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

Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 3:13 pm
by Han
Yeah but... Cao Cao pillaged and plundered all over Huainan and the Central plains, massacred Xuzhou twice and buried alive Yuan Shao army numbering "more than 70 thousand men" en masse during the Guandu campaign even after they surrendered, killed the Han Emperess and few calls him out for being a tyrant...

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

Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 5:09 pm
by Lord_Cao_Cao
Cao Cao was extremely harsh to his opponents and their people at times (just as you have mentioned), but Gongsun Zan mistreated his own people.

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

Unread postPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2017 7:48 pm
by Dong Zhou
Han wrote:Yeah but... Cao Cao pillaged and plundered all over Huainan and the Central plains, massacred Xuzhou twice and buried alive Yuan Shao army numbering "more than 70 thousand men" en masse during the Guandu campaign even after they surrendered, killed the Han Emperess and few calls him out for being a tyrant...


I'm assuming by nobody, your meaning western forums like this one?

On those issues, most tend to be unaware of plundering then discover an instance of it (usually with Liu Bei of late) and whack the person with it until it is pointed out most warlords pillaged. Where Zan goes over the line is he pillaged his own people which tends to be viewed badly.

I recall one massacre of Xu and yeah, people really don't like that.

While I suspect most would argue the number, the burying alive is a controversial one on his record. Tends to come down to "and what was the alternative" for those that aren't inclined to attack him for it

Few care. Empress tried to kill him, funnily enough he didn't give her cookies.

By now, most have had their say on where Cao Cao lies on the tyrant list and most Cao Cao fans would agree Cao Cao had a dark side. There is also that even Cao Cao's harshest critic would say Cao Cao was capable of kindness, a man of great skill and did a lot of good for China

The discovery that Gongsun Zan was a hit is more recent and takes people more by surprise when they hear of Liu Yu. There is the Liu Yu issue that just makes Zan look like a jerk. There is Gongsun Zan wasn't particularly skilled even as a general (a brave warrior but his miliatry record is not good) and just seems to have been, even before the paranoia that crippled him near the end, a general all round jerk. With jerk sauce with side helping of extra jerk.

My main argument was that if your Liu Bei, getting out is a wise wise thing to do.

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

Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:13 am
by waywardauthor
From the gentry interpolation, it may be possible to create a revisionist history that is more sympathetic to Gongsun Zan. "Friend to merchant and common man, great disposer of self-entitled elites!" can be his epitaph by people who prattle on about marxist class tensions in anachronistic time periods.

That being said, Gongsun Zan was probably worse than either Yuan Shu or Dong Zhuo - both of which have been the victim of a significant amount of historical revisionism and determinism on the part of later historians, with no one having the resources, nor the interest, to even moderately defend them. His death and the conquest by Yuan Shao was probably one of the best things to happen to You.

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

Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:48 am
by Han
Thats true I guess... most warlords pillage but Cao Cao pillaged and plundered on a whole another level compared to others... just off the top of my head only Dong Zhuo and Lü Bu pillaged more than him... the rest either have too short a career( Liu Zhang and Tao Qian comes to mind) or they were too busy minding their own business( Zhang Lu and Liu Yu). Even when Liu Bei pillaged the first time he did so under Yuan Shao orders and the second time he did so was under Liu Biao orders... no one else go out of their way to receive two hundred thousand yellow turbans who have a very murky history(putting it nicely) and have a LONG history of not caring about discipline, and then go around massacring people with these said turbans...

Even when Sima Yi massacre people in Liaodong, he spared quite a few people and did not massacre as much or as often as Cao Cao.

As for the murdering Emperess part, killing her is a little too much in my opinion, the rebellion was already over by that time. He should just depose her(at best) or life-imprisonment her. Killing a pregnant woman... Yeah No...
Also, as a servant of the Han and one who loves to portray himself as a Han loyalist, killing a Emperess who is pregnant is going wayyy overboard...

I agree with your main argument by the way, was just curious about your opinion.

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

Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 3:08 pm
by Dong Zhou
I don't believe Cao Cao pillaged on a level above others, it is not something he was accused of or criticized for excess. Where I suspect Wei and Wu seem larger then others is 1) across more fronts, 2) better recorded histories. We know Zhang Lu vs Liu Zhang was a thing but we can't say if they pillaged, had elaborate dance off's before a battle or anything, even large parts of Yuan Shao's war with Zan is limited detailed overall (we only know of pillaging due to famine in one area for example). One of the appeals Cao Cao had for likes if Tian Chou was he was seen as being the law and order figure, his repuation was the opposite to a mass pillager

Cao Cao gets no flak for taking in the Turbans, it is seen as a smart move that was important to his rise and warlords could hardly complain other then "dang nabbit, he was better then us at it". Where they of less then sterling character? Yep but unfortunately armies and officer cores in three kingdoms were not always made of nice people. Where there may be a case for criticism is while it went from mass pillaging to "pillaging at certain events", that even when Cao Cao died they were liable to go pillaging when control slipped, Cao Cao clearly failed to address a cultural/discipline problem there and at best, he merely imposed some more discipline. I wish there was more detail on why such things didn't change

I don't know enough about Sima Yi's massacre of Liaodong to comment and compare.

That would have certainly made Cao Cao a revolutionary man for coming up with an entirely new way of dealing with an Empress. Both your solutions risks creating potential long term problems which is, I suspect, why the usual route of dealing a unwanted empress was "death by grief" (aka get jher out of powerbase then kill her quietly) rather then "thanks but goodbye"

Cao Cao got flak for killing an Empress which is always going to be on the controversial side. I doubt most warlords would go "so on the throne is someone who tried to kill me and could cause major problems in long term? Good on her" if it happened to them but executing an Empress is never a good PR look whatever the reasoning. The pregnancy angle that your partly concentrating on seems far less of an issue back then, partly becuase in such circumstances, rule of degrees means child would have been executed anyway

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

Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:11 pm
by DragonAtma
Cao Cao severely ravaged Xu twice, both because of his father's murder. The first time(193) "Cao Cao's army killed over 100,000 civilians, including both men and women, such that the Si River was stoppered up with their corpses", and the second time (194) "Cao Cao's army plundered Langya and Donghai (東海; near present-day Tancheng, Shandong), destroying all in its path".

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

Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 5:41 pm
by Dong Zhou
Thanks, was aware of the river of blood one but not that there was a massacre follow up a year later

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

Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:22 pm
by greencactaur
I know many warlords had multiple wives, but what about generals? How often was it that a general had more then one wife?Did the commoners also perform Polygamy, or was it just a typical thing to do for someone with a lot of wealth?

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

Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 2:39 am
by Han
But going by the histories that are given to us, we can see that Cao Cao pillage at a higher degree compared to pretty much everyone except Dong Zhuo and Lü Bu. Even if we ignore this, once again, going by the histories that are given to us Cao Cao commit massacre at a degree only comparable by Dong Zhuo...

Taking in the yellow turbans is a very very smart move Im not denying it. But the fact that Cao Cao a man noted for his skill at military administration did not properly reign in his yellow turban force simply speaks about his character.

Emperors killing Emperess occur once in a while, but the main option throughout the history of China is to simply depose them. Cao Cao as a minister had no right to kill the Emperess and the Emperor's yet unborn child and possible heir.