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Romance of Three Kingdoms, English version "Three Kingdoms" online

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Thx for the link.

As a reliable historical source, 三國演義 is flawed since it is part fiction.

Guan Yu's exploits are overexaggerated. Cao Cao is portrayed as a villain when he was actually a righteous leader and military genius. Zhuge Liang gets more credit as a military genius than he deserves, when he was more of a political statesman. Liu Bei is portrayed as an upright leader, but in reality was the most opportunistic.

Zhuge Liang gets the credit for the Battle of Red Cliffs victory in ROTK, but Zhou Yu masterminded the victory. The novel depicts Zhuge Liang's men plucking Cao Cao's arrows and shooting them back. The battle was actually won by setting the ships on fire and ramming it into Cao Cao's boats.

Also the part about Guan Yu playing a game of chess while a surgeon cut through his arm.

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It’s supposed to be based on the historical record of the Chronicles rather than RoTK. The question is whether Cao Cao will appear as the villian or just as a loser. One way or the other, Cao Cao never seems to win.

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Yes, this is a novel so it's biased and some parts are fiction.

If you are really studying Chinese history, of course you should not rely on this. However if you only want to know about Chinese history, I think that's OK. It's much more interesting than reading those boring historical documents. Also, I believe when most regular people including native Chinese talking about the Three Kingdom period, they also base on this novel, not the real history.

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三國演義 is half fiction half history. But the official history 三國誌 is openly biased towards the Wei Kingdom.

三國誌 is written by Jin official 陳壽. Since Jin is the succeeding dynasty of Wei, as a rule of thumb, Jin officials would not badmouth Wei (Unless Chen wanted to risk the life of him and his family). Moreover, the founder of Jin dynasty -- Mr. Sima Sr. and his two sons -- were really crooks no matter judged by any standard.

Did 三國誌 dare criticize the three Simas? Of course NO.

No history is reliable history.

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One theing that you might be interested in, however was the how Chen Shou wrote the basic annals of the three states. Obviously, out of concern for his own well-being, and because the history was commissioned by the Wei, he had to recognize in the placement of the zhuan and the chapter titles that the Wei was the "legitimate" holder of the Mandate. However, you might also notice the way he refers to the Shu Han rulers in their Basic Annals vs. the lack of titles he gives the Wu rulers.

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  • 2 months later...

For me personally, i prefer the Pictorial Series of Romance Of The Three Kingdoms published by Canfonian. It's basically bilingual chinese with english translation.

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The site linked in the first post is excellent. Although the translation is an older one and has been surpassed by the Moss-Roberts edition, the comment function on that site means that practically every paragraph is annotated by Three Kingdoms enthusiasts who are well-versed in the novel, the comic, and various video game adaptations.

Just reading their conversations can be incredibly entertaining.

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  • 4 weeks later...


I had been interested in RTK since I am 14 after playing one of the RTK video game.

Anyway I had been reading the RTK 三国演义-文言文版本and of course the other version.

For me I ma Wei supporter. my favorite is actually Cao Cao..

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  • 3 weeks later...

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