SGZ Biography of Cao Cao

Join the Romance of the Three Kingdoms discussion with our resident Scholars. Topics relating to the novel and history are both welcome. Don't forget to check the Forum Rules before posting.
Kongming’s Archives: Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms Officer Biographies
Three Kingdoms Officer Encyclopedia
Scholars of Shen Zhou Search Tool

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Wed Jun 01, 2005 1:54 am

Thanks. I noticed the first mention of official script, but took it to refer to writings, rather than style. Honestly, I'm a bit disappointed that I didn't catch on once I saw Gu had been appointed to the Imperial Secretariat - a post within the Masters of Writing. I've made necessary corrections, extending upward even before the italicized portion. Theremay still be a couple of errors but I think the proper gistof wehat's being said is now communicated correctly. The rest should be fine, barring a few errors here and there.

Adrian
User avatar
Liu Yuante
绯红王
 
Posts: 2696
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:20 am
Location: Central Pennsylvania

Unread postby James » Sat Jun 04, 2005 3:44 am

It needs to be said again. Adrian, you kick ass. I’m really looking forward to printing the bits out and reading them over when I’ve got some time to really appreciate them.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17996
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

Unread postby barbarosso » Sat Jun 04, 2005 8:42 pm

Wow that amazing, How did u ever find time to do all that? :) I didn't know the anniversity was just passed, what date was it exactly. (gosh i feel bad asking more of you) Please :P
"The fine line before, arrogance and confitdence is bearly visible when we hold our heads up high" Me thats who !
User avatar
barbarosso
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1694
Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2004 6:30 pm
Location: Tir Na Nog

Unread postby MarvelousLingTong!!!!!! » Sat Jun 04, 2005 11:00 pm

James wrote:It needs to be said again. Adrian, you kick ass. I’m really looking forward to printing the bits out and reading them over when I’ve got some time to really appreciate them.


I definitley agree with what James just said infact im printing it out right now.
"Nooooooooo hot sexy wife!!!" - Martin Schean
User avatar
MarvelousLingTong!!!!!!
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 1344
Joined: Wed Mar 09, 2005 4:00 am
Location: Missouri

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Sun Jun 05, 2005 1:51 am

James wrote:It needs to be said again. Adrian, you kick ass.


Bah. I appreciate the kind words but I'm just a guy trying to learn Chinese, nothing special about that.

Anyway, in my stupidity I somehow neglected to include the latter portion of Pei note 70 in my last translation post. It has now been added.

Adrian
User avatar
Liu Yuante
绯红王
 
Posts: 2696
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:20 am
Location: Central Pennsylvania

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:47 pm

Here is some more from that despot of despots, the man who made usurpation stylish and practical for power-hungry warlords on the go, let's hear it for Cao Cao!



The Governor of Yi province Liu Zhang began conscripting men for military service and dispatched soldiers to supplement the army. In the twelfth month, Sun Quan attacked Hefei on behalf of Bei. His Excellency sent forces from Jiangling to attack Bei and on arriving at Baqiu he dispatched Zhang Xi to rescue Hefei. When Quan got wind of Xi’s arrival he retreated. His Excellency arrived at Chibi and joined battle with Bei, to his detriment. Whereupon there was a widespread illness that left a great many soldiers and officials dead, and His Excellency thereupon led his army in retreat. Bei straightaway took possession .of all the commanderies of Jing province south of the river. 71

71 Shan Yang’s Yearly Record of His Excellency states, “His Excellency’s boats and warships were therein burnt by Bei, and His Excellency led the army, by way of the Huarong road, in retreat on foot. They came upon muddy ground, the road could not be traveled and the skies also blew a great wind. His Excellency employed the weary soldiers to retrieve plant detritus to fill it in, so that those on horseback therefore were able to get through. The men on horseback trampled upon the exhausted infantrymen, who became mired in the mud, and there were a great many dead. Once the army had managed to get through, His Excellency showed great happiness, and when all of his generals inquired about it, he replied, “Liu Bei and I are peers. However, his strategy was deficient in taking place at night; in the event that he had set the fires in the morning, I would presently be walking alone.” Bei pursued him to try and set additional blazes but was unable to catch him. Sun Sheng’s Record of Contradictory Opinions states, “According to Wu records, Liu Bei attacked His Excellency first and then later Quan attacked Hefei. However, this record says that Quan attacked Hefei first and then afterward was the matter of Chibi. Where the two records disagree the Wu records should be considered the correct account.”

In the fourteenth year, during the spring and in the first month, His Excellency’s army arrived at Qiao and constructed canoes to give the army naval training. From where the Guo River enters the Huai the army went out past the Fei River and arrived at Hefei. On the xinwei day His Excellency issued a decree saying, “Just recently myself and an army of great numbers journeyed forth, and came upon an environment teeming with great illness. Officials and soldiers met with death and did not return, and their families suffer from being left alone. The common people are homeless and forced to wander about, but they are kindly, how can it be that they go with cheerfulness? It is because they have no choice. As such I decree that to the families of the deceased that are without a family estate and cannot subsist on their own means, the county officials will not close the government storehouses. The superior officials are to give succor and adhere to kindness, in accordance with my wishes.” His Excellency set up the head officials of the counties and commanderies of Yang province, and initiated agricultural garrisons at Shaopi Lake. In the twelfth month the army returned to Qiao.

In the fifteenth year, during the spring, His Excellency submitted a decree, saying, “From ancient times, regarding the sovereigns who received Heaven’s will and led the nation to flourish, was there ever one who did not obtain worthy men and as an honorable sovereign join with them to govern the empire? But regarding these worthy men they obtained, who had never before been beyond their village streets, how can it be that they chanced to encounter them? The above-named men were not merely sought out. Presently the empire has not yet been ordered and this especially is the time to urgently seek out worthy men. ‘Meng Gongchuo was of sufficient grade to act as an elder in Zhao or Wei, but was not felt able to be a senior official in Teng or Xue.’ If the officials are incorrupt and the sovereign is able to use them, then how could Duke Huan of Qi dominate the world! Presently does the empire have anyone that covers his valuable jade with coarse brown clothing and fishes upon the banks of the Wei? And are there also any that do not steal their elder brother’s wife for the sake of money and who are as yet unknowing and unheard of? As such, all of you help me to clearly disseminate amongst the mean and low that if they are but talented, to stand up, and I will obtain and use them.” In the winter His Excellency constructed the Bronze Bird Pavilion. 72


72 According to the History of King Wu of Wei, in the twelfth month, on the hailing day, His Excellency issued a decree saying, “I began by being named as Filially Pious and Incorrupt when I was young. My own origins were not within the grottos of scholars of great repute and so, being afraid that to the people within the four seas I would seem mediocre and stupid, I desired to become Administrator of but a single commandery. I was skilled in the practice of government administration, on which I hoped to build a reputation, and to employ the scholars of the time who perfectly understood it. Consequently, when I was at Jinan I began to clear out corruption and remove the filth, made appointments according to my conscience, and constantly attended to evils and offences. I angrily expressed my opinion of the strong and powerful there and was fearful that this would cause my family harm, so for that reason I behaved as if I were ill and returned home.

When I left government office I was still at a young age and, looking round at those of my generation, reflected that to be fifty years old is not yet regarded as elderly, so I privately made a plan to remain out of office for twenty years and wait for the empire to be pacified. Only then would I take a position with those of my generation who had taken office. For this reason I returned to my home village for four seasons, constructing a makeshift residence fifteen li from Qiao. I wished to spend the summer and autumn studying literature and the winter and spring bow hunting. I sought to hide behind the earth and wished to use brickwork to conceal myself, so as to prevent the coming and going of visitors, but I was not able to get what I wished. Later I was summoned to the post of Chief Commandant and then moved to the position of Colonel Who Arranges the Army, and expected then to fulfill my further wish to render meritorious service to the nation in combating the bandits. I fervently wished to be conferred the rank of Marquis and made General Who Subdues the West, such that afterwards it would be inscribed on my tomb that ‘This is the tomb of Marquis Cao, former Han General Who Subdues the West’; such was my will.

However then came the incident of Dong Zhuo’s evil and I began raising a righteous army. At the time I was able to find many individuals from which to form an army but I frequently lost, and so I did not wish to have a multitude of them; inasmuch as having such persons, with a great many soldiers’ emotions to control, in combat with a powerful enemy any change can suddenly lead to disaster. At the River Bian I fought using a few thousand soldiers and afterward traveled to Yang province to recruit more. Yet again I did not exceed three thousand men and this shows the limits of my ambition. Later I became Governor of Yan province and defeated and forced the surrender of a throng of Yellow Turbans numbering three hundred thousand. Also at this time Yuan Shu declared his intent to usurp at Jiujiang and considered everyone below him to be his subject, calling his family the JianHao Family. In every facet he clothed himself in the manner of the Son of Heaven and two women vied ahead of time to be his Empress. His mind was made up regarding his plan and there was a that man exhorted Shu to make haste and establish himself as Emperor right away and to show himself before the empire, but Shu replied, “I am not yet able as His Excellency Cao is still around.” Afterwards on my own I fought and captured his four generals and took captive the men of his army. I caused for him to become exhausted and he fled away in dejection, and then fell ill and died.

Then came the time when Yuan Shao seized Hebei and his army was large and powerful. I measured my own strength and could not match him, however I was prepared to serve my country to the death, to employ justice to the end of my life, until it is worthy of bequeathing to the emperor. Through good fortune I defeated Shao and then decapitated and publicly exposed the heads of his two sons. Liu Biao also laid claim to the imperial clan and harbored traitorous thoughts, from the beginning sitting back so as to observe worldly events, and holding the post of administrator of a province. I dealt with him also and continued the pacification of the empire. I became Prime Minister, already reaching the highest rank for an official, far higher than I hoped and wished for. I presently am speaking so fully of myself, as my wish is that men get the full story and I therefore do not avoid taboo subjects.

Supposing that the nation was devoid of my presence, I do not know how many men would call themselves emperors and how many would call themselves kings. If perchance a man were to see my strength and prosperity, and that my nature is to distrust matters of divine ordinance, I am afraid he may judge me with a wicked heart and say that I have immodest ambitions. He may rashly form a judgement from speculation and frequently this troubles me. The names of Duke Huan of Qi and Wen of Jin have come down to the people of the present day and they made widespread use of their military forces while still being able to respectfully serve the Zhou Dynasty. The Analects say, ‘Of the three divisions of the empire they possessed two and used them in the service of Yin. The virtue of Zhou can indeed be said to have attained the highest virtue possible’, and a man may use grand means to handle small affairs. In former times Yue Yi went over to Zhao and the King of Zhao desired to join with him in plotting against Yan. Yue Yi fell prostrate and gave way to tears, replying, ‘I served as a minister of King Zhao (of Yan) and likewise I served the emperor. I have been the victim of criminal behavior and dismissed to go live in another state. If need be from here on I will lead an ordinary and invisible existence, but I could not bear to plot strategy as a servant of Zhao, let alone do so against the sovereign of Yan’s successor!’ When Huhai killed Meng Tian, Tian said, ‘From my late father through to my children, for three generations we have garnered the trust of Qin. Presently I have at my disposal an army of thirty thousand men. Such a force would be sufficient for the purpose of rebelling, but I myself know that I must die because I am an upholder of righteousness, and will not dishonor my late father’s teachings by forgetting the late emperor.’ I have often read these two men’s writings and not once have I failed to be saddened to the point of shedding tears.

From my grandfather down to myself, all of us have held appointments of great importance and it can be said that we are viewed as honest people. Including Zihuan and his brothers we constitute more than three generations. I not only address every gentleman to explain this but frequently I speak thusly to my wives and concubines, so that everyone will have a thorough understanding of this. I speak to them, saying, ‘Every future generation is to look back upon me. All of you have entered the Cao family through marriage and it is my desire that the principles of my thought be passed on, and to convey this to the others so that everyone knows them.’ My heart demands that I say these things. Forasmuch as I zealously and earnestly desire to be judged a trustworthy servant, I have observed how Duke Dan of Zhou is in the Metal-Bound Coffer chapter (of the Book of Documents) and used it to make myself clear, fearing that men would be distrustful of my intentions. It is true that some desire that I give up command of my voluminous army and accordingly give back my control of government affairs, and return to my Marquisate at Wuping, but the truth is that I cannot. Why? I am sincerely afraid that were I to leave the company of my soldiers the men of this place would harm me. Additionally I wish to arrange things for my children and grandchildren as if I were to be destroyed then the nation would immediately meet with disaster. Therefore I cannot obtain my desire for a modest reputation as certainly then there would be disaster, and for these reasons then I cannot.

Earlier the imperial court kindly wished to bestow upon three of my sons the rank of Marquis but I flatly refused and would not accept. Presently things have changed and I wish for them to receive it but not out of desire for them to be honored, or out of desire to be viewed as giving outside assistance, but because of my plans for great peace. I know of Jie Tui’s refusal of conferment by Jin and Shen Xu’s dodging reward by Chu, and not once have I failed to stop reading and sigh, making use of them to examine myself. It is with reverence that I have received the nation’s might and took hold of the ceremonial axe to go out to battle, putting the weak to the side so as to subdue the strong, taking charge of the small and capturing the great. In the planning of my desires I acted without violating my duty, and in my mind reflected on what directions were bad ones. In straightaway sweeping clean and pacifying the empire I did not disgrace the will of Heaven, as it may well be said that it is Heaven that assists the Dynasty of Han and not the power of men. I have received the simultaneous ownership of four counties with the produce of thirty thousand families, how can I virtuously endure it! So long as not every corner of the country is calm I cannot abdicate my position; but as regards cities and land, I can obtain them and then give them up. I will now give back Yangxia, Zhe and Ku, three counties totaling twenty thousand families, as well as ten thousand families’ worth of grain from Wuping. Moreover, by this I may decrease the slander of critics and it will be a small reduction in my responsibilities.”

--------------

This is smaller than previous updates but it has Cao Cao's wonderful apology (used in the sense of an explanation or statement of position, rather than the modern way that incorporates a connotation of regret or remorse) and it deserved to be posted as soon as I fisnished rendering it. There never having been an official, published translation of this stuff, it remains a far more anonymous piece of self-propaganda than it should. Though he lived in an age of sovereigns and rulers, rather than politicians and votes, it is very reminiscent of a political speech and ought to be given its due place among the great examples of its kind throughout history.

Granted, I think it's a bunch of malarkey, and thoroughly dishonest, but such exquisite malarkey. Note that Sima Guang edits, alters and fools around with it a bit in his inclusion of it in the ZZTJ. De Crespigny simply notes that it comes from SGZ 1 - Biography of Cao Cao but it is a considerably condensed version of what is actually in the bio (well, Pei's note to the bio).

Also, though I've restrained myself from doing translator's notes until I'm done with the whole thing (which will probably be July-August rather than the hoped-for June) Mengde uses so many allusions to past figures and the like that a few explanations are provided below:

Duke Huan of Qi was that state's powerful ruler during much of the 7th century B.C. and the reforms enacted by Guan Zhong, whome Huan appointed as his Prime Minister, were the driving force behind a Qi that became preeminent among the various principalities during the Spring and Autumn period.

Duke Wen of Jin was another powerful warlord of the same period as Huan. Ostensibly the various states were beholden to the Zhou emperor and were to fight to support him, which is the manner in which Cao Cao here invokes them, but they were largely using noble reasons as excuses for gaining and consolidating power for themselves.

Yue Yi had served under King Zhao of Yan (not to be confused with the King of Zhao, as these are two different 'Zhao' characters) but after his death was the target of court intrigue and scandal-mongering, and he was forced to leave.

Meng Tian was one of Qin's greatest general in the time of the First Emperor and he went north with massive army to combat barbarian invaders. Zhao Gao, chief eunuch under the First Emperor, bore Tian and his brother Meng Yi a grudge because in his youth Meng Yi had sentenced Gao to death for a capital crime but Gao was later pardoned. Tian supported the First Emperor's eldest son, Fusu, but Gao supported the middle child, Huhai. He had Huhai falsify an edict, ordering Fusu to commit suicide, and stripping military control from Tian. Tian was later forced to commit suicide.

Zihuan is the style name of Cao Pi.

Duke Dan of Zhou acted as regent for King Wu's young son when Wu died. This was only a short time after the overthrow of Shang by Zhou, and was an important time. Dan was an excellent regent and governed well, gradually consolidating the power of Zhou against Shang holdouts and their supporters.. He is supposed to have completed the I Ching. Cao Cao probably means to draw comparison to his own expeditions to punish rebels and "the wicked" on behalf of a child sovereign, but it is again an ironic choice (since Dan was helping his own family's dynasty stabilise their overthrow of another), as were Huan and Wen, given the circumstances. His achievements and merits are recorded in the Jin Teng chapter of the Shu Jing.

Jie Tui was an official under Duke Wen of Jin who reportedly fed his master with flesh cut from his own thigh. He declined rewards and favor and went instead to live with his aged mother in the forest. Wen set fire to the forest to drive him out and force him to return but he instead remained with his mother in the forest and they were both killed.

Shen Xu was a minister of Chu who went to Qin to get assistance when it fell to Wu in the sixth century B.C. He succeeded in getting aid and drove out the invaders. He declined reward, however, stating that he was serving the sovereign, not himself.

Yangxia, Zhe, Ku and Wuping were all counties in Chen commandery.

Adrian
User avatar
Liu Yuante
绯红王
 
Posts: 2696
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:20 am
Location: Central Pennsylvania

Unread postby Ender » Fri Jul 08, 2005 4:17 am

Adrian, I commend you whole-heartedly. Although I recogonize the biographies translated by the members of 3k.net, it's always seemed to me as if they were far too concerned about copyright issues, and they are kept under wraps. I actually prefer your translation.
"Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem."
-- Longfellow
Ender
Wandering Darkness
 
Posts: 795
Joined: Sun Jan 05, 2003 9:29 pm
Location: Maryland, US

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Tue Aug 02, 2005 12:59 am

Another update, today we have the matter of Tong Pass:

In the sixteenth year, during the spring and in the first month, 73 the Son of Heaven appointed His Excellency’s heir Pi to the post of General of the Gentlemen of the Household for All Purposes with subordinate officials, to act as Deputy to the Imperial Chancellor. Shang Yao of Taiyuan and others like him took Daling and rebelled so His Excellency dispatched Xiahou Yuan and Xu Huang to surround and defeat them. Zhang Lu had occupied Hanzhong for three months so His Excellency dispatched Zhong Yao on an expedition against him, and sent Yuan and his men out through Hedong to join up with Yao.

73 The Book of Wei states, “On the gengchen day the Son of Heaven made a proclamation: ‘As His Excellency has decreased his households by five thousand and of his personal holdings given away three counties of ten thousand households each, a fief of five thousand families will be granted to three of his sons. Zhi is made Marquis of Pingyuan, Ju is made Marquis of Fanyang and Biao is made Marquis of Raoyang, each city having a grain output equal to five thousand households.’”

At this time all of the generals of the land within the pass were distrustful of Yao and desired to go raiding, and soon after Ma Chao, together with Han Sui, Yang Qiu, Li Kan, Cheng Yi and their men, rebelled. His Excellency dispatched Cao Ren on an expedition against them. Chao and his men were encamped at Tong pass and His Excellency gave the following imperial orders to every general, “The soldiers west of the pass are capable and vigorous, stay resolute within your barracks and do not enjoin them in battle.” In the autumn, during the seventh month, His Excellency led an expedition to the west, 74 and along with Chao and his men they stationed their respective armies on either side of the pass. His Excellency was impatient to hold control of them and so he secretly dispatched Xu Huang, Zhu Ling and their men to ferry across the Puban crossing at night and seize the area west of the Yellow River to act as their encampment. His Excellency went north of Tong pass to ferry across but did not do so and Chao hurriedly went towards his boat to attack. The Colonel Ding Fei for this reason released oxen and horses to bait the rebels, who became disordered and seized the oxen and horses, and His Excellency was thereupon able to cross, 75 using the path of the river as a walled corridor and going south. The rebels withdrew, occupying the mouth of the Wei River and His Excellency thereupon deployed a great many troops as a deceptive force. In secret he used boats to convey troops into Wei, using the boats as a floating bridge and under cover of night a division of troops established camp south of the Wei River. The rebels attacked the camp at night and the concealed troops attacked and defeated them. Chao and his men were stationed south of the Wei and he dispatched a letter proposing to cede the land west of the Yellow River and asking for peace, but His Excellency would not accept. In the ninth month His Excellency led the army across the Wei. 76 Chao and the others would frequently issue challenges to battle but His Excellency forbade it. Chao persisted in asking to cede land and offered to deliver his son as insurance so His Excellency made use of a stratagem of Jia Xu’s to pretend to agree to it. Han Sui asked to meet face-to-face with His Excellency as their fathers had been the same age when they were nominated as Filially Pious and Incorrupt and His Excellency and Sui were contemporaries of the same generation. Therefore they met on horseback and their talk was of old times, not extending to military matters. They spoke only of former times at the capital, and clasped hands and smiled. After they had finished Chao and the others asked Sui, “What did His Excellency say?” and Sui replied, “He said nothing.” Chao and the others became distrustful of him. 77 The next day His Excellency composed a letter to Sui wherein he made numerous insertions and deletions, such that Sui would appear to have made alterations, and Chao and his men became more and more distrustful of him. His Excellency thereupon undertook to defeat them that day in a decisive battle, at attacking them with light-armed troops, and they fought for a long time. Therefore he then released the Tiger Cavalry to attack from both sides, inflicted a massive defeat on them and beheaded Cheng Yi, Li Kan and their men. Sui, Chao and their men went to Liang province, Yang Qiu fled to Anding and the land within the passes was pacified. Out of all his generals some asked His Excellency, “Earlier, when the rebels were guarding Tong pass the path to the north of the Wei was empty. You did not leave from Hedong to attack Pingyi but instead persisted in guarding Tong Pass and only after a period of days did you cross to the north. Why?” His Excellency replied, “When the rebels were guarding Tong Pass, if I had entered Hedong they certainly would have moved to guard all the crossings, so that I would not be able to cross over to Xihe. It is for this reason that I kept my soldiers opposite Tong Pass. When the entire throng of the rebels moved their defenses south, Xihe’s garrisons were empty and for this reason a mere two generals were able to occupy and seize it. Afterwards I lead the army to cross to the north and the rebels were unable to contend with me over Xihe as it was held by these two generals’ armies. I joined carts together to form a barrier, so as to make a walled corridor and went south, 78 which rendered us both unable to be overcome and also gave the impression of weakness. I crossed the Wei River to erect fortifications and when the enemy arrived they did not enter, on account of their pride. For this reason the rebels did not seek to establish camp but asked to cede land, and I went along and said I would consent to it, as regards following their wish, to cause them to be at peace and to not have made preparations. On this basis I gathered up my force of soldiers and when one day I attacked them, it was what is called ‘swift thunder not reaching covered ears’. The changes and variations of military affairs do not follow a single path.” At first, when each division of the rebels arrived, His Excellency had an expression of happiness. After the rebels were defeated all of his generals asked him the reason for this, and His Excellency replied, “The chieftains of the lands within the passes are very remote, if the rebels had all stuck by their own dangerous and difficult areas then the expedition against them would not have been able to settle things in less than two years. Now with all of them gathered together, though their numbers were many none of them would cooperate with each other and their army was without proper leadership. In one fell stroke we were able to exterminate them and it is because of this difference in work that I was so pleased.”

74 The Book of Wei states, “Many commentators say (that the order was), ‘The soldiers west of the pass are powerful and well-practiced with spears. If you are not careful in choosing the vanguard then you will not be able to match them.’ His Excellency spoke to all his generals, saying, ‘The decision to fight rests with me and not with the rebels. Though the bandits are well practiced with spears they will not be able to use them for stabbing, as you gentlemen are to observe them only.’”

75 The Record of Cao Man states, “His Excellency was preparing to cross the Yellow River and the main force had crossed ahead of him, when Chao and his men suddenly arrived, but His Excellency remained seated on his chair and did not rise. Zhang He and his men saw that the situation was urgent and joined together to lead His Excellency into the boat. The river water was flowing rapidly, the ferry traveling four or five li, and Chao and his men rode in pursuit, firing at them such that the arrows came down like rain. All of the generals saw the army was defeated and were not aware that His Excellency was in the boat, and all of them were very afraid, but upon seeing him their grief turned to jubilation and some of them shed tears. His Excellency smiled broadly, saying, ‘Today we were almost stranded here merely on account of a few bandits!’

76 The Record of Cao Man states, “At this time, whenever His Excellency’s army would cross the Wei, Chao’s cavalrymen would immediately interfere. He was unable to set up camp and as the soil was also very sandy and dry, he was unable to construct ramparts. Lou Zibo counseled His Excellency, saying, ‘Presently the skies are cold, but you can construct fortifications from sand; by pouring water onto it you may accomplish it in a single night.’ His Excellency obeyed him and thereupon constructed many sacks of thick, waterproof silk and used them to transport water, sending soldiers across at night to construct fortifications. By the next day the fortifications were erected and consequently the entirety of His Excellency’s army was able to cross the Wei. Some dissenting commentators say that at the time of the ninth month the river water should not yet have been frozen. Your servant Song notes that according to the Book of Wei, His Excellency’s army arrived at Tong Pass in the eighth month and crossed the Yellow River to the north in the intercalary month. It follows then that in this year the intercalary month was the eighth and thusly allows for the irregularly severe cold (in the ninth month)!”

77 The Book of Wei states, “The next day His Excellency again met with Sui and his men to talk and all of his generals said, ‘You have been meeting with the enemy to talk, which is not advisable as you could easily be taken. You should go over to the woods with cavalrymen to prevent this.’ His Excellency saw this was correct. On seeing His Excellency all of the rebels immediately made obeisance, just as the people of Hu did to Qin. Altogether a great throng had converged and His Excellency laughed and addressed the rebels, saying, ‘So you desire to see the infamous Excellency Cao? I too am but a man and do not have four eyes or two mouths, only great wisdom!’ Those gathered, front and back, were a grand sight. Five thousand cavalrymen were arranged in rows ten deep, glorious in the brilliant light of the sun, and the rebels were increasingly shaken with fear.

78 Your servant Song observes that the High Ancestor of Han in his second year fought with Chu at between Xingyangjing and Suo. He erected a walled corridor along the Yellow River for the purpose of seizing Aocang’s grain. Ying Shao states, ‘He was fearful of the enemy robbing his military supplies and this is the reason why he built the wall to create a sort of pathway.’ Now, King Wu of Wei did not erect a wall, but only joined carts together to form a barrier so as to resist from both sides.


-----------------------------------

Also, a small addendum to the previous update, specifically Cao Cao alluding to the Duke of Zhou in his lengthy apology. Apparently the Duke of Zhou was at one point suspected of usurping power until his secret diary was discovered in which he poured out all of his very noble and loyal thoughts. Cao Cao probably means to allude to this as well but it is again rather inappropriate since the Duke stayed in power for 8 years only while Cao had been in power for nearly twenty and Xian was over thirty years old. Certainly the instability a mere 11 years into the Zhou dynasty cannot have been less than in China in 3k times, relative to the size of the country in each era. This is getting into editorial-ness here but personally I find Mengde's excuses to be pretty unconvincing. Nevertheless, it is thoroughly excellent from a literary point-of-view.

Adrian
User avatar
Liu Yuante
绯红王
 
Posts: 2696
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:20 am
Location: Central Pennsylvania

Unread postby James » Sat Sep 24, 2005 6:22 pm

Adrian, how goes the matter of Cao Cao?
I’m sure I’m not the only person who has been looking forward to an update. :)

I have enjoyed your translation of his biography immensely.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17996
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:16 pm

Getting close to another update, I just need to finish the Pei note from hell that concludes Xian's rather irritating edict praising the wonders of His Excellency.

Things have been greatly stressed around here lately so less work has gotten done but I'm ready to ramp up to full-speed again.

Adrian
User avatar
Liu Yuante
绯红王
 
Posts: 2696
Joined: Mon Apr 12, 2004 12:20 am
Location: Central Pennsylvania

PreviousNext

Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved