Huang Quan (Three Kingdoms)
|General of Cao Wei|
|Style name||Gongheng (Chinese: 公衡; pinyin: Gōnghéng; Wade–Giles: Kung-heng)|
|Posthumous name||Marquis Jing (Chinese: 景侯; pinyin: Jǐng Hóu; Wade–Giles: Ching Hou)|
Huang Quan (died 240), style name Gongheng, was a military general of the state of Cao Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. He previously served under the warlords Liu Zhang and Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han Dynasty and in the state of Shu Han (founded by Liu Bei) in the early Three Kingdoms period before defecting to Wei.
Service under Liu Zhang
Huang Quan was a native of Langzhong (閬中), Baxi commandery (巴西郡), Yi Province (益州; covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing), which is in present-day Langzhong, Nanchong, Sichuan. He started his career as a minor official in the commandery office and was later recruited to be a Registrar (主簿) under Yi Province's governor Liu Zhang. Around 211, Zhang Song, an advisor to Liu Zhang, suggested to his lord to invite the warlord Liu Bei from Jing Province (covering present-day Hubei and Hunan) to assist them in countering their rival, Zhang Lu, in Hanzhong commandery. Huang Quan strongly opposed Zhang Song's idea because he felt that Liu Bei was an ambitious person and might use the opportunity to seize control of Yi Province. However, Liu Zhang refused to listen to Huang Quan and he heeded Zhang Song's suggestion. Huang Quan was appointed as the Chief (長) of Guanghan county (廣漢縣). Later, in 212, as Huang Quan foresaw, conflict broke out between Liu Zhang and Liu Bei when the latter initiated a campaign to take over Yi Province from the former. Huang Quan defended his position firmly even though many territories in Yi Province had already either been conquered or had voluntarily submitted to Liu Bei. He only surrendered when he heard that Liu Zhang had surrendered to Liu Bei in Chengdu (Yi Province's capital). After successfully annexing Yi Province, Liu Bei appointed Huang Quan as a Lieutenant-General (偏將軍) under him.
Xu Zhong (徐衆), who wrote a commentary on the historical text Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi), praised Huang Quan for his loyalty towards Liu Zhang. He also commended Liu Bei for appointing Huang Quan as a general after the latter's surrender, but remarked that Liu's actions were not sufficient to highlight Huang's virtues — something that a benevolent man should do. He raised an example of how King Wu of the Zhou Dynasty paid homage to two officials known for their loyalty to the Shang Dynasty — Bi Gan and Shang Rong — after he succeeded in overthrowing Shang.
Service under Liu Bei
In 216, after Zhang Lu was defeated by Liu Bei's rival, Cao Cao, at the Battle of Yangping, he escaped and took shelter in the Bazhong (巴中) region in northeastern Yi Province. Huang Quan cautioned Liu Bei against losing Hanzhong commandery to Cao Cao because Hanzhong was the "northern gateway" into Yi Province. Liu Bei appointed Huang Quan as a "Protector of the Army" (護軍) and led his followers towards Bazhong to receive Zhang Lu, but when they arrived there, Zhang Lu had already returned to Hanzhong and surrendered to Cao Cao. Huang Quan then urged Liu Bei to attack and seize Hanzhong. Between 217 and 219, Liu Bei, acting on Huang Quan's advice, launched the Hanzhong Campaign to wrestle control of Hanzhong from Cao Cao. He emerged victorious in the campaign in 219 and declared himself "King of Hanzhong" (漢中王) and "Governor of Yi Province" (益州牧). Huang Quan was appointed as a "Headquarters Officer" (治中從事) under Liu Bei.
In 221, Liu Bei proclaimed himself 'Emperor' and founded the state of Shu Han, after which he planned to launch a military campaign against his former ally, Sun Quan, who had seized Jing Province from him in late 219 and killed his general Guan Yu. Huang Quan noted that Sun Quan's forces were powerful and had the Yangtze River to their advantage, so he volunteered to lead the attack and suggested that Liu Bei remain behind to guard Yi Province. However, Liu Bei rejected Huang Quan's advice: he appointed Huang as "General Who Guards the North" (鎮北將軍) and ordered Huang to defend the northern flank from possible attacks by the state of Cao Wei (established by Cao Cao's successor Cao Pi), while he personally led the main Shu army and travelled along the Yangtze to attack Sun Quan. Liu Bei suffered a devastating defeat in the ensuing Battle of Xiaoting (221–222) at the hands of Sun Quan's forces and was forced to retreat. Huang Quan and his men were separated from Liu Bei's remaining forces after the battle and could not return to Shu so they surrendered to Wei. After Huang Quan defected to Wei, a Shu judicial officer urged Liu Bei to execute Huang's family members (who were still in Shu) but Liu refused and said, "I let Huang Quan down but he did not let me down." Liu Bei's treatment towards Huang Quan's family did not change despite Huang's defection.
Pei Songzhi, who annotated the Sanguozhi, compared Liu Bei's treatment of Huang Quan's family (after Huang's defection) with Emperor Wu of Han's execution of Li Ling's family and noted the difference between Liu Bei's gain from treating Huang Quan's family well and Emperor Wu's loss by executing Li Ling's family. He quoted a line from the Classic of Poetry to describe Liu Bei: 'To be rejoiced in are ye, gentlemen; May ye preserve and maintain your posterity!'
Service in Wei
When Huang Quan met the Wei emperor Cao Pi, the latter said, "Are you trying to emulate Chen Ping and Han Xin when you abandoned the villains and agreed to serve me?" Huang Quan replied, "I was treated generously by Lord Liu so I will not surrender to Sun Quan. I could not return to Shu so I chose to submit to Wei. As a commander of a defeated army, I already feel grateful for being spared from death. Why would I even think about emulating the ancients?" Cao Pi was very impressed with Huang Quan. He appointed Huang Quan as a "Palace Attendant" (侍中) and "General Who Guards the South" (鎮南將軍) and enfeoffed Huang as the "Marquis of Yuyang" (育陽侯). Later, when other Shu defectors brought news to Wei that Liu Bei had executed Huang Quan's family, Cao Pi ordered a memorial service to be held, but Huang Quan said that the news were false. He was proven right after the defectors were thoroughly questioned. In 223, when news of Liu Bei's death reached Wei, many Wei officials congratulated Cao Pi, except for Huang Quan. Cao Pi knew that Huang Quan would not betray him, but he wanted to scare the latter, so he repeatedly sent messengers to summon Huang to see him. Huang Quan's subordinates were very fearful when they saw that Cao Pi had sent so many messengers but Huang remained calm and composed.
Huang Quan was later appointed as the Inspector (刺史) of Yi Province (even though the province was not under Wei's jurisdiction) and was stationed in Henan. The Wei general Sima Yi regarded Huang Quan very highly and he once asked Huang, "There are how many others like you in Shu?" Huang Quan laughed and replied, "I never expected you to regard me so highly!" On another occasion, Sima Yi wrote to the Shu chancellor-regent Zhuge Liang: "Huang Gongheng is a very straightforward man. He always speaks highly of you." Cao Rui, Cao Pi's son and successor, once asked Huang Quan, "What should we use to gauge the current situation of the Empire?" Huang Quan replied, "The study of the stars. We saw a yinghuo shouxin[notes 1] when Emperor Wen (Cao Pi) passed away while the lords of Wu and Shu remained safe. This was an sign from the stars." In 239, during the reign of Cao Rui's successor, Cao Fang, Huang Quan was promoted to the position of "General of Chariots and Cavalry" (車騎將軍) and received the same honours as the Three Ducal Ministers (the three highest ranked ministers in the Wei imperial court).
Huang Quan died in 240 and received the posthumous title "Marquis Jing" (景侯). His original marquis title, "Marquis of Yuyang", was inherited by his son Huang Yong (黃邕). Huang Yong died without a male heir.
Another son of Huang Quan, Huang Chong (黃崇), who remained in Shu after his father's defection to Wei, was appointed as a "Gentleman in the Imperial Secretariat" (尚書郎) under the Shu government. In 263, when Wei launched a campaign to vanquish Shu, Huang Chong accompanied the Shu general Zhuge Zhan to resist the Wei invaders led by Deng Ai. When the Shu army arrived in Fu County (涪縣), Huang Chong suggested to Zhuge Zhan to swiftly take control of the mountainous terrain and use the geographical advantage to deter the enemy from advancing into the flat lands. When Zhuge Zhan hesitated, Huang Chong repeatedly urged the former to heed his advice, to the point of breaking down in tears. When Deng Ai's forces approached, Zhuge Zhan led his troops to engage the enemy at Mianzhu (緜竹), where Huang Chong encouraged his men and expressed his willingness to fight to the death. Huang Chong and Zhuge Zhan were both killed in action at Mianzhu.
- The Sanguozhi mentioned that Huang Quan died in the fourth year of the Jingchu era (237-239) during Cao Fang's reign. This year corresponds to the third year of the Yanxi era (238-257) in Liu Shan's reign. Quote from Sanguozhi vol. 43: (景初三年，蜀延熈二年，權遷車騎將軍、儀同三司。明年卒， ...)
- (黃權字公衡，巴西閬中人也。少為郡吏，州牧劉璋召為主簿。時別駕張松建議，宜迎先主，使伐張魯。權諫曰：「左將軍有驍名，今請到，欲以部曲遇之，則不滿其心，欲以賔客禮待，則一國不容二君。若客有泰山之安，則主有累卵之危。可但閉境，以待河清。」璋不聽，竟遣使迎先主，出權為廣漢長。及先主襲取益州，將帥分下郡縣，郡縣望風景附，權閉城堅守，須劉璋稽服，乃詣降先主。先主假權偏將軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- (徐衆評曰：權旣忠諫於主，又閉城拒守，得事君之禮。武王下車，封比干之墓，表商容之閭，所以大顯忠賢之士，而明示所貴之旨。先主假權將軍，善矣，然猶薄少，未足彰忠義之高節，而大勸為善者之心。) Xu Zhong's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- (及曹公破張魯，魯走入巴中，權進曰：「若失漢中，則三巴不振，此為割蜀之股臂也。」於是先主以權為護軍，率諸將迎魯。魯已還南鄭，北降曹公，然卒破杜濩、朴胡，殺夏侯淵，據漢中，皆權本謀也。 ... 先主為漢中王，猶領益州牧，以權為治中從事。) Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- (及稱尊號，將東伐吳，權諫曰：「吳人悍戰，又水軍順流，進易退難，臣請為先驅以甞寇，陛下宜為後鎮。」先主不從，以權為鎮北將軍，督江北軍以防魏師；先主自在江南。及吳將軍陸議乘流斷圍，南軍敗績，先主引退。而道隔絕，權不得還，故率將所領降于魏。有司執法，白收權妻子。先主曰：「孤負黃權，權不負孤也。」待之如初。) Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- (臣松之以為漢武用虛罔之言，滅李陵之家，劉主拒憲司所執，宥黃權之室，二主得失縣邈遠矣。詩云「樂只君子，保乂爾後」，其劉主之謂也。) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- (漢魏春秋曰：文帝詔令發喪，權荅曰：「臣與劉、葛推誠相信，明臣本志。疑惑未實，請須後問。」) Han Jin Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- (魏文帝謂權曰：「君捨逆効順，欲追蹤陳、韓邪？」權對曰：「臣過受劉主殊遇，降吳不可，還蜀無路，是以歸命。且敗軍之將，免死為幸，何古人之可慕也！」文帝善之，拜為鎮南將軍，封育陽侯，加侍中，使之陪乘。蜀降人或云誅權妻子，權知其虛言，未便發喪，後得審問，果如所言。及先主薨問至，魏羣臣咸賀而權獨否。文帝察權有局量，欲試驚之，遣左右詔權，未至之間，累催相屬，馬使奔馳，交錯於道，官屬侍從莫不碎魄，而權舉止顏色自若。) Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- (蜀記曰：魏明帝問權：「天下鼎立，當以何地為正？」權對曰：「當以天文為正。往者熒惑守心而文皇帝崩，吳、蜀二主平安，此其徵也。」) Shu Ji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- (後領益州刺史，徙占河南。大將軍司馬宣王深器之，問權曰：「蜀中有卿輩幾人？」權笑而荅曰：「不圖明公見顧之重也！」宣王與諸葛亮書曰：「黃公衡，快士也，每坐起歎述足下，不去口實。」景初三年，蜀延熈二年，權遷車騎將軍、儀同三司。) Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- (明年卒，謚曰景侯。子邕嗣。邕無子，絕。) Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- (權留蜀子崇，為尚書郎，隨衞將軍諸葛瞻拒鄧艾。到涪縣，瞻盤桓未進，崇屢勸瞻宜速行據險，無令敵得入平地。瞻猶與未納，崇至于流涕。會艾長驅而前，瞻却戰至緜竹，崇帥厲軍士，期於必死，臨陣見殺。) Sanguozhi vol. 43.
- Chen Shou. Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
- Pei Songzhi. Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).