Book of Han

Book of Han

The "Book of Han" (zh-tspw|t=漢書|s=汉书|p=Hànshū|w=Ch'ien Han Shu) is a classic Chinese historical writing completed in 111 CE, covering the history of Western Han from 206 BCE to 25 CE. It is also sometimes called the "Book of Former Han". A second book, the "Book of Later Han" covers the Eastern Han period from 25 to 220, and composed in the 5th century by Fan Ye (398445). Depending on sources, the earliest estimate date coverage begins anywhere from 206 to 202 BCE.Kennedy, Brian. Guo, Elizabeth. [2005] (2005). Chinese Martial Arts Training Manuals: A Historical Survey. North Atlantic Books Publishing. ISBN 1556435576] The book also contains the first written historical mention of Japan.


The huge encyclopedic work was started by Ban Biao. Following his death, Ban Gu, eldest son of Ban Biao, continued working on the book, which grew to a total of 100 volumes, and included essays on law, science, geography, and literature. His younger sister Ban Zhao, finished the writing in 111, 19 years after he was put in prison, and made the minor volumes 13-20th (eight chronological charts) and 26th (astronomical biography) included to the work. Like the "Records of the Grand Historian", Zhang Qian, a famous Chinese general who travelled to the west, was the key source for the cultural and socio-economic data on the Western Regions contained in the work on 96th volume.

The book set the format for the writings of later Chinese dynasties, and today it is a reference used to study the Han period. It is often regarded as part of the early four historiographies of the Twenty-Four Histories canon, together with the "Records of the Grand Historian", "Records of Three Kingdoms" and "Book of Later Han".


The Japanese appear in written history in this book (Book of the Later Han), in which it is recorded, "The people of Wa are located across the ocean from Lelang, are divided into more than one hundred tribes, and come to offer tribute from time to time." It is later recorded that in 57, the southern Wa kingdom of Na sent an emissary named Taifu to pay tribute to Emperor Guangwu and received a golden seal. According to the "Book of Wei", the most powerful kingdom on the archipelago in the 3rd century was called Yamataikoku and was ruled by the legendary Queen Himiko.

ee also

* Twenty-Four Histories



*Hulsewé, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. "China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty". E. J. Brill, Leiden.
*Watson, Burton. 1974. "Courtier and Commoner in Ancient China. Selections from the History of the Former Han." Columbia University Press, New York. (A translation of chapters 54,63,65,67,68,71,74,78,92, and 97).
*Wu, Shuping, [ "Hanshu" ("Book of Han")] . "Encyclopedia of China" (Chinese Literature Edition), 1st ed.

External links

* [ Pan Chao (Ban Zhao), Female Historian]
* [ Silk Road Seattle] (The Silk Road Seattle website contains many useful resources including a number of full-text historical works, maps, photos, etc.)

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