Uncover the mystery of Liu Bei’s starting a family: pull the butcher to pay for the fugitives to join the gang

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Taoyuan San Jie Yi

Liu Bei’s image, described in the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, has become a modest gentleman, which is almost a household name in China. The “three ties of righteousness in Taoyuan”, which he started, has long been worshipped by people because it reflects the psychological sustenance of the ancient grass-roots class. However, if we take a close look at the historical book “annals of the Three Kingdoms” and relevant historical books, and study how Liu Bei gradually rose from the bottom, we can see that at first he did not show any benevolence and loyalty, but rather some underworld color.

If the important people of the “Three Kingdoms” fill out the form according to the standards after liberation, Cao Cao and Sun Quan must have been bureaucrat landlords, but Liu Bei can fill in the good ingredient of “handicraft workers” because he once “weaved seats and sold shoes”. His family was poor when he was young, and his economic conditions improved when he grew up. According to the introduction of the annals of the Three Kingdoms · Shu Shu Shu · biography of the first master, when he was young, Liu Bei did not like reading, but loved dogs, horses and fun. “He was good at making friends with heroes and fighting for them when he was young”, and even local “big businessmen” were “more rich with them”. Rich people in their hometown have to pay protection fees to Liu Bei, who has no official position. The “Heroes” are all “fighting for attachment”. Isn’t this person obviously like the boss of the underworld?

In the chaotic times of anarchy, the heroes at the bottom have the opportunity to make a difference. In 184, when Liu Bei was 23 years old, Zhang Jiao, the leader of the “Taiping Road”, gathered believers with yellow scarves wrapped around their heads and armed rebellion to seize power. The Eastern Han Dynasty, which lacked troops directly under the central government, faced sudden riots and urged the governments of various states to recruit soldiers. Liu Bei, a straw sandal dealer, had the opportunity to establish private armed forces.

When Liu Bei set up the army, he needed to spend money to recruit soldiers and build controlled knives. He enlisted Zhang Fei, a local butcher with a little money, to join him. Then he recruited Guan Yu, a wanted fugitive (according to the annals of the Three Kingdoms, he “ran to Zhuozhou county” from Hedong). This private armed force takes brotherhood as its spiritual pillar, and its organizational nature is very similar to that of the modern underworld, that is, it belongs to the marginal figures of the society who gather people by illegal means, not by legal concepts, but by the “righteousness” of the underworld. Guan Yu has been a person who has been touched for thousands of years in Chinese feudal society. Later imperial courts awarded him the title of “Guandi”, and folk gangs also worshipped him as the ancestor of the great master. In fact, the “Guandi” can lead black and white to bow down, relying on the so-called “righteousness”, that is, he is unprincipled and loyal to the ruler and the guild boss.

The Yellow turban rebellion launched by heretical religions was put down after only half a year. According to the records of the annals of the Three Kingdoms, Liu Bei won a county official for his meritorious deeds in crusading against the Yellow turban army. Soon, the imperial court sent the governor post (similar to the inspector) to the county to work. Liu Bei asked to see him, but was not allowed to see him. Liu Bei broke in directly, tied up the governor post, beat him with 200 sticks, and then “abandoned the official and ran for his life”. When the superior who came to inspect refused to meet him, Liu Bei tied him up, beat him up and abandoned his official position. What is the style of doing? The author of the romance of the Three Kingdoms, in order to reflect Zhang Fei’s character of being jealous of evil as if he were a foe, charged him with the task of sending an official post. Instead, he wrote Liu Bei as a kind dissuader. In order to vent his personal grievances, Liu Bei abused lynching against the imperial court officials. Liu Bei, who had caused great trouble, was naturally unable to stay in the officialdom. He was forced to “run for his life” wandering in Hebei, and again asked business travelers for protection fees to support the old business of the gang.

In 189 ad, DongZhuo’s visit to Beijing caused a scuffle among warlords. At this time, Liu Bei had gathered a group of people and led them to join the battle for hegemony, becoming a small warlord with some strength. After entering Xuchang, he was recognized as “Uncle Huang” by Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty, who was eager to find supporters. However, if the blood relationship is verified, the “14th grandson of King Jing of Zhongshan” and Emperor Xian of Han Dynasty have been their own families for 15 generations. In more than ten years of war, the “emperor uncle”, who could only fight with Emperor Xian of Han Dynasty for 15 strokes, has successively joined gongsunzan, taoqian, Lv Bu, Cao Cao, Yuan Shao and Liu Biao for his own development. In case of adverse situation, he will immediately turn against him. It can be said that he invented the philosophy of “existence is above everything” 1700 years earlier than the modern Shanxi warlord Yan Xishan.

At this time, Liu Bei not only called himself “the Great Han clan” when he met people, but also added a series of official titles such as “Yuzhou herdsman” to his head, and flaunted himself everywhere with “loving the people” and being generous to others. It can be said that he completely changed himself from “black” to “white”.

In 207 A.D., Liu Bei asked Zhugeliang to come out of the mountain to help him in good faith. With thousands of soldiers and the strength of a small county in Xinye, he finally embarked on the right path to compete for the world. After defeating Cao Cao in the alliance with Sun Wu and taking over Jingzhou, Liu Bei entered Sichuan in the name of assisting Liu Zhang to win the foundation. Liu Bei’s headquarters developed into one of the three major military forces in China. In 220 AD, Cao Pi, the son of Cao Cao, usurped the Han Dynasty, but still “treated the first emperor with courtesy”. However, Liu Bei created a political rumor that Emperor Xian of the Han Dynasty had been killed. In 221, he established the Shuhan court and called himself the emperor, thus completing the road of gangs, warlords and becoming the emperor.

Today, in addition to the aura of feudal orthodoxy on Liu Bei’s head, we do not deny his ability to create hegemony by starting from a cloth cloth. On the contrary, we can see that there was no room for gentleness, courtesy and frugality in the cruel battle among the heroes at that time. Liu beineng and Cao Cao, who is both civil and military, are listed as “heroes in the world”, which shows that he is a historical strongman, whether he is a real gentleman or a hypocrite.

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