The SOSZ's Book Club - Fire Over Luoyang

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

Re: The SOSZ's Book Club - Fire Over Luoyang

Unread postby zirroxas » Wed Mar 06, 2019 6:39 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:I think it happens throughout history, conquest cost is thought of but discounted for the glory and other factors, the hard grind afterwards isn't calculated. The outter reaches became a sucker of resources but one that any time some suggested pulling out, reactions were really hostile.


The issues that the Han was faced with to the north and northwest were that the areas it had decided to invest heavily in militarily lay beyond frontier regions that they already had tenuous control over. Then, when troublesome people emerged, they settled them within this territory "to keep an eye on them," but seemed to have no plan to actually integrate them. So large populations of discontented non-Han people steadily grew in regions that were the only route to areas that the Han had large interests in (in a rather ominous turn of events, the Southern Xiongnu seem to have been settled between the Trans-Liao garrisons and the capitol). These people were then made one of the primary military arms of the empire in their own region.

What this created was situations where the bulk of the standing military was either in the capitol or on the borders, but the most threatening problem spots were in the interior, and the closest forces to any given rebellion would inevitably the ones who were most likely to join the rebels. If the rebellion was defeated, there'd be no real change in the situation since the makeup of those areas wasn't shifting (in fact, it was getting worse), just a reset of the timer and the loss of a lot of imperial resources.

I feel this is an area that would've benefited from another comparison to Rome (specifically, Roman use of client states and its policies of Romanization), though that could probably be made into a book on its own.
I don't underrate the value of military knowledge, but if men make war in slavish obedience to rules, they will fail. - Ulysses S. Grant
User avatar
zirroxas
Initiate
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:05 am
Location: The Lands of Always Drizzle

Re: The SOSZ's Book Club - Fire Over Luoyang

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:05 am

Personally I find the topic of kings interesting. The various dynasties didn't seem able to find a good way of handling them. Restrict them of any power of influence and boredom becomes dangerous in itself. On the other hand the Jin dynasty shows what happens if they are given to much responsibility. Liu Cang seems to be a rare success but that has to be based on a genuine sense of loyalty from that respective potential rival.

I think one of the important differences between the Western Regions and the Northern border is that the Western regions essentially served as a buffer region. None of those independent states every really showed any interest in attacking China. The Qiang being something of an exception, but they were not so much involved in the political situation further West. The issue was whether they were under the sway of the Han or a different super power. Therefore the Han's approach to them was generally more relaxed, However the Northern tribes had already caused severe problems in the past by attacking them and so they were far more concerned with that border.
Have a question about a book or academic article before you buy it? Maybe I have it!
Check out my library here for a list of Chinese history resources I have on hand!
User avatar
Sun Fin
Librarian of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 7715
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:20 pm
Location: Vicar Factory

Re: The SOSZ's Book Club - Fire Over Luoyang

Unread postby zirroxas » Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:10 pm

Sun Fin wrote:Personally I find the topic of kings interesting. The various dynasties didn't seem able to find a good way of handling them. Restrict them of any power of influence and boredom becomes dangerous in itself. On the other hand the Jin dynasty shows what happens if they are given to much responsibility. Liu Cang seems to be a rare success but that has to be based on a genuine sense of loyalty from that respective potential rival.


I actually think that the Han had one of the better policies for dealing with kings/princes. After the Rebellion of the Seven States, they lost executive authority over their domains, which became at most the size of a small commandery. However, they were still allowed to take part in courtly affairs, with the unsaid stipulation that they could be confined to their fief if they acted out and have that fief (that they couldn't run) transferred to somewhere unpleasant if it got worse.

This allowed them to support the dynasty if they behaved themselves and rewarded them for doing so, but built in a failsafe that put them under surveillance with greatly restricted capabilities. Since the other official of these "kingdoms" were actually retainers of the imperial state rather than the fief, their loyalty was a lot easier to maintain. We can observe that even when Emperor Ming went full Stalin on a lot of the princes, there was never significant blowback. The princes were at the mercy of the court, not the other way around.

I think one of the important differences between the Western Regions and the Northern border is that the Western regions essentially served as a buffer region. None of those independent states every really showed any interest in attacking China. The Qiang being something of an exception, but they were not so much involved in the political situation further West. The issue was whether they were under the sway of the Han or a different super power. Therefore the Han's approach to them was generally more relaxed, However the Northern tribes had already caused severe problems in the past by attacking them and so they were far more concerned with that border.


The Western Regions were far too fragmented and their geographic proximity too limited (they could only come through Gansu) to pose a threat to the empire, but they were definitely enough of a threat to each other. When the Han decided that they were going to act as Hegemon over the region, they found it necessary to commit significant forces to keeping the states at peace and not threatened by outside forces (first the Xiongnu, then the Kushan). The threat from the Qiang is that they could cut the very fragile lifeline between the Han and these hegemonic activities and thus completely sink all Han investment in the area.

Of course, the reason for Han interest in the area seems to be a mixture of prestige and trade. Having all those vassals was definitely seen as good auspices for the dynasty, and it meant that trade along that segment of the silk road would go unabated and remain lucrative. From what I can see, the problem was that these should've been secondary concerns for the dynasty compared to the more immediate problems on the homefront. Instead, the modernists felt that they needed to take priority.
I don't underrate the value of military knowledge, but if men make war in slavish obedience to rules, they will fail. - Ulysses S. Grant
User avatar
zirroxas
Initiate
 
Posts: 74
Joined: Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:05 am
Location: The Lands of Always Drizzle

Re: The SOSZ's Book Club - Fire Over Luoyang

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:03 pm

I had family visiting for the past four days so I didn’t get a chance to post more about Chapter 2. :(

I’ll be brief since I’m at work on the clock :lol: -- I wanted to focus mainly on the last section of the chapter regarding Empress Dou and the harem.

I enjoyed this section quite a bit. Harem life has long been an interest of mine and I always like to learn more when I can, and RdC has a way of portraying the internal competition of the Empress and the harem without resorting to portrayals of conniving pettiness and feminine silliness, as many other sources tend to do. It’s true that harem women were often scheming and brutal to each other, but just as the Emperor and his generals would exert force externally to make gains, so too did the women internally. They didn’t really have the option to make a name for their family through external politics and war (unless acting as regent, like Lady Dou eventually would), so earning the Emperor’s favor, and ideally his lineage, was the goal all sought but only one could have. Naturally we’d have schemes and brutality! (and adoptions!)

The last paragraph of the chapter was tasteful; RdC gave props to the Empress despite her having a hand in the downfall of two families (not to mention the indirect deaths of two girls). I feel like RdC’s approach of neither condoning nor condemning such actions is the proper one to take. (Though we’ll have to see if he maintains this approach throughout her regency :P )
User avatar
Jia Nanfeng
Sage
 
Posts: 291
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:30 pm

Re: The SOSZ's Book Club - Fire Over Luoyang

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Mar 21, 2019 8:04 pm

My laptop has died. A new one is on order and as soon as I get it I'll respond and move the discussion on! Hopefully we'll move to the next chapter on Monday! Sorry all.
Have a question about a book or academic article before you buy it? Maybe I have it!
Check out my library here for a list of Chinese history resources I have on hand!
User avatar
Sun Fin
Librarian of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 7715
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:20 pm
Location: Vicar Factory


Re: The SOSZ's Book Club - Fire Over Luoyang

Unread postby Deej » Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:08 am

How are you guys reading this? Have you all footed the cash for it?
Deej
Initiate
 
Posts: 49
Joined: Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:25 am

Re: The SOSZ's Book Club - Fire Over Luoyang

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Sat Apr 13, 2019 5:40 pm

Deej wrote:How are you guys reading this? Have you all footed the cash for it?

I purchased a copy. It’s sadly quite expensive in places. I was able to get it relatively “cheaper” through AbeBooks in a used but excellent condition, but I still didn’t feel great about the price.

I don’t condone piracy, but when books get this expensive and rare, I totally understand why people would. I can’t say for certain if it’s available (I haven’t checked) but... it’s expensive and rare... :lol:
User avatar
Jia Nanfeng
Sage
 
Posts: 291
Joined: Sun Oct 22, 2017 6:30 pm

Re: The SOSZ's Book Club - Fire Over Luoyang

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Apr 26, 2019 10:36 am

Is this continuing now Sun Fin is back and Easter is past?
User avatar
Dong Zhou
A-Dou
A-Dou
 
Posts: 16867
Joined: Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:32 pm
Location: "Now we must die. May Your Majesty maintain yourself"

Re: The SOSZ's Book Club - Fire Over Luoyang

Unread postby Sun Fin » Fri Apr 26, 2019 1:30 pm

Yes! Monday, I promise! :D
Have a question about a book or academic article before you buy it? Maybe I have it!
Check out my library here for a list of Chinese history resources I have on hand!
User avatar
Sun Fin
Librarian of Shen Zhou
 
Posts: 7715
Joined: Sat Nov 10, 2007 9:20 pm
Location: Vicar Factory

PreviousNext

Return to Sanguo Yanyi Symposium

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Majestic-12 [Bot] and 8 guests

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