Beigong Boyu 北宮伯玉 was a member of the Auxiliary of Loyal Barbarians from Huangzhong and elected as first leader of the Liang Province Rebels together with Li Wenhou 李文侯. In the winter of 184, when the Yellow Turban Rebellion was nearing its end, Beigong Boyu and Li Wenhou kept the Han away from peace by creating havoc in Liang Province.
Beigong Boyu is said to be a non-Chinese Yuezhi or Qiang. He is first mentioned in the winter of 184, when two groups of Qiang people caused disturbances in the northwestern commanderies of Beidi and Anding, and the counties of Fuhan and Heguan. The Auxiliary of Loyal Barbarians from Huangzhong commandery, a force consisting of Lesser Yuezhi and Qiang recruits, was sent to deal with the rebels. Leading these Auxiliary of Loyal Barbarians were Beigong Boyu and Li Wenhou.
In the 9th lunar month of 184, instead of resolving the disturbances, they were actually escalated when Beigong Boyu and Li Wenhou mutinied against their Han superiors in the military camp of Lianju 令居 and killing the Protector of the Qiang Ling Zheng 冷徵 in the process.
The various Qiang groups had now become one and Beigong Boyu and Li Wenhou, presumably for their background and well-knowing of the Han, were elected as leading generals of the coalition. The headquarters of the Auxiliary were in Wuwei commandery, but it is likely the mutiny took place as the men were led south against the earlier rebellions. Following the successful mutiny Beigong Boyu and Li Wenhou now controlled a band of territory along the Yellow River. Next, they headed for Yuanya 允吾, the capital city of Jincheng commandery 金城郡 in the south-west of Liang Province.
Jincheng’s local governor was Zuo Chang 左昌, and he had been embezzling funds that were actually meant to be provided for a defence force. When Beigong Boyu and Li Wenhou and their followers laid siege on the capital they seized a number of hostages. The Grand Administrator of Jincheng Chen Yi 陳懿 went to the camp to negotiate with the rebels about the release of his people, but instead he was killed and the city fell. Several of his officers, men such as Bian Zhang 邊章 and Han Sui 韓遂, now joined the rebels’ cause.[n 2]
A group of Liang rebels, led by newly recruited Bian Zhang and the others came forward to besiege Zuo Chang in Ji, but when the Senior Clerk of Hanyang commandery He Xun 蓋勳 came to aid Zhuo Chang the rebels broke off the siege and went away. Zuo Chang was replaced by one Song Nie 宋臬, who in his turn was soon dismissed in favour of Yang Yong 楊雍. The situation, however, did not improve and local officials soon found themselves besieged by the rebels again. The new Protector of the Qiang Xia Yu 夏育 was attacked by rebel Dianyu 滇吾. He Xun once again came with relief troops. This time, however, he was convincingly defeated nearby Hupan 狐槃. Both Xia Yu and He Xun were able to escape, but it was clear the the local authorities could not deal with the rebels themselves, at least not at this point.
Early 185 the rebels reached Meiyang city in Youfufeng commandery, Sili Province. From there, they sent raids to Chang'an city in the same commandery. An imperial army was sent out, commanded first by "Yellow Turban Conqueror" Huangfu Song 皇甫嵩 and then by Zhang Wen 張溫, but neither side gained major success. In the winter of 185, however, the general Dong Zhuo 董卓 won a battle outside Meiyang. The rebels withdrew, but when they were pursued by a column under Zhou Shen 周慎 they cut his line of supplies and forced him back.
After this Beigong Boyu, Li Wenhou and Bian Zang vanished from the scene. There is some confusion as to what happened to these three men. Bian Zhang might have succumbed to an illness, though it is also taken into consideration that he and Beigong Boyu and Li Wenhou were killed in mutual quarrels. The Zizhi tongjian says all three men were killed by Han Sui.
- ↑ From late 185 to the winter of 186 the rebels Beigong Boyu, Li Wenhou and Bian Zhang vanished from the scene. It is unclear what happened to these three men. It is considered, though, that they were either killed in mutual quarrels. The Zizhi tongjian says they were all killed by Han Sui. 
- ↑ Some sources say that Han Sui and Bian Zhang were forced into joining the rebels, while other sources say they joined out of free will.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 de Crespigny, A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms, biography of Beigong Boyu pages 14-15
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 Haloun, The Liang-Chou Rebellion, page 121
- ↑ Haloun, The Liang-Chou Rebellion, page 119
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Haloun, The Liang-Chou Rebellion, page 120
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 de Crespigny, 'A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms, biography of Chen Yi
- ↑ de Crespigny, Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling, Zhongping 1
- ↑ de Crespigny, Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling, Zhongping 4
- Chen Shou 陳壽 (233–297). Sanguo zhi 三國志 "Records of the Three Kingdoms", with official commentary compiled by Pei Songzhi 裴松之 (372-451).
- de Crespigny, Rafe. A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms. Leiden: BRILL, 2007.
- —. Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling. Canberra: National Library of Australia, 1989.
- —. Generals of the South. Canberra: Faculty of Asian Studies, The Australian National University, 1996.
- —. The Northern Frontier of Later Han. Canberra: Faculty of Asian Studies, The Australian National University, 1984.
- Fan Ye 范曄 (396-446). Hou Han shu 後漢書 "History of the Later Han".
- Haloun, Gustav. "The Liang-Chou Rebellion". Asia Major [New Series], vol. 1 (1949-50): 119-132.
- Sima Guang 司馬光 (1019–1086). Zizhi tongjian 資治通鑒 "Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government".