Rise of Chinese dynasties (article) | Khan Academy
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 Han empire, ruled by Emperor Wu, changed from a relatively a way to counter the Xiongnu hold on western routes out of China, and so. Han-Xiongnu Post-Conquest Relations and Assimilation 35 .. To better understand the relationship between Han China and its nomadic neighbors, it is necessary to renewed the Heqin, following the advice of his advisors.
Military career[ edit ] Huo Qubing exhibited outstanding military talent even as a teenager. Emperor Wu saw Huo's potential and made Huo his personal assistant. Zhao Xin defected on the field with his ethnic Xiongnu subordinates, while Su Jian escaped after losing all his men in the desperate fighting.
Due to the loss of this detachment, Wei Qing's troops did not earn any promotion, but Huo Qubing distinguished himself by leading a long-distance search-and-destroy mission with light cavalrymen killing the Chanyu's grandfather and over 2, enemy troops, as well as capturing numerous Xiongnu nobles.
Despite Gongsun Ao failing to keep up, Huo Qubing travelled over 2, li without backup, all the way past Juyan Lake to Qilian Mountainskilling over 30, Xiongnu soldiers and capturing a dozen Xiongnu princes. His march was then increased further by a 5, households for the victory.
Out of frustration, Yizhixie Chanyu wanted to mercilessly execute those two princes as punishment. Failing to persuade his fellow prince to do the same, he killed the Prince of Xiutu and ordered Xiutu's forces to also surrender.
When the two tribes went to meet the Han forces, Xiutu's forces rioted. Seeing the situation changed, Huo Qubing alone headed to the Xiongnu camp. There, the general ordered the Prince of Hunxie to calm his men and stand down before putting down 8, Xiongnu men who refused to disarm, effectively quelling the riot. The Hunxie tribe was then resettled into the Central Plain.
The surrender of the Xiutu and Hunxie tribes stripped Xiongnu of any control over the Western Regions, depriving them of a large grazing area. The presentation of silks and grain from the Han to the Hsiung-nu is merely a clever device to estimate their numbers. Nor are these gifts in themselves without their drawbacks. On the contrary, when tho grain is ripe, it is trodden down by mounted troops, and there is an end of their harvest, much misery and distress being the natural result.
A few years of comparative peace followed, till BCEwhen the Shen-yu at the head of a hundred and forty thousand cavalry entered Chaou-na by the Seaou barrier, killed Sun Ngang the commandant of Pih-t'e, and carried off a great number of the people and cattle.
He then advanced on Pang-yang, whence he sent his mounted troops to set fire to the Hwuy-chung palace.
On the return of his cavalry from the expedition, he marched on Kan-tseuen in the department of Yung. Wan-te on his part was adopting measures to meet the emergency. The high official Chang Woo was gazetted as general, with a force of a thousand chariots, and a thousand cavalry troops, distributed over the Ch'ang-an region, to ward off the Hoo banditti.
Liw King the Marquis of Chang was appointed territorial general of Shang-keun Under this leadership, a vast levy of carriages and cavalry set forward to attack the Hoo. The Shen-yu was more than a month inside the stockades, but he retired on the approach of the Chinese army, and the troops of Han returned, without a blow having been struck. The Hsiung-nu were becoming daily more overbearing; every year they crossed the boundary, killing and carrying off the people and cattle in immense numbers; more especially in Yun-chung and Liaou-tung; and up to the region of Tae, there was a loss in all of more than ten thousand persons.
The Chinese being exceedingly distressed by these proceedings, an envoy was dispatched with a letter to the Hsiung-nu chief. The Shen-yu sent a Tang-hoo with a return letter acknowledging favours, and power to discuss the renewal of the treaty. In the Emperor again addressed a letter to the Shen-yu in the following terms: Your highness having sent a Tang-hoo, the Tseay-keu Teaou-nan, and the Gentliman-usher Han-Liaou, with two horses, these I have respectfully received.
When my imperial predecessor erected the Great Wal1, all the bowmen nations on the north were subject to the Shen-yu; while the residents inside the wall, who wore the cap and sash, were all under our government: No separations took place between fathers and sons; while princes and subjects lived together in peace, free from violence and oppression. Now it is reported that there are certain disreputable people, who seeking to free themselves from their obligations, have turned their back on their duty as subjects and abandoned the treaty; disregarding the welfare of the people, and ignoring the condition of harmony between the two princes.
But these are now matters of the past. The sages practised daily renovation, renewing their reformations and beginning afresh; giving rest to the aged and causing the young to attain maturity, each fulfilling his responsibility and completing his allotted span of life. Should I, in concert with the Shen-yu, follow this course, complying with the will of heaven, then compassion for the people will be transmitted from age to age, and extended to unending generations, while the universe will be moved with admiration, and the influence will be felt by neighbouring kingdoms inimical to the Clinese or the Hsiung-nu.
Now peace prevails all over the world; the myriads of the population are living in harmony, and I and the Shen-yu alone are the parents of the people.
On taking a retrospect of the past, I find trifling matters and minute causes have shaken the stability of subjects, and induced defective alligiance; all quite unworthy to mar the harmony that ought to exist between brethren. If you and I both forget the trifles of the by-gone, and walk together in the broad path, regardless of the evils that are past, uniting the people of the two nations as the children of one family, the great mass of the population will be blessed with peace and prosperity, while they will be preserved from perils; and the benefits will extend even to the lower creation, the denizens of tbe forest, the ocean and the firmament.
Hence, in the future, lit us not merely walk in the way of heaven, but overlook all that is past. I will freely pardon all my subjects who have run away or been carried captive; and lit not the Shen-yu seek the rendition of Chang-ne and others who have submitted to the Han. It is said that the ancient kings and emperors made clear stipulations in the treaties, and were ever true to their words.
Let your highness ponder well. After the conclusion of the treaty of peace throughout the world, take notice, the Han will not be the first to transgress.
Let no man dispute the benefits either personally or as to territory. The Hsiung-nu shall not come within the stockades; Chinese subjects shall not pass beyond the stockades. Death is the penalty of transgression.
Thus friendly relations may be long coutinued without a breach.
I have sanctioned it; let it be widely circulated through the empire, that the matter may be clearly understood. The new chief, however, had been little more than a year in power, when the treaty was thrown to the winds, and he poured thirty thousand cavalry into Shang-keun, and a similar force into Yun-chung, killing and taking captive immense numbers of the people.
Three Chinese generals were thereupon appointed, and the formation of military colonies was initiated Three other generals were appointed to important military posts When the Hoo cavalry crossed the border at Kow-choo in Tae, the news was telegraphed to Kan-tseun and Ch'ang-an by beacon fires.
It was a matter of months by the time the Chinese troops reached the border. In the summer ofthe Emperor Wan-te died, and was succeeded by his son King-te. Scarcely had the new prince ascended the throne, when disaffection began to manifest itself among the feudal states.
Suy the king of Chaou sent a messenger secretly to enter into communication with the Hsiung-nu. Woo and Tsoo rebelled, and wished to unite with Chaou in a plot to invade the border. The emperor however surrounded and disabled Chaou; while the Hsiung-nu declined to join the confederation.
Amicable relations were renewed between the Shen-yu and the Chinese court. A treaty was again signed, and a market was opened at the barrier.
Xiongnu vs. Han China
Presents were forwarded to the Hsiung-nu, and an imperial princess was sent to cement the alliance with the Shen-yu. The treaty was tolirably well observed throughout the reign of King-te ; towards the close there were some petty incursions on the borders, though there was no serious raid. Relations with the Hsiung-nu in the Reign of Emperor Wu-ti [ BCE] Wu-ti ascended the throne inthe early years of his reign being marked by occasional irruptions of his northern neighbours.
Inhowever, they requested a renewal of the treaty of peace, which was agreed to by the emperor after some deliberation, and an explicit declaration as to the stringency of the stipulations. The Hsiung-nu were treated liberally; the market at the barrier was continued, and handsome gifts were forwarded; so that from the Shen-yu downwards, the Hsiung-nu all became firmly attached to the Chinese, and confined their excursions to the outside of the Great Wall.
An influence in an opposite direction, however, was at work at court, and within two years of the signing of the treaty a deep laid plot was set on foot by the Chinese, for cutting off the great body of the Hsiung-nu.
Nee Yih, an old man, a native of Ma-yeh, was sent as it were clandestinely to negotiate with the Shen-yu. He pointed out to the latter the wealth that might be obtained by the capture of Ma-yeh, and pretended to sell the city to him. Allured by the prospect of gain, and trusting to the representations of Nee, the bait began to take.
The Shen-yu entered the Woo-chow stockade with a hundred thousand mounted troops, while the Chinese had more than three hundred thousand troops lying in in ambush in a valley near Ma-yeh. The high dignitary Han Gan-kwo was general of the covering force, to protect the four generals who were to draw the Shen-yu into the ambuscade.
When then Shen-yu had entered thee Chinese stockade, before he was within a hundred li of the Ma-yeh, he was astonished to see the cattle spread over the hills and no one to look after them. He attacked a military post, which was defended by the Commandant of Yed-mun, who happened to be then making his circuit. At this revelation the Shen-yu became greatly alarmed, and exclaimed: The Chinese troops having confidently reckoned on the Shen-yu entering Ma-yeh, had relaxed their vigilance; but as he did not come, their scheme proved a great collapse.
Discovering the state of matters, the general Wang Kwei led forward his forces beyond Tae, intending to overtake and capture the Hsiung-nu store waggons; but on hearing that the Shen-yu had returned, the greater part of the troops refused to proceed. Considering that Wang Kwei was the originator of this plot, and now having failed to follow up the fugitives, he was condemned to death by the emperor.
From that time the treaty was abandoned by the Hsiung-nu, who attacked the stockades on the high road, and were constantly committing acts of brigandage on the border, too numerous to mention. They were very glad, however, to avail themselves of the market at the barrier, having become fond of Chinese commodities; and the Chinese were very desirous to cultivate this barrier traffic, as a means of enfeebling their rivals The Mission to the West by Zhang Qian. What follows is the account of that mission by Zhang Qian Chang K'ienwhich is generally considered to have influenced significantly the Han decision to expand signficantly to the West and develop the "Silk Road.
Chang K'ien was a native of Han-chung [in the south of Shen-si province] ; during the period of K'ien-yuan [ BCE] he was a lang [a titular officer of the imperial household; a yeoman]. At that time the Son of Heaven made inquiries among those Hsiung-nu who had surrendered [as prisoners] and they all reported that the Hsiung-nu had overcome the king of the Yue-chi and made a drinking-vessel out of his skull.
The Yue-chi had decamped and were hiding somewhere, all the time scheming how to take revenge on the Hsiung-nu, but had no ally to join them in striking a blow. The Chinese; wishing to declare war on and wipe out the Tartars, upon hearing this report, desired to communicate with the Yue-chi; but, the road having to pass through the territory of the Hsiung-nu, the Emperor sought out men whom he could send.
Chang K'ien, being a lang, responded to the call and enlisted in a mission to the Yue-chi; he took with him one Kan Fu, a Tartar, formerly a slave of the T 'ang-i family, and set out from Lung-si [Kan-su], crossing the territory of the Hsiung-nu. The Hsiung-nu made him a prisoner and sent him to the Shan-yu [Great Khan or King], who detained him, saying: If I wished to send ambassadors to Yue [Kiangsi and Ch'okiang], would China be willing to submit to us?
All this time Chang K'ie'n had kept possession of the Emperor's token of authority, and, when in the course of time he was allowed greater liberty, he, watching his opportunity, succeeded in making his escape with his men in the direction of the Yue-chi. Having marched several tens of days to the west, he arrived in Ta-yuan. The people of this country, having heard of the wealth and fertility of China, had tried in vain to communicate with it. When, therefore, they saw Chang K'ien, they asked joyfully: I have now escaped them and would ask that your king have some one conduct me to the country of the Yue-chi; and if I should succeed in reaching that country, on my return to China, my king will reward yours with untold treasures.
The Ta-yuan believed his account and gave him safe-conduct on postal roads to K'ang-ku [Soghdiana], and K'ang-ku sent him on to the Ta-yue-chi. The king of the Ta-yue-chi having been killed by the Hu ['Tartars'; in this case the Hsiung-nu], the people had set up the crown prince in his stead [in the Ts'ien-han-shu it is the queen who is appointed his successor]. They had since conquered Ta-hia [Bactria] and occupied that country.
The latter being rich and fertile and little troubled with robbers, they had determined to enjoy a peaceful life; moreover, since they considered themselves too far away frorn China, they had no longer the intention to take revenge on the Hu [Hsiung-nu]. Chang K 'ien went through the country of the Yue-chi to Ta-hia [Bactria], yet, after all, he did not carry his point with the Yue-chi. After having remained there fully a year, he returned, skirting the Nan-shan. He wished to return through the country of the K'iang [Tangutans], but was again made a prisoner by the Hsiung-nu, who detained him for more than a year, when the Shan-yu died and the 'Left' Luk-li [possibly Turk.
Ulugla,'highly honored'] prince attacked the rightful heir and usurped the throne, thus throwing the country into a state of confusion.
Kan Fu], escaped and returned to China. Chang K'ien was a man of strong physique, magnanimous and trustful, and popular with the foreign tribes in the south and west.
T'ang-i Fu was formerly a Hu [Tartar; Hsiung-nu? Being an excellent bowman, he would, when supplies were exhausted, provide food by shooting game. When Chang K'ien started on his journey, his caravan consisted of more than a hundred men; thirteen years later, only two lived to return. The following countries were visited by Chang K'ien in person: Ta-yuan [Ferghana], Ta-yue-chi [Indoscythians], Ta-hia [Bactria] and K'ang-ku [Soghdiana]; there were besides, five or six other large adjacent countries concerning which he gained information and on which he reported to the Emperor in the following terms.
Ta-yuan [Ferghana] is to the southwest of the Hsiung-nu and due west of China, at a distance of about 10, li. The people are permanent dwellers and given to agriculture; and in their fields they grow rice and wheat. They have wine made of grapes p'u-t'au and many good horses. The horses sweat blood and come from the stock of the t'ien-ma [heavenly horse, perhaps the wild horse].
They have walled cities and houses; the large and small cities belonging to them, fully seventy in number, contain an aggregate population of several hundreds of thousands. Their arms consist of bows and halberds, and they shoot arrows while on horseback. North of this country is K'ang-ku [Soghdiana]; in the west are Yue-chi; in the southwest is Ta-hia [Bactria]; in the northeast are the Wu-sun; and in the east Han-mi and Yu-tien [Khotan]. All the rivers west of Yu-tien flow in a westerly direction and feed the Western Sea; all the rivers east of it flow east and feed the Salt Lake [Lopnor].
The Salt Lake flows underground. To the south of it [Yu-tien] is the source from which the Ho [Yellow River] arises. The country contains much jadestone. The river flows through China; and the towns of Lou-lan and Ku-shi with their city walls closely border on the Salt Lake. The Salt Lake is possibly li distant from Chang-an. To the south they are bounded by the K 'iang [Tangutans], where they bar the road [to China].
Of archers they have several tens of thousands, all daring warriors. Formerly they were subject to the Hsiung-nu, but they became so strong that, while maintaining nominal vassalage, they refused to attend the meetings of the court. It also is a country of nomads with manners and customs very much the same as those of the Yue-chi. They have eighty or ninety thousand archers. The country is coterminous with Ta-yuan. It has fully a hundred thousand archers. The country lies close to a great sea [ta-tso, lit.
The Ta-yue-chi [Indoscythians] are perhaps two or three thousand li to the west of Ta-yuan.
They live to the north of the K'ui-shui [Oxus]. They are a nomad nation, following their flocks and changing their abodes. Their customs are the same as those of the Hsiung-nu. They may have one to two hundred thousand archers. In olden times they relied on their strength, and thought lightly of the Hsiung-nu; but when Mau-tun ascended the throne he attacked and defeated the Yue-chi. Up to the time when Lau-shang, Shan-yu of the Hsiung-nu, killed the king of the Yue-chi and made a drinking vessel out of his skull, the Yue-chi had lived between Dunhuang [now Sha-chou] and the K'i-lien [a hill southwest of Kan-chou-fu].
Han–Xiongnu War - Wikipedia
But when they were beaten by the Hsiung-nu, they fled to a distant country and crossed to the west of Yuan [Ta-yuan], attacked Ta-hia [Bactria], and conquered it. Subsequently they had their capital in the north of the K'ui-shui [Oxus] and made it the court of their king. The minority which were left behind and were not able to follow them, took refuge among the K'iang [Tangutans] of the Nan-shan, and were called Siau-Yue-chi Small Yue-chi.
The people live in fixed abodes and are give to agriculture; their fields yield rice and wheat; and they make wine of grapes. Their cities and towns are like those of Ta-yuan.
Several hundred small and large cities belong to it. The territory is several thousand li square; it is a yery large country and is close to the K'ui-shui [Oxus]. Their market folk and merchants travel in carts and boats to the neighboring countries perhaps several thousand li distant. They make coins of silver; the coins resemble their king's face. Upon the death of a king the coins are changed for others on which the new king's face is represented. They paint [rows of characters] running sideways on [stiff] leather, to serve as records.
West of this country is T'iau-chi; north is An-ts'ai. It [referring to T 'iau-ch'i] is hot and damp. The inhabitants plow their fields, in which they grow rice. There is a big bird with eggs like jars. The number of its inhabitants very large and they have in many places their own petty chiefs; but An-si [Parthia], while having added it to its dependencies, considers it a foreign country. They have clever jugglers.
Although the old people in An-si maintain the tradition that the Jo-shui and the Si-wang-mu are in T'iau-chi, they have not been seen there. Ta-hia [Bactria] is more than li to the southwest of Ta-yuan, on the south bank of the K'ui-shui [Oxus].
The people have fixed abodes and live in walled cities and regular houses like the people of Ta-yuan.
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They have no great king or chief, but everywhere the cities and towns have their own petty chiefs. The population of Ta-hia may amount to more than a million. Their capital is called Lan-shi, and it has markets for the sale of all sorts of merchandise. To the southeast of it is the country of Shon-tu [India].
Funeral Sites of the Xiongnu Elite
Chang K'ien says [in his report to the Emperor]: When I asked the inhabitants of Ta-hia how they had obtained possession of these, they replied: The people there have fixed abodes, and their customs are very much like those of Ta-hia; but the country is low, damp, and hot. The people ride eliphants to fight in battle. The country is close to a great river. According to my calculation, Ta-hia must be 12, li distant from China and to the southwest of the latter. Now the country of Shon-tu being several thousand li the southeast of Ta-hia, and the produce of Shu [Ssi-ch'uan] being found there, that country cannot be far from Shu.
Suppose we send ambassadors to Ta-hia through the country of the K'iang [Tangutans], there is the danger that the K'iang will object; if we send them but slightly farther north, they will be captured by the Hsiung-nu; but by going by way of Shu [Ssi-ch'uan] they may proceed direct and will be unmolisted by robbers.
Ta-yuan and the possessions of Ta-hia and An-si are large countries, full of rare things, with a population living in fixed abodes and given to occupations somewhat identical with those of the Chinese people, but with weak armies, and placing great value on the rich produce of China; in the north the possessions of the Ta-yue-chi and K'ang-ku, being of military strength, might be made subservient to the interests of the court by bribes and thus gained over by the mere force of persuasion.
In this way a territory 10, li in extent would be available for the spread among the four seas of Chinese superior civilization by communicating through many interpreters with the nations holding widely different customs. As a result the Son of Heaven was pleased to approve Chang K'ien's proposal. He thereupon gave orders that, in accordance with Cliang K'ien's suggestions, exploring expeditions be sent out from Kien-wei of the Shu kingdom [the present Su-chou-fu on the Upper Yangtzi] by four different routes at the same time: These several missions had each traveled but one or two thousand li when those in the north were prevented from proceeding farther by the Ti and Tso tribes, and those in the south by the Sui and K'un-ming tribes [placed by the commentators in the southwest of Si-chou-fu], who had no chiefs and, being given to robbery, would have killed or captured the Chinese envoys.
The result was that the expeditions could not proceed farther. They heard, however, that about a thousand li or more to the west there was the 'elephant-riding country' called Tien-yue [possibly meaning 'the Tien,' or Yunnan, part of Yue or South China], whither the traders of Shu [Ssi-ch'uan] were wont to proceed, exporting produce surreptitiously.
Thus it was that by trying to find the road to Ta-hia [Bactria] the Chinese obtained their first knowledge of the Tien country Yun-nan.
The original idea to penetrate from China through the country of the southwestern barbarians was abandoned, because, in spite of the heavy expense incurred, the passage could not be effected; but it was in pursuance of Chang K'ien's report regarding the possibility of finding a road to Ta-hia [Bactria] that attention had again been drawn to these barbarians.
It had been due to Chang K'ien's knowledge of their pasture-grounds, when following, in the capacity of a subcommander, the general-in-chief sent out against the Hsiung-nu, that the army did not fall short of provisions. For this the Emperor invested him with the title 'Marquis of Po-wang. Researchers are in wide agreement that the unique civilization of nomads of Mongolia and Central Asia was founded by the Xiongnu people.
In Mongolia alone, there are over elite and small circular tombs, and 10 archaeological remains of settlements, and countless examples of rock art. Most 7 of these complex sites are located in the territory of Mongolia. A certain style of tomb of the Xiongnu Elite was widespread. This shows a similarity in funeral rites between all the sites.
Most funeral complexes of the Xiongnu Elite consist of big elite tombs and small circular tombs and sacrificial features that either have stone or earth surface cover. The external structure of a Xiongnu Elite tomb has two parts: Although the general layout of terrace tombs is very similar, their sizes and depths can differ considerably.
The depth of the burial pits range from 6 meters to 20 meters, depending on size of the surface structure. Vault walls were usually built from logs which were covered with felt rugs decorated in various patterns. Sometimes the coffins were additionally covered with silk or other textiles and with decorations near the head section representing the sun and the moon.
The Xiongnu often buried specific ritual objects with their royalty and other aristocrats. Tombs that are deeper tend to have objects of better quality and sophistication. Tombs often contain the heads and long bones of animals that appear to have been sacrificed. There are elite burials in places called Sujigt Sujigt This heritage site was discovered in The tombs are similar to elite tombs of other places but the tomb 20 is the deepest Funeral site of the Xiongnu Elite at Gol Mod I This site is located 35 km southeast from Khairkhan soum and within the territory of Khairkhan and Erdenemandal soums of Arkhangai province and covers he area.
Approximately tombs have been registered, of these 3 elite tombs, 41 satellite burials and 3 sacrificial features were excavated.
This site was firstly discovered in Injoint Mongolian and French expedition recovered complete silver and bronze ornaments, golden and silver decorations of coffin, felt rug, silk, bronze and iron utensils and jasper objects. Besides these, there are artifacts, which came from China and Middle Asia that helped to establish foreign relationship of the Xiongnu.
This site covers a total of 3. It is located km west from the Gol Mod I. This shows that the area of Khangai ridge was the center of the territory of the Xiongnu. A total of big tombs have been registered, of these 98 are square shaped with entrance way and 9 are circular with entrance way as well.