Population of the Tibetan Empire

May 2017
197
indo
#11
bullshits, more likely 400,000 army. tibetan are sedentary civilization like china not nomad one, there is a lot of cities and capital that they have to defend, you can't go full offensive like northern nomads, 40,000 army are not even enough to defend tibet itself, how can 40,000 tibetan army can defend and offense at the same time? not possible.
 
Jul 2014
1,493
world
#12
bullshits, more likely 400,000 army. tibetan are sedentary civilization like china not nomad one, there is a lot of cities and capital that they have to defend, you can't go full offensive like northern nomads, 40,000 army are not even enough to defend tibet itself, how can 40,000 tibetan army can defend and offense at the same time? not possible.
Tibet was and is a mostly semi nomadic culture. You are the first person who has argued that Tibet is a sedentary culture. Utsang is/was semi nomadic outside of Shigatse and Lhasa. kham is/was 70 percent nomadic. Amdo is pure nomad.

The bullshit you are talking about is Tang dynasty accounts of battles in which huge Tibetan armies fought . The Tang historians were the bullshiteers of the first order in regards to Tibet. Here's the truth. The Yarlung dynasty imperial census of Tibet in 652 calculated the Tibetan population at four hundred thousand people and later Yuan imperial census of Tibet in the 13th century calculated the population to even lower numbers.

Mind you these are imperial numbers not some guess work.
 
Jul 2014
1,493
world
#13
It seems I mistakenly thought the Bka thang sde lnga was a primary source from the imperial period, but when its actually a 13th century source describing the imperial period under Songtsen Gampo. However, like many sources of the time, it was probably based on some imperial period records. I'm afraid we cannot really know just how big Tibetan armies are based on these sources alone. However, these later medieval sources tell us that while Stong ste literally means unit of one thousand, it can easily be larger than that.
How can you say that we cannot know the source about the tibetan army/population when the imperial Yarlung census is there and mongol census is there in regards to Tibetan population and taxes ? We literally have the best sources possible.

I am sure that these huge Tibetan armies were non existent ..at least in the early empire period when Tibet inflicted some of the worse defeats to the Tang empire.I am just surprised that Tibet was fighting against everybody with such small a force. Yarlung was even more militaristic than commonly thought.
 
Mar 2012
4,319
#14
How can you say that we cannot know the source about the tibetan army/population when the imperial Yarlung census is there and mongol census is there in regards to Tibetan population and taxes ? We literally have the best sources possible.

I am sure that these huge Tibetan armies were non existent ..at least in the early empire period when Tibet inflicted some of the worse defeats to the Tang empire.I am just surprised that Tibet was fighting against everybody with such small a force. Yarlung was even more militaristic than commonly thought.
I already gave the exact reasons and the critical analysis behind them in my previous posts, I'm not sure whether you are not reading hard enough or just not understanding what I wrote. In short, there is no evidence that a stong ste is a force of one thousand just because the word translates to miliarch and we have later sources stating that a stong ste can be around 10,000. This is why we cannot know the exact size of the early Tibetan army.


The bullshit you are talking about is Tang dynasty accounts of battles in which huge Tibetan armies fought . The Tang historians were the bullshiteers of the first order in regards to Tibet. Here's the truth. The Yarlung dynasty imperial census of Tibet in 652 calculated the Tibetan population at four hundred thousand people and later Yuan imperial census of Tibet in the 13th century calculated the population to even lower numbers.
Other than Da Feichuan of 670 and Wuhai of 678 (as well as post-Anlushan records when Tibetan armies suddenly got proportionally bigger in records because central command broke down), most Tang accounts of Tibetan armies are rather down to earth, typically around a couple of ten thousand. Even for Da Feichuan, later Tibetan sources such as the Bka thang sde lnga and Mkhas pa ldeus mdzad pai rgya bod kyi chis ‘byung rgyas pa shows that Tibet was capable of mobilizing 400,000 soldiers. The 61,000 given by Warren Smith, assuming each stong ste is 1,000 is the lowest end estimate and considering Tang records of Tibetan garrisons of later times in the tens of thousands and capable of stalemating Tang garrisons in the tens of thousands opposing them in the Gansu-Qinghai frontier alone (there are around 220,000 Tang soldiers stationed in garrisons and forts along Longyou and Hexi together, and we hear Tibetans establishing similar garrisons and forts opposing them), there is all the reason to assume that 61,000 is an underestimation of the actual military potential of the Tibetan Empire.
 
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Jul 2014
1,493
world
#15
I already gave the exact reasons and the critical analysis behind them in my previous posts, I'm not sure whether you are not reading hard enough or just not understanding what I wrote. In short, there is no evidence that a stong ste is a force of one thousand just because the word translates to miliarch and we have later sources stating that a stong ste can be around 10,000. This is why we cannot know the exact size of the early Tibetan army.




Other than Da Feichuan of 670 and Wuhai of 678 (as well as post-Anlushan records when Tibetan armies suddenly got proportionally bigger in records because central command broke down), most Tang accounts of Tibetan armies are rather down to earth, typically around a couple of ten thousand. Even for Da Feichuan, later Tibetan sources such as the Bka thang sde lnga and Mkhas pa ldeus mdzad pai rgya bod kyi chis ‘byung rgyas pa shows that Tibet was capable of mobilizing 400,000 soldiers. The 61,000 given by Warren Smith, assuming each stong ste is 1,000 is the lowest end estimate and considering Tang records of Tibetan garrisons of later times in the tens of thousands and capable of stalemating Tang garrisons in the tens of thousands opposing them in the Gansu-Qinghai frontier alone (there are around 220,000 Tang soldiers stationed in garrisons and forts along Longyou and Hexi together, and we hear Tibetans establishing similar garrisons and forts opposing them), there is all the reason to assume that 61,000 is an underestimation of the actual military potential of the Tibetan Empire.
I already gave the exact reasons and the critical analysis behind them in my previous posts, I'm not sure whether you are not reading hard enough or just not understanding what I wrote. In short, there is no evidence that a stong ste is a force of one thousand just because the word translates to miliarch and we have later sources stating that a stong ste can be around 10,000. This is why we cannot know the exact size of the early Tibetan army.




Other than Da Feichuan of 670 and Wuhai of 678 (as well as post-Anlushan records when Tibetan armies suddenly got proportionally bigger in records because central command broke down), most Tang accounts of Tibetan armies are rather down to earth, typically around a couple of ten thousand. Even for Da Feichuan, later Tibetan sources such as the Bka thang sde lnga and Mkhas pa ldeus mdzad pai rgya bod kyi chis ‘byung rgyas pa shows that Tibet was capable of mobilizing 400,000 soldiers. The 61,000 given by Warren Smith, assuming each stong ste is 1,000 is the lowest end estimate and considering Tang records of Tibetan garrisons of later times in the tens of thousands and capable of stalemating Tang garrisons in the tens of thousands opposing them in the Gansu-Qinghai frontier alone (there are around 220,000 Tang soldiers stationed in garrisons and forts along Longyou and Hexi together, and we hear Tibetans establishing similar garrisons and forts opposing them), there is all the reason to assume that 61,000 is an underestimation of the actual military potential of the Tibetan Empire.

Kaden or the 5 chronicles is a 13th century book not 7th or 8th or 9th when Tibetan empire existed . We have mongol census and yarlung Imperial census. The best possible source. How can you compare a 13th century book with the sources I have mentioned. How can one overlook a government census in favor of a book ?

Stang literally means a thousand. Thri means ten thousands. There can be no mistakes about it. There are different titles for the commanders of one thousand and commanders of ten thousand. Stangpen means lord of one thousand. Thripen means lord of ten thousand. There can be no confusion about it. If anything the number may actually be lower as generally there is no full strength of any army. Like the mongol Tumens actually were generally around 5000 strong not 10 thousand.

Tibet fielded strong army in Qinghai Gansu area because of Hexu corridor. A very lucrative trade route. And it was never into hundreds of thousands. Tibet has great lack of arable land and has no population to support that big an army.

Tang having an army of 200 thousand strong doesn't mean that Tibet had to have the same. For example the Jin fielded huge armies against the mongols that barely had one hundred thousand warriors.

The Tibetan army that destroyed the greatest Tang army ever fielded during battle of Da feichuan war was supposedly four hundred thousand strong . This is absolutely fantasy . How can that be ? Tibet had no vassals to contribute manpower during that time period. And a Yarlung imperial census taken just 15 years ago had a total Tibetan population around four hundred thousand strong. How can there be a four hundred thousand strong army when the whole population is around four hundred thousand strong?
 
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Jul 2014
1,493
world
#16
Kaden or the 5 chronicles is a 13th century book not 7th or 8th or 9th when Tibetan empire existed . We have mongol census and yarlung Imperial census. The best possible source. How can you compare a 13th century book with the sources I have mentioned. How can one overlook a government census in favor of a book ?

Stang literally means a thousand. Thri means ten thousand. There are different titles for the commanders of one thousand and commanders of ten thousand. Stangpen means lord of one thousand. Thripen means lord of ten thousand. There can be no confusion about it. If anything the number may actually be lower as generally there is no full strength of any army. Like the mongol Tumens actually were generally around 5000 strong not 10 thousand.

Tibet fielded a strong army in Qinghai Gansu area because of Hexu corridor. A very lucrative trade route. And it was never into hundreds of thousands. Tibet has great lack of arable land and has no population to support that big an army.

Tang having an army of 200 thousand strong doesnt mean that Tibet had to have the same. For example the Jin fielded huge armies against the mongols that barely had one hundred thousand warriors.

The Tibetan army that destroyed the greatest Tang army ever fielded during battle of Da feichuan war was supposedly four hundred thousand strong . This is absolutely fantasy . How can that be ? Tibet had no vassals to contribute manpower during that time period. And a Yarlung imperial census taken just 15 years ago had a total Tibetan population around four hundred thousand strong. How can there be a four hundred thousand strong army when the whole population is around four hundred thousand strong.
 
Mar 2012
4,319
#17
Kaden or the 5 chronicles is a 13th century book not 7th or 8th or 9th when Tibetan empire existed . We have mongol census and yarlung Imperial census. The best possible source. How can you compare a 13th century book with the sources I have mentioned. How can one overlook a government census in favor of a book ?
And no 7th-9th century sources said a stong ste had exactly 1,000 men, so what's your point? The Bka thang sde lnga might not be primary, but it might well have had access to imperial records. The fact that later sources said stong ste can be 10,000 means it might well be larger than that in the imperial period. This is why I said the sources at hand is not sufficient to demonstrate exactly how large the Tibetan force is.


We have mongol census and yarlung Imperial census. The best possible source. How can you compare a 13th century book with the sources I have mentioned. How can one overlook a government census in favor of a book ?

You are making me reapeating myself. Do you understand what critical analysis is? The figures given by the Yuan census only included the Mi sde, and not the Lha sde population (which made up 60% of the total population of U-Tsang), nor the serfs of the Sakya nobility and the lamas.


Stang literally means a thousand. Thri means ten thousands. There can be no mistakes about it. There are different titles for the commanders of one thousand and commanders of ten thousand. Stangpen means lord of one thousand. Thripen means lord of ten thousand. There can be no confusion about it. If anything the number may actually be lower as generally there is no full strength of any army. Like the mongol Tumens actually were generally around 5000 strong not 10 thousand.
I already said that. Stong means thousand, sde means unit, so stong sde means a unit of a thousand. Except the name does not reflect reality, which is proven when later Tibetan sources said Stong sde can be 10,000. Just because a military unit is named in a way does not mean it is always of that size. A tumen also literally mean a unit of 10,000, but its almost never that size. We have tumens of 3,000-7,000 in history.


Tibet fielded strong army in Qinghai Gansu area because of Hexu corridor. A very lucrative trade route. And it was never into hundreds of thousands. Tibet has great lack of arable land and has no population to support that big an army.
Tang having an army of 200 thousand strong doesn't mean that Tibet had to have the same. For example the Jin fielded huge armies against the mongols that barely had one hundred thousand warriors.
First of all, large Jin armies of 400,000 has already been disproven through critical textual analysis by a number of historians. Most Jin armies facing the Mongols are barely one hundred thousand. In several battles the Jin were outnumbered too. Second, many units in the Tang-Tibetan frontier are local auxiliars of the same ethnic stock, so their battle prowess are comparable. Some of the Tang and Tibetan units even have the same name because these units switched sides (for example Moli army). Tibetan garrisons also have lots of auxiliary unit composed of Tuyuhun and surrendered Toghuz Oghuz tribes (like the Uighur), fled from the Tang side. Tang primary sources mentioned plenty of Tibetan garrisons numbering in the thousands and tens of thousands, and they were often head counts of killed or surrendered enemy which is far more reliable than mere observations. Tang armies have an independent court official accompanying the army, so the records are unlikely to be fabricated by generals.

The Tibetan army that destroyed the greatest Tang army ever fielded during battle of Da feichuan war was supposedly four hundred thousand strong . This is absolutely fantasy . How can that be ? Tibet had no vassals to contribute manpower during that time period.
The Tibetan army at Dafeichuan was recorded to be 200,000 not 400,000 (and it stated that it was the army of the entire state), it was the battle of Wuhai in 678 where the Tibetan army was recorded to be 400,000. This might well be an exaggeration, but its not at all impossible that the Tang merely described what the Tibetans claimed they could mobilize (as is too common in Chinese history); the Mongol claim that the Jin had 400,000 forces facing them at Badger Mouth is of the same kind of misinformation, probably due to Jurchen claims themselves to scare the enemy. One should not therefore compare these type of sources to later head counts of defeated Tibetan garrisons just because they are both "Tang sources".


And a Yarlung imperial census taken just 15 years ago had a total Tibetan population around four hundred thousand strong. How can there be a four hundred thousand strong army when the whole population is around four hundred thousand strong?
No it didn't. You are confusing what Warren Smith estimated based on his assumption of what a stong sde is with what is actually recorded. There is no census in the imperial period which recorded the population. To repeat myself, the only population count we have is from the later Bka thang sde lnga found in the Yarlung valley. The source gave an upper Ru lag at Gstang to have a population of 360,000 and a lower Ru lag a population of 360,000 as well. For Yas Ru lag, we have an upper and lower Ru of 350,000 respecitvely. For Dbu Ru, we have an upper and lower Ru of 370,000 each, and for Yo Ru, we have an upper and lower Ru of 350,000 each, with a total of 2.86 million people total for the four Ru combined. This might or might not include the imperial army and this is also before the final conquest of the Sumpa, Zhang Zhun, and Tuyuhun (Azha).
 
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Jul 2014
1,493
world
#18
Leta get straight to the point.

Are you saying that Tibetan Imperial censusof 652 AD was wrong and some 13th century book and tang historians are right?

The source you keep mentioning is a 13th century book and source I am mentioning is a genuine government census.

And it is you who are mistaking between stang and Thri. I don’t care what a 13th century book says. A government census holds more weight with me. A battalion is always a battalion. Never a division.

and srangde isn’t a military term, its a beuracratic term. stangma is a military term . stangde means an territory of one thousand people.Every Stangde is supposed to provide one Stangma, a thousand strong army.

what later historians say that stangma could be in the ten thousands ?
 
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Likes: prashanth
Mar 2012
4,319
#19
Leta get straight to the point.

Are you saying that Tibetan Imperial censusof 652 AD was wrong and some 13th century book and tang historians are right?
Facepalm. No, I am saying that there are no imperial census in the 7th century. The estimate came from Warren Smith assuming a single stong ste is a unit of a thousand when there are no evidence that a stong ste is of that size, even if it the word meant "thousand".


The source you keep mentioning is a 13th century book and source I am mentioning is a genuine government census.
Which part of the fact that the size of a Stong Ste in the 7th century is unknown do you not understand? If a later source records a Stong Ste to have 10,000 men, then it means a Stong Ste does not have to be 1,000.


And it is you who are mistaking between stang and Thri. I don’t care what a 13th century book says. A government census holds more weight with me. A battalion is always a battalion. Never a division.

and srangde isn’t a military term, its a beuracratic term. stangma is a military term . stangde means an territory of one thousand people.Every Stangde is supposed to provide one Stangma, a thousand strong army.

what later historians say that stangma could be in the ten thousands ?

For the umptieth time, no government census say a Stong Ste is a unit of one thousand, that's Warren Smith's assumption. What the term means has no bearing on what its actual size is. It certainly didn't mean a unit of a thousand in later Tibetan sources. A Mongol tumen also literally mean a unit of 10,000, but its not in fact a unit of ten thousand, but more around 5,000 on average.




what later historians say that stangma could be in the ten thousands ?
Do you not read my posts or are you not capable of very basic analyses of what you read? I wrote, and I repeat the Bka thang sde lnga stated that “The four Ru with 36 stong ste have a total force of 300,000-400,000”. Now, use basic division, what does 300,000-400,000 divide by 36 yields? If you know basic grade math, its around 10,000. This mean a stong ste is not a unit of 1,000 in the source.

The fact that the Bka thang sde lnga is a 13th century source is the reason I didn't use the figure of 300,000-400,000, but it shows that a stong ste can be of any size, and not necessarily 1,000. So unless a specific numerical breakdown of a stong ste in the 7th century is found, which none has been, then we simply do not know how large they were at the time, and hence we also do not know the military size or the population of the Tibetan empire at the time.
 
Mar 2012
4,319
#20
and srangde isn’t a military term, its a beuracratic term. stangma is a military term . stangde means an territory of one thousand people.Every Stangde is supposed to provide one Stangma, a thousand strong army.
Also, the fact that a Stong Sde is an administrative district unit which can be mobilized for military rather than a purely military unit all the more shows that it is partially territorial dependent and can not be precisely a unit of 1,000 and can easily grow larger than what it originally designated (a household unit of 1,000). It's like a Chinese Xian (county), which originally had a thousand people but later grew to several times that amount. The original division of Stong Sde might have been close to 1,000 households when it was initially created (considering its territorial, its unlikely to be exact). However, multiple historians have speculated that administrative units like the Ru or Stong Sde might well pre-date Songsten Gampo's time, and hence the administrative unit of Stong Sde might well have grew and have little reason to only include even an approximation of 1,000 households.
 
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