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The late W. P. Mayers has given in his "Chinese Reader's Manual", pp. 366—390, a very good chronological list of the Emperors of China and of their nien-hao or titles of reign. The same list is found in the Appendix to the "Dictionnaire Français-Latin-Chinois" of the Abbé Paul Perny, pp. 25 — 93 and, besides, in many other authors, but without the Chinese characters added to it. As far as we are aware, an alphabetical list of these designations has never been published; and however useful the abovenamed lists may be, they are not very convenient for reference.
Supposing, e.g. that a Chinese student reads in a Chinese author, that such and such a fact occurred in the third year of the period Yung-Kia he will have to peruse the whole list of some 500 and odd Nien-hao in Mayers's tables, till he meets with this name, which occasions an enormous loss of time. In turning up our alphabetical tables, he will find at a glance that the period Yung-Kia commenced in the year A.D. 307, so that the 3rd year corresponds to the year A.D. 309.
In referring to Mayers's tables, he will see then that this designation was adopted by the emperor Hwai Ti of the Western dynasty or Tsin-dynasty.
The same may be said of the names of the Emperors — the dynastic title or Miao hao. There are so many Kao-tsu'a, Wu-ti's, Wen-ti's, Fei-ti's, that the reader is bewildered to find out which one is meant by his Chinese author, or in European works on China, wherein generally no Chinese characters are added, and wherein the name is only represented by the transcription.
Our alphabetical list gives at a glance the desired name or dynastic title, the beginning and duration of the reign of the emperor in question, as also (between brackets) the dynasty to which he belongs.
Although we do not presume that our lists have a great scientific value, still we think that Chinese students will find them a convenient and practical guide for ascertaining, at a moments notice, a given name or date.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
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