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Jiang Xu

Jiang Xu
General Who Pacifies the Barbarians
In office
? (?) – ? (?)
MonarchEmperor Xian of Han
ChancellorCao Cao
Personal details
Tianshui, Gansu
RelationsYang Fu (relative)
Childrenone unnamed son
Courtesy nameBoyi (伯弈)

Jiang Xu (fl. 211–213), courtesy name Boyi, was a military general who lived in the late Eastern Han dynasty of China. He is best known for his involvement in the conflict between the warlord Ma Chao and the Han central government (under the control of the warlord Cao Cao) in the 210s CE.[1]


Jiang Xu was from Tianshui Commandery (天水郡), which is around present-day Tianshui, Gansu. He was very close to his relative,[a] Yang Fu, whom he grew up with. Yang Fu served as a subordinate of Wei Kang, the Inspector (刺史) of Liang Province (covering parts of northwestern China).[3]

In 211, a coalition of warlords from northwestern China, under the leadership of Ma Chao and Han Sui, started a rebellion in Liang Province against the Han central government, which was headed by Cao Cao. Cao Cao's forces defeated Ma Chao and the coalition at the Battle of Tong Pass.[4]

In the subsequent years, Ma Chao, with support from the Qiang tribes and the warlord Zhang Lu, constantly raided and attacked the lands in Liang Province. At the time, Wei Kang was stationed in Liang Province's capital, Ji (兾; also called Jicheng, in present-day Gangu County, Gansu), which came under siege by Ma Chao. As the siege dragged on, Wei Kang took pity on the plight of the defenders and civilian population, so in 213 he surrendered to Ma Chao – against the advice of Zhao Ang, Yang Fu and his other subordinates. After taking over the city, Ma Chao killed Wei Kang, seized control of Liang Province, and forced Wei Kang's subordinates to submit to him.[4]

At the time, Jiang Xu held the appointment General Who Pacifies the Barbarians (撫夷將軍) and was stationed in the county of Li (歷; also called Licheng, within present-day Tianshui, Gansu). Yang Fu secretly harboured the intention of avenging Wei Kang, so when his wife died, he used her death as an excuse to take leave from work. He then visited Jiang Xu and his mother in Li county. During the visit, Yang Fu lamented about how Ma Chao had committed atrocities and occupied Liang Province illegitimately, and expressed his desire to get rid of Ma Chao. Jiang Xu's mother agreed with what Yang Fu said, and urged her son to support Yang Fu in the name of righteousness. Yang Fu and Jiang Xu secretly contacted several others, including Wei Kang's former subordinates, and made plans to force Ma Chao out of Liang Province. The others involved in the plot included: Jiang Yin (姜隱), Zhao Ang, Yin Feng (尹奉), Yao Qiong (姚瓊), Kong Xin (孔信), Li Jun (李俊), Wang Ling (王靈), Liang Kuan (梁寬), Zhao Qu (趙衢), Pang Gong (龐恭), and Yang Fu's relatives Yang Yue (楊岳) and Yang Mo (楊謨).[5][6]

In late 213, Jiang Xu and Yang Fu started a rebellion against Ma Chao in another county, Lu (鹵; also called Lucheng, in present-day southeastern Gansu). At the same time, Zhao Qu and the others who were with Ma Chao in Ji City pretended to urge Ma Chao to suppress the rebellion. Ma Chao then led troops from Ji City to attack Lu County in an attempt to suppress the revolt. After failing to retake Lu County, Ma Chao decided to return to Ji City. However, while he was away, Zhao Qu, Liang Kuan and the others had seized control of Ji City and killed his wife and child(ren). In anger, Ma Chao led his forces to attack Li County, where Jiang Xu's family members were. The defenders at Li County heard that Ma Chao had fled to Hanzhong Commandery after his defeat so they lowered their guard. They mistook Ma Chao for Jiang Xu, and unsuspectingly allowed him to enter. Ma Chao occupied Li County by force and captured Jiang Xu's mother and son. Jiang Xu's mother scolded Ma Chao, "You're an unfilial son who betrays his own father and a treacherous villain who murders his superior. Heaven and Earth will not forgive you. You should die immediately. How dare you look at me straight in the eye!" The enraged Ma Chao killed her and Jiang Xu's son and then burnt down Li County.[7][8] Jiang Xu's subsequent fate was not recorded in history.

See also


  1. ^ The exact relationship between Jiang Xu and Yang Fu is unclear. The Sanguozhi mentioned that they were half-brothers (same mother but different fathers), while the Lie Nü Zhuan recorded that they were cousins (Yang Fu's mother was Jiang Xu's paternal aunt).[2]


  1. ^ de Crespigny (2007), p. 361.
  2. ^ (臣松之案:謐稱阜為叙姑子,而本傳云叙為阜外兄,與今名內外為不同。) Pei Songzhi's annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 25.
  3. ^ Sanguozhi vol. 25.
  4. ^ a b Sima (1084), vol. 66.
  5. ^ (阜內有報超之志,而未得其便。頃之,阜以喪妻求葬假。阜外兄姜叙屯歷城。阜少長叙家,見叙母及叙,說前在兾中時事,歔欷悲甚。叙曰:「何為乃爾?」阜曰:「守城不能完,君亡不能死,亦何面目以視息於天下!馬超背父叛君,虐殺州將,豈獨阜之憂責,一州士大夫皆蒙其恥。君擁兵專制而無討賊心,此趙盾所以書殺君也。超彊而無義,多釁易圖耳。」叙母慨然,勑叙從阜計。計定,外與鄉人姜隱、趙昂、尹奉、姚瓊、孔信、武都人李俊、王靈結謀,定討超約,使從弟謨至兾語岳,并結安定梁寬、南安趙衢、龐恭等。) Sanguozhi vol. 25.
  6. ^ (皇甫謐列女傳曰:姜叙母者,天水姜伯弈之母也。建安中,馬超攻兾,害涼州刺史韋康,州人悽然,莫不感憤。叙為撫夷將軍,擁兵屯歷。叙姑子楊阜,故為康從事,同等十餘人,皆略屬超,陰相結為康報仇,未有閒。會阜妻死,辭超寧歸西,因過至歷,候叙母,說康被害及兾中之難,相對泣良乆。姜叙舉室感悲,叙母曰:「咄!伯弈,韋使君遇難,豈一州之恥,亦汝之負,豈獨義山哉?汝無顧我,事淹變生。人誰不死?死國,忠義之大者。但當速發,我自為汝當之,不以餘年累汝也。」因勑叙與阜參議,許諾,分人使語鄉里尹奉、趙昂及安定梁寬等,令叙先舉兵叛超,超怒,必自來擊叙,寬等因從後閉門。) Lie Nü Zhuan annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 25.
  7. ^ (約誓旣明,十七年九月,與叙起兵於鹵城。超聞阜等兵起,自將出。而衢、寬等解岳,閉兾城門,討超妻子。超襲歷城,得叙母。叙母罵之曰:「汝背父之逆子,殺君之桀賊,天地豈乆容汝,而不早死,敢以面目視人乎!」超怒,殺之。) Sanguozhi vol. 25.
  8. ^ (約誓以定,叙遂進兵入鹵,昂、奉守祁山。超聞,果自出擊叙,寬等從後閉兾門,超失據。過鹵,叙守鹵。超因進至歷,歷中見超往,以為叙軍還。又傳聞超以走奔漢中,故歷無備。及超入歷,執叙母,母怒罵超。超被罵大怒,即殺叙母及其子,燒城而去。) Lie Nü Zhuan annotation in Sanguozhi vol. 25.
  • 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.
  • Pei, Songzhi (5th century). Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).
  • Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.