Duke Huangong Promotes a Former Enemy-Sequel І
Guan Zhong (?-645BC) was a prominent statesman, strategist and military reformer in the Spring and Autumn Period. His given name was Yiwu, and Zhong was his style name. He was also known as Guan Jingzhong. Guan Zhong was a descendant of the Ji family, of the same origins as the ruling family of the Zhou Dynasty. With his remarkable wisdom, he helped Duke Huangong of the Qi State become the first overlord of the Spring and Autumn Period.
Born to a poor family, Guan Zhong worked hard when he was young, gaining a good mastery of Chinese classics such as The Book of Songs and The Classic of History. He possessed graceful manners, a wide range of knowledge and excellent martial skills. He and his close friend Bao Shuya served as mentors for princes Jiu and Xiaobai respectively.
In 686 BC, or the 12th year ofthe reign of Duke Xianggong of Qi, the state was plunged into chaos when Gongsun Wuzhi seized the throne after assassinating the duke. After Gongsun was killed in the following year, the two princes, who had been in exile, vied to return to their country to ascend the throne. In an effort to help Jiu beat his rival, Guan ambushed Xiaobai on the way, and shot him. However, the arrow hit a bronze pendant on his clothing. By feigning death, Xiaobai arrived at the capital first and assumed power with the help of Bao Shuya. He was posthumously titled Duke Huangong of Qi, a powerful ruler in Chinese history.
After becoming duke, Huangong managed to kill Jiu. He was plotting to slaughter Guan Zhong to seek revenge, when Bao Shuya gave him some crucial counsel that he should forget the old grievance for the sake of the state. Bao insisted that Guan Zhong, a talented person, should be appointed to an important post in the court. Following his advice, Huangong invited Guan Zhong to Qi, and nominated him as prime minister, leaving the state in his hands. In this position, Guan Zhong made the most of his abilities.