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Xun Chen

Xun Chen
Personal details
RelationsSee Xun family of Yingchuan
ChildrenXun Hong
FatherXun Gun
Courtesy nameYouruo (友若)

Xun Chen, courtesy name Youruo, was an official who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. Born in the influential Xun family of Yingchuan Commandery (around present-day Xuchang, Henan), he was the fourth brother of Xun Yu and a second cousins once removed of Xun You. He initially served as an adviser to the warlord Han Fu and later to another warlord, Yuan Shao.[1]


Xun Chen's ancestral home was in Yingyin County (潁陰縣), Yingchuan Commandery (穎川郡), which is in present-day Xuchang, Henan. He was born in the influential Xun family as the fourth son of Xun Gun (荀緄), who served as the Chancellor (相) of the Jinan State (濟南國) under the Han government.[2][3]

Xun Chen served as an adviser to the warlord Han Fu, who was the Governor (牧) of Ji Province. In 191, the warlord Yuan Shao, acting on advice from Pang Ji, secretly contacted another warlord Gongsun Zan to form an alliance to attack Ji Province and agreed to divide Han Fu's territories between them. Gongsun Zan then attacked Han Fu and defeated him in battle. Yuan Shao then sent his nephew Gao Gan to meet Han Fu's close aides, including Xin Ping, Xun Chen and Guo Tu, to persuade Han Fu to hand over Ji Province to him to prevent the province from falling into Gongsun Zan's hands. Xun Chen and the others successfully convinced Han Fu to cede control of Ji Province to Yuan Shao, by assuring him that Ji Province would be better in Yuan Shao's hands and that Han Fu himself would remain safe after giving up his governorship. Xun Chen, along with other former subordinates of Han Fu, then joined Yuan Shao and became one of his advisers.[4][5]

In 199, after Yuan Shao defeated Gongsun Zan at the Battle of Yijing and took over his territories,[6] he planned to launch a campaign against the warlord Cao Cao, who controlled the figurehead Han emperor, Emperor Xian, and the Han central government. He put his eldest son Yuan Tan in charge of Qing Province, second son Yuan Xi in charge of You Province, nephew Gao Gan in charge of Bing Province, and started mobilising troops from his territories in preparation for the campaign. Xun Chen served as a strategist in Yuan Shao's camp during the Battle of Guandu.[7]

Xun Chen's eventual fate is not recorded in history.

See also


  1. ^ de Crespigny (2007), p. 926.
  2. ^ (彧父緄,濟南相。) Sanguozhi vol. 10.
  3. ^ (彧第四兄諶,字友若,事見袁紹傳。) Xun Shi Jia Zhuan annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 10.
  4. ^ (... 使陳留高幹、頴川荀諶等說馥曰:「公孫瓚乘勝來向南,而諸郡應之,袁車騎引軍東向,此其意不可知,竊為將軍危之。」馥曰:「為之柰何?」諶曰:「公孫提燕、代之卒,其鋒不可當。袁氏一時之傑,必不為將軍下。夫兾州,天下之重資也,若兩雄并力,兵交於城下,危亡可立而待也。夫袁氏,將軍之舊,且同盟也,當今為將軍計,莫若舉兾州以讓袁氏。袁氏得兾州,則瓚不能與之爭,必厚德將軍。兾州入於親交,是將軍有讓賢之名,而身安於泰山也。願將軍勿疑!」馥素恇怯,因然其計。 ... 馥又不聽。乃讓紹,紹遂領兾州牧。) Sanguozhi vol. 6.
  5. ^ Zizhi Tongjian vol. 60.
  6. ^ Zizhi Tongjian vol. 63.
  7. ^ (出長子譚為青州, ... 又以中子熈為幽州,甥高幹為并州。衆數十萬,以審配、逢紀統軍事,田豐、荀諶、許攸為謀主,顏良、文醜為將率,簡精卒十萬,騎萬匹,將攻許。) Sanguozhi vol. 6.
  • Chen, Shou (3rd century). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
  • de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms 23-220 AD. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004156050.
  • Pei, Songzhi (5th century). Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).
  • Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.
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