Liu Bei's kingdom was Han, not Shu

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

Liu Bei's kingdom was Han, not Shu

Unread postby Yun » Tue Jun 21, 2005 1:07 pm

One of the myths spread by the RoTK novel is that Liu Bei's kingdom in Sichuan was called Shu, and the kingdom's ministers, generals and people all referred to it as such. In reality, Liu Bei called his kingdom the Han, and it remained 'Han' until it fell in 263. The name 'Shu' (which is an old name for western Sichuan) was given by the Wei and Jin because these dynasties did not accept Liu Bei's claim to be the legitimate heir to the Han dynasty. This is reflected in Chen Shou's Sanguo Zhi when the section on Liu Bei's kingdom is called the Shu Zhi.

Historians have traditionally called this kingdom the Shu-Han to avoid confusion with the Western and Eastern Han dynasties. However, I see many RoTK fans referring to it as 'Shu', which is ironic since they are often big admirers of Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Zhao Yun and Zhuge Liang, and yet are using a name that was meant in a derogatory sense. That's a little like saying, "I love China! I think those Chinks are wonderful people!"
Yun
Tyro
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2005 1:06 pm

Unread postby Shi Tong » Tue Jun 21, 2005 2:18 pm

I think you have an interesting point, but we have to call the three kingdoms by certain names, we call the kingdom Shu because people call the country that Liu Bei controlled "Shu Guar" in Chinese as well as in English, and those people are Chinese or Taiwanese, and they are fans of Shu as well.

Everybody knows that Shu is called Shu-Han anyway, and those who think that Liu Bei did have a legitimate claim to be the Han heir wouldn't think about insulting him.

I feel that Shu is just a name, not necessarily a derogatory name- did you know that "Greece" is called by it's Turkish name in Greece itself, and that the name means something like "dirt". The Greeks continue to call themselves by this Turkish name, but they certainly dont concider themselves dirt, so I think your argument that calling people "Shu Guar Ren" is derogatory isn't right because we call people "Tai Wan Ren" and we wouldn't concider that an insult.
User avatar
Shi Tong
Stupid Egg of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 4034
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:12 pm
Location: London, England

Unread postby Lu Wei » Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:21 pm

Not so. The word Greece was an ancient name for the Greeks, the Middle Eastern people (including Turks, Arabs, and Persians) use the word Yauna or something similar and it is derived from Ionia.
"The purpose of war is not to die for your country, it's to make the other bastard die for his."
General George S. Patton, Jr.
Lu Wei
Langzhong
 
Posts: 571
Joined: Tue Oct 21, 2003 12:07 am
Location: The great state of Tennessee

Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Jun 21, 2005 11:17 pm

I think there is a difference between the use of "Shu" and the use of "Chink". To call Liu Bei's kingdom "Shu" is merely denying its legitimacy as the successor of Han (in a way, it should be the neutral appellation, as it only refers to the geographical area), while the use of "Chink" is clearly meant to be derogatory.

Would you consider the world "China" to be derogatory? In Chinese, the word for "China" is "Zhongguo"---"the Central Kingdom". By calling the nation by any other name is to deny the cultural belief that China is the centre of the world. No, this wouldn't be considered "derogatory"---the West is simply denying the "centralness" of China, not its sovereignty or status.

Or "Taiwanese"? Technically, the Taiwan government sees itself as being the legitimate successor of "China", just like how Liu Bei is "Han". However, the outside world---and a lot of Taiwanese, are happy to identify the people of Taiwan to be "Taiwanese". This again, cannot be a derogatory usage.

The argument in the first post, that people who admire the "Shu" gang shouldn't call the kingdom "Shu", is thus untenable.

Furthermore, the use of the term "Shu" to refer to Liu Bei's kingdom has been in use throughout Chinese history, and most of Chinese history is Shu-leaning. The Tang dynasty poet Du Fu, a major Zhuge Liang fan, wrote poems on "The Prime Minister of Shu" (蜀相), and the mention of "Shu" is rampant in his 3K-inspired poetry. I don't think we can make a case for Du Fu being ironic in his terminology, or being ignorant of the "proper" historical designation.

Edit: Wow, I got autocensored... :?
"Whatever you do, don't fall off the bridge! It'll be a pain to try to get back up again." - Private, DW 8
User avatar
Lady Wu
There's no better state than Wu
There's no better state than Wu
 
Posts: 12793
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 2:35 am
Location: Wu-ere else?

Unread postby Zhang Liang » Tue Jun 21, 2005 11:48 pm

Though it is used in the later times from the Jin, Sui, Tang, Song, Yuan. It's interesting how bias can Chen Shou and the other writers of Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms are, just by looking at how much a difference from the records Wei from Shu-Han and Wu. Having denying the fact that Liu Bei was from the Han line. I am not quite sure yet, this question has been in my mind for quite some time.

Was Liu Bei related to Prince Liu Sheng of Zhongshan? or Was he indeed really a family member of the Han dynasty line?
“在创造中的任何一件事情是足够的显示一上帝到一谦卑和感谢的头脑。”
User avatar
Zhang Liang
Apprentice
 
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Jun 21, 2005 3:33 pm
Location: Hiding from Qin Shihuangdi in Xiapei

Unread postby Iain » Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:21 am

Didnt Cao Cao once rudely refer to the people of Shu as the rat class of the world? When dealing with Yang Xiu.
ROTK wrote:(chapter 60)
Yang Xiu shot a quick glance at Zhang Song, but Cao Cao went on, saying, "I regard the rat-class of the world as of no more importance than so many weeds, and for my army to reach a place is to overcome it, to give battle is to conquer, to besiege is to take. Those who are with me, live; but those who oppose me, die. Do you understand?"
In my C.H. Brewitt-Taylor translation of 3K it refers to a pun stating that the characters for 'rat' and 'Shu' are read the same.
User avatar
Iain
Lord of Nanchang
 
Posts: 4753
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 7:55 am
Location: Lost in the fun world of Vana'diel.

Unread postby Lady Wu » Wed Jun 22, 2005 12:36 am

Zhang Liang wrote:Was Liu Bei related to Prince Liu Sheng of Zhongshan? or Was he indeed really a family member of the Han dynasty line?

Chen Shou was actually being nice in mentioning the Prince Liu Sheng of Zhongshan bit. I think it was Sima Guang of the Song dynasty, in his Zizhi Tongjian (Comprehensive Mirror for Aiding in Government), who pointed out that so long a time has elapsed between Liu Sheng and Liu Bei (like 300 years?), that *even* if Liu Bei was a descendent, it'd be pretty meaningless.

Iain: No, Cao Cao was referring to everyone in the world that wasn't him, basically (Wu, Shu included). But it's true that the word for Shu and the word for "rat" sound the same.
"Whatever you do, don't fall off the bridge! It'll be a pain to try to get back up again." - Private, DW 8
User avatar
Lady Wu
There's no better state than Wu
There's no better state than Wu
 
Posts: 12793
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 2:35 am
Location: Wu-ere else?

Unread postby Exar Kun » Wed Jun 22, 2005 1:56 am

Lady Wu wrote:Chen Shou was actually being nice in mentioning the Prince Liu Sheng of Zhongshan bit. I think it was Sima Guang of the Song dynasty, in his Zizhi Tongjian (Comprehensive Mirror for Aiding in Government), who pointed out that so long a time has elapsed between Liu Sheng and Liu Bei (like 300 years?), that *even* if Liu Bei was a descendent, it'd be pretty meaningless.


About as 'meaningless' as Guangwu's connection to the imperial house anyway...
"Two there should be; no more, no less.
One to embody the power, the other to crave it."
-Creed of the New Sith-
User avatar
Exar Kun
Dark Lord of the Sith
 
Posts: 3344
Joined: Thu Jan 23, 2003 12:18 am
Location: Cruising the Nether

Unread postby Lady Wu » Wed Jun 22, 2005 3:22 am

Exar Kun wrote:About as 'meaningless' as Guangwu's connection to the imperial house anyway...

Except, Liu Xiu is closer to Emperor Jing (Prince Sheng of Zhongshan's great-grandfather and closest emperor) by about 200 years than Liu Bei was.
"Whatever you do, don't fall off the bridge! It'll be a pain to try to get back up again." - Private, DW 8
User avatar
Lady Wu
There's no better state than Wu
There's no better state than Wu
 
Posts: 12793
Joined: Mon Aug 26, 2002 2:35 am
Location: Wu-ere else?

Unread postby Shi Tong » Wed Jun 22, 2005 11:39 am

Not so. The word Greece was an ancient name for the Greeks, the Middle Eastern people (including Turks, Arabs, and Persians) use the word Yauna or something similar and it is derived from Ionia.


Well, I'm only basing my knowledge on what my half Greek friend told me.

Weather or not Liu Bei was the legitimate Heir to the Han dynasty is appart from weather or not Shu is a derogatory name I think. Many English kings are nothing to do with real decendants, and yet they claim their thrones with as much force as their forefathers (or not, as the case may be) but I agree with Lady Wu, because it's obvious that it's just a name, and those who are fans of Shu, (much like a lot of people I know) still refer to Shu as "Shu Guar" or "Shu-Han".

You could argue that the name Shu Guar is "Shu Country" and this name legitamizes the country, just as England is called "Ing Guar" doesn't mean it's not a legitimate state.
User avatar
Shi Tong
Stupid Egg of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 4034
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:12 pm
Location: London, England

Next

Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests

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