Guan Yu 关羽

The embodiment of loyalty, righteousness and courage


Chinese Name: 关羽

English Name: Guan Yu

Other Names: Guan Yunchang 关云长, Mei Ran Gong 美髯公, Guan Er Ye 关二爷, Changsheng 长生

Died: January or February, 220


Kill Yan Liang at Bai Ma 在白马斩颜良

Captured Yu Jin alive in Xiangfan, killed Pangde and shocked China 襄樊擒于禁、杀庞德、威震华夏

Guan Yu 关羽
Guan Yu 关羽

Brief Biography of Guan Yu

Guan Yu, courtesy name Yunchang 云长, was born in Jiexian County, Hedong Commandery 河东郡 (now Jiezhou Town 解州镇, Yanhu District 盐湖区, Yuncheng City 运城市, Shanxi Province 山西省). He was a famous general in the late Eastern Han Dynasty.

At the end of the Han Dynasty, he fled to Zhuo Commandery 涿郡, together with Zhang Fei 张飞 and Liu Bei 刘备, he raise troops. After Liu Bei gained Xuzhou 徐州, he sent Guan Yu to perform the duty of Taishou 太守. In the 5th year of Jian’an 建安 (200), Cao Cao moved eastward. Then, Liu Bei was defeated and Guan was captured.

Guan Yu followed Cao Cao 曹操 to fight against Yuan Shao 袁绍’s army in Guandu 官渡. He stabbed Yan Liang 颜良, the general of Yuan Shao, among the masses. As a result, he was granted the Marquis of Hanshou Pavilion 汉寿亭侯. He soon resigned to Liu Bei, and later attached to Liu Biao 刘表.

Guan Yu 关羽
Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei took an oath to become sworn brothers in a peach garden 刘关张桃园三结义

In the 13th year of Jian’an (208), Cao Cao entered Jingzhou 荆州, Liu Bei together with Guan Yu led the people to flee to the south and went to Xiakou 夏口. When Cao Cao was defeated in Chibi 赤壁, Liu Bei took over the counties in the south of the Yangtze River and appointed Guan as the governor of Xiangyang 襄阳太守. Liu Bei set Yizhou in the west and made Guan defend Jingzhou.

In the 24th year of Jian’an (219), he was appointed as a former general and besieged Cao Ren, a general of Cao Cao, in Fancheng 樊城. At that time, the Han River was flooded, and the seven armies under the supervision of general Zuo Yu Jin 于禁 were all drowned. He also beheaded general Pang De 庞德., which shocked China.

Cao Cao sent Xu Huang 徐晃 to rescue while Wu 吴 seized the opportunity to attack Jiangling 江陵. Guan Yu was defeated in Maicheng 麦城 (now the southeast of Dangyang 当阳, Hubei 湖北), and his son Guan Ping 关平 was captured and killed by the Wu army. He was appointed the title of Zhuang Miao Hou 壮缪侯.

Personal Life and Major Contributions

Following Liu Bei

Guan Yu, originally known as Changsheng 长生, later changed his name to Yunchang 云长. In his early years, he fled his hometown to Zhuo County 涿郡 of Youzhou 幽州 for committing crimes. In the first year of Zhongping 中平 (184), the yellow scarf uprising 黄巾起义 broke out, and Liu Bei organized a volunteer army in Zhuo county. Guan and Zhang Fei 张飞 all joined in.

Guan Yu 关羽
the Yellow Turban Rebellion 黄巾起义

Liu Bei traveled all over the country to participate in the war to fight against the yellow scarf army. Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei had such good feelings that they even slept together.

When Liu Bei was the Prime Minister of the plain 平原相, Guan and Zhang Fei were appointed as the Sima of the other departments 别部司马 and divided the Department 分统部曲. When Liu Bei attended the event, Guan and Zhang stood around Liu Bei to protect him.

Killing Yan Liang

In the 5th year of Jian’an (200), Cao Cao sent Liu Dai 刘岱 and Wang Zhong 王忠 to attack Liu Bei 刘备, but they were defeated by Liu Bei. Cao Cao then personally led the army. Liu Bei fled to Yuan Shao after defeat. Guan Yu was captured alive after defeat and was taken to Xudu 许都. Then, Guan Yu received generous gifts and was appointed as a general.

Guan Yu 关羽
Killing Yan Liang 斩杀颜良

Later, Yuan Shao sent the generals Guo Tu 郭图, Chun Yuqiong 淳于琼, and Yan Liang 颜良 to attack Liu Yan 刘延, the governor of Dongjun 东郡 in Baima 白马. Cao Cao led the army to rescue Liu Yan 刘延. Yan Liang was shocked and hurriedly responded. Cao Cao ordered Zhang Liao 张辽 and Guan Yu 关羽 to attack him as vanguards (Guan Yu at this time was still Liu Bei’s servant).

Guan Yu saw Yan Liang’s banner, rode a horse to stab him to death among the thousands of troops, then pulled out his knife to cut Yan Liang’s head, and then returned. Yuan’s general was unstoppable. The white horse’s encirclement was broken, and Guan Yu was appointed the Marquis of Hanshou Pavilion 汉寿亭侯.

Be defeated and flee from Maicheng 麦城

At the end of the 24th year of Jian’an (219), Cao Cao thought that the emperor Xiandi of the Han Dynasty 汉献帝 was in Xu 许, which was close to Guan Yu’s army. He wanted to move the capital to avoid them. Sima Yi 司马懿 and Jiang Ji 蒋济 dissuaded him, believing that Sun Quan would not want to see Guan Yu succeed. Cao could let Sun send troops from behind to attack Guan Yu on the condition that he promised to grant Sun Quan Jiangnan 江南. At the same time, Cao Cao sent Xu Huang, Zhao Yan 赵俨, and other soldiers to rescue Fancheng 樊城, and was even more prepared to personally fight against Guan Yu.

Guan Yu 关羽
Be defeated and flee from Maicheng 败走麦城

In December of the 24th year of Jian’an (219) (the second half of January and the first half of February in the 220 year of the Gregorian calendar), Guan Yu led more than ten horsemen to escape. He broke through the siege all the way to Linju 临沮, which is only one or two miles away from Yizhou. He was ambushed by Ma Zhong 马忠, the general of Pan Zhang 潘璋. He was captured and his eldest son Guan Ping was killed in Linju.

Video: Guan Yu – God of War in Chinese Mythology explained

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