Zhang Xiu (warlord)

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Zhang Xiu
Zhang Xiu Qing portrait.jpg
A Qing dynasty portrait of Zhang Xiu
Warlord of Han Dynasty
Born (Unknown)
Died 207
Traditional Chinese 張繡
Simplified Chinese 张绣
Pinyin Zhāng Xiù
Wade–Giles Chang Hsiu
Posthumous name Marquis Ding (Chinese: 定侯; pinyin: Dìng Hóu; Wade–Giles: Ting Hou)
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Zhang.

Zhang Xiu (died 207) was a minor warlord in the late Eastern Han Dynasty. He eventually surrendered to Cao Cao in 200. Having contributed greatly to the decisive Battle of Guandu and subsequent campaigns against the heirs of Yuan Shao, Zhang Xiu died en route to Liucheng (柳城) on a campaign to conquer the Wuhuan tribe in 207.


Born in Zuli (祖厲, present day Jingyuan, Gansu), Zhang Xiu was a distant nephew of Zhang Ji, who served the tyrannical warlord Dong Zhuo. After Dong Zhuo's death in 192, his former subjects, including Zhang Ji, waged a coup and took over the capital Chang'an. For his part in the coup, Zhang Xiu was also promoted to "General who Builds Loyalty" (建忠將軍) and conferred the title of "Marquis Xuanwei" (宣威侯).

After Zhang Ji's death, Zhang Xiu took over his uncle's troops and occupied Wancheng (present day Nanyang, Henan). He allied himself with Liu Biao, governor of Jingzhou (荆州) and a major warlord of the time. In 197, Cao Cao began his expansion south. When Cao Cao's force came to the Bai River (白河), Zhang Xiu promptly surrendered and was allowed to keep control of Wancheng.

Cao Cao then took Zhang Ji's widow as a concubine, which angered Zhang Xiu. Cao Cao heard of Zhang Xiu's displeasure and plotted to kill the latter. However, the plan was leaked and Zhang Xiu waged the surprise attack known as the Battle of Wancheng against Cao Cao. Cao Cao's personal bodyguard Dian Wei died defending the front gate to the camp so that Cao Cao could escape through the back. In the hasty retreat, Cao Cao's eldest son Cao Ang offered his own horse to his father, whose steed was felled by enemy arrows, and was killed by the pursuers.

Henceafter, Cao Cao had sent forces to attack Zhang Xiu for years without success. In 200, however, Zhang Xiu took the counsel of advisor Jia Xu and surrendered to Cao Cao again. Leaving past feuds behind them, Cao Cao took Zhang Xiu's hands and threw a banquet for him. Cao Cao also proposed a marriage between his son Cao Jun (曹均) and Zhang Xiu's daughter.

At that time Cao Cao was fighting against the northern warlord Yuan Shao in the decisive Battle of Guandu. Having performed well during the conflict, Zhang Xiu was soon promoted to "General who Defeats the Qiang" (破羌將軍). In 207, Zhang Xiu died en route Liucheng in a northern campaign against the Wuhuan tribe. He was conferred the posthumous title of "Marquis Ding" (定侯), literally meaning "steadfast marquis".

See also[edit]