Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

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Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby kiko94 » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:53 pm

I'm getting obessed with these guys, maybe because their name seem catchy to me or so, all I could find was that Wen Chou participated in campaigns against the wuwan, Yan Liang against Gongsun Zan, if anybody got more info on them or a place where I could ask I'll most grateful
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby DragonAtma » Mon Oct 01, 2012 12:54 pm

Unfortunately, very little info on them exists, mainly found in other peoples' bios.

* Qu Yi was considered to be Yuan Shao's greatest general; by definition, that means Yan Liang and Wen Chou weren't as good as him.
* In 188, to deal with He Jin's growing power, eight officers were appointed Colonels of the Western Garden (which was a lot higher than an american colonel), including Yuan Shao, Cao Cao, and... Chunqyu Qiong. Chunyu Qiong was also one of Yuan Shao's most trusted generals and -- according to one of Cao Cao's memorials -- "a great general under Yuan Shao". So I have a feeling he outranked both Yan Liang and Wen Chou.

So I have a feeling that Yan Liang and Wen Chou were always outranked by Qu Yi, Chunyu Qiong, or both.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby plunged » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:58 pm

There are almost no military records to be found about them, except the way they died :-D Kong Rong seemed to fear them though:

"Yuan Shao's lands are broad and his troops are strong. Tian Feng and Xu You are wise men to plan for him, Shen Pei and Pang Ji are loyal ministers acting in his affairs, Yan Liang and Wen Chou are brave generals in command of his troops. Here are serious problems."

Xun Yu counters Rong though:

"Yuan Shao has many soldiers, but his government is not well-ordered. Tian Feng is stubborn and insubordinate; Xu You is greedy and ill-disciplined. Shen Pei is self-opinionated and lacks original ideas; Pang Ji is too adventurous and independent. People like that find it hard to co-operate, and they will certainly disrupt his councils. Yan Liang and Wen Chou have the bravery of common fellows. One battle will be enough to deal with them."

In his reply Xun Yu talks down pretty much every capable man in Yuan Shao's army though (then again, Rong is positive about all of them). In any case, they were "known" among the enemy ranks.

During the battle of Guandu Yan Liang was sent to attack Dong commandery. At that moment Yuan Shao's advisor Ju Shou talked to his warlord about Yan Liang:

"Yan Liang is careless and impatient. He is brave, but he can-not manage alone."

That's 2 people who say he was "brave" (whatever that means) and one who says he was not. One of the people who does say he was brave, Ju Shou, probably knew him best though, so I guess we can assume he was "brave". On the other hand, he was talking to his warlord Yuan Shao though and maybe did not want to talk down the best generals he had (left) so he added the word "brave" (how valueable is being brave?) in his overall rather negative comment.

Anyway, it's very hard to say just how good Wen Chou and Yan Liang were. It's possible to check Xun Yu's opinion on Shen Pei, Tian Feng, Xu You and Pang Ji though and if you think he's wrong about them, he might've been wrong about Yan Liang and Wen Chou too and then the overall opinion becomes a lot more positive. Personally I think they were good generals and Yuan Shao placed a lot of trust in them by appointing them as frontier generals in such an important battle, but they may have been sub-officers in previous battles because they've never been mentioned before (yet did became known as "brave"). As was said above Qu Yi was probably better and Chunyu Qiong also might've been (he was a former Colonel of the Western Garden for the Han Dynasty, so he has been around for a while and had more experience as a high ranked officer commanding troops).
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby TigerTally » Tue Oct 02, 2012 10:21 pm

Cao Cao's bio did said they are both "famed", so historically they must have some remarkable military achievement before getting killed. There are no evidence about what they had actually done though.

For their fictional counterparts, Wen Chou 文醜 had indeed participated in Yuan Shao 袁紹 ’s first campaign against Gongsun Zan 公孫瓚 and fought Zhao Yun 趙雲 to a draw even after killing four of Gongsun Zan’s generals. Yan Liang 顏良 should be there as well since he was seenn escorting his master along with Wen Chou right before the battle. Nonetheless I could not find any evidence about Yan Liang's battle with the wuwan 烏丸 tribe.

If you really want more of their tales, you might want to read Feng Menglong 馮夢龍 's Stories Old and New that features (in chapter 31) a story about the previous lives of some 3k period figures (including Wen Chou and Yan Liang ). Then a drama from the Ming Dynasty, Records of the Old Castle, had the following scripts by Cao Cao's scout describing the apperance of Yan and Wen:

冀州袁紹見差兩員上將名曰顏良、文丑,身長丈二,膀闊四圍,頭如斗大,聲响洪鐘,眼似銅鈴,面如鍋底,鬚似鋼針,貌像靈官,手提大刀一百二十餘斤,立在陣前一往一來,一衝一撞,口稱天下有一無二,特來搦戰,要取關羽回去。
Last edited by TigerTally on Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Jordan » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:35 pm

"Yuan Shao has many soldiers, but his government is not well-ordered. Tian Feng is stubborn and insubordinate; Xu You is greedy and ill-disciplined. Shen Pei is self-opinionated and lacks original ideas; Pang Ji is too adventurous and independent. People like that find it hard to co-operate, and they will certainly disrupt his councils. Yan Liang and Wen Chou have the bravery of common fellows. One battle will be enough to deal with them."


This dialogue personally always came across to me as convenient fiction. That Xun Yu would be able to predict essentially the futures of every one of these officers of Yuan Shao strikes me as extremely unlikely. Moreover, there is ample evidence of a trend in Chinese historical writing of some wise scholar, fortune teller, official, etc. making a spot-on prognostication of the future before significant events. I personally take these with a grain of salt because it just seems way too unlikely that with practically every event that happens, there is always one person who can exactly anticipate the outcome, as well as one historian or witness that happened to be there to write it down. I chalk it up to historical hindsight bias at least some of the time. I really don't feel as if there were walking oracles of delphi running around in Late-Han China. In this case in particular I really doubt that Xun Yu knew all these people well enough to make such cutting judgments. I remember the last time I brought this up, people noted that Xun Yu had for a time been with Yuan Shao and might have known these people. However, I still have trouble believing it. There isn't much evidence to substantiate that he knew all of these individuals well, or that all of these individuals demonstrated traits earlier in their career that they would later become associated with (Shen Pei with sycophancy/arrogance, Tian Feng with harsh remonstration, Xu You with rebelliousness and lack of subtlety, Yan Liang and Wen Chou with being destroyed in one battle).
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:42 am

Can we be certain that Xun Yu was correct? No.

But Xun Yu was incredibly intelligent, and the SGZ says that Yuan Shao treated him an an honored guest -- which probably included introducing him to Yuan Shao's top officers. Sure, he may be underrating Yuan Shao's officers, but I would beware of completely ignoring his criticism -- especially since Yan Liang and Wen Chou both managed to die in minor* skirmishes.

* Yan Liang led 10,000 troops at Doma. Wen Chou led 5,000-6,000 at Yan Ford. Yet Yuan Shao led a whopping 110,000 troops at Guandu -- that's a whopping seven times what "elite" generals Yan Liang and Wen Chou had combined.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:04 am

DragonAtma wrote:Can we be certain that Xun Yu was correct? No.

But Xun Yu was incredibly intelligent, and the SGZ says that Yuan Shao treated him an an honored guest -- which probably included introducing him to Yuan Shao's top officers. Sure, he may be underrating Yuan Shao's officers, but I would beware of completely ignoring his criticism -- especially since Yan Liang and Wen Chou both managed to die in minor* skirmishes.

* Yan Liang led 10,000 troops at Doma. Wen Chou led 5,000-6,000 at Yan Ford. Yet Yuan Shao led a whopping 110,000 troops at Guandu -- that's a whopping seven times what "elite" generals Yan Liang and Wen Chou had combined.


I am not going to disagree with anything you've said except for that last quote of yours. The number of troops these generals were allocated does not indicate their worth at all. I say this simply because there is a disadvantage to fielding too many troops anyway. Also, the terrain and many other factors that aren't detailed well would influence appropriate troop numbers. So a smaller relative army size does not give a reliable indicator of the believed capabilities of Yan Liang and Wen Chou in Yuan Shao's camp.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sun Oct 07, 2012 4:42 pm

It's not how many troops they had; it's that it was minor skirmishes at best, and nobody important should have died, especially since Yan Liang and Wen Chou outnumbered their foes. Wen Chou, in particular, had a ratio of between 8-1 and 10-1!

But if you prefer, keep in mind that neither Yan Liang nor Wen Chou could handle Cao Cao's ruses. Also keep in mind that no less than the Zizhi Tongjian says that Ju Shou felt -- quite correctly -- that Yan Liang couldn't handle his task alone.
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sun Oct 07, 2012 7:21 pm

DragonAtma wrote:It's not how many troops they had; it's that it was minor skirmishes at best, and nobody important should have died, especially since Yan Liang and Wen Chou outnumbered their foes. Wen Chou, in particular, had a ratio of between 8-1 and 10-1!

But if you prefer, keep in mind that neither Yan Liang nor Wen Chou could handle Cao Cao's ruses. Also keep in mind that no less than the Zizhi Tongjian says that Ju Shou felt -- quite correctly -- that Yan Liang couldn't handle his task alone.


That's not what i was arguing against. I agree that they weren't impressive generals but I was saying that the numbers of troops they were given doesn't indicate their believed capability in the Yuan camp.
''I've never fought for anyone but myself. I've got no purpose in life. No ultimate goal. It's only when I'm cheating death on the battlefield. The only time I feel truly alive.'' ~Solid Snake
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Re: Wen Chou and Yan Liang , any extra info ?

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:29 pm

Well, we both know that Yuan Shao BELIEVED them to be competent. Obviously, that wasn't the case. XD

RoTK games generally put them at 90-95 war (and, when they include it, 75-80 leadership); I'd put them at 70-75 for both -- but them again, I'm one of those crazies who'd put Lu Bu the "invincible" at ~90 war and ~55 lead.
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