Biography (SGYY): Ju Gu

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Ju Gu
Lived: ?–204

Sanguo Yanyi Officer Biography
Author Notes in Blue
Authored by Sam Wrest

Ju Gu

Ju Gu was the son of Ju Shou, a noted military adviser serving Yuan Shao. Consequently, Gu grew to become a commander also in the employ of the Yuan’s.

In AD 200, Yuan Shao initiated an attack against Cao Cao, who was then serving as Prime Minister of the Han, beginning with a mobilisation against Baima. Ju Gu was ordered to remain in Shao’s capital, Jizhou, to help maintain its security, while Gu’s father was placed in the main offensive army. Before departing, Ju Gu saw his father off with the rest of his clan. “I am off to war,” Shou commented. “If we win, there will be no limit to my wealth and influence. If we lose, not even my life can be saved.”

Ju Shou then distributed his property into the care of Ju Gu and the rest of his family. Tearfully, Gu parted with his father.

Later in AD 200, Yuan Shao was defeated by Cao Cao during a decisive battle at Guandu. The advice of Ju Gu’s father went largely ignored by Shao, which greatly influenced his defeat, and Ju Shou was ultimately captured and executed by Cao Cao. (1) Ju Gu grieved at the loss, but maintained his position in Jizhou and was part of the force that received Yuan Shao and the remnants of his scattered army. In AD 201, Cao Cao attacked the province but ultimately retreated after being unsuccessful in taking it.

1: Yuan Shao ignored Ju Shou's advice on several occasions, much to his own detriment. Shou advised Shao not to send Yan Liang and Wen Chou as the commanding Generals in the first two offensives against Cao, yet Yuan Shao did so nonetheless and each leader was slain. Later, Ju Shou advised Shao to keep on the defensive rather than force a battle with Cao Cao due to the latter's shortage of supplies, but Yuan Shao had him chucked in jail for the advice and suffered defeat. Cao Cao was thus able to capture Shou when he defeated Yuan Shao at Guandu, but when Shou refused to join Cao, he was executed.

In AD 202, Yuan Shao died, and the right of successor went to his youngest son, Shang. In AD 204, Cao Cao initiated another attack on Jizhou. Ju Gu was ordered by Yuan Shang to hold the town of Handan, and also support Commander Yin Kai, who was defending the garrison at Maocheng. Ju Gu set off for his new post immediately.

While in Handan, Ju Gu received word that Maocheng had been overrun and Yin Kai killed. Mustering his forces, Ju Gu prepared for an attempt to retake the lost garrison, but Cao Cao’s army had already begun marching on Handan. Ju Gu rode out at the head of his small army to meet the enemy force and was met by Commander Zhang Liao. Raising his weapon, Ju Gu charged Liao and fought several bouts with the enemy leader but, unable to overcome him, wheeled his horse around and began making for his own line. As he was, an arrow fired by Zhang Liao pierced his back and dropped him from his mount, ending his short military career.

Copyright © 2007 Sam Wrest. All Rights Reserved.
Source: Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms