Records of the Grand HistorianThe Records of the Grand Historian or the Records of the Grand Historian of China was the opus magnum of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the mythical Yellow Emperor until his own time. Records of the Grand Historian is a modern Western name; The original Chinese title is 史記 (pinyin: shi ji), which means "Historical Records". As the first systematic Chinese historical text, it tremendously influenced Chinese historiography and prose, and is comparable to Herodotus and his Historiai.
The 130-chapter text classifies all information into several categories:
- 12 chapters of Benji (本紀 pinyin ben3ji4) contain all biographies of the prominent rulers from the mythical Yellow Emperor including Qin Shi Huang Di and the kings of Shang dynasty and Zhou Dynasty.
- 30 chapters of Shijia (世家 pinyin shi4 jia1) contain all biograghies of notable rulers, nobility and bureaucrats mostly from the Spring and Autumn Period and Period of the Warring States.
- 70 chapters of Liezhuan (列傳 pinyin lie4 zhuan4) contain all biographies of important figures including Lao zi, Mocius, Sun Tzu and Jing Ke.
- 8 chapters of Shu (書 pinyin shu1) are the economic and cultural records of the time covered in the book.
- 10 chapters of Biao (表 pinyin biao3) are timelines of events