Biography (COB): Xu Huang (Gongming)

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Xu Huang (Gongming)Xu Huang (Gongming)
徐晃 (公明)

Comprehensive Officer Biography
Translated & Authored by

Place of Birth: Yang County, Hedong Commandery (Presently Hongdong County in Shanxi Province)
Lifespan: AD 169 – 227 (58 Years)
Titles: General of the Right, Lord of Yangping, Courageous Lord
Family: None

Throughout his life, Xu Huang handled all matters with caution and great care. He relied on discipline and order. He started his career as an official in Hedong, where he was a courier between offices and was responsible for the daily order of business.

Later on, Gongming followed Yang Feng and was promoted to Cavalry Commander for his outstanding achievements in battle, and was also titled as Lord of the Capital Precinct under the Han rule (1). When Lord Cao set out to move the Emperor Xian from Chang An to Xu Chang, Yang Feng and Han Xuan opposed him. Xu Huang rode forth and challenged Lord Cao’s forces, wielding his trademark axe. Xu Chu was sent out to duel with him, but neither man could get the advantage. Unwilling to fight against Xu Huang, Lord Cao used Gongming’s old friend Man Chong to try and recruit Xu Huang into his army. After much consideration, he left Yang Feng and helped Lord Cao establish the new capital in Xu Chang.

Xu Huang was successively appointed as Deputy General and Auxiliary General. Gongming was a good friend of Zhang Liao, and also of Guan Yu while the latter served Lord Cao. Together with Cao Hong, Xu Huang was ordered to defend Tong Gate against the attack of Ma Chao. When Cao Hong fell into Ma Chao’s trap, Xu Huang immediately rode forth to save his Lord’s nephew.

After the defeat of Ma Chao, Xu Huang chased Guan Yu and his son Guan Ping at Yencheng. Guan Yu tried to appeal to Xu Huang by using their relationship, however Gongming would not falter in his duties towards his Lord. For this, Lord Cao admired him greatly.

Under Emperor Cao Pi, Xu Huang was elevated to the rank of General of the Right, and was titled Lord of Luxiang. Later after defeating Liu Bei, he received the title of Lord of Yangping.

In the year AD 227, Xu Huang joined Sima Yi in the campaign against Shu. When faced with Meng Da, a general of Shu who agreed to defect to Wei, Xu Huang lost his temper and riled at him, calling him a traitor. Meng Da answered with a volley of arrows, and Gongming was critically injured. He died of wounds on his way back to the capital, at the age of fifty-seven. Cao Pi posthumously titled him Courageous Lord.

(1) When Dong Zhuo’s henchmen abducted the Emperor, Yang Feng and Han Xuan led their forces to intercept. Xu Huang scored many victories over the rebels and thus gained the favor of the Prince of Heaven. <return>

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Major Sources: Beifangshi - Han/Ming Professor E.Lin (1982 Beijing)