Sima Qian

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Sima Qian (l. 145/135-86 BCE) was a court scribe, astrologer, and historian of the Han Dynasty (202 BCE - 220 CE) of ancient China, famous for his historical work Records of the Grand Historian for which he is remembered as the Father of Chinese History.

More about: Sima Qian


  • c. 145 BCE - 86 CE
    Life of Sima Qian, Grand Astrologer at the court of Emperor Wu of Han and author of China's first comprehensive work on historiography.
  • 141 BCE - 87 BCE
    Reign of Emperor Wu (Wu the Great), the most effective and influential of the Han monarchs.
  • c. 126 BCE
    Sima Qian tours China, interviews elders on historic events.
  • c. 122 BCE
    Sima Qian is attendant to WEmperor Wu Ti of the Han Dynasty, travels the country.
  • 110 BCE
    Sima Qian's father, Sima Tan, dies and asks him to complete his vision for the Records of the Grand Historian.
  • c. 107 BCE
    Sima Qian appointed to his father's position as Grand Historian and Court Astrologer.
  • 99 BCE
    Sima Qian falls from grace with Emperor Wu Ti and is sentenced to three years in prison and castration.
  • c. 94 BCE
    Sima Qian completes his masterpiece Records of the Grand Historian, a history of China from the earliest period to the Han Dynasty.
  • 74 BCE - 48 BCE
    Reign of the Han Emperor Xuan during which Sima Qian's grandson Yang Yun publishes the Records of the Grand Historian for the first time.