Guan Yu..your opinion on him

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What do you think about Guan Yu

I like him, he is been underestimated to much..
45
50%
I don't like him...he is overrated..
45
50%
 
Total votes : 90

Re: Guan Yu..your opinion on him

Unread postby Aaron.K » Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:18 pm

simple wrote:
Aaron.K wrote:That's why a significant number of biographies mention them... The credit goes to the commander, but if he was leading troops in the action, it generally says so. Guan Yu's biography describes personal actions of himself. I'm much more inclined to take the San Guo Zhi than the ZZTJ account, but even that describes personal actions and uses singular words.

"Cao Cao sent Zhang Liao and Guan Yu to go ahead and begin the attack.
Guan Yu saw Yan Liang's standard in the distance. Whipping his horse, he
broke through to Yan Liang among the ten thousand men of his army, took
off his head and came back. No-one could withstand him." (Emphasis mine)


let me ask.
back then, do the troops follow the charge if their leader charged?
if yes, guan yu charged at yan liang, so did his troops followed him with the charged?
if no, won't the troops be afraid of punishment for not following their leader?
and that time, its likely a death penalty.

as for the account you used, its a translated version.
in the chinese version, it neither stated he charged alone or with troops.
but the front part, it was stated that he was leading troops.
so likely when he charged, his troops will follow him.


I quoted the ZZTJ, which was posted by Elitemsh, which you had previously stated was a good account. Please be more consistent with your questioning.

This is the account which I take to be much more authoritative than the ZZTJ, but even that being said, neither are contradicting one another.

The line: 紹遣大將軍顏良攻東郡太守劉延於白馬,曹公使張遼及羽為先鋒擊之。 羽望見良麾蓋,策馬刺良於萬眾之中,斬其首還,紹諸將莫能當者,遂解白馬圍

"Yuan Shao sent General Yan Liang to attack the eastern commandery/administrative region commanded by Liu Yan at Bai Ma, Duke Cao sent Zhang Liao and [Guan] Yu to be Vanguard. [Guan] Yu saw the top of (蓋) [Yan] Liang's banner and urged his horse through the soldiers and stabbed [Yan] Liang and cut off his head, In addition [Yuan] Shao's generals could not equally match him, thereupon they retreated from the Bai Ma area."


As for Guan Yu, he was not the leader in this battle. He was an assistant commander to Zhang Liao. All other biographies concerning the leading of troops mention when troops were there, following their leader or following the commands of their leader. It's even readily apparent in the last stand of Dian Wei, that he had troops with him (until they were killed).
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Re: Guan Yu..your opinion on him

Unread postby Zhang Yang » Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:30 pm

I'm not a fan of this counterfactual style of argument, "When troops were present they are mentioned, so if none are mentioned then there were none present". This is an assumption, it doesn't make for a rigorous argument.

Equally, it is true that whenever an officer did do something alone, it is explicitly stated that they were alone.

Note Zhou Tai's SGZ:
By the time Sun Quan mounted his horse, the bandits managed to surround him already. Their weapons, hitting here and there, slashed Sun Quan’s saddle, causing great panic all around. Only Zhou Tai, with spirits roused, defended Sun Quan with his body, emboldening those near him and making them able to fight again.


And Taishi Ci's SGZ:
Then one day, riding alone, Taishi Ci encountered Sun Ce. Sun Ce had thirteen riders with him–Han Dang, Song Qian, Huang Gai, and men of that calibre. Taishi Ci rode forward to fight them, and began duelling with Sun Ce.


In Guan Yu's case, neither piece of evidence is given. It doesn't explicitly say that there were troops with him, nor does it say that he was alone. Therefore the text cannot give us the answer, and it is up to interpretation. Intuitively I think it is more likely that Guan Yu was accompanied on the charge by at least a few horsemen.

I also think it is unreasonable to assume that because Guan Yu was not the overall commander of the unit, he would not have any troops under his direct command as has been stated. Surely his personal retinue/bodyguard followed him at least.

Aaron.k wrote:All other biographies concerning the leading of troops mention when troops were there, following their leader or following the commands of their leader.

Its a bit strong to make claims of 'all' biographies adhering to this, unless you have checked them all. You have been less strong than this in earlier posts though.
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Re: Guan Yu..your opinion on him

Unread postby Aaron.K » Wed Mar 13, 2013 7:42 pm

Zhang Yang wrote:I'm not a fan of this counterfactual style of argument, "When troops were present they are mentioned, so if none are mentioned then there were none present". This is an assumption, it doesn't make for a rigorous argument.

Equally, it is true that whenever an officer did do something alone, it is explicitly stated that they were alone.

Note Zhou Tai's SGZ:
By the time Sun Quan mounted his horse, the bandits managed to surround him already. Their weapons, hitting here and there, slashed Sun Quan’s saddle, causing great panic all around. Only Zhou Tai, with spirits roused, defended Sun Quan with his body, emboldening those near him and making them able to fight again.


Take note of this line however "emboldening those near him". It is simply saying that only Zhou Tai defended Sun Quan, not that he was alone. Just that he was not thinking of his own safety, but that of Zhongmou's.

And Taishi Ci's SGZ:
Then one day, riding alone, Taishi Ci encountered Sun Ce. Sun Ce had thirteen riders with him–Han Dang, Song Qian, Huang Gai, and men of that calibre. Taishi Ci rode forward to fight them, and began duelling with Sun Ce.


This I will agree is explicit that Taishi Ci is alone. But also look at the mention of Sun Ce, having the riders with him. Thirteen of them, with only three explicitly named. Sun Ce was clearly not alone in this passage, but Taishi Ci was.

In Guan Yu's case, neither piece of evidence is given. It doesn't explicitly say that there were troops with him, nor does it say that he was alone. Therefore the text cannot give us the answer, and it is up to interpretation. Intuitively I think it is more likely that Guan Yu was accompanied on the charge by at least a few horsemen.


In Guan Yu's case it explicitly states that none of Yuan Shao's generals could stand against him "莫能當者" Literally "There is none who is capable of equally matching person (who did something)" there is no inference to troops at all in this situation. It simply says, "Not one of Yuan Shao's generals could beat the person who killed Yan Liang". And in the chaos of a melee, I doubt there was anyone who was going to be accompanying him in the fray.

And the act of a singular horseman charging in the midst of enemy troops is not completely unfeasible. Just look to the Roman act of devotio. Where a Roman general would ride out alone against the enemy formation as an act of sacrifice to the gods of the underworld to grant victory, though there was quite a few occasions where not only did the general not die (and there were special regulations regarding generals who had resolved to commit this act and survived), but he single handedly pushed back the enemy forces and won the day because of it.

I also think it is unreasonable to assume that because Guan Yu was not the overall commander of the unit, he would not have any troops under his direct command as has been stated. Surely his personal retinue/bodyguard followed him at least.


He was a junior officer, not in a position of command. His position of Pian Jiang Jun was a fairly low rank (and an irregular one at that, it appears at different times and for different reasons depending on circumstances). Out of the 6 grades of ranks, Pian Jiang Jun was in the fifth grade, and only three specific ranks were lower than it. But there was no set duties pertaining to it. If Guan Yu had anyone under his direct command in this situation it would have been a negligible number, simply on the basis that his station within Cao Cao's forces was not very high, especially given the relative short period of time that he had remained there.

Aaron.k wrote:All other biographies concerning the leading of troops mention when troops were there, following their leader or following the commands of their leader.

Its a bit strong to make claims of 'all' biographies adhering to this, unless you have checked them all. You have been less strong than this in earlier posts though.[/quote]

I have looked at enough to make a reasonable sampling of it. The mentioning of troops or people accompanying specific individuals (even if those accompanying them are not named), is fairly consistent throughout the whole of Chinese historical documents. You see it with Yue Fei, with Murong Chui, Chen Qingzhi, Zheng Chenggong, Fu Shuwei, Qilian Meng, Zhang Jie, Yu Qingze, etc.
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Re: Guan Yu..your opinion on him

Unread postby simple » Thu Mar 14, 2013 9:37 am

Elitemsh wrote:I assume you're talking about Zhao Yun. The thing is that I can't just accept you're translation because it is not defended by any other. There are three other translations (not including ZZTJ) and none say he was leading troops.


曹公使張遼及羽為先鋒擊之 - lord cao order zhang liao & guan yu as vanguards to lead the attack
since guan yu & zhang liao were appointed vanguard to lead attack, troops were given to them.
you can't just ask 2 generals only to attack an enemy camp without troops, rite?

ps:got typo error
Last edited by simple on Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Guan Yu..your opinion on him

Unread postby Elitemsh » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:15 am

simple wrote:曹公使張遼及羽為先鋒擊之 - lord cao order zhang liao & guan yu as vanguards to lead the attack
since guan yu & zhang liao were appointed vanguard to lead attack, troops were given to them.
you can't just ask 2 generals only to attack an enemy camp with troops, rite?


I thought you were talking about Zhao Yun at Changban. I thought you were saying that he was leading troops when he saved Liu Shan.

I agree that Guan Yu and Zhang Liao were obviously given troops when they were sent to attack Yan Liang's army.
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Re: Guan Yu..your opinion on him

Unread postby simple » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:56 am

Aaron.K wrote:I quoted the ZZTJ, which was posted by Elitemsh, which you had previously stated was a good account. Please be more consistent with your questioning.

This is the account which I take to be much more authoritative than the ZZTJ, but even that being said, neither are contradicting one another.

Elitemsh wrote:The full account of this whole episode is in the ZZTJ. This includes that which is mentioned in Cao Cao's and Guan Yu's SGZ.

Yuan Shao sent his officer Yan Liang to attack Liu Yan, Grand Administrator
of Dong commandery, at Boma.12 Ju Shou said, "Yan Liang is careless and
impatient He is brave, but he can-not manage alone." Yuan Shao would not
agree.
I In the summer, in the fourth month Cao Cao went north to help Liu Yan.
Xun You said, "Our soldiers are too few to match the enemy. In order to win,
you must divide our opponents' strength. When you come to the Yan
Crossing, pretend to send men across the river against his rear. Yuan Shao
will certainly turn west to deal with them. If you then send light troops to
Boma and surprise the enemy there, Yan Liang can be taken." Cao Cao
followed this plan.
As soon as Yuan Shao heard that enemy troops had crossed the Yellow
River he immediately detached men west to intercept them. Then Cao Cao
led his army on a forced march against Boma. They were still more than ten
Ii away when Yan Liang, very startled, came out to fight.
Cao Cao sent Zhang Liao and Guan Yu to go ahead and begin the attack.
Guan Yu saw Yan Liang's standard in the distance. Whipping his horse, he
broke through to Yan Liang among the ten thousand men of his army, took
off his head and came back. No-one could withstand him. So the siege of
Boma was broken, and the people were shifted west up the Yellow River.


I would have to agree that Yan Liang's army was taken by surprise due to Cao Cao's strategy. This account backs up that Guan Yu and Zhang Liao were sent together but that doesn't 100% mean that they arrived at the same time (although i find it hard to believe that Zhang Liao wasn't relatively near to Guan Yu- they both seemed to be main officers commanding the vanguard). Truth be told I don't think for a second that Guan Yu was alone when he engaged Yan Liang's army. What makes the most amount of sense is that Guan, Zhang and others attacked Yan Liang's army (which was somewhat confused) and at some point during the battle Guan Yu personally observes Yan Liang's banner and then charges in after him, cutting down a considerable number that that tried to stop him. Was this individual charge done alone? Possibly but I'm not going to assume that simply because no troops are stated. In my view Guan Yu initiated this charge himself (maybe rallying those around him- or assuming that his aides would follow his example) but he likely had his retainers around him. For certain though, a fair assumption is that he didn't have many people with him when he began this charge and he was obviously the spearhead.



pls read the bold part of what Elitemsh had written.
i agreed with his written analysis
in it, he raised his doubts about guan yu was alone


Aaron.K wrote:
The line: 紹遣大將軍顏良攻東郡太守劉延於白馬,曹公使張遼及羽為先鋒擊之。 羽望見良麾蓋,策馬刺良於萬眾之中,斬其首還,紹諸將莫能當者,遂解白馬圍

"Yuan Shao sent General Yan Liang to attack the eastern commandery/administrative region commanded by Liu Yan at Bai Ma, Duke Cao sent Zhang Liao and [Guan] Yu to be Vanguard. [Guan] Yu saw the top of (蓋) [Yan] Liang's banner and urged his horse through the soldiers and stabbed [Yan] Liang and cut off his head, In addition [Yuan] Shao's generals could not equally match him, thereupon they retreated from the Bai Ma area."


As for Guan Yu, he was not the leader in this battle. He was an assistant commander to Zhang Liao. All other biographies concerning the leading of troops mention when troops were there, following their leader or following the commands of their leader. It's even readily apparent in the last stand of Dian Wei, that he had troops with him (until they were killed).


i already told that in the chinese version, nowhere stated that guan yu was under zhang liao.
and neither it was stated he had no troops.
you can't expect 2 generals attacked the enemy's camp alone, rite.
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Re: Guan Yu..your opinion on him

Unread postby simple » Thu Mar 14, 2013 10:59 am

Elitemsh wrote:
simple wrote:曹公使張遼及羽為先鋒擊之 - lord cao order zhang liao & guan yu as vanguards to lead the attack
since guan yu & zhang liao were appointed vanguard to lead attack, troops were given to them.
you can't just ask 2 generals only to attack an enemy camp with troops, rite?


I thought you were talking about Zhao Yun at Changban. I thought you were saying that he was leading troops when he saved Liu Shan.

I agree that Guan Yu and Zhang Liao were obviously given troops when they were sent to attack Yan Liang's army.



sorry, got typo error.
should be 'you can't just ask 2 generals only to attack an enemy camp without troops, rite?'
its ok, just a miscom.
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Re: Guan Yu..your opinion on him

Unread postby Iain » Thu Sep 29, 2016 10:29 pm

Considering all the varied comments and viewpoints over the years it's kind of interesting the poll is currently tied. ^^
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