Episode 40: The Red Cliffs of Chibi

This episode lovingly dedicated to my grandfather, Dr. Neill Goltz.  He will be missed, and will always be loved.

The warlord Cao Cao has crushed any rivals to his power in the North, and now turns South to reunify China under his new regime. South of the mighty Yangtze River, the rival lords of Jing Province and Wu Prefecture must put aside their differences and unite if they’re to have any hope of stopping the northern invasion at the river’s shores

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2 thoughts on “Episode 40: The Red Cliffs of Chibi

    1. Good question… simply put, the answer is simple population distribution. The Middle Yellow River Valley of Northern China was not only the heartland of the civilization, but also historically by leaps and bounds the most densely populated. Though the Pearl River and the Yangtze River Deltas have since become its rivals in terms of population – the Hebei region encompassing Beijing and Tianjin today is *still* the pulsing heart of China and where the most people live. It was all the more so during the 3 Kingdoms, when the YRD *was* China, and anything south of the Huai and/or Yangtze was considered little more than far-flung, underpopulated wildlands only nominally under imperial control.

      Chengdu, Sichuan – the seat of what would form into the Shu Han Kingdom – was a populous city, yes, but it sat at the figurative edge of the world, and was surrounded by inhospitable cliffs and mountains… good for defense, not so good for sustaining a large population.

      Meanwhile, Cao Cao – already armed with the vast majority of the imperial populace by sheer virtue of his geographic holdings – had further enriched his army through a policy of forcibly conscripting enemy soldiers when they were defeated, and had employed such tactics not only against his rival northern lords, but also against the barbarian tribes he’d conquered in (modern) Manchuria and Liaodong.

      It’s all very impressive to llok at, of course… but as events played out, Cao Cao found out at Red Cliff that sheer numbers can’t account for everything (a lesson he ought to have already learned), that one cannot overstate the effects of southern heat and disease, and that an army of conscripted enemies is unlikely to stick around after a massive defeat.

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