Book of Han

08:23, April 06, 2010      

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The History of the Former Han Dynasty (simplified Chinese: 汉书 or 前汉书) is a classical Chinese history finished in 111 AD, covering the history of China under the Western Han from 206 BC to 25 AD. It is also sometimes called the Book of Former Han. A second work, the History of the Later Han Dynasty covers the Eastern Han period from 25 to 220, and was composed in the fifth century by Fan Ye (398–445). Various scholars have estimated that the earliest material covered in the book dates back to between 206 and 202 BCE. The book also contains the first written historical mention of Japan.


This history developed from a continuation of Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian or, more correctly, Records of the Grand Scribe, initiated by Ban Gu's father, Ban Biao, at the beginning of the Later Han Dynasty. This work is usually referred to as Later Traditions 後傳, which clearly indicates that the elder Ban's work was meant to be a continuation. (It should be noted that other scholars of the time, including Liu Xin and Yang Xiong also worked on continuations of Sima's history.) After Ban Biao's death, his eldest son Ban Gu was dissatisfied with what his father had completed, and he began a new history that started with the beginning of the Han dynasty. This distinguished it from Sima Qian's history, which had begun with China's earliest legendary rulers. In this way, Ban Gu initiated the format for dynastic histories that was to remain the model for the official histories until modern times.

For the periods where they overlapped, Ban Gu adopted nearly verbatim much of Sima Qian's material, though in some cases he also expanded it. He also incorporated at least some of what his father had written, though it is difficult to know how much. The completed work ran to a total of 100 fascicles 卷, and included essays on law, science, geography, and literature. Ban Gu's younger sister Ban Zhao finished writing the book in 111, 19 years after Ban Gu had been imprisoned. An outstanding scholar in her own right, she is thought to have written volumes 13-20 (eight chronological tables) and 26 (treatise on astronomy). As with the Records of the Grand Historian, Zhang Qian, a notable Chinese general who travelled to the west, was a key source for the cultural and socio-economic data on the Western Regions contained in the 96th fascicle. The "Annals" section and the three chapters covering the reign of Wang Mang were translated into English by Homer H. Dubs. Other chapters have been rendered into English by Anthony Hulsewé, Clyde B. Sargent, Nancy Lee Swann, and Burton Watson.

Ban Gu's history set the standard for the writings of later Chinese dynasties, and today it is a reference used to study the Han period. It is regarded as one of the "Four Histories" 四史 of the Twenty-Four Histories canon, together with the Records of the Grand Historian, Records of Three Kingdoms and History of the Later Han.


Ji (紀, annal), 12 (13) juan. Emperors’ biographies in strict annal form, which offer a chronological overview of the most important occurrences, as seen from the imperial court.

1 A,B Gaodi ji (高帝紀) Annals of Han Gaozu Emperor Gao (Liu Bang), 206-195 BC
2. Huidi ji (惠帝紀 ) Annals of Emperor Hui Emperor Hui, 194-188 BC.
3. Gaohou ji (高后紀) Annals of Empress Gao Empress Lü (regent 195-180 BC)
4. Wendi ji (文帝紀) Annals of Emperor Wen Emperor Wen, 179-157 BC
5. Jingdi ji (景帝紀) Annals of Emperor Jing Emperor Jing, 156-141 BC
6. Wudi ji (武帝紀) Annals of Emperor Wu Emperor Wu, 140-87 BC
7. Zhaodi ji (昭帝紀) Annals of Emperor Zhao Emperor Zhao, 86-74 BC
8. Xuandi ji (宣帝紀) Annals of Emperor Xuan Emperor Xuan, 73-49 BC
9. Yuandi ji (元帝紀) Annals of Emperor Yuan Emperor Yuan, 48-33 BC
10. Chengdi ji (成帝紀) Annals of Emperor Cheng Emperor Cheng, 32-7 BC
11. Aidi ji (哀帝紀) Annals of Emperor Ai Emperor Ai, 6-1 BC
12. Pingdi ji (平帝紀) Annals of Emperor Ping Emperor Ping, 1 BC. - 5 AD

Chronological Tables

Biao (表, tables), 8 (10) juan. Chronological tables of important people.

13. yixing zhuhouwang biao
(異姓諸侯王表) Table of princes not related (to the imperial house)
14. zhuhouwang biao
(諸侯王表) Table of marquises and princes (related to the imperial house)
15. 1-2 wangzihou biao
(王子侯表) Table of marquises who were sons of princes
16. gao hui gaohou wen gongchen biao
(高惠高后文功臣表) Table of meritorious officials under (Emperors) Gao, Hui, Gaohou (Empress Gao) and Wen Starting with Emperor Gaozu and including Empress Lü
17. jing wu zhao xuan yuan cheng gongchen biao
(景武昭宣元成功臣表) Table of meritorious officials under (Emperors) Jing, Wu, Zhao, Xuan, Yuan and Cheng From Emperor Wu until Emperor Cheng
18. waiqi enzehou biao
(外戚恩澤侯表) Table of nobles from families of the imperial consorts
19. A,B shang baiguan gongqing biao
(上百官公卿表) Table of noble ranks and government offices Introduction to Han bureaucracy followed by chronological table of office holders
20. gujinren biao
(古今人表) Important people from the past until today


Zhi (志, memoirs), 10 (18) juan. Each treatise describes an area of effort of the state.

21. A,B lüli zhi
(律曆志) Treatise on rhythm and the calendar Music (and measurements) and calendars
22. liyue zhi
(禮樂志) Treatise on rites and music
23. xingfa zhi
(刑法志) Treatise on punishment and law
24. A,B shihuo zhi
(食貨志) Treatise on food and money 24A deals with agriculture and taxation; 24B, with currency and monetary policy
25. A,B jiaosi zhi
(郊祀志) Treatise on sacrifices
26. tianwen zhi
(天文志) Treatise on astronomy Astrology and astronomy
27. A, Bi, Bii, Ci, Cii wuxingzhi
(五行志) Treatise on the five elements
28. A, B dili zhi
(地理志) Treatise on geography Administrative jurisdictions
29. gouxu zhi
(溝洫志) Treatise on rivers and canals Hydrology, flood control and irrigation
30. yiwen zhi
(藝文志) Treatise on literature Bibliography based on Imperial Library catalog compiled by Liu Xiang.


Zhuan (傳, exemplary traditions, usually translated as biographies”), 70 juan. Biographies of important people. The biographies confine themselves to the description of events that clearly show the exemplary character of the person. Two or more people are treated in one main article, as they belong to the same class of people. The last articles describe the relations between China and the various peoples beyond the frontiers.

31. Chen Sheng Xiang Ji zhuan (陳勝項籍傳) Biographies of Chen Sheng and Xiang Ji Chen Sheng and Xiang Yu
32. Zhang Er Chen Yu zhuan (張耳陳餘傳) Biographies of Zhang Er and Chen Yu (Qin Dynasty)
33. Wei Bao Tian Dan Xinwang Hann(魏豹田儋韓王信傳) Biographies of Wei Bao, Tian Dan and Hann Xin, the king of Hann
34. Han Peng Jing Lu Wu zhuan (韓彭英盧吳傳) Biographies of Han, Peng, Jing, Lu and Wu Han is Han Xin (韓信), Peng is Peng Yue (彭越), Jing is Jing Bu (英布), Lu is Lu Wan (盧綰) and Wu is Wu Rui 吳芮).
35. Jing Yan Wu zhuan (荊燕吳傳) Biographies of Jing, Yan and Wu Jing, Yan and Wu: princes.
36. Chu Yuanwang zhuan (楚元王傳) Biography of Yuan, prince of Chu The biography of Yuan includes the biographies of Liu Xiang and Liu Xin.
37. Ji Bu Luan Bu Tian Shu zhuan (季布欒布田叔傳) Biographies of Ji Bu, Luan Bu and Tian Shu
38. Gao wuwang zhuan (高五王傳) Biographies of the five sons of Gao Han Gaozu is meant.
39. Xiao He Cao Can zhuan (蕭何曹參傳) Biographies of Xiao He andCao Can
40. Zhang Chen Wang Zhou zhuan (張陳王周傳) Biographies of Zhang, Chen, Wang and Zhou Zhang: Zhang Liang (張良), Chen: Chen Ping (陳平), Wang: Wang Ling (王陵), Zhou: Zhou Bo (周勃).
41. Fan Li Teng Guan Fu Jin Zhou zhuan (樊酈滕灌傅靳周傳) Biographies of Fan, Li, Teng, Guan, Fu, Jin and Zhou Fan: Fan Kuai (樊噲), Li: Li Shang (酈商), Teng: Xiahou Ying (夏侯嬰), Guan: Guan Ying (灌嬰), Fu: Fu Kuan (傅寬), Jin: Jin She (靳歙), Zhou: Zhou Xue (周緤).
42. Zhang Zhou Zhao Ren Shentu zhuan (張周趙任申屠傳) Biographies of Zhang, Zhou, Zhao, Ren and Shentu Zhang: Zhang Cang (張蒼), Zhou: Zhou Chang (周昌), Zhao: Zhao Yao (趙堯), Ren: Ren Ao (任敖), Shentu: Shentu Jia (申屠嘉).
43. Li Lu Zhu Liu Shusun zhuan (酈陸朱劉叔孫傳) Biographies of Li, Lu, Zhu, Liu and Shusun Li: Li Yiji (酈食其), Lu: Lu Jia (陸賈), Zhu: Zhu Jian (朱建), Liu: Lou Jing (婁敬,gave the family name Liu by emperor), Shusun: Shusun Tong (叔孫通).
44. Huainan Hengshan Jibei wang zhuan (淮南衡山濟北王傳) Biographies of the kings of Huainan, Hengshan and Jibei
45. Kuai Wu Jiang Xifu zhuan (蒯伍江息夫傳) Biographies of Kuai, Wu, Jiang and Xifu Kuai: Kuai Tong (蒯通), Wu: Wu Bei (伍被), Jiang: Jiang Chong (江充), Xifu: Xifu Gong (息夫躬).
46. Wanshi Wei Zhi Zhou Zhang zhuan (萬石衛直周張傳) Biographies of the lords of Wan, Wei, Zhi, Zhou and Zhang The lord of Wan: Shi Fen (石奮), Wei: Wei Wan (衛綰), Zhi: Zhi Buyi (直不疑), Zhou: Zhou Ren (周仁) and Zhang: Zhang Ou (張歐).
47. Wen sanwang zhuan (文三王傳) Biography of the three sons of Wen Wen: Emperor Wen of Han.
48. Jia Yi zhuan (賈誼傳) Biography of Jia Yi
49. Yuan Ang Chao Cuo zhuan (爰盎晁錯傳) Biographies of Yuan Ang and Chao Cuo
50. Zhang Feng Ji Zheng zhuan (張馮汲鄭傳) Biographies of Zhang, Feng, Ji and Zheng Zhang: Zhang Shizhi (張釋之), Feng: Feng Tang (馮唐), Ji: Ji An (汲黯), Zheng: Zheng Dangshi (鄭當時)
51. Jia Zou Mei Lu zhuan (賈鄒枚路傳) Biographies of Jia, Zou, Mei and Lu Jia: Jia Shan (賈山], Zou: Zou Yang (鄒陽), Mei: Mei Cheng (枚乘), Lu: Lu Wenshu (路溫舒).
52. Dou Tian Guan Han zhuan (竇田灌韓傳) Biographies of Dou, Tian, Guan and Han Dou: Dou Ying (竇嬰), Tian: Tian Fen (田蚡), Guan: Guan Fu (灌夫), Han: Han Anguo (韓安國).
53. Jing shisanwang zhuan (景十三王傳) Biographies of the thirteen sons of Jing Jing: Emperor Jing of Han
54. Li Guang Su Jian zhuan (李廣蘇建傳) Biographies of Li Guang and Su Jian
55. Wei Qing Huo Qubing zhuan (衛青霍去病傳) Biographies of Wei Qing and Huo Qubing.
56. Dong Zhongshu zhuan (董仲舒傳) Biography of Dong Zhongshu
57. A,B Sima Xiangru zhuan (司馬相如) Biography of Sima Xiangru
58. Gongsun Hong Bu Shi Er Kuan zhuan (公孫弘卜式兒寬傳) Biographies of Gongsun Hong, Bu Shi and Er (Ni) Kuan Er Kuan also to be read as Ni Kuan.
59. Zhang Tang zhuan (張湯傳) Biography of Zhang Tang
60. Du Zhou zhuan (杜周傳) Biography of Du Zhou
61. Zhang Jian Li Guangli zhuan (張騫李廣利傳) Biographies of Zhang Jian and Li Guangli
62. Sima Qian zhuan (司馬遷傳) Biography of Sima Qian The writer of the Shiji. Also includes the biography of his father Sima Tan.
63. wu wuzhi zhuan (武五子傳) Biographies of the five sons of Wu Wu: Emperor Wu of Han.
64. 1-2 Yan Zhu Wuqiu Zhufu Xu Yan Zhong Wang Jia zhuan (嚴朱吾丘主父徐嚴終王賈傳) Biographies of Yan, Zhu, Wuqiu, Zhufu, Xu, Yan, Zhong, Wang en Jia Yan: Yan Zhu (嚴助), Zhu: Zhu Maichen (朱買臣), Wu: Wuqiu Shouwang (吾丘壽王), Zhufu: Zhufu Yan (主父偃), Xu: Xu Yue (徐樂), Yan: Yan An (嚴安), Zhong: Zhong Jun (終軍), Wang:Wang Bao (王褒), Jia: Jia Juanzhi (賈捐之).
65. Dongfang Shuo zhuan (東方朔傳) Biography of Dongfang Shuo
66. Gongsun Liu Tian Wang Yang Cai Chen Zheng zhuan (公孫劉田王楊蔡陳鄭傳) Biography of Gongsun, Liu, Tian, Wang, Yang, Cai, Chen en Zheng Gongsun: Gongsun He (公孫賀), Liu: Liu Quli (劉屈氂), Tian: Tian Qiuqian (田千秋, also Ju Qiuqian 車千秋), Wang: Wang Xin (王訢), Yang: Yang Chang (楊敞), Cai: Cai Yi (蔡義), Chen: Chen Wannian (陳萬年), Zheng: Zheng Hong (鄭弘).
67. Yang Hu Zhu Mei Yun zhuan (楊胡朱梅云傳) Biographies of Yang, Hu, Zhu, Mei and Yun Yang: Yang Wangsun (楊王孫), Hu: Hu Jian (胡建), Zhu: Zhu Yun (朱雲), Mei: Mei Fu (梅福), Yun: Yun Chang (云敞).
68. Huo Guang Jin Midi zhuan (霍光金日磾傳) Biographies of Huo Guang and Jin Midi
69. Zhao Chongguo Xin Qingji zhuan (趙充國辛慶忌傳) Biographies of Zhao Chongguo and Xin Qingji
70. Fu Chang Zheng Gan Chen Duan zhuan (傅常鄭甘陳段傳) Biographies of Fu, Chang, Zheng, Gan, Chen and Duan Fu: Fu Jiezi (傅介子), Chang: Chang Hui (常惠), Zheng: Zheng Ji (Han dynasty general) (鄭吉), Gan: Gan Yannian (甘延壽), Chen: Chen Tang (陳湯) and Duan: Duan Huizong (段會宗).
71. Jun Shu Yu Xue Ping Peng zhuan [(雋疏于薛平彭傳) Biographies of Jun, Shu, Yu, Xue, Ping and Peng Jun: Jun Buyi (雋不疑), Shu: Shu Guang (疏廣) and Shu Shou (疏受), Yu: Yu Dingguo (于定國), Xue: Xue Guangde (薛廣德), Ping: Ping Dang (平當), Peng: Peng Xuan (彭宣).
72. Wang Gong liang Gong Bao zhuan (王貢兩龔鮑傳) Biographies of Wang, Gong, both Gongs and Bao Wang: Wang Ji (王吉), Gong: Gong Yu (貢禹), Gongs: Gong Sheng (龔勝) and Gong She (龔舍); Bao: Bao Xuan 宣).
73. Wei Xian zhuan (韋賢傳) Biography of Wei Xian
74. Wei Xiang Bing Ji zhuan (魏相丙吉傳) Biographies of Wei Xiang and Bing Ji
75. Sui liangxiahou Jing Ji Li zhuan (眭兩夏侯京翼李傳) Biographies of Sui,two Xiahou, Jing, Ji and Li Sui: Sui Hong (眭弘), two Xiahou:Xiahou Shichang (夏侯始昌) and Xiahou Sheng (夏侯勝), Jing: Jing Fang (京房), Ji: Ji Feng (翼奉), Li: Li Xun (李尋)
76. Zhao Yin Han Zhang liangWang zhuan (趙尹韓張兩王傳) Biographies of Zhao, Yin, Han, Zhang and the two Wangs Zhao: Zhao Guanghan (趙廣漢), Yin: Yin Wenggui (尹翁歸), Han: Han Yanshou (韓延壽), Zhang: Zhang Chang (張敞), the two Wangs: Wang Zun (王尊) and Wang Zhang (王章).
77. Gai Zhuge Liu Zheng Sun Wujiang He zhuan (蓋諸葛劉鄭孫毋將何傳) Biographies of Gai, Zhuge, Liu, Zheng, Sun, Wujiang and He Gai: Gai Kuanrao (蓋寬饒), Zhuge: Zhuge Feng (諸葛豐), Liu: Liu Fu (劉輔), Zheng: Zheng Chong (鄭崇), Sun: Sun Bao (孫寶), Wujiang: Wujiang Long (毋將隆), He: He Bing (何並).
78. Xiao Wangzhi zhuan (蕭望之傳) Biography of Xiao Wangzhi
79. Feng Fengshi zhuan (馮奉世傳) Biography of Feng Fengshi
80. Xuan Yuan liuwang zhuan (宣元六王傳) Biographies of the six sons of Xuan and Yuan Xuan: Emperor Xuan of Han, Yuan: Emperor Yuan of Han
81. Kuang Zhang Kong Ma zhuan (匡張孔馬傳) Biographies of Kuang, Zhang, Kong and Ma Kuang :Kuang Heng (匡衡), Zhang:Zhang Yu (張禹), Kong:Kong Guang (孔光), Ma: Ma Gong (馬宮).
82. Wang Shang Shi Dan Fu Xi zhuan (王商史丹傅喜傳) Biographies of Wang Shang, Shi Dan and Fu Xi
83. Xue Xuan Zhu Bo zhuan (薛宣朱博傳) Biographies of Xue Xuan and Zhu Bo
84. Zhai Fangjin zhuan (翟方進傳) Biography of Zhai Fangjin
85. Gu Yong Du Ye zhuan (谷永杜鄴傳) Biographies of Gu Yong and Du Ye
86. He Wu Wang Jia Shi Dan zhuan (何武王嘉師丹傳) Biographies of He Wu, Wang Jia and Shi Dan
87. A,B Yang Xiong zhuan (揚雄傳) Biography of Yang Xiong
88. Rulin zhuan (儒林傳) Biographies of the Forest of Literati Scholars. e.g. Fu Sheng
89. Xunli zhuan (循吏傳) Biographies of upright officials
90. Kuli zhuan (酷吏傳) Biographies of cruel officials
91. Huozhi zhuan (貨殖傳) Biographies of usurers People who enriched themselves.
92. Youxia zhuan (游俠傳) Biographies of knights-errant
93. Ningxing zhuan (佞幸傳) Biographies of flatterers
94. A,B Xiongnu zhuan (匈奴傳) Traditions of the Xiongnu Xiongnu
95. Xinanyi liangyue Chaoxian zhuan (西南夷兩粵朝鮮傳) Traditions of the Yi of the southeast, of the two Yue, and of Korea The two Yue: Southern Yue and Min Yue.
96. A,B Xiyu zhuan (西域傳) Traditions of the western regions
97. A,B waiqi zhuan (外戚傳) Biographies of the empresses and imperial affines
98. Yuanhou zhuan (元后傳) Biography of the empress of Yuan Empress Wang Zhengjun
99. A,B,C Wang Mang zhuan (王莽傳) Biography of Wang Mang Wang Mang
100. A,B Xuzhuan (敘傳) Afterword and Family History Afterward and History of Ban Family

Source: wikipedia


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