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Pang De

Pang De
An illustration of Pang De at the Battle of Fancheng, from a Qing dynasty edition of Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
General of Cao Cao
Born (Unknown)
Died 219
Traditional Chinese 龐德 / 龐悳
Simplified Chinese 庞德 / 庞悳
Pinyin Páng Dé
Wade–Giles P'ang Te
Courtesy name Lingming (Chinese: 令明; pinyin: Lìngmíng; Wade–Giles: Ling-ming)
Posthumous name Marquis Zhuang (simplified Chinese: 壮侯; traditional Chinese: 壯侯; pinyin: Zhuàng Hóu; Wade–Giles: Chuang Hou)

Pang De (died 219),[1] courtesy name Lingming, was a military general who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty. He served various factions throughout his life, including: the Liang Province forces led by Han Sui and Ma Teng; Zhang Lu, a warlord who controlled Hanzhong; Cao Cao, a warlord who became the de facto head of the Han central government. Although Pang De joined Cao Cao's forces later than most of Cao's other notable generals, he was nevertheless known for his steadfast loyalty towards his lord when he refused to surrender to Guan Yu after his defeat at the Battle of Fancheng, which resulted in his execution.


  • Early life and service under Ma Teng 1
  • Service under Ma Chao and Zhang Lu 2
  • Service under Cao Cao 3
  • Battle of Fancheng 4
  • After Pang De's death 5
  • Descendants 6
  • In fiction 7
    • Serving under Ma Chao 7.1
    • Battle of Fancheng 7.2
  • Modern references 8
  • See also 9
  • Notes 10
  • References 11

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, Dingxi, 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 efforts in battle.[2]

During the mid Jian'an era (196–220) of Emperor Xian's reign, the warlord Cao Cao, who was also the de facto head of the central government, led a campaign against Yuan Tan and Yuan Shang, leading to the Battle of Liyang of 202–203. When Yuan Tan sent Guo Yuan and Gao Gan with a separate force to attack Hedong, Cao Cao ordered Zhong Yao to lead the armies of Guanzhong to deal with Guo Yuan and Gao Gan. Pang De accompanied Ma Teng's son Ma Chao (who was under Zhong Yao's command) to attack Guo Yuan and Gao Gan at Pingyang (平陽). In the ensuing battle, Pang De served as the vanguard, and they scored a major victory over the enemy. Pang De slew Guo Yuan in the midst of battle, but was not aware that the man he killed was Guo Yuan. After the battle, when Zhong Yao's men searched the battlefield, they saw that Guo Yuan was dead but could not find his head. Shortly later, Pang De went to see Zhong Yao and he threw Guo Yuan's head in front of the latter. Zhong Yao cried when he recognised Guo Yuan's head because Guo was actually his maternal nephew. Pang De immediately apologised to Zhong Yao, but the latter said, "Even though Guo Yuan was my nephew, he was nonetheless 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 received the title of "Marquis of a Chief Village" (都亭侯).[4]

When Zhang Baiqi (張白騎) started a rebellion in Hongnong (弘農), Pang De followed Ma Teng to suppress the revolt and they defeated Zhang at Yao (殽; around present-day Luoning County, Luoyang, Henan). Every time in battle, Pang De would always charge into the enemy formation and his bravery was well known throughout Ma Teng's army. When Ma Teng was later called 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 Teng's son, Ma Chao.[5]

Service under Ma Chao and Zhang Lu

Around 211, Ma Chao started a rebellion against the Han imperial court (under Cao Cao's control) and led a coalition of warlords from northwestern China to attack Cao Cao, leading to the Battle of Tong Pass. However, Ma Chao was defeated but he continued to terrorise the Liang Province region with the help of the Qiang tribes for the next two years before he was eventually forced to seek refuge under Zhang Lu, a warlord who controlled Hanzhong commandery. Pang De followed Ma Chao all this while and he also came to serve Zhang Lu.[6]

Service under Cao Cao

In 215, Ma Chao defected to the warlord Liu Bei and aided the latter in seizing control of Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing) from its previous governor Liu Zhang. Pang De remained in Hanzhong with Zhang Lu, and he joined Zhang in surrendering to Cao Cao after Zhang's defeat at the Battle of Yangping later that year. Cao Cao had heard of Pang De's valour before, so he recruited Pang and appointed him as "General Who Establishes Righteousness" (立義將軍). Pang De also received the title "Marquis of Guanmen Village" (關門亭侯) and 300 taxable households in 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), Pang De was despatched with Cao Ren to quell the uprising. After accomplishing their mission, they were ordered to garrison at Fan (樊; also called Fancheng, in present-day Fancheng District, Xiangfan, Hubei) and defend northern Jing Province from advances by Liu Bei's general Guan Yu, who was in charge of Liu's territories in southern Jing Province. However, due to the fact that Ma Chao (Pang De's former lord) and Pang Rou (龐柔, Pang De's cousin) were both serving under Liu Bei, many of Cao Cao's men in Fan doubted Pang De's allegiance towards their lord.[8][9]

Pang De often said, "I received grace from the nation and I'm willing to serve it with my life in the name of righteousness. I intend to personally slay Guan Yu. If I don't kill Guan Yu within this year, he will kill me." Pang De later engaged Guan Yu in battle and he fired an arrow which hit Guan's forehead. At the time, as Pang De usually rode on a white steed, Guan Yu's men referred to him as "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 overflooded, 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 a naval force to attack Fan, and his troops fired arrows from their warships towards 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 the general Dong Heng (董衡) and Pang De's subordinate Dong Chao (董超) wanted to surrender to Guan Yu, Pang De had them executed on the spot. The battle dragged on from morning until afternoon, and Guan Yu's attacks became fiercer as time passed. By afternoon, Pang De and his men had expended all their arrows but they continued to fight the enemy with short weapons at close quarters. Pang De said to his subordinate Cheng He (成何), "I heard that a good general does not fear death, nor does he hope to be spared. A martyr will not break his code for the sake of preserving his life. Today is my death date." The battle raged on as the water level rose higher and many of Pang De's men had already surrendered. Pang De was left with only three men and they boarded a small boat and attempted to return to Cao Ren's main camp.[11]

However, the boat capsized and Pang De fell into the water, grabbing on to the boat to stay afloat. He was captured by Guan Yu's forces but he refused to kneel in front of his captors. Guan Yu said to Pang De, "Your cousin is serving in Hanzhong, and I intend to recruit you as an officer under me. 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 would rather be a ghost of my 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.

In fiction

Pang De appears as a 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.

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.[17] 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.[notes 1]

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 relief 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.

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.[18]

Modern references

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. ^  
  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. ^ Sanguo Yanyi ch. 58.
  18. ^ Sanguo Yanyi ch. 70.

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