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Chinese Text Project Data wiki
-> 司馬遷

司馬遷[View] [Edit] [History]
ctext:760586

RelationTargetTextual basis
typeperson
name司馬遷
born-145
died-86
authority-cbdb439127
authority-viaf9817411
authority-wikidataQ9372
link-wikipedia_zh司馬遷
link-wikipedia_enSima_Qian
authority-sinica18369

Sima Qian (; ; – ) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty (206 – AD220). He is considered the father of Chinese historiography for his Records of the Grand Historian, a general history of China in the Jizhuanti style (紀傳體) covering more than two thousand years beginning from the rise of the legendary Yellow Emperor and the formation of the first Chinese polity to the reigning sovereign of Sima Qian's time, Emperor Wu of Han. As the first universal history of the world as it was known to the ancient Chinese, the Records of the Grand Historian served as a model for official history-writing for subsequent Chinese dynasties and the Chinese cultural sphere (Korea, Vietnam, Japan) up until the 20th century.

Sima Qian's father Sima Tan (司馬談) first conceived of the ambitious project of writing a complete history of China, but only completed some preparatory sketches at the time of his death. After inheriting his father's position as court historian in the imperial court, he was determined to fulfill his father's dying wish of composing and putting together this epic work of history. However, in 99 BC, he would fall victim to the Li Ling affair for speaking out in defense of the general, who was blamed for an unsuccessful campaign against the Xiongnu. Given the choice of being executed or castrated, he chose the latter in order to finish his historical work. Although he is universally remembered for the Records, surviving works indicate that he was also a gifted poet and prose writer, and he was instrumental in the creation of the Taichu calendar, which was officially promulgated in 104 BC.

As his position in the imperial court was "Grand Historian" (tàishǐ 太史, variously translated as court historian, scribe, or astronomer/astrologer), later generations would accord him with the honorific title of "Lord Grand Historian" (Tàishǐ Gōng 太史公) for his monumental work, though his magnum opus was completed many years after his tenure as Grand Historian ended in disgrace and after his acceptance of punitive actions against him, including imprisonment, castration, and subjection to servility. He was acutely aware of the importance of his work to posterity and its relationship to his own personal suffering. In the postface of the Records, he implicitly compared his universal history of China to the classics of his day, the Guoyu by Zuoqiu Ming, Lisao by Qu Yuan, and the Art of War by Sun Bin, pointing out that their authors all suffered great personal misfortunes before their lasting monumental works could come to fruition. Sima Qian is depicted in the Wu Shuang Pu (無雙譜, Table of Peerless Heroes) by Jin Guliang.

Read more...: Early life and education   As Han court official   The Li Ling affair   Later years and death   Records of the Grand Historian   Format   Influences and works influenced   Innovations and unique features   Literary figure   Other literary works   Astronomer/astrologer   Family   Unsubstantiated descendants  

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史記creator
史記creator

TextCount
兩漢三國學案3
文昌雜錄1
史諱舉例1
新唐書2
御定佩文齋書畫譜1
隋書2
萇楚齋三筆1
明史4
全唐文2
漢書4
四庫全書總目提要5
文獻通考(明嘉靖寶旭堂刊本)9
資治通鑑3
後漢書8
直齋書錄解題12
元史1
宋書1
史記1
宋史16
URI: https://data.ctext.org/entity/760586 [RDF]

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