Zhou Yu’s magnanimity in official history

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First of all, the first question is whether Zhou Yu’s character is really “two small evils”? Since it was written by Luo Guanzhong, to solve the mystery, we should start with his romance of the Three Kingdoms. The word “Romance” appeared as early as the Eastern Han Dynasty before the Three Kingdoms. At that time, it refers to the interpretation and play of Confucian classics. As for Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms, it was originally called popular romance of the Three Kingdoms, which means the popularization of Chen Shou’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

Chen Shou, a historian in the Western Jin Dynasty, was an official in Shuhan in his early years. Shuhan perished, and he was laid off and unemployed. Later, he went to Luoyang, the capital of the Western Jin Dynasty, as a historian writing historical books. The Western Jin Dynasty unified the world. He began to write the history of the Three Kingdoms and completed 65 volumes of the annals of the Three Kingdoms. This book has many advantages, so it has been handed down to this day and has been included in the official history “twenty four histories”, becoming the preferred historical book for the study of the Three Kingdoms. This book is written in classical Chinese and is not suitable for ordinary readers. By the end of the Yuan Dynasty, a thousand years later, Luo Guanzhong used the vernacular to rewrite it. Because it belongs to the popularization, it is named the popular romance of the Three Kingdoms, or the romance of the Three Kingdoms for short. In South Korea and Japan, it is directly called the annals of the Three Kingdoms.

Since Luo Guanzhong’s book claims to be a popularization of Chen Shou’s annals of the Three Kingdoms, isn’t it OK to directly check the annals of the Three Kingdoms to solve the mystery of Zhou Yu’s personality? Well, a thorough investigation of the annals of the Three Kingdoms, from beginning to end, yielded the following two results: first, the specific plot of Zhou Yu’s character of “two small immortals”, including small-minded, unable to accommodate Kongming; Small minded, “three Qi Zhou Yu”, he was angry to death; There are also heartless, bite the hand that feeds the enemy, Kongming helped him borrow arrows, the Seven Star altar borrowed the east wind, but he sent someone to kill Kongming, and so on, which are not recorded in the annals of the Three Kingdoms. 2? The cause of Zhou Yu’s death is clearly recorded in the biography of Zhou Yu as “illness and death” on a business trip. Peisongzhi’s note in the biography of Lu Su quoted the report written by Zhou Yu to Sun Quan before his death in the biography of Jiang Biao, which also said that “Tao encountered a violent disease”, that is, an emergency occurred on the way. So his death has nothing to do with Zhugeliang.

Then expand the search scope to all other existing historical books related to the history of the Three Kingdoms, such as Fan Ye’s “post Han Dynasty”, Yuan Hong’s “post Han Dynasty”, Sima Guang’s “Zizhi Tongjian”, Xu Song’s “Jiankang record”, and so on. The same results are still obtained.

The result of verification is very clear: the plot descriptions in the romance of the Three Kingdoms related to Zhou Yu’s character, such as small-minded, small-minded and unconscionable, are not recorded in the handed down formal history books, which are purely fictional and cannot be taken seriously. Since it is pure fiction, what is the real situation of Zhou Yu’s character?

We still study from the annals of the Three Kingdoms. Zhou Yu’s character in Chen Shou’s “annals of the Three Kingdoms” can be summed up as three “greats”: generosity, righteousness and generosity, which can be called “three heavenly kings”.

First look at the first big, generous. Zhou Yu, with the word Gong Jin, took the surname of Shu County, Lujiang County. At that time, Shu county was in the southwest of today’s Lujiang County, Anhui Province. As for Zhou Yu’s native place, there is another saying that it is in Shucheng County, which is problematic. Because the official history clearly records that under Lujiang County in the Eastern Han Dynasty, there was only Shu County, not Shucheng County; Shucheng county first appeared in the 23rd year of Kaiyuan of Emperor Xuanzong of the Tang Dynasty, that is, in 735 A.D., which happened more than 500 years after Zhou Yu’s death.

According to the biography of Zhou Yu, he was born in a famous family of high officials. His family was extremely rich. When he was young, he was “strong and handsome”, that is, he was tall, strong and handsome. In short, he is a typical “tall, rich and handsome” one, which is one more tall than the “tall, rich and handsome” people nowadays call him. He is a high-ranking official.

But at that time, what did this tall, rich and handsome do at ordinary times? He did not act recklessly and did absurd things everywhere, but seriously did serious things. In the first year of the reign of Emperor Xian of the Eastern Han Dynasty (190), Zhou Yu, who was only 16 years old, went to Shouxian county (now Shouxian County, Anhui Province) not far north to visit an extraordinary person named sun CE. Unexpectedly, this time, he formed an indissoluble bond with the sun family.

Sun CE, with the word Bofu, is the surname of Fuchun County, Wujun (today’s Fuyang City, Zhejiang Province), and is Sun Quan’s eldest brother. At that time, his father Sun Jian brought his family to Shouxian County near the front because he was fighting against Dong Zhuo in the Central Plains. As soon as Zhou Yu and sun CE met, they felt very congenial to each other. First, they share the same interests and have great ambitions; Second, the words are similar. Both sides are 16 years old, and sun CE is only one month older, so the two became friends of life and death. I’d like to add that at that time, people calculated their age according to the virtual age rather than the real age, which is the case in historical books.

Five years later, in the second year of emperor Xiandi Xingping of the Eastern Han Dynasty (195), sun CE was twenty-one years old. His father had died. He was determined to return to his hometown Jiangdong from Jiangbei and start his own business. The Wujiang ferry in Liyang county he passed by is an important ferry of the Yangtze River. It is said that Xiang Yu, the overlord of Chu, committed suicide here. Now sun CE wants to fight Jiangdong from here to start a business. Can he succeed?

To be honest, things are hanging in the balance. Because Jiangdong area is vast, and his strength is very small. Jiangdong, that is, the Jiangnan part of Yangzhou at that time, has four counties of Danyang, Wujun, Kuaiji and Yuzhang, a total of 64 counties, roughly equivalent to the Jiangnan part of Jiangsu and Anhui provinces today, plus all of Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangxi provinces, with a registered population of more than 3.4 million. And he only has more than a thousand infantry, dozens of cavalry, to swallow such a large territory, do you think it’s hanging?

However, when he got on the boat from Wujiang ferry, the team suddenly turned into 5000 or 6000 people. Why? It turned out that Zhou Yu, who had already been informed by sun CE, tried every means to raise huge sums of money, recruited troops here to build ships, prepared in advance, and waited for brother sun’s arrival. The biography of sun CE said that at first, sun CE “had more than a thousand soldiers and rode dozens of horses. Compared to Liyang, there were fiveorsix thousand.”. From more than 1000 to fiveorsix thousand, the extra fourorfive thousand is the super gift bag Zhou Yu donated to sun CE for free. It was with this army that sun CE swept through Jiangdong and laid the foundation of Sun Wu. Do you say Zhou Yu is generous?

Later generations believed that Zhou Shang, Zhou Yu’s uncle, was a prefect in Danyang county. At that time, Zhou Yu had visited relatives in Danyang County, so these troops were not recruited by him, but brought from Zhou Shang’s county government, and were entirely borrowed flowers to offer Buddha. This statement is a misunderstanding caused by being unfamiliar with the geography and political situation of Danyang county at that time. It is true that Zhou Shang was once the governor of Danyang county. However, Danyang County in Yangzhou, located on the South Bank of the Yangtze River, was the first place to land when sun CE crossed the east of the river. More importantly, when sun CE crossed the river, the riverside front of Danyang county had long been occupied by Liu Yao, the governor of Yangzhou appointed by the Eastern Han Dynasty, and the riverside ferry on the south bank was tightly blocked in order to prevent Yuan Shu’s forces from crossing the south of the Yangtze River. At that time, sun CE, who was also a subordinate of Yuan Shu, was the main target of Liu Yao’s defense; After sun CE crossed the river, Liu Yao was the first enemy to attack. Therefore, Liu Yao forcibly deported his two capable subordinates Wu Jing and sun Ben in advance, because Wu Jing was Sun CE’s uncle and sun Ben was Sun CE’s cousin. In this case, will Liu Yao allow Zhou Yu to take a large number of troops casually from his Danyang County, and smoothly cross his blockade to the north bank to support his sworn enemy sun CE? As long as you look at the relevant biographies of Wu Shu in the annals of the Three Kingdoms and check Mr. Tan Qixiang’s Atlas of Chinese history, you will understand that this is absolutely impossible.

The second big thing is righteousness. Righteousness is an important truth and basic principle in ethics. At that time, Confucianism prevailed, and the most important thing was the righteousness of monarchs and ministers. So does Zhou Yu know the great righteousness of monarchs and ministers?

Sun CE was assassinated by his enemy in early April of the fifth year of Jian’an (200) of Emperor Xian of the Eastern Han Dynasty. He was only 26 years old. His 19-year-old second brother Sun Quan hurried to take over the shift. Sudden upheaval made the political situation in Jiangdong suddenly grim.

Outside, Huang Zu, a military strongman in the upper reaches of the west, took advantage of the fire. Huang Zu and the sun family are feuds. Sun Jian died at the hands of his subordinates nine years ago. Hearing that sun CE had lost his life, Huang Zu immediately went downstream and attacked Chaisang, an important border town of the other side (now west of Jiujiang City, Jiangxi Province).

There is also yamayue who is fighting against the enemy internally. At that time, there were a large number of mountain people called “Shanyue” at the junction of Danyang, Kuaiji and Yuzhang, that is, the mountainous area at the junction of Zhejiang, Anhui and Jiangxi provinces. Sun CE once severely suppressed Shan Yue. As soon as he died, Shan Yue immediately strengthened the armed resistance, which became the heartache of the sun regime.

The internal and external situation was grim, and the successor who rushed to power was too young. Sun Wu’s political situation began to fluctuate. In the biography of Sun Quan, Volume 47 of the annals of the Three Kingdoms, it is said that “the heroes of the world are distributed in prefectures and counties, and the people who live in the guest brigade take safety as their intention, and there is no solid foundation for kings and ministers.” This paragraph has been mentioned many times in the past, but most of it has not been explained in place. The “heroes in the world” and “guests and travelers” here are not general terms, but have their own specific meanings. The ruling basis of Sun Wu was mainly composed of three forces, namely, the sun clan, the scholar bureaucrats who came to Jiangbei to join in, and the large indigenous families in Jiangdong. The heroes in the world here refer to the heroes of the local indigenous families in Jiangdong, who are distributed in the counties in the south of the Yangtze River in Yangzhou; And the person who lives in the guest house refers to the person who previously defected from Jiangbei. These two categories of people are watching the political situation in order to decide whether to stay or not. They are wavering and have not formed a solid relationship with Sun Quan. This sentence “without the firmness of kings and ministers” completely hit the key of the political situation at that time.

At the critical moment, fortunately, someone stood up and played a key role in maintaining stability. He was Zhou Yu.

When sun CE suddenly died, Zhou Yu was still far away in Bachu county (now Xiajiang County, Jiangxi Province), Luling County, guarding the western border. When he picked up his elite soldiers and hurried back to Wuxian county (now Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province), the political center, he was at the critical juncture of political turmoil. As soon as Zhou Yu arrived, he took action immediately. What action? According to the biography of Zhou Yu in Volume 54 of the annals of the Three Kingdoms, “at that time, the power and position are generals, and the generals and guests are polite and simple; and Yu only respects first, which is the official etiquette.” It is said that Sun Quan has just inherited the throne, and his identity is only the title of general, so the generals and guests under his command are still very simple and casual to his etiquette; Only Zhou Yu took the lead in respecting Sun Quan with all his heart and performing the courtesies of his ministers, such as kneeling and worshipping when meeting, standing on both sides when Sun Quan was present, and so on.

Zhou Yu’s move was really a powerful measure to maintain stability at that time. Why do you think people’s hearts float? Because Sun Quan, the backbone, did not stand up. How to stand up? First, we must establish his sovereign authority. How to establish authority? The key is to make the ministers fully respect him. How to respect him? We must establish a strict ceremonial order of respect and inferiority between monarchs and ministers on the court, and we must not be free and loose, and there is no monarch in sight. So who is the best to take the lead? Naturally, it is Zhou Yu who deserves the most credit. When sun CE started his business, he provided the main troops; He has the highest prestige and is the chief General with outstanding military achievements; With the strongest strength, I brought back an elite army with me this time as a strong backing for stabilizing the political situation; The identity relationship is the most special. He was as close as a brother to sun CE ten years ago. Sun Quan’s mother regarded him as his own son, and Sun Quan, seven years younger than him, also regarded him as a brother.

Zhou Yu took the lead in such a respectful way. The state of monarchy, disobedience, disorganization and discipline in the Sun Wu court soon disappeared. Sun Quan sat high on the throne, dignified, giving orders, and acting like a monarch. Resist Huang Zu, solve Shanyue, and everything goes on in order. When the backbone is established, the people’s hearts are stable, and the crisis will naturally be eliminated. Is this evidence of Zhou Yu’s profound righteousness? Of course.

Finally, say the third big, magnanimous. Zhou Yu’s personality measurement, “Zhou Yu biography” also records: “the nature is broad, the rashness is to get people, but it is not good with Cheng PU.” His personality is broad and cheerful. Generally speaking, he is popular, but his relationship with Cheng Pu is not harmonious. The romance of the Three Kingdoms depicts Zhou Yu as being small-minded and difficult to get along with others, which comes from the sentence that he has a bad relationship with Cheng PU. So why does he have a bad relationship with Cheng Pu?

The generals of Sun Wu are divided into three periods according to their seniority: those joined by Sun Jian can be called Huangpu phase I, those joined by sun CE phase II, and those joined by Sun Quan phase III. Zhou Yu is the leader of phase II, while Cheng Pu is a veteran of phase I. As for the contradiction between the two, there is also a file in sun jiaozhuan: “in the past, Zhou Yu and Cheng Pu, as the left and right governors, attacked Jiangling together; although the matter was decided by Yu, PU, relying on his long-term generals and being both governors, was at odds with each other and almost defeated the state affairs.” In the Red Cliff war, Sun Quan sent 30000 troops, divided into left and right parts, and appointed Zhou Yu and Cheng Pu as the main generals respectively; Although the command of the whole army belongs to Zhou Yu, Cheng Pu believes that his qualification is older than Zhou Yu, and his position is at the same level. So he quarreled with Zhou Yu and became angry, which almost ruined the national defense against strong enemies, causing serious consequences.

How did Zhou Yu treat Cheng Pu? Peisongzhi’s note in the biography of Zhou Yu quoted the biography of Jiang Biao as saying: “Pu Po was old and bullied Yu a few times; Yu broke into knots and finally did not go to school. Empress Pu respected herself and paid close attention to it, but told people,” if you make friends with Zhou Gongjin, you will not feel drunk if you drink wine. “” Cheng Pu bullied Zhou Yu many times because of his age; Zhou Yu always put down his posture and tolerated each other, and never cared about it. Cheng Pu later realized that he was wrong, respected and admired Zhou Yu, and told others, “I associate with Zhou Gongjin, just like drinking mellow fermented wine, and unconsciously I was drunk by him!” At that time, people drank rice wine instead of highly distilled Baijiu. Rice wine, together with rice mash, is called “mash”, also known as “Turbid wine”, which is more mellow. It is called sake after removing rice dregs.

The truth will be revealed by comparing the above files. It turned out that Zhou Yu and Cheng PU were not harmonious, but they appeared in the short time of the Red Cliff war, and then they were completely resolved. And the cause is Cheng Pu, which has nothing to do with Zhou Yu. Zhou Yu was generous and never cared about it. As a result, Cheng Pu was ashamed and admired. More importantly, he took into account the overall situation of the battle of Chibi.

Zhou Yu’s true character in history books is generosity, righteousness and generosity. Chen Shou’s “Chen three points” are obviously different from Luo Guanzhong’s “Luo three points” of “two small evils”. The question is, why did Luo Guanzhong write Zhou Yu’s character in a completely different way from the real situation?

The mystery should also be solved from the annals of the Three Kingdoms by Chen Shou. This book is a biographical official history, which takes the emperor’s Chronicle, that is, the chronological events of the orthodox imperial dynasty, as the longitude, and the biographies of figures as the latitude, weaving a complete picture of history. But the separation of the Three Kingdoms, we all call the emperor, choose which one to do this discipline, that is, as orthodoxy? Two reasons made Chen Shou choose Cao Wei. First, reason. Cao Wei was the first emperor, and the crown was directly obtained from the emperor Xiandi of the Eastern Han Dynasty. In the words of antique collectors, it belongs to inheritance. Second, the situation. Chen Shou was written in the Western Jin Dynasty, and the crown of the Western Jin Dynasty came from Cao Wei; If you don’t regard Cao Wei as orthodoxy, you don’t regard the Western Jin Dynasty as orthodoxy. If so, Chen Shou will not only fail to write, but also may lose his life. Therefore, this book is placed in the book of Wei, which records the history of Cao Wei, such as Emperor Wu and Emperor Wen; In Shu Shu Shu and Wu Shu, which recorded the history of the other two countries, the monarch was treated as a separate vassal. The chronological event of the monarch was called biography, such as the biography of the former Lord and the biography of the Wu Lord.

Chen Shou’s move later aroused resistance from people who “respected Liu yancao”. In the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Xi Gouchi’s “Han Jin spring and Autumn” and the Southern Song Dynasty Zhu Xi’s “general guidelines”, they all changed to take Shu Han as the orthodox to write the history of the Three Kingdoms. Both the Eastern Jin Dynasty and the Southern Song Dynasty were small dynasties in Pianan Jiangnan after the demise of the Han Dynasty in the Central Plains. Their situation was similar to that of the Shu Han Dynasty, so they would react like this. The influence of Xi chiseling is small, but the influence of Zhu Xi, the leader of Confucianism, is great. The romance of the Three Kingdoms happened to be produced in the late Yuan and early Ming Dynasties shortly after Zhu Xi, so it is easy to understand that it has a strong tendency to “respect Liu and suppress Cao”. In the early Qing Dynasty, Mao Zonggang comprehensively sorted out the romance of the Three Kingdoms, and under the influence of Zhu Xi’s “Tongjian compendium”, this tendency was aggravated again. For example, the first chapter is to beautify the monarchs and ministers of the Shu Han Dynasty, “the heroes of the banquet Taoyuan made three alliances, beheaded the Yellow turban, and the heroes made their first contribution”; In the positive image of the book, the first protagonist of the monarch group is Liu Bei, the first protagonist of the civil minister group is Zhugeliang, and the first protagonist of the military general group is Guan Yu; In addition, the characters of Shu Han occupy a large amount of text in the book.

To “honor Liu”, we must vigorously add the brilliance of Shuhan figures, especially the brilliance of Kongming. The second year after Kongming came out of the mountain, he encountered the Red Cliff war, which was a great opportunity to add his brilliance. The most effective method is the foil method, which selects famous elites to foil. The character and talent of the foil are much worse than him everywhere. He is not his opponent everywhere. Isn’t Kongming shining? Unfortunately, Zhou Yu and Lu Su are the first famous elites selected. Thus, “Chen San Dian” becomes “Luo San Dian”.

Zhou Yu and Lu Su also have their own division of labor. In terms of personality, Zhou Yu is mainly arranged to do the work of foil. He is small-minded, small-minded, and heartless. Instead of being ignorant, he has become “two small immortals”. In terms of talents, Lu Su is mainly arranged to do the task of supporting. The real Lu Su in history is actually a powerful man with lofty aspirations and good planning. The development plan of Sun Wu, or the “Longzhong pair” of Sun Wu’s version, was written by him, which is detailed in the biography of Lu Su, Volume 54 of the annals of the Three Kingdoms. But in the romance of the Three Kingdoms, he is a pedantic and a bit silly person, just like a toy puppet without IQ, who is dominated by Kongming and does whatever he is asked to do. In addition to the foil method, there are other means to add brilliance to Kongming, such as making things out of nothing, transplanting flowers and trees, and so on.

You will ask, in this way, Zhou Yu’s character will be seriously distorted. Can Luo Guanzhong do this? The answer is: Yes. Because before the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” came out, folk literary works were already doing this. For example, in the “peace talk of the annals of the Three Kingdoms” of the Yuan Dynasty, Sun Quan appointed Zhou Yu to fight against Cao Cao during the battle of Chibi. Zhou Yu was reluctant to give up his beautiful wife Xiao Qiao and didn’t want to take office to serve the country. Fortunately, Zhugeliang persuaded him to do ideological work for him. He said that if he didn’t go, Cao Cao beat Jiangdong and would rob your precious wife. Zhou Yu hurried to the front line. For example, in the Zaju of the Yuan Dynasty, there are dramas such as Zhuge sacrificing the wind at the Seven Star altar, Zhugeliang fighting in the red cliff, and Zhugeliang burning the battleship. As long as we absorb similar folk materials, and then through our own deep processing, the “Luo San Dian” of “two small unscrupulous” can be fresh.

It can be seen that Luo Guanzhong’s “annals of the Three Kingdoms” of Chen Shou is not exactly a popular promotion of the original work, as indicated by his original title, but a major rewriting. First, the theme tendency, from “respecting Cao” to “respecting Liu”; The second is the content component, which adds a lot of fiction and transplantation. As a novel within the scope of literature, there is no problem with this practice in the book. We have no problem appreciating it as a work of art. However, it is precisely because there are a large number of groundless and substituting flowers and trees inside, so it is no longer a formal history book, and it cannot be cited, elaborated and used for reference as a completely authentic history. In other words, Luo Guanzhong didn’t write this book as a history book at all at the beginning, but wouldn’t it be a big mistake for us in later generations to treat it as a history book? For example, this is a bit like the difference between the high-level imitations of future generations and the authentic cultural relics at that time in the art collection. The descendants of blue and white porcelain are high-grade imitations. They are quaint, beautiful and pleasing to the eye. There is no problem in appreciating them as works of art at home. However, if one day you are serious and take it to an expert to verify the treasure, it is inappropriate to insist that it is the authentic official kiln of that year.

Zhou Yu, the word Gongjin, Yu and Jin are all beautiful jade. There is a poem “Huaijin holds Yu” in Qu Yuan’s Huaisha. The ancients used jade as a metaphor for good morality. Confucius said, “a gentleman is better than jade.” Zhou Lang’s perfect morality, just like his name, shines with the brilliance of jade, which can give him a gold medal for the best morality.

The three countries are a typical era of competition. What was the competition at that time? The answer is to rely on talent and morality. The importance of high moral character in the competition can be fully proved from Zhou Yu’s deep understanding of the great righteousness of monarchs and ministers, so as to stabilize the political situation of Sun Wu, treat Cheng Pu magnanimously, and achieve the complete victory of Chibi. However, talent is easy to show, but morality is relatively hidden. If you don’t pay attention to observation, the three kingdoms are often described as a dark era that relies entirely on talent, intrigues, bullies the weak, and has no positive energy. Today, when we talk about Zhou Yu’s character at the outset, we want to emphasize that morality is also a powerful force. His example is worth pondering for those who are competing on various occasions. This is exactly:

Competition depends not only on talent, but also on beauty and beauty.

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