Yan Liang

Yan Liang

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Yan Liang

Caption=A wooden mask of Yan Liang used in local ritual dances in Jiangxi, China.
Title=Military general
Kingdom=Yuan Shao
Pinyin=Yán Liáng
WG=Yen Liang

Yan Liang (? – 200) was a military general under the powerful warlord Yuan Shao during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and Three Kingdoms era of China. He was slain by Guan Yu at the Battle of Baima.

Little is known about Yan Liang's life. The only historical records could be found scattered throughout the "Records of Three Kingdoms" written by Chen Shou, within the biographies of Yuan Shao, Guan Yu, and Cao Cao. It was stated that Yan Liang was the most prominent and highest-ranking general under Yuan Shao.

In 200, Yuan Shao mustered an army boasting 100,000 in strength and marched on Xuchang, the new capital and base city of Cao Cao. To ensure a safe crossing of the Yellow River, Yuan Shao sent Yan Liang to attack Baima (白馬, northeast of present day Huaxian, Henan) as a diversionary tactic, despite advisor Ju Shou's counsel that Yan Liang was too frivolous to handle the responsibility alone.

In a counter-tactic, Cao Cao moved his main force westwards along the Yellow River, diverting Yuan Shao's army in the same direction, but sent Guan Yu and Zhang Liao east to relieve the attack on Baima. Upon reaching Baima, Guan Yu saw from afar the standard on Yan Liang's chariot and urged his mount towards the latter. He impaled Yan Liang amid the mass of enemy troops, and brought back his severed head. Thus the siege of Baima was unravelled.

Yan Liang in Romance of the Three Kingdoms

"Romance of the Three Kingdoms", a historical novel by Luo Guanzhong, was a romanticized tale of the Three Kingdoms era. In Chapter 5, Yuan Shao gave high praise to Yan Liang's prowess in battle. Faced with the indomitable enemy Hua Xiong, Yuan Shao lamented, "If I had either Yan Liang or Wen Chou here, I would have nothing to fear."

This comment foreshadows the first appearance of Yan Liang in Chapter 25, where he was deployed by Yuan Shao as commander of a vanguard force to take Baima (白馬) in a conflict with rival warlord Cao Cao. Cao Cao quickly drew a light force and came to its defense. True to his lord's compliments, Yan Liang slew two of Cao Cao's lieutenants, Song Xian and Wei Xu, in duels on the first day of encounter.

As suggested by his advisor Cheng Yu, Cao Cao then summoned Guan Yu, whose service he had for the time being. The next day, as Yan Liang's army lined up on the battlefield, Guan Yu sat with Cao Cao on a hilltop and looked down. From afar he saw Yan Liang sitting on a chariot under the army standard. Leaping onto his horse Red Hare, Guan Yu galloped straight into the enemy ranks, which broke before him like waves before a swift vessel. Before Yan Liang could fight back, he was struck down by Guan Yu. Guan severed Yan Liang's head, tied it to the neck of his steed, and rode back unhindered.


*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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