The Qiang rebellion of 185 and Ma Chao's supposed folly.

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Unread postby Tian Shan » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:46 am

I came upon this thread looking for more information about the minority tribes, and the original post intrigued me.
While I am slightly a Shuist, I have not liked Ma Chao for his rebellion causing his fathers doom and because of his peasant slaughter after the loss of his wife. At first I pitied him, but then he handled that so 100x worse.
But the idea that there could have more motivation such as maintaining independence would make me think a bit higher of him. And I wanted to read more supporting arguments. But the discussion strayed a bit.
It became a debate on how good or bad Ma Chao was and why he wanted power.

Morg wrote:No matter what Ma Chao's reason for the attack was, he endangered his father's life, which was a serious breech of the whole idea of filial piety. So, by the standards so the time, perhaps there is no justification. However, by our standards, I think it is possible to say that he was justified, if we only knew for sure what his reasoning was. If his motive was Qiang independence then perhaps his cause was justified, but if his motive was to retain his own power then it can't be justified.

It is interesting to note that if the roles had been reversed and it had been Ma Chao killed for Ma Teng's rebellion, then it would have been perfectly acceptable.


That is a good point, and I would think given the responsibility implied of actually being a parent, that getting your child who has lived less of life killed is far worse than getting your parent killed. Either way is horrible though.

And I would not trust Han Sui if I were Ma Chao. He and Ma Teng had a forced alliance it seems and Han Sui had previously slaughtered Ma Tengs family. So I don't think he was actually that stupid. And has been said, losing a campaign against a superior adversary does not make you bad either.

But I would like to see more supposition on if the Qiang could have been rebelling with Ma Chao as their leader, or if simply Ma Chao was rebelling while calling on some Qiang allies? Meaning could we move the focus a bit more at the Qiang themselves? Also any clues that Ma Teng had plans to rebel from inside Xu Cheng? Indeed I wonder why some families Cao spared and others not, perhaps it was due to rank, or there was something more...
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Re: The Qiang rebellion of 185 and Ma Chao's supposed folly.

Unread postby Elitemsh » Fri Feb 08, 2013 11:50 am

I am of the opinion that Ma Chao is not to be blamed for his father's death. Rather it's best to blame the man who killed him. Cao Cao knew that Ma Chao and the others would rebel when he announced he would attack Hanzhong. I'm quite certain that Cao Cao was counting on this. It gave him the political justification he wanted to take their land. It was a win-win situation for Cao Cao. If Ma Chao and the others didn't rebel then Cao Cao could catch them off guard and take territory with ease. If they did then Cao Cao appears the just leader putting down a selfish insurrection. Ma Chao was probably not of the best character but to blame him for rebelling seems harsh. Morg makes a good point though. It really depends on Ma Chao's reasoning which we'll never know. Even if he was protecting his own power at the expense of his father's life, then is this so wrong?
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Re: The Qiang rebellion of 185 and Ma Chao's supposed folly.

Unread postby Jordan » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:23 pm

Ma Chao and co. revolted to protect their own autonomy. If Cao Cao had taken Hanzhong from Zhang Lu, the chieftains of the northwest would be politically, militarily and in all other ways isolated. At that point, Cao Cao could either militarily destroy them or simply pressure them politically to gradually give up their independence. This was the logic that I believe went into their decision to fight against Cao Cao. Cao Cao was making a hostile move in their sphere of influence and it would have been politically suicide for them to just allow him to seize vast tracts of land nearby their home turf. As it turned out, it ended up being difficult to fight against Cao Cao as well, but it might have been possible if Ma Chao's coalition had been better organized.
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Re: The Qiang rebellion of 185 and Ma Chao's supposed folly.

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Feb 08, 2013 1:12 pm

I'll go with the modern sosz consensus, or at least what I suspect is the general feeling. I may have issue with the way Ma Chao handled events in Ji but not the initial revolt. Cao Cao was warned what would happen, he rejected offers of peace and clearly wanted to bring a troublesome north-west to heel once and for all.
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