Chinese Chronology

Chinese Chronology is essentially independent of western chronology, although the 60-year Jupiter cycle in China is related to that of India. Apparently, the 60-year cycle was not in general use until the 2nd century a.d., but already at ~100 b.c., Sima Qian (Ssuma Chien) was complaining that the "cycle of the elements" (correlated with the Ten Stems) was out of step with the reign lengths of various rulers.

General agreement in Chinese sources starts with the expulsion of the Western Zhou emperor Li in 841 b.c. (Chang 1905/1967, p. 40). Chang assigns 37 years of reign to Li and 16 years to his father, the emperor I (Yi). The first year of I's reign was marked by the "double dawn," apparently a sunrise eclipse at Tcheng (see ยง5.2.1.3). This eclipse has been equated with eclipses at 966, 926, 919, 903, and 899 b.c., but none seems entirely satisfactory. Because the traditional account, perhaps wrongly, assigns 53 years to the reigns of I and Li (a long interval for two reigns), it would seem that dates later than 899 b.c. should also be examined.

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