For over a millennium, the issue of the Shu-Han succession during the Three Kingdoms era (220–265 CE) has served as a proxy for debates about the relative merits of territorial control, blood relationship, and moral qualifications as grounds for imperial legitimacy in China. Debate reached a new height after the fall of north China during the twelfth century, a period when a revitalization of Confucian studies led to a greater interest in the publishing of private histories. This article deals with two little-known revisions of the official history of the Three Kingdoms period, the Sanguozhi, that sought to reflect the legitimacy debate at a time of alien conquest. It is argued that revisionist historians deviated from the norms of traditional historiography by devising new narrative strategies to further their political agenda. These innovations in turn influenced the formation of a new genre of historical fiction.