Battle of Jianwei

The Battle of Jianwei was fought between the contending states of Shu Han and Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period of China. The battle was also the third of a series of military campaigns against Wei launched by Shu's chancellor, Zhuge Liang. The battle concluded with a Shu victory and the capture of Wudu and Yinping commanderies, which were located near present-day Longnan, Gansu.

Battle of Jianwei
Part of the third of Zhuge Liang's Northern Expeditions
Zhuge Liang 3rd Northern Expedition.png
The third of Zhuge Liang's northern expeditions
DateFebruary – May 229[1]
Result Shu Han victory
Wudu and Yinping commanderies captured by Shu
Cao Wei Shu Han
Commanders and leaders
Guo Huai Zhuge Liang
Chen Shi
Battle of Jianwei
Traditional Chinese建威之戰
Simplified Chinese建威之战

The battleEdit

In the spring of 229, Zhuge Liang ordered Chen Shi to lead troops to attack the Wei-controlled Wudu (武都; near present-day Cheng County, Gansu) and Yinping (陰平; present-day Wen County, Gansu) commanderies,[2][3] In response, Guo Huai led his troops in an attempt to rescue those commanderies[3]Upon receiving news that the Wei general Guo Huai had mobilised his forces to attack Chen Shi, Zhuge Liang moved his army from Yangping Pass to Jianwei (建威; in present-day Longnan, Gansu) in the northwestern corner of Wudu Commandery.[4][3]

Later; Guo Huai and his troops withdrew. The Shu forces thus successfully captured Wudu and Yinping commanderies.[5][3]


When Zhuge Liang returned from the campaign, the Shu emperor Liu Shan issued an imperial decree to congratulate him on his successes in defeating Wang Shuang during the second Northern Expedition, forcing Guo Huai to flee, winning back the trust of the local tribes and capturing Wudu and Yinping commanderies during the third Northern Expedition. He also restored Zhuge Liang to the position of Imperial Chancellor (丞相).[3]

Achilles Fang's translation of Liu Shan's memorial is as follows:

"The fault at the battle of Jieting lay with Ma Su, but you held yourself responsible and demoted yourself drastically. Respecting your wishes, I complied with your principle. In the past year, you made our army illustrious and beheaded Wang Shuang. In the present year you led a campaign and put Guo Huai to flight, won the Di and the Qiang over to us, restored the two jun; your prowess has shaken the lawless, your achievements have become pre-eminent. At present, the Empire is in disorder and the chief criminal is not yet decapitated. To allow you, who are entrusted with a great work and important business of state, to remain demoted for a long time is not the way to glorify grand merit. I now reinstate you as chengxiang; do not refuse it."[3][6]

Following this battle, Cao Wei's state would launch their own campaign the next year called the Ziwu Campaign.[3][7]


  1. ^ Zizhi Tongjian vol. 71.
  2. ^ ([建興]七年,亮遣陳戒攻武都、陰平。) Sanguozhi vol. 35.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Sima (1084), vol. 71.
  4. ^ (魏雍州刺史郭淮率衆欲擊戒,亮自出至建威, ...) Sanguozhi vol. 35.
  5. ^ (... 淮退還,遂平二郡。) Sanguozhi vol. 35.
  6. ^ (詔策亮曰:「街亭之役,咎由馬謖,而君引愆,深自貶抑,重違君意,聽順所守。前年耀師,馘斬王雙;今歲爰征,郭淮遁走;降集氐、羌,興復二郡,威鎮凶暴,功勳顯然。方今天下騷擾,元惡未梟,君受大任,幹國之重,而乆自挹損,非所以光揚洪烈矣。今復君丞相,君其勿辭。」) Sanguozhi vol. 35.
  7. ^ (真當發西討,帝親臨送。) Sanguozhi vol. 9.
  • Chen, Shou (3rd century). Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi).
  • de Crespigny, Rafe (2003). The Three Kingdoms and Western Jin; a history of China in the Third Century AD. Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
  • Pei, Songzhi (5th century). Annotations to Records of the Three Kingdoms (Sanguozhi zhu).
  • Sima, Guang (1084). Zizhi Tongjian.