Xiongnu

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Xiongnu
3rd century BC–460s
Territory of the Xiongnu (green), circa 250 BC
Territory of the Xiongnu (green), circa 250 BC
CapitalLongcheng (龙城/蘢城), near Khoshoo Tsaidam (present-day in Mongolia), was established as the annual meeting place and de facto capital.
Religion
possibly Tengriism[1][2]
Chanyu 
History 
• Established
3rd century BC
• Disestablished
460s

The Xiongnu (Chinese: 匈奴) were nomads who lived north of China from about 3rd century BC to 460s AD. Their lands were very infertile, so they tried to attack China many times. As this was very irritating, the first emperor of China (Qin Shi Huang) built the Great Wall of China around 214 to 206 BC to keep them out. Some Han dynasty emperors tried to stop the wars and make friends with them, but they still tried to attack the Chinese borders.

At first, it was believed that they were related to the Huns, and currently many people still believe this. In old times, nomadic tribes often travelled and lived together, even tribes speaking different languages. Around 60 BC, there was a struggle for power, and the Xiongnu broke up into five smaller tribes.

In 202 AD, the leader of the Southern Xiongnu surrendered to Prime Minister Cao Cao of the Han dynasty.

They are part of the Mongolian people now, or some of them have migrated to China for a better life.

The Han dynasty sent unrelated women falsely labeled as princesses and members of the Han imperial family when they were practicing Heqin marriage alliances with the Xiongnu.[3][4][5][6][7]

The Xiongnu practiced marriage alliances with Han dynasty officers and officials. The older sister of the Chanyu (the Xiongnu ruler) was married to the Xiongnu General Zhao Xin, the Marquis of Xi who was serving the Han dynasty. The daughter of the Qiedihou Chanyu was married to the Han Chinese General Li Ling after he surrendered and defected.[8][9][10][11][12] The Yenisei Kirghiz Khagans claimed descent from Li Ling.[13][14] Another Han Chinese General who defected to the Xiongnu was Li Guangli who also married a daughter of the Chanyu.[15] The Han Chinese diplomat Su Wu married a Xiongnu woman given by Li Ling when he was arrested and taken captive.[16] Han Chinese explorer Zhang Qian married a Xiongnu woman and had a child with her when he was taken captive by the Xiongnu. Han Emperor Wu dispatched the Han Chinese explorer Zhang Qian to explore the mysterious kingdoms to the west and to form an alliance with the Yuezhi people in order to combat the Xiongnu. During this time Zhang married a Xiongnu wife, who bore him a son, and gained the trust of the Xiongnu leader.[17][18][19][20][21][22][23]

The Kyrgyz khagans claimed descent from the Chinese general Li Ling, grandson of the famous Han dynasty general Li Guang.[24][25][26][27] Li Ling was captured by the Xiongnu and defected in the first century BCE.[28][29] And since the Tang royal Li family also claimed descent from Li Guang, the Kirghiz Khagan was therefore recognized as a member of the Tang Imperial family. This relationship soothed the relationship when Kyrgyz khagan Are (阿熱) invaded Uyghur Khaganate and put Qasar Qaghan to the sword. The news brought to Chang'an by Kyrgyz ambassador Zhuwu Hesu (註吾合素).

The Khitan ruler Abaoji did extend his influence onto the Mongolian Plateau in 924, but there is no indication whatsoever of any conflict with the Kyrgyz. The only information we have from Khitan (Liao) sources regarding the Kyrgyz indicates that the two powers maintained diplomatic relations. Scholars who write of a Kyrgyz "empire" from about 840 to about 924 are describing a fantasy. All available evidence suggests that despite some brief extensions of their power onto the Mongolian Plateau, the Kyrgyz did not maintain a significant political or military presence there after their victories in the 840s.

— Michael Drompp

References[change | change source]

  1. Pines, Yuri (2012). The Everlasting Empire: The Political Culture of Ancient China and Its Imperial Legacy. Princeton University Press. p. 37. ISBN 978-1-4008-4227-8.
  2. Man, John (2005). Attila: The Barbarian King who Challenged Rome. Bantam Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-0-593-05291-4.
  3. Lo, Ping-cheung (2015). "11 Legalism and offensive realism in the Chinese court debate on defending national security 81 BCE". In Lo, Ping-cheung; Twiss, Sumner B (eds.). Chinese Just War Ethics: Origin, Development, and Dissent. War, Conflict and Ethics (illustrated ed.). Routledge. p. 269. ISBN 978-1317580973. There were altogether nine marriages of Han princesses (fake or real) to the Xiongnu during these roughly 60 years (for a complete list of details, see Cui 2007a, 555). We will call this policy Heqin Model One, and, as Ying-shih Yu ...
  4. Qian, Sima (2019). Historical Records 史记: The First and Most Important Biographical General History Book in China. DeepLogic. Liu Jing said: "The Han dynasty was just calm, the soldiers were exhausted by the fire, and the Xiongnu could not be ... If the majesty could not send a big princess, let the royal woman or the fake princess, he I will know that I will ...
  5. Chin, Tamara T. (2020). Savage Exchange: Han Imperialism, Chinese Literary Style, and the Economic Imagination. Harvard University Studies in East Asian Law. BRILL. p. 225. ISBN 978-1684170784. In the Han- Wusun alliance (unlike the Han- Xiongnu heqin agreements) the gifts flowed in the proper direction, ... Thus, while Empress Lü transgressed the heqin marriage in having a false princess sent, Liu Jing's original proposal ...
  6. Chin, Tamara Ta Lun (2005). Savage Exchange: Figuring the Foreign in the Early Han Dynasty. University of California, Berkeley. p. 66, 73, 74. Figuring the Foreign in the Early Han Dynasty Tamara Ta Lun Chin ... Emperor Han Wudi's military push to reverse the power relations between Xiongnu and Han stands in stark contrast to the original ... Xiongnu with a false princess .
  7. Mosol, Lee (2013). Ancient History of the Manchuria. Xlibris Corporation. p. 77. ISBN 978-1483667676. ... 孝文皇帝 sent a girl as a new wife for the Chanyu as a 'fake princess of Royal family' with a eunuch named '中行 ... The Han lured the Xiongnu chief deep into the China proper town called “馬邑,” but Gunchen Chanyu realized the trap ...
  8. [1], p. 31.
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  13. Veronika Veit, ed. (2007). The role of women in the Altaic world: Permanent International Altaistic Conference, 44th meeting, Walberberg, 26–31 August 2001. Vol. 152 of Asiatische Forschungen (illustrated ed.). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 61. ISBN 978-3447055376. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  14. Michael Robert Drompp (2005). Tang China and the collapse of the Uighur Empire: a documentary history. Vol. 13 of Brill's Inner Asian library (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 126. ISBN 9004141294. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
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  23. Adrienne Mayor (22 September 2014). The Amazons: Lives and Legends of Warrior Women across the Ancient World. Princeton University Press. pp. 422–. ISBN 978-1-4008-6513-0.
  24. Veronika Veit, ed. (2007). The role of women in the Altaic world: Permanent International Altaistic Conference, 44th meeting, Walberberg, 26-31 August 2001. Vol. 152 of Asiatische Forschungen (illustrated ed.). Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. p. 61. ISBN 978-3447055376. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  25. Michael Robert Drompp (2005). Tang China and the collapse of the Uighur Empire: a documentary history. Vol. 13 of Brill's Inner Asian library (illustrated ed.). BRILL. p. 126. ISBN 9004141294. Retrieved 8 February 2012.
  26. Kyzlasov, Leonid R. (2010). The Urban Civilization of Northern and Innermost Asia Historical and Archaeological Research (PDF). Curatores seriei VICTOR SPINEI et IONEL CANDEÂ VII. Vol. The Urban Civilization of Northern and Innermost Asia Historical and Archaeological Research. ROMANIAN ACADEMY INSTITUTE OF ARCHAEOLOGY OF IAȘI Editura Academiei Romane - Editura Istros. p. 245. ISBN 978-973-27-1962-6. Florilegium magistrorum historiae archaeologiaeque Antiqutatis et Medii Aevi.
  27. Drompp, Michael (2021). Tang China and the Collapse of the Uighur Empire: A Documentary History. Brill's Inner Asian Library. BRILL. p. 126. ISBN 978-9047414780.
  28. Veit, Veronika-, ed. (2007). The role of women in the Altaic world : Permanent International Altaistic Conference, 44th meeting, Walberberg, 26-31 August 2001. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz. p. 61. ISBN 978-3-447-05537-6. OCLC 182731462.
  29. Drompp, Michael R. (1999). "Breaking the Orkhon Tradition: Kirghiz Adherence to the Yenisei Region after A. D. 840". Journal of the American Oriental Society. 119 (3): 394–395. doi:10.2307/605932. JSTOR 605932.