Huang Zhong

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Huang Zhong
Huang Zhong Portrait.jpg
A Qing dynasty illustration of Huang Zhong
General of the Rear (後將軍)
In office
219 (219) – 220 (220)
General Who Attacks the West (征西將軍)
In office
c. 218 (c. 218) – 219 (219)
General Who Attacks Barbarians (討虜將軍)
In office
214 (214) – c. 218 (c. 218)
Major-General (裨將軍)
In office
208 (208) – 214 (214)
General of the Household (中郎將)
In office
? (?) – 208 (208)
Personal details
Born Unknown
Nanyang, Henan
Died 220[1]
Children Huang Xu
Occupation General
Courtesy name Hansheng (漢升)
Posthumous name Marquis Gang (剛侯)
Peerage Secondary Marquis

Huang Zhong (died 220[1]), courtesy name Hansheng, was a military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei in the late Eastern Han dynasty. He is best known for his victory at the Battle of Mount Dingjun in 219, in which his force routed that of an enemy general, Xiahou Yuan, who was killed in action during the raid.

Huang Zhong is portrayed in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms and popular culture as an elderly general with youthful vigour and constitution, and as one of the Five Tiger Generals under Liu Bei.

Early life[edit]

Huang Zhong was from Nanyang Commandery (南陽郡), which is in present-day Nanyang, Henan. He initially served as a General of the Household (中郎將) under Liu Biao, the Governor (牧) of Jing Province. He was tasked to defend Changsha Commandery (長沙郡; covering parts of present-day Hunan) with Liu Biao's nephew, Liu Pan. Liu Biao died in 208 and his successor, Liu Cong, surrendered Jing Province to the warlord Cao Cao. Huang Zhong was appointed as an acting Major-General (裨將軍) and he continued serving in Changsha under Han Xuan, the commandery's Administrator (太守).[2]

Service under Liu Bei[edit]

Following Cao Cao's defeat at the Battle of Red Cliffs in the same year, the victorious allied forces of Liu Bei and Sun Quan gradually took over the various commanderies in southern Jing Province, including Changsha. Huang Zhong actively urged Han Xuan to surrender to Liu Bei, who held strong influence in the province. Han Xuan conceded and Huang Zhong came to serve Liu Bei. Since his appointment at Jiameng (葭萌), Huang Zhong had performed well in Liu Bei's conquest of Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) from 212 to 214 – he was often the first to scale the walls of enemy cities and the first to charge into enemy formations. After Yi Province was taken, Huang Zhong was promoted to General Who Attacks Rebels (討虜將軍).[3]

Success in the Hanzhong Campaign[edit]

In 217, Liu Bei started the Hanzhong Campaign to seize control of Hanzhong Commandery, which was under Cao Cao's control. His force encountered resistance led by Xiahou Yuan at Yangping Pass. The confrontation dragged on for more than a year until one night in 219, when Liu Bei set fire to the barbed fence around Xiahou Yuan's camp at the foot of Mount Dingjun. Alarmed by the attack, Xiahou Yuan sent Zhang He to defend the eastern corner of the camp while he guarded the south. Liu Bei's main force pressed against Zhang He, outmatching the latter. Xiahou Yuan despatched a fraction of his own troops to help Zhang He. Huang Zhong rallied his men and, accompanied by thundering drums, they descended upon Xiahou Yuan's dwindling force. The battle became a rout and Xiahou Yuan was killed in action. The victory at Mount Dingjun was a major stepping stone to the conquest of Hanzhong. Huang Zhong was promoted to General Who Attacks the West (征西將軍) for his contributions in the Hanzhong Campaign.[4]

In the same year, Liu Bei proclaimed himself "King of Hanzhong" (漢中王) – a symbolic move comparing himself to Emperor Gao, the founder of the Han dynasty. He wanted to appoint Huang Zhong as General of the Rear (後將軍), placing the latter on the same level as three other senior generals: Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Ma Chao. However, Zhuge Liang told Liu Bei, "Huang Zhong's fame is far from that of Guan Yu and Ma Chao. If they are all given equal status, Zhang Fei and Ma Chao will probably not object because they have been with Huang Zhong all this while and have witnessed his contributions, but Guan Yu is stationed far away and he may not agree with this arrangement." Liu Bei said, "I'll handle this myself." He still elevated all the four generals to the same status. Huang Zhong also received the title of a Secondary Marquis (關內侯).[5]


Huang Zhong died in 220 and his cause of death was not specified. He was awarded the posthumous title "Marquis Gang" (剛侯), which literally means "unyielding marquis". His son, Huang Xu (黃叙), died at a young age and did not have any descendants.[6]


Chen Shou, who wrote Huang Zhong's biography in the Sanguozhi, commented on the latter as follows: "Huang Zhong and Zhao Yun were fierce and mighty warriors, just like claws and teeth. Were they the successors to Guan Ying (灌嬰) and the Duke of Teng?"[7]

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms[edit]

The portrait "Huang Zhong requests to go into battle" (黃忠請戰) at the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace, Beijing. The picture depicts a scene from the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms in which an elderly Huang Zhong urged Liu Bei to send him to fight Xiahou Yuan despite concerns over his age.

Huang Zhong is featured as a prominent character in the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms by Luo Guanzhong, which romanticises the historical events before and during the Three Kingdoms period. In the novel, Huang Zhong was named one of the Five Tiger Generals by Liu Bei after Liu emerged victorious in the Hanzhong Campaign in 219. In the novel, Huang Zhong is portrayed as an elderly warrior highly skilled in archery.

See the following for some fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms involving Huang Zhong:

In popular culture[edit]

Huang Zhong is featured as a playable character in the video game series Dynasty Warriors, Kessen II, and Warriors Orochi produced by Koei.

A Canadian fraternal youth organisation and martial arts club, the Hon Hsing Athletic Club of Vancouver, British Columbia, was established in 1939 under the patronage of the Wongs' Benevolent Association of Canada. It is named after Huang Zhong's courtesy name, Hansheng (漢升; Cantonese: Hon Hsing).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. p. 352. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0. 
  2. ^ (黃忠字漢升,南陽人也。荊州牧劉表以為中郎將,與表從子磐共守長沙攸縣。及曹公克荊州,假行裨將軍,仍就故任,統屬長沙太守韓玄。) Sanguozhi vol. 36.
  3. ^ (先主南定諸郡,忠遂委質,隨從入蜀。自葭萌受任,還攻劉璋,忠常先登陷陣,勇毅冠三軍。益州旣定,拜為討虜將軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 36.
  4. ^ (建安二十四年,於漢中定軍山擊夏侯淵。淵衆甚精,忠推鋒必進,勸率士卒,金鼓振天,歡聲動谷,一戰斬淵,淵軍大敗。遷征西將軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 36.
  5. ^ (是歲,先主為漢中王,欲用忠為後將軍,諸葛亮說先主曰:「忠之名望,素非關、馬之倫也。而今便令同列。馬、張在近,親見其功,尚可喻指;關遙聞之,恐必不恱,得無不可乎!」先主曰:「吾自當解之。」遂與羽等齊位,賜爵關內侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 36.
  6. ^ (明年卒,追謚剛侯。子叙,早沒,無後。) Sanguozhi vol. 36.
  7. ^ (黃忠、趙雲彊摯壯猛,並作爪牙,其灌、滕之徒歟? ) Sanguozhi vol. 36.