An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History, Literature and Art

Xun Xi 荀息

Nov 1, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Xun Xi 荀息 (died 651 BCE), also called Xun An 荀黯 or Xun Shu 荀叔 "Uncle Xun", was a nobleman in the state of Jin 晉 during the Spring and Autumn period 春秋 (770-5th cent. BCE), and an ancestor of the house of Zhonghang 中行.

Xun was actually the name of his territory, and not his family name. When Duke Wu of Jin 晉武公 (r. 717-677) conquered the statelet of Gou 茍 he bestowed its territory on Yuanshi An 原氏黯, who is therefore also called Gou Shu 茍叔, or, after changing the character 茍 to 荀, Xun Shu.

In 658, Xun Xi suggested to Duke Xian 晉獻公 (r. 678-651) to bribe the duke of the small state of Yu 虞 with horses and jewels to support Jin in a punitive campaign against Guo 虢. He was entrusted with the command of the army of Jin, together with Li Ke 里克, and liased with the troops of Yu to attack Guo. The allies conquered the capital of Guo, Xiayang 下陽 (near modern Pinglu 平陸, Shanxi).

Three years later, the army of Jin turned against Yu and captured the Duke of Yu and his chief minister Baili Xi 百里奚. Xun Xi was appointed mentor (fu 傅) of the heir apparent Prince Xiqi 奚齊. When Duke Xian died and Prince Xiqi was due tosucceeded to the throne, Li Ke killed the Prince. Xun Xi thereupon enthroned a younger brother, Prince Daozi 悼子 (this seems not be his posthumous title rather than a personal name). Daozi was also murdered by Li Ke, and when defending the young duke of Jin, Xun Xi fell victim to the sword of Li Ke. The throne was eventually given to Prince Yiwu 夷吾, who is known as Duke Hui 晉惠公 (r. 651-637).

Xiong Tieji 熊鐵基, Yang Youli 楊有禮, ed. (1994), Zhongguo diwang zaixiang cidian 中國帝王宰相辭典 (Wuhan: Hubei jiaoyu chubanshe), 398.