Yan Shigu (Chinese: 顏師古; pinyin: Yán Shīgǔ; Wade–Giles: Yen Shih-ku) (581–645), formal name Yan Zhou (顏籀), but went by the courtesy name of Shigu, was a famous Chinese author and linguist of the Tang Dynasty.
Yan was born in Wannian (萬年, now under Xi'an, Shaanxi jurisdiction), his ancestry was originally from Langya (琅邪, now under Linyi, Shandong jurisdiction). Yan's grandfather Yan Zhitui was an official under the Northern Qi, after the fall of Northern Qi, Zhitui became an official of the Northern Zhou, and moved his families to Guanzhong. His son Yan Silu (顏思鲁), Yan's father, was also an official, and served under the residence of Li Shimin.
Yan was well-read during his youth and was familiar in philology. He was recommended by Li Gang (李綱) and was given a post at Anyang county (now Xiangfan, Hubei) during the reign of Emperor Wen of Sui. One of his father old friend, Xue Daoheng (薛道衡), was very impressed by Yan's talent, and often asked for his review on his new works. For some reason, he was deposed later and took a residence at Chang'an, during the next ten years he lived in a poverty life and participate in teaching career. He was later granted several important official posts during the Tang Dynasty. Yan was promoted when Li Shimin was ascended to the throne, but resumed his duty after his mother's funeral.
Through years of struggling, he was then demoted, but was subsequently ordered to revisal the Five Classics in the library. He wrote commentaries on several Chinese classic texts such as the Shiji and Hanshu. According to New Book of Tang, he died on the route during an expedition to Goguryeo in 645.
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