Comprehensive Biography for Yang Hu

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

Comprehensive Biography for Yang Hu

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Wed Jul 04, 2018 5:27 pm

Yang Hu, style Shuzi (221-278)

Yang Hu was born in the year 221[1] to Yang Heng and Lady Cai, a daughter of Cai Yong and sister to the famous Cai Yan. An elder brother Fa, and a sister were born as well. The future Dowager Empress Jingxian or Yang Huiyu.[2] At the age of eleven Yang Hu's father had passed away. Yang Hu was so grief stricken by this that he mourned him greatly, something that was not expected of one so young.[3] Due to their young age, the two Yang siblings were not able to raise themselves and so their uncle Dan along with his wife Xin Xianying[4] would raise them.[5] Yang Hu treated his uncle with great respect and admired him.[6] Given Xin Xianying's brilliance[7][8] it may be safe to assume that both Hu and Huiyu were inspired and perhaps learned a lot from her as well.

There exists a tale that tells of Yang Hu often visiting the Wen River, and on a specific visit he came across an old man. The man states that Yang Hu would achieve greatness for the world before he reached sixty. The man left and was never heard from again.[9] There are often tales similar to this one told in biographies. They are more than likely fables that take a great life, and give it a more dramatic flair by saying they were destined for greatness. Similar cases can be found with Zhong Yao and Zhong Hui respectively of someone recognizing their immense talent at a very early age.

There exists another tale, though far more based in fact that tells of Yang Hu's talent being recognized though this comes at a later date. When Yang Hu came of age, roughly 16-20[10], and his reputation as a bright man became known to many it caught the attention of Xiahou Wei.[11] Xiahou Wei was the son of the famous general of Wu-di of Wei, Xiahou Yuan. Wei was greatly impressed by Yang Hu and though he had no of-age and single daughters of his own, he wed his niece to Yang Hu.[12] This niece was the daughter of Xiahou Ba, Wei's elder brother and one who would eventually become a bandit after the Sima family launched their coup on Cao Shuang.[13]

Yang Hu's first foray in the Government was a simple clerk position.[14] However someone higher up found this insufficient for a man of his talent and on four separate occasions he was asked to become a scholar and an assistant but he would refuse every time.[15] Guo Yi, son of the short-lived adviser Guo Jia, once came to meet Yang Hu.[16] Whether this was to recruit him or simply speak is not confirmed anywhere I know of. However during their talks Guo Yi was so impressed that he remarked Yang Hu was the next Yan Hui.[17] Yan Hui was a favored student of Confucius, known for being humble and virtuous.

Yang Hu was once again offered a chance to be in office, this time directly by Cao Shuang himself. Wang Shen was also picked. Hu declined though Shen tried to persuade him. Hu simply said to him that "It is so difficult to serve other people!" Shen went off to serve Cao Shuang. Though when Shuang met disaster at the hands of Sima Yi, Shen was spared. He came to Yang Hu and said to him "I have not forgotten what you said to me", and Yang Hu's reply was... rather funny. He simply said "That's not what I meant at the time."[18] The Jinshu states that this was an example of Yang Hu's foresight[19], but how can it be so if he wasn't even talking about this? The only way this can be an example of his foresight is if it's referring to him declining to serve Cao Shuang which makes more sense.

Not long after this Xiahou Ba would betray his family, his state and his father to become a bandit when he fled to Yizhou. This would put Yang Hu in a difficult position because, as previously stated, Xiahou Wei had married Yang Hu to Ba's daughter. Despite the general consensus among many to be to distance themselves from the bandit, Yang Hu comforted and loved his Lady Xiahou dearly, treating her with the greatest of respect.[20] This is quite the wonderful change from the typical person of the era. Yang Hu was a good human and a terrific husband.

However Yang Hu was not free from tragedy. His mother, the Lady Cai, passed away. Matters only became worse when his elder brother Fa died not long after as well. Yang Hu was grief stricken by this and mourned for over ten years. It's noted that he employed a harsh lifestyle upon himself during this time[21] though I do not know the specifics of it.

Yang Hu would become a relative of the Sima family as his sister Huiyu would wed Sima Shi, the son of Sima Yi. It appears despite this connection, Shi never bothered to recruit her brother. She may have had a hand in this.

These were, however, trying times as the now Grand General of Wei, Sima Zhao, was looking to garner even more trusted allies. He would appoint Yang Hu as an adviser but Hu refused. Sima Zhao would not take no for an answer and sent out envoys to request he take the position of Assistant to the Imperial Secretary though it seems like he accepted it. Later he would become Counselor of Affairs and Gentleman of the Yellow Gates.[22] It appears that when Cao Mao was enthroned, Yang Hu would become one of his literary companions. During this time a man named He You, an Imperial Secretary, protested this literary circle and he was dismissed. Somehow Yang Hu was trapped in the middle of this but managed to voice his opinion without being favorable.[23] The way this is done is not described, I am afraid. I'm curious as to how Yang Hu would be in that position in the first place.

Zhong Hui, Sima Zhao's prime adviser, was jealous of Yang Hu and in turn Yang Hu was terrified of Zhong Hui.[24] Perhaps he feared ending up like Ji Kang who Zhong Hui felt had wronged him in the past.[25] However Zhong Hui had no way to slander Yang Hu, so he was safe. However When Hui was put in front of 100,000 soldiers and sent to pacify rebels in the west he took Yang Hu's cousins with him as a subordinate.[26] Xin Xianying, Yang Hu's aunt, spoke with him and said that Zhong Hui was "ambitious and presumptuous" and that he is "not one to remain a subordinate ot others". Yang Hu seemingly saw this as well, but told her not to speak of it to others.[27] These fears were correct as in March of 264 Zhong Hui attempted to revolt, however he was killed by his won men. Yang Hu's nephew was safe and not implicated in the revolt.[28] After the death of Zhong Hui, Yang Hu would rise further in rank to Gentleman who Assists to the Prime Minister and was put in charge of secret materials alongside Xun Xu, the nephew of Zhong Hui[29]

When Sima Yan, Wu-di of Jin, assumed the throne and established Western Jin, Yang Hu would rise to the position of a Duke. However Yang Hu refused outright as he felt this was too great for someone who hadn't accomplished anything yet, but Wu-di would promote him to a Marquis instead.[30]

Yang Hu was promoted to the Rank of General of the Middle Army [31] and as this was shortly after the death of Wu-di's father, Zhao, Wu-di was in mourning. Mourning rites dictate that one must cease wearing mourning garments after three days. When Zhao was buried Wu-di ceased wearing these, however he continued to wear the morning band around his head and reduced meals, acting as one who is still mourning his parents. Sometime after this he desired to go and visit his fathers tomb to pay respects, but the ministers feared that Wu-di might do harm in his sorrow. Wu-di assured them that he was in good health and since he is going to see his father's tomb, how can he not wear the mourning headband? Pei Xiu states that to wear the mourning clothes after taking them off is against propriety, and for the sovereign to wear mourning clothes but the ministers not is not suitable either. Sima Yan cast these thoughts aside and the ministers finally stopped. Yang Hu and Fu Xuan were both speaking with each other on the matter, and Yang Hu argues that the mourning period much extend to three years, regardless of who you are. Including the Emperor. To wear mourning clothes is conforming to the rites. He states that Wen-di of Han crippled the dynasty and righteousness by shortening it from three years to a simple three days. He states that despite the mourning period being over, Sima Yan still displays such filial piety and it would be just to restore the old ways. Fu Xuan states it had been over a hundred years, and to go back to the old ways would be difficulty in a single morning. Yang Hu argues that if they cannot make the whole realm follow the mourning rites they could have Wu-di continue to carry it on. Fu Xuan argue that with Wu-di in his mourning garb and the realm not, it is entirely improper. Yang Hu conceded the argument and gave up on the proposal.[32]

The reign of Wu-di is when Yang Hu's career would truly take off. Wu-di thought extremely highly of Yang Hu issued an Imperial Edict on his opinions,

"The foundation of a court is to balance different strategies and govern the six ways fairly. Hu’s virtue was known to all, his loyalty was pure, his talent includes both civil and military, and he is upright and honest. Although he was given a position at the heart of the empire, yet he was not asked to be in charge of the central operation. Such behavior is not consistent with the delegation of responsibility, which allows the emperor to rule without overwork. Therefore Hu was named Imperial Secretary Right Minister, Lieutenant General, and given a camp of soldiers.” [33]

Wu-di praises him as one of the brightest men of the age and wishes to reward him richly and bestow great rank. Yang Hu, however, was a humble man. To other intellectuals like Pei Xiu, he showed great respect and never acted as their better.[34]

It is incredibly important to point out just how much Wu-di trusted Yang Hu. Yang Hu would at one time hold the position of Middle Commander General and be in charge of the Palace Guards, as well as the armies outside of Luoyang.[35] If Yang Hu was the least bit deceptive and evil he could've turned this army inward and taken the empire for himself. This level of trust is incredible.

In 268 the Grand Marshal of Jin, Shi Bao, had been slandered greatly by Wang Chen. Wang Chen despised him and claimed that Shi Bao was colluding with Wu. He had built ramparts and dammed rivers as self-defense against a Wu invasion, and Wu-di found this suspicious. Yang Hu immediately argued that Shi Bao cannot be like this given his close ties to the Sima family, but Wu-di did not listen. However luckily for Shi Bao Sun Shuo and Sima Jun both liked him, and so they were able to advise him to go to Luoyang unarmed and answer for his crimes. He did so and Sima Yan believed him, thus saving Shi Bao of being tried for treason and killed.[36]

Given the supreme trust Wu-di had in Yang Hu as well as his own personal ambition of uniting the realm and conquering Wu, it only seems right that Yang Hu was made commander of Jingzhou and sent south.[37] When he had arrived he lead his army to Nanyang in northern Jingzhou. There he constructed schools and treated everyone with a great amount of kindness. He won the hearts of people of the area around the Yangtze.[38] He decreased the garrisons and the amount of soldiers patrolling, cultivated farmland and generally displayed a very friendly and kind image.[39] In contrast to the cruelty shown by Sun Hao of Wu, this was incredible. He abolished frivolous practices such as when an official dies in office, it was custom for the one replacing him to destroy the building and make a new one as they believe the old one to be cursed or inauspicious. Yang Hu found this to be a waste of time, money, labor and resources and abolished this practice at once.[40]

There came a time following this that the famous Wang Jun came into conflict with Yang Hu's nephew, Ji. Wang Jun once served as an adviser to Yang Hu and when Ji came to Hu, he said "Wang Jun is very wasteful in tending to desires, and he cannot be given a full role. He ought to be restricted." Yang Hu replied that Wang Jun had many great talents and will achieve his goals. When Sima Yan and Yang Hu were discussing in private the invasion of Wu, Yang Hu specifically said that Wang Jun should remain in Yizhou and construct a secret fleet as to strengthen their army.[41] This very same fleet was a major factor in the Conquest of Wu in the coming years. Sima Guang believes this account to be very odd as it mentions Wang Jun being appointed Dragon-Soaring General. Sir Sima believes that since Yang Hu was dead, how can this be? Though the wording of the text says "soon appointed as Dragon-Soaring General" it does not imply when this conversation happened.

While Yang Hu was in Jingzhou he turned the fortunes of the army around completely through logistics. When he had arrived the graineries did not have more than 100 days worth of grain in them. After he came they have more than ten years worth by his third year. He also managed to trick the Wu forces at Shicheng to retreat, thus giving the Imperials 800 extra acres of farm-able land.[42] This sort of thing is truly Yang Hu's legacy to me. His obviously bright mind that turns the fortune of a region around. Truly praiseworthy.

While he was diligent and talented, he seemed to enjoy relaxation more than anything. Fishing and farming specifically, often tending to those before his duties. Hu also enjoyed touring mountains and lakes, and every year he would visit Xianshan, wishing that his spirit would one day return there. One night he tried to leave to go out at night, perhaps to fish, and his clerk Xu Yin stood at the door with a spear in hand and proclaimed that "Sire, the general govern a land of 10,000 li, how can he go out so easily! Your personal safety is directly linked with the foundation of the empire. The gate will only open tonight if I am dead." Yang Hu was remorseful and apologized. He rarely ever left after this.[43]

Yang Hu's service and the admiration shown to him by Wu-di earned him the promotion to General of the Chariot Cavalry with his own office.[44] However Yang Hu, as always, was an unambitious and humble man, so he attempted to decline the honor. He submitted a petition that actually criticized the Emperor's favoritism toward him,

“Your subject has heard the gracious edict, which promoted your subject to one of the highest ranks. Ever since your subject became an official, over ten years had passed and both interior and exterior responsibilities were bestowed to show your subject had your favor. The ancient wisdom said that even the promotion of the able men should not be haste and favoritism should not last. Your subject is fearful day and night about the undeserved honor. Your subject had heard the wisdom from ancient times, “If someone whose virtue is not recognized by all but obtained a high rank, then talented people would be barred from deserving positions. If someone was rewarded extravagantly without his achievements recognized, then hardworking people would be discouraged.” Now your subject is related to the imperial family by marriage and most of the past successes were dependent on luck. Your subject should not being shown excess favoritism but should be treat strictly instead. Now an imperial edict was issued suddenly and unearned honor were bestowed, what did your subject do to deserve such reward and what heart do your subject have to accept it without questioning? When someone disgraces a high rank he does not deserve, his failure would be near and he will not be able to even guard the cottage of their ancestors. The heavenly dignity would be displeased if your subject refuse; however what was said previously would occur upon acquiesce. The ancient sages possess the virtue of gentlemen: they knew their abilities and would not pursue what is not within their grasp. Although your subject is a petty person, what conscience I have left would not allow me to accept what is beyond my limits. Ever since the empire was established, eight years had passed

Although your majesty would put in all the efforts to seek talents even among the secluded and the low ranked, your subject cannot recommend those who are virtuous and reach out to those who are achieved. Therefore your majesty would assume there are few who are superior to your subject but the truth is many simply were not known. However, if there are talents left in the empire among the butchers and the fishers, how can they trust the court when they used untalented people like me and how can your subject not be embarrassed? Such loss is too great! While your subject had stole high positions for a long time, never before had they reached to the top to both civil and military ranks and were placed on par with the chief ministers. Although your subject only has a shallow knowledge, I have heard High Counselor Li Xi is known for his virtue in office; High Counselor Lu Zhi is famous for suppressing his personal desires and his skill in dealing with others; High Counselor Li Yin’s integrity were recognized by all. They had all served in the court until their hair had turned grey but followed the proper behavior of an official: although they had strong favoritism from the palace, their homes are not different from the commoners. When none of them were given this honor and your subject is going to surpass them, the entire world will be disappointed! Thus your subject is determined to guard my heart and would not seek non-deserving advances. Now there are still many affairs need to be settled. Your subject begs you to retain the honor and allow me to return to my camp.”[45]

This petition was rejected and Yang Hu was promoted, however this does show his good intentions toward the Empire. Yang Hu advises strict treatment over the blatant nepotism that had plagued so many regimes and dynasty's before. The reason failures like He Jin and Jiang Wei, men who did nothing to aid their respective dynasty, wound up in those position was through connections and not talent. Yang Hu wanted to safe guard against this sort of thing. The Li Xi and Lu Zhi are referring to 李熹 and 鲁芝, of Jin and Wei respectively. Li Xi was an Imperial Secretary for Wu-di and later Hui-di as well as tutor for Hui-di as Crown Prince. Lu Zhi was an aid to Cao Zhen and Shuang. He was known to be frugal and well respected.

In Wu, the rebel Emperor Sun Hao issued a summons for the commander of Xiling (formerly Yiling) named Bu Chan. Bu Chan was from a very prestigious family, in fact one that was tied to the Imperials through the deceased Empress and wife to Sun Quan, Bu Lianshi. The Bu clan held Xiling for several generations and such a sudden summons frightened Bu Chan. He feared harm, or at the very least being stripped of his post due to slander. Bu Chan got into contact with the Imperial's of Jin and offered the entire city for surrender, sending his two nephews Ji and Xuan to Luoyang as hostages. Wu-di appointed Bu Chan as Commander of Xiling and acting Governor of Jiaozhou.[46] The reason such lavish rewards were bestowed were, as often the case, to show magnanimity. To treat the surrendered people extremely well was to invite more rebels to surrender.

Lu Kang of Wu, one of their greatest commanders and ministers, heard of this defection and he summoned a host of 30,000 and marched against Bu Chan at Xiling. Wu-di responded to this by sending Yang Zhao, the Inspector if Jingzhou, to Xiling while Yang Hu was tasked with leading an army from Jiangling and Xu Yin would lead a naval force to Jianping. The rebel army around Xiling began to build strong defenses from Chixi to Gushi with the idea of keeping Bu Chan locked in the city under siege, while also resisting the Imperial Jin army that would attempt to reinforce it.[47] One may liken this strategy to the Battle of Alesia in 52BCE.

The rebels forced marched through the night as if the city were under-siege which greatly exhausted the army. This earned the scorn of the generals who remonstrated Lu Kang, citing foolishness in not attacking the enemy right away rather than wasting time on a useless siege. Lu Kang, however, argued that Xiling is easy to defend with ample stores of grain, along with many useful defenses. He further states that if the Imperial Army arrives they will no defenses prepared as the rebels will have their double walls, so have can they hold out? The generals continued to protest and so Lu Kang allowed a single assault which ended in failure. The rebels of Wu continued to create their defenses.[48]

Yang Hu, with 50,000 soldiers of the Imperial Army at his back, arrived at Jiangling and put the city under siege. The Wu army, frightened, all pleaded for Lu Kang to come to it's aid however he refused. He cited the strong walls, ample soldiers, as well as stating that if the city fell the Jin forces would not be able to defend it. He further states taking away soldiers from Xiling would mean they lose it, which would then throw the hill tribes into chaos and Wu will be in great danger.[49] Lu Kang would not leave Jiangling entirely defenseless however. The area north of Jiangling was flat and very easy to traverse, and so he had Zhang Xian build a dam at the river sometime ago in order to flood any army that was in this leveled terrain. It just so happened that Yang Hu desired to use this dammed river to transport grain by boat.[50] Doing so would avoid unnecessary travel times, as well as allow them transport even more than what a cart or pack could carry. Yang Hu, in an attempt to hide his plan, leaked out a plan that he was going to break the dam however Lu Kang heard of this and he immediately had Zhang Xian destroy the dam himself, which drew the ire of many of Lu Kang's generals. As Yang Hu arrived, he heard the news of the dams destruction which foiled his plan. He now had to load the supplies from the boats onto carts, and then transport by foot which added on a great deal of time and effort.[51] It was a game of chess and Lu Kang came out the victor there.

During the siege of Jiangling, Wang Hu came into conflict with Wang Rong for some reason. Wang Rong was previously one of the famous Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, and eventually he would lead a column in the Conquest of Wu. However Yang Hu felt Wang Rong's failure was so great it warranted execution, however this obviously was never carried out.[52]

Yang Zhao arrived at Xiling several months later to meet Lu Kang's main force. Lu Kang sent Sun Zun to the south bank of the Yangzte to resist Yang Hu so he could not cross the river and Liu Lu to fight Xu Yin. Perhaps due to their distrust of him, two of Wu's generals defected to Yang Zhao. Lu Kang recognized that since one of them served in his army for a long time he knew exactly where he was weakest and where he was strongest. He cites the tribal soldiers often being the hardest for him to control and they were on the flanks, and so he shifted his elite soldiers from the center to the flanks. The very next day Yang Zhao, on the now incorrect advice from the defectors, attacked Lu Kang's flank and met harsh resistance and suffered a huge defeat. Arrows and stones fell from the skies, killing thousands. Yang Zhao and his army fled sometime during the night and Lu Kang would enact a master plan. He did not wish to commit too many soldiers as Bu Chan could sally out of Xiling and attack, so what he would so is sound the drums and assemble all of his soldiers as if he was going to retreat, which caused a mass panic among the Imperial army that was fleeing, who threw away their weapons and ran for their lives. The rebels sent light infantry after them and put them to the sword.[53]

Due to this great defeat at Xiling, Yang Hu and the Imperial Army were forced to pull back, and since the city was isolated Lu Kang was able to take Xiling and put Bu Chan and his clan to death.[54] Yang Hu and Yang Zhao were both blamed for this defeat. Ministers in the court stated that Yang Hu not only outnumbered Lu Kang, but also sent Yang Zhao to dangerous ground with no reinforcements and little supplies, upsetting the soldiers. They call him disobedient nor talented. They even further called for him to be removed from office. While Yang Hu was demoted by fourteen ranks to General who Pacifies the South, it was Yang Zhao that was stripped of office and all rank to be made a commoner.[55]

Yang Hu is often described as one with immense military talent, labeled by some as one of Jin's greatest commanders. This complete defeat truly makes me doubt this claim. That isn't to say he is without talent, simply that his reputation lacks substance. I truly think he is greater than his reputation, however similar to Lu Xun it is in his trustworthiness and civil genius, rather than militarily.

To continue what he was greatest at, after his return from Jiangling Yang Hu continued to show compassion and affection to the people of Wu. He never acted with deceit or lies.[56] Yang Hu constructed five cities, tilled more fertile land and attacked graineries of Wu.[57] When Yang Hu counted the grain that was captured, he would repay it with silks. It is also said that when his soldiers went out hunting, if an animal had ever first been wounded by the men of Wu, Yang Hu would always send the meat and furs back to the Southlands. The people on the boarder greatly loved and adored him for this.[58] There is described to be a stream of surrenders from Wu that was non-stop. Hu showed benevolence and virtue, further earning their love. Yang Hu also never fought an unplanned battle. He wished to speak with those in Wu ahead of tim, and he never set a single trap. His generals disliked this and tried offering schemes, but when they came to speak Yang Hu would get them drunk so they would forget their plans. There is another tale of two boys from Wu being arrested at the boarder for some crime, but when Yang Hu heard of this he had them set free and sent back home to Wu. Later on when two generals of Wu defected to Jin, the father of the two boys came with them.[59]

Later on Chen Shang and Pan Jing of Wu attacked and Yang Hu defeated them, with both men dying in combat. Yang Hu lamented this loss of life and praised both men as having great integrity. He gave them a grand burial in respect. When the families asked for the bodies of their loved ones Yang Hu honored them and returned them with the proper rituals.[60]

Yang Hu fought Deng Xiang of Wu at Xiakou and captured him, however he pardoned him. This act of kindness shocked Deng who surrendered with all his subordinates at this sign of compassion.[61]

This treatment of everyone on the boarder earned Yang Hu great respect in Wu, and the people referred to him as Lord Yang from now on.[62]

While their conflict continued Yang Hu and Lu Kang often exchanged envoys. Lu Kang praised Yang Hu greatly, stating that Zhuge Liang was no match for him.[63] This admiration was from both sides, as there exists a tale that when Lu Kang fell deathly ill Yang Hu gifted him a medicine from the Empire. The soldiers, officers and generals warned Lu Kang not to drink it but Lu Kang stated Yang Hu was not the sort of man to stoop so low. Lu Kang even sent wine to Yang Hu who, much like Lu Kang, drank it every time despite protest.[64]

Being a man of upright morals and truly little ambition, Yang Hu was not a man involved in court factions.[65] This earned the scorn of the very powerful Jia faction, primarily Xun Xu and Feng Dan.[66]

Yang Hu would eventually be appointed to Grand General who Conquers the South and allowed to establish his own office equal to the Excellencies, even granted the option to pick his own officials. Again displacing the immense trust shown by Wu-di.[67] Yang Hu petitioned for an invasion of the rebel state of Wu, something Sima Yan greatly agreed with but met with disagreement from the ministers. The Tufa-Xianbei were a great problem, and Yang Hu further argued that subjugation of Wu would mean surrender of the tribes. However again ministers argued against it and there was no invasion. [68] Yang Hu sighed and lamented, "In every affair, there are usually seven or eight people out of every ten who oppose the idea. If we do not accept what Heaven is offering, surely we shall regret it all the more later!" Only Du Yu and Zhang Hua agreed with him.[69]

Later on the five counties of Wuyang, Mo, Nancheng, Liangfu and Pingyang were all merged into Nanchengzhou. Yang Hu was named Marquis of this newly made province and gifted his own minister like a duke. However, again as a humble man, Yang Hu refused citing the humbleness of Zhang Liang under Liu Bang, stating that he would embarrass the court by accept such a high honor. Wu-di was, as always, impressed by his humbleness and determination. Yang Hu always refused the greatest rewards and never resented Wu-di. Most in the world came to love and adore him, and many petitioned him to become one of the top ministers in the court, however since Sima Yan did have desires to take over Wu he knew having Yang Hu in the south was key for this.[70]

It is said the trust was so great in Yang Hu, and in a similar case of Xiahou Dun, Zhong Hui and Xun Yu, rarely was ther ever a decision that was not run by Yang Hu first.[71]

He was without greed or intense desire, never desiring personal advancement. Some described him as unambitious and cautious.[72] Yang Hu's son-in-law once said it would be nice to establish his own people in all the camps, i.e create a loyal network of people trusted by Hu. Yang Hu told his son that it is a great crime for a vassal to act selfishly and not with of the country.[73]

Despite Yang Hu's great treatment of the people of Wu, that did not stop Sun Hao from launching raids into Imperial lands. Yang Hu defeated these raids, and despite the court wanting to reward him, he petitioned the land to be transferred to his nephew Cai Xi, which they were.[74] Yang Hu, however, criticized by an envoy sent by Wu-di after Wu invaded Heyang and Xiangxia, raiding the territory. The envoy demanded to know why Yang Hu did not give chase, and so Yang Hu cited Wu-di of Wei, Cao Cao, who stated armies were best kept together and should not be separated unless necessary. The envoy was speechless.[75]

Yang Hu fell sick sometime later and he petitioned to go to the court. When he arrived he was just in time for the funeral of his older sister, Empress Jiangxian, Yang Huiyu. Yang Hu was grief stricken by this.[76]

Due to his illness, Wu-di ordered that Yang Hu may ride the Imperial handcart and not need follow court rituals. The two sat together and Yang Hu presented a plan to conquer Wu. Wu-di, not wanting to put too much stress on Yang Hu, had Zhang Hua go to his home to ask fo his plans, rather than forcing him to come to the Palace and risk his health.[77] Yang Hu recognized Zhang Hua's great talent and ability, and divulged everything. He stated if Sun Hao were to ever die and Wu obtained a good ruler, Wu would never fall and hegemony could not be obtained. Zhang Hua agreed, and Yang Hu stated that it was only Zhang Hua that could fulfill his ambitions.[78] Wu-di desired Yang Hu to lead soldiers during the invasion to which Hu replied, “Your vassal need not to go himself, your majesty should be concerned about what will happen after Wu is pacified. Your vassal dares not accept any fame and honor hence someone else must be able to handle the east affair, which your majesty might want to consider thoroughly.”[79]

With his health failing, Yang Hu petitioned the court to appoint Du Yu as his successor in the south and this wish was met. Yang Hu passed away in 278 at the age of 57. He was mourned by everyone in Jin, but no more than Wu-di who wore mourning clothes and wept. The cold caused the tears to freeze to the Emperor's face. Those in Nanzhou, and even in Wu cried and mourned him. He was given a lavish funeral and posthumously eneoffed as Imperial Counselor and Grand Instructor.[80] Yang Hu, as a humble and frugal man, never spent any wealth he obtained. It was all given to his family and to his soldiers.[81] Yang Hu requested not to be buried as Marquis of Nancheng, but Wu-di refused and dedicated an acre of land to Hu's tomb. Wu-di even personally saw the coffin off at the south gate.[82] Even the Prince of Qi, Sima You, petitioned on behalf of the Lady Xiahou, wife to Yang Hu, that Hu not be buried as a marquis.[83] Wu-di refused this and demanded he be honored, and so he was.

Thus ends the story of Yang Hu. Truly this man was one of a kind and there were none in Jin like him. He was above pettiness, corruption, cruelty and the awful social norms of the time. When society dictates he turns his back on his wife for her father's wickedness, he refused. When corrupt officials slander him, he cared not and carried on. When given the chance to further his own power, he never did so and always remained loyal. While I think his military career is absolutely nothing like fiction presents it, nor is he what people think he is, Yang Hu was one of Jin's greatest subjects and humans. Had they had 100 Yang Hu's, Western Jin never would've collapsed as it did. Kindness, compassion, loyalty, frugality and humbleness are just a few traits of this wonderful man that I wish the world to recognize. He was not one of the most legendary commanders, but he does not need to be. In fact I find him more respectable and admirable than many of the greatest. Few match his virtue. Yang Hu was an absolute one of a kind man in a time that needed someone like him. Nearly the entire world as they knew it mourned his death in 278. I myself have a great amount of respect for this man of legend.

[1] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography - This is my calculation and it was based off of the fact that he was 57 years old at the time of his death in 278 according to his Jinshu. If one checks google it is incorrectly listed as 190. This is an absurd number based in no fact and shows a complete lack of proper eyesight and/or reading comprehension. How someone could think a man was born 40 years before he was is rather puzzling.
[2] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[3] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[4] Xuesanguo, Chen Shou, Xin Xianying's Sanguozhi biography
[5] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[6] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[7] Xuesanguo, Chen Shou, Xin Xianying's Sanguozhi biography
[8] Forandon, Fan Xuanling, Xin Xianying's Jinshu biography
[9] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[10] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[11] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[12] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[13] Xuesanguo, Pei Songzhi, Weilue annotaiton, Xiahou Ba' Subbiograhpy, Chen Shou, Xiahou Yuan's Sanguozhi biography
[14] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[15] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[16] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[17] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[18] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[19] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[20] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[21] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[22] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[23] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography - Yang Hu’s Jinshu translation mislabels Emperor Cao Fang as the Duke of Gaoguixiang when it was actually Emperor Cao Mao.
[24] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[25] Chen Shou, Zhong Hui's Sanguozhi biography
[26] Xuesanguo, Chen Shou, Xin Xianying's Sanguozhi biography
[27] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[28] Xuesanguo, Chen Shou, Xin Xianying's Sanguozhi biography
[29] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[30] Xuesanguo, Chen Shou, Xin Xianying's Sanguozhi biography
[31] Xuesanguo, Chen Shou, Xin Xianying's Sanguozhi biography
[32] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[33] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[34] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[35] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[36] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[37] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[38] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[39] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[40] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[41] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[42] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[43] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[44] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[45] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[46] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[47] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[48] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[49] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[50] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[51] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[52] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[53] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[54] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[55] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[56] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[57] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[58] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[59] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[60] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[61] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[62] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[63] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[64] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[65] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[66] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[67] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[68] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[69] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[70] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[71] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[72] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[73] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[74] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[75] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[76] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[77] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[78] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[79] Taishi Ci 2.0, The Jin Dynasty (Part 1), Sima Guang, Zizhi Tongjian
[80] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[81] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[82] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
[83] Empress Zhang, Fan Xuanling, Yang Hu's Jinshu biography
"I take Heaven and Earth to be my dwelling, and my rooms are my coat and pants; so what are you gentlemen doing in my pants?"
Check out my library here for a list of Chinese history resources I have on hand!
User avatar
DaoLunOfShiji
Master
 
Posts: 233
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:26 pm
Location: "A genius like Cao Zhi, as martial as Cao Cao."

Re: Comprehensive Biography for Yang Hu

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jul 05, 2018 5:39 pm

Thank you. Not a man I knew greatly of bar his relation with Lu Kang, that failed battle and a few stories so good to get the full story and the context he was operating in
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 16052
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

Re: Comprehensive Biography for Yang Hu

Unread postby Adriantoth » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:39 am

I really appreciate this biography for yang hu post. I've been looking all over for this! Thank goodness I found it on this forum website. You have made my day! I think this is engaging and eye-opening material. Thank you so much for caring about your content and your readers.
Adriantoth
Tyro
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:34 am


Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests

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