List of Liu Bei's "betrayals" and discussion on.

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List of Liu Bei's "betrayals" and discussion on.

Unread postby Shi Tong » Thu Feb 14, 2008 11:39 am

Hello!!

I understand that there's another thread about Liu Bei VS Lu Bu, who's the biggest traitor.

However, I wanted to gradually go through the list of Liu Bei's apparent "betrayals" and see weather or not they were or could be seen as actual back stabbing betrayals in which he left his "leader" or "superior" out in the cold.

The reason I wanted to start this thread is because I'm reading SGYY for the 4th time now and have just read past Lu Bu's death. Then I've read on to the Girdle Edict where Liu Bei joins up with the others to rid the court of Cao.

So.. what do you lot thing of these first two possible "betrayals", and what are the reasons for them.

Can I also just say that I'd like to discuss pretty much one at a time, in order that each "betrayal" is discussed in full before we move onto the next.

I've already broken this by adding Girdle Edict and Lu Bu together.. but that's because I'm stupid.. and an egg! :lol:
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Unread postby Sima Hui » Fri Feb 22, 2008 6:50 pm

Edit: Reopened! Take it away, Shi Tong!
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Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Feb 22, 2008 11:19 pm

As I've said to you on a different site Tongy, Lu Bu had already betrayed Liu Bei (twice) so he had it coming to him. Second the GHirdle Order wasin theory from his highest lord so he in theory coiuldn't ignore it however I gues that depends on whether you think he did it for Emperour or himself.
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Sat Feb 23, 2008 12:12 am

His first "betrayal" was of Gongsun Zan. He went to Tao Qian instead, who had offered him a higher position. Gongsun Zan was destroyed not long after. I don't know if this is a betrayal, per se, since Tao Qian was Gongsun's ally, but I will say that it's pretty telling that Liu Bei later worked with the man who had killed his former lord.

Next came Lu Bu, whom you could argue had it coming, and you could also argue that it was Zhang Fei who caused trouble, not Liu Bei. But by not punishing Zhang Fei for his actions, Liu Bei may have been endorsing them. Still, I don't see this as a betrayal.

Next came Cao Cao. Liu Bei was residing in Xu, then turned on Cao Cao after defeating Yuan Shu, killing Che Zhou. I consider this an actual betrayal because at that time, Liu Bei was serving Cao Cao, but then suddenly killed one of his governors.

Then comes Sun Quan and Liu Zhang. I'm not going to mention Jing, because that's a source of much debate, but Liu Bei told Sun Quan that he couldn't bear for Sun Quan to attack Liu Zhang, a relative. Then, he turns around and attacks Liu Zhang himself.

Was Liu Bei a backstabber? At times, yes. That doesn't make him a bad person; just more ruthless than most people think.
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Unread postby Mistelten » Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:35 am

Do we think that Liu Bei really intended to be the ally of Sun Quan forever? Assuming he could somehow overtake Wei, Sun Quan wouldn't be likely to give up his power and Liu Bei had to know this.

Liu Zhang was the greatest outright betrayal but I think Liu Bei was shifty from the very beginning. Cao Cao had the protection of the emperor and, whatever his intentions, was taking a defensive position from the time of the anti-Cao pact. Liu Bei had the skill to turn his into a righteous cause in the eyes of others, even if he lacked Cao's ability to win victories.
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Unread postby Shi Tong » Mon Feb 25, 2008 10:35 am

Edit: Reopened! Take it away, Shi Tong!
:lol: Thanks very much Sima Hui!

As I've said to you on a different site Tongy, Lu Bu had already betrayed Liu Bei (twice) so he had it coming to him. Second the GHirdle Order wasin theory from his highest lord so he in theory coiuldn't ignore it however I gues that depends on whether you think he did it for Emperour or himself.


Yes I agree with you Sun Fin, though questioning his motives is a tough one because neither, or any of us, can really prove his motives for "betraying" Cao Cao when he joins up with Yuan Shao.

Sun Gongli,

His first "betrayal" was of Gongsun Zan. He went to Tao Qian instead, who had offered him a higher position. Gongsun Zan was destroyed not long after. I don't know if this is a betrayal, per se, since Tao Qian was Gongsun's ally, but I will say that it's pretty telling that Liu Bei later worked with the man who had killed his former lord.


Of course, I suddenly realised as I was reading SGYY, and Gongsun Zan gets destroyed by Yuan Shao, this could be Liu Bei's first "betrayal".

Tell me Sun Gongli... was Gongsun Zan in need of Liu Bei's help? Or did Liu Bei know that Gongsun Zan was in "trouble" before he just heard the report that Yuan Shao had done away with him?

I dont think that at the start going to Tao Qian was necessarily a betrayal, it was just a career move, and I dont think that Gongsun Zan was upset about that move either. I'd like to know Gongsun's thoughts, but that's easier said than done! :wink:

As for Liu Bei working with Yuan Shao.

Liu Bei was a major contributor and member of the Girdle Edict group who vowed for the emperor to do away with Cao Cao.

The fact that Liu Bei joins up with Yuan Shao could, (I think) be seen as a necessary move, since Yuan Shao was, or had been:

a) (Probably) a Han loyalist (though he was getting the seal from his brother to become emperor right?)

and b) Yuan Shao was the only significant opposition to Cao Cao at the time, and Liu Bei had been commissioned by the emperor to destroy him.

It's a bit risky politically to join up with someone who you probably distrust or dislike to begin with, but if you're on a mission to rid the court of Cao Cao and Yuan Shao looks like the only option then maybe that's the option which must be taken.

I'm not sure Liu Bei's thoughts were as "pure" as all that, but do you think that what I said makes sense? Do you think that Liu Bei would not look like such a backstabber if you consider his moves in relation to following the emperor's orders instead of anyone else's?

Next came Lu Bu, whom you could argue had it coming, and you could also argue that it was Zhang Fei who caused trouble, not Liu Bei. But by not punishing Zhang Fei for his actions, Liu Bei may have been endorsing them. Still, I don't see this as a betrayal.


I agree with this. Liu Bei and Lu Bu always had a strange relationship. Lu Bu just kept stealing things from Liu Bei, then apparently "helping" him out of tough situations again (like saving him from Yuan Shu) and expecting Liu Bei to be "happy" about it.

Sure Liu Bei reminded Cao Cao of Lu Bu's betraying nature, but I think that Cao knew it anyway. He'd have had him killed regardless, but I dont think this is betrayal on Liu Bei's behalf.

Next came Cao Cao. Liu Bei was residing in Xu, then turned on Cao Cao after defeating Yuan Shu, killing Che Zhou. I consider this an actual betrayal because at that time, Liu Bei was serving Cao Cao, but then suddenly killed one of his governors.


Lets elaborate on that point because I'd not thought of it before, so thanks Sun Gongli, that's a really good point to bring up.

As far as I remember in SGYY (a very unreliable source, I'll give you), Liu Bei killed Che Zhou because he was being malicious to the people.. though for some reason I've only just read this part and my memory is already gone on this.. D'OH!

Anyway.. I think that killing Yuan Shu was certainly not a betrayal (I dont think anyone would argue that it is), because even following Cao's orders, destroying someone who has made themselves emperor is a priority for anyone who's following the emperor's petition to "do away with rebels".

I've not got to Sun Quan and Liu Zhang yet, but what the hell.

Then comes Sun Quan and Liu Zhang. I'm not going to mention Jing, because that's a source of much debate,


Jing is a really odd one. Liu Bei was "lent" or "given" a section of Jing, Nan Jun (right?), but overran the rest of it with his own manpower and army. So you could argue that the only part which was actually "owed" to Sun Quan was Nan Jun, but again, it's debatable because was it lent of given?! :lol:

Liu Zhang, I cant remember well enough what happened and will come to that when I actually re read that part.

However, from what I can remember, I felt it was Liu Bei's subordinates, especially in SGYY who took over Cheng Du, almost in the "name" of Liu Bei.

I think this is a LGZism though, and historically it was probably Liu Bei who set up the destruction of his clansman.

Is there anyone who can help elaborate on this in a historical way?

I'm thinking that for points out of ten for each "betrayal" of Liu Bei's so far that we have discussed with any clarity:

Gongsun Zan, I think is probably a 2/10.

Lu Bu is probably again, a 2/10.

Cao Cao.. I think that's probably also maybe around 3/10.
Siding with Yuan Shao, this depends on who you think he's taking his orders from- if it's the emperor, then it's probably 1/10, but if you think he's betraying Cao Cao who helped him, it's probably a good 6/10 or so.

Killing Che Zhou. Lets try to cast some light on that. It's an interesting one.

Mistelten, I think you've hit the nails on their heads there my man.

Can you elaborate on specific issues, because I value your opinion, and would like to know what you think of the Gongsun, Lu Bu and Cao Cao issues.

Who do you think Liu Bei was following too? Do you think that he was following the emperor's orders (and therefore had justification for almost everything he did?), even if he WAS out for himself? :wink:
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Unread postby Elitemsh » Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:37 pm

Shi Tong wrote:Liu Zhang, I cant remember well enough what happened and will come to that when I actually re read that part.

However, from what I can remember, I felt it was Liu Bei's subordinates, especially in SGYY who took over Cheng Du, almost in the "name" of Liu Bei.

I think this is a LGZism though, and historically it was probably Liu Bei who set up the destruction of his clansman.

Is there anyone who can help elaborate on this in a historical way


Historically, Liu Bei wanted to attack Liu Zhang all along (ever since Zhuge Liang suggested the idea) but first needed build his military power in Jing and then he needed to win the hearts of people of Yi. He then waited for an opportunity. When Liu Zhang only gave him a small amount of the resources he asked for (in order to help Sun Quan) then Liu Bei could use this as justification for his subsequent betrayal. He didn't betray earlier because he would lose his reputaion for honour and thus his weight with the commoners. The historian Rafe de Crespigny explains this much better in his GOS.
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Unread postby Shi Tong » Mon Feb 25, 2008 4:12 pm

Historically, Liu Bei wanted to attack Liu Zhang all along (ever since Zhuge Liang suggested the idea) but first needed build his military power in Jing and then he needed to win the hearts of people of Yi. He then waited for an opportunity. When Liu Zhang only gave him a small amount of the resources he asked for (in order to help Sun Quan) then Liu Bei could use this as justification for his subsequent betrayal. He didn't betray earlier because he would lose his reputaion for honour and thus his weight with the commoners. The historian Rafe de Crespigny explains this much better in his GOS.


Right, so this would pretty much be 10/10 on the betrayal scale.. which is pretty poor since it seems like Liu Bei's other betrayals are pretty small time or irrelevant.

I had a pretty strong inkling someone would say the above! :lol:

Was there any reason for Liu Bei to attack Liu Zhang? I mean, as far as I can see it's straight betrayal because:

a) he was set up by the emperor and was there in the emperor's name.

b) he was an imperial clansman with the Liu surname.

c) he was allied with Liu Bei and sent him troops (Liu Zhang was on everyone's side though, he sent Cao Cao troops during Chi Bi too!).

Liu Bei using the fact that Liu Zhang didn't send enough resources for him is pretty weak seeing as Cao Cao and lots of others would have the same reason to attack him.

Are there any legitimate reasons? :lol:
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Unread postby Elitemsh » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:00 pm

Shi Tong wrote:Right, so this would pretty much be 10/10 on the betrayal scale.. which is pretty poor since it seems like Liu Bei's other betrayals are pretty small time or irrelevant.

I had a pretty strong inkling someone would say the above! :lol:

Was there any reason for Liu Bei to attack Liu Zhang? I mean, as far as I can see it's straight betrayal because:

a) he was set up by the emperor and was there in the emperor's name.

b) he was an imperial clansman with the Liu surname.

c) he was allied with Liu Bei and sent him troops (Liu Zhang was on everyone's side though, he sent Cao Cao troops during Chi Bi too!).

Liu Bei using the fact that Liu Zhang didn't send enough resources for him is pretty weak seeing as Cao Cao and lots of others would have the same reason to attack him.

Are there any legitimate reasons? :lol:


Liu Zhang was a weak ruler and his people were suffering under his leadership. Liu Bei 'betraying' him was the best move for the commoners. Liu Bei was loved by the commoners and under his leadership the people would thrive. Liu Bei's betrayal could be therefore genuinely justified in that it was the best course of action for the people.

Also it must be considered that Liu Zhang wanted to use Liu Bei as vanguard to secure his rule. Is this really that noble on Liu Zhang's part? Perhaps he deserved to be betrayed. Although he may not have meant it, Liu Zhang caused much suffering.
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Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Mon Feb 25, 2008 5:48 pm

Legitimate reasons for attacking Liu Zhang? The fact that Liu Zhang was an illegal governor who probably killed the real governor of Yi who was on his way from the capital to take over after Liu Yan died? But then again at this point who wasn't an illegal governor? Neither Liu Bei or Sun Quan had full legal access over the territory they controlled. I think the best justification for Liu Bei taking Yi is that if he didn't do it then Cao Cao would have. If that happened then both Liu Bei and Sun Quan would be screwed. Does this fully justify Liu Bei's actions? Probably not.
For the telling Sun Quan not to attack Yi I think that was a move of self preservation. Liu Bei knew as the weaker member of the alliance that he was at the mercy of Sun Quan at basically all times. He needed to get stronger or else Sun Quan could simply invade him if he didn't do what Wu wanted of him. By even splitting Yi with him he would still resign himself into being the weaker party (plus how would that work? Sun Quan would have territory that he would have to cross Liu Bei's land to even get to, unless he would take a chunk of Jing equivalent to the amount of land that he would have gained in Yi or something) So he lied to Sun Quan in order to give himself a more secure power base to negotiate on equal terms with Sun Quan (if not better terms) since whomever was stronger in the alliance would probably be the defacto leader of it.
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