Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

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Unread postby Exar Kun » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:00 pm

That is positively eerie.
I mention missing Bofu and bam! Bofu posts.
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Unread postby Xiahou Mao » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:56 pm

I was going to go dig up the quotes from Jiang Wei's SGZ and the footnotes to it, and Lu Kang (Bofu?) already beat me to it. But on beyond that, there's the following..

Xi Zheng Zhu Lun commenting on Jiang Wei: Jiang Boyue had the burden of both a grand commander and as well as a minister. The house he lived in was very simple. He did not have much money. Though he had many concubines, they were all frugal. He did not arrange any music or entertainment. He was also frugal with the food he ate, the clothes he wore, the transportation he took, etc. After being paid his salary, he would have nothing left afterwards. But he was not corrupt, greedy, or lavish and did not restrain himself in order to give himself a good name. Thus he led a very simple and meagre life. The common people commented that he only looked up to those above while stepping on those below him. However, he may not have been as the people described and their views are inaccurate. For someone like Jiang Wei who dedicated himself to study and who led a very frugal and simple life, he should be set as an example for others to follow. Sun Sheng says: I do not agree with this commentary of Xi Shi! A gentleman should be conscious and careful when he is above others. There is nothing exceptional about him being filial and loyal since any person in that position should be. He was originally a servant of Wei but later went to Shu. Such a thing shows that he did it to gain benefits and hence cannot be considered by loyal. Since he was very frugal to others like his relatives, etc. this cannot be considered filial. To fight his original kingdom, this cannot be considered to be righteous. After he was defeated and surrounded [by the Shu troops], he did not commit suicide, thus he cannot be considered honourable. Achieving no merits, the people were put through a tough time by him. Raised to such a high position of authority, his enemies were still out about, thus this cannot be considered bravery. Of the five attributes of loyalty, filial piety, honour, righteousness, and bravery, Jiang Wei possesses none of them. He is a traitor of Wei and the shameless face of a dying State. His external disposition of being a great general, I have grave doubts about. While he likes to study, he is prone to being arrogant while not have any real knowledge. Your servant Pei Songzhi believes Xi Zheng's commentary on Jiang Wei can only be taken at face value but in reality, it is not an accurate reflection. His good attributes were that he loved to study and was very frugal in life. The books Ben Zhuan and Wei Lue both say that Jiang Wei had no rebellious thoughts when he surrendered to Shu. Sun Sheng's harsh commentary was only valid on the point of filial piety when Jiang Wei left his mother. But his other criticisms are considered excessive and inaccurate. Thus both commentaries tend to deviate from the truth.

I quoted the whole paragraph for completion's sake, but the part I refer to is the commentary by Sun Sheng. No, I can't say I read his mind and know what he's thinking. But yes, I can draw conclusions based off his actions. Sun Sheng came up with the same ones, however many years ago when he wrote that footnote to the SGZ, so I'm not the only one who sees it. ;)

Other notes..

Fu Zi says: As a man, Jiang Wei was eager to win name and fame. Secretly he supported men who would lay down their life for him.

That's from the start of his bio, as part of his introduction.

Sun Sheng's Za Ji: Earlier, when Jiang Wei came to Zhuge Liang, he lost his mother. Later he received a letter from her, ordering him to search for the Dang Gui (medicinal plant but also means "ought to return"). Jiang Wei said, "When there is a good land of a hundred jing, one should not stick to single mou. If one has a Yuan Zhi (also a medicinal plant but also means "great ambition"), one needs no Tang Gui."

That's possibly the most damning criticism of Jiang Wei there. He does the opposite of what Xu Shu did in the same circumstance, refusing to return to his mother. And why does he not return? Out of 'great ambition'.

Yes, they're from the footnotes collected by Pei Songzhi, and sometimes a lot of weird things get thrown in there, but these aren't mystical occurances or tall tales that are obviously false. It's a case of, where there's smoke, there's probably fire.
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Unread postby Lexus Fiend » Sun Dec 31, 2006 1:57 am

This thread really is an excellent read. Personally, I never thought much of Jiang Wei in particular being out for personal glory only. However, there is certainally a credible argument behind it which I didn't know much about previously, and although I'm not sure I buy all of it, it certainally is an interesting possibility.
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Unread postby Jordan » Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:03 am

The quote you posted, if I am reading it correctly, also says that Jiang Wei lived simply and not too greedy. That is the mark of someone who is less than absolutely selfish. Just because he left his mother behind in Wei doesn't mean that he was a selfish man either. It makes sense that Chinese historians would damn him for doing such a thing because being filially pious was a virtue in Ancient China. But maybe Jiang Wei just had different values than most of his contemporaries and thought that leaving his mother behind in Wei was a necessary evil for him to do if he wanted to help Shu. We don't know.

I personally think that what you guys are saying makes sense, but I don't think it's possible to brand Jiang Wei's motives as necessarily and definitely selfish straight off the bat. Just because certain historians may have damned him in their writings does not mean that he was a selfish man. Those people didn't have access to Jiang Wei's thoughts and convictions either. Likewise, we cannot know if Jiang Wei was fighting out of chivalry and valiance either. :/
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Unread postby Mistelten » Fri Jan 05, 2007 3:26 am

In order to make a conclusion about him, I need the basic, vital info. To me, it's not as important whether his countries could afford the wars but how they were carried out. What were Jiang's notable victories (if any). How did he exploit these victories (or did he).
His character alone doesn't explain it.

This force is far too small to do any actual damage to Wei or even conquer anything. The only purpose of such force would be to skirmish with the enemy and hopefully win a few small engagements. Such actions would not actually help the greater effort and in other examples through the period were conducted by men trying to win some glory.

I've forgotten most of it, but didn't Jiang Wei enlist the help of some of the tribes to help him take Wei's western posessions? If he had these, why not at least try to take Wei's outlying territories before settling on Chang An?

I think the main problem is how unflexible Zhuge Liang was. He may have been a great defensive planner and an even better student of the Sun Tzu ideals, the proxy war and subterfuge. This prolongued strategy was not good enough for defeating a mercurial nation like Wei, while Shu had no advantage in waiting. I don't accept SGYY's explanation for Zhuge Liang's failure to capture Chang An (excuses). He simply wasn't aggressive enough, and it's probably likely Jiang was too close a student of his to change that.
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Unread postby Shadowlink » Mon Jan 08, 2007 5:05 pm

"Also in 263, Shu Han was targeted by a major Cao Wei attack and sought assistance from Eastern Wu. Sun Xiu sent two separate forces, one attacking Shouchun (壽春, in modern Lu'an, Anhui) and one heading toward Hanzhong (漢中, in modern Hanzhong, Shaanxi) to try to alleviate pressures on Shu Han, but neither was at all successful"and Shu Han's capital Chengdu and its emperor Liu Shan surrendered later that year without having received major help from Eastern Wu."
Sun Xiu bio
It was Wu fault that Shu fell :cry:
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:22 pm

Wu did send help but by the time it arrived, Shu had surrendered. Luo Xian's bio and how is it Wu's fualt that Shu mucked up?
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Unread postby Shadowlink » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:28 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Wu did send help but by the time it arrived, Shu had surrendered. Luo Xian's bio and how is it Wu's fualt that Shu mucked up?
they werent good allies. Shu got mucked up because Sun Xiu didnt feel their were important. and Send help at the least minutue, Wu has some blame behind liu shan. huang hao, and jiang wei.
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Unread postby Dong Zhou » Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:54 pm

It was the Wu system more then any lack of important, the orders had to come from the capital itself which greatly delayed the Wu march

Shu wasn't a good ally to Wu either, you can't say Wu was a major part in Shu's loss
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Unread postby Zhilong » Wed Jan 10, 2007 6:25 am

Fei Yi entrusted him with a couple but limited his soldiers. Oddly, these invasions with limited resources were among Jiang Wei's most successful.

Small quibble. Actually at least one of them he lost 2 forts of men that he abandoned because he got outmanouvred by Wei.


I'm also of the opinion that he was in it for personal fame and glory. Otherwise who would ignore the internal decay of his kingdom and accelerate it with his own exhausting campaigns? If he finds he cannot remove Huang Hao he should at least stay in the capital to counter him. Poor Dong Yun managed to do the thankless task without a single soldier in his command.

It was Wu fault that Shu fell

There is no point blaming others. It was Shu's own fault. Did Shu or Wu previously only manage to repel invasions by Wei because the other kingdom came to their aid?
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