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The ''Zhan Guo Ce'', ( W-G: Chan-kuo T'se), also known in
English English usually refers to: * English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language first spoken in History of Anglo-Saxon England, early medieval England, which has eventually become the World language, leading lan ...

English
as the ''Strategies of the Warring States'' or ''Annals of the Warring States'', is an ancient Chinese text that contains anecdotes of political manipulation and warfare during the
Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military reforms and consolidation. It followed the Spring and Autumn period and concluded with the Qin wars of conquest ...
(5th to 3rd centuriesBC). It is an important text of the Warring States Period as it describes the strategies and political views of the School of Diplomacy and reveals the historical and social characteristics of the period.


History

The author of ''Zhan Guo Ce'' has not yet been verified: it is generally deemed, after Zhang Xincheng, that the book was not written by a single author at one time. It is thought to have been composed by
Su Qin Su Qin (380–284 BCE), was an influential political strategist during the Warring States period of ancient China. He was born in Chengxuan Village, Luoyang in present-day Henan Province. According to legend Su Qin was a disciple of Guiguzi, the ...
and his peers before being obtained by Liu Xiang. Unlike most of the pre-Qin classics, the authenticity of ''Zhan Guo Ce'', along with the ''
Shijing The ''Classic of Poetry'', also ''Shijing'' or ''Shih-ching'' (), translated variously as the ''Book of Songs'', ''Book of Odes'' or simply known as the ''Odes'' or ''Poetry'' (), is the oldest existing collection of Chinese poetry, comprising 3 ...
'', ''
Mozi Mozi (; ; Latinized as Micius ; c. 470 – c. 391 BC), original name Mo Di (), was a Chinese philosopher Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period () and Warring States period (), during a period kn ...

Mozi
'', ''Yulingzi'' and ''
Gongsun Longzi Gongsun Long (, BCLiu 2004, p. 336), courtesy name Zibing (子秉), was a Chinese philosopher and writer who was a member of the School of Names (Logicians) of ancient Chinese philosophy Chinese philosophy originates in the S ...
'' had never been questioned since the
Western Han The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu The Han dynasty () was the second imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), ...
period. The earliest to assert the texts were apocryphal scriptures was perhaps the compiler of the Annotated Catalogue of the '' Siku Quanshu'', but he provided no warrant for it. In 1931, Luo Genze put forward an argument that the book was composed by Kuai Tong () in his two papers based on six conclusions which he drew, a contemporary of
Han Xin Han Xin (; died 196 BC) was a military general who served Liu Bang during the Chu–Han Contention and contributed greatly to the founding of the Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dyna ...
. Although this argument had been seconded by Jin Dejian (1932) and Zu Zhugeng (1937), but by 1939 it was refuted by Zhang Xincheng. The six versions of written works from the School of Diplomacy were discovered by Liu Xiang during his editing and proofreading of the imperial literary collection. Those works of political views and diplomatic strategies from the School of Diplomacy were in poor condition, with confusing contents and missing words. Liu Xiang proofread and edited them into the new book under the title ''Zhan Guo Ce''; it was therefore not written by a single author at one time. Significant contents of ''Zhan Guo Ce'' were lost in subsequent centuries.
Zeng Gong Zeng Gong (, 1019–1083), courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the Sinosphere, including China, Japan, Korea, ...

Zeng Gong
of the Northern
Song Dynasty The Song dynasty (; ; 960–1279) was an imperial dynasty of China that began in 960 and lasted until 1279. The dynasty was founded by Emperor Taizu of Song Emperor Taizu of Song (21 March 927 – 14 November 976), personal name Zhao Kuan ...
reclaimed some lost chapters, proofread and edited the modern version. Some writings on
cloth A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking network of yarns or threads, which are produced by spinning raw fibres (from either natural or synthetic sources) into long and twisted lengths. Textiles are then formed b ...

cloth
were excavated from the
Han Dynasty#REDIRECT Han dynasty The Han dynasty () was the second Dynasties in Chinese history, imperial dynasty of China (202 BC – 220 AD), established by the rebel leader Liu Bang and ruled by the House of Liu. Preceded by the short-lived Qin dynas ...

Han Dynasty
tomb at
Mawangdui Mawangdui () is an archaeological site located in Changsha, China. The site consists of two saddle-shaped hills and contained the tombs of three people from the Changsha Kingdom during the western Han dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD): the Chancellor Li Ca ...
near the city of
Changsha Changsha (; ; ; Changshanese pronunciation: (), Standard Chinese, Standard Mandarin pronunciation: ) is the Capital city, capital and the largest city of Hunan Province in the South Central China, south central part of the People's Republic ...

Changsha
in 1973 and edited and published in
Beijing Beijing ( ; ; ), Chinese postal romanization, alternatively romanized as Peking ( ), is the Capital city, capital of the People's Republic of China. It is the world's List of national capitals by population, most populous national capital ci ...

Beijing
in 1976 as ''Zhanguo Zonghengjia Shu'' (, "Works from the School of Diplomacy During the Warring States Period)". The book contained 27 chapters, 11 of which were found to be similar to the contents in ''Zhan Guo Ce'' and the ''
Records of the Grand Historian The ''Records of the Grand Historian'', also known by its Chinese name ''Shiji'', is a monumental history of ancient China and the world finished around 94 BC by the Western Han Dynasty official Sima Qian after having been started by his father ...

Records of the Grand Historian
''. That publication appeared in
Taiwan Taiwan (), officially the Republic of China (ROC), is a country in East Asia. Neighbouring countries include the China, People's Republic of China (PRC) to the northwest, Japan to the northeast, and the Philippines to the south. The main islan ...

Taiwan
in 1977 as the ''Boshu Zhanguoce'' (). The texts were written in between the style of
Seal script 200px, left, Chinese characters for the words 'seal script' in regular script (left) and seal script (right). Seal script () is an ancient style Style is a manner of doing or presenting things and may refer to: * Architectural style, the feat ...
and
Clerical script The clerical script (; Japanese: 隷書体, ''reishotai''; Vietnamese: lệ thư), also formerly chancery Chancery may refer to: * Chancery (diplomacy), the building that houses a diplomatic mission, such as an embassy * Chancery (medieval of ...
. The transcript was probably composed around 195BC before its burial, as the text tend to avoid using the word ''bang'' (邦), the personal name of
Emperor Gao of Han Emperor Gaozu of Han (256 – 1 June 195 BC), born Liu Bang () with courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in the ...
, to circumvent
naming taboo A naming taboo is a cultural taboo A taboo is an implicit prohibition on something (usually against an utterance or behavior) based on a cultural sense that it is excessively repulsive or, perhaps, too sacred for ordinary people.''Encyclopædia ...
.


Content

The ''Zhan Guo Ce'' recounts the history of the Warring States from the conquest of the
Fan Fan commonly refers to: * Fan (machine), a machine for producing airflow, often for cooling ** Hand fan, an implement held and waved by hand to move air * Fan (person), short for fanatic; an enthusiast or supporter, especially with regard to enterta ...
clan A clan is a group of people united by actual or perceived kinship In anthropology, kinship is the web of social relationships that form an important part of the lives of all humans in all societies, although its exact meanings even with ...

clan
by the Zhi clan in 490 BC up to the failed
assassination Assassination is the act of murder, deliberately killing a prominent or important person, such as heads of state, head of government, heads of government, politicians, Monarchy, royalty, celebrity, celebrities, journalists, or CEOs. An assassina ...

assassination
of
Qin Shi Huang Qin Shi Huang (, ; 259–210 BCE), or Shihuangdi, was the founder of the Qin dynasty, and first Emperor of China, emperor of a unified China. Rather than maintain the title of "Chinese king, king" ( ''wáng'') borne by the previous Shang dynas ...
by
Gao Jianli Gao Jianli (Chinese: 高漸離) was a musician of the Chinese state of Yan, during the Warring States period The Warring States period () was an era in ancient Chinese history characterized by warfare, as well as bureaucratic and military re ...
in 221 BC. The chapters take the form of anecdotes meant to illustrate various strategies and tricks employed by the Warring States. With the focus thus being more on providing general political insights than on presenting the whole history of the period, there is no stringent year-by-year dating such as that found in the preceding
Spring and Autumn Annals The ''Spring and Autumn Annals'' or ''Chunqiu'' is an ancient Chinese chronicle that has been one of the core Chinese classics Chinese classic texts or canonical texts () or simply dianji (典籍) refers to the Chinese texts which originated ...
. Stories are sorted chronologically by under which ruler they take place, but within the reign of a single king there is no way to tell if the time elapsed between two anecdotes is a day or a year. The book comprises approximately 120,000 words, and is divided into 33 chapters and 497 sections. The twelve dynasties the strategies pertain to are:


Literary criticism

The intellectual aspects have been disputed due to its stress on fame and profit and its conflicts with
Confucian , Shanxi Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a ...

Confucian
ideology. The book appears to overemphasize the historical contributions from the School of Diplomacy, devaluing the book's historical importance. The book does not emphasize the historical facts or fiction, but appears to be an extensive collection of anecdotes with little bearing to the chronological order of chapter and narration. Since the 12th century, it has been widely debated whether the book should be considered a historical documentation from writer Chao Gongwu and Gao Sisun, and there have been attempts to categorize the book into a different genus. This lasted until 1936 where scholars like Zhong Fengnian demonstrated that the book was written as a handbook of diction from the School of Diplomacy, and not intended to be a compilation of historical facts.He 2001, p. 132-135


Translations

*Crump, James I., Jr. (1970, 1996). ''Chan-Kuo Ts'e''. Oxford: Clarendon Press; revised edition, University of Michigan Center for Chinese Studies.


Notes


References


Bibliography

*


External links

{{Spoken Wikipedia, En-Zhan_Guo_Ce.ogg, date=2006-2-26
Complete text of ZGC (Simplified Chinese)(Traditional Chinese)English translation of ZGC by B. S. Bonsall
Chinese text with matching English vocabulary Chinese history texts 3rd-century BC history books Zhou dynasty Han dynasty texts