Five Tiger Generals

The Five Tiger Generals (五虎將) of the Kingdom of Shu during the Three Kingdoms era of China were Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun, Ma Chao, and Huang Zhong, named in honor of their contributions to the establishment of the kingdom. This title was bestowed on them by Liu Bei King of Shu Han in the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The actual historical veracity of the Tiger Generals is unknown; the persons were known to exist, but whether or not they were actually granted these titles is uncertain; most likely this was a literary device used in the novel.

In the novel itself, Guan Yu was also said to be upset with the appointment of Huang Zhong as a Tiger General; as he understood it, Zhang Fei was his sworn brother and an able warrior, Zhao Yun also an accomplished general had served Liu Bei for so long that he was like a brother, and Ma Chao came from a very famous family (being the descendant of the famous Eastern Han general Ma Yuan), whereas Huang Zhong fits in nowhere (Huang Zhong is a former officer of warlords Liu Biao and Han Xuan). But despite Guan Yu's misgivings, Huang Zhong's war ability was never questioned as he defeated many of Cao Cao's generals in battle, such as Xiahou Yuan and Zhang He.

The Five Tiger Generals were the most valiant generals in Shu, sadly their downfall was very tragic. Guan Yu was executed by Sun Quan after Sun's generals Lü Meng collaborated with Cao Cao's Forces to attack Jingzhou and captured Guan. Huang Zhong died in 220, possibly of illness. Zhang Fei was assassinated by his 2 subordinates due to his strict methods of discipline and affinity for wine. Ma Chao died of illness in 225. Only Zhao Yun died of old age, aged 70.

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