Herodotus and Sima Qian: The First Great Historians of Greece and China: A Brief History with Documents / Edition 1

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In this accessible volume, Thomas R. Martin compares the writings of Herodotus in ancient Greece with those of Sima Qian in ancient China to demonstrate the hallmarks of early history writing. While these authors lived in different centuries and were not aware of each other’s works, Martin shows the similar struggles that each grappled with in preparing their historical accounts and how their efforts helped invent modern notions of history writing and the job of the historian. The introduction’s cross-cultural analysis includes a biography of each author, illustrating the setting and times in which he worked, as well as a discussion of how each man introduced interpretation and moral judgment into his writing. The accompanying documents include excerpts from Herodotus’ The Histories and Sima Qian’s Shiji, which illustrate their approach to history writing and their understanding of their own cultures. Also featured are maps and illustrations, a chronology, questions to consider, and a selected bibliography.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312416492
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 9/8/2009
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 904,647
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas R. Martin (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Jeremiah O’Connor Professor in Classics at the College of the Holy Cross. He is the author of Sovereignty and Coinage in Classical Greece (1985) and Ancient Greece (2000), and he is a co-author of The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (2009). He is also one of the originators of Perseus: Interactive Sources and Studies on Ancient Greece (www.perseus.tufts.edu).

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
PART ONE. INTRODUCTION: Inventing History Writing in
  Greece and China
The Life of Herodotus (ca. 484-ca. 414 BCE)
Herodotus’ Historical Work, The Histories
Greek History Writing Before Herodotus
The Form and Content of Herodotus’ Historical Work
   Length and Complexity of the Narrative
   Objectivity of Evidence and Subjectivity of Interpretation
The Life of Sima Qian (ca. 145-ca. 86 BCE)
Sima Qian’s Historical Work, The Records of the Historian
Chinese History Writing Before Sima Qian
The Form and Content of Sima Qian’s Historical Work
   Five-Part Structure of the Narrative
   Moral Judgments
Conclusions: Comparing Why Herodotus and Sima Qian
  Wrote History
Translated selections from Herodotus, The Histories
 1. How Asia and Europe Became Enemies: The Story of
   Croesus (sixth century BCE)
 2. How Others Live: The Customs of the Persians, the
   Egyptians, the Massagetai, and the Scythians
 3. Roping Asia to Europe: The Persian Invasion of
   Greece (480 BCE)
 4. Death Before Dishonor: The Battle of Thermopylae and the
   Story of the 300 (480 BCE)
 5. Retribution and Justice: Artemisia’s Advice and Hermotimus’
   Revenge (480 BCE)
 6. Ending Stories: Cruelty and Revenge on Both Sides
   (479 BCE)
Translated selections from Sima Qian, Shiji
 7. Castration as the Price of Writing History: Sima Qian’s
   Autobiographical Letter to Ren An
 8. The First Emperor of China (259-210 BCE): The Basic Annals
   of the Qin Dynasty
 9. Born from a Dragon: The Origins of Gaozu, founder of the
   Former Han Dynasty (206 BCE-9 CE)
 10. A Woman in Power: Empress Lü (ruled 188-180 BCE)
 11. Heroic Hermits: The Biographies of Bo Yi and Shu Qi
 12. Arts of War: The Biographies of Sun Zi Wu and Sun Bin
 13. Imperial Assassin: The Biography of Jing Ke
 14. How Others Live: The Customs of the Xiongnu
  Chronologies of the Lives and Works of Herodotus and
   Sima Qian
  Questions for Consideration
  Selected Bibliography

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