Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

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

Unread postby greencactaur » Fri Dec 30, 2016 1:03 am

How many generals were in attendance during Zhuge's northern campaigns on both sides? I assume Wei had far more generals on the defensive line, then Shu had considering the military size difference.

Also what is the story with how some people say Cao Rui is incompetent? From what I read didn't he defend against one of Zhuge's invasions, and also managed to hold Wu off multiple times? The main reason I see he is regarded as incompetent is due to his desire to build a castle rather then focus on taking over Shu/Wu. I heard that may have been why the Cao power declined so much as apparently it destroyed their economy? Can someone elaborate to me and explain to me why Cao Rui desired a castle instead of conquest, and how much the pricing to build the castle was?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Dec 30, 2016 8:03 am

greencactaur wrote:Also what is the story with how some people say Cao Rui is incompetent? From what I read didn't he defend against one of Zhuge's invasions, and also managed to hold Wu off multiple times? The main reason I see he is regarded as incompetent is due to his desire to build a castle rather then focus on taking over Shu/Wu. I heard that may have been why the Cao power declined so much as apparently it destroyed their economy? Can someone elaborate to me and explain to me why Cao Rui desired a castle instead of conquest, and how much the pricing to build the castle was?


Some of it will be impressions from the novel where Rui is saved by Sima Yi and destroys Wei economy.

Cao Rui was a complex man, a very able figure but he was accused in his own time of focusing too much on his palaces. It could simply have been an interest of his, it could be he saw it as improving infrastructure and that miliatry offences would be pointless, could be a way of adding lustre to the regime. I doubt it destroyed the Wei economy but it was putting a strain on according to his officials (mind you, point to a modern major infrastructure that doesn't get a lot of whining about money and need), Wei more fell becuase of lack of adult heir and theological splits.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby DragonAtma » Sat Dec 31, 2016 9:59 am

Indeed. It was fine under Cao Cao, it was fine under Cao Pi, it was fine under Cao Rui, but after that they had a seven-year-old heir with two ambitious regents (one of them extremely competent).

As a result, by the time Cao Fang became an adult, Cao Shuang was dead and Sima Yi's control over Cao Fang was as complete as Cao Cao's control over Emperor Xian.
Unless I specifically say otherwise, assume I am talking about historical Three Kingdoms, and not the novel.

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

Unread postby MrFunTimes » Mon Jan 02, 2017 12:51 am

How were horses gathered for the use of cavalry? Were they just bought from private horse owners or did the government have programs to raise their own?
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby DragonAtma » Mon Jan 02, 2017 2:39 pm

From 104 BC to 101 BC, Emperor Wu actually went to war with Dayuan over (among other things) demands that Dayuan send quality ferghana horses for breeding purposes; given that, they must have had official horse breeding programs.
Unless I specifically say otherwise, assume I am talking about historical Three Kingdoms, and not the novel.

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

Unread postby greencactaur » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:44 am

interesting, so why would an emperor choose a young 7 year old to become emperor? Were there really no other heirs to the throne? No cousins, aunt's/uncles, or brothers? No offence, but I wouldn't even let a 20 - 30 year old take charge in form of politics. I can't imagine Cao Rui was ignorant of the fact, but I guess he assumed Sima + cao shuang would've been enough to aid him, but a 7 year....it just seems so obvious that things would go wrong.Were there really no better choices? I mean if it was me I'd have even given the throne to a close friend if needed be.

I also just wanted to say something in the defense of Sima Yi, I don't think he intended to rebel ever against the Wei reign. I think he was loyal to it, just like how Zhuge was loyal to Liu Bei. The thing is though their sons were brought up in an environment where their fathers successes sort of became their own, and they became thirsty for power because they felt their families had done much for the state then the emperor had. Reading Wiki is found this post "After Sima Yi took over as regent, he carefully but inexorably eliminated his political opponents. Cao Fang, under coercion by Sima's supporters, offered Sima the nine bestowments, but Sima declined. During Sima's regency, he eliminated inefficiency and corruption that characterized Cao Shuang's time, and many honest officials were promoted on Sima's recommendation." It seems like Shuang was incompetent, so removing him from power seemed to be the right choice. To me it seems like Shi was the real abuser of state power. I once read something about Shi killing some of Cao Fangs close followers, also disposing their entire clans. Li Fang I think was the officials name.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Fornadan » Thu Jan 05, 2017 11:16 am

Deviating from the regular Father-to-Son succession was generally seen as a Bad Idea, with several historical examples from the Spring Autumn showing this was sure to bring strife and disorder


In 254 Li Fang, Xiahou Xuan and some others plotted to overthrow Sima Shi, but their plans leaked and the conspirators and their families were executed
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby DragonAtma » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:17 pm

Cao Rui had three biological sons: Cao Jiong, Cao Mu, and Cao Yin.

* Cao Jiong was Cao Rui's first son. He was born, declared Prince of Qinghe, and died all in 226 AD.
* Cao Mu was Cao Rui's second son. He was born in 228 AD, declared prince of Fanyang, and died in 230 AD.
* Cao Yin was Cao Rui's third son. He was born in 231 AD, died in 232 AD, and posthumously declared Prince of Anping.

That left him with no heir, so he adopted two boys: Cao Xun and Cao Fang.

* Cao Fang was Cao Zhang's grandson via Cao Kai; he was born in 232 and was Cao Rui's successor.
* Cao Xun was Cao Zhang's grandson via Cao Kai and therefore Cao Fang's brother. He was born in 230, adopted (along with his brother) and created Prince of Qin in 235 AD, and died in 244 AD.

Yes, there were lots of other relatives (Cao Cao had 25 sons!), but in Chinese culture they felt that bloodlines should be continued, to the point where people would be adopted to handle lacks of heirs. For example, at one point Zhuge Liang adopted his brother Zhuge Jin's son Zhuge Qiao from Wu because he didn't (yet) have any sons. Later, after Zhuge Ke's actions had Zhuge Jin's Wu-based descendants wiped out, Zhuge Qiao's son Zhuge Pan was sent back to Wu to continue Zhuge Jin's bloodline.

As for Cao Rui's regency, there were five people that were originally considered: Cao Yu (one of Cao Cao's sons, and therefore Cao Rui's uncle), Cao Zhao (son of Cao Xiu), Cao Shuang (son of Cao Zhen), Xiahou Xian, and Qin Lang (whose mother became one of Cao Cao's concubines, and who was treated by Cao Cao as a foster-son). But his officials convinced him to only go with Cao Shuang and Sima Yi, instead. Cao Shuang turned out to be incompetent (he couldn't even answer when Cao Rui offered them the job; Sima Yi answered yes for both of them), but Sima Yi was EXTREMELY competent -- to the point where he sidelined Cao Fang the way Cao Cao sidelined Emperor Xian.

If they went with all the suggested regents, maybe it would have worked better -- but then again, maybe it wouldn't be any better than Hideyoshi Toyotomi's five regents for his son Hideyori (Japan, 1598-1600); Ieyasu Tokugawa gathered so much power he went to war with the others (minus Toshiie Maeda, who died in 1599) and won, starting the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Unless I specifically say otherwise, assume I am talking about historical Three Kingdoms, and not the novel.

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

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Jan 05, 2017 12:28 pm

1) Because it was a dynasty and monarchies tend to go straight for the eldest child for a reason. A child ruler is never a good thing, it leaves a vacuum at the top and however well meaning the regents are, people doubt their loyalty and it is hard for them when the child approaches adulthood but there is a chance of wise regents keeping things secure.

Change the heir and chaos guaranteed. See Sun Quan, Yuan Shao, Liu Biao, Emperor Ling. It leads to huge questions of legitimacy if the child is not chosen, other family members will respond to not being chosen by aiming to seize control, it undermines the sense of legitimacy and court splits into factions with some officials perhaps aiming for the throne themselves.

I mean if it was me I'd have even given the throne to a close friend if needed be.


You pretty much inviting civil war, every political rival will rebel and your family who just lost the throne and your wife.

2) I doubt when Sima Yi became regent, he intended to seize power. It is hard to know quite what his intentions where after he did though and he left his sons in a position to seize power and I can see why they would.

In terms of Cao Shuang, it is hard to know. The Jin historians certainly accused Shuang of horrible government but they were not going to go "Shuang was an able politician and his regime was a progressive if controversial one." Cao Shaung showed political talent in getting better of (though lacked ability to fully destroy them) the wily Sima Yi and the clever Empress Dowager for a time, he had great talents serving him as even the histories admit, his government attempted major reform but details are limited. Sima Yi vetoed one reform he admitted was a great idea simply becuase Cao Shuang's proposed it.

The coup could have been number of reasons. Seizing power, personal ambition from a man who had lost power, Wei loyalty with concerns at Empress Dowager losing power (the timing so soon after her fall does suggest she played a part in this) but there was also idealogical divide. The rivalry became Sima Yi the Confucian gentleman and protector of moral values vs Cao Shuang and his neo-deoists (he didn't employ many but perception matters) with reforms that were not in the gentry's favour, that may have been too radical for comfort.
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Re: Three Kingdoms Questions (You Ask, We Answer)

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:13 pm

In the novel Lady Sun leaves Liu Bei's court and returns to Wu. Did that happen in history as well?
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