Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

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

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Mon Jan 29, 2018 2:01 am

The only issue with that was the at the time Guan Yu wasn't attacking, his job was the defend Zhou Yu from Wei reinforcements. I don't think there is anything to suggest that Liu Bei sent Guan Yu to capture Xiang Yang as the majority of his army was conquering the four territories south of Jiang Ling. Now it is possible that Guan Yu's forces were raiding the southern parts of Xiang Yang but it makes little sense that Wen Pin and Yue Jin would march against him and then completely ignore the fact that Cao Ren was being sieged at Jiang Ling as Guan Yu would be a far lesser threat then Zhou Yu.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby CaTigeReptile » Mon Jan 29, 2018 3:31 am

LiuBeiwasGreat wrote:The only issue with that was the at the time Guan Yu wasn't attacking, his job was the defend Zhou Yu from Wei reinforcements.
I can't for the life of me find anything that says Guan Yu's purpose was to defend Zhou Yu from Wei reinforcements. Where is that?

I don't think there is anything to suggest that Liu Bei sent Guan Yu to capture Xiang Yang as the majority of his army was conquering the four territories south of Jiang Ling.
Well, Guan Yu was eventually made Administrator of Xiang Yang.

Now it is possible that Guan Yu's forces were raiding the southern parts of Xiang Yang but it makes little sense that Wen Pin and Yue Jin would march against him and then completely ignore the fact that Cao Ren was being sieged at Jiang Ling as Guan Yu would be a far lesser threat then Zhou Yu.


It does appear to be a punitive expedition against Guan Yu, at least the first time, according to Wen Pin's bio.

But I don't quite understand why you say it makes little sense to attack or defend against an enemy from your station and then return to your station. Because Zhou Yu is scarier, just ignore Guan Yu, who is clearly within reaching distance? Or, after defeating him, leave Xiangyang undefended, and thus a target? It also, as you said, doesn't say that they didn't go to Jiangling, and if they did, for how long they were there before Cao Ren withdrew. I just think that there's not much reason to be too suspicious about this course of events.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Jan 31, 2018 8:25 am

It occurred to me yesterday that although we read about Cao Cao's sons, cousins, probable relations (the Xiahou clan), father and even adopted grandfather I don't recall seeing anything beyond a passing reference to any of his brothers or sisters. Do we know anything about them? Is there a reason why they might not have served with him?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Wed Jan 31, 2018 11:22 am

CaTigeReptile wrote:
LiuBeiwasGreat wrote:The only issue with that was the at the time Guan Yu wasn't attacking, his job was the defend Zhou Yu from Wei reinforcements.
I can't for the life of me find anything that says Guan Yu's purpose was to defend Zhou Yu from Wei reinforcements. Where is that?

I don't think there is anything to suggest that Liu Bei sent Guan Yu to capture Xiang Yang as the majority of his army was conquering the four territories south of Jiang Ling.
Well, Guan Yu was eventually made Administrator of Xiang Yang.

Now it is possible that Guan Yu's forces were raiding the southern parts of Xiang Yang but it makes little sense that Wen Pin and Yue Jin would march against him and then completely ignore the fact that Cao Ren was being sieged at Jiang Ling as Guan Yu would be a far lesser threat then Zhou Yu.


It does appear to be a punitive expedition against Guan Yu, at least the first time, according to Wen Pin's bio.

But I don't quite understand why you say it makes little sense to attack or defend against an enemy from your station and then return to your station. Because Zhou Yu is scarier, just ignore Guan Yu, who is clearly within reaching distance? Or, after defeating him, leave Xiangyang undefended, and thus a target? It also, as you said, doesn't say that they didn't go to Jiangling, and if they did, for how long they were there before Cao Ren withdrew. I just think that there's not much reason to be too suspicious about this course of events.


The reason why it makes little sense to fight Guan Yu and ignore Zhou Yu is the size of threats. Guan Yu has at most 10,000 soldiers and no real supply line. After all, he has to cross Wei held Jiang Ling (currently under siege) to attack Xiang Yang. He has no way to actually threaten the city beside raid the country side as Liu Bei has only just taken the four southern districts and hasn't even build Gong An yet probably (or is in the process of).

It is like as if Cao Cao sent an army after Liu Bei when he was raiding him in Run Nan and completely ignored Yuan Shao who has a giant army right next to him.

Zhou Yu has between thirty to fifty thousand solders besieging Jiang Ling, with Guan Yu driven off back to south of the river there is no threat to Xiang Yang anymore (not that there was much of one in the first place) There is no one to leave it undefended against. If Liu Bei wanted to siege Xiang Yang he would have to maintain a supply line from Gong An all the way past Zhou Yu's siege of Jiang Ling all the way up to Xiang Yang. That isn't feasible or realistic in any way, as the priority isn't in Zhou Yu's reinforcements but Zhou Yu.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Wed Jan 31, 2018 5:51 pm

Sun Fin wrote:It occurred to me yesterday that although we read about Cao Cao's sons, cousins, probable relations (the Xiahou clan), father and even adopted grandfather I don't recall seeing anything beyond a passing reference to any of his brothers or sisters. Do we know anything about them? Is there a reason why they might not have served with him?

It’s not much, but there’s a story of one of his (unnamed) brothers in Zhuge Liang and Liu Ji’s commentaries on the Art of War.

From the “Surrounding Enemies” strategy, found under the “Timing and Choosing Fights” section in Part 2 of the book “Mastering the Art of War: Zhuge Liang's and Liu Ji's Commentaries on the Classic by Sun Tzu”, as edited and translated by Thomas Leary:

Liu Ji said: Whenever you surround enemies, you should leave an opening to make it appear to them that there is a way to survive, thus causing them to relax their determination to fight. Thus can citadels be taken and armies be beaten.

The rule is: “A surrounded army must be given a way out” (Sun Tzu, The Art of War, “Armed Struggle”).

In the last days of the Han dynasty, the warlord Cao Cao surrounded a certain city. Enraged when the city refused to capitulate, Cao Cao swore, “When the city falls, we will bury everyone in it alive!”

The siege went on for days, but the defenders of the city did not give up. Now Cao Cao’s brother said to him, “A surrounded city must be shown a way out, a way to survival. Now that you have announced your intention to bury everyone alive, this has caused all the people to defend it for their own sakes. What is more, the city walls are strong and their supplies are abundant. As we besiege the city, our soldiers are being wounded; and time is dragging on as they hold out. Now we have stationed our troops outside a well-fortified city and are attacking enemies who will fight to the death — this is not good strategy.”

So Cao Cao followed his brother’s advice, and in this way he finally captured the city.


The commentary doesn’t name the brother or his official position, but he was seemingly well-studied in Sun Tzu’s strategies either way. Again, it’s not much, but it was just something I remembered coming across before. His siblings are indeed rather mysterious.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:28 pm

Thanks Jia Nanfeng! Do you have Zhuge Liang's commentary in English?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Wed Jan 31, 2018 10:08 pm

Sun Fin wrote:Thanks Jia Nanfeng! Do you have Zhuge Liang's commentary in English?

I have the above-mentioned book, yeah. It shouldn't be too expensive if you're interested, Amazon has it for around $15.

If you want a free translation, a Redditor did his own translation of the whole thing here: link

The Redditor's translation is different than the book though; for instance, for the above-mentioned story he just summarized what Cao Cao's brother said instead of including the quote.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Feb 01, 2018 8:13 am

Thank you, I'll add it to my wish list! :lol:

In the mean time would you mind writing a review of the book for my sources thread? Also which section would you place it in: Military or Shu's political history? :D
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby ItssLuBu » Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:02 pm

Could anyone tell me more about some of Liu Bei's early followers, I have read the bio's before on Sun Quan, Mi Zhu and Jian Yong but would love to know more.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Feb 03, 2018 9:05 am

There is Mi Fang's sgz but that aside, I can't think of what to tell you. Liu Bei had few followers and Shu had a bad history department
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