Pang Tong

Pang Tong

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Pang Tong

Kingdom=Liu Bei
Pinyin=Páng Tǒng
Post=Marquis Jing (靖侯)
Other=Young Phoenix (鳳雛)

Páng Tǒng (龐統, 178 - 214), courtesy name Shiyuan (士元), was an advisor to Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han Dynasty and during the Three Kingdoms era of China. He was nicknamed "Young Phoenix" (鳯雛; Fèngchú) by his uncle and a famous scholar, Pang Degong. He was not well known until he met another famous scholar at the time, Sima Hui, who claimed Pang Tong to be the most talented among the scholars in the southern Jing Province after a whole day's discussion.


Pang Tong started as a secretary in Nan Commandery (南郡), and was promoted to the administrator of Nan Commandery after Zhou Yu annexed Jing Province. Following the death of Zhou Yu, Pang Tong went to the Sun court to offer condolences, where he met and made friends with famous Jiangdong scholars such as Lu Ji, Gu Shao and Quan Cong.

After Jing Province was leased to Liu Bei, Pang Tong was appointed the magistrate of Laiyang (耒陽),although Pang Tong was said to have cared for the elderly and the common folk, he nevertheless governed Leiyang County poorly and was dismissed by Liu Bei for dereliction of duty. In the past, Pang Tong had traveled as an envoy to Wu and was greatly admired by several members of the Wu court. One person who thought particularly highly of Pang Tong was Lu Su, the new Wu commander-in-chief. When Lu Su heard of Pang Tong’s apparent failings as a magistrate, he sent Liu Bei a letter, saying Pang Tong was no genius for ruling a county of hundred "li" and only by appointing him as Liu Bei's personal assistance and advisor can his talent be shown. Zhuge Liang also recommended Pang Tong. Liu Bei summoned Pang Tong and found him a real military genius, then appointed him as Headquarters Assistant Officer (治中從事) and Military Advisor to the Household (軍師中郎將), in the same rank as Zhuge Liang.

When Cao Cao invaded Hanzhong, the lord of Yi Province, Liu Zhang, did not know what to do. One of Liu Zhang’s officials, Zhang Song, advised Liu Zhang to invite Liu Bei to come to the Yi Province and help with Liu Zhang’s problems. Liu Zhang agreed with this advice and sent Fa Zheng with 4,000 soldiers to request assistance from Liu Bei. Several generals and officials of the Yi Province objected to this plan with Wang Lei going so far as to hanging himself upside down from the gates of Chengdu to protest Liu Bei coming into Liu Zhang’s land. When nothing could change the mind of Liu Zhang, Fa Zheng came to Jing to talk to Liu Bei.

When Liu Bei led an army to Yi Province to help Liu Zhang defend from Zhang Lu, Pang Tong suggested that Liu Bei take Liu Zhang captive when they meet in order to gain control of the province without bloodshed. Liu Bei, reasoning that it was too big of a risk to take at that stage, given his own unfamiliarity with the province, declined and let Liu Zhang return to Chengdu, the capital of Yi Province. Later, when relations soured between Liu Bei and Liu Zhang, Pang Tong offered him three strategies, the upper plan, the middle plan, and the lower plan:
*Upper: choose a few elites from the camp and hurry to Chengdu by night, this can force the unprepared Liu Zhang to surrender immediately;
*Middle: fake the news that Liu Bei was retreating to Jing Province, hence lure Liu Zhang's two generals, Yang Huai and Gao Pei, away from their posts when they come to say farewell, then Liu Bei can kill them, take over their castles and armies, and advance to Chengdu;
*Lower: retreat to Jing Province and wait for assistance for a fighting return to Yi Province.

Out of these three policies, Liu Bei approved the middle one and then requested reinforcements from Liu Zhang. When Liu Zhang only sent a paltry sum of troops and supplies, Liu Bei pretended to be enraged and rallied his troops to turn against Liu Zhang. Liu Bei summoned Gao Pei and Yang Huai of Boshui and had them arrested and murdered. He then combined their forces with his own and rushed forward to assault the city of Luo, which at that time was held by Liu Zhang. Liu Bei besieged the city for over a year.

At a party in Fucheng (涪城), celebrating his victory over Liu Zhang so far, Liu Bei expressed joy at the banquet. Pang Tong, however, replied, "celebrating the invasion of other's territory is not what a person of "ren" (仁, see Confucianism) would do." The drunken Liu Bei retorted angrily, "King Wu of Zhou also danced and sang after he defeated King Zhou of Shang, is he not he a model of "ren" then? You are wrong, so get out now!" After Pang Tong left his seat, Liu Bei felt regretful and invited him back. Pang Tong returned to his seat and started eating, without any apology to Liu Bei. Liu Bei asked, "When that happened, whose fault did you think it was?" Pang Tong replied, "It's both yours and mine." Liu Bei then laughed and continued with the party.

When leading the siege of Luocheng (雒城), Pang Tong was shot by arrows and died at the age of 36. Liu Bei wept whenever the grief was mentioned and Zhuge Liang came personally to his funeral. Pang Tong was conferred a posthumous title of Marquis of Guannei (關內侯) and the posthumous name Marquis Jing (靖侯).

Pang Tong’s son, Pang Hong, would later become the governor of Fu. Pang Tong’s brother, Pang Lin, however, would sometime later surrender to Wei.

In "Romance of the Three Kingdoms"

The classic historical novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" portrays Pang Tong as a genius military strategist, and describes him and Zhuge Liang in equal terms. Indeed, Sima Hui first recommends Zhuge Liang and Pang Tong to Liu Bei with the following introduction::"Sleeping Dragon and Young Phoenix: with either one you can settle all under heaven."

Pang Tong was born in Xiangyang and initially served the warlord, Sun Quan. In this capacity, Pang Tong pretended to defect to Cao Cao in the build-up to the Battle of Red Cliffs, and advised Cao Cao to chain his warships together, ostensibly to stabilise them and reduce seasickness among the soldiers. As a result, when Sun Quan's navy attacked the ships with fire, the fire spread quickly to destroy Cao Cao's entire fleet.

After the death of Wu's commander-in-chief Zhou Yu, Zhou's successor Lu Su recommended Pang Tong to Sun Quan as a chief advisor. However, Sun Quan was prejudiced against Pang Tong due to his ugly appearance, and the young man took offense. When asked how his learning compared to the late commander Zhou Yu, Pang haughtily replied that his abilities were not to be compared to those of Zhou Yu. Feeling offended by Pang Tong's attitude toward his favourite assistant, Sun Quan dismissed Pang Tong.

Pang Tong then went to serve Liu Bei, and mapped out the occupation of Liu Zhang's territory in Yizhou (modern Sichuan), which Zhuge Liang had decided years ago to be the heartland of Liu Bei's kingdom. Pang Tong suggested to Liu Bei to surprise Liu Zhang at their first meeting and kidnap him; Liu Bei declined, seeing Liu Zhang as a kinsman, however distant. Pang Tong then attempted to have Liu Zhang assassinated through Wei Yan's pretense of a sword dance, but was stopped by Liu Bei who instead tried to help fight Zhang Lu when he attacked Liu Zhang.

Liu Zhang, however, was persuaded not to send troops to reinforce Liu Bei, and Liu Bei decided no longer to help Liu Zhang and to take the strategically important Fu Pass. At the Fu Pass, Liu Zhang's generals Yang Huai and Gao Pei tried to assassinate Liu Bei, but were caught and put to death by Pang Tong. Liu Zhang then ordered his generals to attack Liu Bei, and as Liu Bei's two armies marched towards Luocheng, Pang Tong was ambushed in the Valley of the Fallen Phoenix (落鳯坡) by Liu Zhang's general Zhang Ren, where Pang Tong was mistaken for Liu Bei because he had been given Liu Bei's white horse (possibly Dilu who brought bad luck to his rider). He and his men were killed in the shower of arrows. He died at the age of thirty-six.

Liu Bei was left hemmed in at the Pass, and so Zhuge Liang had to leave Jing province to relieve him. Guan Yu then had to hold the entire region of Jing province alone, leading eventually to defeat when Cao Cao and Sun Quan allied to attack Jing from both north and south.

Modern references

Pang Tong is featured in the "Dynasty Warriors" video games by Koei. He is portrayed as a hunched figure who wields the "Tornado Staff", a weapon capable of conjuring magic. In "Dynasty Warriors 6", Pang Tong, like many other characters, is given a graphical make-over and he is seen wearing a strange mask. His clothing was also redesigned to give the appearance of a moth. He also appears in the game "Warriors Orochi". He joins together with Xiahou Dun and Xiahou Yuan in the resistance against Orochi. Eventually, they join Cao Pi when they hear that he's planning to restore the Kingdom of Wei and rebel against Orochi.

ee also

*Three Kingdoms
*Personages of the Three Kingdoms
*"Records of Three Kingdoms"
*"Romance of the Three Kingdoms"

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