Han Sui Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

Join the Romance of the Three Kingdoms discussion with our resident Scholars. Topics relating to the novel and history are both welcome. Don't forget to check the Forum Rules before posting.
Kongming’s Archives: Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms Officer Biographies
Three Kingdoms Officer Encyclopedia
Scholars of Shen Zhou Search Tool

Han Sui Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

Unread postby capnnerefir » Wed Apr 17, 2013 6:07 pm

Han Sui

Han Sui was from Jincheng, in Liang province.

In 184, while the Han government was focused on fighting the uprising known as the Yellow Turban Rebellion, a second rebellion was taking place in Liang province. The Xianlian Qiang in Beidi joined forces with the bandits of Fuhan and Heguan to rebel against the Han. They elected Beigong Boyu and Li Wenhou as their leaders. They were joined by Bian Zhang and Han Sui, who were well known in the region, who were also made generals. This combined force attacked and killed the Grand Administrator [taishou] of Jincheng, Chen Yi.[1]

Zuo Chang, the Inspector [cishi] of Liang, quarreled with He Xun, Chief Clerk [changshi] of Hanyang, and sent him to fight against the rebels, hoping that He Xun would make mistakes for which he could be dismissed from office. The rebels fought several battles against He Xun, but He Xun was victorious each time. When the rebel army abandoned its attacks against He Xun to attack Chen Yi in Jincheng instead, He Xun urged Zuo Chang to send Chen Yi reinforcements, but Zuo Chang refused to do so. After defeating Chen Yi, the rebel army went forward to besiege Zuo Chang in Ji county, the capital of Hanyang. Zuo Chang requested reinforcements from He Xu, who came to assist him. He Xun negotiated with the rebel army and convinced them to break off the attack. The rebels then attacked the new Colonel Protector of the Qiang [hu qiang xiaowei], Xia Yu. He Xun came to reinforce Xia Yu but was defeated in battle. The Qiang respected He Xun, so they did not kill him. Instead, they sent him back to Hanyang to rest and heal.[2]

By the start of 185, the rebel army had advanced to the Three Adjuncts [snafu].[3] Because of this threat, Huangfu Song, the General of the Chariots and Cavalry on the Left [zuo juji jiangjun], was sent to Chang’an to lead the defense against the rebels.[4] It is unclear how much fighting happened between the rebels and Huangfu Song’s force. Huangfu Song was recalled in the seventh month of 185 due to a conflict with the eunuchs who advised Emperor Ling.[5] The next month, the Minister of Works [sigong] Zhang Wen was made General of the Chariots and Cavalry [juji jiangjun] and sent to attack the rebels.[6]

Zhang Wen led a force of allegedly 100,000 soldiers against the rebels and made his camp at Meiyang. Han Sui and Bian Zhang led part of the rebel army to Meiyang and besieged Zhang Wen, defeating him in several battles around Meiyang. In the eleventh month, Dong Zhuo arrived to reinforce Zhang Wen and defeated Han Sui’s army. Han Sui and the others fled to Yuzhong county in Jincheng. Zhang Wen then sent his subordinate, Zhou Shen, to pursue Han Sui with 30,000 soldiers. One of Zhang Wen’s advisers, Sun Jian, suggested leading 10,000 men to cut off Han Sui’s supply line. Zhang Wen did not listen to Sun Jian’s advice and sent the full 30,000 against Yuzhong. While Zhou Shen was engaged against the city, Han Sui sent soldiers to cut off Zhou Shen’s supply line. This isolated Zhou Shen, who fled. Dong Zhuo found himself in a similar situation when he went to attack the Qiang armies, though he was able to escape to [You]fufeng with his army intact.[7]

The rebellion continued during 186. During that year, Zhang Wen was recalled from Liang.[8]

Early in 187, there was a sudden change in the situation in Liang. Han Sui killed Bian Zhang, Beigong Boyu, and Li Wenhou, taking sole command of the rebels, which were said to number 100,000. Han Sui advanced to Longxi commandery to besiege it. Lin Xiangru, the Grand Administrator of Longxi, rebelled against the Han and joined Han Sui.[9]

Geng Bi, the Inspector of Liang, led his forces to attack Han Sui. He advanced to Didao, but then his army revolted and joined Han Sui, killing Geng Bi. Han Sui then advanced to besiege Hanyang. Though the city had few soldiers and little food, the Grand Administrator, Fu Xie, held firm in his initial defense. Some of the Qiang in the besieging army had been treated well by Fu Xie in the past and asked him to let them escort him to his home village so that he would not be harmed. Fu Xie refused this offer. The remnants of Geng Bi’s army asked Fu Xie to join the rebellion and become their leader, but Fu Xie still refused. Instead, he charged out of the city and was killed in the fighting.[10] After this, Han Sui’s army plundered the Three Adjuncts.[11]

Near the end of 188, Han Sui sent his officer Wang Guo to besiege Chencang, in [You]fufeng. Huangfu Song was made General of the Left [zuo jiangjun] and sent with the General of the Van [qian jiangjun], Dong Zhuo, to save Chencang.[12] Wang Guo besieged Chencang for more than 80 days but could not capture the city.[13] In the second month of 189, Wang Guo retreated from Chencang. Huangfu Song attacked the retreating army and achieved great success.[14]

Because of his failure, Han Sui killed Wang Guo, appointing a man named Yan Zhong, former Prefect [ling] of Xindu, to take his place. Yan Zhong died shortly after this. Because of this rapid change in leadership, the command structure of the rebels broke down and the various leaders began to fight among themselves. As a result, the Liang rebellion, which had begun in 184, came to a confused halt in 189. Though the region would remain in disorder for decades, the rebels were no longer an organized and united force. Instead, they became a group of petty warlords who constantly competed with each other.[15]

Later in 189, Dong Zhou brought his army into Luoyang and took control of the Han court. In 190, he moved the capital from Luoyang to Chang’an. In 191, he brought his army to Chang’an to escape the army of Sun Jian, which had claimed Luoyang. By this point, the two strongest leaders in the region west of Chang’an were Han Sui and Ma Teng.

When Dong Zhuo arrived in Chang’an, he persuaded Han Sui and Ma Teng join forces with him against the armies in the east, so Han Sui and Ma Teng brought their armies to Chang’an. Shortly after this, in 192, Dong Zhuo was assassinated by Lü Bu and government affairs were taken over by a cabal led by Dong Zhuo’s former subordinate, Li Jue. Li Jue made Han Sui General Who Maintains the West in Peace [pingxi jiangjun] and sent back to Jincheng.[16]

In 194, Ma Teng and Li Jue had a falling out. Han Sui originally went to Ma Teng to mediate between the two, but he then joined Ma Teng’s cause. In the third month [April] of 194, Ma Teng and Han Sui approached Chang’an. Li Jue sent Fan Chou, Guo Si, and Li Li to attack Ma Teng. Li Jue’s forces defeated Ma Teng, who fled to Liang province. [17] Fan Chou’s army pursued them as far as Chencang. Han Sui spoke privately to Fan Chou because they were from the same village and the two got along well.[18] In May, Li Jue’s faction pardoned Han Sui and Ma Teng. Han Sui was subsequently made General Who Gives Tranquility to the Submissive.[19]

By 197, Emperor Xian had fled Chang’an and had come under the protection of Cao Cao. Cao Cao had many enemies to his east and was concerned about the warlords of the west. On the advice of Xun Yu, he sent Zhong Yao to be Colonel Director of Retainers [sili xiaowei].[20] Zhong Yao negotiated with Han Sui and Ma Teng, who subsequently sent their sons to the capital as hostages. Officially, their sons were sent to be attendants of the emperor.[21]

After this, Ma Teng and Han Sui fought with one another continuously. Han Sui proved to be the superior general in many engagements and at one point captured and killed Ma Teng’s wife and several of their children.[22] In 208, Zhong Yao and the Inspector of Liang, Wei Duan, made peace between the two warlords. Ma Teng was summoned to court where he became Commandant of the Guards [wei duwei]. His son, Ma Chao, took control of his forces in the west.[23]

In 211, Cao Cao sent Zhong Yao to attack Zhang Lu in Hanzhong. Under the pretext that they thought Cao Cao was moving to attack them, Han Sui rebelled against Cao Cao along with many other leaders of the region.[24] Their army, allegedly 100,000 soldiers, camped at Tong pass. In response, Cao Cao sent Cao Ren to take command of the defense against the rebels, ordering them to strengthen their fortifications and not engage in battle.[25] In the seventh month of 211, Cao Cao arrived to personally lead the attack against Han Sui.[26]

In the eighth month, Cao Cao arrived at Tong Pass, where he formed up ranks as though he was going to attack the rebels there. However, this maneuver was only a diversion. Secretly, Xu Huang and Zhu Ling led 4,000 soldiers across the Puban Crossing, north of Tong Pass, and established a camp west of the Yellow River. Cao Cao then went north to cross the river, sending the bulk of his army ahead. Han Sui sent Ma Chao with a force to pursue, but Cao Cao evaded them and brought his army across the Yellow River, putting them behind Han Sui’s defensive line. Cao Cao then used specialized wagons as a makeshift wall and advanced south, against Han Sui’s position. Han Sui withdrew from Tong and camped by the Wei River. Cao Cao next sent several groups of soldiers to make diversionary attacks while he sent engineers into the river to build a pontoon bridge and establish a camp south of the Wei. Han Sui had Ma Chao attack the camp in the night but he was ambushed and defeated. Left without any natural barriers between his army and Cao Cao’s, Han Sui offered Cao Cao the land west of the Yellow River in exchange for peace, but Cao Cao refused this offer.[27]

In the ninth month, Cao Cao brought the whole of his army across the Wei River. Han Sui challenged Cao Cao to battle several times, but Cao Cao would not send his army out of the camp. Han Sui repeatedly offered to cede territory and send hostages to Cao Cao. On the advice of his adviser, Jia Xu, Cao Cao pretended to agree to these terms. Han Sui then asked to meet with Cao Cao in person because they already knew each other.[28] They spoke only of trivial things and common memories. The other leaders demanded to know what Han Sui and Cao Cao spoke about, but Han Sui only said it was nothing worth repeating. Several days later, Cao Cao sent Han Sui a letter with many of the characters blotted out and changed, as though Han Sui had altered it. The other leaders grew even more suspicious of Han Sui.[29]

After this, Cao Cao agreed on a day for battle. Han Sui and the others engaged Cao Cao’s main force. After some time, Cao Cao sent other units to attack their flanks, utterly crushing the rebel army. Cheng Yi, Li Kai, and some others were killed. Han Sui and Ma Chao fled to Liang province while Yang Qiu fled to Anding.[30] In the tenth month, Cao Cao attacked Yang Qiu at Anding. Yang Qiu surrendered. Cao Cao let him retain his position. Cao Cao then returned from Anding and sent Xiahou Yuan to camp at Chang’an to oversee affairs.[31]

In 214, Xiahou Yuan planned to make a surprise attack against Han Sui at Xianqin. However, Han Sui got word of this and fled to Lueyang, in Hanyang. Because Han Sui had strong defenses at Lueyang, Xiahou Yuan decided to attack the Qiang villages along the Changli River. Han Sui’s army contained many soldiers from those villages, so Xiahou Yuan reasoned that either Han Sui would remain in Lueyang and be deserted by the Qiang or he would march to Changli where he could be defeated. Han Sui led his army to rescue Changli, where Xiahou Yuan attacked and defeated him.[32]

In the third moth of 215, Han Sui was camped in Jincheng. There, his subordinates Qu Yuan and Jiang Shi betrayed him. They killed him and sent his head to Cao Cao as an offer of surrender.[33]

Han Sui led rebellions against the Han from 184 until his death in 215. He displayed noteworthy skill in military affairs, defeating several armies in Liang province and overcoming Ma Teng on many occasions. However, he was unable to maintain control over his fellow rebels and was never able to become one of the major warlords of the time. He was faithless to his comrades, killing Beigong Boyu and the others. It is perhaps fitting that in the end, he was also betrayed.

[1] Zhongping 1, DD
[2] Zhongpping 1, EE
[3] The Three Adjuncts [snafu] are the three commanderies that border the old Han capital of Chang’an. These commanderies were Jingzhao, [Zhou]pingyi, and [You]fufeng.
[4] Zhongping 2, H
[5] Zhongping 2, M
[6] Zhongping 2, N
[7] Zhongping 2, Q
[8] Zhongping 3, F
[9] Zhongping 4, B
[10] Zhongping 4, C
[11] Zhongping 4, D
[12] Zhongping 5, O
[13] Zhongping 5, Q
[14] Zhongping 6, A
[15] Zhongping 6, B
[16] Chuping 3, DD
[17] Xingping 1, C
[18] Xingping 2, F
[19] Xingping 1, C
[20] Colonel Director of Retainers [sili xiaowei] was the title of the head administrator of Sili province. In another province, this individual’s position would be Inspector [cishi] or Governor [mu].
[21] Jian’an 2, F
[22] de Crespignhy’s note 21 of Jian’an 13
[23] Jian’an 13, O
[24] These were: Cheng Yi, Cheng Yin, Hou Xuan, Li Kan, Liang Xing, Ma Chao, Ma Wan, Yang Qiu, and Zhang Heng. Usually, accounts of the subsequent events are written with Ma Chao as the leader of this alliance, but this seems to put undue emphasis on Ma Chao. Ma Chao only became a leader in the region a few years earlier, after his father’s move to Xu city. Han Sui, on the other hand, had been an established leader in the region since 184 and, unlike Ma Chao, had a number of military success to his name. As such, it seems far more likely that Han Sui was the senior partner of this coalition.
[25] Jian’an 16, B
[26] Jian’an 16, D
[27] Jian’an 16, E
[28] In note 12 of JIan’an 16, de Crespigny notes that Han Sui’s father was nominated as Filial and Incorrupt [xiaolian] in the same year as Cao Cao and that Cao Cao and Han Sui had been in the same set of companions. I am uncertain what exactly de Crespigny means by the latter statement. However, it would seem clear that they already knew each other.
[29] Jian’an 16, F
[30] Jian’an 16, G
[31] Jian’an 16, H
[32] Jian’an 19, A
[33] Jian’an 17, B
User avatar
Scholar of Shen Zhou
Posts: 695
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:41 pm

Re: Han Sui Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

Unread postby Jordan » Thu Apr 18, 2013 8:02 pm

Good biography. Consider reading G. Haloun's The Liangzhou Rebellion if you want a bit of corroborating information.
User avatar
Scholar of Shen Zhou
Posts: 5974
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:52 am

Re: Han Sui Biography [ZZTJ Compilation]

Unread postby capnnerefir » Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:20 pm

Thank you.I'll be sure to read over that soon.

I'm very interested in all of the rebellions that went on in that region. It seems like it was never really calm there. I can kind of see why Cui Lie wanted to just get rid of it.
User avatar
Scholar of Shen Zhou
Posts: 695
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2012 8:41 pm

Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot] and 5 guests

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved