The "What If" Thread

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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby VinnyYooo » Sun Dec 24, 2017 10:39 am

None taken - all good; thats how I talk normally too lol


Him claiming the throne is him literally NOT RECOGNISING Pi claim. Loyalty to the Han is not loyalty to the Emperor. Its loyalty to the dynasty and loyalty to the people.


No it's not! Sun Quan took away his recognition of Cao Pi without declaring himself emperor. Not recognising a usurper doesn't require you to become one yourself. By that logic, the only way for the warlords to not recognise Yuan Shu when he declared independence is by everyone becoming emperors.

And loyalty to the Han and loyalty to the emperor aren't mutually exclusive. In most cases, they're one and the same. There's no 'loyalty to the people'. That's nationalism. Nationalism wasn't a thing till Napoleon - on the other side of the planet.

Liu Bei said it as a feel good thing. His intentions were to probably ensure that Zhuge would do his utmost for the benefit of the Han.


Lol do you really believe that? Like really? Like how Sun Ce said the same thing to Zhou Yu in order to make him do his best for Wu, right? Oh, right of course, that never happened. Because no emperor would say 'take the throne away from my kid' when what they mean is 'don't take the throne away from my kid'.

Sure, his intentions were 'probably' to motivate Liang, but he could've also intended a lot of other things. Fact's fact - he authorised the removal of a Han emperor. Yes, that's right: Liu Bei authorised the removal of a Han emperor. So much for a defender of the Han.


Once again, nothing wrong with facade. Cao Cao and Sun Quan were the same. And once again, you do not understand the definition of charisma.


Again, not the point ... eh what?? ... In what way were Cao Cao and Sun Quan the same? Quan 1. never portrayed himself as the defender / restorer of the Han and 2. only reluctantly became emperor more to recognise the reality of the situation at the time rather than to serve his personal ambitions.

Cao never wanted to be emperor. He had better things to do.

Err, name me one person who managed to trick Cao Cao and Sun Quan. Name me one person who served so many different people and yet managed to be Emperor at the end.


Firstly, you can't claim that Jing was a brilliant move. He lost Guan Yu (and Zhang Fei?) over Jing. Bad move pissing off the greatest of the three kingdoms. Holding it for as long as he did, yeah ok, good on him. But he would've been better off keeping Guan Yu's head and acting honourably over Jing (because, you know, honour and all that shit - so important to Liu Bei).




Liu Bei at the very least were equals with Yuan Shao.

Yuan Shu gambled wrongly and lost 3/4 of his territory. Liu Bei tricked Cao Cao and Sun Quan and attained two provinces. Yuan Shu had strong support from the southern gentries in the beginning. Liu Bei was a peasent who became Emperor in the end.


Ok, you should ease up on the whole 'he became emperor therefore he must be awesome' argument. It's not even a thing. Yuan Shu became emperor and Cao Cao didn't. Cao Pi became emperor, Sima Yan became emperor - while Sima Yi and Zhao (who were much more able, didn't).

Same thing with your 'starting off as a peasant' argument. His grandad was the freaking emperor! (sth like that).
He always uses the 'my grandad was the emperor' line everywhere he went. He wasn't 'a peasant who became emperor', he was technically a prince - a Han prince who authorised the dethronement of a Han emperor at that! (ref to my rant on Kongming and Adou)

Sun Jian/Ce started off as Yuan Shu's little bitch and made a name for themselves, and Quan became emperor in the end. That's admirable.

Though, yes, on balance I'd probably say Liu Bei and Yuan Shao, overall, would've been comparable in terms of their abilities.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Han » Sun Dec 24, 2017 12:44 pm

No it's not! Sun Quan took away his recognition of Cao Pi without declaring himself emperor. Not recognising a usurper doesn't require you to become one yourself. By that logic, the only way for the warlords to not recognise Yuan Shu when he declared independence is by everyone becoming emperors.

And loyalty to the Han and loyalty to the emperor aren't mutually exclusive. In most cases, they're one and the same. There's no 'loyalty to the people'. That's nationalism. Nationalism wasn't a thing till Napoleon - on the other side of the planet.


Sun Quan took away recognition of Cao Pi only AFTER Pi invaded his territory.

Not mutually exclusive? Sure. One and the same? Lmao. Huo Guang was literally praised by the official histories for desposing the Emperor for the betterment of the Han Dynasty.

Nationalism - patriotic feeling, principles, or efforts.
"an early consciousness of nationalism and pride"
synonyms: patriotism, patriotic sentiment, allegiance/loyalty to one's country, loyalism, nationality; More
an extreme form of patriotism marked by a feeling of superiority over other countries.
plural noun: nationalisms
"playing with right-wing nationalism"
advocacy of political independence for a particular country.
"Scottish nationalism"

Loyalty to the people - being concern for them and striving to take care of their needs.

Two completely different things.

Lol do you really believe that? Like really? Like how Sun Ce said the same thing to Zhou Yu in order to make him do his best for Wu, right? Oh, right of course, that never happened. Because no emperor would say 'take the throne away from my kid' when what they mean is 'don't take the throne away from my kid'.

Sure, his intentions were 'probably' to motivate Liang, but he could've also intended a lot of other things. Fact's fact - he authorised the removal of a Han emperor. Yes, that's right: Liu Bei authorised the removal of a Han emperor. So much for a defender of the Han.


Not mutually exclusive. Agree by the way. Liu Bei probably said all that to ensure that Zhuge wont depose but would also strive for the Han.

Sure. But according to yourself: Because no emperor would say 'take the throne away from my kid' when what they mean is 'don't take the throne away from my kid'.

Again, not the point ... eh what?? ... In what way were Cao Cao and Sun Quan the same? Quan 1. never portrayed himself as the defender / restorer of the Han and 2. only reluctantly became emperor more to recognise the reality of the situation at the time rather than to serve his personal ambitions.

Cao never wanted to be emperor. He had better things to do.


Same goes for Liu Bei lmao. If he did not declare himself Emperor, it would be a silent admission that Pi claim was legitimate. By declaring himself Emperor, he can ensure that the Han continues through his lineage. What else do you propose? Liu Bei going around screaming Pi isnt legitimate would not accomplish anything! Him declaring himself the continuator of the Han like GuangWu send a clear message that the Han still existed under his regime. That is the greatest form of loyalty.

Because he didnt need to. Cao Cao frequently purged the gentry which allowed him to be the greatest controller of Han since Wang Mang. Him declaring himself Duke and later on King allows him to enjoy most of the benefits of an Emperor.

Firstly, you can't claim that Jing was a brilliant move. He lost Guan Yu (and Zhang Fei?) over Jing. Bad move pissing off the greatest of the three kingdoms. Holding it for as long as he did, yeah ok, good on him. But he would've been better off keeping Guan Yu's head and acting honourably over Jing (because, you know, honour and all that shit - so important to Liu Bei).


Him attaining Jing was a brilliant move. An unmatched one. Sun Quan forces did the heavy lifting during the ChiBi campaign and later on even the Nanjun campaign. Meanwhile, Liu Bei was able to attain the four southern commanderies of Jing with minimal bloodshed. The following deaths of Liu Qi and Zhou Yu allowed him to fill the power vaccum and he was thereafter able to attain Jiangling. Unmatched move. Cao Cao suffered the most casualties followed by Sun Quan. But the one who gained the most territory? Liu Bei.

Ok, you should ease up on the whole 'he became emperor therefore he must be awesome' argument. It's not even a thing. Yuan Shu became emperor and Cao Cao didn't. Cao Pi became emperor, Sima Yan became emperor - while Sima Yi and Zhao (who were much more able, didn't).

Same thing with your 'starting off as a peasant' argument. His grandad was the freaking emperor! (sth like that).
He always uses the 'my grandad was the emperor' line everywhere he went. He wasn't 'a peasant who became emperor', he was technically a prince - a Han prince who authorised the dethronement of a Han emperor at that! (ref to my rant on Kongming and Adou)

Sun Jian/Ce started off as Yuan Shu's little bitch and made a name for themselves, and Quan became emperor in the end. That's admirable.

Though, yes, on balance I'd probably say Liu Bei and Yuan Shao, overall, would've been comparable in terms of their abilities.


Liu Bei was emperor over 1/4 of China. Thats what seperates him from Shu.

He was never an official Prince. The East Han court never acknowledge him as once. He was never Prince in rank or in name. He was literally born a peasent. A shoemaker.

Quan inherited Jiangdong and a capable group of officials thanks to his father and brother. Bei never had that much support. In terms of quality, the officials he inherited from Liu Biao, Liu Qi and Liu Zhang were all inferior to Sun Jian and Sun Ce officials.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:20 pm

Hey Dong, I truly apologise. I just realised I came across as a total c••• and that was NEVER my intention.

And Vinny, apologies, hopefully none of you here will take it to heart.


Write "Cao Shaung is awesome" a 1000 times. :wink:

You didn't come across as anything more then getting caught up in debate and just needing a gentle tugback. I do always appreciate a "hands up and sorry" so thanks for that

Yuan Shao

Then let me clarify: technically Yan Liang was not alone (he had Guo Tu and Chunyu Qiong with him), but Cao Cao considered it important enough to go personally and bring Zhang Liao and Guan Yu. All three were better than the three Yuan Shao sent, so it's not surprising Cao Cao won. And it wasn't a minor spot, either; according to Carl Leban's Ts'ao Ts'ao and the Rise of Wei: The Early Years it was a vital route between Yuan Shao and Cao Cao's territories -- which was just another reason to send a top-notch general, not two overrated generals and a sycophant.

If Han Meng was a famous officer, what was he famous for? He was not Zhang He, Liu Bei, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun, Tian Feng, Ju Shou, or Shen Pei; I recognize many three kingdoms names, but not his -- and, indeed, KMA encylcopedia only describes him as that guy who lost Yuan Shao's first grain supply. Remember, when you pick someone based on reputation, not ability you get Cao Shuang and Xiahou Mao -- Wei would be better off picking SoSZ's Xiahou Mao!

I may be wrong about Ju Shou saying Chunyu Qiong was unworthy, but Yuan Shao's SGZ definitely said that Ju Shou recommended Yuan Shao send Jiang Qi to support Chunyu Qiong.


Yes Cao Cao took two guys who had been with him five minutes. Vs Chunyu Qiong a man admired and valued by a Han Emperor, Yuan Shao and Cao Cao was willing to hire him, while it is possible all such men who knew him and saw him fight all had sucky sucky judgement, it is probably wiser to think they might be onto something when speaking of a man who (due to being on a losing kingdom that didn't have a surviving history department) miliatry career we know so little about. Guo Tu who I agree with you on. Yan Liang who was famed in his own time by those who knew him, alas like Chunyu Qiong we don't get a biography of him listing how he got that fame. Unless we are arguing the entire north plains judgement sucks and several thousand years later, we know more based on what scraps we have of his career. Over-promoted one can argue, overatted?

How do I know? We only know anything about him when he turns up in a Wei general's biography. We know nothing of, frankly, most of the Yuan officer cores record in the many wars in the north. Being famous now and being famous among his fellows is a different thing. Though given Xu You's comment, he seems like one great for vanguard but not supply lines (then again, there seems quite a theme of Yuan generals whose flaws seems to be underestimating foes)

ZZTJ suggests that was more of a raid shield which would have been an excellent plan.

The rest feels like your trying so very hard to counter Yuan Shao praise and going too far

====

Liu Bei

On the basic question, Liu Bei was fairly good at a lot of things. He was a famed commander in his own time, though cautoius he showed good ability with tactics, he seems to have been capable enough of running a province, he had the needed ability to be ruthless. So what makes him stand above a jack of all trades?

1) Resilience. He suffered heavy blows, saw some horrible things yet he kept bouncing back. Cao Cao had to be talked out of surrendering, Liu Bei just rolled with the punches (bar one moment of midlife crises under Liu Biao) and unlike Yuan Shu, he had abilities to create something rather then implode

2) Charismatic. Most half successful warlords had some charisma but the sgz makes clear Liu Bei is exceptionally charismatic be it the comparisons like Han mentioned, the tales like charming someone sent to kill him, Chen Shou's comments. He also had the ability to not only hold together his officer core (some left good posts in Wei to be under him again) but recruit people to him when at low ebb. Trying to say who is the most charismatic figure is not something we can really do but if you don't put Liu Bei in the elite list on this, your computer will self combust in shame and the stars will form a message denouncing you :wink:

3) PR. Liu Bei was a wily political figure but he was an expert in PR and I don't mean that as an insult. It was noted repeatedly through the 3kingdoms that he was popular with the people, he was able to build alliances and spin a good tale to justify his actions where needed. It is vitally important skill for a warlord

4) Eye for talent/using them

In terms of the factors Vinny mentioned, not really. His ancestry became a useful political tool later in life but was of minor consequence during most of his life, it more gets spun by novel and culture. I don't think Liu Bei was particularly noted for Confucianism (his chief civil officer was more into legalism and plenty of scholars he picked up were of eccentric Yi branch or new age scholars of Jing). Hypocrite? Yes but the dictionary definition of a half decent 3kingdom warlord is hypocrite, Liu Bei was a skilled warlord and so he was a hypocrite. He only gets it in the neck becuase of the novel/cultural image which has nothing to do with the historical Liu Bei

In terms of kindness, I wouldn't put that as a reason for his rise but yes, by warlord standards he was kind. He doesn't have the dark streak of say Cao Cao, he was noted for his kindness (as was his son Liu Shan). There are horrible things he did (give a person such power and a bad side will emerge) and Liu Bei was ruthless sure but being kind was something he was noted for

On the "should he have taken the throne"? In theory no but I'll very surprised if Guangwu spent years searching for a close more legitimate relative and it wasn't like there hadn't been plenty of manipulation of the Han line in recent decades. Refusing to take the throne would have been absolute loyalty sure but no real advantage to that in practise and if Liu Bei united the land, it would have been a third Han dynasty and like the second, nobody would query to legitimacy. Obviously it suited Liu Bei that he "needed" to become Emperor but I suspect he did also believe that he was doing it for the Han and from what I have recall, where scholars claimed that Shu didn't have mandate in the coming generations (when there was considerable debate on the mandate), Liu Bei was never accused of Han disloyalty for taking throne even by pro-Wei figures.

Because he didnt need to. Cao Cao frequently purged the gentry which allowed him to be the greatest controller of Han since Wang Mang. Him declaring himself Duke and later on King allows him to enjoy most of the benefits of an Emperor.


Frequently purged the gentry? Maybe phrasing there and I'm being picky, Cao cao ruthlessly killed off or sent packing the few remaining Han loyalist figures, wouldn't call it frequent purging. I would more call the factionalism thing during the eunuch days (vs the gentry not vs eunuchs just to be clear) a purge

So I'm not missing anything, then? Just hypocrisy and bias from LGZ? Lol; My criticism isn't about the backstabbing itself - that's not an issue - but about his claim of being upright, honourable and upstanding. He claimed the throne while the rightful Han emperor was still alive - and yet claim to be loyal to Han. He's always had imperial ambitions from the start yet pretended to be a defender of the dynasty.


LGZ rehuals Liu Bei. He takes out most of Liu Bei's abilities for a variety of reasons, makes him speak a thousand times a minute of honour and weep at every crushed petal while flogging the Han relationship to death. The historical Liu Bei didn't particularly claim to be upright and so on, no more then every other warlord.

From the start? Liu Bei had imperial ambitions from before the Turbans? The man must have been a greater soothsayer then Nostradamus :wink: I see those sort claims (probably made them myself about Liu Bei in past) but always about whichever figure the user dislikes (Cao Cao or Liu Bei, never Sun family oddly enough) and I don't think they ever been accurate, whichever figure they are about. It requires the figures involved to have had amazing predictive powers given the situation when the Han collapsed and their own situation at the time, it ignores that people evolve and change or the capacity for people to believe whatever they are doing is for the cause (it just so happens to benefit them)

Benevolence in governing? Ok, sure. So that makes him equal to Tao Qian and Liu Zhang. Again, nothing special there (c.f. Qin Shi Huang and Li Si).


Historically, Tao Qian and Liu Zhang are bad examples. Tao Qian could be kind and skilled but he could also be a gigantic git who destroyed Xu with corrupt and bad governance. Liu Zhang was kindly but a weak ruler who didn't bring much benefit to Yi.

His charisma comes from his false pretences, which, I agree, makes him a dangerous person on account of the fact that people (i.e. his followers) are generally gullable to lies (I think this is what Cao Cao sees). His people management is good, but not extraordinary (Mi Fang and Liu Feng lost confidence in him - and that's saying a lot given their background).


Yes, they were all drawn to the hypocrisy and claims of a novel Liu Bei written way after they were all dead. Not their own ambitions, not their belief in Liu Bei's ability to go far or the usual things that draws people to a warlord, they all just happened to be conned. Not a single one of them knew with clear eyes what they were doing :wink:

Liu Feng and Mi Fang bad examples but yes, Liu Bei lost some people. If that means he isn't charismatic then no warlord of the 3kingdoms was charismatic. None

His 'cunning' and 'intelligence' can't be attributed to him personally cause he had good advisors.


Name them. He had no miliatry adviser of note till the invasion of Yi and his first half decent political adviser as Zhuge Liang whose early record was a bit erratic

lso, if restoring the Han was such an important thing for him, then he wouldnt've suggested Zhuge Liang to take the throne for himself had Liu Chan been an idiot. But Liu Bei seemed perfectly happy to end the 'Han' that way - as long as it's on his terms.


As I understand it, this is one of those things that would have made sense back then and wasn't unheard of but can seem strange now. While possibly in some place, somewhere someone made the offer as a genuine one, it was usually a show by both sides, the dying ruler shows his absolute trust to the future regent and grants extra legitimacy, the future regent wails how grateful he is and pledges undying loyalty, he could never take the throne.

I would assume given all Liu Bei has done to get this far, building the Han legitimacy angle and that he had ruthlessly been securing Liu Shan's (who had been successful enough while Liu Bei was away) succession, he wasn't about to really throw away all that (and ensure Shu dies very quickly) all of a sudden. He presumably also felt he could trust Zhuge Liang and that Zhuge Liang was wise enough to know

1) "Oh thank you, I'm willing to overthrow your son" would see Zhuge Liang "accidentally" run into sharp objects and die within a minute.

2) Zhuge Liang trying to take the throne would have killed the kingdom and likely himself very very quickly

No, I'm acknowledging it and saying I agree. But again, would you say that Liu Bei is a cut above the rest based on his military skills alone? Compared to Sun Jian, Yuan Shao, Zhou Yu, etc. etc. Not really ...


Yeah I would certainly say Liu Bei was not an exceptional commander so not on Sun Jian's level.

And yes, he's good at bouncing back from defeat. Tick. Ok, soooo: good at bouncing back from defeat, high personal ambition, military skills, good at convincing followers that he's top shit, respected by one or two important warlords around that time. So basically Liu Bei is like Yuan Shu? Ha!


Nice windup :wink:

Lol do you really believe that? Like really? Like how Sun Ce said the same thing to Zhou Yu in order to make him do his best for Wu, right? Oh, right of course, that never happened. Because no emperor would say 'take the throne away from my kid' when what they mean is 'don't take the throne away from my kid'.


Strictly speaking, Zhou Yu was away at the time, it was more Zhang Zhao and others

Sun Ce would have been making a really really bad call to do that move at that time. Bear in mind when the "you can take over but if say yes, you die" scenes were when there was clear succession, son succeeded daddy, unlikely to be disputes and a nice secure kingdom. In this case there were multiple (including Zhou Yu) candidates to take over from Sun Ce so no clear line of succession and any such comment would be highly disruptive to a fragile and newly established kingdom (sorry, can't think of a better word), Sun Ce had to throw all his support behind Sun Quan.

Again, not the point ... eh what?? ... In what way were Cao Cao and Sun Quan the same? Quan 1. never portrayed himself as the defender / restorer of the Han and 2. only reluctantly became emperor more to recognise the reality of the situation at the time rather than to serve his personal ambitions.


Sun Quan sucked up on Han loyalty as required as most warlords did and reluctantly became emperor would be amazingly out of character. He was fiercely ambitious and had the most difficult time legitimising becoming Emperor of the three factions, Wu's claim never stuck. I don't blame him for becoming Emperor but he wasn't some petrified man being dragged to doing it by the big meanies of his officer core

Cao never wanted to be emperor. He had better things to do.


Unless your a mindreader, you can't state that (or the opposite) as fact.


Firstly, you can't claim that Jing was a brilliant move. He lost Guan Yu (and Zhang Fei?) over Jing. Bad move pissing off the greatest of the three kingdoms. Holding it for as long as he did, yeah ok, good on him. But he would've been better off keeping Guan Yu's head and acting honourably over Jing (because, you know, honour and all that shit - so important to Liu Bei).


Wu at that point had slipped to third of the three kingdoms as Professor Rafe, the great historian (and Wu inclined man) would say and while Liu Bei (and EU) did not behave well over Jing, that debt was paid in 215.

Same thing with your 'starting off as a peasant' argument. His grandad was the freaking emperor! (sth like that).
He always uses the 'my grandad was the emperor' line everywhere he went. He wasn't 'a peasant who became emperor', he was technically a prince - a Han prince who authorised the dethronement of a Han emperor at that! (ref to my rant on Kongming and Adou)


From Liu Bei's sgz
e First Sovereign’s grandfather was Liu Xiong, father was Liu Hong, and both worked as magistrates in Zhuo. Liu Xiong was chosen as Filial and Incorrupt (Xian Lian) (IV) and worked in Dongjun, Fanling.
Not emperor

and no he didn't. The novel did, the historical Liu Bei didn't and he was never a prince. I do think the peasant angle gets a little oversold (most peasants didn't have the education he had) but he was literally selling sandals as a youngster
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Han » Mon Dec 25, 2017 1:54 pm

I fucking love you Dong. Lmaooo. You put things so eloquently and come off as extremely knowledgeble. You pretty much sum up what I wanted to say and get across in a single post.

Anyways, to elaborate about the Cao purging thing. When Chen Shou and Pei Songzhi compiled the SanGuoZhi they usually classify people biographies in terms of their actions, roles and moral behaviours.

Under this format, there is a particular section which sums up Cao Cao "purges". They are the biographies of Cui Yan, Kong Rong, Xu You and Lou Gui.

http://xuesanguo.tumblr.com/post/166798330402/121-cuī-yǎn-崔琰-jìguī-季珪

Furthermore, this is what Chen Shou have to say about Cao Cao: Previously, Tàizǔ by nature was envious, and those he could not bear, Lǔ-guó’s Kǒng Róng (1), Nányáng’s Xǔ Yōu (2) and Lóu Guī, all relied on old relations to not act with reverence and were executed. (3) But Yǎn was the most lamented for at the time, and to today it is considered an injustice. (4)

When Chen Lin drafted up Yuan Shao declaration of War, he also accused Cao Cao of harming worthy men : Cao Cao continued to act in the same erratic manner. Tyrannical and cruel, he plundered and oppressed the people, bringing harm to worthy men, and death to the good.

Bian Rang, for example, former Administrator of Juijiang, was known throughout the empire for his courage and ability, for his direct speech and his refusal to flatter. He was killed and his body was exposed, while he wife and children were likewise destroyed.

And also : Rewards and honours were granted at his whim, punishments and execution at no more than the expression of his wish. Those whom he favoured were glorified for five generations of ancestors; those whom he disliked were slaughtered with their families. Anyone who criticized suffered public execution, while anyone who expressed private disapproval was slain in secret. Officials kept their mouths shut, as people on the roads dared only to exchange glances. The clerks of the secretariat did no more than record the proceedings of the court, and senior ministers stood like dummies.

Than there is the whole Xun Yu forced suicide thing.

And although Cao Cao is noted as a kindhearted men, he is also noted to be suspicious and " over the top excessive" when it involves administration and warfare.

Im sure that there are a couple more people that Cao killed, but for now this is all I have.

Maybe Im being slightly harsh, but I dont see who murder more officials( although a few of them definitely deserve it) than Cao Cao other than perhaps Dong Zhuo.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Tue Dec 26, 2017 9:35 am

We may have a different definition of purge

For m, a purge would be Huan vs Liang Ji's followers, Ling/eunuchs vs gentry with factionlisim, Wu's southern gentry vs northern gentry after Quan's death, Cao Rui vs Zhuge Dan and co. A deliberate policy of sacking (or worse) an internal group in a short space of time. Possibly Cao Cao switching out Han ministers for his own when Xian came into power, the examples you give can be described as a pattern but these were spread over the years and often in individual circumstances

Chen Shou intresting comment, Chen Lin was writing a work of propaganda and in this instance that description seems to contradict the wider image Cao Cao had for bringing through talented men and being law and order guy.

On the deaths listed (just musing), Cui Yan's death is a crime for which Cao Cao should be condemned, Bian Rang's execution for an old insult is a crime (and led to Cao Cao losing nearly losing Yan so Chen Lin was wise to try to use that). Kong Rong had a death wish and I sometimes wonder if he needed mental health care (not a mental health professional but he just seems to have had a need to provoke people to trying to kill him), Xu You seems to been becoming an issue (I suspect Wu would have gone for exile, Wei seems never to have really gone that route. I don't know if they felt they had no safe exile land whereas Wu felt they could send likes of Yu Fan south safely), Lou Gui feels weird but Rafe's encyclopaedia has
Favoured by Cao Cao, Lou Gui accumulated great wealth, but was later reported to have presumed upon his position and shown a lack of respect. Cao Cao killed him
so there is a theme here. Xun Yu died for his principles and becuase those principles made him a threat to Cao family when Cao Cao dies so I can see why Cao Cao did that.

There does seem a pattern where old friends get arrogant, begin relying on that and Cao Cao reacts to kill them. Cao Cao clearly did not take insults well but I also wonder if, as well as the belittled element in Xu You/Lou Gui case, when he saw such behaviour he felt it could be an issue for his wider authority.

And although Cao Cao is noted as a kindhearted men, he is also noted to be suspicious and " over the top excessive" when it involves administration and warfare.


source on the bit after suspicious?

Maybe Im being slightly harsh, but I dont see who murder more officials( although a few of them definitely deserve it) than Cao Cao other than perhaps Dong Zhuo.


No idea if his numbers are excessive in propitiation to his rivals (taking into account how many more gentry he has) or previous Han Emperor's
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Han » Tue Dec 26, 2017 11:09 am

We may have a different definition of purge

For m, a purge would be Huan vs Liang Ji's followers, Ling/eunuchs vs gentry with factionlisim, Wu's southern gentry vs northern gentry after Quan's death, Cao Rui vs Zhuge Dan and co. A deliberate policy of sacking (or worse) an internal group in a short space of time. Possibly Cao Cao switching out Han ministers for his own when Xian came into power, the examples you give can be described as a pattern but these were spread over the years and often in individual circumstances

Chen Shou intresting comment, Chen Lin was writing a work of propaganda and in this instance that description seems to contradict the wider image Cao Cao had for bringing through talented men and being law and order guy.

On the deaths listed (just musing), Cui Yan's death is a crime for which Cao Cao should be condemned, Bian Rang's execution for an old insult is a crime (and led to Cao Cao losing nearly losing Yan so Chen Lin was wise to try to use that). Kong Rong had a death wish and I sometimes wonder if he needed mental health care (not a mental health professional but he just seems to have had a need to provoke people to trying to kill him), Xu You seems to been becoming an issue (I suspect Wu would have gone for exile, Wei seems never to have really gone that route. I don't know if they felt they had no safe exile land whereas Wu felt they could send likes of Yu Fan south safely), Lou Gui feels weird but Rafe's encyclopaedia has


Ah I see.

Propaganda definitely. But it has element of truth to it.

source on the bit after suspicious?


Him massacring Western Xu province twice to avenge his fathers death for the warfare part?

No idea if his numbers are excessive in propitiation to his rivals (taking into account how many more gentry he has) or previous Han Emperor's


I dont think he has a more significant amount of gentry in comparison to Yuan Shao and Liu Biao. I think its a combination of

1) Cow Cow long career.

2) Constant plotting and even rebellions against him by Han loyalist.

3) Him always choosing " death route" in comparison to Early day Sun Quan who exiled or demoted his political enemies and Liu Bei who jailed a few gentry before his eastern campaign.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Sun Fin » Tue Dec 26, 2017 6:18 pm

VinnyYooo wrote:
No it's not! Sun Quan took away his recognition of Cao Pi without declaring himself emperor. Not recognising a usurper doesn't require you to become one yourself. By that logic, the only way for the warlords to not recognise Yuan Shu when he declared independence is by everyone becoming emperors.

And loyalty to the Han and loyalty to the emperor aren't mutually exclusive. In most cases, they're one and the same. There's no 'loyalty to the people'. That's nationalism. Nationalism wasn't a thing till Napoleon - on the other side of the planet.


Just to build on what others have been saying here, to the men of the day loyalty to the concept of Han was far more significant than loyalty to an individual Emperor. Most of the time these went hand in hand but we can see it a few times towards the end of the Han when the dynasty became more important.

This article wayward Author posted up a little while ago from the Cambridge History of China explores this topic throughout (a warning - it's a long essay!).

However two particular paragraphs stood out to me as helpful in proving this:

In 107, perhaps in 127, in 147 and in 188, we have evidence of plots to remove the living emperor. If any of them had succeeded, the new emperor would still have been chosen from the Liu family. When the coalition against Tung Cho [Dong Zhuo] deliberated the setting up of a new emperor in 191, the man they considered was again a member of the Liu family. If there were many indications among the people that the Han dynasty had outlived its mandate, this thinking did not travel upward into the elite.


Here we can see that several times when it had been convenient the ruling elite had considered replacing one Liu Emperor with another. On one particular occasion it was after Dong Zhuo enthroned Liu Xian and the warlords wanted to create their own candidate, Liu Yu. Here we can see loyalty to the Han dynasty rather than to any particular person.

This paragraph explains Shu-Hans justification for Liu Bei setting up his own dynasty:

In Liu Pei's [Liu Bei] dynasty, a theory was developed which held that several Han dynasties were to succeed each other, just as brothers are born one after the other. The Former Han was seen as the elder brother, the Later Han as the middle brother, and a new Han dynasty was to follow as the youngest brother. For this reason, the Han dynasty established by Liu Pei [Liu Bei] in A.D. 221 is sometimes called "youngest brother Han.'"'° This dynasty was suppressed in 263, but forty years later a new Han dynasty was proclaimed in north China in A.D. 304. Part of the proclamation which heralded this dynasty has been noted above (p. 363).


Here we also see that loyalty to the Han dynasty was what was important, not individual Emperors. Liu Xian had abdicated, had lost the mandate but it was crucial that a Han dynasty did exist so Shu-Han was born.
Interested in the history behind the novel? Find a list of english language Three Kingdom sources here.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Dec 27, 2017 1:43 pm

Han wrote:
Ah I see.

Propaganda definitely. But it has element of truth to it.


I don't really see how.

On one hand you have comments from likes of Tian Chou and others on what they admire about Cao Cao is strict laws, when the records go into administration like how Cui Yan and Mao Jie's system works, again strict laws or feeding the people or talent coming through the ranks so on and so forth.

Vs a guy whose job when writing that is to do a hatchet job and where Profess Rafe describes it as
During the Guandu campaign of 200, Chen Lin composed the proclamation to justify Yuan Shao's attack, and he wrote pamphlets abusing Cao Cao and his family in most extreme terms
. Then was so oppressed he joined Cao Cao and took trusted positions under Cao Cao :wink:


Him massacring Western Xu province twice to avenge his fathers death for the warfare part?


I more meant the administration part but my fault for not being specific!

I dont think he has a more significant amount of gentry in comparison to Yuan Shao and Liu Biao. I think its a combination of

1) Cow Cow long career.

2) Constant plotting and even rebellions against him by Han loyalist.

3) Him always choosing " death route" in comparison to Early day Sun Quan who exiled or demoted his political enemies and Liu Bei who jailed a few gentry before his eastern campaign.


I was more thinking the Han emperors in terms of land mass and thus numbers then those two but fair enough. I think first two are fair, 3 is a little harsh.

Wu went for exile so agreed there. Liu Shan also was big on exile but the Wei and Sima regents never seem to have done so, they may have been more worried about the exile regions and tribes there then Shu/Wu I guess? Cao Cao didn't always go for death, there were times where he spared lives and of course there was major discussions on appropriate non-death punishments but sure, in big political battles he did go for death. Liu Bei also tended to go for death other then the Yiling disagreement but then, Cao Cao didn't tend to punish people for opposing wars off the top of my head
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Han » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:20 pm

I don't really see how.

On one hand you have comments from likes of Tian Chou and others on what they admire about Cao Cao is strict laws, when the records go into administration like how Cui Yan and Mao Jie's system works, again strict laws or feeding the people or talent coming through the ranks so on and so forth.

Vs a guy whose job when writing that is to do a hatchet job and where Profess Rafe describes it as
During the Guandu campaign of 200, Chen Lin composed the proclamation to justify Yuan Shao's attack, and he wrote pamphlets abusing Cao Cao and his family in most extreme terms
. Then was so oppressed he joined Cao Cao and took trusted positions under Cao Cao :wink:


How what?

Yes, Cao Cao was strict and talented, but he also murdered a large amount of officials compared to others excluding Dong Zhuo? Talent and cruelty dont contradict.

Cao Cao was capable of kindness yes, but he was also a cruel person in comparison to his rivals.

I more meant the administration part but my fault for not being specific!


Around the ninth lunar month of 219, when Cao Cao was away on a campaign against Liu Bei in Hanzhong, Wei Feng plotted a rebellion in Ye together with Chen Yi and others. However, before the plan was carried out, Chen Yi became afraid and he reported the plot to Cao Pi, Cao Cao's heir apparent, who was in charge of Ye during his father's absence. Wei Feng and his accomplices, numbering dozens, were arrested and executed.[7] Those who were implicated include: Zhong Yao, who recommended Wei Feng, was dismissed from his position as the Chancellor (相國) of Cao Cao's vassal kingdom;[8] Wang Can's two sons, who were executed;[4] Liu Wei, who was also executed.[5]

And the SanGuoZhi and SanGuoZhiZhu has a section of men that Cao Cao killed.

Kong Rong death and Cui Yan one was pretty bad.

I was more thinking the Han emperors in terms of land mass and thus numbers then those two but fair enough. I think first two are fair, 3 is a little harsh.

Wu went for exile so agreed there. Liu Shan also was big on exile but the Wei and Sima regents never seem to have done so, they may have been more worried about the exile regions and tribes there then Shu/Wu I guess? Cao Cao didn't always go for death, there were times where he spared lives and of course there was major discussions on appropriate non-death punishments but sure, in big political battles he did go for death. Liu Bei also tended to go for death other then the Yiling disagreement but then, Cao Cao didn't tend to punish people for opposing wars off the top of my head


Sure, Cao Cao is a cruel person but capable of virtue.

Source that Liu Bei tended to go for death? The SanGuoZhi disagrees.

The SanGuoZhi states: He did not speak very much but treated his people very well and hid his emotions under a calm exterior. The First Sovereign made friends with famous and heroic people and many youths had struggled to attach to him. At Zhongshan, there were two merchants, Zhang Shiping and Su Shuang, who saved up a thousand gold and went to sell horses in Zhuo prefecture. They saw the First Sovereign and noticed how exceptional he was so they gave him some of their gold. With these resources, the First Sovereign started recruiting the multitudes.

In Pingyuan, a man named Liu Ping despised and was jealous of the First Sovereign, hence sent assassins to kill him. But the assassins could not bear to lay their sword on the First Sovereign, hence this showed that everyone in Pingyuan loved Liu Bei. (6)

6: Wei Shu (X): Liu Ping sent assassins to kill Liu Bei. Liu Bei did not know of their purpose but instead treated them generously. The assassins felt rather shamed and left. The people of Pingyuan were very poor, yet Liu Bei treated them very well. On one hand, he dealt with bandits yet on the other hand he distributed money, ate and slept with the commoners, just like he was one of them. Hence the people of Pingyuan loved him.

20: Kong Yan’s Han Wei Chun Qiu: Liu Zong had surrendered to Cao Cao but did not tell Liu Bei. Liu Bei also did not know. After time, Liu Bei found out and sent someone to ask Liu Zong. Liu Zong sent Song Zhong to inform Liu Bei that he did indeed surrender. At that time, Cao Cao had reached Yuncheng. Liu Bei was afraid and said to Song Zhong, ‘Why was I not told of this earlier? Now only when the danger is so close that you people tell me, is that not unreasonable?’ He grabbed a sword and said, ‘If I cut your head off now, it will not be able to solve my problems but rather will ruin my reputation’. So he released him. He gathered a council of his people. Some said that Liu Zong should be taken hostage and moved together to Jiangling. Liu Bei replied, ‘Liu Jingzhou (XXVI) asked me to take care of his sons, yet I betray his sons like this? How can I face the late Liu Jingzhou when I enter Heaven?’. When Liu Bei galloped passed Xiangyang, he called out to Liu Zong, but Zong refused to see him. Many of Liu Zong’s people switched to the First Sovereign’s side.

Dian Lue: Liu Bei, before he left, went to Liu Biao’s shrine and wept for a while before leaving

21: Xi Zuochi comments: (XXVII) Liu Xuande, in the most dangerous sitations, still was righteous, and in the most pressed situation, never swayed away from rectitude. He never betrayed his promise to Liu Biao to protect his citizens and this inspired the troops and increased their admiration and loyalty. The First Sovereign therefore deserved the great success he had achieved.

In the summer of the nineteenth year of Jian’an [AD 214], the defences of Luocheng were broken. (32) After being surrounded for several days in Chengdu, Liu Zhang came out and surrendered. (33) The people in Shu were very happy and celebrating. The First Sovereign ordered lots of wine to be brought for the troops and conferred gifts to the Shu officials. The First Sovereign became Imperial Protector of Yizhou; Zhuge Liang his assistant; Fa Zheng his advisor; Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, and Ma Chao his subordinate generals; titles were given to Xu Jing, Mi Zhu, Jian Yong, Dong He, Huang Quan, Li Yan (who were Liu Zhang’s former generals), Fei Guan (who was Liu Zhang’s relative), Peng Yang (who Liu Zhang did not like), Liu Ba. Liu Zhang was wary and jealous of people like Liu Ba but the First Sovereign gave them the right positions and all were very satisfied. (XL)

XL: It can be seen here that Liu Bei not only treated his own subordinates generously but also Liu Zhang’s generals and subordinates. We note that Liu Ba, who constantly avoided Liu Bei for many years, was promoted. Everyone was satisfied and Rafe De Crespigny mentions about Liu Bei’s amazing charisma and how he won the alleigance of people from all over China, from his home province of Zhuo (Jian Yong), to Xuzhou (Mi Zhu), the Jingzhou region and now the officials and generals of Yizhou.
32: Yibu Qijiu Zaji: Liu Zhang sent Zhang Ren and Liu Qi to defend Fucheng, but were both defeated by the First Sovereign. They retreated, taking with them Liu Zhang’s son, Liu Xun, and went to defend Luocheng. Zhang Ren led troops to Yan bridge to fend off the First Sovereign but was again defeated and captured. The First Sovereign knew he was very capable and asked him to surrender. Zhang Ren very loudly replied, ‘Thy old servant cannot serve two lords’. Zhang Ren was then executed. The First Sovereign felt a great loss.
33: Fu Zi (XLI): Initially, when Liu Bei attacked Shu, Zhao Jian, an official of the Prime Minister (cheng xiang) said, ‘How useless is Liu Bei? He was defeated many times and was constantly wandering around. How can he gain a victory? Even though Yizhou is small, there are lots of natural defences hence it is easy to defend.’ (XLII)

Zhen Shi Fu Gan: Liu Bei was a person who was very generous and courteous with everyone, hence many people were willing to fight for him. Zhuge Liang was a very capable person. He was very righteous and resourceful, hence he was most suitable to be his Prime Minister. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei were brave yet righteous, able to withstand ten thousand men, and hence were suitable to be his commanders. These three people together were true talents of the time. And together with Liu Bei’s charisma and vision, how can they not succeed?

Chen Shou comments: The First Sovereign was kind and generous and knew how to read and use peoples’ abilities well. He had the charisma of Gaozu (Liu Bang) and the qualities of a hero. He entrusted the affairs of the state to Zhuge Liang with utmost sincerity. This demonstrated great trust between a sovereign and minister which is something rarely seen in present and ancient times. His ambition, power, and strategy were below that of Wei Wu (Cao Cao), hence his territories were smaller. Though he suffered many defeats [at the hands of Cao Cao], he always remained resilient and would not bow and serve him. He resisted [Cao Cao] because he knew that [Cao Cao] was certain to not tolerate him [within his ranks]. Hence what he did was not just for personal benefit but also to avoid being harmed.
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Re: The "What If" Thread

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:43 pm

Han, you seem to have accidentally posted wrong quotes. For Cao Cao's excessive in administration, you have him punish people complicit in Wei Feng's planned revolt in the normal manner of the time. For Liu Bei not killing people you post nothing of where he spares lives of others, which I assume is what you meant to post, but quotes about how he was charismatic and kind (maybe quotes you meant for Vinny?). Do you want to edit in the quotes you meant to post?
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