Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
Shu Han kingdom. Kingdom in which Liu Pei eventually succeeds in ruling from his throne in Szechwan and in which a second thread of narratives interwoven in the novel is set.
*Wu kingdom. Third and most wealthy kingdom, located south of the other two kingdoms, along the banks of the Yangtze River. This kingdom is controlled by Sun Ch’uan, who joins forces with Liu Pei to defeat Ts’ao Ts’ao. Thus the three kingdoms are for a while at peace. Later chapters in the work tell of military imbroglios between Kuan Yu, governor of a territory known as Hupeh, and Sun Ch’uan. Ultimately, Liu Pei conquers both Kuan Yu and Sun Ch’uan. However, the peace is unstable and various power struggles continue for another two generations until Ssu-ma Yen establishes control over the various kingdoms to make them into one nation.
As a novel that is both “historic” and “romantic,” Romance of the Three Kingdoms is not always necessarily given to geographic accuracy; moreover, the novel was written more than one thousand years after the events it purports to record. Therefore, while most of the main characters are historical figures whose lives can otherwise be validated, many of the geographical settings cannot. Dozens of villages and cities, several rivers, numerous mountain ranges and lakes provide the backdrop for battles or other activities of the plot. In writing the story, Lo Kuan-chung generally sets these events in cities of his own time. Generally, these correspond to names of places that were in use a millennium earlier.
Wen-te Hall. Residence of Emperor Ling, in the period immediately preceding the beginning of the narrative. This residence is the scene of supernatural occurrences, such as monstrous black snakes floating down from the heavens as a warning that the divine powers are displeased and that changes will occur in the royal family, and provides the setting for the opening chapter of the novel.
Wuch’ang palace. Residence of the evil emperor Sun Hao and the location of his wicked life and corrupt management of government affairs. Given to every kind of debauchery, it is Sun Hao who is finally overthrown. Ssu-ma Yen then takes over the throne at Wu to complete unification of the Chins into one country; that is, it becomes the country of China as it has continued to be known since that time.