Posted 15 May 2005 - 12:08 PM
It wasn't true. The SGZ says that Jiang Wei was separated from his mother after he went over to the Shu-Han. An annotation from another contemporary source states that the Wei later spared his mother and family because he hadn't intended to defect. Another annotation says that Jiang's mother wrote to him asking him to send her the medicinal herb danggui 当归 (a word play on the phrase "you should return"). Jiang Wei replied in a letter, "One mou of land matters little in a plot of 100 qing [1 qing = 100 mou], and danggui means nothing to my yuanzhi 远志('great ambitions', another word play on a herb name)." So he was no filial son.
But yes, Jiang Wei did not really intend to defect at first - he was forced to defect by the paranoia of jittery officials. There are two versions of how this happened:
1) The prefect of Tianshui, Ma Zun, had led an army out to meet Zhuge Liang, and Jiang Wei was in it as the head of the military staff. But the prefect suspected that Jiang and his subordinates were intending to switch sides, so Ma fled back to Tianshui in the night. In the morning, Jiang and his men found the Prefect gone, and returned to Tianshui. Ma Zun refused to let them in. Jiang then led them to his home county of Ji 冀, but the people there wouldn't let him in either. So he had no choice but to join Zhuge Liang.
2) Guo Huai, governor of Yongzhou 雍州, was withdrawing east to Shanggui 上邽 to avoid Zhuge Liang's attack. Ma Zun feared that the people of Ji county would rebel if he went back to Tianshui, so he went with Guo Huai. Jiang Wei tried to persuade him to go back to Ji, but Ma instead said, "I won't trust you people - you're all rebels!" Jiang Wei had no choice but to go back to Ji, since his family was there. The people of Ji were overjoyed to see him and forced him to go and meet Zhuge Liang. Zhuge was impressed by him, and when the Shu-Han vanguard was defeated at Jieting, he brought Jiang Wei back to Shu-Han. Jiang did not really have a choice in the matter.
So Cardinal009: Jiang Wei was driven into the arms of Shu-Han by Ma Zun, rather than making a conscious career move. That's probably one of the drawbacks of assigning foreigners to be local officials. It avoids nepotism and private spheres of influence, but can create a sense of alienation between the official and his local staff.
The dead have passed beyond our power to honour or dishonour them, but not beyond our ability to try and understand.