Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Han » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:06 am

According to this source, Zhuge Liang defeated Guo Huai and Sima Yi in a few military engagements.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=24298&start=20

In the spring of 229 the third campaign was launched with the same goal as the earlier campaigns-to gain control over the Longyou area-with the immediate objective being the prefectural seats of Wudu. and Yinping. These areas, in the western foothills of the Qinling, some 175 kilometers northwest of Hanzhong, were in the general locality through which Zhuge Liang had campaigned a year earlier. The campaign began with the vanguard moving through the valleys west of Hanzhong and gaining control over the two prefectural seats in rapid succession.

In a counter move, Zhang He, the Cao- Wei commander in Tianshui, sent a force under Guo Huai from Tianshui to march south and challenge this threat. Zhuge Liang, with timely information concerning this move by Guo Huai, moved swiftly to reinforce his vanguard and defeated Guo Huai in a "meeting engagement" (yingzhan) at Jianwei. A meeting engagement in ancient Chinese military history is when two military forces meet in open battle without any defensive structure or barrier. Located some 30 kilometers northwest of Wudu on the West Han River as it winds its way through the foothills of the Qinling, Jianwei was in close proximity to Qishan, the defensive bastion screening any advance from the south to Tianshui. Here Guo Huai, after the defeat at Jianwei, prepared a defensive position and effectively checkmated any plans Zhuge Liang had of a quick advance to Tianshui and Longyou.


It was Wei Yan's deep penetration of the Gansu corridor that prevented Zhang He from moving toward Hanzhong as part of his role in the ill-fated summer Cao-Wei offensive. Instead of moving on Hanzhong he prepared to block Wei Yan's return by moving his force to Shanggui in the vicinity of Tianshui. He divided his force: He remained at Shanggui while Guo Huai marched west to meet the returning Wei Yan. The latter after spending several months buying horses and establishing ties with the local people began his return late in the year 230. At Shouyang, on the upper reaches of the Wei River and some 120 kilometers west of Tianshui and Shanggui, Guo Huai succeeded in surrounding and besieging Wei Yan's encampment. Once again in timely fashion, as he did at Jianwei in the spring of 229 against the same Guo Huai, Zhuge Liang, obviously confident of the security of Hanzhong as well as Zhang He's reluctance to leave his defensive position at Shanggui, made a daring march west to meet Wei Yan and to reinforce him in case of difficulty.

Fortuitously for the latter, Zhuge arrived unexpectedly on the battlefield and surprised the besieging Guo Huai who fled for the safety of Zhang He's prepared defense at Shanggui. After this tactical victory Zhuge Liang did not pursue his defeated opponent but once again left the battlefield and returned to Hanzhong. Ever so cautious, he must have concluded that an attack against Zhang He's defense, lacking any element of surprise and located at a considerable distance from his base at Hanzhong, would at best lead to a stalemate and only deplete and exhaust manpower and rations. But, not surprisingly, it was the impetuous Wei Yan who urged Zhuge Liang to continue the momentum of victory by bypassing Zhang He and isolate the defensive bastions around Tianshui and boldly move on Chang'an. To the cautious Zhuge Liang, Wei Yan's successful expedition to the west and the resulting defeat of Guo Huai at Shouyang was due to the fact that the Shu-Han army had achieved surprise and such a situation could not be duplicated by advancing on Chang' an. Prudence dictated a return to Hanzhong.32


Many Cao-Wei staff officers at headquarters were of the opinion that Zhuge Liang had moved toward the west only to seize the early wheat harvest near Shanggui and did not present any serious threat to Longyou. But, acting on orders from the Cao- Wei court, Sima led the entire force out of Chang'an with the objective of relieving Qishan. Zhuge Liang on his part, aware of the advance of Sima Yi but wishing to maintain the initiative, kept part of his 30,000 man army besieging Qishan and set out with the remainder to seize the various Cao- Wei garrisons isolated and dispersed around Tianshui. Fortunately for Zhuge Liang his opponents played into his hands. Guo Huai, who had been garrisoning Didao jj( ~, some 75 kilometers south of present-day Lanzhou and around 200 kilometers west and north of Tianshui, had been ordered to join Sima Yi at Qishan. While on the march he became aware of Zhuge Liang's advance on Shanggui. Thereupon, he took the initiative and suggested to Fei Yao, the garrison commander at Shanggui, that they attempt to strike Zhuge Liang's army while on the march. Fei agreed and left his defensive position and along with Guo Huai sought to catch the elusive enemy on the march in a front-rear pincer attack. Always eager for a "meeting engagement" Zhuge Liang defeated Fei and Guo and succeeded in uncovering the approaches to Tianshui and Longyou. However, he failed to gain any substantive benefit from this victory, and even though Tianshui was devoid of its defensive screen, he made no move to seize this important site.


His adversary declined the challenge, preferring to take up a defensive position on nearby high ground. Several of Sima's subordinate officers in ridiculing their commander's timidity coined one of the most famous aphorisms in Chinese military history: "To fear the Shu army as if it were a tiger." Faced with such criticism their commander relented and launched a frontal assault, while assigning the cavalry force under Zhang He the mission of striking the Shu-Han force besieging Qishan. Zhuge Liang's army prevailed at the battle of Lucheng, but Sima was able to extricate his force and retreat north to take up a defensive position at Shanggui. The retreat must have been in considerable disarray as accounts of the battle note that the Shu-Han forces captured 3000 sets of armor, 5000 swords, and 3100 crossbows.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Nov 10, 2017 11:06 am

Han wrote:Thank you very much! Seriously, you are awsome! Thanks for posting your sources by the way. That makes checking things much simpler and more convenient.

Once again, thanks!


I don't know if you've stumbled across this thread before, or indeed if I've linked you to it, but if not I think you'll like it.

The first post is meant to be a list of all the academic, English language 3K sources we're aware of. However I've gotten lazy and on page 2 you'll find a link to a lot of sources that plunged uses on his wiki. There is some crossover but there are also a lot of sources that I'd never heard of. Then on the last few pages waywardauthor has posted masses of sources he'd found as well. I'd say that once you include plunged and Wayward's work it's probably as conclusive a list as you're going to find!
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:48 pm

Han wrote:Cao Cao was known to show Xiahou Dun special favour, but what about his personal relationship with Xiahou Yuan, Cao Chun, Cao Hong, Cao Ren, Cao Xiu and Cao Zhen?

Did Cao Cao view the other Caos( Chun, Hong, Ren, Xiu, Zhen) as brothers, cousins, nephews, or " just a talented dude who happen to be in the same clan as me"?


Xiahou Yuan: His sgz only time where Cao Cao and Yuan have any mention in terms of speaking to each other or any kind of relationship are
When Tàizǔ [Cáo Cāo] was residing at home, there was an incident with the county government, and Yuān took the blame on his behalf, but Tàizǔ rescued him, and so they escaped
and a bit of foreshadowing
Previously, though Yuān had won many battles, Tàizǔ once warned him: “As a General there are times when one is weak, and cannot rely on personal courage alone. A General may use valor as a foundation, but must have wisdom and strategy. If one knows only valor, one can be matched by an ordinary fellow and that is all.”
. It is remarkably lacking in any personal touch between the two, professor Rafe mentions Yuan married Cao Cao's sister and given the positions he held (guarded supplies at Guan Du, main commander in north-west in latter years) he was a trusted general

Cao Chun: Rafe only goes into miliatry career and we no longer have sgz

Cao Hong: In his sgz, the Weilue says
In the past, when Cao Cao was the Chief Minister of the Works, he had the prefectures split the incomes each year to all the officers. The Chief of Qiao prefecture distributed the same amount to Cao Hong as to Cao Cao’s own family members. Cao Cao said, “Would it be that those from my family be equal to Cao Hong in quality!”
, Cao Cao initially refused the horse when defeated by Xu Rong and ZZTJ chapter 62 has
Cao Cao appointed Man Chong of Shanyang as Prefect of Xu. Some retainers of Cao Cao's cousin Cao Hong had repeatedly disobeyed the law in that territory, and Man Chong arrested them and punished them. Cao Hong wrote to threaten Man Chong but he paid no attention. Cao Hong told Cao Cao and Cao Cao summoned the officers of Xu county. Man Chong knew he would want to pardon the retainers, so he executed them at once. Cao Cao was pleased and said, "Here is real attention to duty?"
so Cao Cao does seem to have favoured Hong

Cao Ren: Cao Cao listened to his advice but in terms of personal relations, sgz mentions no strong personal ties beyond simply being a cousin.

Cao Xiu: When Xiu managed to get to Cao Cao, Xiu's sgz notes
. Cao Cao told those around him, “This is indeed the stallion of my family who runs a thousand li!” And he had Cao Xiu share quarters with Cao Pi, treating him as his own son. He also had Cao Xiu accompany him in battles frequently, and made him the captain of the Tiger and Panther Cavalry unit, Cao Cao’s personal guard.
and he informlally put Cao Xiu over Cao Hong in attempt to retrieve situation at Han Zhong.

Cao Zhen: His sgz says after his father Qin Shao was killed by assassination plot
Tàizǔ pitied that Zhēn was young orphaned, and adopted and cared for him like for his own sons, having him stay with Wén-dì [Cáo Pī].


How much influence did these surbodinates Caos have( and differ) from the beginning of the GuanDong alliance to the end of Cao Wei compared to other surbodinates that are NOT regents( the Simas)?


Well the Princes got shafted but outside of them, the Cao's and Xiahou's never really seem to have climbed up the civil service. Being part of the family, like other powerful families, seems a way of getting a marqius, in terms of civil service some decent governorships and midlevel ranks but they never got to the big posts with Cao Shuang, Cao Yu and Xiahou Xuan only ones that went far down that route.

Most that made any name for themselves (bar getting a marquis for being part of the family) went down the miliatry route and unsurprisingly they tended to get big posts in key miliatry positions. Xiahou Yuan, Cao Zhen, Xiahou Ba in the west, Cao Xiu and Xiahou Shang in the south, some of them did get favours becuase of friendships with their leader (Hong, Shang, Xiu) but not all of them seem to have had that level of closeness. The only major Cao or Xiahou figures to suffer during the non-Sima era was Cao Hong stripped of even marquis due to Pi hatred for not lending him money (Pi did try to kill him)

When Sima Yi took power, the Cao and Xiahou political fortunes ended. Xiahou Ba fled, Xiahou Xuan stayed but recalled to capital, power curtailed and as he predicted, killed by Sima Shi. I can't think of any of the family after Sima Yi coup
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Han » Fri Nov 10, 2017 8:27 pm

Thanks Sun and Dong. Its disappointing that Cao Cao does not seem to favour Ren as much as the others... considering that, in my opinion, Cao Ren contributed the most during the Cao Cao era...

Dong pointing out that most Caos and Xiahous never having any strong civil positions is very interesting. Is it by design or simply natural? We know that Dun was highly trusted in both Civil and Military positions, having a high rank and authority in both parts. Is it accurate to say that there is no other Caos or Xiahous possessing that much authority in both Civil and Military positions compared to Dun?

Is it really impossible to find out who the heads of the Cao and Xiahou family? :(

Additionally, can anyone confirm if Zhuge really did defeat Sima Yi and Guo Huai? There are so many sources and people that contradicts Zhuge Liang Northen Campaigns...

I would love to sincerely thank the both of you again!
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:25 pm

Han wrote:
Dong pointing out that most Caos and Xiahous never having any strong civil positions is very interesting. Is it by design or simply natural? We know that Dun was highly trusted in both Civil and Military positions, having a high rank and authority in both parts. Is it accurate to say that there is no other Caos or Xiahous possessing that much authority in both Civil and Military positions compared to Dun?

Is it really impossible to find out who the heads of the Cao and Xiahou family? :(


I need to correct myself, apparently Xiahou He got to Minister rank but his bio is literally two lines for some weird reason.
Hé styled Yìquán. In Pure Debate he had skill and ability. He served as Intendant of Hénán and Minister of Ceremonies.
How does the son of a famed general, famed, get to high rank and have that as a bio?

I think design in that those of Cao Cao's sons who were noted for talent (bar Zhang) were of scholarly mindset but the prince policy meant they never could be in the administration. Design in that the Sima's do seem rather less keen on the wider Cao/Xiahou family having power. However natural in that a lot of the talent went miliatry and those of Xiahou Yuan's children who went through civil ranks, a few of them died at a young or youngish age.

I kind of assumed it was Cao Cao for the Cao's, no idea about the Xiahou's

Additionally, can anyone confirm if Zhuge really did defeat Sima Yi and Guo Huai? There are so many sources and people that contradicts Zhuge Liang Northen Campaigns...

I would love to sincerely thank the both of you again!


I checked ZZTJ, the Jian-Wei ones it gives to Zhuge Liang, the Fei Yao quote seems like authr was thinking of a novel battle (there was a battle but with Wei Yan historically), 4th one was Zhuge Liang won first battle then taunted Sima Yi faced Wei Yan, Gao Xiang and Wu Ban.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sat Nov 11, 2017 6:09 pm

KMA lists Liu Xun as being a cousin of Liu Xian. Does anyone know if that's true? I presumed they were related but distantly!
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sat Nov 11, 2017 9:56 pm

I know at least one of them is! He's the grandson and heir of Liu Yan, who's recorded in the SGZ as a descendant of Prince Gong of Lu, son of Emperor Jing! But you're referring to the one who served Yuan Shu, Liu Xun (Zitai)...

A quick look doesn't turn up any proof, but remember: all of Yuan Shu's good officers left top follow Sun Ce, and Liu Xun (Zitai) is not one of them. As a result, they don't mention that much about him.

Now, Liu Ye is descended from Emperor Guangwu (see Liu Ye's KMA comprehensive), and Liu Ye and Liu Xun seem to get along well after Yuan Shu's fall (Liu Ye joined Liu Xun in 199, and latrer the two would flee to Cao Cao together). However, that's no proof of them being related and, therefore, does not prove that Liu Xun is related to Emperor Xian.

EDIT: I should add that, since they often glossed over relations, easy answers may no longer exist. Virtually all of the US presidents are related (every president except Van Buren is descended from King John of Magna Carta fame), but they don't exactly campaign "Vote for me because I'm related to Washington!"
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sun Nov 12, 2017 7:54 am

DragonAtma wrote:I know at least one of them is! He's the grandson and heir of Liu Yan, who's recorded in the SGZ as a descendant of Prince Gong of Lu, son of Emperor Jing! But you're referring to the one who served Yuan Shu, Liu Xun (Zitai)...

A quick look doesn't turn up any proof, but remember: all of Yuan Shu's good officers left top follow Sun Ce, and Liu Xun (Zitai) is not one of them. As a result, they don't mention that much about him.

Now, Liu Ye is descended from Emperor Guangwu (see Liu Ye's KMA comprehensive), and Liu Ye and Liu Xun seem to get along well after Yuan Shu's fall (Liu Ye joined Liu Xun in 199, and latrer the two would flee to Cao Cao together). However, that's no proof of them being related and, therefore, does not prove that Liu Xun is related to Emperor Xian.

EDIT: I should add that, since they often glossed over relations, easy answers may no longer exist. Virtually all of the US presidents are related (every president except Van Buren is descended from King John of Magna Carta fame), but they don't exactly campaign "Vote for me because I'm related to Washington!"


Thanks Dragon! He was the one I meant! I thought we might know because he ended up serving Cao Cao :lol:.

Indeed and being related isn't a guarantee of anything either I guess, like if he was as distant a relation as Liu Bei for example it holds little promise of preferential treatment!
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:53 am

Zhang Jue/Zhang Jiao

Which of the above is correct and where did the incorrect one come from?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Fornadan » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:22 pm

In writing his name was 張角

角 can be read (in pinyin) as jiǎo, jué or gǔ, each pronounciation representing different word

Of these jiǎo (meaning horn) is the most common one, and the one a reader would assume by default. However the traditional commentaries state in the case of 張角, jué is the correct one.

So basically someone who just see 張角 would assume Zhang Jiao. Someone deeper into the scholarship of the relevant texts would have learnt that it should be Zhang Jue.


To confuse things, I think I have read an article where the author mentions in a footnote that it should be Zhang Jiao after all
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