Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Han » Sat Jan 20, 2018 11:09 pm

Cao Cao going the Huo Guang, Xiao He or Zhuge Liang road would be nice though... Remaining a marquis and not demanding more would make it difficult to transfer power to his descendants continuously.
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Jan 22, 2018 8:34 am

I don't think Cao Cao was himself a traitor. That said he did leave the country in such a situation where his family were all powerful and the only likely end result was Cao Pi becoming Emperor. He must have known that was true. So perhaps he is guilty of being an accessory to treachery.
Last edited by Sun Fin on Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Han » Mon Jan 22, 2018 2:40 pm

I acknowledge your view and definitely respect it.

But at the same time, I dont see how Cao Cao demanding the title of Duke was not an act of treason/ Han traitor. That pretty much ended the Han Dynasty because now the Caos have a political title to ensure proper transfer of political powers.

What Cao Cao could have done was maintain his marquis title and then make arrangements to delegate political power to the Han Emperor when he was at his death bed.
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Cai Mao » Tue Jan 23, 2018 10:08 am

Cao Cao did great things for the land, not particularly for the Han (your kind of conflating the two), but don't forget Cao Cao also got great great reward.

I see your point.
Still, one can't deny he was good for the land and, perhaps by extension, the Han, even if he did lead to their downfall. It's always debatable whether it could have been saved.
It's also believed that Xun Yu was more interested in how declaring Cao Cao would look to others rather than the essential motive behind it.
Looking at the facts, it seemed an odd time for Xun Yu to be a loyalist.
I'm sorry. I just get very heated up over the 'Moustache-Twiddling, Ineffective Villain' role Cao Cao sometimes gets when people don't do their research properly.
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:40 am

Why not just take Cao Cao at his word?

“When first I was recommended Filial and Incorrupt, I realized I had no reputation as a scholar recluse. I was afraid men would look upon me as someone of no more than ordinary ability, so I sought to make a name for myself by good work in government.

In Ji'nan, therefore, I destroyed oppression and drove out evil, and I believe that all the recommendations I made for appointment or promotion were justified. Because of this, however, I made enemies of powerful men. I was afraid I would bring misfortune to my family, and so I pleaded sick and went back home.

I was, at that, time still young. I built a fine house fifty leagues east of Qiao, and I proposed to read books in autumn and summer, and shoot and hunt in winter and spring. That was my plan for twenty years: to wait until the empire was reformed, then come out from retirement to accept some appointment.

But things did not work out that way, and I was called to the capital and appointed Colonel Who Arranges the Army. Again I changed my ideas, and now sought to work for the nation, to destroy rebels and gain some achievement. I would have had the stone tablet at the gate of my tomb inscribed with the words, ‘The former General Who Subdues the West, Marquis Cao of the Han.’ This was my whole ambition.

Then came the trouble with Dong Zhuo, and I raised loyal troops. And later I took over in Yan province; and I destroyed or brought to surrender three hundred thousand Yellow Turbans; and I attacked the rebel Yuan Shu and caused him to die poor and ruined; and I destroyed Yuan Shao and exposed the heads of his two sons; and I also dealt with Liu Biao.

So I have pacified the empire. I am the chief. I have the utmost honor a subject can hold, far beyond my former hopes. Supposing I had not been here, who can say how many men would have claimed the imperial title or how many would have sought to rule as kings?

It may be, however, that as some people see how my power has grown, and recognize that I am not the sort of man to trust indefinitely on the favor of Heaven. I am concerned lest they misjudge me, and say I have ambitions for the throne.

So I now reveal my true feelings, with words from the bottom of my heart.

On the other hand, should anyone suggest that I give up my army, hand over my power, and retire to my fief at Wuping, then that just cannot be. Quite simply, I am afraid I should be harmed as soon as I left the protection of my troops; and I want to arrange that even my children and grandchildren shall be secure.

Should I be destroyed, moreover, the whole realm will be in danger. I am not prepared to give up my life for a meaningless reputation.

All the same, at present I hold a fief of four counties with a pension from thirty thousand households; what have I done to deserve so much? Since the rivers and lake-lands of the south are not yet settled, I cannot leave my post, but I can certainly give up my cities and lands. I therefore hand back the three counties of Yangxia, Zhe and Ku, with twenty thousand households, keeping only the income from ten thousand households in Wuping. This way, I reduce opportunity for rumor and slander, and I relieve myself of some responsibilities.”
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jan 23, 2018 3:26 pm

Cai Mao wrote:It's also believed that Xun Yu was more interested in how declaring Cao Cao would look to others rather than the essential motive behind it.
Looking at the facts, it seemed an odd time for Xun Yu to be a loyalist.
I'm sorry. I just get very heated up over the 'Moustache-Twiddling, Ineffective Villain' role Cao Cao sometimes gets when people don't do their research properly.


I can understand that. Don't worry, you won't find that here, most respect Cao Cao

In terms of Xun Yu, he always was a loyalist but it seems for him, nothing his old friend had done went against that. Xian might not like being a puppet but Han emperors had been puppets before and the discomfort of one Emperor mattered less then the Han. The proposed rank for Cao Cao had very bad connotations and sent a signal that worried Xun Yu

DaoLunOfShiji wrote:Why not just take Cao Cao at his word?


Because public pronouncements are rarely a 100% truthful look into the soul? It's a touching piece though
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Han » Tue Jan 23, 2018 4:34 pm

I see your point.
Still, one can't deny he was good for the land and, perhaps by extension, the Han, even if he did lead to their downfall. It's always debatable whether it could have been saved.
It's also believed that Xun Yu was more interested in how declaring Cao Cao would look to others rather than the essential motive behind it.
Looking at the facts, it seemed an odd time for Xun Yu to be a loyalist.
I'm sorry. I just get very heated up over the 'Moustache-Twiddling, Ineffective Villain' role Cao Cao sometimes gets when people don't do their research properly.


On Xun Yu, heres a previous discussion about him which Dong Zhou and others actively took part which sums up my opinion about him:
viewtopic.php?t=23996

A person who one to do good thinks for China and became worried and anxious about Cao Cao actions toward the Han.

Why not just take Cao Cao at his word?


Thats a touching piece. But you seem to get the wrong idea. Cao Cao main point was that he was influential in rescuing the Han, was vital in the recovery of China and as a result should not be forced to completely give up his influence for meaningless reputation which is all true and I agree. My argument however was that by declaring the title of Duke and later King, it effectively ended the power of the Han unless external factors like one of the Lius destroying Cao Cao and refounding another Han Dynasty GuangWu style.

These two argument do not in any way, shape or form override the other. Did Cao Cao did good? Yes. He saved the Han at their lowest point, he played a vital role in recovery of China, he destroyed most of the warlords, reunifying 3/4 of China under Han government. But at the same time, most Han loyalist was uncomfortable with his later actions and there were numerous revolts solely base on this.

All Im saying was Cao Cao could have maintain power while at the same time assist the Han like Huo Guang and Zhuge Liang before and after him.

He can enact land reforms, destroy and limit the eunuchs, purge the corrupt gentry while at the same time being loyal to the Han.

Should he have done so? Cao Wei lovers will say no while West/East/Shu Han lovers will say yes. At the end of the day its all subjective.

Cao Cao at the end of the day was the greatest of his era. A phenomenal General, Poet, Administrator, Leader etc etc.

But at the same time, demanding the title of Duke and later King only left one path for the Han. Downwards to inexistence.
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