A Qing dynasty illustration of Jiang Wei
258 – November or December 263
256 – 256
|Preceded by||Fei Yi|
|General of the Rear (後將軍)|
256 – 258
|General of the Guards (衛將軍)|
247 – 256
|Manager of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing (錄尚書事)|
(jointly held with Fei Yi from 247 to 253)
247 – November or December 263
|Inspector of Liang Province (涼州刺史)|
243 – 247
|Senior General Who Guards the West|
243 – 247
|General Who Assists Han (輔漢將軍)|
234 – 243
|General Who Attacks the West|
? – 234
|General Who Upholds Righteousness|
228 – ?
Gangu County, Gansu
[a]3 March 264 (aged 62)|
|Courtesy name||Boyue (伯約)|
Marquis of Pingxiang|
Jiang Wei (202 – 3 March 264),[a] courtesy name Boyue, was a military general of the state of Shu during the Three Kingdoms period of China. Born in Ji County (present-day Gangu County, Gansu), Jiang Wei started his career as a military officer in his native Tianshui Commandery, which was a territory of the state of Wei. In 228, when Wei's rival state Shu launched an invasion, Jiang Wei had no choice but to defect to Shu due to the circumstances. Zhuge Liang, the Imperial Chancellor and regent of Shu, highly regarded Jiang Wei and allowed him to serve as a general in Shu. After Zhuge Liang's death in 234, Jiang Wei continued serving as a general during the regencies of Zhuge Liang's successors, Jiang Wan and Fei Yi. Between 240 and 262, he continued Zhuge Liang's legacy of waging war against Wei by leading another 11 military campaigns. However, Jiang Wei failed to make any significant gains from the campaigns as each was ultimately aborted due to inadequate food supplies, heavy losses on the battlefield, or other reasons. The campaigns also severely depleted Shu's already limited resources and took a toll on the Shu population; Jiang Wei also incurred much resentment from the people for his warmongering behaviour. While Jiang Wei was away at the frontline, the palace eunuch Huang Hao, whom the Shu emperor Liu Shan favoured, gradually became more influential in Shu's internal politics. After the 11th campaign in 262, Jiang Wei suspected that Huang Hao was plotting to remove from power so he did not return to the capital Chengdu and instead remained in Tazhong. In 263, when Wei launched a massive invasion of Shu, Jiang Wei led Shu forces to resist the invaders at Tazhong, Yinping and Jiange, but he was caught off guard when the Wei forces under Deng Ai took a shortcut and showed up at Chengdu unexpectedly. Liu Shan surrendered to Deng Ai without putting up resistance and ordered Jiang Wei to surrender to the Wei general Zhong Hui; this event marked the end of Shu's existence. In the following year, Jiang Wei instigated Zhong Hui to launch a rebellion in Chengdu against the Wei regent Sima Zhao and hoped to use the opportunity to gain military power and restore Shu. However, some of Zhong Hui's officers, who were unwilling to participate in the rebellion, started a mutiny against Zhong Hui and killed him and Jiang Wei.
- 1 Family background
- 2 Early career in Wei
- 3 Defection to Shu
- 4 During Zhuge Liang's regency
- 5 During Jiang Wan's regency
- 6 During Fei Yi's regency
- 7 Jiang Wei's Northern Expeditions
- 8 Fall of Shu
- 9 Attempt to restore Shu
- 10 Family and descendants
- 11 Appraisal
- 12 In Romance of the Three Kingdoms
- 13 In popular culture
- 14 Memorials and relics
- 15 See also
- 16 Notes
- 17 References
Jiang Wei was from Ji County (冀縣/兾縣), Tianshui Commandery (天水郡), which is present-day Gangu County, Gansu. As his father died early, Jiang Wei grew up with his mother and was known for his interest in the writings of the Confucian scholar Zheng Xuan.
Early career in Wei
Jiang Wei began his career in his native Tianshui Commandery, which was a territory of the state of Wei during the Three Kingdoms period. He started out as a clerk in charge of records and later became an assistant officer under the commandery administrator. After considering that his father died in service, the Wei government commissioned Jiang Wei as a zhonglang (中郎) and allowed him to participate in military affairs in Tianshui Commandery.
Defection to Shu
In the spring of 228, Zhuge Liang, the Imperial Chancellor and regent of Wei's rival state Shu, launched the first of a series of military campaigns against Wei. He occupied Mount Qi (祁山; the mountainous regions around present-day Li County, Gansu) and deployed his troops there in orderly formations. Three Wei-controlled commanderies – Nan'an (南安; around present-day Longxi County, Gansu), Tianshui and Anding (安定; around present-day Zhenyuan County, Gansu) – responded to the invasion by defecting to the Shu side.
Jiang Wei's biography in the Sanguozhi recorded that at the time, Jiang Wei and his colleagues Liang Xu, Yin Shang and Liang Qian[b] were out on an inspection tour with Ma Zun (馬遵), the Administrator of Tianshui Commandery. When Ma Zun learnt of the Shu invasion and heard that many counties in Tianshui Commandery had defected to the enemy, he suspected that Jiang Wei and the others were going to betray him so he fled overnight and took shelter in Shanggui County (上邽縣; within present-day Tianshui, Gansu).
By the time Jiang Wei and his colleagues realised that Ma Zun had abandoned them and fled on his own, they attempted to catch up with him but it was too late. They were denied entry when they showed up at Shanggui County, so Jiang Wei led them to his home county, Ji County (冀縣/兾縣; present-day Gangu County, Gansu). However, the official in charge of Ji County also refused to allow them to enter. Faced with no other choice, Jiang Wei and his colleagues surrendered and defected to Shu.
Alternative account in the Weilüe
The Weilüe recorded a different account of Jiang Wei's defection from Wei to Shu.
At the time of the Shu invasion, Ma Zun and his subordinates (including Jiang Wei) were on an inspection tour with the Wei general Guo Huai when they received news that Zhuge Liang and the Shu army had occupied Mount Qi. After telling Ma Zun that Zhuge Liang was "up to no good", Guo Huai wanted to quickly head back to Shanggui County in the east of Tianshui Commandery. Even though his headquarters was at Ji County in the west, Ma Zun did not want to go back because he feared that there would be unrest in Ji County in light of the Shu invasion. He decided to join Guo Huai and move to Shanggui County instead.
When Jiang Wei urged Ma Zun to return to Ji County, the latter told him and the others: "If you go back, then you will become my enemy." Jiang Wei ignored Ma Zun because he was worried about the safety of his family in Ji County, so he parted ways with Ma Zun and returned to Ji County with his colleague Shangguan Zixiu (上官子脩) and others.
When Jiang Wei returned to Ji County, the people welcomed him back and insisted that he meet Zhuge Liang. Jiang Wei and Shangguan Zixiu relented and went to see Zhuge Liang, who was delighted to meet them. By the time Jiang Wei wanted to go back to Ji County to fetch his family members (mother, wife and child(ren)), Wei forces under Zhang He and Fei Yao had defeated the Shu vanguard at the Battle of Jieting. Unable to return to Ji County and left with no other option, Jiang Wei decided to defect to Shu and follow Zhuge Liang. After Wei forces recaptured Ji County, they took Jiang Wei's family members captive but did not execute them because they knew that Jiang Wei did not originally intend to defect to the enemy. Jiang Wei's family members thus spent the rest of their lives in prison.
During Zhuge Liang's regency
After returning to Hanzhong Commandery, Zhuge Liang appointed Jiang Wei as an assistant official in charge of food supplies. Later, Jiang Wei was commissioned as General Who Upholds Righteousness (奉義將軍) and enfeoffed as the Marquis of Dangyang Village (當陽亭侯).
Jiang Wei was subsequently promoted to the rank of General Who Attacks the West (征西將軍) and given the appointment of Central Army Supervisor (中監軍).
During Jiang Wan's regency
Following Zhuge Liang's death at the Battle of Wuzhang Plains in the autumn of 234, Jiang Wei returned to the Shu capital Chengdu and was reassigned to serve as Right Army Supervisor (右監軍) with the rank of General Who Assists Han (輔漢將軍). He was put in command of Chengdu's armed forces and promoted from a village marquis to a county marquis under the title "Marquis of Pingxiang" (平襄侯).
In 238, Jiang Wei accompanied the Shu regent Jiang Wan to Hanzhong Commandery near the Wei–Shu border. After Jiang Wan was appointed Grand Marshal (大司馬) in April or May 239, he appointed Jiang Wei as a Major (司馬) under him. He also put Jiang Wei in charge of a separate force to make incursions into Wei territory.
First Northern Expedition
During Fei Yi's regency
A year later, Jiang Wei was promoted to General of the Guards (衞將軍). He also shared power with Fei Yi by jointly holding the office of Manager of the Affairs of the Masters of Writing (錄尚書事) with him.
Second Northern Expedition
In 247, the Qiang tribes started a rebellion against Wei in four commanderies in Yong and Liang provinces, and called for support from Shu. Baihuwen (白虎文) and Zhiwudai (治無戴), two tribal kings in Liang Province, responded by rebelling against Wei. When Jiang Wei led Shu forces into Liang Province to support the Qiang rebels, Baihuwen and Zhiwudai led their forces to join him.
In response, the Wei government sent Xiahou Ba and Guo Huai to lead troops to suppress the rebellion and repel the Shu invasion. Jiang Wei attacked Xiahou Ba's position at the west of the Tao River but retreated back to Shu when Wei reinforcements led by Guo Huai showed up.
Third Northern Expedition
In 248, Jiang Wei led Shu forces from Shiying (石營; northwest of present-day Xihe County, Gansu) to Qiangchuan (彊川; west of present-day Lintan County, Gansu) to rendezvous with the tribal king Zhiwudai (治無戴), who had recently been defeated by the Wei general Guo Huai at Longyi County (龍夷縣; west of present-day Huangyuan County, Qinghai) He left his subordinate Liao Hua behind to guard the fortress at Chengzhong Mountain (成重山; located west of present-day Lintao County, Gansu).
Guo Huai split his army into two groups with the aim of preventing Jiang Wei from meeting up and combining forces with Zhiwudai. He led one group to attack Liao Hua at Chengzhong Mountain to force Jiang Wei to turn back to save Liao Hua. At the same time, he ordered his subordinate Xiahou Ba to attack Jiang Wei and push him back towards Tazhong (沓中; northwest of present-day Zhugqu County, Gansu). Guo Huai's plan succeeded as Jiang Wei turned back to save Liao Hua when he learnt that Chengzhong Mountain was under attack. In doing so, he failed to meet up with Zhiwudai and eventually retreated back to Shu.
Fourth Northern Expedition
In the autumn of 249, after he was granted acting imperial authority by the Shu emperor Liu Shan, Jiang Wei led Shu forces to attack the Wei-controlled Yong Province and gained support from the Qiang tribes. He had two fortresses constructed at Qushan (麴山; southeast of present-day Min County, Gansu).
When Jiang Wei led troops from Mount Niutou (牛頭山; west of present-day Zhaohua District, Guangyuan, Sichuan) to reinforce the two fortresses, Chen Tai led a Wei army to block his path. At the same time, Chen Tai sought help from Guo Huai, who led his troops across the Tao River to attack Jiang Wei's base at Mount Niutou. Jiang Wei became fearful so he pulled back all his troops and abandoned the two fortresses.
Three days after his apparent retreat, Jiang Wei sent Liao Hua to lead a small force to distract Deng Ai at Baishui (白水; in present-day Qingchuan County, Sichuan) while he led the main army to attack Taocheng (洮城; northeast of present-day Min County, Gansu). Deng Ai saw through Jiang Wei's ruse and immediately dispatched reinforcements to Taocheng. Jiang Wei failed to capture Taocheng as Deng Ai had already strengthened its defences so he withdrew all his troops and returned to Shu.
Fifth expedition (250)
Fei Yi's opposition to Jiang Wei's hawkish stance
Jiang Wei believed that he was familiar with the culture of the Qiang and other non-Han Chinese tribes in western China, and had great confidence in his skills as a military leader. He often boasted that he could easily conquer the Wei-controlled lands in present-day Gansu if he had the support of the Qiang and non-Han Chinese tribes living in the region.
Fei Yi, however, disapproved of Jiang Wei's hawkish stance and warmongering behaviour towards Wei, and attempted to rein him in by limiting the number of troops he led into battle each time to no more than 10,000.
The Han Jin Chunqiu (漢晉春秋) recorded that Fei Yi once told Jiang Wei: "We aren’t as brilliant as the Imperial Chancellor. If even he can't stabilise the Empire, what makes you think we can do it? Wouldn't it be better to defend our state, govern our people well, respect and safeguard his legacy, and pass it on to future generations? Stop your wishful thinking that you can achieve victory in one fell swoop. If you fail, it will be too late for regrets."
Fei Yi's assassination
The assassin, Guo Xiu (郭脩), was a Wei civilian captured in battle by Jiang Wei. After reluctantly surrendering to Shu, he attempted to assassinate Liu Shan but failed to get close to the emperor so he switched his target to Fei Yi and succeeded.
One theory says that Jiang Wei had secretly recruited Guo Xiu as an assassin after capturing him in battle, and ordered him to find an opportunity to murder Fei Yi. Jiang Wei's motive for taking Fei Yi's life, according to the theory, was that he needed to eliminate Fei Yi as a potential threat because Fei Yi had been opposing his hawkish stance towards Wei.
Regardless of whether or not Jiang Wei plotted Fei Yi's assassination, Fei Yi's death did allow Jiang Wei to gain greater control over the Shu military and continue waging war against Wei.
Jiang Wei's Northern Expeditions
Sixth Northern Expedition
In the summer of 253, Jiang Wei led tens of thousands of Shu troops from Shiying (石營; northwest of present-day Xihe County, Gansu) to besiege Didao (狄道; around present-day Lintao County, Gansu). In response to the Shu invasion, the Wei regent Sima Shi ordered his generals Guo Huai and Chen Tai to lead the Wei forces stationed in the Guanzhong region to attack the invaders and lift the siege on Didao. Chen Tai attacked the Shu forces at Luomen (洛門; in present-day Wushan County, Gansu) and defeated them. Jiang Wei eventually withdrew all his forces and retreated back to Shu when they ran out of food supplies.
Seventh Northern Expedition
In the summer of 254, after the Shu government granted him authority to oversee internal and external military affairs, Jiang Wei led Shu forces to attack the Wei-controlled Longxi Commandery again. Li Jian (李簡), the Wei official in charge of Didao (狄道; around present-day Lintao County, Gansu), surrendered to Jiang Wei. Jiang Wei then pressed further to attack Xiangwu County (襄武縣; southeast of present-day Longxi County, Gansu) and engaged the Wei general Xu Zhi in battle. Xu Zhi was defeated and killed, but the Shu army also lost a general, Zhang Ni. The victorious Shu forces then occupied three counties – Didao, Heguan (河關; in the vicinity of present-day Dingxi, Gansu) and Lintao – and forced the residents to relocate to Shu-controlled territory.
Eighth Northern Expedition
In 255, despite strong objection from a fellow Shu general Zhang Yi, Jiang Wei went ahead with another campaign against Wei and even brought along Zhang Yi as his deputy. As the massive Shu army prepared to attack Didao (狄道; present-day Lintao County, Gansu), Wang Jing, the Wei governor of Yong Province, sought help from the Wei general Chen Tai.
After suffering a disastrous defeat against Shu forces at the west bank of the Tao River, Wang Jing and his remaining men retreated to Didao and took shelter inside the fortress. When Jiang Wei wanted to take advantage of the momentum to press on and besiege Didao, Zhang Yi advised him to stop advancing further because they would risk losing everything they had gained so far. Jiang Wei ignored him and ordered his forces to surround Didao.
In the meantime, Chen Tai, Deng Ai, Sima Fu and other Wei officers led reinforcements to Didao to save Wang Jing. Chen Tai led his troops to the hills southeast of Didao, where they lit more fires and beat their war drums loudly to let the Wei forces in Didao know that reinforcements were on the way. As a result, the Wei forces in Didao experienced a surge in morale, and the Shu forces were taken by surprise. At the same time, Chen Tai also spread false news that they were planning to cut off the Shu army's retreat route. When Jiang Wei heard about it, he became fearful so on 11 November 255 he withdrew all the Shu forces and retreated to Zhongti (鐘堤; south of present-day Lintao County, Gansu).
Ninth Northern Expedition
In the spring of 256, the Shu emperor Liu Shan promoted Jiang Wei to the position of General-in-Chief (大將軍). In autumn, Jiang Wei led Shu forces from Zhongti (鐘堤; south of present-day Lintao County, Gansu) to conquer Mount Qi (祁山; the mountainous regions around present-day Li County, Gansu) but failed because the Wei general Deng Ai had anticipated the attack and already set up strong defences. Jiang Wei then attacked Deng Ai at Mount Wucheng (武城山; in present-day Chencang District, Baoji, Shaanxi) but was driven back. Later, he led his troops across the Wei River to launch a coordinated strike on Shanggui County (上邽縣; in present-day Tianshui, Gansu) with another Shu force led by Hu Ji. However, Hu Ji failed to show up in time so Jiang Wei came under attack by Deng Ai and his army sustained heavy casualties.
As the Northern Expeditions took a huge toll on Shu's population and resources, the people increasingly resented Jiang Wei for his warmongering behaviour. In order to appease public anger, Jiang Wei wrote a memorial to the Shu imperial court to take full responsibility for the failure of the ninth Northern Expedition and requested to be demoted as punishment. Liu Shan approved Jiang Wei's request and demoted him to the position of General of the Rear (後將軍) but allowed him to remain as acting General-in-Chief (大將軍).
Tenth Northern Expedition
In 257, when the Wei general Zhuge Dan started a rebellion in Shouchun (壽春; present-day Shou County, Anhui), Jiang Wei decided to take advantage of the situation to stage another invasion of Wei. He led Shu forces to attack the Wei garrisons near the Great Wall which were well-stocked with supplies but poorly defended. The Wei forces stationed there started panicking when they heard of the Shu army's approach.
The Wei generals Sima Wang and Deng Ai led separate armies to the Great Wall to resist the Shu invaders. Jiang Wei then retreated to Mangshui (芒水; southeast of present-day Zhouzhi County, Shaanxi) and set up a camp there with its back facing a mountain. When the Wei forces encircled his position, Jiang Wei tried to taunt them to attack his camp but Sima Wang and Deng Ai ordered their troops to ignore the enemy and refrain from attacking.
In 258, after Jiang Wei received news that Wei forces had suppressed Zhuge Dan's rebellion, he withdrew his troops and returned to the Shu capital Chengdu. The Shu emperor Liu Shan restored him to the position of General-in-Chief (大將軍).
At the time, having seen year after year of battles against Wei, the people of Shu were growing tired of having to endure the costs and effects of war. The Shu official Qiao Zhou also wrote the "Chou Guo Lun" (仇國論; "Disquisition on Rivalling States"), a satirical piece criticising Jiang Wei for his warmongering behaviour.
Eleventh Northern Expedition
In the winter of 262, Jiang Wei led Shu forces to occupy Taoyang County (洮陽縣; in present-day Lintao County, Gansu) and attack Wei forces led by Deng Ai at Houhe County (侯和縣) but they lost the battle. He retreated to Tazhong (沓中; northwest of present-day Zhugqu County, Gansu) and garrisoned there.
Huang Hao's rise to power
Jiang Wei knew that given his background as a defector from Wei, he had to prove his loyalty to Shu so he was eager to gain glory in battle. However, despite leading eleven campaigns against Wei, he had not made any significant achievements. While he was away at the frontline, the palace eunuch Huang Hao, whom the emperor Liu Shan favoured, gradually gained power in the Shu government and dominated the political scene. Huang Hao had a close partnership with the Shu general Yan Yu (閻宇) and he considered replacing Jiang Wei with Yan Yu as General-in-Chief. Jiang Wei had long suspected that Huang Hao had something against him so he remained in Tazhong (沓中; northwest of present-day Zhugqu County, Gansu) and did not return to Chengdu after the eleventh Northern Expedition.
The Chronicles of Huayang recorded that Jiang Wei hated Huang Hao for his power-grabbing behaviour and once advised Liu Shan to execute the eunuch. However, Liu Shan refused and said: "Huang Hao is but a servant running errands for me. In the past, I was annoyed by Dong Yun's deep hatred of him. Sir, why do you need to take this so personally?" Jiang Wei soon realised that he had a mistake in advising Liu Shan to execute Huang Hao because Huang Hao had strong influence in the Shu government, so he quickly excused himself and left. Liu Shan later instructed Huang Hao to visit Jiang Wei and apologise to him. Jiang Wei also managed to convince Huang Hao to let him remain in Tazhong to oversee agricultural production. His true intention, however, was to avoid getting caught up in a power struggle with Huang Hao in Chengdu.
Fall of Shu
Jiang Wei's early warnings
"I heard that Zhong Hui has been mobilising troops in Guanzhong and appears to be preparing to launch an invasion. As a precautionary measure, I think we should send Zhang Yi and Liao Hua to lead our forces to guard Yang'an Pass and the bridge at Yinping."
From Tazhong to Yinping
Around August or September 263, the Wei regent Sima Zhao ordered Zhong Hui, Deng Ai and Zhuge Xu to lead Wei forces to invade Shu from three different directions. When Zhong Hui reached Luo Valley (駱谷; southwest of present-day Zhouzhi County, Shaanxi) and Deng Ai attacked Tazhong (沓中; northwest of present-day Zhugqu County, Gansu), the Shu government ordered Liao Hua to lead reinforcements to support Jiang Wei at Tazhong. At the same time, they also sent Zhang Yi, Dong Jue and other Shu officers to lead troops to guard Yang'an Pass (陽安關; in present-day Ningqiang County, Shaanxi) and assist the Shu forces on the external perimeter.
When the Shu reinforcements reached Yinping (陰平; present-day Wen County, Gansu), they heard that Zhuge Xu was attacking Jianwei (建威; northeast of present-day Wudu District, Longnan, Gansu), so they stopped in their tracks at Yinping. After about a month, Deng Ai defeated Jiang Wei and occupied Tazhong, so Jiang Wei retreated to Yinping.
At the same time, Zhong Hui besieged Hancheng (漢城; present-day Mian County, Shaanxi) and Lecheng (樂城; present-day Chenggu County, Shaanxi) counties, and sent his subordinates to attack Yang'an Pass. The Shu officer Jiang Shu (蔣舒) opened up the pass and surrendered to the enemy, while his colleague Fu Qian died trying to defend the pass. After failing to take Lecheng County, Zhong Hui gave up and advanced towards Yang'an Pass when he learnt that his subordinates had captured the pass.
Defence of Jiange
By the time Zhang Yi and Dong Jue reached Hanshou County (漢壽縣; northeast of present-day Jiange County, Sichuan), Jiang Wei and Liao Hua had decided to abandon their position at Yinping and rendezvous with Zhang Yi and Dong Jue at the mountain pass Jiange, where they resisted attacks by Zhong Hui.
At one point, Zhong Hui wrote to Jiang Wei: "Sir, you are skilled in both civil and military affairs. You are exceptionally brilliant in strategy and your achievements are well-known throughout the Bashu region and the rest of the Empire. People from near and afar admire you. Every time I reflect on history, I hope that we can serve the same dynasty. Our relationship is like the friendship between Jizha and Zichan."
Jiang Wei did not reply Zhong Hui and he ordered his troops to strengthen their defences at Jiange. After failing to breach the mountain pass and with his army's food supplies running low, Zhong Hui considered pulling back all his troops and retreating.
In the meantime, Deng Ai and his troops took a shortcut from Yinping through mountainous terrain and showed up at Mianzhu, where they defeated the Shu defenders led by Zhuge Zhan. After taking Mianzhu, Deng Ai advanced further and approached Chengdu, the Shu capital. In late November or December 263, Liu Shan decided to surrender to Deng Ai, thus bringing an end to the existence of Shu.
When Jiang Wei first heard that Mianzhu had fallen, he also received confusing information about the situation in Chengdu. Some said that Liu Shan wanted to remain in Chengdu and defend the city, while others claimed that the Shu emperor was going to abandon Chengdu and flee south to Jianning Commandery (建寧郡; covering parts of present-day Yunnan and Guizhou). Jiang Wei thus prepared to abandon Jiange and lead his troops to Qi County (郪縣; present-day Santai County, Sichuan), which was nearer to Chengdu, to verify the truth.
Just then, Jiang Wei and his troops received orders from Chengdu to lay down their arms and surrender to Zhong Hui at Fu County (涪縣; present-day Mianyang, Sichuan). Many Shu soldiers felt so shocked and angry when they heard of their emperor's surrender that they drew their swords and slashed at rocks to vent their frustration. When Zhong Hui finally met Jiang Wei, he asked him: "Why are you late?" With a solemn expression on his face and tears streaming down his cheeks, Jiang Wei replied: "Our meeting today came too early." Zhong Hui was impressed by Jiang Wei's response.
Attempt to restore Shu
Instigating Zhong Hui to rebel against Wei
Zhong Hui treated Jiang Wei well and returned him his tallies and other insignia. They travelled in the same carriage and sat at the same table during meals. Zhong Hui also told his chief clerk Du Yu: "Famous people from the Central Plains like Gongxiu and Taichu can't be compared to Boyue."
Jiang Wei sensed that Zhong Hui had the intention of rebelling against Wei and sought to exploit this opportunity to stage an uprising and restore Shu. He told Zhong Hui:
"I heard that you have been very detailed and comprehensive in your planning since you got involved in Huainan. You have never miscalculated before. It was because of your help that Sima Zhao became the Duke of Jin and gained control over the Wei government. Now that you have vanquished Shu, your fame spreads throughout the Empire and the people sing praises of you. Wouldn't Sima Zhao feel worried that your glory will outshine his? Are you willing to live in seclusion for the rest of your life to avoid bringing disaster upon yourself? In the past, Han Xin didn't betray the Han dynasty but the emperor still doubted his loyalty. Wen Zhong didn't heed Fan Li's advice to retire and ended up being forced to commit suicide. Were they muddleheaded rulers and foolish subjects? They weren't. They were forced to do what they had to because of power politics. Now that you have made a great achievement and earned everlasting fame, why don't you follow in the footsteps of Fan Li and go into retirement to save yourself? You can then tour the peak of Mount Emei or travel around the world like Chisongzi."
Zhong Hui replied: "What you just said is so far-off. I can't do this. Besides, given my current situation, there isn't a need for me to do this."
Jiang Wei then said:
"I only suggested that you go into retirement. I am sure that given your intelligence, you can think of other options and carry them out. You don't need an old man like me to get longwinded on this."
They became even closer friends after this.
Zhong Hui then framed his fellow Wei general Deng Ai for plotting a rebellion and had him arrested and sent back to the Wei capital Luoyang as a prisoner.[c] With Deng Ai gone, Zhong Hui had control over Chengdu and the former Shu territories. In March 264, he started a revolt against the Wei regent Sima Zhao and declared himself the Governor of Yi Province (益州牧).
Zhong Hui wanted to put Jiang Wei in command of 50,000 troops and let him lead the vanguard force to attack Luoyang. However, around noon on 3 March 264, some Wei officers who were unwilling to participate in the rebellion started a mutiny against Zhong Hui. At the time, Jiang Wei was collecting his armour and weapons from Zhong Hui when they heard shouting and received news that a fire had broken out. Moments later, it was reported that many soldiers were crowding near the city gates. Zhong Hui was surprised and he asked Jiang Wei: "Those men are causing trouble. What should we do?" Jiang Wei replied: "Kill them."
Zhong Hui then ordered his men to kill the officers who refused to participate in the rebellion. A while later, there were reports of people climbing up the city gates on ladders and of people setting fire to buildings. Chaos broke out and arrows were fired in all directions. The mutinying officers regrouped with their men and attacked Zhong Hui and Jiang Wei. Zhong Hui and Jiang Wei fought the mutinying soldiers and slew about five or six of them, but were eventually overwhelmed and killed. The soldiers also killed Jiang Wei's wife and child(ren). The Shiyu (世語) recorded that the soldiers sliced open Jiang Wei's body when they killed him and saw that his gallbladder was one dou in size.
Alternative account from the Chronicles of Huayang
The Chronicles of Huayang recorded that Jiang Wei was only pretending to cooperate with Zhong Hui. He first instigated Zhong Hui to execute the Wei officers who were unwilling to join the rebellion, and then sought to find an opportunity to assassinate Zhong Hui. He would then lead the Shu people to kill all the Wei soldiers and restore their state. He also wrote a secret letter to Liu Shan as follows:
"I hope that Your Majesty can temporarily endure humiliation over the next few days. I am planning to overturn the situation and restore our state in the same way the Sun and Moon transition from darkness to brightness."
Family and descendants
Although Jiang Wei's biography in the Sanguozhi recorded that he lost contact with his mother after defecting to Shu, the Zaji (雜記) recorded that after he later received a letter from his mother asking him to return home. He wrote a reply as follows:
A genealogy book titled Da Tang Chi Xiulie Shan Siyue Tianshuijun Jiang Xing Gu Pu Zong Shixi (大唐敕修烈山四岳天水郡姜姓古譜總世系), dating from the Tang dynasty, recorded that Jiang Wei's wife was a certain Lady Liu (柳氏).
In his modern Chinese edition of the 11th-century historical text Zizhi Tongjian, the Taiwan-based Chinese historian Boyang mentioned that Jiang Wei was a highly controversial figure in Chinese history. He cited seven writers (Xi Zheng, Sun Sheng, Chen Shou, He Zhuo, Gan Bao, Wang Mingsheng and Pei Songzhi) who held different and discordant views of Jiang Wei.
Boyang himself, however, declined to comment but later shared in an open letter to a reader that he agreed with all seven views: Jiang Wei committed a fatal error in draining Shu's resources but he was also a loyal general who was willing to sacrifice himself in a futile attempt to restore Shu.
Zhuge Liang's views
"Jiang Boyue is loyal and diligent in performing his duties. He is very thorough and detailed in his thinking. After assessing his strengths and character, I think Yongnan, Jichang and the others are not as good as him. He is truly a great talent from Liang Province."
On another occasion, Zhuge Liang said:
"I should put him in command of 5,000 to 6,000 troops. Jiang Boyue is well-versed in military affairs. He not only demonstrates courage and righteousness, but also shows a deep understanding of warfare. This man is loyal to the Han dynasty and he is exceptionally talented. I should entrust him with greater authority in the military. I will send him to the imperial palace to meet the Emperor."
Xi Zheng's views
"Jiang Boyue held the responsibilities of a top general and occupied a high position in the government, yet he lived in a plain-looking residence, had no other income besides his salary, had only one wife and no concubines, and had no form of entertainment. His clothes and transport were just sufficient for use; he also imposed restrictions on his meals. He was neither extravagant nor shabby. He kept his spending within the limits of his state-issued allowance. His purpose in doing so was neither to prove that he was incorruptible nor to resist temptation. He did so ungrudgingly because he felt satisfied with what he already had. Mediocre people tend to praise those who achieve success and condemn those who fail; they praise those of higher status than them, and condemn those of lower status than them. Many people hold negative views of Jiang Wei because he died in a terrible way and his entire family was killed. These people do not look beyond the superficial. They fail to grasp the true meaning of appraisal as set out in the Spring and Autumn Annals. Jiang Wei's studiousness, as well as his modesty and humility, make him a role model for his contemporaries."
Sun Sheng's views
"I disagree with Xi Zheng's view. Although scholar-officials may take different paths and have different goals, they should live by the four fundamental values of loyalty, filial piety, righteousness and integrity. Jiang Wei was originally from Wei yet he defected to Shu and betrayed his ruler for personal gain. Therefore, he was disloyal. He abandoned his family to lead a meaningless life. Therefore, he was unfilial. He also turned against his native state. Therefore, he was unrighteous. He lost battles but chose to live on. Therefore, he had no integrity. When he was in power, he failed to establish himself as a virtuous leader and instead brought untold suffering to the people by forcing them into a prolonged war to boost his personal glory. Although he was responsible for defending his state, he ended up provoking the enemy and lost his state. Therefore, he was neither wise nor courageous. Jiang Wei possessed not a single one of these six values. In reality, Jiang Wei was nothing more than a traitor to Wei and an incompetent head of government to Shu, yet Xi Zheng said he was worthy of serving as a role model. How absurd is that. Even though Jiang Wei may be studious, that is just a good habit rather than a praiseworthy virtue. That is no different from a robber taking his due share of the loot, and no different from Cheng Zheng pretending to be humble."
In his Jin Yang Qiu (晉陽秋), Sun Sheng also wrote:
"During the early Yonghe era, when I accompanied General Huan Wen on a campaign against the Cheng Han state, I spoke to many Shu locals about Jiang Wei. They told me: 'After Jiang Wei surrendered, he wrote a secret letter to Liu Shan saying that he was going to pretend to serve under Zhong Hui and wait for an opportunity to assassinate him and restore Shu. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, his plan failed and he lost his life. The people still mourn him today.' I have a different view. The ancients said: 'If one puts himself through difficulty when he shouldn't, his reputation will suffer. When one takes possession of things he shouldn't, his life will be in danger. When one's reputation suffers and his life is in danger, it won't be long before he meets his end.' This is a very befitting description of Jiang Wei. When Deng Ai entered Jiangyou, he had very few troops with him, yet Jiang Wei could neither stop him at Mianzhu nor lead the five Shu generals to protect their emperor. In order to implement their plan for the future, they alternated between good and bad timings, and hoped for success when their chances were so low. Given that his state was already so weak, he still constantly waged war in Guanzhong. After his state fell, he still hoped to exploit an opportunity that depended on external circumstances. How foolish he was!"
Chen Shou's views
"Jiang Wei was proficient in civil and military affairs, and he desired to attain personal glory and leave his name in history. However, he lacked foresight and good judgment when he chose a path of warmongering, and that resulted in his downfall. As Laozi once said, 'governing a state is like cooking a small dish.' Shu was a small state, so all the more he should not have continuously disturbed it."
He Zhuo's views
"A state cannot function if it lacks any of these institutions: a palace, a government, a judiciary and a military. Jiang Wei was isolated and Liu Shan was an incompetent ruler. Shu's foundation was already shaky and its government and judiciary were not functioning as well as they did in the past. In Zhuge Liang's time, the people found it easier to get over the fact that their state lost a battle; it was no longer the same when it came to Jiang Wei's time. Besides, the defeat at Shanggui was much worse than the defeat at Jieting. Jiang Wei only saw how fast his predecessor recovered from defeats, and failed to realise that he did not have a capable deputy like Fei Yi to take charge of internal affairs. That was why he never made it as far as Zhuge Liang. It was a huge pity for a person with great ambition like him."
Gan Bao's views
"Jiang Wei was the head of government in Shu. It was a pity that he died during Zhong Hui's rebellion instead of dying when his state was conquered and his ruler suffered humiliation. It is not difficult to die, but it is difficult to choose how to die. When martyrs of ancient times abandoned the missions they received in times of crisis and fled, it was not because they feared death but because they knew they could not live forever and did not want to sacrifice their lives for nothing."
Wang Mingsheng's views
"Jiang Wei's goal was to restore the state of Shu but he failed and died in his attempt. It feels as if his noble heart is still beating today. Although Chen Shou was a former Shu subject, he was serving under the Jin dynasty (when he wrote the Sanguozhi) so he had to choose his words carefully. When he wrote about a major historical figure like Jiang Wei, he decided to censor any favourable opinion of Jiang Wei, and criticise Jiang Wei for seeking his own doom with his warmongering behaviour. How could Chen Shou not know that it was a better choice for Shu to go to war with Wei instead of waiting to be conquered by Wei? However, he could not voice this out given his status as a subject of the Jin dynasty. Even if Chen Shou agreed that Jiang Wei was wrong to have considered assassinating Zhong Hui, he would have to keep such an opinion to himself. Chen Shou thus wrote a negative appraisal of Jiang Wei in order to save himself from getting into trouble because of his writings. Jiang Wei was significant to Shu in the same way Zhang Shijie and Lu Xiufu were significant to the Southern Song dynasty.
Pei Songzhi's views
"When Zhong Hui and his massive army attacked Jiange, Jiang Wei and his officers led their troops to put up a solid defence. When Zhong Hui wanted to retreat after failing to breach Jiange, Jiang Wei nearly gained the glory of successfully defending Shu from an invasion. However, Deng Ai took a shortcut, bypassed Jiang Wei, defeated Zhuge Zhan and conquered Chengdu. If Jiang Wei turned back to save Chengdu, Zhong Hui would attack him from the rear. Under such circumstances, how could he possibly achieve both goals? People who criticise Jiang Wei for not turning back to retake Mianzhu and save the emperor are being unreasonable. Zhong Hui later planned to execute all the Wei officers who opposed his rebellion and put Jiang Wei in command of a 50,000-strong vanguard force. If everything went according to plan, all the Wei officers would have been executed and Jiang Wei could have seized military power and killed Zhong Hui, and thus it would not have been too difficult for him to restore Shu. When great people made remarkable achievements while others least expected it, they receive praise for creating miracles. When unforeseen circumstances ruin a plan, it does not mean that the plan was a bad one to begin with. If an unforeseeable condition caused Tian Dan's "fire cattle columns" tactic to fail, would people say that he was foolish?"
"I think that Xi Zheng only said that Jiang Wei's studiousness, modesty and humility are praiseworthy; he did not say that we should emulate Jiang Wei's career path and live by the same standards as him. When Xi Zheng said Jiang Wei was 'a good role model for his contemporaries', he was referring only to Jiang Wei's studiousness, modesty and humility. Jiang Wei's original biography and the Weilüe both recorded that he had no intention of betraying Wei and it was the circumstances that forced him to defect to Shu. Out of Sun Sheng's many criticisms of Jiang Wei, only the one that says Jiang Wei was unfilial is valid. The other criticisms are not only too extreme, but also not directly relevant to what Xi Zheng said."
The Shiyu (世語) recorded that Jiang Wei had no equal among the talented persons serving in the Shu government during his time.
In Romance of the Three Kingdoms
Jiang Wei is a major character in the later chapters of the 14th-century historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, which romanticises the historical events and figures of the late Eastern Han dynasty and Three Kingdoms period of China. In the novel, he is depicted as Zhuge Liang's protégé and successor who inherits the legacy of leading Shu into war against Wei with the aim of restoring the fallen Eastern Han dynasty.
Jiang Wei first appears in Chapters 92 and 93 as a Wei military officer serving in Tianshui Commandery during Zhuge Liang's first Northern Expedition. When Zhuge Liang tries to trick Ma Zun, the Administrator of Tianshui, to lead his troops out of Tianshui to save the Wei general Xiahou Mao in Nan'an Commandery, Jiang Wei sees through Zhuge Liang's ruse and advises Ma Zun to remain in Tianshui and set a trap for the enemy. When the Shu general Zhao Yun shows up to take Tianshui, he falls into the trap and briefly duels with Jiang Wei before Shu reinforcements arrive and save him. Zhao Yun tells Zhuge Liang that he is impressed that Tianshui has such a talent like Jiang Wei. When Jiang Wei successfully repels another Shu attack, Zhuge Liang is even more impressed and eager to recruit Jiang Wei to serve in Shu. He tricks Ma Zun into believing that Jiang Wei has defected to Shu in order to prevent Jiang Wei from going back to Wei, and then springs a trap for Jiang Wei. When Jiang Wei gets cornered, he attempts suicide but Zhuge Liang stops him and manages to convince him to surrender and join Shu.
Jiang Wei accompanies Zhuge Liang on his subsequent Northern Expeditions. Chapters 107 to 115 dramatise Jiang Wei's Northern Expeditions and refer to them as Jiang Wei's "Nine Campaigns on the Central Plains" when historically there were actually eleven campaigns instead of nine. In Chapter 119, Jiang Wei instigates Zhong Hui to launch a rebellion against Wei, but their rebellion fails when some of Zhong Hui's officers start a mutiny against their superior. Cornered by the enemy, Jiang Wei sighs, "It is Heaven's will that my plan doesn't succeed!" He then commits suicide by slitting his throat.
A verse from the novel in Jiang Wei's honour reads:
天水誇英俊，涼州產異才。Tianshui boasts of heroes; Liang Province produces rare talents.
系從尚父出，術奉武侯來。He descends from Shangfu; he inherits his skills from Marquis Wu.
大膽應無懼，雄心誓不回。Courageous and fearless; stouthearted and self-sacrificing.
成都身死日，漢將有餘哀。The day he dies in Chengdu; a Han general still has sorrows.
In popular culture
Jiang Wei appears as a playable character in the video game series Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi produced by Koei Tecmo. In the games, he is portrayed as a young warrior fiercely devoted to his mentor Zhuge Liang. He also appears in Koei Tecmo's Romance of the Three Kingdoms series.
Memorials and relics
A Jiang Wei Memorial Museum (姜維紀念館) was constructed in 1999 near Jiang Wei's hometown in the east of Gangu County, Tianshui, Gansu. The museum, covering an area of 360 square metres, was funded by the locals. Among other things, it contains a four-metre-tall statue of Jiang Wei in the main hall, as well as a stone tablet inscribed with the words "Jiang Wei's hometown" in calligraphy by the general Yang Chengwu.
The Pingxiang Tower (平襄楼) in present-day Lushan County, Sichuan is a 24-metre-tall building commemorating Jiang Wei. Its name comes from Jiang Wei's peerage, the Marquis of Pingxiang (平襄侯). The tower was built during the Song dynasty, renovated in 1445 during the Ming dynasty, and designated as a Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level by China's State Administration of Cultural Heritage in 2006.
There are a number of relics related to Jiang Wei at Jianmen Pass in present-day Jiange County, Sichuan, including a Jiang Wei Well (姜維井), Jiang Wei Cave (姜維洞), Jiang Wei Fortress (姜維城), Jiang Wei Temple (姜維廟), Lord Jiang Bridge (姜公橋), Jiang Wei Armoury (姜維軍械) and Jiang Wei Tomb (姜維墓). Poets such as Lu You, Zuo Mu (左牧), Li Tiaoyuan (李調元) and Zhuang Xuehe (莊學和) have written poems at Jianmen Pass to praise Jiang Wei.
- Jiang Wei's biography in the Sanguozhi recorded that he was 27 (by East Asian age reckoning) when he defected from Wei to Shu in 228. Zhong Hui's biography in the Sanguozhi recorded that Zhong Hui and Jiang Wei both died on the 18th day of the 1st month in the 5th year of the Jingyao era of Cao Huan's reign. This date corresponds to 3 March 264 in the Gregorian calendar. By calculation, Jiang Wei's year of birth should be 202 and he was 62 when he died in 264.
- The Sanguozhi recorded that Liang Xu (梁緒), Yin Shang (尹賞) and Liang Qian (梁虔) defected to Shu together with Jiang Wei. They later served in high positions in the Shu government: Liang Xu became Minister Herald (大鴻臚); Yin Shang became Bearer of the Mace (執金吾); Liang Qian became Empress's Chamberlain (大長秋). All three of them died before the fall of Shu in 263.
- See Deng Ai#Zhong Hui's role in Deng Ai's arrest and Zhong Hui#Arresting Deng Ai for details.
- (亮辟維為倉曹掾，加奉義將軍，封當陽亭侯，時年二十七。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([景元五年正月]十八日日中， ... 姜維率會左右戰，手殺五六人，衆旣格斬維，爭赴殺會。會時年四十，將士死者數百人。) Sanguozhi vol. 28.
- de Crespigny (2007), p. 378.
- (姜維字伯約，天水兾人也。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (以父冏昔為郡功曹，值羌、戎叛亂，身衞郡將，沒於戰場，賜維官中郎，參本郡軍事。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (少孤，與母居。好鄭氏學。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (傅子曰：維為人好立功名，陰養死士，不脩布衣之業。) Fu Zi annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (仕郡上計掾，州辟為從事。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 71.
- (維昔所俱至蜀，梁緒官至大鴻臚，尹賞執金吾，梁虔大長秋，皆先蜀亡歿。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (建興六年，丞相諸葛亮軍向祁山，時天水太守適出案行，維及功曹梁緒、主簿尹賞、主記梁虔等從行。太守聞蜀軍垂至，而諸縣響應，疑維等皆有異心，於是夜亡保上邽。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (維等覺太守去，追遲，至城門，城門已閉，不納。維等相率還兾，兾亦不入維。維等乃俱詣諸葛亮。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (魏略曰：天水太守馬遵將維及諸官屬隨雍州刺史郭淮偶自西至洛門案行，會聞亮已到祁山，淮顧遵曰：「是欲不善！」遂驅東還上邽。遵念所治兾縣界在西偏，又恐吏民樂亂，遂亦隨淮去。) Weilue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (時維謂遵曰：「明府當還兾。」遵謂維等曰：「卿諸人[回]復信，皆賊也。」各自行。維亦無如遵何，而家在兾，遂與郡吏上官子脩等還兾。) Weilue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (兾中吏民見維等大喜，便推令見亮。二人不獲已，乃共詣亮。亮見，大恱。未及遣迎兾中人，會亮前鋒為張郃、費繇等所破，遂將維等却縮。維不得還，遂入蜀。諸軍攻兾，皆得維母妻子，亦以維本無去意，故不沒其家，但繫保官以延之。) Weilue annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (後遷中監軍征西將軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 34.
- ([建興]十二年，亮卒，維還成都，為右監軍輔漢將軍，統諸軍，進封平襄侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (延熈元年，隨大將軍蔣琬住漢中。琬旣遷大司馬，以維為司馬，數率偏軍西入。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (正始元年，蜀將羌維出隴西。淮遂進軍，追至彊中，維退，遂討羌迷當等，案撫柔氐三千餘落，拔徙以實關中。) Sanguozhi vol. 26.
- ([延熈]六年，遷鎮西大將軍，領涼州刺史。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([延熙九年]冬十一月，大司馬蔣琬卒。) Sanguozhi vol. 33.
- ([延熈]十年，遷衞將軍，與大將軍費禕共錄尚書事。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (是歲，汶山平康夷反，維率衆討定之。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (八年，隴西、南安、金城、西平諸羌餓何、燒戈、伐同、蛾遮塞等相結叛亂，攻圍城邑，南招蜀兵，涼州名胡治無戴復叛應之。) Sanguozhi vol. 26.
- Sima (1084), vol. 75.
- (討蜀護軍夏侯霸督諸軍屯為翅。淮軍始到狄道，議者僉謂宜先討定枹罕，內平惡羌，外折賊謀。淮策維必來攻霸，遂入渢中，轉南迎霸。維果攻為翅，會淮軍適至，維遁退。進討叛羌，斬餓何、燒戈，降服者萬餘落。) Sanguozhi vol. 26.
- (又出隴西、南安、金城界，與魏大將軍郭淮、夏侯霸等戰於洮西。胡王治無戴等舉部落降，維將還安處之。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([正始]九年， ... [郭]淮進軍趨西海，欲掩取其累重，會[治]無戴折還，與戰於龍夷之北，破走之。) Sanguozhi vol. 26.
- (姜維出石營，從彊川，乃西迎治無戴，留陰平太守廖化於成重山築城，斂破羌保質。) Sanguozhi vol. 26.
- (淮曰：「今往取化，出賊不意，維必狼顧。比維自致，足以定化，且使維疲於奔命。兵不遠西，而胡交自離，此一舉而兩全之策也。」乃別遣夏侯霸等追維於沓中，淮自率諸軍就攻化等。維果馳還救化，皆如淮計。) Sanguozhi vol. 26.
- ([延熈]十二年，假維節， ...) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (淮從泰計，使泰率討蜀護軍徐質、南安太守鄧艾等進兵圍之，斷其運道及城外流水。安等挑戰，不許，將士困窘，分糧聚雪以稽日月。維果來救，出自牛頭山，與泰相對。 ... 勑諸軍各堅壘勿與戰，遣使白淮，欲自南渡白水，循水而東，使淮趣牛頭，截其還路，可并取維，不惟安等而已。淮善其策，進率諸軍軍洮水。維懼，遁走，安等孤縣，遂皆降。) Sanguozhi vol. 22.
- (於是留艾屯白水北。三日，維遣廖化自白水南向艾結營。艾謂諸將曰：「維今卒還，吾軍人少，法當來渡而不作橋。此維使化持吾，令不得還。維必自東襲取洮城。」洮城在水北，去艾屯六十里。艾即夜潛軍徑到，維果來渡，而艾先至據城，得以不敗。) Sanguozhi vol. 28.
- ([延熙]十三年，姜維復出西平，不克而還。) Sanguozhi vol. 33.
- (維自以練西方風俗，兼負其才武，欲誘諸羌、胡以為羽翼，謂自隴以西可斷而有也。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (每欲興軍大舉，費禕常裁制不從，與其兵不過萬人。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (漢晉春秋曰：費禕謂維曰：「吾等不如丞相亦已遠矣；丞相猶不能定中夏，況吾等乎！且不如保國治民，敬守社稷，如其功業，以俟能者，無以為希兾徼倖而決成敗於一舉。若不如志，悔之無及。」) Han Jin Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([延熙]十六年歲首大會，魏降人郭循在坐。禕歡飲沈醉，為循手刃所害，謚曰敬侯。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (魏氏春秋曰：脩字孝先，素有業行，著名西州。姜維劫之，脩不為屈。劉禪以為左將軍，脩欲刺禪而不得親近，每因慶賀，且拜且前，為禪左右所遏，事輙不克，故殺禕焉。) Wei Shi Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 4.
- "Fei Yi's death: Was Jiang Wei the mastermind behind Fei Yi's assassination?". 历史之家 (in Chinese). 18 March 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- "Uncovering the truth behind the assassination of Shu's General-in-Chief Fei Yi". Our Three Kingdoms (in Chinese). 20 December 2017. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- Sima (1084), vol. 76.
- ([延熙十六年]夏，維率將數萬人出石營，經董亭，圍南安，魏雍州刺史陳泰解圍至洛門，維糧盡退還。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([十七年]夏六月，維復率衆出隴西。冬，拔狄道、河間、臨洮三縣民，居于緜竹、繁縣。) Sanguozhi vol. 33.
- (明年，加督中外軍事。復出隴西，守狄道長李簡舉城降。進圍襄武，與魏將徐質交鋒，斬首破敵，魏軍敗退。維乘勝多所降下，拔河間、狄道、臨洮三縣民還， ...) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (... 後[延熙]十八年，復與車騎將軍夏侯霸等俱出狄道， ...) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (... 大破魏雍州刺史王經於洮西，經衆死者數萬人。經退保狄道城，維圍之。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (魏征西將軍陳泰進兵解圍，維却住鍾題。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([延熙]十九年春，就遷維為大將軍。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (更整勒戎馬，與鎮西大將軍胡濟期會上邽，濟失誓不至，故維為魏大將鄧艾所破於段谷，星散流離，死者甚衆。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 77.
- (衆庶由是怨讟，而隴已西亦騷動不寧，維謝過引負，求自貶削。為後將軍，行大將軍事。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([延熙]二十年，魏征東大將軍諸葛誕反於淮南，分關中兵東下。維欲乘虛向秦川，復率數萬人出駱谷，徑至沈嶺。時長城積穀甚多而守兵乃少，聞維方到，衆皆惶懼。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (魏大將軍司馬望拒之，鄧艾亦自隴右，皆軍于長城。維前住芒水，皆倚山為營。望、艾傍渭堅圍，維數下挑戰，望、艾不應。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (景耀元年，維聞誕破敗，乃還成都。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([景耀]五年春正月， ... 是歲，姜維復率衆出侯和，為鄧艾所破，還住沓中。) Sanguozhi vol. 33.
- ([景耀]五年，維率衆出漢、侯和，為鄧艾所破，還住沓中。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sima (1084), vol. 78.
- (維本羈旅託國，累年攻戰，功績不立，而宦臣黃皓等弄權於內，右大將軍閻宇與皓恊比，而皓陰欲廢維樹宇。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (維亦疑之。故自危懼，不復還成都。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (華陽國志曰；維惡黃皓恣擅，啟後主欲殺之。後主曰：「皓趨走小臣耳，往董允切齒，吾常恨之，君何足介意！」維見皓枝附葉連，懼於失言，遜辭而出。後主勑皓詣維陳謝。維說皓求沓中種麥，以避內逼爾。) Huayang Guo Zhi annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([景耀]六年，維表後主：「聞鍾會治兵關中，欲規進取，宜並遣張翼、廖化督諸軍分護陽安關口、陰平橋頭以防未然。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (皓徵信鬼巫，謂敵終不自致，啟後主寢其事，而羣臣不知。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (及鍾會將向駱谷，鄧艾將入沓中，然後乃遣右車騎廖化詣沓中為維援，左車騎張翼、輔國大將軍董厥等詣陽安關口以為諸圍外助。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (比至陰平，聞魏將諸葛緒向建威，故住待之。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (月餘，維為鄧艾所摧，還住陰平。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (鍾會攻圍漢、樂二城，遣別將進攻關口，蔣舒開城出降，傅僉格鬬而死。會攻樂城，不能克，聞關口已下，長驅而前。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (翼、厥甫至漢壽，維、化亦舍陰平而退，適與翼、厥合，皆退保劒閣以拒會。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (會與維書曰：「公侯以文武之德，懷邁世之略，功濟巴、漢，聲暢華夏，遠近莫不歸名。每惟疇昔，甞同大化，吳札、鄭喬，能喻斯好。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (維不荅書，列營守險。會不能克，糧運縣遠，將議還歸。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (而鄧艾自陰平由景谷道傍入，遂破諸葛瞻於緜竹。後主請降於艾，艾前據成都。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (維等初聞瞻破，或聞後主欲固守成都，或聞欲南入建寧，於是引軍由廣漢、郪道以審虛實。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (尋被後主敕令，乃投戈放甲，詣會於涪軍前，將士咸怒，拔刀斫石。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (干寶晉紀云：會謂維曰；「來何遲也？」維正色流涕曰：「今日見此為速矣！」會甚奇之。) Jin Ji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- ([鍾]會厚待[姜]維等，皆權還其印號節蓋。會與維出則同轝，坐則同席，謂長史杜預曰：「以伯約比中土名士，公休、太初不能勝也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (漢晉春秋曰：會陰懷異圖，維見而知其心，謂可構成擾亂以圖克復也， ...) Han Jin Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (... 乃詭說會曰：「聞君自淮南已來，筭無遺策，晉道克昌，皆君之力。今復定蜀，威德振世，民高其功，主畏其謀，欲以此安歸乎！夫韓信不背漢於擾攘，以見疑於旣平，大夫種不從范蠡於五湖，卒伏劒而妄死，彼豈闇主愚臣哉？利害使之然也。今君大功旣立，大德已著，何不法陶朱公泛舟絕迹，全功保身，登峨嵋之嶺，而從赤松游乎？」) Han Jin Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (會曰：「君言遠矣，我不能行，且為今之道，或未盡於此也。」) Han Jin Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (維曰：「其佗則君智力之所能，無煩於老夫矣。」) Han Jin Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (由是情好歡甚。) Han Jin Chunqiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (會旣構鄧艾，艾檻車徵，因將維等詣成都，自稱益州牧以叛。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (欲授維兵五萬人，使為前驅。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (十八日日中，烈軍兵與烈兒雷鼓出門，諸軍兵不期皆鼓譟出，曾無督促之者，而爭先赴城。時方給與姜維鎧杖，白外有匈匈聲，似失火，有頃，白兵走向城。會驚，謂維曰：「兵來似欲作惡，當云何？」維曰：「但當擊之耳。」) Sanguozhi vol. 28.
- (會遣兵悉殺所閉諸牙門郡守，內人共舉机以柱門，兵斫門，不能破。斯須，門外倚梯登城，或燒城屋，蟻附亂進，矢下如雨，牙門、郡守各緣屋出，與其卒兵相得。姜維率會左右戰，手殺五六人，衆旣格斬維，爭赴殺會。) Sanguozhi vol. 28.
- (魏將士憤發，殺會及維，維妻子皆伏誅。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (世語曰：維死時見剖，膽如斗大。) Shiyu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (華陽國志曰：維教會誅北來諸將，旣死，徐欲殺會，盡坑魏兵，還復蜀祚， ...) Huayang Guo Zhi annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (... 密書與後主曰：「願陛下忍數日之辱，臣欲使社稷危而復安，日月幽而復明。」) Huayang Guo Zhi annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (會馬謖敗於街亭，亮拔將西縣千餘家及維等還，故維遂與母相失。) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (孫盛雜記曰：初，姜維詣亮，與母相失，復得母書，令求當歸。) Zaji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (維曰：「良田百頃，不在一畒，但有遠志，不在當歸也。」) Zaji annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (蜀大將軍平襄侯[姜]維，裔孫[姜]明，世居上邽。) Xin Tang Shu vol. 73 (Part 3).
- Boyang (1985).
- (亮與留府長史張裔、參軍蔣琬書曰：「姜伯約忠勤時事，思慮精密，考其所有，永南、季常諸人不如也。其人，涼州上士也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (又曰：「須先教中虎步兵五六千人。姜伯約甚敏於軍事，旣有膽義，深解兵意。此人心存漢室，而才兼於人，畢教軍事，當遣詣宮，覲見主上。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (郤正著論論維曰：「姜伯約據上將之重，處羣臣之右，宅舍弊薄，資財無餘，側室無妾媵之褻，後庭無聲樂之娛，衣服取供，輿馬取備，飲食節制，不奢不約，官給費用，隨手消盡；察其所以然者，非以激貪厲濁，抑情自割也，直謂如是為足，不在多求。凡人之談，常譽成毀敗，扶高抑下，咸以姜維投厝無所，身死宗滅，以是貶削，不復料擿，異乎春秋襃貶之義矣。如姜維之樂學不倦，清素節約，自一時之儀表也。」) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (孫盛曰：異哉郤氏之論也！夫士雖百行，操業萬殊，至於忠孝義節，百行之冠冕也。姜維策名魏室，而外奔蜀朝，違君徇利，不可謂忠；捐親苟免，不可謂孝；害加舊邦，不可謂義；敗不死難，不可謂節；且德政未敷而疲民以逞，居禦侮之任而致敵喪守，於夫智勇，莫可云也：凡斯六者，維無一焉。實有魏之逋臣，亡國之亂相，而云人之儀表，斯亦惑矣。縱維好書而微自藻潔，豈異夫盜者分財之義，而程、鄭降階之善也？) Sun Sheng's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (孫盛晉陽秋曰：盛以永和初從安西將軍平蜀，見諸故老，及姜維旣降之後密與劉禪表疏，說欲偽服事鍾會，因殺之以復蜀土，會事不捷，遂至泯滅，蜀人于今傷之。盛以為古人云，非所困而困焉名必辱，非所據而據焉身必危，旣辱且危，死其將至，其姜維之謂乎！鄧艾之入江由，士衆鮮少，維進不能奮節緜竹之下，退不能總帥五將，擁衞蜀主，思後圖之計，而乃反覆於逆順之間，希違情於難兾之會，以衰弱之國，而屢觀兵於三秦，已滅之邦，兾理外之奇舉，不亦闇哉！) Jin Yang Qiu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (姜維粗有文武，志立功名，而翫衆黷旅，明斷不周，終致隕斃。老子有云：「治大國者猶烹小鮮。」況於區區蕞爾，而可屢擾乎哉？) Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (干寶曰：姜維為蜀相，國亡主辱弗之死，而死於鍾會之亂，惜哉！非死之難，處死之難也。是以古之烈士，見危授命，投節如歸，非不愛死也，固知命之不長而懼不得其所也。) Gan Bao's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Lu (1982).
- (于時鍾會大衆旣造劒閣，維與諸將列營守險，會不得進，已議還計，全蜀之功，幾乎立矣。但鄧艾詭道傍入，出於其後，諸葛瞻旣敗，成都自潰。維若回軍救內，則會乘其背。當時之勢，焉得兩濟？而責維不能奮節緜竹，擁衞蜀主，非其理也。會欲盡坑魏將以舉大事，授維重兵，使為前驅。若令魏將皆死，兵事在維手，殺會復蜀，不為難矣。夫功成理外，然後為奇，不可以事有差牙，而抑謂不然。設使田單之計，邂逅不會，復可謂之愚闇哉！) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (臣松之以為郤正此論，取其可稱，不謂維始終行事皆可準則也。所云「一時儀表」，止在好學與儉素耳。本傳及魏略皆云維本無叛心，以急逼歸蜀。盛相譏貶，惟可責其背母。餘旣過苦，又非所以難郤正也。) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- (世語曰：時蜀官屬皆天下英俊，無出維右。) Shiyu annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 44.
- Sanguo Yanyi chs. 92-93.
- Sanguo Yanyi chs. 107-115.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 119.
- Sanguo Yanyi ch. 119.
- "Memorials to Famous Persons from Tianshui: Jiang Wei Memorial Museum". www.e3ol.com (in Chinese). 3 March 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- "Pingxiang Tower: A Major Historical and Cultural Site Protected at the National Level". 360doc.com (in Chinese). 12 March 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- "State Council's Notice on the Sixth Batch of Major Historical and Cultural Sites Protected at the National Level". www.gov.cn (in Chinese). 25 May 2006. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- "Remembering Jiang Wei of the Three Kingdoms Period at Jianmen Pass". country.aweb.com.cn (in Chinese). 8 September 2006. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- Boyang (1985). Modern Chinese Edition of Zizhi Tongjian (in Chinese). Volume 20. Taipei: Yuan-Liou Publishing. ISBN 9573208423.
- Chang, Qu (c. 4th century). Chronicles of Huayang (Huayang Guo Zhi).
- Chen, Shou (3rd century). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
- de Crespigny, Rafe (2007). A Biographical Dictionary of Later Han to the Three Kingdoms 23-220 AD. Leiden: Brill. ISBN 9789004156050.
- Lu, Bi (1982). 三國志集解 (Explanatory Commentary to the Sanguozhi) (in Chinese). Beijing: Zhonghua Book Company. ISBN 978-7-101-01019-0.
- Luo, Guanzhong (14th century). Romance of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguo Yanyi).
- Ouyang, Xiu; Song, Qi; Fan, Zhen; Lü, Xiaqing; Song, Minqiu (eds.) (11th century). New Book of Tang (Xin Tang Shu).
- Pei, Songzhi (5th century). Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).
- Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.