Ma Su and Jiang Wei.

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Unread postby Lu Kang » Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:52 am

Zhilong wrote:If you teach someone you do not imply - you tell them directly. Implying is indirect and non-explicit by nature. Given that ZL's works are described as accessible and written in plain language and that pertaining to the military his commands were "clear and majestic" i think your statement does not hold as it is uncharacteristic of ZL to speak in riddles and have JW guess.

For it to be direct ZL would have explicitly named Jiang Wei as a successor to his military command and given him orders to continue his campaigns. In fact, one source in SGZ says that ZL told them to "guard the dynasty well but don't return here" (paraphrase from memory). If Zl intended for JW to succeed his military command he would have said so, so i think that shows that ZL wanted to leave behind a notable general for the next generation of Shu officers rather than to have him complete his work.


Ah yes, the best teachers always use the mantra, do as I say, not as I do. When one follows another he generally will take after him. Zhuge Liang campaigned constantly, what does that tell the pupil? Would a teacher do something constantly then tell the student, that is wrong? Even if he did say it was wrong, would the student listen? It doesn't matter if was direct or not, it set an example that Jiang Wei followed.

I present a more sophisticated analysis.

Total Number of Engagements per kingdom during his period

In the 11 years that he was commander in chief he launched 5 campaigns against Wei and fought one defensive so that is a total of 6 engagements pertaining to the two other kingdoms.

By contrast Wei attacked Shu once and Wu 3 times. It fought defensively against Shu 5 times and Wu 6 times. Thus Wei was involved in 15 engagements during this time period.

Wu attacked Wei 6 times and defended against Wei 3 times so that is a total of 9 engagements.

Thus it is plain to see that Shu was involved in far less engagements than the other 2 states.


There are several problems with your analysis. Zhuge Liang launched 5 campaigns over the course of 7 years, not 11, as he didn't do anything in the first 4. It's the importance of the interval between them, not the amount of campaigns over his entire career.

Secondly, Shu was half the size of Wu and roughly a quarter to a sixth the size of Wei. Portionally, Shu was involved in far more campaigns than the other states. Overall the drain on supplies and manpower would have been the harshest on Shu

Troop Numbers

ZL only marshalled 100k troops on his first and last campaign which were spaced 6 years apart. Aside from his first campaign where his vanguard was defeated at Jieting, his army always retreated intact from the campaign.

Campaign 2 lasted around 20 days and was in response to the shift of troops to the border with Wu by Wei so he sought to seek advantage in the opportunity. It was said his troop number for this campaign was one of his lowest, around 20-30k. When the advantage was gone he retreated.

After the first campaign, ZL was mindful to rest the army and he decreased the men in arms despite his officers telling him to increase his troops. In addition to the lack of time to prepare for campaign 2, this was the reason for the lower troop number. It was stated that the ppl soon forgot about his defeat in the first campaign. Contrast this to JW who is not mindful to rest the ppl and eventually they complain in an unprecedented move to force him stop his campaigns.

In the third campaign, it was limited and rather short and ended after the seizure of Wudu and Yinping. They were modest long term gains but once the 3 kingdoms scenario was set up until Deng Ai's breakthrough there was no one with significantly better gains against the other kingdoms so he fares well on this count compared to his peers.

Campaign 4 was a mid-high level mobilisation.

Campaign 5 was the second and last time he marshalled his max number of troops.

The fact he did no use full mobilisations every campaign but rested his troops and that the ppl missed his rule immediately after his death shows even the ppl felt he was considerate of them. Contrast this with JW's 9 campaigns which led to a loss of popular support and oft sizable defeats and it is clear that there is a marked difference.

Thus i don't think it would be reasonable to say that ZL directly taught JW to launch campaigns in that manner since there is no evidence for that whatsoever nor could even a routine observation of ZL's campaigns indirectly "imply" that. Hence i feel that your statement is rather eroneous.


"Full mobilzation"? That seems to be the main point of your arguement. It doesn't need to be full mobilization. 100k isn't used everytime because they can't be. Even small campaigns produce a decent amount of drain on a kingdom. When I stated that the campaigns were on average 16.6 months apart, thats not including the campaigns. If the average campaign lasted 4-5 months in terms of actually marching and fighting time, that leaves the average down to only a year between campaigns. A single year to regrow crops, collect taxes to pay for expensive wars, and train the troops. You mentioned that the second campaign took only 20 days and therefore was that big of a drain. Thats alright if the next campaign wasn't launched 4 months later, therefore there was only a 3 month break between the campaigns there.

I believe that we both agree on the problems that Jiang Wei's campaigns caused. Yes, Zhuge LIang did not face the same type of opposition to his campaigns and no he didn't destroy the state. At the very least Zhuge Liang still left in place time proven defensive strategies and knew when to retreat. However even a "simple" retreat is costly and Zhuge Liang even noted in his own words that the people were poor and the state would have been completely bankrupted if not for the silk trade. When that is the situation at home, what makes him think he can solve the problems at the border?
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Unread postby Zhilong » Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:58 am

Ah yes, the best teachers always use the mantra, do as I say, not as I do. When one follows another he generally will take after him. Zhuge Liang campaigned constantly, what does that tell the pupil? Would a teacher do something constantly then tell the student, that is wrong? Even if he did say it was wrong, would the student listen? It doesn't matter if was direct or not, it set an example that Jiang Wei followed.


First you said ZL implied his teachings. Now you speculate that ZL taught him one thing but did another. Then you decide that ZL must have taught him poor strategies. Finally you decide that it doesn't matter what ZL taught since JW would ignore it anyway. You pretty much contradicted yourself several times over and show how shaky your speculations are.

Your first post blamed ZL. Now in this post you blame JW.

Also first you say it was a direct result and now you say it does not matter if it is direct or not... If you aren't even clear what your own position is, how can you hope to convince others of your theory?

It's like you want to cover every single possible base to lay blame to ZL (and even shift it to JW at one point) but in actual fact you cannot support your argument with anything substantive since we do not know what ZL taught JW. We can only speculate his teachings were in line with his character and style which is reasonable. However, your speculations would completely deviate from this but give no persuasive or reasonable explanation for such a departure in ZL's syllabus.

There are several problems with your analysis. Zhuge Liang launched 5 campaigns over the course of 7 years, not 11, as he didn't do anything in the first 4. It's the importance of the interval between them, not the amount of campaigns over his entire career.


1) Almost immediately after the death of Liu Bei, the Nanman revolted but ZL closed his gates and did not deal with them till 2 years later. That is not characteristic of someone that does not care about the state and the ppl and just wants to campaign ceaselessly. In addition to what i said in my last post it is obvious that ZL does have concerns for his state and troops and one can easily glean that exhausting the state and it's ppl were not on ZL's agenda.

What he did was adopt a pragmatic policy for Shu's long term survival. Unless they advance into Guanzhong they will sucumb so what use would be the miserly preservation of all resources? On the other hand ZL was able to take care of the state and made improvements domestically before making attempts to secure Shu's long term future but without exhausting the state. Imo that is a balanced approach which could not be applied to JW. Thus, it would be inaccurate say that the approaches of ZL and JW were the same.

2) Shu had 6 engagements in those 7 years. By contrast during the 11 years Wei and Wu engaged each other at LEAST annually with only 3 years out of the 11 where they did not engage each other. Thus the frequency of the engagements between Wei and Wu were more consistent and continuous.

Secondly, Shu was half the size of Wu and roughly a quarter to a sixth the size of Wei. Portionally, Shu was involved in far more campaigns than the other states.


Shu and Wu had a similar % of the populace in the army so i think we can compare them on a equal standing instead of this arbitrary "proportionally far more campaigns" business to try to exaggerate your point.

"Full mobilzation"? That seems to be the main point of your arguement. It doesn't need to be full mobilization.


So basically you are not willing to consider the troop numbers and duration involved in each campaign because the fact that the resources used actually differed quite significantly runs contrary to your argument? So basically if JW had your mindset, then it would be understandable if he thus concluded that troop numbers and duration do not affect the expenditure and impact of a campaign.

Zhuge Liang even noted in his own words that the people were poor and the state would have been completely bankrupted if not for the silk trade.


Can you refer me to the source pls? Also since the silk trade and it's associated revenues did in fact exist, would this not just be a redundant statement?
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Unread postby Lu Kang » Sat Sep 22, 2007 9:00 pm

Zhilong wrote:First you said ZL implied his teachings. Now you speculate that ZL taught him one thing but did another. Then you decide that ZL must have taught him poor strategies. Finally you decide that it doesn't matter what ZL taught since JW would ignore it anyway. You pretty much contradicted yourself several times over and show how shaky your speculations are.

Your first post blamed ZL. Now in this post you blame JW.

Also first you say it was a direct result and now you say it does not matter if it is direct or not... If you aren't even clear what your own position is, how can you hope to convince others of your theory?

It's like you want to cover every single possible base to lay blame to ZL (and even shift it to JW at one point) but in actual fact you cannot support your argument with anything substantive since we do not know what ZL taught JW. We can only speculate his teachings were in line with his character and style which is reasonable. However, your speculations would completely deviate from this but give no persuasive or reasonable explanation for such a departure in ZL's syllabus.


Jiang Wei followed Zhuge Liang's example by attacking constantly. This was the plan that Zhuge Liang used and that was what Jiang Wei followed with. Zhuge Liang's plan were orginally and thus when Jiang Wei implimented them they also failed. The true blame lies on the Zhuge Liang for initially pursuing such a poor line of planning. Obviously it doesn't do Jiang Wei any credit for continuing them in the face of staunch opposition, but wouldn't have acted such without Zhuge Liang's original model.

1) Almost immediately after the death of Liu Bei, the Nanman revolted but ZL closed his gates and did not deal with them till 2 years later. That is not characteristic of someone that does not care about the state and the ppl and just wants to campaign ceaselessly. In addition to what i said in my last post it is obvious that ZL does have concerns for his state and troops and one can easily glean that exhausting the state and it's ppl were not on ZL's agenda.


Zhuge Liang probably did care about the people, but thats not the point. The road the Hell is paved with good intentions. He, like some claim about George Bush, was doing what he thought was best for the state, even though it was very much a bad thing. I'm not questioning his heart, just his mind.

What he did was adopt a pragmatic policy for Shu's long term survival. Unless they advance into Guanzhong they will sucumb so what use would be the miserly preservation of all resources? On the other hand ZL was able to take care of the state and made improvements domestically before making attempts to secure Shu's long term future but without exhausting the state. Imo that is a balanced approach which could not be applied to JW. Thus, it would be inaccurate say that the approaches of ZL and JW were the same.


His "improvements" domestically were nice and certainly kept Shu from collasping when he died, but his actions in the north are unexusable. He always was a better statesman than a commander yet he continued to attack. He knew that the people were hurting but still he believed that he could overcome the enemy in due time and it would be worth it in the end. Most likely he got lost in the idea of saving the Han and hated that Wei had any land so much that he was willing to forgo conventional wisdom and push forward. With no one in Shu to oppose him, or even advise against it, he was bound to continue the resource drain.

2) Shu had 6 engagements in those 7 years. By contrast during the 11 years Wei and Wu engaged each other at LEAST annually with only 3 years out of the 11 where they did not engage each other. Thus the frequency of the engagements between Wei and Wu were more consistent and continuous.


Besides the fact that defensive campaigns aren't as costly as offensive ones, you still brush off the size of the states. 6 minor engagements for Wu and Wei are not the same as 6 minor engagements for Shu. The larger the engagement, the large the disparity in damage to the states.

Shu and Wu had a similar % of the populace in the army so i think we can compare them on a equal standing instead of this arbitrary "proportionally far more campaigns" business to try to exaggerate your point.


The amount of troops going to war is what matters. Wu was using the same number of troops in its campaigns as Zhuge Liang, however once again 100,000 for Wu is not 100,000 for Shu. For Shu that is more costly. It costs more money, takes more food, and more % of the total population out at war, not back home to tend to crops and the sort. So, yes, it was more damage to Shu.

So basically you are not willing to consider the troop numbers and duration involved in each campaign because the fact that the resources used actually differed quite significantly runs contrary to your argument? So basically if JW had your mindset, then it would be understandable if he thus concluded that troop numbers and duration do not affect the expenditure and impact of a campaign.


I consider both, but in the total context. Yes a 20 day campaign with 30,000 is less than 100,000, but the next campaign came only 3 months later. Therefore, that smaller campaign when coupled with the interval is worse than just the few numbers you're throwing out. Furthermore, a failed campaign is expensive regardless. When the state is poor, it cannot afford to waste precious manpower and money on fruitless campaigns. Zhuge Liang had the right idea with the first campaign because it was a suprise and followed on the heel of a great Wu victory. The rest were then launched at such a rate that of course the people would become poor. He launched a campaign for 20 days then retreated due to supplies? Honestly, did he think that he could besiege and city and take it in just 20 days? Once the walls held did he even see the merit in continuing until he ran out of supplies in just 20 days?

Can you refer me to the source pls? Also since the silk trade and it's associated revenues did in fact exist, would this not just be a redundant statement?


The quote I was directly refering to is from Collection of Zhuge Liang's Writings as cited in the Song dynasty anthology Imperial Readings of the Taiping Reign (太平御览). The original Collection, compiled by Chen Shou, was lost, but parts of it survived in various literary anthologies such as that one.

The quote is:

"Now, the people are poor and the state is depleted. The funds for fighting the enemy come solely from silk products"

Zhuge Liang also mentions in his second memorial that the people were streched and the army exhausted.
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Unread postby Lonely_dragon » Thu Sep 27, 2007 5:45 am

Guys Guys chill down... :) let's face the facts that Ma su was defeated because of his dogmatic attitude and inexperience... and remember that Sima Yi is already astonished and was about to retreat lest that His son Sima Zhao explained to him the vulnerability of Ma Su positions... So I guess he was unlucky that time... Fortunately it was a crucial defeat that Zhuge Liang had to execute him...
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Sep 27, 2007 7:19 am

This debate is turning into a how much was Zhuge at fault for Shu's fall and how bad was Jiang Wei I think.

Maybe move onto another thread you two?
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Unread postby Lonely_dragon » Fri Sep 28, 2007 12:53 am

Dong Zhou Posted: Thu Sep 27, 2007 12:19 am Post subject:

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

This debate is turning into a how much was Zhuge at fault for Shu's fall and how bad was Jiang Wei I think.

Maybe move onto another thread you two?


Indeed like Dong Zhuo said... This topic was basically not about blaming Zhuge Liang... :D

But in my point of view... I say Ma Su's more suitable for domestic affairs while Jiang Wei is better in battle... We must remember that Jiang Wei holds Zhuge liang in check in the battle of Tian Shui... it was then Zhuge Liang thought that Jiang Wei would be his sucessor for war... As for Ma Su I think Zhuge chose him to battle at Jie Ting due to his contributions on Zhuge's southern campaign...

So I would agree with the previous post that:

1. Jiang Wei is Zhuge's sucessor for leading a battle.

2. Ma Su is Zhuge's sucessor for domestic affairs.
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Unread postby Little_Phoenix » Fri Sep 28, 2007 4:10 am

Lonely_dragon wrote:Indeed like Dong Zhuo said... This topic was basically not about blaming Zhuge Liang... :D

But in my point of view... I say Ma Su's more suitable for domestic affairs while Jiang Wei is better in battle... We must remember that Jiang Wei holds Zhuge liang in check in the battle of Tian Shui... it was then Zhuge Liang thought that Jiang Wei would be his sucessor for war... As for Ma Su I think Zhuge chose him to battle at Jie Ting due to his contributions on Zhuge's southern campaign...

So I would agree with the previous post that:

1. Jiang Wei is Zhuge's sucessor for leading a battle.

2. Ma Su is Zhuge's sucessor for domestic affairs.


Yes, same opinion here. Most of Ma Su's strategists base on books. look what happen in Jie Ting, he argue about the theory in book of war with Wang Ping. Most on administration type are following by the rules. but sometimes in the field is so different.
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Re:

Unread postby wk123 » Thu Jan 25, 2018 7:05 pm

Little_Phoenix wrote:
Lonely_dragon wrote:Indeed like Dong Zhuo said... This topic was basically not about blaming Zhuge Liang... :D

But in my point of view... I say Ma Su's more suitable for domestic affairs while Jiang Wei is better in battle... We must remember that Jiang Wei holds Zhuge liang in check in the battle of Tian Shui... it was then Zhuge Liang thought that Jiang Wei would be his sucessor for war... As for Ma Su I think Zhuge chose him to battle at Jie Ting due to his contributions on Zhuge's southern campaign...

So I would agree with the previous post that:

1. Jiang Wei is Zhuge's sucessor for leading a battle.

2. Ma Su is Zhuge's sucessor for domestic affairs.


Yes, same opinion here. Most of Ma Su's strategists base on books. look what happen in Jie Ting, he argue about the theory in book of war with Wang Ping. Most on administration type are following by the rules. but sometimes in the field is so different.


1) If Ma Su had lived, would Zhuge have left him at home for his remaining years? (though that strategy might encourage soldiers who want to go home to screw up in future battles)

2) Did anyone take over for Ma Su, was it just Jiang Wei or another unknown?
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Re: Ma Su and Jiang Wei.

Unread postby Han » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:10 am

1) The possible punishments for choking on the battlefield in Ancient China is

1. Execution
2. Demotion of title and rank
3. Demoted to commoner status
4. Exile
5. Jail

Barring execution Ma Su would probably be left at home regardless of Zhuge Liang personal opinion.

2) Titles and Ranks of Gentries and Generals can either be solely for them or shared by others. The lower the title/rank the higher chances you are sharing it with somebody else. So after Ma Su death, people will get promoted or transferred to fill in the gaps.
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Re: Ma Su and Jiang Wei.

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Jan 26, 2018 10:59 am

1) Historically Ma Su was jailed but died for trying to escape it. Had he served his time, possibly he could ave worked his way back up but he couldn't have gone straight back in

2) In terms of protoge rather then rank, in novel it is Jiang Wei, historically there was nobody who filled that role. Jiang Wei was just seen as a talented officer but wasn't in senior positions when Liang died, Jiang Wan took over both civil and miliatry authority.
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