Zhang Liao's Reputation

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Unread postby Morg » Tue Jan 27, 2004 7:59 pm

Sun Zhongmou wrote:I think there's a historical discrepancy. Sun Quan never mentioned this in his bio. Furthermore, there are more thanl three Wu bios that mentioned the second attack and not the first.

Lu Meng's bio mentions a sneak attack by Zhang Liao which would be presumably the first attack? My understanding of SGZ is that no one bio presents the full facts and that to get the full account of a battle then you need to read all the bios connected to it. For example, Zhou Yu's bios mentions that Lu Meng requested reinforcements for Gan Ning when Ning was struggling against Cao Ren at Yi Ling. However, Lu Meng's bio states that Lu Meng sent a plan to Zhou Yu to reinforce Gan Ning after Zhou Yu wouldn't send the troops.

It's only a small difference, but it is a fairly big one. AFAIK, SGZ divides the facts up (so that the reader isn't reading the exact same accounts over and over) and also is slightly slanted in favour of the general in question.


All the Wu bios were consistent and they could state the nature of the incident and where it took place. I believed Zhang Liao's bio never stated the place where it took place and nor was there any mention in the other Wei bios.

Which Wu bios are you referring to? Lu Meng's bio is very vague about He Fei


Sun Quan must be a better military commander than people think if this is true.

This is the way I had always perceived it.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Wed Jan 28, 2004 8:07 am

Ok, before we go off again about dysentry again, I'd just like to point out that:
- Zhang Liao's SGZ bio doesn't mention dysentry.
- Sun Quan's SGZ bio doesn't mention dysentry.
- Gan Ning's SGZ bio only said that "at that time, a disease spread throughout the camps, and the army was on its way back". It doesn't say when the men became sick or what sickness they had.
- Jiang Qin, Lu Meng, and Ling Tong's SGZ bios don't mention dysentry either.
- Li Dian and Yue Jin's SGZ bios don't mention dysentry.

Unless someone can show me that (a) Sun Quan's men marched to Hefei while they were sick, and (b) they were sick from dysentry, I'd rather we not use dysentry to measure Zhang Liao's accomplishments.

(also view these posts for some discussion on dysentry and stuff wrt Hefei: http://www.the-scholars.com/viewtopic.p ... c&start=20 )
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Unread postby Morg » Wed Jan 28, 2004 5:47 pm

Lady Wu wrote:Unless someone can show me that (a) Sun Quan's men marched to Hefei while they were sick, and (b) they were sick from dysentry, I'd rather we not use dysentry to measure Zhang Liao's accomplishments.

Good grief, Lady Wu siding against Sun Quan :shock:

Anyway, back to business. We can establish that the Wu army retired at He Fei because of an epidemic, can we not? The success of Zhang Liao's second charge can therefore be definitely attributed to the effects of the un-named illness that the Wu army was suffering from.

As for Zhang Liao's initial rush, yes it is debatable that the Wu army were suffering from illness then (my initial post did actually contain "IRC" as I hadn't looked the subject up).

As I said in my PM to you, the dysentery thing just seems to be an assumption that has jumped to fact perhaps based on present day conditions but there does seem to have been an outbreak of something. An army would not be withdrawn from a siege over a trivial illness.

On a related note, Gan Ning also supposedly died from dysentery but there seems to be no basis for that either...
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Unread postby Marc » Wed Jan 28, 2004 10:12 pm

Sorry everyone, I have been neglecting my own thread, however there has been plenty of people keeping it warm....

If Sun Quan's men did not have dysentry, then Zhang Liao's victory is even greater, since a fighting force of healthy men is much harder to beat than a force of afflicted men.
However, if they did have dysentry, then obviously Zhang Liao's massive achievement stand in some doubt, since there is always the question that if Sun Quan's men were fully able to win a battle, would Zhang Liao have been able defeat teh Wu army?

This we are agreed on?
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Thu Jan 29, 2004 8:16 am

Sorry, Morg, if my last post sounded like it was directed at you. It wasn't. I was just worried last night about forum-perpetuated myths getting out of hand. :wink:

Assuming that all those bios were truthful about the major events, this is what I gathered to have happened: Sun Quan marched to Hefei with 100k men and surrounded the city. Being the kind of guy who liked to do stuff rather than hang out in a tent 30 miles away, he made the fatal mistake of being too close to the frontline. The fact that he was close to the city was shown by the fact that Zhang Liao and his men made it all the way to right in front of him before they could regroup and repel the surprise attack. Thus routed, the Southland troops lost morale. Later, some unspecified illness spread through the camp and Sun Quan had to abandon the attack. It could have been anything--influenza, pneumonia, food poisoning, typhoid, anything. Probably this epidemic weakened the Wu troops, or perhaps they just didn't plan the retreat well enough. Zhang Liao and co. attacked again, and Sun Quan barely got away alive.

Zhang Liao's first, 800-men, attack was impressive--probably one of the most impressive deeds in the 3k era (unless you count Zhao Yun's Changban exploits from the novel). His routing of the retreating Wu troops was also great, though ambushing demoralized and retreating troops of course doesn't match up to charging straight into the ranks of an enemy ready to do battle. Wu historians probably omitted the first attack for the reason of saving face, but there's no reason to doubt that the first brave charge was fiction. That alone ought to make Zhang Wenyuan one of the coolest generals in 3k times.

Heh, and don't get me wrong, I still think Sun Quan is super rad, raddest out of the rulers. I believe in getting the historical facts straight though --no point in twisting and denying the facts to make Sun Quan a saint. He wasn't, and I like him that way. :D
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Unread postby Morg » Thu Jan 29, 2004 9:01 am

Zhuge Marc wrote:This we are agreed on?

I think Lady Wu's post has summed up what happened pretty well. Zhang Liao's first victory is indeed an impressive one that is unparalleled, but his second one could be attributed to the state of the Wu soldiers at the time. As Lady Wu pointed out though, the Wu army could have just retreated improperly.


Lady Wu wrote:Wu historians probably omitted the first attack for the reason of saving face, but there's no reason to doubt that the first brave charge was fiction. That alone ought to make Zhang Wenyuan one of the coolest generals in 3k times.

I agree totally with your summary of events and I think you are right that Wu didn't mention the first charge out of pride. The initial charge was indeed an incredibly display of bravery that was far more successful than intended (thanks to Sun Quan wanting front row seats :lol:) but I can't help but feel that Zhang Liao has a huge reputation based purely on this one event.

Before I get killed for saying that, let me explain: Zhang Liao was an impressive individual but his role was the defence of He Fei, a job he did admirably and inspired fear into his enemies (Sun Quan wouldn't even attack He Fei when Zhang Liao was dying). However, when you look at other Wei generals like Yu Jin, Yue Jin and Zhang He, they did a lot more for Wei than Liao did but yet they don't have similar fame. Perhaps the Jins and Zhang He just needed a defining moment...
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Unread postby Mega Zarak » Fri Jan 30, 2004 1:55 am

Morg wrote:but I can't help but feel that Zhang Liao has a huge reputation based purely on this one event.

The real reputation of Zhang Liao was definitely not based only on the He Fei's defence. Take a look for example in the event presented in Cao Cao's SGZ bio:

八月,登白狼山,卒与虏遇,众甚盛。公车重在后,被甲者少,左右皆惧。公登高,望虏陈不整,乃纵兵击之,使张辽为先锋,虏众大崩,斩蹋顿及名王已下,胡、汉降者二十馀万口。

Translates to:

During the 8th month, (Cao Cao's army) climbed the White Wolf Mountain, and met up with the enemies' forces. The enemies' forces came in great numbers. Cao Cao's armoured units were at the rear, and the troops (refering to the vanguard) were lightly armoured, (and hence)troops and officers were all fearful. Cao Cao climbed to a higher ground and saw that the enemies' formations were not in order, and he ordered his troops to attack them. Zhang Liao was appointed as the vanguard (to lead the charge), and the enemies' forces were badly defeated, Ta Dun and another King (of the tribes) were being cut down. The number of Han and Hu people who surrendered numbered 200,000+.

This event was refering to the arduous campaign against the Wu Wan at the White Wolf Mountain straight after the battle with the Yuan Shang at the city of Liu. Although the enemies' formations were not in order, they were all cavalry troops and they were better armoured. That's not to mention that Cao Cao's army was likely to be suffering from fatigue and they were fighting in unfamiliar terrain. In Zhang Liao's SGZ biography, it was mentioned that Zhang Liao urged Cao Cao to battle on and he personally cut down the Wu Wan chief, Ta Dun (the Historian missed out this part in his translation).

Morg wrote:Before I get killed for saying that, let me explain: Zhang Liao was an impressive individual but his role was the defence of He Fei, a job he did admirably and inspired fear into his enemies (Sun Quan wouldn't even attack He Fei when Zhang Liao was dying). However, when you look at other Wei generals like Yu Jin, Yue Jin and Zhang He, they did a lot more for Wei than Liao did but yet they don't have similar fame. Perhaps the Jins and Zhang He just needed a defining moment...


Maybe you can justify why you think Yu Jin, Yue Jin and Zhang He did more for Wei than Zhang Liao. IMO, Zhang Liao was comparable to all of them in terms of military merits and he topped them all (esp. Yu Jin and Yue Jin) in terms of bravery. By the way, Zhang Liao's SGZ biography is over here => http://www.3kingdoms.net/forum/showthre ... post169537
Last edited by Mega Zarak on Fri Jan 30, 2004 4:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Zhang Liao17 » Fri Jan 30, 2004 2:25 am

Very interesting thread. I always love to hear the historical side of things in contrast to the novel. It seems Zhang Liao had a knack for fighting hundreds of thousands of enemies and somehow winning. :wink: Anyway, the information from SGZ is great, keep it coming. :lol:
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Unread postby Cao Oda » Fri Jan 30, 2004 8:24 am

Zhang Liao has always been my fav General in the game and history but the Butcher of He Fei thats a first but reading this subject has been very interesing but I have a question how did Zhang Liao Die i am probly going to find out when I look at his Bio if not just tell me anyway :)
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800vs100000

Unread postby SesshomaruTenseiga » Fri Jan 30, 2004 5:28 pm

NEVER. Idont care who is helping you, it is impossible to hold out against 100000 men. just by number they would win. that is a 1/125 ratio. NOT POSSIBLE


1/4 fact
3/4 fiction
It's a now nothing.
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