Sima Qian ?145BC-c.90BC

Chinese historian of the Han dynasty and author of the Shi ji [Records of the Grand Historian]. Sima Qian's father, Sima Tan, was given the position of grand historian at the court of Emperor Wu shortly after his accession in 141BC. At Sima Tan's death in 110BC Sima Qian succeeded to the post. The official duties of the grand historian seem to have been largely connected with astrology and divination, although Sima Tan planned to write a work of history and began to collect material for it. In accordance with his father's request, Sima Qian took up the task after his father's death and spent the next twenty-some years bringing it to completion. Midway in his work, he aroused the ire of Emperor Wu and was condemned to suffer castration. The result of his labour is a monumental work in 130 chapters covering the history of the Chinese people, as well as of the foreign peoples known to China, from the earliest times down to the lifetime of the historian.

Works available in English:

  • Historical Records (Raymond Dawson). Oxford; New York: Oxford University
       Press, 1994.
  • Records of the grand historian of China (Burton Watson). New York: Columbia
       University Press, 1961.
  • Records of the Historian (Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang). Hong Kong:
       Commercial Press, 1974.
  • Records of the Historian: the four lords of the warring states (Tang Nguok
       Kiong). Singapore: Asiapac, 1990.
  • Selections from Records of the Historian (Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang).
       Peking: Foreign Language Press, 1979.
  • The Complete Works of Han Fei tzu : a classic of Chinese political science
       (W.K. Liao). London: A. Probsthain, 1939.
  • The Confucius (Lin Yutang). New York: Illustrated Modern library, c1943.
  • The Grand Scribe's Records (Tsai-fa Cheng ... et al). Bloomington: Indiana
       University Press, 1994.
  • The Wisdom of Confucius (Lin Yutang). London: Joseph, 1938.
  • War-lords (William Dolby and John Scott). Edinburgh: Southside, 1974.