The Zizhi Tongjian (Chinese: 資治通鑒/资治通鉴; Lagging-Gilles: Tzu-chih you ung-dog; literally “understanding Mirror to help the government”) is a reference book in Chinese Historiographie allotted to Sima Guang. It covers the years of -403, which marks the beginning of the period of the Royaumes combatants until 959, the beginning of the Dynastie Song.
Sima presents, in 1066, the Tongzhi (通志, “understanding annals”) a work of eight volumes more detailed. It makes the chronicle of the Chinese history of -403 with -207 (which marks the end of the Qin dynasty). The emperor commissions it then to compile a universal history of China, giving to Sima the integral access to the imperial libraries and financing it. Assistants with research specialized in history are assigned to him, such Liu Ban (劉攽, 1022-88), Liu Shu (劉恕, 1032-78) and Fan Zuyu (范祖禹, 1041-98).
When the emperor died in 1067, Sima is invited to present its work to the emperor Shenzong. The new emperor confirms the interest of his father, but also shows himself in favor changing the title of Tongzhi (“yearly understanding”) to most honorary the Zizhi Tongjian (“understanding Mirror to help the government”).
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