Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

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

Re: Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

Unread postby ZhouTai50 » Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:17 pm

But, that's assuming that Wei should have been taken over by Jin. Also, I definitely wouldn't give Sima Shi or Sima Zhao the credit for taken down Shu. It's the generals who actually fought like Deng Ai who deserve the credit. Sima Shi and Sima Zhao just took over in the capital, killed off dissenters to their power grab, and basically held the Emperor captive. Sounds like traitors to me.

And while the later Wei Emperors were likely not the most competent, you can look at any of the kingdoms and see that. Jin itself had horrible Emperors like Sima Zhong and Sima Lun.
User avatar
ZhouTai50
Sage
 
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:25 am
Location: On the Chang Jiang

Re: Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

Unread postby Zhilong » Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:13 pm

ZhouTai50 wrote:But, that's assuming that Wei should have been taken over by Jin. Also, I definitely wouldn't give Sima Shi or Sima Zhao the credit for taken down Shu. It's the generals who actually fought like Deng Ai who deserve the credit. Sima Shi and Sima Zhao just took over in the capital, killed off dissenters to their power grab, and basically held the Emperor captive. Sounds like traitors to me.


Deng Ai deserves credit for his role in conquering Shu but we must note he was against the invasion, arguing it was not the right time. It was the Sima's that initiated the campaign.
"You weaver of mats! You plaiter of straw shoes! You have been smart enough to get possession of a large region and elbow your way into the ranks of the nobles. I was just going to attack you, and now you dare to scheme against me! How I detest you!"
Zhilong
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 953
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2002 5:22 am
Location: Shang Fong Valley with petrol bombs waiting for yours truly.

Re: Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

Unread postby ZhouTai50 » Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:07 pm

Yes, Sima Zhao gave the order to begin the campaign, but going back further, it was Zhong Hui and Xun Xu who advised him to launch the campaign in the first place. During the campaign, he did little military action at all. In fact the only time I recall Zhao fighting against Shu personally was during his early days as a deputy.
User avatar
ZhouTai50
Sage
 
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:25 am
Location: On the Chang Jiang

Re: Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

Unread postby Mikhail » Sun Oct 12, 2008 3:19 am

ZhouTai50 wrote:Yes, Sima Zhao gave the order to begin the campaign, but going back further, it was Zhong Hui and Xun Xu who advised him to launch the campaign in the first place.


What does that have to do with anything? So he shouldn't be credited for anything because he was advised by other people? The mark of a good leader is the ability to judge sound advice to those that will cause harm, and I think Yuan Shao can attest to that. I think that the insinuation that because Sima Zhao apparently did not ever think of starting a campaign against Shu is absurb simply because I seriously doubt that an idea such as attacking Shu never crossed his mind and that he would never have attacked if he was never advised on it.

If that were the case, maybe we should start doubting other people's credentials, such as Liu Bei for having even the audacity to accept Kongming's advise on a multitude of matters including, but not limited to, making Yi the land of the Xuande's kingdom.

During the campaign, he did little military action at all. In fact the only time I recall Zhao fighting against Shu personally was during his early days as a deputy.


So he was an administrator and delegated all military matters to others. How does that make him unworthy of claiming the throne? If my memory serves me well (though I can't confirm since I haven't read his bio in ages and I can't find it anymore), I believe that Sun Quan never really had the military experience required to have been been selected as the proper leader of Wu, though as the brother and "heir" to Sun Ce along with having the loyalty of the officers, he was able to secure the position without any threat and without any opposition.

Why can't that be the same with Zhao? Seems to me that their situations are quite similar. His father and brother both built up enough security and loyalty that when it was Zhao's turn to assume power, there wasn't any major opposition standing in his way. The only real difference is that he was "replacing" an old and dying regime and using that as a claim of legitimacy. BUT, I didn't see Sun Quan try to defend Xian's interests when he was deposed so in a sense, you could say that he too was "replacing" a dying regime (though I'll give him credit that he was the last to declare himself emperor).
Soweneul Malhaebwa (Tell me your wish).
User avatar
Mikhail
Great Sage Equaling Heaven
 
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2005 11:15 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

Unread postby ZhouTai50 » Sun Oct 12, 2008 1:38 pm

What does that have to do with anything? So he shouldn't be credited for anything because he was advised by other people? The mark of a good leader is the ability to judge sound advice to those that will cause harm, and I think Yuan Shao can attest to that. I think that the insinuation that because Sima Zhao apparently did not ever think of starting a campaign against Shu is absurb simply because I seriously doubt that an idea such as attacking Shu never crossed his mind and that he would never have attacked if he was never advised on it.

If that were the case, maybe we should start doubting other people's credentials, such as Liu Bei for having even the audacity to accept Kongming's advise on a multitude of matters including, but not limited to, making Yi the land of the Xuande's kingdom.


But, Sima Zhao was not the ruler, Cao Huan was. Sima just took over all affairs of the state and basically kept the Emperor hostage before his son Sima Yan deposed him. The point I was trying to make is that Zhong Hui and Xun Xu deserve as much of the merit for taking down Shu as Sima Zhao does, which I still say is very little.(Well, Zhong Hui more, but just based on this event)

So he was an administrator and delegated all military matters to others. How does that make him unworthy of claiming the throne? If my memory serves me well (though I can't confirm since I haven't read his bio in ages and I can't find it anymore), I believe that Sun Quan never really had the military experience required to have been been selected as the proper leader of Wu, though as the brother and "heir" to Sun Ce along with having the loyalty of the officers, he was able to secure the position without any threat and without any opposition.

Why can't that be the same with Zhao? Seems to me that their situations are quite similar. His father and brother both built up enough security and loyalty that when it was Zhao's turn to assume power, there wasn't any major opposition standing in his way. The only real difference is that he was "replacing" an old and dying regime and using that as a claim of legitimacy. BUT, I didn't see Sun Quan try to defend Xian's interests when he was deposed so in a sense, you could say that he too was "replacing" a dying regime (though I'll give him credit that he was the last to declare himself emperor).


Because Sima Zhao was not an heir to a kingdom. He was an usurper, and all the merit in the world can't change that. Sun Quan was an heir chosen by Sun Ce and had family ties. Sima Zhao had none of that. Cao Pi is the same, though his case was more of a formality, and he was much less forceful about it. Sun Quan didn't replace anything. Nor did Liu Bei. They both declared themselves Emperors in response to Cao Pi's forming of Wei, an enemy state, to combat them on equal ground.
User avatar
ZhouTai50
Sage
 
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:25 am
Location: On the Chang Jiang

Re: Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sun Oct 12, 2008 2:07 pm

As much as I dislike Sun Quan he never seems to have had any intrest in taking power, he was truely doing it as a response so that he wasn't his rival's servant. I agree with ZhouTai on this.
Have a question about a book or academic article before you buy it? Maybe I have it!
Check out my library here for a list of Chinese history resources I have on hand!
User avatar
Sun Fin
Librarian of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 7734
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:20 pm
Location: Vicar Factory

Re: Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

Unread postby Mikhail » Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:06 pm

Alrighty, sorry for the late reply. Canadian thanksgiving and all.

I will concede my points. They were improperly constructed and gave room to a lot of possible answers. Kudos to ZhouTai...

I will however remain firm with my point that the Simas did deserve the throne on the basis of merit. While he might not have led the campaigns himself, it takes a man of great ability to recognize sound advice as well as finding the proper men to carry out your orders. There are only a handful of men in this whole era who could boast such a claim. And as proof of their right to claim the throne, where was the opposition?

And also, what powers does a ruler get for proclaiming one Emperor that a King does not have prior to the forced abdication of Xian that Liu Bei and Sun Quan apparently needed to call themselves Emperor to fight on "equal ground"
Soweneul Malhaebwa (Tell me your wish).
User avatar
Mikhail
Great Sage Equaling Heaven
 
Posts: 2627
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2005 11:15 am
Location: Toronto, Canada

Re: Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

Unread postby ZhouTai50 » Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:48 pm

Sima Zhao did have talent as a leader, but that still doesn't give him the right, at least in my mind, to overthrow the dynasty he used those talents for. Zhuge Liang was a talented leader as well, but he didn't overthrow Liu Shan when he had the chance to.

I'm sure many of the Wei officers opposed their takeover. Look at the rebellions that happened when the Sima's claimed power even before forming Jin: Guanqiu Jian, Wen Qin, Zhuge Dan, etc. Also, Cao Mao desperately fought against Sima Zhao to keep his throne, but was just overwhelmed, which is the reason I think many Cao loyalists didn't stand up to oppose them.

And I'd say the formation of Wu and Shu as states led by an Emperor was much more symbolic than it was for power or physical benefits. In their mind, or at least their outward thoughts, Cao Pi had overthrown the Han for his own ambitions and was a true traitor to the rest of the land. Declaring themselves Emperors was their way of allowing them to face Cao Pi with the same position as he had and increasing the morale of their men.
Last edited by ZhouTai50 on Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
ZhouTai50
Sage
 
Posts: 266
Joined: Wed Mar 15, 2006 1:25 am
Location: On the Chang Jiang

Re: Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

Unread postby Lonely_dragon » Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:26 am

I agree with Zhou Tai on this...

A loyal servant will not overthrow their master... If you consider merits then how does Zhao compares to other great leader like Zhou Yu, Lu Xun, Zhuge Liang, Zhao Yun, Cao Zhen, Hao Zhao, etc? Zhao is pale in comparison from those that I have mentioned.

He did almost nothing to conquer Shu, Zhong hui, Xun Xu and Deng Ai is the prime caused of Shu's conquest. Yet they didn't wished to overthrow Wei emperor. It is the case of loyalty that we are talking about here. Take Zhuge Liang for instance, He is a great leader and minister while his ruler Liu Shan is a incapable ruler. Have Zhuge Liang ever thought of overthrowing Liu Shan? a loyal subject will not change masters nor will he seek to overthrow his master.
"Know yourself Know your enemy you can win 100 battles, Know yourself and know not the enemy find win and defeat in equal measures, Know not yourself and know not the enemy defeated in every battle." Sun Tzu
User avatar
Lonely_dragon
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 892
Joined: Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:32 am
Location: Lonely_dragon's heaven

Re: Why do people accuse Sima Yi of being a traitor?

Unread postby ZhaoDun » Thu Oct 16, 2008 2:19 am

Mikhail
I would even like to take it one step further. I don't think Sima Yi nor his any of his clan are traitors at all. My justification is simple: it is a case of the survival of the fittest. At the time of Sima Yi's claim to power, the kingdom of Wei was going down the tubes and failing with bad leadership. While Wei was still able to keep the alliance of Wu and Shu at bay during Cao Shuang's reign of "terror", I would venture to guess that if this trend would continue, Wei would have fallen from the inside - similar to that of the situation in Shu.


That is absolutely rediculous, an act of treachery no matter how justified is still an act of treachery.

Lonely_dragon
Sima Yi a traitor? yes I think even if Cao Shuang is destroying the Wei from within a loyal subject wouldn't kill their master just like that...


Very true, the loyal minister (and there are many historical examples throughout Chinese dynastical rule) would support their county (thier dynasty i.e. han, jin, wei) and their ruler, they would advise what they believe would be the righteous action and attempt in every way to change the policy, if that didn't work they would retire their post and leave and if they biuld up something from that point (like a new army) then thats their business, but killing your lord and then taking a good half of your former contries force and starting a new faction instantly at war with the faction you previously swore fealty to, yes that is straight up traitorism. ( I do realize only the initial part was carried out by Sima Yi and his sons finished the job of starting the Jin, but the whole clan gets the mark of a traitor in my opinion)
"That is why Zhao Zilong was waiting for me. You better not approach nearer." Said Zhuge Liang to Xu Sheng and Ding Feng as they neared his boat.
User avatar
ZhaoDun
Tyro
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 15, 2008 3:16 am

PreviousNext

Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 7 guests

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