Records of Three Kingdoms

Records Of Three Kingdoms

Records of Three Kingdoms

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Records of Three Kingdoms (), is regarded as the official and authoritative historical text on the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history covering the years 184-280 CE. Written by Chen Shou in the 3rd century, the work combines the smaller histories of the rival states of Cao Wei (曹魏), Shu Han (蜀漢) and Eastern Wu (東吳) of the Three Kingdoms into a single text. Records of Three Kingdoms provided the basis for the later historical novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written in the 14th century.

Origin and structure

Together with the Records of the Grand Historian, Book of Han and Book of Later Han, the book is part of the early four historiographies of the Twenty-Four Histories canon. It contains 65 volumes and about 360,000 words which are broken into three books. The Book of Wei contains 30 volumes, the Book of Shu contains 15 volumes while the Book of Wu contains 20 volumes. Each volume is organised in the form of one or more biographies. The amount of space a biography takes up is dictated by the importance of the figure.

The original author was Chen Shou, who was born in present day Nanchong, Sichuan, in Kingdom of Shu. After the fall of Shu in 263, he became the Gentleman of Works, and was assigned to create a history of the Three Kingdoms. After the fall of Wu in 280, his work received the acclaim of senior minister Zhang Hua. Earlier to the period, the state of Wei and Wu both had their own histories and it was with these works as basis that he began his...
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