Biography (SGZ): Yang Yi (Weigong)

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Yang Yi (Weigong)
楊儀 (威公)
(AD ?-235)

Sanguozhi Officer Biography
Pei Songzhi in Blue, Translator Notes in Green
Translated by jiuwan (Giao Chau)

Yang Yi styled Wei Gong was a man from Xiang Yang. In the middle of Jian An (I) he was the Secretariat (zhu bu) under the Inspector of Jing Zhou, Fu Qun. He then betrayed Fu Qun to serve under the Grand Administrator of Xiang Yang, Guan Yu. Guan Yu who was ordered to attack [Cao] Cao, dispatched a messenger westward to the First Sovereign [Liu Bei]. [Liu Bei] 與語論軍國計策, 政治得失, 大悅之, 因辟為左將軍兵曹掾.

(I): The reign years for the style Jian An was from AD 196 to AD 220.

When Liu Bei became the King of Han Zhong, Yang Yi was made Imperial Secretariat, Master of Writing (shang shu). Liu Bei later led an invasion against Wu. Yang Yi and the Prefect Imperial Secretariat, Liu Ba did not get along. Subsequently he was transferred to the remote region to be the Grand Administrator (tai shou) of Hong Nong.

In the third year of Jian Xing [AD 225], Prime Minister [Zhuge] Liang made him Advisor to the Army (can jun). After the affairs settled, [Zhuge Liang] went southward. In the fifth year [AD 227], he followed Zhuge Liang into Han Zhong. In the eighth year [AD 230], he was transferred to become Chief Clerk (chang shi) and appointed General who Soothes the Army (sui jun jiang jun). On Zhuge Liang’s many campaigns, Yang Yi would often perform his duties well. He was involved with the transportation of the supplies. With him, there was no delay, nor causes for worry making it convent. He handled military affairs well. Zhuge Liang deeply valued [Yang Yi’s] talents, as well as valued Wei Yan’s valiance and bravery. [Zhuge Liang] would often resent the fact that the two didn’t get along peacefully, and didn’t bear to take either side.

In the twelfth year [AD 234], [Yang Yi] accompanied Zhuge Liang to station at Gu Kou. Zhuge Liang died in enemy territory. Yang Yi was then in control of the army to retreat. He also put Wei Yan to death. He thought his merits were many and great. Enough to be suitable to replace Zhuge Liang’s authority [filling the vacuum]. 呼都尉趙正以周易筮, 卦得家人, 默然不悅. When Zhuge Liang was still alive, he indicated that Yang Yi’s nature was rash and narrow-minded. Instead thoughts were on Jiang Wan, Jiang Wan was to be the Prefect Master of Writing (shang shu ling) (II) and Inspector of Yi Zhou (yi zhou ci shi) (III). When Yang Yi arrived, he was made Instructor of the Central Army (zhong jun shi) with no actual command only appearance of rank.

(II): Sanguozhi scroll 44: Book of Shu 14: Jiang Wan’s SGZ bio.] Jiang Wan was promoted to the rank of Prefect Master of Writing and Inspector of Yi Zhou by Liu Shan after the death of Zhuge Liang. Further details can be found in Jiang Wan’s own bio.
The Master of Writing was responsible for drafting of Imperial Edicts; receiving instructions from the highest levels of the government; on occasion they may serve to investigate cases of impeachment or accusations. The Prefect Master of Writing earned a salary of one thousand shi. [Info was taken from Rafe De Crespigny’s Later Han Civil Administration.]
(III): As Inspector of Yi Zhou, Jiang Wan had the authority to inquire into the government of the commanderies (jun) and states (guo) under their jurisdiction. They could also report crimes and wrongdoings to the throne; but they do not take initiative on their own. There are exceptions to this depending on the situation. Supervising the province, the Inspector earned a salary of six hundred shi. [Info was taken from Rafe De Crespigny’s Later Han Civil Administration.]

Initially under [Liu Bei’s] reign Yang Yi held the rank of Master of Writing (shang shu), while [Jiang] Wan was Gentleman of the Master of Writing (shang shu lang). Afterwards [Yang Yi] was the Prime Minister’s [referring to Zhuge Liang] Chief Clerk (chang shi) and Advisor to the Army (can jun) and accompanied the latter’s expeditions.

Due to his merits, he thought his age and office was senior to Jiang Wan. Also his talents surpassed the latter. Thus his resentment and hatred was shown in his voice and expression. His sighs and groans came from his inner being. The people around him feared his speech and language so they didn’t dare venture close to him. Except for the Directing Instructor of the Rear Army (hou jun shi) Fei Yi who formerly comforted him. Yang Yi disliked Fei Yi and would often talk in front and behind him. He expressed to him saying: “Formerly when the Prime Minister had died, I could have taken the army over to Wei. Then I wouldn’t have came down to this predicament. Things can’t be changed, it really makes one regret the past!”

Fei Yi secretly reported [Yang Yi’s] words [to the throne]. In the thirteenth year [AD 235], Yang Yi was dismissed [from office] and banished to the Han Jia commandery as a commoner. Upon arrival he repeatedly sent up letters slandering. Thereupon [the grand administrator of the commandery] went to seize Yang Yi. Yang Yi committed suicide, after which his wife returned to Shu (1).

(1): According to Chu Guo Xian Xian Zhuan: Yang Yi’s elder brother was named [Yang] Lu styled Wei Fang. When he was young he was virtuous and was Jiang Nan guang mian (?). 州郡禮召, 諸公辟請, 皆不能屈. He died at a young age of seventeen. His fellow villages gave him a name as A Gentleman who Walks the Virtuous Path (de xing yang jun).

Copyright © 2003 jiuwan (Giao Chau)
Translated from Chen Shou’s Records of the Three Kingdoms annoted by Pei Songzhi