Liu Bei's skillz

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Unread postby Lord Bio » Thu Aug 18, 2005 4:21 am

SlickSlicer wrote:
kvn_m wrote:In the novel, it's true that the battles he won are due to the prowess or wits of his generals and advisors. However, historically, it was he who made the moves to win battles and gain territories. The other person who's similar to Liu Bei would be Cao Cao, Yuan Shao and Sun Ce who expanded their forces. Yuan Shao managed to take over Gongsun Zan; Sun Ce managed to pacify the southerlands; Liu Bei managed to take Jingzhou or Yizhou. Whether they're spectacular or not, I believe it's more important than defending Chi Bi or defending He Fei. Chi Bi and He Fei are both BIG victories. It's good. But in taking Yizhou, I actually compare it to the battle of Guan Du. Even if it wasn't a show of feat as much as it was in Guan Du, I believe that Liu Bei's action of taking Yizhou was almost as important as winning the battle of Guan Du.


Well you have a point. The victory at Guandu secured Cao Cao's place in the Central Plains and Nei Bei. Similarly Liu Bei's victories in Yizhou secured Shu-Han's place in the southwest for several decades. Liu Bei was decent. He was not the best general in Shu, but he was an apt commander. Sometimes I think that Luo Guanzhong, the author of the novel, unintentionally made Kongming seem better than he was at the expense of several Shu advisors, generals and even Liu Bei himself.


I don't think Luo Guanzhong unintentionally made Kongming seem better then those you mentioned, I think Luo Guanzhong intentionally did so. While Liu Bei certainly could have been an able commander, something that as a non-tactician/strategist I don't feel I have the authority to debate on, he chose to not to do so. Why do you suppose he did this, make Liu Bei, the nominal protaganist, and other characters to be worse then they were just to build up Zhuge Liang? As an aspiring author, I feel I do have grounds to effectively argue some reasons why he made Liu Bei seem worse then he might actually have been in history.

The answer I see lies in LGZ's wish to make Liu Bei seem more "rightous" then he perhaps really was in history. In the novel, it is Liu Bei's rightousness that drew other talented officers to him, not his abilities. For it to not be Liu Bei's abilities LGZ had to downplay those abilities, so that it was obviously the rightousness that drew people. Cao Cao, in the novel and history, had the great ability to tell an officer or advisior skill, and to recruit them. They were drawn to Cao Cao because of that ability/skill and his obvious other talents. Sun Jian had the leadership ability to draw able commanders to him, and Sun Ce had the fierceness to do the same. Liu Bei had none of these, well he might have but LGZ did not portray it so, but instead only had his "rightousness," something that LGZ portrayed as just as important as those other abilities in regards to recruiting able men.

Now for the other half of the equation, why did Luo Guanzhong intentionally build up Zhuge Liang to be greater then he perhaps was in history, at the expense of others? I believe the answer has two parts. First to show that perhaps Liu Bei's rightousness was even more important then other mens abilities, as it was that rightousness that recruited Zhuge Liang, arguably the most capable man of his time, something that those other abilities did not allow the other rulers to do. It was only through Liu Bei's supposed rightousness that he was able to get Zhuge Liang, and nothing else would have allowed anyone to recruit him. The second part of the reason of building up Zhuge Liang at the expense of others, is that because I see Zhuge Liang as the second protaganist of the story. The first protaganist, Liu Bei, was a rightous but incapable man. Now the second protaganist is a incrediably capable man, more capable then anyone else (due to LGZ's increasing of Zhuge Liang and decresing of others.) From a weak protaganist where all the action begins in the novel during the first parts of the Chaotic Three Kingdoms era, to a strong protaganist where things are settling in. LGZ had to keep the intrest of the reader in some way and showing how increadiably capable Zhuge Liang was, is a literary device to do so. Also, it seems to me LGZ wanted to emphasize Zhuge Liangs loyalty above all other things. He effectively does so, by showing that even though the skilled Zhuge Liang, could have easily taken the rule of Shu from the inefectual Liu Shan, the son of the first protaganist, he does not do to his ultimate loyalty to Shu. (That last part could be untrue as LGZ did not have to do so, as it actually occurred in history. However it still makes for an engaging story does it not?)
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Unread postby DAv » Thu Aug 18, 2005 7:27 pm

Liu Bei was a good commander. Not excellent or great but good. His real talent was indeed in being a leader of men rather than soldiers.
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Unread postby Elitemsh » Fri Aug 19, 2005 1:25 pm

This is exactly my view. As a leader Liu Bei is among the best and I would say second only to Cao Cao. Few were born with such a charasmatic personality and an ability to make others wholeheartedly believe in their course. However, as a commander Liu Bei would be second certainly to Guan Yu and perhaps Zhang Fei. Liu Bei could have provided a large morale boost for troops in battle, however strategically I do not think he was that adept. Liu Bei was a veteran of war and would not have been easy to defeat, however his skills were inferior to very capable strategists like Lu Xun.
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Unread postby Hannibal ad portas » Fri May 04, 2007 11:07 am

elitemsh wrote:This is exactly my view. As a leader Liu Bei is among the best and I would say second only to Cao Cao. Few were born with such a charasmatic personality and an ability to make others wholeheartedly believe in their course. However, as a commander Liu Bei would be second certainly to Guan Yu and perhaps Zhang Fei. Liu Bei could have provided a large morale boost for troops in battle, however strategically I do not think he was that adept. Liu Bei was a veteran of war and would not have been easy to defeat, however his skills were inferior to very capable strategists like Lu Xun.


I agree that Liu Bei was second to Cao Cao as a leader but i disagree to say both Guan Yu and Zhang Fei were better commanders (though Zhang Fei comes close) Liu Bei was the best commader/general shu had but i agree that he is inferior to Lu Xun strategically but not as a commander
Last edited by Hannibal ad portas on Fri May 04, 2007 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Shi Tong » Fri May 04, 2007 11:19 am

Second to Guan Yu? As a commander? What are your sourses elitemsh?

Actually, Liu Bei was a fantastic commander with great charisma who made people follow him. I dont think militarily he was quite as good as Cao Cao, but it's hard to compare them fairly because we dont have a scenario where Cao and Liu faced each other on flat ground with equal troop numbers and resources.

I think I agree with Lady Wu's first post here- it was really Liu Bei who won the fight in that particular example, not really Fa Zheng or anyone else.
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Unread postby Zhilong » Thu May 10, 2007 6:12 am

Han Xin once said that he was a better commander than Liu Bang as the latter could not command armies of size as well as him. However, Han Xin also said that Liu Bang could command generals and that quality was superior. I think that also applies here. Liu Bei was a good general and certainly had his moments but his real talent was as a leader. Against Lu Xun it really showed he was not in the top league.
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Unread postby Antiochus » Thu May 10, 2007 6:35 am

Liu Bei was probably a great commander. All of Shu's actual gains against Wei was made during his lifetime. His death mark the end of Shu's expantion against the Cao family.
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Unread postby Hannibal ad portas » Thu May 10, 2007 9:33 am

Against Lu Xun it really showed he was not in the top league.[/quote]

Like i said strategically Lu Xun was superior but i disagree with anyone who says he was a better commander than Liu Bei, to me Liu Bei was one of the best Commanders of the Three Kingdoms era
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Unread postby Zhilong » Fri May 11, 2007 1:17 am

Antiochus wrote:Liu Bei was probably a great commander. All of Shu's actual gains against Wei was made during his lifetime. His death mark the end of Shu's expantion against the Cao family.


Resource-wise that is untrue. Both ZL and Jiang Wei made non-territorial gains against Wei.

Territorially, ZL gained 2 prefectures. Not much but once the 3 kingdom stalemate was set up, pretty much no one could really say they gained more than ZL against the other two kingdoms. The only other person in Shu to achieve this was Guan Yu but his gain was smaller, temporary and in the end it cost him his base.

Like i said strategically Lu Xun was superior but i disagree with anyone who says he was a better commander than Liu Bei, to me Liu Bei was one of the best Commanders of the Three Kingdoms era


In what comparable aspects was Liu Bei superior to Lu Xun as a commander?
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Unread postby Antiochus » Fri May 11, 2007 1:20 am

Ok, but Liu Bei made territorial gains that lasted after his death, while Zhuge's expantion north was cancelled by the defeat at Jie Ting.
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