A military coup triggered by “Prohibition of alcohol” during the Three Kingdoms period

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San Ying Zhan Lu Bu

Historical data at all times and in all countries show that there is a close relationship between soldiers and wine. It is often said that after the victory of the war, when the ancient emperors rewarded the three armies, the soldiers could eat large pieces of meat and drink in large bowls. There are also numerous incidents in the ancient military where wine caused accidents and delayed fighters.

In 949 A.D., there was a rebellion in the later Han Dynasty. When the rebels attacked the government troops west of the Yellow River, they played a trick: “the advance sent people out to drink wine in the village villa, or to fight with it, not to blame them.” The rebels disguised themselves as putting up tents to sell wine next to the barracks. The soldiers were given priority. The sergeants of the government army could drink on credit, or even without money!

How can such a good thing happen every day? Taking advantage of the opportunity of patrolling, the sergeants of the government army were all drunk. The rebels attacked the government barracks and almost defeated the government army.

The situation was grim, and Guowei, the military commander of the government, issued a prohibition order: “soldiers should not have private drinks unless they are given a banquet!” Guo Wei was later the founding emperor of the Later Zhou Dynasty. In the era of frequent wars, as a loser, he climbed step by step from a soldier to a general. He was the leader of the later Han Dynasty in suppressing rebellions and was a very powerful man.

One morning, before the military meeting, Li Shen, Guowei’s confidant, became addicted to alcohol and drank a little to satisfy his hunger. When Guo Wei learned about it, he immediately arrested him and was very angry: “you are a trusted general under my account. You took the lead in disobeying my general. If you don’t punish you seriously, how can I lead the whole army and convince everyone?”

He ordered Li Shen, who had violated the prohibition of alcohol, to be beheaded in public. Since then, no one in the government army dared to drink against orders. Soon, under the leadership of Guo Wei, the rebels were pacified.

Although wine can alleviate the distress of the military camp and stimulate the pride of the soldiers. However, throughout the ages, outstanding military strategists have known that drinking by soldiers has many advantages and disadvantages. They often adhere to the principle of prohibition of drinking, and have created a strong army with strict discipline, excellent style and strong combat effectiveness. For example, the Yue army banned alcohol, the Qi army also banned alcohol, and the revolutionary Red Army also banned alcohol for a period of time.

However, the prohibition of alcohol in the ancient army was also forbidden. In the third year of Jian’an period (198) of Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, Cao Cao’s army surrounded Lv Bu’s army in xiapi. Lv Bu had no reinforcements outside, and was desperate.

Before that, Lv Bu lost a famous horse of Hou Cheng and recovered it. Hou Cheng was very happy and all the generals who had a good relationship with him went to celebrate. Ancient people were polite. When so many colleagues came, general Hou had to take care of the meal. There was meat but no wine, so he sent someone to get wine.

Before drinking wine and eating meat, general Hou first divided the most beautiful wine and the best meat and presented them to Lv Bu. Unexpectedly, Lv Bu scolded: “I clearly issued a prohibition on alcohol, but you are still secretly making wine and drinking. Isn’t it obvious that you want to fight me? Do you want to use this wine to murder me?”

Lu Bu, who was in the midst of the siege and was in great trouble, said this clearly too much. Hou Cheng and his gang, who had violated the prohibition of alcohol, were unable to eat meat without drinking alcohol. Thinking of Lu Bu’s “high hat”, their spine was cold.

Houcheng was not a good man either. He simply did nothing and did nothing. He launched a military coup with several generals who played well at ordinary times and led their subordinates. He captured Lu Bu’s confidants Chen Gong and Gao Shun and surrendered to Cao Cao together. This made Cao Cao laugh and forced Lv Bu to surrender.

This is clearly recorded in volume 62 of Zizhi Tongjian and 54 of Han Ji, which is called the “battle of xiapi” in history. In this war, Cao Cao completely defeated Lv Bu, and Lv Bu’s forces fell.

So it seems that talking about wine in the army is no small matter.

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