2

司馬遷, 史記,秦始皇本紀

事不師古而能長久者,非所聞也。

I only understand the very broad meaning should be similar to:

That someone flourished without learning from the ancients, thereof I never heard.

But, to understand more clearly, I have to know what role 事 plays here. Is it the work of the government, like Confucianism says:

事君能致其身

Then I have to translate "learn from the ancients in governance". Or is it just the object of 張久,some matter that is supposed to flourish?

  • Doesn't it just mean "做事"? – songyuanyao Aug 28 '17 at 13:07
  • 1
    search web: chengyu.911cha.com/MjN6YQ==.html 事不师古: 成语解释:形容做事不吸取前人经验 . 成语年代:古代成语 – user6065 Aug 28 '17 at 13:23
  • 淳于越 want to make 秦始皇 believe his country should be grouped by many kindoms, just like 周. So 事 means national institutions – Jacob Aug 28 '17 at 16:46
  • 事 means every/any thing here. 事不師古而能長久者,非所聞也。I have never heard that anything can last long if they don't learn from the ancestors/histories. – vuluvsa Aug 29 '17 at 2:06
  • 1
    凡事(在这里仅指 making a policy)不吸取前人经验而能长久存在的(国家),从未听说过。事君 = works for king, 事 of 事不師古 = works for country. – Daniel Yeung Aug 31 '17 at 1:56
3

事不師古而能長久者﹒非所聞也

事 : working, you may shortcut it to governing in this context

不 : not

師 : learn, or imitate

古 : past

而 : and

能 : can be

長久 : long time

非: not

所聞: heard, maybe recorded

so, the verse is roughly:

[if the] governing (事) is not (不) imitate (師) to the past (古), and (而)[such governing] can (能) [last] long time (長久), it's unheard (非所聞).

that 淳于越 suggested that nations not using feudalism, would not last long.

some underlying asumptions:

in ancient china, both 商 dynasty (bc 1571 - 1046) and 周 dynasty (bc 1046 - 770) used feudalism. compare to spring and autumn period (春秋), and warring states (戰國) period, these two dynasties lasted 400-500 years, which was a long time.

the related text in 秦始皇本紀, would started from "始皇置酒咸陽宮"

仆射周青臣進頌曰:「他時秦地不過千里,賴陛下神靈明聖,平定海內,放逐蠻夷,日月所照,莫不賓服。以諸侯為郡縣,人人自安樂,無戰爭之患,傳之萬世。自上古不及陛下威德。」

then one of the master 淳于越 refuted:

博士齊人淳于越進曰:「臣聞殷周之王千餘歲,封子弟功臣,自為枝輔。今陛下有海內,而子弟為匹夫,卒有田常、六卿之臣,無輔拂,何以相救哉?事不師古而能長久者,非所聞也。今青臣又面諛以重陛下之過,非忠臣。」

last, the prime minister 李斯 suggested:

丞相李斯曰:「五帝不相復,三代不相襲,各以治,非其相反,時變異也。今陛下創大業,建萬世之功,固非愚儒所知。且越言乃三代之事,何足法也?異時諸侯并爭,厚招游學。今天下已定,法令出一,百姓當家則力農工,士則學習法令辟禁。今諸生不師今而學古,以非當世,惑亂黔首。丞相臣斯昧死言:古者天下散亂,莫之能一,是以諸侯并作,語皆道古以害今,飾虛言以亂實,人善其所私學,以非上之所建立。今皇帝并有天下,別黑白而定一尊。私學而相與非法教,人聞令下,則各以其學議之,入則心非,出則巷議,夸主以為名,異取以為高,率群下以造謗。如此弗禁,則主勢降乎上,黨與成乎下。禁之便。臣請史官非秦記皆燒之。非博士官所職,天下敢有藏詩、書、百家語者,悉詣守、尉雜燒之。有敢偶語詩書者棄市。以古非今者族。吏見知不舉者與同罪。令下三十日不燒,黥為城旦。所不去者,醫藥卜筮種樹之書。若欲有學法令,以吏為師。」

you may treat the text as argument of "feudalism" vs "totalitarianism"

the text maybe further elaborated, if you need :)

have fun :)

  • 一个老师在古早的中国看法中就是一个模仿者? – Pedroski Aug 28 '17 at 14:36
  • @Pedroski 師 is treated as a verb here meaning to learn or imitate. It's 文言文 – 超酷爆帅型男 Aug 29 '17 at 4:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.