Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

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Re: Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Jun 27, 2012 5:51 pm

Ma Cheng wrote:The book certainly likes to play on the idea of Yuan Shao's advisers arguing amongst themselves and offering only contradictory advice.


That was certainly true. He had Ju Shou, Shen Pei, Tian Feng, Xu You, Guo Tu arguing. Didn't help that Yuan Shao demoted Ju Shou which undermined his best adviser's authority and left him exposed to his rivals
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Re: Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:40 pm

Ju Shou seemed to, at least according to SGZ, be an almost Xun Yu level advisor.

But honestly, as I said, advisors can only get you so far. At the end of the day you need a ruler who knows what he is doing or who to trust.
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Re: Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

Unread postby Tokugawa Liang » Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:09 am

I have to agree with Ma Cheng:

Ma Cheng wrote:The book certainly likes to play on the idea of Yuan Shao's advisers arguing amongst themselves and offering only contradictory advice.


Dong Zhou wrote:
That was certainly true. He had Ju Shou, Shen Pei, Tian Feng, Xu You, Guo Tu arguing. Didn't help that Yuan Shao demoted Ju Shou which undermined his best adviser's authority and left him exposed to his rivals


Well have you not just named the strategists you asked for before? Though I agree their constant opposition didn't help Yuan Shao to see clear, Crazedmongoose says is well I think:

Crazedmongoose wrote:But honestly, as I said, advisors can only get you so far. At the end of the day you need a ruler who knows what he is doing or who to trust.


Maybe Yuan's advanced age affected his initiative abilities, which in term grew to weak to make him take a step towards Hegemony. Even with Liu Bei at his sides, (or should I say in his paws) he balanced along his counsellors' advice as to whether to kill him or not. Having Liu Bei in his power, he could have granted him a position, so as to tranquilize the tiger and then use Guan Yu and Zhang Fei as long as he could.

Dong Zhou wrote:Eh I would say Yuan Shao's age, leading to weakened leadership, and poor luck plus a few (not as many as people think) wrong moves as well as Cao Cao's brilliance were the main factors. Remember Yuan Shao was close to victory till Cao Cao got Xu You who knew were the supplies were held.


I agree with you that the novel may accentuate the negative aspects of Guandu for Yuan Shao, so as to make Cao Cao look more like a hero, and Yuan more like a bad guy who is doomed to be crushed.

Dong Zhou wrote:Name a Han loyalist under Yuan Shao for a serious length of time? Holding Liu He prisoner does not count :wink: There were very few Han loyalists out there and most turned up under Cao Cao or had jobs elsewhere, they don't seem to have seen Yuan Shao as the leading Han figure. Perhaps becuase he attempted to overthrow Xian for Liu Yu.


Yes, :D . Yuan Shao was the figure who I think had the most right to Han's succession. I don't wish to come to that eternal question if Cao Cao had any legitimacy, for I see their situation is quite the same. What differentiates them is the coalition's leadership. Cao Cao himself didn't lead it (thought why, I don't know), and everyone chose Yuan Benchu as leader. Why, if Cao and Yuan were in the same position (both having ancestries of families having served the Han for decades) didn't Cao have a single mention for this position? Also, Yuan Shao was at that time, already powerful; if the other lords, as the novel points out, really only thought of their own benefit in this adventure and not Han's future, did they give the leadership to Shao, which would only reinforce his power if the mission succeeded?


Dong Zhou wrote:Possibly but the two simply did not get on, Yuan Shu once calling Shao the family slave and opposing each other from the off (Yuan Shu and Gongsun Zan vs Cao Cao and Yuan Shao)


Really, that is a weird pretext to engage a war, to build two different forces, almost splitting the cake in two, if i could say :D . Anyway, I have only read the novel, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember Yuan Shu having any mighty military force or special officers. On the contrary, he seemed to have been crushed pretty quickly, and did not give so much of a worry to Cao Cao as his cousin.


P.S.: English is not my language, so I hope my arguments are clear and comprehensible. If you do not undertstand anything, just let me know!
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Re: Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:14 pm

Tokugawa Liang wrote:
Well have you not just named the strategists you asked for before?


No, because only Ju Shou could have led Yuan Shao to victory. Tian Feng maybe if he didn't upset everyone. Other then that, nobody in his ranks had the strategic vision though Shen Pei was a capable tactician.

Even with Liu Bei at his sides, (or should I say in his paws) he balanced along his counsellors' advice as to whether to kill him or not. Having Liu Bei in his power, he could have granted him a position, so as to tranquilize the tiger and then use Guan Yu and Zhang Fei as long as he could.


Two thoughts on that

1) I don't think Yuan Shao acted against Liu Bei (though I suspect he got advice to do so) historically. It is noted he and his son Tan treated Liu Bei with great respect and Liu Bei was used by the Yuan forces. Just not very successfully

2) Nearly every lord after Tao Qian had the debate of what to do with LIu Bei.

I agree with you that the novel may accentuate the negative aspects of Guandu for Yuan Shao, so as to make Cao Cao look more like a hero, and Yuan more like a bad guy who is doomed to be crushed.


Yuan Shao more comes as arrogant and not very skilled rather then a bad guy. At least that is the impression I got

Yes, :D . Yuan Shao was the figure who I think had the most right to Han's succession. I don't wish to come to that eternal question if Cao Cao had any legitimacy, for I see their situation is quite the same.


I fail to see how. Yuan Shao was not of the Han line, he never controlled the court and he never conquered most of the land.

What differentiates them is the coalition's leadership. Cao Cao himself didn't lead it (thought why, I don't know), and everyone chose Yuan Benchu as leader. Why, if Cao and Yuan were in the same position (both having ancestries of families having served the Han for decades) didn't Cao have a single mention for this position?


Look at the two candidates

1) One is of rich, noble, long serving family who has many contacts and wealth. He has also gained a personal reputation as a knight-errant, opposer of eunuchs and was He Jin's right-hand man. Also his position isn't exactly a threat to other lord.

2) One is the grandson of a detested eunuch and who wasted his youth in various scandals plus not settling down. Position not much of a threat to other lords.

Yuan Shao had far more prestige at the time then Cao Cao.

Also, Yuan Shao was at that time, already powerful; if the other lords, as the novel points out, really only thought of their own benefit in this adventure and not Han's future, did they give the leadership to Shao, which would only reinforce his power if the mission succeeded?


Because Yuan Shao was in such a position that Han Fu could have starved Yuan forces into surrender within weeks. Yuan Shao was also the best candidate to give their cause legitimacy bar perhaps Liu Yu but Yu's Han lineage might undermine said legitimacy.

Really, that is a weird pretext to engage a war, to build two different forces, almost splitting the cake in two, if i could say :D .


They both wanted to rule, they both hated each other. Sharing wasn't really an option

Anyway, I have only read the novel, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember Yuan Shu having any mighty military force or special officers. On the contrary, he seemed to have been crushed pretty quickly, and did not give so much of a worry to Cao Cao as his cousin.


Yuan Shu did have a knack of assassination, he had an ability to bounce back from crushing defeats and a rich Yang province. That Yang province, his lineage, early victories over likes of Lu Kang (Lu Xun's uncle) and so on gave him considerable power and influence but yeah, take away the Wu officers and he lacked a strong officer core.

P.S.: English is not my language, so I hope my arguments are clear and comprehensible. If you do not undertstand anything, just let me know!


You put things very clearly, don't worry. Likewise, don't be afraid to say if you don't understand something we say
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Re: Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

Unread postby Xu Yuan » Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:09 am

I had thought Yuan Shao and Cao Cao were pretty good friends in their youth to middle age? Was that hate longstanding or was it just something that arose when they realized that they couldn't keep sharing the land as they have been for the past several years?
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Re: Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

Unread postby Cao Chao » Tue Jul 03, 2012 11:43 pm

Xu Yuan wrote:I had thought Yuan Shao and Cao Cao were pretty good friends in their youth to middle age? Was that hate longstanding or was it just something that arose when they realized that they couldn't keep sharing the land as they have been for the past several years?

There is historical record that the two were friends in their youth, though there were sources of tensions. There was one incident that I remember from Yi Zhongtian's lectures on the personages of the Three Kingdoms. A group of young hooligans led by Cao Cao and Yuan Shao went to steal a bride, and when they got caught in the act, Cao Cao deliberately shouted that Yuan Shao was the culprit and fled. Yuan Shao was left to bear the brunt of the blame.

However, these disagreements when they were little probably didn't mean much. Ultimately, it was disagreements, stemming from the Coalition failure and tensions that arose from Cao Cao's control over the Emperor.
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Re: Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

Unread postby Tokugawa Liang » Thu Jul 12, 2012 8:05 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Yuan Shao more comes as arrogant and not very skilled rather then a bad guy. At least that is the impression I got


That's pretty much the definition i would have given to "bad guy" here. I just meant I guess Louo Guanzhong wanted to make Yuan Shao's downfall foreseeable, something to be expected.

Cao Chao wrote:They both wanted to rule, they both hated each other. Sharing wasn't really an option


Mind though, that before Shu's death killed by Liu Bei, he was on his way to join his brother to achieve greater goals... thought Shu's position wasn't exactly the best one at that time, which could have led him to think that surrendering to his brother was the best way to ensure himslef a future position if Shao were to win.

Dong Zhou wrote:I fail to see how. Yuan Shao was not of the Han line, he never controlled the court and he never conquered most of the land.


I meant, in the early periods, still during the Yellow turban rebellion, apart from Liu Bei, who was a scion of the Han Imperial family, Yuan Shao did not have any real rival in the moral side of succession.
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Re: Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

Unread postby Crazedmongoose » Thu Jul 12, 2012 11:30 pm

We need to remember that the Liu clan was vast, and that there were many, many claimants to the line. So it would be a long line to draw before you involve members of any other family. Liu Yu for example, was considered by many, including Yuan Shao, to be an appropriate successor.
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Re: Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jul 13, 2012 6:50 am

Tokugawa Liang wrote:
Dong Zhou wrote:Yuan Shao more comes as arrogant and not very skilled rather then a bad guy. At least that is the impression I got


That's pretty much the definition i would have given to "bad guy" here. I just meant I guess Louo Guanzhong wanted to make Yuan Shao's downfall foreseeable, something to be expected.


Second part, I think less foreseeable since he would have wanted reading Guan Du to be filled with tension but more you can see how he lost. For the first part, bad guy tends to mean evil villain, the Dong Zhuo's rather then the Yuan Shao's.

Mind though, that before Shu's death killed by Liu Bei, he was on his way to join his brother to achieve greater goals... thought Shu's position wasn't exactly the best one at that time, which could have led him to think that surrendering to his brother was the best way to ensure himslef a future position if Shao were to win.


Yuan Shu was in dire straights at the time, he would have not turned to his brother otherwise. His great goal for Shu was simply to survive

I meant, in the early periods, still during the Yellow turban rebellion, apart from Liu Bei, who was a scion of the Han Imperial family, Yuan Shao did not have any real rival in the moral side of succession.


Again, fail to see how you come to that conclusion. The moral line till the Han collapsed would have been many many Han members way before Yuan Shao. Afterwards? I fail to see how either. The only legitimacy he would have had to the throne, particularly since he didn't nothing to help it from very early on in the civil war, was by right of conquest.
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Re: Yuan Shao - Yuan Shu

Unread postby Ma Cheng » Sat Jul 14, 2012 10:03 pm

I think although the book romanticises things, 'right' to rule will always come second to ability to rule. Yuan Shao could have been of the Liu heritage, but if he couldnt win at Guan Du then nothings going to change the fact that he was outdone by Cao Cao.
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