Zhuge Liang and Cao Cao?

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What if Zhuge Liang had not joined Liu Bei, but instead Cao Cao?

All China would have benefited tremendously!
7
21%
All China would have benefited somewhat.
0
No votes
Pretty decent, but after boths death, things would have played out similar.
8
24%
They would not have worked together well.
9
27%
They were to different, no good would have come of this!
8
24%
Something else... (explain in thread!)
1
3%
 
Total votes : 33

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Dec 31, 2007 7:46 pm

He did say Zhuge Liang was a genius. I consider a lot of Wei generals as superior while Xun Yu and Chen Qun in civil talent, I do think Zhuge Liang would rise high.
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Unread postby Scribble » Mon Dec 31, 2007 8:12 pm

Cao Cao had:

Xun Yu
Xun You
Jia Xu
Guo Jia
Cheng Yu

I doubt Zhuge Liang could do significantly more than those. OK, you could say that ZGL was more of a leader, but Xun Yu was also probably capable in that aspect too, since he was defending all the time.
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Unread postby Xiahou Mao » Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:48 am

NOD wrote:in terms of military stratigest yes wei was harshly better


I'd contest that point. The historical Zhuge Liang was a superior military commander to the majority of Wei generals.

Who was better than him? Sima Yi? Sima Yi couldn't defeat Zhuge Liang openly, and while he was smart enough to use his defensive position to his advantage, that makes him capable, but not better. Zhang He? Zhuge Liang killed Zhang He. Zhang Liao? Meh, defense is always easier than offense, see Hao Zhao for another example of that. Cao Ren? Xiahou Yuan? Xu Huang? Arguments could be made for them being comparable, but I don't know that any of them are better.

If Zhuge Liang joined Cao Cao, and Cao Cao made use of his talent, Wei would certainly have done better. I don't know that they would have united the land, but at the least, Shu would have fallen much sooner than it really did.
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Unread postby Sun Gongli » Tue Jan 01, 2008 6:18 am

I'm sure that witnessing Cao Cao massacring the people of Xuzhou (Zhuge Liang's home) was more than enough to prevent Zhuge Liang from ever serving Cao Cao. If he did, it would likely be a ruse to try to bring Cao Cao down with him.

Sun Bofu even speculates - and this is a speculation that I can get behind, though it probably has no basis in what actually happened - that Cao Cao was somehow responsible for the death of his parents. After all, he and his siblings had fled to Zhuge Xuan in the south when Cao Cao invaded Xuzhou.
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Unread postby Elitemsh » Tue Jan 01, 2008 11:46 am

Xiahou Mao wrote:Zhang He? Zhuge Liang killed Zhang He. Zhang Liao? Meh, defense is always easier than offense, Cao Ren? Xiahou Yuan? Xu Huang? Arguments could be made for them being comparable, but I don't know that any of them are better.

If Zhuge Liang joined Cao Cao, and Cao Cao made use of his talent, Wei would certainly have done better. I don't know that they would have united the land, but at the least, Shu would have fallen much sooner than it really did.


Zhang He's death was Sima Yi's fault not his own. Zhang He warned against pursuing Liang (using sound arguments from the art of war) but Sima Yi didn't listen and ordered Zhang to pursue thus causing his death.

Also, defense is usually easier than offense but not always. Sometimes it depends on what that general is specifically skilled at.

The reason why people here say that Zhuge Liang was inferior in strategy to many Wei officers is becsue one it implies so in his SGZ bio and two because logically if Zhuge Liang was so gifted as a general then why didn't Liu Bei use him in such battles as Yi Ling? Instead he mostly seemed to leave him to take of political affairs because this is where Liang excelled.
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Unread postby Killerkid282 » Tue Jan 01, 2008 12:38 pm

No because it was Liu Bei famous "the 3 visit" that made Zhuge Liang served him.Cao Cao would not even heard of him and Zhuge Liang would probably be a hermit for the rest of his life.

Shu would never been establish and Liu Bei forces would be destroyed and would left Cao Cao vs Sun Quan himself at the battle of Chibi

elitemsh wrote:
Xiahou Mao wrote:Zhang He? Zhuge Liang killed Zhang He. Zhang Liao? Meh, defense is always easier than offense, Cao Ren? Xiahou Yuan? Xu Huang? Arguments could be made for them being comparable, but I don't know that any of them are better.

If Zhuge Liang joined Cao Cao, and Cao Cao made use of his talent, Wei would certainly have done better. I don't know that they would have united the land, but at the least, Shu would have fallen much sooner than it really did.


Zhang He's death was Sima Yi's fault not his own. Zhang He warned against pursuing Liang (using sound arguments from the art of war) but Sima Yi didn't listen and ordered Zhang to pursue thus causing his death.

Also, defense is usually easier than offense but not always. Sometimes it depends on what that general is specifically skilled at.

The reason why people here say that Zhuge Liang was inferior in strategy to many Wei officers is becsue one it implies so in his SGZ bio and two because logically if Zhuge Liang was so gifted as a general then why didn't Liu Bei use him in such battles as Yi Ling? Instead he mostly seemed to leave him to take of political affairs because this is where Liang excelled.


Well Zhuge Liang himself did not want to participate.

Besides Zhang Liao did not actually come up with the strategy at He Fei but it was Cao Cao himself who did.He just followed it along with Li Dian and Yue Jin.
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Unread postby Xiahou Mao » Wed Jan 02, 2008 3:13 am

elitemsh wrote:Zhang He's death was Sima Yi's fault not his own. Zhang He warned against pursuing Liang (using sound arguments from the art of war) but Sima Yi didn't listen and ordered Zhang to pursue thus causing his death.


That.. doesn't really hold water. If I may illustrate..

Zhang He: Zhuge Liang will likely be leaving ambushes behind to guard his retreat. We should not pursue.

Sima Yi: This is our chance! I order you to pursue!

Zhang He: Well, if you say so.. (I know, I'll blunder straight into the ambush and get killed! That'll show him!)

Obviously, it didn't work quite like that. ;) Zhang He was smart enough to know an ambush was coming. Even with that foresight, he still fell for it and got killed. You can blame Sima Yi if you want, but Zhang He still wasn't good enough to have a proper counter prepared, and Zhuge Liang was good enough to entrap someone who expected to be entrapped.

The reason why people here say that Zhuge Liang was inferior in strategy to many Wei officers is becsue one it implies so in his SGZ bio and two because logically if Zhuge Liang was so gifted as a general then why didn't Liu Bei use him in such battles as Yi Ling? Instead he mostly seemed to leave him to take of political affairs because this is where Liang excelled.


If Sima Yi was so gifted, then why didn't Cao Cao use him in battles such as, well, any of them? Cao Cao didn't need to use Sima Yi, because he was pretty good himself. Same story with Liu Bei. Liu Bei didn't need to use Zhuge Liang while he was alive, because he was just as good (Yi Ling mistake excepted). Note how Sun Quan comparatively relied on Zhou Yu, Lu Su, Lu Meng and Lu Xun to command his most major campaigns.

I'm not saying Zhuge Liang didn't excel at political affairs. He did. But in the backlash against him due to the novel's portrayal of him as a divine entity, people seem to overlook that he really was very good at what he did.
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Unread postby Lu Kang » Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:38 am

This is a very interesting hypothetical situation. I think a lot would depend on when Cao Cao aquired Zhuge Liang and how much trust he put in him.

After some consideration I think under most circumstance Cao Cao would only aquire Zhuge Liang later in life in his post unifying Northern China period. At this point in his life Cao Cao wasn't the greatest listener of advice and he had many wise advisors. I think that Zhuge Liang would be under utilized (just due to the huge pool of strategists) and that Cao Cao would not have the complete trust to take all of his advice. Considering the ignored advice that led to Han Zhong and Chi Bi, I see Cao Cao achieving the same amount he did in reality. As for Wei after Cao Cao's death, I see Zhuge Liang falling into a Liu Ye type role where he offers a lot of advice, some is taken, and some is ignored, but never truely having a large grasp on matters.

Zhuge Liang thrived having a lot of control, but in Wei there just would never be the opportunity.
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Unread postby Elitemsh » Wed Jan 02, 2008 9:04 am

Xiahou Mao wrote:Zhang He: Zhuge Liang will likely be leaving ambushes behind to guard his retreat. We should not pursue.

Sima Yi: This is our chance! I order you to pursue!

Zhang He: Well, if you say so.. (I know, I'll blunder straight into the ambush and get killed! That'll show him!)

Obviously, it didn't work quite like that. ;) Zhang He was smart enough to know an ambush was coming. Even with that foresight, he still fell for it and got killed. You can blame Sima Yi if you want, but Zhang He still wasn't good enough to have a proper counter prepared, and Zhuge Liang was good enough to entrap someone who expected to be entrapped.

If Sima Yi was so gifted, then why didn't Cao Cao use him in battles such as, well, any of them? Cao Cao didn't need to use Sima Yi, because he was pretty good himself. Same story with Liu Bei. Liu Bei didn't need to use Zhuge Liang while he was alive, because he was just as good (Yi Ling mistake excepted). Note how Sun Quan comparatively relied on Zhou Yu, Lu Su, Lu Meng and Lu Xun to command his most major campaigns.

I'm not saying Zhuge Liang didn't excel at political affairs. He did. But in the backlash against him due to the novel's portrayal of him as a divine entity, people seem to overlook that he really was very good at what he did.


IMO, Zhang He could not have prepared against Zhuge's ambush because he didn't have the time or possibly the means to prepare. Zhang He was following the art of war which states that you should always leave one path open to the enemy when surrounding an army and then also not pursue if the enemy escapes. You don't completely surround the enemy because if you do then the enemy soldiers will fight to the death. You do not pursue a feigned retreat army because the enemy will naturally have ambushes prepared. Zhang He knew this and hence he warned against pursuing and he was completely right. Besides, how could Zhang He have prepared against Zhuge hitting him with arrows from elevated ground? Consider also that Zhuge likely knew the terrain better aswell. IMO, it is unfair to criticise Zhang He in this situation unless you specifically know how he could have prevented his own death without proving disloyal.

You make a fair point about Zhuge not being used because Liu Bei was capable. Liu Bei was a competent commander but he was not brilliant. Therefore it is logical that Zhuge Liang was not an exceptional talent (in terms of military skill) either otherwise Bei would have used him. Though I would say that this is an educated assumption and not necessarily fact. I would agree that Sun Quan relied far more on his subordinates for major campaigns because his skill as a general fell well below Liu Bei's.

I would also agree with you that due to the novel's exagerration a lot of people do indeed underestimate the historical Zhuge Liang who was an exceptional talent and should be admired and respected.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Jan 02, 2008 5:45 pm

elitemsh, I would say Liu Bei was very good but his cautoius style meant he wasn't brilliant. Zhuge Liang I think was inferior to Liu Bei and it would have needed someone with a streak of brilliance to overtake Liu Bei
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