Huang Hao

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Hang Hao
Eunuch of Shu Han
Born Unknown
Died Unknown
Traditional Chinese 黃皓
Simplified Chinese 黄皓
Pinyin Huáng Hào
Wade–Giles Huang Hao

Huang Hao was a eunuch serving Liu Shan, second and last emperor of the Kingdom of Shu during the Three Kingdoms era in ancient China. Highly favoured by Liu Shan, he was commonly blamed for misguiding the latter into surrendering to the Kingdom of Wei and continues to be considered one of the most corrupt and worthless officials in the Three Kingdoms era along with Cen Hun.

Early Life and Career[edit]

Huang Hao entered the service of emperor Liu Shan as a eunuch some time in the 220s. According to the Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms, Huang Hao was favoured by Liu Shan as he was shrewd and full of flattering words. During his lifetime, the chief attendant to the emperor Dong Yun often advised Liu Shan about the danger of flattery on one hand, and admonished Huang Hao for misguiding the young emperor on the other.

Rise of Power[edit]

After Dong Yun died in 246, he was replaced by Chen Qi, who collaborated with Huang Hao to influence court affairs. Henceforth Huang Hao became increasingly powerful. Even the senior ministers such as Zhuge Zhan and Dong Jue could do nothing to remove him. The General-in-Chief, Jiang Wei, once advised Liu Shan to execute Huang Hao since Huang easily fell for a ruse by Wei's Sima Yi to spread false rumours about Jiang wanting to rebel and told the emperor, which resulted in Jiang retreating back into the capital despite the initial victories against Sima Yi. However the emperor denied the request, saying that the eunuch was but a servant who ran errands. Fearing retaliation, Jiang Wei then left the capital of Chengdu to garrison troops at Tazhong (沓中, northwest of present-day Zhugqu County, Gansu). Because he had not achieved any significant gain over the Kingdom of Wei for years, Jiang Wei was also almost replaced by another general Yan Yu (閻宇), who was close friends with Huang, at the instigation of Zhuge Zhan and Huang Hao.

Unknown Fate[edit]

In 263, Jiang Wei wrote to Liu Shan, warning about the mustering of Wei troops under Zhong Hui near the border. However, Huang Hao, who believed in witchery, had a witch predict the future and told Liu Shan that the enemy would take ages to arrive as the capital Chengdu was surrounded by a perfect natural barrier of mountains and valleys. Liu Shan then neglected Jiang Wei's defence plans which ultimately resulted in the capture of Chengdu by Deng Ai's forces. After Liu surrendered, Huang Hao was captured by Deng who intended to execute the treacherous man. However, Huang Hao managed to bribe those close to Deng Ai and extricate himself. His fate henceforth is unknown.

In fiction[edit]

In Chapter 119 of the 14th century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Huang Hao was eventually executed publicly at the order of Sima Zhao when he followed Liu Shan into the capital Luoyang.

Appointments and titles held[edit]

  • Prefect of the Yellow Gate (黃門令)
  • Central Attendant (中常侍)
  • Commandant of Equipage (奉車都尉)

See also[edit]