Shiji: (His)story of the Grand Astrologer
Play • 33 min

Many may still remember the 2002 martial art film directed by Zhang Yimou and stars Jet Li. The name is Hero  and it is based on the historical event of Jing Ke’s assassination attempt on the first emperor of China, King of Qin in 227 BC. 

The original story is explicitly detailed in the Records of The Grand Historian, also known by its Chinese name Shiji(史記). A monumental history of ancient China and the world, it was completed around 94 BC by the Western Han Dynasty official Sima Qian after having been started by his father, Sima Tan, Grand Astrologer to the imperial court. 

In this episode, we will explore the historical as well as literary values of the Records of the Grand Historian, which is a foundational text in Eastern civilization. 

Readings:
Burton Waston, trans. Records of The Grand Historian
for aficionados in classical Chinese: Shiji(史記)
Nicola Di Cosmo, Ancient China and its Enemies: The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History 

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