2012 New History
P. O. Box 1-44, Nankang, Taipei 11529, Taiwan, R. O. C.
02-2782-9555 # 226

The Relationship between Yan Shi-gu’s Commentary on Han Shu and the Political Struggle during the Zhen Guan Regime

Kwong-kin Lee

Social Studies Education Department, National Tainan Teachers College

It is the aim of this paper to probe into the political as well as cultural background of Yan Shi-gu’s Commentary on Han Shu. While Yan’s Commentary 顏師古注continues the scholarly tradition of Han Shu 漢書studies that flourished during the Southern Dynasties, its compilation also reflects the influence exerted by the political struggles of the Zhen Guan 貞觀 Regime on cultural activity of the period.

Yan Shi-gu was officially appointed to write his Commentary by the Crown Prince, who had been ordained as his successor by emperor Li Shi-min 李世民, who favored one of his younger sons. Yan’s Commentary was thus a product of an era of political conflict, marked by the struggle for succession to the throne of emperor Li Shi-min. From a historical analysis of this conflict, the author proceeds to a discussion of the cultural preferences of Li Shi-min and his two sons. The author further attempts at an investigation of the relationship between the Yan family tradition and the culture of the Southern Dynasties on the one hand, and cultural exchange between the Southern and Northern Dynasties on the other hand.


Key Words: Struggle between the successors to the throne of the Emperor, Yan’s Commentary on Han Shu, Cultural Preference