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
史記
The period from the Yellow Emperor to the Emperor Wu of Han Sima Qian
(Han dynasty)
91 BCE Part of the Early Four Historiographies (前四史)
Book of Han
漢書
Western Han
Xin dynasty
Ban Gu
(Han dynasty)
82 CE Part of the Early Four Historiographies (前四史)
Records of the Three Kingdoms
三國志
Cao Wei
Shu Han
Eastern Wu
Chen Shou
(Jin dynasty)
289 CE Part of the Early Four Historiographies (前四史)
Book of the Later Han
後漢書
Eastern Han Fan Ye
(Liu Song)
445 CE Part of the Early Four Historiographies (前四史)[2]
Book of Song
宋書
Liu Song Shen Yue
(Liang dynasty)
488 CE
Book of Southern Qi
南齊書
Southern Qi Xiao Zixian
(Liang dynasty)
537 CE
Book of Wei
魏書
Northern Wei
Eastern Wei
Wei Shou
(Northern Qi)
554 CE
Book of Liang
梁書
Liang dynasty Yao Silian
(Tang dynasty)
636 CE Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Book of Chen
陳書
Chen dynasty Yao Silian
(Tang dynasty)
636 CE Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Book of Northern Qi
北齊書
Northern Qi Li Baiyao
(Tang dynasty)
636 CE Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Book of Zhou
周書
Western Wei
Northern Zhou
Linghu Defen
(Tang dynasty)
636 CE Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Book of Sui
隋書
Sui dynasty Wei Zheng
(Tang dynasty)
636 CE Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Book of Jin
晉書
Western Jin
Eastern Jin
Fang Xuanling
(Tang dynasty)
648 CE Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
History of the Southern Dynasties
南史
Liu Song
Southern Qi
Liang dynasty
Chen dynasty
Li Yanshou
(Tang dynasty)
659 CE Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
History of the Northern Dynasties
北史
Northern Wei
Eastern Wei
Western Wei
Northern Qi
Northern Zhou
Sui dynasty
Li Yanshou
(Tang dynasty)
659 CE Part of the Eight Historiographies compiled in Tang dynasty (唐初八史)
Old Book of Tang
舊唐書
Tang dynasty Liu Xu
(Later Jin)
945 CE
Old History of the Five Dynasties
舊五代史
Later Liang
Later Tang
Later Jin
Later Han
Later Zhou
Xue Juzheng
(Song dynasty)
974 CE
Historical Records of the Five Dynasties
五代史記
Later Liang
Later Tang
Later Jin
Later Han
Later Zhou
Ouyang Xiu
(Song dynasty)
1053 CE Also called "New History of the Five Dynasties" (新五代史)
New Book of Tang
新唐書
Tang dynasty Ouyang Xiu
(Song dynasty)
1060 CE
History of Liao
遼史
Liao dynasty
Western Liao
Toqto'a
(Yuan dynasty)
1343 CE Part of the Three Historiographies compiled in Yuan dynasty (元末三史)[3]
History of Jin
金史
Jin dynasty Toqto'a
(Yuan dynasty)
1345 CE Part of the Three Historiographies compiled in Yuan dynasty (元末三史)
History of Song
宋史
Northern Song
Southern Song
Toqto'a
(Yuan dynasty)
1345 CE Part of the Three Historiographies compiled in Yuan dynasty (元末三史)
History of Yuan
元史
Yuan dynasty Song Lian
(Ming dynasty)
1370 CE
History of Ming
明史
Ming dynasty Zhang Tingyu
(Qing dynasty)
1739 CE

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
Yuan dynasty Ke Shaomin
(Republic of China)
1920 CE Part of the Twenty-Five Histories (二十五史)
Draft History of Qing
清史稿
Qing dynasty Zhao Erxun
(Republic of China)
1927 CE

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]