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Jiang Wei
Character information
Force(s): Wei
Significant Battle(s):
Historical information
Real name: Jiang Wei
Chinese name: 姜维
Born: 202
Died: 264

Jiang Wei was a Shu strategist.


Jiang Wei was originally a Wei commander who served under the Governor of Tianshui, Ma Zun. Jiang Wei was known as "The Prodigy of Tianshui" for his intellect and was admired by both friend and foe. In AD 227, Zhuge Liang made his first northern expedition into Hanzhong, intending to gain the officers Jiang Wei, Liang Xu, and Yin Shang. Jiang Wei fought Zhuge Liang himself, but his generals Zhu Ling and Hu Zhi were defeated without Jiang Wei being touched, so Ma Zun shut Tianshui Castle's gates so that Jiang Wei was stuck in between the Shu and the locked doors. Jiang Wei surrendered to Zhuge Liang, who offered to share with him his knowledge that had given him his renown. Jiang Wei became an equal to Zhuge, and headed north five times with him, fighting in all of his battles. In AD 234, at the Wu Zhang Plains, Jiang Wei took command of the Shu army after Zhuge Liang passed away and led a fighting retreat, ending the last of Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions. Jiang Wei promised him that he would conquer Wei and make Liu Bei's dream a reality, and was so committed to that promise that he would try to invade Wei. Jiang Wei's first northern expedition in 240. In 249, shortly after the Shu commander-in-chief Wang Ping died. So he gained full authority over Shu's fighting forces. At Mt. Niuzhu, his northern campaign neared success, but his army ran out of supplies and was forced to withdraw. The next time he invaded was AD 253, after Shu regent Fei Yi died and he became regent over the weak Shu Emperor Liu Shan. During that Northern Expedition, he lost Zhang Ni, a veteran general of Shu, but managed to kill off Xu Zhi and Guo Huai, two major Wei commanders. He used the support of the Qiang tribes to defeat the Wei main force before he was forced to withdraw yet again. In AD 255, after the death of Wei's Regent-Marshal Sima Shi, Jiang Wei headed north again at the Tao River. Since the Wei commander, Sima Zhao, was inexperienced, Jiang Wei was able to inflict a defeat on the Wei army before Liu Shan ordered his withdrawal because of unrest over the mass mobilization of Shu troops. But since he had not lost that much troops, he campaigned against Wei shortly after at Duan Gu. His opponents were Deng Ai and Zhong Hui, two experienced Wei commanders. He managed to defeat Deng Ai, who was rescued by Zhong Hui, and later vice versa. But he was militarily defeated following Wei reinforcements that drove him off. Jiang Wei prepared yet another invasion force in AD 258 during Zhuge Dan's Rebellion, since Wei's main army was devoted to crushing the uprising far from Hanzhong. Jiang Wei's invasion of Guangzhong was nearly successful had it not been for the defection of the Qiang tribe to Wei. He lost his only chance to exploit a rebellion to conquer Wei, and his next invasion in AD 262 at Taoyang was much harder. However, he had Deng Ai pinned down after taking the nine camps at Qishan, but the Shu eunuch Huang Hao forced him to withdraw the units after a triple edict. Jiang Wei was upset with the emperor for taking his advice, claiming that the Ten Eunuchs were coming back to haunt Shu. But he did not execute Huang Hao due to his weeping. Jiang Wei was not able to launch another northern campaign because Shu was invaded the next year, and was preoccupied with the defense of Shu Han. Though the Shu fought to the death, Wei devastated Shu and subjugated it. Jiang Wei soon became friends with the Wei general Zhong Hui, who had defeated him at Duangu, and the two signed a declaration of independence in Shu. Their rebellion was met by Sima Zhao, and Zhong Hui was assassinated by Wei Guan, while Jiang Wei committed suicide.