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Another Life: History, Anecdote And Fiction

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Chapter Summary

For Cao Cao, however, the conflicts and controversy of life were followed by centuries of debate and reinvention. The complexity of his personal character and the imperfect nature of his achievement meant that he and his career became symbols for the future, and judgement over the years has been greatly affected by political circumstance and popular opinion. A hundred years later the Neo-Confucian philosopher Zhu Xi took issue with Sima Guang, arguing that Shu-Han and Liu Bei were the true heirs of Han, and he arranged the chronology of his Zizhi tongjian gangmu to reflect that assessment. The long period of division which followed the expulsion of Jin from the north, the founding struggles of each dynasty which came afterwards, and the national wars of Song and Ming against the encroachment of non-Chinese northerners; all provided men and deeds worthy of record and duly admired.

Keywords: Cao Cao; Sima Guang; Zhu Xi; Zizhi tongjian gangmu

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