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Shiji 史記 "Records of the Grand Scribe"

The Shiji 史記 "Records of the [Grand] Scribe" is a very famous universal history of early China and the first of the official dynastic histories (zhengshi 正史). It is the first history of China written in a biographic-thematic style (jizhuanti 紀傳體) in which biographies of different type, treatises and tables are combined. The original name of the book was Taishigong shu 太史公書 "The book of the Master Grand Scribe" or Taishiji 太史記 "Records of the Grand Scribe". These titles are derived from the office the two compilers occupied, namely that of the official dynastic court scribes (taishi 太史) of the Former Han dynasty 前漢 (206 BC- 8 AD), Sima Tan 司馬談 (d. ca. 110 BCE) and his son Sima Qian 司馬遷 (145-86 BC). Sima Tan who had access to the imperial library and the official documents stored there planned to write a universal history but was not able to finish his work and entrusted the completion to his son.
The Shiji covers a very long time period, ranging from the mythological "Yellow Emperor" Huangdi 黃帝 (trad. r. 2697-2597 BCE), the Xia 夏 (17th-15th cent. BCE, trad. 2205-1766), Shang 商 (17th-11th cent. BCE, trad. 1766-1122), Zhou 周 (11th cent.-221 BCE, trad. 1122-221) and Qin 秦 (221-206 BC) dynasties down to the contemporary period. It ends in the year 93 BCE. The main focus is on the Warring States period 戰國 (5th cent.-221 BCE) and the Qin and the Han dynasties.
According to the postface (130 Taishigong zixu 太史公自序), the autobiography of Sima Qian, the book contains 130 juan "scrolls", of which 12 juan are imperial biographies (本紀 benji), ten juan tables (表 biao), eight juan treatises (書 shu), 30 juan biographies of the feudal houses of the Zhou period as well as of eminent persons (世家 shijia), and 70 juan normal and collective biographies (列傳 liezhuan).
The imperial biographies are internally arranged like annals where the most important events and edicts are recorded. For the oldest periods of time the dynasties are treated in one juan, while from the First Emperor of Qin 秦始皇 (r. 246/221-210 BCE; 6 Qin Shihuang benji 秦始皇本紀) on each person has his/her own imperial biography. Two surprises catch the reader concerning the imperial biographies. Firstly, after the downfall of the Qin dynasty there were several warlords contesting for emperorship. One of them was Liu Bang 劉邦 (Emperor Han Gaozu 漢高祖, r. 206/02-195 BCE), the eventual founder of the Han dynasty, and another was Xiang Yu 項羽, the "hegemonial king of West-Chu" (Xichu bawang 西楚霸王) who at that time was a superior of Liu Bang. Although eventually becoming the loser of the game Xiang Yu is granted an own imperial biography (7 Xiang Yu benji 項羽本紀). This circumstance shows that historiography can also be truthful, as Xiang Yu was the more or less official ruler of China between 206 and 202 BCE (he appointed the various warlords to their royal fiefs), and not Liu Bang, but it also shows that Sima Qian did probably not favour Liu Bang as a person. Another rebel against the Qin dynasty, Chen She 陳涉, is dealt with in a hereditary biography (48 Chen She shijia 陳涉世家). Secondly, Emperor Huidi 漢惠帝 (r. 195-188 BCE) is not granted an own imperial biography but his reign is included into the biography of his mother (9 Lü taihou benji 呂太后本紀), the Empress Dowager Lü 呂太后 who, even after her son's death and the subsequent reign of two infant emperors, never ruled officially but was entrusted with the affairs of government as a regent (linchao shezheng 臨朝攝政).
The tables provide a lot of information about the genealogies of the feudal lords during the Warring States period, the war between Liu Bang and Xiang Yu for the empire, as well as the various princes, noblemen and highest officials of the early Han dynasty.
The treatises give an overview of the most important matters of statecraft. Most of them served as models for the later dynastic histories, but the treatise of the offerings for Heaven and Earth (28 Fengshan shu 封禪書) are unique because very few emperors undertook the travel to the summit of Mt. Tai 泰山. It occupies a very important place in the Shiji because Emperor Wu 漢武帝 (r. 141-87 BCE) invested a huge state ceremony for this undertaking.
The shijia hereditary biographies are in first instances the chronicles of the feudal states of the Zhou period. Their titles normally include the founder of the feudal house, in most cases the person enfeoffed with the feudal domain at the beginning of the Zhou period. For the feudal state of Qi 齊 two biographies are presented (32 Qi Taigong shijia 齊太公世家 and 46 Tian Jingzhong Wan shijia 田敬仲完世家) because the house of Tian usurped the throne of Qi. The chapters 50-52 and 58-60 are the biographies of imperial princes of the Han dynasty. Another category of persons for which hereditary biographies are written are the high ministers serving the Han dynasty in her founding period. Those were Xiao He 蕭何, Cao Shen 曹參, Zhang Liang 張良, Chen Ping 陳平, and Zhou Bo 周勃 (chapters 53-57). Another hereditary biography is dedicated to the empresses and their relatives (49 Waiqi shijia 外戚世家). In this chapter Empress Dowager Lü shows up again. Another very important person whose biography is reported in a hereditary biography, is Confucius (47 Kongzi shijia 孔子世家).
The normal biographies are arranged chronologically and are either dedicated to one single person, as for instance that for the mighty minister of Qin, Sima Rangju (64 Sima Rangju liezhuan 司馬穰苴列傳), or as collective biographies to a group of persons who belong together, like the generals Bai Qi and Wang Jian (73 Bai Qi Wang Jian liezhuan 白起王翦列傳) or Mengzi and Xunzi 荀子, both disciples of Confucius (74 Mengzi Xun Qing liezhuan 孟子荀卿列傳). The titles of the chapters do not always refer to all persons included, like chapter 63 Laozi Han Fei liezhuan 老子韓非列傳 which does not only deal with Laozi and Han Fei also presents the lifes of Zhuangzi 莊子 and Shen Buhai 申不害. Very typical for the Shiji are nevertheless the collective biographies of otherwise not very famous persons. Many of these have been adopted as a model by later dynastic histories, like the collective biography of benevolent officials (119 Xunli liezhuan 循吏列傳), that of cruel officials (122 Kuli liezhuan 酷吏列傳), or that of the "Forest of scholars" (121 Rulin liezhuan 儒林列傳). Yet there are also many collective biographies uniquely to be found in the Shiji, like the assassins (86 Cike liezhuan 刺客列傳), the wandering knights (124 Youxia liezhuan 游俠列傳), the flatterers (125 Ningxing liezhuan 佞幸列傳), the humorists (126 Huaji liezhuan 滑稽列傳), or the profiteers (129 Huozhi liezhuan 貨殖列傳). A last group of "biographies" is to be mentioned. This are the descriptions of foreign peoples and foreign countries, genres imitated by all later dynastic histories. These chapters describe the Xiongnu (110 Xiongnu liezhuan 匈奴列傳), the Southern (113 Nanyue liezhuan 南越列傳) and Eastern Yue (114 Dongyue liezhuan 東越列傳), the Yi barbarians in the southwest (116 Xinanyi liezhuan 西南夷列傳), and the foreign countries of Korea (115 Chaoxian liezhuan 朝鮮列傳) and Dayuan (123 Dayuan liezhuan 大宛列傳).
For the compilation of the Shiji father and son Sima made use of a vast treasury of sources. For the Spring and Autumn (770-5th cent. BCE) and the Warring states periods they used sources also otherwise known, like the Chunqiu-Zuozhuan 春秋左傳 "Zuo Qiuming's commentary to the Spring and Autumn annals", the Guoyu 國語 "Discourses of the states" and Zhanguoce 戰國策 "Stratagems of the Warring States", but also sources long since lost, like the Chu-Han chunqiu 楚漢春秋 or the Shiben 世本 "Generational records" which is only transmitted in several reconstructed versions. For the contemporary events archival sources were at their disposal.
From the beginning the Shiji was occupied an eminent position in historiography and was read by dozens of generations and imitated by later historians. After the death of Sima Qian it was his relative Yan Yunzu 楊惲祖 who kept the original and helped distributing it. Nevertheless during the Later Han period there were already 10 juan missing. Zhang Yan 張晏 from the Cao-Wei empire 曹魏 (220-265) identified the missing chapters (the biographies of the emperors Jing 漢景帝 and Wu, the treatises on ritual, on music, and one on military [Bingshu 兵書, missing], a table on generals and prime ministers from the beginning of the Han period [Han xing yilai jiangxiang nianbiao 漢興以來將相年表, missing], and the biographies of the soothsayers [127 Rizhe liezhuan 日者列傳], the diviners [128 Guice liezhuan 龜策列傳], the biography of Fu Kuan and Jin She [98 Fu Jin liezhuan 傅靳列傳], as well as that of the Three Princes [60 Sanwang liezhuan 三王世家]) and found out that they had been supplemented by the late Former Han period historian Chu Suiliang 褚遂良 (courtesy name Shaosun 少孫) and were not originally written by Sima Qian, at least not a part of the chapters. That a part of the missing chapters has indeed been added is clear from the words "Master Chu says" which are inserted in the respective chapters.
Three important commentaries (sanjia zhu 三家注) have been written to the Shiji. These are the Shijie jijie 史記集解 by Pei Yin 裴駰 from the Liu-Song period 劉宋 (420-479), in 80 juan, the Shiji suoyin 史記索隱 by Sima Zhen 司馬貞 from the Tang period 唐 (618-907), in 30 juan, and the Shiji zhengyi 史記正義 by the Tang period historian Zhang Shoujie 張守節 in 30 juan. Although originally separately written they are normally inserted into the corresponding chapters of the main text. There are some newer commentaries of which the following shall be mentioned: Shiji zhiyi 史記志疑 by the Qing period 清 (1644-1911) scholar Liang Yusheng 梁玉繩, and Shiji huizhu kaozheng 史記會注考證 by the Japanese scholar Takigawa Sukenobu 瀧川資言, with a supplement by Mizusawa Toshitada 水澤利忠.
The oldest surviving print was made by the Southern Song period 南宋 (1127-1279) scholar Huang Shanfu 黃善夫. This excellent print served as the origin for the Bona edition 百衲 of the Shangwu yinshuguan press 商務印書館. Other good printings are the Nanbeijian 南北監 print of the 21 dynastic histories from the Ming period 明 (1368-1644), the print of the 17 dynastic histories by the Jiguge Library 汲古閣, and the print of the 24 dynastic histories from the Wuying Hall 武英殿, the imperial library of the Qing dynasty. In the 19th century the Jinling press 金陵書局 made another print, based on Zhang Wenhu's 張文虎 composition of different editions of the Shiji, based on Qian Taiji's 錢泰吉 revision. This edition contains many printing errors. The Zhonghua press 中華書局 published a modern edition in 1959.

Source: Wu Shuping 吳樹平 (1992). "Shiji 史記", in: Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史, vol. 2, pp. 936 f. Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe.

1.-12. Benji 本紀 Imperial Biographies 1-12:
1. 五帝本紀 Wudi The Five Mythical Emperors
2. 夏本紀 Xia dynasty (20th-17th cent. BCE)
3. 殷本紀 Yin (Shang) dynasty (17th-11th cent.)
4. 周本紀 Zhou dynasty (11th cent.-221)
5. 秦本紀 Qin dynasty (pre-imperial)
6. 秦始皇本紀 The First Emperor of Qin (r. 246/221-206)
7. 項羽本紀 The hegemonial king Xiang Yu (r. 206-202)
8. 高祖本紀 Emperor Han Gaozu (r. 206/02-195)
9. 呂太后本紀 [Emperor Han Huidi (r. 195-188)] Empress Dowager Lü (r. 187-180)
10. 孝文本紀 Emperor Han (Xiao-)Wendi (180-157)
11. 孝景本紀 Emperor Han (Xiao-)Jingdi (r. 157-141)
12. 孝武本紀 Emperor Han (Xiao-)Wudi (r. 141-87 [only until 93])
13.-22. Biao 表 Tables 1-10:
13. 三代世表 Genealogical tree of the Three Ages (Xia, Shang, Zhou)
14. 十二諸侯年表 Annual table of the 16 feudal rulers (of the Spring and Autumn period)
15. 六國年表 Annual table of the 6 feudal states (of the Warring States period)
16. 秦楚之際月表 Monthly table of the war between Chu and Han (206-202 BCE)
17. 漢興以來諸侯王年表 The imperial princes of Han
18. 高祖功臣侯者年表 The noblemen of early Han
19. 惠景閒侯者年表 The noblemen during the reigns of Huidi and Jingdi
20. 建元以來侯者年表 The noblemen since the reign period Jianyuan (begin 140 BCE)
21. 建元已來王子侯者年表 The imperial princes since the reign period Jianyuan
22. 漢興以來將相名臣年表 Persons in the highest state offices of Han
23.-30. Shu 書 Treatises 1-8:
23. 禮書 Li Rites
24. 樂書 Yue Music
25. 律書 Harmony and measurements
26. 曆書 Li Calendar
27. 天官書 Tianguan Astronomy
28. 封禪書 Fengshan The sacrifices to Heaven and Earth
29. 河渠書 Hequ Rivers and canals
30. 平準書 Pingzhun Equalizing agronomical matters
31.-60. Shijia 世家 Biographies of the Feudal Houses and Eminent Persons 1-30:
31. 吳太伯世家 The house of Wu Taibo
32. 齊太公世家 The house of Qi Taigong
33. 魯周公世家 The house of Lu Zhougong
34. 燕召公世家 The house of Yan Zhaogong
35. 管蔡世家 The houses of Guan and Cai
36. 陳杞世家 The house of Chen and Qi
37. 衛康叔世家 The house of Wei Kangshu
38. 宋微子世家 The house of Song Weizi
39. 晉世家 The house of Jin
40. 楚世家 The house of Chu
41. 越王句踐世家 The house of Goujian, King of Yue
42. 鄭世家 The house of Zheng
43. 趙世家 The house of Zhao
44. 魏世家 The house of Wei
45. 韓世家 The house of Han
46. 田敬仲完世家 The house of Tian Jingzhong, also called Wan
47. 孔子世家 Kongzi (Confucius)
48. 陳涉世家 Chen She
49. 外戚世家 Waiqi Empresses: Empress Lü 呂后, Empress Dowager Bo 薄太后, Empress Dowager Dou 竇太后, Empress Dowager Wang 王太后, Empress Wei 衛皇后, Empress Chen 陳皇后, Lady Wang 王夫人, Lady Li 李夫人, Ms Zhao called Lady Gouyi 鉤弋夫人趙氏
50. 楚元王世家 Prince Yuan of Chu
51. 荊燕世家 The houses of Jing [Liu Jia 劉賈] and Yan [Liu Ze 劉澤]
52. 齊悼惠王世家 Prince Daohui of Qi
53. 蕭相國世家 Prime minister Xiao He 蕭何
54. 曹相國世家 Prime minister Cao Shen 曹參
55. 留侯世家 [Zhang Liang 張良] Marquis of Liu
56. 陳丞相世家 Counselor-in-chief Chen Ping 陳平
57. 絳侯周勃世家 Zhou Bo, Marquis of Jiang
58. 梁孝王世家 Prince Xiao of Liang
59. 五宗世家 Wuzong The Five Lines [of the five wives of Emperor Jing, i.e. his sons Liu De 劉德 (Prince Xian of Hexian 河間獻王), Liu E 劉閼 (Prince Ai of Linjiang 臨江哀王), Liu Rong 劉榮 (Prince Min of Linjiang 臨江閔王), Liu Yu 劉餘 (Prince Gong of Lu 魯恭王), Liu Fei 劉非 (Prince Yi of Jiangdu 江都易王), Liu Duan 劉端 (Prince Yu of Jiaoxi 膠西于王), Liu Pengzu 劉彭祖 (Prince Jingsu of Zhao 趙敬肅王), Liu Sheng 劉勝 (Prince Jing of Zhongshan 中山靖王), Liu Fa 劉發 (Prince Ding of Changsha 長沙定王), Liu Yue 劉越 (Prince Hui of Guangchuan 廣川惠王), Liu Ji 劉寄 (Prince Kang of Jiaodong 膠東康王), Liu Qing 劉慶 (Prince Gong of Liu'an 六安共王), Liu Cheng 劉乘 (Prince Ai of Qinghe 清河哀王), Liu Shun 劉舜 (Prince Xian of Changshan 常山憲王)]
60. 三王世家 The houses of the three princes [part of the sons of Emperor Wu, namely Liu Hong 劉閎 (Prince Huai of Qi 齊懷王), Liu Dan 劉旦 (Prince Ci of Yan 燕剌王) and Liu Xu 劉胥 (Prince Li of Guangling 廣陵厲王)]
61.-129 Liezhuan 列傳 Biographies and Collective Biographies 1-70:
61. 伯夷列傳 Boyi
62. 管晏列傳 Guan Zhong 管仲 and Yan Ying 晏嬰
63. 老子韓非列傳 Laozi, [Zhuangzi 莊子, Shen Buhai 申不害,] and Han Fei
64. 司馬穰苴列傳 Sima Rangju
65. 孫子吳起列傳 Sunzi and Wu Qi
66. 伍子胥列傳 Wu Zixu
67. 仲尼弟子列傳 Zhongni dizi The disciples of Zhongni (Confucius)
68. 商君列傳 Lord Shang Yang 商鞅
69. 蘇秦列傳 Su Qin
70. 張儀列傳 Zhang Yi
71. 樗里子甘茂列傳 Chulizi, Gan Mao [and Gan Luo 甘羅]
72. 穰侯列傳 The Marquis of Rang [Wei Ran 魏冉]
73. 白起王翦列傳 Bai Qi and Wang Jian
74. 孟子荀卿列傳 Mengzi and Xun Qing (Xunzi 荀子)
75. 孟嘗君列傳 Lord Mengchang
76. 平原君虞卿列傳 Lord Pingyuan and Yu Qing
77. 魏公子列傳 The son of the Duke of Wei [Lord Xinling 信陵君]
78. 春申君列傳 Lord Chunshen
79. 范睢蔡澤列傳 Fan Ju and Cai Ze
80. 樂毅列傳 Yue Yi
81. 廉頗藺相如列傳 Lian Po and Lin Xiangru
82. 田單列傳 Tian Dan
83. 魯仲連鄒陽列傳 Lu Zhonglian and Zou Yang
84. 屈原賈生列傳 Qu Yuan and Master Jia Yi 賈誼
85. 呂不韋生列傳 Master Lü Buwei
86. 刺客列傳 Cike The Assassins [Cao Mo 曹沫, Zhuan Zhu 專諸, Yu Rang 豫讓, Nie Zheng 聶政, and Jing Ke 荊軻]
87. 李斯列傳 Li Si
88. 蒙恬列傳 Meng Tian
89. 張耳陳餘列傳 Zhang Er and Chen Yu
90. 魏豹彭越列傳 Wei Bao and Peng Yue
91. 黥布列傳 Qing Bu [i.e. Ying Bu 英布]
92. 淮陰侯列傳 The Marquis of Huaiyin (Han Xin 韓信)
93. 韓信盧綰列傳 Xin, King of Han, Lu Wan [and Chen Xi 陳豨]
94. 田儋列傳 Tian Dan
95. 樊酈滕灌列傳 Fan Kuai 樊噲, Li Shang 酈商, Teng Ying 滕嬰 (Xiahou Ying 夏侯嬰), and Guan Ying 灌嬰
96. 張丞相列傳 Chief counselor Zhang Cang 張蒼
97. 酈生陸賈列傳 Master Li (Li Yiji 酈食其), Lu Jia [and Zhu Jian 朱建]
98. 傅靳蒯成列傳 Fu Kuan 傅寬, Jin She 靳歙 and [the Marquis of] Kuaicheng [Zhou Xie 周緤]
99. 劉敬叔孫通列傳 Liu Jing and Shusun Tong
100. 季布欒布列傳 Ji Bu and Luan Bu
101. 袁盎晁錯列傳 Yuan Ang and Chao Cuo
102. 張釋之馮唐列傳 Zhang Shizhi and Feng Tang
103. 萬石張叔列傳 Wan Shijun 萬石君, [Wei Wan 衛綰, Zhi Buyi 直不疑, Zhou Wen 周文,] and Zhang Shu
104. 田叔列傳 Tian Shu
105. 扁鵲倉公列傳 Pian Que and Master Cang
106. 吳王濞列傳 Liu Pi 劉濞, Prince of Wu
107. 魏其武安侯列 [Dou Ying 竇嬰], Marquis of Weiqi, and [Tian Fen 田蚡], Marquis of Wu'an
108. 韓長孺列傳 Han Changru
109. 李將軍列傳 General Li Guang 李廣
110. 匈奴列傳 The Xiongnu [barbarians]
111. 衛將軍驃騎列傳 Cavalry general Wei Qing 衛青
112. 平津侯主父列傳 [Gongsun Hong 公孫弘], Marquis of Pingjin, and Zhufu Yan 主父偃
113. 南越列傳 The Southern Yue [barbarians]
114. 東越列傳 The Eastern Yue [barbarians]
115. 朝鮮列傳 Korea
116. 西南夷列傳 The barbarians in the southwest
117. 司馬相如列傳 Sima Xiangru
118. 淮南衡山列傳 The [imperial princes] of Huainan [Liu Chang 劉長] and Hengshan [Liu Ci 劉賜]
119. 循吏列傳 Xunli The benevolent officials: Sunshu Ao 孫叔敖, Zichan 子產, Gong Yixiu 公儀休, Shi She 石奢, Li Li 李離
120. 汲鄭列傳 Ji An 汲黯 and Zheng Dangshi 鄭當時
121. 儒林列傳 Rulin The forest of scholars: Gongsun Hong 公孫弘, Master Shen (Shen Pei 申培), Yuan Gu 轅固, Han Ying 韓嬰, Fu Sheng 伏勝, Dong Zhongshu 董仲舒, Master Humu 胡毋
122. 酷吏列傳 Kuli Cruel officials: Hou Feng 侯封, Zhi Du 郅都, Ning Cheng 寧成, Zhou Yangyou 周陽由, Zhao Yu 趙禹, Zhang Tang 張湯, Yi Zong 義縱, Wang Wenshu 王溫舒, Yin Qi 尹齊, Yang Pu 楊僕, Jian Xuan 減宣, Du Zhou 杜周
123. 大宛列傳 The country of Dayuan
124. 游俠列傳 Youxia Wandering knights: Lu Zhujia 魯朱家, Guo Jie 郭解
125. 佞幸列傳 Ningxing Flatterers: Ji Ru 籍孺, Hong Ru 閎孺, Deng Tong 鄧通, Zhou Wenren 周文仁, Liu Yan 劉嫣, Li Yannian 李延年
126. 滑稽列傳 Huaji Humorists: Chunyu Kun 淳于髡, You Meng 優孟, You Zhan 優旃, Dongfang Shuo 東方朔
127. 日者列傳 Rizhe Soothsayers: Sima Jizhu 司馬季主
128. 龜策列傳 Guice Diviners
129. 貨殖列傳 Huozhi Profiteers: Fan Li 范蠡, Zigan 子贛, Bai Gui 白圭, Wushi Guo 烏氏倮, Mr and Ms Zhuo from Shu 蜀卓氏, Cheng Zheng 程鄭, Mr Kong from Wan 宛孔氏, Mr Bing from Lu 魯邴氏, Dao Xian 刀閒, Mr Ren from Xuanqu 宣曲任氏
130. 太史公自序 Taishigong zixu Postface and autobiography of the Grand Scribe [Sima Qian]
Exemplarious translation:
The first example is the translation of one year of the reign of emperor Han Wudi. It is compared with the same year in the Hanshu, the official dynastic history of the Han dynasty. It can be seen that while the Shiji account is much more narrative, the Hanshu has a very short and bureaucratic style of historiography.

上遂東巡海上,行禮祠八神。四月,還至奉高。上念諸儒及方士言封禪人人殊,不經,難施行。天子至梁父,禮祠地主。乙卯,令侍中儒者皮 弁薦紳,射牛行事。封泰山下東方,如郊祠泰一之禮。封廣丈二 尺,高九尺,其下則有玉牒書,書祕。禮畢,天子獨與侍中奉車 子侯上泰山,亦有封.其事皆禁。明日,下陰道.丙辰,禪泰山下阯東北肅然山,如祭后土禮。 天子皆親拜見,衣上黃而盡用樂焉。天子從封禪還,坐明堂,群臣更上壽.
Imperial Biographies: No. 12, Biography of the Filial Emperor Xiao-Wudi the Martial (r. 140-87 BC)
Translated by Ulrich Theobald
The emperor traveled, and then went eastwards, where he passed along and inspected the sea-cost. He made sacrifices and offerings to the Eight Spirits... In the fourth month, the emperor came back to Fenggao, where he thought about the words of the scholars and the magicians about the fengshan sacrifices for Heaven and Earth, that were all so confusing and misleading that is would be impossible to follow them. Thereupon the emperor went to the Liangfu summit to sacrifice the Lord of the Land, or Dizhu. On the day yimao, he ordered the official secretaries to wear their leather caps and the pinned official clothes and to perform the ritual shooting of oxen. In the east of Mount Tai, he had an altar erected for the Heavenly sacrifice that had to be performed like the sacrifice to the Great Unity in the suburbs. The altar was two zhang wide and nine zhang high, at the base of the altar a precious book-case was lying, but nobody knew what its content was. When the sacrifice was finished, the Son of Heaven alone with only a few secretaries and riding the carriage of (Huo) Zihou ascended Mount Tai to perform the feng sacrifice to Heaven once more. The performance of the sacrifice was thoroughly secret. On the next day he descended on the northern slope of the mountain. On the day bingchen, the emperor performed the chan sacrifice to the Earth at the north eastern corner of Mount Suran, like the sacrifice for the Mother Earth, or Houtu, is performed. All was performed by the emperor himself. We wore yellow clothes, and all ceremonies were accompanied by music... When the Son of Heaven came back from the fengshan sacrifices, he seated himself in the Clear Hall, where all ministers and officials wished him a long life.
夏,漢改曆,以正月為歲首,而色上黃,官名更印章以五字。因為太初元年。是歲,西伐大宛。蝗大起。丁夫人、雒陽虞初等以方祠詛匈奴、大宛焉。 In the summer, the Han dynasty corrected the calendar and took the first month as the beginning of the year. The color of the dynasty was changed up to yellow, the official titles and the official seals were altered with the Five as leading number. The year was thus called the first year of the rule tilte "Great Commencing". During this year, the Han empire attacked Ferghana (Dayuan). A huge flock of locusts arose. Lady Ding and a wife from Luoyang called Yu Chu used sorcery as a means of casting spells against the Xiongnu and the realm of Ferghana.
Hanshu, Imperial Biographies: No. 6, Biography of Emperor Wudi
translated by Homer Dubs
The emperor traveled, and then went eastwards, where he passed along and inspected the sea-cost. In the summer, the fourth month, on the day guimao, the emperor returned, and ascended and performed the sacrifice feng upon Mount Tai. The emperor descended the mountain and seated himself in the Clear Hall.
五月,正歷以正月為歲首,色上黃,數用五。定官名,協音律。遣因杅將軍 公孫敖築塞外受降城。秋八月行幸安定,遣貳師將軍李廣利發天下?民西征大宛。蝗從東方飛至敦煌。 In the summer, the fifth month, the emperor corrected the calendar and took the first month as the beginning of the year; among the colors, he took yellow as the ruling color, and among the numbers, he used five. He fixed official titles and harmonized the sounds of the musical pipes. The emperor sent the General of Yinyu, Gongsun Ao, to buld the fortress Shouxiang outside of the barriers. In the autumn, the eight month, the emperor traveled and favored the commandery Anding. He sent the General of Sutrishna (Ershi), Li Guangli, to mobilize the reprobated common people of the empire, to go west and make an expedition against Ferghana (Dayuan). Locusts flew from the eastern quarter and reached Dunhuang commandery.
<史記表>14.<十二諸侯年表第二> Table No. 2, The Twelve Fiefdoms
Translated by Ulrich Theobald
周 Zhou 十七 17th (year of King Ling 周靈王 = 555 BCE)
魯 Lu 十八 18th (year of Duke Xiang 魯襄公) 與晉伐齊。 [Lu] attacked Qi together with Jin.
齊 Qi 二十七 27th (year of Duke Ling 齊靈公) 晉圍臨淄。晏嬰。 Jin besieged [the capital] Linzi. Master Yan Ying [acted as the duke of Qi's advisor].
晉 Jin 三 3rd (year of Duke Ping 晉平公) 率魯、宋、鄭、衛圍齊,大破之。 [Jin] led Lu, Song, Zheng and Wei to besiege Qi, and thoroughly defeated [Qi].
秦 Qin 二十二 23rd (year of Duke Jing 秦景公)
楚 Chu 五 5th (year of King Kang 楚康王) 伐鄭。 [Chu] attacked Zheng.
宋 Song 二十一 21st (year of Duke Ping 宋平公) 晉率我伐齊。 Jin led us, [Song,] in a campaign against Qi.
衛 Wey 四 4th (year of Duke Shang 衛殤公)
陳 Chen 十四 14th (year of Duke Ai 陳哀公)
蔡 Cai 三十七 37th (year of Marquis Jing 蔡景侯)
曹 Cao 二十三 23rd (year of Duke Cheng 曹成公) 成公薨。 Duke Cheng passed away.
鄭 Zheng 十一 11st (year of Duke Jian 鄭簡公) 晉率我圍齊。楚伐我。 Jin led us, [Zheng,] in a siege campaign against Qi. Chu attacked us.
燕 Yan 十九 19th (year of Duke Wu 燕武公) 武公薨。 Duke Wu passed away.
吳 Wu 六 6th (year of King Zhufan 吳王諸樊)
Treatises: No. 6, Treatise about the sacrifice for Heaven and Earth
Translated by Burton Watson
When the First Emperor (r. 246/221-210) was ascending Mount Tai he encountered a violent wind and rain storm halfway up the slope and had to stop for a while under large trees. The Confucian scholars, who had been dismissed and were not allowed to take part in the ritual of the feng sacrifice to Heaven, hearing of the Emperor's encounter with the storm, promptly used it as a basis to speak ill of him.
於是始皇遂東遊海上,行禮祠名山大川及八神,求僊人羨門之屬。八神將自古而有之,或曰太公以來作之。 齊所以為齊,以天齊也.其祀絕莫知起時。八神:一曰天主,祠天齊。天齊淵水,居臨菑南郊山下者。二曰 地主,祠泰山梁父。蓋天好陰,祠之必於高山之下,小山之上,命曰「畤」;地貴陽,祭之必於澤中圜丘云。 The First Emperor then proceeded east on his journey as far as the borders of the sea, stopping along the way to perform rituals and sacrifices to the various mountains and great rivers and to the Eight Spirits, and searching for immortal spirits such as Xianmen and his companions. The Eight spirits appear to have existed from ancient times. Some people say that their worship was begun at the time of the Great Duke, the first lord of the state of Qi at the beginning of the Zhou dynasty. But since the sacrifices were later discontinued, no one knows exactly when they originated. Of the Eight spirits, the first was called the Lord of Heaven, or Tianzhu; sacrifices to him were offered at the Navel of Heaven. The Navel of Heaven, or Tianqi, is the name of a spring situated at the foot of a mountain in the southern suburbs of the city of Linzi. It is said that the state of Qi takes its name from this place. The second was called Lord of the Land, or Dizhu, and was sacrificed to at Liangfu near Mount Tai. It appears that since Heaven loves the yin, the principle of darkness, it must be worshiped at the foot of a high mountain or on top of a small hill, at a place called an "altar"; while because Earth honors the yang, the principle of light, the sacrifices to it must always be conducted on a round hill in the midst of a lowland.
Biographies of Eminent Persons: No. 9, The House of Jin
Translated by Ulrich Theobald
In the fifteenth year of his reign, Duke Dao the Mournful of Jin (r. 573-558 BC) asked Shi Kuang about government, who said: "Benevolence and righteousness shall be the base of your politics." In the winter, Duke Dao died, and his son Biao followed as the later Duke Ping the Appeaser (r. 558-532). In the first year of Duke Ping's reign, he attacked Qi. Jin met with the armies of Duke Ling the Clever (r. 582-554) to battle at Mixia. The army of Qi was defeated, soldiers started to run away. Master Yan told the Duke of Qi: "My Lord, don't be too foolhardy, why don't you stop battling?" The Duke stopped fighting and withdraw. The troops of Jin followed them and besieged Linzi, the capital of Qi, burned down the houses and massacred the people. In the east, the troops of Jin reached Jiao and advanced to the south until they came to Yi, but when Qi was able to defend all its cities, the troops of Jin withdraw.
晏平仲嬰者,萊之夷維人也。事齊靈公﹑莊公﹑景公,以節儉力行重於齊。既相齊,食不重肉,妾不衣帛。 其在朝,君語及之,即危言;語不及之,即危行。國有道,即順命;無道,即衡命。以此三世顯名於諸侯。
Biographies: No. 2, Biographies of Guan (Zhong) and Yan (Ying)
Translated by Ulrich Theobald
Yan Pingzhong, also named Ying, was of barbarian descent of the old country of Lai. He served the Dukes Ling the Clever (r. 582-555 BC), Zhuang the Dignified (r. 554-549) and Jing the Luminous (r. 548-491) of Qi. Because of his austerity and his efforts, he was greatly appreciated by the people of Qi. When he became prime minister of Qi, he did not eat meat, and his wifes did not wear silk. At the court, when the Lord asked him for his advice, he answered very carefully, but when he was not asked, he at least behaved very carefully. When the state was running on the right path, he behaved according to his position, but when the state did not run on the right way, he weighed and measured his position. Doing this, he could make the three generations of rulers he served the most famous under all the rulers of their time.
越石父賢,在縲紲中。晏子出,遭之塗,解左驂贖之,載歸。弗謝,入閨。久之,越石父請絕。晏子戄然,攝衣冠謝曰:「嬰雖不仁,免子於?,何子求絕之速也?」石父曰:「不然。吾聞君子詘於不知己而信於知己者。吾在縲紲中,彼不知我也。夫子既已感寤而贖我,是知己;知己而無禮,固不如在縲紲之中。」晏子於是延入為上客。 Yue Shifu was a capable man, but because of some crime, he was in prison. When Master Yan once went out and met him on the way, he loosened a horse from his carriage and ransomed him. Together, they went home, and Master Yan let him stay in his house for a very long time without giving him farewell. Finally, Yue Shifu wanted to leave his host. Master Yan was surprised, took off his robe and cap and said to him, apologizing: "Although I am not very benevolent, I helped you to get out of great trouble. Why do you want to leave me that early?" Shifu answered: "Don't talk like this. I heard, your eminence is mistrusted by people that do not know themselves, and you are trusted by people that know themselves. When I was in prison, these people did not understand me. But you had a really feeling for me and freed me, that is knowing oneself. Knowing oneself, but acting without politeness, that is shurely not as bad as being in chains." Thereupon, Master Yan asked him to be one of his retainers.
Chinese literature according to the four-category system

3 July, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail