The Grand Scribe s Records, Volume XI
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The Grand Scribe's Records, Volume XI presents the final nine memoirs of Ssu-ma Ch'ien's history, continuing the series of collective biographies with seven more prosopographies on the ruthless officials, the wandering gallants, the artful favorites, those who discern auspicious days, turtle and stalk diviners, and those whose goods increase, punctuated by the final account of Emperor Wu's wars against neighboring peoples and concluded with Ssu-ma Ch'ien's postface containing a history of his family and himself.



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Date de parution 31 juillet 2019
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EAN13 9780253048462
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The Grand Scribe s Records
The Memoirs of Han China IV
The Grand Scribe s Records
The Memoirs of Han China IV
by Ssu-ma Ch ien
William H. Nienhauser, Jr. Editor
Giulia Baccini, Maddalena Barenghi, Stephen Durrant, Kathrin Leese-Messing, Clara Luhn, William H. Nienhauser, Jr., Jakob P llath, Edward L. Shaughnessy, and Hans van Ess, Translators
This book is a copublication of
Indiana University Press
Office of Scholarly Publishing
Herman B Wells Library 350
1320 East 10th Street
Bloomington, Indiana 47405 USA
Nanjing University Press
22 Hankou Road
Nanjing, Jiangsu, China
1994 by William H. Nienhauser, Jr.
2019 by William H. Nienhauser, Jr.
All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher. The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of the American National Standard for Information Sciences-Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1992.
Manufactured in the United States of America
Originally cataloged by the Library of Congress as
Ssu-ma Ch ien, ca. 145-ca. 86 BC
[Shih chi. English]
The grand scribe s records / Ssu-ma Ch ien ; William H. Nienhauser, Jr., editor ; Giulia Baccini [et al.], translators.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents: v. 1. The basic annals of pre-Han china
ISBN 0-253-34021-7
1. China-History-To 221 BC 2. China-History-Ch in dynasty, 221-207 BC. 3. China-History-Han dynasty 202 BC-220 CE I. Nienhauser, William H. II. Cheng, Tsai Fa. III. Title.
DS741.3.S6813 1994
931-dc20 094-18408
ISBN 978-0-253-04610-9
1 2 3 4 5 24 23 22 21 20 19
Introduction (Hans van Ess)
On Using This Book
Weights and Measures (Lu Zongli)
List of Abbreviations
Memoir 62 translated by Hans van Ess, Clara Luhn and the Munich Group
Memoir 63 translated by William H. Nienhauser, Jr
Memoir 64 translated by Clara Luhn
Memoir 65 translated by Kathrin Lesse-Messing
Memoir 66 translated by Guilia Baccini and Maddalena Barenghi
Memoir 67 translated by Jakob P llath
Memoir 68 translated by Edward L. Shaughnessy
Memoir 69 translated by Stephen Durrant
Memoir 70 translated by Hans van Ess
Frequently Mentioned Commentators
Appendix: Official Titles of the Han Dynasty
Selected Recent Studies of the Shih chi
For John Gallman
Let me first thank the Center for Advanced Studies at the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich which supported me for a month from December 2017-January 2018 and allowed me to work on these chapters with Hans van Ess and his Shih chi Group (see also below). My host, Hans van Ess, always seems to manage to find time from his duties as Vice-president of Ludwig-Maximilian University to attend all the meetings and offer countless suggestions which have improved every chapter. He also kindly consented to provide an Introduction for this volume.
Moreover, Van Ess s Shih chi Translation Group have translated and annotated five of the nine chapters in this volume. In addition to the translators Giulia Baccini, Maddalena Barenghi, Stephen Durrant, Kathrin Lesse-Messing, Clara Luhn, Jakob P llath, Edward L. Shaughnessy, the following colleagues were active in discussions of many of these translations: Zhongrong Bing , Rebecca Ehrenwirth, Sebastian Eicher, Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtmann, Masha Khayutina, Guje Kroh, Marc N rnberger, Andreas Siegl, and Nicolae Statu. Michael Naparstek (June 2016) and Masha Kobzeva (June 2017), both recent Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, joined the Munich Group for a month as my project assistants. I am particularly grateful to Stephen Durrant and Edward L. Shaughnessy who not only contributed chapters, but also joined the Munich group for a number of sessions.
A Workshop in May 2018 at Nanjing University allowed me to read the Ta Y an lieh-chuan (Memoir on Ferghana, chapter 123) intensively with a group of thirty-some graduate students and young faculty from Nanjing University, Nanjing Normal University, and several other schools. I am grateful to Dean Xu Xingwu for his invitation, to Hou Chengxiang , my trusty assistant for three years running, to Shih Wenjia and Dr. Ge Yanhong for handling various affairs so efficiently, and to the students and young faculty who took part (see the translator s note to chapter 123 below).
Nankai University also hosted a Workshop in June 2018 where we looked at some of the chapters that appear in this volume. My thanks to Dean Shen Liyan , to Associate Dean Feng Dajian , to my colleague Zhang Hongming , and to the former Vice-President of Nankai, Chen Hong , for their hospitality and their support, as well as for awarding me a Distinguished Visiting Professorship.
A fourth Workshop at the Elling O. Eide Center in Sarasota, Florida (1-4 November 2018) brought together members of my Shih chi Group and those of Hans van Ess along with three former members of my group: Weiguo Cao , Hongyu Huang , and Lu Zongli . Although we did not focus on the chapters in this volume, some of the discussions led us back to passages in these translations. My sincere thanks are due to Harold Mitchell and Dr. Ann Roddy for their invitation, support and cordiality.
In addition a great debt is due to my Shih chi Translation Group here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison which included Yixuan Cai , Shuyi Huang , Cheng Liu , Masha Kobzeva, Josiah Stork, Zheyu Su , Su Tong, Ji Wang , Christine Welch, Guimei Wu , Tingting Zhou , and Yaqiong Zhuang most of whom read some of these chapters.
Masha Kobzeva has not only attended every Shiji session over the past decade, but also done the map for the Memoir on Ferghana (chapter 123) and helped with various technical problems in production. Victor H. Mair and Christopher I. Beckwith read the Memoir on Ferghana and offered excellent suggestions. Wolfgang Behr provided me with guidance and materials on the same chapter. Lu Zongli has as usual been a source for the answers to many questions on several chapters. None of the aforementioned are responsible, however, for errors or infelicities remaining in the final edited version of the text.
This volume would never have been ready on schedule were it not for the generous support of the Research Committee in and Dean Lea Jacobs in the University of Wisconsin Graduate School who granted me a semester of research leave this spring.
Finally, I want to thank the excellent staff at Indiana University Press, especially David Miller, who has the keenest editorial eye I have encountered since beginning this project thirty years ago. Thinking back to 1989, I can recall fondly the unstinted support of John Gallman to whom this volume is dedicated.
William H. Nienhauser, Jr.
1 April 2019
The Sequence of the Last Chapters of the Shih chi , the End of This History, and the Death of Ssu-ma Ch ien
Hans van Ess
Some Notes on Sequence and Numbers
Traditional Chinese commentators have often speculated about the reasons for the structure that Ssu-ma Ch ien gave his Shih chi . Departing from one passage in chapter 130 in which the historian relates the number of thirty hereditary houses to the eight lodges surrounding the pole-star, 1 they have concentrated on explaining the reason for the overall number of chapters contained in the five sections of the Shih chi 2 rather than considering the arrangement of the chapters within these sections. Yet, it does seem obvious that Ssu-ma Ch ien did not just calculate the bigger picture of his text but also very carefully thought about how to arrange individual chapters. The number twelve, which is the number of the chapters in the annals section, seems to have played an especially important role in his considerations. For example, although there are only 30 Hereditary Houses, one may argue that the first twelve chapters of them tell the story of states that were established through direct enfeoffment by the central Chou dynasty. The four chapters that follow deal with states that originated from usurpation of power. This is true for the three successor states of Chin as well as for the T ien house that took over power in Ch i. Interestingly, four chapters are followed by those on Confucius and Ch en She . While it is obvious that Ch en She fits the description of a rebel very well, an answer to the much-debated question of why the life of Confucius is described in the hereditary houses section may be that according to the tradition of the Kung-yang school of the Spring and Autumn Annals he provided a model of rule for someone who might succeed the Chou one day. Interestingly the Shih chi ends with a sentence that is almost verbatim the same as the last sentence of the Kung-yang commentary, namely that this book was written for a sage or superior man of later ages. This sentence clearly says that the Shih chi was not written for the emperor but that it contained important information for a successor to him. Seen in this light, there is a solution to the riddle of the placement of Confucius among the Hereditary Houses. His biography would then fit the other five chapters just mentioned very well. Ssu-ma Ch ien saw in Confucius a man whom he took as a model because he, too, had written for someone who would put an end to the disasters on earth that had been provoked by a dynasty in decline. Together with the Hereditary House of Ch en She, a chapter devoted to a man who did not just write but acted against the ruling dynasty, these are six chapters of people who ended or tried to end a dynasty, just half of twelve. The last twelve chapters of the Hereditary Houses deal with the Han dynasty. 3
The Memoirs of the Shih chi and their Counterparts in the Han shu
Of the 70 memoirs 28 are concerned with the history of pre-Han times (vol. 7 of Grand Scribe s Records) , while 42 are dealing with the Han, a mathematical relationship of exactly 2 to 3. Chapters 85 to 88, the last four memoirs of pre-Han times, deal with the First Emperor, the first 24 chapters with the time before him. Again 12 chapters (89-100) cover the period of Han Kao-tsu, while 6 chapters (101-106) describe the time of Emperor Wen and Ching. Interestingly, the placement of the 105th chapter on the two doctors Pien Ch eh and Ts ang Kung has often puzzled earlier readers. They argued that this was a thematic chapter that should better have been located among the collective biographies at the end of the book. 4 The chapter on medicine is followed by the one on Liu P i , the leader of the seven kingdoms that rebelled in 154 BCE, and one may well come to the conclusion that Ssu-ma Ch ien thought that the empire would have needed a good medicine before the rebellion broke out. The last 24 chapters of the Grand Scribe s Records, roughly what is to be found in volumes 10 and 11 of the Grand Scribe s Records , are concerned with the time of Emperor Wu of the Han.
When dealing with this topic in an earlier publication, this author preferred to exclude Ssu-ma Ch ien s self-narration in chapter 130 from this calculation and to instead consider chapters 106 to 117 as one group of 12 chapters and chapters 118 to 129 as another one. The exact way how one should read this sequence is probably not that important after all. Ssu-ma Ch ien had allowed for some flexibility in his arrangement. Although the content of these chapters is generally quite different, especially at the beginnings and ends of these groups there is considerable overlap. Two things are important here: One is that there seem indeed to have been units of 12 chapters that shaped units within the narrative of the Shih chi , the other that the historian apparently paid great attention to the sequence of his chapters because by it he could tell a story that went far beyond a simple chronology of events.
The first of the two chains of chapters deals with the wars of the Han, the first one of which resulted out of the rebellion of the seven kingdoms just mentioned (chapter 106). The biography of Tou Ying begins with this event, but the same chapter (107) also contains the biography of T ien Fen whose ascent ends the epoch of peace politics that dominated the time during which Emperor Wen s wife from the Tou family, the aunt of Tou Ying, was a decisive factor in Han government. With her death in the sixth year of the reign of Emperor Wu the way becomes free for more hawkish politics. It would seem that the memoir on the Hsiung-nu in chapter 110 is the dominating chapter in this context. It is surrounded by biographies of two generals, the competent but unsuccessful Li Kuang in chapter 109, and Wei Ch ing the brother of Emperor Wu s second wife (chapter 111) who is far less qualified for his position but gains the favor of the emperor because of his familial relationship. Two chapters before 110, Chapter 108, on Han Ch ang-ju , contains discussions at court about war against the Hsiung-nu. Just like Li Kuang, Han Ch ang-ju, loses out with his admonition to keep peace. Two chapters after 110, in chapter 112, we have Kung-sun Hung and Chu-fu Yen , turn-coats who at court become advocators of war after they see that this is what the emperor wants. The narrative now turns to less dangerous enemies in the east (Korea), south (Y eh) and then to various peoples in the southwest. The following memoir on Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju (chapter 117) concludes this section. He was sent to the peoples dealt with in chapter 116 and by using veiled literary allusions also became an advocate of peace.
Just like the unit of chapters 105 or 106 to 117, the last section of the Shih chi begins with a rebellion although one that never really sparked off before its instigator, King Liu An of Huai-nan, had to commit suicide (chapter 118). This chapter is related to the previous ones because, as Han shu tells us, 5 the territory of the King of Huai-nan was most affected by potential wars against Y eh, so that early in Emperor Wu s reign he by all means tried to convince the sovereign that to wage war in the south was not a good idea. The opening passage of chapter 119 on the reasonable or lenient officials ends with the sentence: By carrying out the duties of their positions and following reason, one also can effect good government. Why should there necessarily be awe-inspiring severity? 6 , , This sentence certainly refers to chapter 122 of the ruthless officials that in later histories such as Han shu or Hou Han shu followed the one on reasonable officials. Yet, it would seem even more plausible that this is a direct comment on the cruel trial that the King of Huai-nan could escape only by committing suicide. While there are no reasonable officials of the Han whom Ssu-ma Ch ien wanted to include in chapter 119, in chapter 120 he deals with two officials named Chi An and Cheng Tang-shih whom he obviously appreciated very much and who may have been the names he had in mind for this category. In chapter 121 on the Confucian scholars we also find the biography of Kung-sun Hung who together with Chang T ang , the commandant of justice and the central figure in chapter 122, was responsible for the death of Liu An.
At this point of our analysis it seems necessary to compare the chapter sequence of the Shih chi with the one of the Han shu in order to get a fuller picture of how the text is actually structured. As Pan Ku put all the chapters on foreign peoples and also all collective chapters at the end of his history, at first sight it does not look like there is much room for such a comparison. Yet, at a second glance one interesting feature that concerns both Shih chi and Han shu comes to mind: As mentioned above, after the chapters on the different countries and peoples neighboring the Han we find in Shih chi as chapter number 117 the biography of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju . In Han shu this chapter with almost exactly the same text is to be found in chapter number 57, following chapter 56, the biography of the famous Confucian Tung Chung-shu . Interestingly, in Shih chi before the chapters on the neighbors of the Han we find, in chapter 112, the biography of Kung-sun Hung, who just as Tung Chung-shu was an important expert of the Ch un-ch iu . In Han shu there is another interesting feature, namely that the chapter containing the biography of another poet from southwestern Shu or Szechwan, namely Yang Hsiung (53 BC-18 CE), has the number 87. This memoir is thus situated at a distance of exactly 30 chapters from the one on Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju. In Han shu , after the biography of Yang Hsiung there follow 13 chapters that are presented in a very orderly way: First, 6 chapters with the collective biographies of certain types of people-the ju (Confucians), the lenient and the harsh officials, the merchants, the wandering knights and the favorites, then three chapters on the relations with foreign countries, three chapters on families related to the imperial house by marriage (first a chapter on empresses and concubines, then a chapter on Empress Wang of Emperor Y an, and at the end the long biography of Wang Mang), and finally the autobiography of Pan Ku. Thus, in Han shu the biography of Yang Hsiung constitutes a watershed: It marks the end of the chronologically arranged chapters of individuals who were important for the dynasty and at the same time the beginning of the section on collective biographies.
In Shih chi , too, there are 13 chapters left after the biography of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju. However, here the structure is not as neat as in Han shu: As already discussed, after the biography of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju we first find the chapter on Liu An, the King of Huai-nan and his rebellion, before there is the chapter on the lenient officials and then the one on Chi An and Chang Tang-shih, followed by the Confucian scholars and the ruthless officials. Yet, then there is the chapter on Ta Y an that according to the logic established by Han shu should have preceded the biography of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju since all the other chapters on foreign countries are located there. Only after Ta Y an does Shih chi again continue with several collective chapters (124-129). As is well-known, the last chapter of the Shih chi is the famous autobiography of the historian - which by the way is structured in a very similar way as its later counterpart in the Han shu , the autobiography of Pan Ku. Thus, in Shih chi only some of the collective biographies seem to have been arranged by the historian in an orderly way such as they were in Han shu .
When compared with later historians starting with Pan Ku, the way how Ssu-ma Ch ien arranged these chapters looks very strange. This is why Chao Yi (1727-1814) in his Nien-erh cha-chi (Notes on the Twenty-two Histories) remarked:
As far as the sequence of the traditions chapters of the Shih chi is concerned, it seems that [Ssu-ma Ch ien] completed them and inserted them without rearranging everything after he had finished writing the whole book. Therefore, after the biography of Li Kuang he all of a sudden inserted the chapter on the Hsiung-nu, and after that he inserted the biographies of Wei Ch ing and Huo Ch -ping. That court officials follow after foreign barbarians is already very strange, but here it on top of this seems as though he wanted to say that the affairs of the [dynasty s] servants all had something to do with the Hsiung-nu. [Yet], after the biography of Kung-sun Hung he all of a sudden inserted the traditions of Southern Y eh, Eastern Y eh, Korea and the Southwestern barbarians, and after this he put in the biography of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju. After Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju he inserted the biographies of the Kings of Huai-nan and Heng-shan. After the lenient officials, there are suddenly the biographies of Chi An and Cheng Tang-shih, and after the Confucian scholars and the Harsh officials, all of a sudden he inserted the chapter on Ta Y an (Ferghana?). The whole sequence does not make sense. So we can know that he arranged the text just as he got it. 7 , , , , , , , : , , , , , ,
Yet, Chao Yi obviously was influenced by what he thought was a more natural chapter arrangement that he knew from later histories. Of course, Ssu-ma Ch ien had not yet seen these histories and he obviously had something else in mind when he thought about the structure of his book. This becomes more obvious by a look at some surprising similarities between a sequence of chapters that we have not yet looked at in the Han shu , namely chapters 58 to 66 that follow the biography of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju, with the chapters that follow the biography of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju in the Shih chi .
It is obvious that the sequence of Han shu chapters 52 to 55 follows the one of Shih chi 107 to 111. 8 Han shu 56, as said before, may be similar to Shih chi 112. Yet, as said before, Han shu has a long biography of the Ch un-ch iu and Kung-yang specialist Tung Chung-shu as opposed to a short mention of the Ch un-ch iu and Kungyang specialist Kung-sun Hung in Han shu 88, the chapter on the Confucian scholars. Shih chi chapter 112, on the other hand, has a long biography of Kung-sun Hung, while it has only a short biography of Tung Chung-shu in its chapter 121 on the Confucian scholars. So it seems that Pan Ku despite this change had imitated the sequence of the Shih chi until the memoir of Ssu-ma Hsiang-ju. What did he do afterwards?
There are some correspondences between chapters of the Shih chi and the Han shu that show that Pan Ku continued to follow his predecessor: chapter 58 of the Han shu contains three biographies, the first of which is the one which describes the life of the Confucian chancellor Kung-sun Hung. Shih chi , ch. 121 is devoted to the Confucian scholars and it begins with a long description of the influence that Kung-sun Hung exerted on the intellectual climate of the time of Emperor Wu. Ch. 59 of the Han shu is devoted to the life of Chang T ang, a contemporary and ally of Kung-sun Hung and for a long time the commandant of Justice under Emperor Wu. In Shih chi the biography of Chang T ang is contained in the chapter on the cruel officials, and this, bearing number 122, just as the biography of Chang T ang in Han shu follows the biography of Kung-sun Hung, is the chapter that follows the one on the Confucian scholars. Chapter 60 of the Han shu is the biography of Tu Chou, also a famous cruel official whose life is described in ch. 122 of the Shih chi . Yet, while Ssu-ma Ch ien clearly is extremely critical of Chang T ang and of Tu Chou, Pan Ku in his Han shu has added to the nearly identical biographies of these two men a description of the lives of their sons whose virtuous conduct ensured the status of their families for several generations. Apparently, Pan Ku wanted to change the picture that had been painted by his predecessor without changing his text but instead by adding new material.
After the biographies of Chang T ang and Tu Chou in ch. 59 and 60, Han shu has the biographies of Chang Ch ien and Li Kuang-li (ch. 61), both generals who fought the Northwestern enemies of the Han. According to Han shu , Li Kuang-li died in 90 BC at the hands of the Hsiung-nu Ch an-y . Ch. 61 clearly is a parallel to the chapter on Ta-y an (Ferghana) that in Shih chi bears the number 123, a placement on which Chao Yi expressed his surprise. There is another interesting parallel: the late Han philosopher Chung-ch ang T ung (180-220) once remarked that one of Ssu-ma Ch ien s mistakes was that when writing the biographies of the Ironical Critics, Shih chi ch. 125, he did not write an account of the life of Emperor Wu s famous jester Tung-fang Shuo. Now Han shu does contain a whole chapter, number 65, on Tung-fang Shuo. It thus looks like Pan Ku added something that Ssu-ma Ch ien had left out.
The above discussion shows that there are several more chapters that are obviously parallel in Shih chi and Han shu than those mentioned above, namely chapters 58 to 61 and 65 in Han shu and chapters 121 to 123 and 126 in Shih chi . There are two interesting gaps of three chapters in the Han shu (62-64) and two chapters in the Shih chi (124, 125) in this list. In Han shu , we find as chapter 63 the biographies of the five sons of Emperor Wu and as chapter 64 a chapter that tells the story of a great number of officials who served under him. At the same time in Shih chi there is chapter 124 that contains the famous Wandering Gallants (Yu-hsia ), while we find the male favorites of the Han emperors in chapter 125. These chapters titles do not seem to allow for further comparison. Moreover, the text of the chapters on the merchants ( Shih chi 129), the Wandering Gallants ( Shih chi 124), and the male favorites ( Shih chi 125) is with some changes reproduced in a different sequence in Han shu 91 (merchants), 92 (Wandering Gallants) and 92 (Male Favorites). Pan Ku added material to two of these chapters that covers the time after the death of Emperor Wu. There are no parallels to Shih chi 127 and 128, both on diviners. But this does not need to surprise us too much since already Chang Yen in the 3rd century said that these chapters of the Shih chi were lost, 9 and Pan Ku who in turn stated that ten chapters of the Shih chi were missing 10 may not have seen them.
Ch. 124 of the Shih chi , the Wandering Gallants, is of particular interest because Pan Ku had criticized Ssu-ma Ch ien for sympathizing with the Wandering Gallants while ridiculing Confucian scholars. 11 And, indeed, when reading this chapter in the Shih chi one gets the impression that Ssu-ma Ch ien was most impressed with the Wandering Gallants of his time and also of those who had lived in Warring States times. After all, he has written four long biographical chapters of the lords of Hsin-ling, P ing-y an, Meng-ch ang and Ch un-shen ( Shih chi 75 to 78) and he characterized these men as Wandering Gallants in Shih chi 124. 12 Pan Ku rejected praise for them in a preface that he wrote to the biographies contained in his own chapter on Wandering Gallants. He said: Of those who gripped their arms in a gesture of determination and wandered about as counselors, we may take these Four Strong Men, as the most outstanding. At this time men thought it their duty to turn their backs on the public good and to die for their own clique; attending to one s office and serving one s superior had ceased to be the ideal. 13 , , . Yet, the reader is struck, indeed, by the sentence that follows:
Later, when the Han arose, the net of the law was widely spread and full of holes, for it had not yet been tightened and repaired. Because of this Ch en Hsi, the Prime Minister of Tai, was able to gather a following of a thousand chariots, and kings Liu P i of Wu and Liu An of Huai-nan both attracted retainers to their courts by the thousands. 14 , , ,
Pan Ku is apparently saying here that the famous rebels Liu P i of Wu and Liu An, the King of Huai-nan, were equivalent to Ssu-ma Ch ien s Wandering Gallants. Just as the latter, the former had harbored a grudge against the emperor, and they had taken the law into their own hands. Pan Ku condemns their behavior with harsh words and then adds: From the time of the marquises of Wei-chi and Wu-an (Tou Ying and T ien Fen) and the King of Huai-nan, the Son of Heaven gnashed his teeth in anger 15 , , so that under him such behavior became impossible. It thus seems that Pan Ku considered the rebellious kings of the Han to belong into the same category as the Wandering Gallants. That is very interesting since in Han shu 63 we have a chapter on the Five Sons of Emperor Wu, most of whom harbored resentment against the Emperor. Two of them died because they had rebelled. The first biography in this chapter is the one of Emperor Wu s Crown Prince Li who rebelled against Emperor Wu. Several entries on this event mark the end of the credible entries of the Shih chi . 16
Ssu-ma Ch ien starts his chapter on the Wandering Gallants with a quotation from the Han Fei-tzu which runs: The Confucians with their civilian erudition confuse the law, the wandering gallants by military skills offend against prohibitions. 17 The text in Han Fei-tzu continues with the words and the rulers over others extend politeness to both of them. This is why there is confusion. , , . Now in his final evaluation at the end of the chapter with the biographies of the Five Sons of Emperor Wu, Pan Ku says the following: This is the reason that, when Tsang Chieh invented writing, he took the characters for stop and spear and combined them to form the character for military. The sage uses military power to do away with violence and correct disorder, to suppress and put an end to shields and spears. 18 , , The sentence seems to be a perfect answer to Ssu-ma Ch ien s words in the chapter on the Wandering Gallants: While the Confucians confuse ( luan ) the law on the basis of civilian erudition ( wen ) and the wandering knights offend against prohibitions ( chin ) by the use of weapons ( wu ), the sage makes use of the military ( wu ) in order to prohibit ( chin ) violence and to correct disorder ( luan ). Therefore, it would seem that Shih chi 124 and Han shu 63 also form a parallel.
This leaves us with just one more chapter, namely chapter 64 of the Han shu that because of its sheer length is split into two parts. It contains biographies of nine court servants most of whom discussed matters of war against the Y eh in the South. In his appraisal Pan Ku says about some of them:
Contemporaries said that Kung-sun Hung expelled Chu-fu Yen, Chang T ang got Yen Chu into trouble Looking at what really happened [we see] that Chu-fu [Yen himself] had asked to be cooked in a cauldron [rather than remain unknown] and that his clan [indeed] got extinguished, that Yen went in and out through the forbidden doors and they abused his power for their own profit. That they died was most appropriate. Why should one complain about someone expelling them or getting them into trouble? 19 , , , , , ,
It would lead too far here to retell the stories of Kung-sun Hung and Chu-fu Yen, whose biographies make up chapter 112 of the Shih chi , but it is indeed interesting that in this chapter of the Shih chi we find the passage: [Kung-sun] Hung had a begrudging character. He appeared to be tolerant, but inside he was hiding his intentions. To all those with whom Kung-sun Hung once had had a rift, he pretended to be friendly, [but] secretly he repaid all wrongs. The killing of Chu-fu Yen and the banishing of Tung Chung-shu to Chiao-hsi were both due to Hung s efforts. 20 , , , , , . Ssu-ma Ch ien also wrote that Chu-fu Yen had said that if a real man while alive does not eat from five tripods, he may die by being boiled in five tripods. I am in the evening of my life; therefore I act unconventionally and carry things out abruptly , , . 21 Shih chi also says that Chang T ang elbowed Chuang Chu out 22 . It thus seems that Ssu-ma Ch ien belonged to the contemporaries that Pan Ku had spoken about. But even more important is one sentence in Pan s appraisal, namely the one that Yen went in and out through the forbidden doors . This very sentence is to be found in Shih chi 125, the chapter of the male favorites. Here it is said about Han Yen who often went to bed together with the Emperor that he went in and out in the eternal lanes without restrictions. 23 . In the chapter on the ruthless officials Commandant of Justice Chang T ang is quoted with the words: Chu enjoyed your personal favor, going in and out through the forbidden inner doors, belonging to the servants that had been your claws and teeth 24 . From this wording it is obvious that Yen (or Chuang) Chu s liberties equaled those of the favorite Han Yen. It therefore looks like there is also a parallel between Shih chi 125 and Han shu 64.
b) The Grandson of Ssu-ma Ch ien
Thus, there is a clear correspondence between Shih chi 121 to 126 and Han shu 58 to 65. However, yet another chapter is important, namely Han shu 66, an interesting text that contains in chronological order the biographies of chancellors of the Han from 103 BC to 37 BC. The second of these biographies deals with the rebellion of crown prince Li. Maybe even more important is the fact that the longest part of this chapter is a biography of Yang Y n who was the grandson of Ssu-ma Ch ien. He won favor at court and became a very rich man. Later on, however, he was dismissed because of his haughty behavior and his arrogance. So he went back to his home and relied on agriculture. Relieved from his duties as an official he enjoyed life. A friend of his wrote him a letter in which he admonished him that he should keep his doors shut and display an appearance of being pitiable. Yet, Yang Y n answered that he wanted to die as a farmer. 25 He went on to say:
The work of a tiller is hard. When, in the course of the annual round of seasons, the days of the summer sacrifice or the New Year s festival come, I boil a sheep, roast a lamb, and reward myself for my toils with a dipper of fermented liquor. My family comes from Ch in, and so I can perform Ch in songs. My wife is a woman from Chao, and so she is most skillful at playing the psaltery. I also have several male and female slaves who sing. After we have drunk the fermented liquor, our ears begin to burn, and we look up at heaven, tapping on an earthenware drum [to beat the time], while singing Woo! Woo! Our song is:
We cultivate a field in those Southern Mountains,
But the rank weeds remain unkempt.
We plant beans on a one ch ing patch of land,
But they fall to the ground, leaving only bare stalks.
So long as a man is alive, he should just enjoy himself,
Till when has one to wait for wealth and high standing?
On these days we shake our robes in delight, We wave our sleeves up and It is down, stamp our feet and break into a dance. We indulge in unrestrained amusements, certainly, but I do not know why this should be inadmissible. 26
, , , , , , , , : , , , , , , , , ,
First, it is interesting to note that Yang Y n says that his family comes from Ch in and the one of his wives from Chao. In his autobiography Ssu-ma Ch ien states that these are the two places were the Ssu-ma family had its roots. 27 Then we should add that the cry woo! woo! is mentioned in the biography of Li Ssu, the famous chancellor of Ch in. 28 Furthermore, it is important that the poem is interpreted by the third century commentator Chang Yen as a harsh critique of the imperial court: The Southern Mountains stand for the Emperor, that the rank weeds remain unkept means that the court is in utter disorder. The one hundred ch ing stand for the hundred officials, the bean is an image of the upright poet who was banished. Small wonder that Yang Y n was put to death shortly after Emperor Hs an read this letter.
In our context something else is interesting and that is that Yang Y n-as said before a very rich man-in the lines that follow our quotation says:
I, Y n, have been fortunate enough to have savings left over from my salary; just now I am buying grain at low prices and selling it at high prices, pursuing a ten percent profit thereby. This is the business of a merchant boy that takes place at filthy locations, but I, Y n, personally do it. 29 , , , , , .
He afterwards again quotes Tung Chung-shu with the statement that ministers and dignitaries strive for the Confucian virtues of benevolence and righteousness whereas ordinary people strive for profit. The grandson of Ssu-ma Ch ien makes the decision to strive for profit instead of becoming a good Confucian-we should remember that Pan Ku reproached Ssu-ma Ch ien for favoring merchants over poor people. 30
Finally, the reader has to look into the concluding remarks of Pan Ku to chapter 66 of the Han shu . Here he will make another surprising discovery: Pan Ku does not talk about the persons he had written about before. Instead he begins to write about the monopolies on salt, iron and alcohol and he says that they were the most important business of the state. He quotes the imperial secretary Sang Hung-yang 31 who established these monopolies and then goes on to tell us that there was a man called Huan K uan who composed a book on this: The Yen-t ieh lun or Discussions on Salt and Iron . He did this, as Pan Ku says, because he, too, by doing this wanted to understand [the reasons] for order and chaos and to establish the model of a school of his own , . Pan Ku s own appraisal of this chapter is at the same time the postface of Huan K uan to the Yen-t ieh lun. The model of one school of his own -that, too, is a quotation of Ssu-ma Ch ien who by writing his Shih chi wanted to achieve exactly this goal: he had completed the teachings of one whole family . 32
The Death of Ssu-ma Ch ien
We have seen that there were parallels between chapters 121-126 of the Shih chi and 58-65 of the Han shu . After chapter 126 in Shih chi there are the two chapters on the diviners that were not reproduced in Han shu probably because Pan Ku did not see them. But the last chapter in the Shih chi before the autobiography of Ssu-ma Ch ien was the chapter with the biographies of the merchants ( Shih chi 129). It would seem that chapter 66 of the Han shu with the biography of the merchant Yang Y n and the appraisal with the text that today forms part of the Yen-t ieh lun corresponds to this chapter of the Shih chi . In this case the whole sequence of chapters 58 to 66 of the Han shu was an intended parallel to chapters 121-129 of the Shih chi . But what did Pan Ku want to tell by arranging his chapters this way? There is one chapter in Han shu that has no equivalent in this chapter sequence of the Shih chi -and this is chapter 62, the biography of the historian Ssu-ma Ch ien himself. However, this chapter is situated between the one on Central Asia and the one on the Sons of Emperor Wu. Is there a meaning to this?
Shih chi
Han shu
121 Ju-lin Confucians
58 Kung-sun Hung Confucian
122 K u-li Ruthless Officials
59 Chang T ang Ruthless Official
60 Tu Chou Ruthless Official
123 Ta-y an Central Asia
61 Chang Ch ien , Li Kuang-li Central Asia
62 Ssu-ma Ch ien
124 Yu-hsia Wandering Knights and Self-Justice
63 Five Sons of Han Wu-ti Self-Justice
125 Ning-hsing Favorites
64 Miscellaneous Favorites?
126 Ku-chi Witty Remonstrants
65 Tung-fang Shuo Witty Remonstrant
127 Jih-che Those Who Discern the Days
Missing in Shih chi that Pan Ku saw
128 Kuei-ts e Turtle and Stalk Diviners
Missing in Shih chi that Pan Ku saw
129 Huo-che Merchants
66 Miscellaneous, Yang Y n (Merchant)
In chapter 66, the last one of this sequence in Han shu , Pan Ku writes that in 91 BC the crown prince after the beginning of his rebellion ordered the Envoy Supervising the Northern Army, Jen An , to raise his troops. Jen An accepted the insignia but shut the doors and did not answer the Crown Prince anymore. The latter then assembled tens of thousands of commoners from the market place and went to give battle to the troops of the chancellor for five days in the course of which tens of thousands of men died. After the defeat of the crown prince Jen An was thrown into prison and condemned to death because he had harbored two loyalties 33 .
Jen An was the man whom Ssu-ma Ch ien sent his famous letter to in which he also said that Jen An had committed an offense that was too heavy to fathom and that he feared that Jen An would be dead before he had answered. 34 He also feared that Jen An s soul would be angry with him after his death when he did not get a response to the letter he had sent previously. It is not really thinkable that anything else than the death penalty for Jen An s accepting the insignia of the crown prince could be alluded to here although Wang Kuo-wei (1877-1927) has dated the letter to the year of 93 BC, not 91 BC. 35
Pan Ku also writes in Han shu 66: It so happened that at this night T ien Jen, the Director of Uprightness, had been given the task to shut the city gates. He was accused of having allowed the crown prince to escape and they both/all were executed by cutting in two halves at their waist. 36 , .
T ien Jen is also known to us from the Shih chi . He is the son of T ien Shu to whom Ssu-ma Ch ien devoted chapter 104 of his Shih chi . Interestingly, he also mentions him on the last page of his chapter on the merchants/money-makers where he says that T ien Shu started his career as a grave-robber. 37 He does not seem to resent this as becomes clear when we look into his concluding remark to the chapter on T ien Shu. There, Ssu-ma Ch ien says: T ien Jen was a friend of mine, therefore I discussed him together [with his father]. A short summary of the events just presented from Han shu 66 precedes these words. 38 This is one of the passages which suggest that Ssu-ma Ch ien did indeed add remarks on the rebellion of the crown prince from the year 91 BC himself and that it is not very likely that he died before that date.
Two men who were very close to Ssu-ma Ch ien died in the rebellion of the crown prince. T ien Jen obviously was a friend of his. Whether Jen An also was a friend may remain open to speculation-Pan Ku calls him a ku-jen , and Yen Shih-ku (581-645) explains that this was a man with whom he had been in contact for a long time. 39 It is interesting to see what Ssu-ma Ch ien writes at the beginning of his letter. Jen An had told him that he should behave like a worthy of old . Ssu-ma Ch ien takes this up and says that Jen An had asked him to promote worthy men at court. He then goes on to first make excuses that as a eunuch he could not do this and then that he had not found the time to respond earlier. It is not clear whether Jen An had written his letter when he was already in prison. If so, then the request to promote worthy men could almost be understood as a cry for help- he could then mean himself and it would then almost look like Ssu-ma Ch ien refused to help because he had had bad experiences with speaking up for friends before. If Jen An had sent his letter before the rebellion, then we should probably understand his letter as a request to promote people at court that belonged to the faction of the righteous men. Were these the men of the crown prince? 40 And did Ssu-ma Ch ien belong to this faction? 41 In short: Was the Shih chi written as an educational book for the crown prince of Emperor Wu, the purpose of which it was to teach him how to avoid mistakes that his father had committed?
One of the unresolved problems surrounding the Shih chi is the fact that we do not know anything about the time when Ssu-ma Ch ien died. He obviously could not write about this himself, but it is most strange that Pan Ku, too, does not give the slightest hint about the circumstances of Ssu-ma Ch ien s death. He just copied Ssu-ma Ch ien s autobiography, cut out some sentences in which Ssu-ma Ch ien explained why he wrote his book, 42 deleted the rhymed prefaces to the chapters of the Shih chi , and then added a sentence saying that this was the autobiography of Ssu-ma Ch ien and that ten chapters of the book were missing. Pan Ku then says that after his castration Ssu-ma Ch ien had become a Prefect of the Palace Writers and that he was allowed to fill his position with the highest honors. In this situation Jen An wrote his letter from prison, and Ssu-ma Ch ien answered. Pan Ku includes Ssu-ma Ch ien s whole letter and then continues abruptly:
After Ssu-ma Ch ien had died his writings slowly came out. At the time of Emperor Hs an, his grandson Yang Y n became the patron of the transmission of his writings whereupon they became widely known. At the time of Wang Mang one looked for a descendant of Ssu-ma Ch ien in order to enfeoff him. He became the Master who had Penetrated History. 43 , , , , , .
Different from what he did in other biographies of his Han shu , Pan Ku in this case did not care about the death of Ssu-ma Ch ien. Yang Y n, of course, was executed because of his resistance to the court. It is also interesting that Pan Ku says that the Ssu-ma Family was favored by the usurper Wang Mang. This was not necessarily a compliment.
With good reasons Wang Kuo-wei has tried to show that in 87 BC someone must have replaced Ssu-ma Ch ien in his position as prefect of the Eunuch Palace Writers and he says that while it is impossible to know the date of Ssu-ma Ch ien s death for sure one should not be greatly mistaken when assuming that the historian died at the same time as Emperor Wu. 44 This is why today in all major Western accounts on Ssu-ma Ch ien the year of 87 is given as the year of his death, although this is usually accompanied by a question mark. In scholarly circles in China, there is much less agreement on the date of 87 BC. Some believe that he died in 91 or 90 in the aftermath of the rebellion of the crown prince while others speculate that he may have lived far into the reign of Emperor Chao (87-74 BCE). 45
Interestingly, the last events that are mentioned in the Shih chi -aside from some obvious later interpolations-concern the year 91 BC. 46 However, the historian does not write about this event itself, and some scholars doubt that the entries concerning it were even written by Ssu-ma Ch ien although there is not much evidence against this. Ssu-ma Ch ien has given two different dates for the end of the Shih chi (the reign periods y an-shou (128-122 BC), t ai-ch u 104-101 BC), while Pan Ku has added a third one ( t ien-Han 100-97 BC), 47 but this does not necessarily mean that he could not have written some additions to his text later on. 48
As 91 BC, the year 90 BC is a crucial one for the Shih chi . Its Hsiung-nu chapter ends with the submission to the Hsiung-nu of general Li Kuang-li, the general who fought for the Han in Central Asia. Shih chi says that this took place in 97 BC-by the way the last year of the t ien-Han reign period mentioned above, but a more elaborate parallel in Han shu dates it to the year 90 BC and links it to the rebellion of the crown prince after which tens of thousands of people were executed, among them the whole family of Li Kuang-li. 49 Most scholars have followed Pan Ku s account with regard to the death of Li Kuang-li, although we could, of course, understand these books simply as completely different historiographical representations of reality and follow Ssu-ma Ch ien just as well as Pan Ku. It is interesting that the Annals of Emperor Wu in the Shih chi also end with a visit to Mount T ai in 97 BC and that the year 91 BC as such ( cheng-ho erh nien ) is apart from the tables of the Shih chi mentioned only once in this book, namely in chapter 54. 50 The affair of the crown prince is mentioned once more, in chapter 104, but without a date. 51 So it remains perfectly possible that Ssu-ma Ch ien simply had a different chronology than Pan Ku.
There is an interesting entry on the death of Ssu-ma Ch ien to be found in a commentary to his autobiography in which the Han chiu-yi is quoted saying that Emperor Wu was enraged when he read Ssu-ma Ch ien s chapter on his father, the Annals of Emperor Ching, and that he deleted them. It continues to report that later Ssu-ma Ch ien was castrated because of the Li Ling affair and that he then uttered words of resentment for which he was thrown into prison where he died. 52 Of course, we do not know when this was, and there is no link whatsoever in the Han chiu-yi account to the rebellion of the crown prince.
Yet, it is interesting that in Han times the idea that Ssu-ma Ch ien died a violent death did in fact exist. We do not know what happened to Ssu-ma Ch ien in 91 BC. Because of the fact that the passage on the rebellion of the crown prince in Shih chi 104 would not make much sense without the text on T ien Jen and his participation in the rebellion of the crown prince, it does seem to me that at least for some time he did continue to write his Shih chi after the death of Jen An and T ien Jen. He could also be the author of the passage at the end of Shih chi 110 in which the submission of Li Kuang-li to the Hsiung-nu is mentioned that, if we believe Pan Ku, may have taken place only in 90 BC. Yet, it also seems clear that Pan Ku must have seen a connection between Ssu-ma Ch ien and the crown prince and that in his own sequence of events he placed his chapter before the one that dealt with this rebellion precisely for this reason.
The reason why Pan Ku copied the sequence of the final section of the Shih chi chapters in his own series of chapters 58 to 66 probably was that different from what Chao Yi in the eighteenth century believed made sense. With Shih chi chapter 118 a new story begins in the history: Its subject is the cruel treatment of the kings of Huainan and Heng-shan by the Confucian scholar Kung-sun Hung and the commandant of justice Chang T ang. Thereafter follow the biographies of the reasonable or lenient officials. Only in the next chapter, Shih chi 120, do we find two individuals who would have fit the title reasonable official in Han times, namely Chi An, an enemy of Kung-sun Hung, and Cheng Tang-shih. These reasonable officials show how one could have also dealt with a delicate situation such as the difficult relationship between Liu An and his nephew, the emperor. In chapter 121 we find the Confucian scholars, a chapter that begins with Kung-sun Hung, and in chapter 122 the Ruthless Officials, at the center of which stands Chang T ang, the Commandant of Justice. In this chapter we read that the Han made the laws harsher and harsher and that one could free himself from punishment by joining the army. This was, as is stated in chapter 123 on Ta Y an, why the armies of Li Kuang-li largely consisted of criminals, not skilled soldiers-and maybe this is also the reason why Ssu-ma Ch ien says that the campaigns in Central Asia actually were a sheer disaster. In chapter 124 Ssu-ma Ch ien talks about the Wandering Gallants, those people who took the law into their own hands-given the state of affairs described in the two chapters before one should not wonder about this. In chapter 125 Ssu-ma Ch ien tells us who got access to the emperor at that time-male favorites, not upright scholars. He may also have seen this as the reason why such men as Kung-sun Hung and Chang T ang could do what they wanted. In chapter 126 we again do not find officials who lived under the Han. This is the chapter on the Witty Courtiers, and the stories that we read there tell us that in olden times it was possible to tell rulers the truth who would have otherwise not heard it - just as Emperor Wu in Ssu-ma Ch ien s times because the access to him was blocked by the favorites dealt with in the previous chapter. The diviners do not have counterparts in the Han shu , but it is still interesting to note that the first of these chapters tells the story of Ssu-ma Chi-chu , a man who defended his way of life as someone who did not want to take office. As we all know, in bad times, the gentleman does not accept office. The short part of Shih chi 128 that does seem to have been written by Ssu-ma Ch ien does not contain any biographies. Interestingly, it also writes about the affair of the crown prince that could only develop into a massacre of thousands of people because all people believed in divination-Ssu-ma Ch ien here subtly says that he did not do so. Why Ssu-ma Ch ien at the end of his book wrote about the merchants is an important question as well. The memoirs section begins with a very Confucian subject, the memoir of Po Yi and Shu Ch i , just as the treatises begin with the chapters on rites and music while they end with a chapter on the economy. 53 It does seem that the conflict between Confucian values and those of merchants plays a role as yet not sufficiently explored in Shih chi scholarship. 54 Pan Ku accused Ssu-ma Ch ien of favoring merchants and considering poverty a disgrace. 55
What is obvious is that there was a sense behind the way how Ssu-ma Ch ien had arranged the chapters of the final part of his Shih chi . As far as Pan Ku and his story are concerned, it seems that he wanted to suggest that for Ssu-ma Ch ien Central Asia where Li Kuang-li had fought was an important subject, maybe because Ssu-ma Ch ien was an opponent of the wars there and maybe because the death of Li Kuang-li was the last subject he had discussed. But according to the Han shu in the aftermath of the affair of the crown prince persecutions went on until the year 88 BC, the first year of the hou-y an reign period when there was a general amnesty. 56 It could well be that Pan Ku by his chapter arrangement wanted to suggest that Ssu-ma Ch ien had died a violent death after the faction of the crown prince, that included friends and old acquaintances of his, had been wiped out. At the same time it would also be possible that Pan Ku knew that Ssu-ma Ch ien had seen what had happened at the end of the life of Emperor Wu of the Han and that this increased his oppositional stance so much that it became very obvious to any reader of the Shih chi . Be that as it may, by arranging his chapters in the way he did, Pan Ku certainly said that there was a close connection between Ssu-ma Ch ien, the Shih chi , and the rebellious Crown Prince Li.
1 Shih chi , 130.3319. Compare Stephen Durrant, The Cloudy Mirror (Albany: SUNY, 1995), p. 30, Klein, Reading Sima Qian from Han to Song (Leiden: Brill, 2018), p. 352.
2 On this see van Ess, Politik und Geschichtsschreibung im alten China (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014), pp. 708f., and Klein, Reading , pp. 351-359.
3 See van Ess, Politik , pp. 709-716.
4 See the So-yin commentary on Shih chi , 105.2785.
5 See on Han shu , 64.2776-2789.
6 Shih chi , 119.3099. Compare Grand Scribe s Records 10:227.
7 Chao Yi, Nien-erh cha-chi , Wang Shu-min , ed. Nien-erh cha-chi chiao-cheng (Peking: Chung-hua, 1963 and 1984), pp. 6-7.
8 These are the chapters on Tou Ying, T ien Fen, Han An-kuo, Li Kuang and the generals Wei Ch ing and Huo Ch -ping.
9 Shih chi , 130.3321.
10 Han shu , 62.2724.
11 Han shu , 62.2738.
12 Shih chi , 124.3183.
13 Han shu , 92.3697, see the translation in Burton Watson, Courtier and Commoner in Ancient China (New York: Columbia University, 1974), pp. 223f.
14 Han shu , 92.3698, Watson, Courtier and Commoner , p. 224.
15 Han shu , 92.3699, Watson, Courtier and Commoner , p. 225.
16 See below, and Chang Ta-k o , Shih chi yen-chiu (Lanchow, 1985), p. 152-154.
17 Shih chi , 124.3181, Han Fei-tzu chi-chieh (Peking: Chung-hua, 1998), 49.449.
18 Han shu , 63.2771, Courtier and Commoner , p. 77.
19 Han shu , 64B.2838.
20 Grand Scribe s Records 9:370.
21 Shih chi , 112.2961, Grand Scribe s Records 9:386.
22 Shih chi , 122.3143. Han shu observes the taboo of Emperor Ming of the Later Han whose name was Chuang which then had to be replaced by Yen .
23 Shih chi , 125.3195.
24 Shih chi , 122.3139.
25 Yang Y n uses the phrase . This reminds us of the word of Confucius that is quoted also by Ssu-ma Ch ien that the superior man suffers if he is going to die without that his name is going to be praised in future times ( Lun y 15.20, Shih chi , 61.2127).
26 Han shu , 66.2894-2897. The translation is with slight adjustments taken from Jurij L. Kroll, in Yang Yun s Biography, His Outlook, and His Poem , in Michael Nylan and Griet Vankeerberghen, eds., Chang an 26 BCE. An Augustean Age in China (Seattle: U. of Washington, 2015) pp. 411-440, on p. 426. Compare also van Ess, Politik , pp. 749-761, and Dorothee Schaab-Hanke, Inheritor of a Subversive Mind? Approaching Yang Yun from his Letter to Sun Huizong, in Olga Lomova, Dorothee Schaab-Hanke and Hans van Ess, eds., Views from Within, Views from Beyond: Approaches to the Shih chi as an Early Work of Historiography (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2015), pp. 193-216.
27 Shih chi , 130.3286.
28 Shih chi , 87.2544, written with the mouth radical .
29 Han shu , 66.2896.
30 Ibid.
31 On him, see Loewe, Dictionary , pp. 462-464. Sang is mentioned in Shih chi chapter 30 but does not have a biography in Shih chi or in Han shu .
32 Shih chi , 130.3319.
33 Han shu , 66.2881.
34 Han shu , 62.2726.
35 On the two main dates suggested for the letter to Jen An, see Klein, Readings , pp. 53f.
36 Han shu , 66.2881.
37 Shih chi , 129.3282.
38 Shih chi , 104.2778.
39 Han shu , 62.2725.
40 On this see also Ch eng Chin-tsao , Shih chi kuan-k uei (Sian: Shan-hsi Ren-min, 1985), pp. 128-134, and Lu Yao-tung , Wu-ku chih huo y Shih chi te ch eng-shu , T ai-ta li-shih hs eh-pao , 18 (1994), pp. 39-62. A much more complete treatment of Lu s argument is in his Y -yi y ch ao-y eh: Ssu-ma Ch ien y Han Wu-ti shih-tai (Taipei: San-lien, 2008).
41 On this see van Ess, Dissent against Emperor Wu of the Han , in Stephen Durrant, Wai-yee Li, Michael Nylan, and Hans van Ess, The Letter to Ren An Sima Qian s Legacy , (Seattle: University of Washington, 2016), pp. 51-70, on pp. 55-59.
42 Shih chi , 130.3300
43 Han shu , 62.2737.
44 Wang Kuo-wei , T ai-shih-kung hsing-nien k ao , in Kuan-t ang chi-lin , 11, p. 12b-13b. Wang says that the annals of Emperor Hs an (r. 74-33 BC) say that in 87 BC a man called Kuo Jang had the title of a Nei yeh-che ling . He then goes on to suggest that the nei in this title actually is due to a taboo dating to the Sui dynasty which had to change all chung or chung to nei . Now according to the table of officials under the Han at the time of Emperor Ch eng, the former title Chung-shu yeh-che ling was changed to Chung yeh-che ling which would correspond to the Nei yeh-che ling of Kuo Jang. Chung-shu yeh-che ling seems to be the correct form of the abbreviated Chung-shu ling which is the position that Pan Ku says Ssu-ma Ch ien held after his castration in 99 or 98 BC. Were all this true, then Kuo Jang in 87 BC would have had the office that Ssu-ma Ch ien held before. However, there is one more complication that Wang Kuo-wei mentioned but did not really address. Another passage on Han shu 66.2883 mentions Kuo Jang as a Nei-che ling in 90 BC, a title that is indeed listed in the table of official titles of the Han shu . It seems more than a strange coincidence that Kuo Jang should have been Nei-che ling first and Nei yeh-che ling afterwards-it would be much more plausible to assume that Nei-che ling is an abbreviation for Nei yeh-che ling just as is Chung-shu ling for Chung-shu yeh-che ling . This then would mean that Kuo Jang did not replace Ssu-ma Ch ien in 87 BC but in 90 BC.
45 van Ess, Politik , pp. 732f, note 189.
46 For a list see van Ess, The Late Western Han Historian Chu Shaosun, in M. Nylan and G. Vankeerberghen, Chang an 26 BCE , pp. 477-504, on pp. 496-97.
47 Shih chi , 130.3300, 130.3321, Han shu , 62.2737.
48 Chang Ta-k o, Shih chi yen-chiu , pp. 138-161, Ch eng Chin-tsao, Shih chi kuan-k uei , pp. 119-121.
49 See Grand Scribe s Records 9:301, n. 399.
50 Grand Scribe s Records 2:254, Shih chi , 54.2031.
51 Shih chi , 104.2778. Black magic ( wu-ku ) is mentioned in Shih chi , 110.2918, 111.2942, 2943, and 2946, 128.3224. These are not specific, however, as far as the affair of the crown-prince is concerned.
52 Shih chi , 130.3320
53 One might also think that the first section of the Hereditary Houses begins with a Confucian chapter, namely the one on the state of Wu whose founder is quoted in Lun y and whose senior figure Chi Cha at the end is also a Confucian. The last chapters of this first section of the hereditary houses deal with the states of Wu and Y eh which are also dominated by a merchant, namely Fan Li.
54 See the tenth chapter of van Ess, Politik , pp. 561-618.
55 Han shu , 62.2738.
56 Han shu , 6.211.
Sinological Convention has dictated a number of decisions in preparing this book. For example, we have used the term hegemon, even though we do not feel it an appropriate rendering for the original pa . There is an entry on pa which addresses the problem-midst an assembly for other problematic terms-in our Glossary, now in draft form, which we plan to publish in the final volume.
Most Texts are cited by chapter and page in a particular edition- Shih chi 62.2185 indicated ch an 62, page 2135 of the Chung-hua edition (see List of Abbreviations )-but references to the Lun y (Analects of Confucius) and Meng-tzu (Mencius) are according to chapter and verse ( is thus Lun y 1.1) and to Lao-tzu (Lao-tzu) by section. When comments in a modern critical edition are relevant, however, we cite it. All dynastic history references are to the modern punctuated editions from Chung-hua Shu-ch . For most other citations we have referred to the Ssu-pu pei-yao or Ssu-pu ts ung-kan Editions to allow the reader to more easily locate the passage.
In one important aspect we have deviated from accepted practice- Names. In the pre-Ch in period there were four basic types of name- hsing , shih , ming , and tzu - one more than in later eras. The ming , given at birth, and the tzu , given at maturity in a male and marriage in a female, posed no new problems. The hsing has also remained the name given to those related by blood throughout Chinese history. But the shih is unique to pre-Ch in times. Originally it was used to designate separate clans within the same hsing . The shih was usually created by using the official position (Ssu-ma ), location (Chao ), noble title (Kung-tzu ), or profession (shih ) of the clan leader. In earliest times shih were only held by nobles, but during the Warring States era they were more widely held until shih and hsing became virtually indistinguishable (thus causing confusion for later scholars, including Ssu-ma Ch ien). Given this extra name, and because we were not satisfied that any translation norms for these terms were universally followed, we adopted a new scheme based primarily on Roman practice: The Romans generally bore three names, the praenomen , corresponding to our Christian name; the nomen , the name of the gens or clan; the cognomen , the name of the family . a fourth name was sometimes added, the agnomen (cf. Sir Paul Harvey, Names of Persons, in Harvey s The Oxford Companion to Classical Literature [Rpt. Oxford: Oxford University, 1980], pp. 284-85). Well aware that there is not a perfect correspondence between these four name-types and those of pre-Ch in China, we have adopted these terms: thus hsing is cognomen, shih is nomen, ming is praenomen , and tzu is agnomen .
Similarly the word ch eng , which we have translated as sometimes city, should rather refer to walled towns or settlements. Few of the ch eng mentioned in these chapters would be large enough to be considered a city in our sense of the word.
For Personal Names in the early chapters, we have hyphenated those two-syllable names we cannot analyze (e.g., Ch a-fu ), but separated those with titles or honorifics (e.g., Kung Liu ). We have followed Ssu-ma Ch ien s penchant for using several types of names to refer to the same character in a single chapter but tried to alert the reader to this practice in our notes.
Locations of Place Names are based on T an Ch i-hsiang , ed. Chung-kuo li-shih ti-t u chi , Vol. I: Y an-shih she-hui-Hsia, Shang, Hsi Chou, Ch un-ch iu, Chan-kuo shih-ch i - , Vol. II: Ch in, Hsi Han, Tung Han shih-ch i , , (Shanghai: Ti-t u Ch u-pan-she, 1982). T an s identifications are not without problems, but they have been adopted by a number of large projects in China (such as the Chung-kuo ta pai-k o ch an-shu ) and Shih chi . On occasion we have added information from Ch ien Mu s Shih chi ti-ming k ao (Rpt. Taipei: San-min Shu-chu, 1984), or Wang Hui s Shih chi pen-chi ti-li t u-k ao (Taipei: Kuo-li Pien-yi Kuan, 1990). Chinese characters for the major states of pre-Ch in China (Chao , Cheng , Ch i , Chin , Ch in , Ch u , Han , Lu , Shu , Sung , Wu , Yen , Y eh , etc.) are generally not given. Wei is distinguished from Wey by romanization. We have found it difficult to decide when to translate a place name. Our basic principle has been to translate names which seem to still have meaning in the Records and to leave untranslated those which were understood by Ssu-ma Ch ien primarily as toponyms. Where we were unsure, we gave a translation at the first occurrence only. Words like yi , ch eng or ch n (in two-syllable compounds] are treated as suffixes and transliterated rather than translated. For example, place names like An-yi , Tung-ch eng , and Nan-ch n , in which yi, ch eng and ch n are similar to the -ton in Washington or -ville in Nashville, are transliterated as An-yi, Tung-ch eng, and Nan-ch n, rather than translated as An Town, East City or Southern Commandery. For modern cities and provinces we have used the postal-system romanization (Peking, Szechwan, etc.). Ssu-ma Ch ien is fond of using two names (primarily Wei and Liang or Ching and Ch u ) to refer to the same state, a practice that can be confusing to the reader.
Another difficulty is, of course, that the location of many of these places is tentative at best. Although we have not been able to resolve such problems, we have given attention to the logic of locations within a given passage. In other words, if an army fought first at Point A and then took Point B, we have attempted to follow modern identifications which would accord with these events. When the narrative lends support to a group of locations (as in chapter 7), and on a few other occasions, we have provided rudimentary Maps.
Official Titles have posed a particular problem. Charles O. Hucker s A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1985) is often useful, but many of the titles we encountered do not occur in his guide or represent positions different from that in later eras. Thus we have made reference to Chung-kuo ku-tai chih-kuan ta tz u tien , Chang Cheng-lang , ed. (Chengchow: Ho-nan Jen-min, 1990), to Hs Lien-ta , ed., Chung-kuo li-tai kuan-chih tz u-tian (Hofei: An-huei Chiao-y , 1991), to the traditional commentators, and to works such as Miao Wen-y an , ed., Ch i-kuo k ao ting-pu (2v., Shanghai: Shang-hai Ku-chi, 1987). Official titles are cross listed (by translated title and romanized title) in the Index.
Weights and Measures are generally given in Romanization only. More information is often provided in the notes and especially in the Weights and Measures section below (pp. xxxi-xxxv).
Dates given according to the sexagenary cycle have been Romanized: chia-tzu jih becomes the chia-tzu day. Reign periods preceded by an asterisk indicated that the dates given are those of the Shih chi but have been revised by modern scholars (see A Note on Chronology below).
We have used a slightly modified version of Wade Giles Romanization : i is written throughout as yi to avoid the confusion between the English first-person pronoun and Chinese proper names. For Chinese passages over four characters in length, romanization is usually not provided. Reconstructed pronunciation follows that of Li Fang-kuei .
Our Base Edition has been that edited by Ku Chieh-kang 1893-1980) et al. and entitled Shih chi . It was based on the Chin-ling Shu-ch edition and published in ten volumes by Chung-hua Shu-ch in 1959. References to this edition are given by chapter and page (69.2250) in the notes and by page numbers in brackets in the translation itself [2250]. We have also consulted the Po-na and Chien-pen editions regularly (see also Introduction). Chung-hua has published a newly edited edition in hardbound and paperbound renditions in 2013 and 2014, respectively. The 2014 paperbound edition includes revisions beyond that of the 2013 text (see the Introduction to The Grand Scribe s Records, Volume X , pp. xiii-xv, and the Note on the New Edition of The Grand Scribe s Records, Volume I [2018].
Most of the references to Grand Scribe s Records v. 1 in the notes are to the original 1994 edition. Notes to the recently republished 2018-revised version of those chapters read Grand Scribe s Records , v. 1 (2018).
In citing the standard three Commentaries- Chi-chieh , Cheng-yi , and So-yin -page numbers are given only if the reference is to a chapter other than that being translated. In other words, in the translation of 61.2124 no page number is provided for a citation from the Cheng-yi if that citation occurs on 61.2124 or 61.2125, since the reader should easily be able to locate it. If a Cheng-yi comment is provided from another section or chapter of the Shih chi , we use the following format: 4:120.4, indicating Ch an 4, p. 120, n. 4. A brief introduction to these commentaries can be found in the front-matter to Volume 1.
An extra vertical space in our translations indicates those passages that are set apart (also by spacing) in the Chung-hua original text.
Our Annotation has attempted to identify major textual problems, place names, book titles, rituals, unusual customs, individuals and groups of people. We provide, however, only one base note for those items which occur repeatedly in the text (such as Jung and Ti-n. 10 to chapter 4) and the reader is expected to use the index for help in locating the base note.
Abbreviated titles and words can be found in the List of Abbreviations in the front-matter.
Chinese Characters are given at their first occurrence and repeated only in personal names in that person s biography. In other words, the characters are given at their first occurrence (69.2250) and again in Chang Yi s memoir (chapter 70).
The translation of each chapter is followed by a Translators Note and a short Bibliography. The former may provide a summary of analyses from traditional commentators, point out problems in the text, or discuss its relations to other chapters. The latter includes the major studies and translations. Outdated translations, such as that by E. H botter (1912), are not listed.
A List of Recent Studies of the Shih chi in general is appended.
Official Titles have posed a particular problem. Charles O. Hucker s A Dictionary of Official Titles in Imperial China (Stanford: Stanford University, 1985) is often useful, but many of the titles we encountered do not occur in his guide or represent positions different from that in later eras. Thus we have made reference to Chung-kuo ku-tai chih-kuan ta tz u tien , Chang Cheng-lang and Lu Zongli , eds. (Chengchow: Ho-nan Jen-min Ch u-pan-she, 1990), to Hs Lien-ta , ed., Chung-kuo li-tai kuan-chih tz u-tian (Hofei: An-huei Chiao-y , 1991), to the traditional commentators, and to works such as Miao Wen-y an , ed., Ch i-kuo k ao ting-pu (2v., Shanghai: Shang-hai Ku-chi, 1987). Official titles are cross listed (by translated title and romanized title) in the Index.
Weights and Measures are generally given in Romanization only. More information is often provided in the notes and especially in the Weights and Measures section below (pp. xxxv-xxxvii).
The Han administration outside the capital was organized into kingdoms ( kuo ) under the command of kings who were normally members of the royal family, commanderies ( ch n ) headed by Grand Administrators ( T ai-shou ), and Counties ( hsien ), governed by Prefects ( Ling for larger counties and Chang for smaller).
Dates given according to the sexagenary cycle have been Romanized: chia-tzu jih becomes The chia-tzu day. Reign periods preceded by an asterisk indicated that the dates given are those of the Shih chi but have been revised by modern scholars (see a Note on Chronology below).
We have used a slightly modified version of Wade Giles Romanization : i is written throughout as yi to avoid the confusion between the English first-person pronoun and Chinese proper names. For Chinese passages over four characters in length, romanization is usually not provided. Reconstructed pronunciation follows that of Li Fang-kuei .
Our Base Edition has been that edited by Ku Chieh-kang (1893-1980) et al. and entitled Shih chi . It was based on the Chin-ling Shu-ch edition and published in ten volumes by Chung-hua Shu-ch in 1959. References to this edition are given by chapter and page (69.2250) in the notes and by page numbers in brackets in the translation itself [2250]. We have also consulted the Po-na and Chien-pen editions regularly (see also Introduction to volume 1).
In citing the standard three Commentaries- Chi-chieh , Cheng-yi , and So-yin page numbers are given only if the reference is to a chapter other than that being translated. In other words, in the translation of 61.2124 no page number is provided for a citation from the Cheng-yi if that citation occurs on 61.2124 or 61.2125, since the reader should easily be able to locate it. If a Cheng-yi comment is provided from another section or chapter of the Shih chi , we use the following format: 4.120, indicating Ch an 4, p. 120. A brief introduction to these commentaries can be found in the front-matter to Volume 1.
Our Annotation has attempted to identify major textual problems, place names, book titles, rituals, unusual customs, individuals and groups of people. We provide, however, only one base note for those items which occur repeatedly in the text (such as Jung and Ti-n. 10 to chapter 4) and the reader is expected to use the index for help in locating the base note.
While we realize that the term lieh-chuan (see p. 351, n. 144) should be understood as arrayed traditions or arranged traditions, we have (except in Hans van Ess s translation of chapter 130) continued to translate the term as memoir.
Abbreviated titles and words can be found in the List of Abbreviations in the front-matter.
Chinese Characters are given at their first occurrence and repeated only in personal names in that person s biography. In other words, the characters are given at their first occurrence (69.2250) and again in Chang Yi s memoir (chapter 70).
The translation of each chapter is followed by a Translator s Note and a short Bibliography. The former may provide a summary of analyses from traditional commentators, point out problems in the text, or discuss its relations to other chapters. The latter includes the major studies and translations. Outdated translations, such as that by E. H botter (1912), are not listed.
A General Bibliography is appended.
Throughout the text we have given words indicating weights and measures in their romanized form followed (at the first occurrence) by the Chinese character (e.g., jen ). This is in part because there are no standards for each era or each region dealt with in the basic annals. Yet most of the values given in the following charts were fairly stable from the Warring States era into the early Han in most states.
Generally speaking, the basic unit of length, the ch ih , was the most stable. It varied from 23.1 cm in Warring States to about 23.2 cm in the Western Han. In terms of volume, one sheng was roughly equal to 200 cc throughout the period. The greatest variance can be seen in weights, but even there we can assume that one chin remained equal to approximately 250 g through the era.
However, in order to avoid confusion between chin (which when preceded by a number indicated so many yi of bronze or copper [l yi = 20 liang ]) and chin (the standard measure for gold or huang-chin which consisted of 16 liang) , we refer to the former as chin and the latter as catties.
The following list is arranged by category (Length, Capacity, etc.) and under each category by the importance of the term. Variances are listed with the most ancient value first. A selected list of sources (along with a key to the abbreviated sources cited in the list) is appended.
Unit Name
Western Equivalent (Era)
Source (see appended Bibliography)
Ch ih
22-23 cm (Ch u)
23.1 cm (Wey Yang s standard in Ch in)
23-23.7 cm (Western Han)
Ch en Meng-chia
Ch en Meng-chia
K ao-ku hs eh
ts un
1/10th Ch ih

8 ch ih = 184.8 cm (Chou)
6 ch ih = 138.6 cm (Ch in-Han)
138 cm
Tz u-hai
Tz u-hai
Han Weights and Measures
8 ch ih (Chou dynasty)
7 ch ih (Western Han)
Ku-tai wen-hua
Ku-tai wen-hua
hs n
8 ch ih
Ku-tai wen-hua
10 ch ih

Ch ang
16 ch ih
Ku-tai wen-hua
Ch un
4 tuan (of cloth; 1 tuan = 2 chang)
Chi-chieh ( Shih chi , 69.2250)
10 chang

415 m
416 m = 300 pu or 180 chang)
Han Weights and Measures
Ku-tai wen-hua
30 li

100 pu 2 (342.25 m. 2 , Chou)
160 pu 2 (Ch in, Chin, Fan, Chung-hang)
200 pu 2 (Han, Wei)
240 pu 2 (Chao)
240 pu 2 (Warring States, Ch in, Han; 457.056m. 2 )
0.1139 English Acre
Ku-tai wen-hua
Ku-tai wen-hua
Ku-tai wen-hua Ku-tai wen-hua
Ku-tai wen-hua
Han Weights and Measures
often stands for x-li on a side (i.e., x by x li)
201.25 cc (Wey Yang s standard)
202.15 cc (Wey Yang s standard)
199.69 cc (Wey Yang s standard)
205.8 cc (state of Ch i) from 194-216 cc (later in Ch in)
K ao-ku hs eh
Ku-tai wen-hua
Ch en Meng-chia
K ao-ku hs eh
y eh
1/2 ho = about 10 cc

1/10 sheng = about 20 cc 19.968 cc
Han Weights and Measures
t ung
6 sheng (Warring States era)
Shih chi tz u-tien
10 sheng = about 2000 cc 1900 cc (Ch in dynasty)
Ch en Meng-chia
10 tou = about 20,000 cc 19,968 cc.
Han Weights and Measures
16 tou (Spring and Autumn era)
Tso chuan , Chao 26
20,460-20580 cc
K ao-ku hs eh , Ch en Meng-chia
256.26 g (Warring States, Ch in)
251.53 g (Ch u)
234.6-273.8 g (Ch in)
244-268 g (Western Han)
245 g (Western Han)
Ch en Meng-chia
Ch en Meng-chia
K ao-ku hs eh
Ch en Meng-chia
Han Weights and Measures
1/16 chin --about 15.625 g 15.36 g
Han Weights and Measures
1/24 liang -about 0.651 g 0.64 g
Han Weights and Measures
6 chu
1/4 liang = about 3.906 g
20 liang
See introduction to Weights and Measures above
ch n
30 chin = about 7,500 g 7,350 g
Han Weights and Measures
120 chin = about 30 kg 29.5 kg
Han Weights and Measures
= yi (of copper or bronze, in pre-Ch in times)
1 chin = 1 ts un 3 of gold = 238-251 g (Ch in-Han)
See introduction to Weights and Measures above
Key to Abbreviated Sources
Ch en Meng-chia
Ch en Meng-chia . Chan-kuo tu-liang-heng shih-l eh shuo , K ao-ku , 6.6 (1964), 312-14.
Han Weights and Measures
Han Weights and Measures, in The Cambridge History of China, Volume I, The Ch in and Han Empires . Denis Twitchett and Michael Loewe, eds. Cambridge: Cambridge University. 1986, p. xxxviii.
K ao-ku hs eh
Chung-kuo ta pai-k o ch an shu, K ao-ku hs eh , . Peking and Shanghai: Chung-kuo ta pai-k o Ch an-shu, 1986.
Ku-tai wen-hua
Ku-tai wen-hua ch ang-chih Yang Tien-k uei et al., eds. Tsinan: Shan-tung Chiao-y , 1984, pp. 271-92.
Shih chi tz u-tien
Shih chi tz u-tien . Edited by Ts ang Hsiu-liang . Tsinan: Shantung Chiao-y , 1984.
Tz u-hai
Tz u-hai . 3v. Shanghai: Shang-hai Tz u-shu, 1979.
Selected Bibliography
Ho Ch ang-ch n . Sheng tou pien , Li-shih yen-chiu , 1958.6, 79-86.
Hulsew , A. F. P. Ch in-Han Weights and Measures, in Hulsew , Remnants of Ch in Law . Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1985, p. 19.
--. Weights and Measures in Ch in Law, in State and Law in East Asian: Festschrift Karl B nger . Dieter Eikemeier and Herbert Franke, eds. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1981, pp. 25-39.
Kuo-chia Chi-liang Tsung-ch . Chung-kuo ku-tai du-liang-heng t u-chi . Peking: Wen-wu , 1981.
Loewe, Michael. The Measurement of Grain during the Han Period, TP , 49 (1961), 64-95.
Tseng Wu-hsiu . Chung-kuo li-tai chih-tu kai-shu , Li-shih yen-chiu , March 1964, esp. pp. 164-66 and 182.
Wang Chung-ch an . Ch in-Han shih-tai chung, hu, tan hsin-k ao , , , Chung-kuo-shih yen-chiu , 1988.1, 11-23.
Wu Ch eng-lo . Chung-kuo tu-liang-heng shih . Shanghai: Shang-wu, 1937.
Yang K uan . Chung-kuo li-tai Ch ih-tu k ao . Shanghai: Shang-wu, 1995.
Lu Zongli
Editor s note: see also the discussion of Han measurements in Appendix I: Standard Weights and Measurements on Anne Kinney s website at: style=women/xsl/dynaxml.xsl chunk.ed=d2.15 toc.depth=1 toc.ed=0 doc.lang=bilingual
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Watson, trans. Records of the Grand Historian: Qin Dynasty . Volume 3. Hong Kong and New York: Chin. U. of Hong Kong and Columbia U., 1993.
Watson, Ssu-ma Ch ien
Burton Watson. Ssu-ma Ch ien, Grand Historian of China . New York: Columbia University, 1958.
Wu and Lu
Wu Shu-p ing and Lu Zong-li [L Zongli], eds. and trans., in Ch an-chu ch an-yi Shih chi . 3v. Tientsin: T ien-chin Ku-chi, 1995.
Yang, Li-tai
Yang Yen-ch i et al ., eds. Li-tai ming-chia p ing Shih chi . Peking: Pei-ching Shih-fan Ta-hs eh, 1986.
Yang, Lun-y
Yang Po-ch n 1909-1992). Lun y yi-chu . Peking: Chung-hua, 1980.
Yang, Tso-chuan
Yang Po-ch n . Ch un-ch iu Tso-chuan chu . 4v. Peking: Chung-hua, 1982.
Yang Yen-ch i
Yang Yen-ch i . Shih chi ch an-yi . 9v. Kweiyang: Kuei-chou Jen-min, 2001.
Yang Hsien-yi and Gladys Yang. Records of the Historian . Rpt. Hong Kong: The Commercial Press, 1985.
Anthony J. Barbieri-Low and Robin D. S. Yates. Law, State and Society in Early Imperial China, A Study with Critical Edition and Translation of the Legal Texts from Zhangjiashan Tomb no. 247 . 2v. Leiden: Brill, 2015.
II. Journals
Asia Major
Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews
Early China
Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Journal of Asian Studies
Monumenta Serica
Oriens Extremus
T oung Pao
Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenl ndischen Gesellschaft
III. Other
rev. ed.
revised edition
The Ruthless 1 Officials, Memoir 62
translated by Hans van Ess, Clara Luhn, and a group of students from LMU Munich 2
[122.3131] Confucius said: If you guide them with the reins of government and keep them in order with [corporal] punishments, the people will try to avoid [them] but will have no sense of shame. If you guide them with virtue and keep them in order by means of propriety, then [they] will have shame and be correct. 3 Master Lao declared: Superior virtue does not act virtuously, and therefore has virtue. Inferior virtue does not let go of virtue, and therefore does not have virtue. 4 Whenever laws and ordinances grew to splendor, robbers and thieves were plentiful. 5 His Honor the Grand Scribe said: Trustworthy indeed are these sayings! Laws and ordinances are the tools to bring something in order but not the source for whether regulations of government 6 are either pure or muddy. 7 Formerly, the empire s net [of the law] was once tightly woven, but the sprouts of treachery and deceit arose. At its climax, above and below concealed [information] from each other, 8 up to the point where there was no relief. Meanwhile, the ordering efforts of the officials resembled those of pouring on boiling water to fight a fire: 9 Unless one was martial and stalwart, stern and ruthless, how could one accomplish one s task and keep being joyful? Those who talked about the Way and virtue were drowned in their duties. Therefore, it is said: In hearing litigations I am like anybody else. What is necessary is to cause that there are no litigations. 10 Upon hearing of the Way the inferior man greatly laughs at it. 11 These are no hollow words. When the Han arose, they destroyed the ku vessel and made a round one, 12 they chopped off the carving and made it unadorned, and the net allowed fish that could swallow boats slip out. Yet the officials kept order generously, 13 did not arrive at treacherous acts, and the black-headed people were cared for 14 and in peace. Looking at it from this perspective, it [peace] depends on [tao and te] and not on this [the law]. 15
[3132] In the time of Empress Kao (r. 195-180 BC), 16 among the ruthless officials there was only Hou Feng who severely took action against the imperial house and attacked and humiliated the officials of merit. When the L clan was defeated, 17 the household of Hou Feng was finally wiped out. At the time of [Emperor] Hsiao Ching (The Filial and Luminous Emperor, r. 157-141 BC), Ch ao Ts o , 18 being overly severe, 19 also used some skills in order to support his native disposition. 20 But [the leaders of] the Revolt of the Seven Kingdoms (154 BC) took their anger out at [Ch ao] Ts o. [Ch ao] Ts o because of this finally was slain. After him, there were the likes of Chih Tu and Ning Ch eng .
Chih Tu
Chih Tu was a native of Yang [County]. 21 He served Emperor Hsiao Wen (the Filial and Cultured Emperor, r. 180-157 BC) as a gentleman. In the time of [Emperor] Hsiao Ching, [Chih] Tu became Commander of the Palace Attendants. He ventured to admonish straightforwardly and to censure high ministers openly at court. One time he was in the entourage to an outing to the Shang-lin Park. When [the imperial consort] Madam Chia 22 went to the privy, suddenly a wild boar entered the privy. The Sovereign signaled to [Chih] Tu with a glance, [but Chih] Tu did not act. The Sovereign was about to himself grasp a weapon and go to Madam Chia s aid, when [Chih] Tu flung himself on the ground before the Sovereign and spoke: If you lose one imperial consort, another imperial consort will be presented [in the palace]. Could what the empire lacks really be the likes of Madam Chia? Even if Your Majesty thinks lightly of himself, what about the ancestral temple and the Empress Dowager? The Sovereign turned back, and the boar left also. When the Empress Dowager 23 heard about this, she bestowed a hundred chin of gold 24 upon [Chih] Tu and held Chih Tu in high esteem because of this [incident]. 25
[3133] The members of the Hsien clan in Chi-nan [Commandery] 26 numbered over three hundred persons. 27 They were influential and crafty. Only when none of the [officials with a salary of] two thousand shih was able to control them, Emperor Ching appointed [Chih] Tu Grand Administrator of Chi-nan. Upon arriving, he wiped out the families of the instigators of evil in the Hsien clan. All the rest were shaking at the knees. After holding office for more than a year, property lost in the commandery would not be taken up by others. 28 The administrators of over ten neighboring commanderies were in awe of Chih Tu as if he was one of the highest ministers. 29
[Chih] Tu was courageous as a man, had vigor and strength, was public-minded and honest, and did not send private letters 30 . There were no welcome favors 31 he accepted, no supplicants he listened to. He regularly referred to himself, saying: I already turned my back on my parents and became an official. I myself should firmly hold my position and be [prepared to] die for the standards of conduct on my post. To the end I am not going to care about my wife and my children anymore.
Chih Tu was promoted to be Commandant of the Capital. The Chancellor, the Marquis of T iao [i.e., Chou Ya-fu ], 32 was extremely honored and haughty, but [Chih] Tu greeted him by [only] politely bowing. 33 At this time the people were simple, 34 feared to commit crimes, and valued their lives. [Chih] Tu, however, was the only [official] who put being stern and ruthless first. 35 When it came to apply the law, he did not spare the honored and the imperial relatives. The full marquises and the imperial house looked at [Chih] Tu with sideway glances 36 [and] called [him] The Grey Hawk. 37
The King of Lin-chiang [i.e., Liu Jung ] was summoned to make a call at the office of the Commandant of the Capital [i.e., Chih Tu] to respond to the list [of charges]. 38 The King of Lin-chiang desired to receive knife and brush to write a letter of apology to the Sovereign, but [Chih] Tu prohibited the officials and did not grant it. 39 The Marquis of Wei-chi [i.e., Tou Ying ] sent someone to find a chance to give [them] to the King of Lin-chiang. 40 After the King of Lin-chiang had written the letter of apology to the Sovereign, he took the opportunity to commit suicide. 41 Empress Dowager Tou heard about this, became angry, and attacked [Chih] Tu relying on the law pertaining to [preventing public] jeopardy. 42 [Chih] Tu was removed [from the position of Commandant of the Capital] and returned to his home. Only then did Emperor Hsiao Ching send an envoy bearing a caduceus and appointed [Chih] Tu as Grand Administrator of Yen-men [Commandery], 43 furthermore [allowing him] to go on a direct way to his posting [without having to attend court] and enabling him to conduct business according to what was expedient and appropriate. The Hsiung-nu had all along heard of Chih Tu s standard of conduct. 44 When he was stationed at the border, they therefore led their troops away; up until Chih Tu died, they did not come close to Yen-men. 45 The Hsiung-nu went so far as to make a puppet resembling Chih Tu. When they ordered their riders to gallop and shoot [at it], no one could hit it, so intimidated were they at the sight of it. The Hsiung-nu [*3134*] were distressed by this. Only then did Empress Dowager Tou deal the final blow to [Chih] Tu with the laws of the Han. 46 Emperor Ching said: [Chih] Tu is a loyal subject, [and] desired to set him free. Empress Dowager Tou said: Was the King of Lin-chiang not a loyal subject at all then? Upon this Chih Tu was finally decapitated.
Ning Ch eng
Ning Ch eng was a native of Jang [County]. 47 As a Gentleman and Internuncio he served Emperor Ching. He was fond of valor. When he was a petty official in the service of someone else, he invariably treated his superiors with contempt. When he was the superior of others, he controlled his subordinates as tightly as if he had bound together wet firewood. 48 In a cunning and murderous way he made use of his authority. Gradually he was promoted until he became Chief Commandant of Chi-nan while Chih Tu was Administrator [there]. From the beginning, the numerous Chief Commandants who preceded [Chih Tu] had all entered the office on foot; they had turned to the minor officers in order to [be allowed to] visit 49 the Administrator as if they were [only] County Prefects. Such was their fear of Chih Tu. When [Ning] Ch eng went there [to start his position as Chief Commandant], he straightforwardly treated [Chih] Tu with contempt so that he emerged above him. [Chih] Tu had heard about his [i.e., Ning Ch eng s] reputation all along. Hence, he treated [Ning Ch eng] well and created an amicable relationship with him. After a long time Chih Tu died. Afterwards the members of the imperial house near Ch ang-an often viciously violated the law. Thereupon the Sovereign summoned Ning Ch eng to become Commandant of the Capital. In his governance he imitated Chih Tu, [but] his integrity was not like [that of Chih Tu]. Thus, every single one of the grandees of the imperial house was anxious and afraid.
[3135] When Emperor Wu (r. 141-87 BC) ascended the throne, [Ning Ch eng] was transferred to become Clerk of the Capital. Since the maternal relatives [of the emperor] often defamed [Ning] Ch eng for his shortcomings, he was punished according to his [alleged] offenses by having [his head] shaved and having to wear an iron collar fastened around his neck. 50 At this time when [one of] the Nine Ministers [had committed a] capital crime, he simply had to die [by committing suicide]. 51 Few received a [corporal] punishment. But when [Ning] Ch eng was sentenced to the maximum penalty, he himself thought he would not again be received [by the Sovereign]. Thus he freed himself [from the collar around his neck], forged an engraved travel certificate, got through the Pass, and returned to his home. 52 He declared: A functionary who does not reach [the position of an official with a salary of] two thousand shih , a businessman who does not reach [property amounting to] ten million [cash], how could they be compared to [true] human beings? 53 Only then did he take out a loan, bought embanked fields of more than a thousand ch ing , 54 employed several thousand families of poor background, and made them work [there]. It so happened that some years later there was an amnesty. Having created property of several thousand in gold, [Ning Ch eng] used it to act at his will 55 and took advantage of the officers strengths and weaknesses. When going out, he was escorted by several dozen horsemen. In employing the common people his authority was greater than the Commandery Administrator s [i.e., Chih Tu s].
Chou-yang Yu
Chou-yang Yu s father Chao Chien was made Marquis of Chou-yang because he was the maternal uncle of the King of Huai-nan [i.e. Liu Ch ang ] and thus he accordingly adopted the clan name Chou-yang. 56 As a member of the imperial family, [Chou-yang] Yu on behalf of the jen -privilege was appointed as Gentleman and served [Emperor] Hsiao Wen and Emperor Ching. 57 At the time of Emperor Ching, [Chou-yang] Yu became Commandery Administrator. When Emperor Wu ascended the throne (141 BC), the officials in their governing upheld obedience and diligence in an extreme way. [Chou-yang] Yu however, holding office among [officials with a salary of] two thousand shih , was extremely cruel and ruthless, arrogant and unrestrained. For those he cherished, he twisted the law to keep them alive. For those he detested, he bent the law to wipe them out by execution. For the commanderies he held office in, he was sure to wipe out the influential. In the position of Administrator, he looked upon Chief Commandants as Prefects. In the position of Chief Commandant, he invariably treated the Grand Administrator with contempt, and snatched [the power to] administrate from him. He was just as obstinate as Chi An , and his knowledge of jurisprudence was even more terrifying than Ssu-ma An s . 58 When they all held a rank of [an official with a salary of] two thousand shih , [Ssu-ma An and Chi An] did not dare to share a mat or a crossbar in the same carriage with him. 59
[3136] Later, when [Chou-yang] Yu became Chief Commandant of Ho-tung [Commandery], 60 he contended for power with his Administrator Master Sheng-t u and they reported each other s crimes. 61 When Master Sheng-t u was about to be punished according to his crimes, his righteousness did not allow him to receive a [corporal] punishment and so he committed suicide [instead]. [Chou-yang] Yu on the other hand was executed and his corpse exposed in the marketplace.
From the time of Ning Ch eng and Chou-yang Yu on, the number of affairs multiplied and the people [grew] crafty [in using] the law. 62 In general, the practice of the officials often resembled that of [Ning] Ch eng and [Chou-yang] Yu in style.
Chao Y
Chao Y was a native of T ai [County]. 63 He filled a vacancy as an accessory clerk among the officials in the capital. 64 Due to his integrity he became foreman clerk and served the Grand Commandant [Chou] Ya-fu. 65 When [Chou] Ya-fu became Chancellor (150 BC), [Chao] Y became a Clerk to the Chancellor. All in the office praised his integrity and fairness, but [Chou] Ya-fu did not assign him [to higher office] and said: I am extremely aware that [Chao] Y cannot be surpassed. 66 But he is [too] severe in applying the law and thus may not hold higher office. 67 During the reign of the current Sovereign, [Chao] Y earned credit as a knife-and-brush official and was gradually promoted to become an Imperial Scribe. The Sovereign considered him capable, 68 and thus he came into the position of Grandee of the Innermost Circle. 69 With Chang T ang he discussed and set all statutes and ordinances 70 and created [the law of] to see and make known 71 and the law that officials had to take turns monitoring each other. The increasing severity in applying the law may well have started with this. 72
Chang T ang
[3137] Chang T ang was a native of Tu [County]. 73 His father was an Assistant in Ch ang-an, and when he went out, [Chang] T ang as a child guarded the house. [One day, his father] returned and a rat had stolen some meat. His father became angry and beat [Chang] T ang with a stick. [Chang] T ang dug a hole to catch the thieving rat and the remaining meat, brought a charge against the rat, and tortured and tried it. 74 He transmitted a transcript of its confession, 75 interrogated [the rat] and summarized the facts, 76 passed a judgement, and reported to the authorities. 77 At the same time he took the rat and the meat and, to complete the lawsuit, quartered [the rat] in front of the steps of the main hall. When his father saw this and observed that his knowledge of jurisprudence and [juridical] diction was like a long-time judicial clerk s, he was greatly surprised and finally let him record lawsuits. 78 After his father died, [Chang] T ang became an official in Ch ang-an and stayed there for a long time. 79
[3138] When the Marquis of Chou-yang [i.e., T ien Sheng ] 80 first was among the various ministers, 81 he once was detained in Ch ang-an and [Chang] T ang bent over backwards for him. When he was let out [of custody] and became a Marquis, he greatly befriended [Chang] T ang and everywhere showed [Chang] T ang around among the nobility. [Chang] T ang was on call for the Clerk of the Capital and thus became an assistant of Ning Ch eng, who considered Chang T ang unsurpassable. As he spoke for him in the highest offices, he was transferred to be Commandant of Maoling and was put in charge of what was inside the square. 82
When the Marquis of Wu-an [i.e., T ien Fen ] 83 became Chancellor (135 BC), he summoned Chang T ang to be a scribe and several times recommended him to the Son of Heaven. [Chang T ang] filled a vacancy among the Imperial Scribes and was employed to investigate affairs. When he tried the lawsuit of poisonous sorcery of Empress Ch en , 84 he thoroughly examined the members of her faction. Thereupon the Sovereign considered him to be capable and gradually promoted him until he reached [the position of] Grandee of the Innermost Circle. Together with Chao Y he set all statutes and ordinances 85 and made it his business to tighten the law and to restrain the officials who attended to their duties. Before long, Chao Y was promoted to be Commandant of the Capital and then transferred to be Privy Treasurer, while Chang T ang became Commandant of Justice. The two men maintained amicable relations and [Chang T ang] served Chao Y like an elder brother. Chao Y as a man had integrity but was haughty. Since he had been a [low-ranking] official, he never had any household-retainers in his lodgings. When excellencies and ministers went to visit [Chao] Y , [Chao] Y would never convey his apologies and made it his business to keep clear from requests by close friends, guests, and retainers. He stood alone and acted according to one and the same idea and nothing more. When [Chao Y ] looked at written law, he accepted [it] at once and never reviewed cases or sought for hidden misdeeds of his subordinates. [Chang] T ang [on the other hand] as a man often resorted to trickery and toyed with his knowledge to control others. When in the beginning he was a petty official, [in matters of] profit and loss 86 he made secret contacts with the likes of Ch ang-an s wealthy traders T ien Chia and Y Weng-shu . 87 When he attained the rank of one of the Nine Ministers, [Chang T ang] received the empire s famous notables [as guests]. Even though in his heart he himself did not conform to them, he outwardly pretended to admire them.
[3139] At this time, the Sovereign oriented himself towards textual learning 88 and whenever [Chang] T ang appeared at court to submit a memorial on some affair, he would speak of the state s resources. Only then did he request one of the Erudites disciples who mastered the Book of Documents and the Spring and Autumn Annals 89 to fill a vacancy among the scribes of the Commandant of Justice and to harmonize controversial laws. When he submitted a memorial requesting [the Sovereign s] decision on a doubtful affair, he would invariably analyze its sources for the Sovereign first. What the Sovereign deemed right, he would receive and then, in order to spread the perspicuity of the ruler, record the [Sovereign s] decisions as decisive laws, norms and ordinances by the Commandant of Justice. 90 If on submitting a memorial on an affair he was criticized, [Chang] T ang would in reaction apologize and, with regard to what was convenient to the Sovereign s opinion, would invariably refer to someone worthy among his directors, inspectors, and division heads 91 and say: He had actually argued with me in a similar way as the Sovereign has reproached me. I did not make use of it and my stupidity has let it come to this. He was invariably granted pardon for his offenses. From time to time, 92 if he submitted a memorial on an affair and the Sovereign approved of it, he would say: It was not me who came up with the idea to submit a memorial on this, but Director, Inspector, or Division head So-and-so did it. In this way, when he wished to recommend an official, he would praise a man s good points and conceal a man s transgressions. In [the cases] he tried, if the Sovereign s opinion was that a punishment was to be desired, he gave [the case] to those inspectors and clerks who were profoundly baneful. If the Sovereign s opinion was that an acquittal was to be desired, he gave [the case] to those inspectors and clerks who were superficial and impartial. If the person he tried was a mighty one, [Chang T ang] would invariably toy with his knowledge of jurisprudence and denounce him craftily; if it was someone from a lowly household or someone weak and feeble, [Chang T ang] would at [an appropriate] time discuss it orally, [so that] although the [legal] text said that the law should be applied, the Sovereign decided to examine it. 93 Upon this, the people [Chang] T ang discussed [with the Sovereign] were often set free. That [Chang] T ang reached [the position of] a high official was due to his cultured private conduct. He maintained relationships with guests and retainers and entertained them with food and drink. The care he took of [his] old friends sons and younger brothers who served as officials, and their impoverished brothers, was even more generous. When he paid visits to the various excellencies, he did not shy away from heat or cold. Therefore, although [Chang] T ang was severe in applying the law, malicious in spirit, and not focused on impartiality, he still obtained such reputation and regard. Yet [the fact] that often overly severe officials were employed as claws and teeth was due to [the fact that Chang T ang relied upon] the men of textual learning. 94 Chancellor [Kung-sun ] Hung praised him several times. 95 When he tried the lawsuits concerning the rebellion of Huai-nan, Heng-shan and Chiang-tu , 96 he went down to the roots in every case. As for Yen Chu and Wu Pei , the Sovereign desired to set them free. 97 [Chang] T ang contested: Wu Pei had originally drawn up the plans for rebellion and only [the fact] that [Yen] Chu was close and favored and was going in and out of the forbidden quarters as your claw and tooth servant did let him make secret contacts with the various lords in this manner. If you do not punish them, it cannot be redressed later. Upon this, the Sovereign approved of passing a judgement on them. There were many cases like this, in which he [i.e, Chang T ang] by trying lawsuits exerted pressure on high servants of the state and drew personal profit from it. Upon this, [Chang] T ang was employed in ever more honorable positions and promoted to be Grandee Secretary. 98
[3140] It happened that the Hun-yeh King and others surrendered. 99 The Han raised troops on a grand scale to attack the Hsiung-nu, [the area] East of the Mount experienced flood and drought, impoverished people drifted about, and everyone looked to the government for help, but the government was empty and depleted. Upon this, [Chang T ang] received the Sovereign s hints and asked to mint silver [coins] and five- chu cash, to take control of the empire s salt and iron and to exert pressure on the wealthy traders and powerful merchants. He issued the ordinance On the reporting of cash-strings in order to uproot the influential and strong families who had annexed lands and he toyed with his knowledge of jurisprudence to denounce them craftily in order to be in accordance with the law. 100 Each time [Chang] T ang appeared at court and submitted a memorial on an affair to discuss the state s resources, the day grew late and the Son of Heaven forgot to eat. Chancellors accepted to just fill their positions and all matters of the empire were decided by [Chang] T ang. 101 The people were insecure in their living conditions and in a state of turmoil. Whatever [measures] the government took, it had not yet been able to harvest the profits, when treacherous officials relied on [these measures] to appropriate and steal and, upon this, [Chang T ang] painstakingly ensnared them by accusing [them] of crimes. Then from the excellencies and ministers [*3141*] down to the common people everyone hinted at [Chang] T ang. 102 Once [Chang] T ang had been ill and the Son of Heaven went so far as to visit the patient in person. Such was his prominence and honor.
When the Hsiung-nu came to request a marital alliance, 103 the assembled ministers discussed [this] in front of the Sovereign. The Erudite Ti Shan 104 said: A marital alliance would be of advantage. [When] the Sovereign asked about its advantages, [Ti] Shan said: Troops are a baleful instrument. 105 We have never repeatedly set them in motion in a lighthearted manner. When Emperor Kao (the Exalted Emperor, r. 202-195 BC) wished to attack the Hsiung-nu, only when he found himself in dire straits at P ing-ch eng , did he finally forge a marital alliance. 106 At the time of [Emperor] Hsiao Hui (the Filial and Kind Emperor, r. 194-188 BC) and Empress Kao, the empire was happy and in peace. 107 When Emperor Hsiao Wen wished to concern himself with the Hsiung-nu, the northern border was thrown into turmoil and suffered from warfare. 108 At the time of [Emperor] Hsiao Ching, [when] the seven states [under] Wu and Ch u revolted, Emperor [Hsiao] Ching went back and forth between the two palaces and his heart shivered for several months. 109 After Wu and Ch u had been crushed, Emperor [Hsiao] Ching to the end did not speak of warfare anymore [and] the empire was wealthy and prosperous. Now, ever since Your Majesty has raised troops and struck at the Hsiung-nu, the Central States have thus been emptied and depleted and the people at the border are in dire straits and greatly impoverished. Looking at it from this [perspective], it is not as good as a marital alliance. When the Sovereign questioned [Chang] T ang, [Chang] T ang said: This is a stupid classical scholar, he understands nothing. Ti Shan said: Your servant may indeed be foolishly loyal, but as for Grandee Secretary [Chang] T ang, he, to be sure, is feigning loyalty. When someone as [Chang] T ang, in trying [the case against] Huai-nan and Chiang-tu, using tightened laws painstakingly denounces the various lords, 110 he separates and alienates bones and flesh [from each other] 111 and causes the protective vassals [of the empire] to feel unsafe themselves. [The one thing] your servant knows for sure is that [Chang] T ang is feigning loyalty. 112 Thereupon the Sovereign flushed and said: If I let [you,] Sir, hold office in a single commandery, would you be able to not let caitiffs enter and plunder? He answered: I would not. [The Sovereign] said: Hold office in a single county? He answered: I would not. [The Sovereign] again said: Hold office in the place of a single checkpoint? 113 [Ti] Shan reckoned himself that he was at the end of his wits and that he would even be handed over to the minor officials and said: I would. Thereupon the Sovereign dispatched [Ti] Shan to mount the place of a checkpoint. After [a little] over a month, the Hsiung-nu cut off [Ti] Shan s head and took it with them. From this moment on, the assembled ministers trembled with fear.
[3142] [Chang] T ang s retainer T ien Chia, although he was a merchant, was of worthy behavior. 114 In the beginning, when [Chang] T ang was a petty official, they had financial connections. 115 When [Chang] T ang then became a high official, the methods by which [T ien] Chia held [Chang] T ang responsible for acting righteously and for the mistakes he had committed really had the air of an ardent knight. 116
When [Chang] T ang had been Grandee Secretary for seven years, he met defeat. 117
Once Li Wen , a native of of Ho-tung, 118 had had a rift with [Chang] T ang. When he had become Palace Assistant Secretary, 119 he held a grudge and several times 120 searched whether among the written documents from inside [the palace] there were some that could be used to injure [Chang] T ang. But he was unable to gain ground on him. 121 Lu Yeh-ch , 122 a scribe cherished by [Chang] T ang, knew [Chang] T ang had not been impartial, so he ordered someone to submit an anonymous emergency report about [Li] Wen s treacherous affairs. 123 [When] the matter was handed down to [Chang] T ang, [Chang] T ang tried [Li] Wen and sentenced him to death, but in his heart [Chang] T ang knew [Lu] Yeh-ch had fabricated it. The Sovereign asked, saying: Where did the traces of the talk about the emergency situation originate from? [Chang] T ang feigned surprise and said: This probably happened because an old friend of [Li] Wen resented him. When [Lu] Yeh-ch was ill and lay in a house of his landlord, [Chang] T ang personally went to visit the patient and massaged [Lu] Yeh-ch s feet. Since the kingdom of Chao had made smelting and casting its business, the king several times litigated in matters of the Office of Iron 124 , but [Chang] T ang always exerted pressure on the king of Chao. 125 The King of Chao sought for secret affairs of [Chang] T ang. [Lu] Yeh-ch had once investigated the King of Chao, so the King of Chao resented him [too], submitted a memorial against both [Lu Yeh-ch and Chang T ang], and reported: [Chang] T ang is a high minister. [Yet] when his scribe [Lu] Yeh-ch was ill, [Chang] T ang went so far as to massage his feet. I suspect they did terrible things together. The matter was handed down to the Minister of Justice. 126 When [Lu] Yeh-ch died of his illness, the affair implicated his younger brother 127 and the brother was detained in the Office of Grain Supplies. 128 [Chang] T ang also dealt with another prisoner in the Office of Grain Supplies and when he saw the younger brother of [Lu] Yeh-ch , he wished to do something for him in secret, so he pretended not to be aware of him. [Lu] Yeh-ch s younger brother did not know that, harbored resentment against [Chang] T ang, and ordered someone to submit a memorial and report that [Chang] T ang had plotted with [Lu] Yeh-ch and that they had devised the emergency report against Li Wen together. The matter was handed down to Chien Hs an . 129 Once [Chien] Hs an had had a rift with [Chang] T ang and, when he now got hold of this matter, he thoroughly examined the affair. He had not yet submitted a memorial about it, 130 when it so happened that someone thievishly unearthed money that was buried at [the late emperor] Hsiao Wen s burial ground. 131 Chancellor [Chuang] Ch ing-ti [ ] at court agreed with [Chang] T ang to apologize together. [But] when they stepped forward, [Chang] T ang thought that only the Chancellor walked the burial grounds in all four seasons and should apologize and that [he, Chang] T ang was not concerned with it. [Thus] he did not apologize. 132 After the Chancellor had apologized, the Sovereign ordered an Imperial Scribe to investigate this matter. [Chang] T ang wished to apply his knowledge of jurisprudence to what the Chancellor had seen and made known and the Chancellor was distressed by this. 133 All three Chief Clerks considered [Chang] T ang to be a danger and wished to set him up. 134
[3143] In the beginning, 135 Chief Clerk Chu Mai-ch en , a native of K uai-chi [Commandery], 136 had been reciting 137 the Spring and Autumn Annals . Chuang Chu 138 sent someone to speak of [Chu] Mai-ch en [in front of the Sovereign]. [Chu] Mai-ch en was favored [by the Sovereign] together with [Chuang] Chu because [of their knowledge] of the Ch u tz u 139 ; serving inside the palace. 140 He became a Grandee of the Innermost Circle and was in charge of affairs. Meanwhile, [Chang] T ang was [still] only a petty official and, kneeling and crouching, acted as servant in front of [Chu] Mai-ch en and others. Now, however, [Chang] T ang had become Commandant of Justice, had tried the lawsuit of Huai-nan, and had exerted pressure on Chuang Chu, 141 [so that Chu] Mai-ch en profoundly hated him with all his heart. 142 When [Chang] T ang then became Grandee Secretary, [Chu] Mai-ch en, from the position of [Grand] Administrator 143 of K uai-chi, became Chief Commandant over the Nobility, 144 with a rank [equal to] the Nine Ministers. After several years, he was tried before the law and removed [from office]. When, in a temporary position as Chief Clerk, 145 he [had to] appear before [Chang] T ang, [Chang] T ang was sitting on [his] bed, 146 and [his] assistants and scribes did not treat [Chu] Mai-ch en with the proper courtesy. [Chu] Mai-ch en, being a gentleman from Ch u, 147 harbored an even deeper resentment [against him] and constantly wished to die for this [matter]. 148 Wang Ch ao was a native of Ch i [Commandery]. 149 Due to [his] skills he reached [the position of] Clerk of the Western Part of the Capital. 150 Pien T ung 151 studied [the arts of] strengths and weaknesses, 152 unyieldingly and viciously oppressed others, and in office he twice reached [the position of] Chancellor of Chi-nan. Thus, all [three men] had [once] held [positions] to the right of [Chang] T ang. 153 Now, however, they had lost [their] offices and, in [their] temporary positions as Chief Clerks, were [now] bending [their] limbs in front of [Chang] T ang. [Chang] T ang several times had performed the Chancellor s tasks 154 and knew that these three Chief Clerks had originally been of noble status, 155 and he constantly censured and denigrated them. For this reason, the three Chief Clerks jointly plotted: 156 In the beginning, [Chang] T ang agreed to apologize [to the Sovereign] together with Your Lordship. Now, however, he sold Your Lordship out and wishes to bring a charge against Your Lordship by means of the affair of the ancestral temple. This means he wants to replace your Lordship for good. We know of [Chang] T ang s secret affairs. They sent officials to arrest and investigate [Chang] T ang s aide T ien Hsin and others 157 and [the arrested] said that, whenever [Chang] T ang wished to submit a memorial on a request, [Tien] Hsin would always know about it first, acquire wealth by hoarding goods, and split [the profits] with [Chang] T ang; [they also related] other treacherous affairs. 158 [Their] statements on [these] affairs 159 gradually came to the ear [of the Sovereign]. The Sovereign questioned [Chang] T ang and said: Whatever We are doing, the merchants always know about it first, and increasingly hoard the goods concerned; it is like there is someone who tells them Our plans. [Chang] T ang did not apologize [for his offenses]. [Chang] T ang again feigned surprise, saying: Certainly there must be someone. Chien Hs an 160 also submitted a memorial on the affairs [regarding Lu] Yeh-ch 161 and the others. As expected, the Son of Heaven considered [Chang] T ang to have harbored deceit and to have lied to [his] face, so he sent eight groups of envoys to charge [Chang] T ang according to the list [of charges]. 162 On all [charges Chang] T ang himself said that [these things] had not happened 163 and he did not confess. Upon this the Sovereign sent Chao Y 164 to charge [Chang] T ang. When [Chao] Y arrived, he reproached [Chang] T ang saying: How can Your Lordship not know your part. How many have there been that Your Lordship has wiped out with their clans? Now, for all what others are saying about Your Lordship there are reports. 165 [Still] the Son of Heaven considers it difficult to let it come to a lawsuit against Your Lordship 166 [and therefore] wishes to order Your Lordship to settle your accounts on your own, 167 so why make much of responding to the list [of charges]? 168 Onlyu then did [Chang] T ang write a letter of apology, saying: [I, Chang] T ang, without an inch of merit rose from amongst the knife-and-brush officials; Your Majesty s favor caused me to become one [of the] three excellencies, but I did not fulfill the responsibilities. 169 Yet those who have plotted to trap [me, Chang T ang] in [these] accusations are the three Chief Clerks. Finally, he [*3144*] killed himself.
When [Chang] T ang died, his family property valued no more than five hundred in gold, all he had obtained was [due to] salaries and bestowals, and there were no other enterprises. His brothers and sons wished to bury [Chang] T ang in a lavish way, [but Chang] T ang s mother said: [Chang] T ang was a high minister of the Son of Heaven, [yet] by reason of foul and evil words he found death. How can he be buried in a lavish way! [His corpse] was transported on an ox cart and he had an [inner] coffin, but no outer coffin. When the Son of Heaven heard of this, he said: Who else other than a mother like this could have born a son like that. 170 Only then did he thoroughly investigate and execute the three Chief Clerks. Chancellor [Chuang] Ch ing-ti committed suicide, [while] T ien Hsin was released. Since the Sovereign felt sorry for [Chang] T ang, he gradually promoted his son [Chang] An-shih [ ] . 171
In the midst of service, Chao Y had been removed [from office]. Now, however, he became Commandant of Justice. 172 In the beginning, the Marquis of T iao [Chou Ya-fu] thought that [Chao] Y was overly murderous and did not appoint him. When [Chao] Y then was appointed Privy Treasurer, he ranked on the level of one of the Nine Ministers. 173 [Chao] Y was ruthless to the extreme, 174 but when he reached his later years, the number of affairs multiplied, and the officials made it their business to be stern and unrelenting. [Chao] Y , however, in his trials became more relaxed and he even earned the reputation of acting impartially. Wang Wen-shu and others arose later and were more ruthless in their trials than [Chao] Y . As Y got old, he was transferred to be Chancellor of Yen . 175 After several years, by reason of confused and preposterous behavior, he was found liable to punishment, was removed [from office], and returned to his home. 176 More than ten years after [Chang] T ang, he expired at home of old age.
Yi Tsung
Yi Tsung was a native from Ho-tung. In his [rowdy] youth 177 he once with Chang Tz u-kung 178 had formed a gang of robbers that attacked and killed together. [Yi] Tsung had an elder sister named [Yi] Hs who due to her [skills in] medicine enjoyed the favor of Empress Dowager Wang . 179 Empress Dowager Wang asked: Do you have any sons or brothers who are officials? The sister replied: I have a younger brother, but he has no behavior. He is out of the question. The Empress Dowager still told the Sovereign to appoint Yi Hs s [*3145*] brother Tsung as Palace Attendant and to let him fill a vacancy among the prefects within Shang-tang commandery. In his administration, [Yi Tsung] dared to take action and barely made any compromises. In the county there were no delayed matters and it was singled out as the best one. He was transferred to the position of Prefect of Ch ang-ling and then Ch ang-an, where he carried out his administrative duties strictly according to the law without exceptions for the nobles and the imperial relatives [by marriage]. In this way he arrested and investigated Chung , the son of Lady Hsiu-ch eng , the daughter of the Empress Dowager s daughter. 180 The Emperor considered him capable and transferred him to be Chief Commandant of Honei. 181 Upon his arrival, [Yi] Tsung wiped out all those belonging to the influential Jang clan and in Ho-nei no one picked up lost property on the road. Meanwhile, Chang Tz u-kung also became a Gentleman. With courage and fervor, he participated in campaigns and dared to penetrate deep [into enemy territory]. He earned himself merits and [thus] became Marquis of An-t ou .
When Ning Ch eng 182 was living at home, the Sovereign wanted to make him a Commandery Administrator. The Grandee Secretary [Kung-sun] Hung 183 said: When [I], Your servant, stayed East of the Mountains 184 as a petty official, Ning Ch eng was Chief Commandant of Chi-nan. 185 His governance was comparable to a wolf tending sheep. [Ning] Ch eng may not be employed to govern people. As a result the Sovereign appointed [Ning] Ch eng as Chief Commandant of the [Han-ku ] Pass 186 . After a little more than a year, the functionaries and servants from the land East of the Pass who [traveled to different] commanderies and kingdoms and [therefore] got in and out of the Pass gate 187 [created] the slogan Rather meet a tigress nursing than encounter the anger of Ning Ch eng. 188 When Yi Tsung was transferred from Ho-nei to be Grand Administrator of Nan-yang 189 , he heard that Ning Ch eng was staying at his home in Nan-yang. As [Yi] Tsung arrived at the Pass, Ning Ch eng walked sideways 190 to escort and welcome [him]. [Yi] Tsung, however, [passed him] in high spirits and did not treat [him] with the proper courtesy. 191 When [Yi Tsung] reached the commandery, he subsequently investigated Ning [Ch eng] and thoroughly smashed his home to bits. [Ning] Ch eng was put on trial for an offense. When it came to the members of the K ung and Pao [families] 192 [*3146*] all fleeing, the functionaries and the people of Nan-yang put [their] feet into their footsteps. 193 However, Chu Ch iang from P ing-shi 194 and Tu Chou from Tu-yen 195 became claws-and-teeth-officials of [Yi] Tsung. After he had employed them, they were transferred to be scribes of the Commandant of Justice. As the army several times went out of Ting-hsiang , 196 the functionaries and the people from Ting-hsiang were disturbed and demoralized. [Yi] Tsung was thus moved to become Grand Administrator of Ting-hsiang. After [Yi] Tsung had arrived, in the prison of Ting-hsiang he contracted more than two hundred severe offenders in lenient detention and also more than two hundred guests and visitors, elder and younger brothers [of the prisoners] who secretly got into [the prison] to see them. When [Yi] Tsung had them all arrested, he questioned them, saying: You [tried] to liberate those who were guilty of the death penalty! 197 That same day he in reaction killed [these] more than four hundred people. Thereafter in the commandery one shivered even though it was not cold. Crafty people assisted the officials in order to govern [the commandery].
At that time, Chao Y and Ch ang T ang, because of their extreme severity, had already advanced to the rank of the Nine Ministers, yet their way of governing still was lenient and they acted in accordance with the law. Yi Tsung, however, governed with [the attitude] of a hawk in attack [spreading] its feathers to seize [the prey]. 198 Later, when it so happened that the five chu coins and silver [currency] were introduced, the people took to crimes. Just because in the capital city this was particularly extreme, [Yi] Tsung was made Clerk of the Western Part of the Capital, and Wang Wen-shu Commandant of the Capital. [Wang] Wen-shu was vicious in the extreme, [but whenever] he would not first communicate his actions to [Yi] Tsung, [Yi] Tsung would invariably denigrate him in anger, defaming and maligning his achievements. In their way of governing, those executed and killed were truly numerous, and what they obtained was but an inferior [kind of] order; crimes increased [to such an extent that they] could not be brought under control. Special Commissioners were sent out [then] for the first time. 199 The officials in their administration made beheading, murdering, binding, and chaining their duty, and Yen Feng 200 was appointed just because of his viciousness. [Yi] Tsung was honest and [in this] his way of governing copied Chih Tu s. When the Sovereign favored the [palace] at Ting-hu with a visit, 201 he fell ill for a while, but then he suddenly recovered and favored Kan-ch an [palace] with a visit. 202 Much of the road [leading there] was not [yet] put in order. The Sovereign turned angry and said: Did [Yi] Tsung take Us to never travel on this road again? He felt resentful towards him. When the winter came, Yang K o had just received [the ordinance] on reporting on cash-strings. 203 [Yi] Tsung thought that this would cause disorder among the people, [therefore his] department s officials arrested those sent by [Yang] K o. The Son of Heaven heard [of this and] sent Tu Shih to try [him] because he took this [to be a case of] disregarding [imperial] regulations and obstructing service. [He had Yi] Tsung executed and his corpse [*3147*] exposed on the marketplace. [Only] one year later, Chang T ang died as well.
Wang Wen-shu, Yin Ch i and Yang P u
Wang Wen-shu was a native of Yang-ling . 204 When he was young, he committed the heinous crime of clubbing people and burying them. 205 But later he took the test to fill a vacancy as head of a postal station of a district. He was dismissed several times. When he [then] became an official, since he [could] try lawsuits, he became a scribe of the Commandant of Justice. He served Chang T ang, was transferred to the position of a Palace Secretary, and when he investigated [cases] of robbery and murder, he killed and harmed many [of the culprits]. Gradually he was transferred to the position of Chief Commandant of Kuang-p ing . 206 From among the influential in the commandery he chose more than ten who dared to be employed as officers, regarding them as his claws and teeth. He got hold of secret serious crimes of all of them, but then gave them free reign to investigate [cases] of robbery and murder and to enjoy that they could get whomever they wished to. Even though these men committed a hundred crimes, he did not apply the law to them. [But] if someone [tried] to evade [his control], he would wipe them out relying on the cases pertaining to them and also extinguish their [whole] clan. Because of this, the robbers and murderers in the border region of Ch i and Chao did not dare to come close to Kuang-p ing, and Kuang-p ing got the reputation of a region where nobody picked up anything found on the road. When the Sovereign heard of this, he transferred [Wang Wen-shu] to the position of the Grand Administrator of Ho-nei.
[3148] Previously, during the time when he had lived in Kuang-p ing, he had [already] known all the local influential and criminal families of Ho-nei. When he went there, he arrived in the ninth month. [Then] he ordered the commandery to provide fifty horses to his individual disposal in order to be used as courier horses between Ho-nei and Ch ang-an. In directing the functionaries of his department, he proceeded according to the same strategy that he had used while living in Kuang-p ing. When he arrested the influential, crafty ones within the commandery, more than a thousand families from the ranks of the influential, crafty ones within the commandery implicated each other in the trials. He submitted a memorial demanding that in serious cases the [whole] clan [should be wiped out], while in minor cases there was just the death penalty. The households were to be entirely confiscated by the authorities as a compensation for what had been embezzled. No more than two or three days after he had sent his memorial on the way, he received the approval and proceeded to pass sentences and report on them. 207 It went so far that blood streamed for more than ten miles. In Ho-nei everyone found this memorial strange, thinking that it had been unnaturally fast. For the entire twelfth month, in the commandery no sound was to be heard, no one dared to walk at night and the countryside was devoid of thieves who would cause the dogs to bark. The few not caught fled and went to the neighboring commanderies and kingdoms. When they came, 208 it so happened that spring arrived. [Wang] Wen-shu stamped his feet, sighed, and said: Alas! If winter could have just been extended by one month, I would have finished my business! So much did he love to kill and attack to demonstrate his powers and not to spare people. When the Son of Heaven heard this, he considered him capable and promoted him to be Commander of the Capital. In his administration he again copied the style he had used in Ho-nei. He transferred all the officials who were renowned to be pernicious and crafty in order to make them follow his own proceedings. In Ho-nei these were Yang Chieh and Ma Mao , and in the area with the passes Yang Kung , Ch eng Hsin , and others. When Yi Tsung became Clerk of the Capital, he was afraid and did not yet dare to govern without restraint. But when [Yi] Tsung died and after the fall of Chang T ang, he was transferred to the position of Minister of Justice, and Yin Ch i became Commander of the Capital.
Yin Ch i was a native from Ch ih-p ing in Tung-ch n (Eastern Commandery). 209 From the position of a knife-and-brush [official], he was gradually transferred to the position of a Palace Secretary. He served under Chang T ang and Chang T ang several times praised him as incorrupt and martial, making him investigate cases of robbery and murder. [*3149*] Among those whom he beheaded and attacked, he did not shun the noble and the [imperial] relatives. [After] he was transferred to be Chief Commandant of Within the Pass, his reputation surpassed the one of Ning Ch eng. The Sovereign considered him capable and transferred him to the position of Commandant of the Capital, and the officials and the people became increasingly destitute and worn out. As Yin Ch i was unyielding like wood and of little adornment, 210 influential and evil officials hid away, while the competent officials were no longer able to put things into order. Therefore, affairs were often neglected. Blame was put on [Yin Ch i]. The Sovereign again transferred [Wang] Wen-shu to the position of Commandant of the Capital, while Yang P u because of his sternness and ruthlessness became Chief Commandant over the Nobility.
Yang P u was a native from Yi-yang . 211 Because of [his military rank as a leader] of a thousand men he was made an official. The Administrator of Ho-nan recommended him after examination because he considered him capable. He was transferred to the position of an Imperial Scribe and [then] employed to investigate robberies and murder [in the territory] East of the Pass. In [his style of] governing he imitated Yin Ch i, as he considered him somebody who dared to seize [his prey] decisively. 212 He was gradually transferred to reach [the position of the] Chief Commandant over the Nobility, ranking among the Nine Ministers. The Son of Heaven considered him capable. When the Southern Y eh rebelled, he was appointed as General of Towered Warships. 213 Because of his [military] merits he was enfeoffed as Marquis of Chiang-liang . He was arrested by Hs n Chih . 214 After having stayed [at home] for a long time, he died of illness. 215
And [as said above], [Wang] Wen-shu was again made Commandant of the Capital. [Since] as a person he had little adornment, he had been dull-witted when presiding in court [in his position as Minister of Justice] and did not argue. But when he held the position of Commandant of the Capital [again], his spirits lit up. When investigating robbery and murder, as he had been well-versed in the customs of [the territory] Within the Passes for a long time, he knew the influential and vicious officers there. [Said] influential and vicious officers again all were employed by him and made strategies for him. His officers examined robbers, murderers and vicious youngsters in a relentless way, 216 using a [document] box to buy information about crimes. 217 He installed grandees in the villages in order to supervise and control the criminal robbers and murderers. As a person, [Wang] Wen-shu was flattering and good at serving the ones in positions of power. If [people] were not in positions of power, he regarded them like slaves. But if there was a family in a position of power, then even if their crimes [*3150*] were [as great] as a mountain, he would not go against them. As to the ones without positions of power, the worthies and imperial relatives would certainly insult and humiliate them. 218 Through toying with his knowledge of jurisprudence and crafty denunciations against the crafty ones among the paupers he smoked out the high and mighty. His administration as Commandant of the Capital was like this. When the treacherous and crafty were thoroughly punished, most of them ended up wasting away and rotting in prison, declared guilty and never to come out again. His claw-and-teeth-officials were like tigers wearing caps. Therefore, the middling crafty ones in the area of his purview as Commandant of the Capital all hid away, [while] those in positions of power went about voicing their praise [for him] and commending his administration. After he had administered [like this] for several years, among his clerks there were many who could enrich themselves by using good opportunities.
When [Wang] Wen-shu returned from the attack on Tung-y eh, some of his opinions did not match the will of [the emperor]. He was put on trial for a small offense against the law and befitting his crime was dismissed from office. At that time, the Son of Heaven just wished to build the T ung-t ien T ai (Terrace Connecting with Heaven), but had no men [for it]. [Wang] Wen-shu asked to recover the soldiers who had evaded conscription under the Commandant of the Capital, and [thus] obtained several ten thousand men to build [the terrace]. The Sovereign was pleased and appointed him as Privy Treasurer. [Later] he was transferred to the position of Clerk of the Western Part of the Capital. His way of administration was like of old, crimes and evil were rarely inhibited. 219 He was tried before the law and lost his office. [Later] he was again made Western Sustainer, 220 carrying out the duties of the Commandant of the Capital. His grip was like before.
After a little more than a year, it so happened that the army was about to be sent out against Y an . 221 When influential officers were recruited by imperial decree, [Wang] Wen-shu hid his officer Hua Ch eng . 222 Then, somebody sent an emergency report in which he accused [Wang] Wen-shu of having accepted money from a cavalryman under his jurisdiction and of other criminal dealings for profit, crimes that amounted to [the extinction of] his clan. He committed suicide. At that time, two of his younger brothers as well as two family [members] related by marriage also were put on trial for other crimes, which resulted in [the extinction of] their clans. The [Superintendent of the] Imperial Household Hs Tzu-wei 223 said: How sad, indeed! In former times there existed [*3151*] the punishment of the [extinction] of three clans, but the crimes of Wang Wen-shu amounted to the extinction of five clans at one and the same time! 224
When [Wang] Wen-shu died, his family owned several thousand [units of] gold. Several years later, Yin Ch i also died of an illness, holding the position of Chief Commandant of Huai-yang , 225 [but] his family owned less than fifty [units of] gold. Those whom he wiped out by execution in Huai-yang were extremely numerous. When he was dead, families who wanted to take revenge wished to burn his corpse, but the corpse disappeared and was brought to a [proper] burial. 226
Since [Wang] Wen-shu and others administered by evil means, the Commandery Administrators, Chief Commandants, and [officials with a salary of] two thousand shih of the various lords, who wanted to achieve order, in general completely imitated [Wang] Wen-shu in their administration. Yet, the [petty] officials and the people took violating the law increasingly lightly and [the number of] robbers and murderers mushroomed. There were the likes of Mei Mien and Po Cheng in Nanyang, Yin Chung and Tu Shao in Ch u, Hs Po in Ch i, and Chien Lu and Fan Sheng [in the area] between Yen and Chao. 227 The large groups amounted to several thousand men. They arrogated to themselves their own titles, attacked cities and towns, 228 took the weapons from the arsenals, released those who had been sentenced to death, tied the commanderies Grand Administrators and Chief Commandants up and humiliated them, killed [officials with a salary of] two thousand shih , and made proclamations telling the counties to urgently provide food. Small groups numbered in the hundreds. They pillaged and plundered villages and hamlets in innumerable cases. Thereupon the Son of Heaven for the first time sent the Palace Assistant Secretary and the Chief Clerk of the Chancellor to investigate [these events]. Only when they still were not able to put an end [to this], did [the Son of Heaven] send the Imperial Household Grandee Fan K un and Chang Te , who had been Chief Commandant of various parts of the capital region and had formerly ranked among the Nine Ministers, 229 dressed in embroidered clothing, 230 bearing caducei, and keeping tiger tallies to send out troops to launch an attack. When they had decapitated great hosts [of robbers and bandits], sometimes going beyond ten thousand heads, they also executed according to the law those who had passed on food and drink [to the bandits]. Those who were found guilty to be involved in the various commanderies in extreme cases numbered several thousand men. Only several years later did they obtain some of their leaders. Those of the scattered soldiers 231 who went missing and fled, regathering in cliques and blocking the mountains and streams, stuck together more and more, [so that] there was nothing to be done about it. Thereupon [the Son of Heaven] composed the Law on Concealing Fugitives 232 , which said: When bandits arise in groups and [this] is not disclosed, [or] if it is disclosed, but they are not arrested in full number, then those from the [officials] who are responsible for this, beginning with [those with a salary of] two thousand shih down to the petty officials, are all to die. Thereafter, the petty officials were afraid of
execution and even if there were bandits, they did not dare to report it because they feared that if they would not be able to catch them. Trials would involve the [commandery] administration, and the [commandery] administration did not let them speak about it either. Thus the [number of] bandits and robbers continuously increased, above and below covered for each other, and by means of legal texts and speeches [for accusation or defense in court] they avoided the law.
Chien Hs an
[3152] Chien Hs an 233 was a native of Yang [Commandery]. 234 Because as an Accessory Clerk [nobody else] surpassed him, 235 he served 236 in the office of the Grand Administrator of Ho-tung. 237 When General Wei Ch ing 238 was on a mission to buy horses in Ho-tung, 239 he saw that nobody was able to surpass [Chien] Hs an and told the Sovereign [about it]. Thus [Chien Hs an] was summoned to become Assistant of the Grand Stables. 240 Since he was efficient in his service in office, he was gradually transferred to [the position of] Imperial Scribe and then Palace Assistant Secretary. When he was employed to administer [the case of] Chu-fu Yen 241 and to administer the lawsuit concerning the rebellion in Huai-nan, those whom he killed by [application of] subtle [details of the] laws and by excessive reproaches were a great many. He was praised as someone who dared to decide in doubtful [cases]. 242 Several [times] deposed, several [times] risen [again], he was Imperial Scribe and Palace Assistant Secretary for about twenty years. When Wang Wen-shu was dismissed from [the position of] Commandant of the Capital, [Chien] Hs an became Clerk of the Eastern Part of the capital. His administration [was as delicate as grains of] rice or salt 243 and no matter whether affairs were big or small, they all passed through his hands. He himself deployed the important offices and the material objects. The officials, prefects, and their assistants were not able to act without his authorization and he restricted them painstakingly with severe laws. After he had held office for several years, in all of the commandery [people] concentrated on small things in the execution of their administration. Yet only [Chien] Hs an did connect the small [details] to a bigger [picture] and was able to enact this due to his strength. [So] it was difficult to make this a permanent rule [for administration]. In the midst of service, he was dismissed [from office] 244 and became Western Sustainer. He was put on trial because, when he had been angry with [his subordinate] Ch eng Hsin, 245 Hsin had fled and hid in the Shang-lin Park. [Chien] Hs an had sent the Prefect of Mei 246 to track down and murder [Ch eng] Hsin. When the officials and soldiers had found Hsin, with their shots they had hit the gates of the Shang-lin Park. [Chien] Hs an was handed over to the authorities and was punished according to his crime. It was considered an act of great recalcitrance which was punishable with the [extinction of one s whole] clan. [So] he committed suicide. Then Tu Chou was appointed because of the jen privilege.
Tu Chou
Tu Chou 247 was a native of Tu-yen in Nan-yang. 248 When Yi Tsung was Administrator of Nan-yang, 249 he used [Tu Chou] as his claws and teeth and promoted him to the position of Scribe of the Commandant of Justice. So, when he served Chang T ang, [Chang] T ang frequently spoke of him as [*3153*] unsurpassable and he reached the position of Imperial Scribe. He was in charge of investigating the deserters along the borders; there were a great many whom he sentenced to death. Whenever he submitted a memorial on something, he met the intentions of the Sovereign and was employed accordingly. In one group with Chien Hs an they took turns in becoming Palace Aid to the Censor-in-chief for more than ten years.
In his administration, [Tu Chou] imitated [Chien] Hs an, but he took coming late [more] seriously. Outwardly, he was relaxed, but inwardly, he was intense to the bone. When Hs an became Clerk of the Eastern Part of the Capital, [Tu] Chou became Commandant of Justice. 250 In his administration he in general imitated Chang T ang, yet he was better at waiting and watching out. Those whom the Sovereign wanted to press hard he trapped accordingly, those whom the Sovereign wanted to release he detained for a long time, waited for the interrogations, and secretly looked out for reports [verifying] their innocence. Among his guests there was one who reproached [Tu] Chou saying: My Lord, you just seek a settlement for the Son of Heaven and do not follow the law [of the paragraphs written on bamboo strips of] the length of three feet. You decide the lawsuits only on the basis of the intentions of the ruler over men. Should lawsuits really be [dealt with] in this way? [Tu] Chou answered: Where do the [laws written on bamboo strips of the length of] three feet come from? What the former rulers thought right was inscribed as statutes and what the later rulers deemed right was exegetically added to become an order. At that time, it was right. How could it be a law from antiquity?
When [Tu] Chou became Commandant of Justice, 251 imperial decretory trials 252 also became increasingly numerous. Of those [officials with a salary of] two thousand shih who were taken into custody old and new followed each other and [their number] never was below a hundred-odd men. 253 The [number of cases] which the commandery officials and the high offices referred to the Commandant of Justice [i.e., Tu Chou] amounted to more than a thousand files a year. When the files were large, those who were implicated and arrested as witnesses numbered in the hundreds, when they were small, they numbered several dozen men; the distant [arrived from a distance of] several thousand [li] , the close from several hundred li [from the capital]. When it came to a lawsuit, the officials on the basis of blame according to the files reported on it and charged [the person responsible], and if [the person] did not confess, they settled it by means of flogging and beating. Thereupon, everyone who heard he had been implicated [in a crime] fled and hid away. Protracted lawsuits went through several amnesties during which for more than ten years [people] still reported on each other. Usually they all denounced [each other] of [crimes] beginning with [the category of] being devoid of the Way 254 . The [number of people which] the Commandant of Justice and the officials in the capital put to imperial decretory trials reached up to sixty or seventy thousand people, and those added by the officials increased [this number] by over a hundred thousand people.
[3154] In the midst [of service], [Tu] Chou was removed [from the position of Commandant of Justice]. Afterwards, he was made Bearer of the Gilded Mace. 255 He chased robbers and captured and tried Sang Hung-yang (155-80 BC) 256 and Empress Wei s brothers and their sons with utmost severity. 257 The Son of Heaven believed that he had exerted himself to the outmost without private interests and promoted him to be Grandee Secretary. 258 Two sons of his family became [Grand] Administrators 259 on both sides of the River. Their way of governing was even more cruel and ruthless than that of such people as Wang Wen-shu. [When] Tu Chou was first summoned to be Clerk of the Commandant of Justice, 260 he had just one single horse and even that he did not own alone. 261 When he then had personally been serving for a long time, he had reached the position of one of the Three Excellencies, and his sons and grandsons gained honorable positions so that the wealth of his household amounted to millions [of cash].
His Honor the Grand Scribe says: The ten men from Chih Tu [to] Tu Chou all gained their reputation through ruthlessness and violence. But Chih Tu was straight and outspoken and on behalf of what was right and wrong and strove for the general situation of the empire. Since Chang T ang understood [the emperor s] dark and light sides, the ruler of men went through ups and downs with him. At that time, [Chang T ang] frequently argued for what was appropriate and the state depended on what he considered suitable. Chao Y timely relied on the law to protect what was right. Tu Chou resorted to flummeries and considered talking little to be a sign of gravity. After the death of Chang T ang, the net grew denser and cases of slander multiplied so that the service of officials gradually fell into disorder. The Nine Ministers worked to rule and as this was not even sufficient to correct mistakes, how could they have had the time to discuss anything beyond the marking cord? And yet among these ten men the honest ones may serve as standards of behavior while the sullied ones may serve as a warning. 262 Their methods were in general those of instruction and guidance, they interdicted crime and stopped evil, and all of them were refined to such an extent that they all possessed both civil and martial qualities. 263 Though they were cruel and ruthless, this just corresponded to [what was demanded from] their positions. When it comes to Feng Tang , the Administrator of Shu who violently oppressed others, to Li Chen of Kuang-han , who arrogated [the right to] dismember others, to Mi P u (Slave Mi) of Tung-ch n (Eastern Commandery) who sawed off [people s] necks, to Lo Pi of T ien-shui who hammered down [the accused] in order to finish things, to Ch u Kuang of Ho-tung who killed without reason, to Wu Chi of Ching-chao and Yin Chou of P ing-yi who acted like poisonous snakes and birds of prey, to the [Chief Commandant] of Waters and Parks Yen Feng who beat people to death and sold pardons - how could they be worth enumerating? How could they be worth enumerating?
* * * * *
When the people turned their backs to what was essential and many resorted to craftiness,
When they criminally changed the rules and played with the law,
Good men could not reform this,
Only with all severe cuts was one able to bring order to them.
Thus I created the Memoirs of the Ruthless Officials, Number 62. 264

Translator s Note
Hans van Ess
The chapter on the Ruthless Officials of the Han with the biography of Chang T ang as its center-piece obviously resonates with the one on the Officials Who Follow Reason that contains only biographies from times earlier than the Han in Shih chi chapter 119. Chapter 120 contains the biographies of Chi An and Cheng Tang-shih who probably were seen as two reasonable officials of the Han by Ssu-ma Ch ien. Between Shih chi 119/120 and 122 we find the chapter with the biographies of the Confucian officials that mentions the most important Confucian of the day, Kung-sun Hung. Kung-sun is also mentioned in the preceding chapter 118 since he together with minister of justice Chang T ang, whose biography is the centerpiece of Shih chi 122, was at least partly responsible for the suicide of Liu An, the King of Huai-nan. The Ch ing scholar Fang Pao (1668-1749) at one point says that Kung-sun Hung and Chang T ang were people who according to Ssu-ma Ch ien did not deserve praise, 265 and it does indeed seem that the historian had little sympathy for neither of them. Confucians and Cruel Officials formed the new elite that Emperor Wu began to promote. There are good reasons to believe that Chang T ang, who apparently was the first as a Commandant of Justice, relied on Confucian scholars who found justification for their sometimes unusual way of handling matters of the law in such canonical scriptures as the Spring and Autumn Annals . Moreover, the description of Chang T ang s character in several ways reminds one of Kung-sun Hung. Chi An says of both men that they were just feigning loyalty 266 and Ssu-ma Ch ien mentions both of them in one breath when he praises Chi An. 267 Both Kung-sun Hung and Chang T ang are said to have used the same method of finding out what the emperor thought and then letting him make his choice instead of advancing their own opinion in an outspoken way. So there is good reason to rely on Fang Pao s interpretation.
At the same time, it seems that chapters 119 to 122 have been arranged in this way in order to tell a story about the Han and to create a consistent image. Probably chapter 123 belongs to this series of chapters as well, since the campaigns in Central Asia recounted there could not have been conducted without the tens of thousands of criminals whom the ruthless officials had tried. The story that is being told is the one of the rise of small men whom Emperor Wu could rely on without having to fear criticism, a new elite that he used to replace the old nobility that had been in charge of government affairs before. 268 Chi An was the last men to speak up against this when he said that officials of the knife and brush, meaning small bureaucrats, should not be allowed to become ministers. This, he outspokenly said, was proven by the case of Chang T ang. 269 Officials of the knife and brush are mentioned several times in a negative way in Ssu-ma Ch ien s writings. In the chapter on the ruthless officials the expression is used three times with regard to Chao Y , Chang T ang, and Yin Ch i. Ssu-ma Ch ien clearly uses Chi An to state his own opinion on how bad things had become when the knife-and-brush officials had grabbed the most important positions in the empire.
Yet, as always with interpretations of the Shih chi , the matter is not as simple as Fang Pao would have it. While Chang T ang clearly is not treated with great sympathy by the historian, it is also clear that Ssu-ma Ch ien has some positive words to say on him. Chang T ang falls because of an intrigue that is made up by officials who dislike him. His enemies claim that he is corrupt, but when after his suicide a search of his house is made, it turns out that he did not illegally acquire any wealth. Ssu-ma Ch ien does describe Chang T ang just as Kung-sun Hung in Shih chi chapter 112 as someone who has no opinions himself but always tries to find out what the emperor thinks first and then act in that way. However, that does not mean that Chang T ang was also corrupt. The narrative of this chapter clearly moves to a climax. While such ruthless officials as Chih Tu and Ning Ch eng achieve good results as administrators, the last characters in this chapter are corrupt officials who only take pleasure in shedding blood. Chang T ang s biography is to be found right in the middle. It is interesting to note that on Shih chi , 122.3146 it is said that while Chao Y and Chang T ang had been able to rise because of their extreme severity their way of governing was still lenient, obviously when compared to the one of those officials who followed after them. At the end of the chapter, what is left is just the blood of innocent people that is shed.
There are several stereotypes to be found over and over again in this chapter: Influential families both in the capital and in the provinces fear ruthless officials. Where ruthless officials act, lost property is not taken up, an ideal propagated by such legalist texts as the Han-fei-tzu . None of them them shun the noble and the imperial relatives, something that may be understood in a positive and a negative way at the same time. On the one hand means that ruthless officials do not let themselves be corrupted by those in power; on the other that by means of this they may alienate imperial relatives from the emperor just as had been the case with the King of Huainan whose suicide resulted from too severe action by such officials as Kung-sun Hung and Chang T ang. This was clearly seen as a bad thing by Ssu-ma Ch ien. Again and again we read that the Son of Heaven considered a ruthless official capable, and the reader gets the impression that this must be sheer irony since the historian obviously does not consider these people capable at all. 270 It is interesting to note that on Shih chi , 122.3145, Emperor Wu is said to have considered Yi Tsung capable even when the latter caught and investigated his own nephew. Ruthless officials are often compared to hawks 271 who mercilessly seize their prey. Four times this chapter says that ruthless officials toyed with their knowledge of jurisprudence, using it to denounce someone. 272
Some of the names in this chapter sound quite strange. Yi Tsung, for example, could be translated as to rightfully let go or rightfully relax which is, of course, the opposite of what this person does. Ning Ch eng means peaceful or quiet completion or something is completed in peace. This may be an ironical way of commenting on Ning Ch eng s way of governing which was not peaceful at all, but it may also point to the fact that his family is extinguished by Yi Tsung while he himself has to flee to stay alive. There is no peaceful completion to his life. Wang Wen-shu means Wang The Warm and Smooth One, and Yin Ch i could be Prefect Even. Thus, one sometimes wonders whether these were real names of historical persons.

Aoki, Shiki , 13:1-84.
Watson, Han , 2:379-407.
Pimpaneau, 9:225-57.
Vyatkin, 9:178-98, notes 347-59.
Chang Hs eh-cheng . Shih hsi Shih chi Ku-li lieh-chuan te feng-tz u yi-shu 37 . Ch i Lu hs eh-k an , 2011.5: 118-21.
Ch eng Sui-ying . Erh-shih-ssu shih Hs n li , K u li lieh-chuan y Chung-kuo ku-tai chien-ch a kuan te hs an-jen , . Pei-fang lun cong , 2001.01: 124-28.
Kensuke Tada . Zenkan Butei dai no koku ri Ch T ni tsuite . T y shi kenky 36 (1977): 208-32.
van Ess, Hans. Politik und Geschichtsschreibung im alten China. Pan-ma i-t ung . Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 2014, pp. 257-318.
Wang Hs -hsia . K u li chih k u pien. Chien-chi ch uan-t ung fa-l wen-hua p i-p an . . In Ssu-ma Ch ien y Shih-chi lun-chi (Ti wu chi) , edited by Shensi Shen Ssu-ma Ch ien Yen-chiu-hui . Sian: Shen-hsi Jen-min, 2002, pp. 493-502.

The Western Regions in the Late Second Century

1 The word k u does not occur in early Chinese literature. It originally described the taste of a strong alcoholic beverage or sour/stinging taste as in L -shih ch un-ch iu , chapter Pen-wei : suan erh pu k u Its taste is stinging but not offensive (see on L -shih ch un-ch iu hsin chiao-yi [Shanghai: Shang-hai Ku-chi, 2002], p. 745). It is understood as oppressive in such texts as the Han-fei-tzu , chapter Hsien-hs eh : Now when the leadership is concerned for working the fields and opening new land this is in order to bolster up the people s productivity, but they consider the leadership cruel. , (see on Han-fei-tzu chi-chieh [Beijing: Chung-hua: 1998], p. 464; transl. Christoph Harbsmeier, online under Thesaurus linguae sericae). Also compare Hs n-tzu , chapter Yi-ping : They treated their people fiercely (see on Hs n-tzu chi-chieh [Beijing: Chung-hua: 1998], p. 273).
2 Over a time of at least two years Maddalena Barenghi, Sebastian Eicher, Rebecca Ehrenwirth, Hans van Ess, Sandra Fekete, Guje Kroh, Clara Luhn, Lorenz Luley, Marc N rnberger, Jakob P llath, Andreas Siegl, Anna Stecher, and Katrin Wei met to discuss this chapter. Each of them contributed translations of small sections, and many invaluable insights are due to those whose names are not mentioned in the title of this chapter. In the end, the translations had to be finalized. Several members of the group were in a final or crucial stage of their dissertations or other urgent work. Therefore, the two persons mentioned above decided to take over the duty to add the last strokes to this chapter. Special thanks go to Clara Luhn who, besides adding and unifying translations, painstakingly looked into the many possible but diverging options for rendering single expressions and for the ungrateful work of copy-editing that impatient Hans van Ess was incapable to do.
3 Lun y , 2.3. Compare a similar passage in Li-chi , chapter Tzu-yi ( Shih-san ching chu-shu , 927-32).
4 Lao-tzu 38, which praises the advantages of Taoist Non-action over Confucian values.
5 Lao-tzu 57, which again praises Non-action, this time against Legalist values.
6 On the term chih-chih , cf. Shang-shu , chapter Chou-kuan (a forged chapter): It was the grand method of former times to regulate the government while there was no confusion , ( Shih-san ching chu-shu , 269b, Legge: 3:525).
7 Compare Meng-tzu for the famous song of a small child singing that it can wash its tassels only in clear water, but its feet in muddy water ( Meng-tz

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