Zhuge Liang depicted in the Sancai Tuhui (1609)
|Chancellor of Shu Han|
Yangdu, Langya Commandery (present-day Yinan County, Shandong)
|Died||234 (aged 53)
Wuzhang Plains, Shaanxi
|Courtesy name||Kongming (Chinese: 孔明; pinyin: Kǒngmíng; Wade–Giles: Kung3-ming2)|
|Posthumous name||Marquis of Zhongwu (Chinese: 忠武侯; pinyin: Zhōngwǔ Hóu; Wade–Giles: Chung1-wu3 Hou2)|
Zhuge Liang (181–234), courtesy name Kongming, was a chancellor of the state of Shu Han during the Three Kingdoms period. He is recognised as the greatest and most accomplished strategist of his era, and has been compared to another great ancient Chinese strategist, Sun Tzu.
Often depicted wearing a robe and holding a hand fan made of crane feathers, Zhuge Liang was not only an important military strategist and statesman; he was also an accomplished scholar and inventor. His reputation as an intelligent and learned scholar grew even while he was living in relative seclusion, earning him the nickname "Wolong" (literally: "Sleeping Dragon").
Zhuge Liang was born in Yangdu, Langya Commandery (present-day Yinan County, Shandong). He was orphaned at a premature age, and was raised by his uncle, Zhuge Xuan. Later, he followed his uncle to live in Jing Province, which was governed by Liu Biao. After his uncle died, Zhuge Liang and his brothers settled in Wolonggang (in present-day Henan) for the next ten years or so, leading simple lives – farming by day and studying at night. Zhuge Liang's two elder sisters married members of influential clans with strong connections in the region. According to historical texts, Zhuge Liang was eight chi tall, roughly between 1.85 metres (6 feet and 1 inch) and 1.95 metres (6 feet and 4.75 inches).
Zhuge Liang enjoyed reciting Liangfu Yin (梁父吟), a folk song popular in Shandong, his birthplace. He also liked to compare himself to Guan Zhong and Yue Yi, two famous historical figures. He developed close friendships with members of the local literati, such as Xu Shu, Cui Zhouping, Meng Jian and Shi Tao. Zhuge Liang also maintained close relations with other well-known intellectuals such as Sima Hui, Pang Degong and Huang Chengyan. Huang Chengyan once told Zhuge Liang, "I heard that you're seeking a spouse. I've an ugly daughter with a yellow face and dark complexion, but her talent matches yours." Zhuge Liang agreed and married Huang Chengyan's daughter.
Service under Liu BeiEdit
At that time, Liu Bei resided at Xinye while he was taking shelter under Jing Province's governor, Liu Biao. Liu Bei visited Sima Hui, who told him, "Confucian academics and common scholars, how much do they know about current affairs? Those who analyse current affairs well are elites. Crouching Dragon and Young Phoenix are the only ones in this region." Xu Shu later recommended Zhuge Liang to Liu Bei again, and Liu wanted to ask Xu to invite Zhuge to meet him. However, Xu Shu replied, "You must visit this man in person. He cannot be invited to meet you." Liu Bei succeeded in recruiting Zhuge Liang in 207 after paying three personal visits.[I] Zhuge Liang presented the Longzhong Plan to Liu Bei and left his residence to follow Liu. Afterwards, Liu Bei became very close to Zhuge Liang and often had discussions with him. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei were not pleased and complained. Liu Bei explained, "Now that I have Kongming (Zhuge Liang's style name), I am like a fish that has found water. I hope you'll stop making unpleasant remarks." Guan Yu and Zhang Fei then stopped complaining.
As a lobbyistEdit
In 208, Liu Biao died and was succeeded by his younger son, Liu Cong, who surrendered Jing Province to Cao Cao. When Liu Bei heard of Liu Cong's surrender, he led his followers (both troops and civilians) on an exodus southward to Xiakou, engaging Cao Cao's forces in a brief skirmish at the Battle of Changban along the way. While in Xiakou, Liu Bei sent Zhuge Liang to follow Lu Su to Jiangdong to discuss the formation of an alliance between him and Sun Quan.
Zhuge Liang met Sun Quan in Chaisang and proposed two solutions to Sun, "If you can use the forces of Wuyue to resist the central government, why not break ties (with Cao Cao) in advance? If you cannot oppose, why not demobilise the troops, discard your armour and surrender to the north?" After Sun Quan's viceroy, Zhou Yu, analysed the situation and pointed out weaknesses in Cao Cao's army, Sun finally agreed to ally with Liu Bei in resisting Cao. Zhuge Liang returned to Liu Bei's camp with Sun Quan's envoy, Lu Su, to make preparation for the upcoming war.
As a logistics officerEdit
In late 208, the allied armies of Liu Bei and Sun Quan scored a decisive victory over Cao Cao's forces at the Battle of Red Cliffs. Cao Cao retreated to Ye, while Liu Bei proceeded to conquer territories in Jiangnan, covering most of southern Jing Province. Zhuge Liang was appointed "Military Advisor General of the Household" (軍師中郎將). He was put in charge of governing Lingling (present day Yongzhou, Hunan), Guiyang and Changsha commanderies and collecting taxes to fund the military.
In 211, Liu Zhang, governor of Yi Province (covering present-day Sichuan and Chongqing), requested aid from Liu Bei in attacking Zhang Lu of Hanzhong. Liu Bei left Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and others in charge of Jing Province while he led an army into Sichuan. Liu Bei promptly agreed to Liu Zhang's proposal, but secretly planned to take over Liu Zhang's land. The following year, Liu Zhang discovered Liu Bei's intention, and the two turned hostile and waged war on each other. Zhuge Liang, Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun led separate forces to reinforce Liu Bei in the attack on Liu Zhang's capital, Chengdu, while Guan Yu stayed behind to guard Jing Province. In 214, Liu Zhang surrendered and Liu Bei took control of Yi Province.
Liu Bei appointed Zhuge Liang as "Military Advisor General" (軍師將軍) and let him administer affairs of his personal office (office of the General of the Left (左將軍)). Whenever Liu Bei embarked on military campaigns, Zhuge Liang remained to defend Chengdu and ensure a steady flow of supply of troops and provisions. In 221, in response to Cao Pi's usurping of Emperor Xian's throne, Liu Bei's subordinates advised him to declare himself emperor. After initially refusing, Liu Bei was eventually persuaded by Zhuge Liang to do so and became ruler of Shu Han. Liu Bei named Zhuge Liang his chancellor and put him in charge of the imperial agency where Zhuge assumed the functions of Imperial Secretariat. Zhuge Liang was appointed "Director of Retainers" (司隸校尉) after Zhang Fei's death.
Service under Liu ShanEdit
In the spring of 222, Liu Bei retreated to Yong'an (present-day Fengjie County, Chongqing) after his defeat at the Battle of Xiaoting and became seriously ill. He summoned Zhuge Liang from Chengdu and said to him, "You're ten times more talented than Cao Pi, and capable of both securing the country and accomplishing our great mission. If my son can be assisted, then assist him. If he proves incompetent, then you may take over the throne." Zhuge Liang replied tearfully, "I'll do my utmost and serve with unwavering loyalty until death." Liu Bei then ordered his son, Liu Shan, to administer state affairs together with Zhuge Liang and regard Zhuge as his father.
As a regentEdit
After Liu Bei's death, Liu Shan ascended to the throne of Shu Han. He granted Zhuge Liang the title of "Marquis of Wu" (武鄉侯) and created an office for him. Not long later, Zhuge Liang was appointed governor of Yi Province and put in charge of all state affairs. At the same time, the commanderies in Nanzhong rebelled against Shu, but Zhuge Liang did not send troops to suppress the revolt as Liu Bei's death was still recent. He sent Deng Zhi and Chen Zhen to make peace with Eastern Wu and re-entered an alliance with Wu. Zhuge Liang would consistently send envoys to Wu to improve diplomatic relations between the two states.
During his reign as regent, Zhuge Liang set Shu's objective as the restoration of the Han dynasty, which, from Shu's point of view, had been usurped by Cao Wei. He felt that in order to attack Wei, a complete unification of Shu was first needed. Zhuge Liang was worried that the local clans would work with the Nanman tribes in Nanzhong to stage a revolution. Fearing the possibility that the peasants might rebel and press into areas surrounding the capital Chengdu while he was attacking Wei in the north, Zhuge Liang decided to pacify the southern tribes first.
In the spring of 225, regional clans, including Yong, Gao, Zhu, and Meng, had taken control of some cities in the south, so Zhuge Liang led an expedition force to Nanzhong. Ma Su proposed that they should attempt to win the hearts of the Nanman and rally their support instead of using military force to subdue them. Zhuge Liang heeded Ma Su's advice and defeated the rebel leader, Meng Huo, on seven different occasions, as it was claimed in later histories such as the Chronicles of Huayang. He released Meng Huo each time in order to achieve Meng's genuine surrender. The story about Meng Huo's seven captures is recently questioned by many modern academics, including historians such as Miao Yue, Tan Liangxiao, and Zhang Hualan.
Realising he had no chance to win, Meng Huo pledged allegiance to Shu, and was appointed by Zhuge Liang as governor of the region to keep the populace content and secure the southern Shu border. This would ensure that the future Northern Expeditions would proceed without internal disruptions. Rich and abundant resources acquired from Nanzhong were used to fund Shu's military and the state became more prosperous.
Northern Expeditions and deathEdit
After pacifying the Nanman, Zhuge Liang ordered the Shu military to make preparations for a large scale offensive on Wei. In 227, while in Hanzhong, he wrote a memorial, titled Chu Shi Biao, to Liu Shan, stating his rationale for the campaign and giving advice to the emperor on good governance. From 228 until his death in 234, Zhuge Liang launched a total of five Northern Expeditions against Wei, all except one of which failed. During the first Northern Expedition, Zhuge Liang persuaded Jiang Wei, a young Wei military officer, to surrender and defect to his side. Jiang Wei became a prominent general of Shu later and inherited Zhuge Liang's ideals. The other permanent gains by Shu were the conquests of the impoverished Wudu and Yinping prefectures, as well as the relocation of Wei citizens to Shu on occasion. However, Zhuge Liang's army never suffered casualties over 5% of the total forces, and the resources put into the military were affordable (assuming Shu's zenith at 200,000 military strength).
In the spring of 231, Zhuge Liang finally met his nemesis, Sima Yi (the newly appointed Wei commander), at the Battle of Mount Qi, the most vehement campaign of the 5 expeditions in terms of death toll. In late 234, Zhuge Liang and Sima Yi reached a stalemate at the Battle of Wuzhang Plains. Straining his energy on military matters big and small, Zhuge Liang fell seriously ill and eventually died in camp at the age of 54. Before his death, Zhuge Liang recommended Jiang Wan and Fei Yi to succeed him as regent of Shu. He was buried on Mount Dingjun according to his dying wish and posthumously granted the title of "Marquis Zhongwu" (忠武侯; literally: "Loyal and Martial Marquis") by Liu Shan.
- Ancestor: Zhuge Feng (諸葛豐), served as Director of Retainers during the reign of Emperor Yuan of Han.
- Father: Zhuge Gui (諸葛珪), served as Assistant in Mount Tai Commandery during the late Han dynasty.
- Uncle: Zhuge Xuan (諸葛玄), served as Administrator of Yuzhang, joined Liu Biao later. He raised Zhuge Liang and Zhuge Jun.
- Spouse: Lady Huang, daughter of Huang Chengyan. She is commonly known as Huang Yueying or Huang Shou (黃綬) in folk tales.
- Adopted children:
- Zhuge Qiao, son of Zhuge Jin, adopted by Zhuge Liang, served Shu, died at a young age.
- Zhuge Pan (諸葛攀), son of Zhuge Qiao, returned to Eastern Wu to continue the Zhuge family line there after Zhuge Ke's death.
- Zhuge Shang, eldest son of Zhuge Zhan, killed in action with his father during the Conquest of Shu by Wei.
- Zhuge Jing (諸葛京), second son of Zhuge Zhan, moved to Hedong in 264 with Zhuge Pan's son Zhuge Xian (諸葛顯), served the Jin dynasty.
- Zhuge Zhi (諸葛質), youngest son of Zhuge Zhan.
Zhuge Liang was believed to be the inventor of mantou, the landmine and a mysterious but efficient automatic transportation device (initially used for grain) referred to as the "wooden ox and flowing horse" (木牛流馬), which is sometimes identified with the wheelbarrow.
Although he is often credited with the invention of the repeating crossbow that is named after him and called "Zhuge Crossbow", this type of semi-automatic crossbow is an improved version of a model that first appeared during the Warring States period (though there is debate whether the original Warring States Period bow was semi-automatic, or rather shot multiple bolts at once). Nevertheless, Zhuge Liang's version could shoot farther and faster.
An early type of hot air balloon used for military signalling, known as the Kongming lantern, is also named after him. It was said to be invented by Zhuge Liang when he was trapped by Sima Yi in Pingyang. Friendly forces nearby saw the message on the lantern paper covering and came to Zhuge Liang's aid. Another belief is that the lantern resembled Zhuge Liang's headdress, so it was named after him.
Some books popularly attributed to Zhuge Liang can be found today. For example, the Thirty-Six Stratagems, and Mastering the Art of War (not to be confused with Sun Tzu's The Art of War) are two of Zhuge Liang's works that are generally available. Supposedly, his mastery of infantry and cavalry formation tactics, based on the Taoist classic I Ching, were unrivalled. His memorial, the Chu Shi Biao, written prior to the Northern Expeditions, provided a salutary reflection of his unwavering loyalty to the state of Shu. The memorial moved readers to tears.
Zhuge Liang is also the subject of many Chinese literary works. A poem by Du Fu, a prolific Tang dynasty poet, was written in memory of Zhuge Liang whose legacy of unwavering dedication seems to have been forgotten in Du Fu's generation (judging by the description of Zhuge Liang' unkept temple). Some historians believe that Du Fu had compared himself with Zhuge Liang in the poem. The full text is:
|Premier of Shu (Temple of the Marquis of Wu)
Where to seek the temple of the noble Premier?
The wisdom of Zhuge Liang was popularised by the historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong during the Ming dynasty. In it, Zhuge Liang is described to be able to perform fantastical achievements such as summoning advantageous winds and devising magical stone mazes.
There is great confusion on whether the stories are historical or fictional. At least, the Empty Fort Strategy is based on historical records, albeit not attributed to Zhuge Liang historically. For Chinese people, the question is though rather irrelevant, as the Zhuge Liang of lore is regardless seen as a mastermind, whose examples continue to influence many layers of Chinese society. They are also argued, together with Sun Tzu's The Art of War, to still greatly influence the modern Chinese strategical, military and everyday thinking.
See the following for the stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms involving Zhuge Liang.
- List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms#Three visits to the thatched cottage
- Battle of Bowang#In fiction
- List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms#Zhuge Liang's diplomatic mission to Jiangdong
- List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms#Borrowing arrows with straw boats
- List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms#Zhuge Liang prays for the eastern wind
- Battle of Jiameng Pass
- Battle of Xiaoting#In fiction
- List of fictitious stories in Romance of the Three Kingdoms#Meng Huo captured and released seven times
- Empty Fort Strategy#Zhuge Liang
Events before Zhuge Liang's deathEdit
When Zhuge Liang fell critically ill during the Battle of Wuzhang Plains, he attempted to extend his lifespan by 12 years through a ritual. However, he failed when the ritual was disrupted by Wei Yan, who rushed in to warn him about the enemy's advance. Before his death, Zhuge Liang also passed his 24 Volumes on Military Strategy (兵法二十四篇) to Jiang Wei, who would continue his legacy and lead another nine campaigns against the state of Wei.
Worship of Zhuge LiangEdit
There are many temples and shrines built to commemorate Zhuge Liang. Some of the most famous ones include the Temple of the Marquis of Wu in Chengdu, and the Temple of the Marquis of Wu in Baidicheng.
Film and televisionEdit
Notable actors who have portrayed Zhuge Liang in film and television include:
- Adam Cheng, in the 1985 Hong Kong television series The Legendary Prime Minister – Zhuge Liang.
- Li Fazeng, in the 1985 Chinese television series Zhuge Liang.
- Tang Guoqiang, in the 1994 Chinese television series Romance of the Three Kingdoms.
- Pu Cunxin, in the 2008 Hong Kong film Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon.
- Takeshi Kaneshiro, in the 2008/2009 Chinese film Red Cliff.
- Lu Yi, in the 2010 Chinese television series Three Kingdoms.
- Raymond Lam, in the 2012 Hong Kong television series Three Kingdoms RPG.
Zhuge Liang's reputation for being an unparalleled genius is also emphasised in his portrayal in video games. Reflecting his status as the most highly regarded strategist in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, games such as Destiny of an Emperor and Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdoms game series place Zhuge Liang's intelligence statistic as the highest of all characters. He is also a playable character in Koei's Dynasty Warriors, Dynasty Tactics and Kessen II. He also appears in Warriors Orochi, a crossover between Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors.
Zhuge Liang is the protagonist in Koei's tactical role-playing game Sangokushi Koumeiden, where he can die at the Battle of Wuzhang Plains, as he did historically, or proceed to restore the Han dynasty under Emperor Xian.
Zhuge Liang is also featured in the Qun Xiong Zheng Ba (群雄争霸) and Ao Shi Tian Xia (傲视天下) sets of the collectible card game Generals Order.
Zhuge Liang is also a main character in the card game Legends of the Three Kingdoms.
In the manhua Faeries' Landing, the protagonist of the story is a high school student named Ryang Jegal, whose life is turned upside-down by a fairy and her heavenly (and not-so-heavenly) peers. Ryang Jegal, or Jegal Ryang in the proper Asian sequence, is the Korean translation of "Zhuge Liang".
I. ^ Some other historical sources contradict this story, claiming that it was Zhuge who visited Liu Bei first and offered his services. This account comes from the Weilüe (魏略), quoted by Pei Songzhi in his annotation of Chen Shou's Record of the Three Kingdoms, chapter 35, p 913. See also Henry, Eric (Dec 1992). "Chu-ko Liang in the Eyes of his Contemporaries". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies 52 (2): 593–6.
- Zhuge Liang's biography in Records of the Three Kingdoms mentioned that he died at the age of 54 (by East Asian age reckoning) in the 8th month of the 12th year of the Jianxing era (223-237) in Liu Shan's reign. ([建興]十二年 ... 其年八月，亮疾病，卒于軍，時年五十四。) By calculation, his birth year should be around 181.
- de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A biographical dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms (23–220 AD). Brill. p. 1172. ISBN 978-90-04-15605-0.
- Matti Nojonen, Jymäyttämisen taito. Strategiaoppeja muinaisesta Kiinasta. [Transl.: The Art of Deception. Strategy lessons from Ancient China.] Gaudeamus, Finland. Helsinki 2009. ISBN ISBN 978-952-495-089-3.
- "Ancient Cultivation Stories: Zhuge Liang's Cultivation Practise". ClearHarmony.net. 28 July 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
- "Zhuge Liang, Three Kingdoms Period". TravelChinaGuide.com. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
- (聞君擇婦；身有醜女，黃頭黑色，而才堪相配。) Chen Shou. Records of Three Kingdoms, Volume 35, Biography of Zhuge Liang.
- (儒生俗士，豈識時務？識時務者為俊傑。此間自有卧龍、鳳雛。) Chen Shou. Records of Three Kingdoms, Volume 35, Biography of Zhuge Liang.
- (此人可就見，不可屈致也。將軍宜枉駕顧之。) Chen Shou. Records of Three Kingdoms, Volume 35, Biography of Zhuge Liang.
- "Zhuge Liang - Kong Ming, The Original Hidden Dragon". JadeDragon.com. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
- (孤之有孔明，猶魚之有水也。願諸君勿復言。) Chen Shou. Records of Three Kingdoms, Volume 35, Biography of Zhuge Liang.
- (若能以吳、越之眾與中國抗衡，不如早與之絕﹔若不能當，何不案兵束甲，北面而事之！) Chen Shou. Records of Three Kingdoms, Volume 35, Biography of Zhuge Liang.
- (君才十倍曹丕，必能安國，終定大事。若嗣子可輔，輔之；如其不才，君可自取。) Chen Shou. Records of Three Kingdoms, Volume 35, Biography of Zhuge Liang.
- (臣敢竭股肱之力，效忠貞之節，繼之以死！) Chen Shou. Records of Three Kingdoms, Volume 35, Biography of Zhuge Liang.
- (Chinese) Zhuge Liang; Zhang Zhu; Xizhong Duan; Xuchu Wen (1960). Collected works of Zhuge Liang 諸葛亮集 (in Chinese). Beijing: Zhonghua Publishing. OCLC 21994628.
- Walter Ta Huang (1967). Seven times freed. New York: Vantage Press. OCLC 2237071.
- (Chinese) Zhizhong Luo (2003). 諸葛亮 (Zhuge Liang). Taizhong: Hao du chu ban you xian gong si. ISBN 978-957-455-576-5. OCLC 55511668.
- "Advisors of Shu Kingdom". 3Kingdoms.net. Retrieved 2007-11-11.
- Huang Chengyan married the younger sister of Lady Cai, who was married to Liu Biao.
- "性感女模諸葛梓岐 有諸葛亮的好基因？ | 娛樂新聞 | NOWnews 今日新聞網". Nownews.com. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
- "諸葛梓岐：我不是嫩模不露肉 公主病是媒體誤解_娛樂頻道_新浪網-北美". Dailynews.sina.com. 2010-08-22. Retrieved 2011-04-08.
- Zhuge Liang; Liu Ji; Thomas Cleary (1989). Mastering the art of war. Boston: Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-0-87773-513-7. OCLC 19814956.
- Yinke Deng (2005). Ancient Chinese inventions. ISBN 978-7-5085-0837-5.
- Luo Guanzhong, Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel: Volume IV, translated by Moss Roberts. page 1886-1888. Foreign Languages Press. Tenth Printing 2007. First Edition 1995. Beijing, China 1995. ISBN 978-7-119-00590-4
- Luo Guanzhong, Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel: Volume IV, translated by Moss Roberts. page 1889. Foreign Languages Press. Tenth Printing 2007. First Edition 1995. Beijing, China 1995. ISBN 978-7-119-00590-4. In note 1 of chapter 104 - see page 2189 - Roberts mentions the Zhuge Liang ji (AD 274, which Chen Shou compiled)
- Chen Shou (c. 280). Records of the Three Kingdoms. Reprint, 1959. Beijing: Zhonghua shuju..
- Guanzhong, Luo (1976) [c. 1330]. Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Trans. Moss Roberts. New York: Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0-394-40722-7. OCLC 2331218.
- Off, Greg (2005). Dynasty Warriors 5: Prima Official Game Guide. Roseville: Prima Games. ISBN 978-0-7615-5141-6. OCLC 62162042.
- Dawei, Zhu; Mancang, Liang (2007). 诸葛亮大传 (Story of Zhuge Liang). Beijing Shi: Zhonghua shu ju. ISBN 978-7-101-05638-9. OCLC 173263137.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zhuge Liang.|
- Zhuge Liang style-name Kongming A history of Zhuge Liang and his writings. Including a guide to historic sites in China connected with Zhuge Liang