Cao Cao the angel

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Cao Cao the angel

Unread postby Mega Zarak » Tue Mar 04, 2003 5:30 pm

Here's one of the most flattering and one-sided review on Cao Cao I've ever read. Any comments?? :D

Taken from the book review shown in wrote:Cao Cao (Ts'ao Ts'ao, 155 - 200 C.E.)
Cao Cao is one of the most distinguished military figures of Chinese history. Known for his keen intellect and his cunning, Cao received an honorary degree for social virtues and began his official career at the age of twenty. He held a number of important military posts and particularly distinguished himself in a campaign against rebels when he was about thirty years old.

After this he was given a local ministerial position, but was soon recalled to the region of the capital to take up a regional governorship. Citing health reasons, Cao Cao declined the governorship and returned to his homeland. When one of the most violent generals of the Han dynasty deposed the reigning emperor to set up his own puppet, however, Cao Cao came out of retirement, spending his family fortune to raise a private army in opposition to that general.

Subsequently promoted to high office by the emperor, Cao Cao overthrew would-be usurpers and became a general of the highest rank. He was eventually ennobled and was even encouraged to formally take over the thrown of the crumbling Han dynasty, but Cao Cao would not do this, likening himself to King Wen of the ancient Chou dynasty, one of the authors of the I Ching, a civil and military leader whose personal qualities, social policies, and political accomplishments won a loyal following that formed the basis of the nascent Chou dynasty, but who never set himself up as supreme leader.

Cao Cao was known for his heroism, talent, and strategy, in which he mainly followed the teachings of Sun Tzu's classic, The Art of War. In the tradition of the ancient chivalric code, according to which Chinese knights were to be learned in both martial and cultural arts, in addition to his military accomplishments Cao Cao was fond of literature and is said to have made a habit of reading every day, even during military campaigns.
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Unread postby Zhou Gongjin » Tue Mar 04, 2003 5:43 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

That's a nice bio, I always figured that Cao Cao was the reincarnation of Buddha. :lol:
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Unread postby Stuart » Tue Mar 04, 2003 5:57 pm

ha ha, whats funny is i own that book. Perhaps the author just wanted to give a quick summary of Cao Cao's life without going into too much detail or trying to spark three kingdoms arguments. The author probably does not have much three kingdoms knowledge because he missed out the incident at Wan Castle, and other such events. In my opinion its way too short to be taken as a serious bio.
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Unread postby CK » Tue Mar 04, 2003 6:33 pm

It did however fail to mention Cao Cao's poetic achievements which would often be quoted as representative of the three kingdom and Jin era.

The only paragraph I would disagree however is the third one. I do not think he was formally encouraged even if he did overthrow would be ursurpers since he himself is one in the making! :lol:
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Unread postby Tianshan Zi » Wed Mar 05, 2003 4:39 am

madaboutck wrote:The only paragraph I would disagree however is the third one. I do not think he was formally encouraged even if he did overthrow would be ursurpers since he himself is one in the making! :lol:

Yes, I have encountered more than one footnote that describes Cao Cao as simply the guardian and supporter of the Han emperor. True, and yet not so true! :)
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Unread postby CaTigeReptile » Wed Mar 05, 2003 5:32 am

Well, he always was, officially. No matter what, after 1800 years, the man and his actions are terribly charismatic!
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Unread postby Elemental » Thu Mar 06, 2003 1:48 am

Ha, this is funny. Written by somebody who really likes Cao Cao, I'd bet. I would imagine them saying Dong Zhuo ruled by virtue.
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Unread postby Tianshan Zi » Thu Mar 06, 2003 3:49 pm

Here are two additional flattering portraits of Cao Cao (translated by Dr. Achilles Fang).

Sima Guang, in Chapter 69 of the ZZTJ, wrote:The [late] King knew men well, and was a good judge of them. It was difficult to dazzle him by false display. He recognized men of talent and promoted them, irrespective of humble origin; employing them according to their abilities, in each case he made the best use of them.

In the face of enemy ranks he remained calm and unperturbed, as if he had not thought of battle; but seizing his opportunity, he would strike for victory in exuberant spirits.

In acknowledging and rewarding service he was not one to begrudge a thousand gold pieces, but to those without merit who sought to profit from his largesse he would not give a single cash. In enforcement of laws he was strict and unrelenting, always putting transgressors to death; sometimes he shed tears as he looked at them, but he would neve grant a pardon. By nature he was temperate and frugal, not given to pomp and adornment.

For all these reasons he was able to bring low the numerous powerful men of his time, and to conquer well-nigh the whole empire.

The author of the Wei shu wrote:[Cao Cao], since he governed the whole empire, mowed down the numerous scoundrels. In his military operations, he followed in the main the tactics laid down in the Sun-zi and Wu-zi. In accordance with different situations, he took strategems; by deceiving the enemy, he won victory; he varied his tactics in demonic fashion. He himself wrote a book on war, consisting of a hundred thousand and several tens of thousands of characters, and when his generals undertook any campaign they all followed this new book. Furthermore, on each occasionhe gave them personal directions; those who obeyed them won victory, and those who did not were defeated. In the face of the enemy on the battlefield, he remained unperturbed, as if he had no intention whatever of fighting; but seizing his opportunity, he would strike for victory in the highest spirits. This is why he always won victory whenever he fought, not a single instance of his successes being attributed to mere good luck. He knew men well and was adept in judging hem; it was difficult to dazzle him by false display. He picked Yu Jin and Yue Jin out from the rank and file, and Zhang Liao and Xu Huang from among the surrendered forces; all of them became his supporters and achieved merit, becoming famous generals. Furthermore, the number of those whom he picked up from mean and insignificant positions, and who eventually rose to be governors of provinces and prefects, cannot be counted. It was thus that he laid the foundations of his great work. He cultivated both the art of peace and the art of war: during the thirty-odd years when he commanded troops, books never left his hand. During the day he attended to military matters, during the night he applied his mind to the Classics and their commentaries. When he climed a height, he would always compose verses. When he made new poems, he would set them to pipe and string, and they all turned out to be excellent songs. His talents and strengths were unsurpassed; with his own hands he could shoot down flying birds and capture ferocious beasts alive. Once he shot down sixty-three pheasants in a single day at Nanpi. When palaces were constructed and machines repaired, he always laid down rules which proved to work to the utmost satisfaction. By nature he was temperate and frugal, not given to pomp and adornment. Ladies of his harem did not wear any embroidered garments, his attendants did not have two pairs of footgear. When his colored curtains and wind-screens were damaged, he had them patched; he had his bedding only for keeping warm, devoid of borden ornament. All things of beauty and elegance which he obtained as booty from captured cities and towns, he would distribute among those who had shown merit. In acknowledging and rewarding service, he was not one to consider a thousand gold pieces too much; but to those without merit who sought to profit from his largesse, he would not give a single cash. Gifts presented to him from the four quarters, he shared with his subordinates. He was of the opinion that the funeral service of the time was too extravagant and useless, the vulgar carrying it to excess; he therefore made a stipulation as to his own funeral, that no more than four basketfuls of clothing were to be buried with him.

And here is one (also translated by Dr. Fang) which is a mix of both "good" and "bad."

The author of the Cao Man zhuan wrote:...But in the maintenance of the laws he was hash and exacting. If any of his subordinate generals had better counsels of war than his, he would find an opportunity to put him to death under the pretext of some law; and none of his former associates and friends who had earned his grudge were spared alive. When he put a man to death, he used to look at him, weeping and lamenting over him, but he would never grant a pardon...."
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Unread postby IsbenFaith » Fri Oct 22, 2004 6:18 pm

Supposedly there is a really good article on Cao Cao in "Military History Magazine." I think it came out early-to-mid Nineties, I know that the month was April. Does anybody have this or know where I can get a copy?
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Unread postby Xiahou Mengde88 » Fri Oct 22, 2004 8:43 pm

So, what's your point?

Can't a person have an opinion?

People talk about Liu Bei like he was a saint, and I've never heard you complain about them, so why are you going to complain about this writing?

Anyway, it is true that he was overthrowing would-be usurpers, because if you think about it, every single ruler, with the exception of the emperor, was trying to usurp, as they were trying to take over the land, and rule over it, which is exactly what a usurper does.

He also did win a loyal following, too; He once hired Dian Wei, Xun Yu, Cheng Yu, Guo Jia, Xun You, and other officers all in one day.

Most of the stuff in the writing is true; it's just that some things were exaggerated a little bit.
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