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The First Emperor

Selections from the Historical Records

The First Emperor
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Sima Qian tells the story of the First Emperor, founder of the Qin dynasty, in whose reign the Great Wall was built and whose tomb was guarded by the famous terracotta warriors excavated in 1974. His account details the ruthless exercise of power but also the creation of an empire that endured until 1911. - ;'The following year Qin unified all under Heaven and the title of August Emperor was immediately adopted.'

The short-lived Qin dynasty unified China in 221 BC and created an imperial legacy that lasted until 1911. The extraordinary story of the First Emperor, founder of the dynasty, is told in the Historical Records of Sima Qian, the Grand Historiographer and the most famous Chinese historian. He describes the Emperor's birth and the assassination attempt on his life, as well as the political and often brutal events that led to the founding of the dynasty and its aftermath. Sima Qian

recounts the building of the Great Wall, the 'burning of the books', and the construction of the First Emperor's magnificent tomb, a tomb now world famous since the discovery of the terracotta warriors in 1974. Sima Qian's love of anecdote ensures that his history is never dull, and Raymond Dawson's fluent

translation captures his lively and vivid style. Chronicling recent archaeological developments and questioning Sima Qian's biases, K. E. Brashier's preface highlights the importance of the Grand Historiographer's account and Dawson's translation in the twenty-first century. - ;...vivid, near contemporary account... - CH, The Independent;Its vast scope can guide you to places they never reach - such as third-century BC China, with imperial historian Sima Qian, - Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

Oxford University Press, UK; July 2007
208 pages; ISBN 9780191607745
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ISBNs
0191527637
9780191527630
9780191607745
9780199226344