Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

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

Unread postby Deej » Fri Mar 22, 2019 1:45 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:
Qin Feng wrote:How do you guys judge Zhuge Liang on the battlefield?
Clearly, the novel portrays him as a man who can do anything and excel at it, but I've heard that in history he defeated Sima Yi a couple of times across his expeditions. Considering the situation Shu was in, do you think Zhuge Liang performed well or was he just a bad general?


His early efforts against Wei were bad, his inexperience (one half command leading reinforcements and against tribe) told, after he learnt I think he did fairly well. He and his generals seem to have won the minor battles, his armies were well organized, didn't suffer heavy defeats and could take the toll of the camapigns, master of retreat. He does seem to have been easy to read for Wei commanders and Shu lacked a tactical flair to hope to really change things, his armies got stalemated.

If this was on the defensive, the results are great. As he was the attacker, they were well organized nibbles that had their moments without giving Wei a real scare.


This is a good assessment and very much mirrors what I think.

He seems to have organised Liu Bei's forces at a critical time and managed to fend off some potentially ruinous invasions from various directions. Whilst he was competent and probably above average in terms of ability, I'm not sure there is a case for him being a stand out strategist even within the era. Perhaps he was able to ride the good will garnered during those early days, eventually becoming the senior voice long before his talents came into question.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Kongde » Sat Mar 30, 2019 3:53 pm

I was reading Zhang Fan's SGZ bio and it mentioned

"Fàn’s son Líng and Chéng’s son Jiǎn were captured by bandits east of the mountains. Fàn went to the bandits to ask for the two sons, and the bandits returned Líng to Fàn. Fàn thanked them and said: “You sirs have generously returned my son. Though I love this son, I pity Jiǎn’s youth, and ask to exchange Líng for him.” The bandits were impressed by these words, and returned both to Fàn."

Now this sounds weird to me. So bandits captured his son and brother's son. He went to the mountain and just asked them for his son back, no exchanges or trades of any kind, they just handed him back to him? What was the point of capturing his son, then? Is this a common thing that bandits just capture random people and hope to get ransom money? As far as this goes, no mention of money was given to them in exchange. Perhaps these bandits actually had more of a heart than others would've (it seems that way).
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Tarrot » Sun Mar 31, 2019 5:42 pm

One thing is to take a lot of stories like these with a grain of salt. There are a lot of stories out there that get retold for different people, as a way of describing a person's character. So its entirely possible that the story told was not how things actually happened, but people saying oh, this guy was good, this thing happened.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:26 pm

It seems a bit of a trope from what I recall from Rafe's tome as Tarrot mentions, someone gets captured, the hero of the story goes along and via great virtue, gets person (and sometimes others) back free of charge due to how awesome hero is.

It is possible that bandits/local forces looking for local reputation and legitimacy might make such moves for long term goals but I have my suspicions that either this is simply a trope or a fib to cover payments. Funnily enough there are never tales of "and so so went to pay up and got family back" despite this probably happening rather more then virtue rescues...
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Kongde » Mon Apr 01, 2019 5:38 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:It seems a bit of a trope from what I recall from Rafe's tome as Tarrot mentions, someone gets captured, the hero of the story goes along and via great virtue, gets person (and sometimes others) back free of charge due to how awesome hero is.

It is possible that bandits/local forces looking for local reputation and legitimacy might make such moves for long term goals but I have my suspicions that either this is simply a trope or a fib to cover payments. Funnily enough there are never tales of "and so so went to pay up and got family back" despite this probably happening rather more then virtue rescues...

How interesting!!! Now i know...!
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby greencactaur » Mon Apr 08, 2019 10:50 pm

Is there any reason Liu Biao chose to shelter Liu Bei other then blood relations? Did he have secret desire to fight Cao Cao, but never saw an opportunity too?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby zirroxas » Mon Apr 08, 2019 11:08 pm

greencactaur wrote:Is there any reason Liu Biao chose to shelter Liu Bei other then blood relations? Did he have secret desire to fight Cao Cao, but never saw an opportunity too?


Honestly blood relations were probably one of the least important things in consideration. The amount of people who could legitimately claim descendance from the imperial clan at any point was rather large, and the amount of people who illegitimately did it was also probably large enough that the name "Liu" was not valuable on its own.

Liu Biao likely knew that he'd have to fight Cao Cao eventually. Taking in Liu Bei was a good step in preparing for that. Liu Bei was an experienced field commander with a large following and a well known feud with Cao Cao. Stationing him in Nanyang kept him at arms length so he couldn't interfere with Xiangyang politics and made sure that any aggression from Cao Cao would hit him (the outsider) first. Liu Bei couldn't surrender like Zhang Xiu did because there was no more massive Yuan Shao army to force a political compromise over personal animosity. If Cao Cao got his hands on him, he'd kill him, even if just to send a message.
I don't underrate the value of military knowledge, but if men make war in slavish obedience to rules, they will fail. - Ulysses S. Grant
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby greencactaur » Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:46 am

Oh that makes a lot of sense ! ty for the information
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:23 pm

To add to zirroxas excellent answer, there was probably also a PR aspect in the calculations to go with the miliatry. Liu Bei was a popular figure, seen as a hero and Liu Biao, like other warlords, wanted to be seen as a patron of talent. If Liu Biao rejects such a popular figure, there was a danger that this would tarnish Liu Biao's reputation as being unwilling to support great talents, being small minded or fearful of Liu Bei's popularity. This would impact Liu Biao's prestige and ability to recruit
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby greencactaur » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:30 am

Thanks for the further information dong much obliged. It makes me wonder however how popular/loved was Liu Bei by this point in time? I feel like most of his popularity came, he conquered Yi. I'm sure as a general he was quite renonwn, but in terms of people support what was it like?
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