Zuo Zhuan

Zuo Zhuan

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The Zuo Zhuan sometimes translated as the Chronicle of Zuo or the Commentary of Zuo, is among the earliest Chinese works of narrative history and covers the period from 722 BCE to 468 BCE. It is one of the most important sources for understanding the history of the Spring and Autumn Period. Together with the Gongyang Zhuan
Gongyang Zhuan
The Gōngyáng Zhuàn is a commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals and one of the classic books of ancient Chinese history. It is believed to have been written by Zi-xia disciple Gongyang Gao of the State of Qi during the Warring States Period of Chinese history...

 and Guliang Zhuan
Guliang Zhuan
The Gǔliáng Zhuàn is considered one of the classic books of ancient Chinese history. It is traditionally attributed to a writer with the surname of Guliang in the disciple tradition of Zi-xia , but versions of his name vary and there is no definitive way to date the text...

, the work forms one of the surviving Three Commentaries on the Spring and Autumn Annals
Three Commentaries on the Spring and Autumn Annals
The Three Commentaries on the Spring and Autumn Annals , are a series of works that annotate the classic Chinese historical text the Spring and Autumn Annals. They comprise the Zuo Zhuan, Gongyang Zhuan and Guliang Zhuan....

.

The Zuo Zhuan was traditionally attributed to Zuo Qiuming
Zuo Qiuming
Zǔo Qīumíng was a court writer of the State of Lu, and contemporary of Confucius during the Spring and Autumn period. The work Commentary of Zuo is traditionally attributed to him. He is also possibly a contributor to Guoyu. One tradition according to Shiji holds that he became blind ....

, as a commentary to the Spring and Autumn Annals
Spring and Autumn Annals
The Spring and Autumn Annals is the official chronicle of the State of Lu covering the period from 722 BCE to 481 BCE. It is the earliest surviving Chinese historical text to be arranged on annalistic principles. The text is extremely concise and, if all the commentaries are excluded, about 16,000...

, but many believe it was an independent work chronologically parallel to the Annals which was later spliced into it. Most notable modern scholars of this book such as Yang Bojun (楊伯峻) hold that the work was compiled during the Warring States Period
Warring States Period
The Warring States Period , also known as the Era of Warring States, or the Warring Kingdoms period, covers the Iron Age period from about 475 BC to the reunification of China under the Qin Dynasty in 221 BC...

, with a compilation date not later than 389 BCE.

Liang Qichao
Liang Qichao
Liang Qichao |Styled]] Zhuoru, ; Pseudonym: Rengong) was a Chinese scholar, journalist, philosopher and reformist during the Qing Dynasty , who inspired Chinese scholars with his writings and reform movements...

 (梁启超) further proposed from internal and comparative textual analyses that the extant editions of Zuo Zhuan and Guoyu
Guoyu (book)
The Discourses of the States or Guoyu is a classical Chinese history book that collected the historical records of numerous states from Western Zhou to 453 BC. Its author is unknown, but it is sometimes attributed to Zuo Qiuming, a contemporary of Confucius...

 derive from a pre-Liu Xiang edition of "Guoyu" that originally had passages from the two. The neatly delineated, chronologically complementary distribution of accounts between the two was to him evidence that Liu Xiang extracted historical accounts parallel to those in the Annals to compile what was to be called the Zuo Zhuan; accounts lacking a Chunqiu parallel were left in Guoyu in the original format under chapters by state; hence the name, organization, and text of the Guoyu 國語, or Discourse of States, that we have today.

The book contains the earliest reference to weiqi (the board game of go) in the 25th Year of Duke Xiang of Lu (548 BCE in the Gregorian
Gregorian
Gregorian might refer to:* The thought or ideology of Pope Gregory I or Pope Gregory VII *Things named for Pope Gregory I:**Gregorian chant** Gregorian mass**Brotherhood of Saint Gregory...

 calendar)

With its vivid and concise language, the Zuo Zhuan is also a gem of classical Chinese
Classical Chinese
Classical Chinese or Literary Chinese is a traditional style of written Chinese based on the grammar and vocabulary of ancient Chinese, making it different from any modern spoken form of Chinese...

 prose. This work and the Shiji or Records of the Grand Historian, were regarded as the ultimate models by many generations of prose stylists in ancient China.

Contents


The Zuo Zhuan follows the sequence of 12 dukes of the State of Lu
Lu (state)
The State of Lu, was a Zhou Dynasty ducal vassal state before and during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history. Founded in the 10th century BC, its dukes used Ji as their family name. The first duke was Boqin |Qi]] and to the south by the powerful state of Chu...

, starting in the first year of Duke Yin of Lu and finishing in the 27th year of Duke Ai of Lu. Altogether, the 18,000 character work records the history of the various vassal states of the Zhou Dynasty over a period of 254 years.
Contents of the Zuo Zhuan
Ruler of the State of Lu Reign
Duration
(Years)
Period of Coverage
Duke Yin of Lu (鲁隐公) 11 722 – 712 BCE
Duke Huan of Lu (鲁桓公) 18 711 – 694 BCE
Duke Zhuang of Lu (鲁庄公) 32 693 – 662 BCE
Duke Min of Lu (鲁闵公) 2 661 – 660 BCE
Duke Xi of Lu (鲁僖公) 33 659 – 627 BCE
Duke Wen of Lu (鲁文公) 18 626 – 609 BCE
Duke Xuan of Lu (鲁宣公) 18 608 – 591 BCE
Duke Cheng of Lu
Duke Cheng of Lu
Duke Cheng of Lu 鲁成公 was the son of Duke Xuan of Lu 鲁宣公 and the 21st ruler of the state of Lu during the Spring and Autumn Period. He held office for 18 years, from 590 BCE to 573 BCE. His name was Heigong 黑肱 ....

 (鲁成公)
18 590 – 573 BCE
Duke Xiang of Lu (鲁襄公) 31 572–542 BCE
Duke Zhao of Lu (鲁昭公) 32 541–510 BCE
Duke Ding of Lu (鲁定公) 15 509–495 BCE
Duke Ai of Lu (鲁哀公) 27 494–468 BCE


Note: The Zuo Zhuan contains an appendix starting in the fourth year of the reign of Duke Dao of Lu (463 BCE).

Three Commentaries on the Spring and Autumn Annals
Three Commentaries on the Spring and Autumn Annals
The Three Commentaries on the Spring and Autumn Annals , are a series of works that annotate the classic Chinese historical text the Spring and Autumn Annals. They comprise the Zuo Zhuan, Gongyang Zhuan and Guliang Zhuan....

Gongyang Zhuan
Gongyang Zhuan
The Gōngyáng Zhuàn is a commentary on the Spring and Autumn Annals and one of the classic books of ancient Chinese history. It is believed to have been written by Zi-xia disciple Gongyang Gao of the State of Qi during the Warring States Period of Chinese history...

 | Guliang Zhuan
Guliang Zhuan
The Gǔliáng Zhuàn is considered one of the classic books of ancient Chinese history. It is traditionally attributed to a writer with the surname of Guliang in the disciple tradition of Zi-xia , but versions of his name vary and there is no definitive way to date the text...


External links


  • Chunqiu Zuozhuan Bilingual text of Zuo Zhuan with side-by-side Chinese original and English tranliteration
  • Zuo Zhuan Fully searchable text (Chinese)
  • The Zuozhuan Digital Concordance. by St. John Page and Isabel García Hidalgo, the English data is based on the full translation published by the 19th century English sinologist-missionary James Legge
    James Legge
    James Legge was a noted Scottish sinologist, a Scottish Congregationalist, representative of the London Missionary Society in Malacca and Hong Kong , and first professor of Chinese at Oxford University...

    . Missing sections not covered by Legge were translated by Page and added to cover the full text.