Hu Zun, Hu Lie, and Hu Fen Biographies [ZZTJ Compilation]

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Hu Zun, Hu Lie, and Hu Fen Biographies [ZZTJ Compilation]

Unread postby capnnerefir » Fri Apr 19, 2013 7:08 pm

I decided to combine what I've written about these three gentlemen in the same biography.

I regret that I don't have much background info on Hu Zun. I don't know if he's related to other Hu-s from earlier in the time period.

And due to a lack of translated material, my information on Hu Fen's career and Hu Lie's death is sadly insufficient.


Hu Zun (a.k.a. Hu Cun, Hu Xun)

In the first month (January 3-February 1) of238, Emperor Cao Rui of Wei sent the Grand Commandant [taiwei] Sima Yi with 40,000 soldiers on a campaign against Gongsun Yuan in Liaodong.[1] Hu Zun was one of Sima Yi’s commanders for this campaign.[2] Sima Yi’s army reached Liaodong in the sixth month (May 31-June 28) of that year. Gongsun Yuan sent his Grand General [da jiangjun] Bei Yuan along with Yang Zuo to camp along the Liao River.[3] Sima Yi sent a group of soldiers to march south along the river with many banners and flags to make it appear as though their numbers were great. Bei Yuan and Yang Zuo abandoned their positions to chase this decoy unit. With Bei Yuan and Yang Zuo gone, Sima Yi crossed the Liao River and advanced on Liaodong’s capital, Xiangping.[4] Bei Yuan and Yang Zuo realized that they had been fooled and turned around, hoping to attack Sima Yi from the rear. Sima Yi anticipated this and sent Hu Zun to ambush them in the night. Hu Zun scored a devastating victory over Gongsun Yuan’s forces.[5]

In the seventh month (June 29-July 26), heavy rain flooded the area around Xiangping.[6] When the rain stopped, Sima Yi surrounded the city.[7] In the ninth month (on September 29), Gongsun Yuan was killed while attempting to flee the city, putting an end to the campaign.[8]

In the fourth month (Apr. 26 – May 25) of 252, Sun Quan passed away.[9] His heir, Sun Liang, was extremely young, so the Grand General [da jiangjun] Zhuge Ke was made Grand Tutor [taifu] with authority over the government.[10] In the tenth month (Nov. 19 – Dec. 17), Zhuge Ke took an army to Dongxing, which was in Wei’s territory, and completed a dam that Sun Quan had once begun to build there. He then returned home with his soldiers.[11]

By this point, Hu Zun was General Who Conquers the East [zhengdong jiangjun]. He and other influential generals, Wang Chang (who was Grand General Who Conquers the South [zhengnan da jiangjun]) and Guanqiu Jian (General Who Conquers the South [zhengnan jiangjun]) all submitted memorials with plans for a counterattack. Sima Shi, the Grand General [da jiangjun] of Wei, consulted the Master of Writing [shangshu] Fu Jia about these proposals. Fu Jia preferred a policy of gradual expansion and did not like any of the plans the three generals submitted. Sima Shi decided to ignore Fu Jia’s plan.[12] Instead, he ordered Hu Zun and the others to attack the south through three different routes.[13]

In the twelfth month of 252 (Jan. 17 – Feb. 14 of 253), Wang Chang led his forces to attack Nanjun and Guanqiu Jian attacked Wucheng. Meanwhile, Hu Zun led Zhuge Dan (General Who Guards the East [zhendong jiangjun]) and 70,000 soldiers to attack the fortifications at Dongxing.[14] Hu Zun had his soldiers build pontoon bridges so that they could cross Lake Chao, where the dam was built, and take up positions on the dam. He then divided his force to attack the fortresses to either side of the dam. However, the fortresses were well positioned and Hu Zun could not capture them directly.[15]

Zhuge Ke advanced on Dongxing with 40,000 men to reinforce the defenses. He sent the General of the Champions [guanjun jiangjun], Ding Feng, ahead with a light force. Ding Feng took up a position at Xutang.[16] When Ding Feng arrived in Xutang, Hu Zun and his colleagues were drinking and relaxing and their guards were not properly posted. Ding Feng had his soldiers discard their armor and heavy weapons so that they did not look like serious threats. Ding Feng then attacked Hu Zun’s soldiers, taking them by surprise and seizing the forward camps. At that time, Zhuge Ke’s main force arrived. Hu Zun was unable to maintain control of his troops and they panicked. Many tried to cross the pontoon bridge at once and the bridge broke, so many drowned in Lake Chao. As a result, Hu Zun suffered a crushing defeat at Zhuge Ke’s hands.[17]

In the first month (January 25-February 23) of 255, Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin rose up in rebellion against Sima Shi.[18] With fifty or sixty thousand soldiers, they marched south of the Huai River. Guanqiu Jian occupied Xiang while Wen Qin commanded a mobile force outside of the city.[19] Sima Shi advanced to Yinqiao, where he made his headquarters for the campaign.[20] The general Wang Ji advanced to occupy the supply depot at Nandun, depriving Guanqiu Jian’s army of needed food.[21] Sima Shi realized that a quick battle suited Guanqiu Jian more than a protracted campaign, so he decide to take a defensive stance behind strong fortifications and not give battle, waiting instead for internal pressures to tear the rebellion apart. In order to surround the rebels, Sima Shi sent Zhuge Dan to Shouchun. He also sent Hu Zun to occupy positions in Qiao and Song to prevent Guanqiu Jian from retreating south.[22] The soldiers of the rebel army realized the hopelessness of the situation and most defected. Guanqiu Jian and Wen Qin conscripted farmers and forced them to serve in the army.[23]

Deng Ai advanced to Luojia, where he fought with Wen Qin. Although Deng Ai initially had only a small army, he was secretly reinforced by Sima Shi’s main army and easily defeated Wen Qin.[24] Sima Shi sent Sima Ban with an elite cavalry force to pursue Wen Qin.[25] Guanqiu Jian heard about Wen Qin’s defeat at Luojia and abandoned Xiang. Wen Qin, with his army destroyed, fled south to Wu.[26] Guanqiu Jian abandoned his army and went into hiding. He was found and killed by a man named Zhang Shu.[27]

In the seventh month (August 20-September 17) of 255, Hu Zun was promoted to General of the Guards [wei jiangjun].[28]

Hu Zun died on August 8 of 256.[29]

Hu Zun was very trusted by the leaders of the Sima family. He performed well against Gongsun Yuan and Guanqiu Jian, though he his mismanagement of the army led to Wei’s defeat at Lake Chao. In spite of his questionable successes, he rose to high rank and a position of great trust.

Hu Lie

Hu Zun’s second son was named Hu Lie.[30] His older brother was Hu Fen.[31]

In May of 257, the General Who Conquers the East [zhengdong jiangjun] and newly-appointed Minister of Works [sikong], Zhuge Dan, rebelled against Wei at Shouchun. He killed Yue Lin[32], the Inspector [cishi] of Yang province, and seized his territory. After conscripting many peasants from Yang, he gathered an army of around 150,000.[33] The state of Wu sent Wen Qin, Quan Yi, and others with 30,000 more soldiers to assist Zhuge Dan.[34] They were able to enter the city and reinforce Zhuge Dan before the Wei general Wang Ji finished surrounding the city. [35] An additional 30,000 under Zhu Yi and Sun Lin[36] arrived from Wu once the city was surrounded.[37] Though the forces within Shouchun launched several sorties against Wang Ji’s forces, they could not break through the siege. While Wang Ji held the line around Shouchun, Sima Zhao sent another force to counter Zhu Yi. They were led by the General Who Exerts Prowess [fenwu jiangjun], Shi Bao. At that time, Hu Lie was the Grand Administrator [taishou] of Taishan, and he served under Shi Bao against Zhu Yi. [38]

Zhu Yi’s forces laid a pontoon bridge across the river and crossed it in the night, then began to build an encampment on the other side. Shi Bao’s forces struck Zhu Yi’s and drove him back. Zhu Yi retreated and turned his attention to the nearby city of Wumu, but Shi Bao again defeated him there, forcing him to retreat further.[39] Zhu Yi had stored his supplies at Dulu. Hu Lie gathered an elite force and launched a surprise attack against the supply depot, burning Zhu Yi’s provisions. After this, Zhu Yi’s army starved and he was again defeated by Shi Bao’s forces. Zhu Yi’s superior, Sun Lin, was infuriated by Zhu Yi’s repeated failures and executed him. He then retreated back to Jianye with the remainder of his soldiers.[40]

After that, food quickly ran out in Shouchun,[41] and many of Zhuge Dan’s officers defected to Wei.[42] By the first month (February 20-March 21) of 258, Zhuge Dan’s army was desperate.[43] They made a concentrated attack against the southern arm of the siege but could not break through. Zhuge Dan subsequently killed Wen Qin, leading to more defections. In the second month, the Wei forces stormed Shouchun and captured the city. Zhuge Dan attempted to flee, but he was killed by Hu Lie’s older brother, Hu Fen.[44]

By 261, Hu Lie had been promoted to be Grand Administrator of Xiangyang.[45] In the third month (April 17-May 16) of that year, he received letters from twenty Wu generals led by Deng Yu and Li Guang, who claimed that they wanted to defect to Wei. They sent hostages to Hu Lie and asked him to bring the Xiangyang soldiers to receive them at the Jiang river. Hu Lie informed Sima Zhao of the situation and began to march south to receive the generals. However, the veteran general Wang Ji was suspicious of Deng Yu and his confederates, and he convinced Sima Zhao to call Hu Lie’s forces to a halt.[46] Wang Ji’s suspicions proved to be correct, and it later became clear that Deng Yu’s defection was part of a plot against Wei. Hu Lie was fortunate enough to avoid falling into their trap.[47]

After this, Hu Lie was transferred to be Grand Administrator of Nan’an.[48]

In the fifth month of 263, Wei mobilized a large force to invade the state of Shu in Yi province. Deng Ai, the General Who Conquers the West [zhengxi jiangjun] led 30,000 soldiers to engage Shu’s Grand General [da jiangjun] Jiang Wei. Zhuge Xu, the Inspector of Yong, was sent with another 30,000 to cut off Jiang Wei’s retreat. The main force, 100,000 strong, was led by Zhong Hui, the General Who Guards the West [zhenxi jiangjun][49] to capture Hanzhong. For this campaign, Hu Lie was Protector of the Army [hujun] under Zhong Hui.[50] These three armies were placed under the overall supervision of the Minister of Justice [tingwei], Wei Guan, who served as [zhengxi junsi][51].

When they learned of the impending invasion, the Shu court sent Liao Hua to Dazhong to reinfore Jiang Wei. They also sent Zhang Yi, Dong Jue, and some others to support the encampments around Yang’an pass. The various encampments were ordered to withdraw to and take up defensive positions at the cities of Hancheng and Luocheng.[52] Luocheng was defended by the General [jiangjun] Wang Hun while Hancheng was defended by the Protector of the Army [hujun] Jiang Ban.[53]

By the ninth month (October 20-November 17) of 263, Zhong Hui reached the Shu defenses at Yang’an. He sent the General of the Van [qian jiangjun] Li Fu to attack Wang Han at Luocheng while he sent the Protetor of the Army Xun Kai to attack Jiang Ban at Hancheng.[54] Meanwhile, he sent Hu Lie to lead the vanguard in an attack on Yang’an pass. Hu Lie captured the pass and killed the defending general, Fu Qian.[55] After Hu Lie took Yang’an Jiang Wei began to retreat. Deng Ai chased him to the Qiang River and dealt him a sound defeat.[56] He fled to Jian’ge, where he united with the remaining Shu forces to resist Zhong Hui.[57] Zhong Hui attacked Jian’ge but could not overcome the Shu troops there.[58]

Because the Wei army was stalled at Jian’ge, Deng Ai led an elite force through the mountains.[59] He defeated a Shu army led by Zhuge Zhan at Mianzhu[60] and isolated the Shu capital of Chengdu.[61] As a result, the Shu leader, Liu Shan, surrendered to Deng Ai.[62]

When the defenders of Jian’ge heard that Zhuge Zhan had been defeated, they retreated to Ba commandery. Zhong Hui advanced and sent Hu Lie with a force to intercept them from the front while other generals moved to intercept them from other points.[63] At that point, the Shu forces learned of Liu Shan’s surrender, so they delivered their seals and insignia to Hu Lie, who conducted them to Zhong Hui where they formally surrendered.[64]

On February 8 of 264, Deng Ai was made Grand Commandant [taiwei] and Zhong Hui was made Minister Over the Masses [situ].[65] It appears that Hu Lie was also promoted at this time, to the position of General of the Right [you jiangjun].[66]

At this time, Zhong Hui stirred up suspicion against Deng Ai, so Hu Lie and others sent memorials to the throne alleging that Deng Ai was plotting against Sima Zhao.[67] On February 15, Sima Zhao ordered that Deng Ai be arrested and brought to the capital.[68] Zhong Hui was ordered to enter Chengdu to enforce the arrest order.[69] Zhong Hui sent Wei Guan to arrest Deng Ai, and Deng Ai submitted to him.[70]

On March 1, Zhong Hui summoned all of the various generals and officials under his command to the palace at Chengdu. He subsequently arrested all of these individuals and imprisoned them in the various government buildings. He locked the palace and city gates, raising soldiers in rebellion against Wei.[71] One of Zhong Hui’s new officials was Qiu Jian, who had previously been one of Hu Lie’s subordinates. He warned Hu Lie that Zhong Hui was planning to execute everyone he had imprisoned. Hu Lie managed to send a message to his son, Hu Yuan warning him about this. Hu Yuan had avoided arrest because he was less than 20 years old and was not considered a danger. Hu Yuan gathered his father’s soldiers and stormed the city. They defeated Zhong Hui’s loyalists and killed Zhong Hui, Jiang Wei, and many other rebel leaders. Several days later, Wei Guan took command of the situation and restored order.[72]

After Yi province was secure, Hu Lie was made Inspector [cishi] of Jing Province.[73]

When Sun Xiu of the state of Wu learned of Liu Shan’s surrender, he sent an army under General Who Comforts the Army [fujun jiangjun] Bu Xie to attack Yong’an in hopes that he could secure some of Yi province for himself. The Grand Administrator [taishou] of Badong sent his Adviser [canjun] Yang Cong to seek reinforcements from his new Wei allies. Before help arrived, Luo Xian defeated Bu Xie, but the siege was quickly resumed by the arrival of the Wu general Lu Kang.[74] Luo Xian held out against Lu Kang for six months. Finally, Hu Lie arrived with 20,000 soldiers and drove Lu Kang away.[75]

{By 270, Hu Lie had been transferred to be Inspector of Qin province.[76] In 270, Shujineng, leader of the Tufa Xianbi,[77] revolted in Qin province. Hu Lie led an army to suppress this revolt, but he was killed in battle with Shujineng. Shujineng continued to disturb Qin and Liang, defeating numerous armies sent against him by Sima Yan.}[78] He was finally killed by the general Ma Long in 279.[79]

Hu Lie achieved a number of military victories and became one of the most trusted generals of the Sima family. He contributed greatly to the conquest of Shu and instrumental in suppressing Zhong Hui’s rebellion. Hu Lie served in a number of important administrative posts, providing support for the state wherever it was required. He came from a family of accomplished warriors and died on the battlefield.

Hu Fen

Hu Zun’s oldest son was Hu Fen. [80]

In the eighth month (September 10-October 17) of 255, Liu Shan’s General of the Guards [wei jiangjun] Jiang Wei advanced from Yi province to attack Wei at Didao. Chen Tai, General Who Conquers the West [zhengxi jiangjun] commanded the defense of that region. He ordered Wang Jing, the Inspector [cishi] of Yong province, to advance to Didao and wait for Chen Tai’s main force to arrive. That way they could advance together. While Chen Tai was making camp at Chencang, Wang Jing advanced across the Tao river to battle Jiang Wei, against Chen Tai’s orders. Wang Jing was defeated and suffered noteworthy losses, so he retreated across the Tao River and occupied Didao.[81] Against the advice of his officers, Jiang Wei advanced and besieged Didao.[82]

Deng Ai, who was serving as Colonel of the Chang River Regiment [changsui xiaowei], was made Acting General Who Tranquilizes the West [anxi jiangjun] and sent to reinforce Chen Tai along with the Grand Commandant [taiwei], Sima Fu.[83] Hu Fen was one of the commanders who served under Deng Ai at that time.[84] Chen Tai led this combined force to Longxi commandery. He advanced in secret and appeared at Jiang Wei’s rear. Jiang Wei attacked Chen Tai but was easily defeated by Chen Tai’s army. Jiang Wei fled, abandoning his army and putting an end to the short campaign.[85]

Hu Fen must have performed well on this campaign, because he was subsequently appointed as Commander [sima] to the Grand General [da jiangjun], Sima Zhao[86]. Like his brother Hu Lie, Hu Fen fought against Zhuge Dan when he revolted in Shouchun. When Zhuge Dan attempted to flee the city, it was Hu Fen who chased him down and killed him.[87]

{Hu Fen continued to serve under the Sima family for many years, outliving his younger brother, Hu Lie. Hu Fen eventually became General of the Left [zuo jiangjun] and became one of Sima Yan’s most trusted commanders. He guarded the northern bank of the Jiang river. During the invasion of Wu, Hu Fen was one of the lead commanders. He captured many Wu strong holds and contributed heavily to Jin’s victory.}[88]

Hu Fen fought under the Sima banner for over 25 years. Though he is most famous for killing the rebel Zhuge Dan, this was not Hu Fen’s greatest or most important accomplishment. He was one of few commanders who lived to see the reunification of China, a feat which his contributions made possible.

[1] Jingchu 2, 1
[2] Fang’s note 1 of Jingchu 2
[3] Jingchu 2, 12
[4] Jingchu 2, 13
[5] Fang’s note 13.4 of Jingchu 2
[6] Jingchu 2, 15
[7] Jingchu 2, 17
[8] Jingchu 2, 20
[9] Jiaping 4, 7
[10] Jiaping 4, 9
[11] Jiaping 4, 12
[12] Jiaping 4, 14
[13] Jiaping 4, 15
[14] Jiaping 4. 16
[15] Jiaping 4, 17
[16] Jiaping 4, 28
[17] Jiaping 4, 19
[18] Zhengyuan 2, 1
[19] Zhengyuan 2, 3
[20] Zhengyuan 2, 10
[21] Zhengyuan 2, 11
[22] Zhengyuan 2, 14
[23] Zhengyuan 2, 15
[24] Zhengyuan 2, 16
[25] Zhengyuan 2, 20
[26] Zhengyuan 2, 22
[27] Zhengyuan 2, 24
[28] Fang’s note 4 of Ganlu 2; the General of the Guards [wei jiangjun] is just below the General of the Chariots and Cavalry [juji jiangjun] and the General of the Agile Cavalry [biaoji jiangjun]. Only the Grand General [da jiangjun] ranked above them..
[29] Fang’s note 8 of Ganlu 1
[30] Fang’s note 13.3 of Xianxi 1 says that Hu Yuan (Hu Lie’s son) was Hu Zun’s grandson. Therefore, Hu Lie must have been Hu Zun’s son.
[31] Jingyuan 2, 2
[32] Yue Lin’s name is sometimes written as Yue Chen (I have also seen Li Lin). He was the son of Cao Cao’s famous general Yue Jin.
[33] Ganlu 2, 6
[34] Ganlu 2, 9
[35] Ganlu 2, 10
[36] Sun Lin’s name is sometimes written as Sun Chen.
[37] Ganlu 2, 11
[38] Ganlu 2, 12
[39] Fang’s note 13.6 of Ganlu 2
[40] Ganlu 2, 13
[41] Ganlu 2, 15
[42] Ganlu 2, 16
[43] Ganlu 3, 1
[44] Ganlu 3, 2
[45] Xiangyang was the capital commandery of Jing province under Liu Biao, who ruled there from 189-208. It remained the administrative center of the Wei’s territory in Jing long after that, so Hu Lie’s position as Grand Administrator of Xiangyang was very prestigious.
[46] Jingyuan 2, 1
[47] Jingyuan 2, 2
[48] Fang’s note 13.1 of Xianxi 1 gives his rank as such at the time of Zhong Hui’s revolt.
[49] Fang’s note 3 of Jingyuan 4 gives Zhong Hui’s rank as such.
[50] Fang’s note 3.2 of Jingyuan 4; Under the Later Han, the Protector of the Army [hujun] was an officer under a general who’s primary responsibility was discipline in the army. However, during the campaign against Shu, we see at least two men under Zhong Hui with this position, Hu Lie and Xun Kai. Furthermore, one of the Shu commanders, Jiang Ban, also held this position, so it seems likely that the role of the Protector of the Army had become far more important by 263 than it was under the Later Han.
[51] JIngyuan 4, 3; I am somewhat unclear on Wei Guan’s military title. This is the same “zhengxi” as in “zhengxi jiangjun” (General Who Conquers the West; Deng Ai’s title), but I do not know what “junsi” designates. Given his supervisory position for this campaign, he must have been superior in rank to Deng Ai.
[52] Jingyuan 4, 7
[53] Fang’s note 7.3 of Jingyuan 4.
[54] Jingyuan 4, 8
[55] Jingyuan 4, 9; The sanguozhi biography of Jiang Wei and the Chronicles of Han and Jin [han jin chunqiu] like to blame the fall of Yang’an on the betrayal of an officer named Jiang Shu, who allegedly let Hu Lie’s forces into the city. While this is a possibility, Zhong Hui’s sanguozhi biography says nothing of Jiang Shu’s betrayal and it seems likely that the story of Jiang Shu was invented to diminish the accomplishments of the Wei army.
[56] Jingyuan 4, 10
[57] Jingyuan 4, 11
[58] Jingyuan 4, 18
[59] Jingyuan 4, 19
[60] Jingyuan 4, 22
[61] Jingyuan 4, 24
[62] Jingyuan 4, 25
[63] Fang’s note 31.5 of Jingyuan 4
[64] Jingyuan 4, 31
[65] Jingyuan 4, 40
[66] Fang’s note 3 of Xianxi 1 cites a memorial, in which Hu Lie is referred to as General of the Right [you jiangjun] at the time of Zhong Hui’s demise. It seems most likely that he was given this promotion at the same time as Deng Ai and Zhong Hui – many other generals were likely promoted at this time as well.
[67] Jingyuan 4, 45; Fang’s note 45 of Jingyuan 4 mentions Hu Lie as one of those who sent memorials to the throne.
[68] Xianxi 1, 1
[69] Xianxi 1, 7
[70] Xianxi1, 7
[71] Xianxi 1, 9
[72] Xianxi 1, 13
[73] Xianxi 1, 33 gives Hu Lie’s rank as such
[74] Xianxi 1, 21
[75] Xianxi 1, 33
[76] Qin province was created from Yong province. Shangyong was the capital commandery.
[77] I often see the name of this ethnic group written as “Xianbei”. Rafe de Crespigny seems to prefer “Xianbi”, and I have chosen to follow his convention.
[78] The bracketed information is reportedly from a memorial quoted in Yang Hu’s jinshu biography. I have been unable to locate a translation of the source and so cannot guarantee its accuracy. In “The Three Kingdoms and Western Jin, A History of China in the Third Century AD”, Rafe de Crespigny notes that Shujineng destroyed a local army in Qin province in 270.
[79] Ma Long’s jinshu biography
[80] Fang’s note 13.3 of Xianxi 1 notes that Hu Yuan, son of Hu Lie, was the grandson of Hu Zun. Jingyuan 2, 2 says that Hu Lie was the younger brother of Hu Fen. Thus, both of these men were sons of Hu Zun.
[81] Zhengyuan 2, 37
[82] Zhengyuan 2, 38
[83] Zhengyuan 2, 39
[84] Fang’s note 40 of Zhengyuan 2 identifies Hu Fen as such
[85] Zhengyuan 2, 40
[86] Fang’s note 2.19 of Ganlu 3 gives Hu Fen’s rank as such. The Major [sima] was the second-in-command of a general. Being Major to the Grand General [da jiangjun] was thus a very prestigious and important position.
[87] Ganlu 3, 2
[88] The bracketed information is pieced together from many disparate sources, and I regret that I cannot offer more details on what was evidently the most important part of Hu Fen’s career at this time.
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Re: Hu Zun, Hu Lie, and Hu Fen Biographies [ZZTJ Compilation

Unread postby Jordan » Thu Jun 20, 2013 1:16 am

I somehow missed this when you first posted this, and I dunno why.

While I don't have time to read this right now, I will likely give this a read a bit later. The Hu family were very important and highly underrated generals of Wei that people should know more about.
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Re: Hu Zun, Hu Lie, and Hu Fen Biographies [ZZTJ Compilation

Unread postby capnnerefir » Thu Jun 20, 2013 2:25 am

I'll appreciate anything you have to contribute. There are some unfortunate gaps in my knowledge due to my limited materials, so any new information is great.
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