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Old 2013-02-14, 16:20   Link #41
DonQuigleone
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I tried reading 3 kingdoms a while back, but I found it hard going. It's not actually that dense, but I think what really did me in was the density of names, both people's and geography.

The geography is particularly difficult as not only am I not great on Chinese geography, but all the names are for China as it was 2000 years ago, which I have no idea about. So if I read that Liu Bei did a grand flanking march from Liaozhou through to Yanzhou it makes little sense to me.

Furthermore, all the footnotes (which are a necessity to make the book understandable for a foreign reader) are all at the back, and flipping back and forth makes for a very fractured reading experience.

I think that RoTK would probably be an excellent candidate for being an interactive EBook, where you can instantly look up footnotes and maps at the touch of a button.

I'd imagine a similar setup would be useful for a Chinese person trying to read the Iliad.
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Old 2013-02-14, 16:20   Link #42
Irenicus
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Oooh, necro.

Yeah, I always thought that proverb was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying who the real audiences are. Like how you shouldn't make Princes read Il Principe.

DonQuigleone: This is a pretty good thread. The first map is particularly epic. As for all the -zhou (provinces), try this.

Basically, most of the action happens in the North, where most of the population was, until around the Jingzhou episodes (= Red Cliff).

As for the Iliad, I think you'd probably need it less. Just a map of the Aegean with the general pointer to where the Achaeans are, where Troy is [generally agreed to be], and that's that. I mean, I know more than many and while I can point to Ithaca [general area, not precisely which island is Odysseus' kingdom, which people can't seem to agree on], Sparta, Mycenae, Argos, and even Aulis, there's not much point knowing which mighty king of a thousand epithets come from which tiny village and Cyclopean stone houses.

Thucydides, on the other hand, is a much more apt comparison of why we need maps in ROTK and why, with them, you could probably try again. Where is Pylos of Nestor's fame where Athens kicked Spartan butt; where is Argos and why it's pro-Athenian; where are the Ionian cities; where's Corcyra; where's Amphipolis where the dear author lost a battle and got exiled; where's poor Melos; where is Aegospotami where Athens finally lost the war, and so on. Heck, how Athens looked like greatly enriched understanding (most people don't really think about what the "Long Walls" really were). I'm not even counting all the generals and politicians, though admittedly they're a much thinner crowd than in ROTK. But still, so many name drops if you really think about it, no?

Last edited by Irenicus; 2013-02-14 at 16:36.
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Old 2013-02-14, 16:25   Link #43
DonQuigleone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Oooh, necro.

Yeah, I always thought that proverb was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying who the real audiences are. Like how you shouldn't make Princes read Il Principe.
Actually, compared to RoTK, the Prince is a fairly easy read. For one thing it's quite short.
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Old 2013-02-14, 16:42   Link #44
Irenicus
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Originally Posted by DonQuigleone View Post
Actually, compared to RoTK, the Prince is a fairly easy read. For one thing it's quite short.
Nah, the point is that they teach deviant behavior. If a Prince truly follows the tenets of The Prince...well, he'd be a pretty deadly opponent. Just like an old man who emulates Cao Cao may become an able minister and an unscrupulous hero, while a young man who reads Water Margin -- a story about heroic bandits -- may become a revolutionary. Hm, I wonder what Mao thought of the two Classics.

[There's actually a remarkable amount of debate from luminaries on what would actually happen if someone perfectly emulates the idealized virtý. Rousseau thought Machiavelli was trying to teach people how evil a prince really is, while some modern thinkers believe he was the great subversive, and if a Medici truly followed his tenets, they'd be thrown out of Florence in no time to his delight. We'll ignore that, though.]
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Old 2013-02-14, 16:49   Link #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Oooh, necro.

Yeah, I always thought that proverb was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying who the real audiences are. Like how you shouldn't make Princes read Il Principe.
the book wasn't written for the nobility since most of them were already thinking like that. The ones who didn't have knives sticking out of their back.
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Old 2013-02-14, 17:20   Link #46
RichardFromMarple
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I did read and abridged translation of Journey to the West, which is a fairly easy read with only the odd footnote to explain an untranslatable phrase or play on words.

I've heard that Naomi - A Fool's Love is supposed to be a good read, has this ever had a Manga or Anime adaptation? I know it's been filmed a few times.
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Old 2013-02-14, 17:51   Link #47
DonQuigleone
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If you're sociopathic aristocrat, you don't really need to read the Prince. Perhaps it was intended to teach good men how to be bad?

Though I have heard the parody theory quite a lot about it.
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Old 2013-02-14, 17:54   Link #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Irenicus View Post
Nah, the point is that they teach deviant behavior. If a Prince truly follows the tenets of The Prince...well, he'd be a pretty deadly opponent. Just like an old man who emulates Cao Cao may become an able minister and an unscrupulous hero, while a young man who reads Water Margin -- a story about heroic bandits -- may become a revolutionary. Hm, I wonder what Mao thought of the two Classics.
According to one Pyotr Vladimirov, the communists at Yan'an didn't read Marx but instead studied, among other things, Mao's interpretations of DoRC.
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Old 2013-02-14, 20:18   Link #49
rantaid
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do people will easily get influenced? for me without proper background culture of said literary work you won't be able to appreciate said book.


for machiavellian the prince will be hard if you don't know the cultural or political situation of ... where is it? venice?

because when i read part of ... let just say the comparison of the prince which is han fei zi, guan zi and shang jun shu.... it is hard without proper knowledge of the political situation of that era.
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Old 2013-02-15, 11:48   Link #50
DonQuigleone
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Originally Posted by rantaid View Post
for machiavellian the prince will be hard if you don't know the cultural or political situation of ... where is it? venice?
Florence, actually. However, when I read it as a teen, I didn't have any great difficulty, there are a fair number of anecdotes, but the exact locations and names are not really relevant to the central thrust of the book (how to be a "good" prince). Reading the Wikipedia page on Italy's renaissance history, along with a cursory knowledge of Greek/Roman history should suffice, if you get a decent edition, most of the background information you would need would be in the introduction.

It's a bit like "The Art of War" in that respect. You don't need to know anything about Ancient China to be able to read Sun Tzu.
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Old 2013-02-17, 10:05   Link #51
rantaid
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well what i grasped based on my experience... when reading the prince without knowing their political situation is hard, at least when you don't even know about renaissance. this part i agree with your opinion. florence.... is that near firenze where da vinci come from?

for sun zi i disagree. there is many part where you need prior knowledge on chinese history and culture.

for example chapter xi 9 situations

"asked if an army can act like serpent shuairan , i say yes! for the man of wu and yue are enemies , yet if they are crossing river in same boat and caught in storm, they will assist each other as if left hand and right hand."

first you need to know who sun zi is. sun zi goes by the name sun wu, a general (recommended by wu zixu) of state of wu. at his time (spring autumn period) , the state of wu launched numerous military campaign to reach hegemony.

however during the campaign to state of yue, the king of wu, helu died in the battle. his son fuchai was then enthroned and waged war against state of yue as vengeance. hence the hatred between men of yue and men of wu.

but in regard to confucian value of virtue the hatred were put aside to assist each other to keep the boat sailing without drowning.


chapter 13 use of spies requires you to know lu shang (jiang taigong) and yi yin.
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Old 2013-02-17, 20:42   Link #52
Irenicus
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Florence is Firenze. Yes, Machiavelli served the center of the Renaissance. You could just look up the map of Renaissance Italy, you know. Plenty of them on the internet.

However, I think you underestimate the human ability to draw conclusions based on limited evidence and/or knowledge. The stock market, and academia (*cough*), runs on it. (What, you think I read that book that I pontificated authoritatively on?)

There are a lot of background things that will help your understanding in just about every major work of literature, philosophy, theology, or a treatise on the Wonders of the Spinach. Just about nobody knows all of them, yet we pass on knowledge and wisdom just fine.

A complex understanding of Greek society and geography during the Classical Age can add to a much more complete understanding of Thucydides, yet most people smart enough to read Thucydides, including those who sometimes don't even have a clear pinpoint of where Greece is on a world map, tend to grasp his political philosophy easily.

Nor do I think anybody, with the caveat of anybody with half a brain, really missed what Machiavelli said about the nature of the Prince even if everybody disagrees on what he really meant, or if they have no clue who the heck is Cesare Borgia or the political situation of the King of Aragon/Spain Ferdinand's takeover of Naples. Sure, it helps if you realize figures like Borgia and Francesco Sforza, the great condottieri, are not always of old nobility, and even if they are tend to lack the Medieval notion of legitimacy to rule the lands they win in wars and intrigues -- that helps guide Machiavelli's dismissal of legitimacy over force -- but you don't have to. You'll get either way what he's trying to recommend rulers to do.

Sun Tzu is like that. Yes, maybe observing the verdant hills and rivers of Wu would give a better understanding of his tactical recommendations, but you don't really need to.
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Old 2013-02-18, 02:52   Link #53
rantaid
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i agree. however by that i get the message that you advise to just read and imagine the rest. we can interprete it as however we can. but is not this just being complacent and deceiving yourself?

raising candle is just raising candle there is no subtle meaning (han fei zi).

about the prince... is it written when the italy is still a federal state which occassionally warring against each other? my information about machiavellian is kind of lacking.
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Old 2013-02-18, 03:50   Link #54
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for those who think ROTK is too complicated, maybe you can start with the game first? First you play dynasty warriors, you will know all the important people (who cares about the ones that come out and get kill in 1 turn?), then you play the strategic games (also from KOEI), then you will know the geography, and how the warlords move from one place to another.
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Old 2013-02-18, 03:54   Link #55
Irenicus
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Spoiler for Because Florence is not, sadly, Asian:


Speaking of which, what's the point when the [TLDR] tag can't accommodate all the texts of a TL;DR? I was going to use the fancy tag, but it rudely cut my text short...
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Old 2013-02-18, 06:27   Link #56
rantaid
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@fukarming.

well... i read the rotk-manga based by yokoyama mitsuteru, ryuroden and shin ryuroden and finally ravages of time by chan mou.


and .. kinda play koei's rotk xi .

@irenecus:

actually no. your writing tell me a lot of thing which clouded me for years. i always thought of italy at the machiavellian was kind of single monarchy that is why i questioned why would machiavellie wished for an anti hero (like cao cao) to arise.

for your explanation i am really grateful and thankful.

the simpson during the episode when sideshow bob become mayor of tuscany explain that homer cursed italy hoping that they remain as federal state occasionaly warring against each other....

while i thought with italy were single monarchy with church political interference (vatican) binding them like england pre hendry viii.

medici..... is this lorenzo de medici whom donald duck and scrooge mc.duck discuss during the search for alexandria library? i thought they are just rich aristocracy who funded colombus from genoa during the exploration war.... never thought they are influental warlord..

also asking, do the machiavellian setting of italy is also the time setting of the opera titled 'tosca'? because angellotti is a revolutionary faction member

well i stressed the need to understand the background due to my own experience.

when i read rotk i only know the character, then my friend talked to me about a tale from ming dynasty

feng menglong's sima mao disturb the order of the underworld.

it then explain many important things for me.
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Old 2013-02-18, 11:01   Link #57
DonQuigleone
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If you're not from Europe, I could see how you might get confused over Italian history (misunderstanding that there was no "Italy" prior to 1860), the divided nature of Italy is covered in most European history classes, and likely isn't outside of it.

That said, due to the nature of The Prince as an instructional text, rather then a history book or novel, you can get most of it's point by reading it (though you may miss the subtexts). However, any good edition of the book should include an introduction to give you the background you would need to understand it, and it's further easy to understand because all the locations it refers to still exist today and by those names (except the Holy Roman Empire, though it's basically Germany).

Everything Irenicus wrote is correct. When I read the Prince, however, I knew less about Italian history then I knew about Chinese history when reading Romance of the Three Kingdoms, and 3 kingdoms was much harder.

Sun Tzu, I would still maintain is easy, as most English editions are annotated with many notes. In fact, I imagine it might be easier to read English editions of it then Chinese, because the Chinese editions likely have no notes, and are in Classical Chinese (while the English translations are in modern English). For instance, my edition has the following for chapter VIII section 8:

There are occasions when the commands of the Sovereign need not be obeyed.
Ts'ao Ts'ao: When it is expedient in operations the general need not be restricted by the commands of the sovereign.
Tu Mu: The Wei Liao Tzu says: 'Weapons are inauspicious instruments; strife contrary to virtue; the general, the Minister of Death, who is not responsible to the heavens above, to the earth beneath, to the enemy in front, or to the sovereign in his rear.'
Chang Yu: Now King Fu Chai said: 'When you see the correct course, act; do not wait for orders.'
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Old 2013-02-18, 19:09   Link #58
rantaid
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i admit many printed sun zi comes with annotated which though helpful lacked the essences.


actually your quotation of mengde is much closer to sima fa. the record of grand historian (shi ji) alluded the event entirely about general need not be restricted by the commands of the
sovereign.

this is why in wei liao zi , decree and command are being compared of their differences.

but i recall that in introductory word of sun zi art of war, mengde read the sima fa and compared it altogether alomg with other treatise like wuzi, bingfa, sima fa. perhaps he took the lesson there.

also he was said to know about sun bin art of war, while record noted that the said treatise has already lost during the eastern han period....

and for your quotation of du mu and wei liao zi... i supposed it is close to dao de jing . perhaps wei liao agrees to principle of no attacking?


i always interested.with european history alas i was not lucky to unable know it better.
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Old 2013-02-18, 20:38   Link #59
LeoXiao
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Chinese versions of classical texts usually come with the original passages and then something called a "clarification", which in practice amounts to a vernacular translation. If you were to sell an edition of The Art of War with only the original text included, it would be about 20 pages.
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Old 2013-02-21, 17:00   Link #60
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Chinese versions of classical texts usually come with the original passages and then something called a "clarification", which in practice amounts to a vernacular translation. If you were to sell an edition of The Art of War with only the original text included, it would be about 20 pages.
I find the "Art of War" to be incredibly repetitive and at other times contradictory. It reminded me of a notebook someone kept of smarmy comebacks..

I know we're talking about Asia, but I see someone above mentioned Machiavelli -- please note that Project Gutenberg did (what I'm told) is an excellent translation that can be found online for free. Fascinating read!
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