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Sima Qian

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Sima Qian

Sima Qian (Chinese: 司马迁) was the historian of the Han Dynasty under Emperor Wu. He was born at Xia Yang (present-day Shan Xi Province, Han City). His father, Sima Tan, was also a historian.


When Sima Qian was 10, he could read the articles which were written in Classical Chinese.

He travelled around China and visited a plenty of scenic attractions and heritages when he was 20.

In 108 BC, with the death of Sima Qian's father, he carried on the job of being a historian.

In 104 BC, Sima Qian finished editing Taichu Calendar with the imperial officials, Tang Du and Luo Xiahong.

In 99 BC, Sima Qian got involved in the Li Ling Affair. He was punished and sent to prison. Sima Qian would be sentenced to death if he could not pay a fine or accept the terrible punishment - castration. With the fact that Sima Qian did not have enough money to pay the fine and he hoped to finish writing the Records of the Grand Historian, he accepted the castration. Sima Qian finally spent 19 years to write that book.