E Bruce Brooks
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
The Bamboo Annals and the History of Ywe
Panel: War and Peace in Early China
AAS Convention, Boston, Saturday 24 March 2007

E Bruce Brooks


That the history of Wu and Ywe has been massively legendarized in later times requires no demonstration. The question is what sounder historical information we have. The earliest textual sources for Wu and Ywe would appear to be two: the chronicle of Lu (Chun/Chyou) and what in part purports to be, or to be based on, a chronicle of Jin (the Bamboo Annals). A complication with the latter is that it presently exists in two versions, one assembled from quotations in texts from the Six Dynasties through Sung (the "ancient" text) and the other supposedly intact (the "modern" text, known as such from Ming times). The two Bamboo Annals versions are first compared, with the mildly surprising result that their information for Wu and Ywe is largely identical except for one remarkable difference. This information is then collated with the Chun/Chyou entries, and a suggestion is made as to whether it is valid to simply combine all this information, along with Bamboo Annals information after 0479, for which no parallel Chun/Chyou check is available.

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