Han–Xiongnu War - Wikipedia
The Qin Dynasty was followed by the longer-lived Han Dynasty, which . used the practice of heqin—tactical alliances through marriage—to pacify the Xiongnu. Xinjiang is the Chinese name for the Tarim and Dzungaria regions of what is now northwest China. At the beginning of the Han Dynasty ( BC AD), the. The most recent discussion of Chinese- Xiongnu relations appears in Nicola Di Cos- 2 Michael Loe we, Crisis and Conflict in Han China, BC to AD 9, ( London: .. ping yulan i; ļ fi ^ quotes the Zhuangzi $£ ~p passage with ban as.
Of the original mission of just over a hundred men, only Zhang Qian and Ganfu managed to return to China. Zhang Qian returned in BC with detailed news for the Emperor, showing that sophisticated civilizations existed to the West, with which China could advantageously develop relations. All these states, he was told, were militarily weak and prized Han goods and wealth". On his mission Zhang Qian had noticed products from an area now known as northern India.
However, the task remained to find a trade route not obstructed by the Xiongnu to India. Zhang Qian set out on a second mission to forge a route from China to India via Sichuanbut after many attempts this effort proved unsuccessful.
Visited countries are highlighted in blue. The people of Dayuan were being portrayed as sophisticated urban dwellers similar to the Parthians and the Bactrians.
The name Dayuan is thought to be a transliteration of the word Yonathe Greek descendants that occupied the region from the 4th to the 2nd century BCE. More credible is that it is a transliteration of the word "dahae", since the heavenly horses where of the kind Iranian people used and the confideracy was well known, compared to mythical greek presence. It was during this stay that Zhang reported the famous tall and powerful "blood-sweating" Ferghana horse.
The refusal by Dayuan to offer these horses to Emperor Wu of Han resulted in two punitive campaigns launched by the Han Dynasty to acquire these horses by force. The people are settled on the land, plowing the fields and growing rice and wheat. They also make wine out of grapes. The people live in houses in fortified cities, there being some seventy or more cities of various sizes in the region. The population numbers several hundred thousand" Shiji, Zhang Qian quote, trans.
They are a nation of nomads, moving place to place with their herds and their customs are like those of the Xiongnu. They have someorarcher warriors. Zhang Qian also describes the origins of the Yuezhi, explaining they came from the eastern part of the Tarim Basin. This has encouraged some historians to connect them to the Caucasoid mummies of the Tarim. The question of links between the Yuezhi and the Tocharians of the Tarim is more controversial. A smaller group of Yuezhi, the "Little Yuezhi", were not able to follow the exodus and reportedly found refuge among the " Qiang barbarians".
Zhang was the first Chinese to write about one humped dromedary camels which he saw in this region. Only small powerless chiefs remained, who were apparently vassals to the Yuezhi horde.
Their civilization was urban, almost identical to the civilizations of Anxi and Dayuan, and the population was numerous. Its people cultivate the land, and have cities and houses. Their customs are like those of Dayuan. It has no great ruler but only a number of petty chiefs ruling the various cities. The people are poor in the use of arms and afraid of battle, but they are clever at commerce.
After the Great Yuezhi moved west and attacked and conquered Daxia, the entire country came under their sway. The population of the country is large, numbering some 1, or more persons. The capital is Lanshi Bactra where all sorts of goods are bought and sold.
Cloth from Shu Sichuan was found there. Sindh was one of the richest regions of India at the time, ruled by Indo-Greek Kingdomswhich explains the reported cultural similarity between Bactria and India: Shendu, they told me, lies several thousand li southeast of Daxia Bactria.
The people cultivate the land and live much like the people of Daxia. The region is said to be hot and damp. The inhabitants ride elephants when they go in battle. The kingdom is situated on a great river Indus " Shiji, Zhang Qian quote, trans. A Chinese army crossed the Pamir Mountains, conquered territories as far west as the Caspian Sea, defeated the Yuezhi Kushan Empire, and even sent an emissary in search of the eastern provinces of Rome. One of the Four Great Beauties of Ancient Chinese, she is said to have been a gorgeous lady and talented at painting, Chinese calligraphy, playing chess and music.
She lived at a time when the Han Empire was having conflicts with Xiongnu, a nomadic people from Central Asia based in present-day Mongolia. Before her life took a dramatic turn, she was a neglected palace concubine, never visited by the emperor. Instead of giving him a princess, which was the custom, the emperor offered him five women from his harem, including Wang Zhaojun. No princess or maids wanted to marry a Xiongnu leader and live a distant place so Wang Zhaojun stood out when she agreed to go to Xiongnu.
When the Han emperor finally met her, he was astonished by her beauty, but it was too late for regrets. She married Hu Hangye and had children by him.
Peace ensued for over 60 years thanks to her marriage.
Xiongnu vs. Han China
Along the way, the horse neighed, making Zhaojun extremely sad and unable to control her emotions. As she sat on the saddle, she began to play sorrowful melodies on a stringed instrument.
A flock of geese flying southward heard the music, saw the beautiful young woman riding the horse, immediately forgot to flap their wings, and fell to the ground.
From then on, Zhaojun acquired the nickname "fells geese" or "drops birds. It resembles the natural green slope of a hill. She is still commemorated in Inner Mongolia people as a peace envoy, who contributed greatly to the friendship between the Han and Mongolian ethnic groups.
A Zhaojun Museum has been set up near her tomb, in which her beautiful likeness is displayed in a white-marble sculpture and her wedding scene has become a bronze statue. In these artistic representations Wang Zhaojun always looks happy and resolved, in accordance with the widely accepted image of her as a brave woman who sacrificed for her country. Her sorrows as a tragic heroine deprived of true love may be buried along with her deep in the green tomb.
For more on Wang Zhaojun see: The Yuezhi are first mentioned in Chinese sources at the beginning of the 2nd century B. When Lao Shang reigned c.
XIONGNU, YUEZHI AND OTHER ANCIENT HORSE PEOPLE OF CHINA, MONGOLIA AND CENTRAL ASIA
The Yuezhi originally lived in the area between the Qilian or Heavenly Mountains and Dunhuang, but after they were defeated by the Xiongnu they moved far away to the west, beyond Dayuan, where they attacked and conquered the people of Daxia and set up the court of their king on the northern bank of the Gui River. A small number of their people who were unable to make the journey west sought refuge among the Qiang barbarians in the Southern Mountains, where they are known as the Lesser Yuezhi.
However some scholars have argued that the mountains referred to are the Tian Shan, placing the original homeland of the Yuezhi 1, kilometers further west in the northern part of modern Xinjiang.
Endemic warfare between these two nomadic peoples reached a climax in the latter part of the third century and the early decades of the second century B.
The Yuezhi then migrated to the southwest where, early in the second century, they began to appear in the Oxus the modern Amu Darya Valley, to change the course of history in Bactria, Iran, and eventually India. Modu boasted in a letter B. A very small group of Yuezhi fled south to the territory of the Proto-Tibetan Qiang and came to be known to the Chinese as the "Small Yuezhi".
According to the Hanshu, they only numbered around families. The Sai undertook their own migration, which was to lead them as far as Kashmir, after travelling through a "Suspended Crossing" probably the Khunjerab Pass between present-day Xinjiang and northern Pakistan.
The Sakas ultimately established an Indo-Scythian kingdom in northern India. The Yuezhi crossed the neighbouring urban civilization of the Dayuan in Ferghana and settled on the northern bank of the Oxus, in the region of Transoxiana, in modern-day Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, just north of the Hellenistic Greco-Bactrian kingdom. The Greek city of Alexandria on the Oxus was apparently burnt to the ground by the Yuezhi around B.
Some time after that the Yuezhi moved south to Bactria, which was conquered by Alexander the Great in B. The Greek historian Strabo recorded this event, mistaking the Yuezhi for a Scythian tribe. All, or the greatest part of them, are nomads. The best known tribes are those who deprived the Greeks of Bactriana, the Asii, Pasiani, Tochari, and Sacarauli, who came from the country on the other side of the Jaxartes, opposite the Sacae and Sogdiani.
The eastern part of Bactria was occupied by Pashtun people. As they settled in Bactria from around B. Their descendants, the Kushans, converted to Buddhism in the 1st century B. When Kushan was its peak in first three centuries after Christ, it ranked with Rome, China and Parthia as one of the great powers of the world.
Commercial relations with China also flourished, as many Chinese missions were sent throughout the 1st century B. In the course of one year anywhere from five to six to over ten parties would be sent out. Their land is at a high altitude; the climate is dry; the region is remote. The king of the state calls himself "son of heaven". There are so many riding horses in that country that the number often reaches several hundred thousand. City layouts and palaces are quite similar to those of Daqin the Roman empire.
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The skin of the people there is reddish white. People are skilful at horse archery. Local products, rarities, treasures, clothing, and upholstery are very good, and even India cannot compare with it.
The Xianbei were the northern branch of the Donghu or Tung Hu, the Eastern Hua proto-Tunguz group mentioned in Chinese histories as existing as early as the fourth century B. The language of the Donghu, like that of the Xiongnu, is unknown to modern scholars.
The Donghu were among the first peoples conquered by the Xiongnu. Once the Xiongnu state weakened, however, the Donghu rebelled. By the first century, two major subdivisions of the Donghu had developed: The Xianbei, who by the second century A. The Wuhuan also were prominent in the second century, but they disappeared thereafter; possibly they were absorbed in the Xianbei western expansion.
The Xianbei and the Wuhuan used mounted archers in warfare, and they had only temporary war leaders instead of hereditary chiefs. Agriculture, rather than full-scale nomadism, was the basis of their economy.
In the sixth century A. The Xianbei were able to make forays into a China beset with internal unrest and political disintegration.
Chaos prevailed as these groups warred with each other and repulsed the vain efforts of the fragmented Chinese kingdoms south of the Chang Jiang to reconquer the region.