Han Xin, the great general (韩信，大将军) is the title of historical epic drama that I have just finished watching. It is an intriguing drama series, of the rise and fall of one the most famous general in ancient China. It covers a very interesting part of the history of China, from the final days before the fall of Qin dynasty to the beginning of the Han dynasty. Main protoganists are Liu Bang (founder of Han dynasty) , the wicked Empress Lu (Liu Bang’s wife) , Xiang Yu (the great General and Liu Bang’s rival) and the various lords and generals of the days.
The TV story is not really 100% historically correct though, as the the lead female character Consort Yu ( the lover of Xiang Yu) is potrayed as childhood sweet heart of Han Xin. I suppose the producers added a dash of interesting romance to spice up the show to interest lady viewers.
In the show, Han Xin is depicted as a real gentleman hero, whereas Liu Bang is just a plain and rather ugly guy with good advisers and depended on strokes of good luck. Liu Bang characters is depicted as being rather dull witted and anti hero – he even snores loudly on the bed.
Wiki introduction on Han Xin:
Han Xin (died 196 BC) was a military general who served Liu Bang (Emperor Gaozu of Han) during the Chu–Han contention period and contributed greatly to the founding of the Han Dynasty. Han was named as one of the “Three Heroes of the early Han Dynasty” (漢初三傑), along with Zhang Liang and Xiao He.
Han is best remembered as a brilliant military leader for the strategies and tactics he employed in warfare, some of which became the origins of certain Chinese idioms. In recognition of Han’s contributions, Liu conferred the titles of “King of Qi” on him in 203 BC and “King of Chu” in the following year. However, Liu was afraid of Han’s abilities and gradually reduced Han’s military power, demoting him to “Marquis of Huaiyin” in late 202 BC. In 196 BC, Han was accused of participating in a rebellion and lured into a trap and executed on Empress Lü Zhi‘s orders.
Some Chinese idioms and sayings originated from the events in Han’s life and are listed as follows:
- Shame of crawling through between someone’s legs (胯下之辱): used to describe a humiliating incident. This idiom originated from the incident when Han was bullied by a hooligan. (see above for more information)
- When Han Xin selects his troops, the more the better (韓信點兵, 多多益善): originated from a conversation between Han and Liu Bang. Liu asked Han, “How many men do you think I can command?”, to which Han replied, “A maximum of 100,000.” Liu asked, “What about you?”, and Han replied, “The more the better.” Liu said, “So that means I cannot defeat you?” Han explained, “No, my lord, you command generals while I command soldiers.”
- Both success and failure are due to Xiao He, life and death are due to two women (成敗一蕭何, 生死兩婦人): Xiao helped Han become a general, which enabled Han to put his talent to good use. However, Han’s downfall was also due to Xiao. In his early days, Han was given “life” by the old woman, who provided him with food. Han’s death was due to Empress Lü Zhi.