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Chinese Literature
Songshu 宋書

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The Songshu 宋書 "The book of the (Liu-)Song" is the official dynastic history (zhengshi 正史) of the Song dynasty 宋 (420-479), which was founded by Liu Yu 劉裕 and is therefore also called Liu-Song 劉宋, in order to distinguish it from the "great" Song (960-1279). It was written by the Qi 齊 (479-502) and Liang period 梁 (502-557) scholar and poet Shen Yue 沈約 and comprises 10 juan "scrolls" of imperial biographies (benji 本紀), 30 juan of treatises (zhi 志), and 60 juan of normal and collective biographies (liezhuan 列傳). A part of the chapters has been destroyed over time and is reconstructed from the Nanshi 南史, a parallel history of the Southern Dynasties 南朝 (420~589), in the modern version. The position of some of the treatises was originally at the end of the book, but they are now placed in-between the two types of biographies. The treatises of calendar and measures originally have been one single chapter that was only separated later.
Shen Yue submitted his Songshu to the throne in 487. His history is based on an earlier book of the same title, compiled by He Chengtian 何承天, Su Baosheng 蘇寶生 and Xu Yuan 徐爰. This book was already written during the Song period and Shen Yue supplemented the missing ten-odd years to the end of the dynasty. His first version had only 70 juan and he only added the treatises later. Shen Yue also started compiling a history of the Jin period 晉 (265-420) which was never completed. The Songshu is a relatively long book, compared to the years it covers. His has a lot to do with the accurateness the clans of the local nobility (haozu 豪族, menfa 門閥) are described with.

Source: Zhou Yiliang 周一良 (1992), "Songshu 宋書", 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. 2, p. 1021.

July 3, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald · Mail
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