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Lecture 4

HIST 2311 Lecture 4: Works on the making of empires in the Classical Period Discussion


Department
History
Course Code
HIST 2311
Professor
David Mayes
Lecture
4

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Publishing on the Chinese and Roman Empires

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Introduction
Most of the ancient literature was giving the historical account of the early military
history of Rome and was later expanded to comedies, poetry, and tragedies. This Latin literature
drew much from the matured cultures of then such as Greece with the influence of the early
Greek authors being apparent. The Chinese earliest writing called classical Chinese had most of
its works about the history of the Chinese emperor and how it survived through the years. Other
Chinese literary works included philosophical, fictional and religious practices, scientific
writings and poetry
1
. In this research, the paper will delve on the book entitled The Lives of
Caesars by Suetonius and Shiji: Records of the Grand Historian of China by Sima to explore why
the authors described the power exercised by the emperors in both dynasties.
Authors of the rulers seemed to have a symbiotic relationship since the old days when the
world was ruled by kings and emperors. Most of these articles praised the rulers of the time and
painted a mental picture that was displaying their essential power and stability of their kingdoms
and dynasties
2
. Authors would rarely bring out a bad item of the rulers then because it would be
denounced and dismissed and the author charged with treason.
Sima Qian served as the Han Dynasty as a leader of the Grand Scribes
3
. His highly praised work
Shiji, made him known and regarded as the king of Chinese historiography. His exertion laid a
1
Dun, Liu. "Sima Qian’s Ambition and Needham’s Vision: A Comment on The History
Manifesto from China’s Perspective." Isis 107, no. 2 (2016): 336-337.
2
Dun, Liu. "Sima Qian’s Ambition and Needham’s Vision: A Comment on The History
Manifesto from China’s Perspective." Isis 107, no. 2 (2016): 336-337.
3
Thornton, Ann-Marie. "Topic 2 Primary Source, Sima Qian." (2017).
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