Reading some historical texts on Liu Bei, the famous Three Kingdoms warlord, I was surprised to see that in more than one occasion, he is referred to as 明将军. What does this name mean, and where did it come from?

For example:

Zhuge Liang


Fa Zheng


I don't think Liu Bei ever had a formal title of "明将军". Instead, he had the title of "General of the Left" (左将军), bestowed by the Han emperor.

Is it simply an honorific? Was the title used on other people? Or is this another name for Liu Bei that I'm not aware of?

1 Answer 1


It's an honorific, meaning "illustrious" or "enlightened general", and as such is not specific to Liu Bei.

For example, in the Records of the Three Kingdoms, Pei Song's annotations cite a passage where Huangfu Li (皇甫酈) addresses Li Jue (李傕) as 明將軍:


In recent times, you yourself, illustrious general, saw with your own eyes how powerful Dong Zhuo was ...

  • 1
    Yes, I think 明公 is the same kind of honorific and used more often. Commented Feb 18, 2016 at 23:55

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