An Encyclopaedia on Chinese History and Literature

Yueshilüe 越史略

Oct 24, 2013 © Ulrich Theobald

Yueshilüe 越史略 "Concise History of Vietnam", Vietnamese reading Việt sử lược, original title Da-Yue shilüe (Đại Việt sử lược) 大越史略, is a history of Vietnam written in Chinese language by an unknown Vietnamese author from Annam (north of modern Vietnam) during the late 15th century. The book is 3-juan long.

It begins with the historical origins of the nation of Vietnam under Zhao Tuo 趙陀 (Vietname reading Triệu Đà) who reigned over the modern province of Guangdong during the early decades of the Former Han period 前漢 (206 BCE-8 CE). The first chapter is therefore entitled Guochu yange (Quốc sơ diên cách) 國初沿革 "Early Evolution of the Country".

The second chapter, Lidai shouren (Lịch đại thủ nhâm) 歷代守任, narrates the history of Vietnam as a colony of the Chinese empire of the Han 漢 (206 BCE-220 CE), the Southern Dynasties 南朝 (420~589) and the Tang 唐 (618-907), and more than 80 Chinese governors that ruled over Vietnam during that time, like Shi Dai 石戴, Zhou Zhang 周章 and Ma Yuan 馬援.

The chapter Wu ji (Ngô kỷ) 吳紀 covers the time from Ngô Quyền 吳權 (r. 939-944), the founder of the Former Ngô dynasty 前吳 (Tiền Ngô 939–967), to the end of his sons Ngô Xương Ngập 吳昌岌 and Ngô Xương Văn 吳昌文 in 954. The chapter Shi'er shijun (Thập nhị sứ quân) 十二使君 is an account of the period of time when twelve different lords fought for domination over Vietnam during the tenth century, beginning with Ngô Xương Xí 吳昌熾 and ending with Phạm Bạch Hổ 範白虎.

The chapter Ding ji (Đinh kỷ) 丁紀 covers the time of the Đinh dynasty (968–980), the chapter Li ji (Lê kỷ) 黎紀 the foundation of the Former Lê dynasty 前黎 (Tiền Lê, 980–1009) by Lê Hoàn 黎恒. The second and third juan of the book constitute the longer chapter Ruan ji (Nguyễn kỷ) 阮紀. This part of the book describes that national history of Vietnam in great detail. It is a reflection of the final independence from Chinese colonialism that can also be seen in the language in which a great number of Vietnamese terms and native characters are used. This part begins with the reign of Lý Thái Tổ 李太祖 (r. 1009-1028) and ends with that of Lý Huệ Tông 李惠宗 (r. 1194-1226). The title of the chapter is somewhat misleading. The Lý dynasty was renamed Nguyễn for the book in order to avoid (see avoidance rules in personal names) the word Lý in the name of Trần Lý 陳李, grandfather of Emperor Trần Thái Tông 陳太宗 (r. 1226-1258), founder of the Trần dynasty 陳 (1225–1400). It is therefore quite probable that the author served under the Trần.

The descriptive bibliography Siku quanshu zongmu tiyao 四庫全書總目提要 assumes that the author was either Trần Chu Phổ 陳周普 who lived during the reign of Trần Thái Tông, or Lê Văn Hưu 黎文休. The book is not only centring on event history but also provides a lot of information on geography, astronomy, the palaces and capitals, and the customs and habits of the native population. It is therefore an important source for the history of Vietnam.

The Yueshilüe is to be found in the series Shoushange congshu 守山閣叢書, Huangchao fanshu yudi congshu 皇朝藩屬輿地叢書 and Congshu jicheng chubian 叢書集成初編.

Cheng Sijia 成思佳 (2017). "Xiancun zui zao de Yuenan gudai shiji: Da-Yue shilüe ruogan wenti de zai tantao 現存最早的越南古代史籍——《大越史略》若干問題的再探討", Zhongguo dianji yu wenhua 中國典籍與文化, 2017 (7).
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, 1048.
Wang Zhaoming 王兆明, Fu Langyun 傅朗雲, ed. (1991), Zhonghua gu wenxian da cidian 中華古文獻大辭典, Dili 地理卷 (Jilin: Changchun wenshi chubanshe), 426.
Ye Shaofei 葉少飛 (2019). "YUenan Chenchao Da-Yue shilüe de bianzhuan yu neirong 越南陳朝《大越史略》的編撰與内容", Guangxi Shifan Daxue xuebao (Zhexue shehui kexue ban) 廣西師範大學學報(哲學社會科學版), 2019 (1).
Zhang Xiaomei 張笑梅, Guo Zhenduo 郭振鐸 (1997). "Yuenan Yueshilüe bianzhuan de ruogan wenti 越南《越史略》編撰的若干問題", Henan Daxue xuebao (Sheke ban) 河南大學學報(社科版), 1997 (1).