Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

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Best/Favourite of the Three Kingdoms?

Wei
139
34%
Shu
162
40%
Wu
108
26%
 
Total votes : 409

Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Dec 30, 2018 12:12 pm

I felt however that post was wrong in way it was worded and so I should apologize for it. I'm glad you weren't offended but none the less, I shouldn't have used emotive language.

Best I can offer you with my advice is a rewording if it would help you with encouraging others to engage with you in debates and would gladly do that, I do not however feel I can apologize for the intent or the content. If the post remains unacceptable to you, report it or pm another moderator, I did not intend to restart a discussion about that post.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby James » Tue Jan 01, 2019 2:49 am

Hi Han,

Han wrote:On ad hominem, I dont see me using Ad hominem. I was accused of being biased in favour of Liu Bei even though I was trying to argue in favour of Cao Cao forces. Thats standard Ad hominem. Attacking my character instead of my stand which has nothing to do with the discussion on hand in the first place.

You have, actually. And the example you gave below is a reason why conversations like this are typically best held in private discussion. It's hard to discuss a personal matter such, including exchanging personal feedback, without someone feeling as though they need to defend themselves due to the public element. And the matter is complicated all the more by how easily negative intention can be read into text-based communication.

If you'd like to continue discussion on this point please do so in message with myself or Dong Zhou. But in terms of practices like accusing people who disagree with your subjective argument as engaging in groupthink or circle jerking, know that you are engaging in ad hominem attack.

Han wrote:Uhhh no. Thats not how rape works. Rape has a very subjective definition.

Please re-read the point you've made above. You've contradicted yourself and in doing so highlighted the heart of the disagreement you're having with other forum members on this subject. Your argument hinges on an extremely specific definition of rape, in a context where such specific information is effectively never provided, but at the same time you've pointed out that the definition is also subjective.

You've outlined what appears to me to be an expectation that unless rape is specifically identified in historic text that it cannot be discussed in context that entertains the possibility that rape occurred. You're setting an unrealistic standard of evidence in doing so because this is not information we can dependably receive from the historic texts available to us. Your second error, in my opinion, is in being so strict with the definition of rape and approaching disagreement as though only your interpretation applies. You are correct that assorted cultures (and individuals) can have stricter or more lenient definitions of the term. Let's look at the dictionary.

rape (noun)
1 the crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will: he denied two charges of attempted rape | he had committed at least two rapes.
• archaic the abduction of a woman, especially for the purpose of having sexual intercourse with her.


So let's examine the first clause. Here a lot hinges on how we interpret "force" in the traditional definition. Some might say it only applies when someone forces himself upon someone and rapes her on the spot. I, and no shortage of others, would extend the definition to placing someone in a circumstance where they have no choice but to accept or face signifiant personal harm or peril, as broadly as a supervisor employing his authority over another to exploit someone (e.g. Harvey Weinstein) or more aptly to the topic, using one's authority to take ownership of a woman into a harem (e.g. common with leaders of the era we're discussing) or simply kidnapping someone and effectively turning them into a slave (e.g. Zhang Fei). And now if we move on to the archaic point, we're starting to see a much closer point to the Zhang Fei discussion.

You have talked a lot about being academic about this, but creating your own definitions and dismissing other credible interpretations is not an academic approach. Which brings us to another important point.

Han wrote:the job of a historian/academic is NOT to fill the blanks, but to go indepth into what is already filled with whats avaliable to us.

I disagree, and if you reference historic texts on the subject form the likes of Dr. Rafe de Crespigny you can see an example of why. The information provided to us from the historic texts referencing this period is extremely limited, leaves massive gaps open to interpretation, and is rife with contradiction—especially pertaining to highly sensitive topics owing to the political nature under which these works like Sanguozhi were commissioned. Some of my books on the subject have entire chapters dedicated to the nuance of navigating these complicated considerations.

The historian absolutely must read between the lines under circumstances like this. The point of academic responsibility is to be clear when doing so—to outline potential interpretation and considerations which pertain to the argument so the reader may come to their own conclusion with new information available. The historian does not say something did or did not occur absent evidence, but can present a case that something is highly likely to have taken place. Not just the historian, but the academic.

For example, the argument you shared from u/_dk. Depending on our interpretation of the above, we’re now looking at Lady Xiahou having been kidnapped and her only option being to comply or face some consequences we may not anticipate. We can probably anticipate that consequences pertaining to disagreement with someone who forcefully abducted you would not be pleasant in nature. She may well have simply chosen to make the best she could of the life she was given.

None of this changes the fact, though, that her free will was taken from her. And even if she consented to intercourse after being abducted (e.g. out of fear or resignation) a solid argument can still be made that such is rape. And by some credible definitions of the term it can be plainly described as such. You have no academic standing to say people may not do so, or are incorrect to do so—your standing is only to choose how to define “rape” for the purpose of your argument and wade into the discussion. But if you find yourself in disagreement with someone because you have both defined “rape” differently it’s important to remember that you’re looking at the matter from different perspectives. Agree, disagree, discuss and learn more. But the people who are viewing the matter from a different (and still credible) position are not engaging in group think, are not “circle-jerking”—the responsible academic response to is to flesh out your argument taking the other’s point of view into consideration, or to shift discussion to their point of view; it is not to attack them for having it.

Han wrote:Source, that I used circlejerk to discredit?

See just below the above where you accused those who disagree with you of serving in an “echo chamber”? Right there. You’re leveling an ad hominem attack against those people—endeavoring to discredit them by accusing them of engaging in groupthink—as a recourse when you’ve become frustrated that they don’t agree with your logic. By the way, I don’t think there’s any way you can accuse a group of people in a discussion of “circle-jerking” without the inherent effort being to discredit them. You’re literally accusing them of groupthink in doing so.

By all means please continue discussion of Three Kingdoms novel and history here, but please ease up on the ad hominem (to the person) element. And please take the discussion about group rules or your interpretation and/or disagreement with them (or what we’ve written to you) to private messages so as not to derail forum discussion. If it’s important to you to have a public discussion, please feel free to open a topic under the Public Council forum section. It’s perfectly acceptable to do so.
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby Han » Sat Jan 05, 2019 4:49 pm

I felt however that post was wrong in way it was worded and so I should apologize for it. I'm glad you weren't offended but none the less, I shouldn't have used emotive language.

Best I can offer you with my advice is a rewording if it would help you with encouraging others to engage with you in debates and would gladly do that, I do not however feel I can apologize for the intent or the content. If the post remains unacceptable to you, report it or pm another moderator, I did not intend to restart a discussion about that post.


Again, I couldnt care less about that post. Like you rightfully pointed out, you were within your rights to engage or disengage as you wish.

I do not wish for a rewording/repost/or any apologies. I am simply pointing out that backing your claims with substantial proof and source would be ideal and make your point all the more valid and convincing.

You have, actually. And the example you gave below is a reason why conversations like this are typically best held in private discussion. It's hard to discuss a personal matter such, including exchanging personal feedback, without someone feeling as though they need to defend themselves due to the public element. And the matter is complicated all the more by how easily negative intention can be read into text-based communication.

If you'd like to continue discussion on this point please do so in message with myself or Dong Zhou. But in terms of practices like accusing people who disagree with your subjective argument as engaging in groupthink or circle jerking, know that you are engaging in ad hominem attack


I havent actually. What no? My discussion with Elitemsh and our own discussion have zero relationship. I dont see the need for it to be a private discussion. This is neither a personal matter nor personal feedback. It is taking place in an internet forum which isnt really personal/private. And frankly speaking, I dont think anyone here feel the need to defend themselves, especially not due to public pressure. Sure, and that was why I seeked clarification before making my stand previously.

I prefer to do this publicly or drop it. My stand has never been subjective but straight up facts. Attacking Groupthink and Circlejerking by itself constitute as ad hominem. But not when I rebutt their disagreements with my own points beforehand.

Please re-read the point you've made above. You've contradicted yourself and in doing so highlighted the heart of the disagreement you're having with other forum members on this subject. Your argument hinges on an extremely specific definition of rape, in a context where such specific information is effectively never provided, but at the same time you've pointed out that the definition is also subjective.

You've outlined what appears to me to be an expectation that unless rape is specifically identified in historic text that it cannot be discussed in context that entertains the possibility that rape occurred. You're setting an unrealistic standard of evidence in doing so because this is not information we can dependably receive from the historic texts available to us. Your second error, in my opinion, is in being so strict with the definition of rape and approaching disagreement as though only your interpretation applies. You are correct that assorted cultures (and individuals) can have stricter or more lenient definitions of the term. Let's look at the dictionary.

rape (noun)
1 the crime, typically committed by a man, of forcing another person to have sexual intercourse with the offender against their will: he denied two charges of attempted rape | he had committed at least two rapes.
• archaic the abduction of a woman, especially for the purpose of having sexual intercourse with her.

So let's examine the first clause. Here a lot hinges on how we interpret "force" in the traditional definition. Some might say it only applies when someone forces himself upon someone and rapes her on the spot. I, and no shortage of others, would extend the definition to placing someone in a circumstance where they have no choice but to accept or face signifiant personal harm or peril, as broadly as a supervisor employing his authority over another to exploit someone (e.g. Harvey Weinstein) or more aptly to the topic, using one's authority to take ownership of a woman into a harem (e.g. common with leaders of the era we're discussing) or simply kidnapping someone and effectively turning them into a slave (e.g. Zhang Fei). And now if we move on to the archaic point, we're starting to see a much closer point to the Zhang Fei discussion.

You have talked a lot about being academic about this, but creating your own definitions and dismissing other credible interpretations is not an academic approach. Which brings us to another important point.


You should reread again?

You were the one claiming you were missing context. Not me.

I’ve read through a lot of this discussion—surely I’ve missed some context along the way


I have never contradicted myself. Lets go back to very beginning together. I requested Elitemsh and Xiahou Ren to clarify their definition of rape.

Define rape. We know that Zhang Fei kidnapped Lady Xiahou. But Cao Cao also forced Lady Du and Lady Zou into his bed. So thats rape too. He approved Cao Pi's forced marriage with Zhenji. So another rape. He gave Lady Dong to Yan Pu. So another rape.


You cannot go around accusing historical figures of actions that they may or may not have commit when you lack a goddamn source. He did kidnap Lady Xiahou(NOT RAPE) but he also married her not for her looks but because of family background.

And what you mean by Cao Chong. Cao Chong was Cao Cao's talented and favoured son who died young. I think you meant Cao Chun.

And again, there is zero prove that Cao soldiers raped Liu Bei's family. Please provide a goddamn source.


Elitemsh never clarified his definition of rape. So I could not rebutt his arguments properly, instead I could only use the other members from the Cao faction to showed that well, it wasnt rape.

MEANWHILE, Dong Zhou did gave his definition

Finally. Someone decide to define rape. In that case, Cao Cao is a rapist too. What he lacked in brutality, he made up for in terms of cruelty, he hastened those women into his harem solely because of their attractiveness(at least Zhang Fei was willing to wed Lady Xiahou due to family background), and he gave women to his surbodinates at least TWICE. While giving prostitutes to Xiahou Dun. And then theres also the suspicion... blah blah blah...

The same goes for Cao Cao. Warlords in the era all placed pragmatism over morality. Again and again. There were probably zero exceptions. Although Liu Bei had zero recorded massacres so theres that.


So let us see, Dong Zhou pointed out(defined) that Zhang Fei raped Lady Xiahou due to forced kidnapping and quick marriage. Fair enough. So this put me in a position where I could directly discuss his point without solely using historical figures.

So, when the topic of rape was not clarified in Elitemsh case, I was forced into a position to make subjective arguments and comparisons. However when the topic of rape was properly defined and backed by the sources, I could discuss it and keep my position open.

There is NO contradiction.

Moving on,

Woah, dont put words into my mouth. Lets run back again,

Elitemsh was making the same stand that you are now making, that my reasoning against rape was because of the lack of source. And THATS TRUE! But it isnt my sole stand. Again, these were my replies

Yes. And In addition Im saying that theres a much stronger argument that Lady Xiahou wasnt a 'rape' victim because high ranking generals tend to not marry their 'rape victims' and they will have a much better and larger pool of more beautiful women to 'rape'. And then Liu Bei wouldnt just grant a 'rape' victim an important request. The r/askhistorians user already put it out for you. If you actually take the time to read it, you would understand. Meanwhile, again, lets look what Zhang DID. He KIDNAPPED. Not rape. So no, your claims are neither fair, nor logical nor backed by any source. And again, you have yet to define 'rape' as I have requested many times. In the modern 21st Century some countries constitute rape as simply sexual molestation. Others penatration. Others sexual assault. So human beings in a much liberal, open minded and freer world than Han China cant even come to an agreement on the legality of rape and yet you want to stamp that charged term on historical figures. You are engaging in a slippery slope https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope by labelling historical figures as rapists when the concept of rape and sexual assault have changed and evolved over time throughout different societies. So you are damn right I want a proper source.


Exactly This! And apply it to Cao Cao, Cao Chun, Guan Yu, etc etc too.
- This was a reply to Jia Nanfeng when he/she pointed out the nature of Confucian relationships and Han China cultural and political values.

So esentially, my stand was 3 fold. One, theres a lack of source detailing any sexual assault that Zhang Fei committed. Two, Zhang Fei treatment of Lady Xiahou was unusual of that of a general treating a rape victim. Three, Liu Bei as ruler of Yi and enemy of Cao would never entertain a rape victim, much less accept her request considering her political background. So it wasnt just the lack of historical evidence issue.

ME? STRICT? How so? 1) I specifically requested Elitemsh to define rape THRICE. It isnt my fault he didnt and so I was forced to define rape myself. And 2) I specifically remained OPEN to the definition of rape.

And again, you have yet to define 'rape' as I have requested many times. In the modern 21st Century some countries constitute rape as simply sexual molestation. Others penatration. Others sexual assault. So human beings in a much liberal, open minded and freer world than Han China cant even come to an agreement on the legality of rape and yet you want to stamp that charged term on historical figures. You are engaging in a slippery slope https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slippery_slope by labelling historical figures as rapists when the concept of rape and sexual assault have changed and evolved over time throughout different societies


Look, I specifically layed out the many possible definitions of rape(that I know of) and didnt even take a strict stand one way or the other. Come on now.

Moving on,

And you see! This is why I specifically requested the definition of rape! What you are doing is a classic case of presentism.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Present ... l_analysis)

You are defining rape using modern day 21st century Western concept while applying it onto Ancient Han China whose values and beliefs are quite different. I will go into depth below but for now, lets see what we have here.

And so to reclarify one again, you would argue that Cao Cao's and Cao Pi's actions - forcing two married women to their harem, giving one married woman to a surbodinate, taking a widow into personal harem - were that of rape? If the answer is yes, then well frankly speaking you have no idea how Confucian Society worked. Again, I will get to this in a moment.

Ok and again, showed me someone other than Dong Zhou who clarified their definition of rape. Again, I was forced to define rape because noone else did so(other than Dong Zhou). 'Credible interpretations'? Example? I did not dismiss anything so much as requested a proper definition of rape for us to discuss about. And if you reread again, you would notice that I NEVER dismissed Dong Zhou point simply because he did defined rape which allowed me to rebutt/discuss about it.

I disagree, and if you reference historic texts on the subject form the likes of Dr. Rafe de Crespigny you can see an example of why. The information provided to us from the historic texts referencing this period is extremely limited, leaves massive gaps open to interpretation, and is rife with contradiction—especially pertaining to highly sensitive topics owing to the political nature under which these works like Sanguozhi were commissioned. Some of my books on the subject have entire chapters dedicated to the nuance of navigating these complicated considerations.

The historian absolutely must read between the lines under circumstances like this. The point of academic responsibility is to be clear when doing so—to outline potential interpretation and considerations which pertain to the argument so the reader may come to their own conclusion with new information available. The historian does not say something did or did not occur absent evidence, but can present a case that something is highly likely to have taken place. Not just the historian, but the academic.

For example, the argument you shared from u/_dk. Depending on our interpretation of the above, we’re now looking at Lady Xiahou having been kidnapped and her only option being to comply or face some consequences we may not anticipate. We can probably anticipate that consequences pertaining to disagreement with someone who forcefully abducted you would not be pleasant in nature. She may well have simply chosen to make the best she could of the life she was given.

None of this changes the fact, though, that her free will was taken from her. And even if she consented to intercourse after being abducted (e.g. out of fear or resignation) a solid argument can still be made that such is rape. And by some credible definitions of the term it can be plainly described as such. You have no academic standing to say people may not do so, or are incorrect to do so—your standing is only to choose how to define “rape” for the purpose of your argument and wade into the discussion. But if you find yourself in disagreement with someone because you have both defined “rape” differently it’s important to remember that you’re looking at the matter from different perspectives. Agree, disagree, discuss and learn more. But the people who are viewing the matter from a different (and still credible) position are not engaging in group think, are not “circle-jerking”—the responsible academic response to is to flesh out your argument taking the other’s point of view into consideration, or to shift discussion to their point of view; it is not to attack them for having it.


Ah. According to your wishes, let us use Rafe De Crespigny as an example. Specifically, Imperial Warlord and Xun Yu Loyalty 2002. An academic book and an academic paper. Let us see how Rafe De Crespigny deals with inconsistencies and contradictions shall we?

Imperial Warlord states

The historian Chen Shou claimed that no-one knew the natural origins of Cao Song, and there has been extensive debate on the matter, particularly about his connection to the Xiahou. The anonymous Cao Man zhuan “Biography of Cao Man” and Wei-Jin shiyu “Tales
of the Generations of Wei and Jin” by Guo Ban both claim that Cao Song was a younger brother of the father of Xiahou Dun, which latter became a trusted associate of Cao Cao.27 Many other Xiahou came later to join Cao Cao, and despite Chen Shou’s doubts, Chapter 9 of
his Sanguo zhi combines biographies of members of both families. The recently excavated tombs of the Cao family, moreover, have inscriptions which confirm the relationship, and Table 1 presents a summary of the likely connections between the families.28

Given the statements of Cao Man zhuan and Guo Ban, and his own compilation of Sanguo zhi 9, it is hard to explain why Chen Shou should have discounted the connection to the Xiahou. He may have been subject to political influence, but several early commentators
followed his example, questioning the degree of kinship or even its existence.29 Evidence from the tombs now appears convincing, but the controversy raised several points on perceptions of eunuchs, lineage and marriage at that time. It has been argued that the Xiahou, a family of gentry quality, would not have allowed one of their sons to be adopted by a eunuch, but we may doubt that disapproval was so strongly felt as to prohibit such
contact. True Confucianists may have felt distaste, and there was competition across the countryside, but much of our present perspective is owed to accounts of the endemic political conflict between the inner court, where eunuchs played a significant and sometimes decisive
role, and the outer bureaucracy composed of gentlemen and scholars. Since these latter compiled the histories, eunuchs have often received a worse press than they deserved. Some men, however, dealt with eunuchs in straight-forward fashion as players in politics and society. The Yuan family of Runan and the Yang of Hongnong, for example, had members at the highest level of the bureaucracy in a regime dominated by eunuchs. They suffered no criticism for their subservience but were admired for the positions they attained. The Xiahou clan may have been well regarded locally and could claim a fine ancestry, but none of its members had held notable office for several generations. Cao Teng had a good reputation, and for those prepared to ignore the fact of his castration, connection with such a person could be valuable. If Cao Song was Xiahou by birth, he gained greatly in wealth and rank from his adoption, and had a most successful political career. He was criticized for extravagance and corruption, but there is no record of any disapproval for his background. The second major argument adduced against Cao Song’s origin in the Xiahou family relates to the fact that his son Cao Cao arranged for one of his daughters to marry Xiahou Mao, son of Xiahou Dun.

If Cao Song was a younger brother of Xiahou Dun’s father, then Cao Cao and Xiahou Dun were first cousins, and since Cao Man zhuanand Guo Ban are known to have been hostile to the Cao, it has been suggested that the kinship was invented to embarrass the family by a
charge of consanguinity.30 The natural connection was not close, for it would have been a marriage of second cousins, well outside Western prohibitions of consan-
guinity. Han custom, however, held that persons of the same surname should not wed,31 and some claimed that a man should not marry a woman of his former lineage; this latter restriction, however, appears to have been honoured as much in the breach as in the observance.32

Cao Cao had small concern for these niceties. The Lady Bian, who became his principal wife, had been a singing girl, and Cao Cao was also quite prepared to take the wife of Qin Yilu as a concubine when her husband was still alive.33 Besides giving his daughter to Xiahou Mao, he further offended propriety by proposing a union of dead
children: when his twelve-year-old son Chong died in 208, Cao Cao suggested to his civil officer Bing Yuan, whose daughter had also died young, that the two might be buried together. Bing Yuan refused on moral grounds, but Cao Chong was eventually buried with a girl of the Zhen family.34 There were—and are—two different approaches to this matter. Mainstream Confucians would follow Mencius, who expressed the strongest disapproval to the burial of even images in tombs as companions for the deceased, not to mention actual humans.35 There is,
however, a long tradition, continuing to the present day, of burying the body of a woman with that of a man, otherwise unconnected, so that they might find company in the grave.36 Bing Yuan held to the first opinion; Cao Cao and the Zhen parents to the second.

The critics were men of high principle, but they did not necessarily reflect common opinion, and though enemies might denigrate his conduct there is no reason to believe that Cao Cao or his associates were troubled by their accusations. In other words, though the claim of kinship with Xiahou Dun was perhaps intended as hostile propaganda, it may also have been true, and Cao Cao would have been in no way embarrassed. He followed a different morality.37 Even allowing for the bias of two leading texts, therefore, it is likely that the family of Cao Teng was connected to the Xiahou and, given the necessary tolerance, the link by adoption could have been valuable and appropriate for both parties. As in the examples of Sun He and Zhu Zhi, if an adoptive son was to come from outside the lineage, he was commonly sought among families related by marriage. If there were no spare males of the Cao family, a cadet of the Xiahou
would have been a good candidate for adoption by the prosperous Cao Teng.38

38 It is possible, of course, that Cao Song was actually a male of the Cao family, a son of one of Cao Teng’s three brothers who was transferred to the childless uncle in the same way as Yuan Shao [note 24 above]. Given the fact that the histories have some details of Cao Meng/Jie’s sons, however, it would be surprising if such a con-
nection was not well known, and Chen Shou’s expressed uncertainty about Cao Song’s origins indicates that the situation was somewhat more complicated.


Ok so here we are presented with a problem. The various contradictions over Cao Cao's lineage. Rafe De Crespigny outlines the various histories take on it, he then proceed to refute their Confucian narrative behind the adoption and then explain the possibility of propaganda at play. He then noted that the adoption of a Xiahou was highly likely. However, in his conclusion reference number 38. He did argue that an adoption from another Cao was also an [unlikely] possibility. And he eventually concluded that it was much more complicated than it seems.

So here, we have Rafe De Crespigny go indepth into what is already filled with whats avaliable to us. What RDC did was using the histories as his sources and then playing out the different possibilities and pointing out the various historians viewpoints. He never attempt to fill in the blanks by siding decisively with one stand or another stand.

So that clears up an academic book. Lets move on to the academic paper.

Xun Yu Loyalty 2002 states

The debates of historians

Given Xun Yu's importance in Cao Cao's government and the suddenness of his fall, it is not surprising there were different stories and [50] interpretations of the incident, nor that later writers sought to analyse his conduct and motives. At least in the early years, however, each commentator was to some extent influenced by his situation and experience: the fall of the four-century Han empire was unprecedented, and the series of short-lived dynasties which followed created their own questions of allegiance.

Chen Shou 陳壽 (233-297), compiler of Sanguo zhi, describes Xun Yu as dying at Shouchun of illness and anxiety, and in a brief comment at the end of the chapter he refers to him as a man of talent and skill suitable to aid a king, but who failed to fulfill his ambitions. As a former official of the defeated state of Shu 蜀 now writing at the court of Jin, Chen Shou was unwilling to discuss the full implications of Xun Yu's crisis of conscience.

Yuan Hong 袁宏 (328-376), compiler of Hou Han ji 後漢紀, was more secure. A respected scholar and writer, he was an associate of the powerful Xie 謝 clan of Eastern Jin, and held substantial rank at court and in regional government. His account of how Xun Yu died of anxiety
is followed by a substantial essay on his intentions and achievements. Yuan Hong's thesis is that the authority and prestige of Han were not yet exhausted, so that Cao Cao could use them in his struggle for power. By helping Cao Cao, therefore, even though he restored good order to the empire, Xun Yu failed in his duty of loyalty to the dynasty. On this interpretation, Xun Yu was caught by the contradictions of his career. His conduct had been unworthy of a true [51] Confucian, and when he was faced with the full implications of his support for the usurper, his death came from a sense of moral guilt.

Pei Songzhi 裴松之 (372-451), compiler of the commentary to Sanguo zhi, was a leading official and scholar of the Liu Song 宋 dynasty. An officer of Liu Yu 劉裕 general of the Jin dynasty who seized power in 420, he held high appointments at the court and in the provinces under the new regime, and in 429 his commentary to Chen Shou's work was accepted by the throne as a standard history. The work had been formally commissioned in the previous year, but was evidently in progress for some time before that. Pei Songzhi's experience as assistant to a usurping general was analogous to that of Xun Yu, but he had no such concerns of conscience, and in commentary to Chen Shou's remarks he deliberately confronts previous opinions. For Pei Songzhi, there is no question that Xun Yu was aware of Cao Cao's ambition, but the Han empire was in such turmoil that a unifying warlord was essential. So Xun Yu supported Cao Cao in his struggle to restore order. Then, when Cao Cao appeared a threat to the house of Han itself, Xun Yu made his protest. His sacrifice gained the dynasty an extension of time, and demonstrated his true allegiance. Xun Yu had therefore fulfilled his public duty by establishing a regime which would aid the people, and he had demonstrated a sense of personal honour worthy of praise by all who came after him. [52]

Fan Ye 范曄 (398-446), author of Hou Han shu, a younger contemporary of Pei Songzhi, similarly defends Xun Yu. Noting that previous historians categorised him as a worthy of inferior quality, Fan Ye points to his excellence as an adviser in time of trouble, but claims he had no intention of overthrowing Han. The fall of the dynasty, however, was inevitable; and Fan Ye, in contradiction to Yuan Hong, argues that Xun Yu was well aware of the consequences of his support for Cao Cao. As to the effect of his work, Fan Ye compares Xun Yu to Duanmu Ci 端木賜 the disciple Zigong 子貢 of Confucius, whose diplomacy to save the state of Lu 魯 brought turmoil to two rival states and hegemon power to the semi-barbarous king of Yue 越: he did not wish such misfortune, nor did he lack humane feeling, but the situation made the results of his work inevitable.
While all are agreed on his ability and good intentions, therefore, the earlier commentators suggest that Xun Yu failed to see the consequences of his actions and suffered when faced with them. Pei Songzhi, on the other hand, admires him as a man of foresight who accepted death for the sake of personal integrity, and Fan Ye ranks him with the disciples of Confucius. Four centuries later, however, Du Mu 杜牧 returned to the attack with a charge of treachery, not so much against Han as against Cao Cao.

Du Mu (807-852) was a scholar and writer of the later Tang, noted for strict morality in terms of the revived Confucianism of the time. His collected works include poetry, essays, inscriptions and official [53] documents, and among them is a short "Note after reading the Biography of Xun Wenruo." At the centre of the essay is Du Mu's argument that Cao Cao was the only man to restore good government after the collapse of Han, and that this is of overwhelming importance. He may be criticised for the killing of the Empress Fu, for the execution of Kong Rong and for other cruelties, and such faults disqualify him from comparison with sage rulers of the past. Full judgement, however, depends upon circumstance, and Cao Cao's great achievement was to save the common people of China from the miseries of disorder. Du Mu, moreover, cites two occasions that Xun Yu compared Cao Cao to legitimate emperors of Han. In 195, during the struggle against Lü Bu for Yan province, he argued that the territory was as important to Cao Cao as the land within the passes had been for the founding Emperor Gao or the region about Luoyang for the restoring Emperor Guangwu 光武 of Later Han. And when Cao Cao faced Yuan Shao at Guandu in 200, Xun Yu urged him to hold his line, describing the situation as critical as the long-drawn fighting between Emperor Gao and his rival Xiang Yu 項羽 about Rongyang 榮陽 on the junction of the Vast Canal and the Yellow River. Here is evidence that Xun Yu regarded Cao Cao as a man marked for empire, but then, observes Du Mu, when the affair was ended and the achievement complete, he sought to take the credit for the Han dynasty. This is like telling [54] a thief to bore through a wall and empty another man's cupboards, but then refusing to help him carry away the spoil. Can such a man claim that he too is not a robber?
It was, in fact, the remnant dynasty which depended upon Cao Cao, not Cao Cao who needed the name of Han: Cao Cao could have destroyed his rivals without borrowing the prestige of the fallen empire, but Emperor Xian could never regain authority on his own. So Xun Yu owed his true loyalty to Cao Cao, not only because he had personally supported and encouraged him in imperial terms, but also as the chief hope for China and its people. It was unworthy and inappropriate for him to dither about the rights of Han, and his death was a natural consequence of such mistaken conduct.
The debate amongst the historians and commentators has thus shifted from one perspective to another. Was the dynasty of Han irrevocably ruined? Was Cao Cao the only chieftain who could bring order to the empire? Did Xun Yu owe loyalty to Cao Cao, to Emperor Xian, or to the people as a whole? And how should a man of honour behave in such a situation?

The teaching of Sima Guang

Sima Guang 司馬光 (1019-1086), minister of the Northern Song 宋 dynasty, presented his plan for a chronicle history, with sample chapters, to Emperor Yingzong 英宗 in 1066, and an edict endorsed the project. In the following year Sima Guang gave a seminar to the new Emperor Shenzong 神宗 who, full of admiration, composed a preface for the work and changed the title
from plain Tong zhi 通志 "Comprehensive Record" to the splendid Zizhi tongjian "Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government." [55] Even as he worked on the history, however, Sima Guang maintained opposition to the policies of the ruler and his great minister, the liberal Wang Anshi 王安石. He had at this time no practical power, but the emperor continued to support his work of scholarship, and in 1084 the completed history was presented to the throne. Soon afterwards Shenzong died, Sima Guang became Grand Councillor to the young Emperor Zhezong 哲宗, and he spent the last eighteen months of his life demolishing the reforms of the previous regime. His last period of political activity, however, was no more important than the message which Sima Guang left for his imperial masters and to posterity. For Zizhi tongjian, in true Confucian tradition, presents not only a history but also a set of moral teachings. The Southern Song philosopher Zhu Xi 朱熹 (1130-1200) followed Sima Guang with a summary work of his own: Zizhi tongjian gangmu 網目 presented formal standards for historical judgement, parallel to the theoretical system of "praise and blame" ascribed to Confucius in his compilation of the Chunqiu 春秋 annals of the state of Lu. The style [56] of Sima Guang, however, was more indirect and more sophisticated. Though closely based upon accounts provided by established texts, his account of the fall of Han yet carries strong messages: at a first level of general politics, how the favouritism and folly of Emperors Huan 桓 and Ling 靈 destroyed the authority of the dynasty; then how the whirlwind they sowed was reaped in civil turmoil after the seizure of power by Dong Zhuo; and finally how Cao Cao and his rivals struggled to restore a measure of good order in the Chinese world. This is history on a grand scale, and the lessons to be drawn from the chronicle are worth any ruler's attention. At a second level, moreover, Sima Guang was concerned with personal morality: how should a worthy man behave in critical times? Those who read his work not only learn the events of the past, they are also given models of behaviour under stress, to accept, reject, or test against their own conduct. No-one who studies Zizhi tongjian in detail can fail to be influenced by the historian's strong sense of proper conduct. Occasionally, however, Sima Guang steps outside his self-imposed restrictions to address the reader. In short essays prefixed by the phrase "Your servant [Sima] Guang remarks" [臣光曰] he presents his own direct interpretation of the events he has described. He does not do this often, but the effect of his comments is all the more powerful for their rarity. In the case of Xun Yu and Cao Cao, Sima Guang felt obliged to enter the debate in this way, specifically to defend Xun Yu against the claim that he lacked Confucian virtue. He does it, however, by reference and comparison to the legendary minister Guan Zhong 管仲 or Guanzi 管子, who served Duke Huan of Qi 齊桓公 during the seventh century BC [57] and brought him hegemony over his rival feudatories under the weakened kingdom of Zhou 周. Confucius described love for humanity (仁 ren) as the matter of utmost importance. From ... the highest of his followers, to the ... worthy grandees of the feudal lords, none qualified for that description. Only Guan Zhong did he praise for humanity, and surely this was because Guan Zhong, assistant to Duke Huan of Qi, gave such great relief to living people. The conduct of Duke Huan of Qi resembled that of a dog or a pig, yet Guan Zhong was not ashamed to act as his Chancellor. It is obvious that he saw Duke Huan as the only way to bring aid to the people. In the great disorders at the end of Han, the people were in utmost misery, and only a man of exceptional ability could bring them help. Had Xun Yu left Emperor Wu of Wei 魏武帝 [Cao Cao], whom should he have served? In the time of Duke Huan of Qi, though the house of Zhou was weak, the position was still not so bad as the situation of Han at the beginning of Jian'an 建安. At that time the whole world was in turmoil and overturned, and the [dynasty of] Han had not a foot of ground nor a single man under its command. Xun Yu assisted Wu of Wei to bring about a restoration. He promoted worthy men and gave work to the able, he trained soldiers and he drilled troops, he seized opportunities and he developed plans, he fought and was successful in every direction, [58] and so he was able to turn weak into strong and change disorder into good government. Of the ten parts of the empire the Wei had eight. In what respect does the achievement of Xun Yu fall short of that of Guan Zhong? Guan Zhong did not die for Gongzi Jiu 公子糾, but Xun Yu died for the house of Han. His sense of humanity was superior to that of Guan Zhong. So Sima Guang gives first emphasis to the responsibility of a minister towards the people as a whole, regardless of the qualities of the ruler, and he cites Confucius' praise of Guan Zhong for his practical public achievement, regardless of his personal obligations.
He then addresses the criticisms of Du Mu, firstly that Xun Yu had compared Cao Cao to the founding emperors of Han, but then turned away and sought to make him, despite his achievements, merely a servant of the Han.
To this accusation, Sima Guang simply rejects the records of the history: I recall Confucius' saying: "Literature over reality, that is a scribe." Whenever an historian records a man's words, he always [59] adds a literary touch. So the comparison of Wu of Wei with Gaozu 高祖 [Emperor Gao] and with Guangwu ..., that is no more than an embellishment by some historian. How can we know Xun Yu really spoke that way? This is criticising him for a fault which is not his. In other words, though Xun Yu's words to Cao Cao on two occasions are recorded in three separate texts, and the second piece of advice was given in a letter which may well have entered the archives of Wei, Sima Guang is prepared to deny the evidence. To the second charge, of his turning from Cao Cao to Han, Sima Guang returns to the essential argument of Pei Songzhi: Moreover, if Wu of Wei had become emperor, then Xun Yu would have received much of the credit for bringing it about, and he could expect the same rewards as Xiao He had received from Emperor Gao. Xun Yu, however, took no advantage from his situation. On the contrary, he was prepared to give his own life in order that Han might receive the benefit. Surely this is exceptional conduct? One may feel that Sima Guang over-emphasises his point, and that in defending or denying Xun Yu's comparison of Cao Cao with the founders of Han, he may be making the same error as he accuses others. Certainly we cannot be sure that Xun Yu spoke as he is recorded, but the evidence in the opposite direction, presenting Xun Yu as a martyr to the ideal cause of the dynasty, is equally suspect.

Ultimately, we may recognise Xun Yu as the clever counsellor to a great warlord. We cannot judge his full intentions; nor, as with any human being, can we be sure he always acted with consistent motives. His relations with his imperial masters, however, and the stories which were told about the manner of his death, presented a problem for later historians and commentators, and their debates expressed the tensions of a philosophical dilemma on the terms of Confucian loyalty.


And here we are presented with another problem. The various contradictions over Xun Yu's intentions and the various historians take on it. Rafe De Crespigny outlines the various histories take on it, he then proceed to explain the various historians reading of it and then provide historical and geopolitical context. He then noted that the conclusion of Xun Yu's death and Xun Yu's intentions cannot be fully determined and the problem it posed for future historians.

So here, we have Rafe De Crespigny go indepth into what is already filled with whats avaliable to us. What RDC did was using the histories as his sources and then explaining the different possibilities and pointing out the various historians viewpoints. He never attempt to fill in the blanks by siding decisively with one stand or another stand.

When professional historians do their work, they never try to go beyond the historical texts and the context of the geopolitical era. They would never attempt to decisively 'fill in the blank' by taking one stand or another stand. This is why when you read Rafe De Crespigny works, you would notice he always say 'maybe' 'may' 'likely' 'unlikely' 'possibly'. Historians are very choosy and cautious with their words. Sometimes contradictions cannot be explained nor determined and blanks simply cannot be filled. It is better to use the histories as the main sources in an attempt to point out the different contexts, list out the various contradictions and than judge it on a case by case basis.

Moving on, I dont see how your works are relevant in this case? Are you a professional historian? Can you understand the traditional Chinese? Do you understand the context? Are your works peer reviewed. I have many questions but whatever.

Moving on,

It is one thing to read between the lines but another entirely to try to fill the blanksin between said lines. And Rafe De Crespigny seldom make a case so much and layed out the different interpretations. Aka going into depth about the histories. And when does try to make a case, he would rely on his sources to back up his claims and if the sources contradicts his position(think Guandu) he would provide the context and explain the difference by going into depth. And even then, he seldom conclude one way or the another. Always being careful with his stands.

It may or may not be pleasant, but Zhang Fei as husband was under strict Confucian pressure to specifically provide for his concubine. And we can make a stronger argument that Lady Xiahou life was not necessarily unpleasant. We are told Zhang Fei made her his Wife specifically of her family background. And we are again specifically told that Lady Xiahou request to Liu Bei was approved and her daughter became an Empress. And her Son-In-Law the Emperor was proud of his Mother-In-Law and did not find her abducted history as something to be shameful about. Indeed, Lady Xiahou was recognised by the Imperial Court and Liu Bei as not an abducted woman by one who is kin of the Imperial Liu Clan of Shu Han.

And this is where the main issue lines. I am afraid that you simply do not understand the society of Confucian Han China and the role it played when it came to relationships. The concept of 'free will' simply did not even exist. Therefore, how can you take something from a person who did not knew of its existence? Furthermore, if we define rape due to lack of free will and resignation to her fate, than wouldnt you agree that most [if not every] women in the time period was raped?

Look, the expetation in Han China was that when a woman came into puberty, she would be used as a political tool for marriage alliances among gentries clans. In this case, Confucian propriety dictates that said woman cannot oppose the agreement without good cause(and free will isnt one). The woman will then be forced to accept and marry into the groom's clan regardless of her opinion. Confucian ethics than requires the woman to engage in sexual intercourse so that she would be able to provide the Paternal Clan with heirs to carry on their esteemed lineage. So then, are these women being raped?

AFAIK, rape becomes an issue only when it ruins the chastity of woman or that the woman is already married and thus 'property' of another man.

So again, did Lady Xiahou liked her fate? Possibly yes, likely no, an argument can be made numerous ways. But did she felt sexually violated? Most likely not. Why? Because as Zhang Fei wife, it was her duty to bear him future children to continue his lineage. The concept of free will simply did not exist.

What you are doing is engaging in https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Present ... l_analysis) by the way. Applying 21st Century definition of rape onto someone born in Han China is simply inappropriate.

Therefore, any solid argument leans towards 'No, he did not rape'. And the same applies to the Caos of course.

I dont think anyone here has any historical academic standing. This isnt r/askhistorians after all.

Except I never disagreed with anyone else definition of rape. Not even Dong Zhou. I have always seeked clarification for the definition of rape but Elitemsh never did so even after being requested to do so multiple times. So yeah...

Engaging in presentism isnt credible but ok.

See just below the above where you accused those who disagree with you of serving in an “echo chamber”? Right there. You’re leveling an ad hominem attack against those people—endeavoring to discredit them by accusing them of engaging in groupthink—as a recourse when you’ve become frustrated that they don’t agree with your logic. By the way, I don’t think there’s any way you can accuse a group of people in a discussion of “circle-jerking” without the inherent effort being to discredit them. You’re literally accusing them of groupthink in doing so.

By all means please continue discussion of Three Kingdoms novel and history here, but please ease up on the ad hominem (to the person) element. And please take the discussion about group rules or your interpretation and/or disagreement with them (or what we’ve written to you) to private messages so as not to derail forum discussion. If it’s important to you to have a public discussion, please feel free to open a topic under the Public Council forum section. It’s perfectly acceptable to do so.


No, an echo chamber have a strict definition. Let us see.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echo_chamber_(media)

In an extreme "echo chamber", one purveyor of information will make a claim, which many like-minded people then repeat, overhear, and repeat again (often in an exaggerated or otherwise distorted form)[3]


Now let us go back to the very beginning.

Elitemsh stated

Compare to Zhang Fei who liked raping young girls. Contrast in personalities and motivations in Liu Bei's camp. It's a credit to Liu Bei that he managed to attract all this different types.


And then

Zhang Fei is only on record for raping Xiahou Yuan's niece but I think it's likely he probably did it to other girls earlier but they were not 'important' enough to be mentioned. Zhang Fei was a superb general but also a cruel, disgusting guy off the field. Liu Bei probably wouldn't give a damn because he's the same guy who left his own daughters behind at Chang Ban to be raped by the enemy (I'm quite certain Cao Chong took them in that way). If a man doesn't have compassion for his own daughters, would he have it for any other woman?


And then Xiahou Ren states

You know what's funny....

Though women were historically worth very little back then, Guan Yu still screwed Sun Quan just because he can. I mean, when nobody specifically asked for the ladies, those three brothers just left their female kins to die. But when they had actually learned that the enemy want the girls, they kept them save and left over a giant middle finger instead.

I those three were the first "Douchebag-Bros" ever documented in history :lol:


Here they stated a claim, they repeated it and they exagerated it from Zhang Fei liked raping young girls to Zhang Fei and Cao Cao army raping young girls to 'Douchebag bros'.

So here, Im rebutting their stand. Not attacking their characters or persons by pointing out their echo chamber. So it isnt Ad hominem.

I was not frustrated that they did not agree with me. I was disappointed that their arguments were neither properly sourced nor backed by logic.

Im using their lack of sources and lack of clarification to discredit them. The Echo Chamber accusations was just me questioning Dong Zhou on the incosistencies of the moderation. The rule literally states that Off topic discussions and ChitChat topica are heavily discouraged. Accusing historical figures of rape without providing any sources nor properly defining rape in a discussion about the best/favourite Kingdom is an example of both of this.

As long as the discussions are public then Im cool with it. And Im not a mod so I cannot create a new topic and move the discussion there. Personally I would suggest cutting page 103 to 105 to another topic titled ' Were Zhang Fei and Cao Cao forces rapist?' Or something to that effect while page 105 to 107 can be about the moderation if you really desire so.
Liu Bei did nothing wrong.
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Han
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Re: Best/Favourite Kingdom (and Why?) Discussion

Unread postby James » Tue Jan 08, 2019 6:39 pm

Hi Han,

Three points, as I do not have time to engage so extensively in the content you’ve presented, and much of the content you’ve presented is not in disagreement with the points I originally made prior. And here, at your request. We certainly can drop it, but I did want to clear the air on any related points of confusion in hopes of finding common ground before it becomes a moderation concern.

1) Ad hominem. Feel free to disagree with members here about any number of subjects, but do not cross the line of attacking them or characterizing them as a group with a pejorative, and that includes accusing other people in a discussion of “circle jerking” (note the negative qualifier in the definition of an echo chamber you shared). And just to be crystal clear on that point, the negative connotation of “circle jerking” or an “echo chamber” is not that people are in agreement, but the implication that as a consequence of like-minded thinking or membership in a group where only a certain avenue of thinking is entertained that group inherently rejects (“exaggerated or in likewise distorted form” contrary information (e.g. what one might encounter presenting vaccine safety science in an anti-vaccination user group). That is not what happened here. People shared common ground on a reasonable interpretation which you disagreed with, and you decided to attack them with a group generalization in frustration (“circle jerk”). Even if they had engaged in some mild form of groupthink it is not acceptable here to level the personal attack against them. I’ll reiterate that the primary concern for moderation here is maintaining a civil and welcoming environment.

2) Rape. Not going to elaborate more on this discussion than I already did above, other than to point out that it seems you didn’t endeavor overmuch to understand where I was coming from with my reply. You’re free to disagree with me or any number of members here, but once again, you are not welcome to carry the discussion to ad hominem attack or become hostile to other members over that disagreement. I take, based on your reply above, that you may not feel you were doing this; all I can ask is that you pay attention to replies as you’re writing them and ask if they’re becoming hostile or unwelcoming, or if you’re starting to target the other person in the discussion instead of their argument, that you take a moment to rewrite your reply or not reply at all.

3) Rafe. The examples you’ve outlined are what I was describing. Reading between the lines, gathering supporting evidence, and presenting cases with commentary on likelihood or relevant factors. As for the forum, it seems I also need to point out that conjecture and speculation beyond what would be acceptable in an academic publication absolutely are allowed here, and have formed the basis of countless insightful discussions which have taken place in these forums.

Anyway, you do not need to agree with me on any of these points. The one crucial point is that engagement with other members in disagreement from a given member must not trend to be hostile or disrespectful. There’s no use in hosting an academic forum in which tends to become heated or hostile enough that most of the community opts against participation. Our small, old forum, in the long run, cannot survive becoming that sort of environment. To be clear, I very much appreciate your knowledge and enthusiasm to engage in these discussions, but please keep an eye out for our community’s health in doing so.

We’ve derailed this topic long enough. If you want to continue discussion about forum rules or any disagreement you might have with any of us who moderate the forum in public please take it to the Public Council sub-forum. Please focus replies here on the Three Kingdoms topics (not members) we’ve been discussing.
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