Zhugeliang was a deified figure. This article can let us realize the suspicious side of this god man.
The fifty third chapter of the romance of the Three Kingdoms wrote that Liu Bei captured Changsha and subdued Huang Zhong and Wei Yanhou. Zhugeliang said to Liu Bei, “Wei Yan has a bone in his head and will turn against him after a long time.” Although this theory is a fiction of novelist Luo Guanzhong, it is also close to realism. Zhugeliang had doubts about Wei Yan and refused to put him in an important position. He took the opportunity to get rid of him. As a result, Yang Yi took the opportunity to kill Wei Yan for the crime of so-called “rebellion”. Wei Yan was an important pillar of the Shu Han Dynasty. It is really unfair and regrettable that he suffered such bad luck. History is just, so we should use historical facts to correct Wei Yan’s name and vindicate him.
Wei Yan was a good minister who was loyal to the Shu Han Dynasty and was highly relied on and valued by Liu Bei. Wei Yan was born in the army. In his early years, he led his subordinates to Sichuan with Liu Bei. He wanted to make some contributions to the restoration of the Han Dynasty. Therefore, he made many military achievements and continued to rise. In the 20th year of Jian’an of Emperor Xian of Han Dynasty (AD 215), Liu Bei captured Hanzhong, granted Hanzhong king and moved to Chengdu. A general was needed to guard Hanzhong. All the generals thought that Zhang Fei was the only one. Zhang Fei also wanted to guard Hanzhong; However, Liu Bei made an exception and promoted Wei Yan as the general of Zhenyuan in Hanzhong, leading the Hanzhong prefect. The whole army was shocked. For Shuhan, Hanzhong and Jingzhou are the two wings of Yizhou, and Hanzhong is an important gateway, so its strategic position is very important. Liu Bei chose Wei Yan to defend Hanzhong, which shows the importance of Wei Yan in Liu Bei’s mind. Once, Liu Bei asked Wei Yan at a meeting of Ministers: how can you take on the important task of appointing Qing? He replied with indignation: if Cao Cao brings the power of the world, let me refuse it for the king; If Cao Cao has a hundred thousand generals coming, let me swallow them for the king! Indeed, he “took orders in the face of adversity to fight against the outside world and protect the national territory” (Annals of the Three Kingdoms · Shu Shu · Yang’s drama Biography) “, and lived up to his trust. During the six years of guarding Hanzhong, even the first-class generals Zhang Jia and Cao Zhen of the Wei Dynasty dared not look at Hanzhong. In 221 ad, Liu Bei proclaimed himself Emperor and worshipped Weiyan as a general in Zhenbei. In the first year of Jianxing (AD 227) of the Shu Han Dynasty, Yan became the front of the capital, leading the prime minister Sima and the governor of Liangzhou. In the eighth year of Jianxing (A.D. 230), Wei Yanxi entered the Qiang, fought with Fei Yao and Guo Huai, the famous generals of the state of Wei, and won a complete victory in Yangxi. Later, the Lord moved him to the former military division and enlisted the western general. During the holiday, he was granted the Marquis of Nanzheng.
Wei Yan was a resourceful and brave military genius, but he was questioned and suppressed by Zhugeliang. It can be said that Wei Yan’s military strategy was inferior to that of Guan, Zhang, Ma, Huang and Zhao. Every time Wei Yan set out to fight, he asked himself to lead 10000 troops and attack separately from Zhugeliang. Zhugeliang never allowed him. What is more regrettable is that in the sixth year of Jianxing (AD 228), the first northern expedition, Wei Yanxian’s “midnight noon trick”, Zhugeliang abandoned it and missed the opportunity. At that time, Liu Bei had died. The state of Wei despised Shu Han and mainly dealt with the eastern Wu. The defense in Guanzhong was weak. The son-in-law of Emperor Wen of Wei guarded Guanzhong. Xiahou, a mediocre talent who “had no martial arts skills but was good at governing students”, was actually guarding Guanzhong. After comprehensively analyzing the situation between ourselves and the enemy and the favorable opportunity at that time, Wei Yan put forward: “Today, there are 5000 elite soldiers. They go straight out of the commendation. They follow the Qinling Mountains to the East. When the noon comes to the north, they can only reach Chang’an in ten days. They will abandon the city and flee. Only the imperial censor and the Jingzhao prefect have ears in Chang’an. The Hengmen palace and the valley of scattered people are surrounded by food. It will be about 20 days before they meet in the East, and the public will be able to reach it from the inclined valley. In this way, the west of Xianyang can be settled.” (notes to Wei Lue in the annals of the Three Kingdoms, Shu Shu and Wei yanzhuan) however, Zhugeliang thought that this plan was very dangerous, so he might as well take the west of Gansu first. When he left Qishan, the “commentators all said that it was appropriate for Wei Yan and Wu Yi to be the pioneers”. However, Zhugeliang “disobeyed all others to pull Su” (Annals of the Three Kingdoms, Shu Shu, biography of Ma Liang), that is, Ma Su, who “overstated the truth, should not be used much” (Liu Bei’s last words, the quotation is the same as the above), led the troops to fight with Zhang Jia, a famous general of the state of Wei, and he did not go to the front to direct himself. As a result, Jieting was defeated, and the only good opportunity for Shuhan was lost. The first Northern Expedition failed, but the “sleeping lion” was awakened. Emperor Wei Ming immediately transferred the incompetent Xiahou to guard Guanlong. Later, Sima Yi, Zhugeliang’s powerful enemy, arrived in Sichuan under the command of Cao Zhen. From then on, the possibility of Shu Han conquering Guanlong became less and less. It is unknown how many times the danger of Wei Yan’s “midnight noon trick” is different from that of Deng AI, the general of the state of Wei. Wei Yanjiu guarded Hanzhong for a long time. Perhaps he had already made reconnaissance of the Ziwu Valley route and military information. Deng AI, however, was forced to reach a dead end. “He has traveled more than 700 miles from the Yin Ping Road to an uninhabited place. He has dug mountain passages and built bridges and pavilions. The mountains are high and the valleys are deep, which is extremely difficult. The grain transportation will be in short supply, which is often in danger. AI Yi wrapped himself in felt and pushed down. All the officers and men climbed the wooden edge cliff and fished into it” (Annals of the Three Kingdoms · Wei Shu · biography of Deng AI), seizing Jiangyou, conquering mianzhou and attacking Chengdu. It was Deng AI’s dangerous move that killed Shu Han. During the five northern expeditions in his life, Zhugeliang always adopted the stable fighting method of “conquering everything without danger” (notes to Wei Lue in the annals of the Three Kingdoms, Shu Shu Shu and Wei yanzhuan), and blindly pursued the so-called gradual and orderly development of the conventional art of war, which not only “failed to reach a close place”, but made Wei generals know his strategy like the palm of his hand. After the failure of the first northern expedition, Cao Zhen predicted that Zhugeliang would “follow Chencang at the back of the mountain and make general Haozhao and Wang Sheng defend Chencang and govern the city”. The second Northern Expedition in the spring of the next year was indeed the case. Haozhao led more than a thousand people to block tens of thousands of Shu troops and was defeated by Haozhao. In the 12th year of Jianxing (AD 234), Zhugeliang made his last northern expedition. He went out of the inclined Valley and stationed troops in the southern plain of the Weihe River. Sima Yi said to the generals: “if Liang is good at martial arts, he can worry about the east by the mountain. If he goes to the western plain for five Zhangs, the generals will have nothing to do.” (Zizhi Tongjian Vol. 72) Liang Guotun’s five Zhangs of land, and Yi is the reason for Guo Huai to retreat. Numerous facts have proved that Zhugeliang “is not good at making changes” (Annals of the Three Kingdoms, Shu Shu, biography of Zhugeliang). If he had used Wei Yan’s “Zi Wu Qi Ji” in those days, it would have been possible for him to overcome the danger, and the history of the Three Kingdoms might have to be rewritten – but history cannot be assumed.
Zhugeliang conspired against Wei Yan, and Yang Yi took the opportunity to frame Wei Yan, which finally led to the largest injustice and tragedy in the history of Shu Han. As we all know, Yang Yi and Wei Yan hold their own abilities and have been at odds. Zhugeliang often reconciled in order to achieve balance. Finally, I also want to borrow the contradiction between Yang and Wei to get rid of Wei Yan. It is doomed that Wei Yan will become the victim of “Yang Mou” who cannot fight “conspiracy”. Maybe it’s character that decides fate! Let’s look at the essence through the phenomenon: when Zhugeliang was critically ill, he held a secret military conference to arrange his withdrawal plan after his death. Only long Shi Yangyi, Sima feishen and the guard Jiang Wei attended such an important meeting, excluding Wei Yan, who had a high rank and title. Zhugeliang decided that Wei Yandian would stop and pursue the enemy, Jiang Wei would be the deputy general, and Yang Yi would be the retreat commander; If Wei Yan disobeyed, the army still acted as planned. This provides an opportunity for Yang Yi to plot against Wei Yan. After Zhugeliang’s death, Yang Yimi did not lose heart. He sent Fei Yi to speculate on Wei Yan’s intentions, seized Wei Yan’s fatal weakness of being arrogant, and led the snake out of the cave by means of fraud and fierce generals, which provoked Wei Yan into a rage. Before Yang Yi withdrew, he led his troops to the south. Yang Yi then sent Ma Dai to pursue him for treason and kill the three Yans. Didn’t Zhugeliang borrow Yang Yi’s hand to take Wei Yan’s head? Weiyan still wanted to report to the imperial court and accuse Yang Yi of rebellion. He hoped that public opinion would support his position as acting prime minister. He had no rebellious heart at all. If you rebel, why not go north to Wei? It was Yang Yi who later regretted that he did not lead his troops to Wei and wrote a libel against the imperial court. He was eventually exiled and committed suicide because he did not get the position of prime minister (Zhugeliang had already realized that Yang Yi was narrow-minded and could not be the prime minister).
After Liu Bei’s death, Zhugeliang was revered as the father of Liu Chan for more than ten years. Using the power in his hands, he took a series of covert and obscure means to restrain and suppress Wei Yan’s many suggestions and actions until he took the opportunity. The main reason was his suspicion. He was afraid that later leader Liu Chan would not control Wei Yan and cause trouble in the future, At the same time, he also cleared away obstacles for his designated successors Jiang Wan and Fei Yi, who “inherited the rules of Zhugeliang, followed them but did not reform” (comments of the author of the biography of Jiang Wan and Fei Yi in the annals of the Three Kingdoms · Shu Shu Shu).
Finally, I would like to say a few more words. The later leader Liu Chan is not a “helpless ah Dou”. He knows people well and is good at handling their duties, which is quite the legacy of his father. If Wei Yan is not wronged, the later Lord will certainly give him the same reuse and reliance as the former Emperor. Wei Yan will also do his best to repay the former Emperor for his kindness. Please listen to Wei Yan’s bold words after he received the order from the empress of the temple: why should the death of one person abolish the affairs of the world? (Annals of the Three Kingdoms · Shu Shu · Wei yanzhuan) means to swear: continue the Northern Expedition and resolutely complete the great cause of restoring the Han Dynasty!