An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Diwang shiji 帝王世紀

Aug 16, 2012 © Ulrich Theobald

Diwang shiji 帝王世紀 "Genealogical annals of the emperors and kings", also called Huangwang shiji 皇王世紀, Diwang shijia 帝王世家, Diwang shishuo 帝王世說, Huangfu Mi ji 皇甫謐記, or, in order to avoid a character in the personal name (Li Shimin 李世民) of Emperor Taizong 唐太宗 (r. 626-649) of the Tang dynasty 唐 (618-907), Diwang daiji 帝王代紀 or Diwangji 帝王紀, is a chronicle of ancient rulers. It was written by the Jin-period 晉 (265-420) scholar Huangfu Mi 皇甫謐 (215-282).

The book is 10-juan long and is in fact, in the received version, the result a compilation of several copies undertaken during the Song period 宋 (960-1279). In the imperial bibliography Jingjizhi 經籍志 in the official dynastic history Suishu 隋書, it is listed among the "miscellaneous histories" (zashi 雜史), from the Songshi 宋史 on under the chronicles (jinian 紀年). It is known that is was from the beginning not really constructed as a pure chronicle, but contained chapters dealing with specialized topics of administrative history.

The book was compiled because Huangfu Mi felt that a lot of information was not included in official biographies like those in the Shiji 史記 and Hanshu 漢書. He therefore extracted information from the Old-Text Shangshu 古文尚書, the Liujing tuchen 六經圖籤, a kind of exegesis of the Six Confucian Classics, and other classical and historiographical books.

The Diwang shiji covered the time from the mythological origins of mankind until the end of the Wei period 曹魏 (220-265). It also includes information about the household and land registers. In the arrangement, the Diwang shiji was geared towards Qiao Zhou's 譙周 (199-270) Gushikao 古史考. The Diwang shiji is very interesting because it provides information on geography and local administration not included in other sources like the "masters" and histories.

The Diwang shiji is included in the series Zhihai 指海 and Yuhan shanfang jiyi shu 玉函山房輯佚書. The most important modern edition is Song Xiangfeng's 宋翔鳳 (1779-1860) Diwang shiji jijiao 帝王世紀集校 from the late Qing period 清 (1644-1911) that is included in the series Xunzuantang congshu 訓纂堂叢書), and Xu Zongyuan's 徐宗元 (1918-1970) Diwang shiji jicun 帝王世紀輯存, published in 1964 in the Zhonghua Book Company 中華書局.

Table 1. Contents of Diwang shiji 帝王世紀
1. 自皇古至五帝 From earliest times to the Five Emperors
2. Xia dynasty
3. 殷商 Yin or Shang dynasty
4. Zhou dynasty
5. 列國 Lieguo Regional states of the Zhou period
6. Qin dynasty
7. Han dynasty
8. Wei dynasty of the Cao family
9. 星野及歷代墾田戶口數 Administrative geography and the situation of cultivatoin and household registers throught the ages
10. 餘存 Other matters
Nagel-Angermann, Monique (2015). "Diwang shiji", in Cynthia L. Chennault, et al., eds. Early Medieval Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide (Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley), 62-66.
Wu Feng 吳楓, ed. (1987). Jianming Zhongguo guji cidian 簡明中國古籍辭典 (Changchun: Jilin wenshi chubanshe), 656.
Wang Keqi 王克奇 (1993). "Diwang shiji jicun 帝王世紀輯存", in Fang Ming 方鳴, ed. Ershi shiji Zhongguo xueshu yaoji da cidian 二十世紀中國學術要籍大辭典 (Beijing: Zhonggong zhongyang dangxiao chubanshe), 548.
Further reading:
Nagel-Angermann, Monique (1999). Das Diwang shiji des Huangfu Mi (215-282) (PhD Dissertation, Münster/Westf., Germany).