SGZ Biography of Cao Cao

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SGZ Biography of Cao Cao

Unread postby Liu Yuante » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:07 am

UPDATE: I just wanted to add a notice here at the top of the thread that the bio is completed and the entire text is within this thread, so disregard my original comments about this only being the first 40% in the post below.


I was going to hold off on this until the whole thing is done but since the anniversary of his death is coming in two days I decided this would be a good time to go ahead and start revealing this to the light of day. What follows is the first 40% of Cao Cao's SGZ biography. Pei's notes are numbered and in a smaller font than the main text. In deciding where to make the paragraph breaks (i.e. how much main text before pausing for notes) I've followed the outline of the online text I used for this translation. No translator's notes at this time, unfortunately, since the text kind of needs them. I will provide a couple of items on two particular points however.

Firstly, both texts I consulted give Chunyu Qiong (one of Yuan Shao's generals) the style name of 仲 簡 zhong4 jian3, whereas the archive at KMA gives it as Zhongde (of course, the archive also spells his name Chun Yuqiong...). I couldn't find any alternate words 'de' for 簡 in any online or paper dictionary so I'm sticking with Zhongjian for his style.

The second bit is that there is, at one point, a time when Cao Cao is leading his men out to attack a bandit headquarters and the bandits attack Cao Cao's capital city (of Dong commandery, which Cao was head of at this time) of Dongwuyang and Cao opts to continue forward instead of turning back. He uses the expression "to rescue Zhao by attacking Wei" and my subsequent translation of his explanation is not as clear as I would like. Basically, it means to attack the enemy at their base/root, i.e. don't come to Zhao's aid by going into Zhao to fight off Wei, just invade Wei instead.

A big thank you to anyone who has given me assistance with my Classical Chinese thus far, and to anyone who can help me with the one bit of chinese text I have parenthetically added below, and here we go:


Wei: Book One

Book One: Biography of the Martial Emperor

The Great Ancestor and Martial Emperor was a native of Qiao in Pei state. His family name was Cao, his tabooed name was Cao, he was styled Mengde, and he descended from the former Han Prime Minister Cao Can.1 In the time of Emperor Huan, Cao Teng was appointed Chief of the Regular Palace Attendants and conferred the title Marquis of Feiting.2 Teng’s adopted son Song succeeded him, achieving the high office of Grand Commandant, but there were none able to discover the circumstances of his birth.3 Cao Song begot the Great Ancestor.



1 The Record of Cao Man/Cao Man Zhuan states: The Great Ancestor was also called Ji Li, and his childhood name was A Man. Wang Chen’s Book of Wei states: His family originally came from Huangdi. In the time of Gao Yang, Lu Zhong’s son was called An, and assumed the surname of Cao. When King Wu of Zhou subdued Yin, beginning the dynasty that afterwards carried his name, he gave to Cao Xia the state of Zhu. During the Spring & Autumn Period they participated in coalition meetings, continuing up until the Warring States period when the state was subdued by Chu. Thenceforth the family’s descendants dispersed, and some of the family settled in Pei. At the time of the High Ancestor of Han’s ascension, Cao Can, because of his accomplishments, was given the title Marquis of Pingyang and his descendants continued to hold the fiefdom. The line was extinguished but was again renewed, until the present day with each successor to the state residing at Rongcheng.

2 Sima Biao’s Book of Han Continued/Sima Biao Xu Han Shu states: Cao Teng was the father of Cao Jie, who was styled Yuanwei, and who because of his evident virtue was very favorably spoken of. Once, his neighbor lost his own pig, and Jie’s pig looked just like it. The neighbor took it for himself but Jie did not get angry. Later, when the lost pig returned home of its own accord, the pig’s owner was greatly ashamed; when he returned the pig and thanked Jie, Jie smilingly accepted it. As a result the townspeople praised him for his nobility. His eldest son was styled Boxin, the next oldest son was styled Zhongxing and the youngest son was styled Shuxing. Cao Teng, styled Jixing, in his youth entered officialdom as a Yellow Gate Attendant. In the first year of Yongning, the Empress Dowager Deng issued an imperial order for the head of the Yellow Gate Attendants to select, from those holding the position of Attendant Within the Yellow Gates, individuals of an age and temperament fit to accompany the Crown Prince in his studies. In this way, Cao Teng was selected. The Crown Prince was especially fond of Teng and he bestowed gifts of food and drink upon him much more than he did others. When the Prince took the throne as Emperor Shun, Teng was appointed Junior Attendant at the Yellow Gates and later promoted to Chief Regular Palace Attendant. Teng held that position for more than thirty years, successively serving four emperors, which was unprecedented. He enjoyed recommending people of worthy ability and he never made it his place to speak injuriously of others. Amongst those so recommended were, from Chenliu, Yu Fang and Bian Shao; from Nanyang, Yan Gu and Zhang Wen; from Hongnong, Zhang Huan and from Yingzhuan, Tang Xi Qian, all of whom achieved high offices; moreover, he never boasted of his kindness. When the Grand Administrator of Shu commandery wrote a letter to Teng out of respect for him, the Inspector of Yi province Zhong Gao intercepted the message and obtained the letter. The Inspector memorialized the throne asking that Teng, because of association with outside officials, be regarded as unfit for office and therefore dismissed from his position as punishment for his crime. The Emperor responded, “Since the letter came from outside, and Teng did not compose a letter, he is not guilty of any crime.” Therefore, Gao's memorial was put to rest. Teng did not take the matter to heart, and often spoke well of Gao, as he felt that he performed his duties with great integrity. Later, when Gao became Minister Over the Masses he told others: “Today I hold this office because of Palace Attendant Cao’s kindness.” In all other things Teng conducted himself just as he did in this matter. When Emperor Huan ascended the throne, because Teng was an old official under the deceased Emperor, his loyalty and filial piety were openly praised and he was conferred the title Marquis of Feiting, adding further to his position of great honor. In the third year of Taihe Teng was posthumously given the title of High Emperor.

3 The Book of Han Continued states: Cao Song was styled Jugao. He was by nature calm and kind, and everywhere was known for his loyalty and filial piety. He was first given the title Colonel Director of Retainers; then Emperor Ling promoted him to Grand Minister of Agriculture and Grand Herald and he replaced Cui Lie as Grand Commandant. In the first year of Huangchu, Song was posthumously titled as Great Emperor. The Record of Cao Man, composed by a man of Wu, and Guo Ban's Shi Yu both present the following: Song was a son of the Xiahou clan and was the younger brother of Xiahou Dun’s father. Therefore the Great Ancestor was of the same clan as Dun, as their fathers were brothers.


The Great Ancestor in his youth was very sharp-witted and disposed himself to frivolous debauchery rather than applying himself to a vocation. As a result, people thought nothing special of him.4 Only Liang state’s Qiao Xuan and Yang He of Nan viewed him differently. Xuan told the Great Ancestor, “The whole world will be disordered, and only one with the ability to direct the world will be able to aid it; and the person possessing this ability is you!”5 When he was twenty, he was nominated as Filially Pious and Incorrupt and became an official, being appointed magistrate of the Northern District of Luoyang. Later, he was reassigned as Prefect of Dunqiu.6 Later, he was promoted to Yilang.7


4 The Record of Cao Man states: The Great Ancestor in his youth enjoyed flying hawks and racing dogs, endlessly knocking about, such that his uncle spoke to his father Song about his behavior. The Great Ancestor suffered for it, and later when he came upon his uncle along the road, he pretended to be having a seizure; his uncle was bewildered and asked him what was wrong and the Great Ancestor replied, “I am having a stroke.” His uncle therefore went to tell his father Song, who was very startled, and called the Great Ancestor to him, the Great Ancestor then resuming his normal appearance. His father spoke, asking, “Your uncle said that you were having a stroke; are you now recovered?” The Great Ancestor replied, “I never had a stroke in the first place. My uncle has always been lacking in affection for me, thus he has only ever been unpleasant to me.” Song therefore became suspicious. From that moment onward, Song didn’t believe anything that his brother told him regarding the Great Ancestor and the Great Ancestor behaved even more recklessly.

5 The Book of Wei/Wei Shu states: The Grand Commandant Qiao Xuan, who in his time was famous for his assessment of people, viewed the Great Ancestor as someone of special distinction, and said, “I know most of the people of ability in the world, yet I have never seen one such as you! A ruler also must be benevolent and able to restrain himself. I am old, and because of this my wife and children shall reside with you.” As a result of these words the Great Ancestor’s reputation increased greatly. The Book of Han Continued states: Qiao Xuan, styled Gongzu, was strict and impartial, was very skilled in strategy, and was also skilled in reading characters. Zhang Fan’s Record of Han states: While in office Xuan was everywhere known for his upright behavior and his kindness toward his subordinates. He never showed favoritism for the nobles or his close friends. During the Guanghe years he became Grand Commandant, but after serving for a lengthy period of time he resigned due to illness and took office as High Grand Tutor. When he died, his family was poor and lacked an estate, and his coffin contained no funeral goods. As a result, the people considered him to be a reputable official. The Shi Yu states: Xuan once said to the Great Ancestor, “You are not yet well-known, you should become friends with Xu Zijiang.” The Great Ancestor therefore went to see Zijiang, and, Zijiang receiving him, he became well known. Sun Sheng’s Miscellaneous Alternate Records/Sun Sheng Yitong Za Yu states: The Great Ancestor once went secretly into the Regular Palace Attendant Zhang Rang’s room. Rang, feeling his presence, wielded his hand halberd in the courtyard, jumped over the wall and left. The Great Ancestor’s military ability was superhuman, and no one was capable of harming him. He read extensively in all kinds of books, and he particularly enjoyed the art of war. He gathered together the various schools of thought regarding military strategy, which he named the Jie Yao, and annotated the thirteen books of Sun Wu, all of which has been passed down through the ages. Once, he asked Xu Zijiang, “What man do I resemble?” But Zijiang did not answer him. After repeatedly asking him, Zijiang finally said, “In times of peace, you would be an able official; in times of disorder, you would be a scheming hero.” The Great Ancestor laughed.

6 The Record of Cao Man states: When the Great Ancestor first attained that position, he put the whole of the administration into good order. He created five colored rods and placed them to the left and right of the county gate, ten of them in total, and if anyone were to violate curfew, regardless of wealth or power they would be beaten to death with these rods. After many months, the uncle of Emperor Ling’s favorite eunuch Jian Shuo broke curfew and went about at night, and accordingly was put to death. In this way the capital was restrained, and there were none that dared violate curfew. And though it was common for the officials to dislike him, they were unable to do him any harm. Therefore, they came together to recommend him, deliberately causing for him to be moved to Dunqiu command.

7 The Book of Wei states: The Great Ancestor’s cousin’s husband, the Marquis of Qiang, Song Qi, was put to death, and all related to him were removed from office. Later on, because of his ability to understand the teachings of the ancients, the Great Ancestor was given the office of Yilang. Initially the General-In-Chief Dou Wu and Grand Tutor Chen Fan sought to cause harm to the eunuchs but instead they themselves came to harm. The Great Ancestor memorialized to the Emperor regarding how Chen, Wu and others of an honest and upright nature were coming to harm, the treachery and iniquity filling the court and how good men were being kept silent. His words were very harsh, and Emperor Ling would not make use of it. Thereafter an imperial order was issued to the Three Ministries, stating: “All of those presenting memorials regarding the local and regional government’s ineffectiveness in political affairs will be considered a spreader of rumors and be removed from office.” The Three Ministries inclined toward wickedness and it was in no way uncommon at the time to see imperial office misused, and bribery also occurred. The powerful were complained of, yet nowhere could one see their abuses being reported, even as the vulnerable ones that stood by their principles were for the most part made to suffer and be ruined. The Great Ancestor was disgusted by it. Because there were in that year numerous misfortunes, he inquired into the troubles and, accordingly, again memorialized the emperor to disapprove, saying that the Three Ministries in their edicts and memorials shied away from conflict with the nobility. Upon presentation of the memorial the Son of Heaven was affected and understood the truth. He relieved the Three Ministries of their duties, and of those who had spread rumors, all of them were created Yilang. Yet afterwards the political situation daily grew more disordered, the strong through devious behavior grew increasingly more powerful and many were thereby ruined. The Great Ancestor realized it was impossible to correct the situation, and therefore did not speak out again.


At the end of the Guanghe years the Yellow Turbans rebelled. The Great Ancestor was appointed Chief Commandant of Cavalry and fought against the Yin River bandits. Thereafter he was appointed Chancellor of Jinan, whose territory comprised ten counties. The superior officials greatly relied on the power of the nobility and due to bribery and corruption the administration was completely disordered. Because of this a memorial was issued to dismiss eight of them. A prohibition was made ending the evil practices, the wicked officials fled so as to escape and the whole of the region was set in good order.8 Some time later he was summoned back to be appointed Grand Administrator of Dong commandery but he did not accept, and instead stated that he was ill and returned to his home village.9


8 The Book of Wei states: The head officials were greedy and receiving bribes, they depended on the influence of the nobility and previously their deeds had gone unexposed. On learning of the Great Ancestor’s arrival, some of them were dismissed from office, while others were greatly shaken with fear. Consequently the wicked officials made so as to escape and fled to other commanderies. The political situation being greatly improved, the whole of the commandery was thereby made peaceful. Earlier, Liu Zhang, Prince Jing of Chengyang, had worked honorably on behalf of Han. Therefore, in this state ancestral temples were established in his name, and in Jing province all of the commanderies adopted a similar course and imitated them. Jinan City was especially productive, completing more than six hundred of these ancestral temples. There was a merchant who stole a carriage valued at two thousand shi, and allowed himself to be carried about while making much disorderly merriment(贾人或假二千石舆服导从作倡乐). The rich grew wealthier by the day, while the common people sank into total poverty, and during all of it the head officials were not bold enough to condemn this behavior. When the Great Ancestor arrived, all of these ancestral temples were demolished, he put a complete end to the misdeeds of the government officials and forbade the people from sacrificing at the temples. Upon gaining control of the government, he then disposed of the wicked and irregular customs concerning ghosts and spirits. As a result the impious sacrifices of before were from then on nonexistent.

9 The Book of Wei states: Then the power of the ministers concentrated in the imperial court, and the relatives of the nobility were able to do as they pleased. The Great Ancestor could not change his ways and please them. Frequently he was disobedient, and, fearful that his home would come to harm, he sought to go and stay there so as to guard it. He was appointed Yilang, but frequently would stay inside due to illness; as a result he gave notice that he was returning to his native town. He constructed a chamber outside the city wall, and in the spring and summer it was his habit to study the classics, while in the autumn and winter he would hunt with a bow and arrow, in order to provide himself with entertainment.


Soon after, Wang Fen, the Inspector of Jizhou, Xu You of Nanyang, Zhou Jing of Peiguo and others of similar grade, came together with other talented individuals to plan the deposition of Emperor Ling, and to establish the Marquis of Hefei in his place. For this purpose they went to inform the Great Ancestor, but the Great Ancestor rejected their proposition. In the end, Fen and the others thoroughly failed.10


10 Sima Biao in the Annal of Jiuzhou/Jiuzhou Chunqiu states: When Chen Fan left with the Shu Shi of Pingyuan Xiang Kai so as to meet with Wang Fen, Kai said, “The Heavens are not advantageous for the eunuchs, and both the Yellow Gate Attendants and the Regular Palace Attendants will be wholly exterminated.” Fan was quite pleased, and Fen replied, “If these things are true, then I will be the one to drive them out.” Therefore, in concert with You and others of the same stature he plotted rebellion. At this time Emperor Ling desired to go north so as to visit the former palace at Hejian. Fen and his cohorts subsequently staged a rebellion, petitioning the Black Mountain bandits to loot and pillage province and county alike, beseeching them to take up arms. To the north there was visible a reddish haze that covered the whole of the sky, such that the Taishi came forward and said, “This omens some sort of pitfall, wherefore it is inadvisable to travel north,” and the Emperor therefore stayed put. Fen was commanded by imperial order to put down his arms, or very soon forces would be levied against him. Fen became afraid and committed suicide. The Book of Wei records that the Great Ancestor would not go along with Fen’s call to rebellion, saying, “For a man to depose the emperor is the most fateful matter in the whole world. Among the ancients, only those with great power, and who comprehend the gravity of such an act, are men capable of this, such as were Yi Yin and Hou Guang. Yi Yin, who possessed a most honest and steadfast heart, and occupied the office of Prime Minister, a position of authority over the other officials, because of these things knew when it was proper to put someone aside and so could undertake the deposition of the Emperor. As for Hou Guang, he was entrusted with directing the entire state, the late emperor having given him that position. Within, due to the favor of the Empress Dowager he controlled every aspect of government, while on the outside he had the multitude of officials’ unanimous favor behind him. Chang Yi had occupied the throne for but a short period of time and did not have the favor of the nobles, and the court was lacking also in straightforward officials with whom he could discuss matters in private. For these reasons could Guang comprehend something such as a change in Heaven’s will, and so engage successfully in removing a decrepit ruler. Now you gentlemen would follow their example, seeing only the clear-cut nature of these past deeds and you do not see the difficulty of your current undertaking. Are you gentlemen, with those of your own stature, so numerous a crowd as to be as the Seven States? And is the Marquis of Hefei’s honor such as that of Wu and Chu? You aspire to extraordinary deeds, but your will and reputation surely fall short, how are you not in danger?”


Han Sui, a man from Jincheng, killed the Inspector posted in that commandery and rebelled. A multitude numbering more than one hundred thousand people rose up and the whole of the land was in tumult. The Great Ancestor was summoned to the position of Colonel Who Arranges the Army. When Emperor Ling died the crown prince ascended to the throne and the Empress Dowager assumed control of the court. The General-In-Chief He Jin together with Yuan Shao plotted to kill the eunuchs but the Empress Dowager would not listen. Jin therefore summoned Dong Zhuo to the capital, with the intention of coercing the Empress Dowager, but Zhuo had not yet arrived when Jin met his demise.11 When Zhuo reached the capital he deposed the Emperor and made him Prince of Hongnong, enthroning in his place Emperor Xian, and the entire capital fell into total chaos. Zhuo appointed the Great Ancestor to the post of Colonel of Resolute Cavalry and desired to plot strategy with him, but the Great Ancestor assumed a false name and went away, returning to the east.12
After he left he was stopped, while passing Zhongmou, and coming before the sentry box the official there became suspicious. He was seized and taken to the local authorities, but once inside the city someone recognized him and requested on his behalf that he be released.13 Zhuo then executed the Empress Dowager and the Prince of Hongnong. The Great Ancestor, on arriving at his home of old sold off all of his family’s wealth and territory, pooling it together for the purpose of raising a righteous army with which to punish Zhou. That winter, in the twelfth month, he began to raise troops in Jiwu, 14 this occurring in the sixth year of Zhongping.



11 The Book of Wei states: When the Great Ancestor got wind of this he laughed to himself, saying, “The use of eunuchs as officials has always been practiced, but if the Emperor did not allow such authority and favor to be bestowed on them, they would not cause situations such as this. Since they are controlling affairs with their wicked behavior the ringleaders should be put to death, and a single prison guard would be sufficient to do so; why is it necessary to repeatedly have others called in from outside? To seek the wrongdoers’ total extermination will result in the plot being found out, and in my opinion those doing the plotting will come to harm.”

12 Wei states: Because Zhuo eventually would surely be defeated, The Great Ancestor did not go to accept the post, instead escaping back to his home village. After some time he happened across the home of his old friend Lu Boshe from Chenggao. Boshe was not there, and his son with several guests together tried to rob the Great Ancestor. They took his horse and provisions but the Great Ancestor with his dagger struck and killed every man. The Shiyu states: The Great Ancestor had come upon Boshe’s residence, but Boshe had left on a long journey. His five sons, however, were all present, and they prepared a courteous reception for their guest. Because of Zhuo’s order the Great Ancestor suspected his hosts were plotting against him. He wielded his sword and in the darkness killed eight men and then fled. Sun Sheng’s Za Ji states: The Great Ancestor overheard the orders given for preparation of his meal and erroneously believed they were plotting against him. Therefore in the darkness he killed them. Rather than being sad and sorrowful, he said, “I would rather betray a man than allow a man to betray me!” and then left.

13 The Shiyu states: The officials at Zhongmou were suspicious of the identity of the fugitive and decided to have him arrested and taken to the local authorities. At this time the magistrates had already received Zhuo’s orders; one of them was intimately aware of Cao’s heroism and recognized the Great Ancestor. In times when in every direction there is disorder it is improper to restrain the most eminently talented among men, and understanding this he went about securing his release.

14 The Shiyu states: Wei Zi of Chenliu, who had been nominated Filially Pious and Incorrupt, thereafter used his personal assets to finance The Great Ancestor, thereby raising troops numbering five thousand men.


In the spring of the first month of the first year of Chuping, the General of the Rear Yuan Shu, the Governor of Jizhou Han Fu, 15 the Prefect of Yuzhou Kong Zhou, 16 the Prefect of Yanzhou Liu Dai, 17 the Grand Administrator of Henei Wang Kuang, 18 the Grand Administrator of Bohai Yuan Shao, the Grand Administrator of Chenliu Zhang Miao, the Grand Administrator of Dongjun Qiao Mao, 19 the Grand Administrator of Shanyang Yuan Yi 20 and the Chancellor of Jibei Bao Xin 21 all simultaneously came together to raise troops, each (of their contributions) numbering in the tens of thousands, and they pushed for Shao to become leader of the alliance. The Great Ancestor was General of Marshal Vigor.


15 The Record of Heroes/Yingxiong Ji states: Fu was styled Wenjie and was from Yingzhuan, and he held the position of Censor. Dong Zhuo then appointed him Governor of Jizhou. At the time the whole of Jizhou’s populace flourished and prospered, with weapons and provisions both in ample supply. Yuan Shao was then at Bohai and Fu was fearful that he would invade and so dispatched numerous forces with the task of watching him, and would not waver from his decision. The Grand Administrator of Dong commandery Qiao Mao created a fraudulent document, passing it off as being from the Three Offices at the capital and sending it to every county and prefecture, in which he laid out Zhuo’s wickedness and evil, saying, “Seeing that we are forcibly oppressed and cannot save ourselves, we look to the future and pray for a righteous army to free the country from its suffering and troubles.” When Fu obtained the document he beseeched everyone to choose a course of action, asking, “Do we now help against the villainous Yuan clan, or do we help against the evil Dong Zhuo?” An Attendant Clerk serving in his administration, Liu Zihui, replied, “You now wage war for the benefit of the state, why speak of Yuan or Dong!” Fu was then aware of his deficiency of speech and grew red with shame. Zihui continued, saying, “Military action is an evil business and we must not be the first to act. Now, the proper course is to look toward the other provinces and if someone starts to take action, then we may join together with them. Ji province will not be inferior in comparison to the other provinces, and if the others achieve merit it will not be without having Ji province’s assistance.” Fu saw the correctness of this advice. Fu thereupon composed a letter to Shao stating the wickedness of Zhuo and that he would follow him in mobilizing troops.

16 The Record of Heroes states: Zhou was styled Gongxu and he was from Chenliu. Zhang Fan in the Han Ji records that Zheng Tai spoke to Zhuo, saying: “Kong Gongxu has ability and he speaks clearly of great thoughts, his breath fills withered minds with life.”

17 Dai was Liu Zhou’s elder brother and his deeds can be viewed in Wu records.

18 The Record of Heroes states: Kuang was styled Gongjie and was from Taishan. He valued wealth lightly and was a skilled administrator, for which reason he was appointed Xiaowen. When he was an official under the authority of the General-In-Chief He Jin, Jin sent a messenger for Kuang to set out westward from Xuzhou towards the capital city with a force of five hundred crossbow-men. When he saw Jin defeated Kuang returned to his home province. He was promoted and made Taishou of Henei. Xie Cheng in the Hou Han Shu states: In his youth Kuang was friends with Cai Yong. The year in which he came to be defeated by Zhou’s army he went back to Taishan, gathering together the brave and strong, and all told he obtained thousands of men, hoping to join together with Zhang Miao as allies. Kuang had earlier killed the Bearer of the Gilded Mace Hu Mu Ban. Ban’s relatives were unbearably angry and joined forces with the Great Ancestor to kill Kuang.

19 The Record of Heroes states: Miao was styled Yuanwei and was a son of the Xuan clan. Previously he had been the Provincial Governor of Yan province and was possessed of much dignity and kindheartedness.

20 Yi was styled Boye and was an elder clansman of Yuan Shao. Zhang Chao of Hejian had earlier recommended Yi to the Grand Commandant Zhu Jun and praised him, saying, “Through his virtue he is a leader of the age, and he has the talent to seize upon opportunity. His loyalty leads him to aid in fighting injustice and to support the Son of Heaven where there is disorder; for this reason he has collected the local records, sorted according to all of the family names, to be presented to the emperor so that they may be taxed. By this one can see the reason for his good reputation and why his services should now be requested, for in a far-off location his talents are wasted in comparison (to what he can do for us here).” His work led to an increase in tax collections. The Record of Heroes states: Shao later employed Yi in the position of Inspector of Yangzhou but he lost the place to Yuan Shu. The Great Ancestor commented, “Of those who have matured and are still able to be industrious learners there are only myself and Yuan Boye.” This statement was discovered in Dian Lun by Emperor Wen.

21 Xin’s deeds can be viewed in the records of his son Xun.


In the second month, Zhuo learned of the army being raised and therefore shifted both the residence of the Son of Heaven and the capital to Changan. Zhuo remained garrisoned at Luoyang and forthwith he set fire to the palaces. At this time Shao had troops stationed at Henei, Miao, Dai, Mao and Yi were stationing troops at Suanzao, Shu had his troops stationed at Nanyang, Zhou was stationing his soldiers at Yingzhuan and Fu was in Ye. Zhuo’s force was superior in size and amongst Shao and his compatriots there were none who dared be the first to advance. The Great Ancestor said, “A righteous army has been raised to put an end to the rebellion and all of us have now gathered, how can you gentlemen be indecisive? If previously Dong Zhuo has learned that an army has been raised at Shandong he will rely on the power of the royal household and occupy the fortifications of the two Zhou, and then move eastward so as to control the empire; although he will accomplish this through injustice it will still be more than enough to imperil us. Now he has set fire to the palaces and absconded with the Son of Heaven. Within the country there is disorder and the people do not know whom to follow, this is Heaven’s sign that it is time for him to perish. One battle and the empire will be settled, we cannot miss this oppurtunity.” Straightaway he led his soldiers to the west, and was going to seize Chenggao. Miao sent his general Wei Zi with a contingent of soldiers to accompany the Great Ancestor. Arriving at the river Bian in Xingyang he encountered Zhuo’s general Xu Rong but in the ensuing battle he was unsuccessful and a great many of his soldiers were killed or injured. The Great Ancestor was struck by a stray arrow. The horse he was riding was also injured so his cousin Hong took his horse and gave it to the Great Ancestor, who fled far off into the night. Rong had seen that the Great Ancestor had had only a small force but that they had fought at full strength for the whole day, and realized that Suanzao would not be easy to take. Therefore he led his troops away.

When the Great Ancestor arrived at Suanzao he saw that the lords’ forces were more than one hundred thousand strong yet daily they congregated and gave themselves over to drink instead of planning how to advance their cause. The Great Ancestor demanded they cease this behavior and proposed a stratagem, saying, “Gentlemen, listen now to my plan: We can use the Lord of Bohai to lead the troops massed at Henei into Mengjin while the rest of the lords at Suanzao will guard Chenggao, seize Aocang, and occupy Yuanhuan and Taigu; in this way we will control all of the strategic places. We can employ Yuan Shu to lead his forces at Nanyang into Dan and Xin before entering Wu pass, so as to shake up the three territories surrounding the capital. In every case we must build tall ramparts and deep encircling walls, not engaging in battle but rather seeming greater by utilizing deceptive forces. By showing the whole of the Empire the nature of our strength, and by using righteousness to destroy the rebels, we can put an end to the disorder. Now troops have righteously been assembled yet you hold onto doubtfulness and so do not advance. You are disappointing the empire and I feel ashamed for all of you!” Miao and the others would not make use of his plan.

The Great Ancestor had but few soldiers and so joined with Xiahou Dun and his men and traveled to Yang province to raise more troops. The Prefect, Chen Wen, and the Grand Administrator of Danyang gave their force of more than four thousand troops to them. On traveling on to Longkang most of the soldiers rebelled.22 On reaching Jiangping in Zhi county he again collected troops, obtaining more than a thousand men, before encamping at Henei.



22 The Book of Wei states: The soldiers planned to rebel and one night they set fire to the Great Ancestor’s tent. The Great Ancestor then with his short sword slew ten of them, and the rest fled. He was then able to leave his encampment and there were only five hundred men left who had not rebelled.
Last edited by Liu Yuante on Mon Mar 13, 2006 1:09 am, edited 10 times in total.
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Unread postby Liu Yuante » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:18 am

Liu Dai and Qiao Mao hated each other, so Dai killed Mao, and had Wang Gong take Mao’s place as Grand Administrator of Dong province.

Yuan Shao and Han Fu were plotting to set up Liu Yu, the Governor of You province, as emperor but the Great Ancestor was against it.23 Shao also obtained a jade seal and at the Great Ancestor's seat passed it in the direction of his elbow The Great Ancestor responded with derisive laughter and loathing.24


23 The Book of Wei states that the Great Ancestor responded to Shao, saying, “Dong Zhuo’s crimes are known everywhere within the four seas. I and others like me came together to raise a righteous army. There were none that refused to answer the call and this all occurred out of desire to act righteously. The young king is small and helpless and a treacherous official controls him. He is not a Chang Yi, with the taint of ruining the country. Moreover, to so quickly make a change, with the empire in such a state, who could pacify it? You gentlemen are facing north, and I am facing to the west.”

24 The Book of Wei states: The Great Ancestor laughed loudly, saying, “I will not listen to you.” Shao persisted, sending someone to persuade the Great Ancestor, saying, “Now, Shao has held command over numerous armed forces, he has raised two sons to maturity and everyone gathers about him as a hero; who can rival this?” The Great Ancestor did not answer. For the sake of keeping the peace he did not confront Shao, instead making plans to utterly destroy him.

In the spring of the second year Shao and Fu forthwith made so as to establish Yu as emperor, but in the end Yu dared not accept.

In the summer, during the fourth month, Zhuo returned to Changan.

In the fall, during the seventh month, Yuan Shao coerced Han Fu into letting him take possession of Ji province.

The Black Mountain bandits Yu Du, Bai Rao, Sui Gu and men totalling more than ten thousand plundered Wei commandery and Dong commandery. Wang Gong was unable to resist them but the Great Ancestor led a force into Dong commandery where he attacked Bai Ro at Puyang and defeated him. On this basis Yuan Shao recommended that the Great Ancestor be made Grand Administrator of Dong commandery, and the Great Ancestor set up his government at Dongwuyang.

In the spring of the third year, while the Great Ancestor’s army was at Dunqiu, Du and his cohorts attacked Dongwuyang. The Great Ancestor therefore led his army westward into the hills and attacked Du and the others at the base of their operations.25 When Du got wind of this he relinquished control of Wuyang and went back. The Great Ancestor waylaid Sui Gu and also attacked Yufuluo of the Xiongnu at Neihuang, and in both cases he thoroughly defeated them.26


25 The Book of Wei states: The various generals were all of the opinion that they should return and come to the rescue. The Great Ancestor said, “Sun Bin went to the aid of Zhao by attacking Wei but Geng Yan wished to go west to secure his land from attack and keep on the lookout for trouble. If the bandits hear that I have gone west and so return then Wuyang will be liberated all by itself; if I do not go back then I will be able to wipe out their base of operations and the robbers will most certainly not be able to take Wuyang.” At this they straightaway continued forward.

26 The Book of Wei states: Yufuluo was the son of the Chief of the Southern Xiongnu. In the middle of Zhongping the Xiongnu sent out an armed force led Yufuluo, with the purpose of destroying the Han. In his homeland a rebel group revolted and killed the Chief of the Southern Xiognu. Yufuluo then decided that he and his numerous soldiers would remain in China. Since the empire had yielded to disorder he joined up with the White Storm bandits west of the Yellow River, ravaging Taiyuan and Henei, looting and pillaging every county and otherwise behaving as bandits.

In the summer, during the fourth month, the Minister Over the Masses Wang Yun joined with Lu Bu and together they killed Zhuo. Zhuo’s generals Li Jue, Guo Si and others killed Yun and attacked Bu. Bu was defeated and he fled eastward out Wu Pass. Jue and the others then usurped control of the imperial government.

A multitude of the Yellow Turbans in Qing province, numbering one million, entered Yan province, killed the Chancellor of Rencheng Zheng Sui, and then changed course, entering Dongping. Liu Dai wanted to attack them but Bao Xin remonstrated with him, saying, “There are a great many bandits, one million of them, the common people are all in panic, and the soldiers lack the will to fight; you cannot hope to oppose them. I observe that the bandits are coming together in great numbers, and their fellows following suit, but their armies lack military supplies and only by robbing and plundering can they be supplied. It would be better for you to raise a force of many soldiers and erect stout defenses in advance. They may wish for battle but will not get it, and not being able to attack again they will certainly disperse. Afterwards if you select your crack troops, seize the strategic places and strike at them then they can be defeated.” Dai would not follow his advice and forthwith took part in battle, and consequently he was killed there.27 Thereupon Xin, along with the provincial official Wan Qian and others, traveled to Dong commandery to lead the Great Ancestor off to become Governor of Yan province. Then they led an army out to attack the Yellow Turbans east of Shouzhang. Xin fought valiantly, battling down to his last breath, and only because of him were they able to defeat them.28 They offered a reward to locate Xin’s corpse but they couldn’t find it, so together they carved a piece of wood so that it bore Xin’s likeness, offering sacrifice and weeping before it. They chased the Yellow Turbans into Jibei and the Turbans begged to surrender. That winter, they received the surrender of more than three thousand soldiers, more than a million men and women of the surrounding populace and they took all of their crack troops and named them the Qing province army.


27 The Shi Yu states: When Dai had already died, Chen Gong spoke to the Great Ancestor, saying, “The province is now without a leader as the Prefect’s life has been cut short. I will ask and persuade them to let you take control of the province, and thereafter we can move beyond merely ruling the prefecture, using its resources to take control of the empire, and pursuing the business of hegemony.” Gong spoke to them of the Great Ancestor’s ability to rein in disorder, and of his governing ability, saying, “The empire is split apart and the province is without a leader. Cao Dongjun is destined to be the greatest man of his generation and if you welcome him as ruler of this province he will certainly bring peace to the people.” Bao Xin and the others agreed in their assessment.

28 The Book of Wei states: The Great Ancestor took more than a thousand infantry and cavalrymen out to inspect the battlefield and the forces defending the enemy camp when he was engaged in battle and lost. The dead numbered in the hundreds and so he led them away again. Meanwhile, the bandits wished to press on. The Yellow Turbans went on pillaging for a long time, their numbers swelled with each victory and their soldiers were all spirited and able. The Great Ancestor had but few of his former troops, the new recruits were unskilled and untrained and the entire army was fearful. The Great Ancestor put on his armor, donned his helmet and went personally to make the rounds of the officers and men. He spoke, making known to them the rewards and punishments for their behavior, whereupon the mass of them redoubled their efforts. In the intervening period they undertook to ask to make an attack. The bandits were damaged somewhat and retreated. The bandits thereupon sent a letter to the Great Ancestor that read: “Formerly, in Jinan you destroyed the spiritual altars, this course was very much in accord with the Yellow, but if then you then were aware, now you are confused. Han has come to its end and the Yellow will take its place. It is the supreme fate of Heaven and you cannot through force of will prevent it.” The Great Ancestor on seeing this dispatched a letter in reply wherein he hurled invective upon them and repeatedly called upon them to surrender their position. Straightaway he set about surprising them with an ambush, and day and night his troops were assembled for battle. Engaging in combat soon after, he caught and defeated them, and the bandits thereupon fled and went away.

There was discord between Yuan Shu and Shao, and Shu sought aid from Gongsun Zan. Zan sent Liu Bei to garrison Gaotang, Chan Jing to garrison Pingyuan and Tao Qian to garrison Fugan, for the purpose of encroaching on Shao. The Great Ancestor and Shao joined forces to attack and in every case they defeated them.

In the spring of the fourth year his army was stationed in Juancheng. The Governor of Jing province Liu Biao had broken Shu’s supply lines and Shu led his army into Chenliu, stationing his troops at Fengqiu where the remainder of the Black Mountain bandits and Yufuluo’s men lent him their aid. Shu sent his general Liu Xiang to garrison Kuangting. The Great Ancestor attacked Xiang and Shu came to his aid, joining in the battle but the Great Ancestor inflicted a huge defeat upon him. Shu withdrew to the defenses of Fengqiu so the Great Ancestor surrounded him but it was not completed and Shu fled to Xiangyi. The Great Ancestor chased him to Taishou and cut off the canal supplying water to the city. He traveled to Ningling but once again they chased him and he traveled on to Jiujiang. In the summer, the Great Ancestor returned his army to Dingtao.
In Xiapi Que Xuan gathered a group of thousand men and styled himself the Son of Heaven. The Governor of Xu province Tao Qian took joint military action with him. In Taishan commandery he seized Hua, Fei and he plundered Rencheng. That autumn the Great Ancestor attacked Tao Qian, seizing more than ten cities, but Qian remained guarding the city walls, not daring to come out.

That year, Sun Ce received orders from Yuan Shu to cross the Yangtze, and in the space of a few years he would come to possess Jiangdong.

During the spring of the first year of Xingping the Great Ancestor himself returned to Xu province. Earlier the Great Ancestor’s father Song, after leaving his official post and returning to Qiao, had, during Dong Zhuo’s upheaval, escaped the troubles by going to Langye, where by means of Tao Qian he was killed. The Great Ancestor's mind was set on taking vengeance so he launched an attack eastward 29 In the summer, he employed Xun Yu and Cheng Yu to guard Juancheng and again sent an expedition against Tao Qian, capturing five cities and ravaging the land all the way up to the East China Sea. He moved on to Tan, and Qian employed Cao Bao and Liu Bei to garrison to the east of Tan, so as to impinge on the Great Ancestor. The Great Ancestor attacked and defeated them, and then attacked and captured Xiangben. In the places his path crossed there was much destruction and killing.30


29 The Shi Yu states: Song was then in Hua county, within Taishan commandery. The Great Ancestor ordered the Grand Administrator of Taishan, Ling Shao, to escort Song into Yan province but Shao’s army never arrived. Tao Qian secretly dispatched several thousand cavalrymen to surprise and capture him. Song believed it was Shao who was coming and so had set up no defenses. When Qian’s soldiers arrived they killed the Great Ancestor’s younger brother De as he stood in the doorway. Song was afraid and plunged through to the back of the house but his concubine was before him; she was fat and he could not get past her. Song fled to the lavatory and along with his concubine was murdered, and the entire family perished. Shao became afraid and abandoned his government post to go over to Yuan Shao. Later on, by the time the Great Ancestor had taken control of Ji province Shao was already dead. Wei Yao’s Book of Wu states: The Great Ancestor was preparing to welcome Song, along with his baggage train loaded with all manner of money and valuables. Tao Qian dispatched his military officer Zhang Kai to take two hundred cavalrymen to protect Song, but when Kai was between Hua and Fei in Taishan commandery he killed Song, took all of his valuables and quickly hurried into Huainan. The Great Ancestor placed the blame on Tao Qian and for this reason sent an expedition against him.

30 Sun Cheng states: A man should punish the tyrant but give comfort to the people; such is the course of action decreed by the ancients. But the Great Ancestor, because he blamed Qian, traveled about destroying also those under Qian’s jurisdiction.

It so happened that Zhang Miao and Chen Gong rebelled and welcomed in Lu Bu, and all of the commanderies and counties followed him. Xun Yu and Cheng Yu defended the cities of Juancheng, Fan and Dong’a, but this left only two counties with solid defenses, so the Great Ancestor therefore led his army back. Bu arrived and attacked Juancheng but he was unable to capture it so he went to the west and encamped at Puyang. The Great Ancestor said, “Bu has in one day obtained an entire province but he was too incompetent to seize Dongping, cut off the Kangfu and Taishan roads and avail himself of the strategic passes to imperil me. As he instead encamps at Puyang, I know that he lacks ability.” Forthwith he led his army forward to attack him. Bu brought his army out to fight, and he first had his cavalrymen attack the soldiers from Qing province. The Qing province soldiers panicked and fled, and the Great Ancestor, seeing the confusion, quickly galloped ahead when a fire broke out, and he fell from his horse, burning the palm of his left hand. The Major Lou Yi came to his aid and lifted him up onto his horse and then quickly led him away.31 The army had not yet reached camp when they stopped, as none of the generals had yet come across the Great Ancestor, and they were all afraid. (On reuniting with the them) The Great Ancestor by his own hand drilled the army and, commanding them to quickly build siege weapons, advanced to attack Bu again. He faced off with Bu for more than one hundred days. Then a plague of locusts arose, the common people were all very hungry, Bu’s provisions and horse feed were also exhausted and they both led their armies away.

31 Yuan Wei, in the Annals of Emperor Xian/Xiandi Chunqiu, states: The Great Ancestor had surrounded Puyang, wherein the distinguished Tian family switched sides, the Great Ancestor thereby obtaining entrance to the city. He set fire to the eastern gate, demonstrating he had no intention of reversing course. Thereupon he came under attack and his army was defeated. Some of Bu’s cavalrymen had captured the Great Ancestor but were not aware it was he, and they asked, “Where is Cao Cao?” The Great Ancestor replied, “He is that person over there riding the yellow horse.” Bu’s cavalrymen thereupon released the Great Ancestor and chased after the man on the yellow horse. The gate fire was now blazing but the Great Ancestor quickly dashed through and escaped.

In the fall, during the ninth month, the Great Ancestor returned to Juancheng. Bu went to Shengshi, where Li Jin, a man from that county, defeated him, so he went east and stationed his troops in Shanyang. Thereupon, Shao sent a messenger to speak to the Great Ancestor and express his desire that they join together as allies. The Great Ancestor had newly lost Yan province and his army’s provisions were exhausted so he was going to consent to it. However, Cheng Yu stopped the Great Ancestor, and he yielded to him. In the winter, during the tenth month, the Great Ancestor went to Dong’a
.
That year one hu of grain cost a sum of 500,000 and the people turned to eating each other, therefore he ceased seeking new recruits for the army. Tao Qian died and Liu Bei replaced him.

In the spring of the second year he attacked Dingtao. The Grand Administrator of Jiyin, Wu Zi, was defending Nancheng, as it had not yet been captured. When Lu Bu’s confederates arrived there they attacked and defeated Zi. In the summer, Lu Bu’s generals Xue Lan and Li Feng were garrisoned at Juye and the Great Ancestor attacked them. Bu came to Lan’s aid but Lan was defeated, and Bu retreated. Then the Great Ancestor beheaded Lan and his men. Bu returned from Dongmin and together with Chen Gong brought more than ten thousand soldiers, intent on fighting. At the time the Great Ancestor had but few soldiers so he set up an ambush. He led his army suddenly forward to attack and scored a decisive victory over Bu and Gong.32 Bu retreated under cover of night and the Great Ancestor attacked again, capturing Dingtao, and he divided his army up to pacify the various counties. Bu quickly fled eastward to Liu Bei, and Zhang Miao followed him, sending a messenger to his younger brother Chao to gather up his family and defend Yongqiu. That fall, during the eighth month, the Great Ancestor surrounded Yongqiu. That winter, during the tenth month, the Son of Heaven recognized the Great Ancestor as Governor of Yan province. In the twelfth month Yongqiu‘s defenses were broken, Chao killed himself, and Miao’s family was exterminated to three generations. Miao went to Yuan Shu to ask for help, but his own men killed him on the way there. Yan province was pacified and the Great Ancestor went east to plunder the lands of Chen.


32 The Book of Wei states: Thereafter the majority of his army was out trying to obtain grain, and there were not even a thousand men left, so that the camp’s defenses were very unsure. The Great Ancestor therefore used women as soldiers to keep watch from the parapets so they would know the enemy army’s movements and so repel them. His camp was to the west of a levee, and to the south of a deep and serene forest. Bu did not believe that there was an ambush, wherefore his attendants spoke, saying, “Cao Cao is extremely deceitful: do not go into the midst of an ambush.” He led his army to camp more than ten li to the south. However, the next day he returned, and the Great Ancestor, of his army hidden within the levee, sent half outside the levee. Bu sped his advance and rashly ordered his soldiers to commence attack. He had already joined battle when the concealed army emerged from the levee, infantry and cavalry together advancing, and inflicted a massive defeat upon Bu, capturing his drum cart and pursuing him all the way to his camp before turning back.

That year Changan was in disorder as the Son of Heaven moved eastward, and was defeated at Caoyang before crossing the Yellow River and entering Anyi.

In the spring of the first year of Jianan, during the first month, the Great Ancestor’s army arrived at Wuping where Yuan Si, whom Yuan Shu had appointed Minister of Chen, surrendered.

The Great Ancestor was preparing to welcome the Son of Heaven but some of his generals were uncertain. Xun Yu and Cheng Yu persuaded him to go ahead and so he sent Cao Hong with soldiers to the west to welcome the Emperor. However, the General of the Guards Dong Cheng along with Yuan Shu’s general Chang Nu repelled him at the passes and Hong was unable to advance.

The Yellow Turbans He Yi, Liu Bi, Huang Shao and He Man, from Runan and Yingzhuan commanderies (in Yu province), each with a multitude of men numbering ten thousand, previously answered to Yuan Shu but later attached themselves to Sun Jian. In the second month the Great Ancestor led his army on a punitive expedition to smite them, beheading Bi, Shao and their men, while Yi and all of his men surrendered. The Son of Heaven appointed the Great Ancestor General Who Establishes Virtue. In the summer, during the sixth month, his title was changed to General of the East, and he was made Marquis of Feiting. In the autumn, during the seventh month, Yang Feng and Han Xian took the Son of Heaven and returned to Luoyang.33 Feng left to garrison Liang. The Great Ancestor then arrived at Luoyang to protect the capital city and Xian fled away. The Son of Heaven bestowed upon the Great Ancestor the ceremonial axe and the position of Intendant of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing.34 Since Luoyang was decrepit and in ruins Dong Zhao and his men advised the Great Ancestor to move the capital to Xu. In the ninth month the imperial carriage went east out through Huanyuan pass, and the Great Ancestor became General-In-Chief and was made Marquis of Wuping. Since the Son of Heaven moved from the west the imperial court had daily been in disorder, so it was only now that work was begun setting up the regulations of the ancestral temple and the state institutions.35


33 The Annal of Emperor Xian states: When the Son of Heaven first arrived at Luoyang he stayed in the room of the former Regular Palace Attendant Zhao Zhong, in the western part of the city. He directed Zhang Yang to build a replica of the old imperial palace, naming it Yangan Palace, and in the eighth month the Emperor thereupon changed residences.

34 The Record of Emperor Xian/Xiandi Ji states: The Great Ancestor also held the post of Colonel Director of Retainers.

35 Zhang Fan’s Han Ji states: Previously, when the Son of Heaven was defeated at Caoyang, he wished to float eastward down the river. The Emperor’s Advisor, the Taishi Ling Wang Li said, “Since the passing of spring, Venus has crossed paths with the star Zhen at Niudou, indicating disaster from Heaven should we cross the river. Mars also forbids it, overlooking the area north of the river, wherefore we should not violate these signs.” For this reason the Son of Heaven did not go north across the river, preparing himself to go east out through Zhi pass instead. Li spoke again, this time that the reign of the Liu clan was ending, saying, “Previously, Venus appeared over Tian pass, and had aligned with Mars; Metal has conjoined with Fire, foretelling a change in mandate. The good fortune of Han is at an end, and Wei and Jin are certain to ascend.” Afterward Li frequently spoke to the Emperor, saying, “The mandate of heaven changes, and the five elements do not hold their positions indefinitely. Earth takes the place of Fire, and Wei receives power from Han. The Cao family has the ability to pacify the empire and it is only by giving control over to them that the disorder will come to an end.” His excellency got wind of this and sent a messenger to Li, saying, “I know that you are steadfast and loyal to the imperial court but the true way of Heaven is elusive and distant, I trust that you will speak no more of this.”

When the Son of Heaven went east, Feng left from Liang with the intent of capturing him but he failed to reach him. In the winter, during the tenth month, His Excellency attacked Feng and Feng quickly fled south to Yuan Shu. He then attacked Feng’s base camp at Liang and captured it. Thereafter Yuan Shao was appointed to the post of Grand Commandant, but he was ashamed at his rank being beneath that of His Excellency and would not accept it. His Excellency thereupon insisted on resigning his position, allowing Shao to replace him as General-In-Chief. The Son of Heaven appointed His Excellency to the post of Minister of Works, as well as General of Chariots and Cavalry. That year the plan of Zao Zhi, Han Hao and others was utilized and they instituted the system of agricultural garrisons.36

36 The Book of Wei states: Since the time of disorder began the armies were all lacking in provisions. Of each army that was raised there were none able to count on (there being food enough) for the whole year. Out of hunger they turned to banditry and plundered grain, eating their fill and then discarding the rest. The armies fell apart and the soldiers went away and so countless times, lacking a real enemy they defeated themselves instead. Yuan Shao was at Hebei and the men in his army were relying on mulberries for food. Yuan Shu was at the River Huai and his soldiers fetched calamus and wasps for provisions. The people were feeding upon each other and all the villages within the province were desolate. His Excellency said, “Men set the policies of the state and it rests with them to strive to provide the soldiers with sufficient provisions. The men of Qin in pressing need doubled the agricultural output of the empire and Xiao Wu utilized agricultural garrisons to stabilize the western lands, wherefore we should emulate these good works from earlier times.” That year he gathered up civilians for the agricultural garrisons around Xu, with a resulting harvest of more than one million hu of grain. Thereafter the rest of the commanderies in the province followed suit and set up government regulation of farmland, and therein was a great accumulation of grain. He then dispatched expeditions in the four cardinal directions and, no longer having to bear the burden of transporting provisions, he was simultaneously able to both put down the bandits and pacify the land.

Lu Bu attacked Liu Bei and captured Xiapi. Bei fled to His Excellency. Cheng Yu said to Duke Cao, “I can see that Liu Bei is of heroic ability and to a large degree has captured the hearts of the people. In the end he will not serve under you so it would be best to deal with him now.” His Excellency replied, “Now is the time to be receiving great heroes, to kill one would be to lose the hearts of the empire, therefore I cannot.”
Zhang Ji traveled from Guanzhong to Nanyang. When Ji died his nephew Xiu took control of his soldiers. In the second year, during the first month of spring, His Excellency went to Wan. Zhang Xiu was getting ready to surrender but then regretted his decision and again rebelled. His Excellency did battle with him and his army was defeated. He was struck by a stray arrow, and as a result his eldest son Ang and his nephew Anmin came to a bad end.37 He therefore lead his army back to Wuyin, and Xiu was preparing ride forth and plunder when His Excellency attacked and defeated him. Xiu quickly fled to Rang where he took refuge with Liu Biao. His Excellency addressed all of his generals, saying, “I received Zhang Xiu’s surrender but I made the mistake of not immediately taking his hostages, with this as the result. I am responsible for our defeat here. All of you are witness to the fact that from today onward I will not be defeated again.” He then returned to Xu.38


37 The Book of Wei states: The horse that His Excellency was riding was called Jue Ying, and he was struck by stray arrows, injuring him through the cheek and in the foot, and His Excellency was also injured, in the right arm. The Shi Yu states: Ang was unable to ride so he led his horse to Duke Cao. Because of this he was able to escape, but as a result Ang came to a bad end.

38 The Shi Yu states: Under the old system, when one of the Three Dukes took command of the army and came before the emperor, the double-forked halberd would be laid upon his neck and he would be brought forward. At first, when His Excellency was preparing to send a force against Zhang Xiu, he went to have an imperial audience with the Son of Heaven, as at that time they had renewed the old system. From that time on, however, His Excellency did not go to have an audience with the Emperor.

At Huainan, Yuan Shu desired to proclaim himself Emperor, and he sent a messenger to inform Lu Bu. Bu apprehended the messenger and submitted it to the imperial court. Shu was indignant and attacked Bu but Bu defeated him. In the autumn, during the ninth month, Shu invaded Chen and His Excellency went east to attack him. Shu got wind of his approach, abandoned his army and fled, leaving his generals Qiao Rui, Li Feng, Liang Gang and Yue Jiu to stay behind; when His Excellency arrived he attacked and defeated Rui and his men, beheading every one of them. Shu fled across the Huai, His Excellency returned to Xu.

No sooner had he returned from Wuyin than, in support of Xiu, Zhangling and the other counties of Nanyang again rebelled. His Excellency dispatched Cao Hong to strike them but he was unsuccessful, returning to encamp at Ye. Both Xiu and Biao would frequently send forces to invade the area. In the winter, during the eleventh month, His Excellency himself went south to attack, traveling to Wan.39 Biao’s general Deng Ji seized Huyang. His Excellency attacked and captured him, and when he took Ji captive Huyang surrendered. He then attacked and subdued Wuyin.


39 The Book of Wei states: When he reached the River Yu he offered sacrifices to the spirits of his deceased generals and soldiers. He sobbed and sighed, shedding tears, and everyone was moved to deep sorrow.
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Unread postby Liu Yuante » Mon Mar 14, 2005 4:28 am

In the first month of the third year, during the spring, His Excellency returned to Xu, and the first thing he did was to establish the post of Counselor of Military Sacrifices. In the third month, His Excellency surrounded Zhang Xiu at Rang. In the summer, during the fifth month, Liu Biao dispatched a force to rescue Xiu, intending to cutoff the opposing army’s avenue of retreat.40 His Excellency was making plans to lead his troops away when Xiu’s army came out to pursue him. His Excellency’s army was not ready to advance as they had made camp just a little while before. He gave Xun Yu a letter that said, “The bandits have come out to pursue me, but even if I am daily pursued over great distances I have a plan ready for them, and on arriving at Anzhong Xiu is certain to be defeated.” On arriving at Anzhong, Xiu joined with Biao’s army to guard the strategic passes and enemies both in front and behind pressured His Excellency’s army. Therefore, under cover of night He dug a tunnel into the passes, passing military supplies through it and placing troops in ambush. When the armies gathered the next day, the bandits said to themselves that if His Excellency should flee, their army would pursue him every time. His Excellency set loose the ambushing troops and attacked the bandits from both sides with infantry and cavalry, massively defeating them. During the autumn, in the seventh month, His Excellency returned to Xu. Xun Yu asked him, “Earlier you were certain that your plan would defeat the bandits. How did you know?” Duke Cao replied, “The enemy blocked the return of my army and joined battle with me in life-threatening terrain, therefore I knew I would be victorious.”

40 The Annal of Emperor Xian states: Yuan Shao reported a rebellion to His Excellency, saying, “Tian Feng has sent Shao Zhao to raid Xu and take control of the Emperor, so as to control the granting of marquisates and be able to conduct the affairs within the four seas and bring peace.” He thereupon released Xiu from his encirclement.

Later on Lu Bu was again acting on behalf of Yuan Shu and sent Gao Shun to attack Liu Bei. His Excellency dispatched Xiahou Dun to save him but he was unsuccessful, and Bei was defeated by Shun. In the ninth month His Excellency led his army east to attack Bu. In the winter, during the tenth month, he massacred the inhabitants of Pengcheng, capturing its Chancellor Hou Xie. He traveled onward to Xiapi and Bu himself prepared to ride out to oppose the attack. His Excellency massively defeated him and captured Bu’s valiant general Cheng Lian. His Excellency pursued him up to the city walls. Within, Bu was afraid, and wanted to surrender. Chen Gong and his men stopped his plan (to surrender), and seeking help from Shu, advised Bu to go out and fight. On fighting Bu was again defeated, and thereupon went back to holding his ground and on attack the city could not be captured. At this time His Excellency had repeatedly attacked, his soldiers were tired and he wished to leave, so he tasked Xun You and Guo Jia with a carrying out a stratagem. Straightway they broached the dykes around the Si and Yi rivers so as to flood the city. Later that month, Bu’s generals Song Xian, Wei Xu and their men took Chen Gong captive and opened the city gates in surrender, giving over Bu and Gong to Duke Cao as captives, and he executed them both. At Taishan Zang Ba, Sun Guan, Wu Dun, Yin Li and Chang Xi all had raised a multitude of men. After Bu’s defeat of Liu Bei Ba and all of his men yielded their services to Bu. When Bu was defeated, His Excellency captured Ba and his men and generously received them. Forthwith from the territory of the two provinces of Qing and Xu he granted them all appointments, dividing Langye, Donghai and Beihai commanderies to form the commanderies of Chengyang, Licheng and Changlu.

Earlier, when His Excellency was head of Yan province, he appointed Bi Cheng Aide-de-Camp of Dongping. At the time of Zhang Miao’s rebellion Miao abducted Chen’s mother, brother, wife and children. Duke Cao thanked him for his service and dismissed him, saying, “Your aged mother is now with the enemy, you may go.” Chen made his obeisance, vowing not to be disloyal and Duke Cao praised him, and wept freely for him. After leaving, he then went over to the other side. When Bu was defeated Chen was taken alive, and everyone was fearful on his behalf, but Duke Cao said, “If a man shows filial piety toward his parents, how can he not also be loyal to his sovereign! I seek such as these.” And he appointed Chen Chancellor of Lu.41


41 The Book of Wei states: Yuan Shao had in past times been at odds with the Grand Commandant Yang Biao, the Chief Eunuch Liang Shao and the Privy Treasurer Kong Rong, so he wanted Duke Cao to find some fault for which to execute them. His Excellency said, “Presently the domain of the empire has collapsed like broken tiles, brave heroes have gathered and come forth and aided the rise of various lords. Men’s hearts are filled with discontent and every man follows his own inner desire, consequently in troubled times our judgement of others fluctuates. Yet, though accordingly they should be treated without suspicion, still you are fearful and do not trust them. If we remove those such as these, by that standard who would not find himself in danger? Moreover, just as a person may rise up from common origins, distancing himself from existing among the dust and dirt, so too can a ne’er-do-well change and overcome his defects, and be able to triumph over resentment! The High Founder forgave Yong Chi’s enmity and the feelings of the people were set at ease, how can you forget this?” Shao believed that His Excellency superficially espoused impartiality and righteousness but on the inside really did not adhere to them, and in his heart he grew deeply resentful toward him. Your Servant Song is of this opinion: Yang Biao later was endangered by the King of Wei, and nearly lost his life, and in truth Kong Rong was unable to avoid being executed. Here is what it means to first profess certain behavior but not follow it later! One must be honest in one’s conduct to avoid reproach.

In the second month of the fourth year, during the spring, His Excellency went back to Changyi. Zhang Yang was killed by his general Yang Chou, and then Sui Gu killed Chou, and with his troops went over to Yuan Shao, who was stationed at Shequan. In the summer, during the fourth month, His Excellency advanced his army to the Yellow River and then tasked Shi Huan and Cao Ren to cross the river and attack Gu. Gu tasked his former chief Clerk of Yang Xue Hong and the Grand Administrator of Henei Miao Shang to stay behind and guard while he himself prepared to his army to go north and seek aid from Shao, when he came across Huan and Ren at Quancheng. Huan and Ren engaged him in battle, inflicted a massive defeat on Gu and beheaded him. His Excellency then crossed the river and surrounded Shequan. Hong and Shang led out their troops to surrender and His Excellency conferred upon each of them the rank of Marquis. He appointed Wei Zhong as Grand Administrator of Henei, with control over the affairs north of the river.

Earlier, he had nominated Zhong as filially Pious and Incorrupt. Yan province rebelled and His Excellency said, “Wei Zhong is the only one who will not desert me.” On hearing that Zhong had gone away, he indignantly exclaimed, “Zhong, unless you travel south to the Yue or north to the Hu, I will never leave you be!” When he subdued Shequan Zhong was captured alive; His Excellency exclaimed, “But he is a talented man!”, released his bonds and employed him.

After Yuan Shao had already absorbed Gongsun Zan he simultaneously controlled four provinces’ worth of territory, and a throng of more than one hundred thousand men, and was preparing to lead his army forth to attack Xu. All of His Excellency’s generals believed he would not be able to match Shao, but His Excellency said, “I understand Shao’s conduct, he has a strong will but lacks wisdom, and his countenance is severe but his courage is weak. He fears defeat but lacks strength, and though he has many soldiers he does not understand how to plot strategy. His generals are arrogant and his government’s decrees are inconsistent; even though he has vast territory and abundant provisions, that merely makes it a suitably opportune time for me to take over.” In the autumn, during the eighth month, His Excellency led his army to Liyang and tasked Zang Ba and his men with entering Qing province to attack Qi, Beihai and Dongan, while having Yu Jin stay and guard Heshang. In the ninth month, His Excellency returned to Xu and assigned a portion of his army to guard Guandu. In the winter, during the eleventh month, Zhang Xiu led out his men to surrender and His Excellency conferred him with the rank of Marquis. In the twelfth month His Excellency’s army was at Guandu.

Since his defeat at Chen Yuan Shu had become somewhat ill, so Yuan Tan was dispatched from Qing province to welcome him in. Shu wished to cross north from Xiapi and His Excellency dispatched Liu Bei and Zhu Ling to harass him. On meeting them Shu fell sick and died. When Cheng Yu and Guo Jia heard that His Excellency had dispatched Bei they spoke to him, saying, “Liu Bei should not be set loose.” His Excellency regretted his action and pursued Bei but was unable to catch him. When Bei had not yet gone east he and Dong Cheng had made secret plans to rebel. On arriving at Xiapi he killed the Inspector of Xu province Ju Zhou, raised an army and stationed them at Pei. His Excellency dispatched Liu Dai and Wang Zhong to attack him but it was unsuccessful.42


42 The Annal of Emperor Xian states: Bei spoke to Dai and the others, saying, “The lot of you have been tasked to come here, but it is not enough to overcome me; Duke Cao himself could come, and he could not make me listen!” The Story of the King of Wei states: Wang Zhong, who was accustomed to subsisting on people, in his youth served as Ting Chang. When the Three Adjuncts were in disorder, Zhong was hungry and tired of eating people so he followed his colleagues south out Wu Pass. It so happened that Lou Zibo on behalf of Jing province sent men to welcome them from the north as his guests, but Zhong did not wish to go. For this reason he led the others in revolt against him, stealing his army and amassing a throng of men more than one thousand strong in order to return to Duke Cao. Zhong was appointed General of the Gentlemen of the Household, following which he was sent on a military expedition. The General for All Purposes was aware that Zhong had at one time eaten men and so, following his carriage as he set out on his journey, as a joke he took a skull from a grave and tied it to the saddle of Zhong’s horse, and Zhong replied by smiling and laughing.

The Grand Administrator of Lujiang Liu Xun led his men out to surrender and was conferred the rank of Marquis.

In the fifth year, during the spring and in the first month, Dong Cheng and his fellows’ scheme leaked out and all of them were executed. His Excellency was prepared to go east to attack Bei but his generals all said, “Yuan Shao is the one struggling with you over the empire. Now that Shao is heading in this direction if you abandon this place and go east, Shao will take advantage of you from behind, how can you do this?” His Excellency replied, “This Liu Bei is an outstanding personality, if I do not strike at him now, he will surely be trouble for me in the future.43 Though Yuan Shao is of great ambition, he is slow to see an opportunity, thus he certainly will not come.” Guo Jia similarly advised him so forthwith he went east and attacked Bei, defeating him and taking prisoner his general Xiahou Bo. Bei fled to Shao, and His Excellency captured his wives. Bei’s general Guan Yu was stationed at Xiapi and when His Excellency advanced again to attack him Yu surrendered. Chang Xi revolted in support of Bei and His Excellency again attacked, defeating him. When he returned to Guandu, Shao’s soldiers had not come.


43 Sun Sheng’s Annal of the Wei Clan/Wei Shi Chunqiu states: His Excellency replied to all of his generals, saying, “Liu Bei is an outstanding personality and in the future will cause me much grief.” Your servant Song is of the opinion that of historical records a great many are embellished. For this reason, if the earlier records are actually untruthful in their accounts, and the later scholars in addition make it their business to alter them, and so are inconsistent with the facts, is this not moving even farther away from the truth? In all of Sun Sheng’s compositions he makes use of contrary clan records in order to alter the earlier accounts, thusly this is not the only instance. Alas, which accounts should later students choose to believe? Moreover, the King of Wei was directed towards fulfilling grandiose ambitions, the usage here is another mistake as he is made to speak rigidly, which especially is not his style.

In the second month, Shao dispatched Guo Tu, Chunyu Qiong and Yan Liang to attack the Grand Administrator of Dongjun Liu Yan at Baima, while Shao led his troops to Liyang and prepared to cross the river. In the summer, during the fourth month, His Excellency went north to rescue Yan. Xun You counseled him, saying, “Presently your soldiers are fewer and no match for the enemy, you must divide his forces so that you can match them. If you go to Yanjin and make it seem as if you are going to cross your troops in the direction of the latter, Shao will certainly move to the west in response. Thereafter if with a light force you raid Baima, you will catch him unawares and Yan Liang can be captured.” His Excellency followed his advice. When Shao heard of soldiers crossing he immediately sent part of his army west in response. Thereupon he simultaneously led his army quickly to Baima, and he had not gone more than ten li when Liang became greatly alarmed and turned back to attack. His Excellency sent Zhang Liao and Guan Yu to lead the attack, routing and then beheading Liang. Forthwith he broke the siege of Baima and moved its citizens, following the river westward. Shao therefore crossed the river to pursue his army until he arrived south of Yanjin. His Excellency reined in his soldiers and encamped beneath a hillside to the south. Someone was sent to scale the hillside and take a look at Shao’s forces, saying, “There are approximately five or six hundred cavalrymen.” A moment later he reported again, “Of cavalry there are a bit more, and innumerable infantrymen.” His Excellency replied, “Don’t report again.” Thereupon he ordered his cavalrymen to untie their saddles and release their horses. At the time military supplies taken from Baima were lying in the road. All of his generals felt that there were too many enemy cavalrymen and that it would be better to return and defend their camp. Xun You said, “The purpose of this is to bait the enemy, what would be accomplished by leaving?” Shao’s cavalry general Wen Chou with Liu Bei set out with a total of five or six thousand cavalrymen. His Excellency’s generals again all said, “We should saddle up.” His Excellency replied, “Not yet.” A few moments later, when the cavalrymen had come a bit closer, and some of them separated from the rest and began going after the military supplies, His Excellency said, “Now you may.” Thereupon all of them mounted their horses. At the time His Excellency had not even six hundred cavalrymen and forthwith he loosed his soldiers to attack, massively defeating the enemy and beheading Chou. Liang and Chou were both of Shao's famous generals and in two battles they were both captured, leaving Shao’s army greatly shaken. His Excellency returned his army to Guandu, Shao advanced to defend Yangwu and Guan Yu fled, returning to Liu Bei.

In the eighth month, Shao made camp just in front of His Excellency, using sand dunes for his encampment and extending to the east and west for ten li. His Excellency also placed his correspondingly, and joined battle, to his detriment.44 At the time he had not ten thousand soldiers and out of every ten two or three were injured.45 Shao again advanced to Guandu, and he raised up mounds of earth and dug out underground paths. His Excellency from within his encampment did the same in response. Shao fired into his camp, the arrows were like rain coming down, pedestrians all had to be covered with shields and the masses were greatly frightened. At this time His Excellency’s provisions were running low, and he sent a letter to Xun Yu in which he discussed his desire to return to Xu. Yu’s opinion was that, “Shao has gathered all of his forces at Guandu and wishes to decide with you who is victorious and who is defeated. To this point you have matched the weak against the strong and if you are not able to restrain him he will surely take advantage, this is a critical juncture for the empire. Moreover, Shao is the hero of the common people only and though he is able to gather men he is unable to use them. You are a true hero on account of your military skill, bright wisdom and great loyalty, how can things not go well for you!” His Excellency followed his advice.


44 Xi Zuochi’s Annals of Han and Jin/Han Jin Chunqiu states: Xu You counseled Shao, saying, “Your lordship does not have to face Cao directly in battle. If you press with one division of your army and so restrain him, you may take the path away from him and go to welcome in the Son of Heaven, and then the matter will be settled in your favor.” Shao did not follow his advice, saying, “I am going to lead the vanguard and surround and capture him.” You was indignant.

45 Your servant Song believes that the King of Wei, when he first raised up soldiers, had already gathered a multitude of five thousand, and that from then on he was victorious in nearly every battle, and so his losses would be no more than two or three out of every ten. Moreover, in a single defeat of the Yellow Turbans he accepted the surrender of three hundred thousand soldiers, though we are not able to know the record of the rest of those whom he absorbed. Even though he incurred losses in military expeditions he still should not have had so few soldiers. For men to fortify their camps and defend against each other is different from ravaging each other at swordpoint in pitched battle. The Ben Ji states: Shao had a multitude of more than one hundred thousand soldiers and his encampment extended to the east and west for ten li. Though changing circumstances had gone against the Great Ancestor of Wei, and his strategy had not worked, he is depicted as being satisfied with having only a few thousand soldiers, but if he did not have more than is said, how could he face and resist the enemy? By applying reasoning to the records I presume to show that they are incorrect. Shao used an area of ten li for his camp, and Great Ancestor of Wei placed his camp in corresponding fashion facing him. From this, his forces must not have been so very few; this is one reason. If Shao had ten times as many men he logically ought to have had all the power needed both to besiege and defend, and use them to cut off Great Ancestor of Wei’s comings and goings. However, Great Ancestor of Wei used Xu Huang and his men to attack Shao’s transport carts and also went out himself to attack Chunyu Qiong and his men, flying Shao’s flags, intermingling with the enemy and infiltrating them without resistance. It is clear that Shao’s strength was not sufficient to restrain him, therefore his forces must not have been so very few; this is the second reason. All of the records say that Great Ancestor of Wei buried seventy or eighty thousand of Shao’s troops alive. If eighty thousand men were to scatter and flee he would not be able to tie them down with only eight thousand men, yet this multitude of Shao’s men all submissively went forward to their deaths; by what means did he have strength enough to restrain them? Truly, his forces must not have been so very few; this is the third reason. That the transcribers wished for his forces to seem to be few is strange, as it is not an accurate record. According to the biography of Zhong You, it says, “When His Excellency and Shao were opposing each other You was serving as Director of Retainers, and he sent a group of two thousand pi of horses as supplies for the army.” The Ben Ji and Shi Yu both say that at the time Great Ancestor of Wei had only six hundred cavalrymen, so why did You feel the horses were needed?

When Sun Ce heard that His Excellency and Shao were grappling with one another he made plans to raid Xu but never set out, as he was killed by an assassin.

In Runan, the thief Liu Pi and his men, who had previously surrendered, rebelled at Shao’s bequest plundered Xu. Shao tasked Liu Bei with assisting Pi, and His Excellency sent Cao Ren to destroy them. Bei fled and then Ren destroyed Pi’s encampment.

Yuan Shao was transporting thousands of grain carts up to his camp, so His Excellency used a strategy of Xun You’s, dispatching Xu Huang and Shi Huan to intercept them, completely defeating them and burning up all of his grain carts. His Excellency and Shao resisted each other for several months, and though in successive battles he had beheaded Shao’s generals, his men yet were few, his provisions were exhausted and his soldiers were weary and tired. His Excellency said to his grain conveyors, “In fifteen days' time I will defeat Shao for you and will trouble you no more.” In the winter, during the tenth month, Shao dispatched grain transport carts and tasked Chunyu Qiong and five other generals, with ten thousand men, to deliver them as they were camped 40 li to the north of Shao. Shao’s counselor Xu You was seeking more money but Shao was not able to get enough so he rushed back, following which he persuaded His Excellency to attack Qiong and his men. All those around His Excellency were skeptical of this course, but Xun You and Jia Xu convinced him. He thereupon left Cao Hong behind to guard, while he himself went out that night with five thousand infantry and cavalrymen and encountered Shao’s troops when daylight came. Qiong and his men saw that His Excellency’s soldiers were few and so when they set their battle array it was disorganized and full of gaps. He quickly attacked them, Qiong retreated to defend his camp and His Excellency then attacked it. Shao dispatched cavalrymen to rescue Qiong. Some of those around His Excellency said, “Enemy cavalrymen are coming ever closer, we entreat you to disburse soldiers to repel them.” He indignantly replied, “When the enemy is at our backs, then report!” His soldiers all fought desperately, massively defeating Qiong and his men, and beheading them.46


46 The Record of Cao Man states: When His Excellency heard that You was coming he went out barefooted to welcome him, clapped his hands and smiled, saying, “Child, you have come from far off to aid me in my affairs!” Both went inside and sat down, and You spoke to him, saying, “The Yuans have a flourishing army, how will you deal with them? How many provisions do you currently have?” His Excellency replied, “Enough yet to sustain the army for a year.” You said, “That is not right, answer again!” His Excellency spoke again, “There is enough to sustain the army for half a year.” You replied, “You evidently do not wish to defeat the villainous Yuan clan since you do not speak truthfully!” His Excellency said, “This manner of speech is only a joke. In all truth there is enough for one month, but how can it be helped?” You replied, “You have but a solitary force alone with which to defend. Additionally there are none to come to your rescue and your supply of grain will soon be exhausted; because of this you daily are in great peril. The Yuans have a vast quantity of military supplies on which they rely, located at Wuchao in Gushi, and the army camp lacks disciplined preparation. Presently, you should use a light force to raid it, as they are not expecting your arrival, and burn up all the accumulated grain. Before three days have passed the Yuans will be defeated.” His Excellency was greatly pleased, and thereupon he selected his elite infantry and cavalrymen, had them all carry Yuan army banners, gagged up their horses’ mouths with rope and under cover of night set out via a byroad with every man carrying a bundle of firewood. Whenever there was someone who questioned them as they went by they would tell him, “Lord Yuan is fearful that Cao Cao may rob and plunder the army from behind, so he has dispatched troops to bolster the garrison.” The questioners believed them and took it to be the truth, and so they all remained calm and at ease. On arriving His Excellency’s force surrounded the encampment and started a blazing fire, and there was panic and chaos within the camp. He routed them and burnt up all their supplies of grain and money. First he beheaded the officer Sui Yuanjin, the cavalry officer Han Juzi, Lu Weihuang, Zhao Rui and their men, then he cut off the commander Chunyu Zhongjian’s nose, but did not kill him. He killed more than a thousand men, removing all of their noses, and cut off the lips and tongues of all of the horses and oxen, displaying them before Yuan’s army. Yuan’s generals and soldiers were all shocked and afraid. Since it was nighttime when Zhongjian was captured he was prepared to go over to His Excellency, who asked, “For what reason do you do so?” Zhongjian replied, “Victory and defeat derive from Heaven, what use is there in questioning it!” His Excellency did not wish to kill him, but Xu You said, “When by the light of day he views his reflection in the mirror, it will not be beneficial to have spared this man.” Therefore His Excellency killed him.

Edit: Minor edit in Xu You's dialogue just above to better highlight the significance of it being at night when Chunyu Qiong was wishing to surrender himself to Cao Cao.

Adrian
Last edited by Liu Yuante on Sat Apr 23, 2005 5:07 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Unread postby James » Tue Mar 15, 2005 12:15 am

Adrian… you are awesome.
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Unread postby Liu Yuante » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:34 am

Thank you. You know, the funny thing is, I was unsure of whether to post it before it was completed, but of course decided in the end to do so. Well, sometime in the night my hard drive went kaput - had I not posted this last night I might have lost everything.

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Unread postby Seven at One Stroke » Tue Mar 15, 2005 2:50 am

LiuYuanTe wrote:Thank you. You know, the funny thing is, I was unsure of whether to post it before it was completed, but of course decided in the end to do so. Well, sometime in the night my hard drive went kaput - had I not posted this last night I might have lost everything.

Adrian

Woah...You should pay thanks to Cao Cao's spirit; or rather, his deathday. :lol: But then again, maybe he wasn't too happy about being dead.

Anyways, very nice work on the bio. :) I'm glad it all worked out for the best.
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Unread postby Ts'aoist » Tue Mar 15, 2005 4:09 pm

::sheds a single tear::

Marry me.
I've been waiting so long for The Man's real biography to come here.
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Unread postby Iain » Wed Mar 16, 2005 1:22 am

Great work Adrian I've wanted to see Cao Cao's SGZ for quite some time and you have now made that possible here. :D
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Unread postby Liu Yuante » Wed Mar 16, 2005 1:32 am

Don't forget, this is just the first 40%, there is more work to be done. I go on vacation from work starting this Saturday and running through to the 29th, so I hope to get an entire third of it done over that time. As significant chunks of translation are completed they will be added here and then at the end I will set myself down to the task of doing my own notes.

And thank you for the kind words, none of my progress with Classical Chinese would have happened without the assistance of several other members of this forum, notably Lady Wu and 7 @ 1 Stroke, so you can thank them, too.

Edit: Also, this translation is not static. Although I believe everything to be correct, there are two places that I'm not 100% comfortable with my rendering (The Yellow turban letter to Cao Cao and the merchant in Jinan being carried around). I also was reading through it just now and found what I believe to be an error in Cao Cao's speech on not executing people who used to dislike you and corrected it.

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Unread postby Xiahou Ji » Wed Mar 16, 2005 4:59 am

Great job Adrian, would you kindly accept my *clapping* now ? :wink:
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