Zhuge Liang (Kong Ming)
The Original "Hidden Dragon"
Zhuge Liang (also known as Kong Ming) wearing his trademark "Taoist Priest" outfit and carrying his trademark "White Fan" (known also a renaissance man who enjoyed playing the game of Go and the lute).
One of his famous exploits was advising Liu Bei to ally himself with Sun Quan, allowing him to win the principal battle of Chibi. Together the armies of Liu Bei and Sun Quan dealt a lethal blow to Cao Cao's plan to conquer China. As part of the spoils of war, Liu Bei captured the territories of Jingzhou.
His military victories were vast and ingenious. Like all geniuses, Zhuge Liang faced a major setback at the hand of his arch nemesis, Sima Yi (senior military leader of the Wei state), when Sima Yi prevented Zhuge Liang from capturing Luoyang (an important area in China). This would have assisted Liu Bei's goal of restoring the Han Dynasty.
At his deathbed, Liu urged his son Liu Chan to depend on Zhuge Liang's advice and also urged his prime minister to ascend the throne himself if the prince was unable to rule.
After Liu Bei's death, Zhuge Liang assisted his successor in governing the country for the next four years. He roused himself for vigorous efforts to make the country prosperous and was strict and fair in meting out rewards and punishments. Under Zhuge Liang, the Shu Kingdom became more prosperous and militarily stronger. This was due to Zhuge Liang's defeat of the attacks of the seven armies that were initiated by Cao Pi. He also subdued the southern barbarian king Meng Huo and then led six expeditions against the state of Wei in an attempt to fulfill Liu Bei's wish of restoring the Han Dynasty.
At the age of 54, Zhuge Liang passed away on the plains of Wuzhangyuan during a military campaign (234 AD), while attempting to re-conquer the land that was occupied by the kingdom of Wei. Before he even began this northern expedition, Zhuge Liang was sick and exhausted from the stress and the overwork created by his rival, General Sima Yi, and the ineffective leadership of Liu Chan. By the time Zhuge Liang reached the battlefield he was dead. His death immediately marked the downfall of the Shu Kingdom.
He once remarked himself as "to bend myself to a task and exert the life to the utmost." Even his rivals could not help admiring his great talent and his devotion to the country.
Zhuge Liang's Achievements
Upon his death, much of his writings on building military organizations and strategies were supposedly stolen or destroyed. The Way of the General is one of the few writings survived to be read today.
It has been rumored that that Zhuge Liang created Eight Dispositions (Ba Xing), battle tactics for military strategic and tactical deployment. The Eight Dispositions battle tactics are army formations that are said to be based on his reading of the I-Ching (Book of Changes).
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