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(also Pan Meng-ch’ien). Born in 32; died in 92. Chinese writer and historian.
Pan Ku was born into a noble family. He held important posts. He served in the army that was formed under the command of Tou Hsien during the campaign against the Hsiung-nu (Huns). After the army’s defeat, Pan Ku was put in prison (92), where he died.
Pan Ku’s main work was the completion of The History of the Earlier Han Dynasty (58–82), which had been started by his father, Pan Piao (two sections were written by Pan Ku’s sister, Pan Chao). The book contains various materials on the history, economics, and culture of ancient China and Middle Asia. Pan Ku was famous as an author of fu; in particular, his descriptive Ode on the Two Capitals was praised. Pan Ku was a theorist of this genre of poetry.