As Han Court Official
After his travels, Sima was chosen to be a Palace Attendant in the government, whose duties were to inspect different parts of the country with Emperor Han Wudi. In 110 BC, at the age of thirty-five, Sima Qian was sent westward on a military expedition against some "barbarian" tribes. That year, his father fell ill and could not attend the Imperial Feng Sacrifice. Suspecting his time was running out, he summoned his son back home to complete the historical work he had begun. Sima Tan wanted to follow the Annals of Spring and Autumn - the first chronicle in the history of Chinese literature. Fueled by his father's inspiration, Sima Qian started to compile Shiji in 109 BC. Three years after the death of his father, Sima Qian became the Grand Historian. In 105 BC, Sima was among the scholars chosen to reform the calendar. As a senior imperial official, Sima was also in the position to offer counsel to the emperor on general affairs of state.
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