Encyclopedia: Yan Yu Wenping

Yan Yu (Wenping); Yen Yü (Wên-p‘ing); 閻宇 (文平)

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Yan Yu (Wenping) 閻宇 (文平)

Lived: AD 209–?

None Available

Served: Shu

A respected figure in Shu, given command of the south. In novel, becomes Huang Hao’s man.

Officer Details

Wade-Giles: Yen Yü (Wên-p‘ing)
Simplified Chinese: 阎宇 (文平)

Other Names: Yan Yun

Name Notes: Yan Yu’s name is incorrectly translated in the Brewitt-Taylor as ‘Yan Yun’.

Rank and Titles

Governor of Yi; Governor of Nanzhong; General of the Right; Grand General of the Right

Literary Appearances

Romance of the Three Kingdoms: 115


Sanguo Yanyi

Early in Deng Ai’s campaign into Shu, General of the Right Yan Yu, an man without merit or accomplishment, fawned on Huang Hao to reach a rank of importance. When he learned that Jiang Wei possessed command of the troops at Qishan Hills to defend against the incoming threat, he persuaded Huang Hao to petition the Emperor (Liu Shan) with a request that he be sent out as Jiang Wei’s replacement, giving him a chance to earn greater merit.

Liu Shan approved, and dispatched an envoy to recall Jiang Wei. Jiang Wei was faced with no choice but to comply, and arranged his retreat in such a way that Deng Ai did not dare to pursue, fearing a trap. Liu Shan did not meet with him despite ten days of efforts, so Jiang Wei went to meet with Xi Zheng of the Documents Department. Xi Zheng revealed to Jiang Wei the true reason of his recall, and theorized that Liu Shan realized the error of his mistake upon witnessing Deng Ai’s military prowess, and chose instead to hide from the situation, quietly dropping the matter.

Jiang Wei wished to kill Huang Hao, but Xi Zheng calmed him.

The historical Yan Yu has little in common with his fictional counterpart.

In the middle of Shu’s Jianxing reign, Yan Yu served as Governor of Yi province. In 230, he sent a memorial to the court suggesting a division of Yangqu county and establishing the county of Nanpu. After the death of Ma Zhong (234) and Zhang Biao, Yan Yu was made Governor of Nanzhong.

Later (around 261), Zhuge Zhan, Dong Jue, and others desired to summon Jiang Wei back to Chengdu and appoint him as Governor of Yi. They intended to replace him with Yan Yu. Though Jiang Wei refused to return to Chengdu, Yan Yu was made General-in-Chief on the Right, sharing authority with Jiang Wei.

Yan Yu statined at Yong’an in order to guard against Wu. When Shu was invaded by Wei in 263, Yan Yu was summoned to Chengdu to assist in its defense. His fate after that is unknown.

Yan Yu was described as a skilled man and a hard worker.



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April 10, 2023