Huang Quan
Huang Quan (SSDO)
Character information
Force(s): Han Dynasty,

Shu Han, Wei Confederatcy, Bronx OutLawz, Courts of the Unknown

Significant Battle(s): Capture of Cheng Du

Battle of Yi Ling

Historical information
Real name: Huang Quan
Chinese name: 黃權
Style name: Gongheng
Chinese name: 公衡
Born:  ?
Died: 240

Huang Quan was a Wei minister.

Biography EditEdit

Despite eventually serving three lords, Huang Quan was loyal to each lord he served. When Zhang Song wanted to invite Liu Bei to the Riverlands to help Liu Zhang, Huang Quan opposed the idea. Huang Quan said, “If you make Liu Bei a subordinate, he will be dissatisfied, but if you make him your equal, then the people of Shu will not know which lord to serve. Inviting Liu Bei to Shu can only spell out trouble for the future.” Liu Zhang did not care about Huang Quan’s good intentions however, and invited Liu Bei to Yizhou anyways. Liu Zhang also appointed Huang Quan to govern Guanghan. Even when many of Liu Zhang’s generals surrendered to Liu Bei, Huang Quan stayed loyal to Liu Zhang. When Liu Zhang surrendered, however, Huang Quan sought a position in Liu Bei’s army. Now under the banner of Liu Bei, Huang Quan suggested that Liu Bei prevent Cao Cao from seizing Hanzhong from Zhang Lu. After this could not be done, Huang Quan advised Liu Bei to re-conquer Hanzhong. Because this succeeded, Huang Quan was promoted to ’Palace Attendant.’ Later, Liu Bei wanted to personally lead an attack on the kingdom of Wu. Huang Quan offered to lead the vanguard, however. Said Huang Quan to Liu Bei, “Wu troops are stout-hearted fighters; floating downstream we will advance swiftly but encounter difficulty retreating. I ask permission to lead the vanguard and make contact with the enemy. Your Majesty ought to stay behind and guard the rear.” Liu Bei, unfortunately, ignored this advice and commanded his army personally. Bei marched his army to Xiaoting in Yidao, but a few months later was defeated decisively in the battle of Yiling. After the battle, Huang Quan needed to escape from his position north of the Jiang river. Because all roads that Huang Quan could take back to Shu were cut off, however, Huang Quan was forced to flee north and surrender to Wei. Back in Shu, many officials urged Liu Bei to imprison Huang Quan’s family. Liu Bei knew that he, and not Huang Quan, was responsible for Huang Quan’s defection to Wei, however. Because of this, Liu Bei treated Huang Quan’s family in Shu well. Meanwhile, Huang Quan became popular in the Wei court, and was thought of highly by Sima YiCao Pi, the ruler of Wei at the time that Huang Quan surrendered, appointed Huang Quan as the “General Who Suppresses the South.” Upon dieing Huang Quan also received the posthumous title of ‘Bright Marquis,’ and one of his sons, Huang Yong, inherited his old titles. Huang Quan’s son, Chong, continued to serve Shu. Huang Chong, though, was killed by his own men during Wei’s invasion of the Riverlands.

Huang Quan (died 240),[1] courtesy 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.


  [hide*1 Service under Liu Zhang

Service under Liu Zhang[edit]Edit

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 LangzhongNanchong, 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-dayHubei 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.[3]

Service under Liu Bei[edit]Edit

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.[4]

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) withEmperor 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[edit]Edit

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.[7] 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  when Emperor Wen (Cao Pi) passed away while the lords of Wu and Shu remained safe. This was an sign from the stars."[9] 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.

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