成語故事

To Break The Cauldrons And Sink The Boats

The most powerful kingdom in China during the Warring States Period was the kingdom of Ch'in. Ch'in was in very favorable geographic position, and had many intelligent and skilled citizens, one of the greatest of whom was a general named Jang Han.

During one battle against the kingdom of Ch'u, Jang Han not only defeated the Ch'u army but also killed their general, Shiang Liang. He then took advantage of his victory to attack the kingdom of Chao, surrounding the Chao city of Jiu-lu. When Shiang Liang's nephew, Shiang Yu, heard about this, he immediately to fight to the end, and so as soon as his troops had crossed the Jang River, he ordered them to sink all the boats and smash all the cauldrons, so that they could neither re-cross the river nor cook any more food. This showed that he would rather die than retreat. And powered by this determination, Shiang Yu won that battle, and became known throughout China.

Today, this idiom can be used to describe a person who, like Shiang Yu, risks everything in order to achieve his goal.

破釜沈舟

戰國時代,秦國得到了地利,邊境的天然要塞很多。又得到人力,文的有智囊團,武的有猛將,因此國勢一天比一天強大。秦國有一個勇武善戰的大將章邯,有一次在定陶把楚國項梁將軍的軍隊打得七零八落,潰不成軍。項梁也戰死了。

章邯又乘勝派兵去攻打趙國,一下子就把趙國的鉅鹿城團團圍住,萬分危急。項梁的侄子項羽知道了,立刻派兵去支援,可是仍然不能解圍。項羽的脾氣很急躁,馬上親自率兵要跟秦國決一死戰。當軍隊過了漳河以後,他命令部下把所有的船都鑿破,讓船沈到河底。又把所有的飯鍋都打碎,不能再煮飯,然後趕往鉅鹿和秦兵交戰。他這樣做,是表示了寧願戰死也不肯敗退回來的決心。那次戰爭,項羽果然勝利,從此威名滿天下。


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