Zhuge Liang (Kongming)
Born 181 AD - Died 234 AD
Place of Birth - Yangdu, Langye
Zhuge Liang was a Taoist scholar, also known as Wo Long, or Sleeping Dragon. As a youth he lived as a hermit after escaping from his home with his brother, Zhuge Jin.
Xu Shu recommended Zhuge Liang as his successor to Liu Bei when he was ensnared in a plot by Cao Cao. Liu Bei paid three visits to the hermit, and finally on the third visit, Zhuge Liang consented to be his strategist, as he was impressed by Liu Bei's sincerity, virtue and morality.
Zhuge Liang personally travelled to Wu to make an alliance against Cao Cao. The battle of Chi Bi took place, Zhuge Liang made the southern wind blow, and Cao Cao fled defeated in the wake of the fire attack.
During this period, Zhuge Liang advised Liu Bei to conquer as much of the Southlands as possible so the Three Kingdoms Strategy could be used. Liu Bei's forces took Cheng Du, and established the Shu Kingdom. Shu, Wu and Wei now struggled to unify China.
Liu Bei became King of Hanzhong and then Emperor of Shu, yet when his sworn brother Guan Yu was executed by Wu, and his other sworn brother assassinated as he slept, he swore revenge.
With both wings torn, he invaded Wu, but was defeated by the talented young strategist Lu Xun and the much smaller Wu force. Liu Bei passed away, and Liu Chan succeeded him, before hand, Liu Bei entrusted Zhuge Liang with Shu if his son was unfit to rule.
Zhuge Liang led a campaign against the Nanman tribes in the south, and crushed them. He then went to invade Wei, but due to internal corruption in the Shu Court and also due to the brilliant planning of the Wei strategist Sima Yi, he embarked on no less than 5 campaigns.
In the year 234 AD, Zhuge Liang passed away on Wu Zhang Plains, after his attempt to recover more time was denied as Wei Yan knocked over the candles that were required to stay lit. He banned all mourning so as to decieve the enemy, when they did invade, a wooden statue was dressed as Zhuge Liang and put in a chariot. Sima Yi fled at the site of it, and so it is said in Chinese lore, "A dead Zhuge Liang can outwit a live Sima Yi." When Sima Yi observed the Shu camp and lines, he remarked that Zhuge Liang was indeed the cleverest man under heaven.
For more in depth information, check out www.kongming.net
Parts of this definiton taken from that site.
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