Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Best threads of the SGYYS, for your viewing pleasure.

Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Qu Hui » Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:15 pm

Jordan wrote:That's an interesting perspective. Would you mind elaborating on when and how he betrayed those figures? I recall him being mostly loyal to Cao Cao for instance. I don't remember incidents of him fighting directly against Cao Cao, though perhaps my memory is shaky. I do agree that he was definitely a traitorous figure though given his switching sides in the Liang Rebellion and fighting with Han Sui.

Overview of Ma Teng's chronic backstabbing disorder:
  • Betrays the Han to join the Liangzhou bandits.
  • While in the Liangzhou bandits, betrayed the leader of the bandits that he and Han Sui among others appointed.
  • After Dong Zhuo's death (he had allied with Zhuo previously), is appointed to a high rank by Li Jue. A few months later, attacked Chang'an due to a petty squabble he had with Li Jue and plotted to slaughter Li Jue and his entourage. They made peace shortly after Ma Teng was defeated.
  • When Cao Cao regained control of the court, broke ties with Li Jue and was given rank by the court.
  • Plotted with Yuan Shao to attack Cao Cao around the time of Guandu. In this case, he was trying to play both sides of the fight, as noted by Zhong Yao.
  • Was persuaded by Zhang Ji and Fu Gan to turn on Yuan Shao and help Zhong Yao.
  • Turned on Han Sui after some personal fighting and was convinced to move to the capital by Zhang Ji.
Also, I miscounted, he only backstabbed Cao Cao once. Still, he's up there with Liu Bei and Lu Bu in terms of betrayals.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:For Shu, I'd say Mi Fang and Wei Yan

As noted by Dong Zhou elsewhere on the board, Mi Fang didn't have much choice in the matter. About all that Wei Yan did was burn some bridges and get killed.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Wu the Zhang that wanted to surrender to Wei before Chi Bi (I don't remember his name right now)

I think it's unfair to consider Zhang Zhao one of the biggest traitors simply because he wanted to be cautious and was thinking of Wu's people over what basically amounted to Sun Quan's pride.
My avatar is Roy from Fire Emblem: Binding Blade, as he appears in Fire Emblem: Awakening
Quote of the "Day": "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." -Neil Gaiman
User avatar
Qu Hui
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1797
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:34 pm
Location: #SoSZ, 24/7

Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Tokugawa Liang » Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:40 pm

Well if you look at the three of them, my point is more in the personality than the acts themselves.
As said before, Wei Yan only burnt some bridges, but the fact that he did prooves he had a rebellious character, ans therefore could not be trusted. Even if his deeds do not make him a traitor, he does have a mind to it, what Zhuge Liang may have noticed.

Mi Fang may not have a choice, but he betrayed his family, friends and loyalty to save his life. He had a choice, and considering the morals of that time, he might have pleaded for a merciful death. But instead he chose to betray everything he had known before.

You may be right for Zhang Zhao (and for the others, of course) but I wonder if the importance of honor and loyalty at that time over human lives still makes him want to destroy a kingdom. Zhang Zhao may have been an humanist, an advanced mind for that time, but still, he did prefer to let go down a kingdom, to save lives, than follow his duties as advisor, which is in my mind, the sign of treason.
English is not my mother tongue. I hope the comprehension isn't too hard.

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Tokugawa Liang
Assistant
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:28 am

Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Jordan » Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:34 am

Plotted with Yuan Shao to attack Cao Cao around the time of Guandu. In this case, he was trying to play both sides of the fight, as noted by Zhong Yao.


I was aware that Ma Teng was meeting with agents on both sides (Yuan and Cao) but I never really saw that as exactly traitorous as I'm not sure he acted on it.
User avatar
Jordan
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 5884
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:52 am

Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Qu Hui » Thu Aug 01, 2013 2:55 pm

Jordan wrote:I was aware that Ma Teng was meeting with agents on both sides (Yuan and Cao) but I never really saw that as exactly traitorous as I'm not sure he acted on it.

I guess we can call it intent, then? Zhong Yao seemed convinced that it would lead to something, that's why he sent Zhang Ji to convince Ma Teng not to act. Regardless, his chronic backstabbing disorder is still well-documented, and it earns him a place among the biggest traitors in my book.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:As said before, Wei Yan only burnt some bridges, but the fact that he did prooves he had a rebellious character, ans therefore could not be trusted. Even if his deeds do not make him a traitor, he does have a mind to it, what Zhuge Liang may have noticed.

That whole bit about Zhuge Liang noting Wei Yan's trustworthiness was fictional. In addition, Wei Yan's actions were fueled by a combination of his pride, his conflict with Yang Yi and some miscommunication issues, not by a genuine desire to overthrow Shu.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Mi Fang may not have a choice, but he betrayed his family, friends and loyalty to save his life. He had a choice, and considering the morals of that time, he might have pleaded for a merciful death. But instead he chose to betray everything he had known before.

So every person in the era who defected to save their life deserved to be labeled among the biggest traitors, then? That is a very broad brush you're painting things with.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:You may be right for Zhang Zhao (and for the others, of course) but I wonder if the importance of honor and loyalty at that time over human lives still makes him want to destroy a kingdom. Zhang Zhao may have been an humanist, an advanced mind for that time, but still, he did prefer to let go down a kingdom, to save lives, than follow his duties as advisor, which is in my mind, the sign of treason.

That is not how treason works. Zhang Zhao and the other moderates presented to Sun Quan the plan they thought was best for the entirety of Sun Quan's territory and for Sun Quan himself. Also, it should be noted that Wu at this point was not a kingdom and that Sun Quan, at least nominally, was still tied to the Han court.
My avatar is Roy from Fire Emblem: Binding Blade, as he appears in Fire Emblem: Awakening
Quote of the "Day": "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." -Neil Gaiman
User avatar
Qu Hui
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1797
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:34 pm
Location: #SoSZ, 24/7

Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Tokugawa Liang » Thu Aug 01, 2013 8:31 pm

So what happened historically after Zhuge Liang's death? Treason must not necessarily take form as a attempt to overthrow a kingdom, a simple act of sabotage can be traitorous and in this case it was no mere campfire, I think.

Yes, sorry, that might be because I'm quite biased against Mi Fang. However it was not unheard of, that someone prevailed loyalty over life. furthermore, Mi Fang had no family in Wu. Well the question is: what do you mean by "biggest"?

So how does treason work? He may not have backstabbed Sun Quian in his bath not set fire to his apartments, but I think he knew well that his master wouldn't be safe in Cao Cao's hands, yet he knew as well that he would be rewarded for this. I'm not saying he did it for the reward, but that's not a point to forget.
No, indeed, and Wei wasn't either, so we have a situation were a not-kingdom must surrender to a not-kingdom, which doesn't help:)
English is not my mother tongue. I hope the comprehension isn't too hard.

"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
Tokugawa Liang
Assistant
 
Posts: 149
Joined: Sun Jun 10, 2012 10:28 am

Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Qu Hui » Thu Aug 01, 2013 9:52 pm

Tokugawa Liang wrote:So what happened historically after Zhuge Liang's death? Treason must not necessarily take form as a attempt to overthrow a kingdom, a simple act of sabotage can be traitorous and in this case it was no mere campfire, I think.

Basically, Zhuge Liang told a couple officers to retreat after he died, no one told Wei Yan this and he wanted to continue the attack, he got angry and went to attack Yang Yi, Wang Ping shamed Wei Yan's men into disbanding and Wei Yan fled, and then Wei Yan was killed. Treasonous? Perhaps. Deserving to be labeled as one of the biggest traitors? Hardly.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Well the question is: what do you mean by "biggest"?

Well, something like this is hard to quantify or express in words, obviously. In my case, effect and intent play big parts in my considerations. How often this behavior occurred is also a factor.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:So how does treason work? He may not have backstabbed Sun Quian in his bath not set fire to his apartments, but I think he knew well that his master wouldn't be safe in Cao Cao's hands, yet he knew as well that he would be rewarded for this. I'm not saying he did it for the reward, but that's not a point to forget.

Except for the fact that as long as his surrender was genuine, Cao Cao would have treated Sun Quan very well. Cao Cao had a long history of giving surrendered rulers, officers and bandits high rank as long as they had the talent. Some of Wei's foremost generals and administrators, like Xu Huang, Zhang Liao, Xun Yu and Zhang He were all defectors, Zhang Xiu and Jia Xu were both treated very well when they surrendered, and Cao Cao gave a number of Liu Biao's former officers high post when they joined him.
My avatar is Roy from Fire Emblem: Binding Blade, as he appears in Fire Emblem: Awakening
Quote of the "Day": "The world always seems brighter when you've just made something that wasn't there before." -Neil Gaiman
User avatar
Qu Hui
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1797
Joined: Wed Jul 19, 2006 3:34 pm
Location: #SoSZ, 24/7

Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Jordan » Fri Aug 02, 2013 12:27 am

Regardless, his chronic backstabbing disorder is still well-documented, and it earns him a place among the biggest traitors in my book.


I agree. You've made a strong case for Ma Teng being a notorious traitor. There is a lot of historical evidence that proves he was one. I have to admit though that until you mentioned it I had not really thought of him in that light (even though I was aware of some of his betrayals).
User avatar
Jordan
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 5884
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:52 am

Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:17 am

Impressive case against Ma Teng. I would wave away the Li Jue abandoning as common sense move but he has a history of being untrustworthy

Wei Yan was, in my view, an uncontrollable ego-manic who had to die given what he did, endangering the army with his actions, but the texts go to some effort to clear him of treason.

As for Zhang Zhao, it opens up a wider question about those (Qiao Zhou, Han Song, Liu Cong's men, Jia Xu, Han Fu's "friends") who advise submission. Or to flip it the other way round, was Chen Gong loyal when he pressed Lu Bu to fight on and so brought about Lu Bu's demise? I think there has to be room for a well meaning adviser to go "look, your not going to win this war and by the end of it, you may end up hated and dead. Better to submit now, we can negotiate a good package for you then you can live well/rise uo." without being a traitor. There was clearly divide in Wu about whether they could win at Chi Bi and a surrender would have been a lot better then a loss. Cao Cao would have had to treat Quan extremely well to encourage the Qiang warlords, Zhang Lu, Liu Bei and Liu Zhang to follow suit and to avoid widespread disapproval. Given Quan's talents, would have likely had a strong career once he was trusted.

Would Zhang Zhao have got a very good job in Wei? Yes but Zhang Zhao could take his pick of jobs anywhere at any time, if anything he would be slightly demoted in practise (if not in rank) as would take time for him to build his influence again. I think the thing that makes me certain Zhang Zhao was no traitor is the reaction after Chi Bi. Zhang Zhao's career didn't take an immediate hit, his reputation was not tarnished and he retained a reputation for integrity till his death. It may or may not have cost him the Prime Minister job and Sun Quan once humiliated Zhang Zhao over Chi Bi advice but even when Quan was doing that, setting fire to the door or such like, Quan didn't question Zhang Zhao's integrity or loyalty.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 15819
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Jordan » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:00 pm

Advising somebody to surrender or fight is not disloyal regardless of whether the advice is good. If the adviser was well-intentioned and they gave their advice in the best interests of their lord then they were being loyal.

That having been said, I don't think Chen Gong was necessarily fully loyal to Lu Bu. I think he had ambitions of his own.

Zhang Zhao and Qiao Zhou were loyal officials.
User avatar
Jordan
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 5884
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:52 am

Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:04 pm

Yeah, kind of got lost in my own post there. Agree with Jordan, one has to judge the motives of the advice giver in a fight or surrender situation as surrender can be the advice of a loyal man who wishes the best for his ruler. Like Jordan, I'm not convinced Chen Gong's advice was with Lu Bu's best interests in mind
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 15819
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

PreviousNext

Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium Archives

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved