What if Cao Cao was an aristocrat?

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What if Cao Cao was an aristocrat?

Unread postby Starscream » Sat Oct 18, 2003 7:29 pm

If Cao Cao was born in an influential family like Yuan Shao and had greater power in court, would it necessarily mean that he would have a smoother road ahead or will he end up like Yuan Shao? Discuss. :wink:
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Unread postby Separation Anxiety » Sat Oct 18, 2003 8:51 pm

I think Cao was born into a commoner family, and then adopted into the Cao family. Im not 100% sure on this but i do know he is adopted.
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Re: What if Cao Cao was an aristocrat?

Unread postby jiuwan » Sat Oct 18, 2003 9:02 pm

Cai Yan wrote:If Cao Cao was born in an influential family like Yuan Shao and had greater power in court, would it necessarily mean that he would have a smoother road ahead or will he end up like Yuan Shao? Discuss. :wink:


If Cao Cao was born into an influential family and had greater power in court, I would say that he would have been mediocre. He still had talents in him that would seperate him from Yuan Shao. He wouldn't make the same bubbling mistakes as Yuan Shao. Nor would he have been content in holding the same lands as Liu Biao.

Instead, I think he would have wound up something like Wu *shudders*. He would have a stable region in which to maintain his "empire". Neither expanding too much nor losing too much. His tactical abilities would allow him to hold onto the greater part of his empire for quite some time.

Cao Cao's adversity lies in where he has a great army and control of vast regions under his command. During the latter stages of his career, although his empire was the biggest and strongest, he lacked the edged to wipe out Liu Bei and Sun Quan when they were still lacking. This led to the formation of the tripod - the formation of the Three Kingdoms. Another good example is Han Zhong. Although Cao Cao conquered Han Zhong from the grasps of Zhang Lu, he losted it just as quickly to Liu Bei. Because Cao Cao wasn't able to deal the final blows to the two kingdoms of Shu and Wu, it shows his inadeptness when in control.

Cao Cao's true forte comes when he is at a disadvantage. Early on in his career, many times he pulled victory out of a hat when it wasn't favourable for him. When Cao Cao started off small he was quick and able to seize the advantage whenever it presented itself. Biggest example of it is at Guan Du when he was outnumbered by the legions of Yuan Shao.
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Unread postby jiuwan » Sat Oct 18, 2003 9:05 pm

Dian_Wei wrote:I think Cao was born into a commoner family, and then adopted into the Cao family. Im not 100% sure on this but i do know he is adopted.


Cao Cao was born into the Xiahou family. His father Cao Song was adopted by the enuach, Cao Teng. Cao Song's original name was Xiahou Song.
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Re: What if Cao Cao was an aristocrat?

Unread postby Starscream » Sun Oct 19, 2003 2:23 am

jiuwan wrote:If Cao Cao was born into an influential family and had greater power in court, I would say that he would have been mediocre. He still had talents in him that would seperate him from Yuan Shao. He wouldn't make the same bubbling mistakes as Yuan Shao. Nor would he have been content in holding the same lands as Liu Biao.

Why would Cao Cao become more mediocre if he had greater power in court? Also, why would Cao Cao's expansion end up like Wu if he had greater power? Was it his personality trait or something else that was holding him back? :wink:
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Unread postby Wen Choung » Sun Oct 19, 2003 4:01 am

I agree mostly with jiu wan.

My theory is that the reason why some of the most talented people were commoners is because they lived everyday with hardships. Nobles, on the other hand, were spoon fed and had pretty much everything handed to them. I'm not saying that's the case for all, I'm merely generalizing.

Cao Cao, wasn't very wealthy, but he wasn't poor either. If he was very poor, then he would definitely not have the opportunity to gain the power he had. He may have been a good vassal, but no lord because being a liege would demand at least some noble origin.

Since he wasn't very wealthy, he was able to fine tune his skills in everyday life by his dealings with everyday people.

He may have been mediocre, but no lord that would have reached the Three Kingdom stage in the game.
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Unread postby GuangRong » Mon Oct 20, 2003 2:48 am

Cao Cao's family is quite Powerful and wealthy
The main thingy is with his family's background.., descedant from a Enuch is not what you would call an Orthodox one, let alone a glamorous one..

Given his frequent dealings with pple from high society, he was very much aware how this work against him and his descendant..
the desire to make good his family name , served as fuel for his ambitions..

Had Cao Cao being born in a Nobler family, he might not have as much ambition , since a Noble owns a Lot more grattitue to the court for thier power and a smoother career path would have dulled his edge.

My theory is that the reason why some of the most talented people were commoners is because they lived everyday with hardships. Nobles, on the other hand, were spoon fed and had pretty much everything handed to them. I'm not saying that's the case for all, I'm merely generalizing.



Living with hardship won't make you a talented person , but will make you a better one if you're aready has it.

It had to do with the fact that unequal oppunity Nobles/Commoners have to play on the main stage.., Not that Nobles are born stupid or a noble upbringing is bad..

some of the most talented pple are not Nobles, but they're better off than most commoners, only a fairly well to do family can afford to have a son study and not enage in farming.
Still , these pple dun have the doors that are open to Nobles and have to go thru a filtering process. So those that made it are mostly quite capable..

Nobles are actually train to be leaders and a career with the court, but since they're postion are ganratee , iregardless of talent, a lot more dumb-ass ended up in the important roles . So as a group, they seem less talented.
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Unread postby Wen Choung » Mon Oct 20, 2003 3:24 am

GuangRong, you make a valid point and I do believe that is the case for some people. However, I still believe that in Cao Cao's case, my own guess holds.

Cao Cao wasn't poor so he could still compete on the aristocratic level. And being disadvantaged, he'd have to learn the ropes, so to speak, in order to survive.
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Mon Oct 20, 2003 8:26 am

Most of the Yellow Turban Rebels lived everyday in hardships but you don't see them rise to high position. Why? They were not properly trained in the various faculties. Generally speaking, a poor background might provide one with the fuel to work for a higher status while a rich background might cause laziness. However, one must also note that a peasant might not even understand the meaning of the so-called "higher status" since his/her quality of life might be too crude/simple for those more "profound" stuffs. Hence, it all boiled down to the level of education and the personality of the subject we're talking about. Cao Cao had a fine education and he wasn't the type that was too bothered with superficial stuffs e.g. nobility titles (esp. when he was young). Remember how he let Yuan Shao be the General-in-Chief, and how he refused to be the Emperor unlike another Yuan fella? Hence, even if he was a noble, I guess his ambitions would still grow as days went by, seeing that the Han was in decline.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Thu Oct 23, 2003 4:43 am

If Cao Cao was born in a more influential family:

(1) He might have competed with Yuan Shao for the leadership of the alliance. This may have been a good or a bad thing -- if Cao Cao's prestige is higher than Yuan Shao's, he might have been in command of the troops and his original plan was almost guaranteed to a quick victory over Dong Zhuo. If that's the case, Cao would have control over the central plains region a lot sooner (not having to deal with Li Jue/Guo Si, Zhang Xiu, and the like), and had a good chance of taking out Yuan Shao sooner. Even if he had to yield the General-in-Chief status to Yuan Shao, Cao would have been left with more troops and land after the alliance disbanded, and wouldn't have to scurry around to rebuild his force.

(2) If Cao Cao managed to take out Yuan Shao earlier in history, he could have easily wiped the Sun family off the map (Wu was at its most vulnerable when Sun Ce died and Sun Quan inherited a mess of Shan Yues and doubting generals, but in history Cao was too busy in the north to take advantage of that).

(3) If Wu was taken over sooner, Liu Bei's situation would have been hopeless and the kingdom may have been united a lot earlier. Cao Cao would probably put himself on the dragon throne then (the main reason why he didn't do it in history, IMO, is that (1) he didn't manage to unite the land, (2) he was too old when he realised. It looked better on him if he did the "King Wen of Zhou" thing and let his heir take the throne).

So, in all, I think he would have a smoother road if he were born in a more influential family. Being not associated with the eunuchs, he would receive fewer insults (like Chen Lin's calling him a bastard), but like Great Deer said, Cao Cao's personality isn't one that is easily swayed by the environment and the people that associate with him. But it's hard to tell -- the Cao Cao that we know is shaped by his childhood experiences, so if his family background were different, his personality might have been different. In that case, we can't tell either way.
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