Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

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Re: Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

Unread postby AxeLordGerardo » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:19 pm

Sun Quan was a more than decent Wu defender ruler, but he was undecisive (like Yuan Shao) in many matters, like if he wanted to fight Cao Cao or form an alliance with Liu Bei. The Zhuge brothers were decisive in this move, thanks to the fact that Zhuge Jin was serving in Wu at that time. He really did nothing that defend his territories and sign alliances with Shu and Wei at convenience.

To be continued...
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Re: Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

Unread postby Shen Ai » Wed Nov 07, 2012 3:08 am

To me he wasn't. A talented general, maybe a bit reckless, and he didn't know how to use his advisers well, but as an individual general leading his men he was quite good. A brave man too, standing up to Dong Zhuo is no easy feat.
I've a brave warrior in my army. Shen Ai is his name, and he can slay this Hua Xiong.

Wei has no more famous commanders, Shen Ai takes lead of the vanguard!

Even a commoner on the street knows what Shen Ai is thinking!
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Re: Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Nov 07, 2012 9:24 am

Welcome to the forum AxeLord. In future, please don't double post unless there is a 24 hour gap between your posts but have to you, your English comes across clearly so wouldn't worry about it.

It's intresting seeing the novel characters portrayed in such a negative light. Your premise does seem harsh though, yes they died but if you look at where they came from and what they left. Liu Bei, a well educated but poor sandal-weaver inspired people even in the most hopeless cases and founded a small kingdom. Though it would not last, his efforts and thus his legacy have lived on. Jian I have addressed below, Ce took a small army and made a warlord state and a reputation that reverberated across China at a young age. Ok Quan has the easiest set up but what he did changed the court of Chinese history and the way the south of the country was viewed, he arguably has the biggest historical legacy of any 3k ruler.

None of that is achieving nothing and chances are, will be more then most of us achieve in our life times. Yuan Shao didn't achieve nothing though he lacks a legacy compared to the others. He may have had one of the easier starts in life but he still helped people escape the eunuchs, he still won one of the big political battles of his age (even if he helped doom the Han by doing so), he went from a warlord under Han Fu to the biggest warlord in the north before his decline. He made poor political decisions and, like Liu Bei, was slow when conquering lands but he was a skilled commander. I certainly agree Yuan Shao was not as bad as he used to be seen but think people have been revising their views of late.

On a side note, it also made me realize that a lot of the 3k rulers are somewhat, with the exception of Cao Cao in my view, made less able figures by the novel so that others (Zhuge Liang, Zhou Yu to use two you mentioned) emerge stronger. I mean I knew it happened to Liu Bei and Cao Rui but not to all those Wu rulers

even is rumored that was himself the one who killed Hua Xiong.


It's in the historical records. Sun Jian single-handedly defeated Dong Zhuo's forces with the three brothers probably not there. Hua Xiong wasn't killed hand to hand by Jian but then Xiong wasn't a warrior historically, he was an administrative officer.

Was he different of Yuan Shao, being both dead?


Sun Jian rose up from nearly nothing to be a minor warlord (novel)/one of the great commanders of his day (history). Whatever one thinks of his death, that is quite an achievement.

he was alone when he was hunting, giving the chance to Liu Yong, Yan Baihu and Wang Lang´s followers to cut him down


to be honest, I think the stick Ce gets for this generally is harsh. He was having fun and let it run with him for awhile, the man wasn't a robot. Most of us don't get killed for the crime of having fun

He really did nothing that defend his territories


As much as the novel likes to ignore Wu generally and belittle Quan, he did secure Wu. He fought defensive camapigns as a commander, he used his political skills to ensure alliances that suited him and was able to ensure three generations of Cao's and two generations of Liu could not take Wu.

You believe him to be a decent defensive ruler yet everything you said undermines his claim to be one so tell me what you think of as positive about Quan as a ruler?
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Re: Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

Unread postby AxeLordGerardo » Wed Nov 07, 2012 7:21 pm

Sorry for the double posting, but after several lines the scroll went crazy, making me almost impossible to write all in one post
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Re: Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Nov 08, 2012 11:09 am

AxeLordGerardo wrote:Sorry for the double posting, but after several lines the scroll went crazy, making me almost impossible to write all in one post


Ah, then don't worry about it. Best to mention a reason for double posting if such things happen again
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Re: Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

Unread postby AxeLordGerardo » Fri Nov 09, 2012 5:49 pm

Thanks Dong Zhou

Well, i will continue with my exposure of my view point:

Yes, Quan was a decent defensive ruler, but maybe in the same line of Liu Biao, who never had wishes of expansion, best centered in internal affairs and attend his people. That is very positive for Sun Quan. If Sun Jian, Ce , Quan and Zhou Yu were alive at the same time, there are no doubts that Cao Cao could think things twice against them. With Liu Biao defeated, Sun Jian surely could end fighting Cao Cao, searching finally a showdown with Yuan Shao, who was the one said Liu Biao that Sun Jian had the Imperial Seal.

Let us continue if you want to Cao Cao. Great leader, strategist, warlord and ruler indeed, I have no doubt of it yet I hate him.
the one who confronted almost everybody, or the one everybody wanted to kill. I name Chen Gong, Lu Bu´s strategist, he had Cao Cao in his hands, but he released him thinking he was a good heart person. Ji Ping, the phisician, the one who treated Cao Cao when he was ill, but in the end, he was discovered and badly beaten before he received an unworth death. Guan Yu is other that had Cao Cao in his hands, but the sense of honor of the God of War again let him escape! I have not the count of how many times Cao Cao almost end killed, maybe was another in Xia Pi castle, fighting Lu Bu in a Chen Gong´s ambush? But, look, in the end he escaped in all ocassions.

What I want to say with all this is that all 3k period rulers had their troubled time. much luck they had to continue their stories. That is what I learned in the novel... All they were great rulers, generals and officers, each one had his great moment, right? so great it is indeed this fantastic period.

The 3K games I play by Koei give me the chance to revive my favourite ruler and give him a 2nd chance.... and I chose Yuan Shao... Why Yuan Shao, then? Why I like Yuan Shao so much, must you ask? (i need another post, from here on, it goes crazy)
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Re: Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

Unread postby AxeLordGerardo » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:21 pm

Can I tell you a story if you don´t mind?

The first time I hear the name Yuan Shao was playing Dynasty Warriors 2. After completing Yellow Turbans, I went to the 2nd stage where an energic commander dressed in golden clothes rose up the morale of the 3 armies with that famous phrase we all know: "We cannot overlook the tyranny of Dong Zhuo!"
Nothing historical here yet, there had 4 armies of different colours red blue green... and yellow? And the purple army was now the bad guys, so 5 different army colours. Then I saw Yuan Shao´s army fighting alongside my character, Zhou Yu, my fav back then, but I wanted to use what I called back there "the yellow kingdom", no? Why I cannot use this other main colour army here? After finish the game the "Other" characters and "opposite sides of the battle" opened and I had the chance to use Yuan Shao and his own battles. When I played him with his army for first time I enjoyed so much that after that I knew that Yuan Shao( ´s forces) would be my fav faction from that day on.

Note: Yuan Shao like the "Others" characters had not Musou Mode. So I invented one for him, consisting in Yellow Turbans, Hu Lao Gate and Guan Du. In Yellow Turbans, if you use the no 3K characters, they will serve in He Jin´s unit. In the later Han, Yuan Shao was a direct vassal under He Jin, so he was in his natural place in this battle :lol:

All fine here by now... But then i went to discuss to the forums to defend him (here I was and old user called LordYuanShao, I am the same person, so if the count still is active, please deactivate it) but I readed all sort of thing I don´t knew. Fights amongst his advisers and strategist, indecisiveness, lack of skill, bluff commander of the alliance, people like Tian Feng and Ju Shou, two of the greatest minds of the land, ignored and dead. I was dissapointed with Yuan Shao them... what kind of idea Koei sold to me in DW2? Need another post, sorry :oops:
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Re: Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

Unread postby AxeLordGerardo » Fri Nov 09, 2012 6:41 pm

After that I discovered the novel, and, anxious to see what sort of things Yuan Shao did, I readed eagerly all the part related to him... until his death. The things which he is criticized were true :( , but I too discovered the side I wanted to see. When Sun Jian, Liu Bei and Dong Zhuo were busy fighting Zhang Jue, I didn´t knew that Yuan Shu, Cao Cao and Yuan Shao were at the palace serving He Jin. The fact Yuan Shao was advising He Jin to kill the eunuchs and he was ignored 3 times(things of the life, I ignore you today, you will ignore Tian Feng tomorrow) leading to He Jin´s end and seeing (in my mind) that Yuan Shao "with a pair" took the leadership and killed them all preventing the court corruption and momentary chaos, shows a young and brave Yuan Shao fighting for justice and order deep within the Han. :!:

Another great moment I remember is that with Dong Zhuo theating all who dared to oppose him in what he wanted to dispose, I am always remembering this scene, ROTK, near end of chapter 3:

The now all-powerful Dong Zhuo prepared a banquet in the capital at which all the officers of state were guests. He also bade Lu Bu post a company of armed men right and left ready for action. The feast began and several courses were served with nothing to distinguish that banquet from any other.
Then suddenly the host arose and drew his sword, saying, "He who is above us being weak and irresolute is unfit for the duties of his high place. Wherefore I, as of old did Yi Yin and Huo Guang, will set aside this Emperor giving him the title of Prince of Hongnong, and I will place on the throne the present Prince of Chenliu. And those who do not support me will suffer death."
Fear seized them in its grip and they were silent, all but Yuan Shao who said, "The Emperor was innocent of any fault, and to set him aside in favor of a commoner was rebellion and nothing else!"
"The empire is in my hands!" cried Dong Zhuo. "When I choose to do this thing, who will dare to say nay? Think you my sword lacks an edge?"
If your sword is sharp, mine is never blunt!" said Yuan Shao as his sword flashed out of the sheath.
The two men stood face to face amid the feasters.
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Re: Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:14 am

I was going to respond to the Quan point but forgot the novel ignored the southern conquests. LGZ must have done that to spite me :P One correction though: Yuan Shao wasn't plotting with He Jin till after the Turbans, not even sure he was in service during the revolt as it does seem like He Jin began his recruiting efforts after the revolt. Cao Cao was fighting the Turbans as a cavalry commander.

Why do you hate Cao Cao? There are plenty of reasons people hate the novel or historical version of Cao Cao but what's yours? As for the luck thing, it is true. Now partly it reflects LGZ's ability to make it believable even when it is the umpteenth time a character escapes but there is a wider thing. Sun Jian and Sun Ce died when they were a little careless, there are other warlords whose luck ran out. The big three, Quan/Bei/Cao and to a lesser extent the likes of Yuan Shao got in arguably worse messes and got out. Time after time, the luck of those warlords held even when the warlords made a massive error that got them into a mess, they emerged alive and well.

I agree all the warlords had their troubled times, their rise and their (bar an early death like Ce or Pi), a decline and of course their glory. It is part of what makes the era fascinating as you say.

The early Yuan Shao? I think before the Coalition forms, we do seem him at his most noble, particularly in the novel where he is one of the big heroes of the early chapters. The problem for Yuan Shao's reputation is that his reputation has been broken by Guan Du and it is only in recent years that the defeat has perhaps been put in proper context within his life and people have begun to discuss how bad/well he performed in that battle.
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Re: Was Yuan Shao really that bad?

Unread postby AxeLordGerardo » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:09 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Why do you hate Cao Cao? There are plenty of reasons people hate the novel or historical version of Cao Cao but what's yours?

Well, maybe it is a mix between his murders, when he was with Chen Gong and he executed the entire Lu Boshe family when they were fleeing as fugitives only to "avoid" to be captured and between to be Yuan Shao´s nemesis, the one who cut off his road to conquest. I admit his talent, but I will never admit his methods, he is not too far on cruelty from Dong Zhuo, but at least he recognized an officer´s ability (not was this way with Chen Gong, in other hand).

You are right with the matter of the southern conquests, if you refer at the Jing Province, but we all know that those little good to nothing rulers, like Han Xuan, Zhao Fan, Jin Xuan and Liu Du oppose little resistance, only broken at times for little unpolished diamonds like Wei Yan and Huang Zhong. But a conquest is a conquest so you have a point here.

Dong Zhou wrote: The early Yuan Shao? I think before the Coalition forms, we do seem him at his most noble, particularly in the novel where he is one of the big heroes of the early chapters. The problem for Yuan Shao's reputation is that his reputation has been broken by Guan Du and it is only in recent years that the defeat has perhaps been put in proper context within his life and people have begun to discuss how bad/well he performed in that battle.


This battle is more complicated than we see it. Years ago were much more Yuan Shao´s detractors, so almost everybody said that the defeat was due to Yuan Shao´s indecisiveness. But the truth is that there are a lot of events between mistakes and luck for Cao Cao. (I cannot write more in this one)
Last edited by AxeLordGerardo on Tue Nov 13, 2012 8:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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