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Xiahou Dun 夏侯惇

Jul 1, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Xiahou Dun 夏侯惇 (d. 220), courtesy name Xiahou Yuanrang 夏侯元讓, was a high military commander during the very late Eastern Han period 東漢 (25-220 CE).

He came from Qiao 譙 in the princedom of Pei 沛 (modern Baoxian 亳, Anhui) and was famous for his courage in killing someone who had insulted his teacher when he was a young man. When the warlord Cao Cao 曹操 rose his arms against Yuan Shao 袁紹 he made Xiahou Dun assistant general (pijiang 裨將). He then rose to the posts of assault-resisting commander (zhechong xiaowei 折衝校尉), governor (taishou 太守) of the commandery of Chenliu 陳留, metropolitan magistrate (yin 尹) of Henan 河南 (Luoyang 洛陽), general putting down the waves (fubo jiangjun 伏波將軍) and general of the vanguard (qian jiangjun 前將軍), and was finally given the title of Township Marquis of Gao'an 高安鄉侯.

During a campaign under the command of Lü Bu 呂布 Xiahou Dun was injured by an arrow and lost his left eye. In 216 be became a commander under Sun Quan 孫權 but soon returned north and was entrusted with the command of the 26 units protecting Cao Cao's residence. The powerful Cao Cao, who managed tocontrol the north of China, highly admired Xiahou Dun and put high confidence into him.

When Cao Cao's son Cao Pi 曹丕 (Emperor Wen 魏文帝, r. 220-226) inherited the title of King of Wei Xiahou Dun was appointed Great General (da jiangjun 大將軍), but he died only a few months later. His posthumous title is Marquis Zhong 高安鄉忠侯.

Zhang Shunhui 張舜徽, ed. (1992). Sanguozhi cidian 三國志辭典 (Jinan: Shandong jiaoyu chubanshe), 343.