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Pang De

Pang De
龐德 / 龐悳
Pang De Portrait.jpg
A Qing dynasty illustration of Pang De at the Battle of Fancheng
General Who Establishes Righteousness
In office
216 (216) – 219 (219)
MonarchEmperor Xian of Han
ChancellorCao Cao
General of the Household (中郎將)
(under Ma Teng)
In office
202 – ?
MonarchEmperor Xian of Han
Assistant Officer (從事)
In office
? – ?
MonarchEmperor Ling of Han
Personal details
Longxi County, Gansu
Xiangyang, Hubei
  • Pang Hui
  • three other sons
RelativesPang Rou (cousin)
Courtesy nameLingming (令明)
Posthumous nameMarquis Zhuang (壯侯)
PeerageMarquis of Guanmen Village (關門亭侯)

Pang De (About this soundpronunciation ) (died 219), courtesy name Lingming, was a military general who lived during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He started his career under the warlord Ma Teng, who was based in Liang Province. In 211, Ma Teng's son Ma Chao, along with a coalition of warlords from Liang Province, started a rebellion against the Han central government, which was controlled by the warlord Cao Cao. After Cao Cao defeated Ma Chao and the coalition at the Battle of Tong Pass, Ma Chao fled to Hanzhong Commandery and took shelter under the warlord Zhang Lu. Pang De accompanied him to Hanzhong. When Ma Chao defected from Zhang Lu's side to another warlord Liu Bei, Pang De remained in Hanzhong and eventually came to serve Cao Cao after Cao Cao defeated Zhang Lu at the Battle of Yangping and took over Hanzhong. In 219, Pang De fought at the Battle of Fancheng under Cao Ren's command against Liu Bei's forces led by Guan Yu. Pang De was captured in battle and eventually executed by Guan Yu when he refused to surrender.[1]

Early life and service under Ma Teng

Pang De was from Huandao County (狟道縣), Nan'an Commandery (南安郡), Liang Province, which is located east of present-day Longxi County, Gansu. In his youth, he served as an Assistant Officer (從事) in the local commandery office. During the Chuping era (190–193) in the reign of Emperor Xian, the Liang Province Rebellion broke out. Pang De joined the warlord Ma Teng in suppressing the revolts by the Qiang and Di tribes, and was promoted to Colonel (校尉) for his contributions in battle.[2]

In 202, the warlord Cao Cao, who controlled the Han central government, led his forces to attack rival warlords Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang at the Battle of Liyang. When Yuan Tan ordered his subordinates Guo Yuan and Gao Gan to lead a separate force to attack Hedong Commandery, Cao Cao ordered Zhong Yao to recruit forces from Liang Province to deal with Guo Yuan and Gao Gan. Ma Teng responded to Zhong Yao's call and sent his son Ma Chao and Pang De to assist Zhong Yao in attacking Guo Yuan and Gao Gan at Pingyang County (平陽縣; west of present-day Linfen, Shanxi). Pang De led the vanguard, slew Guo Yuan in the midst of battle and took his head, without knowing that the man he killed was Guo Yuan. After the battle, when Zhong Yao's men searched the battlefield, they found Guo Yuan's headless body. Shortly after, Pang De went to meet Zhong Yao and he threw Guo Yuan's head in front of him. Zhong Yao cried when he recognised Guo Yuan's head because Guo was actually his maternal nephew. Pang De immediately apologised to Zhong Yao, who replied, "Even though Guo Yuan was my nephew, he was an enemy of the state. Why do you apologise?"[3] For his contributions, Pang De was appointed as a General of the Household (中郎將) and made a Marquis of a Chief Village (都亭侯).[4]

Pang De later followed Ma Teng to suppress a rebellion by Zhang Baiqi (張白騎) at Yao County (殽縣; present-day Luoning County, Henan). He was famous for his bravery in Ma Teng's army because he always charged into the enemy formation during battles. When Ma Teng was recalled to the imperial capital, Xu (許; present-day Xuchang, Henan), to serve as Minister of the Guards (衛尉), Pang De remained behind in Liang Province with Ma Chao.[5]

Service under Ma Chao and Zhang Lu

Around 211, Ma Chao started a rebellion against the Han central government and led a coalition of warlords from Liang Province to attack Cao Cao, leading to the Battle of Tong Pass. Cao Cao defeated Ma Chao and his allies at the battle and caused the coalition to break up. Despite his defeat, Ma Chao, with assistance from the Qiang tribes and the warlord Zhang Lu in Hanzhong Commandery, continued to ravage the lands in Liang Province and even seized control of the provincial governorship at one point. However, he was eventually driven out of Liang Province and forced to take shelter under Zhang Lu in Hanzhong. Pang De accompanied Ma Chao to Hanzhong and became one of Zhang Lu's subordinates.[6]

Service under Cao Cao

In 215, Ma Chao defected to the warlord Liu Bei and aided him in seizing control of Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) from its provincial governor, Liu Zhang. Pang De remained in Hanzhong with Zhang Lu. Later that year, Cao Cao led his forces to attack Hanzhong and defeated Zhang Lu at the Battle of Yangping. Pang De joined Zhang Lu in surrendering to Cao Cao. As Cao Cao had heard of Pang De's valour, he immediately recruited Pang De as his subordinate and appointed him as General Who Establishes Righteousness (立義將軍). Pang De was also enfeoffed as the Marquis of Guanmen Village (關門亭侯) and given 300 taxable households to form his marquisate.[7]

Battle of Fancheng

When Hou Yin (侯音) and Wei Kai (衛開) started a rebellion in Wan (宛; present-day Wancheng District, Nanyang, Henan), Cao Cao sent Pang De and Cao Ren to quell the uprising. After accomplishing their mission, they garrisoned at Fan (樊; also called Fancheng, in present-day Fancheng District, Xiangyang, Hubei) to defend Cao Cao's territories in northern Jing Province from advances by Liu Bei's general Guan Yu, who guarded Liu Bei's territories in southern Jing Province. As Ma Chao (Pang De's previous lord) and Pang Rou (龐柔; Pang De's cousin) both served under Liu Bei, many of Cao Cao's other subordinates were suspicious of Pang De's allegiance towards their lord.[8][9]

Pang De often said, "I've received grace from the State and I'm willing to serve the State with my life in the name of righteousness. I'll personally slay Guan Yu. If I don't kill Guan Yu within this year, he'll kill me." Pang De later engaged Guan Yu in battle and fired an arrow which hit Guan's forehead. At the time, Pang De usually rode on a white steed, so Guan Yu's men called him "White Horse General" and feared him.[10]

Cao Ren ordered Pang De to set up a separate camp ten li north of Fan. At the time, there were heavy rains for more than ten days and the Han River next to Fan burst its banks, with the water level reaching up to five-six zhang. Pang De and his subordinates retreated to the top of a dam. Guan Yu then led his marines to attack Fan and fired arrows from their warships at the dam. Pang De donned his armour, armed himself with a bow and arrows, and returned fire at the enemy, with not a single arrow missing its target. When Dong Heng (董衡) and Dong Chao (董超), two of Pang De's colleagues, wanted to surrender to Guan Yu, Pang De executed them on the spot. The battle dragged on from morning until afternoon, with Guan Yu's attacks increasing in intensity as time passed. By afternoon, Pang De and his men had expended all their arrows but they continued to engage the enemy in close quarters combat with short weapons. Pang De told his subordinate Cheng He (成何), "I heard a good general doesn't fear death, nor does he hope to be spared. A martyr won't violate his principles for the sake of preserving his life. Today is the day I die." The battle raged on as the water level rose higher. By then, many of Pang De's men had surrendered, leaving Pang with only three men. They boarded a small boat and attempted to escape and return to Cao Ren's main camp.[11]

However, the boat capsized and Pang De fell into the water. While grabbing on to the boat to stay afloat, he was surrounded and captured by Guan Yu's soldiers. When brought before Guan Yu, he refused to kneel down and surrender. Guan Yu told Pang De, "Your cousin is serving in Hanzhong, and I want to recruit you as a subordinate. Why don't you surrender now?" Pang De retorted angrily, "Mean fellow, what is surrender? The King of Wei has thousands of troops and his might trembles the Empire. Liu Bei is an inferior man. How can he hope to resist (the King of Wei)? I'd rather be a ghost of the State than be a servant of my enemy." Guan Yu had Pang De executed.[12]

After Pang De's death

Cao Cao was deeply grieved when he learnt of Pang De's death and he shed tears. In 220, after Cao Pi – Cao Cao's son and successor – forced Emperor Xian to abdicate the throne to him and established the state of Cao Wei, he granted Pang De the posthumous title "Marquis Zhuang", which literally means "robust marquis". He ordered an emissary to read out the imperial edict at Pang De's tomb.[13]

According to the Shu Ji (蜀記; Records of Shu) by Wang Yin (王隱), when the state of Shu Han (founded by Liu Bei) was conquered by the state of Cao Wei in 263, the Wei general Zhong Hui had Pang De's body transported from Shu to Ye (鄴; in present-day Handan, Hebei) in Wei territory. Pang De seemed much alive inside the tomb.[14] However, Pei Songzhi, who annotated Pang De's biography in the Sanguozhi, dismissed this account as nonsense. He wrote: "Pang De died in Fancheng. After Cao Pi ascended the throne, he sent an emissary to read out an imperial edict at Pang De's tomb, so Pang's body should not be in Shu. What Wang Yin wrote was nonsense."[15]


After Pang De's death, two of his sons were granted marquis titles in recognition of their father's contributions. When Cao Pi ascended the throne, he granted the title of a Secondary Marquis (關內侯) to each of Pang De's four sons and gave them each 100 taxable households as their marquisates.[16] The names of Pang De's sons were not recorded in history, except for one – Pang Hui (龐會).

Pang Hui resembled his father in personality and served as a general in the Cao Wei state. The highest position he reached was Commandant-General of the Capital (中尉將軍). He was also enfeoffed as a marquis.[17] The Shu Ji (蜀記) recorded that he participated in the conquest of Wei's rival state, Shu Han, in 263. After the fall of Shu, he massacred Guan Yu's family and descendants to avenge his father.[18]

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Pang De appears as a character in the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which romanticises the historical events before and during the Three Kingdoms period.

Serving under Ma Chao

Pang De made his first appearance in chapter 58 as a trusted general under Ma Teng. At that time, Ma Teng had left Liang Province and travelled to the imperial capital Xu (許; present-day Xuchang, Henan) while Ma Chao remained in the province. One night, Ma Chao had a dream about being attacked by a pack of tigers in a snowy land so he consulted his subordinates about it. Pang De told him that it was not a good omen. Later, Ma Chao received news that his father Ma Teng was lured into a trap in Xu and had been killed by Cao Cao's men.[19] This led to the Battle of Tong Pass, but in the novel, the order of events related to the battle had been reversed and some fictional stories were included.[a]

Battle of Fancheng

Pang De's role in the Battle of Fancheng (mentioned in chapter 70) was largely exaggerated for dramatic effect. Prior to the battle, Pang De volunteered to lead the vanguard of a reinforcement army to relieve Cao Ren's forces, who were besieged in Fan by Guan Yu's army. Cao Cao was delighted and he granted Pang De the post. However, when others advised Cao Cao against granting Pang De command of the vanguard due to Pang's past associations with Ma Chao (who had become one of the Five Tiger Generals under Liu Bei), Pang knelt down in front of Cao and kowtowed until his face was covered in blood. Cao Cao was moved by Pang De's sincerity and he no longer doubted Pang's allegiance towards him, so he appointed Pang as the vanguard. Pang De later ordered a wooden coffin to be built and he told his men to place Guan Yu's body inside if he succeeded in killing Guan, or place his body inside if he died in battle.

Before Pang De left to fight at the Battle of Fancheng, he told his wife to take care of their son, Pang Hui, and said that if he died, his son would avenge him in the future.[20]

Pang De later engaged Guan Ping in a duel and neither of them managed to defeat his opponent after fighting for 30 rounds. The following day, he fought with Guan Yu but neither of them won after duelling for more than 100 rounds. Pang De later duelled with Guan Yu again and he feigned defeat and retreated after about 50 rounds. When Guan Yu pursued him, he suddenly turned around and fired an arrow, which hit Guan in the left arm. Pang De wanted to use the opportunity to attack but Yu Jin (who was his superior) stopped him.

The descriptions of Pang De's final moments at the Battle of Fancheng were generally similar to those mentioned in his historical biography. He attempted to flee towards Cao Ren's main camp on a small boat, but his boat was knocked over by a large raft steered by Guan Yu's subordinate Zhou Cang. Pang De's boat capsized and he fell into the water and was captured by Zhou Cang, who was a good swimmer. Before his death, Pang De refused to kneel before Guan Yu and he firmly rejected surrender, and was thus executed on Guan's order. Guan Yu later pitied Pang De and had the latter properly buried.[21]

In popular culture

Pang De, as he appears in Dynasty Warriors 5.

Pang De is featured as a playable character in Koei's Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi video game series.

See also



  1. ^ de Crespigny (2007), p. 685.
  2. ^ (龐德字令明,南安狟道人也。少為郡吏州從事。初平中,從馬騰擊反羌叛氐。數有功,稍遷至校尉。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  3. ^ (魏略曰:德手斬一級,不知是援。戰罷之後,眾人皆言援死而不得其首。援,鍾繇之甥。德晚後於鞬中出一頭,繇見之而哭。德謝繇,繇曰:「援雖我甥,乃國賊也。卿何謝之?」) Weilue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  4. ^ (建安中,太祖討袁譚、尚於黎陽,譚遣郭援、高幹等略取河東,太祖使鍾繇率關中諸將討之。德隨騰子超拒援、幹於平陽,德為軍鋒,進攻援、幹,大破之,親斬援首。 ... 拜中郎將,封都亭侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  5. ^ (後張白騎叛於弘農,德復隨騰征之,破白騎於兩殽間。每戰,常陷陳卻敵,勇冠騰軍。後騰徵為衛尉,德留屬超。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  6. ^ (太祖破超於渭南,德隨超亡入漢陽,保冀城。後復隨超奔漢中,從張魯。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  7. ^ (太祖定漢中,德隨眾降。太祖素聞其驍勇,拜立義將軍,封關門亭侯,邑三百戶。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  8. ^ (魏略曰:德從兄名柔,時在蜀。) Weilue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  9. ^ (侯音、衛開等以宛叛,德將所領與曹仁共攻拔宛,斬音、開,遂南屯樊,討關羽。樊下諸將以德兄在漢中,頗疑之。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  10. ^ (德常曰:「我受國恩,義在效死。我欲身自擊羽。今年我不殺羽,羽當殺我。」後親與羽交戰,射羽中額。時德常乘白馬,羽軍謂之白馬將軍,皆憚之。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  11. ^ (仁使德屯樊北十里,會天霖雨十餘日,漢水暴溢,樊下平地五六丈,德與諸將避水上堤。羽乘船攻之,以大船四面射堤上。德被甲持弓,箭不虛發。將軍董衡、部曲將董超等欲降,德皆收斬之。自平旦力戰至日過中,羽攻益急,矢盡,短兵接戰。德謂督將成何曰:「吾聞良將不怯死以苟免,烈士不毀節以求生,今日,我死日也。」戰益怒,氣愈壯,而水浸盛,吏士皆降。德與麾下將一人,五伯二人,彎弓傅矢,乘小船欲還仁營。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  12. ^ (水盛船覆,失弓矢,獨抱船覆水中,為羽所得,立而不跪。羽謂曰:「卿兄在漢中,我欲以卿為將,不早降何為?」德罵羽曰:「豎子,何謂降也!魏王帶甲百萬,威振天下。汝劉備庸才耳,豈能敵邪!我寧為國家鬼,不為賊將也。」遂為羽所殺。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  13. ^ (太祖聞而悲之,為之流涕, ... 文帝即王位,乃遣使就德墓賜諡,策曰:「昔先軫喪元,王蠋絕脰,隕身徇節,前代美之。惟侯式昭果毅,蹈難成名,聲溢當時,義高在昔,寡人愍焉,諡曰壯侯。」) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  14. ^ (王隱蜀記曰:鍾會平蜀,前後鼓吹,迎德屍喪還葬鄴,冢中身首如生。) Shu Ji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  15. ^ (臣松之案德死於樊城,文帝即位,又遣使至德墓所,則其屍喪不應在蜀。此王隱之虛說也。) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  16. ^ (... 封其二子為列侯。 ... 又賜子會等四人爵關內侯,邑各百戶。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  17. ^ (會勇烈有父風,官至中尉將軍,封列侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 18.
  18. ^ (蜀記曰:龐德子會,隨鍾、鄧伐蜀,蜀破,盡滅關氏家。) Shu Ji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 36.
  19. ^ Sanguo Yanyi ch. 58.
  20. ^ (德喚其妻李氏與其子龐會出,謂其妻曰:「吾今為先鋒,義當效死疆場。我若死,汝好生看養吾兒。吾兒有異相,長大必當與吾報讎也。」) Sanguo Yanyi ch. 74.
  21. ^ Sanguo Yanyi ch. 70.
  • Chen, Shou (3rd century). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
  • de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms 23-220 AD. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004156050.
  • Luo, Guanzhong (14th century). Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Yanyi).
  • Pei, Songzhi (5th century). Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).
  • Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.