Sima Thien


January 18, 2022

Sima Qian (k. 145 BC or k. 135 BC – k. 86 BC), pen name Zi Chang (子長), was a Chinese historian who lived during the early Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220). He is considered to be the father of Chinese history with the Chronicles, a Chinese historical collection written in the style of the Tale of the Century. The Chronicle covers more than two thousand years of Chinese history, starting from the rise of the legendary Emperor and the formation of the first polity in China to the time of Sima Qian, during the reign of Emperor Wu. Not only is the history of the first known in ancient China, the Chronicle also serves as a template for the historical record of subsequent Chinese dynasties and throughout the entire Chinese cultural region. including the countries of Korea, Vietnam, and Japan) until the 20th century. The first person who initiated the work to completely rewrite the entire history of China was Sima Tan (司馬談), Tu's father. Ma Thien; but he only finished the preliminary sketch before his death. After inheriting his father's position in the imperial court, Sima Thien decided to fulfill his father's will to complete and produce this monumental historical work. However, in 99 BC, he became a victim in the Ly Lang case when he stood up for this general even though the Han court considered Li Lang to be the cause of his defeat against the Xiongnu. When forced to choose between the death penalty or the eunuch, he accepted the death penalty so that he could finish his historical work. Although mainly remembered for his historical record, the surviving works show that Sima Thien was also a gifted poet and writer. In addition, he was also instrumental in building the Thai So Calendar, an official agricultural calendar issued in 104 BC.



The Sima family has a long tradition of being a historical mandarin. The two words "Si Ma" date from the Zhou Dynasty and are used to refer to a martial official who considers all military affairs in the country, such as the post of infantry chief minister of the later generations. During the reign of Chu Xuan Vuong (reigned 827 BC - 782 BC), a person holding the position of a private horse had merit and was allowed by the king to take the title as a family name. Later on, the Sima family had many more generations to serve as historical officials for the Zhou dynasty. During the Warring States period, the Qin state under the Hui Wen dynasty had a good general, Sima Tuoc, and together with Truong Nghi defeated Shu, killing the last King Khai Minh. Finally, dethroned Thuc Vuong and changed his name to "servant". Sima Thac is the direct ancestor of Sima Thien. Sima Tuo had a grandson named Sima Can, was a deputy general under the name of general Vu An army Bach Khoi during the reign of Emperor Qin Zhaoxiang, and together with Bach Khoi buried 40,000 Zhao troops alive in the Battle of Truong Binh. In the end, the king of Qin gave him death along with Bach Khoi. Sima Jin's grandson is Sima Chang (司馬昌), who worked as a government official under Qin Shi Huang. Sima Qian's grandfather Sima Xi (司馬喜) is Sima Xuong's grandson, originally from the county. Pi Thi (皮氏县; now Hexin, Yuncheng), used to be an official of the five doctors (五大夫). Sima Thien's father, Sima Dam, was the imperial governor of the Han Dynasty, during the reign of Emperor Wu (reigned 141 BC - 87 BC).

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