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The Divisions of Sima Qian's 'Shi Ji'

How Sima Qian Organized His History

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Shi Ji, by Sima Qian - First Page of Chinese Manuscript

Shi Ji, by Sima Qian - First Page of Chinese Manuscript

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An imperial bureaucrat of Han Dynasty China, the Grand Scribe Sima Qian wrote a history of the world -- from the Chinese perspective, at the turn of the second to first century B.C. This monumental work, known as Shi Ji 'Records of the Historian,' would have amounted to a few thousand pages in a language like English. Sima Qian divided the work into five parts and these in turn were subdivided, making a total of 130 chapters or volumes. Here are the main divisions and the 130 subdivisions of his magnum opus.

Source: Chinese Literature From China Knowledge

I. Basic Annals (pen chi/benji) to record the reigns of the emperors. 12 chapters.

  • 1 Wudi The Five Mythical Emperors
  • 2 Xia dynasty (20th-17th cent. B.C.)
  • 3 Yin (Shang) dynasty (17th-11th cent.)
  • 4 Zhou dynasty (11th cent.-221)
  • 5 Qin dynasty (pre-imperial) see: Ch'in or Qin Dynasty
  • 6 The First Emperor of Qin (r. 246/221-206) see: Emperor Ch'in
  • 7 The hegemonial king Xiang Yu (r. 206-202)
  • 8 Emperor Han Gaozu (r. 206/02-195)
  • 9 [Emperor Han Huidi (r. 195-188)] Empress Dowager Lü (r. 187-180)
  • 10 Emperor Han (Xiao-)Wendi (180-157)
  • 11 Emperor Han (Xiao-)Jingdi (r. 157-141)
  • 12 Emperor Han (Xiao-)Wudi (r. 141-87 [only until 93])

See Chinese Emperors

II. Chronological Tables (piao/biao). 10 chapters.

  • 13 Genealogical tree of the Three Ages (Xia, Shang, Zhou)
  • 14 Annual table of the 16 feudal rulers (of the Spring and Autumn period)
  • 15 Annual table of the 6 feudal states (of the Warring States period)
  • 16 Monthly table of the war between Chu and Han (206-202 B.C.)
  • 17 The imperial princes of Han
  • 18 The noblemen of early Han
  • 19 The noblemen during the reigns of Huidi and Jingdi
  • 20 The noblemen since the reign period Jianyuan (begin 140 B.C.)
  • 21 The imperial princes since the reign period Jianyuan
  • 22 Persons in the highest state offices of Han

III. Treatises (on rites, music, astronomy, and more) (shu). 8 chapters.

  • 23 Li Rites
  • 24 Yue Music
  • 25 Lü Harmony and measurements
  • 26 Li Calendar
  • 27 Tianguan Astronomy
  • 28 Fengshan The sacrifices to Heaven and Earth
  • 29 Hequ Rivers and canals
  • 30 Pingzhun Equalizing agronomical matters
Chinese Accomplishments

IV. Hereditary houses (shih-chia). 30 chapters.

  • 31 The house of Wu Taibo
  • 32 The house of Qi Taigong
  • 33 The house of Lu Zhougong
  • 34 The house of Yan Zhaogong
  • 35 The houses of Guan and Cai
  • 36 The house of Chen and Qi
  • 37 The house of Wei Kangshu
  • 38 The house of Song Weizi
  • 39 The house of Jin
  • 40 The house of Chu
  • 41 The house of Goujian, King of Yue
  • 42 The house of Zheng
  • 43 The house of Zhao
  • 44 The house of Wei
  • 45 The house of Han
  • 46 The house of Tian Jingzhong, also called Wan
  • 47 Kongzi (Confucius)
  • 48 Chen She
  • 49 Waiqi Empresses: Empress Lü, Empress Dowager Bo, Empress Dowager Dou, Empress Dowager Wang, Empress Wei, Empress Chen, Lady Wang, Lady Li, Ms Zhao called Lady Gouyi
  • 50 Prince Yuan of Chu
  • 51 The houses of Jing [Liu Jia] and Yan [Liu Ze]
  • 52 Prince Daohui of Qi
  • 53 Prime minister Xiao He
  • 54 Prime minister Cao Shen
  • 55 [Zhang Liang] Marquis of Liu
  • 56 Counselor-in-chief Chen Ping
  • 57 Zhou Bo, Marquis of Jiang
  • 58 Prince Xiao of Liang
  • 59 Wuzong The Five Lines [of the five wives of Emperor Jing, i.e. his sons Liu De (Prince Xian of Hexian), Liu E (Prince Ai of Linjiang), Liu Rong (Prince Min of Linjiang, Liu Yu (Prince Gong of Lu Liu Fei (Prince Yi of Jiangdu, Liu Duan (Prince Yu of Jiaoxi), Liu Pengzu (Prince Jingsu of Zhao), Liu Sheng (Prince Jing of Zhongshan), Liu Fa (Prince Ding of Changsha), Liu Yue (Prince Hui of Guangchuan), Liu Ji (Prince Kang of Jiaodong), Liu Qing (Prince Gong of Liu'an), Liu Cheng (Prince Ai of Qinghe), Liu Shun (Prince Xian of Changshan)]
  • 60 The houses of the three princes [part of the sons of Emperor Wu, namely Liu Hong (Prince Huai of Qi) Liu Dan (Prince Ci of Yan) and Liu Xu (Prince Li of Guangling)]

V. Collected biographies (lieh-chuan/liezhuan). 70 chapters.

  • 61 Boyi
  • 62 Guan Zhong and Yan Ying
  • 63 Laozi, [Zhuangzi, Shen Buhai,] and Han Fei
  • 64 Sima Rangju
  • 65 Sunzi and Wu Qi
  • 66 Wu Zixu
  • 67 Zhongni dizi The disciples of Zhongni (Confucius)
  • 68 Lord Shang Yang
  • 69 Su Qin
  • 70 Zhang Yi
  • 71 Chulizi, Gan Mao [and Gan Luo]
  • 72 The Marquis of Rang [Wei Ran]
  • 73 Bai Qi and Wang Jian
  • 74 Mengzi and Xun Qing (Xunzi)
  • 75 Lord Mengchang
  • 76 Lord Pingyuan and Yu Qing
  • 77 The son of the Duke of Wei [Lord Xinling]
  • 78 Lord Chunshen
  • 79 Fan Ju and Cai Ze
  • 80 Yue Yi
  • 81 Lian Po and Lin Xiangru
  • 82 Tian Dan
  • 83 Lu Zhonglian and Zou Yang
  • 84 Qu Yuan and Master Jia Yi
  • 85 Master Lu Buwei
  • 86 Cike The Assassins [Cao Mo, Zhuan Zhu, Yu Rang, Nie Zheng, and Jing Ke]
  • 87 Li Si
  • 88 Meng Tian
  • 89 Zhang Er and Chen Yu
  • 90 Wei Bao and Peng Yue
  • 91 Qing Bu [i.e Ying Bu]
  • 92 The Marquis of Huaiyin (Han Xin)
  • 93 Xin, King of Han, Lu Wan [and Chen Xi]
  • 94 Tian Dan
  • 95 Fan Kuai, Li Shang, Teng Ying (Xiahou Ying), and Guan Ying
  • 96 Chief counselor Zhang Cang
  • 97 Master Li (Li Yiji), Lu Jia [and Zhu Jian]
  • 98 Fu Kuan, Jin She and [the Marquis of] Kuaicheng [Zhou Xie]
  • 99 Liu Jing and Shusun Tong
  • 100 Ji Bu and Luan Bu
  • 101 Yuan Ang and Chao Cuo
  • 102 Zhang Shizhi and Feng Tang
  • 103 Wan Shijun [Wei Wan, Zhi Buyi, Zhou Wen] and Zhang Shu
  • 104 Tian Shu
  • 105 Pian Que and Master Cang
  • 106 Liu Pi, Prince of Wu
  • 107 [Dou Ying], Marquis of Weiqi and [Tian Fen], Marquis of Wu'an
  • 108 Han Changru
  • 109 General Li Guang
  • 110 The Xiongnu [barbarians]
  • 111 Cavalry general Wei Qing
  • 112 [Gongsun Hong] Marquis of Pingjin, and Zhufu Yan
  • 113 The Southern Yue [barbarians]
  • 114 The Eastern Yue [barbarians]
  • 115 Korea
  • 116 The barbarians in the southwest
  • 117 Sima Xiangru
  • 118 The [imperial princes] of Huainan [Liu Chang] and Hengshan [Liu Ci]
  • 119 Xunli The benevolent officials: Sunshu Ao, Zichan, Gong Yixiu, Shi She, Li Li
  • 120 Ji An and Zheng Dangshi
  • 121 Rulin The forest of scholars: Gongsun Hong, Master Shen (Shen Pei), Yuan Gu, Han Ying, Fu Sheng, Dong Zhongshu, Master Humu
  • 122 Kuli Cruel officials: Hou Feng, Zhi Du, Ning Cheng, Zhou Yangyou, Zhao Yu, Zhang Tang, Yi Zong, Wang Wenshu, Yin Qi, Yang Pu, Jian Xuan, Du Zhou
  • 123 The country of Dayuan
  • 124 Youxia Wandering knights: Lu Zhujia, Guo Jie
  • 125 Ningxing Flatterers: Ji Ru, Hong Ru, Deng Tong, Zhou Wenren, Liu Yan, Li Yannian
  • 126 Huaji Humorists: Chunyu Kun, You Meng, You Zhan, Dongfang Shuo
  • 127 Rizhe Soothsayers Sima Jizhu
  • 128 Guice Diviners
  • 129 Huozhi Profiteers: Fan Li, Zigan, Bai Gui, Wushi Guo, Mr and Ms Zhuo from Shu, Cheng Zheng, Mr Kong from Wan, Mr Bing from Lu, Dao Xian, Mr Ren from Xuanqu
  • 130 Taishigong zixu Postface and autobiography of the Grand Scribe [Sima Qian]

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