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Sima Qian

145 BC - 86 BC

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Sima Qian ([sɹ̩́mà tɕʰjɛ́n]; c. 145 – c. 86 BC) was a Chinese historian of the early Han dynasty (206 BC – AD 220). 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 reigning sovereign of Sima Qian's time, Emperor Wu of Han. As the first universal history of the world as it was known to the ancient Chinese, the Records of the Grand Historian served as a model for official history-writing for subsequent Chinese dynasties and the Chinese cultural sphere (Korea, Vietnam, Japan) up until the 20th century.Sima Qian's father, Sima Tan, first conceived of the ambitious project of writing a complete history of China, but had completed only some preparatory sketches at the time of his death. Read more on Wikipedia

Since 2007, the English Wikipedia page of Sima Qian has received more than 840,380 page views. His biography is available in 111 different languages on Wikipedia (up from 108 in 2019). Sima Qian is the 7th most popular historian (down from 4th in 2019), the 12th most popular biography from China (down from 10th 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

  • 840k

    Page Views (PV)

  • 77.97

    Historical Popularity Index (HPI)

  • 111

    Languages Editions (L)

  • 9.25

    Effective Languages (L*)

  • 4.22

    Coefficient of Variation (CV)

Page views of Sima Qians by language


Among historians, Sima Qian ranks 7 out of 339Before him are Herodotus, Ibn Khaldun, Thucydides, Xenophon, Tacitus, and Livy. After him are Josephus, Polybius, Suetonius, Alexis de Tocqueville, Diodorus Siculus, and Thomas Kuhn.

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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

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Others Deceased in 86 BC

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In China

Among people born in China, Sima Qian ranks 12 out of 1,392Before him are Sun Tzu (-544), Zheng He (1387), 14th Dalai Lama (1935), Deng Xiaoping (1904), Sun Yat-sen (1866), and Kublai Khan (1215). After him are Xi Jinping (1953), Puyi (1906), Hu Jintao (1942), Empress Dowager Cixi (1835), Chiang Kai-shek (1887), and Du Fu (712).


Among historians born in China, Sima Qian ranks 1After him are Guo Pu (276).