Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

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Best/Favourite of the Three Kingdoms?

Wei
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Shu
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Wu
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Han » Fri Oct 19, 2018 4:19 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Very quickly, I'm afraid I don't quite understand this line
Most of the average peasents that he contacted with were actually done when he was already promoted and acknowledged by the Han court
. Could you clarify for me?


His rebellion at Xu, two raids at Runan etc etc were all done with serious peasant support. But during these times, Liu Bei was already acknowledged with numerous titles.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Oct 19, 2018 9:11 pm

Han wrote:
His family was influential enough to appoint him to a civil official position in his home county. His family was rich enough to buy him a sabre at 16years old when other teenagers at that age was having their coming of age ceremony. So...


Yeah I mean a saber is going to be cheaper than an education at the hand of Lu Zhi? Come on man, who are you kidding.

But I do accept that Sun Jian came from some money. RDC says:

Sun Jian's biography says that while he was still young, no more than fifteen or sixteen, he was appointed a junior civil officer in the county administration. This, in itself, may show the position of his family. Had Sun Jian belonged to one of the great clans of the region, he could have gained entry into the civil service by recommendation to the throne, he might have served a short time in the local office of the Grand Administrator of Wu commandery, but he would then have been nominated as a "Filially Pious and Incorrupt" candidate from the commandery administration or even as "Flourishing Talent," a recommendation granted by the province. A young man of great family, with considerable local influence and with relatives already among the bureaucracy, would treat the local administrators as senior and respected members of his own class, and could expect to receive their favour, patronage and recommendation almost as a right.

Sun Jian had no such position and no hope of such consideration, but his family was at least sufficiently well known for him to gain appointment in the local county office. If he had come from the poorest classes he would not have had sufficient time free from the daily struggle for subsistence to be able to offer his services, and it is very unlikely that he would have been given employment. As it was, for a young man of some ambition and leisure, office in the local government could be the first step to a political career and, even should he rise no higher, the contacts that he made and the influence that he could gain through his service would be some protection against the possibility of petty oppression in the future. To a large extent, in imperial China, office in government at any level was as much a means of personal and family insurance as it was an opportunity for public service.


So yes, Sun Jian came from a background with enough security to get a local office in a backwater county of no significance, but that was it. Compared to an education at the hand of one of the days leading scholars I think Liu Bei got the better deal.

Han wrote:Liu Bei has used his family name on occasion even before setting up his kingdom. Liu Biao recruited Liu Bei partly because of their clan ties. Zhuge Liang referenced Liu Bei heritage during the Longzhongdui. Etc etc.


Whats your historical source? I've never seen anyone show a source outside of the novel that actually says that Liu Biao took Liu Bei in out of kinship rather than as a general to use to protect his northern border - a policy he had already used once with Zhang Xiu.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Han » Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:41 pm

Sun Fin wrote:
Han wrote:
His family was influential enough to appoint him to a civil official position in his home county. His family was rich enough to buy him a sabre at 16years old when other teenagers at that age was having their coming of age ceremony. So...


Yeah I mean a saber is going to be cheaper than an education at the hand of Lu Zhi? Come on man, who are you kidding.

But I do accept that Sun Jian came from some money. RDC says:

Sun Jian's biography says that while he was still young, no more than fifteen or sixteen, he was appointed a junior civil officer in the county administration. This, in itself, may show the position of his family. Had Sun Jian belonged to one of the great clans of the region, he could have gained entry into the civil service by recommendation to the throne, he might have served a short time in the local office of the Grand Administrator of Wu commandery, but he would then have been nominated as a "Filially Pious and Incorrupt" candidate from the commandery administration or even as "Flourishing Talent," a recommendation granted by the province. A young man of great family, with considerable local influence and with relatives already among the bureaucracy, would treat the local administrators as senior and respected members of his own class, and could expect to receive their favour, patronage and recommendation almost as a right.

Sun Jian had no such position and no hope of such consideration, but his family was at least sufficiently well known for him to gain appointment in the local county office. If he had come from the poorest classes he would not have had sufficient time free from the daily struggle for subsistence to be able to offer his services, and it is very unlikely that he would have been given employment. As it was, for a young man of some ambition and leisure, office in the local government could be the first step to a political career and, even should he rise no higher, the contacts that he made and the influence that he could gain through his service would be some protection against the possibility of petty oppression in the future. To a large extent, in imperial China, office in government at any level was as much a means of personal and family insurance as it was an opportunity for public service.


So yes, Sun Jian came from a background with enough security to get a local office in a backwater county of no significance, but that was it. Compared to an education at the hand of one of the days leading scholars I think Liu Bei got the better deal.

Han wrote:Liu Bei has used his family name on occasion even before setting up his kingdom. Liu Biao recruited Liu Bei partly because of their clan ties. Zhuge Liang referenced Liu Bei heritage during the Longzhongdui. Etc etc.


Whats your historical source? I've never seen anyone show a source outside of the novel that actually says that Liu Biao took Liu Bei in out of kinship rather than as a general to use to protect his northern border - a policy he had already used once with Zhang Xiu.


Its not just the sabre but the fact that his family was rich enough to give a 16year old his own weapon. I dont know why you are mentioning Lü Zhi? And also, we do not know whether Lü Zhi accepted students due to money. Both Liu and Gongsun bios just say that their family sent them off to Lü Zhi to learn the classics. And that Lü Zhi was from the same area. It would seem connections played a more important role than cash.

Nowhere is it mentioned that Sun Jian was a civil official of a backwater county. RDC just states county administration. Not that it was a backwater. And not 'day leading scholars' but one of the best of an 'area' aka Zhuo commandery. Most of Lü exploits would came later in his life post Liu Bei.

Fair enough on Liu Biao. I must have confused him with Liu Zhang where Zhang Song pointed out their clan link.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Fornadan » Sun Oct 21, 2018 8:33 am

Sun Jian was an official in his home county/region, which was a backwater at the edge of civilization.

But the better proof of the Sun clan's relative obscurity is that nothing at all is known about them. Sun Jian's father's name is not even reliably recorded
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:48 pm

Meanwhile Liu Beis SGZ starts out with

The Former Lord was surnamed Liu 劉 and had the taboo name of Bei 備 and the appellative Xuande 玄德. He was a native of Zhuo 涿 prefecture in Zhuo commandery, and he was the descendant of a son of Emperor Jing 景 of the Han,
Prince Jing of Zhongshan [Liu] Sheng 中山靖王勝. Liu Sheng's son, Zhen 貞, was enfeoffed as marquis of Lucheng commune in Zhuo prefecture in Yuanshou. He was convicted of violating the regulations concerning the contributions in gold for sacrificial wine and lost his marquisate. Subsequently, he made his home there.A The Former Lord's grandfather Xiong 雄 and his father
Hong 弘 served in provincial and commandery offices. Xiong was recommended as filially pious and incorrupt, and he rose to become prefect of Fan 范 in Dong 東 commandery. .
The Archival Epitome says: “Bei was originally a branch descendant
of the marquis of Linyi.”
When the Former Lord was young, he was left without a father. With his mother he sold sandals and wove mats to make a living.


For a man who was a seller and mat weaver, we actually know a bit about his families background. Cannot say the same about Sun Jian.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Oct 21, 2018 4:59 pm

Liu Bei has used his family name on occasion even before setting up his kingdom. Liu Biao recruited Liu Bei partly because of their clan ties. Zhuge Liang referenced Liu Bei heritage during the Longzhongdui. Etc etc.


I think Sun Fin got my timeline wrong, I more say around Chi Bi

Not mutually exclusive. It was both circumstances(only viable path to expand as Cao too strong and Sun was ally) and by plan( Zhuge Liang LZD).


Not really. He was the only peasent at that time who eventually rose to be Emperor excluding Liu Bang who was already a patrol officer. Most of the average peasents that he contacted with were actually done when he was already promoted and acknowledged by the Han court (editing in your clarification His rebellion at Xu, two raids at Runan etc etc were all done with serious peasant support. But during these times, Liu Bei was already acknowledged with numerous titles.). Except the gaining money from the two merchants. Hunting was done by pretty much everyone regardless of social standing and country. For all we know Liu Bei enjoyed hunting because his mother frequently starved(/s).


Agreed

I didn't deny what he did was incredible. I also don't deny his ability to gain popularity with the populace.

Your right in that peasant hunting is very different from, say, Yuan Shu's though double checking the sgz, it was dogs and horses (which I think is why I think hunting) he liked rather then hunting. My bad

. I dont know why you are mentioning Lü Zhi? And also, we do not know whether Lü Zhi accepted students due to money. Both Liu and Gongsun bios just say that their family sent them off to Lü Zhi to learn the classics. And that Lü Zhi was from the same area. It would seem connections played a more important role than cash.


We know Liu Bei was being subsidised (and presumably his taste in other things like nice clothes) by relative and I haven't seen anything that suggests such schools were free. Even if it was, sending a family member "abroad" costs money (as does removing him from family's income stream) as does, according to Professor Rafe's encyclopaedia, living the life of a fighting man. Liu Bei was enjoying and having things, including a top class education, that the average peasant would have never have the money or the time to have any chance with
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Han » Sun Oct 21, 2018 11:49 pm

Sun Jian was an official in his home county/region, which was a backwater at the edge of civilization.

But the better proof of the Sun clan's relative obscurity is that nothing at all is known about them. Sun Jian's father's name is not even reliably recorded


[Citation needed]. The Wuyue region was not a backwater like Yunan/Sichuan/Baiyue back then. Most of the powerful gentries of the Southeast emerged from Wu and Kuaiji area. Lu Xun off the top of my head.

I agree, but its important to note that that can be for a number of reasons. Off the top of my head, the claim is that Sun Jian father was a merchant. And since the scholar gentries usually write bios for Emperors, Harem members, Generals and Civil officials while looking down on the peasants and merchants( as in not recording much about them at all), it would not be surprising that the Sun Clan was not recorded. Likewise, 'relative obscurity' doesnt necessarily mean lack of wealth or influence.

For a man who was a seller and mat weaver, we actually know a bit about his families background. Cannot say the same about Sun Jian.


Because 1) Liu Bei was from a branch of the Liu clan and the Liu clan ruled China for 300 years plus already. And so the Liu clan would be better recorded than most other clans. And 2) Liu Bei ancestors served as gentry officials of the Han and so there were more reliable records and information of their service presumably.

I think Sun Fin got my timeline wrong, I more say around Chi Bi


Sure.

I didn't deny what he did was incredible. I also don't deny his ability to gain popularity with the populace.

Your right in that peasant hunting is very different from, say, Yuan Shu's though double checking the sgz, it was dogs and horses (which I think is why I think hunting) he liked rather then hunting. My bad


Sure? I was explaining why his background and rise was more highlighted and impressive. And this is more of explaining why his rise wasnt overstated and how the peasant connections were seldom mentioned because it only came during his rise after he had some form of legitimacy quite similar to pretty much everyone else.

Fair enough. Its cool.

We know Liu Bei was being subsidised (and presumably his taste in other things like nice clothes) by relative and I haven't seen anything that suggests such schools were free. Even if it was, sending a family member "abroad" costs money (as does removing him from family's income stream) as does, according to Professor Rafe's encyclopaedia, living the life of a fighting man. Liu Bei was enjoying and having things, including a top class education, that the average peasant would have never have the money or the time to have any chance with


Subsidised sure? First, it was not a school. It was a tutor. Second, i never claimed it was free. I claimed it was more connections than cash. Also, Lü Zhi only recorded students, Liu Bei and his cousin and Gongsun Zan were all from the same area. Considering Lü Zhi regional fame, if cash was the factor, more people would have been sending their kids to him for studies. Third, they did not send him abroad. Liu Bei and Lü Zhi were literally in Zhuo commandery. Fourth, a young man weaving sandles probably wouldnt impact income stream much especially considering the disorder of the Latter Han by the late 170s and early 180s which would have a higher impact. As for Liu Bei fighting life, his mercenary band was sponsored by two merchants as detailed in SGZ while his early warlord days were sponsored by the Mi clan. With his fictional sworn brothers acting as his right and left hand man when it came to generalship. Meanwhile, by the time of his mid warlord days, he already received numerous appointments and regional fame. So little, if not nothing came out of Liu pockets much less his family's. Because said other peasants did not have the connections nor ancestral background nor richer branches of their family willing to support them? Sure.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Mon Oct 22, 2018 1:08 am

Sun Fin wrote:
Zyzyfer wrote:
In all seriousness, he may in a way actually be one of the most interesting major figures of the early Three Kingdoms period. I personally find it telling that Sun Ce and Sun Quan took his family in after his defeat and death, I think that the Sun clan had a complex relationship with him (as they did with quite a few people).


Interesting, I've never thought about it like that. I've only interpreted it as Sun Ce being a compassionate man. I'd love you to unpack this a bit more?



Hmm I don't think I was saying anything that could be considered very different from what's already established. I was mainly just suggesting to Qin Feng that Yuan Shu wasn't just some bumbling dolt who stumbled into power and them stumbled back out of it, for a time he was powerful and dangerous. While at the same time, Sun Ce didn't just break ties with Yuan and totally write him off when Yuan made himself emperor. Of course he didn't outright help the guy, but when the dust settled Sun Ce took Yuan's kids in and they seemed to live pretty "normal" lives in Wu, i.e. there were no major dramas surrounding them.

A lot of the old hats here know this stuff already, but I was just giving Qin Feng another side to the story, Yuan Shu wasn't really this terrible monster and so forth.

Han wrote:Ma Chao rebellion was anything but 'little' . He managed to succesfully unify most of Yong and Liang warlords under his leadership(along with Han Sui). The same provinces that are consisted of many different ethnicities , warlords and alleigiance. As for accomplishments, he was a thorn to Cao Cao side longer than anyone excluding the Yuans and two Southern States. He also came the closest to killing Cao Cao excluding Zhang Xiu and Xu Rong. In fact it was only Xu Chu personal valour that saved Cao Cao from the mutiny and Ma Chao's rain of arrows


I am not really thrilled to have caught your attention, but against my better judgment, here goes.

1) My post was made tongue-in-cheek, poking fun at myself because I have an unreasonable dislike for Ma Chao. I am aware that there were impressive elements to his rebellion but I just don't like the guy.

2) Yeah he put the squeeze on Cao Cao directly in a battle. And as you mention, apparently only two others managed to put Cao Cao in direct and imminent danger, Zhang Xiu and Xu Rong. That's overlooking a lot because Cao Cao often found himself threatened, but OK let's stick with direct and imminent danger, i.e. the other commander stood a high chance of killing him during their combat.

Zhang Xiu - He does the impossible twice. Despite costing Cao Cao his son, his bodyguard, and almost his life, goes on to serve Cao Cao in a respectable capacity before passing away about a decade later.

Xu Rong - Gets killed by rebel commanders, fades into history. As much as I like Xu Rong, I think luck played a large part in his back-to-back successes against Cao Cao and Sun Jian, perhaps his troops at the time were more experienced than theirs. Something was definitely up because his end at the hands of Dong Zhuo's former commanders was pretty anti-climatic.

Ma Chao - Rebels, gets a bunch of his own family killed. Most of the rebel commanders under him get killed in combat. When the tide turns against him, he has that really nasty affair with Wei Kang and his subordinates.

That last bit is honestly what turns me off to the guy, the way I read the Wei Kang affair is that he took his tiny army remnants and turned into a bloodthirsty savage as he scrambled to reclaim a power base. While I'm aware that if he didn't do something then it would have meant certain death for him, my impression was that he went on a warpath of wanton destruction.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Oct 22, 2018 9:41 am

Grrrrrr, just lost a post :(.

Lots of people have answered your wider points Han so I'm just going to address the crux of the debate.

I think both of us are arguing that both their rises were impressive. Compared to the other major warlords of the era (Yuan Shao, Cao Cao, Liu Biao etc) they came from relatively nothing. Our dispute is over who had the least.

Your argument for Liu Bei seems to hang on tow points.

1) Sun Jian's family appointing him to a local office.

However it is the equivalent rank that Liu Hong held when he died, so clearly Liu Bei's family had a similar level of influence.

Also you argued yourself that Liu Bei's family had enough influence to get him an education:

Han wrote:Second, i never claimed it was free. I claimed it was more connections than cash.


2) That Sun Jian's family could afford to buy him a saber.

However we read in Rafe's Biographic Dictionary:

Liu Yuanqi gave provisions to Liu Bei in the same fashion as to his own son


Now we don't know how much Liu Bei was getting but clearly someone way subsidising him. Was it comparable to the cost of a saber? Well lets see:

Liu Bei had small interests in books but took pleasure in dogs and horses, in music, and in fine clothing


In my experience dogs, horses and fine clothing are expensive hobbies, far more so that a weapon. So I think we can conclude that Liu Bei had some money, his family had some influence and he had a great education and made some important connections in Lu Zhi and Gongsun Zan. Therefore his starting point was better than Sun Jians.

Dong Zhou wrote:
I think Sun Fin got my timeline wrong, I more say around Chi Bi


Sorry buddy, my mistake.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Fornadan » Mon Oct 22, 2018 6:16 pm

Han wrote:
Sun Jian was an official in his home county/region, which was a backwater at the edge of civilization.

But the better proof of the Sun clan's relative obscurity is that nothing at all is known about them. Sun Jian's father's name is not even reliably recorded


[Citation needed]. The Wuyue region was not a backwater like Yunan/Sichuan/Baiyue back then. Most of the powerful gentries of the Southeast emerged from Wu and Kuaiji area. Lu Xun off the top of my head.

Lu Xun came from Wu county which I would argue was rather more centrally located within Wu. The Lu clan was one of the great families of the south.

I agree, but its important to note that that can be for a number of reasons. Off the top of my head, the claim is that Sun Jian father was a merchant. And since the scholar gentries usually write bios for Emperors, Harem members, Generals and Civil officials while looking down on the peasants and merchants( as in not recording much about them at all), it would not be surprising that the Sun Clan was not recorded.

Yes, if Sun Jian's descendants had stayed generals and officials. But Sun Quan founded an imperial state and yet the Wu historians could not scrounge up even one office holder.

Likewise, 'relative obscurity' doesnt necessarily mean lack of wealth or influence.

Sure, pretty much everyone recorded in the histories would have been among the 1% richest in the country
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