Did Cao Cao Really Break Into Zhang Rang's House?

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

Did Cao Cao Really Break Into Zhang Rang's House?

Unread postby Tyrone8934 » Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:17 pm

Rafe De Crespigny (2010) said

"The Yitong zayu “Comparisons and Comments” by Sun Sheng of the fourth century records that on one occasion Cao Cao broke into the mansion of the powerful eunuch Zhang Rang, and when he was discovered he danced with a hand-axe in the courtyard, then leapt over the wall to make his escape. Sun Sheng goes on to say that his fighting skills made it impossible for anyone to harm him, but we may assume that his family connections also served to protect him" (p. 30).

Did this really happen? How reliable a source is Sun Sheng?

References

De Crespigny, Rafe. (2010). Imperial warlord: A biography of Cao Cao. Australia: Brill
Tyrone8934
Tyro
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Sep 18, 2018 4:11 pm

Re: Did Cao Cao Really Break Into Zhang Rang's House?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Nov 08, 2018 7:51 pm

Sun Sheng is a main, and hardline, commentator in the SGZ annotations but the title of that work makes me think it is small little tales. It is possible (though I'm sceptical) Cao Cao did something like that, Cao Cao was not a well behaved youth but I have no evidence to support either way.

Others may know more
“You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 15946
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

Re: Did Cao Cao Really Break Into Zhang Rang's House?

Unread postby Han » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:13 pm

Are you the same r/askhistorians poster? Its sad that the thread wasnt answered.

Regardless, RDC seems to assume that its true(considering the 'we may assume his family connections') and I personally wouldnt argue otherwise.
Liu Bei did nothing wrong.
User avatar
Han
Scholar
 
Posts: 351
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:46 pm

Re: Did Cao Cao Really Break Into Zhang Rang's House?

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:07 pm

Rafe de Crespigny does write this passage after talking about "hostile sources", which he mentioned the Cao Man Zhuan before this example, citing several unflattering stories. He then mentions the story from Sun Sheng. Both of these are in the same paragraph with no distinction between the two.

With that being said, I don't honestly have any reason to say this never happened. I just find the idea of one prominent figure interacting with another in some way out of nowhere to be a little suspicious. These stories always leave a bit of doubt in me. But again, I don't think any of us could say it did not happen. We can only have suspicions. It is a funny story though, and Sun Sheng is a colorful guy.
"I take Heaven and Earth to be my dwelling, and my rooms are my coat and pants; so what are you gentlemen doing in my pants?"
User avatar
DaoLunOfShiji
Academic
 
Posts: 196
Joined: Wed Aug 02, 2017 3:26 pm
Location: "A genius like Cao Zhi, as martial as Cao Cao."

Re: Did Cao Cao Really Break Into Zhang Rang's House?

Unread postby Han » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:11 pm

Rafe de Crespigny does write this passage after talking about "hostile sources", which he mentioned the Cao Man Zhuan before this example, citing several unflattering stories. He then mentions the story from Sun Sheng. Both of these are in the same paragraph with no distinction between the two.


He used Cao Man Zhuan as a direct example. Saying
Cao Man zhuan, for example
. However, he did not used the Yitong Zayu as an example. Just because the Yitong Zayu appeared immediately after doesnt mean it was a reference to the hostile sources thing.

Also, if u looked at the reference, he wrote 53 - the Cao Man Zhuan portion - using only 2 sentences to provide background information.

Meanwhile, the Yitong Zayu had two big paragraphs filled with elaboration on the historian life, his work and the connection with various sources.

One can wonder why RDC would go out of his way to elaborate the Zhang Rang tale and then proceed to offer his opinion on it with the " but we may assume that his family connections also served to protect him" if he had any doubts about it.

This is also in contrast to RDC treatment of the Shishuo Xinyu in the following paragraph where his elaboration of the account was not one of acceptance but an explanation of its lack of reliability.

Also FWIW, he has yet to criticise Sun Sheng work AFAIK. In fact the only thing that can be read as criticism is him pointing out Sun Sheng 'jaundiced eye' in the reference which isnt a criticism of the reliability of his work but more of Sun Sheng's cynical view of the 3K period individuals and events.

This is something which Pei SongZhi criticised Sun Sheng for also when it came to the Jiang Wei appraisal IIRC.

Finally, in page 22, RDC uses Sun Sheng Yitong Zayu as a direct reference.

Cao Cao’s scholarly interests are mentioned at this point in his biography in Sanguo zhi, and his work on Jieyao and Sunzi probably began about this time, but it is not known when they were completed. It is likely that a great part was written during his period of enforced
retirement in the late 170s, on which see below, and perhaps during the 180s. Thereafter he was intensely engaged in practical aspects of warfare, and probably had less time for theory.59


59 Cao Cao’s interest in books on military matters is mentioned by Sun Sheng’s Yitong zayu at SGZ 1:3 PC. For a more detailed discussion of his work in this field, see the section on Cao Cao and the Art of War in Chapter Seven.


In contrast RDC throughout the entirety of Imperial Warlord repeatedly label 'Cao Man Zhuan' as hostile and propaganda, albeit using it as a reference when it came to the discussion of Cao Xiahou connection.

In fact, one of his last chapters - which RDC uses to explain the fictional background of Cao Cao ' contains many outright criticisms and dismissals of Cao Man Zhuan.

Theres the distinction.
Liu Bei did nothing wrong.
User avatar
Han
Scholar
 
Posts: 351
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:46 pm


Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests

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

 
cron