Anyone Interested In Cao Cao?

Sep 2019
21
UK
I have read a more extreme of an existing webnovel, in which the protagonist enters the game world of Fantastic Three Kingdoms; later, he becomes a divinity in the game, and all the
major characters are effectively his daughters.
The title is Daughters of the Three Kingdoms. It is filled with fairly x-rated contents and is totally beyond logic; even so, why applies logic to entertainment and pure fun?
Why would you introduce a few female officials and generals in Three Kingdoms? What are your intentions?
Well, variation is a primary concern and I know that sounds cheap but hear me out.
One thing I really don't like in some mainstream Three Kingdoms works is that everyone but the Three Sworn Brothers look like middle-aged men with beards, usually wearing helmets and/or hats.
As if to say 'Ignore me. I'm generic.'
In my opinion, changing a historical figure is questionable but it's not as bad as inviting the audience to outright ignore them.
Your opinion might vary on that statement.

It really depends on how far I can get away with it. I'm being strategic and making it dependent on the character's relationships with others.
For instance, Xiahou Shang was married to Cao Zhen's sister. In my take on it, Cao Xiu's gender-flipped so they're married. Since they both fought on the Wu warfront, it can develop their bond.
Liu Bei's wife was Lady Mi and therefore Mi Zhu and Mi Fang were in brothers-in-law. In my take on it, Mi Zhu and Lady Mi are the same person and she's a strategist as well as a noble lady.
It follows a pattern like that. Of course I'm not trying to pair up everyone but the relationship some characters have with others plays a key here.

Believe me, this idea was quite a while ago when I was younger and more naive. But I've tried to put a lot of thought and work into it and I'm trying to be as strategic as possible.
Again, this is a historical fiction and it's always up for question how far you can claim a change in the character's gender or race is just for artistic purposes (Insert Troll face here) but I don't want to be one of those people who don't care what the historically-minded crowd thinks so I want to be sure I don't go too far.
Even in the case of ancient history which is, taken by and large, still quite vague, I don't intend to stretch the truth to breaking point and I need other people's advice to ensure that.
 
Aug 2015
1,888
Los Angeles
The more 'mainstream' parts of history that everyone remembers, I'm trying to reinterpret.
There are times I intend to play fast and loose with things but I don't intend to disprove any facts.
Whenever there will be breaks from reality, I plan to do the thing I've seen Souten Kouro and Kingdom do where they point out what is written and is regarded as the truth, establishing that what the audience has seen has been reinterpreted for narrative sake and should not be regarded as historically accurate.
So everything you are writing is fiction and not aim to be historically accurate? What's the point of posting this in the history section?
 
Sep 2019
21
UK
So everything you are writing is fiction and not aim to be historically accurate? What's the point of posting this in the history section?
Well, I wanted advice.
It's perfectly rational for someone working on a historical fiction to consult people on what would be a plausible interpretation of history or not.
Not everything I'm writing is fiction. I said I'd only change it at times. I'm on this site to find out when would be the best time. There are instances in the historical context were events, individuals or motives involved are vague and I wanted to find someone to consult with.

If I'm going about it in the wrong way, fair enough. I'm sorry if you've found me obnoxious..
 
Aug 2015
1,888
Los Angeles
Okay, again, this is historical fiction. My goal is reinterpretation.
This is what I'm basing it around.
Dong Cheng's origins are obscure: the Qing dynasty scholar Zhao Yiqing deduced that he was from the same clan as Dong Zhuo, while the Liu Song dynasty historian Pei Songzhi claimed that he was a nephew of Empress Dowager Dong, the mother of Emperor Ling (r. 168–189).
So I've decided to make the whole bunch of them related.
That's the reason He Jin doesn't trust him. It's Yuan Shao and Wang Yun who invite him and they do so because, ironically, they're afraid of the He family taking control once the Eunuchs are gone.
No order went from the Imperial Secretariat without He Jin's approval. If He Jin did not want him there he isn't going to be there.

Wang Yun is not related to his discussion. And I doubt anyone thought much about the fear of the He family once the eunuchs are gone. Everyone was busy trying to convince He Jin to remove them to say that they are already planning otherwise is insane.


Yes but that's largely a move of appeasement. He'd just destroyed the Eunuch party and the He family, he wanted to make it legitimate, gain authority, win friends.
Taking his behaviour into consideration, it seems the most likely explanation for how he acted in such a way. He does not acknowledge the power of the ministers and enjoys solving problems with the sword.
OK so he did invite scholars to his government and make friends with them. Let this fact stand.


There is no source, I acknowledge that. It just seemed a good idea to have that as the reason Dong Zhuo stayed away from the capital for so long. Liang Ji's reign saw countless enemies of his executed, imprisoned or exiled. Minor threats with connection to larger ones would be exiled under Han law, stripped of all honours. Dong Zhuo, in my take on it, is one such man and claws his way back to the top.
No, Dong wanted to remain in the field because in the field he has an army in the capital he is nobody.




Okay, thank you for this information. It'll come in great use. I didn't know Yuan Kai had such pull. Where did you find this?
These came from the understanding of the Imperial Secretariat, my sources are

Cambridge History of China, Qin-Han, under THE STRUCTURE AND PRACTICE OF GOVERNMENT
中国古代政治与行政制度, p 73, 76-77
中国政治制度史, p70-72,
中国政治制度史纲, p69-75

As well as discussion from Book of Han etc.

This is not to say whether or not it was his intention, but the result of his action is such. It is the power of the Imperial Secretariat and Dong's failure to control it.


Rafe de Crespigny calls him Yuan Wei so that's why I hadn't heard of him.
But it doesn't say he was one of the Three Excellencies at the time of his death. He had been but he retired. He was General of the Rear by the time Dong Zhuo took power. He would have had a lot of influence but Crespigny also says that Wu Qiong and Zhou Bi appointed the various members of the Guandong Coalition which is why Dong Zhuo had them executed upon seeing the declaration of war.
He was a retired official from the Three Excellencies. He was appointed the General of the Rear as well as the Control of the Imperial Secretariat and the Grand Tutor.

Book of Later Han, Emperor Ling Ch8
孝灵帝纪第八
.....后将军袁隗为太傅,与大将军何进参录尚书事

.....The general of the Rear as the Grand Tutor, and joined the General in Chief He Jin as the Control of Imperial Secretariat.


As the Intendant to the Master of Writing (Control of Imperial Secretariat) he has the sole authority after He Jin's death to issue an order on behalf of the Imperial Secretariat. If an order came for of appointment, it was under his seal. If an order came out to direct people to do things, it's under his seal. He is in essence the region.

Wu Qiong and Zhou Bi recommended Dong to do that. They cannot do that. And another thing to note, Qiong is a member of the Imperial Secretariat, while Bi was a Palace Attendant. Both of whom would be considered as a member of the inner court and thus be under Yuan's supervision.
 
Aug 2015
1,888
Los Angeles
The fact that Zhuge Liang doesn't join Wei if he's hungry for power is brought up. But that's kind of my point.
He wishes to be the man who brought Cao Cao low. He is not remotely interested in sharing power.
He's motivated by a hunger to achieve glory. And the greatest glory would be overthrowing Cao Cao.
Liu Bei had very little actual claim to calling himself the Emperor's kin (Liu Ye, a closer relation to the legitimate Han Dynasty, was one of Cao Cao's strategists and artillery experts and never used his lineage to rebel) and most people at the time knew this. Zhuge Liang acts as kind of the devil on his shoulder, prompting Liu Bei to abandon a lot of his moral compass and commit several questionable acts in his rise to power, including but not limited to alienating his allies, invading the land of those he called his kin and even killing his own adopted son.
And yes, the idea that Cao Cao could have been just as bad if he went through as many problems as Liu Bei or Zhuge Liang is brought up, particularly later in his life where the brewing conflict between his sons drives him near to paranoia.
Suppose we are talking about an ahistorical Zhuge Liang, someone who shares a name with the Marquise of Martial, let's suppose that's the case, your character would have to make sense.

So why is Zhuge's motivation a selfish one given he was willing to spent his life fighting for someone else's dynasty whereas Cao Pei was fighting for his own?

If your goal is to reinterpret Zhuge then his action cannot be the same because otherwise your character's motivation simply doesn't square away. No one with ambition would allow an emperor behind himself while he fought in the front line until he died of exhaustion.

That's just not how ambition works. I think at least twice people brought up the case to make Zhuge a Duke and he punished them and then start to empower Liu Shan.

On the matter of Liu Ye & Liu Bei's lineage, the discussion wasn't how close they were to the Han Empire since to the Han Empire the two Hans were the same family. So as far as actual closeness goes, they are all out of the 5 generation which makes none of them 'relative' of the五服. On the other hand, Liu Bei wasn't rebelling against the Han, he was challenging the legitimacy of Cao Cao.
 
Sep 2019
21
UK
No order went from the Imperial Secretariat without He Jin's approval. If He Jin did not want him there he isn't going to be there.

Wang Yun is not related to his discussion. And I doubt anyone thought much about the fear of the He family once the eunuchs are gone. Everyone was busy trying to convince He Jin to remove them to say that they are already planning otherwise is insane.

OK so he did invite scholars to his government and make friends with them. Let this fact stand.

No, Dong wanted to remain in the field because in the field he has an army in the capital he is nobody.

These came from the understanding of the Imperial Secretariat, my sources are

Cambridge History of China, Qin-Han, under THE STRUCTURE AND PRACTICE OF GOVERNMENT
中国古代政治与行政制度, p 73, 76-77
中国政治制度史, p70-72,
中国政治制度史纲, p69-75

As well as discussion from Book of Han etc.

This is not to say whether or not it was his intention, but the result of his action is such. It is the power of the Imperial Secretariat and Dong's failure to control it.

He was a retired official from the Three Excellencies. He was appointed the General of the Rear as well as the Control of the Imperial Secretariat and the Grand Tutor.

Book of Later Han, Emperor Ling Ch8
孝灵帝纪第八
.....后将军袁隗为太傅,与大将军何进参录尚书事

.....The general of the Rear as the Grand Tutor, and joined the General in Chief He Jin as the Control of Imperial Secretariat.

As the Intendant to the Master of Writing (Control of Imperial Secretariat) he has the sole authority after He Jin's death to issue an order on behalf of the Imperial Secretariat. If an order came for of appointment, it was under his seal. If an order came out to direct people to do things, it's under his seal. He is in essence the region.

Wu Qiong and Zhou Bi recommended Dong to do that. They cannot do that. And another thing to note, Qiong is a member of the Imperial Secretariat, while Bi was a Palace Attendant. Both of whom would be considered as a member of the inner court and thus be under Yuan's supervision.
Okay, sorry.
I thought Wang Yun would be good to have some influence in the matter considering Dong Zhuo favoured him.
The underlying sentiment that the He are just as responsible for corrupting the Emperor is apparent in many of the local leading officials (Empress He wasn't popular). And I just thought this was a useful way to combine the issues and build on several characters
 
Sep 2019
21
UK
Suppose we are talking about an ahistorical Zhuge Liang, someone who shares a name with the Marquise of Martial, let's suppose that's the case, your character would have to make sense.

So why is Zhuge's motivation a selfish one given he was willing to spent his life fighting for someone else's dynasty whereas Cao Pei was fighting for his own?

If your goal is to reinterpret Zhuge then his action cannot be the same because otherwise your character's motivation simply doesn't square away. No one with ambition would allow an emperor behind himself while he fought in the front line until he died of exhaustion.

That's just not how ambition works. I think at least twice people brought up the case to make Zhuge a Duke and he punished them and then start to empower Liu Shan.

On the matter of Liu Ye & Liu Bei's lineage, the discussion wasn't how close they were to the Han Empire since to the Han Empire the two Hans were the same family. So as far as actual closeness goes, they are all out of the 5 generation which makes none of them 'relative' of the五服. On the other hand, Liu Bei wasn't rebelling against the Han, he was challenging the legitimacy of Cao Cao.
The fact that he's fighting on the front line is the point. He wants to achieve victory, in person, against Cao Cao or those who come after him.

Cao Cao fought for the Han in order to strengthen his own influence. In this case, Zhuge Liang isn't any different. Zhuge Liang is waiting for Liu Shan to steadily lose interest in the affairs of his nation, leave him with the primary duties of state and bide his time to attain total control as the man behind the throne. He has no actual intention of sitting the throne but the giak to effectively rule China as Cao Cao did is one he shares.
He needs Liu Shan kept on the throne because he wants to manipulate him.
It's not meant to be obvious but the interpretation that he's following Cao Cao's pattern is the key theme I'm going for.
 
Aug 2015
1,888
Los Angeles
Okay, sorry.
I thought Wang Yun would be good to have some influence in the matter considering Dong Zhuo favoured him.
The underlying sentiment that the He are just as responsible for corrupting the Emperor is apparent in many of the local leading officials (Empress He wasn't popular). And I just thought this was a useful way to combine the issues and build on several characters
In general, people consider He Jin is a far more favorable view than most of the consort-kins of the time. I don't think anyone thought about Emperor Ling or Shao were corrupted by He Jin.

I don't know what you mean by local leading officials as many prominent people in the later period would all serve under He Jin. Like if you want to grab a random leader of any faction, he probably served He Jin at one point or another.

Wang Yun was serving under He Jin at the time, he was in retirement and was recruited by He Jin.
 
Aug 2015
1,888
Los Angeles
The fact that he's fighting on the front line is the point. He wants to achieve victory, in person, against Cao Cao or those who come after him.

Cao Cao fought for the Han in order to strengthen his own influence. In this case, Zhuge Liang isn't any different. Zhuge Liang is waiting for Liu Shan to steadily lose interest in the affairs of his nation, leave him with the primary duties of state and bide his time to attain total control as the man behind the throne. He has no actual intention of sitting the throne but the giak to effectively rule China as Cao Cao did is one he shares.
He needs Liu Shan kept on the throne because he wants to manipulate him.
It's not meant to be obvious but the interpretation that he's following Cao Cao's pattern is the key theme I'm going for.
Yah that doesn't make sense because how does Zhuge Liang manipulate the emperor?

And the thing about Zhuge Liang was he COULD control the entire state if he wanted to, he had legitimate authority as the Intendant, but he didn't. He delegated the power to the young emperor who by no means should interfere in the matters of state. That's standard Han policy.

Zhuge Liang's control is one of legitimacy, as the Intendant. Cao Cao's control is very much like Dong's, through martial might. Cao Cao control the court by having a military control over the court. Zhuge's control of the court is by everyone believing he had legitimate power.

To say they are following the same patterns means you are ignoring how both of them achieve their power, and also you are ignoring the political reality on the ground for the Han bureaucracy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Yuyue
Feb 2018
235
US
Mariusj, thoughts on how the generals/strategists of the Three Kingdoms period compare to those in other eras?

I found it interesting how in the Seventh Military Classic, if authentic, Li Shimin just flat out says the four best generals were Bai Qi, Han Xin, Wei Qing, and Huo Qubing - all within 150 years of each other. That very well may be the case, but its definitely curious.