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Three Kingdoms Encyclopedia: Five Wei Generals

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Five Generals of Wei (五子良將): The Five Generals of Wei refers to the “top five generals of Wei” and includes Xu Huang, Yu Jin, Yue Jin, Zhang He and Zhang Liao. This saying may have originated from Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi, where he grouped them together and said, “Of all the generals of the period, these five can be considered the best of them all.”

 

Five Generals of Wei: Information

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Group Detail Information
Group Name Five Generals of Wei
Traditional Chinese 五子良將
Group Kingdoms Wei
Status Fictional
Sources Chen Shou’s Sanguozhi
Source Explanation Chen Shou dedicated the scroll, Sanguozhi Wei 17, to these men, and said, “Of all the generals of the period, these five generals can be considered the best of them all.” (時之良將,五子為先). It is unknown if these five men were recognized collectively prior to this point, but this may have been the basis for future recognition that would come in years to follow. Note that this group excludes Cao and Xiahou clansmen, who were featured elsewhere in the Sanguozhi.
Background Info It should be noted that Chen Shou did not include any clansmen in this group, so it might best be considered the ‘Five Generals of Wei’ excluding Cao or Xiahou clansmen. Mention has been made of Five Wei Generals which includes clansmen, or a group of five clansmen, and we are looking into this. Also, in popular folktakes the term Eight Tigers (八虎騎) refers to the top eight generals from Cao Cao’s own clan; another detail we’re looking into.

Five Generals of Wei: Members

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Officer Name Wade-Giles 正體字
Xu Huang (Gongming) Hsü Huang (Kung-ming) 徐晃 (公明)
Yu Jin (Wenze) Yü Chin (Wên-tsê) 于禁 (文則)
Yue Jin (Wenqian) Yüeh Chin (Wên-ch‘ien) 樂進 (文謙)
Zhang He (Junyi) Chang Ho (Chün-i) 張郃 (儁乂)
Zhang Liao (Wenyuan) Chang Liao (Wên-yüan) 張遼 (文遠)

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May 13, 2014