Records of the Grand Historian: Qin Dynasty
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Sima Qian (145?-90? BCE) was the first major Chinese historian. His Shiji, or Records of the Grand Historian, documents the history of China and its neighboring countries from the ancient past to his own time. These three volumes cover the Qin and Han dynasties.
ruler. Such a procedure is highly improper and we will have none of it! From now on, this manner of assigning posthumous names shall be abolished. We ourselves shall be called First Emperor, and successive generations of rulers shall be numbered consecutively, Second, Third, and so on for 1,000 or 10,000 generations, the succession passing down without end.” The First Emperor believed that the Five Powers succeed each other in unending cycle, and he held that the Zhou dynasty had ruled by the
devoting himself earnestly to instruction and precept. His admonitions circulate, his proclamations spread abroad, so that near and far alike are properly ordered, and all bow to the will of the sage. Eminent and humble are clearly distinguished, men and women are observant of ritual, cautious and attentive to their duties. Inner and outer concerns are carefully demarked, uniformly faultless and pure, to be passed on to future heirs. His transforming influence is unending, in ages after his
was situated to the east of his grave and the Eternal Palace to the west, while the arsenal was directly in front of it. The people of Qin used to say: “For strength, Ren Bi; for wisdom, Shuli.” 144 GAN MOU Gan Mou was a native of Xiacai in Chu. He studied under Master Shi Ju of Xiacai, learning the theories of the hundred schools of philosophy. He requested Zhang Yi and Shuli Zi to arrange an interview for him with King Hui of Qin. The king granted the request and, pleased with him, made him
all four sides. To the north is Sweet Springs and Valley Mouth, to the south the long-stretching Jing and Wei rivers, to the right Long and Shu, to the left the Hangu Pass and Shang Slope.151 With a striking force of 1,000,000 men and 1,000 war chariots, if it is profitable to do so, you may venture forth to attack; if it is not, you may guard your stronghold. It is the kind of territory fit for a ruler. Your people are cowardly in private vendettas but brave in public warfare — the kind of
you cross through someone else’s state to attack it? This is bad planning indeed! “In the past King Min of Qi marched south to attack Chu, defeating its army, killing its leader, and expanding Qi’s territory by 1,000 li. But Qi in the end could not retain possession of an inch of that land, not because it did not want the land, but because the circumstances would not permit it. For when the other feudal rulers saw that Qi’s troops were exhausted and that ruler and subject were at loggerheads,