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Xiang Yu (, –202 BC), born Xiang Ji (), was the Hegemon-King (Chinese: 霸王, ''Bà Wáng'') of
Western Chu Chu (, Hanyu Pinyin: Chǔ, Old Chinese: ''*s-r̥aʔ'') was a Zhou dynasty ancient Chinese states, vassal state. Their first ruler was King Wu of Chu in the early 8th century BCE. Chu was located in the south of the Zhou heartland and lasted ...
during the
Chu–Han Contention The Chu–Han Contention ( zh, 楚漢相爭, lk=on) or Chu–Han War () was an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally ...
period (206–202 BC) of China. A noble of the Chu state, Xiang Yu rebelled against the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
and became a prominent warlord. He was granted the title of "Duke of Lu" () by King Huai II of the restoring Chu state in 208 BC. The following year, he led the Chu forces to victory at the
Battle of Julu The Battle of Julu was fought in Julu (in present-day Pingxiang County, Xingtai, Hebei, China) in 207 BC primarily between forces of the Qin dynasty and the insurgent state of Chu (state), Chu. The Qin commander was Zhang Han (Qin dynasty), Zha ...
against the Qin armies led by Zhang Han. After the fall of Qin, Xiang Yu was enthroned as the "Hegemon-King of Western Chu" () and ruled a vast area covering modern-day central and eastern China, with
Pengcheng Xuzhou (徐州), also known as Pengcheng (彭城) in ancient times, is a major city in northwestern Jiangsu Jiangsu (; ; Postal romanization, formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal Provinces of the People's Republic of Ch ...
as his capital. He engaged
Liu Bang Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 – 1 June 195 BC), born Liu Bang () with courtesy name Ji (季), was the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty, reigning in 202–195 BC. His temple name was "Taizu" while his posthumous name was Emper ...

Liu Bang
, the founding emperor of the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
, in a long struggle for power, known as the
Chu–Han Contention The Chu–Han Contention ( zh, 楚漢相爭, lk=on) or Chu–Han War () was an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organization, or social order. Archetypally ...
, which concluded with his eventual defeat at the
Battle of Gaixia The Battle of Gaixia was fought in 202 BC during the Chu–Han Contention The Chu–Han Contention (206–202 BC) was an interregnum period between the Qin dynasty and the Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties i ...
and his suicide. Xiang Yu is depicted in the
Wu Shuang Pu ''Wu Shuang Pu'' () is a book of woodcut prints, first printed in 1694, early on in the Qing dynasty. This book contains the biographies and imagined portraits of 40 notable heroes and heroines from the Han Dynasty to the Song Dynasty, all acco ...
(, Table of Peerless Heroes) by Jin Guliang.


Names and titles

Xiang Yu's
family name In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name 300px, First/given, middle and last/family/surname with John Fitzgerald Kennedy as example. This shows a structure typical for the Anglosphere, a ...
was Xiang () while his
given name A given name (also known as a first name or forename) is the part of a personal name A personal name, or full name, in onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names. An ''wikt:ortho ...
was Ji () and his
courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere, including China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The courtesy ...
was Yu (). He is best known as Xiang Yu. Xiang Yu is popularly known as "Little Conqueror of Western Chu" (), which has been translated as "Overlord of
Western Chu Chu (, Hanyu Pinyin: Chǔ, Old Chinese: ''*s-r̥aʔ'') was a Zhou dynasty ancient Chinese states, vassal state. Their first ruler was King Wu of Chu in the early 8th century BCE. Chu was located in the south of the Zhou heartland and lasted ...
", " Hegemon-King of Western Chu", "Conqueror of Western Chu", "King of Kings of Western Chu", and other renditions. This title is sometimes simplified to "Ba Wang" (), without the link to "Western Chu". Since Xiang Yu's death, the term ''Ba Wang'' has come to be used specifically to refer to him. Xiang Yu's subjects would sometimes have addressed him as "Xiang Wang" (), which literally means "King Xiang".


Family background

There are two accounts of Xiang Yu's family background. The first claimed that Xiang Yu was from the house of Mi (), the royal family of the Chu state in the
Zhou dynasty The Zhou dynasty ( ; Old Chinese Old Chinese, also called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China ( ...
. His ancestors were granted the land of Xiang () by the king of Chu and had since adopted "Xiang" as their family name. The other account claimed that Xiang Yu was a descendant of a noble clan from the Lu state and his family had served in the Chu military for generations. Xiang Yu's grandfather was a well known general who led the Chu army in resisting the
QinQin may refer to: Dynasties and states * Qin (state) (秦), a major state during the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China * Qin dynasty (秦), founded by the Qin state in 221 BC and ended in 206 BC * Daqin (大秦), ancient Chinese name for the Roman Empi ...
invaders led by Wang Jian, and was killed in action when Qin conquered Chu in 223 BC. Xiang Yu was born in 232 BC in the late
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period The Spring and Autumn period was a period i ...
when the Qin state started unifying the other six major states. According to the descendants of the Xiang family in Suqian, Xiang Yu's father was Xiang Chao (), Xiang Yan's eldest son. Xiang Yu was raised by his elder uncle
Xiang Liang Xiang Liang (died 208 BC) was a military leader who led a rebellion against the Qin dynasty. Early life Xiang Liang was from Xiaxiang (下相; present-day Suqian, Jiangsu) and was a descendant of a family who served the Chu (state), Chu state in ...
because his father died early. In 221 BC, when Xiang Yu was about 11 years old, the Qin state unified China and established the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
. Xiang Yu had a double pupil in one of his eyesSima Qian. ''Records of the Grand Historian'', Volume 7, Annals of Xiang Yu. just like the mythical
Emperor Shun Emperor Shun () was a legendary leader of ancient China The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC), during the king Wu Ding's reign, who was mentione ...
and
Duke Wen of Jin Duke Wen of Jin (697–628BC), born Chong'er (literally "Double Ears"), was a scion of the royal house of Jin during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as ...
. He was thus seen as an extraordinary person because his unique double pupil was a mark of a king or sage in Chinese tradition. Xiang Yu was slightly taller than eight ''
chiThe initialism CHI may refer to: Health *Catholic Health Initiatives Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) is a national Catholic healthcare system, with headquarters in Englewood, Colorado. CHI is a nonprofit, faith-based health system formed, in 19 ...
'' (approximately 1.85 metres, about 6' 1") and possessed unusual physical strength as he could lift a ''
ding Ding may refer to: Bronze and ceramics * Ding (vessel) ''Ding'' () are prehistoric China, prehistoric and ancient China, ancient China, Chinese cauldrons, standing upon legs with a lid and two facing handles. They are one of the most important s ...

ding
'' (an ancient Chinese vessel resembling a giant cauldron on tripods).


Early life

In his younger days, Xiang Yu was instructed in scholarly arts and swordsmanship but he did not manage to master what he was taught, and his uncle
Xiang Liang Xiang Liang (died 208 BC) was a military leader who led a rebellion against the Qin dynasty. Early life Xiang Liang was from Xiaxiang (下相; present-day Suqian, Jiangsu) and was a descendant of a family who served the Chu (state), Chu state in ...
was not very satisfied with him. Xiang Yu said, "Books are only useful in helping me remember my name. Mastering swordsmanship allows me to face only one opponent, so it's not worth learning. I want to learn how to defeat thousands of enemies." Hence, his uncle tried to educate him in military strategy and the art of war instead, but Xiang Yu stopped learning after he had grasped the main ideas; Xiang Liang was disappointed with his nephew, who showed no sign of motivation or apparent talent apart from his great strength, so he gave up and let Xiang Yu decide his own future. When Xiang Yu grew older, Xiang Liang killed someone so they fled to Wu to evade the authorities. At the time,
Qin Shi Huang Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BCE), or Shihuangdi, was the founder of the Qin dynasty, and first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintain the title of "Chinese king, king" ( ''wáng'') borne by the previous Shang dyna ...
was on an inspection tour in that area and Xiang Yu and his uncle watched the emperor's procession pass by. Xiang Yu said, "I can replace him." Xiang Liang was shocked and immediately covered his nephew's mouth with his hand. Afterwards, Xiang Liang began to see his nephew in a different light.


Revolution against the Qin dynasty

In 209 BC, during the reign of
Qin Er Shi Qin Er Shi (; 231/222 – October 207 BCE) was the second emperor of the Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Man ...
, peasant rebellions erupted throughout China to overthrow the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
, plunging China into a state of anarchy. , the Administrator of
Kuaiji Shaoxing (; ) is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. A prefectural-level muni ...
, wanted to start a rebellion as well, so he invited Xiang Liang to meet him and discuss their plans. However, the Xiangs lured Yin Tong into a trap and killed him instead, with Xiang Yu personally striking down hundreds of Yin's men. Xiang Liang initiated the rebellion himself and rallied about 8,000 men to support him. Xiang Liang proclaimed himself Administrator of
Kuaiji Shaoxing (; ) is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main urban area. A prefectural-level muni ...
while appointing Xiang Yu as a general. Xiang Liang's revolution force grew in size until it was between 60,000 and 70,000. In 208 BC, Xiang Liang installed Mi Xin as King Huai II of
Chu Chu or CHU may refer to: Chinese history * Chu (state) (c. 1030 BC–223 BC), a state during the Zhou dynasty * Western Chu (206 BC–202 BC), a state founded and ruled by Xiang Yu * Chu Kingdom (Han dynasty) (201 BC–70 AD), a kingdom of the Han ...
to rally support from those eager to help him overthrow the Qin Dynasty and restore the former Chu state. Xiang Yu distinguished himself as a competent marshal and mighty warrior on the battlefield while participating in the battles against Qin forces. Later that year, Xiang Liang was killed at the Battle of Dingtao against the Qin army led by Zhang Han and the military power of Chu fell into the hands of the king and some other generals. In the winter of 208 BC, another rebel force claiming to restore the Zhao state, led by
Zhao XieZhao may refer to: * Zhao (surname) Zhao (; ) is a Chinese surname Chinese surnames are used by Han Chinese and Sinicization, Sinicized ethnic groups in China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, and among overseas Chinese communities around the world such ...
, was besieged in
Handan Handan is a prefecture-level city A prefectural-level municipality (), prefectural-level city or prefectural city is an administrative division of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China ...
by Zhang Han. Zhao Xie requested for reinforcements from Chu. King Huai II granted Xiang Yu the title of "Duke of Lu" (), and appointed him as a second-in-command to Song Yi, who was ordered to lead an army to reinforce Zhao Xie. At the same time, the king placed
Liu Bang Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 – 1 June 195 BC), born Liu Bang () with courtesy name Ji (季), was the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty, reigning in 202–195 BC. His temple name was "Taizu" while his posthumous name was Emper ...

Liu Bang
in command of another army to attack
Guanzhong Guanzhong (, formerly romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and mode ...
, the heartland (capital territory) of Qin. The king promised that whoever managed to enter Guanzhong first will be granted the title "King of Guanzhong".


Battle of Julu

The Chu army led by Song Yi and Xiang Yu reached
Anyang Anyang (; ) is a prefecture-level city in Henan province of China, province, China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north resp ...

Anyang
, some distance away from Julu (; in present-day
Xingtai Xingtai (), formerly known as Xingzhou and Shunde, is a prefecture-level city A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply " Yangxin County from the neighboring Xianning), but still from the Huangshi main u ...
,
Hebei Hebei (; alternately Hopeh) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, f ...
), where Zhao Xie's forces had retreated to. Song Yi ordered the troops to lay camp there for 46 days and he refused to accept Xiang Yu's suggestion to proceed further. Xiang Yu took Song Yi by surprise in a meeting and killed him on a charge of treason. Song Yi's other subordinates were afraid of Xiang Yu so they let him become the acting commander-in-chief. Xiang Yu sent a messenger to inform King Huai II and the king approved Xiang's command. In 207 BC, Xiang Yu's army advanced towards Julu and he sent
Ying Bu Ying Bu (died 195 BC) was a warlord and vassal A vassal or liege subject is a person regarded as having a mutual obligation to a lord Lord is an appellation for a person or deity who has authority, control, or power (social and politica ...
and Zhongli Mo to lead the 20,000 strong vanguard army to cross the river and attack the Qin forces led by Zhang Han, while he followed behind with the remaining majority of the troops. After crossing the river, Xiang Yu ordered his men to sink their boats and destroy all but three days worth of rations, in order to force his men to choose between prevailing against overwhelming odds within three days or die trapped before the walls of the city with no supplies or any hope of escape. Despite being heavily outnumbered, Chu forces scored a great victory after nine engagements, defeating the 300,000 strong Qin army. After the battle, other rebel forces, including those not from Chu, came to join Xiang Yu out of admiration for his martial valour. When Xiang Yu received them at the gate, the rebel chiefs were so fearful of him that they sank to their knees and did not even dare to look up at him. Zhang Han sent his deputy
Sima Xin Sima Xin (died 204 BC) was a military general of the Qin dynasty. He surrendered to Xiang Yu after the Battle of Julu in 207 BC. In 206 BC, following the collapse of the Qin dynasty, he was conferred the title of "King of Sai" by Xiang Yu and giv ...
to
Xianyang Xianyang () is a prefecture-level city A prefectural-level municipality (), prefectural-level city or prefectural city is an administrative division of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic ...

Xianyang
to request for reinforcements and supplies from the Qin imperial court. However, the
eunuch A eunuch ( ) is a man A man is an adult male Male (♂) is the sex of an organism that produces the gamete known as sperm. A male gamete can fuse with a larger female gamete, or ovum, in the process of fertilization. A male cannot ...

eunuch
Zhao Gao Zhao Gao (died 207 BC) was a Chinese politician and calligrapher.. He was an official of the Qin dynasty of China. Allegedly a eunuch, he served as a close aide to all three rulers of the Qin dynasty – Qin Shi Huang, Qin Er Shi and Ziying of ...

Zhao Gao
deceived the emperor and the emperor dismissed Zhang Han's request. Zhao Gao even sent assassins to kill Sima Xin when the latter was returning to Zhang Han's camp, but Sima managed to escape alive. In dire straits, Zhang Han and his 200,000 troops eventually surrendered to Xiang Yu in the summer of 207 BC. Xiang Yu perceived the surrendered Qin troops as disloyal and a liability, and had them executed by burying them alive at Xin'an (; in present-day Yima,
Henan Henan (; ; alternatively Honan) is a landlocked province of China The provincial level administrative divisions () are the highest-level administrative divisions of China. There are 34 such divisions claimed by the People's Republic of ...

Henan
). Zhang Han, along with Sima Xin and Dong Yi, were spared from death. Xiang Yu appointed Zhang Han as "King of Yong", while Sima Xin and Dong Yi were respectively conferred the titles of "King of Sai" and "King of Di".


Feast at Hong Gate

After his victory at the
Battle of Julu The Battle of Julu was fought in Julu (in present-day Pingxiang County, Xingtai, Hebei, China) in 207 BC primarily between forces of the Qin dynasty and the insurgent state of Chu (state), Chu. The Qin commander was Zhang Han (Qin dynasty), Zha ...
, Xiang Yu prepared for an invasion on
Guanzhong Guanzhong (, formerly romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and mode ...
, the heartland of the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
. In the winter of 207 BC, the last Qin ruler
Ziying Ziying, King of Qin (, died January 206  BC) was the third and last ruler of the Qin dynasty. He ruled over a fragmented Qin Empire for 46 days, from mid-October to early December 207  BC. He is referred to in some sources with th ...
surrendered to
Liu Bang Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 – 1 June 195 BC), born Liu Bang () with courtesy name Ji (季), was the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty, reigning in 202–195 BC. His temple name was "Taizu" while his posthumous name was Emper ...

Liu Bang
in
Xianyang Xianyang () is a prefecture-level city A prefectural-level municipality (), prefectural-level city or prefectural city is an administrative division of the People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic ...

Xianyang
(Qin's capital), bringing an end to the Qin Dynasty. When Xiang Yu arrived at
Hangu Pass Hangu Pass or Hanguguan is a pass separating the upper Yellow River and Wei valleys—the cradle of Chinese civilization and seat of its longtime capital Xi'an Xi'an ( , ; Chinese: ), also known as Sian, is the list of capitals in Ch ...

Hangu Pass
, the eastern gateway to Guanzhong, he saw that the pass was occupied by Liu Bang's troops, a sign that Guanzhong was already under Liu's control. Cao Wushang (), a subordinate of Liu Bang, sent a messenger to see Xiang Yu, saying that Liu would become King of Guanzhong in accordance with King Huai II's earlier promise, while Ziying would be appointed as Liu's chancellor. Xiang Yu was furious after hearing that. At that time, he had about 400,000 troops under his command while Liu Bang only had a quarter of that number. As strongly encouraged by his advisor
Fan Zeng Fan Zeng (277–204 BC) was an adviser to the warlord Xiang Yu, who fought for supremacy with Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao), the founder of the Han dynasty, during the Chu–Han Contention (206–202 BC). Life Fan Zeng was from Juch ...

Fan Zeng
, Xiang Yu invited Liu Bang to attend a
feast at Hong Gate The Feast at Swan Goose Gate, also known as the Banquet at Hongmen, Hongmen Banquet, Hongmen Feast and other similar renditions, was a historical event that took place in 206 BC at Hong Gate () outside Xianyang, the capital of the Qin dynasty. ...

feast at Hong Gate
and plotted to kill Liu during the banquet. However, Xiang Yu later listened to his uncle
Xiang Bo Xiang Chan (died 192 BC), courtesy name Bo, better known as Xiang Bo, was a noble of the Chu (state), Chu state of the Seven Warring States. He was an uncle of the warlord Xiang Yu, who competed with Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao), ...
and decided to spare Liu Bang. Liu Bang escaped during the banquet under the pretext of going to the latrine. Xiang Yu paid no attention to Liu Bang's presumptive title and led his troops into Xianyang in 206 BC. He ordered the execution of Ziying and his family, as well as the destruction of the
Epang Palace The Epang Palace is a palace complex begun under the reign of Qin Shi Huang Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BCE), or Shihuangdi, was the founder of the Qin dynasty, and first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintai ...
by fire. It was said that Xiang Yu would leave behind a trail of destruction in the places he passed by, and the people of Guanzhong were greatly disappointed with him.Sima Qian. ''Records of the Grand Historian'', Volume 1, Biography of Emperor Gaozu. Despite advice from his subjects to remain in Guanzhong and continue with his conquests, Xiang Yu was insistent on returning to his homeland in Chu. He said, "To not return home when one has made his fortune is equivalent to walking on the streets at night in glamorous outfits. Who would notice that?" One of his followers said, "It is indeed true when people say that the men of Chu are apes dressed in human clothing." Xiang Yu had that man boiled alive when he heard that insult.


Division of the empire

After the downfall of the
Qin dynasty The Qin dynasty, or Ch'in dynasty in Wade–Giles Wade–Giles () is a Romanization of Chinese, romanization system for Standard Chinese, Mandarin Chinese. It developed from a system produced by Thomas Francis Wade, during the mid-19th ...

Qin dynasty
, Xiang Yu offered King Huai II the more honourable title of "Emperor Yi of Chu" and announced his decision to divide the former Qin Empire. Xiang Yu declared himself "Hegemon-King of Western Chu" () and ruled nine commanderies in the former
Liang Liang may refer to: Chinese history * Liang (state) (梁) (8th century BC – 641 BC), a Spring and Autumn period state * Wei (state) (403–225  BC), a Warring States period state, also known as Liang (梁) after moving its capital to Daliang ** ...
and
Chu Chu or CHU may refer to: Chinese history * Chu (state) (c. 1030 BC–223 BC), a state during the Zhou dynasty * Western Chu (206 BC–202 BC), a state founded and ruled by Xiang Yu * Chu Kingdom (Han dynasty) (201 BC–70 AD), a kingdom of the Han ...
territories, with his capital at
Pengcheng Xuzhou (徐州), also known as Pengcheng (彭城) in ancient times, is a major city in northwestern Jiangsu Jiangsu (; ; Postal romanization, formerly romanized Kiangsu) is an eastern-central coastal Provinces of the People's Republic of Ch ...
. In the spring of 206 BC, Xiang Yu divided the former Qin Empire into the
Eighteen Kingdoms The historiographical term "Eighteen Kingdoms" ( zh, t=十八國) refers to the eighteen ''fengjian ''Fēngjiàn'' ( zh, c=封建, l=enfeoffment and establishment) was a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Att ...

Eighteen Kingdoms
, to be granted to his subordinates and some leaders of the former rebel forces. He moved some of the rulers of other states to more remote areas and granted the land of
Guanzhong Guanzhong (, formerly romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and mode ...
to the three surrendered Qin generals, ignoring Emperor Yi's earlier promise to appoint Liu Bang as king of that region. Liu Bang was relocated to the remote
Hanzhong Hanzhong (; abbreviation: Han) is a prefecture-level city in Southern Shaanxi, the southwest of Shaanxi, Shaanxi province, China, bordering the provinces of Sichuan to the south and Gansu to the west. As of the 2019 estimation, its population wa ...

Hanzhong
area and given the title of "King of Han" (). Xiang Yu appointed several generals from the rebel coalition as vassal kings, even though these generals were subordinates of other lords, who should rightfully be the kings in place of their followers. Xiang Yu also left out some other important rebel leaders who did not support him earlier, but did contribute to the overthrow of Qin. In winter, Xiang Yu moved Emperor Yi to the remote region of
Chen Chen may refer to: People *Chen (surname) Chen () () is a common East Asian surname and one of the most common surnames in the world. It is the most common surname in Taiwan (2010) and Singapore (2000). Chen is also the most common family na ...

Chen
, effectively sending the puppet emperor into exile. At the same time, he issued a secret order to the vassal kings in that area and had the emperor assassinated during his journey in 205 BC. The emperor's death was later used by Liu Bang as political propaganda to justify his war against Xiang Yu. Shortly after the death of Emperor Yi, Xiang Yu had Han Cheng (King of
Hán During ancient times, the ancestors of the Vietnamese people, Vietnamese were considered to have been Proto-Austroasiatic (also called ''Proto-Mon–Khmer'') speaking people, possibly traced to the ancient Dong Son culture. Modern linguists descri ...
) put to death and seized Han's lands for himself. Several months later, Tian Rong (chancellor of Qi) took control over the Three Qis (Jiaodong, Qi and Jibei) from their respective kings and reinstated Tian Fu as the King of Qi, but he took over the throne himself afterwards. Similarly, Chen Yu, a former vice chancellor of Zhao, led an uprising against the King of Changshan,
Zhang ErZhang may refer to: Chinese culture, etc. * Zhang (surname) Zhang () is List of common Chinese surnames, third most common surname in China and one of the most common surnames in the world. Zhang is the pinyin romanization of Chinese, romanization ...
, and seized Zhang's domain and reinstalled
Zhao XieZhao may refer to: * Zhao (surname) Zhao (; ) is a Chinese surname Chinese surnames are used by Han Chinese and Sinicization, Sinicized ethnic groups in China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, and among overseas Chinese communities around the world such ...
as the King of Zhao.


Chu–Han Contention


Battle of Pengcheng

In 206 BC,
Liu Bang Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 – 1 June 195 BC), born Liu Bang () with courtesy name Ji (季), was the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty, reigning in 202–195 BC. His temple name was "Taizu" while his posthumous name was Emper ...

Liu Bang
led his forces to attack
Guanzhong Guanzhong (, formerly romanised Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and mode ...
. At that time, Xiang Yu was at war with Qi and did not focus on resisting the Han forces. The following year, Liu Bang formed an alliance with another five kingdoms and attacked Western Chu with a 560,000 strong army, capturing Xiang Yu's capital of Pengcheng. Upon hearing this, Xiang Yu led 30,000 men to attack Liu Bang and defeated the latter at the Battle of Pengcheng, with the Han army suffering heavy casualties.


Battle of Xingyang

Liu Bang managed to escape after his defeat with Xiang Yu's troops on pursuit. Han troops retreated to
Xingyang Xingyang (), is a county-level city of Henan, Henan Province, South Central China, South Central China, it is under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Zhengzhou. It is situated 15 kilometers to the west of Zhengzhou city proper. Th ...
and defended the city firmly, preventing Chu forces from advancing west any further, but only managed to hold on until 204 BC. Liu Bang's subordinate Ji Xin disguised himself as his lord and surrendered to Xiang Yu, buying time for Liu Bang to escape. When Xiang Yu learned that he had been fooled, he became furious and had Ji Xin burned to death. After the fall of Xingyang, Chu and Han forces were divided on two fronts along present-day
Henan Henan (; ; alternatively Honan) is a landlocked province of China The provincial level administrative divisions () are the highest-level administrative divisions of China. There are 34 such divisions claimed by the People's Republic of ...

Henan
. However, Xiang Yu's forces were not faring well on the battlefront north of the
Yellow River The Yellow River (Chinese: , Jin: uə xɔ Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government bureaucrat A bureaucrat is ...
, as the Han army led by
Han Xin Han Xin (; died 196 BC) was a Chinese military general and politician who served Liu Bang Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 – 1 June 195 BC), born Liu Bang () with courtesy name Ji (季), was the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty ...
defeated his troops in every single battle. At the same time, Liu Bang's ally
Peng Yue Peng Yue (died 196 BC), courtesy name Zhong, was a prominent military leader and political figure in the late Qin dynasty and early Western Han dynasty. He was involved in the Chu–Han Contention – a power struggle between the Han dynasty's f ...
led his men to harass Xiang Yu's rear.


Treaty of Hong Canal

By 203 BC, the tide had turned in favour of Han. Xiang Yu managed to capture Liu Bang's father after a year-long siege and he threatened to boil Liu's father alive if Liu refused to surrender. Liu Bang remarked that he and Xiang Yu were oath brothers, so if Xiang killed Liu's father, he would be guilty of patricide. Xiang Yu requested for an armistice, known as the Treaty of Hong Canal, and returned the hostages he had captured to Liu Bang as part of their agreement. The treaty divided China into east and west under the Chu and Han domains respectively.


Battle of Guling

Shortly after, as Xiang Yu was retreating eastwards, Liu Bang renounced the treaty and led his forces to attack Western Chu. Liu Bang sent messengers to Han Xin and Peng Yue, requesting for their assistance in forming a three-pronged attack on Xiang Yu, but Han Xin and Peng Yue did not mobilise their troops and Liu Bang was defeated by Xiang Yu at the Battle of Guling. Liu Bang retreated and reinforced his defences, while sending emissaries to Han Xin and Peng Yue, promising to grant them fiefs and titles of vassal kings if they would join him in attacking Western Chu.


Defeat and downfall

In 202 BC, Han armies led by Liu Bang, Han Xin and Peng Yue attacked Western Chu from three sides and trapped Xiang Yu's army, which was low on supplies, at Gaixia. Liu Bang ordered his troops to sing folk songs from the
Chu Chu or CHU may refer to: Chinese history * Chu (state) (c. 1030 BC–223 BC), a state during the Zhou dynasty * Western Chu (206 BC–202 BC), a state founded and ruled by Xiang Yu * Chu Kingdom (Han dynasty) (201 BC–70 AD), a kingdom of the Han ...
region to create a false impression that Xiang Yu's native land had been conquered by Han forces. The morale of the Chu army plummeted and many of Xiang Yu's troops deserted in despair. Xiang Yu sank into a state of depression and he composed the ''Song of Gaixia''. His wife
Consort Yu Consort Yu (; died 202 BC), also known as "Yu the Beauty" (), was the wife of the warlord Xiang Yu, who competed with Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao), the founder of the Han dynasty, for supremacy over China in the Chu–Han Content ...

Consort Yu
committed suicide. The next morning, Xiang Yu led about 800 of his remaining elite cavalry on a desperate attempt to break out of the encirclement, with 5,000 enemy troops pursuing them. After crossing the
Huai River The Huai River (), formerly romanized Romanization or romanisation, in linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech (spoken ...
, Xiang Yu was only left with a few hundred soldiers. They were lost in Yinling () and Xiang Yu asked for directions from a farmer, who directed him wrongly to a swamp. When Xiang Yu reached Dongcheng (), only 28 men were left, with the Han troops still following him. Xiang Yu made a speech to his men, saying that his downfall was due to Heaven's will and not his personal failure. After that, he led a charge out of the encirclement, killing one Han general in the battle. Xiang Yu then split his men into three groups to confuse the enemy and induce them to split up as well to attack the three groups. Xiang Yu took the Han troops by surprise again and slew another enemy commander, inflicting about 100 casualties on the enemy, while he only lost two men.


Death

Xiang Yu retreated to the bank of the Wu River (near present-day
He County He County or Hexian () is a county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), Willi ...
,
Maanshan Ma'anshan (), also colloquially written as Maanshan, is a prefecture-level city Image:Yangxin-renmin-huanyin-ni-0022.jpg, A road sign shows distance to the "Huangshi urban area" () rather than simply "Huangshi" (). This is a useful distinction, be ...

Maanshan
,
Anhui Anhui (; Postal romanization, formerly romanized as Anhwei) is a landlocked Provinces of China, province of the China, People's Republic of China, part of the East China region. Its provincial capital and largest city is Hefei. The province is l ...

Anhui
) and the ferryman at the ford prepared a boat for him to cross the river, strongly encouraging him to do so because Xiang Yu still had the support of the people from his homeland in the south. Xiang Yu said that he was too ashamed to return home and face his people because none of the first 8,000 men from Jiangdong who followed him on his conquests survived. He refused to cross and ordered his remaining men to dismount, asking the ferryman to take his warhorse, Zhui (), back home. Xiang Yu and his men made a last stand against wave after wave of Han forces until only Xiang himself was left alive. Xiang Yu continued to fight on and slew over 100 enemy soldiers, but he had also sustained several wounds all over his body. Just then, Xiang Yu saw an old friend Lü Matong among the Han soldiers, and he said to Lü, "I heard that the King of Han (Liu Bang) has placed a price of 1,000 gold and the title of "Wanhu Marquis" (; lit. "marquis of 10,000 households") on my head. Take it then, on account of our friendship." Xiang Yu then committed suicide by slitting his throat with his sword, and a brawl broke out among the Han soldiers at the scene due to the reward offered by Liu Bang, and Xiang Yu's body was said to be dismembered and mutilated in the fight. The reward was eventually claimed by Lü Matong and four others. After Xiang Yu's death, Western Chu surrendered and China was united under Liu Bang's rule, marking the victory of the
Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han dynasty
. Liu Bang held a grand state funeral for Xiang Yu in Gucheng (; in
Dongping County , other_name = , nickname = , settlement_type = , total_type = , motto = , image_skyline = BaifoShan Park.jpg , imagesize = , image_caption = , image_ ...
, Taian,
Shandong Shandong (; alternately romanized as Shantung) is a coastal province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subn ...

Shandong
), with the ceremony befitting Xiang's title "Duke of Lu". Xiang Yu's relatives were spared from death, including
Xiang Bo Xiang Chan (died 192 BC), courtesy name Bo, better known as Xiang Bo, was a noble of the Chu (state), Chu state of the Seven Warring States. He was an uncle of the warlord Xiang Yu, who competed with Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao), ...
, who saved Liu Bang's life at the
Feast at Hong Gate The Feast at Swan Goose Gate, also known as the Banquet at Hongmen, Hongmen Banquet, Hongmen Feast and other similar renditions, was a historical event that took place in 206 BC at Hong Gate () outside Xianyang, the capital of the Qin dynasty. ...

Feast at Hong Gate
, and they were granted marquis titles.


Depiction of character

Xiang Yu is depicted as a ruthless leader, ordering the massacres of entire cities even after they surrendered peacefully. This often led to cities putting up strong resistance, as they knew they would be killed even if they surrendered. The most notorious example of his cruelty was when he ordered the 200,000 surrendered Qin troops to be buried alive after the
Battle of Julu The Battle of Julu was fought in Julu (in present-day Pingxiang County, Xingtai, Hebei, China) in 207 BC primarily between forces of the Qin dynasty and the insurgent state of Chu (state), Chu. The Qin commander was Zhang Han (Qin dynasty), Zha ...
, and the gruesome methods of execution he employed against his enemies and critics. In contrast, Liu Bang is portrayed as a shrewd and cunning ruler who could be brutal at times, but forbade his troops from looting the cities they captured and spared the lives of the citizens, earning their support and trust in return. Xiang Yu's story became an example for Confucianists to advocate the idea that leaders should rule with benevolence and not govern by instilling fear in the people. His ambitions ended with the collapse of Western Chu, his defeat by
Liu Bang Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 – 1 June 195 BC), born Liu Bang () with courtesy name Ji (季), was the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty, reigning in 202–195 BC. His temple name was "Taizu" while his posthumous name was Emper ...

Liu Bang
, and his death at the early age of around 30.


Song of Gaixia

The ''Song of Gaixia'' (), translated as ''The Hegemon's Lament'' by
Burton Watson Burton Dewitt Watson (June 13, 1925April 1, 2017) was an American scholar and translator known for his English translations of Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China ( ...
, was a song composed by Xiang Yu while he was trapped by Liu Bang's forces at Gaixia. The lyrics in English as follows are based on Burton Watson's translation:


Evaluation

The historian
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu B ...

Sima Qian
, who wrote Xiang Yu's biography in the ''
Records of the Grand Historian The ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dep ...

Records of the Grand Historian
'', described Xiang as someone who boasted about his achievements and thought highly of himself. Xiang Yu preferred to depend on his personal abilities as opposed to learning with humility from others before him. Sima Qian thought that Xiang Yu had failed to see his own shortcomings and to make attempts to correct his mistakes, even until his death. Sima Qian thought that it was ridiculous when Xiang Yu claimed that his downfall was due to Heaven's will and not his personal failure. Liu Bang's general
Han Xin Han Xin (; died 196 BC) was a Chinese military general and politician who served Liu Bang Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 – 1 June 195 BC), born Liu Bang () with courtesy name Ji (季), was the founder and first emperor of the Han dynasty ...
, who was one of Xiang Yu's opponents on the battlefield, made a statement criticising Xiang, "A man who turns into a fierce warrior when he encounters a rival stronger than he is, but also one who is sympathetic and soft hearted when he sees someone weaker than he is. Neither was he able to make good use of capable generals nor was he able to support Emperor Yi of Chu, as he killed the emperor. Even though he had the name of a Conqueror, he had already lost the favour of the people." The
Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty (, ; ), or Tang Empire, was an imperial dynasty of China that ruled from 618 to 907, with an interregnum An interregnum (plural interregna or interregnums) is a period of discontinuity or "gap" in a government, organiza ...
poet
Du Mu Du Mu (; 803–852) was a leading Chinese poet Poets who wrote or write much of their Chinese poetry, poetry in the Chinese language, languages of China. __NOTOC__ A *Ai Qing B *Bai Juyi or Bo Juyi *Consort Ban *Ban Gu (32–92 A.D.)Min ...

Du Mu
mentioned Xiang Yu in one of his poems ''Ti Wujiang Ting'' (): "Victory or defeat is common in battle. One who can endure humiliation is a true man. There are several talents in Jiangdong, who knows if he (Xiang Yu) can make a comeback?" However, the
Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kua ...
poet
Wang Anshi Wang Anshi ; ; December 8, 1021 – May 21, 1086), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, includi ...

Wang Anshi
had a different opinion, as he wrote, "The warrior is already tired after so many battles. His defeat in the Central Plains is hard to reverse. Although there are talents in Jiangdong, are they willing to help him?" The Song Dynasty female poet
Li Qingzhao Li Qingzhao (; 1084 – c. 1155, – c.), pseudonym Householder of Yi'an (), was a Chinese poet and essayist during the Song dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted u ...

Li Qingzhao
wrote: "A hero in life, a king of ghosts after death. Until now we still remember Xiang Yu, who refused to return to Jiangdong."
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also Romanization of Chinese, romanised traditionally as Mao Tse-tung. (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the Proclamation of the ...

Mao Zedong
also once mentioned Xiang Yu, "We should use our remaining strength to defeat the enemy, instead of thinking about achieving fame like the Conqueror." In 1964, Mao also pointed out three reasons for Xiang Yu's downfall: not following
Fan Zeng Fan Zeng (277–204 BC) was an adviser to the warlord Xiang Yu, who fought for supremacy with Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao), the founder of the Han dynasty, during the Chu–Han Contention (206–202 BC). Life Fan Zeng was from Juch ...

Fan Zeng
's advice to kill Liu Bang at the
Feast at Hong Gate The Feast at Swan Goose Gate, also known as the Banquet at Hongmen, Hongmen Banquet, Hongmen Feast and other similar renditions, was a historical event that took place in 206 BC at Hong Gate () outside Xianyang, the capital of the Qin dynasty. ...

Feast at Hong Gate
and letting Liu leave; adhering firmly to the terms of the peace treaty (without considering that Liu Bang might betray his trust); building his capital at Pengcheng. Xiang Yu is popularly viewed as a leader who possessed great courage but lacked wisdom, and his character is aptly summarised using the Chinese idiom ''you yong wu mou'' (), meaning "has courage but lacks tactics", "foolhardy". Xiang Yu's battle tactics were studied by later military leaders while his political blunders served as cautionary tales for later rulers. Another Chinese idiom, ''si mian chu ge'' (), was also derived from the
Battle of Gaixia The Battle of Gaixia was fought in 202 BC during the Chu–Han Contention The Chu–Han Contention (206–202 BC) was an interregnum period between the Qin dynasty and the Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties i ...
, and used to describe someone in a desperate situation without help. Another saying by Liu Bang, "Having a Fan Zeng but unable to use him" (), was also used to describe Xiang Yu's reliance on his advisor
Fan Zeng Fan Zeng (277–204 BC) was an adviser to the warlord Xiang Yu, who fought for supremacy with Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao), the founder of the Han dynasty, during the Chu–Han Contention (206–202 BC). Life Fan Zeng was from Juch ...

Fan Zeng
and failure to actually listen to Fan's advice.


Cultural references

Xiang Yu's might and prowess in battle has been glorified in Chinese folk tales,
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...
, and novels, and he has been the subject of films, television, plays,
Chinese opera Traditional Chinese opera (), or ''Xiqu'', is a form of musical theatre in China with roots going back to the early periods in China. It is an amalgamation of various art forms that existed in ancient China, and evolved gradually over more tha ...
s, video games and comics. His classic image is that of a heroic and brave, but arrogant and bloodthirsty warrior-king. His romance with his wife
Consort Yu Consort Yu (; died 202 BC), also known as "Yu the Beauty" (), was the wife of the warlord Xiang Yu, who competed with Emperor Gaozu of Han, Liu Bang (Emperor Gao), the founder of the Han dynasty, for supremacy over China in the Chu–Han Content ...

Consort Yu
and his suicide have also added a touch of a
tragic hero #REDIRECT Tragic hero#REDIRECT Tragic hero A tragic hero is the protagonist 200px, Shakespeare's '' Hamlet, Prince of Denmark.'' William Morris Hunt, oil on canvas, c. 1864 A protagonist () is the main character of a story. The protagonist is ...
to his character.


Poetry, folk tales, novels

Xiang Yu's might and prowess in battle appears in Chinese folk tales and
poetry Poetry (derived from the Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its popula ...
, e.g., in his final battle. The '' Meng Ch'iu'', an 8th-century Chinese primer, contains the four-character rhyming couplet: "Ji Xin impersonates the Emperor". It referred to the episode in the Battle of Xingyang when Ji Xin and 2,000 women disguised themselves as Liu Bang and his army, to distract Xiang Yu in order to buy time for Liu Bang to escape from the city of
Xingyang Xingyang (), is a county-level city of Henan, Henan Province, South Central China, South Central China, it is under the administration of the prefecture-level city of Zhengzhou. It is situated 15 kilometers to the west of Zhengzhou city proper. Th ...
. In ''
Romance of the Three Kingdoms ''Romance of the Three Kingdoms'' () is a 14th-century historical novel Historical fiction is a literary genre in which the plot takes place in a setting located in the past. Although the term is commonly used as a synonym for the histori ...
'', one of the
Four Great Classical Novels In sinology Sinology or Chinese studies, is an academic discipline that focuses on the study of China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by popul ...
of
Chinese literature The history of Chinese literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archive An archive is an accumulation of historical records – in any media – or the physical facility in which they are located. A ...
,
Sun Ce Sun Ce () () (175–200), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the East Asian cultural sphere The ...
is nicknamed "Little Conqueror" () and is often compared favourably to Xiang Yu by his contemporaries. Sun Ce is best known for his conquests in the region that laid the foundation of the state of
Eastern Wu Wu (Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by population, world's most populous count ...
in the
Three Kingdoms The Three Kingdoms () from 220 to 280 AD was the tripartite division of China among the states of Cao Wei, Wei, Shu Han, Shu, and Eastern Wu, Wu. The Three Kingdoms period started with the End of the Han dynasty, end of the Han dynasty#East ...

Three Kingdoms
era. In ''
Water Margin ''Water Margin'' is one of the earliest Chinese novels written in vernacular Mandarin Mandarin may refer to: * Mandarin (bureaucrat), a bureaucrat of Imperial China (the original meaning of the word) ** by extension, any senior government ...
'', another of the Four Great Classical Novels, Zhou Tong, one of the 108 outlaws, is nicknamed "Little Conqueror" for his resemblance to Xiang Yu in appearance. In ''
Jin Ping Mei ''Jin Ping Mei'' ()—translated into English as ''The Plum in the Golden Vase'' or ''The Golden Lotus''—is a Chinese novel of manners composed in vernacular Chinese during the latter half of the sixteenth century during the late Ming dynasty ...

Jin Ping Mei
'', (Ci Hua edition) Xiang Yu is mentioned as an example of a tragic character in the song at the opening of the first chapter. The character Mata Zyndu in
Ken Liu Ken Liu (born 1976) is a multiple Hugo Award, Hugo Award-winning Americans, American author of science fiction and fantasy. His epic fantasy series ''The Dandelion Dynasty'', the first work in the "silkpunk" genre, is published by Simon & Schust ...
's epic fantasy novel ''The Grace of Kings'' is based on Xiang Yu.


Operas

A famous
Beijing opera Peking opera, or Beijing opera (), is the most dominant form of Chinese opera Traditional Chinese opera (), or ''Xiqu'', is a form of musical theatre in China with roots going back to the early periods in China. It is an amalgamation of var ...
, ''The Hegemon-King Bids His Lady Farewell'', depicts the events of Xiang Yu's defeat at the
Battle of Gaixia The Battle of Gaixia was fought in 202 BC during the Chu–Han Contention The Chu–Han Contention (206–202 BC) was an interregnum period between the Qin dynasty and the Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties i ...
. The title of the play was borrowed as the Chinese title for Chen Kaige's award-winning motion picture ''Farewell My Concubine (film), Farewell My Concubine''.


Television

* Portrayed by Shek Sau in the 1985 Hong Kong television series ''The Battlefield (1985 TV series), The Battlefield.'' * Portrayed by Hu Jun in the 2003 Chinese television series ''The Story of Han Dynasty.'' * Portrayed by Kwong Wah in the 2004 Hong Kong television series ''The Conqueror's Story.'' * Portrayed by Tan Kai (actor), Tan Kai in the 2010 Chinese television series ''The Myth (TV series), The Myth.'' * Portrayed by Peter Ho in the 2012 Chinese television series ''King's War''. * Portrayed by Ming Dao in the 2012 Chinese television series ''Beauties of the Emperor''. * Portrayed by Qin Junjie in the 2015 Chinese television series ''The Legend of Qin (TV series), The Legend of Qin''. * Portrayed by Tim Yu in the 2018 Chinese television series ''Hero's Dream''.


Film

* Portrayed by Ray Lui in the 1994 Hong Kong film ''The Great Conqueror's Concubine.'' * Portrayed by Feng Shaofeng in the 2011 Chinese film ''White Vengeance.'' * Portrayed by Daniel Wu in the 2012 Chinese film ''The Last Supper (2012 film), The Last Supper.''


Video games

Xiang Yu is one of the historical figures depicted in Koei's games, ''Romance of the Three Kingdoms XI'' and
Shin Sangoku Musou Multi Raid 2
'. He is also featured as a non-playable character (NPC) in the action role-playing game ''Prince of Qin (video game), Prince of Qin''. Xiang Yu is one of the main two characters in the 1990s Super Nintendo historical simulation game ''Rise of the Phoenix'' by the Koei corporation, the other being Liu Bang. Xiang Yu is a playable character in the online mobile role-playing game ''Fate/Grand Order''.


References


Citations


Sources

*
Sima Qian Sima Qian (; ; ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu B ...

Sima Qian
. ''
Records of the Grand Historian The ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese Chinese can refer to: * Something related to China China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia. It is the List of countries and dep ...

Records of the Grand Historian
'', Volume 7. *Ban Gu et al. ''Book of Han'', Volume 31. *Sima Guang. ''Zizhi Tongjian'', volumes 8, 9, 10, 11. {{DEFAULTSORT:Xiang, Yu 232 BC births 202 BC deaths Chinese military personnel who committed suicide 3rd-century BC rulers Chu–Han contention people Legendary Chinese people Wu Shuang Pu