Pang De styled Lingming was from Huan (1) Dao of the Nan An prefecture. When he was younger he started out from Jun Li Zhou as an Attendant Clerk.
(1): Pei Song Zhi’s annotations: The huan character [in Huan Dao] is pronounced with the pitch of huan (I).
(I): The two different Chinese characters huan are different. Pei Song Zhi was telling how to pronounce the word properly.
In the middle of Beginning Peace (II) (middle of Chu Ping), he served Ma Teng in quelling the Qiang rebellion. Achieving many accomplishments, he was promoted to colonel (xiao wei).
(II): The reign years for Chu Ping started in AD 190 In the year AD 194 the reign style was changed to Prosperous Tranquility (Xin Ping). So this would place Pang De pacification of the Qiang to occur sometime during AD 191-192.
In the middle of Rebuilt Tranquility (III) (middle of Jian An), Tai Zu (Cao Cao) led a punitive expedition on Yuan Tan, Yuan Shang at Li Yang. Yuan Tan dispatched Guo Yuan and Gao Gan to await the obtainment of He Dong. [Cao Cao] sent out Zhong Yao to lead several generals at the pass. Pang De and Ma Teng’s son – Ma Chao defended against Guo Yuan while Gao Gan was at Ping Yang. Pang De as the vanguard, advanced to attack Guo Yuan and Gao Gan. After decimating their armies, he personally beheaded Guo Yuan. (2). He was promoted to General of the Gentleman of the Household (zhong lang jiang) and made Marquis of a Chief Commune (du ting hou) (IV).
(III): The reign years for Jian An are between AD 196 to AD 220 In the year of AD 220, the reign style was changed to Yellow Rise (Huang Chu). In the same year the Han dynasty officially ended with the Emperor’s abdication to Cao Pi of Wei. Pang De’s activities could have been somewhere in the middle of AD 196-220.
(2): According to Wei Lue: Pang De cut down an officer with his own hands not knowing it was Guo Yuan. After the battle had ceased, multiple people all reported that Guo Yuan was dead – but without a head. Guo Yuan was Zhong Yao’s sister’s son. After nightfall, Pang De hung the head out. Zhong Yao upon seeing it wept. Pang De thanked Zhong Yao, to which the latter replied: “Guo Yuan was my nephew, but he was also a traitor to the state. Why the thanks?”
(IV): A Marquis was the highest rank of nobility that was awarded to a commoner. The holder of the honour was in no way directly involved with the territory of their fiefdom. Instead a pension was allocated to them from that territory based upon tax revenues for that area. In cases of disgrace or disapproval, a person could be exiled to reside on his or her fief. (Info taken from Rafe De Crespigny’s Later Han’s Civil Administration).
Afterwards, Zhang Bai Qi rebelled at Hong Nong to which Pang De followed Ma Teng to suppress. Breaking through Zhang Bai Qi’s lines didn’t take long. Each battle, he exhibited a fierce display that caused the enemy to retreat. Subsequently Ma Teng was appointed Minister of the Guards (wei wei) (V) and Pang De was left behind to stay with Ma Chao.
(V): The Minister of the Guards (wei wei) was a position in the capital, outside of the palace. The Minister of the Guards was one of the Nine Ministers that earned a salary of Fully Two Thousand shi (zhong er qian shi) with their rank. He was in charged of security of the Imperial palace. During the Han dynasty, under the Minister of the Guards, he had command of about two thousand men divided into two groups – Northern and Southern Palace. (Info taken from Rafe De Crespigny’s Later Han Military Organization).
[Cao Cao] defeated Ma Chao at Wei Nan. Devastated, Pang De followed Ma Chao into Han Yang, in the city of Bao Ji. Pang De then fled to Han Zhong with Ma Chao, serving Zhang Lu. When [Cao Cao] settled Han Zhong, Pang De along with the people surrendered. [Cao Cao] had heard about his valour and bravery and promoted him to be General of Righteousness (yi jiang jun). Pang De was made the Marquis of Guan Men Ting and awarded three hundred households.
Hou Yin and Wei Kai rebelled at Wan. Pang De led all his followers along with Cao Ren to crush the rebellion at Wan. After executing Hou Yin and Wei Kai, thereupon he was stationed southward at Fan to face Guan Yu. The generals in Fan knew Pang De’s older brother was in Han Zhong so they were suspicious (3). [Pang] De replied casually: “I have received the bounty of the state. Under righteousness I should die [for the state (referring to Wei), thus repaying the debt]. I desire to personally attack Guan Yu. This year [referring to the upcoming battle] if I don’t kill this Guan Yu, then he shall kill me.”
(3): According to Wei Lue: Pang De’s older brother was named Rou, at the time, was in Shu.
Afterwards he fought with Guan Yu in battle, and successfully shot him [with an arrow]. Pang De would often ride a white horse. The men of Guan Yu’s army referred to him as the ‘White horse General’ and they all feared him.
Cao Ren ordered Pang De to make camp ten li (VI) north of Fan. It rained continuously for about ten days or so. The waters of the Han [referring to the Han River] overflowed violently. The waters around Fan raised to about five or six zhang (VII). Pang De and the various generals avoided the overflowing waters by going up into higher ground (dikes or embankments). Guan Yu boarded onto ships and attacked. From a big ship Guan Yu shot [arrows] into the embankment from all four sides. Pang De grasp his bow and shot arrows that were not in vain.
(VI): One Chinese li is equivalent to 0.50km of the metric system or approximately 0.3107miles in the imperial system. So when Pang De camped 10 li from Fan; he was camped 5km from Fan or approximately 3.107 miles from Fan.
(VII): One Chinese zhang is equivalent to 3.333 meters. So when the waters at Fan raised about 5 to 6 zhang it was about – 16.67 meters to 20.00 meters.
The generals Dong Heng, Dong Chao and others desired to surrender [to Guan Yu]. Pang De executed all of them. The battle started at dawn and lasted past mid-day. Guan Yu pressed the attack despite the arrows being now depleted and lacking in troops. Pang De told the du jiang Cheng He: “I have heard that the virtuous general does not fear death. The ardent soldier doesn’t ruin his name in order to live. This day… is the day of my death.”
The battle had worsened and the waters were overfilling. Most of the officers and soldiers had surrendered. Pang De and only the standard bearer (hui xia jiang) were left. They boarded a small ship in attempt to return to Cao Ren’s barracks. The water filled the ship and the Shu armies surrounded the boat. Upon captivity [Pang De] refused to kneel [down before his captors]. Guan Yu asked: “Your brother [referring to Pang Rou] is in Han Zhong. I can attain for you generalship [meaning that Pang De can become a general in Shu]. Why do you not surrender then?” Pang De scolded him: “Why talk of surrender! The King of Wei [referring to Cao Cao] has a million men; powerful in All under Heaven. Your Liu Bei is but a mere common talent, how can he be a vicious foe [to Cao Cao]! I’d rather be a ghost of my state then be a traitorous general.” Pang De was then executed by Guan Yu.
When [Cao Cao] heard of this, he was deeply sorrowed. [Pang De]’s two sons were bestowed titles of Marquises. When the Literary Emperor [Cao Pi] assumed the throne, he issued an envoy to visit Pang De’s tomb and bestow upon him a posthumous title. It read: “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. (10)” And bestowed upon the sons [of Pang De] advancement in ranks – Marquis of Guan Nei; one hundred additional households [to their fiefdoms]. For the fierce and ardent father [Pang De], he was posthumously given the rank General of the Commandant of the Capital (zhong wei jiang jun) and made the Marquis of Li (11).
(10): This imperial decree was praises on Pang De. I’m not sure how to translate it all.
(11): According to Wang Yin’s Shu Ji: When Zhong Hui pacified Shu; he took the corpse of Pang De and return it to Ye [which is in Wei] for burial there, as if the burial mound were fresh.
[Pei Song Zhi’s annotations:] Your servant Song Zhi says Pang De died at the city of Fan (Fan Cheng). When the Literary Emperor [Cao Pi] assumed the throne, he sent an envoy to Pang De’s tomb. The tomb wasn’t located in Shu. Thus Wang Yin [Shu Ji] is incorrect.
Copyright © 2003 jiuwan (Giao Chau)
Translated from Chen Shou’s Records of the Three Kingdoms annoted by Pei Songzhi