- Xu Huang
Three Kingdoms infobox
Caption=Portrait of Xu Huang from a
Qing Dynastyedition of the " Romance of the Three Kingdoms"
Title= Military general
Post=Marquis Zhuang (壯侯)
Xu Huang (169 – 227) was a prominent military general under the powerful warlord
Cao Caoand his successor Cao Piduring the late Eastern Han Dynastyand Three Kingdomsera of China. He was most noted for breaking the siege at the Battle of Fanchengin 219. Chen Shou, author of the "Records of Three Kingdoms", considered Xu Huang among the five top generals of the Kingdom of Wei, together with Zhang Liao, Yue Jin, Zhang Heand Yu Jin.
Born in the county of Yang (楊, present day
Hongdong, Shanxi) in the late years of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Xu Huang worked as a local administrative officer in his younger days. Later, he followed the general Yang Feng(楊奉) on a campaign against the Yellow Turban Rebellionand was appointed a commander of the cavalry (騎都尉).
In 196, after the death of the tyrannical warlord
Dong Zhuo, Xu Huang and Yang Feng escorted Emperor Xian from Chang'anback to Luoyang, which by then was much dilapidated. In the same year, Cao Cao came personally to Luoyang to move the emperor to Xuchang.
Xu Huang then prompted Yang Feng to join Cao Cao's camp, but Yang Feng did not heed the advice. Instead he sent out a force in a futile bid to snatch back Emperor Xian. Cao Cao soon retaliated and defeated Yang Feng, whereupon Xu Huang surrendered himself to Cao Cao.
Hereafter Xu Huang participated in every major campaign Cao Cao undertook, including offensives against
Lü Bu, Yuan Shao, Ma Chao, and Ta Dun(蹋頓). Xu Huang performed well in all of them, being noted especially for his resourcefulness.
During the campaign against Yuan Shao's heirs in 203, the defender of the city of Yiyang (易陽) initially surrendered but soon changed his mind. Seeing such behavior, Xu Huang knew there were doubts in his enemy's heart. He then wrote a letter of persuasion and had it fired into the city on an arrow. The defender was hence won over and Xu Huang conquered the city without bloodshed.
In 215, Xu Huang was stationed at the Yangping Pass (陽平關) to defend
Hanzhongagainst the advances of Liu Bei's army, who attempted to sever the supply routes to the city. Xu Huang saw through the ploy and struck the enemy head-on. Many enemy soldiers jumped off the cliffs in the face of Xu Huang's ferocious attack. The city was then kept secure for the time being.
Xu Huang's most glorious moment in his military career came in the Battle of Fancheng in 219. When the city of
Fancheng(樊城), a district of present day Xiangfan, Hubei) was besieged by enemy general Guan Yuand the first relief force led by Yu Jin was vanquished, Xu Huang was sent with a second relief force to help protect the city.
Knowing that most of his soldiers were poorly trained, Xu Huang did not go into battle straight away but camped behind the enemy to impose a deterrence effect. Meanwhile, he instructed his men to dig trenches around the nearby enemy city of Yancheng (偃城) in a pretense to cut off supplies into the city. The enemies were deceived and abandoned their position. Xu Huang then established a foothold in Yan.
By this time more support troops had arrived, and with the strengthened army Xu Huang finally unleashed an attack on Guan Yu's camp. Guan Yu personally led 5,000 horsemen to meet the attackers, but was eventually outmatched. Many of his soldiers were forced into the nearby Han River and drowned. The siege on Fancheng was then broken. When Cao Cao heard of the victory, he praised Xu Huang and compared the general to
Sun Tzuand Tian Rangju¹.
Upon Xu Huang's return, Cao Cao went seven "li" out of the city to greet him, giving him full credits for securing Fan. Throughout the field reception, the soldiers of other commanders shifted about in order to get a better view of Cao Cao, but Xu Huang's men stood stationary in neat files. Seeing this, Cao Cao lauded, "General Xu has truly inherited the style of
After Cao Cao's death in 220, Xu Huang continued to be heavily trusted by the successor Cao Pi. He was made General of the Right (右將軍) and Marquis of Yangping (陽平侯). When Cao Pi's successor
Cao Ruitook over in 227, he sent Xu Huang to defend Xiangyangagainst the Wu invasion. However, Xu Huang died in the same year due to sickness, leaving behind a will demanding a burial in plain clothes. He was given the posthumous title of Marquis Zhuang (壯侯), literally meaning the robust marquis. He was succeeded in his offices by his son, Xu Gai(徐該), who along with Xu Huang's other descendants was also given the title of marquis.
Tian Ranju(田穰苴) was a general of the State of Qi during the Warring States period.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms", a historical novel by Luo Guanzhong, was a romanticization of the events that occurred before and during the Three Kingdoms era. Xu Huang made his first appearance in Chapter 13, where he served under Yang Feng (楊奉), a military officer in the capital Chang'an. Together they escorted Emperor Xian back to Luoyang after the death of Dong Zhuo, who had been holding the emperor hostage.
When Cao Cao came to Luoyang to fetch the emperor to Xuchang, Yang Feng sent out Xu Huang to deter him. Seeing the formidable Xu Huang on his horse, Cao Cao knew he was an extraordinary man. The warlord then dispatched his own personal bodyguard and one of his fiercest warriors
Xu Chuto duel with the enemy.
Neither side could gain an advantage over each other after fifty bouts, by then Cao Cao was very impressed by Xu Huang's skills. Not wanting either duelist to get hurt, Cao Cao then called for Xu Chu to retreat. Knowing his lord intended to recruit Xu Huang,
Man Chong, a subject of Cao Cao and a fellow townsman of Xu Huang, volunteered to persuade Xu Huang to defect.
That very night, Man Chong disguised himself as a common soldier and sneaked into Xu Huang's tent. After some persuasion, Xu Huang was won over. Man Chong then suggested slaying Yang Feng as a gesture of defection. However, Xu Huang was a righteous man and refused to kill his former superior.
In the book, Xu Huang met his end outside
Xincheng(新城), where he was shot in his forehead by Meng Dafrom the city wall. His men immediately took him back to camp, where the physician removed the arrow and tried to heal him, but the general eventually died later that night. The novel claimed that he was fifty-nine years old, but the figure is not supported by any historical record. Xu Huang is also popularly regarded as one of Cao's greatest generals, right alongside Zhang Liao, Yue Jin, and Zhang He.
* An 84-part Mandarin TV series was made in the mid-1990s and several Japanese animation programs based upon the "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" also emerged at the same time, and Xu Huang is often portrayed as a brave, loyal, and reliable servant of Wei.
Koei, the Japanese computer and video game developer, has also been largely responsible for generating various impressions of Xu Huang, most notably in the classic strategy series "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", and the " Dynasty Warriors" series.
* Xu Huang also appears as a starting character in Wei's story line in
Warriors Orochi, a crossover between Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors.
Personages of the Three Kingdoms
*"Records of Three Kingdoms"
Romance of the Three Kingdoms"
*cite book|author=Chen Shou|title=San Guo Zhi|publisher=Yue Lu Shu She|year=2002|id=ISBN 7-80665-198-5
*cite book|author=Luo Guanzhong|title=San Guo Yan Yi|publisher=Yue Lu Shu She|year=1986|id=ISBN 7-80520-013-0
*cite book|author=Lo Kuan-chung; tr. C.H. Brewitt-Taylor|title=Romance of the Three Kingdoms|publisher=Tuttle Publishing|year=2002|id=ISBN 0-8048-3467-9
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