Han Sui

Han Sui

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Han Sui

Title= Minor warlord
Pinyin=Hán Súi
Zi=文约 (Wényuē)

Han Sui (??–215) was a warrior and military leader in the waning years of the Han Dynasty and during the Three Kingdoms era of China. For most of his life he was active in Liangzhou (涼州, the northwestern frontier of the Han Dynasty) and was involved in several rebellions against the Han Dynasty and against the warlord, Cao Cao.


With the backing of the Qiang people who populated much of Liangzhou, Han Sui took up arms against the Han Dynasty during the rule of Emperor Ling. He joined forces with others in the area, such as Bian Zhang (边章), Beigong Yu (北宫玉), and Liwen Hou (李文侯). The rebellion was put down by Dong Zhuo, but Han Sui maintained the support of the Qiang people and maintained his territory in Liangzhou. During another rebellion, Han Sui gained the powerful ally, Ma Teng. That rebellion, however, was put down by Huangfu Song.

Han Sui is thought to have preferred to remain somewhat behind the scenes, placing someone else in the position of leadership while holding the real power himself. It is thought that Bian Zhang was the first of these, but Han Sui killed him along with Beigong Yu. He then placed Wang Guo (王国) in power with the help of Ma Teng, whom he pledged a pact of brotherhood with. The arrangement did not last long, however, and Wang Guo was removed from power (and presumably killed). It was at this point that Ma Teng and Han Sui declared themselves co-rulers of the Liangzhou region, now mostly autonomous due to turmoil in the Han dynasty.

Early in 192, the two of them surrendered to Dong Zhuo's government, but Dong Zhuo was assassinated by Lü Bu and Wang Yun in April, and when Li Jue succeeded in taking power of Dong Zhuo's loyal followers; Han Sui and Ma Teng allied themselves with Liu Yan and moved their armies toward Chang'an. Unable to score any victories in battle against Li Jue, and running short on supplies, they retreated to Liangzhou.

Not long afterward, however, Han Sui and Ma Teng's relationship soured and the two of them battled each other for control of Liangzhou. Their battle escalated to the point where both were killing each other's wives and children. Cao Cao, having achieved victory at the Battle of Guandu, sent Zhong Yao to broker a peace between the two warring sides and to place Liangzhou under Cao Cao's authority. After the terms were agreed to, Han Sui and Ma Teng would give assistance to Cao Cao in the remainder of his battles against Yuan Shao. After this, Ma Teng was forcibly summoned to Ye and Han Sui placed Ma Teng's son Ma Chao in charge of the region.

When Cao Cao began gathering armies with the intent of invading Hanzhong, then under the rule of Zhang Lu, Han Sui and Ma Chao suspected that it was they, and not Zhang Lu who would be attacked. The two of them gathered warlords from the western regions and went to war against Cao Cao. In the course of the conflict, however, Cao Cao managed to turn Ma Chao and Han Sui against each other. Han Sui realized that there was no hope for victory with the forces divided against each other in suspicion, and retreated once again to Liangzhou. Cao Cao captured and killed Han Sui's son and grandchildren.

When Xiahou Yuan began his subjugation of the Liangzhou region, Han Sui fought against this, but was ultimately defeated and forced to retreat. He discussed the idea of retreating to Shu, but his subordinate Cheng Gongying encouraged him to continue his fight against Cao Cao instead. At this point, he was either murdered by some of his own followers or died of illness. In either case, his head was brought to Cao Cao by Han Sui's generals as they all surrendered. He was believed to have been over 70 years old at the time of his death.

Han Sui in "Romance of the Three Kingdoms"

In the historical novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", Han Sui is depicted as a military general under Ma Teng, when in fact he was a warlord of equal footing. Han Sui's preference to remain out of the scenes may have been a reason for this depiction.

According to the story, in the battle against the forces of Cao Cao, Han Sui leads 8 loyal generals of Ma Chao's into battle. However, due to Jia Xu's plot, Ma Chao grew suspicious of Han Sui and in anger cut off his left arm. Han Sui then defected to Cao Cao, and was given a post. Afterwards, the story has him stationed in Liangzhou with Xiahou Yuan.


This page is a rough translation of the Japanese version, re-arranged and re-formatted.

ee also

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

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