Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

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

Unread postby Sun Fin » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:59 pm

PyroMystic wrote:Do you by any chance knows the hanzi for that? Anyway, thanks for the information!


I'm afraid I don't!


PyroMystic wrote:Hmmm... that bit about Mandate of Heaven is really interesting. Do you know something about it? So there is this belief that Heaven would appoint someone as an Emperor and Cao Pi failing to unite China under Wei means Heaven didn't favor them? But the same could also be said about Liu Bei so I didn't understand why Shu is always glorified when Wei always get the shortest end of the stick (oh wait, that's Wu...)


In this thread is a chapter from a history book on the 3K period. It is very long but the last section, entitled The dynasty and metaphysics, goes into the issue in lots of depth. It also begins to address your question about why Liu Bei is presented so positively. Just be warned it is written in Wade-Giles so Cao Cao is Ts'ao Ts'ao etc. It's just an older way of writing but can be a little confusing!
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Jia Nanfeng » Mon Feb 18, 2019 6:55 pm

Hmmm... that bit about Mandate of Heaven is really interesting. Do you know something about it? So there is this belief that Heaven would appoint someone as an Emperor and Cao Pi failing to unite China under Wei means Heaven didn't favor them? But the same could also be said about Liu Bei so I didn't understand why Shu is always glorified when Wei always get the shortest end of the stick (oh wait, that's Wu...)

The Mandate of Heaven can best be explained as having divine favor.

Here’s some of what I wrote about it in another thread:



Jiyuan Yu in Three Kingdoms and Chinese Culture describes it this way:

"When the Zhou house overthrew its predecessor, the Shang dynasty, its justification was that the Shang dynasty had forfeited the Mandate of Heaven (Tian Ming) through its misrule. From that time on, the loss of the Mandate of Heaven became the major justification for the change of dynasty. How, then, can one determine where the Mandate of Heaven lies? According to Confucianism, the most decisive clue is to see whether the ruler wins over the hearts of the people."

A ruler who loses the support of the people has lost the Mandate. It doesn't matter how much they may insist they have it, or how superior to the people they may act; it can be lost if they lack servitude. It's this seemingly antithetical blending of superiority and servitude that defines a Son of Heaven.

Emperors would seek to ensure and confirm they had Heaven’s favor by performing rituals to communicate with the heavens; and by employing imperial astronomers to read the signs of the sky and imperial daoists to interpret omens and portents.

Unfortunately, there runs the risk of an Emperor hearing from Heaven what he wanted to hear, and seeing what he wanted to see. He could mold Heaven's command to match his own desires.

Mencius wrote at length about this. Such abuse would inevitably lead to misery amongst the populace, and misery amongst the populace was a sign that the present empire had lost Heaven's Mandate, since peace, by contrast, was in its will; furthermore, Heaven allows such abuse to occur so that a poor ruler may reveal himself, and ultimately incite a revolution leading to a new Empire that will hopefully earn the people's favor.

This is why every usurping power believed to have the Mandate. If conditions were such that an empire could be or should be overthrown, then the Mandate must now be with the new rulers, as Heaven had apparently willed the transfer of power.

Revolution is ultimately what keeps tyrants in check. And in this way, while rulers and dynasties were fleeting, Heaven’s will persisted.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby caroa » Mon Feb 18, 2019 10:16 pm

Hope this is the right place to post a question. Just started reading the book. Trying to identify the places on the kongming site map. The forbidden city is mentioned, but where is it? According to Wikipedia the present one in Beijing only dates from 1420, which is hundreds of years after these events took place. Can someone please enlighten me?

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

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Feb 19, 2019 12:22 pm

caroa wrote:Hope this is the right place to post a question. Just started reading the book. Trying to identify the places on the kongming site map. The forbidden city is mentioned, but where is it? According to Wikipedia the present one in Beijing only dates from 1420, which is hundreds of years after these events took place. Can someone please enlighten me?

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Welcome to the forum and yes, right place caroa.

The forbidden parts of the imperial palace would be... well depends which kingdom and what time your talking about. Luoyang at the start then Changan then Xu Chang then the three capitals of the empire would have their own private area for emperors were the gentry weren't meant to be.

PyroMystic wrote:The reason I said Emperor Xian was incompetent because Sun He was an incompetent successor for precisely the same reason as he is. If you have to compare between Sun He (whom you said is not a suitable heir) and Emperor Xian, which one do you think is better?

By forced suicide you mean the drama with Lady Zhen? Wait all these time I thought that was a legend to make Cao Pi looks bad?

Yeah, what he did to his brother is really brutal. But I think he simply did it to make himself in a more powerful position? I mean... the only reason Liu Bei killed Liu Feng is because he wanted to secure Liu Chan's position as his heir so perhaps Cao Pi isnt that bad?



Emperor Xian inherited a far worse situation then Sun He (by time Xian was an adult, he was under miliatry thumb of warlords and a divided land, Sun He had none of those issues) and showed more ability

There are two competing claims in the texts, one saying illness, everything else going suicide. The general consensus is suicide

I feel the Wei rulers could have been more generous to ensure good lives within the policy but I don't have an issue with the policy Wei adopted. Others don't like it though
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby PyroMystic » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:52 am

Sun Fin wrote:In this thread is a chapter from a history book on the 3K period. It is very long but the last section, entitled The dynasty and metaphysics, goes into the issue in lots of depth. It also begins to address your question about why Liu Bei is presented so positively. Just be warned it is written in Wade-Giles so Cao Cao is Ts'ao Ts'ao etc. It's just an older way of writing but can be a little confusing!


That was a really really interesting read! :mrgreen: However, some question still bugs me. Can I bother you again with these questions? :oops:

So, although it was established by military conquest, Later Han emperorship acquired a metaphysical footing. During the early reigns the distinction between the emperor's temporal and his metaphysical power did not come out into the open; under the later reigns it became accepted that the emperor need not necessarily rule as well as reign. The many child emperors illustrate this point; while they could not possibly be expected to rule, their mere presence sufficed to fulfill the metaphysical requirements of the governing elite.
I seriously didn't understand this part. Can someone please illuminate me? What does "emperor need not necessarily rule as well as reign mean"? Does it mean that someone can receive the favor of Heaven (or Mandate of Heaven) while failing to be the emperor? Does this mean that some non-Emperor individuals, say Zhuge Liang or Zhou Yu, can have the Mandate even though they never become an Emperor because Sun Quan and Liu Chan already took that role?

We know very little about popular religion during the Han. We can surmise that it must have been fragmented, each region having its own customs and deities. To the official historian it was not an interesting phenomenon unless it interfered with the business of government. During the Later Han, however, religion sometimes took the form of mass movements, as for instance in 107, when the historian noted a mass migration of people in the northern regions, where they had been circulating alarming stories. In 175 too, a mass movement was reported to the court, and the Yellow Turbans were the most dramatic instance of a mass movement bred by religion. In recent years, studies have revealed that during the middle period of the Later Han there existed a sect that foretold the coming of a messianic figure who would deliver the faithful from earthly troubles."
Can I have a source for this? I mean, can I have a link for the studies which reveals "that during the middle period of the Later Han there existed a sect that foretold the coming of a messianic figure who would deliver the faithful from earthly troubles." What sect is this? And what is the year for the "middle period of the Later Han"? Did the people in that time think that Liu bei, or Zhuge Liang, or Guan Yu, is this messianic figure, and this is why Liu Bei is portrayed in an absurdly positive light?

The Han fell because there had grown up a metaphysical system that called for its fall, and which waited only for the right man to implement the theory. Many believed that Ts'ao Ts'ao was this right man; he, however, warded off such suggestions. He tried to build a new structure, one in which the emperor reigned and the generals ruled.

What does this part means? What kind of new structure does Cao Cao aspired to build? If the emperor reigned and the generals ruled, doesn't that mean that the emperor is just is a "symbol", so to speak, but the ones who really are in control of the state is ultimately the general? But... isn't this what the old system is?
And what does it mean when it says tht Cao Pi "had a few reasons of his own to aspire to the title of emperor"? Does it mean to say that Cao Pi had no legitimate "metaphysical" reason to overthrow the Han dynasty?

My Epochal Founder, Kuang-wu-ti, extensively applying his sage-like military excellence, restored life to the foundations of the dynasty
I understand some names but I absolutely have idea who Kuang-Wu-Ti is. Can anybody help me? :oops:

Since his altars to the soil and to the grain perished, until today forty years have passed, during which the ancestral temples have not enjoyed sacrificial blood. Now Heaven is guiding all men's minds, showing regret for the disasters it caused to imperial Han
I also don't get this part. So on one hand the people believed that Heaven may choose whomever it chooses as its man and so the dynasty change was inevitable, and here they blamed the Heaven because it was doing precisely that? So do they think the Mandate of Heaven is inevitable or not? And if they took the Heaven as something like, you know, an omnipotent god, then how come they said the Heaven had wronged Han and Liu Bei? Does Heaven wronged the rulers of do the rulers wronged the Heaven?

The question was whether the Han Mandate of Heaven had moved in 220 to Ts'ao P'i, who accepted Hsien-ti's abdication; or to Liu Pei, who belonged to the imperial family; or to Sun Ch'van, who had no direct connection with the Han. The latter possibility has never been considered, and all historians concur in regarding the Wu dynasty as illegitimate.

Now I finally understand why Wu is always ignored and more focus is put on Shu and Wei :shock: But if it is true, why is the SGZ's Book of Wu is longer than Book of Shu? Also, why do people think this way? Because, logically speaking, Wu last longer than any of the three so should not Wu be considered somewhat as legitimate as the other two?

Sorry for asking so many questions :oops:


-----------


Jia Nanfeng wrote:Emperors would seek to ensure and confirm they had Heaven’s favor by performing rituals to communicate with the heavens; and by employing imperial astronomers to read the signs of the sky and imperial daoists to interpret omens and portents.

Unfortunately, there runs the risk of an Emperor hearing from Heaven what he wanted to hear, and seeing what he wanted to see. He could mold Heaven's command to match his own desires.

Mencius wrote at length about this. Such abuse would inevitably lead to misery amongst the populace, and misery amongst the populace was a sign that the present empire had lost Heaven's Mandate, since peace, by contrast, was in its will; furthermore, Heaven allows such abuse to occur so that a poor ruler may reveal himself, and ultimately incite a revolution leading to a new Empire that will hopefully earn the people's favor.

This is why every usurping power believed to have the Mandate. If conditions were such that an empire could be or should be overthrown, then the Mandate must now be with the new rulers, as Heaven had apparently willed the transfer of power.

Revolution is ultimately what keeps tyrants in check. And in this way, while rulers and dynasties were fleeting, Heaven’s will persisted.
Wait... all these seriously make it seems as if ancient Chinese was VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY religious to the point it sounds a lot more like the theocratic kingdom of Ancient Israel than the present day China! :shock:

Also on this particular bit:
"According to Confucianism, the most decisive clue is to see whether the ruler wins over the hearts of the people"
Does everyone in China ascribe to Confucianism? Because of they were, why no one seems to care that Emperor Ling (and the one before him) has OBVIOUSLY lose the favor of people, aside from the Yellow Turban (and even then their rebellion failed)


-----------


On a side note, though, does anyone have any information about Yellow Turban Rebellion? Did Zhang Jiao go as far as claiming himself an emperor? I have no source claiming such thing but given that everyone and their mother has declared themselves emperor during this era, why didn't he actually do it? Or did he do it but we just don't know? Also, is it true that Yellow Turban is actually a Taoist sect?

Another thing. This is from a Wikipedia article about Taoism
The first organized form of Taoism, the Tianshi (Celestial Masters') school (later known as Zhengyi school), developed from the Five Pecks of Rice movement at the end of the 2nd century CE; the latter had been founded by Zhang Daoling, who claimed that Laozi appeared to him in the year 142.[9] The Tianshi school was officially recognized by ruler Cao Cao in 215, legitimizing Cao Cao's rise to power in return.[10] Laozi received imperial recognition as a divinity in the mid-2nd century.[11]


When I look up about Tianshi, I read this interesting passage:
n 215, Zhang Lu submitted to Cao Cao, the ruler of the Wei Kingdom, surrendering his state in exchange for gaining state religion status for Tianshi Daoism. Zhang was given a title and land, as were several other family members and generals. His daughter was married to Cao Cao’s son, Cao Yu. His followers were forced to resettle in other parts of China, with one group being sent to the Chang'an area, and another being sent to Luoyang. Zhang relocated to the Han court until the Han Dynasty changed to the Wei. He then used his own popularity as a religious leader to lend legitimacy to the Wei, proclaiming that the Wei court had inherited divine authority from the Tao church, as well as from Confucian laws.
[/quote][/quote]What is this? Is this an important event? If it is, why it isn't more well-known? Also, I have read somewhere that while it commonly held that Shu is the most Confucian, Shu is actually the most Legalist, while Wei the most Taoist and Wu the most Confucian. Does Cao Cao in particular practice Taoism (since his kingdom has the support of Taoist church)? Also, how strong was Taoist church during that era? Was it as powerful as, say, the Western Catholic church during the Middle Ages? Which religion is more powerful? Taoism or Confucianism?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Tue Feb 26, 2019 10:16 am

That is an extensive list of questions! I will get back to you but it might take a few days - as well as searching some other sources! When I do answer I’ll do in the chapter thread as all your questions pertain to that particular text and it’ll keep us from clogging this thread up! :)
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Feb 26, 2019 1:25 pm

On the quick ones I can answer, look forward to Sun Fin's more comprehensive answer

I seriously didn't understand this part. Can someone please illuminate me? What does "emperor need not necessarily rule as well as reign mean"? Does it mean that someone can receive the favor of Heaven (or Mandate of Heaven) while failing to be the emperor? Does this mean that some non-Emperor individuals, say Zhuge Liang or Zhou Yu, can have the Mandate even though they never become an Emperor because Sun Quan and Liu Chan already took that role?


It means an Emperor doesn't have to be hands on ruler in theory. He can leave it to ministers or a regent as long as he carries out the ceremonies and other Heaven related tasks.

Did the people in that time think that Liu bei, or Zhuge Liang, or Guan Yu, is this messianic figure, and this is why Liu Bei is portrayed in an absurdly positive light?


No. The later reputation of Liu Bei also not due to that.

Now I finally understand why Wu is always ignored and more focus is put on Shu and Wei :shock: But if it is true, why is the SGZ's Book of Wu is longer than Book of Shu? Also, why do people think this way? Because, logically speaking, Wu last longer than any of the three so should not Wu be considered somewhat as legitimate as the other two?


Wu had a better history department for Chen Shou to edit and work with, Shu's was awful.

What strong claim did Wu have on the Han succession? Shu could claim by lineage as the last Liu in power so goes from Han Xian to Han Bei, Wei could be the act of abdication into their hands from Xian to new dynasty (both of which suited various later dynasties), control of the heartlands and strength (Jin then claim by all that and winning). Wu can claim neither lineage, control of the traditional heartlands, being handed the mandate, success of conquest (lasting awhile was not enough to claim heaven favour) and no future dynasty saw Wu as a useful tool for their own legitimacy.

Wait... all these seriously make it seems as if ancient Chinese was VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY religious to the point it sounds a lot more like the theocratic kingdom of Ancient Israel than the present day China! :shock:

Also on this particular bit:
"According to Confucianism, the most decisive clue is to see whether the ruler wins over the hearts of the people"
Does everyone in China ascribe to Confucianism? Because of they were, why no one seems to care that Emperor Ling (and the one before him) has OBVIOUSLY lose the favor of people, aside from the Yellow Turban (and even then their rebellion failed)


I'm not sure there were many ancient kingdoms that lacked belief in Heaven and ceremony.

No, there were faith healers, Daoists, Buddisisim starting to come in, local beliefs but the gentry were generally Confucian and ensured brutally that remained the key philosophy.

400 years of peace meant the lengthy decline could still be hoped for as a blip and that the Han would recover.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby PyroMystic » Thu Feb 28, 2019 9:06 am

Sun Fin wrote:That is an extensive list of questions! I will get back to you but it might take a few days - as well as searching some other sources! When I do answer I’ll do in the chapter thread as all your questions pertain to that particular text and it’ll keep us from clogging this thread up! :)
Thank you so much! I will be waiting :mrgreen:

Also, thank you very much Dong Zhou! :mrgreen: Can I ask a follow up question?

What strong claim did Wu have on the Han succession? Shu could claim by lineage as the last Liu in power so goes from Han Xian to Han Bei, Wei could be the act of abdication into their hands from Xian to new dynasty (both of which suited various later dynasties), control of the heartlands and strength (Jin then claim by all that and winning). Wu can claim neither lineage, control of the traditional heartlands, being handed the mandate, success of conquest (lasting awhile was not enough to claim heaven favour) and no future dynasty saw Wu as a useful tool for their own legitimacy.


Ummmm... I don't know... the fact that they last the longest? Or that Sun Jian found the Imperial Seal? (I mean, if Yuan Shu can declare himself emperor when Sun Jian gave it to him, why can't the house of Sun did the same?) Can it be counted as claim? :mrgreen:

On a more serious note, though, was Liu Bei's lineage really that clear? I read somewhere that an important figure (Pei Songzhi maybe? I forget) cannot trace Liu Bei's lineage. When I check he Liu family tree in Wikipedia, it's written "skipped generations" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_emperors_family_tree_(early)#Han_dynasty,_Xin_dynasty_and_Shu_Han), which is kinda doubtful, don't you think?

--------------------------------

Can I have another question?

So I found in Wikipedia an interesting fact that Emperor Ling had 3 children: Liu Bian (Emperor Shao), Liu Xie (Emperor Xian), and a princess named Wannian. I tried to look up for some information about this Wannian princess and all information I found was about another Princess Wannian of Jin. So, does anyone here know about some information about this Princess Wannian of Han?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:18 pm

You can have as many questions as you like (granted 100 in one post might not make you popular :P) either in clumps of one or spread out, there is no limit

Ummmm... I don't know... the fact that they last the longest? Or that Sun Jian found the Imperial Seal? (I mean, if Yuan Shu can declare himself emperor when Sun Jian gave it to him, why can't the house of Sun did the same?) Can it be counted as claim? :mrgreen:


That doesn't work for China's view of Mandate of Heaven. Winning does. Sun Jian finding it as a subordinate of Yuan Shu then giving it up means they didn't have hold of said seal for more then five minutes makes it very hard to spin that, they also don't want to highlight their connections to Yuan Shu.

Also Yuan Shu failure doesn't help :wink:

On a more serious note, though, was Liu Bei's lineage really that clear? I read somewhere that an important figure (Pei Songzhi maybe? I forget) cannot trace Liu Bei's lineage. When I check he Liu family tree in Wikipedia, it's written "skipped generations" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_e ... ree_(early)#Han_dynasty,_Xin_dynasty_and_Shu_Han), which is kinda doubtful, don't you think?


Records get lost over time, gaps appear unless well maintained but during the time (and in the generations after), there wasn't any suggestion that Liu Bei was fibbing. Wei would have loved to have gone "you know who is lying about being of the Han line? Liu Bei!" and they would have had access to lineage records. Shu was able to provide a lineage and details of it, nobody counter-claimed it then or in the generations to follow.

I have no particular reason to think Liu Bei was fibbing on this.

Can I have another question?

So I found in Wikipedia an interesting fact that Emperor Ling had 3 children: Liu Bian (Emperor Shao), Liu Xie (Emperor Xian), and a princess named Wannian. I tried to look up for some information about this Wannian princess and all information I found was about another Princess Wannian of Jin. So, does anyone here know about some information about this Princess Wannian of Han?


This is what De Crespigny encyclopaedia has Liu, the Lady VIII. Daughter of Emperor Ling, in 180 the Lady was appointed Princess of Wannian in Zuopingyi. -HHS 10B:462.

Unfortunately we often know very very little, not even names, of female family members.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby PyroMystic » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:31 am

Dong Zhou wrote:That doesn't work for China's view of Mandate of Heaven. Winning does. Sun Jian finding it as a subordinate of Yuan Shu then giving it up means they didn't have hold of said seal for more then five minutes makes it very hard to spin that, they also don't want to highlight their connections to Yuan Shu.

Also Yuan Shu failure doesn't help :wink:

Records get lost over time, gaps appear unless well maintained but during the time (and in the generations after), there wasn't any suggestion that Liu Bei was fibbing. Wei would have loved to have gone "you know who is lying about being of the Han line? Liu Bei!" and they would have had access to lineage records. Shu was able to provide a lineage and details of it, nobody counter-claimed it then or in the generations to follow.

I have no particular reason to think Liu Bei was fibbing on this.


That's really sucks for Wu then, haha.

And Shu is lucky. Wait, but that means as long as you have a Liu surname, you can declare yourself an Emperor? Then what about Liu Zhang and Liu Biao? They can also claim that they are the descendant of some Han emperor, aren't they?

Also, is there any possibility that even thought Liu Bei is a descendant of some Han emperor, the Mandate of Heaven is not given to Liu Family because, say, the the Liu family has failed to actually be a good emperor? The fact that Emperor Xian abdicated is actually a strong proof of this and I think people should see this. So should not everyone think: "Oh, okay, Liu Bei might be the descendant of some cool Han emperor but it seems the Mandate of Heaven is leaving the Liu family so let us all serve Cao Pi, perhaps he was the one given the mandate"?

Dong Zhou wrote:This is what De Crespigny encyclopaedia has Liu, the Lady VIII. Daughter of Emperor Ling, in 180 the Lady was appointed Princess of Wannian in Zuopingyi. -HHS 10B:462.

Unfortunately we often know very very little, not even names, of female family members.

Thank you so much for the information! Anyway, what does being "appointed" means? Is being appointed means being given the title or given some office/job to do or simply being born? How old is a princess when she was being appointed? I ask this because Liu Xie was born in 181, so if appointed means given the title, then does this means this princess is a lot older than Liu Xie?
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