Biography (COB): Jiang Wei (Boyue)

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Jiang Wei (Boyue)Jiang Wei (Boyue)
姜維 (伯約)

Comprehensive Officer Biography
Translated & Authored by

Place of Birth: Ji County, Tian Shui Prefecture (Presently Gangu County in Gansu Province
Lifespan: AD 205 – 264 (59 Years)
Titles: Great General, General of the Rear Army, Minister of War. Lord of Dangyang
Family: Wife and two daughter [killed by the Wei troops in AD 264]

During an uprising in Tian Shui Prefecture, Jiang Wei’s father was killed protecting the Prefect. Jiang Wei was still very young, but later he took up his father’s post as Imperial Corpsman, and continued to serve in Ji County.

When Zhuge Liang launched his Northern Campaign against Wei, Jiang Wei and the Prefect were patrolling outside. Afraid that Jiang Wei would defect to Shu, the Prefect sneaked out of their camp at night and locked the city gates. Jiang Wei could not go back, and thus he went over to Zhuge Liang’s camp. Kongming recognized him as a talented officer and after the subsequent defeat at Jie Ting, Zhuge Liang took Boyue with him when he went back to Cheng Du. Jiang Wei was appointed as General Who Displays Righteousness and titled Lord of Dangyang Precinct. At that time, Jiang Wei was only twenty-seven years old.

He was later promoted to General Who Conquers the West and Commander of the Central Army. In the year AD 234, Zhuge Liang died at Wu Zhang and Jiang Wan took over his position. Boyue was promoted to Commander of the Right, General Who Upholds the Han, and titled Lord of Pingxiang. In the sixth year of [Yan Xi] (AD 243), Jiang Wei took up the posts of Minister of War, General Who Guards the West, and General of the Guard. The same year, Jiang Wei led troops against a minor uprising in Han Shang county, Ping Kang Prefecture.

After the death of Wei Commander Sima Zhao, Jiang Wei started a new campaign against Wei. Boyue was confident in his abilities to use the northern tribes to his advantage, but Fei Wei rejected his proposals and limited the amount of troops that Jiang Wei was allowed to use. Jiang Wei scored the initial victory at Tao river, but was driven back by Deng Ai. A year later Boyue took up the post of Great General, but his aid Li Hui did not arrive and the Shu army suffered a crushing defeating. The casualty count was very high, and the area west of Long Shan was destroyed. Jiang Wei received heavy criticism from the populace and had himself demoted to General of the Rear Army and Acting Great General.

In the year AD 257, Zhuge Dan rebelled against Wei, and Jiang Wei took the opportunity to attack Wei in the west. Deng Ai and Sima Wang held back the invasion, and when Zhuge Dan’s rebellion was put down, Jiang Wei retreated.

In the fifth year of [Yin Yao] (AD 262), Jiang Wei led another Northern Campaign against Wei, but was again bested by Deng Ai. Jiang Wei was uneasy about his position in the Shu court, and after hearing about a possible assassination plot by Huang Hao and Yan Yu, Jiang Wei did not return to Cheng Du, but stayed in Han Zhong.

The next year, Jiang Wei warned the Emperor Liu Chan that Zhong Hui and Deng Ai would invade Shu through Guan Zhong. However, the court eunuch Huang Hao used a shaman to predict failure for Wei, and Jiang Wei’s plans for defense were rejected.

Jiang Wei’s predictions came true and Zhong Hui and Deng Ai invaded Shu at two points. Jiang Wei resisted Zhong Hui’s attack, but Liao Hua could not defend against Deng Ai, and after the defeat of Zhuge Zhan at Mian Zhu gate, Shu was lost. Liu Chan surrendered to Wei, and Jiang Wei was ordered to surrender his troops to Zhong Hui, who treated him well. Zhong Hui made false allegations against Deng Ai and took the Protectorship of Yi Zhou. Together with Jiang Wei, he attempted to raise a rebellion. However they received no support from the Wei troops, and Zhong Hui, Jiang Wei and their families were put to death in year AD 264.

Copyright © 2002 – 2003
A Kongming’s Archives Exclusive Production
Major Sources: Zhongguo Lishizhu Professor T.Chen (1965 Peking)