Whats the deal wit all the Ma Chao haters?

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Unread postby Sun Fin » Wed Nov 21, 2007 4:07 pm

I was refering to the novel and if my memory is correct he said it when Zhao Yun wanted to join the army going against Wei and Zhuge Liang says "I have just lost my great friend Ma Chao hius lose is like a loss of a limb' in an attempt to stop him coming. I don't know if it is said in real life but i think my original point still stands.
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Unread postby Long » Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:29 am

Historically Zhuge Liang, Cao Cao, and Yang Fu all praised Ma Chao's abilities.
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Unread postby Lonely_dragon » Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:40 am

Yup I had re-read and it is as you say... Sun Fin... Ma Chao is a great general I know that for sure... However as I have said his skills to Shu was less than when he was the leader of the Xi Liang army...

I find it funny when I read how he was so close at capturing Cao Cao that it made Cao Cao cut of his beard, and later uses flag as a beard...

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Nov 22, 2007 4:13 pm

Yes you are right lonely he does less when he joins shu but he did join alot later then the rest of the tigers and he still did everything that was asked of him when he did get a chance to fight it just seems that his oppitunites to fight for Shu were less then when he fought fo himself
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Re: Whats the deal wit all the Ma Chao haters?

Unread postby Vincinerate » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:54 am

Hi all,

There're 'reasons' people hate Ma Chao, think mainly due to how he was 'involved' in getting Ma Teng killed & his actual deeds for Shu (not before) in comparison to other 4 'Tigers' and even '6th' Tiger Wei Yan.
Though, today I'm here to save some points for Ma Chao.

1) Ma Teng's death. I strongly believe Ma Teng was summoned to the capital under Cao Mengde's scheme to keep Ma Chao & company at bay - it was this day, his fate was sealed. I feel that Cao's passing through Tong's Pass had 2 objectives, 1st - The end product was to take Zhang Lu, 2nd - if possible, take Tong's Pass with little or no resistance since Teng was in his hands. Fact that Cao kept Teng shows the Ma Clan were unlikely to support Wei, sooner or later Cao has to take them be it by force or as vassals. Chao had to make a decision to be subdued without effort or fight back at ALL cost, he ain't a diplomat but definitely a general hence fighting back was a clearer choice. Don't forget, he wasn't the overall commander - Han Sui was.

At Tong's Pass, many cited Chao was too arrogant/over-confident to fight Cao hence making the fight pointless resulting in Teng's easy death. He wasn't. He had a sound plan to defeat or at least make Cao work harder than expected - thats why both novel and history records depicts a close shave for Cao & his own quotes summarized Chao's proposal. The battle was over due to 3 key reasons - Han Sui's incapability as Overall IC, he didn't take Chao's proposals. Jia Xu's scheme. Xu Zhu's bravery & foresight to rescue Cao.

In modern times, i see Teng's position as a permanent imprisionment without parole. Is it better than death? Remember though, his death was about 1 year later after Tong's incident. Not just him, entire clan of 200+ members were murdered, was that really necessary? The blood is in Cao's hand not Chao. If Chao was so morally defiled/wrong, Liu Bei wouldn't have receive him & generous towards him (look at Lu Bu lol).

2) His deeds for Shu wasn't on the battleground but through diplomancy via his fame. He catalysted the battle at Cheng Du, sparing more bloodshed. His background exceled Liu Bei's campaign to restore Han, anti-Cao, pro-Han, decendant of Ma Yuan to show influence in the North, had official title bestowed from the capital (even Guan Yu & Zhang Fei weren't at that time). But of course, he didn't have enough time to show his military effort & died.

I'm not protraying Chao as the top general but he's also not that bad as many would say. If he's hated for his clan's death, how about Cao's murderous traits, how about Wei Yan's bridge burning, or Sun Quan's replacement saga?

In the end, i would say he's a pitiful general whose deeds are overshadowed is by the lost of his entire clan. Consolation through his cousin Ma Dai's involvement in later Shu.
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Re: Whats the deal wit all the Ma Chao haters?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Thu Oct 29, 2015 4:37 am

Vincinerate wrote:Hi all,

There're 'reasons' people hate Ma Chao, think mainly due to how he was 'involved' in getting Ma Teng killed & his actual deeds for Shu (not before) in comparison to other 4 'Tigers' and even '6th' Tiger Wei Yan.
Though, today I'm here to save some points for Ma Chao.


I guess so, but honestly, my reason for disliking Ma Chao as I do has more to do with how ruthless and bloodthirsty he became when the conflict with Cao Cao started. He is certainly not the only person guilty of this - warlords gonna warlord and all - but a lot of the other warlords guilty of wanton massacres usually have some sort of saving grace; perhaps they were talented, or it was a one-off incident, or they were particularly charismatic, or they were such a bastard to begin with that there isn't really room for debate.

But I don't get that when I look at Ma Chao. Not much foresight, only a fair to below average career performance, got involved in some very bloody battles with Cao Cao's forces, only to end up being thoroughly outclassed in what had previously been a decades-long stalemate over Liang, goes to Zhang Lu and then betrays him. Tack on getting his family killed - even if Han Sui was the one who made the decision to rebel, he could have killed him or sided with Wei if he was concerned with his family at the capital - and his relatively lackluster career in Shu, he just doesn't impress me that much. I don't actually hate the historical figure, but it's fun to have someone to pick on half-jokingly in my posts. :wink:

As for whether Ma Teng had sealed his fate when he sided with Cao Cao some time before, I am curious if the titles he was given were ceremonial in nature. Either way, if his family were straight up being held as hostages by Cao Cao, Ma Chao must have known the consequences of rebellion. Which again shows his lack of foresight (or concern).
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Re: Whats the deal wit all the Ma Chao haters?

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Thu Oct 29, 2015 6:11 am

Zyzyfer wrote:
Vincinerate wrote:Hi all,

There're 'reasons' people hate Ma Chao, think mainly due to how he was 'involved' in getting Ma Teng killed & his actual deeds for Shu (not before) in comparison to other 4 'Tigers' and even '6th' Tiger Wei Yan.
Though, today I'm here to save some points for Ma Chao.


I guess so, but honestly, my reason for disliking Ma Chao as I do has more to do with how ruthless and bloodthirsty he became when the conflict with Cao Cao started. He is certainly not the only person guilty of this - warlords gonna warlord and all - but a lot of the other warlords guilty of wanton massacres usually have some sort of saving grace; perhaps they were talented, or it was a one-off incident, or they were particularly charismatic, or they were such a bastard to begin with that there isn't really room for debate.

But I don't get that when I look at Ma Chao. Not much foresight, only a fair to below average career performance, got involved in some very bloody battles with Cao Cao's forces, only to end up being thoroughly outclassed in what had previously been a decades-long stalemate over Liang, goes to Zhang Lu and then betrays him. Tack on getting his family killed - even if Han Sui was the one who made the decision to rebel, he could have killed him or sided with Wei if he was concerned with his family at the capital - and his relatively lackluster career in Shu, he just doesn't impress me that much. I don't actually hate the historical figure, but it's fun to have someone to pick on half-jokingly in my posts. :wink:

As for whether Ma Teng had sealed his fate when he sided with Cao Cao some time before, I am curious if the titles he was given were ceremonial in nature. Either way, if his family were straight up being held as hostages by Cao Cao, Ma Chao must have known the consequences of rebellion. Which again shows his lack of foresight (or concern).


Well remember the main reason for Han Sui and Ma Chao's rebellion was because they thought Cao Cao was going to invade them. Cao Cao began to mass troops in Chang An, supposedly to invade Han Zhong but he would have to pass through Liang to get there. So basically he had to invade Liang first before he could get to Han Zhong.
So they had two choices, either wait for Cao Cao to invade and hope he doesn't come after them, or attack first and hope for the best. They decided to pick their own battlefield and did well for a while. Though being outclassed by Cao Cao is generally the rule not the exception :P
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Re: Whats the deal wit all the Ma Chao haters?

Unread postby Zyzyfer » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:39 am

LiuBeiwasGreat wrote:Well remember the main reason for Han Sui and Ma Chao's rebellion was because they thought Cao Cao was going to invade them. Cao Cao began to mass troops in Chang An, supposedly to invade Han Zhong but he would have to pass through Liang to get there. So basically he had to invade Liang first before he could get to Han Zhong.
So they had two choices, either wait for Cao Cao to invade and hope he doesn't come after them, or attack first and hope for the best. They decided to pick their own battlefield and did well for a while. Though being outclassed by Cao Cao is generally the rule not the exception :P


I'd say the problem with that is they had developed a kind of working relationship with Cao Cao prior to this. That was ostensibly the point behind all the Ma clan members being in Ye. I assume Ma Chao was left behind because Ma Teng couldn't stay but someone had to oversee the "family home", so to speak. And maintain command of the Ma forces in case of emergency, to be sure. So boom, oldest son takes over those duties.

Whether Cao Cao had ambitions to forcibly claim Liang, etc., from Han Sui and friends could go either way. I've seen people argue that he knew sending his troops the way that he did would end up triggering a war. It's possible - this is Cao Cao we're talking about here - but it seems poor timing if the target was Hanzhong, and Cao Cao did end up pressing on to subdue Zhang Lu relatively soon after events in Liang died down.

Rather, I'd take a stab that Cao Cao knew Jing and Yang were, for the time being, both uphill battles. Aside from that, he's got nominally submissive forces in Liang, Zhang Lu, and then Liu Zhang in Yi. Had he made quick work of Zhang Lu earlier and reached Liu Zhang's creamy caramel center that much sooner, before Liu Bei wiggled his way into establishing himself in Yi, and managed to gobble it up (possibly feasible in this time frame, depending on Liu Zhang's efforts to resist), all that's left to worry about is Liu Bei and Sun Quan, with Cao Cao in a very advantageous position to conquer the country.

Maybe he really felt like he could launch a sneak attack and quickly subdue Liang on the way, and they were astute to call his bluff and put him on the defensive initially. But I personally don't think it's a smart move considering how much trouble the province had been for so long, and the fact that relations weren't hostile leading up to this.

I did see, on the somewhat unreliable Wikipedia page, a comment about how the Mas in Ye were only ordered to be executed a year after Tong Pass started, with the reference being the Dianlue. I am unfamiliar with the veracity of this source, but if that were the case then it doesn't help Ma Chao's case all that much. Because it looks like he decisively lost at Tong, kept resisting anyway, and then after a year of this, Cao Cao had the Emperor issue the execution order for the family of a pain in the ass. (It's worth noting the surrender of Yan Xing and Yang Qiu around this time.)

tl;dr - Even if Cao Cao secretly intended to invade Liang, Ma Chao's rebellion didn't go all that hot, and it's possible he stretched it out long enough to wear out the Mas' welcome in Ye.
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Re: Whats the deal wit all the Ma Chao haters?

Unread postby Gray Riders » Thu Oct 29, 2015 2:19 pm

Vincinerate wrote:If Chao was so morally defiled/wrong, Liu Bei wouldn't have receive him & generous towards him (look at Lu Bu lol).

Liu Bei didn't seem to care too much about the morality of his officers; Fa Zheng took advantage of his position to execute people without authority, and nothing happened to him even after it was reported.

Zyzyfer wrote:I did see, on the somewhat unreliable Wikipedia page, a comment about how the Mas in Ye were only ordered to be executed a year after Tong Pass started, with the reference being the Dianlue. I am unfamiliar with the veracity of this source, but if that were the case then it doesn't help Ma Chao's case all that much. Because it looks like he decisively lost at Tong, kept resisting anyway, and then after a year of this, Cao Cao had the Emperor issue the execution order for the family of a pain in the ass. (It's worth noting the surrender of Yan Xing and Yang Qiu around this time.)

Wikipedia is pretty untrustworthy for ROTK issues (getting better though), sadly, so it's hard to say how reliable this is. Up until this year they claimed Cao Cao won the battle of Ruxu in 213 (the one where he ran away because of an approaching flood), and I'm pretty sure they used to claim Cao Cao killed Lu Bu in a duel.
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Re: Whats the deal wit all the Ma Chao haters?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:09 pm

I agree that those 2 reasons Vincinerate gave where a considerable part (well more the first then the second) of why Ma Chao became an unpopular reason in the west. I would also suggest DW's portrayal with it's Justice catch=phrase and I would also suggest that 4) he does not come across well in the sgz. Killing of Wei Kang and so on without having a good side to him really coming across as Zy has said. 5) Ability. After the novel bit mixed but sometimes glorious record, Ma Chao's historical record is mixed but more negative. So there is a bit of kickback from that.

Now onto the 2 clauses: 1) I think part of the problem is that when people go from novel/DW Ma Chao who avenges his murdered father to "Ma Teng was alive when Ma Chao invaded", it comes across really badly the first time you hear it. It takes time for people to learn and understand why the Liang forces invade.

I personally think Ma Chao and Han Sui were provoked into a war of Cao Cao's choosing. Cao Cao was seeking war, his build-up did seem a deliberate plot to unnerve them and provoke a fight when Cao Cao wanted. The warlords must have known they were not Cao Cao's favourite allies and that they were trouble, that at some point Cao Cao was going to attack. The Liang warlords sough to strengthen their hand by taking land quickly then negotiate. Cao Cao had no interest in that.

Ma Teng was a hostage. I'm not quite sure prisoned till possibly after the invasion works, more like being ankle-tagged into one city but yeah, Ma Teng did lose pretty much everything anyway. Going from warlord to sort of hostage, sort of token minister.

ot just him, entire clan of 200+ members were murdered, was that really necessary? The blood is in Cao's hand not Chao.


That sounds like a novel number but yes, due to filial piety and the laws of degrees, killing the Ma family was probably seen as necessary.

If Chao was so morally defiled/wrong, Liu Bei wouldn't have receive him & generous towards him (look at Lu Bu lol).


Lu Bu, who Liu Bei took in when useful? He only suggested Lu Bu's death when Lu Bu would have been serving Cao Cao.

Liu Bei had as his brothers a man who tried to steal another man's wife (Guan Yu), another brother who was a brute, murderer, kidnapper and possibly a rapist (Zhang Fei). One of his advisers for a short time, Xu Shu, was an ex-criminal. Gray has mentioned Fa Zheng. There is also the disreputable nature of some of the Lords Liu Bei served.

This isn't a shot at Liu Bei, he did what nearly all the other warlords did. He served who he needed, welcomed officers he could get be they saints or some quite horrible people as most of the warlords did. Warlords very rarely rejected a figure on moralistic grounds.

2) I think Vincinerate somewhat overeggs the pudding about Ma Chao's importance but this is an issue he does suffer from. It is unfair that he gets hit for basically dying before the Northern Campaigns.

I'm not protraying Chao as the top general but he's also not that bad as many would say. If he's hated for his clan's death, how about Cao's murderous traits, how about Wei Yan's bridge burning, or Sun Quan's replacement saga?


I think Zy touched upon it well with
but a lot of the other warlords guilty of wanton massacres usually have some sort of saving grace; perhaps they were talented, or it was a one-off incident, or they were particularly charismatic, or they were such a bastard to begin with that there isn't really room for debate.


With Ma Chao, the problem with his personality is that we only really get to see him as a warlord/warrior: brave but brutal, a man who leaves family and allies to their fate quite a bit. We don't get the tales of wooing, a sense of charisma, of Ma Chao being nice.

As for the three you mention:

1) Cao Cao. Yeah he divides people but I think most would agree that Cao Cao had a very dark, killing side. Some hate him for it, the reasons others (like myself) don't is the sense of charisma, brilliance and warmth about him. He comes across a very complex, fascinating individual as well as one of the great figures of his age. Of which being a murderous sod is part of it.

2) I don't like Wei Yan, the man was an egotist whose arrogance led to his just demise. The novel accidentally makes him a victim and for reasons I'll admit I don't understand, people see the historical Wei Yan as a victim too.

3) The heir issue is a massive black mark on Sun Quan but I think it is balanced out by a feeling that he was an ailing, senile man whose power was slipping away. There are other black marks against Sun Quan in his younger days but like Cao Cao, there are plenty of tales to make one smile about him. He has a strong jerk streak and yet there is something about the charismatic figure that also warms him to the reader.

Ma Chao doesn't have that warmth. We don't have his romances or treatment of step children or secret mystic desires of Cao Cao or the wrestling tigers/door burning/drunken banquet loving of Sun Quan.
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