Roman Legion in China?

Jun 2010
1,935
Dehradun
Found an interesting story today. It's about Roman soldiers who were defeated by Parthians. A few thousand managed to escape and according to some experts settled down in China.

Seems the story has been on the internet for few years.

2005
- 2010

Tried searching but could not find results of genetic tests conducted on people of Liqian. Would be great if a member can throw more light.



 

scholar

Ad Honorem
Apr 2010
3,553
In the Western Hemisphere
The thing is they could have been anyone from Europe. The Russian Huns for instance, or the pols and slavs that could have migrated. It's rather romantic thinking that they are Romans.
 
Jun 2010
1,935
Dehradun
You are right scholar. Tocharians are said to have such phenotype too, and Liqian was on the silk road trade route. That's why I am interested in knowing the results of genetic tests conducted on people of Liqian. I think population genetics is progressing rapidly and genetic experts can clear the confusion in this case.
 

scholar

Ad Honorem
Apr 2010
3,553
In the Western Hemisphere
Wouldn't they have tried to find a way back to Rome?
Probably not, there are literally a thousand reasons why anyone would want to leave. There's also the very large possibility that they aren't even Romans, but people fleeing from roman occupation, which is more likely.
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
Here is a little bit from a prior thread. There are actually a few threads about this possibilty, but you'll have to dig through the Ancient History forum.

Roman Soldiers in the East
There are several known instances of Roman soldiers being captured by the Parthians and transfered to the East for border duty. According to Pliny, in 54 BCE, after losing at the battle of Carrhae, 10,000 Roman prisoners were displaced by the Parthians to Margiana to man the frontier (Plin. Hist. Nat. 6. 18).
The Chinese have kept an account (by Bau Gau) that some of these soldiers were enlisted by the Hun chief Jzh Jzh against the Chinese Han Dynasty. Some of them were blond with blue eyes, and fought in "fish-scale formation" (possibly the Roman testudo formation). These men were captured by the Chinese and were able to found the city Liqian (Li-chien), the Chinese transliteration of "Alexandria", in the Gansu region of western China.1
A Roman inscription of the 2nd-3rd centuries CE has been found in eastern Uzbekistan in the Kara-Kamar cave complex, which has been analyzed as belonging to some Roman soldiers from the Pannonian Legio XV Apollinaris2:
http://www.ibiblio.org/chinesehistory/contents/03pol/c05s01.html

http://historum.com/showthread.php?t=9257
 
Jun 2010
1,935
Dehradun
Thanx for the links okamido. Herez what I could find on genetic studies on the Liqian villagers.

The Liqian people in north China are well known because of the controversial hypothesis of an ancient Roman mercenary origin. To test this hypothesis, 227 male individuals representing four Chinese populations were analyzed at 12 short tandem repeat (STR) loci and 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP). At the haplogroup levels, 77% Liqian Y chromosomes were restricted to East Asia. Principal component (PC) and multidimensional scaling (MDS) analysis suggests that the Liqians are closely related to Chinese populations, especially Han Chinese populations, whereas they greatly deviate from Central Asian and Western Eurasian populations. Further phylogenetic and admixture analysis confirmed that the Han Chinese contributed greatly to the Liqian gene pool. The Liqian and the Yugur people, regarded as kindred populations with common origins, present an underlying genetic difference in a median-joining network. Overall, a Roman mercenary origin could not be accepted as true according to paternal genetic variation, and the current Liqian population is more likely to be a subgroup of the Chinese majority Han.
Source : Nature
 
Jun 2010
5
The thing is they could have been anyone from Europe. The Russian Huns for instance, or the pols and slavs that could have migrated. It's rather romantic thinking that they are Romans.
I can't agree with u, if u've read the artical carefully enough, u would know that they did not only do the DNA test, they also found several official documents supporting their sythries. In fact, the name of the village that they are now living is, in ancient chinese, Roman.
 
Sep 2009
1,260
I can't agree with u, if u've read the artical carefully enough, u would know that they did not only do the DNA test, they also found several official documents supporting their sythries. In fact, the name of the village that they are now living is, in ancient chinese, Roman.
Offical documents? you mean the extremely vague battle accounts recorded in the Book of Han?