Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

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

Unread postby SaotomeGenma » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:34 pm

what kind of recruitment system Cao Cao had? He was to be able to recruit even his ex enemies officers

And how does he was able to secure their loyalty?
he was a eunuch grandson while his main army the Qingzhou corps is ex yellow turban, also his generals ranged from ex Dong Zhou/Lu Bu (Zhang Liao), ex Yuan Shao (Zhang He), ex Ma Teng (Pang De), ex Liu Biao (Cai Mao, Wen Pin), and even people that straight up tried to kill him (Zhang Xiu, Jia Xu). How did he was able to make these people fight for him to the death?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:23 pm

For early years, word of mouth, reputation for scholarship, friends of friends, family and friends he knew, whoever was in the area's he controlled. Once he had a proper infrastructure, either using those who had defected or come to him (usually such gets get a nice sounding rank to encourage others) and seeing how they do Or if within Cao Cao's ranks, those appointed to handle recommendations ranked local figures of note and sent that on and they got appointment, if they did well they rose through ranks (and frankly if you were a senior member of the gentry, you rose through ranks anyway)

Opposing generals defecting or serving the victor was normal, if you did well for the opposing side then the new master will want to use your talents. Rarely was there personal anonymity between officers of rival factions (or officers to a rival warlord) or even between warlords (though there are exceptions). Your master lost (or is going to lose), refusing to serve is honourable but a career killer unless your wealthy enough to retire, warlord can't be seen to reject new talent so will have to declare delight. Though Cao Cao and other warlords used families as hostages to try to ensure loyalty.

Much the same things that inspired Cao Cao's "didn't serve anyone else before" would have inspired the new generals: Cao Cao's success (particularly if you just lost to him), style of government, kind/rich treatment once over, charisma and strong personality. Over time making friends and a home in Cao Cao's lands gives a tug towards it, the rewards to your family if you die well.

On individual level: The Turbans came to a deal that gave them independence and feeding after years of moving from place to place with some devastating losses (though they did not fight for him to the death), Zhang Liao was part of a defeated faction, Zhang He defected (possibly due to way wind was blowing) due to concerns at how things in Yuan Shao's camp. Pang De fell into Cao Cao's hands and had family commitments behind his loyalty, Wen Pin was part of a surrendered faction and kept in Jing, Cai Mao fades from history.

Zhang Xiu and Jia Xu made a calculation about their position and who was best placed for their future. The death of Cao Ang and co was clearly awkward but such is war and Cao Cao knew he had messed up. Cao Cao also couldn't afford to be seen as petty in terms of PR and recruitment or, on the eve of a major war, reject two very talented figures who if rebuffed could raid his flanks.

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

Unread postby PeanutButterToast » Tue Jul 16, 2019 1:36 pm

Were there any officers that were deemed "a little crazy" or mad? Just curious BC usually there's the whole "with genius comes madness" thing.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jul 16, 2019 3:20 pm

PeanutButterToast wrote:Were there any officers that were deemed "a little crazy" or mad? Just curious BC usually there's the whole "with genius comes madness" thing.


De Crespigny has argued that plenty of the warriors may have led to figures being mentally unwell and violent, Gan Ning and Zhu Huan are two figures he tends to use. I think he has questioned Mi/Ni Heng's mental health

Zhu Huan descended into mad killing spree, Liu Ye is said to have gone insane, Liu Yan's (Shu officer, not the warlord) alcoholism and enforced retirement did not help his mental state. Gongsun Zan was paranoid (I suspect a few others were like that), Chen Shou accuses Lai Min of becoming insane in bitter old age
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby PeanutButterToast » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:20 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:De Crespigny has argued that plenty of the warriors may have led to figures being mentally unwell and violent, Gan Ning and Zhu Huan are two figures he tends to use. I think he has questioned Mi/Ni Heng's mental health

Zhu Huan descended into mad killing spree, Liu Ye is said to have gone insane, Liu Yan's (Shu officer, not the warlord) alcoholism and enforced retirement did not help his mental state. Gongsun Zan was paranoid (I suspect a few others were like that), Chen Shou accuses Lai Min of becoming insane in bitter old age


I've never heard of Dr Crespigny. I'll have to look him up when I have the chance. That sounds so interesting!

Edit: Holy cow those books are expensive on Amazon...
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:31 pm

You are in for a treat! Your right his books are expensive, however many of them are out of print and are free to access online!

The best of the free ones is Generals of the South which is about Wu. However lots of others are available. There is a complete list somewhere of which ones are accessible... I'll keep looking for it but if anyone else recalls where it is before I do feel free to share it!
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Jul 16, 2019 5:32 pm

He is the leading western authority on 3kingdoms, a very nice chap by all accounts. Some of his work is available for free thankfully

Edit: Don't think it is one Sun Fin means though
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:24 pm

It isn’t, when the ANU website got reorganised and we couldn’t find the sources you compiled a list in a thread so I could update my general sources list! I can’t recall which thread it was though!
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:39 am

This one? With Xun Yu a few posts down

Edit: fixed the link :oops:
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Jul 17, 2019 9:42 am

Bingo! That is exactly the one I was talking about!
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