Records of the Three Kingdoms 三国志

One of the highest evaluated “Twenty Four Histories”


Chinese Name: 三国志

English Name: Records of the Three Kingdoms, San Guo Zhi

Other Names: Guo Zhi国志, Records of the Kingdom国志

Author: Chen Shou陈寿

Originally Published: 280-290 A.D ( the Western Jin Dynasty 西晋时期)

Genre: History

Records of the Three Kingdoms 三国志
Records of the Three Kingdoms三国志

Brief Introduction of the Records of the Three Kingdoms

The Records of the Three Kingdoms三国志, one of the Twenty-Four Histories二十四史, was written by Chen Shou陈寿, a historian in the Western Jin Dynasty. It records the historical events of Cao Wei曹魏, Shu Han蜀汉 and Eastern Wu东吴 during the Three Kingdoms Period. It is called “the First Four Histories前四史” together with Shi Ji史记, Han Shu汉书 and Hou Han Shu后汉书.

At that time, there were historical books in Wei and Wu countries, such as Wang Chen’s Wei Shu王沈的《魏书》, Yu Huan’s Wei Lue鱼豢的《魏略》 and Wei Zhao’s Wu Shu韦昭的《吴书》. These three books should be the basic materials on which Chen Shou was based.

Shu Han had no post of historian, so he collected it himself and only got 15 volumes.

Chen Shou spent the first half of his life in the Shu Han Dynasty. After the collapse of the Shu Han Dynasty, Chen Shou served as a Writer著作郎. In his later years, he was demoted many times and criticized many times. After ten years of hardships, he completed the history masterpiece the Records of the Three Kingdoms.

Records of the Three Kingdoms 三国志

The Records of the Three Kingdoms was first circulated separately in the books of Wei Shu魏书, Shu Shu蜀书 and Wu Shu吴书. In order to avoid the confusion of Wei Shu魏书 in the Northern and Southern Dynasties, the Northern Song Dynasty combined the three books into one book in 1003. Therefore, the Records of the Three Kingdoms is the product of cultural re integration after the period of separation of the Three Kingdoms. This book gives a complete account of China’s historical panorama from division to reunification in the past 100 years from the end of the Han Dynasty to the beginning of the Jin Dynasty.

The Records of the Three Kingdoms is also the most special one of the Twenty-Four Histories, because it is too brief and has no Biao表 and Zhi志, which is different from the historical book norms of Shi Ji and Han Shu.

The materials quoted in the Records of the Three Kingdoms are very cautious. After careful textual research and careful selection of historical facts, the author strictly examines unreliable materials and does not comment and compile them.

Author of the Records of the Three Kingdoms

Chen Shou (233 ~ 297) was born in Anhan County, Brazil county (now Nanchong City, Sichuan Province). He was a famous historian during the Three Kingdoms period and the Western Jin Dynasty.

Records of the Three Kingdoms 三国志
Chen Shou陈寿

Chen Shou has been diligent and studious since childhood. He is smart and astute. He studies Shang Shu尚书 and San Zhuan三传, and is proficient in Shi Ji and Han Shu.

In the Shu Han Dynasty, he once served as chief bookkeeper, Secretary Lang, Ling Shi, Waiter and so on. At that time, eunuch Huang Hao was in power, and Chen Shou was repeatedly dismissed because he refused to yield to Huang Hao黄皓. After the demise of the Shu Han Dynasty, he successively served as a writer, a prefect, a censor and so on. He was demoted many times in his old age and criticized many times. He died of illness in 297 at the age of 65.

Excerpts from the Records of the Three Kingdoms


In life, although we have a tall and powerful body, we can only put it in a coffin when we die. Only by increasing self-cultivation, exercising morality and spreading reputation can we be immortal.


Knowing and mastering a person’s words and deeds makes it clear whether the person is a good person or a wicked person.


To create a country, we must first seize military power; To develop the country, we must advocate moral education.


Outstanding people can correctly understand the current objective situation.

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