Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

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

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:16 am

Merchants were considered the lowest of the four occupations in ancient china, as they merely moved wealth around instead of creating it. At the same time, though, they were essential for making society work smoothly.

For comparison, in 2017 US no kids say "When I want to go grow up I want to be a garbageman!", but if there's a garbageman strike things go south rather quickly!
Unless I specifically say otherwise, assume I am talking about historical Three Kingdoms, and not the novel.

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

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:00 am

Hello ValHellen, welcome to forum

Xishi (Shu): In fairness to cappen, Xu is the more commonly asked after one and it is one letter different.

Wife of Pang Tong's brother Lin and sister to Shu officer Xi Zhen, the males in her life went with Liu Bei but Xi and children were left behind in Jing, the couple were separated for 15 years. Lin was part of Huang Quan's force that surrendered to Wei in aftermath of Yiling, Cao Pi gave the reunited couples some gifts.

Fengshi (Others): Her father Fang was a major supporter of eunuch Cao Jie and held very high ranks, she fled Chang An during chaos to Yang. One of the great beauties of the empire, she married Yuan Shu and was his favourite which angered his other ladies. They persuaded her to weep in front of Yuan Shu to gain his favour as he would think it a sign of aspiration and integrity. Then when that worked, they killed her and staged it as a suicide so Yuan Shu believed she hadn't achieved her aspirations and buried her with honour

This and the chaos in Wu court may have been why Yuan refused to become Quan's Empress.

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Empress Pan

How wrong did she dress to warrant execution? Serious question.


Embroidered dress was too rich for sumptary laws is all we know.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:11 am

In case you can't tell I'm interested in learning about Confucianism at the moment!

I feel like we see a trend in religion/philosophy during the 3K era.

The literate elite were largely orthodox Confucians, at least the ones at court seemed to be so. In comparison the common people seemed more likely to engage in Daoist peasant rebellions.

There are exceptions (Zhang Lu comes to mind) but as a general statement do you think it is fair to suggest that whilst the court and educated officials adhered to Confucianism (or at least paid it lip service) for the poor and in more rural areas those beliefs held less sway?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:03 pm

It varied from court to court; IIRC Cao Cao and Sun Quan were pure legalist, while Liu Bei was "Confucian in appearance but Legalist in substance".

And yeah, Zhang Lu (and, of course, Zhang Jiao) had rather unusual governments.
Unless I specifically say otherwise, assume I am talking about historical Three Kingdoms, and not the novel.

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

Unread postby waywardauthor » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:42 pm

Sun Fin wrote:
waywardauthor wrote: The Sun family is probably the most detailed example we get, and the status of being descended from Merchants gets very little attention.


We don't actually know that the Sun clan were merchants. That theory comes from folklore where Sun Zhong (we don't even know his name for certain) grew and sold melons.

Whoops, looks like I need to be a little more careful when saying things like that. I was pretty sure it was more certain than that.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:01 pm

I've read the second and third chapters of GOTS a lot of times. I don't think many people would have picked up on it or even known that it wasn't fact. :lol:

Besides I may have overstated the case, slightly. Prof De Crespigny builds a circumstantial case for the possibility that he was a merchant in the below passage. However the root of this speculation is tradition not a reliable history.

Generals of the South

The account of this incident contains the only reference to Sun Jian's father in the official histories of the time, and it is noticeable that his reaction to Sun Jian's fine ambition is not enthusiastic. "This is nothing to do with you" is a curious speech from the father of such a hero. While the evidence is unsupported, and any passages claimed as direct speech must be doubted, there was at least a tradition that Sun Jian's father was a man of no great hardihood, and there are indications which suggest that he was a merchant. The trip to Qiantang need not have been the first that he had made, and his disapproval of his son's proposed sortie and his preference for minding his own business fit very well with the traditional picture of the Chinese trader. In the Confucian view, merchants were the least valuable class of society, and if the merchants were regarded with disdain by officials, they would have few feelings of public spirit. On the other hand, if Sun Jian had hopes of an official career, it would not have been difficult for the son of a reasonably prosperous merchant family to obtain his appointment to a minor post in the local government.


Also this quote reinforces Dragon's point on the status of merchants in Han China.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby ValHellen » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:02 pm

I almost forgot about that story when Sun Jian charged the bandits. Prof. Rafe certainly made a compelling argument there.

Dong Zhou wrote:Fengshi (Others): Her father Fang was a major supporter of eunuch Cao Jie and held very high ranks, she fled Chang An during chaos to Yang. One of the great beauties of the empire, she married Yuan Shu and was his favourite which angered his other ladies. They persuaded her to weep in front of Yuan Shu to gain his favour as he would think it a sign of aspiration and integrity. Then when that worked, they killed her and staged it as a suicide so Yuan Shu believed she hadn't achieved her aspirations and buried her with honour

'They', as in her own father and family? But what was the purpose of this?

Also, anything on Liushi of Wu?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Oct 16, 2017 10:42 am

DragonAtma wrote:It varied from court to court; IIRC Cao Cao and Sun Quan were pure legalist, while Liu Bei was "Confucian in appearance but Legalist in substance".


I've heard the term 'legalism' tossed about a lot, largely in reference to Zhuge Liang, over the years I've been a member and I would say I've got a basic understanding of what it means in this context. However is there a text that gives a more detailed explanation of it or was it never as an organised philosophy as Confucianism?
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” ― Nelson Mandela
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Oct 16, 2017 11:10 am

Sun Fin wrote:In case you can't tell I'm interested in learning about Confucianism at the moment!

I feel like we see a trend in religion/philosophy during the 3K era.

The literate elite were largely orthodox Confucians, at least the ones at court seemed to be so. In comparison the common people seemed more likely to engage in Daoist peasant rebellions.

There are exceptions (Zhang Lu comes to mind) but as a general statement do you think it is fair to suggest that whilst the court and educated officials adhered to Confucianism (or at least paid it lip service) for the poor and in more rural areas those beliefs held less sway?


Probably. The people seemed to go where they were safe (or felt safe) and where they would be hope either through faith-healing or good governance. There didn't seem to be anti-Buddhism or neo-Daosim revolts from the general populace. Rulers also seem to be less inclined towards caring about cementing further Confucian control

ValHellen wrote:'They', as in her own father and family? But what was the purpose of this?

Also, anything on Liushi of Wu?


Her father was dead I believe, they were referring to Yuan Shu's ladies.

Daughter of wealthy merchant, Lu Fan wanted to marry her but her mother refused due to Lu Fan's poor status but father allowed marriage as he saw Lu Fan had potential.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby ValHellen » Mon Oct 16, 2017 4:13 pm

Thank you for the answers, Dong Zhou.

Information on Shu officers are surprisingly very scarce in spite of the faction's folk popularity. I learned that Zhuge Liang banned historians from Shu's court, but a quick google search gave me someone saying that Zhuge Liang didn't ban the position as much as he never established any formal history bureau. Which one is correct? Any reason why Zhuge Liang didn't put much emphasis on records? You'd have thought with the amount of propagandas put out by the likes of Mi Zhu and Sun Qian Zhuge Liang'd have at least "manufactured" records of Shu. Why the silence?
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