Talons and Fangs of the Eastern Han Warlords

Talons and Fangs of the Eastern Han Warlords

By Yimin Lu

PhD Dissertation, University of Toronto, 2009

Abstract: Warriors are a less visible topic in the study of imperial China. They did not write history, but they made new history by destroying the old. The fall of the first enduring Chinese empire, the Han, collides with the rise of its last warriors known as the “talons and fangs.” Despite some classical or deceptive myths like the Chinese ideal of bloodless victories and a culture without soldiers, the talons and fangs of the Eastern Han warlords demonstrated the full potential of military prestige in a Confucian hierarchy, the bloodcurdling reality of dynastic rivalry, as well as a romantic tradition infatuated with individual heroism.

Table of Contents


Chapter One: The Age of Warlords
1. The Eastern Han – Three Kingdoms Transition
2. Han Military Institutions
3. Three Kingdoms Military Organizations: Adjustments and Developments
4. Han Military Aristocracy


Chapter Two: The Everyday Warriors
1. Social Standing
2. Occupational Backgrounds
3. Daily Necessities
4. Military Market
5. The Soldiers’ Women: Marriage and Prostitution
6. Military Pastimes

Chapter Three: Military Equipment: Physical and Mental
1. Arms and Armor
2. Military Theories, Codes of Warfare

Chapter Four: Noble Veterans of the North
1. The Tiger Guards: Dian Wei and Xu Chu
2. Zhang Liao
3. Zhang He
4. Xu Huang
5. Xiahou Dun
6. Cao Ren


Chapter Five: The Five Tigers
1. Guan Yu
2. Zhang Fei
3. Ma Chao
4. Huang Zhong
5. Zhao Yun

Chapter Six: The Southerners: Last But Not the Least
1. Taishi Ci
2. Dong Xi
3. Chen Wu
4. Gan Ning
5. Ling Tong
6. Pan Zhang

Chapter Seven: History and Romance




Click here to read/download this thesis (PDF file)


Sign up for our weekly email newsletter!