Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government (Zīzhì tōngjiàn 資治通鑒), is a Chinese historiography by Sima Guang and others and was released in 1084 AD as a chronicle. It was a pioneering reference work.


In the year 1065, Sima Guang, a great historian of his time, was ordered by his Emperor Yingzong of Song to lead the compilation of a universal history of China. It took Sima Guang, with help of other scholars such as his chief assistants Liu Shu, Liu Ban and Fan Zuyu, 19 years to complete it.

In 1084 it was presented to Yingzong's succesor; Emperor Shenzong of Song.

The Zizhi tongjian exposes Chinese history from 403 B.C. to 959 A.D., contains 294 volumes 卷, and about 3 million Chinese characters and chronologically narrates the history of China from the Warring States period in 403 B.C. to the beginning of the Song dynasty in 959 A.D. With politics, military affairs and national relations as its main concerns, the book also comprises of economy, culture and appraisal of historical figures. The book was compiled with the purpose of providing historical references to the rulers by describing the rise and fall of previous empires.

Historian Rafe de Crespigny has translated chapters 57-69 that cover the years 157 to 220 A.D. for his books Emperor Huan and Emperor Ling and To Establish Peace. Achilles Fang translated the parts that cover the years 220 to 265 A.D. for his work The Chronicle of the Three Kingdoms (in two parts).


  1. 5 volumes - Zhou (1046-256 BC)
  2. 3 volumes - Qin (221-207 BC)
  3. 60 volumes - Han (206 BC-220 AD)
  4. 10 volumes - Wei (220-265)
  5. 40 volumes - Jin (265-420)
  6. 16 volumes - Liu Song (420-479)
  7. 10 volumes - Qi (479-502)
  8. 22 volumes - Liang (502-557)
  9. 10 volumes - Chen (557-589)
  10. 8 volumes - Sui (589-618)
  11. 81 volumes - Tang (618-907)
  12. 6 volumes - Later Liang (Five Dynasties) (907-923)
  13. 8 volumes - Later Tang (923-936)
  14. 6 volumes - Later Jin (Five Dynasties) (936-947)
  15. 4 volumes - Later Han (Five Dynasties) (947-951)
  16. 5 volumes - Later Zhou (951-960)




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