Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Tokugawa Liang » Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:16 pm

Qu Hui wrote: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.

Wasn't Yang Yi a Shu officer? I guess the definition of treason is for everyone a little bit different.:)

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.

As I just said, it is different for everyone, that's why the answers are different for everyone and what makes this thread so interesting.For me effect plays a lesser role, intent on the other hand, is much more relevant for me. To which level the treason is carried out also is important, in my opinion.

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.

You're right, although I still have doubts on whether if Cao Cao would have spared Sun Qiuan.

Dong Zhou wrote: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.


Well that may be true, though it strikes me as if everything was about the life of Sun Qiuan. What was the point for Sun Quian in living a petty life in a prison of luxury with everyone of his moves controlled? What about the people in the Southlands? What about the Sun dynasty?
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Qu Hui » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:25 pm

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Wasn't Yang Yi a Shu officer? I guess the definition of treason is for everyone a little bit different.

Well, as far as Wei Yan knew, Zhuge Liang didn't want them to retreat and Yang Yi was going against his orders. Really, if someone told Wei Yan that Zhuge Liang's final order was to retreat the whole scenario could have been prevented.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:You're right, although I still have doubts on whether if Cao Cao would have spared Sun Qiuan.

Cao Cao had reason to treat Zhang Xiu much, much worse than he actually did, and yet Xiu was appointed to high rank and trusted. Contrast with Sun Quan, whose only move against Cao Cao was not sending one of his sons to the Court.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Well that may be true, though it strikes me as if everything was about the life of Sun Qiuan. What was the point for Sun Quian in living a petty life in a prison of luxury with everyone of his moves controlled? What about the people in the Southlands? What about the Sun dynasty?

Again, Sun Quan would have been given high rank given his administrative talents (granted not in the Southlands, but still). Given how prosperous the rest of Wei was under Cao Cao, the people would have been absolutely fine. As for the Sun Dynasty, this happened years before the idea of becoming Emperor was in Sun Quan's mind (well, maybe).
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:40 pm

Wei Yan wasn't a traitor against Shu itself, nobody questioned his loyalty to Liu Shan as such, more in internal matter with him and the army.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:You're right, although I still have doubts on whether if Cao Cao would have spared Sun Qiuan.


Killing Sun Quan would be an immense PR blunder, Cao Cao would basically be telling all the warlords to resist him to the death. Which is why he tended to take in surrendered warlords and had shown willingness to use Zhang Xiu

Well that may be true, though it strikes me as if everything was about the life of Sun Qiuan. What was the point for Sun Quian in living a petty life in a prison of luxury with everyone of his moves controlled? What about the people in the Southlands? What about the Sun dynasty?


Why would a man of Quan's immense talents not be used and yet Zhang Xiu, plus various warlords who drifted to Cao Cao (Wang Lang, Han Xin, Liu Bei, Kong Rong) get used? It's a risk but it seems against Cao Cao's use of talents.

The people would seem to benefit more from surrender rather then cost of war. Nobody could have foreseen the way Wu would transform the south so the south might have remained a place of exile but since Zhang Zhao didn't think they would win, at least they would be alive.

It wasn't a dynasty at the time, it was a warlord state that hadn't entered the big leagues for awhile. Zhang Zhao had served Sun Ce loyally and served Sun Quan loyally, would Ce want Quan to die?
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Tokugawa Liang » Wed Aug 07, 2013 8:34 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Wei Yan wasn't a traitor against Shu itself, nobody questioned his loyalty to Liu Shan as such, more in internal matter with him and the army.

Yet he attacked Shu's armies, as was said before. Which is treason for me.

Killing Sun Quan would be an immense PR blunder, Cao Cao would basically be telling all the warlords to resist him to the death. Which is why he tended to take in surrendered warlords and had shown willingness to use Zhang Xiu

In that I agree, though maybe to prevent any further troubles, he might have decided to eliminate any rebellion potential. Liu Zhang was far from surrendering, and Liu Bei had already shown he would not surrender. Zhang Lu surrendered though.
Qu Hui wrote:Cao Cao had reason to treat Zhang Xiu much, much worse than he actually did, and yet Xiu was appointed to high rank and trusted. Contrast with Sun Quan, whose only move against Cao Cao was not sending one of his sons to the Court.

Yet Sun Quan had much more potential to cause a rebellion..

Dong Zhou wrote:The people would seem to benefit more from surrender rather then cost of war. Nobody could have foreseen the way Wu would transform the south so the south might have remained a place of exile but since Zhang Zhao didn't think they would win, at least they would be alive.

It wasn't a dynasty at the time, it was a warlord state that hadn't entered the big leagues for awhile. Zhang Zhao had served Sun Ce loyally and served Sun Quan loyally, would Ce want Quan to die?

No, definitely not. I don't know how people thought at that time, but it seems to me that for many, honor was extremely important in life. That's what makes me hesitate..
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Aug 07, 2013 9:06 pm

Normally it would be seen as treason but the sgz makes special efforts to clear him of that

Tokugawa Liang wrote:In that I agree, though maybe to prevent any further troubles, he might have decided to eliminate any rebellion potential. Liu Zhang was far from surrendering, and Liu Bei had already shown he would not surrender. Zhang Lu surrendered though.


Only after a year long siege that Cao Cao was actually withdrawing from when the defences collapsed. Got generous terms too

Tokugawa Liang wrote:Yet Sun Quan had much more potential to cause a rebellion..


Take Quan away from the south and hard to see how effective a revolt could be whereas Zhang Xiu was still involved in the Central Plains.

Tokugawa Liang wrote:No, definitely not. I don't know how people thought at that time, but it seems to me that for many, honor was extremely important in life. That's what makes me hesitate..


Warlords surrendering and honest advisers suggesting surrender didn't seem to be viewed badly at the time, not seen as dishonrouble. Qiao Zhou, Han Song, Wang Lang, Zhang Zhao retained strong reputations in their time, including for their virtue.

Only in later times when historians would comment that some got a bad reputation.
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Jordan » Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:05 pm

I doubt Cao Cao would have killed Sun Quan unless several years down the road Sun Quan did something completely inexcusable to severely piss Cao Cao off.

Kinda like Kong Rong's entire career.
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby ROTKobsessed » Mon Sep 02, 2013 3:05 pm

Jordan wrote:I doubt Cao Cao would have killed Sun Quan unless several years down the road Sun Quan did something completely inexcusable to severely piss Cao Cao off.

Kinda like Kong Rong's entire career.


I've seen a few posts negative posts about Kong Rong recently, I've never really read into him or paid any attention to him much to be honest, what was so bad about him?
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:25 pm

Kong Rong could be an excellent voice of morality and reason, a very bad governor though he had some merit at Behai, must have had some charm but he seems to have had a death wish. When he first joins Cao Cao/Han, we seem to see him at his best, offering practical and moralistic advice. Then Kong Rong's inability to serve anyone for long without annoying them (some of He Jin's officers considered killing him at one point) comes to the fore and Cao Cao had to go quite some lengths to avoid killing him yet still ended up doing so. Kong Rong made things up, belittled Cao Cao, directly challenged his authority and so was sacked, Cao Cao even sent Kong Rong a letter urging him to restrain himself. When rehired, he did the same things again and so Kong Rong died
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Jordan » Wed Sep 04, 2013 6:43 pm

ROTKobsessed wrote:
Jordan wrote:I doubt Cao Cao would have killed Sun Quan unless several years down the road Sun Quan did something completely inexcusable to severely piss Cao Cao off.

Kinda like Kong Rong's entire career.


I've seen a few posts negative posts about Kong Rong recently, I've never really read into him or paid any attention to him much to be honest, what was so bad about him?


Not trying to be negative. Kong Rong is my favorite person from this time period.

His life story, however, reads like a comedy. As an official serving the Han, he was an irritating and critical pest. He objected to basically anything and managed to annoy everybody in power. As a governor he was completely ineffectual despite (or perhaps due to) his extremely idealistic Confucian attitudes. In a time and place where filial piety was the foremost social value (and ironically very heavily associated with Confucianism), Kong Rong got his brother killed and abandoned his family to the depredations of enemy forces. He did so in order to accomplish his goals and save his own hide (Liu Bei deserves some flak for this as well, perhaps). He was politically AND militarily incompetent. He couldn't govern his province or even defend it. He killed one of his advisers merely because the poor man in question AUDACIOUSLY suggested that Kong Rong try to ally with Cao Cao or Yuan Shao in order to preserve his station. Kong Rong's saving grace was a great reputation due to profound literary talent. It was the only thing that kept him alive. Eventually he fell into the services of Cao Cao, probably moreso out of necessity for survival than actual desire. He repeatedly trolled Cao Cao until Cao Cao had enough of how obnoxious he was and had him killed. Kong Rong was basically that one smartass who criticizes everything that everybody does in the least constructive way possible.

He had the most hilarious life of anybody from the time period.
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Re: Biggest Traitor in the Three Kingdoms Era?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Sep 04, 2013 9:14 pm

In fairness, his part in the death of his brother was much admired. Shielding a persecuted friend of his elder brother on his own initiative and admitting to it, even though it would normally have meant death for the young Kong Rong.
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