Book of Liang

  (Redirected from Liangshu)

The Book of Liang (Liáng Shū), was compiled under Yao Silian and completed in 635. Yao heavily relied on an original manuscript by his father Yao Cha, which has not independently survived, although Yao Cha's comments are quoted in several chapters.

Book of Liang
Traditional Chinese梁書
Simplified Chinese梁书

The Book of Liang is part of the Twenty-Four Histories canon of Chinese history.


Although the Book of Liang was finally attributed to Yao Silian, a number of people worked on it. Initially, Emperor Wen of Sui ordered Yao Cha 姚察 (533–606) to compile the Book of Liang but Yao Cha died without being able to complete it. Before dying Yao Cha requested that his son Yao Silian complete the work. Emperor Yang of Sui agreed to compilation of the text by Yao Silian.[1] In the Tang, the compilation of the text was part of an initiative at the suggestion of Linghu Defen shortly after the founding of the Tang dynasty to compile a number of histories for the previous dynasties.[2] Then, Yao Silian was ordered to complete the Book of Chen by Emperor Gaozu of Tang, who ordered other scholars to work on the Book of Liang. When those scholars did not complete their task, Yao Silian was again ordered to work on the text. The Book of Liang was finally compiled by Yao Silian under the supervision of Fang Xuanling and Wei Zheng in the Tang, incorporating at least some of the work of his predecessors.

Quotations on Japan and its surrounding neighboursEdit

It contains the history of the Liang dynasty, and various descriptions of countries to the east of China. One such passage is the description by the monk Hui Shen (慧深) of the country of Fusang, 20,000 li east of China.

Note, the Chinese measure of distance (li) used in the Book of Liang corresponds to 400 metres.[3]:37

The State of WaEdit

Wa was an ancient kingdom of Japan. Though little concrete information can be found today, its capital precinct, Yamatai, was most likely located either in Kyūshū or in the Kinki region.[citation needed]

"As for Wa, they say of themselves that they are posterity of Tàibó. The people are all tattooed. Their territory is about 20,000 li (1,500 kilometres) from our realm, roughly to the east of Guiji (modern Shaoxing (Zhejiang)). It is impossibly distant. To get there from Daifang, it is necessary to follow the coast and go beyond the Korean state to the south-east for about 500 kilometres, then for the first time cross a sea to a small island 75 kilometres away, then cross the sea again for 75 kilometres to Miro country (Ch: 未盧國). 50 kilometers to the southeast is the country of Ito (Ch:伊都國). 10 kilometres to the southeast is the country of Nu (Ch:奴國). 10 kilometers to the east is the country of Bumi (Ch:不彌國). 20 days to the south by boat is the country of Touma (Ch:投馬國). 10 days to the south by boat or one month by land is the country of Yamatai (邪馬臺國). There resides the King of the Wa people." [4]

The State of WenshenEdit

"The country of Wenshen[5] is 7,000 li (500 kilometers) north-east of the country of Wa. Over their body, they have tattoos depicting wild beasts. They have three tattooed marks on their foreheads. The marks are straight for noble people, and they are small for lowly people. The people like music, but are not very generous in spite of their affluence, and do not give anything to strangers. They have houses, but no castles. The place in which their king resides is decorated with gold and silver in a manner of rare beauty. The buildings are surrounded by a ditch, about one cho in width, which they fill with quicksilver. When there is rain, it flows on top of the quicksilver. They have many rare things in their markets. Those who are guilty of a light offence are immediately punished with leather whips. Those who commit crimes punishable by death are made to be eaten by ferocious beasts; if there has been any error, then the ferocious beasts will avoid and not eat the victim. Crimes can also be redeemed through imprisonment without food." [6]

The State of DahanEdit

"The people of Dahan[7] are 5,000 li (400 kilometers) east of Wenshen. They do not have an army and are not aggressive. Their manners are the same as those of the country of Wenshen, but their language differs." [8]


Annals (本紀)Edit

# Title Translation Notes
Volume 1 本紀第1 武帝上 Emperor Wu
Volume 2 本紀第2 武帝中 Emperor Wu
Volume 3 本紀第3 武帝下 Emperor Wu
Volume 4 本紀第4 簡文帝 Emperor Jianwen
Volume 5 本紀第5 元帝 Emperor Yuan
Volume 6 本紀第6 敬帝 Emperor Jing

Biographies (列傳)Edit

# Title Translation Notes
Volume 7 列傳第1 皇后 Empresses Empress Zhang; Empress Chi; Empress Wang; Consort Ding; Consort Ruan; Princess Xu
Volume 8 列傳第2 昭明太子 哀太子 愍懷太子 Crown Prince Zhaoming; Crown Prince Ai; Crown Prince Minhuai
Volume 9 列傳第3 王茂 曹景宗 柳慶遠 Wang Mao; Cao Jingzong; Liu Qingyuan
Volume 10 列傳第4 蕭穎達 夏侯詳 蔡道恭 楊公則 鄧元起 Xiao Yingda; Xiahou Jiang; Cai Daogong; Yang Gongze; Deng Yuanqi
Volume 11 列傳第5 張弘策 庾域 鄭紹叔 呂僧珍 Zhang Hongce; Yu Yu; Zheng Shaoshu; Lü Sengzhen
Volume 12 列傳第6 柳惔 弟忱 席闡文 韋叡 族弟愛 Liu Tan; Liu Chen; Xi Chanwen; Wei Rui; Wei Ai
Volume 13 列傳第7 范雲 沈約 Fan Yun; Shen Yue
Volume 14 列傳第8 江淹 任昉 Jiang Yan; Ren Fang
Volume 15 列傳第9 謝朏 弟子覽 Xie Fei; Xie Lan
Volume 16 列傳第10 王亮 張稷 王瑩 Wang Liang; Zhang Ji; Wang Ying
Volume 17 列傳第11 王珍國 馬仙琕 張齊 Wang Zhenguo; Ma Xianpin; Zhang Qi
Volume 18 列傳第12 張惠紹 馮道根 康絢 昌義之 Zhang Huishao; Feng Daogen; Kang Xuan; Chang Yizhi
Volume 19 列傳第13 宗夬 劉坦 樂藹 Zong Guai; Liu Tan; Yue Ai
Volume 20 列傳第14 劉季連 陳伯之 Liu Lijian; Chen Bozhi
Volume 21 列傳第15 王瞻 王志 王峻 王暕 子訓 王泰 王份 孫鍚 僉 張充 柳惲 蔡撙 江蒨 Wang Zhan; Wang Zhi; Wang Jun; Wang Jian; Wang Xun; Wang Tai; Wang Fen; Wang Yang; Zhang Chong; Liu Yun; Cai Zun; Jiang Qian
Volume 22 列傳第16 太祖五王 Five Princes of Taizu Brothers of Emperor Wu
Volume 23 列傳第17 長沙嗣王業 永陽嗣王伯游 衡陽嗣王元簡 桂陽嗣王象 Ye, Prince of Changsha; Boyou, Prince of Yongyang; Yuanjian, Prince of Hengyang; Xiang, Prince of Guiyang Nephews of Emperor Wu
Volume 24 列傳第18 蕭景 弟昌 昂 昱 Xiao Jing; Xiao Chang; Xiao Ang; Xiao Yu
Volume 25 列傳第19 周捨 徐勉 Zhou She; Xu Mian
Volume 26  列傳第20 范岫 傅昭 弟映 蕭琛 陸杲 Fan Xiu; Fu Zhao; Fu Ying; Xiao Chen; Lu Gao
Volume 27  列傳第21 陸倕 到洽 明山賓 殷鈞 陸襄 Lu Chui; Dao Qia; Ming Shanbin; Yin Jun;
Volume 28  列傳第22 裴邃 兄子之高 之平 之橫 夏侯亶 弟夔 魚弘附 韋放 Pei Sui; Pei Zhigao; Pei Zhiping; Pei Zhiheng; Xiahou Dan; Xiahou Kui; Yu Hongfu; Wei Fang
Volume 29  列傳第23 高祖三王 Three Princes of Gaozu Sons of Emperor Wu
Volume 30  列傳第24 裴子野 顧協 徐摛 鮑泉 Pei Ziye; Gu Xie; Xu Chi; Bao Quan
Volume 31  列傳第25 袁昂 子君正 Yuan Ang; Yuan Junzheng
Volume 32  列傳第26 陳慶之 蘭欽 Chen Qingzhi; Lan Qin
Volume 33  列傳第27 王僧孺 張率 劉孝綽 王筠 Wang Sengru; Zhang Shuai; Liu Xiaochuo
Volume 34  列傳第28 張緬 弟纘 綰 Zhang Mian; Zhang Zuan; Zhang Wan
Volume 35  列傳第29 蕭子恪 弟子範 子顯 子雲 Xiao Zike; Xiao Zifan; Xiao Zixian; Xiao Ziyun
Volume 36  列傳第30 孔休源 江革 Kong Xiuyuan; Jiang Ge
Volume 37  列傳第31 謝舉 何敬容 Xie Ju; He Jingrong
Volume 38  列傳第32 朱异 賀琛 Zhu Yi; He Chen
Volume 39  列傳第33 元法僧 元樹 元願達 王神念 楊華 羊侃 子鶤 羊鴉仁 Yuan Faseng; Yuan Shu; Yuan Yuanda; Wang Shenian; Yang Hua; Yang Kan; Yang Yun; Yang Yaren
Volume 40  列傳第34 司馬褧 到漑 劉顯 劉之遴 弟之享 許懋 Sima Jiong; Dao Gai; Liu Xian; Liu Zhilin; Liu Zhixian; Xu Mao
Volume 41  列傳第35 王規 劉瑴 宗懍 王承 褚翔 蕭介 從父兄洽 褚球 劉孺 弟覽 遵 劉潛 弟孝勝 孝威 孝先 殷芸 蕭幾 Wang Gui; Liu Jue; Zong Lin; Wang Cheng; Chu Xiang; Xiao Jie; Xiao Qia; Chu Qiu; Liu Ru; Liu Lan; Liu Zun; Liu Qian; Liu Xiaosheng; Liu Xiaowei; Liu Xiaoxian; Yin Yun; Xiao Ji
Volume 42  列傳第36 臧盾 弟厥 傅岐 Zang Dun; Zang Jue; Fu Qi
Volume 43  列傳第37 韋粲 江子一 弟子四 子五 張嵊 沈浚 柳敬禮 Wei Can; Jiang Ziyi; Jiang Zisi; Jiang Ziwu; Zhang Sheng; Shen Jun; Liu Jingli
Volume 44 列傳第38 太宗十一王 世祖二子 Eleven Princes of Taizong; Two Princes of Shizu Sons of Emperor Jianwen; Sons of Emperor Yuan
Volume 45 列傳第39 王僧辯 Wang Sengbian
Volume 46 列傳第40 胡僧祐 徐文盛 杜崱 兄岸 弟幼安 兄子龕 陰子春 Hu Sengyou; Xu Wensheng; Du Ze; Du An; Du You'an; Du Kan; Yin Zichun
Volume 47 列傳第41 孝行 Filial Acts Teng Tangong; Shen Chongsu; Xun Jiang; Yu Qianlou; Ji Fen; Zhen Tian; Han Huaiming; Liu Tanjing; He Jiong; Yu Shami; Jiang Fou; Liu Ji; Chu Xiu; Xie Lin
Volume 48  列傳第42 儒林 Forest of Scholars Fu Manrong; He Tongzhi; Fan Chen; Yan Zhizhi; He Yang, He Ge; Sima Yun; Bian Hua; Cui Lingen; Kong Qina; Lu Guang; Shen Jun; Taishi Shuming; Kong Ziqu; Huang Kan
Volume 49  列傳第43 文學上 Writers Dao Hang; Qiu Chi; Liu Bao; Yuan Jun; Yu Yuling; Yu Jianwu; Liu Zhao; He Xun; Zhong Rong; Zhou Xingsi; Wu Jun
Volume 50  列傳第44 文學下 Writers Liu Jun; Liu Zhao; Xie Jiqing; Liu Xie; Wang Ji; He Sichen; Liu Yao; Xie Zheng; Zang Yan; Fu Ting; Yu Zhongrong; Lu Yungong; Ren Xiaogong; Yan Xie
Volume 51  列傳第45 處士 Retired Gentlemen He Dian; He Yin; Ruan Xiaoxu; Tao Hongjing; Zhuge Qu; Shen Yi; Liu Huifei; Fan Yuanyan; Liu Xu; Liu Xiao; Yu Shen; Zhang Xiaoxiu; Yu Chengxian
Volume 52 列傳第46 止足 The Self-Sufficient Gu Xianzhi; Tao Jizhi; Xiao Shisu
Volume 53  列傳第47 良吏 Good Officials Yu Bi; Shen Yu; Fan Shuceng; Qiu Zhongfu; Sun Qian; Fu Xuan; He Yuan
Volume 54  列傳第48 諸夷 The Various Barbarians Various States South of the Sea: Linyi; Funan; Panpan; Dandan; Gantuoli; Langyaxiu; Poli; Central Tianzhu; Shizi

Various Rong of the Eastern Yi: Gaogouli; Baiji; Xinluo; Wo; Wenshen; Dahan; Fusang
Various Rong to the West and North Henan; Gaochang; Hua; Zhouguke; Hebatan; Humidan; Baiti; Qiuci; Yutian; Kepantuo; Mo; Bosi; Dangchang; Dengzhi; Wuxing; Rourou

Volume 55  列傳第49 豫章王綜 武陵王紀 臨賀王正德 河東王譽 Zong, Prince of Yuzhang; Ji, Prince of Wuling; Zhengde, Prince of Linhe; Yu, Prince of Hedong
Volume 56  列傳第50 侯景 Hou Jing

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Chaussende (2015), pp. 167–168.
  2. ^ Wu (2018), pp. 167–168.
  3. ^ Coedès, George (1968). Walter F. Vella (ed.). The Indianized States of Southeast Asia. trans.Susan Brown Cowing. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-0368-1. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. ^ Ch:倭者 自云太伯之後 俗皆文身 去帶方萬二千餘里 大抵在會稽之東 相去絶遠 從帶方至倭 循海水行 歴韓國 乍東乍南 七千餘里始度一海 海闊千餘里 名瀚海 至一支國 又度一海千餘里 名未盧國 又東南陸行五百里 至伊都國 又東南行百里 至奴國 又東行百里 至不彌國 又南水行二十日 至投馬國 又南水行十日 陸行一月日 至邪馬臺國 即倭王所居, Liang Shu, 7th century.
  5. ^ Wénshēn-guó (文身國), literally "mark-body country," i.e. country of tattooed people
  6. ^ Ch:文身國 在倭國東北七千餘里 人體有文如獸 其額上有三文 文直者貴 文小者賤 土俗歡樂 物豐而賤 行客不齎糧 有屋宇 無城郭 其王所居 飾以金銀珍麗 繞屋爲塹 廣一丈 實以水銀 雨則流于水銀之上 市用珍寶 犯輕罪者則鞭杖 犯死罪則置猛獸食之 有枉則猛獸避而不食 經宿則赦之, Liang Shu, 7th century.
  7. ^ Dàhàn-guó (大漢國), literally "great Han country"
  8. ^ Ch:大漢國 在文身國東五千餘里 無兵戈 不攻戰 風俗並與文身國同而言語異, Liang Shu, 7th century.

Works citedEdit

  • Chaussende, Damien (2015). "Liang shu 梁書". In Dien, Albert E; Chennault, Cynthia Louise; Knapp, Keith Nathaniel; Berkowitz, Alan J (eds.). Early Medieval Chinese Texts: A Bibliographical Guide. Berkeley: Institute of East Asian Studies University of California. pp. 167–170.
  • Wu, Huaiqi; Zhen, Chi (2018). An Historical Sketch of Chinese Historiography (e-book ed.). Berlin: Springer.

External linksEdit