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China Perspectives
Sima Guang & Zizhi Tongjian
14/12/2010 05:34:08    Author : kathyby66@gmail.com    Browse : 922

Sima Guang & Zizhi Tongjian

Sima Guang (1019-1086), also known as Junshi, Yusou and Sir Sushui. His family originated from the town of Sushui, Xia county, Shan province (present city of Yuncheng, Shanxi) in the Bei Song Dynasty. He was born in the Guangshan county, province of Henan. In the 1st year of Baoyuan (1038), he was a successful candidate in the imperial examination and was given the title of Jinshi. He held several positions in the royal court during the reign of Ren Zong and was a Longtuge Scholar at the time of Ying Zong. During the reign of Shen Zong, he became a member of the Imperial Academy and held a secretary position in the royal court. In the third year of Xining (1070), he was demoted to be a magistrate in the Yongxingju district because of his disagreement with Wang an shi"s reform policies. The next year, he became a Censor and lived at Luoyang for 15 years and compiled the Zi Zhi Tong Jian. After Zhe Zong acceded the throne, his original position in the royal court was restored. In the 8th year of Yuan Feng (1085), he became the prime minister, abolished the new reform policies, re-instated the formal officials and ministers in the government. He passed away eight month after. His posthumous title was called "Wenzheng". He was bestowed the title Taishi and Wenguo Gong. His works were collected in the Collected Literature of Sima Wenzheng Gong. His biography is in the chronicle History of Song.

Zizhi Tongjian
Zizhi Tongjian was the first ever grand chronicle completed in the Chinese history, compiled by Sima Guang and his colleagues. It recorded a total of 1362 years of history from 403 B.C. to 959 A.D. There are 294 volumes of books, 30 volumes of bibliography, and 30 volumes of Kao Yi. The chronicle gathered information from a broad scope of resources. Besides the official history books, it also collected information from over 320 history books of unofficial sources. In the first year of Zhi Ping (1064), Sima Guang compiled the initial 25 volumes of Linian Tu and presented to the emperor Ying Zong. In the next two years, he compiled five volumes of the History of Zhou and three volumes of the History of Qin, totalling eight volumes, based on an ancient record Shi Ji. Ying Zong was very pleased with them, and ordered a special bureau to be built, and provided funding and recruited more members to work on the chronicle. Sima Guang let Liu Ban compile the history of the Han Dynasty, Liu Su compile the history of Wei, Jin, and Nan Bei Dynasties, and Fan Zu Yu compile the history of Sui, Tang and Wu Dai Dynasties. At the end, Sima Guang integrated them together to complete the chronicle. His son Sima Kang did its collation. In the 7th year of Yuanfeng (1084), the chronicle was completed. Shen Zong bestowed its name Zi Zhi Tong Jian, and wrote its preface. Sima Guang started compiling the chronicle in 1066, and finished it in 1084, which is a time span of nineteen years.


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