The life and times of Zhou Yu and Sun Ce

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The life and times of Zhou Yu and Sun Ce

Unread postby Kittn » Wed Aug 16, 2006 9:04 pm

Ok. Here goes. ^^; I have a lot of possibly impossible questions. But I'll start out with a few.

I have read through the biographies and info on Sun Ce and Zhou Yu on Kongming.net excluding the novel information as I've heard the novel doesn't quite portray Zhou Yu in particular in a very friendly light and anyway its fiction and I am on a quest for fact.

First, I'm wondering if there's anyway to get exact dates of birth and the exact date of Sun Ce's death. Does anyone know? I had hoped to base my story during the time that Sun Ce and Zhou Yu were wed to the Qiaos, but both of them need to be alive and Sun Ce died in 200 according to the bio. Since they were hitched in 199, that only leaves a number of months or possible 1 year max to work with. Not a lot of room to write in. :? A month and day would be unbelievably awesome, however if anyone knows just the month I would be eternaly grateful as well ^^ Even the season would be something to go on.

Second, I dunno if this would have more to do with world history or not, but I'm wondering about the state of Christianity in China at that time. I've searched for info on it. The earliest church (that still survives) was built in 600something AD. However, I've seen sources that claim Christianity was introduced to China in 97AD. Which would mean it could have been known about in China during the time of Zhou Yu and Sun Ce.

Third, what was the general religous practice of China during this time? I was thinking ancestral worship, but that's mainly from Mulan ^^;; and I dunno if there's any fact to it.

And finally, how in touch with the rest of the world was China during this time? How well did news spread? Did they know about the things going on in Rome, for example?

Any information relating to these questions is greatly appreciated. I may not be able to reply for a while after tomorrow, but I will try my best to gain access to the internet somehow.
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Unread postby Lu Kang » Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:13 pm

Yu Lin as quoted in Sun Ce's SGZ bio dates Sun Ce's death as the 5th of May in the year 200.

His birth date is not known and would be hard to find. This is due to the practice of the time that everyone ages a year at the new year as opposed to their actual birth day. Therefore, the day they are born is not very important. Furthermore, Sun Ce being born to rather common beginnings would not have his birthdate recorded as a birth in an Imperial family might.

As for the state of Christianity, there is a theory that there may have been a strand of Christianity in China at the time. There is no hard evidence and the evidence that does exist is weak at best. However as you are writing a fan fiction you can take the historical facts that we do know and just build the theory to your need.

Here is the excerpt though I've lost the original source and who wrote it but it was a Christian online magazine that published it:

"In 2001, I wrote an article entitled “Christian Spirit in Ancient China.”(1) which suggested the possibility that “the Gospel had reached China during the Eastern Han Dynasty.” (25-220 AD) (2) One of the basis of this assumption was the statement by Li Wenbin: “During the Eastern Han period, two Syrian missionaries came to China. Their purpose was to spread Christianity.”(3) Another basis was the discovery of an iron cross in Luling, Jiangxi Province in the Ming Dynasty during the reign of Emperor Hongwu (1368-1398 AD). Carved on the cross was a couplet:

Four seas rejoice o’er peace; iron rod splendors a cross;
Ten thousand folks for grace yearn; a thousand autumns incensed by golden urn.
The date of this relic was “the ninth year of Chi-wu, Eastern Wu.”(4) Chi-wu was the name for the fourth period of reign of Sun Quan who became King of Eastern Wu in the year 222 AD. “The ninth year of Chi-wu” was actually the 25th year of Sun’s reign, 222-246 AD). The fact that such a large iron cross existed, and that a Christian intellectual could compose a couplet with this degree of sophistication lead to the speculation that the Christianity must have been in China before Sun Quan’s reign. In other words, the Gospel could very well have been brought to China in the Eastern Han dynasty.
(1) See Jinling Theological Review., vol. 2, 2001, pp. 25-27
(2) Ibid. Eastern Han is a dynasty established by Liu Xiu, with Luoyang as its capitol. From 25-220 AD, the dynasty lasted only 196 years.
(3) A History of China by Li Wenbin
(4) From Wang Zhi-xin, A History of Chinese Christianity which quoted from A Record of Careful Thoughts by Li Jiugong of Ming Dynasty, and from “Poem of the Iron Cross” in Liu Zigao’s Collection of Poetry.”
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Unread postby Kittn » Wed Aug 16, 2006 11:33 pm

Oh thank you so much Lu Kang!! That information is so awesome and way more than I could have hoped for. ^^ Does this mean the possibility that some of the Sun family might have been saved? :shock: That makes me very happy!

5th of May huh. :cry: Poor Sun Ce. Poor Da Qiao too. They really didnt have a lot of time together did they? I am very grateful for this information! Though the short time period may have put my original plans out of commission, I have a backup ^^

So now I wonder just how Christians were treated back then. I know that the Christian persecution in Rome began around 180AD and lasted for a very very long time. But would China have known about that? I know that today China is very very intolerant of Christianity. I met a chinese youth group a few years ago. All of them fled Hong Kong to live in Canada because they did not want to be persecuted for their beliefs.

This gives me much to mull over. ^^ I look forward to any other information anyone can provide.
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Unread postby Lu Kang » Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:20 am

As for the question of whether or not the Sun family were Christians, I highly doubt it, and there is no evidence to support it. In fact there is a folk story about Sun Quan becoming a Bhuddist. While it is just a folk story, many times such stories are based on actual facts.

However it is well known that Sun Quan was very tolerant of religions. He frequently would have discussions with both Bhuddists and Confuscists (if thats a word). As for persecution, it does not appear that any relgiion was persecuted by the state.

However, the blurb I posted isn't the whole of the story. It mentions a cross, but that is hardly evidence of Christianity. The problem being, that the Cross did not become the symbol of Christianity in Rome until the 4th century, or about 100 years after the date on this one. The only possibility that the Cross is a Christian cross would be that the cross was used as a christian cross in Egypt as early as the 3rd century, but it was rare before then.

Needless to say, even if this cross resulted from Christians in China they would be a very small sect and their relgious beliefs very much different then Christianity today or even Christianity in Rome at the time.
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Unread postby Kittn » Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:36 am

From what I can tell, China worked hard to wipe out early remnants of Christianity. The grounds surrounding that church have since been turned into a Buddhist monastery (would that be the word? Afraid I'm not too knowledgable of Buddhism) and the church itself was largely closed to the public it seems. I'm taking this info from a Christian chinese fellow who went over there looking for signs of early Christianity and was devastated by the lack thereof.

As for Sun Quan. From what I see, his policies and personality differed greatly from Sun Ce, but I admitedly have not put as much time researching Quan as I have Ce and Yu. ^^;

Either way, its still something to go on. There was a stelae found as well in China from an early Christian sect. It was indeed quite a bit different than what present day Christians believed, and that was mostly chalked up to things being lost in translation more or less. However, the stelae and the church and the information I found was from waaay after Ce and Yu's lifetime, so I thought it might be irrelevant. The information you provided gives me something to work with. ^^

So you would say that if they were not Christians then they were Buddhists? I didn't think Buddhism was that common back then either. But.. yea... I dunno anything about Buddhism origins. ^^; I sorta thought ancestral worship was the more common form of religion. Or are the two closely intertwined?
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Unread postby CaTigeReptile » Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:34 am

At the time, the social systems were largely based upon systems of arguably secular ethics, such as Confucianism, Legalism, etc. I'd argue Daoism is one of them, but a lot of people like to think of Daoism as a religion.

At the time, Daoism became pretty popular. Buddhism was starting to be introduced, but it didn't seem to take hold until the Jin and Northern Wei(I'll give you sources later if you want; I'm really tired).
I guess that you could say the Zodiac and the celestial stuff was a form of religion, but I don't know if that works out. There was a belief that when you die, half of your soul went to "tien" (the sky-heaven), and the other half went to (I forgot the name), the earth or the ground afterlife. They used to bury people with everyday things, suggesting the belief that they would need these items after death.

Religion at the time in China was not the major source of moral laws or social structures like it was in many other places. Also, since this was true, religion did not pose a threat to the government(s) because the government(s) didn't rely on religion as their source of power.

Also, at the time, Christianity was in its infancy; I'm not sure the entire new testament had been finished (someone can correct me if I'm wrong).

There was, however, a Jewish synagogue in Xu Chang (I'm pretty sure during the Three Kingdoms Era; if not well later than that which nulls the point), which means that there was Middle Eastern religion at the time, though it was probably just comprised of the Jewish people who had fled after the destruction of the second temple.

If it helps, also, the Romans did visit Sun Quan at one point.
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Unread postby Kittn » Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:55 am

Thanks CaTige. That sheds some light on things too. It means that they probably knew a little about what might have been going on in other parts of the world, though granted they were a little occupied with their own problems. ^^

I'll look up Daoism. I confess I've never heard of it. ^^; I officially lose internet service tomorrow for a few weeks so I'm cramming all this info into my pc and brain tonight so I can get some of the story started.

I'll check back in as soon as I can. Thanks for the info guys. I really appreciate it.

Since the timeframe between them wedding the Qiao's and Sun Ce's death is so tiny, I'm gonna go with a safer time period earlier on when they seperated from Yuan Shu. A lot of other interesting people were still alive at the earlier time too however so that adds to the things I gotta look up and ask questions about. Hehehe.

So it would be safe to say they might have heard of Christianity, and might have heard of the stuff going on with Christians in Rome. They could have been approached by missionaries and even could have been saved but were likely to have been Daoists or something similar.

I'll poke around some more. ^^ And any other info is still welcome. It just might take me a few days to get to it after tomorrow.

~Kittn, wishing she had a time machine. :?
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Unread postby Kittn » Thu Aug 17, 2006 3:13 pm

Okay, new questions. This time regarding battle practices during their lifetime. :3

Is there anyone who knows much about or knows where I can find more information on specifically the battle between Sun Ce and Yuan Shu that I read about in Zhou Yu's comprehensive bio?

Also, what were the general battleground settings? I've played the games of course but they don't reveal the good stuff like what the soldiers did when they weren't trying to kill people. Most of my knowledge of ancient china is based on fictional stuff and I want to be more informed. :3 Did the soldiers sleep in tents? Did they build forts and walls around their camps? Or when it is stated that they fought in or at a city, did the soldiers take up residence within those city walls?

And what is the name for the helmet you see often on Zhou Yu in the romance games? It seems like it would have a proper name.
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Fri Aug 18, 2006 5:08 pm

The battle between Sun Ce and Yuan Shu was actually not much of a battle, though it was a huge gain for Sun Ce - he tricked Liu Xun (Yuan Shu was actually dead at the time) into invading a neighboring commandery held by tribal warriors, and while Liu Xun marched out, Sun Ce took the city without any notable bloodshed. Sun Ben and Sun Fu, Sun Ce's cousins, led the front guard. It's debatable who came up with the strategy to trick Liu Xun - Zhou Yu's biography doesn't make any mention of the plan used, while Sun Ce's does, which leads me to believe that Sun Ce came up with the plan itself.

Back to the Christianity question: many, if not most, divisions of Christianity believe that those who have no way of hearing the gospel but lead virtuous lives otherwise, then that would be sufficient to get into Heaven. Sun Ce was a Confucianist - which isn't a religion, nor is it necessarily exclusive with any of the three Judaism/Islam/Christianity religions. He was not a Taoist, either (though that bit about him killing Yu/Gan Ji is most likely false, since Gan Ji would have had to have been 250 years old just to meet Sun Ce).

Now, some info that may make you like Sun Ce and Zhou Yu a little less, since you (like me) appreciate their relationship with the two Qiaos: Sun Ce had concubines, and it's likely Zhou Yu did as well. However, that being said, the Qiaos were their actual wives. And it's not unusual for men to have concubines during that time - Sun Jian had them. Cao Cao had twelve wives. Sun Quan had seven. Liu Bei had two (not including Lady Sun). Lady Qiao was the mother of Sun Ce's only son, while his daughters were to concubines (estimates for his first daughter's birth, judging from the little information that we have about her wedding to Lu Xun, say around 188 - making Sun Ce probably the youngest daddy in the Three Kingdoms).

As for battles, it all depended on the setting. At a battle like Chi Bi, which didn't occur in the vacinity of any particular large city, the armies set up camps with tents and makeshift barricades. At a siege battle, such as most of the ones that Sun Ce commanded, the attacking army would set up a camp. The defenders, for the most part, would reside in their city or fort, and often would be defending outposts at important locations, such as at bridge crossings or supply depots.

As for Zhou Yu's helmet in the ROTK games, there's no real name for it. It's just a particular style of helmet (though in the pre-Koei days, Zhou Yu was usually depicted with the same peacock-tails that Lü Bu's more well-known for).

Also, the date of wedding between the Qiaos and Sun Ce and Zhou Yu is in dispute. 199 is the latest it could have been; 197 is the earliest. I've come to believe that it was in 197 in recent days, since Zhou Yu mentions to Sun Ce that they should marry the Qiaos before they even start conquering things together, and it seems unlikely that they would go through the trouble of conquering the Jiang Dong region and then wait two years before getting married to two legendary beauties.
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Unread postby Kittn » Fri Aug 18, 2006 6:55 pm

Now, some info that may make you like Sun Ce and Zhou Yu a little less, since you (like me) appreciate their relationship with the two Qiaos: Sun Ce had concubines, and it's likely Zhou Yu did as well. However, that being said, the Qiaos were their actual wives. And it's not unusual for men to have concubines during that time - Sun Jian had them.


:shock: Well... they probably only did that cause um.. they wanted to be cool and everyone else was doing it. >.>;;;

Hehehehe.

Now I gotta go look up Confucianism too. I love this stuff! They never teach you interesting things like this in school. :? And if they did they'd charge you 2 grand. Thanks for the info on that!

Zhou Yu wore a helmet like Lu Bu? ....I hate that stupid hat. >< Especially when it was all I could see of Lu Bu chasing my tail down in Dynasty Warriors. ^^;

If Sun Ce was Confucianist it stands to reason that Zhou Yu was as well, correct? I'll go check out what info I can find on it. For whatever reason we still have internet service although we cancelled it two days ago.

By the way, I have been basing nearly all of my info off the comprehensive biographies on Kongming. ^^ So I really appreciate the effort that went to putting those up!

Also you say Yuan Shu was dead at the time but in Yu's bio I read that Shu died in 199 therefore I'm assuming the actual confrontation you mention against Liu Xun took place at that time? I'm trying to zero in on a timeframe for my story, but it seems there's more information available about Yu in particular after the death of Sun Ce and that's just not what I want.
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