I used to be a scholar here quite a few years back, but it is only now that I am taking my first steps in China near the end of my university education that I figured I should take a look back at the places I have been. Koei is gone, the forum that I spent many of my days in the past has vanished without even a memorial to remember it by. Inspector Chin did his best with what he was given for the UK, but he was given an almost doomed mission when it came to onsite community building. Smaller places, some that I built with friends and others that I joined later, have simply vanished and its members scattered. It has been years since I have last spoken to any of them. Only Koei Warriors seems alive, but its future is hard to see.
I used to be obsessed with the history of the three kingdoms, but as the years went by and my interests diverged from youthful intellectual passions, the era slipped further and further out of mind. I read every biography, made professor Rafe my teacher from afar, and had gesticulated every argument. When I found out that more of the Zizhi Tongjian was translated and available here I was thrilled, but by that point I was interested in many other things and was experiencing a broader world. I never finished it. I always promised I would, but gradually these promises to myself were forgotten, along with the passion that I had thought I lost completely.
After I left behind the three kingdoms for a broader world of history with new things to learn, new issues to discuss, and new sources to amateurishly attempt at mastery in my late teens and very early twenties. I found myself spending a lot of time listening to history courses, economic courses, and religious courses from the Teaching Company, scouring youtube for web-series like crash-course and extra-creditz, and spending far too much time indulging in the a Song of Ice and Fire book series. My journey back to the Three Kingdoms was a slow one, but it was a combination of a couple things: my belief in a universal constructive (ideational) development of history through evolving social structures and power dynamics from my IR educational background, beginning to study the chinese language at my university, and wanting to explore the many facets of counterfactual history.
Last year, I started re-reading materials on the Three Kingdoms. A veritable goldmine of arguments and epiphanies has been lost with the changing tides of the internet, but the most important elements remained here. Kongming's Archives boasted the most complete archive of translated Sanguozhi biographies. That status is a bit more lonely now, but that simply makes me even more grateful. I was initially terrified when the old link to Rafe's failed, but was immediately relieved to discover it just merely moved. I will probably spend the next few months working my way through the material, and maybe become insane enough to buy professor Rafe's other works at quite the mark up price. That will be for later, however.
What finally brought me here, pasting this message, is my study abroad semester in China. I am now almost completely invested in reviving my studies in the Three Kingdoms era. The thing that bothers me the most, which brings me to the point of absolute frustration, is how little we actually know, and how much as remained untranslated. The extension of the Zizhi Tongjian to 265 is amazing, and I have no doubt that I will become lost inside of it in the near future once I finish rereading To Establish Peace. But so much remains unsaid and undone. The Hou Han Shu, as far as I am aware, has not been translated to any real degree. The Sanguozhi is around a third translated. Most of the translation work seems to have been done years ago. I must admit to being tempted to try my hand at, at the very least, partially translating some material, but that will probably just end in embarrassment since I have no training in classical Chinese, and my modern chinese is not even two completed years. This is something of a problem considering what I want to do.
For the past three or four years now, I have wanted to write something of a universal history. We do not do those anymore. A very good reason for that is because there is simply too much information to make such a thing truly feasible, but a more fatal reason is that the discipline history is being marshaled into two camps: those who want to condense history down to its most important details and then repackage it for mass consumption (Big History) and those who want to explore the innermost details of very specialized subject areas (mostly scholarly orientated works, though every now and again you have a Dan Jones like work). The former is concerned primarily with large mass economic, social, and political developments and care little for individuals beyond the names it becomes impossible to ignore. The later is concerned almost exclusively with the particular details of a particular field with a historical narrative as a backdrop, though it is also here that you can find the strongest support for the idea that history is made by people great and small rather than unthinking and unyielding global forces. It is between these two different camps that I intend to try and do something in-between. At first I thought I would do this with the ancient Middle East and Egypt, radiating outward until we got to the modern world. I probably still will, but I want to do a test run somewhere else first, and I am looking intensely at the Three Kingdoms.
I do not just want to learn about the Three Kingdoms again, I want to make a history out of it. A comprehensive, near complete, history of the three kingdoms. One that would then later be placed within the context of a larger, wider world. This wouldn't happen now, it would actually probably wait about three months before any real progress is made. This will give me the time to go through the material thoroughly and focus on my university studies in the mean time. As for my models to base this off of, I do not really have any. Probably a web-video series maybe similar to extra-creditz history or crash course, but I have no editing talent to speak of, nor a microphone, so who knows. It would first be written though, and probably posted here. This forum is not very active, and anything I do probably will not mean too much here, but if there is a place that I can still discuss the history of the three kingdoms, here is probably the best place to do it.
So that's a bit about me and what I would like to do here. A bit long, but then again I have always had a big mouth.
Alone I lean under the wispy shade of an aged tree,
Scornfully I raise to parted lips a cup of warm wine,
Longingly I cast an empty vessel aside those exposed roots,
And leave behind forgotten memories and forsaken dreams.