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 Fiction Vs history

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Raiderz
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PostSubject: Fiction Vs history   Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:42 pm

Empty fort strategy
See also: Empty fort strategy
In the novel, during one of the northern expeditions, Zhuge Liang’s troops were defeated in the Battle of Jieting due to the incompetence of the commander Ma Su. In order to buy time for the Shu troops to escape, Zhuge Liang ordered the soldiers to leave the city’s gates wide open. Some of the soldiers disguised themselves as ordinary civilians doing day-to-day work such as sweeping near the city gates. Zhuge Liang personally stood guard on top of the gates, by playing the zither calmly in the face of great danger. The Wei commander Sima Yi suspected that there may be troops lying in ambush within the city and he believed that Zhuge Liang would not be foolish enough to leave the city gates wide open for the enemy to charge in, hence he ordered his troops to retreat. Historical records indicated that the Wei troops did not pursue the retreating Shu troops after the Battle of Jieting. According to Professor Yi Zhongtian, this event could not have taken place due to these reasons; Firstly, Sima Yi was not present at the site where this event took place as he was stationed far away in Wancheng (宛城) according to historical records. Secondly, it was impossible to have gotten to such close proximity to Zhuge Liang to watch his facial expressions and hear him play the zither clearly and if so, the Wei army could have ordered an archer to shoot down Zhuge Liang. Thirdly, based on Sima Yi’s expertise in military strategy, Sima Yi would possibly have ordered his army to surround the city and not attack even if he believed that there was an ambush inside, to verify that his assumption was true.
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PostSubject: Re: Fiction Vs history   Tue Sep 28, 2010 4:48 pm

Xu Shu serves Cao Cao
In the novel, Cao Cao was impressed with Xu Shu’s brilliance after the latter helped Liu Bei defeat Cao Cao’s army and wanted to make Xu Shu serve him. Cao Cao invited Xu Shu’s mother and asked her to write a letter to her son, requesting that her son serve him. Xu Shu’s mother denounced Cao Cao as a traitor and refused to write the letter, and she even threw an ink stone at him. Cao Cao was furious and ordered her to be executed, but later he decided to have her imprisoned as killing her would only make Xu Shu more determined to serve Liu Bei. Cao Cao asked Cheng Yu, one of his advisors, to pretend to be Xu Shu’s sworn brother and try to get close to Xu’s mother. After some time, Cheng Yu learnt how to mimic her handwriting and he wrote a letter to Xu Shu in his mother’s name, asking him to return to Xuchang. Xu Shu was a filial son and he left Liu Bei for Xuchang, only to realise he had been tricked. His mother committed suicide in shame and he continued to serve Cao Cao, but only in name. In historical records, Xu Shu’s abilities were far from that mentioned in the novel. He followed Liu Bei on the exodus, but his mother was captured by Cao Cao’s soldiers. Xu Shu had to bid Liu Bei farewell and left to join Cao Cao. Xu Shu eventually became an important official in the Kingdom of Wei.
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