Sima Guang (The writer of Zizhi Tongjian): Bad Chinese historian?

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,865
Florania
Zizhi Tongjian (the loose translation can be the Mirror for Governance) is a famous historical work by Sima Guang, who was a conservative Confucian politician.
I have read the original (just part of it), but it is fairly dramatized (instead of narration of events, you get small stories that are great materials for fictions), and the interpretations are fairly Confucian.
The Bai Yang translation is even worse; it suffers from presentism A LOT.
(Bai Yang wasn't even a professional historian!)
 

Bart Dale

Ad Honorem
Dec 2009
7,095
I don't think ancient historians would meet modern standards. Ancient historians were expected to make their work interesting, and think it was understood they would take liberties with historical fact to iimprove the interest, much like Hollywood does when making a movie. All the speeched that Tacitus has his historical characters making, they can't of been verbatim recordings of what was said, expecially those made by the losing side general.
 

VHS

Ad Honorem
Dec 2015
4,865
Florania
I don't think ancient historians would meet modern standards. Ancient historians were expected to make their work interesting, and think it was understood they would take liberties with historical fact to iimprove the interest, much like Hollywood does when making a movie. All the speeched that Tacitus has his historical characters making, they can't of been verbatim recordings of what was said, expecially those made by the losing side general.
Thank you for replying!
I need to mention a point: many Chinese historians were officially employed, so they would depict history according to the dynasty they served.