Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Join the Romance of the Three Kingdoms discussion with our resident Scholars. Topics relating to the novel and history are both welcome. Don't forget to check the Forum Rules before posting.
Kongming’s Archives: Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Three Kingdoms Officer Biographies
Three Kingdoms Officer Encyclopedia
Scholars of Shen Zhou Search Tool

Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Han » Sun Aug 13, 2017 11:06 am

Prof Rafe reply:

Dear Mr (my name)
As I am travelling at present, I don’t have access to my home library, and so I can’t reply to all our questions. In general, moreover, it is difficult to rely upon the accounts - even in the official histories - as they are reports of incident which the historian almost certainly did not see direct and which have been retold, sometimes with exaggeration. However, I attach a few comments to your questions as below, which I hope may be some help.
With all good wishes,
Rafe de Crespigny


Hi Mr Rafe, I hope that you are in good health. I have a couple of questions to ask about Liu Bei, his generals and Cao vs Yuan.

On Guan Yu,
What exactly happened at The Battle of Baima/Boma?
For example, did Guan Yu really charge through thousands of soldiers to slay Yan Liang? What were these thousands of soldiers busy doing to the point where they were not defending their Commander in Charge? Did Guan Yu charged at Yan Liang by himself or did anyone else helped him? What role did Zhang Liao and Cao Cao play during the battle? How much did the loss of Yan Liang and later on Wen Chou impact the morale of Yuan Shao?

I believe that the armies of this time were very loosely organised, and depended a great deal on individual leaders, with a high capacity in martial arts, who led the way into battle and were then followed by their immediate attendants. [I have raised this point on several occasions,including in “Man from the Margin,” my lecture on Can Cao.] In that case, Guan Yu and Yan Ling may well have met face to face.
I suspect, as the history says, that the loss of two notable fighting men would i.ndeed have had an effect, and certainly on their personal followers. On the other hand, it does appear that Yuan Shao's men continued the attack with considerable energy.


Furthermore, why did Guan Yu left Cao Cao the Chancellor Of Han and the Han Emperor for Liu Bei- a bandit pillaging Runan? What were Liu Bei and his surbodinates reaction to Guan Yu surrendering to Cao Cao and his exploits at Baima/Boma and him rejoining them?

It was basically a question of personal honour and loyalty. Guan Yu was initially compelled to surrender to Cao Cao, but he had sworn himself to Liu Bei and could never formally abandon that oath. He fought for Cao Cao, but eventually took the opportunity to leave.


It is said that the fame of Guan Yu quickly spread through the Central Plains of China after his famous charge at Baima/Boma. Before the battle of Baima/Boma how famous was Guan Yu when he was Liu Bei surbodinate. Did guys like Liu Zhang, Zhang Lu and the Sun Clan know the achievement of Guan Yu?

I just don’t know.


Why did Liu Bei never make Guan Yu the official Grand administrator or Inspector of Jing Province? Is it because he had doubts about Guan Yu? Was Liu Bei ever mad or disappointed over Guan Yu surrender of Xu Province

I doubt it mattered to either of them. It is clear that Guan Yu was Liu Bei’s commander in Jing province, and the title meant little. But are you sure he had no more than a military title? Incidentally, there is the story that Guan Yu was resentful when Liu Bei passed out general’s titles to his followers, but he was then mollified and persuaded to accept; sorry, but I don’t have the reference with me...


Is the story of how Guan Yu was friends with Zhang Liao and Xu Huang true? Why did he committed so many tactical and diplomatic blunders during his Jing Province campaign?

I don’t know about the friendship - I am not sure the sources are strong enough. As to his military blunders, I quite agree. I suspect that although he may have been physically strong and skilled and personally loyal, he was not necessarily very intelligent and he was very likely arrogant and over-confident. Lv Meng played him very well.


On Zhuge Liang,
How much authority did he have in Shu after Li Yan downfall compared to before Li Yan downfall? What role did he play when it comes to Liu Feng execution?

Zhuge Liang is said to be intelligent yet manipulative and benevolent yet harsh when necessary. Therefore, in your opinion, if Liu Shan ordered the execution of Zhuge Liang using the Northen Campaigns as the official reason, would Zhuge Liang turn himself in and let himself be executed or declare a rebellion/revolt.

In your opinion is Zhuge Liang superior, inferior or equal to the likes of Xun Yu, Zhang Zhao, Chen Qun, Sima Yi, Lu Xun, Jiang Wan, Zhong Yao, Zhang Hong and Fei Yi when it comes to administration of territory.

Many historians have compared Zhuge Liang to Xiao He when it comes to administration of territory, what is your opinion on this? Who is better?

When comparing Shu Han to Cao Wei, Sima Jin and East Wu we see that there were very little revolts and rebellions in Shu Han compared to the other states. In your opinion, is it because of Shu Han small size or the talents of its Ministers like Zhuge Liang, Jiang Wan, Fei Yi etc.

I really don’t know enough about the politics of Shu-Han to answer effectively. I do believe, however, that Zhuge Liang has been greatly over-rated in history, largely because of the popular bias towards Liu Bei and Shu-Han as the “legitimate’ heir of Han. On the other hand, he was probably the best adviser Liu Bei could get. In general, I am not all that impressed with the ability or the exaggerated “honour” ascribed to Liu Being and his associates...


On Zhang Fei,
When Zhang Fei abducted his wife, he was in his mid 30s and Xiahou was in her young 10s. This means according to todays law,
Zhang Fei is not only a pedophile but also a rapist as women in their 10s cannot give consent when it comes to marriage and sexual relations. Was this common in the East Han dynasty? Was Liu Bei okay with such an act? What was the reaction of the Xiahous and Caos?
I know it is wrong to enforce the moral values of the 21st century onto the people of the past but I hope that you will not be offended by my controversial question.

Selection for the imperial harem of Han was carried out annually, and girls/women aged from thirteen to nineteen sui were eligible for consideration. Thirteen sui, of course, is eleven or twelve by Western count. So Zhang Fei was well within his rights! Incidentally, thirteen was quite acceptable for marriage in the medieval West.


When Zhang Fei was screaming at Cao Cao army at the bridge, why did Cao Cao not order his troops to shoot arrows at Zhang Fei or send 1000 men against him? Did Zhang Fei have a reputation of valor and bravery like that of Guan Yu and Zhang Liao?

Good question - perhaps Zhang Fei was too heavily armoured; or maybe it is just a story! Yes, I believe Zang Fei had a high reputation as a fighting man, but he was really a pretty foolish thug.



On Pang Tong and Fa Zheng,
What were their exact roles during Liu Bei Sichuan campaign? Who did Liu Bei prefer? Who had the higher rank at that time and at their respective peaks? What were the relationship between the two of them and Zhuge Liang like?

Out of these 4, Liu Bei, Fa Zheng, Pang Tong and Zhuge Liang. Who deserve the most credit for the Sichuan campaign from biggest to least?
Likewise during the Battle for Hanzhong, who deserved more credit ; Liu Bei or Fa Zheng.

What were Zhuge Liang greatest successes and biggest failures in his Northen and Southern campaigns.

I just can’t do detail on this level for Shu-Han.



On Liu Bei,
What was Gongsun Zan reaction when Liu Bei joined Tao Qian considering they were close friends.

Not necessarily negative - he ma have seen Liu Being as a useful friend to confirm the alliance with Tao Qian. Of course it turned out differently later.



Was Liu Bei really a horrible commander? From what i can see, whenever Liu Bei had a numerical advantage, he never lost. For example, his battles against Yuan Shu were quite succesful until Lu Bu rebellion. The Battle of Bowang and the Battle for Hanzhong were all quite impressive too especially the latter. And he fought against Yellow Turbans too.

Not all that bad, just that the histories over-praise him.


Why didnt Liu Bei attack Liu Cong when he heard of Liu Cong surrender? Did he play any role in Liu Qi death? Was he truly loyal to Liu Qi or did he used Liu Qi like Cao Cao used Emperor Xian? How much influence did Liu Qi have compared to Sun Quan and Liu Bei during Zhou Yu Red Cliff campaign and later on Nanjun campaign?

If he had attacked Liu Long, he would have had to face Cao Cao direct, and the people loyal to Liu Cong would have been against him anyway. Given his treacherous history with Cao Cao, Liu Bei had no good alternative but to get away asap.


Was Liu Bei truly a benevolent man? If we examine his actions, we notice that he pillaged Runan and later on ChengDu. Yet, there must be something about him to be able to convince Zhao Yun, Liu Biao former officers and Liu Zhang former officers to be loyal to him.

Not benevolent. He was little ore than a standard warlord, and frequently treacherous - Cao Cao and Liu Zhang, just for two - but he must have had tremendous charisma!



On Cao Cao vs Yuan Shao,
Historical and fictional sources frequently portray Yuan Shao having a much greater advantage than Cao Cao during the Guandu campaign. However, Yuan Shao had 4 provinces, Bing, Ji, You, Qing while Cao Cao had Xu, Yan, Yu, North Yang and East Liang and the loyalty of West Liang warlords. Thus why is Yuan Shao frequently portrayed to have a much greater advantage compared to Cao Cao who had more provinces, stronger generals and smarter advisors while also controlling the Emperor?

I quite agree. I have discussed this in detail in Chapter Four of “Imperial Warlord."
Last edited by Han on Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Han
Apprentice
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:46 pm

Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Han » Sun Aug 13, 2017 3:22 pm

My reply to Prof Rafe:

Dear Professor Rafe, I am filled with gratitude that you were willing to spent your precious time answering so many of my questions with such a quick reply! I sincerely thank you for your patience. I hope that you are enjoying your travels - wherever you are!


However I would like to point out a few mild contradictions that you made in your replys. I hope that you will not hold it against me and I hope that i do not appear rude.



(On the other hand, it does appear that Yuan Shao's men continued the attack with considerable energy.)

Guan Yu Sanguozhi make special mention that Yuan generals "ceased to surround Baima" immediately after Yan Liang death.



(I do believe, however, that Zhuge Liang has been greatly over-rated in history)

I apologise but are you saying that Zhuge Liang is overrated in terms of Adminisitration, Leading troops or Moral Values?

If it is Administration it is important to note that Chen Shou compared Zhuge to the likes of Xiao He and Guan Zhong, making note of their exceptional Administration abilities.



(So Zhang Fei was well within his rights!) I heavily disagree with this opinion. Firstly, I dont think Zhang was within his rights to ABDUCT a 13 year old girl! Yuan Shao Sanguozhi biography makes special mention that he despised Lü Bu as Lü troops commited plunder and pillage. From this we can see that even in medival China, acts like kidnapping was highly look down on. Furthermore, even if we looked past the fact that Zhang kidnapped his wife, it is important to note that Zhang, a man in his mid 30s, had sexual relations with a 13 year old! That is simply wrong!



(Not all that bad, just that the histories over-praise him.)

In your Chapter 6 of your book The Generals of the South (https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu ... index.html) you stated :"Despite past set-backs, Liu Bei was recognised as a fine military commander, and no-one could sensibly criticise Cao Cao on that score." So I am truly confuse, do you consider Liu not all that bad and a fine military commander or overpraised by histories due to past setbacks?



(Not benevolent. He was little ore than a standard warlord, and frequently treacherous - Cao Cao and Liu Zhang, just for two - but he must have had tremendous charisma!)



Now Im not saying Liu Bei is the paragon of benevolence, especially when compared to people like Huangfu Song, Cao Rui and Liu Yu. However, I feel that accusing Liu of being treacherous for betraying Cao is a slight overraction. After all Cao was a man frequently filled with suspicion and they were once enemies.

Furthermore, the Liu Sanguozhi make special mention of Liu benevolence towards the people and retainers.

Lastly, if Liu was just nothing more than a warlord, why would many civillians flee with him. I am sure that civillains dont really care about charisma!

Also, compared to Cao Cao who conducted massacre at Xu and Cao Pi and Sun Quan who both frequently execute their retainers for trivial purposes, Liu Bei comes off as a Saint.

After all, although he pillage Runan and Chengdu, he did not conduct massacre like Cao or execute retainers to the extent of Cao Pi and Sun Quan!



Additional thoughts: The modern view on the Three Kingdoms is Pro-Cao Wei and Pro-Sima Jin compared to the traditional view of Pro- Shu Han. Do you think this is because todays historian feel frustrated of the fact that Shu Han lacked historians compared to East Wu and especially Cao Wei and Sima Jin? Or maybe there are additional factors?


Furthermore we understand that people consider Liu Bei kingdom/empire as Shu Han. However what were the views of the people during three kingdom period? Did Liu Bei called his kingdom/empire Han, East Han, or Shu Han? Did he view his kingdom/empire as the rightful SUCCESOR to the Han dynasty or a CONTINUATION of the Han dynasty like what the East Han was to the West Han?



In fact how did the Three Kingdoms/Empire and Sima Jin view one another?



Once again, thank you for your time. I hope that this email will find you in good health.

It has been my pleasure exchanging emails with you. I hope that I do not come across as entitled, rude or aggresive!

Have a nice day/night!
Han
Apprentice
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:46 pm

Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Sun Aug 13, 2017 9:05 pm

While I greatly respect Professor De Crespigny and am amazed that he is so friendly and open to answering questions from complete strangers it is rather clear that he really doesn't like Shu Han :lol: :P
"If you can't drink a lobbyist's whiskey, take his money, sleep with his women and still vote against him in the morning, you don't belong in politics."
LiuBeiwasGreat
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 2505
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 4:13 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:57 am

Professor Rafe


I believe that the armies of this time were very loosely organised, and depended a great deal on individual leaders, with a high capacity in martial arts, who led the way into battle and were then followed by their immediate attendants. [I have raised this point on several occasions,including in “Man from the Margin,” my lecture on Can Cao.] In that case, Guan Yu and Yan Ling may well have met face to face.
I suspect, as the history says, that the loss of two notable fighting men would i.ndeed have had an effect, and certainly on their personal followers. On the other hand, it does appear that Yuan Shao's men continued the attack with considerable energy.


Man from the Margin is worth a read


I doubt it mattered to either of them. It is clear that Guan Yu was Liu Bei’s commander in Jing province, and the title meant little. But are you sure he had no more than a military title? Incidentally, there is the story that Guan Yu was resentful when Liu Bei passed out general’s titles to his followers, but he was then mollified and persuaded to accept; sorry, but I don’t have the reference with me...


It's in Guan Yu's SGZ I think

Yes, I believe Zang Fei had a high reputation as a fighting man, but he was really a pretty foolish thug.


Not sure foolish is fair, he was one of Shu's better tacticians. Thug though certainly


======

Han

(On the other hand, it does appear that Yuan Shao's men continued the attack with considerable energy.)

Guan Yu Sanguozhi make special mention that Yuan generals "ceased to surround Baima" immediately after Yan Liang death.


I think the Professor means Yuan forces during rest of camapign

(I do believe, however, that Zhuge Liang has been greatly over-rated in history)

I apologise but are you saying that Zhuge Liang is overrated in terms of Adminisitration, Leading troops or Moral Values?

If it is Administration it is important to note that Chen Shou compared Zhuge to the likes of Xiao He and Guan Zhong, making note of their exceptional Administration abilities.


I suspect he means overall


(So Zhang Fei was well within his rights!) I heavily disagree with this opinion. Firstly, I dont think Zhang was within his rights to ABDUCT a 13 year old girl! Yuan Shao Sanguozhi biography makes special mention that he despised Lü Bu as Lü troops commited plunder and pillage. From this we can see that even in medival China, acts like kidnapping was highly look down on. Furthermore, even if we looked past the fact that Zhang kidnapped his wife, it is important to note that Zhang, a man in his mid 30s, had sexual relations with a 13 year old! That is simply wrong!


You need to quote the whole thing, not one line that looks bad out of context. Selection for the imperial harem of Han was carried out annually, and girls/women aged from thirteen to nineteen sui were eligible for consideration. Thirteen sui, of course, is eleven or twelve by Western count. So Zhang Fei was well within his rights! Incidentally, thirteen was quite acceptable for marriage in the medieval West.

The Lu Bu thing has nothing to do with Zhang Fei incident. The abduction is the one area where Zhang Fei has questions to ask but frankly, nobody seems to have cared. If the marriage was PR damaging, her daughters would not have been allowed near Liu Shan's bedchamber let alone to marry him, there is no scholarly criticisms of said marriage anywhere in the SGZ. Liu Bei gets more flak for marrying Liu Mao's widow and Wei emperors for marrying girls outside of key families.

Zhang Fei married a girl of, in ancient society's, legal age. With shorter lifespans, basically hit puberty and you became an adult who could get married, take office and so on. They did not have 21st century lifespans or attitudes or understood that sex before 18 was damaging to the people involved. Marrying a much older man was seen as a good thing (bar the old "males like younger ladies" as seen in any Hollywood movie where the romance for a middle age leading man is never one near his own age), it meant the man had expirence, had got his wild oat days behind him, got a respectable job and income while wives were meant to be young to ensure they had children. If Zhang Fei was the only 30 year old married to a 13/14 year old in that time, it would be a miracle, anyone with a harem certainly did and the others others merely don't get the flak becuase we don't get a sense of ages.

Yelling it is simply wrong is not going to cause ripple effects in time and make it so three kingdoms gentry suddenly became huge advocates of pushing age of maturity to 18.

(Not all that bad, just that the histories over-praise him.)

In your Chapter 6 of your book The Generals of the South (https://openresearch-repository.anu.edu ... index.html) you stated :"Despite past set-backs, Liu Bei was recognised as a fine military commander, and no-one could sensibly criticise Cao Cao on that score." So I am truly confuse, do you consider Liu not all that bad and a fine military commander or overpraised by histories due to past setbacks?


I don't see that as contradictory to hold the view "both"


Now Im not saying Liu Bei is the paragon of benevolence, especially when compared to people like Huangfu Song, Cao Rui and Liu Yu. However, I feel that accusing Liu of being treacherous for betraying Cao is a slight overraction. After all Cao was a man frequently filled with suspicion and they were once enemies.


Cao Rui? Also this seems a major change from your earlier argument.

Liu Bei did try to seize Xu from Cao Cao who was his warlord. One can argue it is justified due to Han orders but others will disagree. I don't think anyone can claim Cao Cao mistreated or acted against Liu Bei and that Liu Bei could be justified to leave him on those grounds

Lastly, if Liu was just nothing more than a warlord, why would many civillians flee with him. I am sure that civillains dont really care about charisma!


I'm assuming you mean Chang Ban. If I recall rightly, the people in that area included Xu refugees who thus would fear Cao Cao and yes, Liu Bei's reputation and charisma would have helped, Liu Bei was good at building popular support in his areas. Civilians don't care about charisma doesn't seem to reflect history

Also, compared to Cao Cao who conducted massacre at Xu and Cao Pi and Sun Quan who both frequently execute their retainers for trivial purposes, Liu Bei comes off as a Saint.

After all, although he pillage Runan and Chengdu, he did not conduct massacre like Cao or execute retainers to the extent of Cao Pi and Sun Quan!


Executed Zhang Yu for being witty (or to be more accurate, wittier then him) one of many less then moral acts. Saint he was not, I certainly didn't mean to make him across as one. Again, seems a giant swing on your earlier arguments


Additional thoughts: The modern view on the Three Kingdoms is Pro-Cao Wei and Pro-Sima Jin compared to the traditional view of Pro- Shu Han. Do you think this is because todays historian feel frustrated of the fact that Shu Han lacked historians compared to East Wu and especially Cao Wei and Sima Jin? Or maybe there are additional factors?


I think the modern views on certain forums is pro-Wei while Professor Rafe's work has also helped Wu gain a following, I'm not sure that is the wider picture though. As I understand it, in China it is still very pro-Shu.

Furthermore we understand that people consider Liu Bei kingdom/empire as Shu Han. However what were the views of the people during three kingdom period? Did Liu Bei called his kingdom/empire Han, East Han, or Shu Han? Did he view his kingdom/empire as the rightful SUCCESOR to the Han dynasty or a CONTINUATION of the Han dynasty like what the East Han was to the West Han?


Liu Bei called his Han and continuation of the dynasty. As I understand it, the gentry of Yi frankly didn't care if it was or wasn't, they saw it as an outsider issue while Wei and Wu courts obviously didn't agree with Liu Bei's line.
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 14891
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Aug 14, 2017 2:45 pm

LiuBeiwasGreat wrote:While I greatly respect Professor De Crespigny and am amazed that he is so friendly and open to answering questions from complete strangers it is rather clear that he really doesn't like Shu Han :lol: :P


I was thinking the same thing as I read his email. His overall contribution to English Language 3K history is unparalleled though so I'll forgive him for that! :lol:
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ― Nelson Mandela
User avatar
Sun Fin
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 6665
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:20 pm
Location: The birthplace of radio

Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Mon Aug 14, 2017 3:37 pm

Sun Fin wrote:
LiuBeiwasGreat wrote:While I greatly respect Professor De Crespigny and am amazed that he is so friendly and open to answering questions from complete strangers it is rather clear that he really doesn't like Shu Han :lol: :P


I was thinking the same thing as I read his email. His overall contribution to English Language 3K history is unparalleled though so I'll forgive him for that! :lol:


Yeah, we are all indebted to him for his hard work and research. Wish he was a bit more subtle in his dislike toward my favorite faction though :lol:
"If you can't drink a lobbyist's whiskey, take his money, sleep with his women and still vote against him in the morning, you don't belong in politics."
LiuBeiwasGreat
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 2505
Joined: Mon Mar 22, 2004 4:13 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Han » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:41 pm

Man from the Margin is worth a read


Yeah im reading it now

Not sure foolish is fair, he was one of Shu's better tacticians. Thug though certainly


Agreed. A thug wouldnt be able to defeat Zhang He

You need to quote the whole thing, not one line that looks bad out of context. Selection for the imperial harem of Han was carried out annually, and girls/women aged from thirteen to nineteen sui were eligible for consideration. Thirteen sui, of course, is eleven or twelve by Western count. So Zhang Fei was well within his rights! Incidentally, thirteen was quite acceptable for marriage in the medieval West.

The Lu Bu thing has nothing to do with Zhang Fei incident. The abduction is the one area where Zhang Fei has questions to ask but frankly, nobody seems to have cared. If the marriage was PR damaging, her daughters would not have been allowed near Liu Shan's bedchamber let alone to marry him, there is no scholarly criticisms of said marriage anywhere in the SGZ.


No. Lü Bu being despised by Yuan Shao proves that pillaging and kidnapping little girls was looked down upon during Three Kingdoms period.

Liu Bei gets more flak for marrying Liu Mao's widow and Wei emperors for marrying girls outside of key families.


Wow, I didnt know that. But who is Liu Mao. And is it possible for you to post your sources please? Im interested in reading up more on this.

Zhang Fei married a girl of, in ancient society's, legal age. With shorter lifespans, basically hit puberty and you became an adult who could get married, take office and so on. They did not have 21st century lifespans or attitudes or understood that sex before 18 was damaging to the people involved. Marrying a much older man was seen as a good thing (bar the old "males like younger ladies" as seen in any Hollywood movie where the romance for a middle age leading man is never one near his own age), it meant the man had expirence, had got his wild oat days behind him, got a respectable job and income while wives were meant to be young to ensure they had children. If Zhang Fei was the only 30 year old married to a 13/14 year old in that time, it would be a miracle, anyone with a harem certainly did and the others others merely don't get the flak becuase we don't get a sense of ages.

Yelling it is simply wrong is not going to cause ripple effects in time and make it so three kingdoms gentry suddenly became huge advocates of pushing age of maturity to 18.


Source? I have read up most of the sanguozhi and zztj avaliable online like kongming.net and this website. However, Zhang Fei sanguozhi is the only biography to take note of Zhang Fei inhumane act. I have never read up any other biography that make note of a man in his 30s marrying a girl in her early 10s.

Im not yelling. I apologise if I come off as rude. But Im just frustrated at the fact that historians like Rafe excuse Zhang Fei for abducting a young girl and forcing her to marry him. Fact of the matter is, Zhang Fei is a pedophile for marrying a young girl. And since he kidnapped her, that makes him a rapist too. Stop defending him for this barbaric behaviour.

I don't see that as contradictory to hold the view "both"


What? That makes no sense. Liu is either a fine military commander or overrated by history. How is this not contradictary?

Cao Rui? Also this seems a major change from your earlier argument.

Liu Bei did try to seize Xu from Cao Cao who was his warlord. One can argue it is justified due to Han orders but others will disagree. I don't think anyone can claim Cao Cao mistreated or acted against Liu Bei and that Liu Bei could be justified to leave him on those grounds


Cao Rui distributed grain, silk and money to commoners. He also frequently replied letters from commoners. Arent these acts of virtue? The only thing you can blame him is for extravagance. However, Cao Rui did limit his contruction projects after various petitions by his ministers.

Cao Cao is a suspicious man who frequently execute his political opponents. Liu Bei also opposed Cao Cao twice. The first being Cao massacre at Xu and the second being giving Lü Bu who is Cao enemy a place to live. Furthermore, Cao controlled the emperor to command the warlords. It is understandable why Liu will betray Cao considering the fact that he viewed himself as a descendant of the imperial Liu clan.

I'm assuming you mean Chang Ban. If I recall rightly, the people in that area included Xu refugees who thus would fear Cao Cao and yes, Liu Bei's reputation and charisma would have helped, Liu Bei was good at building popular support in his areas. Civilians don't care about charisma doesn't seem to reflect history


Xu province is at north east. I think you mean Jing province. But yeah after a few minutes of pondering, I agree with you on the charisma part.

Executed Zhang Yu for being witty (or to be more accurate, wittier then him) one of many less then moral acts. Saint he was not, I certainly didn't mean to make him across as one. Again, seems a giant swing on your earlier arguments


The point Im trying to make is that Liu treated his retainers better than Cao Pi and Sun Quan. And although he was a bandit at Runan, and plunder Sichuan resources to the point of Yi province being temporarily bankrupt, he still was not as bad as Cao who massacred innocents to avenge his father.

I think the modern views on certain forums is pro-Wei while Professor Rafe's work has also helped Wu gain a following, I'm not sure that is the wider picture though. As I understand it, in China it is still very pro-Shu.


I think you are partially correct. If Im not wrong, China has become more Pro-Wei and Pro-Wu. This is because Mao compared himself to Cao Cao and Sun Quan.

Liu Bei called his Han and continuation of the dynasty. As I understand it, the gentry of Yi frankly didn't care if it was or wasn't, they saw it as an outsider issue while Wei and Wu courts obviously didn't agree with Liu Bei's line.


Source on the Han part? Google net me zero results. And why wouldnt the Yi gentry care. After all their masters were the Lius. Furthermore,Yi province has been part of China since the Zhou dynasty as Ba and Shu.
Han
Apprentice
 
Posts: 36
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:46 pm

Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:53 pm

Han wrote:
No. Lü Bu being despised by Yuan Shao proves that pillaging and kidnapping little girls was looked down upon during Three Kingdoms period.


What you don't seem to be understanding is the definition of 'a little girl' has changed. In Han China a 13 year old girl was considered an adult. If Zhang Fei had abducted and married a 5 year old girl I'm sure it would have caused genuine outrage. As Dong said the abducting is morally questionable but the actual marriage was not. The closest parallel I can draw is that in modern society it is like a 40 year old man marrying an 18 year old woman. It might rise eyebrows but it certainly isn't illegal. The only issue with that comparison is that back then a woman marrying a far older man was the norm so it wouldn't even raise eyebrows.

Look throughout history and you will see teenagers marrying far older man. For example we think that Mary, mother of Jesus
was probably about 13/4 whilst Joseph was probably in his early 30's. Modern society has invented a new term, called teenager and is now trying to apply that concept on history. It doesn't work. Back then puberty=adulthood.


Han wrote:
I don't see that as contradictory to hold the view "both"

What? That makes no sense. Liu is either a fine military commander or overrated by history. How is this not contradictary?


I can think that Ronaldo is a great footballer but not the worlds greatest as many of his fans claim. Therefore I can say he is both over rated and still a great footballer. I suspect Rafe is arguing down a similar line.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ― Nelson Mandela
User avatar
Sun Fin
Scholar of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 6665
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:20 pm
Location: The birthplace of radio

Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby James » Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:41 pm

Han wrote:Im not yelling. I apologise if I come off as rude. But Im just frustrated at the fact that historians like Rafe excuse Zhang Fei for abducting a young girl and forcing her to marry him. Fact of the matter is, Zhang Fei is a pedophile for marrying a young girl. And since he kidnapped her, that makes him a rapist too. Stop defending him for this barbaric behaviour.

Please tread carefully. It is not the job of an historian to pass judgement on events which haven taken place more than 1,800 years ago by modern social and cultural standards—it is the job of an historian to accurately record and report history. If an historian is to evaluate such a question at all it would be to outline and frame its historic context. Do not take or represent this divide as historians such as Rafe de Crespigny excusing (or condoning, or defending, or whatever) any such event.

We may judge Zhang Fei as we see fit, but our modern-day interpretation bears limited relevance to our understanding and events of 200 CE China. (Of note, I'll wager nobody here, nor the historians in question, views abducting and marrying a 13-year-old as anything short of abhorrent). Rather we ought to take time in understanding the historic and cultural context in which those events took place.
Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel, History and Games
“ They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
  — Ben Franklin
User avatar
James
Sausaged Fish
Sausaged Fish
 
Posts: 17946
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2002 3:21 pm
Location: Happy Valley, UT

Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Aug 14, 2017 6:16 pm

No. Lü Bu being despised by Yuan Shao proves that pillaging and kidnapping little girls was looked down upon during Three Kingdoms period.


At no point does the passage mention kidnapping little girls (and as Sun Fin says, definition of little girls has rather changed since then)

The ZZTJ mentions "Lu Bu's troops had acted cruelly" as reason behind trying to kill Lu Bu. Given also Lu Bu's troubles under Yuan Shu, there may have been issues about Lu Bu's general attitude and his noted lax treatment of his officers. Note the complete lack of backlash towards Lu Bu from scholars for the pillaging and that it did no damage to his reputation that he pillaged under both of them and against Cao Cao.

Wow, I didnt know that. But who is Liu Mao. And is it possible for you to post your sources please? Im interested in reading up more on this.


Liu Mao was the favoured and youngest son of Liu Yan, married the beautiful and supposedly destined for great things Lady Wu (sister of Wu Yi, also called Mu sometimes) but was crippled by illness and died. When Liu Bei took Yi, he was urged by Fa Zheng to marry Liu Mao's widow which (by the standards of time) was considered incest.

From Empress and Consorts which is a list of biographies for all the Empresses

Source? I have read up most of the sanguozhi and zztj avaliable online like kongming.net and this website. However, Zhang Fei sanguozhi is the only biography to take note of Zhang Fei inhumane act. I have never read up any other biography that make note of a man in his 30s marrying a girl in her early 10s.


and how many biographies note the ladies ages? I somehow doubt given way harems were selected (as Professor Rafe mentions) and that legal age of 13 for marriage+human nature, that Zhang Fei was the only one of the time. It is possible but it would be extremely unlikely

Im not yelling. I apologise if I come off as rude. But Im just frustrated at the fact that historians like Rafe excuse Zhang Fei for abducting a young girl and forcing her to marry him. Fact of the matter is, Zhang Fei is a pedophile for marrying a young girl. And since he kidnapped her, that makes him a rapist too. Stop defending him for this barbaric behaviour.


Let me try a non controversial example of what we are doing. I am opposed to capital punishment (I'm from a country where we don't have it) yet I will defend Liu Feng's execution as right choice by Liu Bei. I would dearly love that as Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang considered it, they had a revolutionary thought of dropping capital punishment and then when they explained it to their court, it became so popular that China dropped executions. That clearly was not going to happen. I argue that Liu Bei, given the context of his time, was doing the right thing to secure the throne for Liu Shan and the dynasty.

As someone who learns about 3kingdoms china, I have to learnt the attitudes of 3kingdoms China, the world they operate and so I deal with the practical decisions made within those confines. That things I find abhorrent (xenophobia, a lot the gentry did, attitudes on murder, marriage age of 13, executions, rule by might, harems) like were considered perfectly fine back then and I suspect that things I support would be considered abhorrent by 3kingdoms china.

Cao Rui distributed grain, silk and money to commoners. He also frequently replied letters from commoners. Arent these acts of virtue? The only thing you can blame him is for extravagance. However, Cao Rui did limit his contruction projects after various petitions by his ministers.


Also murder of his wife and idealogical purges. I like Cao Rui, he was a fascinating and contradictory character who gets overlooked but a model of virtue he was not.

Cao Cao is a suspicious man who frequently execute his political opponents. Liu Bei also opposed Cao Cao twice. The first being Cao massacre at Xu and the second being giving Lü Bu who is Cao enemy a place to live. Furthermore, Cao controlled the emperor to command the warlords. It is understandable why Liu will betray Cao considering the fact that he viewed himself as a descendant of the imperial Liu clan.


That last line is fair. The rest, not really. Cao Cao was very good at recruiting former foes (Zhang Xiu's forces who killed his son and nephew, Yuan Shao's, Liu Biao's, Lu Bu's, Ma Chao's, Zhang Lu) and giving them good treatment. Cao Cao would have failed miserably if he had a history of ill-treated former foes

Xu province is at north east. I think you mean Jing province. But yeah after a few minutes of pondering, I agree with you on the charisma part.


No, I meant Xu. The refugees where from Xu who went to Jing, sorry didn't make that clear

The point Im trying to make is that Liu treated his retainers better than Cao Pi and Sun Quan. And although he was a bandit at Runan, and plunder Sichuan resources to the point of Yi province being temporarily bankrupt, he still was not as bad as Cao who massacred innocents to avenge his father.


Cao Cao gets rather more flak nowadays for that Xu massacre then he did at the time or the immediate following up, he got far more flak for things like killing Bian Rang.

Not sure executing a retainer for being wittier then you is a great example of good treatment. Sun Quan generally treated his retainers well (till he got old and a whole host of issues there), Cao Pi I will agree with you on.

Source on the Han part? Google net me zero results. And why wouldnt the Yi gentry care. After all their masters were the Lius. Furthermore,Yi province has been part of China since the Zhou dynasty as Ba and Shu.


Got supper so will have to look up first part tomorrow. However Liu Bei's entire legitimacy relied on being the legitimate Han successor and his actions when he took the throne in his sgz were carefully establishing he was part of the line of succession from Liu Bang himself

Overall, loyalty to Han was already... weak across China by times three kingdoms started but on Yi specifically: The Yi gentry viewed the Liu's as outsiders (and a lot of their officer core), their loyalty as it was tended to be to individuals in power if they had any at all. Yi was always, due to distance and other factors, a bit of a... oddity within the Han, it was under the Han but the Han court viewed it as a strange place and interactions was somewhat... limited. Yi wasn't overly fussed about rest of China though they would have considered themselves Chinese
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 14891
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

PreviousNext

Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

Copyright © 2002–2008 Kongming’s Archives. All Rights Reserved