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Stories of the Three Kingdoms  
An illustration of the book
Author Luo Guanzhong
Original title 三國演義
Country China
Language Chinese
Genre(s) Historical novel
Publication date 14th century
ISBN 978-7119005904
OCLC Number 49389330
LC Classification PL2690.S3 E53 1995
This article contains Chinese text. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms (simplified Chinese: 三国演义traditional Chinese: 三國演義pinyin: sānguó yǎnyì), written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based upon events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era of China, starting in 169 and ending with the reunification of the land in 280.[1]

It is acclaimed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature, with a grand total of 800,000 words, nearly a thousand characters[2], most of them historical, in 120 chapters.



Myths from the Three Kingdoms era existed as oral traditions before any written compilations. With their focus on the history of Han Chinese, the stories grew in popularity during the reign of the foreign Mongol emperors of the Yuan Dynasty. During the succeeding Ming Dynasty, an interest in plays and novels resulted in further expansions and retelling of the stories.

The earliest attempt to combine these stories into a written work was Sanguozhi Pinghua (三國誌評話,三国志评话; Sānguózhì Pínghuà), literally "Story of Sanguozhi", published sometime between 1321 and 1323. This version combined themes of legend, magic, and morality to appeal to the peasant class. Elements of reincarnation and karma were woven into this version of the story.

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms is traditionally attributed to Luo Guanzhong, who lived sometime between 1315 and 1400 (late Yuan to early Ming period). Some scholars argue for an origin from around the second half of the fifteenth century (mid-Ming) based on characteristics of the text. This theory is extensively developed in Andrew Plaks' Four Masterworks of the Ming Novel.[3] It was written in partly vernacular and partly Classical Chinese and was considered the standard text for 300 years. The author made use of available historical records, including the Records of the Three Kingdoms compiled by Chen Shou, which covered events from the Yellow Turban Rebellion in 184 up to the unification of the three kingdoms under the Jin Dynasty in AD 280. The novel also includes material from Tang Dynasty poetic works, Yuan Dynasty operas and his own personal interpretation of elements such as virtue and legitimacy. The author combined this historical knowledge with a gift for storytelling to create a rich tapestry of personalities, and initially published it in 24 volumes. It was copied by hand until first printed in 1522[4] as Sanguozhi tongsu yanyi[5] In the 1660s, during Kangxi's reign in the Qing Dynasty, Mao Lun (毛綸; 毛纶)[2] and his son Mao Zonggang (毛宗崗; 毛宗岗) significantly edited the text, fitting it into 120 chapters, and abbreviating the title to Sanguozhi yanyi[5]. The text was reduced from 900,000 to 750,000 characters; significant editing was done for narrative flow; use of third party poems was reduced and shifted from conventional verse to finer pieces; and most passages praising Cao Cao's advisers and commanders were removed.[6] Scholars have long debated whether Mao's viewpoint was anti-Qing (identifying Southern Ming remnants with Shu-Han) or pro-Qing.[7] The previous version was almost completely supplanted by Mao's edition, which is considered to be the superior literary work.[8]

This novel reflects the Confucian values that were prominent at the time it was written. According to Confucian moral standards, loyalty to one's family, friends, and superiors are important measures for distinguishing good and bad people.


One of the greatest achievements of Romance of the Three Kingdoms is the extreme complexity of its stories and characters. The novel contains numerous secondary stories. As such, the following only serves as a summary of the central plot.

Three Heroes of Three Kingdoms, silk painting by Sekkan Sakurai (1715–1790), depicting Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. This painting is usually hung in the offices of businessmen to show that they are trustworthy, just as these brothers were to each other.

Yellow Turban Rebellion

In the final years of the Han Dynasty, incompetent eunuchs deceive the emperor and persecute good officials. The government has become extremely corrupt on all levels, leading to widespread deterioration of the empire. During the reign of the penultimate Han emperor, Emperor Ling, the Yellow Turban Rebellion breaks out under the leadership of Zhang Jiao.

The rebellion is barely suppressed by troops under the command of He Jin, the Commander-in-Chief of the imperial armies. Fearing his growing power, the eunuchs led by Zhang Rang lure He Jin into the palace and murder him. He Jin's stunned guards, led by Yuan Shao, respond by charging into the palace to kill all eunuchs for revenge, which turned into an indiscriminate slaughter. In the ensuing chaos, the child Emperor Shao and the Prince of Chenliu disappear from the palace.

Dong Zhuo's reign of terror

The missing emperor and prince are found later by soldiers of the warlord Dong Zhuo, who proceeds to seize control of the capital city Luoyang under the pretext of protecting the emperor. Dong deposes Emperor Shao later and replaces him with the Prince of Chenliu, who becomes known as Emperor Xian. Dong usurps state power and starts a reign of terror in which innocents are persecuted and the common people suffer under his rule. Wu Fu and Cao Cao attempt to assassinate Dong Zhuo but both of them fail.

Cao Cao manages to escape and issues an imperial edict in the emperor's name to all regional warlords and governors, calling them to rise up against Dong Zhuo. Under Yuan Shao's leadership, eighteen warlords form a coalition force in a campaign against Dong Zhuo, but undermined by poor leadership and conflict of interest, they only manage to drive Dong from Luoyang to Chang'an. Dong Zhuo is eventually betrayed and killed by his foster son Lü Bu in a dispute over the beautiful maiden Diao Chan.

Conflict among the various warlords and nobles

In the meantime, the empire is already disintegrating into civil war. Sun Jian finds the Imperial Seal and keeps it secretly for himself, further weakening royal authority. Without a strong central government, warlords begin to rise and fight each other for land, plunging China into a state of anarchy. In the north, Yuan Shao and Gongsun Zan are at war, and in the south, Sun Jian and Liu Biao. Many others, even those without title or land, such as Cao Cao and Liu Bei, are also starting to build up power.

Cao Cao rescues Emperor Xian from Dong Zhuo's followers and establishes the new imperial court in Xuchang. Cao Cao proceeds to defeat his rivals such as Lü Bu, Yuan Shu and Zhang Xiu before scoring a tactical victory over Yuan Shao in the Battle of Guandu despite being vastly outnumbered. Through his conquests, Cao unites the Central Plains and northern China under his rule, and the lands he controlled would serve as the foundation for the state of Cao Wei in the future.

Sun Ce builds a dynasty in Jiangdong

Meanwhile, an ambush had violently concluded Sun Jian's life in a war with Liu Biao, fulfilling his own rash oath to heaven. His eldest son Sun Ce delivers the Imperial Seal as a tribute to the rising royal pretender, Yuan Shu of Huainan, in exchange for reinforcements. Sun secures himself a state in the rich riverlands of Jiangdong, on which the state of Eastern Wu will eventually be founded. Tragically, Sun Ce also dies at the pinnacle of his career from illness under stress of his terrifying encounter with the ghost of Yuji, a venerable magician whom he had falsely accused and executed in jealousy. However, his younger brother Sun Quan, who succeeds him, proves to be a capable and charismatic ruler. Sun, assisted by skilled advisors Zhou Yu and Zhang Zhao, inspires hidden talents such as Lu Su to join his service, and builds up a strong military force.

Liu Bei's ambition

Liu Bei recruiting Zhuge Liang. Ming Dynasty painting

Liu Bei, along with his sworn brothers Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, swear allegiance to the Han Dynasty in the famous Oath of the Peach Garden and pledge to do their best for the country. However, their goals and ambitions are not realized until the later part of the novel. Liu is not recognized for his efforts in quelling the Yellow Turban Rebellion and is merely appointed as a junior magistrate. They join Gongsun Zan and participate in the campaign against Dong Zhuo. Liu Bei becomes the governor of Xu Province after Tao Qian passed on the post to him. Liu loses the province when Lü Bu seizes control of it with the help of a defector and he joins Cao Cao in defeating Lü at the Battle of Xiapi. While Cao Cao subtly reveals his intention to usurp state power, Liu Bei is officially recognised by Emperor Xian as the Imperial Uncle and seen as a saviour to help the emperor deal with Cao.

Liu Bei leaves Cao Cao eventually and seizes Xu Province from Cao's newly-appointed governor Che Zhou. In retaliation, Cao attacks Xu Province and defeats Liu, forcing Liu to seek refuge under Yuan Shao for a brief period of time. Liu finds a new base in Runan after leaving Yuan but is defeated by Cao Cao's forces once again. He retreats to Jing Province to join Liu Biao and is placed in charge of Xinye. At Xinye, Liu recruits the genius strategist Zhuge Liang personally and builds up his forces.

Battle of the Red Cliffs

Cao Cao declares himself Chancellor and leads his troops to attack southern China after uniting the north. He is defeated twice at Xinye by Liu Bei's forces but Liu loses the city as well. Liu leads his men and the civilians of Xinye on an exodus southwards and they arrive at Jiangxia where Liu establishes a foothold against Cao Cao.

To resist Cao Cao, Liu Bei sends Zhuge Liang to persuade Sun Quan to form an alliance. Zhuge succeeds in his diplomatic mission and remains in Jiangdong as a temporary advisor to Sun Quan. Sun places Zhou Yu in command of the armies of Jiangdong (Eastern Wu) in preparation for an upcoming war with Cao Cao. Zhou feels that Zhuge will become a future threat to Eastern Wu and he tries to kill Zhuge on a few occasions but he fails and decides to co-operate with Zhuge for the time being. Cao Cao is defeated at the Battle of Red Cliffs by the allied forces of Sun Quan and Liu Bei and he is forced to retreat north.

Traditional site of the Red Cliff

Sun Quan and Liu Bei begin vying for control of Jing Province after their victory and Liu seizes the province from Cao Cao after following Zhuge Liang's strategy. Sun Quan is unhappy and sends emissaries to ask Liu Bei for Jing Province, but Liu dismisses the envoys each time with different excuses. Sun uses some strategies proposed by Zhou Yu to take the land, of which the most famous is the "Beauty Scheme." Sun intends to lure Liu Bei to Jiangdong to marry his sister Lady Sun and hold Liu hostage to exchange his freedom for Jing Province, but the plot fails and the newly-wed couple return home safely. Zhou Yu tries to take Jing Province repeatedly but his plans are foiled three times by Zhuge Liang. Zhou Yu is so infuriated the last time that he coughs blood and dies.

Liu Bei's takeover of Yi Province

After Zhou Yu's death, relations between Liu Bei and Sun Quan gradually deteriorate but not to the point of open conflict. In accordance with Zhuge Liang's Longzhong Plan, Liu Bei leads his troops into Yi Province in the west and takes over the land from the incompetent noble Liu Zhang. By then, Liu Bei rules a vast area of land from Jing Province to Yi Province in the west, which will serve as the foundation for the future state of Shu Han. He proclaims himself "King of Hanzhong" after his victory over Cao Cao at the Battle of Hanzhong.

At the same time, Cao has also been granted the title of "King of Wei" by the emperor while Sun Quan is known as the "Duke of Wu". In the east, Sun Quan and Cao Cao's forces clash at the Battle of Ruxukou and Battle of Hefei with victories and defeats for both sides. The situation among the three major powers reaches a stalemate after this until Cao Cao's death.

Death of Guan Yu

Meanwhile, Sun Quan plots to take Jing Province after tiring of Liu Bei's repeated refusals to hand the land over. He makes peace with Cao Cao and becomes a vassal of Cao with the title of "King of Wu". Guan Yu, who is in charge of Jing Province, leads his troops to attack Cao Ren in the Battle of Fancheng. Sun Quan sends Lü Meng to lead his troops to seize Jing Province while Guan is away, as part of his secret agreement with Cao Cao. Guan is caught off guard and lost Jing Province before he knew it. He retreats to Maicheng, where he is heavily surrounded by Sun Quan's forces, while his army gradually shrinks in size as many of his troops desert or surrender to the enemy. In desperation, Guan attempts to break out of the siege but fails and is captured in an ambush. He is executed on Sun Quan's orders after refusing to renounce his loyalty to Liu Bei.

Shortly after Guan Yu's death, Cao Cao dies of a brain tumor and his son Cao Pi usurps the throne, effectively ending the Han Dynasty and Cao renames his new dynasty "Cao Wei". In response, Liu Bei proclaims himself emperor, to carry on the bloodline of the Han Dynasty. While Liu Bei is planning to avenge Guan Yu, his other sworn brother Zhang Fei is assassinated in his sleep by his subordinates, who have defected to Sun Quan.

Battle of Xiaoting

As Liu Bei leads a large army to attack Sun Quan to avenge Guan Yu, Sun attempts to appease Liu by offering him the return of Jing Province. Liu's advisers, including Zhuge Liang, urge him to accept Sun's tokens of peace, but Liu persists in vengeance. After initial victories, a series of strategic mistakes due to the impetuosity of Liu leads to the cataclysmic defeat of Shu Han in the Battle of Xiaoting. Lu Xun, the commander of Sun Quan's forces, refrains from pursuing the retreating Shu Han troops after encountering Zhuge Liang's Stone Sentinel Maze.

An artist impression of Zhuge Liang holding his trademark feather fan.

Liu Bei dies in Baidicheng from illness shortly after his defeat. In a moving final conversation between Liu on his deathbed and Zhuge Liang, Liu grants Zhuge the authority to take the throne if his successor Liu Shan proves to be an inept ruler. Zhuge refuses and swears that he will remain faithful to the trust Liu Bei had placed in him. This promise is to be a raison d'être for the rest of Zhuge Liang's life.

Zhuge Liang's campaigns

After Liu Bei's death, as advised by Sima Yi, Cao Pi induces several forces, including Sun Quan, turncoat Shu general Meng Da, Meng Huo of the Nanman and the Qiang tribes, to attack Shu Han, in coordination with a Cao Wei army. Zhuge Liang manage to send the five armies retreating without any bloodshed. An envoy from Shu Han named Deng Zhi subsequently persuades Sun Quan to renew the former alliance with Shu Han. Zhuge Liang personally leads a southern campaign against the Nanman barbarian king Meng Huo. Meng is defeated and captured seven times, but Zhuge releases him each time and allows him to come back for another battle, in order to win Meng over. The seventh time, Meng refuses to leave and decides to swear allegiance to Shu Han forever.

After pacifying the south, Zhuge Liang leads the Shu Han army on five military expeditions to attack Cao Wei in order to restore the Han Dynasty. However, Zhuge's days are numbered as he had been suffering from chronic tuberculosis all along, and his condition worsens under stress from the campaigns. His last significant victory over Cao Wei is probably the defection of Jiang Wei, a promising young general who is well-versed in military strategy. Zhuge Liang dies of illness at the Battle of Wuzhang Plains while leading a stalemate battle against his nemesis, the Cao Wei commander Sima Yi. Before his death, Zhuge orders his trusted generals to build a statue of himself and use it to scare away the enemy in order to buy time for the Shu Han army to retreat safely.

End of the Three Kingdoms

The long years of battle between Shu Han and Cao Wei sees many changes in the ruling Cao family in Cao Wei. The influence of the Caos weakens after the death of Cao Rui and the state power of Cao Wei eventually falls into the hands of the Sima clan, headed by Sima Yi's sons Sima Shi and Sima Zhao.

In Shu Han, Jiang Wei inherits Zhuge Liang's legacy and continues to lead another nine campaigns against Cao Wei for a bitter three decades, but he fails to achieve any significant success. Besides, the ruler Liu Shan is incompetent and places faith in treacherous officials, further leading to the decline of Shu Han. Shu Han is eventually conquered by Cao Wei. Jiang Wei attempts to restore Shu Han with the help of Zhong Hui but their plans are exposed and both of them are killed by Sima Zhao's troops. After the fall of Shu Han, Sima Zhao's son Sima Yan eventually forces the last Wei ruler, Cao Huan, to hand over his rulership, effectively ending the Cao Wei dynasty. The new domain is called Jin Dynasty.

In Eastern Wu, there is internal conflict among the nobles ever since the death of Sun Quan, with Zhuge Ke and Sun Lin making attempts to usurp state power. Although stability is restored temporarily, the last Wu ruler Sun Hao appears to be a tyrant who does not make any efforts to strengthen his kingdom. Eastern Wu, the last of the Three Kingdoms, is eventually conquered by Jin after a long period of struggle. The Three Kingdoms period concludes after almost a century of civil strife following that.

Historical accuracy

The novel draws from historical sources, including Chen Shou's Records of Three Kingdoms. Other major influences include Liu Yiqing's Shishuo xinyu or A New Account of Tales of the World, published 430,[9] and the Sanguozhi pinghua, a chronological collection of eighty fictional sketches starting with the peach garden oath and ending with Zhuge Liang's death.[10] Some fifty or sixty Yuan and early Ming plays about the Three Kingdoms are known to have existed, and their material is almost entirely fictional, based on thin threads of actual history. The novel is thus a return to greater emphasis on history, compared to these dramas.[11] The novel also shifted towards better acknowledgement of the Southland's historical importance, while still betraying some prejudice against them.[12] Zhang Xuecheng wrote that the novel consists of 70% history and 30% non-history.[5] The "non-history" parts have different sources, besides unofficial historical records, folk stories and Sanguozhi pinghua, some were created by the author on his own. Nonetheless, the description of the social conditions and the logic that the characters use is accurate to the Three Kingdoms period, creating "believable" situations and characters, even if they are not historically accurate.[13].

Romance of the Three Kingdoms, like the dramas and folk stories of its day, features Liu Bei and his kingdom as the protagonist; hence the depiction of the people in Shu-Han was glorified. The antagonists, Cao Cao, Sun Quan and their kingdoms, on the other hand, were often denigrated. This suited the political climate in the Ming Dynasty, unlike in the Jin Dynasty, when Cao Wei was considered the legitimate successor to the Han Dynasty.

Some non-historical scenes in the novel have become well-known and entered traditional Chinese culture.

Literary analysis

Portrait of Pang De in a scene during the Battle of Fancheng from a Qing Dynasty edition of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms

Dominant themes of the novel include: the rise and fall of the ideal liege (Liu Bei) finding the ideal minister (Zhuge Liang); the conflict between the ideal liege (Liu Bei) and the consummate villain (Cao Cao); and the cruelties and injustice of feudal or dynastic government.[2]

Luo Guanzhong's re-telling of this story also gives a window into the politics of his time. The later Míng Emperor Wanlì had officially elevated Guan Yu to the position of a god, Lord Guan, to promote Guan Yu's characteristics of bravery and extreme fidelity (characteristics the emperor no doubt wanted to promote in his subjects). Recent research finds in Luo Guanzhong's Guan Yu a fascinating reflection of Chinese culture under Míng rule, the author complying with the program of imperial propaganda while also subtly subverting it.

Besides the famous oath, many Chinese proverbs in use today are derived from the novel:

Translation Chinese Interpretation
The relationship between a husband and a wife is like a piece of garment; if the garment is torn, it can be mended. The relationship between two brothers is like a limb; if a limb is broken, it cannot be repaired. 夫妻如衣服, 兄弟如手足

It is much easier for a husband and his wife to reconcile after a quarrel but that is much harder in the case of two siblings.

Liu Bei "borrows" Jingzhou – borrowing without returning. 劉備借荊州——有借無還 There are some people who borrow things from you and do not return them.
Speak of Cao Cao and Cao Cao arrives. 說曹操,曹操到
Equivalent to speak of the devil, when someone who is being spoken about appears.
Three reeking tanners (are enough to) overcome one Zhuge Liang. 三個臭皮匠, 勝過一個諸葛亮
三個臭皮匠, 賽過一個諸葛亮
Three inferior people can overpower a superior person when they combine their strength.
Losing your wife and your army. 賠了夫人又折兵 Making double losses in a deal or losing on both sides of it.
Eastern Wu arranges for a marriage that turns from fake into real. 東吳招親——弄假成真 Putting on a show (to deceive someone) but the events in the "show" become reality unexpectedly.

Buddhist aspects

Romance of the Three Kingdoms recorded stories of a Buddhist monk called Pujing (普淨), who was a friend of Guan Yu. Pujing made his first appearance during Guan's arduous journey of crossing five passes and slaying six generals, in which he warned Guan of an assassination plot. As the novel was written in the Ming Dynasty, more than 1000 years after the era, these stories showed that Buddhism had long been a significant ingredient of the mainstream culture and may not be historically accurate. Luo Guanzhong preserved these descriptions from earlier versions of the novel to support his portrait of Guan Yu as a faithful man of virtue. Guan Yu was since then respectfully addressed as "Lord Guan" or Guan Gong.

Popular saying

Regarding this novel and another Chinese classic Water Margin, there is a popular saying in China that goes: "少不讀水滸, 老不讀三國", translated as "The young shouldn't read Water Margin while the old shouldn't read Three Kingdoms." The former depicts the lives of outlaws and their defiance with the established social system. Depicting frequent violence, brawls, passionate brotherhood and an emphasis on machismo, it could easily have a negative influence on young boys. The latter presents all kinds of sophisticated stratagems, deceptions, frauds, trickeries, traps and snares employed by the three kingdoms and their individual characters to compete with each other, which might tempt the experienced old readers (the elderly are traditionally well respected, trusted and considered wise and kindhearted in Chinese society) to use them to harm other people. Also, old people are supposed to "know the will of the heavens" (says Confucius). They shouldn't exhaust or strain themselves with always having to consider how to deceive others.

Cultural references

The story of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms has been told in numerous forms including television series, manga and video games.

Chinese manhua

  • The Ravages of Time (火鳳燎原) - retells the events of Romance of the Three Kingdoms with Sima Yi as the central character. The drawing style is dark and grim, and while it keeps the main plot intact, the finer details are dramatized.
  • Sanguozhi (三國志) by Lee Chi Ching. Lee has also drawn a spinoff manhua series entitled Battle of Red Cliffs (赤壁之戰). He also illustrated the manhua Story of Heroes in Three Kingdoms with more 30 volumes and the 13-volume manhua Zhuge Kongming.
  • Wuba Sanguo (武霸三國) authored by Yongren (永仁) and Cai Jingdong (蔡景東)
  • Sanguo Yanyi (三國演義) by Sun Jiayu (孫家裕)
  • Jiaqingqu (嫁情曲) by Lü Xiangru (呂相儒).
  • Sanguo Shenbing (三國神兵) by Ip Ming Fat (葉明發).
  • Sanguo Wushuang (三國無雙) and Sanguo Wushuang Zhuan (三國無雙傳) - illustrated by Heui Ging-Sam (许景琛). Adapted from the video game series Dynasty Warriors by Koei.
  • Sanguo Wushuang Mengjiang Zhuan (三國猛將傳) by Liu Gwong-Jou (廖光祖).
  • Shuyun Canglong Ji (蜀雲藏龍記) by Lam Ming-Fung (林明鋒).

Japanese manga

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms has been adapted into several comic versions in Japan, varying in levels of historical accuracy and loyalty to the original novel and popular tradition.[14][15] Some of the most widely read in Japan are:

  • Sangokushi (Japanese for "Records of the Three Kingdoms") by Yokoyama Mitsuteru (Ushio Shuppansha) and the adapted anime Yokoyama Mitsuteru Sangokushi.
  • Sōten Kōro by King Gonta (Kodansha)
  • Ryūrōden by Yoshito Yamahara (Kodansha)
  • Tenchi o Kurau by Motomiya Hiroshi (Shueisha)
  • Qwan (Media Factory) and its spinoff Foreign Grass by Aki Shimizu.
  • Ikki Tousen - loosely based on the novel, but the characters in the story refer to the names in the Japanese version of the book. In the series, most characters appear to have similar fates to the characters of the same name from the classic novel.
  • Lord (覇-LORD-) by Ryoichi Ikegami and Buronson is very loosely based on the novel. In the series, a general from the Nakoku country becomes Liu Bei.
  • The novel serves as the model for SD Gundam Sangokuden: Romance of the Three Kingdoms, a manga/model kit line in the long running Musha Gundam SD Gundam series.
  • Dragon Sister! Sangokushi Hyakka Ryōran (DRAGON SISTER!三國志 百花繚乱) by Nini.
  • Sangoku Shōden no Gentoku Daishingeki (ブレイド三国志) - a comedy manga by Ichikawa Ryūnosuke (壱河 柳乃助).
  • Magical Musou Tenshi Tsuki Irase!! Ryofuko-chan by Suzuki Jiro (铃木 次郎) and its adapted anime Yawaraka Sangokushi Tsuki Isase!! Ryofuko-chan.
  • Jimmu - Can Two Lords Be in the Grand Country? by Yasuhiko Yoshikazu (安彦 良和).[16]
  • Koutou no Akatsuki by Takaguchi Rinrin (滝口 琳琳).
  • Sousou Moutoku Seiden by Daisuke Kōichi (大西 巷一).

Film and television


  • Three Kingdoms: Resurrection of the Dragon - a 2008 film by Daniel Lee based on the novel. The film focused on the story of Zhao Yun (played by Andy Lau) and the plot differs from the original story. Maggie Q starred as the antagonist Cao Ying, a fictional granddaughter of Cao Cao.
  • Red Cliff - a Chinese epic film by John Woo, based on the Battle of Red Cliffs. The first part was released in Asia in July 2008 while the second part was released in December. Notable stories from the novel were reenacted, along with epic battle scenes. The film remained in the first position in the box office of Singapore for a few weeks after its release.[citation needed]

TV series

  • Sangokushi - a three part Japanese anime series. The theme song Fuushi Hanaden (風姿花伝) was performed by Shinji Tanimura.
  • Koutetsu Sangokushi - a Shounen-Ai type of anime released in 2007 in Japan. It featured homosexual relationships between some of the male characters.
  • Romance of the Three Kingdoms - Chinese-Japanese joint product animation in 2009.
  • Ikkitousen - a Japanese anime loosely based on the novel

Video games

Liu Bei (middle), Guan Yu (right), and Zhang Fei (left), as they appear in Dynasty Warriors 5.
  • Sango Fighter series - portrayed the generals as characters in a two-dimensional fighting game.


  • Sangokushi Taisen a hybrid card/board/strategy game released by Sega. Players manipulate cards on a tabletop to move military units in order to take destroy enemy castles.

See also


  1. ^ Wu, Jonathan. "Romance of the Three Kingdoms Novel and History Introduction". Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  2. ^ a b c Roberts 1991, pg. 940
  3. ^ Roberts 1991, pg. 964
  4. ^ Roberts 1991, pg. 938
  5. ^ a b c Roberts 1991, pg. 980
  6. ^ Roberts 1991, pg. 965
  7. ^ Roberts 1991, pp. 967-71
  8. ^ Roberts 1991, pg. 979
  9. ^ Roberts 1991, pg. 981
  10. ^ Roberts 1991, pg. 954
  11. ^ Roberts 1991, pp. 958-9
  12. ^ Roberts 1991, pp. 959, 983
  13. ^ Guanzhong 2006, pg. 14
  14. ^ 三国搜集
  15. ^ ゲソの三国志ブログ
  16. ^ Emperor Jimmu was the first Emperor of Japan.


  • Luo, Guanzhong; English translation by Moss Roberts, Introduction by Shi Changyu (2006). Three Kingdoms. Beijing: Foreign Language Press. ISBN 7-119-00590-1. 
  • Roberts, Moss, tr. Three Kingdoms: A Historical Novel (1991) University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-22503-1

External links

Study guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiversity

A print from a Qing Dynasty edition of Luo Guanzhongs Romance of the Three Kingdoms

This page is based on an import of Romance of the Three Kingdoms from Wikisource. Background info you can find here. Time of import: 01:28, 25 March 2008

Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based upon events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty, and the Three Kingdoms period (220-280). It is acclaimed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature.

Table of contents

  1. Chapter 1: Three brave men swear an oath of allegiance at the feast in the peach gardens, our heroes' first achievement is the vanquishing of the Yellow Turbans
  2. Chapter 2: Zhang Yide gets angry and whips the County Inspector, Uncle He plots the murder of the wretched eunuchs
  3. Chapter 3: How Dong Zhuo rebukes Ding Yuan in the Garden of Warmth and Brightness, and Li Su wins over Lü Bu with offerings of gold and pearls
  4. Chapter 4: Deposing the Han emperor: Chenliu becomes emperor; plotting against the villain Dong: Mengde presents a dagger.
  5. Chapter 5: A forged imperial edict is issued: all towns respond to Lord Cao; Breaking through the soldiers at the pass: three heroes battle Lü Bu.


The Immortals by the River Die Unsterblichen am Fluss
楊慎 by Yang Shen (1488-1559) von Yang Shen (1488-1559)
The waters of the mighty Yangzi flow eastward, its spray drowning countless heroes.
Right and wrong, success and failure, become empty in the blink of an eye; green mountains are always present; how many times has the setting sun been red?
The white haired fishermen and woodcutters are standing on the sand bars near the banks, accustomed as they are to gazing at the autumn moon and the spring breezes.
By chance, they happily meet with a jar of strong liquor in hand; how many things from past and present have they laughed and talked about with each other?
Die Wasser des mächtigen Jangtse fliessen ostwärts, seine Gischt ertränkt unzählige Helden.
Richtig und falsch, Erfolg und Mißerfolg werden von einem Augenblick zum anderen bedeutungslos; grüne Berge sind immer präsent; wie oft war die Abendsonne rot ?
Die weisshaarigen Fischer und Holzfäller stehen auf den Sandbänken in der Nähe der Ufer, gewöhnt wie sie sind, starren sie auf den Herbstmond und die Frühlingsbrisen.
Durch Zufall, treffen sie sich fröhlich mit einem Krug starken alkoholischen Getränkes in der Hand; über wie viele Dinge aus der Vergangenheit und der Gegenwart haben sie gelacht und darüber gegenseitig gesprochen ?

Source material

Up to date as of January 22, 2010

From Wikisource

Romance of the Three Kingdoms
by Luo Guanzhong, translated by Wikisource
Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong in the 14th century, is a Chinese historical novel based upon events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty, and the Three Kingdoms period (220-280). It is acclaimed as one of the Four Classical Novels of Chinese literature.
Excerpted from Romance of the Three Kingdoms on Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.


The Immortals by the River
楊慎 by Yang Shen (1488-1559)

The waters of the mighty Yangzi flow eastward, its spray drowning countless heroes.
Right and wrong, success and failure, become empty in the blink of an eye; green mountains are always present; how many times has the setting sun been red?
The white haired fishermen and woodcutters are standing on the sand bars near the banks, accustomed as they are to gazing at the autumn moon and the spring breezes.
By chance, they happily meet with a jar of strong liquor in hand; how many things from past and present have they laughed and talked about with each other?

Table of contents

  1. Chapter 1: Three brave men swear an oath of allegiance at the feast in the peach gardens; our heroes' first achievement is the vanquishing of the Yellow Turbans.
  2. Chapter 2: Zhang Yide gets angry and whips the County Inspector; Royal uncle He plots the murder of the wretched eunuchs.
  3. Chapter 3: How Dong Zhuo rebukes Ding Yuan in the Garden of Warmth and Brightness; Li Su wins over Lü Bu with offerings of gold and pearls.
  4. Chapter 4: Deposing the Han emperor: Chenliu becomes emperor; plotting against the villain Dong: Mengde presents a dagger.
  5. Chapter 5: A forged imperial edict is issued: all towns respond to Lord Cao; breaking through the soldiers at the pass: three heroes battle Lü Bu.
  6. Chapter 6: Burning down the imperial palace, Dong Zhuo commits murder; hiding the imperial jade seal, Sun Jian violates his oath.
  7. Chapter 7: Yuan Shao fights with Gongsun at the Pan River; Sun Jian crosses a different river and attacks Liu Biao.
  8. Chapter 8: Minister over the Masses Wang skillfully employs the concept of interlinked stratagems; Senior Grand Tutor Dong blows his stack at Fengyi Pavilion.
  9. Chapter 9: Getting rid of the tyrant, Lü Bu helps the Minister over the Masses; attacking Chang'an, Li Jue listens to Jia Xu.
  10. Chapter 10: Ma Teng stages an uprising on behalf of the royal household; Cao Cao sends an army to avenge the death of his father.
  11. Chapter 11: Royal uncle Liu rescues Kong Rong at Beihai; Marquis of Wen Lü defeats Cao Cao at Puyang.
  12. Chapter 12: Tao Gongzu tries three times to cede control of Xuzhou; Cao Mengde engages in a major battle with Lü Bu.


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