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Unread postby Long » Sat Feb 09, 2008 10:27 pm

I wasn't trying to discredit Chen Shou's work completely, as it stands it is still the most prestigiously recognized historical text of the era. What I am saying is that it is obvious, that there was external influence on the content. As you said James, there are no doubt other factors that play hand in the way it was written.
As for your example of Cao Cao, his struggles at Guan Du are attributed to Yuan Shao who was at the time, a lord with equal, if not greater prestige. As for his march on Tao Qian, I think it was worded in a way meant to illustrate Cao Cao's greatness at combat.

Cao Cao's Bio wrote:In autumn, the Grand Progenitor campaigned against Tao Qian. More than ten cities fell and Tao Qian dared not to emerge from the security of his city.


This translates to a completely lopsided victory in which Tao Qian didn't stand a chance. Also by mentioning that his father was murdered by Tao Qian, and by their reckoning in this time and age, Cao Cao's vicious response was what any just and filial son would have done. Cleverly written to attempt to justify his cruelty. Again, slanted in the "Grand Progenitor's" favor.
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Unread postby James » Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:52 am

Have you read either of those documents I mentioned?

There really is a great deal to know about Chen Shou and how he wrote the Sanguozhi. I've gone into it here before, and other members have too, but it is actually a very large topic. Chen Shou tried very hard, in nearly every case, to be honest and accurate in his accounting of history.* He could not always do that, though, due to Jin's foundation in Wei and the influence of a few powerful Jin families. To make up for this Chen Shou left alternate accountings of events in other biographies and clues which might be used to help unravel the truth in many ambiguous cases (which Pei Songzhi did a wonderful job of piecing together in many cases while others have been left to modern-day historians like Rafe de Crespigny).

* It should be noted that another of Chen Shou's challenges was sorting through the alternate histories of kingdoms. Wei and Wu both had official records but Shu did not. Fortunately for Chen Shou, he came from Shu, though this is the primary reason why Shu's records are smaller than those of Wei and Wu. He drawls parallels between contradictory historic accountings in different biographies (e.g. Chibi). He did omit historic records which he believed to be false (and there are plenty -- many resurface in Jin Shu).

If you know Chen Shou's own story, and know the challenges he had to face—and who his enemies were—it helps quite a bit in understanding what he included in the Sanguozhi. There's actually a marvelous biography for both Chen Shou and Pei Songzhi in the above-mentioned Empresses and Consorts. It also discusses some of the biggest Sanguozhi debates as subject material (e.g. the death of Empress Zhen).

I welcome anyone to present information to the contrary, but I see no reason why Chen Shou would strive to discredit Ma Chao, why he would be forced to discredit Ma Chao, or why he would have to protect or embellish the character of Xu Chu.

My assessment of the situation is in accord with member Dong Zhou's.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:14 am

One Wei historian was writing a history of the time but on reading Chen's work, burnt it as he knew he could do no better. Yes Chen had political pressure, though he had a habit of getting in trouble by not following ritual, but he compiled/edited the histories of two kingdoms, did his best to make up for a poor third. While Wei biographers would not have written in Cao Cao's worst moments or gone into his defeats, Chen was able to have that included elsewhere. Like the Tao Qian thing, he, and with his annotations Pei, included Cao Cao's massacre and failings in other bio's.
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Unread postby Sima Hui » Wed Feb 13, 2008 10:34 pm

Reposted from a duplicate thread.

Sun Mantian wrote:I was just wondering because I have read the books over and over again and I have tried looking stuff up on him but I can't find anything out about him.
Any thoughts?


Shadowlink wrote:oh yeah, rise of heroes, I didnt know who he was until slick said he was the one who rebel against Wei or jin... I think Zhuge Dan took him down and he had a warrior like Zhao Yun call Wen Yang... something like that.

WEn Yang was the guy with the whip who did the Zhao Yun changban thing.

He also rebel in shou chun too.


Sima Hui wrote:Guanqiu Jian (Zhonggong) was a Wei general during the reigns of Cao Rui and Cao Fang. He was well-treated by the former and considered quite an important general, as he was overall commander of the first expedition to take out Gongsun Yuan in 237. Unfortunately, he failed due to floods. The next year, he led a second attempt along with Sima Yi, which succeeded. This got him the title of Marquis of Anyi.

He led some assaults on the Korean kingdom of Goguryeo in 244 and 255 and even managed to occupy the capital, forcing the Korean court to flee.

Guanqiu rose up in rebellion on the Wu-Wei border, along with Wen Qin, against Sima Shi after Sima deposed Cao Fang. He was defeated and killed in 255 and most of his family were slaughtered, although a few managed to escape to Wu.

There have been some translation errors in his name, so you might know him as Wuqiu Jian. He's the same guy, so that could account for the mystery about him. Hope this helps. :)
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Unread postby white_tiger_55 » Sat Feb 16, 2008 3:33 am

well this might get off of the discution but ,what did zhou yu really did in sun ces campains bucause it dosnt mencion that he didnt do any cool stradagis
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Unread postby Tarrot » Sat Feb 16, 2008 5:09 am

Unfortunately the records are sparse but judging from how he was treated he was an adviser and general under Sun Ce, and most likely was a part of leading Sun Ce's troops to pacify the region.
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Unread postby Liu Bei228 » Sat Feb 16, 2008 3:13 pm

Tarrot wrote:Unfortunately the records are sparse but judging from how he was treated he was an adviser and general under Sun Ce, and most likely was a part of leading Sun Ce's troops to pacify the region.

While on the subject of sparse records, is there any battles with as much detail as Yuan Shao and clash with Zun?
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Unread postby Tarrot » Sat Feb 16, 2008 4:37 pm

To my knowledge, that is about the most in-depth battle coverage of any battle in the era. I don't think much comes close for a single battle.
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Unread postby Liu Bei228 » Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:00 am

Tarrot wrote:To my knowledge, that is about the most in-depth battle coverage of any battle in the era. I don't think much comes close for a single battle.

Yeah, I recall reading it was of the most informative battles there every was in past Chinese History. Any idea why they gave such little info on battles?
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Unread postby Tarrot » Sun Feb 17, 2008 6:56 am

That's more a Chinese Philosophy question than a History one. Part of the problem is the lack of real detailed history people on the battlefield, part of it being that piecing together battles was so problematic, part of it being that most "battles" were over a real long span of time and were in general boring to account for on a day by day basis. Like, the closest example I can think of is Tong Pass, which has accounting of the events of the battle, but it happens over a period of weeks so its impossible to really keep track of day by day events and such. I think the Shao/Zan battle was just a case of one of the sides having a trained historian on the battlefield to keep track of it, a rarity to be certain.
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