Bibliography: Thilo Diefenbach


Die Schlacht am Fei (383) und ihre Folgen

Ein Beitrag zur chinesischen Historiographienebst einer Übersetzung aus Sima Guangs Zizhi tongjian


Abstract: The battle at the Fei river (383) is considered one of the most important military events of the period commonly called “early medieval China”. However, some details of the campaign described in historiographical works can be doubted, which may be ascribed not only to the fact that Chinese historians usually had only superficial knowledge of military affairs, but also that they tended to care more about the overall narrative and educational value of their records. A western scholar even questioned whether the battle ever took place at all, thereby of course drawing infuriated criticism by Chinese scholars. In the end, it seems unlikely that premodern Chinese historians should have invented a whole battle for which there was absolutely no actual event, but it is quite possible that they dramatically exaggerated its scale and the way it was fought.