There are four classic literature works in China, one of which is the Romance of the Three Kingdoms (or Three Kingdoms), a Chinese historical novel that is based on the events in the turbulent years near the end of the Han Dynasty and the Three Kingdoms era (169 - 280 AD).
It has enormous influence in Chinese-speaking countries and areas. Its author is Luo Guanzhong, who lived in the late Yuan Dynasty and early Ming Dynasty.
Three Kingdoms is based on the history of the three kingdoms, Wei, Shu and Wu that strove to reunite the empire at the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty. The stories of the heroes and their deeds as well as various folk tales, plays, ballads and verses were weaved seamlessly together by Luo Guanzhong, creating an enduring historical and literary masterpiece.
The last years of the Eastern Han Dynasty was a period of chaos and disorder, with various military forces rising to fight with one another. The three forces led respectively by Cao Cao, Liu Bei and Sun Quan, who were the major powers of that time, all wanted to take over the throne and reunify China, so the political and military fights with one another were very fierce.
Three Kingdoms takes those historical events and combats among the kingdoms into account and gives a full range of vivid and poignant portrayal of the political stratagems and warfare, among which the stories of Three Heroes Swear Brotherhood in the Peach Garden, The Battle of Red Cliff, and The Stratagem of the Empty City etc. are so well received that they have been common subject matter of other literary genres.
The literary value of the Three Kingdoms lies much in the vivid characters sketched in the novel that have become household names. For instance, Guan Yu is revered by later generations as "the Martial Saint" ("the Literal Saint" is Confucius), the saint of loyalty and courage.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms has extended its influence over China as well as Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and other countries in the world.
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