ivolga wrote:That's what has been posted here:There is an alternative, but highly unlikely, explanation: the SGZ biography proper only states that he died during a campaign against Sun Quan, opening up the possibility that he actually died during the 217 campaign instead of the 214 campaign, which would push his service up to 21 years.
However, this is very unlikely because an excerpt from Weishu identifies the campaign in question as the 214 campaign specifically. This is rather ironic because, as stated, it is the Weishu itself that is also the source of the “traveled with Xun Gongda for 20 years” quote.
When asking my question here, I didn't notice that SGZ indeed doesn't give an exact date: "攸從征孫權，道薨。" - it just says that Xun You died on the road to Sun Quan. So, how reliable is that date from Weishu, I wonder...
We can assume that the Weishu date is accurate. The Weishu was the official compilation of Wei's court records, so it would certainly have basic information like that correct.
ivolga wrote:This issue with dates is perhaps related to another thing in Xun You’s bio that puzzles me:
In 213 Xun You was among those who urged Cao Cao to take the title as Duke of Wei, and after that Cao Cao appointed him Director of Secretariat of Wei. As far as I understand, this position meant staying at the capital and managing civil affairs (that’s what Xun Yu did, after becoming Director of Secretariat of Han - he stopped accompanying Cao Cao on campaigns).
It is believed that with such appointments, Cao Cao was creating a copy of the Han government to ease the transition from Han to Wei. That’s why the position of Director of Secretariat of Wei doesn’t seem to be purely decorative in this case - most likely, Xun You was expected to have his hands full with actually managing Han->Wei transition and creating a functional copy of Han administration.
So it has always seemed strange to me: why does Xun You leave to a campaign almost immediately after receiving such an important civil appointment?
I can clear that up.
At the time, Han still had its own secretariat, which was based in Xu city and kept the day-to-day of the government working while Cao Cao personally ruled from Ye and issued all of his commands from there. Xun Yu was in charge of Han's secretariat from 196-212 (although in 212 he accompanied Cao Cao on campaign and died en route). Hua Xin replaced him.
Wei's secretariat was an entirely separate entity that functioned as part of Cao Cao's personal staff. So it isn't particularly odd that he'd bring Xun Yu with him on campaign.