Zong Yuan was a Colonel Protecting the Wuhuan (Hù Wūhuán xiàowèi 護烏桓校尉). During the Yellow Turban Rebellion in 184, he was assigned to assist Lu Zhi in his campaign against the Yellow Turbans in Julu commandery, which was the center of operations of the Yellow Turbans and the home-commandery of the Yellow Turban leaders Zhang Jue, Zhang Bao and Zhang Liang. He brought with him non-Chinese auxiliaries. This is Zong Yuan's only mention in historical sources. Lu Zhi scored some successes against Zhang Jue, but was ultimately withdrawn due to slander by the eunuchs.
- de Crespigny, A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms, biography of Zong Yuan, page 1178 Cite error: Invalid
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- Leban, Ts'ao Ts'ao and the Rise of Wei, page 114
- de Crespigny, Rafe. A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23 - 220 AD). Leiden: BRILL, 2007.
- Fan Ye 范曄 (398–445). Hou Han shu 後漢書 “History of the Later Han”.
- Leban, Carl. Ts'ao Ts'ao and the Rise of Wei: The Early Years. Columbia University, Ph. D., 1971.