Monday, 8 October 2012

Sima Qian - Chinese Historian

A fascinating article this morning from the BBC about Siam Qian, who as the "Grand Historian" wrote a 2500 year history of his country (in the 1st Century BC). What is most interesting about him however is that in 99BC he wrote in support of a general who had been forced to surrender after a military defeat. This was considered an act of treason by the emperor and he was given a stark choice - death or torture. He chose torture so that he could complete his book - he believed it was his duty to his future audience to ensure his work of history, which also contained many starkly honest appraisals of China's emperors, was completed for posterity.

Sima Qian's story is told as part of a Radio 4 series on Chinese historical figures. You can read more about them and download podcasts, here.

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