Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

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Re: Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Wed Nov 28, 2018 5:19 pm

Welcome Li_Shengsun, glad you decided to take the plunge. Feel free to join in debates or start your wn)

more overly, Luo Xian was sent to guard Yong An as soon as Huang Hao controlled the court. Theres nothing he can do to prevent it. Huang Hao even placed a 'watch dog' to keep an eye on Luo Xian. (for more info, read Huang Hao's wiki, the guy's slippery as eel really as he even escaped from Deng Ai plan in executing him)


Be a tad careful with three kingdoms wiki, though it is a lot better now (and Huang Hao's is pretty good). Yan Yu wasn't sent south to oversee Luo Xian, Yan Yu was an experienced and well regarded member of the court, he would have been sent south becuase Shu needed a senior figure to guard the border. There is no hint in the records that Yan Yu was sent to watch over Luo Xian.

Zhang Yi is ok, he has experience in civil office on his early career. He also has experience in real battle against Wei.
as for Liao Hua, there's a quote saying: "If there are no great generals left in Shu, Liao Hua will be the vanguard." it's just simply stated that he is not fit to command an army. He has experience in combat yes, but as CiC or civil officer, i doubt he could do better than Zhang Yi.


I'm not comparing Liao Hua to Zhang Yi as a general but saying Shu had options for figures who would at least do the hard work required.

according history, Dong Jue wasn't corrupt at all. However, despite him and Fan Jian's effort, they're unable to control Huang Hao.
As for Zhuge Zhan, idk i dont seems to favor him that much. He didnt objected in Jiang Wei's plan to change Wei Yan's defense nor he do anything to keep Huang Hao in check. So i doubt he's a good civil officer either. Yes, he did died in an attempt to defend Shu against Deng Ai. I simply cant picture him more than a reckless warrior.


There was an SGZ translation that gave the impression he was, I have been told it was an issue of phrasing since 2007.

In fairness Zhuge Zhan was not a miliatry figure till that last ditch defence so I get why he didn't object to Jiang Wei's plans and if my memory of the correction is right, Zhuge Zhan did refuse dealings with Huang Hao. There are also issues with Shu's record keeping and rare accusations of bias involving Chen Shou who was supposedly not a fan of Zhuge Zhan

Furthermore according to history, Huang Hao entered the court from 220. thats even when ZGL still alive, im not going to badmouthing ZGL about his shortcoming in seeing Huang Hao as threat, he is simply bad at reading people even Huang Hao. But, im going to say, Huang Hao already slowly 'poisoned' Liu Shan with his honeyed words for 40 years. It's hard to change one's mind who already corrupted for that long. I would simply described Huang Hao as Puppeteer, Liu Shan is his Puppet. Yan Yu is his watch dog.


I'm not sure when Huang Hao entered harem but he only really became an active political figure in Dong Yun's time. It takes time for a eunuch to work their way up the ranks and to build influence. I think Zhuge Liang's bad reputation for reading people (Ma Su was a big mistake but an early one) is overdone as he did bring through many skilled people including his three excellent successors.

In terms of the three descriptions: 1) Huang Hao was influential but he lost a few political battles, 2) nobody in Liu Shan's time considered him a puppet. Liu Shan, when he wanted, did assert himself but he had a hands off style of rule and tended to trust his chief advisers. 3) Yan Yu was a respected figure in his own time. He was an ally of Huang Hao but not to that extent and certainly not in any watchdog capacity

Had Jiang Wei battled Huang Hao and lost, fair enough but he didn't. Even worse is Huang Hao and Jiang Wei had a... informal agreement might be best way to put it from Chen Zhi's time. Jiang Wei got to launch camapigns and Huang Hao got to do what he wanted at home, neither interfered with the other. Which was fair enough in the early years but not when the corruption was taking hold. That agreement only broke down when Jiang Wei had utterly lost support at court so Huang Hao, seeing the way things had turned, tried to swap Jiang Wei for Yan Yu

the court simply has no good civil officer with the same caliber as Jiang Wan, Fei Yi, Dong Yun and to least extend Lu Yi. as for Jiang Wei, well i would agree that he is a good front line general, politics was never his forte and his negligence in that matter proven it. I would agree as well for him to return to capital to handle civil matter or try to find a capable talent to handle it. Perhaps sending a memorial to Liu Shan to execute Huang Hao was his attempt to do that, in order to find out whether its safe for him to return to capital. As it is proven Liu Shan far more trusted Huang Hao, so he botched the idea on returning. (idk, Jiang Wei's behavior is rather complex than just a glory seeker, the man's probably was just too serious and too focused. you know, serious and focused people tend to lost their way)


Chen Zhi was very talented, just corrupt. Shu did have talented officers and Qiao Zhou led resistance against Huang Hao but they weren't developed in either the army or the civil service once Chen Zhi died.

Jiang Wei was trained for politics and he engaged in it for Huang Hao agreement then to protect himself when he lost support. I would be sympathetic if he engaged in it when things were clearly going wrong and lost. Liu Shan also trusted Jiang Wei when others called for Jiang Wei's sacking. Liu Shan as a rule did not sack or dismiss his chief ministers, if you were a main adviser he would trust you to the end.

On the fame hungry thing, that comes from Chen Shou's commentary and if I recall rightly, annotations in his sgz also go along that line. The kindest I have seen among historians for his actions is Michael Farmer (in his work on Qiao Zhou) as Jiang Wei haunted by Zhuge Liang's popularity and reputation so trying to better it. It fits into his record in terms of advice rejected, his miliatry actions and his alliances as far as I can see.
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Re: Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:07 pm

Varying appraisals of and quotes about Jiang Wei

Xi Zheng
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
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 honorable. 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, honor, 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.


Pei Songzhi, rather annoyed, rebutts Sun Sheng and Xi Zheng
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.


Gan Bao
Jiang Wei was the Chancellor of Shu. His State was destroyed, his Sovereign surrendered, and he subsequently died. Alas, it is a pity! Unfortunately, it is not hard to die but hard to choose how to die. All martyrs in the past died in the end, not because they wanted to die, but because knowing that since life was short, it was better to die in an honourable way.


Chen Shou's appraisal
Jiang Wei was able as both a scholar and commander and desired a lot of fame. However he was mostly unsuccessful till his death. Lao Zi said: “To rule a large State is like cooking a small dish.” You have to be patient and from the bottom, work your way up to the top before you can be successful.


Qiao Zhou himself had even famously mocked Jiang Wei in his essay
At this time, Jiang Wei had been making repeated campaigns; the people of Shu were embittered at this. The zhongsan dafu Qiao Zhou wrote an “Essay on Hostile Nations” (Zhou Guo Lun) to express his view on the matter: {The essay is as follows}–

Someone asked, “What was the art that the ancients used and with which they were enabled to defeat the powerful although they themselves were weak?” [3]

The answer was, “I have heard that one who, occupying an important position without any worry to harass him, is in general prone to be insolent, while one who, occupying a minor position and beset with worries, is in general prone to remind himself of good conduct. If one is prone to be insolent, mischief will arise. If one is prone to remind oneself of good conduct, good rule will be engendered. This is only natural and reasonable. For instance, King Wen of Zhou nourished his people, and so he, destitute as he was, overthrew the rich Goujian, soothed his multitude, and so he, weak as he was, destroyed the strong. That was the art.”

The same person said, “In their days Xiang Yu was strong and Han weak; they fought with one another, without there being a single day of rest. Xiang Yu and Han made an agreement to demarcate their boundary at Hongkou, each returning to their respective domain and giving rest to their people. Zhang Liang thought that once the people became static in their minds, it would hardly be easy to move them. Gaozu of the Han, therefore, led forth his troops and pursued Xiang Yu, eventually destroying the Xiang. This being so, one must always follow the sole model of King Wen? The newly founded state is for the moment suffering from its internal ailments. We may utilize this opportunity to conquer their borders and overthrew them while their ailments grow worse.” [11]

The answer was, “During the times of Shang and Zhou, feudal princes were held in reverence generation after generation, and the relationship between sovereign and subject had been stabilized for a long time. To these the people had been accustomed. What is deeply rooted is difficult to pull out; what is firmly fixed is difficult to move. At that time, how could a Gaozu of Han wield his sword and whip his steed to conquer the empire? After the Qin had dismissed feudal lords and appointed governors in their stead, the people were all exhausted with the Qin corvee and the Empire crumbled like a mud wall. Every year saw a new sovereign and every month witnessed a new duke. Birds were astonished and quadrupeds were frightened, not knowing which way to turn. Thereupon, men of courage and strength contended with each other simultaneously, tearing like tigers and rending like wolves. Those who were fleet of foot captured much and those who were tardy were swallowed.

At present, we and they have a new generation of sovereigns. It certainly does not look like the end of the Qin dynasty when times were turbulent; rather it is more like the age of the Six States when they ruled in their own separate domains. One may become another King Wen; it is difficult to act the part of Gaozu of Han. When the people are exhausted with toil, disturbance will arise; when those on high are insolent and those below are lawless, the collapse of the State will be inevitable. The proverb states, ‘It is better to aim accurately than to shoot at random and miss time and again.’ Therefore, a man of wisdom does not alter his glance for petty profit nor does he change his steps because of a whim; he moves at proper times and acts on fitting occasions.

It was thus that the armies of Cheng Tang and King Wu won victory in a single battle,w ithout being compelled to fight one another. They indeed prized the people’s toil and were accurate in measuring themselves with the time. Should we abuse our arms and indulge in waging campaigns, the Empire will crumble like a mud wall. Should we unfortunately meet disaster, the wisest man in the world will not be able to give us any counsel. As for having recourse to extraordinary strategems in all directions and making ingress and egress in the spaceless, breaking the billows and intercepting axletrees, surmounting valleys and climbing mountains, crossing the ford Mengjin without using boats, I, being a stupid person, really find it beyond my ability to discourse on.”


However there are instances of people praising his ability, two of which involve Zhong Hui

Zhong Hui's letter to Jiang Wei at Jiange Pass in Zhong Hui's SGZ
“With your civil and military accomplishments, Your Lordship cherishes plans for rescuing the world; through your achievements you brought succor to Ba-Han and your fame permeates our China. Far and near, there is no one that does not honor your name. I always recall that we once shared the Great Rule. The relationship between Gongzi Cha of Wu and Gongsun Qiao of Zheng may describe our friendship.”


From Jiang Wei's SGZ
Zhong Hui said to Du Yu when asked who was superior, “If I shall compare Boyue (Jiang Wei’s style) to the scholars of the Middle Land, Gongxiu (Zhuge Dan), Gongxiu cannot win over him.”
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Re: Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

Unread postby Li_Shengsun » Thu Nov 29, 2018 4:37 am

Be a tad careful with three kingdoms wiki, though it is a lot better now (and Huang Hao's is pretty good). Yan Yu wasn't sent south to oversee Luo Xian.


Will do, I wasn't meant Yan Yu there to watch him that close. What i meant is one of the contributing factor. Luo Xian did outright refused to cooperate with Huang Hao after all, so he is seen as a threat by him. I mean, there are many senior figure on Shu during that time (ex. Huo Yi). I just think its a very coincide to sent Luo Xian as well as Yan Yu to guard the border, without other secret motives.

I'm not comparing Liao Hua to Zhang Yi as a general but saying Shu had options for figures who would at least do the hard work required.


Agree to that.

There was an SGZ translation that gave the impression he was, I have been told it was an issue of phrasing since 2007.


I see, perhaps the wiki is really not a best source to be read. Since most of the source implying him wasn't corrupt, perhaps these source were based on the Wiki as well.

I'm not sure when Huang Hao entered harem but he only really became an active political figure in Dong Yun's time. It takes time for a eunuch to work their way up the ranks and to build influence. I think Zhuge Liang's bad reputation for reading people (Ma Su was a big mistake but an early one) is overdone as he did bring through many skilled people including his three excellent successors.


You should know judging someone character are entirely differ than assessing someone's talent. ZGL do has an eye of talent, but bad on judging someone character, Liu Bei is far more excel than him in that area. Ma Su and Yang Yi do exhibit similar behavior, very calm and kind in front of ZGL. But when not around ZGL, they shed their mask and show their true face, Arrogance. (perfect example is Ma Su during Jie Ting)
Huang Hao is also perhaps exhibit same behavior as those two in front of ZGL, which caught him off guard (clearly, i start to feel hes a very creepy guy)

As for Huang Hao becomes more active during Dong Yun, is because Yun only limit his influence on the court, while Fei Wei and Jiang Wan restrict him entirely from meddling in political affairs. You should know, as good as Dong Yun is, he still fall victim to Huang Hao's slander. Resulting in Liu Shan hated Yun so much.

Chen Zhi was very talented, just corrupt. Shu did have talented officers and Qiao Zhou led resistance against Huang Hao but they weren't developed in either the army or the civil service once Chen Zhi died.

Jiang Wei was trained for politics and he engaged in it for Huang Hao agreement then to protect himself when he lost support. I would be sympathetic if he engaged in it when things were clearly going wrong and lost. Liu Shan also trusted Jiang Wei when others called for Jiang Wei's sacking. Liu Shan as a rule did not sack or dismiss his chief ministers, if you were a main adviser he would trust you to the end.

On the fame hungry thing, that comes from Chen Shou's commentary and if I recall rightly, annotations in his sgz also go along that line. The kindest I have seen among historians for his actions is Michael Farmer (in his work on Qiao Zhou) as Jiang Wei haunted by Zhuge Liang's popularity and reputation so trying to better it. It fits into his record in terms of advice rejected, his miliatry actions and his alliances as far as I can see.


well, it seems SGZ does has better source than wiki. I never even heard of Chen Zhi after reading Wiki and mentioned here. Maybe he trusted Jiang Wei, but not as deep as Huang Hao is.
I would agree with you there, he is haunted by ZGL's popularity. It does explain all of his actions.

Btw, where should i find SGZ source? could you provide me a link of it? Im pretty fascinated with RTK game, been played from 3rd edition. But im certain the game are mostly based on novel by far.
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Re: Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

Unread postby Sun Fin » Thu Nov 29, 2018 10:12 am

Welcome to the board Li_Shengsun! Thank you for discussing this with us - I also read a lot of wikipedia when it was a far worse source than it is now and had Dong Zhou patiently explain to me the reality of other sources.

In terms of the SGZ, there is no complete translated. However their are partial ones of particular biographies. Some are available on our site. Alternative a new group are working hard and are hoping to do a complete translation. Their work can be found here.
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Re: Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Thu Nov 29, 2018 1:16 pm

Daolun I think has a copy of Jiang Wei's SGZ with full annotations?

On the sources of the three kingdoms

SGZ: This was a work of the Shu-Jin officer Chen Shou as a private project, using the records of Wei, Wu and pretty much having to do Shu himself becuase Shu's record department was neglected. It is a collection of biographies so you have a bio for Cao Cao, Liu Bei, Guan Yu, Jiang Wei. Well regarded, considered pretty neutral and the primary source. Pei Songzhi would later add annotations and commentary to flesh out the SGZ which can sometimes contradict.

Alas some translated SGZ's have got lost down the years as sites shut down.

SGYY: The novel. Not a historical source (it is a good basis for who won what and I like it as a novel but not historical) but if you see SGYY, it is referring to said novel.

ZZTJ: A scholar Sima Guang wrote a history of China going year by year including the three kingdoms. If the SGZ is a collection of biographies, the ZZTJ is more like a history book that tells you "and these major events happened in year 190, in 191 this happened" so goes for an overview. Obviously it misses stuff out but some prefer this as their history intro so it is up to you.

Some also just prefer learning by discussion (it was a key part of my learning) or a mix of all.

=====

Will do, I wasn't meant Yan Yu there to watch him that close. What i meant is one of the contributing factor. Luo Xian did outright refused to cooperate with Huang Hao after all, so he is seen as a threat by him. I mean, there are many senior figure on Shu during that time (ex. Huo Yi). I just think its a very coincide to sent Luo Xian as well as Yan Yu to guard the border, without other secret motives.


Luo Xian's SGZ. Yan Yu was already in command of the south at the time, Luo Xian was sent away from capital true (not always Huang Hao's preferred method) but that seems more about getting him out of capital then about putting him under Yan Yu's watch.

You should know judging someone character are entirely differ than assessing someone's talent. ZGL do has an eye of talent, but bad on judging someone character, Liu Bei is far more excel than him in that area. Ma Su and Yang Yi do exhibit similar behavior, very calm and kind in front of ZGL. But when not around ZGL, they shed their mask and show their true face, Arrogance. (perfect example is Ma Su during Jie Ting)
Huang Hao is also perhaps exhibit same behavior as those two in front of ZGL, which caught him off guard (clearly, i start to feel hes a very creepy guy)

As for Huang Hao becomes more active during Dong Yun, is because Yun only limit his influence on the court, while Fei Wei and Jiang Wan restrict him entirely from meddling in political affairs. You should know, as good as Dong Yun is, he still fall victim to Huang Hao's slander. Resulting in Liu Shan hated Yun so much.


People tend to conflate the two but I see what you mean.

In terms of Huang Hao, he doesn't appear in the records until Dong Yun's time. This could simply be that Huang Hao was a minor figure till then (Huang Hao doesn't have a real biography so he is one of those really important but frustrating figures who simply pops up in other people's bio's), he was just one of many many eunuchs. Zhuge Liang, Jiang Wan and Fei Yi had no noted contact with him, it is more likely he simply wasn't an issue. Yes it is sad how the usually kind Liu Shan turned on the dead Dong Yun due to slander

Ma Su erred badly but I'm not sure it was a personality issue, Yang Yi's personality was hardly a secret from Zhuge Liang but Zhuge Liang kept him handled.

Btw, where should i find SGZ source? could you provide me a link of it? Im pretty fascinated with RTK game, been played from 3rd edition. But im certain the game are mostly based on novel by far.


As I understand it, for most part yes the RTK games are novel based with sometimes stat nods to history.
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Re: Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

Unread postby Li_Shengsun » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:33 pm

Sun Fin wrote:Welcome to the board Li_Shengsun! Thank you for discussing this with us - I also read a lot of wikipedia when it was a far worse source than it is now and had Dong Zhou patiently explain to me the reality of other sources.

In terms of the SGZ, there is no complete translated. However their are partial ones of particular biographies. Some are available on our site. Alternative a new group are working hard and are hoping to do a complete translation. Their work can be found here.


thx, will read it :D

Alas some translated SGZ's have got lost down the years as sites shut down.


That's too bad :cry:

Some also just prefer learning by discussion (it was a key part of my learning) or a mix of all.


Well, i for one liked reading Three Kingdom as well enjoy a discussion, since it does provided me a different view of the character, background etc.

Ma Su erred badly but I'm not sure it was a personality issue


Ma Su's SGZ somehow seems lack of info. But when i read Wang Ping's SGZ from link Sun Fin provided me. it does has something to do with his personality.
"Ma Su’s actions seemed to be disturbed as well as agitated. Wang Ping repeatedly advised Ma Su against such a move but his advice was not heeded. "
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Re: Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

Unread postby Dong Zhou » Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:27 am

Ma Su's SGZ somehow seems lack of info. But when i read Wang Ping's SGZ from link Sun Fin provided me. it does has something to do with his personality.
"Ma Su’s actions seemed to be disturbed as well as agitated. Wang Ping repeatedly advised Ma Su against such a move but his advice was not heeded. "


Shu SGZ are, general rule of thumb, awful and one can get some real gaps between "and so so had awesome reputation" combined with "that's all he did?". Chen Shou complained Shu's didn't have a history department (given he served in it at one point, that is hyperbole) but it was neglected by Shu due to focus on other things and that an early attempt went really really badly. So badly Liu Bei put on a play about it to mock those involved

On that one, I think that line is an error but for years I thought Ma Su mentally collapsed due to that. A more recent translation here has
Jiànxīng sixth year [228] he was part of Army Advisor Mǎ Sù’s vanguard. [Mǎ] Sù left water to go up a mountain, the action was disruptive, Píng repeatedly remonstrated [Mǎ] Sù, but [Mǎ] Sù would not agree, and was greatly defeated at Jiētíng.
and that more lines up with the ZZTJ's version
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Re: Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

Unread postby DaoLunOfShiji » Tue Dec 11, 2018 2:50 pm

Dong Zhou wrote:Daolun I think has a copy of Jiang Wei's SGZ with full annotations?


Sorry for the late response on this thread, but yes I do have one and I shall post it here for you lovely folks.

This translation was done by Empress Zhang and Shu-Han Zhao Lie Di on 3kfrontier, so all credit is theirs

Jiang Wei, stylename Boyue, was a native of Ji in Tian Shui. His father died while he was young and he lived with his mother. He was fond of the learning of Zheng Xuan. 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. He did not give his attention to the tasks appropriate to a commoner. He served in the Tian Shui prefecture as Shang Qi Yuan. The Imperial Protector of Liangzhou appointed him a Chong Shi. Because his father, Jiang Qiong, who had once been Gong Cao of the Tian Shui prefecture, with his own body protected the person of the prefect and commander of Tian Shui when the Qiang barbarians revolted, and thus died as a warrior, Jiang Wei was given the title of Zhonglang and appointed as Assistant in the Military Affairs of his own prefecture.

In the sixth year of Jian Xing [CE 228], the Prime Minister Zhuge Liang led his army to Qishan. At that time, the Governor of Tian Shui had gone on a tour of inspection; Jiang Wei as well as the Gong Cao, Liang Xu, the Zhu Pu, Yin Shang, and the Zhu Ji, Liang Qian etc. were in his suite. Hearing that the Shu army was about to arrive, and that the various counties of Tian Shui had revolted and joined the Shu, the Governor became suspicious that Jiang Wei and others would become disloyal. So that night he fled to Shang Bang. When they saw that the Governor had gone, Jiang Wei and his men went after him, but they came too late to the city gate of Shang Bang, which was already closed. Not being admitted, Jiang Wei and his men returned to Ji, which would not admit them either. In the end, Jiang Wei and his men all came to Zhuge Liang. At that time, Ma Su had been defeated at Jieting so Zhuge Liang returned, taking with him more than a thousand households of the Xi county as well as Jiang Wei and his men. It was thus that Jiang Wei lost his mother. [Yu Huan's] Wei Lue says: Ma Zun, the Governor of Tian Shui, leading Jiang Wei and various other subordinate officers, was in the company of Guo Huai, the Ci Shi (Governor) of Yongzhou on his way from the west to Lo Men on a tour of inspection. Hearing that Zhuge Liang had already reached Qishan, Guo Huai looked at Ma Zun and said, "This is not going to turn out well". He then led him to the east and returned to Shang Bang. Remembering that Ji county, the residence-city of his prefecture, was to the west, and fearing that the under-officials and people were inclined to be rebellious, Ma Zun followed Guo Huai and went. At that time, Jiang Wei said to Ma Zun, "Your Excellency ought to return to Ji county." Ma Zun said to Jiang Wei and the others, "You may all return. The rebels are indeed everywhere; let us scatter." Jiang Wei could do nothing with Ma Zun. But, his home being at Ji, he finally returned to Ji together with the under-officials of Tian Shui, such as Shangguan Zi Xiu and others. In Ji, the under-officials and the people were glad to see Jiang Wei and the others back. They then forced them to see Zhuge Liang. Being compelled, the two men came together to Zhuge Liang. Zhuge Liang was greatly pleased to see them and sent his subordinates to summon the people of Ji. At that time, the vanguard of Zhuge Liang was defeated by Zhang He and Fei Yu, etc., so that he retreated bringing with him Jiang Wei and others. Thus Jiang Wei could not return and finally entered Shu. The various Wei troops attacked Ji county and captured Jiang Wei's mother, wife, and children. But because Jiang Wei had not gone voluntarily, they did not kill the members of his family, but only imprisoned them to make him return. This account seems to be different to that given in SGZ.

Zhuge Liang appointed Jiang Wei his Cang Cao Yuan, gave him the added title of Feng Yi Jiang Jun, and had him enfeoffed as Lord (Ting Hou) of Tangyang. At that time, he was twenty-seven years old. Zhuge Liang wrote a letter to Zhang Yi, the Chang Shi of the Prime Minister's palace left behind, and Jiang Wan, the Can Jun saying, "Jiang Boyue is loyally assiduous towards the affairs of the day and his thoughts are fine and exact. As for his qualities, Yongnan (Li Shao) and Qichang (Ma Liang) are not his equals. He is a superior gentleman of Liangzhou". He again wrote to them, "Wait till I have him train the five or six thousand men of the Central Hu Bu detachment. Jiang Boyue is very competent in military affairs; not only is he courageous and proficient in warfare, but his heart is loyal to the House of Han and his talents combine those of other people. I shall instruct him thoroughly in warfare and shall also send him to the palace to be received in audience by the Sovereign." 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." Later on, he was promoted to be Zhong Jian Jun and General Who Conquers the West.

In the twelth year of Jian Xing [CE 234], Zhuge Liang died suddenly. Jiang Wei returned to Chengdu and was appointed Instructor General of the Left in command of the army, General Who Assists the Han, and enfeoffed as Lord (Hou) of Ping Xiang. In the first year of Yan Xi [CE 238], he convinced the Grand Commander, Jiang Wan to station in Hanzhong. Jiang Wan had already appointed someone as Da Sima and thus appointed Jiang Wei as Sima. Numerous times, Jiang Wei led his auxiliary troops to enter the West. In the sixth year of Yan Xi [CE 243], he was appointed General Who Subdues the West and Inspector (Ci Shi) of Liangzhou. In the tenth year of Yan Xi [CE 247], he was appointed as General Who Protects and together with the Grand Commander, Fei Wei [Yi], they worked on matters of the Emperor's Secretariat (Shang Shu). In the same year, the Ping Kang barbarians of Wen Shan rebelled and Jiang Wei led a multitude of troops to subdue them. He again set forth to the Longxi, Nan An, and Jincheng boundary and battled with the Grand Commander of Wei, Guo Huai, Xiahou Ba, and others west of the Tao river. The King of the Hu barbarian, Zhi Wudai and his followers surrendered. Jiang Wei then returned with his troops. In the twelth year of Yan Xi [CE 249], he again advanced past Xiping but unable to conquer, he returned. Jiang Wei believed he was familiar the culture and military ways of the West, so that he could entice the Qiang and Hu tribes to act as his "wings" and thus capture the region west of Long (in Gansu province). Each time Jiang Wei wished to undertake a large military operation, Fei Wei always rejected it and fearing lest he did not follow, restricted Jiang Wei's troops to no more than ten thousand. [Xi Zuochi's] Han Jin Chun Qiu says: Fei Wei said to Jiang Wei, "We are far less comparable to the late Prime Minister. Even his schemes were not able to conquer the Zhong Xia (Middle Land), let alone us. Furthermore, we should protect the State, govern the people well, and guard the dynasty. Performing these duties we can wait till someone capable comes along. Do not have the thought that victory and defeat are determined by mere luck. If you are inferior, then it will be too late to regret."

In the spring of the sixteenth year [CE 253], Fei Wei died. In the summer, Jiang Wei led his troops, numbering to the tens of thousands, out of Shi Ying, passed Dong Ting, and surrounded Nan An. The Wei Governor (Ci Shi) of Yongzhou, Chen Tai, arrived at Luo Men to relieve the situation. Jiang Wei's supplies were exhausted and he returned. The next year [CE 254], all external and internal military affairs were added to his responsibilities. Again, he led his troops out of Longxi where Li Jian, who guarded Di Dao, surrendered the city. He advanced and surrounded Xiang Wu, confronting the Wei general, Xu Zhi. Beheading Xu Zhi, he defeated the Wei army who then retreated. After many victories, Jiang Wei accumulated a lot of surrendered people, so he selected the civilians of the three counties of He Jian, Di Dao and Lin Tao to return with him. After, in the eighteenth year [CE 255], together with the General of Chariots, Xiahou Ba and others, he again led his troops out to Di Dao and heavily defeated the Wei governor (Ci Shi) of Yongzhou, Wang Jing, at Tao Xi. Wang Jing's casualties amounted to tens of thousands. Wang Jing retreated and defended the city of Di Dao which was later surrounded by Jiang Wei. The Wei General Who Conquers the West, Chen Tai, advanced his troops to relieve the situation at Di Dao and Jiang Wei retreated to his station at Zhong Ti.

In the nineteenth year [CE 256], Spring, Jiang Wei was immediately appointed as the Grand Commander (Da Jiang Jun). Making preparations for another expedition, he arranged a date to meet with the General Who Subdues the West, Hu Ji at Shang Bang. But Hu Ji did not turn up hence Jiang Wei was heavily defeated by the Wei General, Deng Ai at Duan valley. Jiang Wei's troops were scattered and many had died. Many ordinary people complained and the region West of Long was constantly disturbed. Jiang Wei apologised and asked to be demoted. He was demoted to General of the Rear but assumed the responsibilities of the Grand Commander.

In the twentieth year [CE 257], the Wei General Who Conquers the East, Zhuge Dan, rebelled in Huainan, thus dividing up the troops of the Region within the Passes (Guanzhong). Jiang Wei wanted to take advantage of the vulnerable Qin Chuan (Region of Qin), and led tens of thousands of troops out through the Luo valley and arrived at Chen Ling. At the time, lots of grain was amassed at Chang Cheng (Great Wall?) while not a lot of soldiers guarded it. Hearing that Jiang Wei was about to arrive, lots of people became frightened. The Grand Commander of Wei, Sima Wang repelled him along with Deng Ai from Long You, all troops near the Chang Cheng. Jiang Wei stationed at Mang Shui (river), camping on the mountains. Sima Wang and Deng Ai were strongly stationed near the Wei river and were challenged repeatedly by Jiang Wei but were ignored. In the first year of Jing Yao [CE 258], Zhuge Dan was defeated, hence Jiang Wei returned to Chengdu. He was reinstated as Grand Commander.

(The next paragraph was adapted from the Zi Zhi Tong Jian, translated by Achilles Fang in "Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms)

Formerly, when the First Sovereign (Liu Bei) stationed Wei Yan in Hanzhong, he filled the various encampments with troops and thus warded the enemy off; when the enemy came to attack, they were prevented from entering the territory. At the battle of Xingshi, when Wang Ping offered resistance to Cao Shuang, this strategem was again adopted. When Jiang Wei came to direct affairs he proposed: "These various encampments indeed conform to the Zhou Yi principle of defence of the double gates, but are only sufficient to ward off the enemy; they do not bring us any extraordinary victory. A better is this: hearing of the approach of the enemy, we should withdraw our troops from these various encampmentsand assemble our grain in the two cities of Hancheng and Lecheng, to which the troops should also retreat, and allow the enemy to enter the plain; we should strengthen our garrison in the passes and thus ward the enemy off. On the day we are invaded, we should order the mobile detachments to make a simultaneous sally and look for the weak positions in the enemy's line. The enemy may attack but will not capture our passes; finding no stray grain in the field and having to transport their provisions from a distance of a thousand li (miles), they will naturally be reduced to extremity and fatigue. On the day they retreat, we should let our troops from these two cities make a simultaneous sally and uniting their strength with the mobile detachment strike at the enemy. This is the art of exterminating the enemy." Thereupon the Latter Sovereign ordered the commander of Hanzhong, Wu Qi, to withdraw to Hanshou, the Military Supervisor, Wang Han to Lecheng, and Jiang Bin to Hancheng while Xi'an, Jian Wei, Wu Wei, Shi Men, Wu Cheng, Jian Chang, and Lin Yuan were each to defend themselves.

In the fifth year [CE 262], Jiang Wei commanded his army out of Han and Hou He but was defeated by Deng Ai and thus retreated to Tazhong. Jiang Wei, originally from another kingdom, launched campaigns every year yet his accomplishments were very little. The eunuch, Huang Hao who controlled power from within the government and the General of the Right, Yan Yu co-operated together. Huang Hao wanted to remove Jiang Wei and Wei suspected this. Fearing this, he never returned to Chengdu. [Chang Qu's] Hua Yang Guo Zhi says: Jiang Wei loathed Huang Hao's hold on authority and asked the Latter Sovereign to execute him. The Latter Sovereign said, "Hao is only a small official. He was always at odds with Dong Yun and I hated him for that. Why would thy gentleman take notice of him?" Jiang Wei realised Huang Hao cannot removed, and fearing lest his words bring him danger, asked to leave. The Latter Sovereign ordered Huang Hao to apologise [to Jiang Wei]. Wei said to Huang Hao that he would go to Tazhong to grow wheat, thus he avoided internal conflicts. In the sixth year [CE 263], Jiang Wei memoralised to the Latter Sovereign saying, "I have heard Zhong Hui is in charge of the troops of Guanzhong and desires to advance on us. We should dispatch simultaneously Zhang Yi and Liao Hua to guard Yang An Pass and Yinping bridge in case they attack". Huang Hao believed in witchcraft and said the enemy would eventually be defeated and no action need be taken. He asked the Latter Sovereign to ignore the memorial and not let the various ministers know about it. Zhong Hui headed for Luo Valley while Deng Ai entered Tazhong. General of the Left Chariots, Liao Hua, was dispatched to Tazhong to assist Jiang Wei, General of the Left, Zhang Yi and General Who Assists the State, Dong Jue, and others hastened to Yang An Pass and hoped to assist from the outside. Arriving at Yinping, they heard the Wei general, Zhuge Xu, was attacking Jianwei and thus they waited to see what to do next. In the remainder of the month, Jiang Wei was severly defeated by Deng Ai and retreated to Yinping. Zhong Hui attacked the two cities of Hancheng and Lecheng, dispatching a force to attack the Pass. Jiang Shu opened up the city gates and surrendered while Fu Qian fought but died. [Xi Zuochi's] Han Jin Chun Qiu says: Jiang Shu's troops went out to surrender. [Before this] Jiang Shu craftily said to Fu Qian, "Now the enemy has arrived but has not attacked us yet we defend behind closed gates. This does not seem a good plan." Qian replied, "When accepting orders to defend the city, holding out is an achievement. But to disobey orders and go out to battle, the loss of the commander brings no benefit to the State." Shu said, "You can defend the city and hold out while I go out and engage the enemy and hopefully overcome them. We will each follow our own plans then." Then he led his troops out. Fu Qian heard that the Jiang Shu went to Yinping and surrendered to Hu Lie. Hu Lie took advantage of the lack of forces and raided the city. Fu Qian died during the struggle. [Qiao Zhou's] Shu Ji says: Jiang Shu was the Wu Xing Du but did not perform his duties well. The Shu government ordered someone replace him and he was left to assist in the defence of Hanzhong. Jiang Shu hated how he was treated, thus he opened up the gates and surrendered. Zhong Hui attacked Lecheng but was unable to capture it. Hearing that the other Passes had fallen, he pushed further. Zhang Yi and Dong Jue arrived in Hanshou while Jiang Wei and Liao Hua abandoned Yinping and retreated. Zhang Yi and Dong Jue together defended Jian Ge against Zhong Hui. Zhong Hui wrote to Jiang Wei saying, "Marquis, you are talented in both literature and the military and cherish great plans. Your aiding of Ba and Han resounds throughout the Middle Land and there is no-one near or far who has not heard of your name. Those of the past who are equals are Wu Zha and Zheng Qiao." Jiang Wei did not respond to his letter but arranged his camp to guard against danger. Zhong Hui could not capture him and since supplies were transported from a county far away, his generals discussed about whether or not to return.

Since Deng Ai entered Shu from the road Jing Wu and passed Jinpoing, he defeated Zhuge Zhan at Mian Zhu. The Later Ruler asked to surrender to Deng Ai, thus he acquired Cheng Du. When Jiang Wei and others heard of the defeat of Zhuge Zhan, he also heard the rumor that the Later Ruler would defend Cheng Du, or he would go east to Wu or South to Jian Ning. Thus Jiang Wei led his troops to Guan Han and Qi Dao to seek the truth. When he heard the Later Ruler's edict, he laid down his armor and went to Zhong Hui before the army of Pei. The generals and soldiers got so angry that they tried to slice the rocks. Jin Ji: Zhong Hui asked Jiang Wei, "Why did you come so late?" Jiang Wei put on a solemn face and replied with tears, "It is fast for me to get here today!" Zhong Hui awed at that.

Zhong Hui treated Jiang Wei and others with generosity. He gave back their seals as authorities. Zhong Hui and Jiang Wei rode in the same cart and sat on the same blanket, Zhong Hui said to his secretary (Zhang Shi) Du Yu, "If I shall compare Bo Yue (Jiang Wei's style) to the scholars of the Middle Land, Gong Xiu (Zhuge Dan), Tai Chu cannot win over him." [Guo Song's Wei-Jin] Shi Yu: At that time the Shu officers are all talented from under the Heaven, yet none can surpass Jiang Wei. Zhong Hui then trapped Deng Ai and put him in a jail car. Then Hui and Jiang Wei arrived at Cheng Du, Zhong Hui declared himself Governor of Yizhou and rebelled. [Xi Zuochi's] Han Jin Chun Qiu: Zhong Hui always had evil ambitious. Jiang Wei, who was well aware of this, used it as a scheme to start turmoil so he can restore Han dynasty. Thus he said to Zhong Hui, "I have heard that ever since Huai Nan, you have never made a wrong move or calculation. Now that Jin is on the rise and all of that achievement belongs to you. Now you have conquered Shu, thus your morals and fame shook the world. The commoners praise your accomplishments while the master is afraid of your strategy, how can you achieve a peaceful end? Han Xin, since he refused to go against Han during the time of wars, got killed because of suspicion. Minister Wen Zhong did not follow Fan Zhu to the Five Lakes, so he died innocently under a sword. How can you say they are tyrannical masters and foolish subjects? It all comes down to the benefits. Now you have achieved great accomplishments and great morals, why not follow the example of Duke of Red Pottery and disappear from the world? You can keep all your fame and save your body while climbing up to the Mountain of EMei and follow the steps of Chi Song?" Zhong Hui replied, "Your words are too far away, I will not act upon it. Also, today's situation may not end right here.'' Wei said, ``All the rest are within your capability, thus I do not need to bother myself with it." Their relationship grow closer after this. [Chang Qu's] Hua Yang Guo Zhi: Jiang Wei told Zhong Hui to kill the generals who come from the North. After they are all dead, he would kill Zhong Hui and bury all the Wei soldiers to restore the Mandate of Shu. He secretly send a letter to the Later Ruler, "I wish Your Majesty can swallow the shame for several more days, your vassal will enable the country to rise again, and the suns and moons to shine after darkness." Sun Sheng's Jin Yang Qiu: Sheng followed the General who Pacifies the West to conquer Shu at the earlier years of Yong He [CE 345-356]. I saw the elders and Jiang Wei's secret letter to Liu Shan after he surrendered, which implies he pretended to serve Zhong Hui so he can kill him and restore the land of Shu. Yet Zhong Hui got defeated and destroyed. The people of Shu are still sad about it today. Sheng believes in the ancient saying, "Don't get into a predicament because then your name will be shamed, don't obtain what is not yours because then you will be in danger. If one is in shame and danger, his death will approach soon" fits Jiang Wei well. Deng Ai arrived at Jiang You with only a little soldiers. Jiang Wei can neither express his loyalty at the city of Mian Zhu nor command the five generals to support the ruler of Shu and think of ways to gain the land later. Yet he wavered back and forth. For a weak country, he can only march his soldiers at the border of Wei, but he laid hope for a great achievement based on a conquered country. How foolish that is! Your vassal Song Zhi does not agree with Sun Sheng's criticism regarding Jiang Wei. At that time, Zhong Hui's grand army is at Jian Ge. Jiang Wei and his generals camped at advantageous spots to prevent the advancement of Zhong Hui, who started to talk about retreating thus Shu could be saved. However, Deng Ai sneaked in through a side path and went to his rear. When Zhuge Zhan got defeated, Cheng Du was destroyed automatically. If Jiang Wei returned to save the capital, then Zhong Hui could attack from the rear. With the circumstance, how can he take care of both sides at once? Yet by criticizing Jiang Wei for not defending Mian Zhu or supportting the Later Ruler, it is against logic. Zhong Hui wanted to bury all the Wei generals alive and give Jiang Wei a large amount of troops to be the vanguard. If all the Wei generals were dead and the soldiers laid at the hand of [Jiang] Wei, then it would not be hard to kill Zhong Hui and restore Shu. One who's accomplishment outside of logic is considered to be strange, yet one cannot be judged because of the results. If Tian Dan's strategy did not work then he would be considered foolish as well. He wanted to give Jiang Wei five thousand troops and make him the vanguard. The Wei generals got angry and they killed Zhong Hui and Jiang Wei along with Jiang Wei's wife. [Guo Song's Wei-Jin] Shi Yu: When Jiang Wei is killed and his body torn apart. They found his gallbladder to be as big as a Dou.

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.

Chen Shou comments: Jiang Wei was able as both a scholar and commander and desired a lot of fame. However he was mostly unsuccessful till his death. Lao Zi said: "To rule a large State is like cooking a small dish." You have to be patient and from the bottom, work your way up to the top before you can be successful. Gan Bao says: Jiang Wei was the Chancellor of Shu. His State was destroyed, his Sovereign surrendered, and he subsequently died. Alas, it is a pity! Unfortunately, it is not hard to die but hard to choose how to die. All martyrs in the past died in the end, not because they wanted to die, but because knowing that since life was short, it was better to die in an honourable way.
"Looking at Zhong Hui is like viewing an armory, one sees only spears and lances"
— Pei Kai
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Re: Jiang Wei’s contribution to Shu’s downfall?

Unread postby Han » Tue Dec 11, 2018 7:15 pm

Thank you very much for your efforts Daolun!
Liu Bei did nothing wrong.
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