Xu Yuan wrote:...that Cao Cao would tow the line for as long as Xun Yu lived.
(Cao Cao, from Wei Wu Gushi).It may be, however, that as some people see how my power has grown, and recognize that I am not the sort of man to trust indefinitely on the favor of Heaven. I am concerned lest they misjudge me, and say I have ambitions for the throne.
So I now reveal my true feelings, with words from the bottom of my heart.
On the other hand, should anyone suggest that I give up my army, hand over my power, and retire to my fief at Wuping, then that just cannot be. Quite simply, I am afraid I should be harmed as soon as I left the protection of my troops; and I want to arrange that even my children and grandchildren shall be secure.
Therefore, in the second year of the Chuping reign [AD 191], when the Great Progenitor [Cao Cao] was in Dongjun serving as General who Manifests Might, Xun Yu left Yuan Shao for him. The Great Progenitor was greatly pleased, and said, “This is my own Zifang!”
ivolga wrote:But it just doesn't sit well with me that for such an intelligent person as Xun Yu only the duke title became a sudden and cruel wake-up call, that shattered his illusions about Cao Cao being a loyal Han supporter. I feel like I'm still missing a few pieces, and it bugs me. Of course, people change, and Cao Cao could gradually become more power-hungry, and Xun Yu could become more loyal to the Han than in the beginning of his career. Perhaps, initially Xun Yu did believe that Cao Cao is the one to restore the Han to its former glory, but with time supporting both Cao Cao and the Han started to be a risky attempt to "sit between two chairs", as we say in my native language. And in the end, Xun Yu chose the Han over Cao. Or he just died from illness. Considering the scarcity of the sources we may never learn for certain, whether it was indeed a forced suicide or a rumor spread by Wei deserters in Wu, which Chen Shou seems to believe. At least, we can be sure, that such rumors existed.
By calling Xun Yu his Zifang (Zhang Liang), Cao Cao essentially admitted his ambitions: if Xun Yu is Zhang Liang, that makes Cao Cao himself Liu Bang - the founder of the new dynasty. So how could Xun Yu have any illusions concerning Cao Cao being a true Han supporter? Apparently, at least back then, Xun Yu had no qualms being a "new Zifang" for a "new Liu Bang".
Did he really believe that after consolidating all the power in his hands, Cao Cao would want (and would be able to, without endangering his and his family lives) to retire? That makes Xun Yu too naive and idealistic. I just don't understand what Xun Yu's long-term political goals were.
Dong Zhou wrote:People often have divided loyalties. Family vs work. Faith vs nation. Party vs nation. We all get pulled two ways between things we hold dear that suddenly demand different things from us.
SGZ says the "suicide" phrase just after making clear the extent of the fall out, Songzhi didn't see fit to challenge it or the idea in annotations about suicide and that seems to be at least partly why historians widely accept Xun Yu was forced to kill himself. We perhaps can't be 100% sure but given the way it was written, does seem high likely
Dong Zhou wrote:Your overthinking it.
We do tend to do it to our leaders rather then leaders to subordinates but it is the same thing: a compliment, not a "and secretly our leader is a cuckold/has a drink problem". Or with potential sports stars compared to someone else.
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