Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby mendedties » Thu Mar 07, 2019 1:15 am

Thanks friends. I've seen sporadic quotations from him, and some Chinese editions of his collected writings, but don't know how broad the sources for them reach. I'm hoping the fact that the anthology I mentioned was compiled by Chen Shou means it still survives along with SGZ. I would love to know if I can look forward to reading it in full once I finally resume learning the language.

zirroxas wrote:From what I can tell this particular work is not actually his historical writings preserved by Chen Shou but a much later Taoist tradition popularly attributed to him. There aren't any direct references back to the SGZ or other historical texts.

Here's another link: http://kongming.net/novel/writings/wotg/


Thanks for that! I notice in his introduction Cleary mentions this one was "preserved in the Taoist canon." Given Cleary also attributes Mastering the Art of War to Zhuge, any idea if this one is of similarly dubious authorship?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby zirroxas » Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:32 pm

mendedties wrote:Thanks for that! I notice in his introduction Cleary mentions this one was "preserved in the Taoist canon." Given Cleary also attributes Mastering the Art of War to Zhuge, any idea if this one is of similarly dubious authorship?


This is Mastering the Art of War, technically. Mastering the Art of War is the name of Cleary's book in which he compiled these essays.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby mendedties » Fri Mar 08, 2019 1:35 am

zirroxas wrote:This is Mastering the Art of War, technically. Mastering the Art of War is the name of Cleary's book in which he compiled these essays.


Ohhhhhh.

Okay. Thank you!
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Qin Feng » Thu Mar 21, 2019 5:27 pm

How do you guys judge Zhuge Liang on the battlefield?
Clearly, the novel portrays him as a man who can do anything and excel at it, but I've heard that in history he defeated Sima Yi a couple of times across his expeditions. Considering the situation Shu was in, do you think Zhuge Liang performed well or was he just a bad general?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby zirroxas » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:21 pm

Qin Feng wrote:How do you guys judge Zhuge Liang on the battlefield?
Clearly, the novel portrays him as a man who can do anything and excel at it, but I've heard that in history he defeated Sima Yi a couple of times across his expeditions. Considering the situation Shu was in, do you think Zhuge Liang performed well or was he just a bad general?


It's difficult to say. My general impression is that while he wasn't incompetent by any stretch of the imagination, he ended up having the wrong priorities at a time when Shu really couldn't afford to be wasteful with its resources. It's not so much that he bungled the Northern Campaigns. The Northern Campaigns probably went about as well as could be expected; he just had unrealistic expectations for them.

He seemed to have excellent ideas for larger objectives and military organization, which was admired by later academics, but his micromanagement of his campaigns became an issue because it caused him to lose sight of the details and misjudge the reality of his situation in a haze of planning for the future. I'm not sure if it was determination or fatalism, but he became unreasonably fixated on a specific operational vision even as circumstances made it increasingly untenable.

I haven't gotten a chance to do a deep dive into his campaigns yet. I hope to someday be able to write a fully evaluation of his expeditions, which have gotten more interesting to me as time has gone on.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Qin Feng » Thu Mar 21, 2019 6:44 pm

Well, I'd love to read anything you can write about it because I do find them really interesting myself. Would you recommend any particular sources for this topic?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby zirroxas » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:37 pm

Qin Feng wrote:Well, I'd love to read anything you can write about it because I do find them really interesting myself. Would you recommend any particular sources for this topic?


There's only been one Western paper I've read on the subject, by one John Killigrew. However, I have several issues with some of the assumptions and inferences he makes on the subject, and in a couple areas, I believe his version of events is just plain wrong, so I can't say I recommend it very much.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Mar 22, 2019 12:47 pm

Qin Feng wrote:How do you guys judge Zhuge Liang on the battlefield?
Clearly, the novel portrays him as a man who can do anything and excel at it, but I've heard that in history he defeated Sima Yi a couple of times across his expeditions. Considering the situation Shu was in, do you think Zhuge Liang performed well or was he just a bad general?


His early efforts against Wei were bad, his inexperience (one half command leading reinforcements and against tribe) told, after he learnt I think he did fairly well. He and his generals seem to have won the minor battles, his armies were well organized, didn't suffer heavy defeats and could take the toll of the camapigns, master of retreat. He does seem to have been easy to read for Wei commanders and Shu lacked a tactical flair to hope to really change things, his armies got stalemated.

If this was on the defensive, the results are great. As he was the attacker, they were well organized nibbles that had their moments without giving Wei a real scare.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Deej » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:45 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:
Qin Feng wrote:How do you guys judge Zhuge Liang on the battlefield?
Clearly, the novel portrays him as a man who can do anything and excel at it, but I've heard that in history he defeated Sima Yi a couple of times across his expeditions. Considering the situation Shu was in, do you think Zhuge Liang performed well or was he just a bad general?


His early efforts against Wei were bad, his inexperience (one half command leading reinforcements and against tribe) told, after he learnt I think he did fairly well. He and his generals seem to have won the minor battles, his armies were well organized, didn't suffer heavy defeats and could take the toll of the camapigns, master of retreat. He does seem to have been easy to read for Wei commanders and Shu lacked a tactical flair to hope to really change things, his armies got stalemated.

If this was on the defensive, the results are great. As he was the attacker, they were well organized nibbles that had their moments without giving Wei a real scare.


This is a good assessment and very much mirrors what I think.

He seems to have organised Liu Bei's forces at a critical time and managed to fend off some potentially ruinous invasions from various directions. Whilst he was competent and probably above average in terms of ability, I'm not sure there is a case for him being a stand out strategist even within the era. Perhaps he was able to ride the good will garnered during those early days, eventually becoming the senior voice long before his talents came into question.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Kongde » Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:53 pm

I was reading Zhang Fan's SGZ bio and it mentioned

"Fàn’s son Líng and Chéng’s son Jiǎn were captured by bandits east of the mountains. Fàn went to the bandits to ask for the two sons, and the bandits returned Líng to Fàn. Fàn thanked them and said: “You sirs have generously returned my son. Though I love this son, I pity Jiǎn’s youth, and ask to exchange Líng for him.” The bandits were impressed by these words, and returned both to Fàn."

Now this sounds weird to me. So bandits captured his son and brother's son. He went to the mountain and just asked them for his son back, no exchanges or trades of any kind, they just handed him back to him? What was the point of capturing his son, then? Is this a common thing that bandits just capture random people and hope to get ransom money? As far as this goes, no mention of money was given to them in exchange. Perhaps these bandits actually had more of a heart than others would've (it seems that way).
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