Did You Know?
Sima Yi was a statesman and general for Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms Period of China. Known not only for his intelligence and craftiness, he was also the grandfather of Sima Yan, the founding king of the Jin Dynasty (265-420). Sima Yi also had a long-standing rivalry with Shu's Prime Minister, Zhuge Liang. After a series of failed invasions against Wei, Zhuge Liang mustered enough supplies and manpower to engage in a final effort which culminated at Wu Zhang Plains (234). The Battle of Wu Zhang Plains between Zhuge and Sima Yi would later become the source of many stories and legends that would go down in history.
Particularly of note was Sima Yi's apparent reluctance and fear of Zhuge Liang's prowess. Sima would refuse to engage in any upfront battle against Zhuge save for a few skirmishes and rallies. His generals became frustrated with the lack of action and the Wei camp was filled with much discontent. Shu proceeded with many taunts and insults towards Wei's main camp, calling Sima Yi a coward and tortoise who feared he did not possess the wit to match Zhuge Liang in battle. At one point, Zhuge Liang sent an envoy to Sima Yi presenting a gift of women's clothes and scathing insults. Sima Yi, at the horror of his generals, laughed off the messenger and wore the women's clothes as his response. The world was now in cohesion in their laughter and disdain for Sima Yi's cowardice.
However, this was revealed as a strategy by Sima: The Shu army, although 100,000 strong and led by a military genius in Zhuge Liang, had a serious supply and rationing problem. Given enough time, the Shu army would have no choice but to retreat, effectively ending the war. A simple yet marvellous strategy. Shu would later retreat when Zhuge Liang died from sickness amid the war and Sima Yi's genius was validated.
Sima Yi showed that armed with an effective strategy, one must have the courage and resolve to not waver. --------------------
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