Is Zhuge Liang "overrated"?

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Is Zhuge Liang "overrated"?

Unread postby Fenriskid » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:14 pm

I was having a discussion with a group of people on who is the most overrated general in world history, and several of them referred to Zhuge Liang. I find this assertion ridiculous, and their reasoning was that 1) He was hyped and given magical abilities by SGYY 2) The Nanman from Southern Expeditions were "poorly armed barbarians" 3) That he failed the Northern Expeditions. Is there any arguments to refute such claims?
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Nov 21, 2007 2:57 pm

1) So because there was a novel character, the historical one is overatted? I would think the historical one is underestimated nowadays because of the novel, people compare the sheer awesome mystic with a real human figure, one trying to juggle civil work, political rivalries and taking on a mighty empire with just a province.

2) He still defeated them within a month and captured their leader seven times. Ask how many leaders did that.

3) Define failure? Jie Ting was a massive failure due to Zhuge Liang's own errors though Ma Su's failure to follow orders was a major shock. The others? He was facing a prepared Wei and his goal would have been to avoid defeats in battle while also looking to gain something. He killed Wang Shuang in the second, gained two towns that they kept in the third, won a battle and killed Zhang He in the 4th and forced Wei onto the defensive in his fifth.

Ok, he didn't conquer the land but he did well in the circumstances.
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Unread postby Fenriskid » Thu Nov 22, 2007 6:21 am

These people are at it comments again

http://boards.gamefaqs.com/gfaqs/genmes ... 33&page=15

Zhuge Liang was responsible for the planning of Red Cliffs and the alliance of Shu and Wu

Ima stop you right here. Zhou Yu, Cheng Pu and Huang Gai did all the tactical planning for the Battle of Chi Bi. Lu Su approached Liu Bei with plans for a Joint Defense against Cao Cao, hoping that having Liu Bei on his side would convince Sun Quan that fighting was the proper course of action. Of course, the question of to fight or not to fight was settled by Zhou Yu being so adament towards battle.

the defeat of the Nanman seven times in a month, and the defeat of Cao Pi's seven armies.

Novel, Novel, Novel. Please, stop using the Novel as your source.

The Northern Expeditions were not without gains, and Wang Shuang was killed in the second expedition, gaining strategic town of Hanzhong

Han Zhong was gained by Liu Bei in 218-219, long before any Northern Campaigns. And Wang Shuang is a nobody.

winning the forth and killing Zhang He, and forced a Wei defensive in the fifth. His attacks severely disrupted the Wei, and it was only Sima Yi that held it from certain defeat.

When the goal of the fourth campaign is the capture of Chang An, and he failed to capture Chang An, that's not a win. And, once again, Zhang He didn't matter. He was in his 60's by the time he was killed in battle. he was bound to die, or become useless with age, sooner, rather than later.

And, how is "forcing a Wei defensive" considered a positive, when that Wei Defensive checks you, and causes you to die from stress?


Zhuge Liang was responsible for the planning of Red Cliffs and the alliance of Shu and Wu

No. Huang Gai of Wu carried out the fire attack. Cao Cao chained his ships together, resulting in the effects. Zhou Yu did the work, not Zhuge Liang.

defeat of the Nanman seven times in a month

Giving Zhuge Liang credit for beating a bunch of barbarians is like praising the Wehrmacht for defeating Denmark.

The supplies ran out because of Ma Su disobeying orders at Jieting, and later because of the unpredictable nature of siege warfare.

The supplies ran out because Zhuge Liang failed at logistics. His infrastructure sucked, his underlings sucked, and he didn't have the stockpiles required for siege warfare. That's the end of the story. If he was half the man you think he is, he would've won by the second campaign.

how many generals managed to defeat the same army seven times in less than a month?

Defeating the same opponent seven times in one month means you're incompetent. It means you're unable to force a decisive battle at any point in time. It means you're fighting a war of attrition.
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Unread postby Kittn » Thu Nov 22, 2007 6:36 am

But Zhou Yu -is- the star of Chi Bi. Historically, Zhuge Liang did very little but annoy Sun Quan while they waited for Zhou Yu's advice on whether or not to stand against Cao Cao. Time and time again the games and the novels try to give the credit to Zhuge Liang for 'calling the wind'

Myself I am heavily biased, of course. But I believe he is overrated because of the fictional sources and people who don't know the differences between the novel and the historical Zhuge Liang.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Nov 22, 2007 7:27 am

I would question how much credit Cheng Pu has for Chi Bi. While the guy is a bit rude, most of his points are fair. The two towns he did gain were Anding and Yangping I think

When the goal of the fourth campaign is the capture of Chang An, and he failed to capture Chang An, that's not a win. And, once again, Zhang He didn't matter. He was in his 60's by the time he was killed in battle. he was bound to die, or become useless with age, sooner, rather than later.


The goal was capture Chang An? Why didn't he use a full strength army? Sure, his first and fifth attempts were certainly attempting it but I think he more realistic goals, trouble the Wei armies which he did and gain something which he didn't in the fourth

He won a battle on the offensive and even when withdrawing killed the second in command. Sure Zhang He was old, he was still second in command and a noted general

And, how is "forcing a Wei defensive" considered a positive, when that Wei Defensive checks you, and causes you to die from stress?


Shows how respected Zhuge Liang had become from the "Oh he won't invade, nobody has the daring of Liu Bei"

Giving Zhuge Liang credit for beating a bunch of barbarians is like praising the Wehrmacht for defeating Denmark. Defeating the same opponent seven times in one month means you're incompetent. It means you're unable to force a decisive battle at any point in time. It means you're fighting a war of attrition.


So Cao Zhang, He Qi, Duan Jiong, Huangfu Gui, Huangfu Song and so on are all worse then Zhuge Liang? Interesting theory of his, would he like to explain how they were all rubbish for having them many times and failing to beat those they faced in less then a month?

The supplies ran out because Zhuge Liang failed at logistics.


or because Hanzhong was, while a brilliant defensive border, a real pain to go on the offensive as the terrain hindered supply lines greatly.

His infrastructure sucked,


which was why Yi was known as a fertile province, a land of milk and honey if you will, and why it was considered to have prospered under his guidance

, his underlings sucked


yeah, he, Jiang Wan, Fei Yi and Dong Yun sucked themselves into being called the four great ministers by the people. Oh and Wang Ping was so horrible!

and he didn't have the stockpiles required for siege warfare.


he couldn't really stock pile till after the 3rd, he still had to get it over Hanzhong

That's the end of the story. If he was half the man you think he is, he would've won by the second campaign.


Depends, I would say you would need an exceptional commander and brilliant strategic mind, which isn't Zhuge Liang to have been in any way expected to beat Wei's many far larger armies under skilled commanders, despite supply problems and got so far as Chang An, then taking it, in one campaign. Or 5
Last edited by Dong Zhou on Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Tarrot » Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:47 am

To clarify a minor point of Dong Zhou:

Duan Jiong was a general in the Latter Han, Pre-Three Kingdoms, who was probably the best general of his era in terms of on the field experience. He was known for his campaigns where he massacred the Qiangs and the Xiong Nu into submission, and effectively settled the borders when no one else could. His most noted campaign lasted for two years, and he lost 400 men in that timeframe. While he was mostly facing barbarians, he still had great renown for his ability. As a side-note, these inferior barbarians that Duan Jiong faced a century later would form one of the six kingdoms during the Age of Fragmentation which occurred shortly after the union of China.

Really, discrediting someone's work because they faced barbarians, quite frankly, is foolish. I mean, I'm sure the Vietnamese in the Vietnam War or the Afghans against the Russians and Brits in their various wars or numerous other instances where one force would be held up by a technologically inferior force to show how this would work. And even then, the barbarians of the era were on the same level for the most part technologically. I mentioned the Jin dynasty being attacked by the Xiong Nu, but the Liang province was in a state of rebellion for about 40 years or so before it was finally pacified. While not a great feat of military history, Zhuge pacifying the Nanmans within a month is still something he should have credit for.
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Unread postby Shi Tong » Thu Nov 22, 2007 10:13 am

I agree with Dongy and the others who've been supporting ZGL.

Of course,, if you look at the novel version vs the historical version, he looks like he's nothing in comparison because in the novel he's given powers beyond humankind.

IMO this doesn't mean he's useless historically, it means that LGZ once again has made someone brilliant more than he should have been in order to spice up the story.

If you think about it logistically, ZGL's attack of Wei is a little bit like Taiwan attacking China; not only does it lack the overall resources to actually effectively win a fight against it's enemy, but it's stand alone, with the fact that he scared Wei so much (even historically), is a real measure of talent.

Dont forget that not only did Shu have a tiny population and a small army in comparison with Wei, but Shu was formed much later and had to gain itself a foothold even after Wu and Wei, which were already powerful and organised.

Also, as Dongy points out, each gain for Shu had to be consolidated. You cant have a stockpile of grain if you've just taken over Han Zhong. You also cant expect to invade and completely take over Wei if you're a Shu.

About barbarians.

I must say I'm sick of this word. I just dont think it should even be used because it's so pathetic and badly describes the enemies you may face.

We dont laugh at Caesar because he beat the Gauls, and to be fair, the Gauls, (though called barbarians) were actually a pretty strong, well organised and well cultured race. The reason for the word barbarians IMO is used to belittle the enemy, or to say they're not as cultured or well organised/ have less tech than it's enemy.

Take this as you will, you could even call Sun Ce/ Sun Jian's enemies in the Southlands while they were invading barbarians just because they were beaten, you could call Liu Zhang a barbarian, Ma Chao and his family barbarians, just because they were outside the civil circle. IMO, the defeat of the Southlands by Ce and Jian were actually a massive achievement.
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Unread postby Lonely_dragon » Fri Nov 23, 2007 1:08 am

Yes... I support Zhuge Liang historically and Novelwise.... He is a great strategists.... maybe the best that the 3k had ever produced.... For I can't see anyone on this earth is capable of producing the 3K strategy for Liu Bei who was at that time had no foothold on his own...

Even though historically he received command of the army after Liu Bei died but he is one of the great leader of the era... just like Caesar on his time... :D
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Nov 23, 2007 7:11 am

Please could you justify one of the great leaders, great strategist and the Caesar comment? Novel wise yes, history wise no

Jing and Yi were the only lands left from Wei/Wu that Liu Bei could reach, the trick was how to get them.
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Unread postby xiaoxiannu » Sat Nov 24, 2007 2:52 pm

Hm..another propaganda from anti-shuist. :D
Why bothered ZGL capability so much ? As a novel and history wise...still both of them has their unique characters...the true ZGL maybe only revealed if we can jump across time with time machine and see how is the true ZGL like.. :D
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