Too Much Romanticizing

I find the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history to be somewhat too storied to be considered history. In many novels and stories the actual people who were involved in this period of time were described in as much mysticism as Greek heroes and gods. Some on these characters are surrounded in myth by how they used magic and were invulnerable due to divine protection. Most would readily argue nowadays that such things as weather control and ghost armies don’t exist in history. The truth I can pick out from this era is the reason the three states were warring. The fall of the Han Dynasty meant the royal family and the military leaders where in disarray as well as pursuit of the throne. The Shu, Wu, and Wei factions came about from the lack of lineage of the previous dynasty. From the Levi-Strauss perspective, the struggle for power could have came about simply from kinships. It was basically cousins and the lead general of the previous dynasty that were vying for the chance to rule. It really didn’t matter the outcome or what magic happened during the process but the underlying fact of lineage in alliances in history. The Shu were defeated by Wei and then the remnants of Shu allied itself with Wu to defeat Wei. The alliances were created through marriages not meant for affection but the alliances it created to strengthen the whole. The whole divine selection of an emperor can be reduced to the struggles of the most resourceful and influential individual.      

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One thought on “Too Much Romanticizing

  1. I appreciate this perspective. Thai TV, Korean TV, Lao TV – all are full of miniseries set in this period of Chinese history. Or shall I say “Chinese” “history”? As Tou points out, it’s mythologizing.

    My question is: How does this work with Levi-Strauss’s binary oppositions, since there’s three states?

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