After several ages of anarchy and despotism, the dynasty of the Han (before Christ 206) was the era of the revival of learning. The fragments of ancient literature were restored- the characters were improved and fixed; and the future preservation of books was secured by the useful inventions of ink, paper, and the art of printing. Ninety-seven years before Christ, Sematsien published the first history of China. His labours were illustrated and continued by a series of one hundred and eighty historians. The substance of their works is still extant; and the most considerable of them are now deposited in the king of France's library.