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Cover

The First Emperor

Selections from the Historical Records

Sima Qian
Raymond Dawson and Preface by K. E. Brashier

August 2009

ISBN: 9780199574391

208 pages
Paperback
196x129mm

In Stock

Oxford World's Classics

Price: £7.99

Sima Qian tells the story of the First Emperor, founder of the Qin dynasty, in whose reign the Great Wall was built and whose tomb was guarded by the famous terracotta warriors excavated in 1974. His account details the ruthless exercise of power but also the creation of an empire that endured until 1911.

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Description

Sima Qian tells the story of the First Emperor, founder of the Qin dynasty, in whose reign the Great Wall was built and whose tomb was guarded by the famous terracotta warriors excavated in 1974. His account details the ruthless exercise of power but also the creation of an empire that endured until 1911.

  • A unique selection from the foremost ancient Chinese historian Sima Qian's Historical Records of the period covering the Qin dynasty which unified China in 221 BC and created the empire that lasted until 1911. The tomb of the First Emperor, founder of the dynasty, was guarded by the famous terracotta warriors.
  • Contents cover the birth of the First Emperor, the assassination attempt on his life, an account of Qin's Chief Minister and short biography of the builder of the Great Wall, a history of the years immediately after unification, religious practices and the story of one of the rebels who toppled the dynasty. Highly anecdotal, the book has plenty of sex, bawdy humour, violence, intrigue and grandeur.
  • Fluent and attractive translation by one of the foremost scholars of Classical Chinese, Raymond Dawson, with an interesting introduction and unobtrusive notes.
  • New preface updates the archaeological finds and shows how they help us understand and appreciate Sima Qian's detail.
  • Up-to-date bibliography, map, and index.

About the Author(s)

Sima Qian

Raymond Dawson and Preface by K. E. Brashier, Associate Professor of Religion (Chinese) and Humanities (Chinese), Reed College

Table of Contents

    The Birth of the First Emperor
    An Assassination Attempt
    The Biography of the Chief Minister of Qin
    The Builder of the Great Wall
    The Annals of Qin
    The Treatises
    The Story of the Rebel Xiang Yu
    The Story of the Rebel Chen Sheng

Reviews

"...vivid, near contemporary account..." - CH, The Independent

"Its vast scope can guide you to places they never reach - such as third-century BC China, with imperial historian Sima Qian," - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent