In his younger days,
Zhuge Liang often compared himself with two great scholars from the
past, Guan Zhong and Yue Yi. He is also known as Kongming the 'Sleeping
Dragon'. He was in Jingzhou, lived in Longzhong village when Liu Bei
made the Three Faithful Visits to his secluded abode. Impressed by his
visitor's sincerity, he joined him in a pledge to serve as master and
servant. It was at this time that Zhuge Liang foretold of the Three
Zhuge Liang established an alliance with
the kingdom of Wu to protect Liu Bei from Cao Cao. Using the Wu army,
he led a coalition to victory in the Battle at Red Wall when he predicted
the south-east wind, thereby securing a base for Liu Bei in Jingzhou
and quickly expanded to the southern Jing region. When Liu Bei and Pang
Tong left on an expedition to Shu, Zhuge Liang remained in Jingzhou.
From here he learned of Pang Tong's death. One evening he saw a star
fall in the twilight sky and exclaimed, "My lord has lost an arm!" Interpreting
it was a warning for Liu Bei, Zhuge Liang left Jingzhou with reinforcements
and brought down the kingdom of Shu. In the aftermath of the war, he
persuaded Liu Bei to assume lordship over Shu. This title symbolized
their efforts to restore the Later Han Dynasty.
After Liu Bei died, Zhuge Liang became
Prime Minister and counselor to the young heir, Liu Shan. He managed
to drive away five attacks by Cao Pi. He alone was responsible for all
matters in Shu, and he planned to expand into neighboring kingdoms.
Once he subjugated the Southern Mang tribe of Yi, the rest of his career
was focused on the northern territories. He conducted six northern campaigns
and won many battles but failed to reach Changan. Pitted up against
Sima Yi on the Wuzhang Plain in his last campaign, Zhuge Liang fell
ill and his fate shone in the stars. He died before ever realizing his
life's aspiration - to unify China as the Han Empire.
As a philoshopher, Zhuge Liang set a superior
example for past and present generations. He wielded his power with
conviction as Prime Minister, and maintained his mild-mannered style
through simple yet noble politics. He commanded with a just and thoughtful
hand to win support from the people.
In literature, Zhuge Liang is credited
with the 'Crusade Charts' which detail plans for the dispatch and positioning
of troops. Many years after his death, a great poet of Northern Sung
(AD 960-1126) analyzed his work. This extensive record explains the
penetrating philosophy within his plans. He has been lauded.
As a strategist, Zhuge Liang adapted basic
tactics to devise intricate battle formations. He was also an inventor
of many clever devices. These include a rapid firing catapult (loaded
with stone), wooden ox, multiple crossbows (ten bolts of eight inches
length), a scaling ladder (to use during a siege), and a tank (a chariot
covered in iron).