You are a unique individual. The letter is a reply to a lost letter by Ren An to Sima Qian, perhaps asking Sima Qian to intercede on his behalf as Ren An was facing execution for accusations of being an opportunist and displaying equivocal loyalty to the emperor during the rebellion. Forms of Sima include the names Simah, Simia, Simiya, Simma, and Syma. In 1880 there were 13 Sima families living in Minnesota. Even the 20th-century literary critic Lu Xun regarded Shiji as "the historians' most perfect song, a "Li Sao" without the rhyme" (史家之絶唱,無韻之離騷) in his Outline of Chinese Literary History (漢文學史綱要). As his position in the imperial court was "Grand Historian" (tàishǐ 太史, variously translated as court historian, scribe, or astronomer/astrologer), later generations would accord him with the honorific title of "Lord Grand Historian" (Tàishǐ Gōng 太史公) for his monumental work, though his magnum opus was completed many years after his tenure as Grand Historian ended in disgrace and after his acceptance of punitive actions against him, including imprisonment, castration, and subjection to servility. In … However, in 99 BC, he would fall victim to the Li Ling affair for speaking out in defense of the general, who was blamed for an unsuccessful campaign against the Xiongnu. [15] As a senior imperial official, Sima was also in the position to offer counsel to the emperor on general affairs of state. He held the position of Court Astrologer (太史令) between 140-110 BC. [16] In this regard, Sima was significant as the first Chinese historian to treat the peoples living to the north of the Great Wall like the Xiongnu as human beings who were implicitly the equals of the Middle Kingdom, instead of the traditional approach which had portrayed the Xiongnu as savages who had the appearance of humans, but the minds of animals. According to the Book of Han, Wang Mang sent an expedition to search for and ennoble a male-line descent of Sima Qian as 史通子 ("Viscount of Historical Mastery"), although it was not recorded who received this title of nobility. [4][5] The grand historian's primary duty was to formulate the yearly calendar, identifying which days were ritually auspicious or inauspicious, and present it to the emperor prior to New Year's Day. Too numerous to record are the men of ancient times who were rich and noble and whose names have yet vanished away. Sima saw the Shiji as being in the same tradition as he explained in his introduction to chapter 61 of the Shiji where he wrote: "Some people say 'It is Heaven's way, without distinction of persons, to keep the good perpetually supplied. ' The name Sima has four characters. [15] But several historians have suggested that parts of the Shiji, such as where Sima placed his section on Confucius's use of indirect criticism in the part of the book dealing with the Xiongnu "barbarians" might indicate his disapproval of the foreign policy of the Emperor Wu. Sima's famous letter to his friend Ren An about his sufferings during the Li Ling Affair and his perseverance in writing Shiji is today regarded as a highly admired example of literary prose style, studied widely in China even today. Sima was greatly influenced by Confucius's Spring and Autumn Annals, which on the surface is a succinct chronology from the events of the reigns of the twelve dukes of Lu from 722 to 484 BC. Although he is universally remembered for the Records, surviving works indicate that he was also a gifted poet and prose writer, and he was instrumental in the creation of the Taichu calendar, which was officially promulgated in 104 BC. As such, the historian had to tread carefully and often expressed his judgements in a circuitous way designed to fool the censor. The most Simas families were found in the USA in 1920. In the postface of the Records, he implicitly compared his universal history of China to the classics of his day, the Guoyu by Zuoqiu Ming, Lisao by Qu Yuan, and the Art of War[2] by Sun Bin, pointing out that their authors all suffered great personal misfortunes before their lasting monumental works could come to fruition. Suspecting his time was running out, he summoned his son back home to take over the historical work he had begun. Such ignominy can never be wiped away." In modern times, Chairman Mao paraphrased this quote in a speech in which he paid tribute to a fallen PLA soldier. I find myself in much perplexity. The postface then concludes with a self-referential description of the postface as the 70th and last of the Ordered Biographies chapters.). As part of the background, the postface provides a short sketch of the history of the Sima clan, from legendary times to his father Sima Tan, the dying words of Sima Tan tearfully exhorting the author to compose the present work, and a biographical sketch of the author himself. Always pressing onwards to the future with a composed focus, he acts as the strategist and commander for his people. That year, his father fell ill due to the distress of not being invited to attend the Imperial Feng Sacrifice. To this day, people living in the village with surnames Feng and Tong are forbidden from intermarrying on the grounds that the relationship would be incestuous.[28]. In the postface of the completed Shiji, there is a short essay on the six philosophical schools that is explicitly attributed to Sima Tan. [15] Reflecting these rigorous analytic methods, Sima declared that he would not write about periods of history where there was insufficient documentation. How do you pronounce that? [24] The point is reinforced by the fact that Sima has Zhonghang speak the language of an idealized Confucian official whereas the Emperor's envoy's language is dismissed as "mere twittering and chatter". "grand scribe" or "grand astrologer"). In particular, archaeological finds have confirmed the basic accuracy of the Shiji including the reigns and locations of tombs of ancient rulers.[1]. Do you need a Middle Name to go along with the baby name, Sima? BizFun Business Chinese Series offers a wide range of Chinese language training courses modules to cater to different proficiency levels and professional requirements. Try the baby middle name generator. After his travels, Sima was chosen to be a Palace Attendant in the government, whose duties were to inspect different parts of the country with Emperor Wu in 122 BC. Like if I encounter the name Liu, should I assume they were descendents of the Han bloodline. Can we say then that Po I and Shu Ch'I were good men or not? Three years after the death of his father, Sima Qian assumed his father's previous position as taishi. Sima Tan wanted to follow the Annals of Spring and Autumn—the first chronicle in the history of Chinese literature. [15] Sima mentioned after one of his trips across China that: "When I had occasion to pass through Feng and Beiyi I questioned the elderly people who were about the place, visited the old home of Xiao He, Cao Can, Fan Kuai and Xiahou Ying, and learned much about the early days. It means that this name is commonly used. Sima and his father both served as the taishi (太史) of the Former Han Dynasty, a position which includes aspects of being a historian, a court scribe, calendarist, and court astronomer/astrologer. Minnesota had the highest population of Sima families in 1880. [22] The American historian Tamara Chin wrote that though Zhonghang did exist, the dialogue is merely a "literacy device" for Sima to make points that he could not otherwise make. Sima Qian is the son of court astrologer (太史令) Sima Tan, who is a descendant of Qin general Sima Cuo (司馬錯), the commander of Qin army in the state's conquest of Ba and Shu. [6] By his account, by the age of ten Sima was able to "read the old writings" and was considered to be a promising scholar. [27] Sima is little known in the English-speaking world as a full translation of the Shiji in English has not yet been completed. They changed their surnames to Tong (同 = 丨+ 司) and Feng (馮 = 仌 + 馬), respectively, to hide their origins while continuing to secretly offer sacrifices to the Sima ancestors. At that time, the astrologer had an important role, responsible for interpreting and predicting the course of government according to the influence of the Sun, Moon, and stars, as well as other astronomical and geological phenomena such as solar eclipses and earthquakes, which depended on revising and upholding an accurate calendar. Sima's works were influential to Chinese writing, serving as ideal models for various types of prose within the neo-classical ("renaissance" 复古) movement of the Tang-Song period. A Qing dynasty stele 重修太史廟記 (Records of the Renovation of the Temple of the Grand Historian) erected in the nearby county seat Han City (韓城) claims that the title was given to the grandson of Sima Lin. [9][10], The Letter to Ren An was written by Sima Qian in reply to Ren An in response to the latter's involvement in Crown Prince Liu Ju's rebellion in 91 BC. It is only those who were masterful and sure, the truly extraordinary men, who are still remembered. How much should I be reading into these names? I have gathered up and brought together the old traditions of the world which were scattered and lost. It is because I regretted that it had not been completed that I submitted to the extreme penalty without rancor. [16] Furthermore, Sima often questioned people about historical events they had experienced. [16] The annals follow the traditional Chinese pattern of court-based histories of the lives of various emperors and their families. Emperor Wu interpreted Sima's defence of Li as an attack on his brother-in-law, Li Guangli, who had also fought against the Xiongnu without much success, and sentenced Sima to death. [20] For example, in the basic annals section, the Emperor Gaozu is portrayed as a good leader whereas in the section dealing with his rival Xiang Yu, the Emperor is portrayed unflatteringly.

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