Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

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

Unread postby Han » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:11 pm

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=22087&start=10

This post( ZZTJ) disagree.

Zhuge Liang sent a detachment to attack Qi-shan; he himself encountered Sima Yi at Shanggui, Guo Huai, Fei Yao, and others joined battle with Zhuge Liang. Zhuge Liang defeated them, and he took the opportunity to mow their wheat extensively.

This reddit user make the case that the Han Jin ChunQiu is reliable as a historical source.

https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/ ... confidence

One thing about historical writing is that no one can be free of biases. This holds true for Xi Zuochi as it does for the anti-Shu person on tumblr. Especially in Chinese history, where history was intended to provide moralistic lessons, the writer often inserts his own personal opinions into their works and let their perspectives affect their work. Chen Shou had limitations when writing the Records of the Three Kingdoms, and Xi Zuochi had his goals when he set out to write a pro-Shu history.

About Xi Zuochi though, he was actually from the Jin dynasty, which is close enough to the end of the Three Kingdoms for him to be able to write a reasonably accurate history of the Three Kingdoms. It was said that he wrote the pro-Shu Hanjin Chunqiu not to please his boss, but instead to remonstrate against him since his boss Huan Wen was about to pull a Cao Cao and take the throne from the Jin dynasty. So Xi Zuochi went to demonstrate, using Wei as a negative example, that even if you underwent the ritual to receive the throne, that didn't make you legitimate. Since that was his goal, his writing immediately becomes suspect as a historical work, and later commentators and compilers were quick to point out that the Hanjin Chunqiu carries events that other sources didn't, or was portrayed differently. Xi could have made those stories up, but also consider this: Chen Shou could not be too anti-Wei in his Records of the Three Kingdoms because the Jin succeeded the Wei - attacking Wei's legitimacy would indirectly attack Jin as well. Also, Chen Shou may have chosen not to write of the things that the Sima family had done against the Cao family since he could not make the Sima family look like usurpers. Xi Zuochi, by denouncing Wei and still upholding Jin as legitimate (he reasoned that Jin became legitimate by unifying the empire), became free to write about the Simas' conspiracies against the Caos, since those conspiracies would become righteous acts against a illegitimate dynasty.

So, if you hold a view strongly you can bend any course of events to suit your viewpoint. I believe this is what happened to Xi Zuochi and the tumblr you read. (Like, for Guan Yu, only someone who hates Shu so much can repeat such a cynical view of things. You only need to consider how much Liu Bei could reward Guan Yu when he's running all over the place, even leaving his family behind)
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Wed Mar 07, 2018 6:23 pm

That passage of the ZZTJ is directly from the Han Jin Chunqui, and I will also point out that Pei Songzhi himself, someone more qualified to talk about the subject than me or this person on reddit, cites that Xi Zuochi is not only a incautious scholar, but also points out that Xi Zuochi disagrees with himself in his own works, and directly contradicts things he writes. This is why I discount the Han Jin Chunqui.

If Zhuge Liang did succeed over Wei in that engagement, it should be recorded at least once in the SGZ proper. A victory over Guo Huai is significant, but the only place it shows up is in a questionable source. I'd also like to point out the Sima Guang was not above altering facts as well, as seen with Zhuge Dan where he paints him in a worse light than the SGZ by omitting lines. So when the SGZ does not bring this up, but a questionable source does? I side with the "I don't trust this account" court. Chen Shou gains nothing by leaving out a Shu victory. All this account would be is ammo for the "Chen Shou has an anti-Shu bias" crowd that exists for some reason, which is hilarious given Shu was his home and he speaks very fondly on many from there. A victory for Shu would be significant. Defeating Guo Huai is very significant. However it's found nowhere in the SGZ proper. Therefor I find it reasonable to say the account is false.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Han » Wed Mar 07, 2018 7:14 pm

Yeah you also forget that Pei cites Xi frequently and even prefer it to earlier texts.

And Chen Shou also frequently hide texts that would paint the West Jin Dynasty bad. Hence the usage of frequent code words.


Chen Shou was criticised for having a Cao Wei bias because the West Jin inherited the Mandate Of Heaven from Cao Wei, hence the usage of Cao Wei titles and era dates.

RDC in loyalty 2002

Chen Shou 陳壽 (233-297), compiler of Sanguo zhi, describes Xun Yu as dying at Shouchun of illness and anxiety, and in a brief comment at the end of the chapter he refers to him as a man of talent and skill suitable to aid a king, but who failed to fulfill his ambitions. As a former official of the defeated state of Shu 蜀 now writing at the court of Jin, Chen Shou was unwilling to discuss the full implications of Xun Yu's crisis of conscience.



No one is saying Chen Shou was anti - Shu Han but more pro- Cao Wei.

https://www.reddit.com/r/history/commen ... confidence

So he was definitely biased in favor of Shu without question.

Strange, that's not how I remembered Chen Shou's Records of the Three Kingdoms.

Records of the Three Kingdoms was far less biased towards anyone, and more or less gave equal treatment to all records collected in all three kingdoms, in contrast to semi-fictional Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel a thousand years later which was staunchly pro-Shu.

As far as the Mandate of Heaven, the Jin were from the Sima clan, the advisors of the Cao's, and the mandate wouldn't extend to them as they didn't share a bloodline. If anything, Jin usurped Wei because they asserted Wei was never the "true" successor to the Han.

On the contrary. As Jin, being the ultimate unifier, carries the Mandate of Heaven, then they have to have received it from someone else. It sure wasn't Shu or Wu, but Wei (or Jin wouldn't have bothered with the usurpation ceremony with Wei to begin with). And being hired as a historian for the Jin court, Chen Shou would have no choice but to recognize Wei as the former carrier of the Mandate of Heaven, not Shu, his former bosses, or risk antagonizing his current boss.

Another rationale for Chen Shou considering Wei as the carrier of the Mandate of Heaven is Era Names.

If Chen Shou had considered Shu to receive the Mandate of Heaven from the Han Dynasty, he would have used Shu's Era Names. Instead, he recorded the years using Wei Era Names between 220AD and 265AD, the extent of Wei's rule over Northern China. After 265AD, he switched to using Jin Era Names.

(Besides, Shu were destroyed by the Wei in 263AD, but Jin won't usurp Wei until 265AD. That leaves 264AD as a sort of "empty gap", so for practical reasons as well, Chen Shou had to use Wei Era Names. )

(My source is from a Taiwanese history textbook which discusses Chen Shou's Era Names preferences in detail. I can give the name to you via PM. )

It's only starting from the late Song Dynasty and Yuan Dynasty that plays appeared that portray the Shu as the "good guys", which forms the basis for the Romance of the Three Kingdoms novel.

viewtopic.php?f=5&t=18550

Now, as you know Chen Shou's SGZ is Wei-biased since he was an official of Jin dynasty that followed from Wei kingdom. So Wei rulers are given imperial title, where as Shu rulers are called 'rulers'. Interestingly, Wu rulers are not even given that distinction. So Wu gets no respect (in terms of orthodoxy dispute) from the very beginning. (Chen Shou's father was Shu official, who was punished with hair cutting by Zhuge Liang in connection w/ Ma Su debacle.)

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=23535

Chen Shou, Records of the Three Kingdoms.
The ‘Records of the Three Kingdoms’ or ‘Sanguozhi’ (SGZ as its better known on SoSZ) is the earliest source still available to scholars interested in the 3K era. Chen Shou compiled it during the 3rd century. It is important to note the author’s bias towards the ruling dynasty of Jin and their predecessor Wei and to a lesser extent that of Shu the country of his early life. It is written in a biographical style with most major officials and officers having an entry. There is no official translation of the entirety of this work (some biographies have been put in books-see below) however many of our own scholars have worked hard over the years translating individual entries. The above link leads to a list of many translations. In more recent times xuesanguo has committed to translating the source in its entirety and that project can be found here.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Records ... e_Kingdoms

The Records of the Three Kingdoms referred the rulers of Wei as 'Emperors' and those of Shu and Wu as 'Lords' or by their personal names. This was to uphold the legitimacy of the Jin dynasty as the inheritor of the Mandate of Heaven from Wei — because Wei must first be "designated" as the true successor to the Han dynasty in order for Jin's claim to be effective.

Chen Shou, a former Shu subject, favoured his state over Wu in the work, but this preference was subordinate to the Jin dynasty's point of view, which saw Wei as the legitimate successor to the Han dynasty. He referred to the Wei rulers as 'Emperors', the Shu rulers as 'Lords', and the Wu rulers by their personal names. He also never referred to the Wu empresses as "empresses", instead calling them "Ladies".[3]

Also, its always possible that Chen Shou did not include these details because offending the father of the then Emperor and progenitor of the Dynasty his serving is not a good look. After all, Guo Huai was sent by Sima Yi. Or maybe Chen Shou was not able to have access to these documents or these documents were later on discovered.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Han » Thu Mar 08, 2018 3:54 pm

Which clan was more influential at the beginning of the Yellow Turban Rebellion? The Xiahou or Cao clan?

How was Cao Cao able to quickly unify the Cao clan and even the Xiahou clan under his leadership. Was he the most senior of his generation? Did his family link with both clans played a role?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Mar 08, 2018 4:16 pm

My source for this is Imperial Warlord which I don't have access to - going off memory.

It depends what you mean by influential. The Xiahou clan were a far wealthier and more establish family. However they were part of the clique that the Eunuch's had banned from power. On a local level they wielded a great deal of influence and had a lot of clients and tenants but in the court at the fall of the Han they had very little influence.

The Cao clan were almost the opposite. they came from the same area as the Xiahou clan however were not wealthy or powerful. However a son of the Cao clan became an important Eunuch giving him tremendous authority at the court. Hence how Cao Cao got the early positions they did.

So both were influential but in different ways. As for how he kept authority over the Xiahous? It seems to come down to Xiahou Dun and Yuan's personal loyalty to him.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Han » Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:40 am

Thank you very much Sun.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Han » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:44 am

When Guan Yu fought Yu Jin, why was only Yu Jin and Pang De so badly affected by the flood but not Guan Yu?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:46 pm

Terrain differences more than likely. The flood hit the Wei camps directly and decimated them.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Elitemsh » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:28 pm

Han wrote:When Guan Yu fought Yu Jin, why was only Yu Jin and Pang De so badly affected by the flood but not Guan Yu?


Yu Jin and Pang were on open land in front of the city. Guan Yu had ships prepared. Someone in this forum made a solid argument many years ago that Guan Yu anticipated the flooding and acted accordingly. Perhaps this was the case.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Sun Mar 11, 2018 6:53 pm

Yu Jin's SGZ says
There was heavy rain during the autumn season for that year and Han Shui overflowed. The level terrain was flooded by more than a few zhang (one zhang is about 3 1/3 meters) high. Yu Jin and the other troops climbed to high ground to monitor the flood and there were no place to escape. Guan Yu later attacked them in a huge boat. Yu Jin was unable to prevail and he surrendered. Only Pang De refused to surrender and was killed.


Pang De's SGZ says
Pang De and the various generals avoided the overflowing waters by going up into higher ground (dikes or embankments)


Imperial Warlord says
Cao Ren had his headquarters at Fan city, which lay on the northern bank of the Han, opposite Xiangyang the former capital of Liu Biao; it is now part of the Xiangfan metropolis. His defences were supported on the outside by seven large camps, each commanded by an officer of general rank. Strategically it was a strong position, for below Xiangyang and Fan the river runs through a comparativly narrow pass between high ground on the east and west. Unfortunetly, however, the open ground above the twin cities recieves water from not only the Han but also from a great number of tributaries which flow south across open country of Nanyang, and the narrows of the Han can slow its escape. Just as Guan Yu was approaching, the autumn rains brought massive flooding onto Cao Ren's positions, and his supporting camps were overwhelmed by meteres of water.
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