Biography (COB): Lu Xun (Boyan)

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Lu Xun (Boyan)Lu Xun (Boyan)
陸遜 (伯言)

Comprehensive Officer Biography
Translated & Authored by

Place of Birth: Wu County, Wu Commandery (Presently Suzhou in Jiangsu Province)
Lifespan: AD 183 – 245 (62 Years)
Titles: Commander-in-Chief Who Pacifies the North, Lord of Jiangling, Protector of Jing Zhou, Prime Minister, Impressive Lord

For many generations, Lu Xun’s family had been extremely powerful in the land of Jiang Dong (2). At the age of twenty-one, Lu Xun entered the service of Sun Quan. His brilliance earned him position as Senior Civil Advisor, Commander of Farming at Hai Chang and Commandant Who Establishes Our Prestige.

Lu Xun advised Sun Quan to pacify the revolt of the Shan Yue people in the south and was appointed Commander of the Right to do so. Boyan’s first military assignment was a great success and Sun Quan held him in high regard.

When Lü Meng was assigned to take back Jing Zhou from Guan Yu, Lu Xun was assigned as field advisor (3). Lu Xun knew exactly how to trick the proud Guan Yu into underestimating him and together with Lü Meng annihilated Guan Yu’s forces and conquered Nan Jun.

Boyan was then appointed General of the Border Guard and titled Lord of Huating. In the year AD 222, as the Great Commander-in-Chief, Lu Xun commanded the Wu army in Jing Zhou to withstand Liu Bei’s main army. Though Wu’s officers were worried, Lu Xun’s character stood firm and he explained to his men how to win the battle, even with inferior numbers (4). Boyan’s strategy was a success and delivered a crushing defeat to the Shu Emperor.

In that same year, Lu Xun repelled the invasion of Wei and was honored by Sun Quan as General Who Upholds the State, Lord of Jiangling and Protector of Jing Zhou.

When Zhou Fang initiated his plot to lure Wei into entering Wu, Lu Xun was appointed Great General Who Upholds the State and Great Commander-in-Chief Who Pacifies the North by Sun Quan and led his armies against Cao Xiu.

After Sun Quan ascended the throne and became Wu Emperor, Lu Boyan was appointed as Senior General, with the order to defend the capital Wuchang and aid Sun Quan’s heir.

Sun Quan had a great trust in Lu Xun and respected his wisdom. Boyan kept all the important seals of the state, so that all documents had to be handed onto Lu Xun to be read and sealed (5). In the year 244 A.D., Lu Xun was appointed Prime Minister of Wu. His reign as Prime Minister was very short as he died in the next year. Sun Quan titled him Impressive Lord Posthumously.

(1) Lu Xun’s original personal name was Yi (). Usually officers would change their name after reaching a certain level of nobility. Perhaps Lu Xun changed his name before entering Sun Quan’s service, which is possible due to his family’s influence. <return>

(2) According to SGZ, both Sun Jian and Sun Ce had encounters with Lu Xun’s great-uncle Lu Kang. Since both families were from Wu Commandery, they were obviously well acquainted with each other. At one point, Sun Jian aided Lu Kang when his county was under siege by rebel. Later when Sun Ce was attacking Lu Jiang on Yuan Shu’s orders, he fought against Lu Kang. Lu Xun’s service for the Wu Empire suggests that the two families did not hold any grudges. <return>

(3) Though the book mentions Liu Bei instead of Guan Yu I have used Guan’s name because he was in charge of Jing Zhou and caused the political fraction with Wu by refusing a marriage proposal from the Sun family. <return>

(4) In SGYY, Lu Xun’s argument with the Wu officers can be found in full detail, proving his level headed and cautious attitude. <return>

(5) An Emperor could only delegate this task when he had complete trust in his Prime Minister, as it would authorize the Prime Minister to confirm plans without the Emperor present. <return>

Copyright © 2002 – 2003
A Kongming’s Archives Exclusive Production
Major Sources: Zhongguo Lishizhu – Professor T.Chen (1965 Peking)
annotations from Wu Jianxiang dachen nianbiao and Wu Li
Generals of the South – Rafe de Crespigny