Book of Later Han
The Book of the Later Han or the History of the Later Han is one of the official Chinese
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 historical works which was compiled by Fan Ye in the 5th century, using a number of earlier histories and documents as sources. It covers the history of Eastern Han from 25 to 220 CE
Common Era
Common Era ,abbreviated as CE, is an alternative designation for the calendar era originally introduced by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century, traditionally identified with Anno Domini .Dates before the year 1 CE are indicated by the usage of BCE, short for Before the Common Era Common Era...


The book is part of early four historiographies of the Twenty-Four Histories
Twenty-Four Histories
The Twenty-Four Histories is a collection of Chinese historical books covering a period from 3000 BC to the Ming Dynasty in the 17th century. The whole set contains 3213 volumes and about 40 million words...

 canon, together with the Records of the Grand Historian
Records of the Grand Historian
The Records of the Grand Historian, also known in English by the Chinese name Shiji , written from 109 BC to 91 BC, was the Magnum opus of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the Yellow Emperor until his own time...

, Book of Han
Book of Han
The Book of Han, Hanshu or History of the Former Han Dynasty |Fan Ye]] . Various scholars have estimated that the earliest material covered in the book dates back to between 206 and 202 BCE...

and Records of Three Kingdoms
Records of Three Kingdoms
Records of Three Kingdoms , is regarded as the official and authoritative historical text on the Three Kingdoms period of Chinese history covering the years 184-280 CE. Written by Chen Shou in the 3rd century, the work combines the smaller histories of the rival states of Cao Wei , Shu Han and...

. Fan Ye used a number of earlier histories, including those accounts by Sima Qian
Sima Qian
Sima Qian was a Prefect of the Grand Scribes of the Han Dynasty. He is regarded as the father of Chinese historiography for his highly praised work, Records of the Grand Historian , a "Jizhuanti"-style general history of China, covering more than two thousand years from the Yellow Emperor to...

 and Ban Gu
Ban Gu
Ban Gu , courtesy name Mengjian , was a 1st century Chinese historian and poet best known for his part in compiling the Book of Han. He also wrote in the main poetic genre of the Han era, a kind of poetry interspersed with prose called fu. Some are anthologized by Xiao Tong in his Selections of...

, plus many others (some that were also entitled name resemble to the work, such as the Han Records of the Eastern Lodge by various contemporaries throughout the 2nd century or the Records of Later Han by Yuan Hong
Yuan Hong
Yuan Hong , his courtesy name is Yanbo, was a scholar, historian and politician from the Eastern Jin. He was born in Zhoukou, Henan, and served as an advisor to generals Xie Shang and Huan Wen on a number of military campaigns...

 from the 4th century) most of which have not survived intact. The final 30 volumes of the book or the 8 treatises on law, rituals, sacrifices, astronomy, five elements, geography, officials, chariots and garments taken from the Sequel of the Book of Han, a work composed by Sima Biao in the 3rd century were added in the 6th century by Liu Zhao during his annotation.

The section on the Records of the Western Regions was based on a report composed by General Ban Yong
Ban Yong
Ban Yong ) was the youngest son of the famous Chinese General, Ban Chao , and the nephew of the illustrious historian, Ban Gu who compiled the Hanshu, the dynastic history of the Former Han dynasty.- Ban Yong's family :...

 (with a few later additions) and presented to the Emperor An
Emperor An
Emperor An is the posthumous name of several Chinese emperors. It may refer to:* Emperor An of Han * Emperor An of Jin...

 about 125 CE. It presumably includes notes from his famous father, General Ban Chao
Ban Chao
Ban Chao , courtesy name Zhongsheng , was born in Xianyang, Shaanxi, and the younger brother of the famous historian, Ban Gu who, with his father Ban Biao, and sister, Ban Zhao, wrote the famous Hanshu, or 'History of the Former Han Dynasty'....

. It forms the 88th chapter (or 118th chapter in some editions) of the Hou Hanshu, and is a key source for the cultural and socio-economic data on the Western Regions
Western Regions
The Western Regions or Xiyu was a historical name specified in the Chinese chronicles between the 3rd century BC to 8th century AD that referred to the regions west of Jade Gate, most often Central Asia or sometimes more specifically the easternmost portion of it The Western Regions or Xiyu was a...

, including the earliest accounts of Da Qin (the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

), and some of the most detailed early reports on India and Central Asia. It contains a few references to events occurring after the death of Emperor An, including a brief account of the arrival of the first official envoys from Rome Da Qin in 166 CE.

Fan Ye, himself, clearly says that the new information contained in this section on the Western Regions, is largely based on information from the report of General Ban Yong:
"Ban Gu has recorded in detail the local conditions and customs of each kingdom in the former book [Hanshu or 'History of the Former Han Dynasty']. Now, the reports of the Jianwu period [25-56 CE] onwards recorded in this 'Chapter on the Western Regions' differ from the earlier [ones by Ban Gu]; they are from Ban Yong’s report [presented] at the end of [the reign of] Emperor An [107-125 CE], and so on."

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