Sima Qian

145 BC - 86 BC

Photo of Sima Qian

Icon of person Sima Qian

Sima Qian (司馬遷; ([sɹ̩́mà tɕʰjɛ́n]; c. 145 – c. 86 BC) was a Chinese historian during the early Han dynasty. He is considered the father of Chinese historiography for his Records of the Grand Historian, a general history of China covering more than two thousand years beginning from the rise of the legendary Yellow Emperor and the formation of the first Chinese polity to the reign of Emperor Wu of Han, during which Sima wrote. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Sima Qian has received more than 952,799 page views. His biography is available in 115 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 111 in 2019). Sima Qian is the 6th most popular historian (up from 7th in 2019), the 11th most popular biography from China (up from 12th in 2019) and the most popular Chinese Historian.

Sima Qian is most famous for the Records of the Grand Historian, which is a history of China and the world from the time of the Yellow Emperor to the time of Emperor Wu of Han.

Memorability Metrics

  • 950k

    Page Views (PV)

  • 78.53

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 115

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 10.33

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 4.13

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)


Among historians, Sima Qian ranks 6 out of 561Before him are Herodotus, Josephus, Ibn Khaldun, Thucydides, and Xenophon. After him are Livy, Polybius, Tacitus, Suetonius, Alexis de Tocqueville, and Diodorus Siculus.

Most Popular Historians in Wikipedia

Go to all Rankings


Among people born in 145 BC, Sima Qian ranks 1After him is Philo of Larissa. Among people deceased in 86 BC, Sima Qian ranks 1After him are Gaius Marius, and Jin Midi.

Others Born in 145 BC

Go to all Rankings

Others Deceased in 86 BC

Go to all Rankings

In China

Among people born in China, Sima Qian ranks 11 out of 1,610Before him are Sun Tzu (-544), Laozi (-604), Zheng He (1387), Sun Yat-sen (1866), Deng Xiaoping (1904), and Li Bai (701). After him are 14th Dalai Lama (1935), Xi Jinping (1953), Kublai Khan (1215), Empress Dowager Cixi (1835), Du Fu (712), and Chiang Kai-shek (1887).


Among historians born in China, Sima Qian ranks 1After him are Cangjie (-2650), Pei Songzhi (372), Guo Pu (276), Ji Xianlin (1911), and Zhao Rukuo (1170).