Lü Meng


Lü Meng

Three Kingdoms infobox
Name=Lü Meng


Caption=
Title=Officer
Kingdom=Sun Quan
Born=178
Died=219
Simp=吕蒙
Trad=呂蒙
Pinyin=Lǚ Méng
WG=Lu Meng
Zi=Ziming (子明)
Other=

;Infant name
*A-Meng (阿蒙)

Lü Meng (178 - 219) was a renowned officer under Sun Quan during the Three Kingdoms period of China. He served as the commanding general in the invasion of Jing Province that led to the death of Guan Yu.

Life

Early life

Lü Meng was born in Fupo (富坡) of Runan (Present-day Fuyang, Anhui) in 178. Lü Meng's family migrated south of the Yangtze River when Lü Meng was young, and he lived with his brother-in-law Deng Dang (鄧當), who served under Sun Ce. When Lü Meng was 15 or 16, he would often follow Deng Dang in his expeditions against the Shanyue secretly against Deng Dang's wishes. When Deng told Lü Meng's mother about this, she was furious, but Lü Meng said: "It is difficult to survive in poverty; if we can prove ourselves through hard work, then wealth would come eventually. How can we get the tiger's cub if we don't enter the tiger's den?" Lü Meng's mother was so touched at his words that she forgave him and did not punish him.

At the time, an official despised Lü Meng for his age, and often insulted him with words like: "What can he do? His behaviour would only feed himself to the tigers." Eventually, Lü Meng could not hold his anger and slew the official. Lü Meng soon turned himself into Yuan Xiong (袁雄), who pleaded with Sun Ce to spare his life. Sun Ce granted Lü Meng an audience with him, and he was very impressed with Lü Meng, so he acquitted Lü Meng of his crimes and made him an officer.

A few years later, Deng Dang died, and Zhang Zhao recommended Lü Meng to take his place. When Sun Quan succeeded Sun Ce, he planned to merge smaller troops into larger garrisons. When Lü Meng heard of this, he collected funds to decorate his troops with brilliant armour. When Sun Quan came to review his troops, he was very impressed by Lü Meng's troops and added more soldiers under Lü Meng's command, thus saving Lü Meng's men from being merged into another officer's command.

Campaigns against Huang Zu and Cao Cao

In the spring of 208, Sun Quan set out to battle his nemesis Huang Zu again in the Battle of Xiakou. Lü Meng's regiment crushed Huang Zu's vanguard, and personally killed the enemy admiral Chen Jiu (陳就). Ling Tong and Dong Xi then breached the castle wall, and Huang Zu fled. After the battle, Sun Quan deemed Lü Meng's contribution as the most significant, as Chen Jiu's death ensured Sun Quan's victory. Lü Meng was promoted and was heavily rewarded.

That same year, Lü Meng participated in the Battle of Red Cliff, where an alliance between Sun Quan and Liu Bei defeated the numerically superior forces of Cao Cao. Cao Cao retreated to the north, and left Xu Huang at Jiangling, Yue Jin in Xiangyang, and Cao Ren at Nanjun (南郡). When Sun Quan's forces invaded Nanjun, Gan Ning was sent to attack Yiling, but his forces were surrounded by a detachment of Cao Ren's forces. When Sun Quan's army received the news, most thought that they didn't have enough men to spare to save Gan Ning, but Lü Meng insisted on saving him. He presented a plan to leave Ling Tong behind to defend against the main forces of Cao Ren while the forces of Lü Meng, Zhou Yu, and Cheng Pu went to rescue Gan Ning, predicting that Ling Tong will surely hold out until the three return. Lü Meng also convinced Zhou Yu to spare 300 men to block the enemy retreat route with giant logs. When the rescue forces arrived in Yiling, they killed half of the enemy's men, causing the Cao army to retreat at night. However, their way of retreat was blocked by logs previously set up by Zhou Yu, so they all had to dismount and run to safety. The pursuing Wu army arrived at the blockade, and got themselves 300 horses abandoned by the Cao army. The Wu army morale improved greatly after, and soon they routed Cao Ren and captured Nanjun. Lü Meng was given the rank of major-general. (偏將軍)

Cao Cao then stationed Xie Qi (謝奇) in Wancheng (皖城; modern-day Huaining, Anhui) to harass Wu's boundaries. Lü Meng first requested Xie Qi to surrender, and then attacked when Xie refused. Xie Qi was defeated and retreated, but his subordinates Sun Zicai (孫子才) and Song Hao (宋豪) came to Lü Meng and surrendered with their families. Later, Lü Meng followed Sun Quan to Ruxu (濡須), and proposed to build a dock to make boarding and landings more convenient. With this, the Wu army defended their positions against the approaching Cao Cao forces, who retreated after several attempts to overcome the Wu army.

When Cao Cao retreated from Leisure Ford, he stationed Zhu Guang (朱光) in Lujiang, and commanded him to develop the lands for agricultural use. Lü Meng warned Sun Quan that if the enemy food stockage in Lujiang should increase, their numbers would increase, so Sun Quan personally led a campaign to attack Lujiang. Before the battle, the generals suggested that they replenish their weapons before clashing with the enemy, but Lü Meng held a different opinion: he felt that by the time the equipments were replenished, the enemy would surely have reinforced and prepared their defenses; also, he warned that in a few days the river would return to low tide, which would make the retreat back to their ships difficult. Sun Quan agreed with Lü Meng, and had the Wu army surround the city in the morning with Lü Meng as the vanguard. With Lü Meng himself hitting the war drums, the spirited soldiers captured the city at about lunchtime. Lü Meng was given the rank Grand Administrator of Lujiang for his contributions to the battle.

cholarship

In "Jiangbiao Zhuan" (江表傳), it was said that Lü Meng focused entirely on martial skills until he was admonished by Sun Quan. Lü Meng used to say that military matters take away his time and he had no time to read, but Sun Quan stated that he himself had to tend to matters both big and small in his land, even so, he had the time to read and enhance himself. Lü Meng was enlightened, and started to take up scholarly pursuits with another general Jiang Qin. Soon his breadth of knowledge became so broad that even some elder Confucians could not match him, and Sun Quan was so impressed at Lü's improvements that he often used Lü Meng as a role model for his other officers.

When Lu Su took over Zhou Yu's position, he went to visit Lü Meng. Originally Lu Su viewed Lü Meng in contempt, thinking that he was a mere military man, but when Lü Meng discussed his five strategies against Guan Yu, defender of Jing Province, Lu Su was surprised. He commented, "I had previously said that you only had skills for war, but today I see you are both knowledgeable and wise, and no longer the A-Meng under Wu." To this, Lü Meng replied, "When you meet someone you have not met for three days, you should see him with a new eye." The two then became close friends, and Lu Su paid a visit to Lü Meng's mother as well.

This incident gave birth to the Chinese idioms "A-Meng under Wu" (吳下阿蒙), meaning "the clueless"; and "to see with a new eye" (刮目相看), meaning "to re-evaluate a character".

Invasion of Jing Province

In 214, Sun Quan ordered Lü Meng to take the three commanderies of southern Jing Province. With subordinate generals Xianyu Dan (鮮于丹), Xu Zhong (徐忠), and Sun Gui (孫規), Lü Meng's army of twenty thousand marched to southern Jing Province. The commanderies of Changsha and Guiyang (桂陽) immediately surrendered, but the remaining Lingling (零陵) refused to submit. Liu Bei, who controlled Jing Province at the time, returned from Sichuan to Jing Province once he received news of Sun Quan's advance. Liu Bei ordered Guan Yu to take the three commanderies of southern Jing Province with thirty thousand men. In response, Sun Quan had Lu Su stationed in Baqiu (巴丘) with ten thousand to defend against Guan Yu, and ordered Lü Meng to abandon Lingling and join with Lu Su.

When Lü Meng received the order to retreat, he ignored it and did not tell his men about it. He instructed Deng Xuanzhi (鄧玄之), a friend of Lingling's defender Hao Pu (郝普), to tell Hao Pu that Liu Bei was in a dire battle with Xiahou Yuan in Hanzhong, Guan Yu just lost to Sun Gui in Nanjun, and neither could spare men to save Lingling. When Hao Pu heard this, he became afraid and quickly surrendered to Lü Meng. When Lü Meng laughingly revealed the truth to Hao Pu, that Liu Bei and Guan Yu were both free to reinforce Lingling, Hao Pu became wrecked with guilt. Lü Meng then left Sun Jiao (孫皎) to guard the three freshly taken commanderies and moved his own men to reinforce Lu Su. In the end, Sun Quan and Liu Bei made peace with each other, and Lingling was returned to the command of Liu Bei.

After that, the Wu army campaigned against Cao Cao in the Battle of Hefei, but were unsuccessful. During the Wu retreat, Lü Meng and Ling Tong closely defended Sun Quan from Zhang Liao's vicious attack, thus Sun Quan was able to escape from that battle. Later, Cao Cao invaded Ruxu again, but Lü Meng defended their positions as he did the last time in Ruxu and again Cao Cao was unable to take Ruxu. Thus, Lü Meng was named as the Left Guard (左護軍) and the General of Tiger Prowess (虎威將軍).

When Lu Su died, Lü Meng took over his command and became the chief strategist of Wu. Unlike his predecessor, Lü Meng believed that the Sun-Liu alliance need not be maintained and proposed the invasion of Jing Province. Sun Quan had plans to invade the Cao Cao held Xuzhou instead, but Lü Meng dissuaded him, saying that although it would be easy to take Xuzhou, it would be hard to defend Xuzhou from being retaken by Cao Cao again. When Lü Meng arrived to his post at Lukou (陸口), he maintained good relationships with the neighbouring Guan Yu on the surface.

In 219, Guan Yu attacked the Wei fortress of Fancheng while leaving troops behind to defend against a possible attack from Eastern Wu. Lü Meng then feigned illness and placed the yet unknown scholar Lu Xun in command. Hearing this, Guan Yu then relieved his defenses, thinking that an attack from Wu was unlikely. In the Battle of Fancheng, Guan Yu defeated the relieving force led by Yu Jin and accepted the surrender of several ten thousand men. To support his enhanced army, Guan Yu took the nearby Wu supply depot, which enraged Sun Quan, who decided to launch a campaign into Jing Province. Originally, he was going to have Lü Meng share command with Sun Jiao, but Lü Meng convinced him not to, saying, "If my Lord feels that (Sun Jiao) is the right man, choose him. If my lord feels I am the right man, choose me." In the end, Sun Jiao was put under his command.

Lü Meng and his men invaded Jing Province under the disguise of merchant boats and captured the province by forcing its defenders Fu Shiren and Mi Fang to surrender. Once settled in Jing Province, he treated the populace with respect and care, to the point of giving medicine to the ailing and clothes to the cold. When Guan Yu's men heard of their families' safety, they became dispirited and many surrendered to Wu. Guan Yu, having nowhere to return to, attempted to flee to Sichuan but was captured by Zhu Ran and Pan Zhang on the way. Guan Yu and his son Guan Ping were then executed by Sun Quan.

Death

After Guan Yu was executed, Lü Meng soon fell to illness. The worried Sun Quan tried to summon able doctors and taoists to heal him, even promising a heavy sum in gold for the person who could cure Lü Meng. It was said that Sun Quan was so worried he drilled a hole to peek into Lü Meng's room. If he saw Lü Meng able to eat he would hold a banquet to celebrate; but if he saw Lü Meng's health degenerating, Sun Quan could not sleep at night. Despite the efforts from Sun Quan, Lü Meng died at the age of 41. Before his death, he recommended Zhu Ran and Lu Xun to take his post.

In the historical novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms", after executing Guan Yu and reclaiming Jing Province, Sun Quan threw a feast to celebrate and recommend Lü Meng, chief planner and commander of the maneuver to capture Jing Province and Guan Yu. On the feast, however, Lü Meng was possessed by Guan Yu's spirit and seized Sun Quan. As others rushed forward to save their lord, the possessed Lü Meng swore revenge. In moments, Lü Meng collapsed onto the floor and died. The frightened Sun Quan then sent Guan Yu's severed head in a wooden box to Cao Cao, meaning to sow a discord between the Shu Han and Cao Wei.

Modern references

*The fictional character Ryomou Shimei of the anime and manga series "Ikki Tousen" is based on Lü Meng.

*Lü Meng is also a playable character in the Koei video game series "Dynasty Warriors". He is portrayed as a stalwart and dedicated officer of Sun Wu and is almost always wears light, leather armour in combat. He wields a ji called the "White Tiger". His combat style is most suited to battle against lone opponents. He also appeared in Warriors Orochi. He was imprisoned by Orochi but he along with Taishi Ci were freed by Sun Ce.

*Lu Meng appears in all the 11 games of Romance of The Three Kingdoms made by Koei. He has very good and well balanced stats.

ee also

*Three Kingdoms
*Personages of the Three Kingdoms
*"Records of Three Kingdoms"
*"Romance of the Three Kingdoms"

References

*Chen Shou. "".
*Luo Guanzhong. "".

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