Three Kingdoms

Three Kingdoms: Heroes Create the Times, the Times Produce their Heroes

The Three Kingdoms period 三國時期 was characterized by political division, multiple conflicts, and tales of heroism. Lasting from 220 AD to 280 AD, this era witnessed classic stories of strategy and battles. This blog will introduce several famous figures from the Three Kingdoms period as a start.

Cao Cao – Ambitious King with Cunning and Ruthless Nature

“I would rather betray the whole world than be betrayed.”

”寧教我負天下人,不教天下人負我“

Cao Cao 曹操

As the King of Wei 魏, Cao Cao 曹操 was a highly ambitious and strategic leader, known for his cunning and ruthless nature. He is respected as a top politician, military strategist, and literary figure in Chinese history. He was talented at analyzing situations and making decisions, as well as recognizing and promoting talented individuals, which led to success in both military and political areas.

Zhuge Liang – Representative of Wisdom and Loyalty

“Be loyal and devoted to the last breath.”

”鞠躬盡瘁, 死而後已“

Zhuge Liang – 诸葛亮

Zhuge Liang 诸葛亮 is a representative figure in Chinese culture as a symbol of loyalty and wisdom. He has been admired and mythologized due to its exceptional foresight. Not only politics and military affairs, Zhuge Liang also made contributions to invention and literature. His masterpiece, “Chu Shi Biao” remains a prized literary treasure. Additionally, his invention includes the wooden ox, the sky lanterns, and the repeating crossbow that could fire ten arrows at once.

Three Kingdoms

Sky Lantern and Repeating Crossbow

Guan Yu – Chinese God of War

“Jade can be broken but its whiteness stays, bamboo can be burned but its integrity remains.”

”玉可碎而不可改其白 竹可焚而不可毀其節“

Guan Yu – 關羽

Guan Yu 關羽 has a profound influence in Chinese culture, regarded as a symbol of loyalty and courage. He was proud yet unyielding, fair in his dealings, and renowned for his integrity, albeit a bit self-assured. He was revered as a “God of War” in folk culture, holding a status equivalent to  Confucius, the “Sage of Literature”. His stories are widely circulated in Chinese opera, literature, and folklore, becoming a significant symbol in Chinese culture. Currently, Guan Yu’s depiction of bravery, loyalty, and righteousness continues to embody the spiritual ideal pursued by many. 

Three Kingdoms

Lü Bu – Brave yet Reckless, Untrusted

“How can a real man gloomily live under others for a long time?”

”大丈夫生居天地間,豈能鬱郁久居人下“

Lü Bu – 呂布

Lü Bu 呂布 was both a brave and fierce warrior and a rebellious traitor who repeatedly betrayed his lord. He was one of the most courageous generals during the Three Kingdoms period, known for his exceptional combat skills and martial prowess. However, he lacked moral conduct and strategy, often showing disloyalty, inconsistency, and switching allegiances in the chaotic times, demonstrating both resolute and contradictory qualities.

Three Kingdoms

Liu Bei – Kindness Leader who Starts from Nothing

“Do not do evil things though they may be insignificant, do not give up good things though they may be minor matters”

”勿以惡小而爲之,勿以善小而不爲“

Liu Bei – 劉備

Liu Bei 劉備 was a remarkable figure in the Three Kingdoms period. Despite humble beginnings and lack of powerful backing, he overcame countless difficulties to become an illustrious leader, earning widespread respect. He demonstrated noble virtues, military prowess, and the aspiration to revitalize the Han Dynasty. However, his compassionate nature and impulsive decisions sometimes led to strategic errors.

Three Kingdoms

Oath of Peach Garden

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