Anyalsis of Han Fu

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Anyalsis of Han Fu

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Nov 26, 2018 10:23 am

I did this purely to distract Sun Fin from exams :wink:

Intro: Han Fu, style Wenjie, a governor who very quickly ceded Ji to Yuan Shao under pressure, providing Yuan Shao a strong base. After violence to his family, he sought refuge elsewhere but took his own life. His reputation has been of weakness of character, of a joke, of ineptness. Is it fair? Should we have sympathy?

I did this as someone jokingly asked me on tumbler for the guy who killed himself in the toilet and it was a good way to get back in habit. There is a segment on toilets role in 3kingdoms history

Will be using De Crespigny’s encyclopaedia, ZZTJ and Yuan Shao’s SGZ http://kongming.net/novel/sgz/yuanshao.php

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Early days:

From Yingchuan, we know little of his early days or his family background. Before the arrival of Dong Zhuo, he had served at the capital as a member of the Secretariat and then promoted to Head of the Censorate. There seems little recorded of his time at the capital beyond his posts but when Dong Zhuo sought to establish his regime by sending noted names like Zhang Miao and Kong Zhou to govern the province, he sent Han Fu to govern the wealthy province of Ji. Two promotions under different regimes and being one of the men Dong Zhuo sent out as part of his “look I can govern properly, look at these names I’m sending out to the provinces” would suggest Han Fu at least had a decent reputation.

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Coalition:

Also turning up in Ji was Yuan Shao who fled the capital after a violent row with the new controller when Dong Zhuo discussed deposing Emperor Bian, Dong Zhuo sought to soothe things over with the Yuan clan by making Yuan Shao a marquis and Grand Administrator of Bohai. One doubts Han Fu was delighted at this development, Han Fu had only just been appointed to Ji and wouldn’t have had time to build support but now came a more famous and wealthy figure with more potential pull. One who could be about to put Han Fu in an awkward position.

Yuan Shao, along with others, began raising troops to fight Dong Zhuo so Han Fu sent his Attendant Officials to put Yuan Shao under control and restrict his freedom to act, Record of Heroes in Cao Cao’s sgz accuses Han Fu of being worried Yuan Shao was going to attack. When one Qiao Mao’s forged letters trying to rally support of governors, by claiming to be the Excellencies seeking outside help to overthrow Dong Zhuo, reached Han Fu he held a discussions with his officials. Han Fu remarked “Do we support the Yuan clan or Dong?”

Attendant Official at Headquarters Liu Zihui [1] was not impressed by the way Han Fu asked the question and rebuked Han Fu, “If you raise troops on behalf of the state, how can there be any question of Yuan and Dong?” This caused Han Fu to blush but having suitably chastened his boss, Zihui was careful “War is bad and you should not be the first to begin it. Wait and see what other provinces do. If they take action you can join them, and since Ji province is one of the most powerful, the chiefs of other provinces will never be able to rival you for the leading position.”

Han Fu agreed and at some point began correspondence with Yuan Shao, discussing how Dong was committing crimes and allowing Yuan Shao to raise troops. There is disagreement as to when Yuan Shao got this permission, HHS says after alliance was formed and Yuan Shao was head, annotation The Record of Hero’s in Cao Cao’s sgz says before then, Sima Guang and de Crespigny agree with the latter as Han Fu could have had no influence after Yuan Shao was made head of alliance. I’m inclined to go with the majority and I suspect if Yuan Shao was unable to raise troops, it would have rather hampered his chances of being leader of the alliance.

What does Han Fu’s reactions tell us? His being wary which was understandable, Yuan Shao raising troops before Han Fu had a chance to bed down was not going to go well and he needed to be careful which side to pick, the formidable general but far away Dong Zhuo or the local and famous Yuan clan but who might lose the fight if others did not join him. His seeing it as Dong vs Yuan clan was not an entirely unfair assessment and suggested he didn’t think either were more then two quarrelling powerhouses, perhaps a more realistic assessment then others were willing to voice. His referring to who he should support does not seem a particularly Han loyal thing to say, Zihui had a fair point in reminding him he was supposed to be acting for the Han, and perhaps reflects what Han Fu felt of the dynasty. Possibly even reflected what others felt but were not going to say in public. The advice he got was sensible, waiting to see which way the wind blew knowing that as head of Ji, Han Fu could afford to wait as his resources and the prestige of Ji would be needed,

Yuan Shao headed to Henei with Wang Kuang while Han Fu moved Ji’s traditional base from Changshan to Ye [2] and handled the logistics of supplying the two armies, a job he seems to have managed successfully enough. After the shaky start to their relationship, Yuan Shao and Han Fu joined forces as they sought to announce their own Emperor, the famed and popular Liu Yu. They jointly wrote to Yuan Shu to unsuccessfully try to persuade him of the plan, “The Emperor is not a true son of Xiao-Ling. We want to act like [the Marquis of] Jiang and Guan [Ying] in former times, when they punished and deposed a puppet ruler, and welcomed the King of Dai to his place. We plan to set up the Commander-in-Chief Liu Yu as Emperor.” Xiao-Ling was Emperor Ling, they were questioning Xian’s lineage and citing figures of the past to justify their actions [3], Han Fu would also claim that Jiyin farmer Wang Ding had found a jade seal conveniently saying “Yu is the Son of Heaven”. They then sent Zhang Qi to persuade Liu Yu to take throne and when Liu Yu strongly turned that down as treason, Han Fu sought to compromise by asking Liu Yu to act as Head of the Secretariat and take charge of appointments and enoffment. Once Liu Yu threatened to exile himself if they didn’t stop with these ideas, Yuan Shao and Han Fu dropped their plans.

Why was Han Fu used so heavily? Possibly he was seen as the head of the most powerful province in alliance so right person to be seen to joint-head, it may have been an attempt to show there wasn’t anything awkward whatsoever about Han Fu’s subordinate being head of the alliance, it may simply have been Han Fu was a major supporter of the idea. As for the idea, it would suggest that Han Fu was not second only to Liu Yu as a Han loyalist. It was a bad plan, seeking short term titles while raising questions about why they were raising armies exactly, deliberately weakening Xian’s legitimacy with what was blatant slander was not going to help bring back order. Han loyalists overthrowing usurping tyrant was the better propaganda angle then “Han vs Han” when Xian was the son of Emperor Ling. Han Fu’s last ditch attempt does seem a decent compromise but still risked muddying the waters and allowing anyone else to do the same in future.

Anything else happen for Han Fu during the alliance? Nothing that got mentioned. You know how this goes, coalition sit there, Sun Jian does all the work, warlords fall out. Han Fu had kept the supplies going for the armies in Henei so deserves credit for handling the logistics properly during the long campaign.

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Fall of Ji

The coalition fell apart in violent circumstances and relations between Yuan Shao and Han Fu soon soured. The ZZTJ puts it down to Han Fu being jealous of Yuan Shao gaining favour of leading men in Ji, events would show Yuan Shao had gained support among figures in Han Fu’s administration, army and leading gentry. This may not have been jealousy as such but, amidst other factors, a sense of concern about a powerful figure rising.

Han Fu decided the best course of action was to cut off supplies to try to cause Yuan Shao’s army to disband. This was a reasonable idea, Yuan Shao had been relying on Han Fu’s supplies to maintain his army and it would indeed cause problems for Yuan Shao which suggests it was an effective move. It might also reflect another reason Han Fu was getting worried, Yuan Shao had recently been reinforced by Zhang Yang and Southern Shanyu Yufuluo (with their armies). Two armies adding onto Yuan Shao’s recently raised without permission might start worrying any superior.

Han Fu then suffered a setback to his authority as Qu Yi mutinied and then defeated Han Fu’s forces, Yuan Shao allied with Qu Yi. The timing of Qu Yi’s revolt just as Han Fu took action against Yuan Shao, one wonders if Qu Yi was one of those in contact with Yuan Shao in first place. However Yuan Shao was worried about going to war with Han Fu as his troops were feeling the impact of the loss of supplies and he felt Ji’s army was stronger then his but Pang Ji (sometimes called Feng Ji or Peng Ji) came up with a plan to take Ji without a fight: “You can contact Gongsun Zan, and direct him to come south to attack Jizhou. He will come and Han Fu will be much alarmed. Then we can send an emissary to advise him on his options. After he has heard them, he will definitely resign in your favour. And with this, you can occupy his position.“ [4]

Yuan Shao’s invitation to Gongsun Zan to try to seize Ji worked, Gongsun Zan pretended he was going to attack Dong Zhuo then invaded Ji. Han Fu’s army fought at Anping but lost. Han Fu was not a man of war and though Ji army was considered strong by Yuan Shao, I doubt it had the experience of Gongsun Zan’s forces. Around this time Dong Zhuo was withdrawing to Chang’An and that freed up Yuan Shao to march his army to Yan crossing, 100 kilometres from Ye. Han Fu was in a real squeeze, he had a hostile army invading his province and winning, he now had Yuan Shao’s army coming in.

Yuan Shao did not wish to gamble on a war and he followed the second part of Pang Ji’s plan, his team included Xin Ping, Xun Shen (also called Xun Chen) and Guo Tu, three men who Han Fu considered his friends. Yuan Shao also sent his nephew Gao Gan, possibly at that time Gao Gan was not strongly associated with Yuan Shao’s faction despite relationship and could have been another friend of Han Fu’s. Otherwise Gao Gan’s presence seems a bit of a give-away that this might not be a pro-Han Fu delegation.

Han Fu’s “friends” started by helping unsettle Han Fu by reminding him how bad the situation is [5] and how Han Fu is doomed, doomed and did they mention doomed. Han Fu sought their advice “What can I do?” and Xun Shen stepped forward. What master plan had he to help a man who trusted him so much? There are two versions, a conventionally delivered plan in Yuan Shao’s sgz [6] or the one in ZZTJ [7] which is an example of “pure judgement” rhetoric that was in favour that the time, Xun Shen making Han Fu admit his inferiority to Yuan Shao in every way [8]. Both arguments go on similar theme “Gongsun Zan will crush you and likely kill you, best turn to old ally Yuan Shao who would be very grateful for Ji. You will be safe and gain good reputation for surrendering to worthier man.” The ZZTJ version just adds a few more verbal slaps in the face, from his friends, by making Han Fu declare how much better Yuan Shao is.

Han Fu agreed with their proposal of surrender but not all agreed with Han Fu’s treacherous companions and when news of Han Fu’s planned surrender got around, there were protests from some of his officers. Chief clerk Geng Wu, his Aide-de-Camp Min Chun and his Attendant Official at Headquarters Li Li [9] argued Yuan Shao was doomed. "Ji province has a million men at arms and sufficient grain to last for ten years. Yuan Shao leads an army which is isolated, dependent and poor; he relies on us for everything. Like a child on the lap, if you end its suckling it will starve and die. Why do you want to give him the province?” Han Fu stuck to his position “I am a former officer of the Yuan, [10] and my ability is not equal to that of Benchu (Yuan Shao’s style). I have taken account of his virtue, and so I cede it to him. The men of ancient times saw honor in such conduct, Why do you alone find fault?”

Word reached Attendant Officials Zhao Fu and Cheng Huan who were in command of specialist crossbow troops defending Meng crossing. They led their army via ship back to Ye, passing by Yuan Shao’s army and pointedly beat the drums in a show of force and defiance. Yuan Shao was said to be rather annoyed. On reaching Han Fu they urged him to hold out "Yuan Benchu’s army has not a single measure of grain. Even now his men are deserting. Zhang Yang and Yufuluo have only recently joined him, and they will not accept his orders. He cannot match us. As your junior officers, we ask approval to oppose them with the troops we have at hand: within ten days his power will be like fallen earth and flying tiles. You, wise general, may rest on a high pillow with your doors open [in security and confidence]. Why should you be concerned or frightened?“

Han Fu rejected those pleas also, he moved to the mansion of the dead eunuch Zhao Zhong, who been born in the province at Anping [11], and sent his son with seal of office to Liyang to hand it over to Yuan Shao. His time as governor had started in the winter of 189 and by the summer of 191, he had surrendered to Yuan Shao, we know nothing of his administration other then Ji was prosperous before and remained so during his time while his army suffered defeats and revolts.

Han Fu is deemed as accepting this because he was timid and that could well be the case but there could more to it. He was in a difficult situation with two threats from Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao with his army unable to beat the rebel Qu Yi or hold back Gongsun Zan’s advance so odds on beating two were not looking great. Then having his so called friends coming in, tell him it is hopeless and, to varying degrees, how much he sucks compared to Yuan Shao. I doubt it did much for Han Fu’s confidence in either himself or his situation.

His loyalists were likely right in that if Han Fu had held on, Yuan Shao’s situation would collapse. Yuan Shao himself had expressed concerns about his supply situation to Pang Ji and without Han Fu’s supplies, it was a question of if Yuan Shao could win in time before lack of supplies caused army and recent alliances (who would soon turn on Yuan Shao) to fall apart. However neither group of loyalists addressed issues raised by Yuan Shao’s delegation 1) Is Han Fu able to match up with Yuan Shao? 2) Most importantly, what happens after Yuan Shao is defeated? They don’t say how Han Fu can beat back Gongsun Zan and that he will then live. Defeating Yuan Shao and then getting executed by Gongsun Zan, what is the point of Han Fu fighting on?

De Crespigny’s encyclopaedia entry of Han Fu remarks of the surrender and of Xun Sheng and co “Intimidated by circumstance and by the Yuan family prestige, and encouraged by men he believed to be his friends, Han Fu handed his position to Yuan Shao.” Han Fu was betrayed, men who acted as his friends abused that trust for their own interests and those of their future lord Yuan Shao. Said friends would be rewarded and do nothing to help as Han Fu’s life spiralled into nightmare and death.

Han Fu's fall is a lesson on the real importance of picking your friends wisely, like those that won't sell you out and do nothing about the damage.

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Violence and death:

The new regime would start with death and major change, some of Han Fu’s staff tried to leave their posts to get to Yuan Shao before he arrived at Ye, Geng Wu and Min Chun unsuccessfully tried to prevent them at sword-point so they were executed by Tian Feng. Han Fu was made General Who Displays Majesty but was given no staff or command of any sort, it was a paper rank. Those who had urged Han Fu to resist were killed (Geng Wu, Min Chun) or careers seem to have ended (Zhao Fu, Cheng Huan and Li Li).

Those who had fallen out with Han Fu were rewarded, Qu Yi became one of Yuan Shao’s most senior commanders, Tian Feng and Shen Pei had struggled to achieve their ambitions under Han Fu (ZZTJ says due to their upright conduct which I’m not sure I buy [12]) but got posts at Yuan Shao’s headquarters. Han Fu’s friends were rewarded, Xin Ping and Xun Shen became Counselors, Guo Tu became a senior advisers, one wonders if this made Han Fu realize what his friends had truly done.

It is hardly surprising Yuan Shao cemented his control quickly on his base but powerless, no real job and his allies killed or discarded was possibly not quite what Han Fu envisaged when his friends talked of Yuan Shao being grateful for Ji’s surrender. However he soon wouldn’t get the security he had been promised either as events descended into a nightmare neither Han Fu or Yuan Shao could have imagined.

One of Yuan Shao’s new appointees was Zhu Han of Henei who had been treated rudely by Han Fu at some point (records don’t say what exactly Han Fu did) and was resentful. Made Attendant Official for the Officers at the Capital, Zhu Huan seems to have believed Yuan Shao wanted Han Fu dead and sought to gain favor by carrying out such wishes. Taking soldiers, he had Han Fu’s house surrounded and went in with sword drawn. Han Fu managed to flee upstairs but his son was not so fortunate, Zhu Han assaulted him and would break both Han’s (personal name unknown) legs.

Yuan Shao was quick to execute Zhu Han, the ZZTJ and Yingxiong ji both make clear Yuan Shao did not order this and it does seem very unlikely Yuan Shao wanted this. People tend to be a tad reluctant to surrender if the last time you then murdered the person who surrendered, it would have turned the image of a peaceful smooth willing transition of power into murderous power grab, it would have unsettled the people of Ji just before Yuan Shao had to fight Gongsun Zan and it would have been a PR disaster across the land.

Han Fu was frightened and asked Yuan Shao to allow him to leave, Yuan Shao to his credit agreed, and Han Fu went to Zhang Miao in Chenliu. Zhang Miao made sense, well connected, his old friendship with Yuan Shao meant he was a choice Yuan Shao would agree with but had a recent falling out so was no puppet, he also had a history of helping those in need. However sometime during 191, Yuan Shao sent an envoy to Zhang Miao to discuss plans for reasons lost to time. Han Fu was at the meeting and when he saw the envoy whisper in Zhang Miao’s ear, Han Fu feared Yuan Shao was going to try to kill him again. Han Fu left for the lavatory and there took his own life with a writing-knife [13], his family including the son who had both legs broken and now lost his father by suicide vanish from history.

The reactions I have seen down the years (not that Han Fu is the type of figure that gets discussed much), bar the tragedy of any such suicide, in regards the death, is… bemusement or amusement about the manner of his death, that there was something a bit silly as Yuan Shao was not plotting Han Fu’s death and the undignified setting of the suicide. On the two issues raised

1) Han Fu wasn’t under threat: True. However it easy for me to say basing it on the sources stressing it, Yuan Shao not having a history of murdering those who surrendered and well over a thousand years distance from events. For Han Fu, his relationship with Yuan Shao had never been an entirely trusting one but after the surrender, those who had stayed loyal were dead or moved on, he was given paper rank and those who he hadn’t got on with were promoted. Han Fu may not have felt promises of generous treatment were honored while those he had trusted had turned out to betray him may not have helped put Han Fu in a trusting mood either.

That is before a man Yuan Shao promoted, a man known to dislike Han Fu, was able to raise an army at Ji’s capital and invade his home. Han Fu would have been wondering how Zhu Huan was able to raise such troops unless with permission. Add the trauma of his house being broken into by a man aiming to kill him and the horrors inflicted on his son… why would Han Fu trust Yuan Shao didn’t have ill motive? Yuan Shao couldn’t at that point in his life point to a track record showing he didn’t do this sort of thing, this was his first major surrender to him and that guy had got assaulted. Then a secret conversation from Yuan Shao’s envoy within that year to the man Han Fu had fled to and I can only imagine the emotional impact recent events had on Han Fu.

2) The lavatory. People tend to remember that detail most of all, if he had died in his home or a bedroom then this suicide would be less memorable and Han Fu might be far more forgotten. There is something strange when reading about the setting but in the context, it made sense for Han Fu to take his life there. Such facilities are not a place often mentioned in ZZTJ and sometimes historians used euphemisms if they had a reason to mention it but mention it they sometimes had to. Emperor Huan turned to the eunuchs to help him overthrow the regicide controller Liang Ji and formed a blood oath in the lavatory, one source says Liu Bei had a cry at wasting his life while under Liu Biao, Lu Su urged Sun Quan not to surrender while Sun Quan was away from his council to go to lavatry, Sun Juan changed clothing as he prepared to kill Zhuge Ke.

Nobody could object to leaving a meeting/banquet to go there and it gave much needed privacy for thoughts or plans to be hatched, away from the public, away from a controlling Regent, away from a heated debate. Films and TV programs will sometimes use the cloakrooms to allow characters to slip out of the halls/office into a more private space to think/monologue or have private conversations out of others hearing so the logic of why people used the lavatory for private moments still exists now.

Since Han Fu believed an act of ill-intent was against him then he would have feared he would not be allowed to return home. His suicide would have to be done on the premises and going to lavatory allowed him to slip away from those watching for a moment of privacy, there he could find escape from whatever fate he feared would befall him.

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Overall:

Han Fu, unsurprisingly, does not have a good reputation, words like timid and faint-hearted are generally not a sign of approval from the historians. De Crespigny’s notes at the start of the 3kingdoms part of the ZZTJ notes Sima Guang use of personality to shape his history and one example would be Han Fu, who he painted as lack of authority. Even without that portrayal, the easy collapse of his regime has stuck and greatly shaped Han Fu’s repuation. In an era of great warlords, brave heroes, the man who folded so early and killed himself is not going to shine. Usually words used to describe Han Fu can perhaps be considered to not be fulsome of praise like “joke” or variations of simply inept as a person. While he was simply not cut out to be a warlord, such judgements seem harsh.

Han Fu did have some merits, he rose through the ranks as an administrator and was a man picked by Dong Zhuo to add lustre to his new regime. While there are no passages praising Han Fu’s work in the capital or in Ji, there is no sense he made things worse, being promoted then used to add lustre would suggest he had done well and Ji continued to prosper which at least suggests he wasn’t inept at governing. He managed the logistics for Yuan Shao and Wang Kuang successfully, moving from Changshan to Ye was a decision that was stuck with by those that followed. In dealing with Yuan Shao, he was able to use his supply power effectively on Yuan Shao as he first time kept Yuan Shao in-check and was causing Yuan Shao severe problems the second time.

Han Fu also faced a difficult situation, he was a bureaucrat who went to Ji to be a governor and then found himself in a game of warlords he was ill-suited for. He found himself facing the experienced army of Gongsun Zan and Yuan Shao was a major headache even before he forced Han Fu to face a 2v1 situation. Han Fu would have been expecting to bed in as Governor, gain support over time but instead found on his door step Yuan Shao. Han Fu was a bureaucrat from the capital, Yuan Shao was a superstar: a man of one of the greatest and wealthy clan, a hero against the eunuchs, who had been at the very top at the capital and then leader of a great alliance. Yuan Shao was going to have much more pull in the battle for local influence.

However Han Fu had many failings as a warlord, his military record was poor despite his army being seen as strong and having men like Qu Yi and Zhang He in it. While Han Fu did command some loyalty, he failed to command the loyalty of way too many of his officers and while Yuan Shao had inbuilt advantages in that, Yuan Shao was clearly far better at winning people over then Han Fu ever was. His choice in friends was, while their deceitful actions are on them, clearly dreadful and his use of the local talent was no match for Yuan Shao.

Ju Shou was rising under Han Fu but Yuan Shao was the one who put him at the very height of his administration, he lost Qu Yi, Zhang He remained a Major and didn’t get promoted to Colonel till Yuan Shao took over, didn’t use Shen Pei or Tian Feng. Key figures in Yuan Shao’s administration (or Zhang He’s case, Wei) that Han Fu failed to recruit or use to their full extent. He did invite Xun Yu, from his home commandry and family to shelter in Ji from the chaos but Han Fu lost power soon after Xun Yu arrived and Xun Yu never served him. That was also probably reflecting the Xun clan’s prominence in Yingchuan and lustre of their name rather then Han Fu being wowed by Xun Yu’s talents.

Han Fu also seemed to lack the sense of self-belief that most, be they able warlords or not, had that saw them fight on against difficult odds (or lose and still be arrogant). Faced with a difficult situation that he feared would end with defeat and death while told he was inferior to Yuan Shao, Han Fu accepted that and bowed out of the warlord game. That tends to be viewed as a very negative thing, the timid thing to do, a cowardly act. That verdict feels harsh, yes it was early days but if Han Fu felt he could not beat Gongsun Zan (given he was losing, probably true) and that Yuan Shao was a superior figure (Yuan Shao’s record would really suggest that was true) then why not hand over to person likely to do better? Yuan Shao was able to repel Gongsun Zan and became a major warlord in his own right, I don’t really think we can say that if Han Fu starved Yuan Shao’s army into collapse that Han Fu would then have gone and done better then Yuan Shao managed. I’m not convinced Han Fu could have seen off Gongsun Zan’s invasion so who does Han Fu help (bar his loyalists) by fighting on? What cause does fighting on help?

In an era of extraordinary men, Han Fu was certainly not that, he was clearly flawed and limited, in a post that he was not suited for. I think we can go too far negative in what we say about Han Fu, simply not being good enough at being a warlord should not make one a joke or to dismiss his whole career. Whatever one thinks of his career, he certainly did not deserve the horrific and tragic last few months of his life. Abandoned by some, some of his loyalists killed, to find his friends were false, his house surrounded by soldiers then broken into and his son badly hurt. Even when he fled to where he thought he could be safe, he could not find comfort there and in the end was so terrified of what he feared was about to happen, he took his own life.

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Annotations:

[1] Zihui is style name, we know family name but not his personal name, ZZTJ uses stylename to help differentiate from the umpteen other Liu’s.

[2] The change from Ji’s capital is from De Crespigny’s work on Cao Cao Imperial Warlord.

[3] De Crespigny’s notes in ZZTJ remark that Wu Shu claims the attack on Xian’s legitimacy was based around being child of a concubine rather then a main wife. If Yuan Shao and Han Fu were going on those lines, it was both extremely weak and self defeating given Yuan Shao’s own parentage.

[4] I took that from the Yingxiong ji in Yuan Shao’s SGZ. Sima Guang has a rather more belittling of Han Fu version "Han Fu is a very ordinary fellow, if we make a secret agreement with Gongsun Zan to have him take Ji province, Han Fu will certainly be startled and frightened. Then you send someone who can argue a case well, to explain things to him. Han Fu will be under pressure, he will get flustered and he will certainly be willing to yield.”

[5] “Gongsun Zan is coming with an army from Yan and Dai [the north],32 and will follow his success with a further advance. All the commanderies will join him, and you cannot match his strength. Yuan the Chariots and Cavalry General is bringing his army eastwards, and we cannot be sure of his intentions. You seem to be in trouble!”

[6] “Gongsun commands the soldiers of Yan 燕 and Dai 代 and he cannot be opposed. Sir Yuan is a prominent man of our times and is certainly not lesser to you, my general. Your province of Jizhou is strategically important in the empire. If the two powers combine and their soldiers meet below the city walls, then your demise will be but a matter of time. Sir Yuan is your old friend and also an ally. Strategising for you now, general, it would be best for you to offer Jizhou province to him. When Sir Yuan gains Jizhou and Gongsun Zan is unable to contest it, then he will be very grateful to you. When Jizhou is in the hands of such a close friend, my general will be known for resigning to a more worthy man and your person will be as secure as Mount Tai. I hope that my general will not hesitate.”

[7] “Judge yourself,” replied Xun Shen.“ In generosity and charity, as a leader of men admired by all; how do you compare with Yuan?” “I cannot compare with him,” replied Han Fu.

“Making plans in time of emergency, in wisdom and courage surpassing others; again how do you compare with Yuan?” “I cannot compare with him,” replied Han Fu.

“Generations of his family have displayed grace and virtue, and all the empire has received their favour; once more, how do you compare with Yuan?” “I cannot compare with him,” replied Han Fu.

“Yuan is the hero of the time,” said Xun Shen, “and in these three ways your abilities fail to match his fine qualities. You have long held place above him, but he will surely not be satisfied to remain your subordinate. Now Ji province is an important property of the empire. If he and Gongsun Zan join forces to seize it then danger and loss can be expected any moment. On the other hand, Yuan is an old friend and a sworn ally. Here is the right plan for this moment: cede Ji province to Yuan. He will certainly be grateful to you, and Gongsun Zan cannot contest him. So you gain reputation for yielding place to a worthier man, and you yourself will be secure as Mount Tai.”

[8] Imperial Warlord floats possibility that this and similar incidents were wrote up later by warlords staff and floated around as propaganda. Or that later historians put words in mouths to give an analysis of the situation.

[9] Most of Han Fu’s loyal staff only appear around this time but it is possibly Li Li was same person as one that had served the Han. If so he was from a noted Hanzhong family that had long served the Han. Seen as honourable and friends with figures like Zheng Xuan, as a magistrate in Henan he took up policy of limited action and his good conduct was said to have brought rain in time of drought. Rose to Commandant of the Equipage.

[10] My guess is Han Fu’s spell in the capital was when Yuan Wei held government with He Jin and he refers to that. It could also have been during Han Fu’s unrecorded time outside capital, he may have been a client of the Yuan’s at some point.

[11] I assume so not the same one Huangfu Song had seized due to being too large, Zhong may well have built/brought himself another one.

[12] There is nothing else to suggest Han Fu acted against those of good conduct beyond this remark and several of his officers showed honour (and Tian Feng killed two of them for it). I suspect Tian Feng having already been asked to join Yuan Shao before might have been a hindrance under Han Fu

[13] De Crespigny’s ZZTJ notes explains the kind of knife “ZZTJ commentary describes the shudao as a writing utensil. Paper was in common use at this time, but writing was still done on wood and bamboo, and the knife could be used as a stylus or, more often, to prepare and clean the surface.“
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Re: Anyalsis of Han Fu

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Nov 26, 2018 2:44 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:I did this purely to distract Sun Fin from exams :wink:


:lol:

You didn't post it until my exam was over!

Another really interesting article. I love your speculation about why they did what they did and what they may have been thinking. It gives a flavour to the history that helps me view them as real people rather than just functions in a machine.
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Re: Anyalsis of Han Fu

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Nov 27, 2018 11:55 am

Sun Fin wrote:
Dong Zhou wrote:I did this purely to distract Sun Fin from exams :wink:


:lol:

You didn't post it until my exam was over!


Time travel time!

Another really interesting article. I love your speculation about why they did what they did and what they may have been thinking. It gives a flavour to the history that helps me view them as real people rather than just functions in a machine.


Thank you very much, I find it helps me reassess my attitudes on figures doing this
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Re: Anyalsis of Han Fu

Unread postby CaTigeReptile » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:57 am

Thank you so much for posting this! I've never seen such a comprehensive breakdown of Han Fu.

I've got an idea - maybe a master post of some sort to put your analyses in?
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Re: Anyalsis of Han Fu

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Nov 28, 2018 9:00 am

Good thought CaTiRe! Were you thinking putting them into the master thread with Capn, DaoLun and plunged's work or a whole one?
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Re: Anyalsis of Han Fu

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Nov 28, 2018 2:07 pm

Glad you enjoyed it CaTigeReptile

Possibly not a whole one by itself as either 1) gets too large for new people, 2) if just a link to separate works, it gets lost in time as would only be edits. Maybe added into the master thread (I only have three at moment, He Jin, Huangfu Song and Han Fu) if others agree?
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Re: Anyalsis of Han Fu

Unread postby Gray Riders » Wed Nov 28, 2018 4:22 pm

I've always felt sorry for Han Fu, who I feel was put into a position he never wanted, taking up a governorship only for things to immediately descend into civil war. I can't blame him for deciding to step down and let Yuan Shao take over Ji--as you said I don't think there was anything to gain by starving Yuan Shao out--Gongsun Zan was still probably going to crush him.

Thanks for another interesting read!
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Re: Anyalsis of Han Fu

Unread postby Xu Yuan » Mon Dec 17, 2018 10:03 pm

It was interesting to see a leveled, jovial, and deep-dive analysis into the unlucky original governor of Ji. As others have said it was an unenviable position for a strong bureaucrat to be in as the era quickly moved from economic planning to military and strategic planning. What I think isn't appreciated enough is that Han Fu technically held several of the strongholds of the Yellow Turbans and managed to rebuild these areas ruined by wars into shining metropolises that his successors would use to great effect. Ye stands out as a singular success story, moving the capital from Changshan which may have been experiencing raids from the Black Mountain Bandits. Han Fu did not rule Ji for a long period of time, but his economic efforts which is indirectly praised throughout his biographies (noting the bounty that Ji provided) I feel should be his legacy.
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Re: Anyalsis of Han Fu

Unread postby Han » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:56 am

What bounty?
Liu Bei did nothing wrong.
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Re: Anyalsis of Han Fu

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:26 pm

Bounty in this this case means the riches of Ji

Interesting point Xu Yuan
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