Cao Pi's autobiography

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Unread postby Kong Wen » Thu Sep 25, 2003 2:40 pm

Lady Wu wrote:Cao Cao also encouraged his kids to study hard and taught them to be good writers -- in the last paragraph here Cao Pi's reminiscing how his father encouraged him to study, and in Cao Zhi's biography we see that Cao Cao inspected the young Cao Zhi's "homework", as well as holding family literary events.

I find this hilarious. It must have been nice to have a genius do your homework for you. I suppose the Cao clan could host some pretty big family literary events, what with 25 brothers floating around.

Lady Wu wrote:Ok, I came across a note on the "chess-shooting" game in an annotated copy of a poem by the Cao Pi. It says that the game involves two players, each with six stones of either black or white, arranged in a certain formation on a flat stone board that resembles a chess-board. The players take turns shooting their stones. However, the actual rules for the game have been lost.

Ok, here is an odd connection, but this chess-shooting game sounds a tiny bit like crokinole.
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Unread postby Cherry_Blossom » Sat Sep 27, 2003 7:32 am

I admit I didn't read this thread right away because of his reputation as ..a jerk.

Lady Wu do you know if the Dian Lun is translated into English?
Thank-you for posting this too. :P You always seem to have something cool to put out here for us!

I thought like you did; :) how Cao Cao seemed to be a pretty good dad. He took time to be with his kids..(man I watch my nieces and nephew for 2 hours and am pooped..he deals with 25 kids!! I cannot believe it!) Anyway he was so busy and yet his kids were so important. I find hearing that kind of stuff the rulers treated their family and how everyone was back then.

This part is from an SGZ translation by Jiuwan. I think it demonstartes more about the father son bond we saw above.: Cao Chong was Cao Cao's favourite son. As a boy he was very intelligent (not just the bookish sense) and alert. At the age of 5 -6 he had already possessed wisdom and could think like an adult.

When Sun Quan presented an elephant to Cao Cao as tribute and Cao Cao wanted to know how much it weighted. As the elephant was huge and heavy they could not find a scale to do the job nor could they at short notice construct one that would do the work. Cao Chong came along and solved the problem via using a boat and some stones.

Cao Chong had a kind disposition and always tried his best to help those in need. Once, Cao Cao's stable manager found that his favourite saddle has been ruined by rats and was worried to death (it was considered a bad omen should one's possessions be biten by rats). Cao Chong came to know about it and cut up some of his favourite clothes and pretended to be depressed and sad before his father. When inquired about it he told him about the "bad omen" that would follow because of the rats. Cao Cao laughing told him not to believe such nonsense and that there was no such thing. After which he quickly cheered up and signalled to the stable manager to come forth and report his findings. In which Cao Cao laughed and told him never mind. Thus the live of a stable manager was saved by the kindness and intelligence of Cao Chong.

Cao Chong died of illness at the young age of 13 during the 13th year of Jian'an from illnesses. Cao Cao was upset over the loss of his favourite son. When Cao Cao Pi tried to console him, his father remarked "The misfortunate of my loss is the good fortunate of your gain." And started to weep again. Cao Pi was thus well aware that had Cao Chong not died, he would have been heir instead of him. In death Cao Chong "married" the daughter of one of Cao Cao's friend who had also recently died young. Incidentally all of Cao Chong's titles were bestowed after his death.

I have to admit I never imagined this side to Cao Pi. All you ever hear about is his trying to kill..well just about he seems like a different person. (well okay yes I think we can say the gifts of his writings could be considered arrogant..or a great gift from the emperor..depends how one views it.)
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Unread postby Cloud Strife » Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:30 pm

So this is sort of his SGZ bio?
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Unread postby AkA23 » Tue Oct 21, 2003 1:07 am

I don't think Cao Pi was bad i think he was in the middle like all the other rulers
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Unread postby Lady Wu » Tue Oct 21, 2003 5:57 pm

Kong Zhengshu wrote:Ok, here is an odd connection, but this chess-shooting game sounds a tiny bit like crokinole.

What's crokinole like?
Cherry_Blossom]Lady Wu do you know if the Dian Lun is translated into English? [/quote] Unfortunately, the book has not survived to today in its entirety. Individual essays from the book can be found in several anthologies and essay collections through the ages, but the original is lost and gone forever :( . Consequently, it's not translated anywhere...
[quote]Thank-you for posting this too. You always seem to have something cool to put out here for us! [/quote] Thank you! :D

[quote="Cloud Strife wrote:
So this is sort of his SGZ bio?
Nope. His SGZ bio is many many pages long (that's why no one has done it yet). This essay wasn't even collected by Chen Shou in the main SGZ text -- it was Pei Songzhi who decided to add it to his annotations.

Admittedly, it's not even a complete autobiography. Cao Pi's original title is better translated as "About Me". Note how it doesn't touch on his political activities at all, but concentrate solely on his hobbies and past-times. When you think about it, few in the 3K era had the luxury of having hobbies, let alone writing essays on it.
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just to add a little more...

Unread postby Peter » Tue Oct 21, 2003 7:54 pm

just to add a little more on what GuangRong said. It' s actually consider as from of excercise in ancient time. Janpaneses were big into in, (to have those "refined" male" do horse back riding and shooting).

and one thing might confused you, Lady Wu, is the stereotype Koei created (I am assume you are keen player of RTK), Xun Yu has been model into the "nerdy kid". That's why you might find hard to believe (b/c I don't think SGYY list any "nerd-tendency" about
so, it's reasonable to hypotheise this "dork" actually train in maritial arts (many of you might find hard to

sorry, bit off topic (a whole lot, actually)
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Tue Oct 21, 2003 8:37 pm

Lady Wu wrote:What's crokinole like?

Crokinole is played on an octagonal board with two players, one seated directly across the board from the other.

Most of the inner part of the board is a marked-off circle, so the area between the outside edge of the circle and the inside edge of the octagon forms the "out of play" zone. The circle itself is marked off in concentric circles. The closer the circles get to the centre of the board, the higher the point value. The exact centre of the board is a slightly depressed area which is worth the most points. There are also eight small posts protruding from the board around the middle, high-point zones.

Each player had about twenty little "chips" I guess they could be called. The players take turns attempting to "flick" the chips into the centre of the board. Your chip is worth the amount determined by whichever zone it stops in. The catch is, you only get points for the chips that are closer to the centre than your opponent's closest chip (kind of like in curling--stones that are farther away from the opponent's stones don't count). So the object of the game is to "shoot" your chips as close to the centre (or into the depressed area in the centre) as possible AND to shoot your opponent's chips off the circle (into the out of play zone).
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Unread postby Sao Meng » Sun Feb 27, 2005 11:01 pm

That was awesome, Lady Wu. Good job!
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Unread postby Jordan » Tue Feb 21, 2006 4:55 am

This is extremely interesting. To be honest I like Cao Pi and even moreso after seeing him in Dynasty Warriors (as stupid as that sounds, it's true). The source itself is excellent since it's a primary one, written by a character of the time period, and it provides excellent insight into one of the rulers of the greatest (I mean that as largest; I'm not necessarily a Weist) kingdom of the Three Kingdoms era. I never knew that Cao Pi enjoyed fencing with dual swords and I think that Koei did a good job in choosing Cao Pi's weapon since it's somewhat historical. If Cao Pi's weapon gave him extra points with the bow I would be even more impressed. Not that I think that Koei should go completely historical with the weapons in the game, but I do feel that the really awesome historical weapons mentioned in the novel or autobiographies should be implemented into the game, sometimes with slight variations, as in Cao Pi's case with the attachment of the two blades.

When I read the novel I had a somewhat neutral opinion of Cao Pi. I thought his father was a better leader (and still think this) but I didn't think that Cao Pi was all that bad and after Dynasty Warriors 3: XL I wanted him to appear in Dynasty Warriors because I felt that he was an important character that could complement Zhen Ji well. My opinion of him worsened a bit after reading some old threads on this forum and various thoughts of him by various people. After studying a few different sources, including Generals of the South even, I thought that Cao Pi wasn't that bad, and I could understand much of his policy. Many people claim that Cao Pi's military failures were extremely bad although to be honest I don't find too much fault in his reign that would lower my opinion of him significantly. Neither Wu or Wei could gain the edge over the other to be honest and for a long time Shu and Wei were locked in a sort of stalemate as well. During Sun Quan's regime, after Yiling and a few various successes, Wu failed in a bunch of military ventures as well. Shu's offensives did not work a great majority of the time either. Therefore I overlook whatever problems Wei had with the military during Cao Pi's rule. It appears to me that Wei prospered domestically in Cao Pi's times and because of that I feel that Cao Pi was a decent and dedicated Emperor.

Unfortunately Pi did not rule long. Had he lived longer I think Wei might have even won some more battles against Wu. His first campaign was impeded by a number of things. I think Dr. Rafe de Crispigny mentions one instance of Pi's bad luck where the river froze in one invasion. When this happened Cao Pi sighed and realized that maybe taking or conquering areas of Wu would be more difficult than he thought. Pi was succeeded by Rui, who I don't think was that bad either, though he was enemies with both Wu and Shu throughout his entire years of ruling, unlike Cao Pi who was in a sort of alliance/truce with Sun Quan at the outset of his reign. In any case I learnt a bit about the first Emperor of Wei from reading his autobiography, and I think more highly about him now.
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Unread postby ZhaoZilong » Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:20 am

This is absolutely fascinating. I love seeing documents like this. History speaks to us through such great scripture. This will really help those interested gain much more insight into the side and conditions of Wei's leadership. Great post as always, Lady Wu.
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