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A reading of Hou Jing’s rebellion in Zizhi Tongjian (comprehensive mirror to aid government): The construction of Sima Guang’s imperial vision

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Chapter Summary

The critical notes that Sima Guang includes in his kao yi commentary to Zizhi tongjian [ZZTJ] supply some evidence of his historiographic choices. ZZTJ was intended for the Northern Song emperor, “the emperor who inevitably wants a comprehensive knowledge of the gains and losses of former generations but at the same time has to deal with myriad matters every day.” On 22 December 551, Hou Jing received the nine ritual insignia of high office and appointed the official administration of his state of Han. The link between virtue and veneration of the seven imperial ancestors reappears in Chunqiu Guliang zhuan (The Guliang commentary on the Spring and Autumn annals), pointing up its significance in the core values of the Confucian canon. Hou Jing’s failure to provide social and political stability to Liang after his rebellion is seen to stem from basic traits of his character.

Keywords: Confucian canon; Hou Jing; Sima Guang; Zizhi tongjian (ZZTJ)



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