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Who Is Sima Qian
Transcript of Who Is Sima Qian
The Records of the Historian
Who Is Sima Qian
Born in Longmen China, about
Worked as Grand Astrologer
for the Emperor until his death
The Records of the
document examining China's
Cross referenced sections into relevant sections
Multiple narratives to develop single historical characters
Designates purposeful sections where he allows himself free speech
Inside the texts his opinions can also be found
Hints on morals of the time
Sima Qian's Motivation
Why Sima Qian Matters Today
The Records Of the Historian
gives us a comprehensive view of China's past and myths
It gives readers insights to ancient Chinese culture: what was considered brave and what was considered cowardly
A. Suicide and death in battle
B. Surrender to an enemy
Sima Qian And Herodotus: Similarities
Both documents contain narratives about important past individuals
i.e. Croesus and Gaozu
Both use narratives to teach a lesson
Both considered history important to consider when looking at the present.
Both have some focus on the political application of history
Obligated to finish father's record of history.
Makes for better history because he develops his credibility.
(No personal motivation to tamper with information)
Contrastingly, he worked for the empire and so felt he had to flatter them through history.
Sima Qian: More methodical
Herodotus: Has large sections pertaining to barbarian culture.
Differ in placement of opinion
What do we gain from studying Herodotus and Sima Qian
Is Sima Qian simply a "scribe" or does he add his own opinion into his work?
What other differences can you find between Sima Qian and Herodotus?
Who, if either, is more reliable?
Why We Compare
-Gives us insight on differences in cultures
-Shows fundamental questions historians try to answer
majority focus of on process of/after unification under Emporer
Idea of Unity/ larger conquering smaller
Herodotus emphasized wars against almost equal factions
Death as honorable
Loyalty to a fault (story of Maodun)