Biography (SGYY): Jiang Xu (Boyi)

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Jiang Xu (Boyi)
姜敘 (伯奕)
Lifespan Unknown

Sanguo Yanyi Officer Biography
Author Notes in Blue
Authored by Dong Zhou

Jiang Xu (Boyi)

Jiang Xu was Commander of Licheng when Ma Chao, with the Qiang tribes, launched a successful attack on parts of the West Valley Land. The only resistance came from Jicheng but with no reinforcements coming, the Governor Wei Kang surrendered, despite the protests of Yang Fu (1). Wei Kang was executed by an angry Ma Chao but Yang Fu was praised for doing his duty.

1: The ZZTJ records Yang Fu’s protest: “We brought our fathers and elder brothers here, our sons and younger brothers, urging them to fight for glory. We can only die for the cause. We have a duty to hold this city. How can we abandon good work just as it is on the point of success, and earn ourselves a name for dishonour?”

Yang Fu was the maternal cousin (2) of Jiang Xu so when Yang Fu got permission to go to bury his deceased wife, he went to Licheng. There Yang Fu met Jiang Xu’s elderly mother, Yang Fu’s aunt, and told the story of Jicheng’s fall, claiming that Jiang Xu was doing nothing as Ma Chao ravaged the country side. The eighty-two year old turned to her son and rebuked him “You are the cause of the evil that has come upon the noble Wei Kang.”

2: The ZZTJ says Yang Fu was Jiang Xu’s in-law.

Yang Fu wished to take action against Ma Chao but Jiang Xu had doubts, claiming that Ma Chao was bold and difficult to destroy. Yang Fu claimed he had friends inside the city and that Ma Chao was unskilful. Jiang Xu’s mother said “What is to be gained by delay? Is there anyone who will not have to die? To perish in the way of loyalty and righteousness is to die in the right path. Do not think of me, for if you do, and heed not the call of your cousin, then will I die at once so that you may be free to make up your mind.”

Jiang Xu summoned his men, camping in Licheng with his cousin while Jiang Xu’s officers, Zhao Ang (3) and Yin Feng camped at Qishan. Ma Chao heard about this and led his army towards Licheng, Jiang Xu and Yang Fu leading their troops out to oppose Ma Chao.

3: Zhao Ang had a son, Zhao Yue, who served Ma Chao and was unhappy at what might happen to Zhao Yue. Ang’s wife, Lady Wang was angry at the hesitancy “Should anyone grudge even his life to avenge his liege lord or his father? How much less a son? My lord, if you let the thought of your son stay your hand, then will I die forthwith.” Lady Wang sold her ornaments and went in person to her husband’s camp to feast his soldiers but Zhao Yue was executed.

Jiang Xu and Yang Fu were dressed in white mourning clothes as they railed at Ma Chao. Incensed, Ma Chao attacked, the defenders of Licheng could not hold off the attack and turned to flee. Ma Chao’s pursuit was cut short as the army led by Zhao Ang and Yin Feng attacked his rear. Ma Chao turned to face this new threat but then Jiang Xu led his army into the attack, forcing Ma Chao to deal with them again. Xiahou Yuan appeared with a third army so Ma Chao fled with his army in utter confusion.

Yang Fu’s friends, Liang Kuan and Zhao Qu had taken the city from the inside, killing Ma Chao’s family before Ma Chao’s eyes. Ma Chao was forced to flee, cutting his way through Jiang Xu’s army before arriving at Licheng at night. The guards, thinking Jiang Xu had returned, let Ma Chao into the city. Onside inside, Ma Chao and his men began killing everyone. When they discovered the residence of Jiang Xu, they dragged out his elderly mother and executed her as she railed against Ma Chao (4).

4: The ZZTJ records her abuse “You, are a rebellious son who abandoned his father. You are a cruel brigand who murdered his lord. How can Heaven and Earth put up with you for long? And unless you die soon, how can you face the sight of men?”

Ma Chao escaped to Zhang Lu, wounding Yang Fu five times in the process, so Xiahou Yuan began pacifying the region, appointing Jiang Xu and other trusted commanders to the defence of to the region of Xizhou (5).

5: The ZZTJ mentions Jiang Xu later warning Xiahou Yuan of Ma Chao’s attack on Qi Mountain.

Copyright © 2006 Dong Zhou. All Rights Reserved.
Source: Luo Guanzhong’s Romance of the Three Kingdoms