Zhao Zilong's Bodyguard Reputation

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

Zhao Zilong's Bodyguard Reputation

Unread postby Mikhail » Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:07 pm

There are people who say that Zhao Zilong was actually just a bodyguard for the Liu family and was never really a general. I have never seen any proof of this and his bio clearly stated that he was a general (General of the Standard, General of the Flying Army, General Who Protects the Center, General Who Conquers the South, General Who Guards the East, General of the Centre Army). Though I don't know if most of those titles actually existed (I heard that some titles were meaningless, but titles nonetheless), it shows that he was a general in the Shu army.

How then did he get the bodyguard reputation? The only thing that I see that would even show the slightest bit of bodyguard work, though I don't believe it was, is shown in his rescue of Liu Shan in Changban.
User avatar
Great Sage Equaling Heaven
Posts: 2628
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2005 11:15 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:35 pm

I partly think it is the novel, it gives that sort of impression and that while Yun 's achivments in SGZ are reltavily few though it is noted about his fighting.
User avatar
Dong Zhou
Posts: 17432
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

Unread postby Iain » Sat Jul 23, 2005 12:09 am

Many of Liu Bei's generals would have gone to great lengths to protect his life, but Zhao Yun took that a step future going back into uncertain territory to rescue his lord's wife and heir. Perhaps this shows how far a person would go to protect his masters family.
User avatar
Lord of Nanchang
Posts: 4754
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 7:55 am
Location: Lost in the fun world of Vana'diel.

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sun Jul 24, 2005 10:27 am

Zhao Yun was no doubt a general. However his rescue of Liu Bei's family also proved he was a good bodyguard. Since he was most known, over time at least, for the rescue at Steepslope he is considered by some as more of a great bodyguard than a great general.
User avatar
Scholar of Shen Zhou
Posts: 1442
Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2005 4:14 pm
Location: London

Unread postby Shi Tong » Sun Jul 24, 2005 10:02 pm

But Zhao Yun is a great general who made several sucessful attacks in SGYY, (I think they're probably in the SGZ as well, since he was in certain battles in which he definately took part).

Doesn't mean he cant be a good bodyguard though I suppose. The same thing can be said of Guan Yu's protection of Liu Bei's wives.
User avatar
Shi Tong
Stupid Egg of Shen Zhou
Posts: 4034
Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 10:12 pm
Location: London, England

Unread postby Jordan » Sun Jul 24, 2005 11:33 pm

I think the term "bodyguard" was being flung around a little bit differently than the way we think of a bodyguard. I would say that bodyguards in that period were more like generals in charge of defense. For instance Dian Wei led troops as a general even though he was also a bodyguard. I think Zhao Yun was both a bodyguard and general but I'm not sure about it.
User avatar
Scholar of Shen Zhou
Posts: 5986
Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2004 4:52 am

Unread postby Six_and_Up » Mon Jul 25, 2005 2:48 am

Zhao Yun's bodyguard reputation probably stems from the fact that he watched over Lady Sun when she was engaged to Liu Bei. Other than that his bio mostly shows him to be a general on the battlefield.
Currently playing: Dragon Quest VIII
User avatar
Scholar of Shen Zhou
Posts: 900
Joined: Thu Oct 16, 2003 10:35 am
Location: Sydney Australia

The Bodyguard Myth

Unread postby ChangZilong » Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:36 am

Bodyguard - Someone who escorts and protects a prominent person

It's a very loose definition, really, and hence we can understand why so many could fall under that category. However, there is a line, fine as it may be, between real bodyguards, and loyal generals. Dian Wei, undisputably, was a bodyguard. Never, in a time where his lord's unit was engaged in upfront battle with an enemy unit, even though Cao Cao may have been winning, did Dian Wei leave his side. The same goes for Xu Chu - whilst they may have sometimes led their own units, when their lord fought somebody directly, they were there.

Zhao Yun, on the other hand, is another story entirely. Were he really a bodyguard, he would have accompanied Liu Bei in the preliminary attacks on the River Lands, rather than coming as reinforcements from Jing after the death of Pang Tong. He also would have gone with Liu Bei to Yi Ling, rather than come afterwards as a reinforcement unit. The fact that he acted differently on both of these occassions, as well as many others, shows that he was by no means a real bodyguard.

Also, Zhao Yun had many exploits as a general. Whilst SGYY does not state this, during Liu Bei's service under Yuan Shao (after Cao Cao scattered him and his brothers at Xu) he met Zhao Yun. Zhao Yun served Liu Bei from thereon, although, with Yuan Shao present, was forced to keep it secret at first. During this time, he recruited to him as many men as he could who would be willing to follow Liu Bei. These were a great help to Liu Bei when Zhao Yun brought them with him to Runan. Furthermore, Zhao Yun was responsible for the capture of Guiyang, and participated in Liu Bei's conquest of Northern Jing, as well.

After Liu Bei's death, however, we see an increased amount of individual activity from Zhao Yun - he was one of the main generals involved in Zhuge Liang's plan for the defense of Shu immediately after the death of Liu Bei, holding off Cao Zhen - who led Wei's entire army - in Hanzhong. He then led his own unit, and with Wei Yan, formed a core of the Shu Campaign against the Mangs. Later, he led the frontier during the campaign for Tianshui, and during the Jieting debacle, led his own individual unit against Cao Zhen at Chang'an, a battle that he only lost due to inferior numbers and the nearby loss at Jieting. In spite of this, though, his was the only ordered and safe retreat during that campaign, with many other units being routed as they fled. Finally, he spearheaded a direct assault on Chang'an, his last major campaign. So, we can see how Zhao Zilong was far more than a simple bodyguard.
Posts: 5
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2005 10:19 am
Location: In the Rivers of Dang Yang

Re: Zhao Zilong's Bodyguard Reputation

Unread postby Sevenrhapsody » Mon Jul 25, 2005 9:42 pm

Corgan wrote:
How then did he get the bodyguard reputation? The only thing that I see that would even show the slightest bit of bodyguard work, though I don't believe it was, is shown in his rescue of Liu Shan in Changban.

I believe Zhao got his reputation as a bodyguard not for rescuing Liu Shan, but for guarding Liu Bei on behalf of Kongming in Wu. He was instrumental in reminding Liu Bei of his duty and escorting Liu Bei back to JiangXia with Lady Sun.
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:57 pm

Unread postby SYL » Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:28 am

An excellent post there, ChangZilong. Zhao Yun was a very competent general indeed. It's important to impress the fact that Cao Zhen was not some run-of-the-mill peon, but a very gifted commander in his own right, and more than a challenge to the best Shu had at the time.
aortic high arctic part mood altered paradise is lost
Posts: 1698
Joined: Mon Dec 15, 2003 12:44 pm
Location: Ivory Tower


Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 5 guests

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