Cao Cao

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Cao Cao

Unread postby ROTKobsessed » Thu May 30, 2013 10:52 pm

Do you thing his rise in land and power was mainly down to luck or ability?
'Never was anything great achieved without danger.' - Niccolo Machiavelli
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Jordan » Fri May 31, 2013 2:51 am

I remember that one time lessthanpleased responded to a thread with "a little of column A, a little of column B."

That is how I'd answer this question. He was both very fortunate in many ways and very talented. It was a combination of both that allowed him to succeed. Both circumstance and skill propelled him forward. Similarly, there was a very unique set of circumstances that enabled Liu Bei to go from a minor officer in the Northeast to an Emperor in the Southwest. And for that matter, unique circumstances that required both luck and talent allowed Sun Ce to become a warlord in the southeast and his brother to succeed him as an Emperor.

Most people here will probably give the "skill" answer, but I don't agree with that. Cao Cao was very lucky in terms of the family that raised him and the familial connections he had. He was also extremely lucky that some separatists of Li Jue decided to abscond with the Emperor, or that Liu Biao died when he did. These are just some examples.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri May 31, 2013 9:44 am

I was more going to go with "and Lu Bu's men let him go" for luck but agree with the main thrust of Jordan's post. It was both. Cao Cao was a brilliant brilliant man who seized his chances but when he gambled, luck tended to go his way.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri May 31, 2013 10:19 am

He also faced death on more occasions than Sun Ce yet the Little Conqueror has been let with a reputation of being reckless whereas Cao Cao as being the military genius.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby DragonAtma » Fri May 31, 2013 2:17 pm

Definitely both skill and luck. At the very minimum, he had to fight in several early battles -- and in any of them he could get hit by a stray arrow just like Sun Jian.

Then again, given how chaotic things were in 189, I'd have to give EVERYONE's success at least a little luck, even if it's only "didn't die of disease or infant mortality" luck.
Unless I specifically say otherwise, assume I am talking about historical Three Kingdoms, and not the novel.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Shuyouryo » Fri May 31, 2013 3:10 pm

While Cao Cao was skillful - he was also insanely lucky. Many of his battles (military or political) were won where he quickly captialized on events that were not within his control (enemy disorganized, lucky break throughs, rival deciding not to take action, etc) and he probably has more brushes with death compared to most of the other characters. Even Cao Cao realized this, which is why he turned superstitous in his latter years.

One of his crowning moments of glory, the Battle of White Wolf Mountain was won due to sheer luck. His force was not spotted by Wuhuan scouts until he was practically atop them, and he then proceeded to defeat his unprepared enemy which numbered between 100,000 to 300,000 Wuhuan and Chinese refugees with only his cavalry (unknown number but impossible to be more than 50,000, very likely much less) which had just forced march 200+ km. 200,000 surrendered to him (this includes non combatants however).

After winning the battle, realizing how lucky he had been, he went back to the capital and promoted everyone who had told him how stupid it would be to try such a thing.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby ROTKobsessed » Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:37 pm

I was thinking mainly luck to be honest seeing as his original army was funded by his father and he had very able family members( Xiahou Dun, Xiahou Yuan, Cao ren, Cao Hong etc) which instantly gave him an advantage
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:09 pm

Dun was something of a liability as much as an asset.

Yes Cao Cao was fortunate in many aspects. He was also a political whizz, knew how to take advice, willing to turn things on it's head, one of the great military commanders of his day, a strategist, charismatic and brought people to him.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:35 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Dun was something of a liability as much as an asset.


That’s harsh; he was an able administrator even if he wasn't a good commander.
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Re: Cao Cao

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:47 pm

Sun Fin wrote:
Dong Zhou wrote:Dun was something of a liability as much as an asset.


That’s harsh; he was an able administrator even if he wasn't a good commander.


And he was more than just able as an administrator. He was excellent in that field. The common people respected him greatly.
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