Monday, 2 March 2015
The story of Zhuge Liang / Kong Ming the famous battle strategist
(courtesy name Kong Ming)
was considered the most accomplished and feared battle strategist of the Three Kingdoms era. Zhuge Liang went by the nick name of Hidden Dragon 臥龍 (also translated as; Crouching Dragon or Sleeping Dragon) due to the fact that many people underestimated his skills and abilities to achieve great accomplishments.
Zhuge Liang was born in 181 AD in Yangtu, Shantung province. His parents passed away when he was still at a young age and he was raised by his uncle. His family was forced to flee their home when the powerful Cao Cao of the Wei state invaded their village. He then lived in a cottage in the Longzhong district. Legend states that Liu Bei 劉備 heard of Zhuge Liang's wisdom and went to his cottage three times to request his help. After a long conversation Zhuge Liang agreed to become Liu Bei's military advisor as he was interested in his plan for setting up a new kingdom in the west. The first time Zhuge Liang's skills came to the surface was when he convinced Sun Quan of the Wu East to become allies with Liu Bei and fight Cao Cao together. Zhuge Liang warned Sun Quan that if Cao Cao was not opposed now, it would be impossible to deal with him later.
Battle of the Red Cliffs
The famous battle between the allied forces of Liu Bei and Sun Quan against Cao Cao was called the Battle of the Red Cliffs / the Battle of Chibi. Descriptions of the battle differ widely in details. Even the place of the battle is still debated. Most important is that Liu Bei and Sun Quan succesfully defeated Cao Cao, reunited their territory and gained control of the Yangtze.
After their victory Liu Bei took command over several cities in Jing. Another victory followed soon after when Liu Bei's troops invaded the province of Yi and captured general Yan Yan. They fought Liu Zhang and conquered his capital city Chengdu. Cao cao's Hanzhong was also succesfully conquered however, Sun Quan betrayed Liu Bei and took his territories in Jing while they were invading the Yi province. Liu Bei declared war upon Sun Quan but lost at the Battle of Yiling. Liu Bei grew ill and eventually died. Before his death he asked Zhuge Liang to take control of the state and take care of his son. Numerous battles were fought to restore Shu Han and take control of Wei. Zhuge Liang was known for his amazing battle strategies, setting traps and even predicting the weather. Some have said Zhuge Liang's success is based on having supernatural powers.
In AD 234 Zhuge Liang set off on his final campain. The two armies of Shu and Wei faced eachother in another battle but Zhuge Liang became sick and eventually died.
During his life it is said that he invented numerous items such as a multi bolt firing crossbow, his own chess game, the hot air balloon / lantern, items to improve transportation and it is even said he invented the steamed bun! How can you ever dislike him now?
More Kong Ming
Zhuge Liang is still a popular topic in modern China. Many movies, novels, and even video games feature Zhuge Liang as a great hero. See below for some popular examples.
Movies and series;
Red Cliff 2009 - with Takeshi Kaneshiro as Zhuge Liang (see top picture)
Three Kingdoms 2010
Destiny of an Emperor
Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Romance of the Three Kingdoms 三國演義
And not to forget the story that popularised the excistence of Zhuge Liang is the Romance of the Three Kingdoms. A historical novel set about the years of the Shu Han dynasty. Zhuge Liang is displayed as one of the main characters and a hero. Whether everything written is true is still a debatable topic since some of the mythical and magical plot twists seem questionable. Romance of the Three Kingdoms is one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature and is one of the most beloved works not only in China but trough out East Asia. With 120 chapters and 800000 words, it's still on the top of my to-read list.
I hope you enjoyed reading!
~ mei mei