海内 – Chinese philosophy and culture

hǎinèi 海内

Within the Four Seas

“四海之内”,即古代中国疆域以内。古人认为中国的疆域四周环海,各依方位称“东海”“南海”“西海”和“北海”,合称“四海”。“海内”即指“四海”所环绕的疆土。它隐含着古人以海为界的国土意识,是农耕文明的反映。

Within the Four Seas means within the territory of China. The ancient Chinese thought China’s territory was surrounded by the Four Seas (the East, West, North, and South seas). Within the Four Seas refers to the landmass surrounded by the Four Seas. It reflected the ancient Chinese belief that the seas were the natural boundary of a country, demonstrating the influence of an agriculture civilization.

引例 Citations:

◎今欲并天下,凌万乘,诎敌国,制海内,子元元,臣诸侯,非兵不可。(《战国策·秦策一》)

(如果想吞并天下,凌驾大国之上,使敌国屈服,控制海内,统治百姓,臣服诸侯,就非用武力不可。)

If our country wants to conquer all under heaven, rise above the big powers, subdue enemy states, control the territory within the Four Seas, govern the subjects and rule over the feudal lords, military force is indispensable. (Strategies of the Warring States)

◎海内存知己,天涯若比邻。(王勃《杜少府之任蜀州》)

(四海之内都会有知己,纵使远隔天涯海角也如近邻一样。)

If you have a bosom friend within the Four Seas, even at world’s end he remains close to you. (Wang Bo: Seeing Off a Friend Who Has Been Appointed to a County Post in Shuzhou)

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