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Beiqishu 北齊書

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The Beiqishu 北齊書 is the official dynastic history (zhengshi 正史) of the Northern Qi dynasty 北齊 (550-577). It was written by the early Tang period 唐 (618-907) scholar Li Baiyao 李百藥. The original title was Qishu 齊書, and the prefix bei- "north" was only added during the Song period 宋 (960-1279) in order to differentiate it from the history of the (Southern) Qi dynasty 南齊 (479-502) and its official history, the Nanqishu 南齊書. The Beiqishu comprises 8 juan "scrolls" of imperial biographies (benji 本紀) and 42 juan of normal and collective biographies (liezhuan 列傳). There are no treatises and tables at all.
During the early Song period the Beiqishu was already incomplete. The modern version consists of the original parts by Li Baiyao (juan 4, 13, 16-25, 41-45) and supplements copied from the Beishi 北史 and Gao Jun's 高峻 Xiaoshi 小史. The difference can be seen in the designations for the empires. While the original Beiqishu uses the temple names of the emperors (with the appendix -zu 祖 or -zong 宗) the other sources usually name them with their posthumous honorific title (see names and titles of emperors). Almost all chapters close with a discussion (lun 論) and a praise (zan 讚), following a tradition begun with the Houhanshu 後漢書.
Li Baoyao's father Li Delin 李德林 was a historiographer at the Northern Qi court where he started composing a dynastic history of which 17 juan were completed during that time. During the Sui period 隋 (581-618) he submitted 38 juan to the throne. His son completed the work and in 638 submitted his version to the throne. One of Li Baoyao's sources was probably a book named Qizhi 齊志 "Records of the Qi", written by a Sui period scholar named Wang Shao 王劭.
There is no imperial biography for the Prince of Ande 安德王 who ruled for a few months during the year 577.

Source: Zhou Yiliang 周一良 (1992), "Beiqishu 北齊書", in Zhongguo da baike quanshu 中國大百科全書, Zhongguo lishi 中國歷史 (Beijing/Shanghai: Zhongguo da baike quanshu chubanshe), Vol. 1, p. 33.

Chapters of the Beiqishu 北齊書
1-8 帝紀 diji Imperial annals-biography
-- 1-2 神武帝 Shenwudi
-- 3 文襄帝Wenxiangdi
-- 4 文宣帝 Wenxuandi (r. 550-559)
-- 5 廢帝 Feidi The Deposed Emperor (r. 559-560)
-- 6 孝昭帝 Xiaozhaodi (r. 560)
-- 7 武成帝 Wuchengdi (r. 561-564)
-- 8 後主,幼主 Houzhu, Youzhu The Last Ruler (r. 564-577) and the Infant Ruler (r. 577)
9-50 列傳 liezhuan Normal and collective biographies
-- 9-12 Empresses (hou 后) and sons of the emperors (wang 王 "imperial princes") (supplement)
-- 13-14 other imperial princes (supplement)
-- 15-43 (individual biographies); 15 and 26-40 are supplements
-- 44 儒林 Rulin The forest of scholars
-- 45 文苑 Wenyuan The garden of literati
-- 46 循吏 Xunli Benevolent ministers (supplement)
-- 47 酷吏 Kuli Cruel ministers (supplement)
-- 48 外戚 Waiqi Relatives of empresses and consorts (supplement)
-- 49 方伎 Fangji Diviners and magicians (supplement)
-- 50 恩倖 Enxing Favourites (supplement)

July 15, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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