Was China ever in the top 3 most powerful countries/empires of the world?

Mar 2012
4,354
#51
Now peopls say the Ming army was **** but due to that battle, now a few things to clear up.
At that time, the Chinese army to counter the Mongols was led by a military retard, he was a good friend of the emporer, and he had dreams of becoming a great general, but lacked the talent, but his big daddy childhood friend still made him the general.
Now let's examine his tactical decisions:
He send in 500 calvary as rear guard at a time, against 10s of thounsands of Mongolians to secure the flanks, a normal commander will send the cannons, infantry and half of the calvary to defeat a large flanking move. This got his entire calvary contengient killed.
Then his generals decided to build trenches and repelled the Mongolians for 4 days with strong fire power and infantry, messengers were sent, the Manchu allies and Liaodong nobility were on their way to support the army.
THE MILITARY GENIUS HERE, ordered the entire army, with all due hast CHARGE TOWARDS THE MONGOLIAN CALVARY!!!
Then, unsurprisingly, his army, got surrounded, and when the Manchu allies arrived first at the scene, the entire army was ******* dead.
As you can see, the Ming calvary was sent in in units of 500 with out support and insanely outnumbered and each of those contingents lasted a day.
His commanders were experienced and dug trenches then asked for more heavy calvary reinforcements, he did not wait. Instead of wearing down the Mongolians and then letting the incoming allied calvary to destory the enemy, he charged infantry into light calvary. You can clearly see it is not the Ming soldier's problem, it is this ******* retard's problem.
And also the seige of Beijing? The 10,000 vanguard was ambushed and destroyed by the 5000 strong divine mechanist division, the Khan's younger brother was killed in the action, this caused the Khan to halt and make camp.
Meanwhile the Ming cannons bombarded the Mongolian camps at night, then the calvary and infantry routed the enemy camp.
The Khan fled back to the steppes with a broken army.
So what was that about Ming armies being crap?
I wasn't talking about the Battle of Tumu and the defense of Beijing in 1450, but Altan Qan burning the outskirt of Beijing in 1550, forcing the Ming dynasty to open up horse trade on the borders. Altan Qan have also consistently beaten Ming armies on the frontier in the 16th century, breaking through the Great Wall and occupying several counties. Even in regard to the battle of 1450, Esen had around 70,000 soldiers whereas the total Ming force in Beijing was 220,000; so the later's army was still larger overall.
 
Last edited:
Mar 2012
4,354
#52
Not really. Romans beg to differ. Especially in 190-260 period. Then Abbasids, in my opinion more than Umayyads.
The Roman Empire itself was hardly unified at this time, with turmoils such as the five emperors in 193 and full blown internal crisis from 235-284 and divided into the following parts:

1553572473794.png



Cao Cao already exerted control over most of Northern China after annihilating the remnant of Yuanshao's forces in 201 CE and had the majority of China's population under his control. I never considered the Roman Empire an equal to the Han even though their populations were comparable because of the former's inferiority in military technology (missiles, siege, and metallurgy), horse resources, centralization (including ability to mobilize soldiers), and overall revenue (Yingshi Yu mention the Eastern Han Dynasty having 18.3 billion cash, or around 3.66 billion liters of grain (the Western Han would have been as high as 6 billion liters at one point).This is much higher than the contemporary empire of Augustus (450000000 sesterces at ~3 sesterces per modii, giving 1.31 billion liters), or Vespasian (high estimate of 1500000000 sesterces at 4-5 sesterces per modii, giving nearly 3 billion liters). The Mughal Empire of the 17th century, although also comparable to the Qing in population and less centralized, at least had a higher government revenue and had similar methods of warfare and would be more of a debatable topic.

As for the Abbasid, I would say the Tang no longer had an edge after 756, but would soon regain its pre-eminence briefly in the 840s-870s when Tang Wuzong eradicated the major military commissioners opposing Tang authority and briefly re-exerted central control (as well as regaining Gansu and Turfan from the Tibetans). The Tang always had a larger population and standing army; its just a matter of whether central authority was established.
 
#53
Not really. Romans beg to differ. Especially in 190-260 period. Then Abbasids, in my opinion more than Umayyads.
Hey Macon, I see that heavenlykaghan has already addressed the major point of your post. I just would like to a few more points if you don't mind.

1. You may have confused fractious infighting with competitiveness. While fighting is usually considered a part of competitiveness, there is still one other major part as well and that would be demonstrable, most consistent competence when compared to the rest of Eurasia. What we are seeing with the Mongolian steppes (geographical term) and 'China' in this time frame are that polities want to remain in the area initially but only the most competent states would remain there to thrive.
Of course, if we don't have a comparison with the rest of Eurasia, the argument would be grossly incomplete. But, given the best evidence currently by the majority of the consensus, we do see that even the fleeing remnants from these Eastern Regions were able to most consistently conquer the Western portions of Eurasia for a millennium or more.

2. The Romans did expand around the Mediterranean region from around 200 B.C.E to 200 C.E., but we have to keep in mind that the effects of the 'earthquake' can only travel at the speed that physics would allow it to. With the 'earthquake and building standards' as an analogy, we can see that the Chinese regimes performed better than the Western Eurasian polities despite being at the epicenter. Regimes that claimed Han heritage kept on re-rising and re-conquering the Mongolian steppes. By contrast, the Romans 'building standards' failed completely when faced with the mere 'aftershocks' that were coming towards them. Latin survived for sure but so does Ancient Chinese. Furthermore, the heritage of the major Western Europeans and Western North Africa from 1500 C.E. to today are from those that were pushed from the East (mainly the conquering Germanic tribes and Arabs). The Franks, Anglo-Saxons, Lombards, Goths, Normans, and Arab-Berbers are the primary examples. In Central Europe, the original homeland of the Germanic and Celtic tribes was conquered by the Central Asians ('Magyars') and the Slavs. Rome's greatest interior or exterior enemies were historically weaker to the fleeing remnants from the East (until much later). In short, the 'aftershock' might have arrived at Rome 'a few minutes later', but - in order to avoid racial double standards and inane presumptions - it cannot be denied that Rome was never at the top of the Eurasian stage even at her height from around 200 B.C.E to 200 C.E.

But because I am not racist I would always be happy if there are non-racial, nondouble standard evidence to the contrary.
 
Last edited:

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
3,877
Slovenia, EU
#54
The Roman Empire itself was hardly unified at this time, with turmoils such as the five emperors in 193 and full blown internal crisis from 235-284 and divided into the following parts:

View attachment 16764



Cao Cao already exerted control over most of Northern China after annihilating the remnant of Yuanshao's forces in 201 CE and had the majority of China's population under his control. I never considered the Roman Empire an equal to the Han even though their populations were comparable because of the former's inferiority in military technology (missiles, siege, and metallurgy), horse resources, centralization (including ability to mobilize soldiers), and overall revenue (Yingshi Yu mention the Eastern Han Dynasty having 18.3 billion cash, or around 3.66 billion liters of grain (the Western Han would have been as high as 6 billion liters at one point).This is much higher than the contemporary empire of Augustus (450000000 sesterces at ~3 sesterces per modii, giving 1.31 billion liters), or Vespasian (high estimate of 1500000000 sesterces at 4-5 sesterces per modii, giving nearly 3 billion liters). The Mughal Empire of the 17th century, although also comparable to the Qing in population and less centralized, at least had a higher government revenue and had similar methods of warfare and would be more of a debatable topic.

As for the Abbasid, I would say the Tang no longer had an edge after 756, but would soon regain its pre-eminence briefly in the 840s-870s when Tang Wuzong eradicated the major military commissioners opposing Tang authority and briefly re-exerted central control (as well as regaining Gansu and Turfan from the Tibetans). The Tang always had a larger population and standing army; its just a matter of whether central authority was established.
I wrote 190-260 and Palmyrene empire was only from 270-273, Gallic empire 260-274 so I was not considering a divided period. Thanks for numbers in litres, I was having an impression that Han could had been stronger in that.
 

macon

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
3,877
Slovenia, EU
#55
Hey Macon, I see that heavenlykaghan has already addressed the major point of your post. I just would like to a few more points if you don't mind.

1. You may have confused fractious infighting with competitiveness. While fighting is usually considered a part of competitiveness, there is still one other major part as well and that would be demonstrable, most consistent competence when compared to the rest of Eurasia. What we are seeing with the Mongolian steppes (geographical term) and 'China' in this time frame are that polities want to remain in the area initially but only the most competent states would remain there to thrive.
Of course, if we don't have a comparison with the rest of Eurasia, the argument would be grossly incomplete. But, given the best evidence currently by the majority of the consensus, we do see that even the fleeing remnants from these Eastern Regions were able to most consistently conquer the Western portions of Eurasia for a millennium or more.

2. The Romans did expand around the Mediterranean region from around 200 B.C.E to 200 C.E., but we have to keep in mind that the effects of the 'earthquake' can only travel at the speed that physics would allow it to. With the 'earthquake and building standards' as an analogy, we can see that the Chinese regimes performed better than the Western Eurasian polities despite being at the epicenter. Regimes that claimed Han heritage kept on re-rising and re-conquering the Mongolian steppes. By contrast, the Romans 'building standards' failed completely when faced with the mere 'aftershocks' that were coming towards them. Latin survived for sure but so does Ancient Chinese. Furthermore, the heritage of the major Western Europeans and Western North Africa from 1500 C.E. to today are from those that were pushed from the East (mainly the conquering Germanic tribes and Arabs). The Franks, Anglo-Saxons, Lombards, Goths, Normans, and Arab-Berbers are the primary examples. In Central Europe, the original homeland of the Germanic and Celtic tribes was conquered by the Central Asians ('Magyars') and the Slavs. Rome's greatest interior or exterior enemies were historically weaker to the fleeing remnants from the East (until much later). In short, the 'aftershock' might have arrived at Rome 'a few minutes later', but - in order to avoid racial double standards and inane presumptions - it cannot be denied that Rome was never at the top of the Eurasian stage even at her height from around 200 B.C.E to 200 C.E.

But because I am not racist I would always be happy if there are non-racial, nondouble standard evidence to the contrary.
Fleeing groups from east were always using internal disorder in Roman empire. When both empires were concolidated, nomads were not able to push into Roman or Han empires. Rome was not on par with Han in 200 bc but from time of Augustus. I don't remember anyone from East conquering anything in western Europe from 0 to 400.
 
Mar 2012
4,354
#56
Fleeing groups from east were always using internal disorder in Roman empire. When both empires were concolidated, nomads were not able to push into Roman or Han empires. Rome was not on par with Han in 200 bc but from time of Augustus. I don't remember anyone from East conquering anything in western Europe from 0 to 400.
The bulk of the Roman Empire never directly bordered a large steppe polity (such as the Scythians, who were still a far smaller state than the Xiongnu), so its rather pointless to say that nomads were not able to push into the Roman Empire when they never had the opportunity for the most part. Yet from the 3rd century onward, when the Romans were faced with greater intensities of intrusion, the cavalry component of the empire increased.
Nomads from the east didn't expand into Europe during this period, but a single group of Sakas killed two consecutive Parthian kings (Phraates II and Artabanus I) and overran Bactria, Parthia, Sigistan, and Aria in the end of the 2nd century BC when Parthia was at the height of its power (Phraates II had just annihilated Seleucid power). Artabanus considered the Sakas a far greater threat than the enemies of the western frontier and refused to sent an army against Hyspaosines when he carved out a polity in Mesopotamia. In another word, the Saka did more damage to a stronger Parthian Empire than what Rome accomplished at the height of its power under Trajan to a more decentralized Parthia.
Kushans were also conquering much of the eastern part of the Indo-Parthian kingdom in the 1st century AD.
Furthermore, from 469 CE -the early 6th century, the Sassanian Empire was a Hephthalite vassal, paying annual tribute after Peroz was captured and later killed by the Hephthalite army. The later was able to install Kavadh onto the Sassanian throne with an army and meddled in Sassanian internal affairs for decades. This vassalized Sassanian Empire was still able to stalemate the Byzantine Empire.

Anyways, I don't believe the Roman Empire under Augustus (which coincided with the Western Han-Xin) was on "par", its revenue was only about 1/3-1/5 that of the Western Han ( 1.31 billion liters to 5-6 billion liters), a population of about 46 million (Bruce Frier) to 65 million (Ge Jianxiong) and a territory of about 1.7-1.9 million sq miles to 2.8-3 million sq miles. More importantly, the Western Han had a much larger mobilization potential because of universal conscription and the Donghai military inventory list which was discovered showed that the Western Han had enough weapons to equip an army of close to a million men (more than twice the size of the Roman army at its largest under the Octavian-Anthony civil war) in one large commandery alone.
For the same reason, I do not consider the Qing Empire a greater or even an equal power to Napoleonic France, which adopted universal conscription, had a slight higher revenue and had more powerful artillery weaponry even though the Qing Empire was more than twice as extensive and several times more populous (attributes which the Western Han in fact had an edge over the Roman Empire).
 
#57
Fleeing groups from east were always using internal disorder in Roman empire. When both empires were concolidated, nomads were not able to push into Roman or Han empires. Rome was not on par with Han in 200 bc but from time of Augustus. I don't remember anyone from East conquering anything in western Europe from 0 to 400.
Hey Macon, I see that heavenlykaghan has answered you again and it seems like you are pretty much satisfied with the answer. I agree with virtually all the current line-ups and tenuous consensuses in history as mentioned by heavenly.
 
Mar 2019
46
Canada
#58
A Tumu crisis? I read that about 5000 Mongol vanguard routed completely disorganized Chinese with low morale and it was only a pursuing slaughter after that. You are writing about a general, was not an emperor involved in Tumu crisis and also captured?
Yes, but that was before they reached the outskirts of Beijing, the frontier governor attempted to stop the Mongolians but failed because he only had garrisons under his command, but the Mongolians were routed in the Beijing suburbs. And those garrison were not "disorganized". There was 20,000 inexperience troops with zero cavalry support, they were quickly surrounded and destoried.
And also, China rarely had general emperors, usually there are general princes, because the emperor send the sons he don't like to the frontier, so they have no connection with the inner court and cannot become a threat to his sibling later on.
The emperor give the command to his childhood friend who was a eunch, the eunch took his friend emperor with him for a morale boost, but he didn't command any troops, which was typical. But the reason why Ming lost here was because the main commander was somewhat of a retard. He infuriated his lower commanders so much, that when they were fleeing from the Mongolians, a commander struck him down with his mace(risking his head chopped off since he was a good friend of the emperor)
For some reason western sources leave out the details of how or why the Ming army lost here, nor do they include the fact the the Mongolians lost most of their troops near Beijing to the Chinese commander Yu Qian, despite records being readily available. It seems this is the case that many Western historians want to use this crisis as a evidence that Ming troops had "ineffective field armies", while the actual reason that caused this crisis was the lack of military command or understanding from the later emperors themselves, who grown up in the relative safety of the imperial capital, never touching a sword through their entire life.
 
Mar 2019
46
Canada
#59
A Tumu crisis? I read that about 5000 Mongol vanguard routed completely disorganized Chinese with low morale and it was only a pursuing slaughter after that. You are writing about a general, was not an emperor involved in Tumu crisis and also captured?
Oh yeah the defense of Beijing is seen as a separate event from the battle of Tumu, and western sources somehow completely ignore the defense of Beijing and only the battle on the frontier is meantioned in all English sources concerning the Tumu crisis. The source is for some reason never translated, I found the Chinese page on Wikipedia, use google translate if you are interested.
京师保卫战 - 维基百科,自由的百科全书
 
Mar 2019
46
Canada
#60
Not really. Romans beg to differ. Especially in 190-260 period. Then Abbasids, in my opinion more than Umayyads.
The Romans suffered from very frequent civil wars, their dynasties last sometimes only days, the political nature of the Roman empire is somewhat chaotic, while people in China would rarely revolt because they fear revolting for the sake of greed and power may unleash the punishment of heavens up on them. They will only revolt if they think the dynasty has lost "mandate of heaven", such as when there is famines and natural disasters.
The strength of the Roman empire were it's legions, however, most of the empire's troops were auxiliaries from the local population, which is a big problem compared to Qin and Han China, because all of their troops were Chinese. The local auxiliaries did sometimes defect to the enemy, while Chinese troops can be routed, but they would run to a friendly depot to continue the fight, moreover, in the late imperial period, Marcus Aurelius had to defeat another 4 Roman legions because they deflected to the Parthians. I've never heard of Chinese troops deflecting to the Xiongnu. Maybe if China needed to defeat Rome, no Chinese peasant need to lose his life, a chest of gold and Han Empire is getting a bunch of Legions too. Plus the Roman legions are deployed quite scattered, however, China have militia in all settlements for defense but field forces are all deployed near the capital. Moreover, each legion is trained and deployed differently, while China had similar military reforms to the French reforms before the nepoianic wars. Universal conscription, standard state issued equipment and proper military education. Also the rotational conscription of Han China basically meant that the entire male population that is over the age of 15 was trained for at least 6 months in the army, and the storing and renewal of equipment after each conscription cycle ends leaves basically a set of equipment for every conscript that has served for the past single decades, (past a decade and equipment is probably too old).
And comparing to the Abbasid, they never deployed troops on the same numbers as China did, nor did they have better technology, and Abbasid economy mainly came from trading with Tang China, but Tang China is allied to the Uighur confederation and the Byzantine empire through trade too, if the Abbasids decide to disrupt the silk road, they will be pissing off basically the 3 other most powerful nation in the world at the time. Moreover, the Abbasids were also very unstable as they didn't last very long as far as caliphates go, due to the multi-ethnic nature of their lands, but China was basically a nation state, which is probably 90% Han Chinese.
 

Similar History Discussions