Twenty-Four Histories

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Twenty-Four Histories
Chinese二十四史

The Twenty-Four Histories (Chinese: 二十四史; pinyin: Èrshísì Shǐ; Wade–Giles: Erh-shih-szu shih), also known as the Orthodox Histories (Chinese: 正史; pinyin: Zhèngshǐ) are the Chinese official historical books covering a period from 3000 BC to the Ming dynasty in the 17th century.

The Han dynasty official Sima Qian established many of the conventions of the genre, but the form was not fixed until much later. Starting with the Tang dynasty, each dynasty established an official office to write the history of its predecessor using official court records. As fixed and edited in the Qing dynasty, the whole set contains 3213 volumes and about 40 million words. It is considered one of the most important sources on Chinese history and culture.[1]

The title "Twenty-Four Histories" dates from 1775 which was the 40th year in the reign of the Qianlong Emperor. This was when the last volume, the History of Ming was reworked and a complete set of the histories produced.

Collection[edit]

Title Corresponding dynasty Main author Year of compilation Notes
Records of the Grand Historian

史记/史記
(shǐ jì)

From the age of the legendary Yellow Emperor to the reign of Emperor Wu of Han Sima Qian (Han dynasty) 91 BC Part of the Early Four Historiographies (前四史)
Book of Han

汉书/漢書
hàn shū

Western Han Ban Gu (Han dynasty) 82 AD Part of the Early Four Historiographies (前四史)
Records of the Three Kingdoms

三国志/三國志
(sānguó zhì)

Cao Wei, Shu Han, Eastern Wu Chen Shou (Jin dynasty) 289 AD Part of the Early Four Historiographies (前四史)
Book of the Later Han

后汉书/後漢書
(hòuhàn shū)

Eastern Han Fan Ye (Liu Song dynasty) 445 AD Part of the Early Four Historiographies (前四史)[2]
Book of Song

宋书/宋書
(sòng shū)

Liu Song dynasty Shen Yue (Liang dynasty) 488 AD
Book of Southern Qi

南齐书/南齊書
(nánqí shū)

Southern Qi Xiao Zixian (Liang dynasty) 537 AD
Book of Wei

魏书/魏書
(wèi shū)

Northern Wei, Eastern Wei Wei Shou (Northern Qi) 554 AD
Book of Liang

梁书/梁書
(liáng shū)

Liang dynasty Yao Silian (Tang dynasty) 636 AD Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Book of Chen

陈书/陳書
(chén shū)

Chen dynasty Yao Silian (Tang dynasty) 636 AD Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Book of Northern Qi

北齐书/北齊書
(běiqí shū)

Northern Qi Li Baiyao (Tang dynasty) 636 AD Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Book of Zhou

周书/周書
(zhōu shū)

Western Wei, Northern Zhou Linghu Defen (Tang dynasty) 636 AD Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Book of Sui

隋书/隋書
(suí shū)

Sui dynasty Wei Zheng (Tang dynasty) 636 AD Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Book of Jin

晋书/晉書
(jìn shū)

Jin dynasty (265–420) Fang Xuanling (Tang dynasty) 648 AD Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
History of the Southern Dynasties

南史
(nán shǐ)

Liu Song dynasty, Southern Qi, Liang dynasty, Chen dynasty Li Yanshou (Tang dynasty) 659 AD Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
History of the Northern Dynasties

北史
(běi shǐ)

Northern Wei, Western Wei, Eastern Wei, Northern Zhou, Northern Qi, Sui dynasty Li Yanshou (Tang dynasty) 659 AD Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Old Book of Tang

旧唐书/舊唐書
(jiù táng shū)

Tang dynasty Liu Xu (Later Jin) 945 AD
Old History of the Five Dynasties

旧五代史/舊五代史
(jiù wǔdài shǐ)

Later Liang, Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han, Later Zhou Xue Juzheng (Song dynasty) 974 AD
Historical Records of the Five Dynasties

五代史记/五代史記
(wǔdài shǐjì)

Later Liang, Later Tang, Later Jin, Later Han, Later Zhou Ouyang Xiu (Song dynasty) 1053 AD Also called "New History of the Five Dynasties" (新五代史)
New Book of Tang

新唐书/新唐書
(xīn táng shū)

Tang dynasty Ouyang Xiu (Song dynasty) 1060 AD
History of Liao

辽史/遼史
(liáo shǐ)

Liao dynasty Toqto'a (Yuan dynasty) 1343 AD Part of the Three Historiographies compiled in Yuan dynasty (元末三史)[3]
History of Jin

金史
(jīn shǐ)

Jin dynasty (1115–1234) Toqto'a (Yuan dynasty) 1345 AD Part of the Three Historiographies compiled in Yuan dynasty (元末三史)
History of Song

宋史
(sòng shǐ)

Song dynasty Toqto'a (Yuan dynasty) 1345 AD Part of the Three Historiographies compiled in Yuan dynasty (元末三史)
History of Yuan

元史
(yuán shǐ)

Yuan dynasty Song Lian (Ming dynasty) 1370 AD
History of Ming

明史
(míng shǐ)

Ming dynasty Zhang Tingyu (Qing dynasty) 1739 AD

Inheritance works[edit]

These works were begun by one historian and completed by an heir, usually of the next generation.

Related works[edit]

There were attempts at producing new historiographies after the Qing dynasty, but they either never gained widespread acceptance as part of the official historical canon or they remain unfinished.

Title Corresponding dynasty Main author Year of compilation Notes
New History of Yuan

新元史
(xīn yuán shǐ)

Yuan dynasty Ke Shaomin (Republic of China) 1920 AD Part of the Twenty-Five Histories (二十五史)
Draft History of Qing

清史稿
(qīng shǐ gǎo)

Qing dynasty Zhao Erxun (Republic of China) 1927 AD

Modern attempts at creating the official Qing history[edit]

In 1961, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the declaration of the Republic of China (ROC), the ROC government in Taiwan published the History of Qing, adding 21 supplementary chapters to the Draft History of Qing and revising many existing chapters to denounce the People's Republic of China (PRC) as an illegitimate, impostor regime. It also removed passages that were derogatory towards the Xinhai Revolution.[4] This edition has not been widely accepted as the official Qing history because it is recognized that it was a rushed job motivated by political objectives. It does not correct most of the errors known to exist in the Draft History of Qing.[5]

An additional project, attempting to write a New History of Qing incorporating new materials and improvements in historiography, lasted from 1988 to 2000. Only 33 chapters out of the projected 500 were published.[5] This project was later abandoned following the rise of the Pan-Green Coalition, which sees Taiwan as a distinct entity from Mainland China, both culturally and politically. As such, it is argued that it is not the duty of the Taiwanese regime to compile the Qing history.

In 1961, the PRC also attempted to complete the Qing history, but historians were prevented from doing so against the backdrop of the Cultural Revolution.[6]

In 2002, the PRC once again announced that it would complete the History of Qing. The project is under the leadership of Dai Yi. As of December 2013, the project has been delayed twice and will not be completed until 2016.[7]

Modern editions[edit]

In China, the Zhonghua Book Company (Zhonghua Shuju) have edited a number of these histories. They have been collated, edited, and punctuated by Chinese specialists.[8]

From 1991 to 2003, it translated Classical Chinese into modern Written vernacular Chinese, edited by Xu Jialu and other scholars.[9]

Translations[edit]

One of the Twenty-Four Histories is in the process of being fully translated into English: Records of the Grand Historian by William Nienhauser, in nine volumes,[10]

In Korean and Vietnamese, only the Records has been translated. Most of the histories have been translated into Japanese.[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ Ch 49, "Standard Histories," in Endymion Wilkinson. Chinese History: A New Manual. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, Harvard-Yenching Institute Monograph Series, 2012). ISBN 9780674067158. Also see "Standard Histories" link to the Googlebook of the 2000 edition of Wilkinson.
  2. ^ Hill, John E. (2009) Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
  3. ^ Xu Elina-Qian, p. 23.
  4. ^ "台灣版《清史》一年速成 筆墨官司幾上幾下". big5.huaxia.com. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  5. ^ a b Hsi-yuan Chen, 'Last chapter unfinished. The making of the official Qing History and the crisis of Traditional Chinese Historiography', in: Historiography East and West, 2 (2004), pp. 173-204. (Abstract)
  6. ^ Wilkinson, Endymion (2012). Chinese history : a new manual. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Asia Center. pp. 834–5. ISBN 978-0674067158.
  7. ^ http://www.bj.xinhuanet.com/jyyf/2013-12/18/c_118606338.htm
  8. ^ Xu Elina-Qian, p. 19.
  9. ^ [1]
  10. ^ The Grand Scribe's Records (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994- )

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]