Zhao Yun: Useless?

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Zhao Yun: Useless?

Unread postby paijo_anelka » Tue Jun 08, 2004 4:40 am

Greetings all,

I'm new here, and I've enjoyed the SGYY (novel) immensely. However, just browsing through the posts here brought up a lot of interesting reading that I've never even known. Anyway, from the novel story, I've always loved the character of Zhao Yun, and I was wondering if you guys more 'experienced' historians :D can tell me more about his merits or foolishness. I've seen people call him .. useless!! But basically, I just want to know more about him.

And also if you have links, that would be great also. And oh, I cant read Chinese so if you wanna link something in Chinese, I won't be able to read it :cry: others probably can but I won't .. oh well.
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:20 am

Welcome to SoSZ, paijo! :D

I wouldn't call Zhao Yun useless. Then again, I'm a Zhao Zilong fangirl, so my word is not final ^^

I think what a lot of people are pointing out here is that Zhao Yun's achievements in history, as recorded in history, were not as spectular as his exploits in the novel. Many of his coolest acts in the novel were not recorded in history and were either folk legend, the invention of the author, or just "something that could have happened but we don't know either way". Have you checked out his historical biography?

Another point is that his historical merits were not the type that saves a kingdom or is at least really important to it, like Zhang Liao's resistance of Sun Quan at Hefei, Guan Yu's taking Xiangyang, or Lu Xun's defeat of Liu Bei. Some others point out the fact that Liu Shan gave Zilong a temple name the year after he built temples for Pang Tong, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Huang Zhong, and Ma Chao, and suggest that Zhao Yu wasn't the original "group of five".
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Unread postby paijo_anelka » Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:39 am

Lady Wu wrote:Welcome to SoSZ, paijo! :D

I wouldn't call Zhao Yun useless. Then again, I'm a Zhao Zilong fangirl, so my word is not final ^^

I think what a lot of people are pointing out here is that Zhao Yun's achievements in history, as recorded in history, were not as spectular as his exploits in the novel. Many of his coolest acts in the novel were not recorded in history and were either folk legend, the invention of the author, or just "something that could have happened but we don't know either way". Have you checked out his historical biography?

Another point is that his historical merits were not the type that saves a kingdom or is at least really important to it, like Zhang Liao's resistance of Sun Quan at Hefei, Guan Yu's taking Xiangyang, or Lu Xun's defeat of Liu Bei. Some others point out the fact that Liu Shan gave Zilong a temple name the year after he built temples for Pang Tong, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Huang Zhong, and Ma Chao, and suggest that Zhao Yu wasn't the original "group of five".


Oooh, is this biography what you guys often refered to as SGZ? so this is SGZ:Zhao Yun?
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Unread postby Chuko Liang » Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:40 am

Indeed, SGZ is an acronym for San Guo Zhi which means something around the area of "Three Kingdoms History", as opposed to Yan Yi which comes closer to a western "Romance"
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Jun 08, 2004 5:52 am

paijo_anelka wrote:Oooh, is this biography what you guys often refered to as SGZ? so this is SGZ:Zhao Yun?

Yup. Sanguo Zhi was the history of the Three Kingdoms compiled shortly after Wu's fall. It is actually a collection of biographies of the various characters in that period of time. Though not sanctioned by the government as an official project at that time, the text was elevated to the status of the definitive and official history in the 5th century.
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Unread postby Six_and_Up » Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:14 am

I would not call Zhao Yun unless, even historically, as Chen Shou in his analysis of the five tiger generals does put Zhao Yun in the same league as Huang Zhong.

Chen Shou’s final thoughts on the Five Tiger Generals: Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, etc were known to be powerful generals who could fight ten thousand men and accredited to be among the best of their times. Guan Yu repaid Lord Cao’s favour, Zhang Fei’s releasing of Yan Yan out of righteousness were deeds held in high esteem in the country. However, Guan Yu was unyielding and overly self-respect, whereas Zhang Fei was hot-tempered and without kindness, their short-comings leading to their defeats. This is common logic indeed. Ma Chao betrayed the minority tribes and lacked courage; he was a disappointment for his people, what a pity! Having been able to rise from rags to riches, is this not better? Huang Zhong and Zhao Yun both strong and valiant were good subordinates of their lord, like the claws and teeth to a beast. Can they not compare to the likes of Guan Yin and Xiahou Yin?

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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Jun 08, 2004 6:14 pm

Well, then the question is, how highly did Chen Shou consider Huang Zhong? Huang's bio is the shortest of the lot at 7 lines. Yang Xi's "Elegies of the Ministers of the Third Han" has Zhao Yun relatively late in the list and lumped together with Chen Dou. Guan Yu and Zhang Fei's was the 4th in the list, Ma Chao's was the 5th. Huang Zhong's was the 8th. The part on Zhao Yun and Chen Dou was 20th! It's also quite short, simply saying that "they were valiant warriors".
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Unread postby Separation Anxiety » Tue Jun 08, 2004 6:30 pm

I personally think he was useless. What did he accomplish, well he saved Liu Shan. Well, what use was that to Liu Bei, it seems he helped Wei out by doing this. I believe he was just a bodyguard, much like Dian Wei, but since he was Liu Bei's bodyguard Luo Guan Zhong made him out to be much better than he was historically, like he did to many of the other Shu generals. But thats another topic.
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Unread postby Ma Zhi Xuan » Tue Jun 08, 2004 7:09 pm

Separation Anxiety wrote:I personally think he was useless. What did he accomplish, well he saved Liu Shan. Well, what use was that to Liu Bei, it seems he helped Wei out by doing this. I believe he was just a bodyguard, much like Dian Wei, but since he was Liu Bei's bodyguard Luo Guan Zhong made him out to be much better than he was historically, like he did to many of the other Shu generals. But thats another topic.

Have you just completely ignored the previous post about Zhao Yun's SGZ biography?
Zhao Yun's biography wrote:Huang Zhong and Zhao Yun both strong and valiant were good subordinates of their lord, like the claws and teeth to a beast. Can they not compare to the likes of Guan Yin and Xiahou Yin?

Please read (and weep if you want :lol:) Zhao Yun-

-In the thirteenth year of JianAn (AD 208), Liu Bei was defeated in Changban of Dangyang and was forced to flee south with only tens of cavalry and also had to abandon his family in the process. Upon seeing that, Zhao Yun turned back and headed north into the enemies midst to locate Liu Bei’s family. At that time, someone told Liu Bei that Zhao Yun was heading north to surrender to Cao Cao. Liu Bei reacted by hitting the person with a halberd in his hand and said that Zhao Yun would never abandon him. Not long after, Zhao Yun, despite the dangers, came back carrying the Future Lord (Liu Shan) and also protected the Future Lord’s mother Lady Gan from the dangers. Before the battle of Chibi, Liu Bei gave Zhao Yun the rank of YaMen General (General of the Standard).

-Liu Bei felt that Zhao Yun was a strict person by nature and only he could bring those Wu followers into discipline and so, he gave him the responsibility of managing the internal household affairs for him. Not long after, the Sun family’s servants did improve their behaviorss.
-Zhao Yun led his troops from Jiangzhou (present day Chong Qing) to Jiangyang (present day Sichuan Luzhou) and prepared to attack Chengdu.

-In the twelfth year of JianAn (AD 207), General Xiahou Dun from Cao Cao’s camp led an army south to attack Liu Bei. Liu Bei engaged the attackers at Bowang (present day City of Henanfang). During the battle, Zhao Yun captured an enemy general Xiahou Lan. Zhao Yun and Xiahou Lan were actually from the same village and had known each other since young. It was actually possible for Zhao Yun to let Xiahou Lan escape on his own accord if he were to be merciful, but by his own personal principle of not letting private matters into his protocol, he did not do so. After the war ended, on the account of Xiahou Lan’s sincere request for surrender, Zhao Yun proposed to Liu Bei not to execute him. Based on Xiahou Lan’s ability in dealing with military laws, Zhao Yun also proposed that Xiahou Lan be in charge of the army rules, instead of following the normal practice of keeping surrendered generals in one’s personal ranks.

-After the battle of Chibi, Zhao Yun joined Liu Bei in pacifying the various states and provinces in Jingzhou. Liu Bei gave Zhao Yun the rank of Pian General (Lieutenant-General) and ordered him to replace Zhao Fan as the governor of Guiyang Commandery (present day Hunan Chen Province). Zhao Fan had a widowed sister-in-law that was very beautiful, and he had desired to marry her to Zhao Yun in order to pull ties. Zhao Yun strongly rejected the proposal and someone tried to persuade him. In reply, Zhao Yun explained that Zhao Fan was forced to surrender and thus his motives were not known. Besides that, he argued that there are many women around, thus why risk with taking this woman.

-After Liu Bei set off to Yizhou, Sun Quan sent out many ships to bring back his sister and also instructed her to bring along Liu Shan as hostage, but this was stopped by Zhao Yun and Zhang Fei who repelled the Wu navy with their troops and brought Liu Shan back.

-At the same time, Liu Bei wanted to distribute the middle class houses in the city as well as the farmlands outside to the generals. Zhao Yun proposed that since Yizhou had just suffered from war, the lands and houses should be given back to the civilians to live in so that it would be easier to manage the civilians and also obtain their loyalty and support in the future. Liu Bei accepted his proposal.

-In the twenty-fourth year of JianAn (AD 219, the governor of Mianyang county Zhang Yi was helping to defend the camp. When he saw the size of the Cao army coming, he shut the gates and refused to defend. Zhao Yun realized of the immensity of the enemy’s troops and found it impossible to defend the camp. Thus he ordered for the gates to be opened, the flags taken down and the beating of drums ceased. When the Cao army arrived at the camp, they suspected of a possible ambush and retreated hastily. Zhao Yun then ordered for the drums to be beaten and also arrows be shot. The Cao army was taken by surprise by the sudden noise and was put to disarray and stampeding and many were drowned in the River Han nearby.

-In the early days of Liu Shan’s ascent to the throne, the diplomatic relations between Shu and Wu was very unstable and so subsequently Zhao Yun was appointed as the General Who Guards the East (Zhendong JiangJun) to be in charge of the army stationed at Ba.

-From Zhao Yun Bie Zhuan (records from Hou Zhu (Liu Shan)’s edict): “Zhao Yun served Liu Bei in the past and his contributions are commendable. I (Liu Shan) was able to escape dangers owing to his loyalty and dependability. Hence, it is only appropriate to speak of Zhao Yun as an important contributor to the country.” The Commander-in-Chief Jiang Wei and others deduced that since Zhao Yun served Liu Bei in the past and had significant contributions, was law-abiding hence his contributions should be recorded.

-The feat at Dangyang was a show of loyalty and righteousness. As such, the ruler would be eternally grateful to his subordinate. According to the rules of giving posthumous titles, the gentle, kind and virtuous would be given the character Shun; able to execute task well and able to stamp out disorder would be given the character Ping, hence Zhao Yun was given the posthumous title of Marquis of Shunping.

Come on SA, how can you not acknowledge the fact that Zhao Yun was a valuable contributor to Shu?
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Unread postby Liu Pi » Tue Jun 08, 2004 8:05 pm

I agree he gave so much for the Shu Han cause. He also has an officer kill list as long as my arm, although i am taking this infromation from the novel so if it is historically acurate i don't know. I think that bio was really good Ma Zhi Xuan, nice job keep flying the Zhao Zilong flag :wink:
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