Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

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Re: Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sat Jun 16, 2012 3:58 pm

Aygor wrote:I still hold on to my opinion, as Shu wasn't going to last, waging war was if not the rightful choice, at least a very reasonable one and as once this course of action is choosen it becomes a priority i do think that giving up governament issues to other officers was fine.


I agree but as ever up to a point. It was one of those polices that works well as long as you don't take it too far. I do feel Jiang Wan and Fei Yi were overly cautoius

Yet as he himself picked corrupted officials, he had the responsibility to remove them and save the country before waging war.
I thought that corrupted officials rose in rank exploiting his absence, and that therefore blame was on ministers and such who let it happen, not on Boyue himself, but of course no officer in ChengDu could efficiently fight officials appointed from the prime minister.


Indeed and fair enough.

I think Shu's situation was a bit strange in one way. They usually combined civil and military into one man (Liang, Jiang Wan) then sort of split it off with Jiang Wei as the military army of Fei Yi and Dong Yun, who was the last PM. When Dong Yun died, Jiang Wei becomes head as the CIC (since Liu Shan's ruling was... lax) with Chen Zhi as his civil arm. I find the army guy being head and the civil guy the junior to be strange, maybe just me though.

Now, i don't think his choices were wrong per se, but he damn lacked the judgement of character which is the gap between good leaders and good vassals, he wasn't cut for his position.


Chen Zhi as the civil arm seems to be a good choice at the time. His talent was unquestioned, seemed to be the guy Dong Yun wanted as Jiang's civil man... it just that he turned corrupt. Likewise the deal in itself didn't have to be a bad: get around the table your emperor's closest friend, the best civil officer and yourself and agree some sort of delegated authority to allow you to do what you do best. It is just what it turned into

I agree Jiang Wei wasn't cut out for his position, had he remained a carefully controlled military arm for a power civil offical, he would probably be remembered very well due to his abilities in battle. What I dislike is the feeling he didn't try to fix things rather then he failed

Thank you for the enlightement, it was very appreciated


Sorry about the tone of my last post :oops:
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Re: Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

Unread postby Aygor » Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:36 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:
Thank you for the enlightement, it was very appreciated

Sorry about the tone of my last post :oops:

Nothing to be excused at all, i learned many interesting pieces of information.
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Re: Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

Unread postby Cao Chao » Mon Jun 18, 2012 2:57 pm

I think Shu's situation was a bit strange in one way. They usually combined civil and military into one man (Liang, Jiang Wan) then sort of split it off with Jiang Wei as the military army of Fei Yi and Dong Yun, who was the last PM. When Dong Yun died, Jiang Wei becomes head as the CIC (since Liu Shan's ruling was... lax) with Chen Zhi as his civil arm. I find the army guy being head and the civil guy the junior to be strange, maybe just me though.

The issue here is that Jiang Wei was largely wholly disinterested in civil matters. And by the time that Dong Yun died, he was the highest ranking official in the Kingdom and as a result took control with Chen Zhi as his junior in charge of civil affairs.

It's partly a result of modern political structure where the norm is having the military as under the civil apparatus.
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Re: Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

Unread postby Iain » Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:16 am

I enjoyed reading this timeless topic and many good explanations where brought up here, all I cant really wonder is how Jiang Wei felt stepping into the position Zhuge once was in, and realizing he had less to count on than his predecessor and Wei was still that huge force to get by.

It must have seemed very daunting to the man and if nothing else I admire his determination to try and succeed, he was definately loyal to his kingdom and wanted the best for them.
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Re: Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:59 pm

Something I have been noticing/wondering: Is Jiang Wei one of the more disliked figures of the three kingdoms era among the history community?

Not arguing he was one of the most evil or that people view it as such but some evil figures there is "yep, evil" dispassionate view and those who, though not evil, are disliked. Jiang Wei for a variety of reasons (novel vs history, the fame glory hog, the sheer scale of the damage he did, the lack of warming stories) just seems really disliked as person. Perhaps due to him being one of those figures where discussion keeps coming around and that each new information seems to just add a bit more damage to him.
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Re: Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Mon Jul 15, 2019 10:40 pm

I'd agree with your assessment. No one seems to like the man, and as of late I am beginning to feel for him. I absolutely agree that he was a glory hog, illfit for his role and did not use the talent around him, I feel he receives far more hatred than someone like Gan Ning or Sima Lun which has been driving me a bit nuts as of late.
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Re: Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

Unread postby LiuBeiwasGreat » Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:21 am

I have always had a soft spot for Jiang Wei, yeah he was a terrible CIC, arrogant, self centered, refused to take advice from his officers who despite knowing his flaws still followed him, yeah not sure why I still feel for him :lol:

The man never gave up, no matter what, even if his bull headedness helped destroy his kingdom, I still respect his bravery in charging forward even when there was no hope of victory.

I think he gets more hate due to his rank, people like Gan Ning were reprehensible, but they weren't leading the armies of the nation, so they don't get as much flack.
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Re: Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:10 am

I agree with the general sentiment here. He seems hated by much of the community, but his evils aren't comparable to the likes of Gan Ning. He was just promoted too far and wasn't fit to do the role that he was given and struggled but was far too proud to admit it. I frankly feel that he is a very relatable figure, I could imagine identifying with many of those weaknesses...
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Re: Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Jul 17, 2019 10:45 am

I think I'll always dislike him. In some ways if Jiang Wei was "just" corrupt, it would perhaps be easier. Or if there were good stories around Jiang Wei (which, in fairness, is not on him) that balanced it out, moments of kindness, warmth or something. That desire for glory niggles at me for some reason and his trying is... the wrong kind of trying, is is working really really hard on the bits he likes but not putting in the effort of the daily grind.

Which in fairnesss, I may not be innocent of myself either
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Re: Jiang Wei, the killer of a kingdom?

Unread postby Kongde » Tue Sep 17, 2019 10:59 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:I think I'll always dislike him. In some ways if Jiang Wei was "just" corrupt, it would perhaps be easier. Or if there were good stories around Jiang Wei (which, in fairness, is not on him) that balanced it out, moments of kindness, warmth or something. That desire for glory niggles at me for some reason and his trying is... the wrong kind of trying, is is working really really hard on the bits he likes but not putting in the effort of the daily grind.

Which in fairnesss, I may not be innocent of myself either

I agree with your assessment that Jiang Wei tends to be one of the lesser liked figures of the TK era. And keep in mind, I rank Shu on the bottom of the three kingdoms in terms of qualifications, likeability, and everything else. It's a toss up between Wei and Wu as both are equally qualified and likeable, they just have less military might than Wei. I find that Sun Quan was a reasonable man, level-headed, and able to take criticism better than many rulers. He employed those of talent and had a discerning eye for it, too. But that's a bit off topic, I just wanted to make my bias obvious here to give what I'm about to say a little bit more weight to it.

All that being said, I think Jiang Wei wasn't that bad of a commander. He had his moments I heavily disagreed with him on, but overall, he was intelligent and well thought out. However, he constantly got the short of the end stick. Similarly to how Zhuge Liang was able to rout Sima Yi and his sons in a fire ambush, but rain alone saved them (pure bad luck), Jiang Wei consistently was on verge of victories, but had it snatched away by various unlucky means out of his control. Twice he was recalled back to the kingdom whilst winning (if you're going off SGYY), and the same had happened to Kongming previously. You'd think the Second Emperor would have learned! But he fell for it every time. Alas, I don't blame Jiang Wei for the fall of Shu, but I blame Liu Shan and his total incompetency.

I know some people like to defend Liu Shan and say he wasn't that incompetent, but I would like to beg to differ. The reason being that SGYY is a book literally designed for propaganda for Shu. There are many falsehoods about what happened especially with Shu, many of which tend to make Shu look better than it really was. At every chance it got, it attempted to make even not so glamorous people way more amazing in ability and commanding. That all being said, it feared not to constantly hint at how bad Liu Shan was. If even the propaganda for Shu thinks Liu Shan wasn't all that good, he probably wasn't.

But I'll give my own reasons. Again, I am going off the SGYY, so this may not be fully historically accurate. Liu Shan indulged far too much in pleasure rather than any kind of administration or proper ruling. He was selfish and also mentally incapable of holding such a position, for Liu Shan was not a thinker. This is shown by the fact he recalled Zhuge Liang once, and Jiang Wei twice, harboring suspicion of treason due to a eunuch. And then when they did come, Liu Shan didn't even have the balls to tell them why, he lied and just said he wanted to see them or missed them. He listened to incompetent people like sorceresses and the eunuch, rather than able informed civil officials. Liu Shan was one of the only emperors to be content with not being an emperor anymore either, that's not to say he's one of the only ones that went peacefully, just that he was actually okay with it.

So that brings me back. Jiang Wei was a talented and able commander indeed. But he was stuck in an unfortunate situation which was a lose-lose, even if the great Kongming had been still alive in this version of events (I realize the historical figure is much different), there would be nothing he could do to put a dent in Wei with the incompetency Liu Shan showed. But there is one feature I didn't like about him. That was that Jiang Wei constantly wanted war. Though, I see where he was coming from with it as well. The difference between Shu and the other two are that their soldiers were all battle veterans. One thing Kongming passed down to Jiang Wei was that he needed to constantly keep his troops trained and battle hardened, and not to let them go soft or ease up even in times of peace so long as three kingdoms existed. His logic by constantly invading even knowing he wouldn't win in some situations was to toughen his soldiers up and keep the experience up. The reason Shu was more of a threat to Wei than Wu was exactly for that reason. And, as well all know, Wu didn't seem to do so well on the offensive side on land, but played defense very well. But Shu was a kingdom full of battle-hardened war veterans, all experienced in war.

Finally, one last reasoning in defense of his failures was who he was up against specifically. Between Zhong Hui and Deng Ai, this would be a most formidable team to go up against. Deng Ai was an extremely intelligent general who was on par with Sima Yi, in my opinion, of analyzing strategies and reading the opponent. Imagine having 2 Sima Yi's in 2 different places vs. 1 Jiang Wei. This is simply a stacked fight that Jiang Wei is destined to lose, no matter how intelligent or resourceful he is. One can see why Jiang Wei failed so much. But was that the result of Jiang Wei's shortcomings as a commander, or were they the result of simply bad luck, bad administration handling internally with a ruler of poor judgment, and other factors completely out of his control? I would beg to say it is the latter.

All this being said, I still don't find Jiang Wei to be really likable as a character in the novel. Perhaps because Wei is minding their business, and Jiang Wei alone insists on attacking. Even Wei at some point was like, "Look, can't we all three just live in peace?" And Jiang Wei essentially was like "No!!! We must go to war. There can only be one!!!" Whether that was the right call or not, I think that's what gives him a bad rep, at least in my eyes.
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