The Romance of Three Kingdoms | Ancient Chinese Culture

The Romance of Three Kingdoms

The Romance of Three Kingdoms, also called San Guo Yan Yi in Chinese, is a Chinese historical novel written by Luo Guanzhong (1330~1400). It is one of the four great classic novels of Chinese literature and is also regarded as the first voluminous chapter novel which reaches the highest achievement of historical novels.

This novel is based on the events in the end of Eastern Han Dynasty (25~220) and the Three Kingdoms era of China. It describes the contradictions and conflicts of three political and military groups named Wei, Shu, and Wu in the turbulent years.

This novel’s achievements lie much in the vivid character images and spectacular war scene sketched in the novel. It has successfully created 1798 figures with unique personalities. The most famous ones include the ideal benevolent Liu Bei, the ambitious prime minister Cao Cao, loyal Guan Yu, witty Zhuge Liang, etc. Some figures even influenced the custom and concepts of Chinese people. For example, till now, Guan Yu is still regarded as the saint of loyalty and courage.

This novel also describes 40 wars, which vividly shows the thrilling war scenes. Among them, the Battle of Guandu and the Battle of Red Cliff are the most famous ones. And the language in this novel is simple and succinct, which was viewed as the pioneering undertaking at that time.

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