Three Kingdoms History: Biographies

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Kongming’s Archives – Romance of the Three Kingdoms Biographies

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Many biographies have been translated or authored for the Three Kingdoms officers discussed on this site, and you can find them using this page. Contents include: Sanguozhi biographies (translations from the historical record by Chen Shou), Sanguo yanyi biographies (Romance of the Three Kingdoms biographies), Comprehensive Officer Biographies (based on multiple historical and cultural sources), Officer Life Chronologies), and links to biographies on other sites.

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Sanguozhi Officer Biographies

Written and compiled by the scholar Chen Shou, Sanguozhi serves as a factual record about the Sanguo era. Unlike Luo Guanzhong’s Sanguo yanyi, Sanguozhi is used as historical reference and can be used for historical essays and manuscripts.

These translations are done voluntarily by several talented translators, and we are very thankful for their hard work. This section depends on contributions by people knowledgeable in Chinese and fluent in proper English. If you want to participate in adding content to this section, please contact Jonathan Wu first.

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Comprehensive Officer Biographies

Unlike the other sections, these biographies are compiled from various educational sources. Over the course of many years, a lot of different history books were published in the Chinese Republic. Though many of them were actually lost during Mao Tze Tung’s revolution, I have been able to obtain a few comprehensive books on Chinese Dynasties, including the Han.

These biographies have been translated from simplified Chinese to English by Jonathan Wu (JW) and in many cases additions have been made by either (Jonathan Wu or James Peirce). Though many translations of this information is available, Kongming’s Archives provides first hand translation along with explanations from the translator.

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Sanguo yanyi Officer Biographies

Luo Guanzhong, a writer from the fifteenth century, combined historical information found in the Sanguozhi, commentaries on it by Pei Songzhi, and popular folk tales about various officers of the Three Kingdoms era and turned them into a wonderful novel called the Sanguo yanyi (or Romance of the Three Kingdoms). Later, in the late 17th Century, Mao Lun and Mao Zhong Gang edited the original novel.

The Maos’ contribution to the text was the establishment of an authoritative edition out of the various versions of the Sanguo yanyi that were currently available. They were responsible for some editing, additional commentaries, newly included poetry, the correction of historical inconsistencies, and additional details such as the story of Lady Sun committing suicide. For these reasons we can say the modern Sanguo yanyi (or Romance of the Three Kingdoms) cannot be attributed solely to Luo Guanzhong.

The Sanguo yanyi Biographies presented here at Kongming’s Archives are based off the various translations of the Sanguo yanyi novel. Full-length biographies include direct quotes and details found in the novel, while shorter biographies will focus on summarizing the lives of each person.

Because the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (SGYY) is a fictional novel it cannot be used as a historical reference, even though the events presented within are usually derived from historical people, places, and events. To learn more about this history behind the Romance of the Three Kingdoms we suggest reading the Sanguozhi biography translations presented on this site and made available by several dedicated and knowledgeable members of the Three Kingdoms online community.

Although the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (SGYY) has been claimed to be “seven parts history, three parts fiction”, most would agree that this masterpiece is the most enjoyable ways to learn about people and events of the Three Kingdoms era. After reading it you may find yourself much more interested in the actual historical documents.

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Officer Life Chronologies

Below we will list any historical online officer life chronologies presented here at Kongming’s Archives. Keep in mind that structure and contents may vary from one to another (for example, one may include events that did not impact an officer’s life to help you get an idea of when things are happening, while another may focus only on relevant events).

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March 7, 2014