List of chapters in Records of the Grand Historian

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This is a list of chapters of the Records of the Grand Historian (Shiji), written by the Han dynasty historian Sima Qian.

In all, the Records is about 526,000 Chinese characters long, making it four times longer than Thucydides' History of the Peloponnesian War, and longer than the Old Testament.[1][2] Sima Qian organized the chapters of Records of the Grand Historian into five categories, each comprising a section of the book: Annals, Tables, Treatises, Hereditary Houses, and Ranked Biographies.


Benji (本紀, annals), 12 volumes. Royal biographies in strict annalistic form that offer an overview of the most important events, especially from the time of the Zhou dynasty to that of the emperor of the Han dynasty.

Number Title Translation Notes
1 五帝本紀 Annals of the Five Emperors Traditional view of prehistoric China, beginning from the Yellow Emperor
2 夏本紀 Annals of Xia Xia Dynasty
3 殷本紀 Annals of Yin Shang (Yin) Dynasty
4 周本紀 Annals of Zhou Zhou Dynasty
5 秦本紀 Annals of Qin State of Qin
6 秦始皇本紀 Annals of Qin Shi Huang Qin Dynasty
7 項羽本紀 Annals of Xiang Yu
8 高祖本紀 Annals of Gaozu Emperor Gaozu of Han, 206-195 BC
9 呂太后本紀 Annals of Empress Dowager Lü Empress Lü Zhi (regent 195-180 BC)
10 孝文本紀 Annals of the Xiaowen Emperor Emperor Wen of Han, 179-157 BC
11 孝景本紀 Annals of the Xiaojing Emperor Emperor Jing of Han, 156-141 BC
12 孝武本紀 Annals of the Xiaowu Emperor Emperor Wu of Han, 140-87 BC. Originally named Annals of His Majesty (今上本紀).[3]


Biao (表, tables), 10 tables: overview of the reigns of the successive lords of the feudal states from the time of the Zhou dynasty till that of the early Han. At the same time the most important events of their reigns are mentioned.

Number Title Translation Notes
13 三代世表 Genealogical Table of the Three Ages From the Yellow Emperor's time to the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties
14 十二諸侯年表 Yearly Chronicle of the Feudal Lords The lords who ruled the twelve feudal states in the Spring and Autumn period
15 六國年表 Yearly Chronicle of the Six States The six feudal states in the Warring States period
16 秦楚之際月表 Monthly Table of (the Events) between Qin and Chu The war between the feudal states of Qin and Chu
17 漢興以來諸侯王年表 Yearly Table of the Nobles of the Imperial Clan since the Han Dynasty's Founding Nobles of the imperial family who held titles of nobility
18 高祖功臣侯者年表 Yearly Table of the Officials who became Marquises in the Time of Gaozu Officials who received marquis titles in the time of Emperor Gaozu of Han
19 惠景閒侯者年表 Yearly Table of the Officials who became Marquises between the Reigns of Emperor Hui and Emperor Jing Officials who received marquis titles from 194 to 141 BC
20 建元以來侯者年表 Yearly Table of the Officials who became Marquises since the Jianyuan Period Jianyuan was the reign period of Emperor Wu of Han from 140-135 BC
21 建元已來王子侯者年表 Yearly Table of the Nobles' Sons who became Marquises since the Jianyuan period
22 漢興以來將相名臣年表 Yearly Table of Statesmen, Generals and Officials since the Han Dynasty's Founding


Shu (書, treatises), 8 volumes. Each treatise describes an area of state interest.

Number Title Translation Notes
23 禮書 Rites
24 樂書 Music probably postdating Sima Qian, cf. Record of Music
25 律書 Bells Harmony and measurements
26 曆書 Calendars
27 天官書 Astronomy
28 封禪書 Religious sacrificial ceremonies Sacrifices to Heaven and Earth
29 河渠書 Rivers and canals
30 平準書 Equalization Names of officials who had to buy crops in a year of bountiful harvest and sell in a year of crop failure


Shijia (世家, genealogies), 30 volumes. Descriptions in chronicle form of the events of the states from the time of the Zhou Dynasty until the early Han Dynasty and of eminent people.

Number Title Translation Notes
31 吳太伯世家 House of Wu Taibo State of Wu
32 齊太公世家 House of Duke Tai of Qi State of Qi under the House of Jiang
33 魯周公世家 House of Lu Zhougong State of Lu
34 燕召公世家 House of Yan Shaogong State of Yan
35 管蔡世家 Houses of Guan and Cai States of Cai and Cao
36 陳杞世家 Houses of Chen and Qi
37 衛康叔世家 House of Wei Kang Shu State of Wey
38 宋微子世家 House of Song Wei Zi State of Song
39 晉世家 House of Jin
40 楚世家 House of Chu
41 越王句踐世家 House of King Goujian of Yue State of Yue
42 鄭世家 House of Zheng
43 趙世家 House of Zhao
44 魏世家 House of Wei
45 韓世家 House of Han
46 田敬仲完世家 House of Tian Jingzhong (Tian Wan) State of Qi under the House of Tian
47 孔子世家 House of Confucius
48 陳涉世家 House of Chen She
49 外戚世家 Houses of the External Relatives The empresses and their families
50 楚元王世家 House of Prince Yuan of Chu
51 荊燕世家 Houses of Jing and Yan
52 齊悼惠王世家 House of Prince Daohui of Qi Liu Fei
53 蕭相國世家 House of Chancellor Xiao Xiao He
54 曹相國世家 House of Chancellor Cao Cao Shen
55 留侯世家 House of Marquis of Liu Zhang Liang
56 陳丞相世家 House of Chancellor Chen Chen Ping
57 絳侯周勃世家 House of Zhou Bo, Marquis of Jiang
58 梁孝王世家 House of Prince Xiao of Liang
59 五宗世家 House of the Five Clans The sons of Emperor Jing of Han
60 三王世家 House of the Three Kings The rulers of Qi, Yan and Guangling


Liezhuan (列傳, exemplary lives, often called biographies), 70 volumes. Biographies of important people. The biographies are limited to the description of the events that show the exemplary character of the subject, but in the Shiji is often supplemented with legends. One biography can treat two or more people if they are considered to belong to the same type. The last biographies describe the relations between the Chinese and the neighboring peoples.

Number Title Translation Notes
61 伯夷列傳 Biography of Bo Yi The brothers Bo Yi 伯夷 and Shu Qi 叔齊
62 管晏列傳 Biographies of Guan and Yan Guan Zhong and Yan Ying (晏嬰)
63 老子韓非列傳 Biographies of Laozi and Han Fei Includes the biographies of Zhuangzi and Shen Buhai
64 司馬穰苴列傳 Biography of Sima Rangju
65 孫子吳起列傳 Biographies of Sun Tzu and Wu Qi
66 伍子胥列傳 Biography of Wu Zixu
67 仲尼弟子列傳 Biographies of the disciples of Zhongni Zhongni 仲尼 was the courtesy name of Confucius. Biographies of Yan Yuan (Yan Hui) 顏淵, Min Ziqian 閔子騫, Ran Boniu 冄伯牛, Zhong Gong 仲弓, Ran You 冄有, Ji Lu 季路, Zai Wo (Ziwo) 宰我, Zi Gong 子貢, Ziyou 子有, Zixia 子夏, Zizhang 子張, Zeng Shen 曾參, Gao Chai 高柴, Zirong 子容, Ziyu 子羽, Ziyou 子游, and several more. At the end are 42 disciples' names with no other information.
68 商君列傳 Biography of Lord Shang Shang Yang
69 蘇秦列傳 Biography of Su Qin
70 張儀列傳 Biography of Zhang Yi
71 樗里子甘茂列傳 Biographies of Shu Lizi and Gan Mao Includes the biography of Gan Luo (甘羅)
72 穰侯列傳 Biography of the Marquis of Rang Wei Ran (魏冉)
73 白起王翦列傳 Biographies of Bai Qi and Wang Jian
74 孟子荀卿列傳 Biographies of Mengzi and Xun Qing Mencius and Xunzi
75 孟嘗君列傳 Biography of Lord Mengchang one of the Four Lords of the Warring States
76 平原君虞卿列傳 Biographies of Lord Pingyuan and Yu Qing Lord Pingyuan was one of the Four Lords of the Warring States
77 魏公子列傳 Biography of the prince of Wei Lord Xinling, one of the Four Lords of the Warring States
78 春申君列傳 Biography of Lord Chunshen one of the Four Lords of the Warring States
79 范睢蔡澤列傳 Biographies of Fan Sui and Cai Ze
80 樂毅列傳 Biography of Yue Yi
81 廉頗藺相如列傳 Biographies of Lian Po and Lin Xiangru Biographies of Lian Po and Lin Xiangru is a Song dynasty calligraphic work by Huang Tingjian.
82 田單列傳 Biography of Tian Dan
83 魯仲連鄒陽列傳 Biographies of Lu Zhonglian and Zou Yang
84 屈原賈生列傳 Biographies of Qu Yuan and Master Jia Master Jia refers to Jia Yi
85 呂不韋生列傳 Biography of Master Lü Buwei
86 刺客列傳 Biographies of Assassins Cao Mo (曹沫), Zhuan Zhu, Yu Rang (豫讓), Nie Zheng (聶政) and Jing Ke
87 李斯列傳 Biography of Li Si
88 蒙恬列傳 Biography of Meng Tian
89 張耳陳餘列傳 Biographies of Zhang Er and Chen Yu
90 魏豹彭越列傳 Biographies of Wei Bao and Peng Yue
91 黥布列傳 Biography of Qing Bu Ying Bu
92 淮陰侯列傳 Biography of the Marquis of Huaiyin Han Xin [general]
93 韓信盧綰列傳 Biographies of Han Xin [King of Han] and Lu Wan Includes the biography of Chen Xi
94 田儋列傳 Biography of Tian Dan
95 樊酈滕灌列傳 Biographies of Fan, Li, Teng and Guan Fan Kuai, Li Shang, Xiahou Ying, Guan Ying (灌嬰)
96 張丞相列傳 Biography of Chancellor Zhang Zhang Cang (張蒼)
97 酈生陸賈列傳 Biographies of Li Yiji and Lu Gu Includes the biography of Zhu Jian (朱建)
98 傅靳蒯成列傳 Biographies of Fu, Jin, and the Marquis of Kuaicheng Fu Kuan (寬), Jin She (歙) and Zhou Xue (周譄)
99 劉敬叔孫通列傳 Biographies of Liu Jing and Shusun Tong
100 季布欒布列傳 Biographies of Ji Bu and Luan Bu
101 袁盎晁錯列傳 Biographies of Yuan Ang and Chao Cuo
102 張釋之馮唐列傳 Biographies of Zhang Shizhi and Feng Tang
103 萬石張叔列傳 Biographies of Wan Shi and Zhang Shu
104 田叔列傳 Biography of Tian Shu
105 扁鵲倉公列傳 Biographies of Bian Que and the Duke of Cang Duke of Cang refers to Tai Cang (太倉)
106 吳王濞列傳 Biography of Pi, Prince of Wu Liu Pi
107 魏其武安侯列 Biographies of the Marquis of Weiqi and the Marquis of Wu'an Dou Ying (竇嬰) and Tian Fen (田蚡)
108 韓長孺列傳 Biography of Han Changru
109 李將軍列傳 Biography of General Li Li Guang
110 匈奴列傳 Treatise on the Xiongnu
111 衛將軍驃騎列傳 Biographies of General Wei and General Piaoji Wei Qing and Huo Qubing
112 平津侯主父列傳 Biographies of the Marquis of Pingjin and Zhufu Gongsun Hong (公孫弘) and Zhufu Yan (主父偃)
113 南越列傳 Treatise on the Nanyue
114 東越列傳 Treatise on the Eastern Yue
115 朝鮮列傳 Treatise on Joseon Korea
116 西南夷列傳 Treatise on the Southwestern Yi people
117 司馬相如列傳 Biography of Sima Xiangru
118 淮南衡山列傳 Biographies of Huainan and Hengshan The kings of Huainan and Hengshan
119 循吏列傳 Biographies of Upright Officials Sunshu Ao, Zi Chan, Gong Yixiu (公儀休), Shi She (石奢) and Li Li (李離)
120 汲鄭列傳 Biographies of Ji and Zheng Ji An (汲黯) and Zheng Dangshi (鄭當時)
121 儒林列傳 Biographies of Confucian Scholars Gongsun Hong (公孫弘), Shen Gong (申公), Yuan Gu (轅固), Han Ying (韓嬰), Fu Sheng, Dong Zhongshu and Hu Wu (胡毋)
122 酷吏列傳 Biographies of Cruel Officials Hou Feng (侯封), Zhi Du (郅都), Ning Cheng, Zhou Yangyou (周陽由), Zhao Yu (趙禹), Zhang Tang, Yi Zong (義縱), Wang Wenshu (王溫舒), Yin Qi (尹齊), Yang Pu (楊僕), Jian Xuan (減宣)and Du Zhou (杜周)
123 大宛列傳 Treatise on the Dayuan (Ferghana)
124 游俠列傳 Biographies of Knight-errants Lu Zhujia (魯朱家) and Guo Jie (郭解)
125 佞幸列傳 Biographies of Male Favorites Male favorites of the Han emperors, among others Ji 籍, Hong 閎, Deng Tong 鄧通, Zhao Tong 趙同, Beigong Bozi 北宮伯子, Zhou Wenren 周文仁, Han Yan 韓嫣, and Li Yannian 李延年
126 滑稽列傳 Biographies of Jesters Chunyu Kun, You Meng (優孟), You Zhan (優旃) and Dongfang Shuo
127 日者列傳 Biographies of Soothsayers Sima Jizhu 司馬季主, a soothsayer, in conversation with Song Zhong 宋忠 and Jia Yi 賈誼 in Chang'an
128 龜策列傳 Biographies of Diviners Includes a text by Chu Shaosun 褚少孫 on sacred turtles used in divining, astrology, the magician Wan Bi 萬畢, the scholar Wei Ping 衛平, Duke Yuan of Song 宋元公
129 貨殖列傳 Biographies of Usurers Short biographies of people who enriched themselves (merchants): Fan Li 范蠡 (commerce), Ji Ran 計然 (economist), Duanmu Ci 端木賜 (commerce), Bai Gui 白圭 (agriculture, silk), Yi Dun 猗頓 (salt), Guo Zong 郭縱 (iron), Luo of Wuzhi 烏氏倮 (livestock at the frontier), Cheng Zheng 程鄭 (metal trade), Dao Xian 刀閒 (slaves), Shi Shi 師史 (peddler), Qiao Yao 橋姚 (livestock at the frontier), Wu Yan 無鹽 (money-lender), Qin Yang 秦揚 (agriculture), Tian Shu 田叔 (tomb-robbing), Huan Fa 桓發 (gambling), Yong Lecheng 雍樂成 (peddler), Yong Bo 雍伯 (selling animal fat), Zhang Li 張里 (horse veterinarian), and of the origins of the wealth of many other rich families; also includes description of the geography of Handan, Luoyang and several regions; and a description of the economy under the Han dynasty.


The last important section features an afterword that includes an autobiography by Sima Qian. He explains in it why and under what circumstances he wrote the Shiji.

Number Title Translation Notes
130 太史公自序 Autobiographical Afterword of the Grand Historian


  1. ^ Hardy, Grant (Feb 1994). "Can an Ancient Chinese Historian Contribute to Modern Western Theory? The Multiple Narratives of Ssu-Ma Ch'ien". History and Theory. 33 (1): 20–38. doi:10.2307/2505650. JSTOR 2505650.
  2. ^ Wilkinson (2012), p. 708.
  3. ^ Commentaries of Pei Yin Original text: 太史公自序曰作今上本紀又其述事皆云今上今天子或有言孝武帝者悉後人所定也