Cao Cao.

In 190, Cao Cao started raising an army to join the coalition against Dong Zhuo, the tyrannical warlord who held the emperor hostage in the imperial court. Xiahou Yuan heeded the call together with his elder cousin Xiahou Dun. For many years, Xiahou Yuan stayed close to Cao Cao's side during his various regional campaigns.

After the Battle of Guandu in 200, Xiahou Yuan was placed in charge of the food supplied to troops in Yanzhou (兖州), Yuzhou (豫州), Xuzhou (徐州). Under his strict supervision, Cao Cao's force was able to recover quickly from the major battle.

In 213, Ma Chao besieged the city of Ji (冀), east of present day Gangu, Gansu) in Liangzhou (凉洲). Xiahou Yuan led a force to its rescue, but the city fell before he could arrive. Ma Chao, aware of his enemy's coming, met Xiahou Yuan 200 "li" outside Ji. Xiahou Yuan's troops were outmatched and were forced to retreat east to Chang'an.

A year later, Ma Chao attacked Mount Qi (祁山). Many believed that Cao Cao's order was required before help could be sent, but Xiahou Yuan decided that it would take too long to seek the approval of his lord, who was 2,000 "li" away in Ye. He then took over the initiative and sent out Zhang He with 5,000 troops as the pioneer force, while he tailed behind with the supplies. By the time Xiahou Yuan arrived at Mount Qi, Zhang He had already defeated Ma Chao.

After the victory, Xiahou Yuan began to prepare for an offensive against Ma Chao's subject Han Sui. When Han Sui got wind of the plan, he retreated westwards. Xiahou Yuan chased him all the way to Lueyang (略阳). Understanding that Han Sui's force was largely made up of men from the Qiang tribe in Changli (长离), Xiahou Yuan decided to attack Changli in order to draw Han Sui out from behind fortifications.

Leaving behind most of his supplies, Xiahou Yuan led a light force to ransack Changli. True to his predictions, Han Sui came to the tribe's rescue. Seeing that they were outnumbered, Xiahou Yuan's men wanted to build defense works before engaging the enemy. However, believing that such construction would further exhaust his troops, who were already worn from the travel, Xiahou Yuan ordered an immediate engagement and his army ultimately prevailed.

With Han Sui removed, Xiahou Yuan went on to put down other oppositions in the region. By 215, most of the Qiang tribes had surrendered to the Kingdom of Wei. Cao Cao was full of praise for his general. Quoting Confucius, he said to Xiahou Yuan, "I cannot do as well as you". The minority tribes were so filled with awe for Xiahou Yuan that whenever Cao Cao met with the chiefs, he never failed to impress them with the general's name.

In 216, Zhang Lu surrendered Hanzhong to Cao Cao. Xiahou Yuan was then left in defense of this strategic commandery that lied between the territories of Cao Cao and Liu Bei. The year after, Liu Bei led a force upon Hanzhong, and met with Xiahou Yuan at the Yangping Pass.

The confrontation dragged on for more than a year. One night, Liu Bei set fire to the barbed fence Xiahou Yuan erected around his camp at the foot of Mount Dingjun (定军山). Alarmed by the attack, Xiahou Yuan sent Zhang He to defend the eastern corner of the camp, while he guarded the south. Liu Bei's main force pressed against Zhang He, outmatching the latter. Xiahou Yuan had to dispatch a fraction of his own troops to Zhang He's rescue.

Accompanied by thundering drums, a division of Liu Bei's troops led by Huang Zhong then descended upon Xiahou Yuan's dwindling force. The battle became a rout and Xiahou Yuan himself was killed in battle. Hanzhong soon fell to Liu Bei's forces and would not be reclaimed until decades later.

After his death, Xiahou Yuan was given the posthumous title of Marquis Min, literally meaning the sympathetic marquis.

In his early years, Chinese population was plagued with hardships due to devastations caused by war and nature, and even the affluent Xiahou Family was no exception. Xiahou Yuan's daughter had to go out to gather firewoods to help out the family because Xiahou Yuan's income was not enough to buy firewoods from the market. As a result, in her last trip to gather firewood for her family, Xiahou Yuan's daughter was captured by Zhang Fei's troops, but it turned out to be a blessing for her: Zhang Fei married Xiahou Yuan's daughter and both of their two daughters were married to Liu Shan and became the empresses of Shu Han.

In "Romance of the Three Kingdoms"

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms", a historical novel by Luo Guanzhong, was a romanticization of the events that occurred before and during the Three Kingdoms era. The Battle of Mount Dingjun, where Xiahou Yuan lost his life, was given a huge dramatic makeup by Luo Guanzhong.

According to "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", Xiahou Yuan stationed his troops on Mount Dingjun and effectively resisted the advance of Huang Zhong, a mighty general under Liu Bei. Under the council of advisor Fa Zheng, Huang Zhong occupied Mount Tiandang (天荡山), a taller peak that lied to the west of Mount Dingjun. From this new vantage point Huang Zhong had an excellent view of Xiahou Yuan's troop movements.

Xiahou Yuan could not tolerate his enemy spying on him and insisted on attacking Mount Tiandang, though his aide Zhang He tried to dissuade him from doing so. Setting out his troops to surround Mount Tiandang, Xiahou Yuan rode forth and challenged his enemy to battle. However, Huang Zhong kept his troops back and refused to engage.

In the afternoon, Fa Zheng saw from his lookout post near the peak that Xiahou Yuan's troops had grown tired and dispirited. He then hoisted a red flag, signalling Huang Zhong to attack. Amid deafening drums and war horns, the Shu troops rushed downhill with Huang Zhong galloping in the forefront. Before he could react, Xiahou Yuan was cleft into two below his shoulders by Huang Zhong. With their commander dead, the Wei soldiers were easily defeated and Mount Dingjun was taken.

When Cao Cao heard of Xiahou Yuan's death, he broke down in tears. Only then did he understand the words of the soothsayer Guan Lu (管辂):

:Three and eight run criss-cross (The year was the twenty-fourth of Jian'an or AD 219);

:A yellow pig meets a tiger (It was the month of the tiger in the year of the pig);

:South of the halted army (Actually the south of Mount Dingjun (which means a halted army));

:A limb will be lost (Referring to Xiahou Yuan, who was said to be a good, loyal friend and cousin of Cao Cao).

Modern references

Xiahou Yuan appears in all 11 games of Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdoms video game series. He has high points for both LED and War and an average INT and POL.

Xiahou Yuan also appears in the "Dynasty Warriors" video game series. He is Xiahou Dun's Cousin in the games. He wields a scimitar in Dynasty Warriors 2 and 3. He wields a battle rod in Dynasty Warriors 4 and 5, and then a scimitar again in Dynasty Warriors 6. For more information, see List of Dynasty Warriors characters.

The Xiahou clan

Direct descendants

* Xiahou Heng (夏侯衡)
** Xiahou Ji (夏侯绩)
*** Xiahou Bao (夏侯褒)
* Xiahou Ba
* Xiahou Chen (夏侯称)
* Xiahou Wei (夏侯威)
** Xiahou Jun (夏侯骏)
** Xiahou Zhuang (夏侯庄)
*** Xiahou Zhan (夏侯湛)
* Xiahou Rong (夏侯荣)
* Xiahou Hui (夏侯惠)
* Xiahou He (夏侯和)

Extended family

*Xiahou Dun¹ (cousin)
*Xiahou Lian (cousin, younger brother of Xiahou Dun) (夏侯廉)
*Xiahou Shang (nephew) (夏侯尚)
**Xiahou Xuan (夏侯玄)
***Xiahou Ben (grandnephew of Xiahou Shang) (夏侯本)
*Xiahou Ru (adopted cousin, adopted brother of Xiahou Shang) (夏侯儒)
*Xiahou En (distant nephew) (夏侯恩)
*Xiahou Feng (distant grandnephew, nephew of Xiahou Shang) (夏侯奉)

Uncertain relationships

*Xiahou Lan (夏侯兰)
*Xiahou Cun (夏侯存)
*Xiahou Xian (夏侯献)

¹ For a complete list of Xiahou Dun's descendants, see Xiahou Dun.

References

*cite book|author=Chen Shou|title=San Guo Zhi|publisher=Yue Lu Shu She|year=2002|id=ISBN 7-80665-198-5
*cite book|author=Luo Guanzhong|title=San Guo Yan Yi|publisher=Yue Lu Shu She|year=1986|id=ISBN 7-80520-013-0
*cite book|author=Lo Kuan-chung; tr. C.H. Brewitt-Taylor|title=Romance of the Three Kingdoms|publisher=Tuttle Publishing|year=2002|id=ISBN 0-8048-3467-9

ee also

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


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