Biography (SGYY): Qiao Rui

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Qiao Rui
橋蕤
Lived: ?–197

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

Qiao Rui

Qiao Rui was a commander serving Yuan Shu, Governor of Nanyang. Through years of service, Rui was elevated to a Senior General in Shu’s employ.

In AD 194, Yuan Shu gave Sun Ce, another of his commanders, three thousand men with which to conquer the province of Yangzhou, in exchange for the imperial seal which Ce had in his possession. (1) By AD 197, Sun Ce had conquered a great deal of territory south of the river and subsequently sent an envoy to Yuan Shu demanding the return of the seal. Along with several other military commanders and advisers, Qiao Rui was ordered to a council to discuss how to deal with Ce, who had gathered a great deal of power and influence. Yuan Shu said, “Sun Ce started his campaigns with forces borrowed from me. Today he is master of the Southland. He seems to have no thought of repaying us but simply demands the return of the royal seal. His conduct is outrageous. How shall we deal with him?”

1: The imperial seal was a royal heirloom passed down through the Han line of succession. When Dong Zhuo raised the capital grounds of Luoyang in AD 190, Sun Jian, Sun Ce’s father, found the seal in the ruins of the capital, and consequently passed it on to his son when he himself died in AD 192.

Qiao Rui made no comment (2), but Senior Adviser Yang Dajiang stepped forward and said, “Sun Ce controls the strategic points along the river. His troops are excellent and his supplies ample. We can do nothing now. Rather, we should first attack Liu Xuande for his treacherous invasion. (3) Victory there should put us in a better position to take on Sun Ce, and I have a scheme that should make Xuande ours immediately."

2: Sanguozhi notes that Qiao Rui highly respected Sun Ce from the time he spent with him as fellow commanders in Yuan Shu’s employ, which may have influenced his reluctance to speak during the war council targeted against him.
3: Xuande is Liu Bei’s style name. In AD 194, Liu Bei attempted an invasion of Nanyang, but was ultimately forced to withdraw.

“How will it work?” Shu asked.

“Liu Bei, stationed in Xiaopei,” Dajiang replied, “is easily taken; but Lü Bu has firm control of Xuzhou. Now is time to send grain to win back his good will and to keep him from going to Liu Bei’s aid when we attack. Once we take Liu Bei, we can attack Lü Bu and the province is ours.”

Yuan Shu approved the plan and had an envoy, Han Yin, deliver the grain and proposal to Lü Bu.

Later in AD 197, Yuan Shu declared himself Emperor of a separate dynasty. In doing so, Shu caused Lü Bu to send Han Yin, who was still in Xuzhou, to the Han capital, where he was promptly executed. Upon learning of it, Yuan Shu mustered a force of two hundred thousand to attack Lü Bu, split into seven field armies. Qiao Rui was given command of the second army with orders to attack the town of Xiaopei. Rui set off to the town immediately, making some fifty li per day, and was met by enemy Commander Gao Shun upon arriving. Before any combat between the two armies commenced, however, Qiao Rui received word that Yuan Shu himself had been defeated and forced to retreat back to Shouchun, and so Rui led his men in a withdrawal back to the city.

After a short period of time in Shouchun, word arrived that Cao Cao, Prime Minister of the Han, with Liu Bei, Lü Bu and Sun Ce, was advancing with an army on Nanyang. Upon learning of the invasion, Yuan Shu assigned Qiao Rui fifty thousand men with orders to counter the attack. Rui set off immediately and was met by Cao Cao’s vanguard, commanded by Xiahou Dun, a short distance from Shouchun. Raising his weapon, Qiao Rui rode out to challenge the enemy general, but after several bouts was pierced through and killed by Xiahou Dun. (4)

4: Historically, Yuan Shu retreated upon learning of Cao Cao's approach, leaving Qiao Rui to fight the battle with a host of other commanders. Rather than being defeated in a duel with Xiahou Dun, Rui was caught and later executed by Cao.

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