Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

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

Unread postby Han » Mon Aug 14, 2017 9:13 pm

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.


You are wrong. Lü Bu sanguozhi states: Yuan Shao despised Lü Bu due to his ways and plunders of his troops.

This shows that plundering and pillaging was looked down upon during the Three Kingdom.

The backlash Lü suffered was the fact Yuan sent assassins after him.

Pillaging and plundering usually involve rape and abduction. There are special cases like Liu Bei only plundering ChengDu treasury.... I think. The details of Liu second ChengDu pillage is not clear.(to me)

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


Ok. Leaving aside the pedophile thing. The point is Zhang Fei abducted Xiahou and made her his wife. This means that he engaged in sexual relations with her after abducting her. This means rape... because.. he literally kidnap her! NO CONSENT AT ALL!

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.


Lmao what? There were laws in East Han dynasty that specifically targets rapists from raping and bandits from pillaging. Fact is, Zhang Fei pillage Runan, KIDNAP a young defenseless girl and then rape her.(without consent)

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.


The translator of zztj believes that the murder is false due to the similarities of Cao Pi- Lady Zhen thing which is most likely false too.
The idelogical purges were a good thing. At the time many Wei minister believe that those removed from power lack talent and/or was corrupt. And they were right. Cao Shuang and his cabal contained people who were removed from power due to the purges. Furthermore, the purges did not seem to have any negative long term effect.
Lastly, for an emperor who rule for 13 years. The worst thing he did is murder one woman and firing corrupt people.
So yeah he did not commit any atrocities like Cao Xu massacre or Liu pillage of Runan.
In return, he elevated the status of Cao Wei and cared for the common men. He is no King Wen of Zhou but he is definitely a Virtuous man.

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


You are correct. I am so sorry. When I was writing that I was thinking about Kong Rong.

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


That doesnt sound right... Most refugees from Xu will head south to Yang. For refugees from Xu to get to Jing, they will need to pass through Yan and Yu province. Indeed Zhang Zhao biography states: During end of Han dynasty many people from Xu sought refugee at Yang.

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.


Cao Xu massacre is the worse than anything Liu has done in terms of numbers. Period. You can criticise Liu for being a continuous traitor or his pillage of Runan but he never massacred people on Cao Cao scale.

Sun Quan and Cao Pi killed more retainers than Liu Bei. Thats a fact. The crown prince affair alone is worse than anything Liu done except maybe the pillage of Runan.

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


Source? According to wikipedia, Shu(1 province) had 900k population. Wu(3 province) had 2mil population and Wei(9 province?) had 4mil population. The Wei number is disputed to be much much higher. However, as we can see Yi province alone had a huge population as compared to other provinces. So I highly doubt Han interactions were limited.
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Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby waywardauthor » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:27 pm

Han wrote:Ok. Leaving aside the pedophile thing. The point is Zhang Fei abducted Xiahou and made her his wife. This means that he engaged in sexual relations with her after abducting her. This means rape... because.. he literally kidnap her! NO CONSENT AT ALL!

She was captured in war, and what followed for her was better than would happen to most. Islam in particular made holy the notion of marital rape of captured women in battle, with a period of sexual slavery (akin to comfort women in WW2 Japan) and later marrying them off to the people who killed their husbands and fathers, many of whom were children more or less. This was seen as a highly progressive shift in warfare that would protect women after their families are killed in battle. Rape happens a lot in ancient history, to the point where it goes unmentioned. The slave trade in beautiful boys and girls, for instance, should always be assumed to be a sex slave trade that engages in continual rape. Many of the women chosen for the harem are often terrified, and being beaten and abused is the Emperor's prerogative. None may defend her, and her only recourse is suicide.

This period is awful for women, awful for the poor, and awful for the powerless. The entire world was, with few exceptions, until almost modern times.
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Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:37 am

On Liu Bei continuing Han, here
. Six months later, on 15 May 221, Liu Bei in Sichuan made a rival claim as emperor of the continuing house of Han: from the chief commandery of that province, his dynasty is generally known as Shu-Han.
. Also on wikipedia

You are wrong. Lü Bu sanguozhi states: Yuan Shao despised Lü Bu due to his ways and plunders of his troops.

This shows that plundering and pillaging was looked down upon during the Three Kingdom.

The backlash Lü suffered was the fact Yuan sent assassins after him.

Pillaging and plundering usually involve rape and abduction. There are special cases like Liu Bei only plundering ChengDu treasury.... I think. The details of Liu second ChengDu pillage is not clear.(to me)


and I quoted the ZZTJ so we have two sources somewhat disagreeing with each other. Professor Rafe's encyclopaedia has "Lu Bu's men again acted brutally and Yuan Shao was angry" for what it's worth. So I tried to draw a wider picture given his fall out with Yuan Shu well and what we know of Lu Bu.

Now let's say I am wrong. Certainly could be the case. The problem is you have one example where the miliatry pillaging caused one lord to be unhappy and treating that as "well that must be normal" while ignoring all the other times that pillaging drew outcry of... absolutely nobody. Lords, scholars, future generations. What you have is an outlier and your treating it as the norm while ignoring the norm

On Cheng Du I'm a little unclear as to what the soldiers were ultimately allowed to seize other then the Treasury, I was under impression just the treasury.

Ok. Leaving aside the pedophile thing. The point is Zhang Fei abducted Xiahou and made her his wife. This means that he engaged in sexual relations with her after abducting her. This means rape... because.. he literally kidnap her! NO CONSENT AT ALL!


Marriage by consent was sadly rare (Lady Wu of Sun Jian and Lady Liu of Lu Fan the two of the top of my head that I can think of) as wayward mentions. This may partly be why there wasn't outrage at the time, the manner might be a tad unusual among higher ups but sadly the lady having no say wasn't unusual.

Lmao what? There were laws in East Han dynasty that specifically targets rapists from raping and bandits from pillaging. Fact is, Zhang Fei pillage Runan, KIDNAP a young defenseless girl and then rape her.(without consent)


Given you walked into potential libel issues becuase you failed to understand a basic part of historical discussion, kindly don't start laughing when I'm trying to help you understand it.

I was trying to explain the wider issues of how we judge history though James did a better job. Not making comparisons to Zhang Fei but felt if I tried to use Zhang Fei as an example, it would not end well.

Yeah, there were laws against a lot of things going on in 3kingdoms china. I doubt rulers and courts would ever go "pillaging? Yeah, huge fan of it" but as a miliatry tactic, it provoked no outcry.

The translator of zztj believes that the murder is false due to the similarities of Cao Pi- Lady Zhen thing which is most likely false too.


Just to clarify, I think you mean capnnerefir who took translated ZZTJ to form ZTtJ bio's and not historian Achilles Fang translation of the ZZTJ (posted by professor Rafe up to Cao Cao's and Jordan up to fall of Shu). That is capnneerefir's personal view which is fair. For record I have seen no historian doubt Mao's murder and historians like Chen Shou worked very hard to expose the Wei coverup of Zhen Ji's murder, the murder which is accepted by every major historian I know of.

For me, Zhen Ji dying natural causes makes little sense and the idea she died of natural causes doesn't really fit. I haven't seen anything to counteract the historical records of Mao's suicide but the fate of Pi's Guo is open for me, the sources are greatly contradictory on that one.

The idelogical purges were a good thing. At the time many Wei minister believe that those removed from power lack talent and/or was corrupt. And they were right. Cao Shuang and his cabal contained people who were removed from power due to the purges. Furthermore, the purges did not seem to have any negative long term effect.


I wish the old China history forum was around, learnt a lot from Yun about that part of the 3kingdoms.

History was written by the Confucian gentry and that fiercely guarded the idea that the only proper advisers to an Emperor should be from them. Not women, eunuchs or in this case, Neo-Daoists. Such challengers were always corrupt and evil unlike good Confucian gentry. They didn't like Cao Shuang's regime becuase 1) he lost so you can imagine which way histories were going to lean, 2) his liberalising reforming regime including stuff (of what little we know of the actual reforms) that didn't suit the gentry's power base, 3) Cao Shuang got associated with Neo-Daoists (Sima family also used them but managed to avoid the image) partly due to use of the brilliant but PR disaster He Yan.

The men Cao Rui sacked were some of the great minds of their day and in one case (He Yan), one of the great minds of the 3kingdoms period.

In return, he elevated the status of Cao Wei and cared for the common men. He is no King Wen of Zhou but he is definitely a Virtuous man.


He did care but not enough to restrain himself.

Not sure he elevated the status of Wei. When he died, Wei was weak due to issues that were not of his own fault but not strengthened.

You are correct. I am so sorry. When I was writing that I was thinking about Kong Rong.


If the gentry were furious about the execution, I find I agree with the execution :wink: Kong Rong's death was more about Kong Rong then Cao Cao, the man had a habit of trying to get himself killed under various figures and Cao Cao went out of his way to not kill Kong Rong.

That doesnt sound right... Most refugees from Xu will head south to Yang. For refugees from Xu to get to Jing, they will need to pass through Yan and Yu province. Indeed Zhang Zhao biography states: During end of Han dynasty many people from Xu sought refugee at Yang.


Jing had a certain appeal once Liu Biao got control, once people flee their home then they will look for good options. I'm not saying some didn't go to Yang

Cao Xu massacre is the worse than anything Liu has done in terms of numbers. Period. You can criticise Liu for being a continuous traitor or his pillage of Runan but he never massacred people on Cao Cao scale.


For me and you? Yes. Not much outrage at the time.

I agree fully that Liu Bei lacked he dark side of Cao Cao and Sun Quan. Doesn't make him a near saint by warlord standards.

Sun Quan and Cao Pi killed more retainers than Liu Bei. Thats a fact. The crown prince affair alone is worse than anything Liu done except maybe the pillage of Runan.


I suspect given amount of retainers+length of rule, that is true but I don't have statistics to say is fact.

I don't have much issue with crown prince affair other then it was a disaster, I think it was poor leadership but I see why it spiralled for the elderly Sun Quan. I more have issues with Sun Quan allowing mass murder from his officers (as have with Liu Bei)

Source? According to wikipedia, Shu(1 province) had 900k population. Wu(3 province) had 2mil population and Wei(9 province?) had 4mil population. The Wei number is disputed to be much much higher. However, as we can see Yi province alone had a huge population as compared to other provinces. So I highly doubt Han interactions were limited.


Michael Farmer's book on Qiao Zhou and scholarship of the area.

Yi was on the edge of the Han empire and difficult to get to, was fairly peaceful and prosperous so was not going to be Han government's top priority and Yi was seen as a land of weirdo scholars who should be left far far far away.
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Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Han » Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:37 pm

and I quoted the ZZTJ so we have two sources somewhat disagreeing with each other. Professor Rafe's encyclopaedia has "Lu Bu's men again acted brutally and Yuan Shao was angry" for what it's worth. So I tried to draw a wider picture given his fall out with Yuan Shu well and what we know of Lu Bu.

Now let's say I am wrong. Certainly could be the case. The problem is you have one example where the miliatry pillaging caused one lord to be unhappy and treating that as "well that must be normal" while ignoring all the other times that pillaging drew outcry of... absolutely nobody. Lords, scholars, future generations. What you have is an outlier and your treating it as the norm while ignoring the norm

On Cheng Du I'm a little unclear as to what the soldiers were ultimately allowed to seize other then the Treasury, I was under impression just the treasury.


Our sources dont really contradict. Lü Bu troops acted cruelly because they plundered and so Lü Bu earned Yuan Shao hatred. Both sources seem to agree that the behaviour of Lü Bu troops led to Yuan Shao assasination attempt.

Dong Zhuo razing of Luoyang can be used as an example. Many hated Dong Zhuo because of his behaviour but also because of his troops. Dong Zhuo and his surbodinates frequently harrass the commoners( rape and murder) and earned the emnity of others. Furthermore, mamy Han officials opposed Dong Zhuo moving of capital and razing Luoyang and many were imprisoned or executed for standing up against this move. Now, the razing of Luoyang is an example of military pillage no? Firstly, Dong burnt Luoyang(pillage) so that the warlords would not be able to use it as a base. Secondly, Dong raided the tombs of nobles for he use(plunder)
Arent these acts of military pillaging? To prevent others from getting your resources. Also, didnt this accident draw the anger of pretty much everybody? Warlords and Han officials alike.

Marriage by consent was sadly rare (Lady Wu of Sun Jian and Lady Liu of Lu Fan the two of the top of my head that I can think of) as wayward mentions. This may partly be why there wasn't outrage at the time, the manner might be a tad unusual among higher ups but sadly the lady having no say wasn't unusual.


Very few, IF ANY at all, abducted a 13year old girl like what Zhang Fei did. Noble men making common women their wives like Cao was common but I honestly cannot think of any recorded military/civil officials kidnapping a young girl.

Furthermore, kidnapping a young girl cannot be compared to a noble making a common woman his wife or concubine.

Given you walked into potential libel issues becuase you failed to understand a basic part of historical discussion, kindly don't start laughing when I'm trying to help you understand it.

I was trying to explain the wider issues of how we judge history though James did a better job. Not making comparisons to Zhang Fei but felt if I tried to use Zhang Fei as an example, it would not end well.

Yeah, there were laws against a lot of things going on in 3kingdoms china. I doubt rulers and courts would ever go "pillaging? Yeah, huge fan of it" but as a miliatry tactic, it provoked no outcry.


Kidnapping of women and rape was banned in East han dynasty. Was it common? MAYBE. But it was still looked down upon.

On the millitary pillaging part, I already cited Lü Bu, Liu Bei and Dong Zhuo as examples. Liu Bei was not criticise but Lü Bu was almost assassinated by Yuan Shao while many Han officials opposed Dong Zhuo pillage of Luoyang and criticise him for it...

Just to clarify, I think you mean capnnerefir who took translated ZZTJ to form ZTtJ bio's and not historian Achilles Fang translation of the ZZTJ (posted by professor Rafe up to Cao Cao's and Jordan up to fall of Shu). That is capnneerefir's personal view which is fair. For record I have seen no historian doubt Mao's murder and historians like Chen Shou worked very hard to expose the Wei coverup of Zhen Ji's murder, the murder which is accepted by every major historian I know of.

For me, Zhen Ji dying natural causes makes little sense and the idea she died of natural causes doesn't really fit. I haven't seen anything to counteract the historical records of Mao's suicide but the fate of Pi's Guo is open for me, the sources are greatly contradictory on that one.


Zhen Ji execution by Cao Pi makes lesser sense. Here I will explain. Zhen Ji got along very well with Pi. She was the mother of his eventual heir. Furthermore, she encouraged Pi to take up more concubines. It seems contradictory that she will suddenly grow jealous all of a sudden. Furthermore, there are histories that support that Zhen Ji died of natural courses like the Wei Shu.

On Guo NüWang, Cao Rui buried her with full honors and continued to posthumously honour her and honour her family to the point where her cousin was promoted to general.

On Cao Rui wife, apparently he only remarried several days before his death which can be used as an example of his closeness with Empress Mao. Furthermore, if Cao had desposed Mao why would he promote her family? If we take all these into account and factor in the fact that the story of Mao death is similar to that of Zhen Ji then this story should be taken as slander. Also, which major historians are you talking about?

I wish the old China history forum was around, learnt a lot from Yun about that part of the 3kingdoms.

History was written by the Confucian gentry and that fiercely guarded the idea that the only proper advisers to an Emperor should be from them. Not women, eunuchs or in this case, Neo-Daoists. Such challengers were always corrupt and evil unlike good Confucian gentry. They didn't like Cao Shuang's regime becuase 1) he lost so you can imagine which way histories were going to lean, 2) his liberalising reforming regime including stuff (of what little we know of the actual reforms) that didn't suit the gentry's power base, 3) Cao Shuang got associated with Neo-Daoists (Sima family also used them but managed to avoid the image) partly due to use of the brilliant but PR disaster He Yan.

The men Cao Rui sacked were some of the great minds of their day and in one case (He Yan), one of the great minds of the 3kingdoms period.


He Yan was a great scholar. Thats all... No? Furthermore according to Sima Yi zztj : After this, Cao Shuang tried to monopolize power. He appointed his brothers to high positions [115], appointed friends [116] of his as Masters of Writing [shangshu], and also appointed Li Sheng as Intendant of Henan [117] and Bi Gui as Colonel Director of Retainers [sili xiaowei] [118], granting Cao Shuang's faction enormous influence. [119] These men abused their authority, promoting those who agreed with them and demoting or dismissing those who disagreed. [120] They dismissed officials they personally disliked for trivial offenses. [121]

An example cited is: ZZTJ Jingchu 3, 14 cites the example of Fu Jia. Passage 15 cites a similar case with Lu Yu, who had been demoted to make room for He Yan. Passage 16 presents another example: Cao Shuang's Chief Clerk, Sun Li [who had been given the position by Cao Rui to supervise Cao Shuang] was sent away to be Inspector of Yang Province.

From what we see, Cao Shuang and his friends were corrupt and dislike by pretty much everyone. Also many high ranking Wei officials and Cao Rui considered those remove from power to be incompetent or corrupt. It is important to note that Cao Rui like his Predecessors were great judges of talent men.

So once again Cao Rui did a great job firing people who were great scholars but incompetent at everything else.

He did care but not enough to restrain himself.

Not sure he elevated the status of Wei. When he died, Wei was weak due to issues that were not of his own fault but not strengthened.


He literally restrain himself after petitions by his ministers. He also welcome criticism to himself.

By the time of his death, Cao Wei had conquered the liaodong and manchuria area. They also frequently receive tributes from Korean states and Japan.

The decline of Cao Wei began only after Cao Shuang disastrous campaign.

Jing had a certain appeal once Liu Biao got control, once people flee their home then they will look for good options. I'm not saying some didn't go to Yang


Source? Liu Bei sanguozhi make no mention where the refugees are from. Common logic dictate that the refugees were mostly Jing people and maybe a few Yan and Yu people as Yan and Yu province is directly above Jing. Now... Zhang Zhao biography has proven that most of Xu refugees stayed in Yang. And even if they move west to Jing due to Liu Biao fame and reputation, they will likely stay at Jiangxia or Changsha. NOT the Xinye/Xiangyang/Fancheng area where Liu Bei refugees were from.

So unless you can provide a clear source, Im going to assume that Liu Bei refugees were mostly Jing people. After all, common logic and even official histories( Zhang Zhao sanguozhi) back my claim.

For me and you? Yes. Not much outrage at the time.

I agree fully that Liu Bei lacked he dark side of Cao Cao and Sun Quan. Doesn't make him a near saint by warlord standards.


Out of all the warlords at that time... there were few better than Liu Bei in moral themes. Liu Yu is an obvious one... Sun Ce is a another... maybe Liu Yan???

However, it is important to note that only Liu Bei was praised for his treatment of his surbodinates and civillians( by the histories). Part of the reason why Liu Zhang and Liu Biao did not trust Liu Bei was because of Liu Bei nice general treatment towards commoners and officials alike.

Cao Cao campaign was horrific and it is indeed strange that there is a lack of criticism.

I suspect given amount of retainers+length of rule, that is true but I don't have statistics to say is fact.

I don't have much issue with crown prince affair other then it was a disaster, I think it was poor leadership but I see why it spiralled for the elderly Sun Quan. I more have issues with Sun Quan allowing mass murder from his officers (as have with Liu Bei)


The length of rule thing is might play a part but I dont think its a good enough reasoning....

Michael Farmer's book on Qiao Zhou and scholarship of the area.

Yi was on the edge of the Han empire and difficult to get to, was fairly peaceful and prosperous so was not going to be Han government's top priority and Yi was seen as a land of weirdo scholars who should be left far far far away.


I cant seem to read this book online. If it is possible could you please provide a couple sentences or paragaphs to support your statement? As far as i know, the Han frequently conduct irrigation works and construction works in Sichuan area.
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Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Han » Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:49 pm

Professor Rafe has replied once again:

Dear Mr (My Name),

Again, supplementary comments below.

Kindest regards,

Rafe de Crespigny


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 was referring to the main attack on Guandu. The effect of the death or personal defeat of an individual leader could certainly be severe, and might well produce immediate panic or rout: Chapter Four of Imperial Warlord.



(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 would certainly agree that Zhuge Liang was important to the survival of Shu-Han - he was almost the only competent adviser Liu Bei had. My objection is rather to the exaggeration of his wisdom and skill. You may know from my books that his advice to Liu Ji about how to deal with Liu Biao’s favoritism towards Liu Long did not work out well; that the “Open City” stratagem was actually used by someone else; and the “Collecting Arrows” trick probably reflects an anecdote about Sun Quan on the lower Yangzi. The fireships attack at the Red Cliffs was carried out by Zhou Yu and Huang Gai and did not need Zhuge Liang’s magical intervention with the wind - and I am not at all sure that he invented the wheel-barrow!


(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!

Perhaps “rights” is a little strong. But you asked about the age of the girl, and I explained that thirteen sui was acceptable in Chinese terms at that time. As before, the same may be seen in Western history: try Abishag, the wife of King David of Israel…

Zhang Fei was certainly a bloody - albeit brave - thug, and he got his comeuppance at the end.



(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?

Like Zhuge Liang: over-praised.



(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!

It’s not the betrayal of Cao Cao that I would object to, but his conduct towards Liu Zhang. And Liu Bei was a master of public relations! Think Taoism: the more a man speaks of loyalty, the more you should guard your back! But we probably just disagree... 



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 am not sure that the modern view is so firmly in favour of Wei and Jin. As I discuss in Chapter Nine of Imperial Warlord, there are political implications. During Southern Song, Shu-Han was favoured because it was seen as the legitimate heir to Han, still ruling on [some] Chinese soil - there was a contemporary parallel. And the same applied for a long time in twentieth-century Taiwan: it justified the legitimacy of the Nationalist government there as ruler of the Republic of China; the position may to be quite so firm now.

It’s true that Shu-Han was less well equipped for historians or historical records, but Chen Shou came from Shu! The real problem is that Shu-Han met a dead end with the conquest by Wei/Jin, and a mainline chronology makes more sense. I agree with Sima Guang rather than Zhu Xi. 


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?

You would have to check Liu Bei’s proclamation in detail. I think he took his state as a continuation, like Liu Xiu, Emperor Guangwu, founder of Later Han.

 


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

Mutually illegitimate, I suspect. There is the interesting debate on either side about how to reconcile the rival empires of Wu and Shu-Han when they allied against Wei. My recollection is that they agreed to ignore the contradiction and to sort it all out later when Wei hd been destroyed. I write about that in Generals of the South
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Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:17 pm

Han

Our sources dont really contradict. Lü Bu troops acted cruelly because they plundered and so Lü Bu earned Yuan Shao hatred. Both sources seem to agree that the behaviour of Lü Bu troops led to Yuan Shao assasination attempt.


Yet Yuan Shao seems perfectly happy when other of his generals pillage like Liu Bei so why this time? Why do two sources concentrate on cruelty rather then pillaging?

Razing the capital with all that entails (including pillaging stuff the gentry actually care about if one is a cynic) is more then a tad different from normal pillaging for all the symbolism, for all that moment represents. That is never a good look whoever does it, wherever they do it

I'll freely give you a third example of where pillaging was hated. When against your own side (Qingzhou troops, Liu Zhang set of troops rather then Liu Zhang). The problem with the idea that it was condemned as a general rule is that Liu Bei pillaged, Wu had an active policy of pillaging against Liu Biao and did it a few times against Wei, Lu Bu pillaged in Yan, so on and so forth and nobody cared. No PR hits, no condemnation from gentry. If you were seen as a legitimate miliatry force and didn't pillage your own side, nobody cared


Very few, IF ANY at all, abducted a 13year old girl like what Zhang Fei did. Noble men making common women their wives like Cao was common but I honestly cannot think of any recorded military/civil officials kidnapping a young girl.

Furthermore, kidnapping a young girl cannot be compared to a noble making a common woman his wife or concubine.


Very few made them their main wives that we know of, we barely know anything about most of the wives outside of rulers. Acquisition of wife by war did happen (Zhen Ji, Lady Du aka wife of Qin Yilu and Cao Cao, the Qiao's possibly, Pi's Guo sent to harem due local revolt and there was someone I forgot as soon as I started typing the sentence) so maybe Zhang Fei's was seen through that prism.

The Cao's took some flak for marrying outside their class so yeah, that got flak. Zhang Fei kidnapping a wife didn't.

Kidnapping of women and rape was banned in East han dynasty. Was it common? MAYBE. But it was still looked down upon.

On the millitary pillaging part, I already cited Lü Bu, Liu Bei and Dong Zhuo as examples. Liu Bei was not criticise but Lü Bu was almost assassinated by Yuan Shao while many Han officials opposed Dong Zhuo pillage of Luoyang and criticise him for it...


I think there were differences between what was acceptable during the Eastern Han and the civil war. I mean there were knight errants near the end granted but generally a land at peace with law and order established, kidnap would be no and a horrifying thing. During a civil war? Gentry let things slide on things (as long as it didn't hurt the gentry themselves)


Zhen Ji execution by Cao Pi makes lesser sense. Here I will explain. Zhen Ji got along very well with Pi. She was the mother of his eventual heir. Furthermore, she encouraged Pi to take up more concubines. It seems contradictory that she will suddenly grow jealous all of a sudden. Furthermore, there are histories that support that Zhen Ji died of natural courses like the Wei Shu.


Zhen Ji did indeed get along with Cao Pi for most of her life as far as we can tell. On the concubines, it was a clever move by Zhen Ji, Cao Pi would have ended up with concubines given his position so she got in front of it, earned favour. The difference between having concubines and the final years is that Zhen Ji was the favoured one, her son's place secure and then suddenly she wasn't, suddenly Pi favoured certain others. Could be broke her heart, possible risk for her son, a risk for her own position and future but she was no longer beloved number 1.

Wei Shu's account of her death has been widely dismissed by historians (see below) as Wei court propaganda on this case. I find it odd personally the idea that Zhen Ji was in favour yet kept away from Cao Pi for so long

On Guo NüWang, Cao Rui buried her with full honors and continued to posthumously honour her and honour her family to the point where her cousin was promoted to general.


The accounts vary on that and Professor Rafe backs Guo losing favour. Personally I find it a little odd that Rui would react as late as he supposed to have done against Nuwang but I am less confident on this manner of death then any other

On Cao Rui wife, apparently he only remarried several days before his death which can be used as an example of his closeness with Empress Mao. Furthermore, if Cao had desposed Mao why would he promote her family? If we take all these into account and factor in the fact that the story of Mao death is similar to that of Zhen Ji then this story should be taken as slander.


The SGZ itself goes for suicide and there isn't an account that disputes it. Why wait so long for remarriage? Scandal possibly, that Rui was sonless and may have been inclined to give it to whoever could give him one. Family members didn't tend to be punished if the suicide happened, was part of the "deal"/expected handling of it. Other then suicide, I don't really see much similarity with their deaths

Also, which major historians are you talking about?


Backing Zhen Ji being killed: Chen Shou (who, given the politics of Jin managed to do quite well to get that out there), Pei Songzhi, Yu Huan, Xi Zuochi, Sima Guang, He Zhuo, Fang Xuanling. For modern figures, Professor Rafe, Cutter and Cromwell. Basically everyone other then Wang Chen who wrote the happy death of Zhen Ji

In terms of Mao's death, Chen Shou included it with neither Pei, Sima Guang, Cutter and Cromwell seem to feel any need to raise a question about it.

He Yan was a great scholar. Thats all... No?


Hard to tell. PR disaster so his libertine style and his arrogance did make him unsuited for very high offices (not in temrs of ablity as such, more it really turns people against a regime having someone as... free as He Yan), we don't really have a good coverage of Cao Shuang policies or the actual ability of the government other then Shuang's miliatry prowess was not good.

Furthermore according to Sima Yi zztj : After this, Cao Shuang tried to monopolize power. He appointed his brothers to high positions [115], appointed friends [116] of his as Masters of Writing [shangshu], and also appointed Li Sheng as Intendant of Henan [117] and Bi Gui as Colonel Director of Retainers [sili xiaowei] [118], granting Cao Shuang's faction enormous influence. [119] These men abused their authority, promoting those who agreed with them and demoting or dismissing those who disagreed. [120] They dismissed officials they personally disliked for trivial offenses. [121]


I can well believe Cao Shuang installed his officer core into power like every top dog in politics and warlord. Cao Cao did it to Han court, Liu Bei did it when he took Yi, Zhuge Liang installed his men in the army, Sima Yi when he seized control of court, May did it when she became PM, Corbyn did it when he got real control of Labour (as did their predecessors), Trump and Obama did when they took office.

On the sackings, yes I'm not surprised Cao Shuang's political opponents decided not to go "and it is was completely fair I was sacked." when they got back into power.

An example cited is: ZZTJ Jingchu 3, 14 cites the example of Fu Jia. Passage 15 cites a similar case with Lu Yu, who had been demoted to make room for He Yan. Passage 16 presents another example: Cao Shuang's Chief Clerk, Sun Li [who had been given the position by Cao Rui to supervise Cao Shuang] was sent away to be Inspector of Yang Province.


Fu Jia was opposed to reform of how officers were examined and graded (whereas Shuang's regime wanted to open it away from gentry) and slammed chief ministers, not a surprise that didn't end well. Lu Yu went down one rank which is hardly the worst thing in the world for a new regime with different ideas to do, Sun Li got a vital post to secure the south.

Don't get me wrong, I agree Cao Shuang did remove those that disagreed with him but so did others. Cao Shuang gets flak becuase he lost, those he opposed got back in and weren't too pleased, nor where Confucian gentry who don't tend to take well to their power base being under attack. Sima Yi does it but since his faction is in power, that was alright and perfectly fair.

From what we see, Cao Shuang and his friends were corrupt and dislike by pretty much everyone. Also many high ranking Wei officials and Cao Rui considered those remove from power to be incompetent or corrupt. It is important to note that Cao Rui like his Predecessors were great judges of talent men.


Cao Rui was a good judge of talent, he was also in his public life a staunch Confucian and they did not like these new age thinkers.

What we see is, as I said in my earlier, post, history written by the victors. A Confucian gentry establishment who were faced with radical new thinkers, new philosophy that didn't suit their interests, got into a very hostile conflict, won back power and for some reason didn't seem inclined to give an objective assessment of the guys they had defeated and who had threatened the established order. Which is unsurprising becuase 1) Jin needed Cao Shuang to the baddie to justify their actions, 2) Confucian gentry don't tend to write fair and balanced accounts of non-Confucian gentry periods of power. See eunuchs, women and Cao Shuang, 3) it makes all those families in power look good for their role.

He literally restrain himself after petitions by his ministers. He also welcome criticism to himself.


Restrained himself for 5 minutes then went back to it doesn't quite count :wink: I do think Rui's excess is somewhat exaggerated as part of "he didn't have male heir ergo he was morally inferior as heaven punished him" mindset in histories, Jin needing to argue "Wei was the legitimate successor of Han but also not good so we were utterly justified to take throne" and so on but there were clear concerns including that he could be unfocused on matters of state despite his abilities.

By the time of his death, Cao Wei had conquered the liaodong and manchuria area. They also frequently receive tributes from Korean states and Japan.

The decline of Cao Wei began only after Cao Shuang disastrous campaign.


The seeping moral authority, possible finical damage of his projects, Cao's long association with the weird despite Pi and Rui's efforts (Shuang made it worse but was an issue), the harem policies (both the who was selected and size), lack of male heir that was so fatal (like I said, not all of it was his fault), failure to build a really strong relations with gentry or a sense that the Cao's were behind the gentry interests, his botched succession plans.

You might find this an intresting read, doesn't touch on all I mentioned but might give the idea that Wei was not in a strong internal position pre Shuang. Shuang's radical regime and use of He Yan compounded some of the issues though.

Source? Liu Bei sanguozhi make no mention where the refugees are from. Common logic dictate that the refugees were mostly Jing people and maybe a few Yan and Yu people as Yan and Yu province is directly above Jing. Now... Zhang Zhao biography has proven that most of Xu refugees stayed in Yang. And even if they move west to Jing due to Liu Biao fame and reputation, they will likely stay at Jiangxia or Changsha. NOT the Xinye/Xiangyang/Fancheng area where Liu Bei refugees were from.

So unless you can provide a clear source, Im going to assume that Liu Bei refugees were mostly Jing people. After all, common logic and even official histories( Zhang Zhao sanguozhi) back my claim.


Given the amount of refugees in Jing (like Xu Shu, Zhuge family and so on who seem to have been in Liu Bei's reach), wouldn't say all from Jing but your right, Xu refugees went elsewhere. My apologies

Out of all the warlords at that time... there were few better than Liu Bei in moral themes. Liu Yu is an obvious one... Sun Ce is a another... maybe Liu Yan???


Liu Yu certainly. Sun Ce? Maybe, he had issues with his own authority, a certain insecurity that could make a jerk. Tian Chou count? Not Liu Yan, he was not a moral person. Liu Chong (maybe his Chancellor Lou Jun more the credit there)?

However, it is important to note that only Liu Bei was praised for his treatment of his surbodinates and civillians( by the histories). Part of the reason why Liu Zhang and Liu Biao did not trust Liu Bei was because of Liu Bei nice general treatment towards commoners and officials alike.


Agreed. Liu Bei's popularity (particularly after Liu Bei spent a year building it in up in Yi) was something that worried the courts of the two warlords

Cao Cao campaign was horrific and it is indeed strange that there is a lack of criticism.


My guess is that it was just seen as part of war, if one did it too often there would be concerns perhaps but not the odd one over the career, and an element of filial around the Xu one

I cant seem to read this book online. If it is possible could you please provide a couple sentences or paragaphs to support your statement? As far as i know, the Han frequently conduct irrigation works and construction works in Sichuan area.


I'm not saying no projects were done in the area, governors were sent, ranks were given, trade obviously occurred and so on but ties were not close.

I'll do summary with what passages I can. Farmer bemoans lack of scholarship on Shu-Han intellectual life
This general neglect of the Chengdu Plan results in the enduring popular view of the region as one devoid of any serious scholarly activity and of Zhuge Liang as the state's only intellectual
Early history put the area as in China but on edge of with prosperity noted right from the off. Ban Gu after setting up it's history and and resources comments
The people eat rice and fish and have no worry about famine years. Since the common folk do not suffer hardships, they are easy-going and profligate, weak and mean
. Wen Wang's biography portrays him as a precocious young man set to govern the backwater and while Ban Gu praises work done with academy set up by Wen Yang, Ban Gu comments "taught the people how to recite texts, laws and ordinances, but they were not able to believe truly in morality and used their fondness for writing to satirize and ridicule, they thought honoured and admired power and authority". Those kind of attitudes from early on stuck for a long long time according to Farmer

Early Han would recognise Cheng Du scholars but not give them anything of substance (though there were very rare exceptions like Sima Xiangru who got as high as gentleman of the palace and leading troops but nowhere things like being an Excellency). Yi scholars tended to go for rhapsodises in Former Han then moved to what might be called widely read classical scholarship with heavy eye on the mystic bent (and sarcasm), some of the leading Yi scholars (particularly Yang and Qiao family) would become palace attendants in Latter Han due to skill in prophecy (and not get used for much else). Liu Bei's officer Xiahou Zuan slagged off quality of Yi scholars to Yi scholar and wit Qin Mi

Jin historian Sun Sheng remarked on Shu-Han (due to a play Liu Bei put on mocking his infighting Jing born scholars) "Shu lacked cultured gentleman and for that reason, Xu Ci, Hu Qian and the others were employed" (though Sima Zhao seems to have respected scholars of Yi). In fairness, Yi scholars didn't always seem keen to actually serve (while this was an increasing problem, this happened a lot with Yi scholars), even during the civil though though Liu Bei and Zhuge Liang had reasonable success on that and Chen Shou notable did a biographic section on Yi scholar all of them as perfect examples of goodness and scholarship then a set on Liu Bei's Jing scholars which were.... less complimentary.

Farmer questions if part of Qiao Zhou's advice to surrender contained little attacks and did foresee Shu's fall, notes
Qiao Zhou spent nearly his entire adult life as a subject of the state of Shu-Han. As such one might expect to find evidence of partisanship in his writings about his own state. *snip bit about local histories* His political writings tended to exhort Liu Shan towards moral behaviour both individually and for the welfare of the people start, supporting the nation that Qiao's support for the Liu's regime was heavily based on the classical ideal of a safe-king. Thus his local histories did not tend to favour the Liu's or their state over the other contenders for the remains of the shattered Han empire.
The recorded reactions of men like Xi Zheng is towards Liu Shan and fellow scholars after Shu's fall, not the regime itself. Farmer also notes
the Chengdu Plain remained to some extent culturally apart from the centre of imperial power concentrated in the Yellow River heartland. The views expressed by Ban Gu *snip for length* perhaps best exemplifies the Central Plains view of the Chengdu Plain. And while Ban Gu's prejudice against the south may have been somewhat extreme, despite over three hundred years of Qin and Han influence in the area, many outsiders were still unconvinced the region was an equally cultured part of the empire
and that Qiao Zhou then Chang Qu both tried to change that.
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Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Han » Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:34 pm

Yet Yuan Shao seems perfectly happy when other of his generals pillage like Liu Bei so why this time? Why do two sources concentrate on cruelty rather then pillaging?

Razing the capital with all that entails (including pillaging stuff the gentry actually care about if one is a cynic) is more then a tad different from normal pillaging for all the symbolism, for all that moment represents. That is never a good look whoever does it, wherever they do it

I'll freely give you a third example of where pillaging was hated. When against your own side (Qingzhou troops, Liu Zhang set of troops rather then Liu Zhang). The problem with the idea that it was condemned as a general rule is that Liu Bei pillaged, Wu had an active policy of pillaging against Liu Biao and did it a few times against Wei, Lu Bu pillaged in Yan, so on and so forth and nobody cared. No PR hits, no condemnation from gentry. If you were seen as a legitimate miliatry force and didn't pillage your own side, nobody cared


Yuan Shao biography states that he sent Liu to Cao Cao rear to divert Cao Cao attention. His reaction was not recorded. Why do you assume that he was content with it even though Yuan had a history of disliking the ways and cruelties of Lü troops. Yuan was unhappy with the cruelty of Lü troops even though Lü was a retainer of Yuan at that time. Will Yuan Shao be unhappy with Lü troops cruelty against his enemies? Most likely not. Common logic is Yuan was pissed that Lü harrased the civillians which will ruin Yuan reputation. This is supported by the SanGuoZhi. You seem to have a different reason that is not pillaging when it comes to the behaviour of Lü troops even though the sanguozhi supports me and the zztj plus rafe account that you cited hints at it. The fact that all three sources pretty much say Lü Bu troops act cruelly/brutally at best and actively pillaging at worst( not much difference by the way) show that both sources dont contradict - at least not directly.

Razing a capital is the definition of a military pillage...
Dong burnt the palaces and Luoyang so that the coalition wont be able to occupy there properly( and receive little benefits)
Dong moved the population west so that the coalition wont have human resources.
Dong plundered tombs and treasures so that the coalition cant use them and also partly because he want to keep them for himself.
So yeah... if this is not an example of MILITARY PILLAGE( actively preventing enemies from gaining assets while wasting their resources) then what is it? A cultural pillage?
If thats the case then Dong did not need to move the population.
Feel free to point out anything I said wrongly or does not use common logic.
And who cares about the gentry. Fact is, Dong Zhuo was actively criticised by the Han officials for his behaviour.

Liu Bei pillage twice but had a very nice reputation which can be a reason why he was not criticised.
The Sun clan conducted a few raids here and there but they generally treated the people of Jing well and moved them west albeit with force.
Sun Jian Sgz states that he spent most of his time working under the Han pacifying places.
Sun Ce Sgz took note of his army discipline and military laws to the point of commoners impressment. His defeat of Huang Zu did not include any notes on pillage unlike Lü Sgz and Chen Shou plus Pei arent the kind of people to censor these information.
Sun Quan has no sgz but wiki did say that Sun "harrass" Huang Zu to weaken him but was not clear.
Lü Bu sgz describes his battles against Cao no note on pillaging part that you state. So... prove?

The overall point Im trying to make is that it isnt "NO ONE CARED" pillage was looked down upon it by everyone be it done by commoners or professional armies. Yuan Shao was pissed at Lü behaviour, Yuan Shu according to the HanHouShu was worried of Lü after him allowing his troops to plunder the area. Many Han officials stood up to Dong even though they lacked military power because of his burning of Luoyang( an example of military pillage).

Very few made them their main wives that we know of, we barely know anything about most of the wives outside of rulers. Acquisition of wife by war did happen (Zhen Ji, Lady Du aka wife of Qin Yilu and Cao Cao, the Qiao's possibly, Pi's Guo sent to harem due local revolt and there was someone I forgot as soon as I started typing the sentence) so maybe Zhang Fei's was seen through that prism.

The Cao's took some flak for marrying outside their class so yeah, that got flak. Zhang Fei kidnapping a wife didn't.


Sure. But none of them kidnapped their women that they taken. Zhang Fei is the only recorded person( people that have biographies) to abduct a women. Dong Zhuo sleeping with palace women and Sun Hao tyranny come the closest I guess. Chen Shou and Pei arent the kind to censor these kind of information after all.

Zhang Fei did not receive flak because their reactions were not recorded. Let us be realistic here. If you are Xiahou Yuan wouldnt you be angered by the fact that your niece was kidnapped?

I think there were differences between what was acceptable during the Eastern Han and the civil war. I mean there were knight errants near the end granted but generally a land at peace with law and order established, kidnap would be no and a horrifying thing. During a civil war? Gentry let things slide on things (as long as it didn't hurt the gentry themselves)


Gentry dont really let things slide. The Han officials stood up to Dong tyranny even before the burning of Luoyang. The Wu ministers frequently protested against Sun Hao tyranny. Wei ministers didnt like Shuang corruption. Etc etc.

Zhen Ji did indeed get along with Cao Pi for most of her life as far as we can tell. On the concubines, it was a clever move by Zhen Ji, Cao Pi would have ended up with concubines given his position so she got in front of it, earned favour. The difference between having concubines and the final years is that Zhen Ji was the favoured one, her son's place secure and then suddenly she wasn't, suddenly Pi favoured certain others. Could be broke her heart, possible risk for her son, a risk for her own position and future but she was no longer beloved number 1.

Wei Shu's account of her death has been widely dismissed by historians (see below) as Wei court propaganda on this case. I find it odd personally the idea that Zhen Ji was in favour yet kept away from Cao Pi for so long


You are absolutely right. I apologise. Should have checked sources properly.


The SGZ itself goes for suicide and there isn't an account that disputes it. Why wait so long for remarriage? Scandal possibly, that Rui was sonless and may have been inclined to give it to whoever could give him one. Family members didn't tend to be punished if the suicide happened, was part of the "deal"/expected handling of it. Other then suicide, I don't really see much similarity with their deaths


You are right. But regardless, Cao Rui advanced the status of women during his reign among many things and should not be villify just because of a single death.

Hard to tell. PR disaster so his libertine style and his arrogance did make him unsuited for very high offices (not in temrs of ablity as such, more it really turns people against a regime having someone as... free as He Yan), we don't really have a good coverage of Cao Shuang policies or the actual ability of the government other then Shuang's miliatry prowess was not good.


He Yan wikipedia note him to be a great scholar but thats about it. Cant seem why you regard him so highly.
Cao Shuang regime was most likely negative. Many Wei officials hated his regime. Even if we dont take them into account, the fact that many peasants did not revolt against Sima Yi removal of Cao Shuang showed that Cao was not popular enough to.

I can well believe Cao Shuang installed his officer core into power like every top dog in politics and warlord. Cao Cao did it to Han court, Liu Bei did it when he took Yi, Zhuge Liang installed his men in the army, Sima Yi when he seized control of court, May did it when she became PM, Corbyn did it when he got real control of Labour (as did their predecessors), Trump and Obama did when they took office.

On the sackings, yes I'm not surprised Cao Shuang's political opponents decided not to go "and it is was completely fair I was sacked." when they got back into power.


Cao Cao and Liu Bei employed capable men. Zhuge ostracised a few but was still noted for his fair laws and rewarding righteous behaviour(sgz). Sima Yi installed guys like Deng Ai aka capable people. Meanwhile Cao Shuang employed mostly scholars who mostly failed Cao Rui exams...... How is this even comparable? Liu Zhuge and Sima was not actively hated by their local gentry. Meanwhile people did not like Cao because he was holding Xian hostage not because he put capable people in high positions.

Fu Jia was opposed to reform of how officers were examined and graded (whereas Shuang's regime wanted to open it away from gentry) and slammed chief ministers, not a surprise that didn't end well. Lu Yu went down one rank which is hardly the worst thing in the world for a new regime with different ideas to do, Sun Li got a vital post to secure the south.

Don't get me wrong, I agree Cao Shuang did remove those that disagreed with him but so did others. Cao Shuang gets flak becuase he lost, those he opposed got back in and weren't too pleased, nor where Confucian gentry who don't tend to take well to their power base being under attack. Sima Yi does it but since his faction is in power, that was alright and perfectly fair.


Source on Fu Jia part?

There were rebellions against Sima Yi and his sons later on. However, Cao Wei under Sima was definitely better handled compared to under Shuang. Talented people were promoted and many from Shuang regime not close to Shuang was left untouched.

Cao Rui was a good judge of talent, he was also in his public life a staunch Confucian and they did not like these new age thinkers.

What we see is, as I said in my earlier, post, history written by the victors. A Confucian gentry establishment who were faced with radical new thinkers, new philosophy that didn't suit their interests, got into a very hostile conflict, won back power and for some reason didn't seem inclined to give an objective assessment of the guys they had defeated and who had threatened the established order. Which is unsurprising becuase 1) Jin needed Cao Shuang to the baddie to justify their actions, 2) Confucian gentry don't tend to write fair and balanced accounts of non-Confucian gentry periods of power. See eunuchs, women and Cao Shuang, 3) it makes all those families in power look good for their role.


Cao Rui did not fire them on a whim. He gave most if not all of his officials proper examinations. Those who failed got fired. Thats fair and actually pretty smart.

Everyone hated Cao Shuang. Not just official histories and the gentry. Soldiers and commoners hate him to the point where Sima taking over was so quick and met with no opposition. Most of Wei officials disagree with his reforms. The people he promoted were mostly capable scholars and lack everything else. Even Cao Rui put Sun Li as his aide because he did not fully trust him. By all accounts at that time, Cao Shuang was completely incompetent. The fact that you dont know his exact reforms provides further evidence.

Restrained himself for 5 minutes then went back to it doesn't quite count :wink: I do think Rui's excess is somewhat exaggerated as part of "he didn't have male heir ergo he was morally inferior as heaven punished him" mindset in histories, Jin needing to argue "Wei was the legitimate successor of Han but also not good so we were utterly justified to take throne" and so on but there were clear concerns including that he could be unfocused on matters of state despite his abilities.


Unfocused on matters of the state???????
According to zztj:
Cao Rui took this occasion to distribute grain among the common folk with uncommon generosity. All who were old yet still unmarried, those who were widowed, those who were orphaned, those who had no children, and those who simply were not able to support themselves were given grain.[31]

In the tenth month (November 4 – Deember 3), the Bingwang Terrace was renamed Dingsung Terrace and was used for court proceedings. Cao Rui often said that criminal justice was the very life of the nation. Whenever there was a major crime being judged, he would personally go to the terrace and listen to the case.[73]


During Cao Rui’s reign, the Master of Writing [shangshu] Wei Ji proposed that the various officials be reacquainted with the legal code. Cao Rui ordered the Minister of Works [sikong] Chen Qun and the Cavalier Attendant in Ordinary [sanji changshi] Liu Shao to revise Wei’s legal code. The resultant creation was generally considered more efficient than the previous legal systems.[74]

Cao Rui commended Dong Zhao’s words.[79] On March 5, he issued an edict in response, saying: “As for internal quality and external embellishment, the change depends on the different teachings. Since war and disturbance began, the study of the classics has been completely abandoned; the advancements of younger people are not given through two Canons and the Three Counsels. Is it not that those whose study is yet insufficient and who are about to be given official appointment have become prominent by their virtue? Those of the Gentlemen Masters of Writing [shangshu lang] who have mastered one classic and whose talent suffices to govern the people shall be examined by the Academicians. Those who pass the examination with high marks shall promptly be given appointment; those who are shallow and superficial, and do not consider the source of the true way as their cardinal business, shall be dismissed.” As a result of these examinations, a number prominent officials were dismissed from office when their studies were found to be insufficient.[80]

Cao Rui showed great favor to the palace women. They were given ranks identical to those of the various officials of the Imperial Court. Six of the women in Cao Rui’s harem, because they were very intelligent and well-educated, were selected to be Mistresses of Writing [nü shangshu], with the same responsibilities as their male counterparts.[164] While Chinese historians traditionally present this as an odd perversion or curiosity on Cao Rui’s part, such an interpretation is an obvious attempt to force Cao Rui’s actions to fit into the traditional concept of a male-dominated society. Yet, in addition to granting these women government positions, Cao Rui enfeoffed members of his maternal line and even enfeoffed women independently of their husbands. He also distributed grain and silk to disenfranchised women. Furthermore, he attended the funeral of his daughter Cao Shu and not those of his sons. When viewed in context with these actions, it would appear that Cao Rui made an active effort to advance the position of women in Wei’s society.

Around the end of 236, Cao Rui ordered his officials to recommend people of talent for imperial service.[180] His edict read: “I wish to recruit those of talent, wisdom, and literary accomplishments, and of profound counsel; those who can see the distant as if were near at hand; whose calculations always work and whose schemes are always fruitful; whose character is whole and whose minds are fine; whose persons are pure and cultivated, refined and calm, and who are indefatigable in their aims.” These people were to be given office regardless of age and status.[181]

So... Cao Rui distributed rice and grain, listen to court hearings, created a better legal system, actively fired incompetent people and actively recruit competent ones. He also advance political status of women. Furthermore, he conducted frequent inspection tours, forced the submission of north and Liaodong, open trade with Korea and diplomatic relations with Japan.

How can you say that he was unfocus on matters of state?

Once more, if his biggest blemish in his spectuacular reign was extravagance and murdering his emperess, then he was truly a paragon of virtue at that time!

The seeping moral authority, possible finical damage of his projects, Cao's long association with the weird despite Pi and Rui's efforts (Shuang made it worse but was an issue), the harem policies (both the who was selected and size), lack of male heir that was so fatal (like I said, not all of it was his fault), failure to build a really strong relations with gentry or a sense that the Cao's were behind the gentry interests, his botched succession plans.

You might find this an intresting read, doesn't touch on all I mentioned but might give the idea that Wei was not in a strong internal position pre Shuang. Shuang's radical regime and use of He Yan compounded some of the issues though.



Great read. I largely agree that Wei was not strong internally. However, Cao Rui rule is still the best out of the big 3 of Wei. It was the golden era of Wei. The reasons i cited were mentioned above.

Liu Yu certainly. Sun Ce? Maybe, he had issues with his own authority, a certain insecurity that could make a jerk. Tian Chou count? Not Liu Yan, he was not a moral person. Liu Chong (maybe his Chancellor Lou Jun more the credit there)?


Sun Ce insecurities? By all accounts he was a friendly guy who got along with everyone. Tian Chou? I dont think he was a warlord. Liu Chong? Google net me nothing about his actions.

Regardless, my point is, Liu Bei was a saint compared to most warlords.

My guess is that it was just seen as part of war, if one did it too often there would be concerns perhaps but not the odd one over the career, and an element of filial around the Xu one


Intentionally murdering innocent people by the tens of thousands wasnt " part of war". But I absolutely agree with the rest of your statement.

On Yi province.

Im not arguing that BaShu was not popular compared to the other states. But ever since the unification of China under Han GaoZu, most of Yi have already been assimilated into China proper. Central plains looking down on Yi scholars does not change the fact. Appointing governors, giving ranks and trade were normal. However, out of all the southern provinces, Yi had the most population which is most likely because of Chinese colonisation since the Qin periods. Indeed, compared to Jing, Yang and especially Jiao, Yi was given alot of Argriculture and Construction importance. As a result, even though Yi will not become a political nor cultural centre until the later periods, the Han probably regard Yi highly due to its strategic placement and natural advantages.( Natural defensive barriers, High population and fertile lands.)

Thus the point Im trying to make is that the Yi probably did not view the Liu as "outsiders" as you previously mentioned
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Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby DragonAtma » Thu Aug 17, 2017 9:28 pm

I should point out that when Liu Bei took over Yizhou, Liu Zhang had been running the place for twenty years or so (and a few more under his father), so Liu management was not exactly a new thing. And while Liu Zhang was totally unfit for a time of war, he was rather gentle and had few rebellions; the main exception (after the succession was settled) was Zhang Lu.
Unless I specifically say otherwise, assume I am talking about historical Three Kingdoms, and not the novel.
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Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:48 am

DragonAtma wrote:I should point out that when Liu Bei took over Yizhou, Liu Zhang had been running the place for twenty years or so (and a few more under his father), so Liu management was not exactly a new thing. And while Liu Zhang was totally unfit for a time of war, he was rather gentle and had few rebellions; the main exception (after the succession was settled) was Zhang Lu.


Dragon, I would point to Jing chapter of generals of South to disagree there. Liu Zhang had major problems of control, lost local support, couldn't control the "outsiders" he and his father had brought in and faced revolts from his senior generals at various times

Yuan Shao biography states that he sent Liu to Cao Cao rear to divert Cao Cao attention. His reaction was not recorded. Why do you assume that he was content with it even though Yuan had a history of disliking the ways and cruelties of Lü troops. Yuan was unhappy with the cruelty of Lü troops even though Lü was a retainer of Yuan at that time. Will Yuan Shao be unhappy with Lü troops cruelty against his enemies? Most likely not. Common logic is Yuan was pissed that Lü harrased the civillians which will ruin Yuan reputation. This is supported by the SanGuoZhi. You seem to have a different reason that is not pillaging when it comes to the behaviour of Lü troops even though the sanguozhi supports me and the zztj plus rafe account that you cited hints at it. The fact that all three sources pretty much say Lü Bu troops act cruelly/brutally at best and actively pillaging at worst( not much difference by the way) show that both sources dont contradict - at least not directly.


It is true we can not say 100% either way but given general reactions to pillaging at the time, Yuan Shao's friendship with knight-errants, plan involving pillaging by Zhang Yang against eunuchs, Liu Bei (I'm not sure what Yuan Shao would have been expecting from Liu Bei given the situation he was sending Liu Bei into), I think Yuan Shao's history would make it rather odd if he had issue with pillaging on that occasion.

I didn't deny Lu Bu's troops pillaged. More that Yuan Shao's anger was not with pillaging but with the cruelty (or excess might be another phrase).

Razing a capital is the definition of a military pillage...
Dong burnt the palaces and Luoyang so that the coalition wont be able to occupy there properly( and receive little benefits)
Dong moved the population west so that the coalition wont have human resources.
Dong plundered tombs and treasures so that the coalition cant use them and also partly because he want to keep them for himself.
So yeah... if this is not an example of MILITARY PILLAGE( actively preventing enemies from gaining assets while wasting their resources) then what is it? A cultural pillage?
If thats the case then Dong did not need to move the population.
Feel free to point out anything I said wrongly or does not use common logic.


You use good miliatry logic, like Dong did. While seemingly unaware of the immense political and PR ramifications of destroying your own capital which sums up a lot of Dong's problems. He could come up with what must have seemed to be perfectly practical solutions to Han's immense problems and have no idea why it would go down badly.

Where your logic doesn't quite work is you don't seem to understand how Luoyang was so special that pillaging in Xu, Yan, Henei was one thing, Luoyang quite another matter entirely. Dong wasn't so much pillaging ala Liu Bei and co as they saw it, he was destroying history, vandalizing the heart of the empire.

Maybe throw the question out to others here and KW to see their reaction?

And who cares about the gentry. Fact is, Dong Zhuo was actively criticised by the Han officials for his behaviour.


I did say they attacked him for it

Liu Bei pillage twice but had a very nice reputation which can be a reason why he was not criticised.
The Sun clan conducted a few raids here and there but they generally treated the people of Jing well and moved them west albeit with force.
Sun Jian Sgz states that he spent most of his time working under the Han pacifying places.
Sun Ce Sgz took note of his army discipline and military laws to the point of commoners impressment. His defeat of Huang Zu did not include any notes on pillage unlike Lü Sgz and Chen Shou plus Pei arent the kind of people to censor these information.
Sun Quan has no sgz but wiki did say that Sun "harrass" Huang Zu to weaken him but was not clear.
Lü Bu sgz describes his battles against Cao no note on pillaging part that you state. So... prove?


I wasn't counting Sun Jian in terms of pillaging there, sorry for not making that clear.

I'm not sure how seizing resources and people to force them into your land isn't pillaging. Literally, your taking stuff from people's homes and people from their own homes for your own resources.

Generals of the South, Sun Quan (search war with Huang Zu) here

Lu Bu pillaging year 195, V, note 37

The overall point Im trying to make is that it isnt "NO ONE CARED" pillage was looked down upon it by everyone be it done by commoners or professional armies. Yuan Shao was pissed at Lü behaviour, Yuan Shu according to the HanHouShu was worried of Lü after him allowing his troops to plunder the area. Many Han officials stood up to Dong even though they lacked military power because of his burning of Luoyang( an example of military pillage).


Yes, I get your overall point. I just disagree as I see pillaging used time and time again until 3kingdoms really settles down by major and smaller warlords (like Zhang Yang) with no issue from anyone.

Sure. But none of them kidnapped their women that they taken. Zhang Fei is the only recorded person( people that have biographies) to abduct a women. Dong Zhuo sleeping with palace women and Sun Hao tyranny come the closest I guess. Chen Shou and Pei arent the kind to censor these kind of information after all.


I'll be honest, I'm not sure the difference between Zhang Fei's horrible act and going into chambers armed ala Cao Pi as the new conqueror or having deal made on who the already married Lady Du would go to as prize of conquest. Forced to marry by force of arms

I'm not accusing the historians of censoring, more histories were not overly concerned with women at the time. We only get to hear about Zhang Fei's wife due to annotation and I suspect more becuase of her daughters and the Xiahou Ba being family moment

Zhang Fei did not receive flak because their reactions were not recorded. Let us be realistic here. If you are Xiahou Yuan wouldnt you be angered by the fact that your niece was kidnapped?


and I would immediately spin attacks on Liu Bei based on that, possibly Zhang Fei's recent murder of Qin Yilu (depends how awkward the whole bigamy issue would be), undermine his rep for kindness. Not once did Wei attack Liu Bei on that.

Of the marriages we have objections at the time (or from latter historians) to, nobody seems to have contested Liu Shan's which they would have if their mother's marriage was considered a scandal. Or actually attacked Zhang Fei's marriage

Gentry dont really let things slide. The Han officials stood up to Dong tyranny even before the burning of Luoyang. The Wu ministers frequently protested against Sun Hao tyranny. Wei ministers didnt like Shuang corruption. Etc etc.


Kidnapping, murder, cannibalism, people being able to ignore laws (which of course they were outraged when eunuchs did this) due to being friends with someone powerful. Some were good when it came to their lords, I imagine the all round tax avoidance of the Han did get curbed, they were always good at protecting their own interests but a lot of things slid. Sometimes for pragmatic reasons

You are absolutely right. I apologise. Should have checked sources properly.


Happens to all of us

You are right. But regardless, Cao Rui advanced the status of women during his reign among many things and should not be villify just because of a single death.


Agreed.

I'm not seeking to vilify Cao Rui. I think some of his flaws are overexgerrated due to way Chinese history worked, I think he was a complex and contradictory man and a very skilled warlord but wouldn't put him as one of the benevolent figures of the era

He Yan wikipedia note him to be a great scholar but thats about it. Cant seem why you regard him so highly.


As a scholar? The man helped form a new philosophy and his writings influenced people for centuries, I admire people who attempt reform and want to take on vested interested. As a person? I'm fine with someone being a libertine but if one is going to take office, one has to conform (imagine a He Yan in US or UK cabinet, would still be an immense problem) for greater good and his arrogance made him a... jerk.

As an officer? Hard to know. We know Cao Shuang's time was one strong for literature and philosophy but was He Yan part of that (as in helping encourage that beyond his own works)? What reforms (we know so little of the actual reforms bar attempting to widen officer entrance beyond Confucian Gentry, an idea gentry always took very badly against) was He Yan part of? Even if part of reforms, having a good idea and being able to implement is another matter, was he good at that? He must take blame for the PR damage he did to Cao Shuang's regime due to personal life, when Sima Yi was playing the "good Confucian restraint" card He Yan might as well have been the posterboy for contrast.

We know little of Cao Shuang's regime, most of their attempted reforms (bar a changing recruitment policy so it wasn't stacked in favour of the gentry, which I think we would agree with now but never went down well with gentry) we know nothing about. You seem to be "well Cao Shuang's opponents say they were corrupt and useless so it must be true" whereas my attitude is that given who Cao Shuang lost to, the way Chinese history works, gentry self interest, how reforms against vested interests get seen, Cao Shuang's regime taking on the gentry, some things not adding up=that I'm more then a tad sceptical about offical events. I would say the only major regime we have as bad a sense of is possibly Yuan Shu and I think we get even more sense of Yuan Shu's regime.

Cao Shuang regime was most likely negative. Many Wei officials hated his regime. Even if we dont take them into account, the fact that many peasants did not revolt against Sima Yi removal of Cao Shuang showed that Cao was not popular enough to.


The gentry hated him becuase his reforms went against their self interests. Peasants never revolted over such coups so would remarkable if they had done there. I'm not saying Cao Shuang was Liu Yu level popular (and Sima Yi plus Dowager Guo as head of the coup would have been extremely reassuring unless you were one of the generals suddenly being recalled) but he was also not revolted against so clearly wasn't unpopular

Cao Cao and Liu Bei employed capable men. Zhuge ostracised a few but was still noted for his fair laws and rewarding righteous behaviour(sgz). Sima Yi installed guys like Deng Ai aka capable people. Meanwhile Cao Shuang employed mostly scholars who mostly failed Cao Rui exams...... How is this even comparable? Liu Zhuge and Sima was not actively hated by their local gentry. Meanwhile people did not like Cao because he was holding Xian hostage not because he put capable people in high positions.


You mention the failed exam thing here and in another segment. Source for they failing an exam? First I have heard that one

So others employed capable but partisan men, ostracised others but that's ok, Cao Shuang does it and it isn't?

Yes, the others avoided gentry hatred, Liu Bei and co didn't challenge them, Sun's relied heavily on them but ended up unable to keep them under control, Cao's had a... mixed relationship with gentry and lost their support over time. Not over Xian, the Xian loyalists were a small section and dwindling already when Cao Cao got Xian. There is always a debate when radical reform is do you try to win them over (not always possible) or ignore them and go hard at the reforms, Shuang went for the latter and that clearly failed. I agree though, a major Cao Shuang flaw was he failed to appease the gentry or defeat them and paid for it

Source on Fu Jia part?


on recruitment, find Liu Shao

complaint
Fu Jia, the huangmen shilang, said to Cao Shuang's younger brother Cao Xi, “Hu Pingshu is calm externally but fierce internally. He is sharp and avaricious, not attending to what is fundamental. I am afraid he will first of all delude you and your brothers; good men will keep away and State affairs will be neglected.” Hu Yan and the others, as a result, were antagonistic toward Fu Jia, and on a trifling matter had him dismissed from office.


There were rebellions against Sima Yi and his sons later on. However, Cao Wei under Sima was definitely better handled compared to under Shuang. Talented people were promoted and many from Shuang regime not close to Shuang was left untouched.


Yes, I can't imagine why the Sima's and their loyalists would say their governing was better then Cao Shuang's and that they themselves and their families who took over from Cao Shuang's men were better officers.

Better handled how? Wei's miliatry was clearly still working given defensive victories, there was more peace under Cao Shuang (one coup vs repeated revolts), Wei doesn't seem an economic or harvest hit under Cao Shuang, Wu and Shu didn't seem to see a chance for glory based on Cao Shuang.

Everyone hated Cao Shuang. Not just official histories and the gentry. Soldiers and commoners hate him to the point where Sima taking over was so quick and met with no opposition. Most of Wei officials disagree with his reforms. The people he promoted were mostly capable scholars and lack everything else. Even Cao Rui put Sun Li as his aide because he did not fully trust him. By all accounts at that time, Cao Shuang was completely incompetent. The fact that you dont know his exact reforms provides further evidence.


There was an astonishingly amount of popular coups in Huan and Ling+three kingdoms era by that logic as generally the soldiers (outside those involved) and commoners didn't revolt. I'm not sure many cared as long as they were getting fed and their own lives not disrupted.

Yes, the gentry disagreed with appointing outside their own circles. Reform was easier during the early parts of the three kingdoms but in dying days of Han and once things settled down, the gentry kept their grip and acted as blocker for reforms that would weaken their power. I have no idea if Cao Shuang's reforms were poor ideas, good ideas but poorly executed or just annoyed the establishment. Maybe I'm biased due to expirence in my country

Yeah, Cao Rui's heir system was a mess given the constant chop and changes. It would be really really weird to appoint a regent you didn't think was capable though so not sure why he would, Sun Li filling an area Cao Shuang is lacking would make sense. If Cao Shuang was so incompetent, why was Wei (rather then Cao's, his death was a disaster for the family) in a decent state when he died, why was he able to outwit the clever political minds of Sima Yi and Dowager Guo for a time (though he lacked the ruthlessness to destroy them)? Why Wu and Shu not try to exploit Cao Shuang's administration?

I don't know about reforms becuase the Sima's didn't advertise them? Which is a bit odd given Sima's said they were so bad and would surely want them out there as a warning :wink:

Unfocused on matters of the state???????


You seem to believe "unfocused on matters of state" meant Cao Rui never focused on state affairs which may be why your confused. That is not what I was saying, more his court felt that he got distracted by personal pursuits and indulgences and wouldn't focus on matters of state. Professor Rafe notes the criticism he didn't focus enough on state affairs, Cutter and Cromwell ditto (quite a few times they mention that), Bing Lan, Du Shu, Chen Qun, latter scholar Sun Sheng and I'm going to stop there if you don't mind

Great read. I largely agree that Wei was not strong internally. However, Cao Rui rule is still the best out of the big 3 of Wei. It was the golden era of Wei. The reasons i cited were mentioned above.


For me, Cao Cao would be the Cao family at strongest.

Sun Ce insecurities? By all accounts he was a friendly guy who got along with everyone. Tian Chou? I dont think he was a warlord. Liu Chong? Google net me nothing about his actions.

Regardless, my point is, Liu Bei was a saint compared to most warlords.


Sun Ce was a nice guy but there are a few stories of where he felt slighted in some shape or form and reacted badly like Gan/Yu Ji, Wei Tong or Gao Dai

Agree to disagree I guess

Intentionally murdering innocent people by the tens of thousands wasnt " part of war". But I absolutely agree with the rest of your statement.


I wish that was true

Thus the point Im trying to make is that the Yi probably did not view the Liu as "outsiders" as you previously mentioned


That's fair. I have looked around and closest I have come is this but no idea if a reliable source. Maybe I got the Liu Zhang issues and the Yi vs Jing issues exemplified by Qin Mi and Chen Shou muddled into a Liu Bei issue
“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?”
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Re: Lets Discuss Liu Bei forces and Cao vs Yuan!

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:48 am

DragonAtma wrote:I should point out that when Liu Bei took over Yizhou, Liu Zhang had been running the place for twenty years or so (and a few more under his father), so Liu management was not exactly a new thing. And while Liu Zhang was totally unfit for a time of war, he was rather gentle and had few rebellions; the main exception (after the succession was settled) was Zhang Lu.


Dragon, I would point to Jing chapter of generals of South to disagree there. Liu Zhang had major problems of control, lost local support, couldn't control the "outsiders" he and his father had brought in+refugees and faced revolts from his senior generals at various times

Yuan Shao biography states that he sent Liu to Cao Cao rear to divert Cao Cao attention. His reaction was not recorded. Why do you assume that he was content with it even though Yuan had a history of disliking the ways and cruelties of Lü troops. Yuan was unhappy with the cruelty of Lü troops even though Lü was a retainer of Yuan at that time. Will Yuan Shao be unhappy with Lü troops cruelty against his enemies? Most likely not. Common logic is Yuan was pissed that Lü harrased the civillians which will ruin Yuan reputation. This is supported by the SanGuoZhi. You seem to have a different reason that is not pillaging when it comes to the behaviour of Lü troops even though the sanguozhi supports me and the zztj plus rafe account that you cited hints at it. The fact that all three sources pretty much say Lü Bu troops act cruelly/brutally at best and actively pillaging at worst( not much difference by the way) show that both sources dont contradict - at least not directly.


It is true we can not say 100% either way but given general reactions to pillaging at the time, Yuan Shao's friendship with knight-errants, plan involving pillaging by Zhang Yang against eunuchs, Liu Bei (I'm not sure what Yuan Shao would have been expecting from Liu Bei given the situation he was sending Liu Bei into like how Liu Bei would supply his men), I think Yuan Shao's history would make it rather odd if he had issue with pillaging on that occasion.

I didn't deny Lu Bu's troops pillaged. More that Yuan Shao's anger was not with pillaging but with the cruelty (or excess might be another phrase).

Razing a capital is the definition of a military pillage...
Dong burnt the palaces and Luoyang so that the coalition wont be able to occupy there properly( and receive little benefits)
Dong moved the population west so that the coalition wont have human resources.
Dong plundered tombs and treasures so that the coalition cant use them and also partly because he want to keep them for himself.
So yeah... if this is not an example of MILITARY PILLAGE( actively preventing enemies from gaining assets while wasting their resources) then what is it? A cultural pillage?
If thats the case then Dong did not need to move the population.
Feel free to point out anything I said wrongly or does not use common logic.


You use good miliatry logic, like Dong did. While seemingly unaware of the immense political and PR ramifications of destroying your own capital which sums up a lot of Dong's problems. He could come up with what must have seemed to be perfectly practical solutions to Han's immense problems and have no idea why it would go down badly.

Where your logic doesn't quite work is you don't seem to understand how Luoyang was so special that pillaging in Xu, Yan, Henei was one thing, Luoyang quite another matter entirely. Dong wasn't so much pillaging ala Liu Bei and co as they saw it, he was destroying history, vandalizing the heart of the empire.

Maybe throw the question out to others here and KW to see their reaction?

And who cares about the gentry. Fact is, Dong Zhuo was actively criticised by the Han officials for his behaviour.


I did say they attacked him for it

Liu Bei pillage twice but had a very nice reputation which can be a reason why he was not criticised.
The Sun clan conducted a few raids here and there but they generally treated the people of Jing well and moved them west albeit with force.
Sun Jian Sgz states that he spent most of his time working under the Han pacifying places.
Sun Ce Sgz took note of his army discipline and military laws to the point of commoners impressment. His defeat of Huang Zu did not include any notes on pillage unlike Lü Sgz and Chen Shou plus Pei arent the kind of people to censor these information.
Sun Quan has no sgz but wiki did say that Sun "harrass" Huang Zu to weaken him but was not clear.
Lü Bu sgz describes his battles against Cao no note on pillaging part that you state. So... prove?


I wasn't counting Sun Jian in terms of pillaging there, sorry for not making that clear.

I'm not sure how seizing resources and people to force them into your land isn't pillaging. Literally, your taking stuff from people's homes and people from their own homes for your own resources.

Generals of the South, Sun Quan (search war with Huang Zu) here

Lu Bu pillaging year 195, V, note 37

The overall point Im trying to make is that it isnt "NO ONE CARED" pillage was looked down upon it by everyone be it done by commoners or professional armies. Yuan Shao was pissed at Lü behaviour, Yuan Shu according to the HanHouShu was worried of Lü after him allowing his troops to plunder the area. Many Han officials stood up to Dong even though they lacked military power because of his burning of Luoyang( an example of military pillage).


Yes, I get your overall point. I just disagree as I see pillaging used time and time again until 3kingdoms really settles down by major and smaller warlords (like Zhang Yang) with no issue from anyone.

Sure. But none of them kidnapped their women that they taken. Zhang Fei is the only recorded person( people that have biographies) to abduct a women. Dong Zhuo sleeping with palace women and Sun Hao tyranny come the closest I guess. Chen Shou and Pei arent the kind to censor these kind of information after all.


I'll be honest, I'm not sure the difference between Zhang Fei's horrible act and going into chambers armed ala Cao Pi as the new conqueror or having deal made on who the already married Lady Du would go to as prize of conquest.

I'm not accusing the historians of censoring, more histories were not overly concerned with women at the time. We only get to hear about Zhang Fei's wife due to annotation and I suspect more becuase of her daughters and the Xiahou Ba being family moment

Zhang Fei did not receive flak because their reactions were not recorded. Let us be realistic here. If you are Xiahou Yuan wouldnt you be angered by the fact that your niece was kidnapped?


and I would immediately spin attacks on Liu Bei based on that, possibly Zhang Fei's recent murder of Qin Yilu (depends how awkward the whole bigamy issue would be), undermine his rep for kindness. Not once did Wei attack Liu Bei on that.

Of the marriages we have objections at the time (or from latter historians) to, nobody seems to have contested Liu Shan's which they would have if their mother's marriage was considered a scandal. Or actually attacked Zhang Fei's marriage (we get more flak about some of Cao marriages, or Xun Can loving his wife too much, Zhang Fei nada)

Gentry dont really let things slide. The Han officials stood up to Dong tyranny even before the burning of Luoyang. The Wu ministers frequently protested against Sun Hao tyranny. Wei ministers didnt like Shuang corruption. Etc etc.


Kidnapping, murder, cannibalism, people being able to ignore laws (which of course they were outraged when eunuchs did this) due to being friends with someone powerful. Of course there were great men among the gentry who stood up to power, I imagine the all round tax avoidance of the Han did get curbed, they were always good at protecting their own interests but a lot of things slid. Sometimes for pragmatic reasons

You are absolutely right. I apologise. Should have checked sources properly.


Happens to all of us

You are right. But regardless, Cao Rui advanced the status of women during his reign among many things and should not be villify just because of a single death.


Agreed.

I'm not seeking to vilify Cao Rui. I think some of his flaws are overexgerrated due to way Chinese history worked (didn't have male child aka must be doing something logic), I think he was a complex and contradictory man and a very skilled warlord but wouldn't put him as one of the benevolent figures of the era

He Yan wikipedia note him to be a great scholar but thats about it. Cant seem why you regard him so highly.


As a scholar? The man helped form a new philosophy and his writings influenced people for centuries, I admire people who attempt reform and want to take on vested interested. As a person? I'm fine with someone being a libertine but if one is going to take office, one has to conform (imagine a He Yan in US or UK cabinet, would still be an immense problem) for greater good and his arrogance made him a... jerk.

As an officer? Hard to know. We know Cao Shuang's time was one strong for literature and philosophy but was He Yan part of that (as in helping encourage that beyond his own works)? What reforms (we know so little of the actual reforms bar attempting to widen officer entrance beyond Confucian Gentry, an idea gentry always took very badly against) was He Yan part of? Even if part of reforms, having a good idea and being able to implement is another matter, was he good at that? He must take blame for the PR damage he did to Cao Shuang's regime due to personal life, when Sima Yi was playing the "good Confucian restraint" card He Yan might as well have been the posterboy for contrast.

We know little of Cao Shuang's regime, most of their attempted reforms (bar a changing recruitment policy so it wasn't stacked in favour of the gentry, which I think we would agree with now but never went down well with gentry) we know nothing about. You seem to be "well Cao Shuang's opponents say they were corrupt and useless so it must be true" whereas my attitude is that given who Cao Shuang lost to, the way Chinese history works, gentry self interest, how reforms against vested interests get seen, Cao Shuang's regime taking on the gentry, some things not adding up=that I'm more then a tad sceptical about offical events. I would say the only major regime we have as bad a sense of is possibly Yuan Shu and I think we get even more sense of Yuan Shu's regime.

Cao Shuang regime was most likely negative. Many Wei officials hated his regime. Even if we dont take them into account, the fact that many peasants did not revolt against Sima Yi removal of Cao Shuang showed that Cao was not popular enough to.


The gentry hated him becuase he didn't represent them in their eyes, Sima Yi played the good old Confucian man vs drug taking Neo-Doaists card and things like "hey let's open recruitment so we can get as wide a talented as possible" always went badly. Peasants never revolted over such coups so would remarkable if they had done there. I'm not saying Cao Shuang was Liu Yu level popular (Sima Yi plus Dowager Guo as head of the coup would have been extremely reassuring unless you were one of the generals suddenly being recalled) but he was also not revolted against so clearly wasn't unpopular

Cao Cao and Liu Bei employed capable men. Zhuge ostracised a few but was still noted for his fair laws and rewarding righteous behaviour(sgz). Sima Yi installed guys like Deng Ai aka capable people. Meanwhile Cao Shuang employed mostly scholars who mostly failed Cao Rui exams...... How is this even comparable? Liu Zhuge and Sima was not actively hated by their local gentry. Meanwhile people did not like Cao because he was holding Xian hostage not because he put capable people in high positions.


You mention the failed exam thing here and in another segment. Source for they failing an exam? First I have heard that one

So others employed capable but partisan men, ostracised others but that's ok, Cao Shuang does it and it isn't?

Yes, the others avoided gentry hatred, Liu Bei and co didn't challenge them, Sun's relied heavily on them but ended up unable to keep them under control, Cao's had a... mixed relationship with gentry and lost their support over time. Not over Xian, the Xian loyalists were a small section and dwindling already when Cao Cao got Xian. There is always a debate when radical reform is do you try to win them over (not always possible) or ignore them and go hard at the reforms, Shuang went for the latter and that clearly failed. I agree though, a major Cao Shuang flaw was he failed to appease the gentry or defeat them and paid for it while those that had some sympathy with Cao Shuang avoided service under him becuase they felt he would lose that battle.

Source on Fu Jia part?


on recruitment, find Liu Shao

complaint
Fu Jia, the huangmen shilang, said to Cao Shuang's younger brother Cao Xi, “Hu Pingshu is calm externally but fierce internally. He is sharp and avaricious, not attending to what is fundamental. I am afraid he will first of all delude you and your brothers; good men will keep away and State affairs will be neglected.” Hu Yan and the others, as a result, were antagonistic toward Fu Jia, and on a trifling matter had him dismissed from office.


There were rebellions against Sima Yi and his sons later on. However, Cao Wei under Sima was definitely better handled compared to under Shuang. Talented people were promoted and many from Shuang regime not close to Shuang was left untouched.


Yes, I can't imagine why the Sima's and their loyalists would say their governing was better then Cao Shuang's and that they themselves and their families who took over from Cao Shuang's men were better officers.

Better handled how? Wei's miliatry was clearly still working given defensive victories, there was more peace under Cao Shuang (one coup vs repeated revolts), Wei doesn't seem an economic or harvest hit under Cao Shuang, Wu and Shu didn't seem to see a chance for glory based on Cao Shuang.

Everyone hated Cao Shuang. Not just official histories and the gentry. Soldiers and commoners hate him to the point where Sima taking over was so quick and met with no opposition. Most of Wei officials disagree with his reforms. The people he promoted were mostly capable scholars and lack everything else. Even Cao Rui put Sun Li as his aide because he did not fully trust him. By all accounts at that time, Cao Shuang was completely incompetent. The fact that you dont know his exact reforms provides further evidence.


There was an astonishingly amount of popular coups in Huan and Ling+three kingdoms era by that logic as generally the soldiers (outside those involved) and commoners didn't revolt over coups. I'm not sure many cared as long as they were getting fed and their own lives not disrupted.

Yes, the gentry disagreed with appointing outside their own circles or non-Confucian ways. Reform was easier during the early parts of the three kingdoms but in dying days of Han and once things settled down, the gentry kept their grip and acted as blocker for reforms that would weaken their power. I have no idea if Cao Shuang's reforms were poor ideas, good ideas but poorly executed or just annoyed the establishment. Maybe I'm biased due to expirence in my country on what happens if even a minister takes on establishment for reform

Yeah, Cao Rui's heir system was a mess given the constant chop and changes. It would be really really weird to appoint a regent you didn't think was capable though so not sure why he would, Sun Li filling an area Cao Shuang is lacking would make sense but "actually your useless, here have Sun Li as your assistant" is a bit weird a regency strategy. If Cao Shuang was so incompetent, why was Wei (rather then Cao's, his death was a disaster for the family) in a decent state when he died, why was he able to outwit the clever political minds of Sima Yi and Dowager Guo for a time (though he lacked the ruthlessness to destroy them)? Why Wu and Shu not try to exploit Cao Shuang's administration?

I don't know about reforms becuase the Sima's didn't advertise them? Which is a bit odd given Sima's said they were so bad and would surely want them out there as a warning :wink:

Unfocused on matters of the state???????


You seem to believe "unfocused on matters of state" meant Cao Rui never focused on state affairs? That is not what I was saying, more his court felt that he got distracted by personal pursuits and indulgences and wouldn't focus on matters of state. Professor Rafe notes the criticism he didn't focus enough on state affairs, Cutter and Cromwell ditto (quite a few times they mention that), Bing Lan, Du Shu, Chen Qun, latter scholar Sun Sheng and I'm going to stop there if you don't mind

Great read. I largely agree that Wei was not strong internally. However, Cao Rui rule is still the best out of the big 3 of Wei. It was the golden era of Wei. The reasons i cited were mentioned above.


For me, Cao Cao would be the Cao family at strongest.

Sun Ce insecurities? By all accounts he was a friendly guy who got along with everyone. Tian Chou? I dont think he was a warlord. Liu Chong? Google net me nothing about his actions.

Regardless, my point is, Liu Bei was a saint compared to most warlords.


Sun Ce was a nice guy but there are a few stories of where he felt slighted in some shape or form and reacted badly like Gan/Yu Ji, Wei Tong or Gao Dai

Agree to disagree I guess

Intentionally murdering innocent people by the tens of thousands wasnt " part of war". But I absolutely agree with the rest of your statement.


I wish that was true, I really do.

Thus the point Im trying to make is that the Yi probably did not view the Liu as "outsiders" as you previously mentioned


That's fair. I have looked around and closest I have come is this but no idea if a reliable source. Maybe I got the Liu Zhang issues and the Yi vs Jing issues exemplified by Qin Mi and Chen Shou muddled into a Liu Bei issue
“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?”
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