TO General Zhao Yun
In ancient China, history chronicles were the assets of the royal house. Lao-zi and Kong-zi visited 'imperial' libraries for their writings. Zhou Dynasty kings and relatively independent Chu-guo Principality kings often held discourse with scholars about ancient so-called SHANG SHU, i.e., remotely ancient history. Zhou Kings and Chu-guo kings had specifically mentioned half a dozen ancient books in their discourse.
Kong-zi, Confucius, still had access to those books, and adopted passages in his writings. Hence, some records survived due to the Hundred School Thought movements as well as the privitization of education in Spring & Autumn time period of Zhou Dynasty.
Should you ask where the ancient textbooks went, they were all burnt down by 1) Qi Shihuangdi's book burning; and 2) Xiang Yu's arson of palace.
Qin Shihuangdi ordered that only one copy of books from Zhou court and vassal kingdoms be kept in imperial library. They were lost when Xiang Yu burnt the palace.
Personally speaking, I believe in 95-98% of the things in ancient writings. Ancient people were morally strong. They did not know perjury. Trust in your ancestors.
Hey Ah Xiang,
Wow, the legendary and fabled author of UglyChinese.org is here!
Your site is good. I might not believe everything on it, but its vastness alone is very impressive.
One question along this line: on what grounds do you believe in ancient documents? I've been pondering on this issue for a while (Zhaoyun knows.) My main concern is the 24 histories: how do we know that 1) they were written in the times they were supposed to be (that is, how do we know Sima Qian wrote Shiji, how do we know Sungshi was written during the Yuan Dynasty, etc.), and 2) how do we know if they are accurate? And are most conventional Chinese history books written today based on the 24 histories?