The era of cannibalism: the Three Kingdoms era

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A “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”, whether reading novels or watching popular TV dramas, is full of magnificent undertakings and the achievements of heroes. It looks very lively. However, one of the stories of Liu An killing his wife makes people tremble.

The story says: after being defeated by Lv Bu, Liu Bei “Look for the path to cast Xu capital. On the way, there was no food, and I tasted it in the village for food. But everywhere, I heard that Liu Yuzhou was fighting for food. One day, I went to a house for lodging, and a young man of his family paid homage to him and asked his name. It was Hunter Liu Anya. At that time, Liu Anya heard that Liu Yuzhou was a nomad, and wanted to find game for food, but he couldn’t get it for a while, but he killed his wife to eat it. Xuande said, ‘what meat is this?’ an said: ‘it’s wolf meat too.’ Xuande no doubt, he had a full meal and stayed overnight. At dawn, he went to the backyard to get his horse. Suddenly, he saw a woman killed under the kitchen, and the meat on her arm had been cut off. Xuande exclaimed, only then did he know that the eater last night was the flesh of his wife. “.

This story is not contained in history books, and the author made it up to flatter Liu Bei. But when to eat human flesh is not a glorious thing. Even if it is eaten by mistake like Liu Bei, it is difficult to be accepted, so everyone believes that this is a big failure of the romance of the Three Kingdoms. However, the failure is a failure. It is also an indisputable fact that natural and man-made disasters occurred in the late Han and Three Kingdoms, and people ate people everywhere, including many powerful and influential nobles.

According to the book of Wei, “since the people were in chaos, they were short of grain, and all the troops joined forces. There was no plan to live forever… Yuan Shaozhi was in Hebei, the soldiers fed on mulberry, Yuan Shu was in the Yangtze and Huaihe rivers, and gave it to Pu Dan. Many people ate each other, and the state was depressed.” “Zizhi Tongjian” also records that people in Hebei and Jianghuai ate people at that time. In fact, it’s not just Hebei and Jianghuai. People eat people everywhere. According to records in the book of the later Han Dynasty, gaixun biography: in the first year of Zhongping of the emperor Hanling (184 AD), Xun was the governor of Hanyang, “when people were hungry, they would fish and eat.”. According to records in the annals of the Three Kingdoms xunzhuan, “in the summer of the second year (191 A.D.) of the reign of Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, the Taizu army took the surname. People were hungry and ate each other.”—— Cheng surname is in the southwest of Juye today.

The biography of Dong Zhuo in the annals of the Three Kingdoms records that in the third and fourth years of Chu Ping (AD 192-193), after Dong Zhuo’s death, Li Guosi and others disordered Chang’an. “At that time, hundreds of thousands of people were still living in Sanfu, and he and others sent troops to loot… The people were hungry and sleepy, and they ate a little in two years.”. “Heroes” records: “at the right time, Gu Yihu 500000, beans and wheat 20000. People eat each other, bones accumulate, and corpses pollute the road.” “Zizhi Tongjian” records: in the first year of Xingping (194 AD), “since April, there has been no rain, as for autumn and July, Gu Yihu is worth 500000, and the Chinese in Chang’an eat each other”.

According to records in the annals of the Three Kingdoms, Emperor Wu Ji: in the first year of Xingping (194 A.D.), Cao Cao fought with Tao Qian and Lu Bu in Xuzhou and Puyang, and the war added locusts. “At the age of, Gu Yihu had more than 500000 yuan, and people ate each other.”. The biography of Sima Lang in the annals of the Three Kingdoms records that in the first year of Xingping (194 A.D.), when Cao Cao and Lv Bu fought in Puyang, Sima Yi’s brother Sima Lang “returned his family members to warm, when they were hungry, and people ate each other”. “Heroes” records: in the second year of Xingping (AD 195), after Liu Bei was attacked by Lv Bu in Xuzhou, he packed up his scattered soldiers and ran to Guangling, “the troops were in Guangling, hungry and defeated, and the officials and men ate each other’s food, poor and hungry…”.

During this period, the Huainan people occupied by Guanzhong and Yuanshu near Chang’an were particularly cannibal, almost reaching the level of “cannibalism exhausted”.

After the Three Kingdoms, the Cao, sun and Liu families took some measures to develop production in order to consolidate their political power. This phenomenon of cannibalism gradually decreased, but it still occurred. For example, according to the biography of Gongsun yuan in the annals of the Three Kingdoms, Sima Yi led his army to attack Gongsun yuan in Eastern Liaoning in the second year of Jingchu (AD 238), which surrounded Xiangping city. “Yuan was in distress, food ran out, people ate each other, and there were many dead.”—— Liaodong is still cannibalizing people.

In the process of such frequent and large-scale cannibalism, some people with status and status like Liu Bei in the novel are also among them. For example, during the period of Chu Ping and Xing Ping of Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, during the great disaster that spread throughout the Central Plains, Cheng Yu, who Cao Cao stationed in East Afghanistan, once sent Cao Cao grain for the army for three days, including a lot of pickled human flesh. Cheng Yu is an important adviser under Cao Cao. He has culture and status. He was granted the title of general Fenwu and Marquis of anguotang. After Cao Pi became emperor, he was almost ranked as Sangong. It is really amazing that he can do such cruel things.

There was also Wang Zhong, a duting Marquis and light car general who once persuaded Cao Cao to join the Duke of Wei with others, and later wrote a letter to persuade Cao Pi to become emperor. At first, when he was in Guanzhong, he used to eat people. After the dignitaries, they often followed Cao Cao and his son. Once when Emperor Wen of Wei drove out and saw a skeleton in the wilderness, he ordered someone to take it and tie it to Wang Zhong’s saddle, telling him that there was food again, which made everyone laugh.

Another frightening cannibalism occurred in Soochow. Normally, compared with natural and man-made disasters in the north, the eastern Wu in Pianan corner should be better, but in fact, it is not optimistic. For example, in the third year of chiwu when Sun Quan was in power (A.D. 240), a great famine occurred in the eastern Wu. The people were starving, forcing Sun Quan to open the national treasury, and then managed to stabilize the situation. At the end of emperor SUN Hao, he was really unbearable. He was so cruel that he took pleasure in peeling people’s faces and chiseling people’s eyes. One day, he held a banquet in Wuchang. Because he suspected that the cavalry often served Wang Fan to pretend to be drunk, he ordered to cut off Wang Fan’s head, mentioned the mountain outside the city, ran and jumped with his favorite ministers like tigers and wolves, biting until he bit his head to pieces. Such people eat people, it is simply insane.

Such large-scale and frequent cannibalism events show how bad the living environment of the people during the Three Kingdoms period was! “Prosperity makes the people suffer; death makes the people suffer.” “A general’s success will wither all bones”, which heroic performance is not behind the blood and tears of the people!

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