Zizhi Tongjian

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The Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government (Zīzhì Tōngjiàn) is regarded as the first history of China to incorporate differing accounts or interpretations of events rather than presenting a single official narrative. It was compiled by Sima Guang, who began the project in 1066 at the orders of the Yingzong Emperor, finishing in 1084.

The text, in 294 volumes, covers the reigns of 113 emperors over the period from 403 BCE to 959 CE.


  • Arai Hakuseki, Joyce Ackroyd (trans.), Told Round a Brushwood Fire, University of Tokyo Press (1979), 285n105.
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