An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Houhanji 後漢紀

Jul 11, 2010 © Ulrich Theobald

Houhanji 後漢紀 "Annals of the Later Han" in 30 juan by Yuan Hong 袁宏 (328–376, courtesy name Yanbo 彥伯), a Jin period 晉 (265-420) historian, is only one of several histories of the Later Han period 後漢 (25-220 CE) later overshadowed by Fan Ye's 范曄 Houhanshu 後漢書 because the latter was granted the status of official dynastic history (zhengshi 正史).

Yuan Hong’s history is one of the few alternative histories of the Later Han that survived without greater losses (to the other, see the article Houhanshu). Yuan Hong made use of older histories of the Later Han period, like the books of Xie Cheng 謝承, Sima Biao 司馬彪 and Hua Jiao 華嶠, but he also collected other material, like biographies, imperial diaries (Han Ling-Xian qijuzhu 漢靈獻起居注) or collections of court memorials submitted to the throne by high officials (Han mingchen zou 漢名臣奏).

The bibliographic chapter Jingji zhi 經籍志 in the dynastic history Suishu 隋書 lists two more chronicles on the Later Han dynasty that are now lost: Houhanji (30-juan long) by Zhang Fan 張璠 and Xiandi chunqiu 獻帝春秋 (10 juan, on the reign of Emperor Xian 漢獻帝, r. 189–220 CE) by Yuan Ye 袁曄.

The bibliographic chapter in the Jiutangshu 舊唐書 includes two further annalistic text on the end of the Later Han, namely Liu Ai's 劉艾 Han Liang-Xian erdi ji 漢靈獻二帝紀 (6 juan) and Shanyang yiji 山陽義紀 (in the Xintangshu 新唐書 called Shanyang gong zaiji 山陽公載記) by Le Zi 樂資.

The text of the Houhanshu can be found in the series Hanxuetang congshu 漢學堂叢書, Longxi jingshe congshu 龍谿精舍叢書, Sibu congkan 四部叢刊 and Siku quanshu 四庫全書.

Table 1. Chapters of the Houhanji 後漢紀
1-8. 光武帝紀 Reign of Emperor Guangwu (r. 25-57 CE)
9.-10. 明帝紀 Reign of Emperor Ming (r. 57-75 CE)
11.-12. 章帝紀 Reign of Emperor Zhang (r. 76-88 CE)
13.-14. 和帝紀 Reign of Emperor He (r. 88-105 CE)
15. 殤帝紀 Reign of Emperor Shang (r. 105-106 CE)
16.-17. 安帝紀 Reign of Emperor An (r. 106-125 CE)
18.-19. 順帝紀 Reign of Emperor Shun (r. 125-144)
20. 質帝紀 Reign of Emperor Zhi (r. 145-146 CE)
21.-22. 桓帝紀 Reign of Emperor Huan (r. 146-167)
23.-25. 靈帝紀 Reign of Emperor Ling (r. 167-189)
26.-30. 獻帝紀 Reign of Emperor Xian (r. 189-220)
Li Xueqin 李學勤, Lü Wenyu 呂文鬰, ed. (1996). Siku da cidian 四庫大辭典 (Changchun: Jilin daxue chubanshe), Vol. 1, 1539.
Wu Shuping 吳樹平 (1992). "Houhanji 後漢紀", 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, 372.