Were the Xiongnu under Maodun the largest empire in the world?

Mar 2012
4,371
#21
Again, I'm not going to try to argue any historical points, as I have very little experience with Han history (I'll leave the Achaemenids be, as you're right that our figures are relatively close), I'm just trying to put them to a map. Perhaps you could try treating this as a polite historical discussion/exchange instead of a debate you seem to be determined to win. All I was asking here is that you give some semblance of a source for or even logic behind including this or that region within the purview of the Han state, contrary to most maps and articles online, instead of just declaring it to be the case, showing a sourceless, low-detail map in another language which disagrees with half your points as an apparent standard to fit to, and adopting a confrontational tone when I don't necessarily accept every single declaration at face value.
I already gave you sources and a detailed explanation behind them Jean. Perhaps you just don't understand what the sources I presented are nor appreciate their importance. For starters, do you not see the citations and passages given from the primary sources and their translations I've cited? Second, I've provided Tan Qixiang's map in post 13 (although a simplified version); who is the most authoritative figure on Chinese historical geography, certainly more authoritative than the random websites you are searching online, and you tell me I only have one low-detail map? Stating that online websites are not professional and utterly unreliable isn't being impolite, its stating a matter of fact. East Asian imperial extention are very understudied, whether they be Chinese or steppe empires; even in Chinese or Japanese sources, let alone in western languages. Tan Qixiang's maps (which I already cited for the Western Han in post 13) are actually professional, but they date to the 1970s and did not take into consideration of the Han outer walls found after these publications (even Tan's published maps left out some major areas of control in history, such as the Jurchen Jin controlling Mongolia in the 12th century, which isn't shown in any maps, period); and none of his maps really shows a particular dynasty at its largest in a single year, but only their normal state at a span of time. As for low-detailed map in another language, Tan's map aside, even the Japanese map is not low-detailed if you can actually read the language in question, certainly more detailed than the wordless patches of color you presented. As for disagreement, care to point out what the disagreements are? The Wuhuan being in another color is far from disagreeing with "half" of my points, if you understood what my points are that is.





Maps and articles online are very often wrong, as I understand, but without some sort of support your word alone -- of a random stranger on an internet forum -- isn't any more reliable. You have done this for regions I've asked about, which is appreciated, but it's highly unproductive to assume that every single statement you make without an even rudimentary explanation will be accepted without question in every conversation you participate in.
You speak as if I haven't already provided sources, I did. You just ignored their details without asking why.
I've already cited two maps in more detail than all the maps you've provided, and their authority is a level beyond what you've shown. If you have any other doubts of any of the region I talked about, all you need to do is ask for the source of a particular region and I'll gladly provide you the primary sources and the passage in verbatim. So what are you questioning Han authority of? Do you want the source for the Protectorate of the Western Region ruling the 36 states, or the Han rule of Korea (which I've already provided sources on).

In any case, I did broadly extend the Han border to the Mongolian Great Wall as shown in your map (although I do realize now I missed a small spot in the very north-west), as well as territory far north of the Han Great Wall further east in the Wuhuan region (again, you didn't, until now, post a single map, link, or description even outlining where you thought this office of Wuhuan was). Regardless, though, all of these points are relatively minor, so even including every single region you argue should be included in the map (without ephemeral occupations, as you've argued, and I generally agree, we shouldn't count towards the Achaemenid figure), we're still more than 1 million square kilometres short of 7,700,000, and 400-600,000 off from 7-7.2 million:

I already told you the Wuhuan was located in Eastern Inner Mongolia, along the Hulun Buir region. It's not my problem that you are not familiar with modern East Asian geography. I do not have access to Google at the moment, so I can't give you visual details. In any case, the discrepancy lies in territories in Western Mongolia and Qinghai, they are steppe zone and boundaries are fuzzy. I'll show you what I mean when I go back to the states where Google is accessible at the end of this month.

In regard to the Han conquest of Talas in 36 BC:


明日,前至郅支城都赖水上,离城三里,止营傅陈。望见单于城上立五采幡帜,数百人披甲乘城,又出百余骑往来驰城下,步兵百余人夹门鱼鳞陈,讲习用兵。城上 人更招汉军曰“斗来!”百余骑驰赴营,营皆张弩持满指之,骑引却。颇遣吏士射城门骑步兵,骑步兵皆入。延寿、汤令军闻鼓音皆薄城下,四周围城,各有所守, 穿堑,塞门户,卤楯为前,戟弩为后,卬射城中楼上人,楼上人下走。土城外有重木城,从木城中射,颇杀伤外人。外人发薪烧木城。夜,数百骑欲出外,迎射杀 之。

Translation: After one day, the enemy fortress was reached at the banks of Talas River. At a distance of three li from the city, a camp was set. Looking at the Chanyu’s fortress from a distance, one could see atop its walls 5 colored banners and streamers, with several hundred armored men on the ramparts. There were over a hundred cavalry galloping out of the city, along with over a hundred infantry drilling in fish scale formation at the gates. The people atop the city wall shouted toward the Han army “Come fight!”A hundred cavalry galloped toward the Han camp, but the camp was bristling with crossbows, so the cavalry retreated. An order was given for soldiers to shoot at the cavalry and infantry at the gates, so that each one of the latter went back into the city. YangShou and YangLing’s division attacked the city from all four sides. Each took part in defending, tunneling, and blocking up arrow ports. Crossbowmen and halberdiers advanced behind pavise shields, all the while shooting at the people atop the ramparts until the defenders were driven from the walls. However, a heavy wooden stockade surrounded the outside of the fortress, from which the defenders shot from, wounding or killing those outside. The attackers responded by using torches to set the wooden walls afire. By night, several hundred enemy cavalry rode out but were shot to death.

初,单于闻汉兵至,欲去,疑康居怨己,为汉内应,又闻乌孙诸国兵皆发,自以无所之。郅支已出,复还,曰:“不如坚守。汉兵远来,不能久攻。”单于乃被甲在 楼上,诸阏氏夫人数十皆以弓射外人。外人射中单于鼻,诸夫人颇死。单于下骑,传战大内。夜过半,木城穿,中人却入土城,乘城呼。时,康居兵万余骑分为十余 处,四面环城,亦与相应和。夜,数奔营,不利,辄却。平明,四面火起,吏士喜,大呼乘之,钲鼓声动地。康居兵引却。汉兵四面推卤楯,并入土城中。单于男女 百余人走入大内。汉兵纵火,吏士争入,单于被创死。军候假丞杜勋斩单于首,得汉使节二及谷吉等所赍帛书。诸卤获以畀得者。凡斩阏氏、太子、名王以下千五百 一十八级,生虏百四十五人,降虏千余人,赋予城郭诸国所发十五王。


Translation: In the beginning, Chanyu wanted to flee to Kangju but, due to past grievances, was afraid they are in a plot with the Han. He also heard that the Wusun and other states sent troops to support the Han expedition and realized he had nowhere to go. ZhiZhi says “It is better to guard the citadel. The Han soldiers traveled far, and could not continue the siege for an extended period”. The Chanyu thus put on his armor and went atop the ramparts, along with several tens of his concubines to shoot at the attackers with bows. The Chanyu’s nose was hit, and all his concubines were killed. The Chanyu then went down from the walls and directed the siege from within the citadel. After half the night the wooden wall was penetrated and the Chinese was at the base of the earthen wall, while the defenders shouted alerts. During this time, over ten thousand Kangju cavalry arrived. Divided into over ten divisions, they attacked the Han army from four sides around the city to support defenders. By night, their attack having failed, the Kangju galloped back into their camp. By daybreak, the city was set afire from all sides, boosting Han morale while the defenders bellowed a great cry. The drums shook the earth. Seeing this, the Kangju soldiers withdrew. The Han soldiers pushed pavises towards the wall from all four sides. The Chanyu’s males and female followers, more than 100 all told, retreated back into the citadel. The Han soldiers set fires and charged within, killing the Chanyu...518 were slaughtered, 145 were captured, and over 1,000 submitted, they were distributed to the 15 kings of the various states that participated on the expedition. -Book of Han


If you have an idea of where that missing territory is then feel free to make your own map -- again, Google Earth is free, and even MS paint is pretty decent for that sort of thing -- instead of vaguely and incompletely criticizing minute details of mine without presenting anything resembling an alternative. For my part, I'm not interested in being on the receiving end of arrogant, patronizing tirades in return for transcribing maps and information as I find them, so for the foreseeable future I'm quite done with this thread.
I already told you I don't have access to google at the moment, what I did is point out you are leaving out territories, twice, and I already provided the sources and explanations on that. Only now did you change your map to address this issue so don't tell me I didn't present an alternative. If you are so sensitive to think that pointing out problems in your map as "patronizing tirades" perhaps history forums truly isn't for you. I just didn't give you a visual clue; that's all, if I didn't give you a clue at all, you wouldn't have made any changes to your maps at all would you?
 
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Jan 2016
1,128
Victoria, Canada
#22
So, let's recap this interaction so far. First, I respond to this thread with a transcribed version of the map in OP, as well as of the Achaemenid Empire as depicted in most maps online, noting that based on this the Xiongnu state would be larger than the contemporary Han and Seleucid Empires but smaller than the previous Achaemenid state (all of which still holds true, if the map in the OP is taken at face value, though you've argued that it's inaccurate). Then, Hakka Nyin misinterprets my post, responding that the later western and eastern Han Empire was larger than 6 million square kilometres despite my post referring to the Han state of 200 BC. I then respond to his post, noting that it was a misinterpretation but also including a transcribed version of the map on the left, as the map on the right -- with its highly inaccurate depiction of the Roman Empire -- seemed less reliable, noting that as depicted the Han state would cover less than 5 million kilometres. You then point out some inaccuracies in the Achaemenid and Han maps -- that Cyrenaica doesn't seem to have been part of the Achaemenid state, that the Han built portions of the great wall in the Gobi, that the Wusun states were subjects of the Han, etc. -- posting this map in Chinese, clearly made digitally for a digital medium, for which you give no source (it's apparently transcribed from a book by Tan Qixiang, but this isn't mentioned until much later), with no geographical or climatic references save a couple lakes, and smooth curves instead of informed-appearing boundaries (not normally a good sign, in the fields I'm more familiar with):



Instead of taking this map as gospel -- as I was apparently supposed to, despite, as you put it, the "not professional and utterly unreliable" nature of unsourced information on the internet -- I decided to amend the maps based on the information provided in your actual post text, for the Achaemenids leaving out Cyrenaica, Kwarezm, and eastern Macedonia, as well as reducing the north-eastern border to the river Iaxartes, and expanding the Han border to the Wusun states, Qiang people, and Gobi wall (based on a heavily downscaled, barely readable map, hence the couple errors); I note, though, that they don't match up with the numbers given. You responded to this by listing off a bunch of previously unmentioned territories I apparently should have included in the Han map -- "Zungharia, Korea, Ferghana, Central Vietnam [and] the Wuhuan of Eastern Inner Mongolia", without giving any sort of source or even the slightest indication of why they should be included. With reference to the above map -- still unsourced and thus indistinguishable in quality from any other on the internet -- I take Korea, Central Vietnam, and Zungharia at face value and expand the border in the north-east to try to represent Han overlordship of the Wuhuan (about which no information was given except that they were in "Eastern Inner Mongolia" -- not one mention of the Hulun Buir), only noting that I couldn't find any indication that Ferghana was conquered by the Han state, and making a point with a comparable situation about the nature of maps and tributaries in an attempt to more accurately classify what that state actually encompassed. I have also, by this point, emphasized that I'm not familiar with Han history, but am just making maps out of information given in an attempt to produce something useful (a somewhat accurate area statistic for the Han Empire -- I should note, as well, that this isn't a personal project or anything, just a series of responses to Hakka Nyin's misreading of an attempt to give a partial answer to OP's question).

Now we get to what I take issue with. You respond to my post -- in what has so far been a productive back-and-forth discussion, steadily producing a more accurate area count for the Han state -- with lines like this:

The internet is really not something you should be looking at when you draw maps of East Asian Empires, and you certainly shouldn't be ignoring my comments on states because unlike the amateur internet websites, I have a full grasp of the primary sources and archeology at hand.
can't describe every single state the Han conquered when its not a topic of discussion as that will go on for pages but I showed you a map made by Tan Qixiang, a far more exhaustive study than the maps online, and it included Ferghana and you chose some random amateur map on google instead.
The so called adjustments you made are minor, you still ignore Han presence in Ferghana, Han office of Wuhuan established to supervise their activity in Eastern Inner Mongolia, and the walls built in outer Mongolia even after I mentioned them to you.
These, honestly, speak for themselves. You, a random person on an internet forum, are an expert with "a full grasp of the primary sources and archeology at hand", who I should have listened to completely unquestioningly instead of "the internet" (you are the internet, if you're not aware); I should have instinctively known that the low-res, digital, geography-lacking, unsourced map in Chinese was produced by the eminent Tan Qixiang, and chose it over "some random amateur map on google instead" (I did not chose another map, I simply didn't copy it unquestioningly as I had no way of knowing how reliable it was); I "still ignore Han presence in Ferghana", despite your claims going completely unsourced and unsupported until the same post (again, I'm supposed to defer without query to the self-proclaimed internet expert); and my adjustments are "minor" and "so-called" despite including Vietnam, Korea, Dzungaria, Han Wuhuan (as far as I knew, based on maps like this) -- literally everything you mentioned except the one region I had a question about, that is -- as well as a complete redrawing of the Chinese coast and northern border. This isn't the nature of "history forums", it's a rude, patronizing, and arrogant series of responses to what had been a casual historical discussion -- one I no longer have any desire to be a part of.

To finish, I do, first, apologize for mentioning Google Earth again -- I somehow missed the original mention of your lack of access to Google -- but I've already spent enough of my life on this back-and-forth, somewhat productive but exhausting, belittling, and unrewarding, and none of the above makes me particularly excited to spend any more. I am, then, though I'd be happy to see your interpretation once you have the opportunity to make it (and the .kmz file for the map is here, if you want to tinker with it later), going to be leaving it off here indefinitely, to be spending my time on more pleasant and rewarding things.
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
2,807
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
#23
...Much of this is subjective and the same question could be asked about the Achaemenid as we have even less information on how much authority it had over any of the Central Asian territories. If I included every vassal of the Han, then the Han empire would of looked more like this as presented in one Japanese map:


View attachment 21245

This map included vassal states like the Xiongnu and even Kangju from Sogdiana, both of whom paid tribute and hostages to the Han court (the Xiongnu ruler even visited in person twice). Even this map does not represent the entirety of Han suzerainty, as the Wuhuan in light blue in the northeast were already supervised by the Han since Huo Qubing's military conquests in 119 BC.




Again, territoriality is subjective before a time with the notion of state sovereignty. However, I should remind people that many of these Han vassals or tributaries are just like the way Mongols rule places like Tibet or Manchuria, or to how the Russians ruled the Buriats before the 19th century; all of these areas are also de facto autonomous, with only their foreign policy being controlled. In fact, places like Punjab India might also have been largely autonomous under the Achaemenid "rule", to include that and not places like Wusun or Ferghana for the Han would therefore be a double standard.

The Japanese map of the Han empire you use is highly interesting. Back in the previous millennium I read an old history book in English that had a map showing Han Dynasty Chine at its height stretching far west into Asia like a long narrow cone, with its tip reaching the Caspian Sea. And for decades I have never seen any map showing the Han Dynasty empire reaching close to that far west and I assumed that the map in that book exaggerated the extent of the Han Dynasty. And now you say that if all vassals, tributaries, client states, etc. of the Han Dynasty are show on a map it might resemble this Japanese map of the Han Dynasty that you show, which depicts Han Dynasty Chine stretching west to the Caspian Sea. So now I wonder if the Chinese suzerainty might have actually reached as far west as the shores of the Caspian sea for a period during the Han Dynasty.
 
May 2012
321
Heaven
#24
Really?
Power of Xiongnu empire was overstated by many researchers.Here are some facts about Xiongnu empire:
1.9 million square kilometers is wrong figure from calculation of Taagepera.It included both Taklamakan and Gobi Deserts(Taklamakan: 337,000 km2 ; Gobi: 1,295,000 km2,total: 1,633,000 km2) but infact,70 - 85% of two deserts didn't have dwellers.Secondly,Xiongnu moved for all ancient time like Goth who moved from Jutland to Danube,Iberia peninsula and Africa.So Taagepera misunderstood when included all areas of Xiongnu kingdom in different times in one empire only.Therefore,Xiongnu empire in his calculation was 3 or 4 times larger than real kingdom of them.It likes we include both Jutland,Iberia peninsula and Africa in one Goth kingdom only.
2.In maximum size,Xiongnu can't have more than 300,000 to 400,000 warriors(not troop).It included all men could bring weapon.
This size is equal to Kush kingdom(250,000 warriors) who was defeated by Roman and less than a half size of German - Gallic allied of Vercingetorix(around 1,000,000 warriors).So heavenlykaghan gave a wrong information.Xiongnu army can't compare with army of Vercingetorix or even with Kush kingdom(I will say later).
3.Xiongnu's life was very barbarian.Shiji recorded that they don't have any writing system,no agriculture and no goverment.Yes.Xiongnu empire is a wrong name.Xiongnu was a tribe - allied only.
4.Xiongnu didn't have a permanent army.They had warriors or militias only and their equipments were very poor,even when compare with Kush kingdom: they didn't have shield, they wore light armor only.They didn;t have any weapon except bows and swords.Their bows was a normal bow,too.In "Guilde for shooting",Wang Kou claimed that:"... When (we) shot in Han method,the force was strong.While (we) shot in Hu(Xiongnu) method,the force was weak..."
 
Mar 2012
4,371
#25
So, let's recap this interaction so far. First, I respond to this thread with a transcribed version of the map in OP, as well as of the Achaemenid Empire as depicted in most maps online, noting that based on this the Xiongnu state would be larger than the contemporary Han and Seleucid Empires but smaller than the previous Achaemenid state (all of which still holds true, if the map in the OP is taken at face value, though you've argued that it's inaccurate). Then, Hakka Nyin misinterprets my post, responding that the later western and eastern Han Empire was larger than 6 million square kilometres despite my post referring to the Han state of 200 BC. I then respond to his post, noting that it was a misinterpretation but also including a transcribed version of the map on the left, as the map on the right -- with its highly inaccurate depiction of the Roman Empire -- seemed less reliable, noting that as depicted the Han state would cover less than 5 million kilometres. You then point out some inaccuracies in the Achaemenid and Han maps -- that Cyrenaica doesn't seem to have been part of the Achaemenid state, that the Han built portions of the great wall in the Gobi, that the Wusun states were subjects of the Han, etc. -- posting this map in Chinese, clearly made digitally for a digital medium, for which you give no source (it's apparently transcribed from a book by Tan Qixiang, but this isn't mentioned until much later), with no geographical or climatic references save a couple lakes, and smooth curves instead of informed-appearing boundaries (not normally a good sign, in the fields I'm more familiar with):



Instead of taking this map as gospel -- as I was apparently supposed to, despite, as you put it, the "not professional and utterly unreliable" nature of unsourced information on the internet -- I decided to amend the maps based on the information provided in your actual post text, for the Achaemenids leaving out Cyrenaica, Kwarezm, and eastern Macedonia, as well as reducing the north-eastern border to the river Iaxartes, and expanding the Han border to the Wusun states, Qiang people, and Gobi wall (based on a heavily downscaled, barely readable map, hence the couple errors); I note, though, that they don't match up with the numbers given. You responded to this by listing off a bunch of previously unmentioned territories I apparently should have included in the Han map -- "Zungharia, Korea, Ferghana, Central Vietnam [and] the Wuhuan of Eastern Inner Mongolia", without giving any sort of source or even the slightest indication of why they should be included. With reference to the above map -- still unsourced and thus indistinguishable in quality from any other on the internet -- I take Korea, Central Vietnam, and Zungharia at face value and expand the border in the north-east to try to represent Han overlordship of the Wuhuan (about which no information was given except that they were in "Eastern Inner Mongolia" -- not one mention of the Hulun Buir), only noting that I couldn't find any indication that Ferghana was conquered by the Han state, and making a point with a comparable situation about the nature of maps and tributaries in an attempt to more accurately classify what that state actually encompassed. I have also, by this point, emphasized that I'm not familiar with Han history, but am just making maps out of information given in an attempt to produce something useful (a somewhat accurate area statistic for the Han Empire -- I should note, as well, that this isn't a personal project or anything, just a series of responses to Hakka Nyin's misreading of an attempt to give a partial answer to OP's question).

Lets go back to the beginning, I cited the following in post 13:
First, I cited Shiji, and the following passage: Han sources described an "outer wall" 外城, which in 102 BC was built by Xu Ziwei which was "several hundred Li north of Wuyuan (Ordos)“, with some wall as far as 1,000 li, going as west as Lugou, south of the Altai Mountains.”“汉使光禄勋徐自为出五原塞数百里,远者千里,筑城障列亭至卢朐,而使游击将军韩说、长平侯卫伉屯其旁”。

I then provided a map showing the current uncovered northern extent of the Han great wall.


Then I cited Eastern Han control of Mongolia:

Zizhi Tongjian v.47: "初,北单于旣亡,其弟右谷蠡王于除鞬自立为单于,将众数千人止蒲类海,遣使款塞。窦宪请遣使立于除鞬为单于,置中郎将领护,如南单于故事...然上竟从宪策。"

"After the Northern Xiongnu Chanyu died, his younger brother the Left Guli King Yuchujian made himself Chanyu, send several thousand of his people to Bulei sea, and send an envoy to the frontier. Dou Xian petitioned to send an envoy to make Yuxujian the Chanyu, then establish the position of Zhonglangjiang to supervise them, just like the southern Chanyu...The emperor adopted Xian's strategy."

I then explained Han control of Wusun and in the end I cited a simplified version of Tan Qixiang's map, on Han's western boundary.
I told you the territories you left out, and then I cited Han control of Korea in post 17:

San Guozhi volume 30 is pretty clear about the subordinate status of Mahan to the Lelang prefecture: "During the Han, it was subordinate to the Lelan commandery and pays tribute every season". For Zhenghan during the time of Wang Mang, the king was just a marshal under the Xin; Han supervision of South Korea would then be comparable to Yuan, Ming, and Qing supervision of much of Manchuria, a bureaucratic office that made periodic tributary missions and expeditions in the region.


It's not my responsibility to find out what you know or do not know nor do I have the time or responsibility to cite every territory the Han ever conquered. All you need to do is ask for the sources and I'll gladly provide them. I never avoided your request for sources so don't accuse me of not providing them. You said half of my claims do not match the maps, I ask again, which ones did not match and I'll gladly provide more sources to prove them.




These, honestly, speak for themselves. You, a random person on an internet forum, are an expert with "a full grasp of the primary sources and archeology at hand", who I should have listened to completely unquestioningly instead of "the internet" (you are the internet, if you're not aware); I should have instinctively known that the low-res, digital, geography-lacking, unsourced map in Chinese was produced by the eminent Tan Qixiang, and chose it over "some random amateur map on google instead" (I did not chose another map, I simply didn't copy it unquestioningly as I had no way of knowing how reliable it was); I "still ignore Han presence in Ferghana", despite your claims going completely unsourced and unsupported until the same post (again, I'm supposed to defer without query to the self-proclaimed internet expert); and my adjustments are "minor" and "so-called" despite including Vietnam, Korea, Dzungaria, Han Wuhuan (as far as I knew, based on maps like this) -- literally everything you mentioned except the one region I had a question about, that is -- as well as a complete redrawing of the Chinese coast and northern border. This isn't the nature of "history forums", it's a rude, patronizing, and arrogant series of responses to what had been a casual historical discussion -- one I no longer have any desire to be a part of.

To finish, I do, first, apologize for mentioning Google Earth again -- I somehow missed the original mention of your lack of access to Google -- but I've already spent enough of my life on this back-and-forth, somewhat productive but exhausting, belittling, and unrewarding, and none of the above makes me particularly excited to spend any more. I am, then, though I'd be happy to see your interpretation once you have the opportunity to make it (and the .kmz file for the map is here, if you want to tinker with it later), going to be leaving it off here indefinitely, to be spending my time on more pleasant and rewarding things.
No one said you have to listen unquestioningly Jean. So calm down yourself. However, if you know you have little grasp of a subject, then common courtesy dicatates that you should do some basic reading (Han conquest of Ferghana is online) and humbly ask me for the sources where I've pointed out your problems. Again, I do not have the time or responsibility to find out what you know or don't know, I've provided some of the sources already and I'll provide more when you ask them, thats all.

Now, Han Shu volume 94 gives a good depiction of what the Han considered to be part of its "empire":
In 2 AD, a Han envoy imposed the four following rules on the Xiongnu:
"乃造设四条:中国人亡入匈奴者,乌孙亡降匈奴者,西域诸国佩中国印绶降匈奴者,乌桓降匈奴者,皆不得受。"

"Whenever a Chinese enter the Xiongnu, a Wusun entering the Xiongnu, anyone from a western state with a Chinese seal submitting to the Xiongnu, a Wuhuan submitting to the Xiongnu, the Xiongnu are forbid to receive any of them."

For the Han, the Wusun, western region, and Wuhuan were considered part of the Han Empire just like a Chinese from China, and could not conduct diplomatic relations with the Xiongnu on their own.

The Wuhuan still paid a tribute to the Xiongnu even after the Han established control over them, however this changed after the regulations.
"汉既班四条,后护乌桓使者告乌桓民,毋得复与匈奴皮布税。匈奴以故事遣使者责乌桓税,匈奴人民妇女欲贾贩者皆随往焉。乌桓距曰:“奉天子诏条,不当予匈奴税。”

"After the Han made the 4 articles, the Wuhuan envoy told the Wuhuan people, they do not need to pay leather tax to the Xiongnu anymore. The Xiongnu like before send envoy to the Wuhuan for the tax...the Wuhuan refused and said: "I follow the son of heaven's regulation, and it is inappropriate to pay the Xiongnu tax."
 
Mar 2012
4,371
#26
The Japanese map of the Han empire you use is highly interesting. Back in the previous millennium I read an old history book in English that had a map showing Han Dynasty Chine at its height stretching far west into Asia like a long narrow cone, with its tip reaching the Caspian Sea. And for decades I have never seen any map showing the Han Dynasty empire reaching close to that far west and I assumed that the map in that book exaggerated the extent of the Han Dynasty. And now you say that if all vassals, tributaries, client states, etc. of the Han Dynasty are show on a map it might resemble this Japanese map of the Han Dynasty that you show, which depicts Han Dynasty Chine stretching west to the Caspian Sea. So now I wonder if the Chinese suzerainty might have actually reached as far west as the shores of the Caspian sea for a period during the Han Dynasty.
The Han only received the vassalage of the Kangju after 36 BC, however, there was no real control as the Hanshu explicitly stated that despite sending hostage and paying tribute to the Han, the Kangju ruler did not pay attention to Han demands because of the distance. The Kangju reached the Aral sea, northwest of them were the Yencai or the Alani, which Zhizhi Chanyu forced to pay tribute. Zhi Zhi is known to have subjugated all the people in southern Siberia west of Lake Baikal, including the Ding Ling (proto-Turkic speakers), Wujie, and Jiankun (Khirghiz). After the Han killed Zhizhi in 36 BC, direct military power reached the Talas, but we don't know what happened to the other tribes which Zhizhi submitted, they didn't appear in records until the Xiongnu conquered them again in the 1st century AD.
 
Mar 2012
4,371
#27
Really?
Power of Xiongnu empire was overstated by many researchers.Here are some facts about Xiongnu empire:
1.9 million square kilometers is wrong figure from calculation of Taagepera.It included both Taklamakan and Gobi Deserts(Taklamakan: 337,000 km2 ; Gobi: 1,295,000 km2,total: 1,633,000 km2) but infact,70 - 85% of two deserts didn't have dwellers.Secondly,Xiongnu moved for all ancient time like Goth who moved from Jutland to Danube,Iberia peninsula and Africa.So Taagepera misunderstood when included all areas of Xiongnu kingdom in different times in one empire only.Therefore,Xiongnu empire in his calculation was 3 or 4 times larger than real kingdom of them.It likes we include both Jutland,Iberia peninsula and Africa in one Goth kingdom only.
By such logic, the Mongol Empire and the British Empire are also vastly over-estimated because both also contained large swaths of desert. Just because a land is filled with desert doesn't mean it isn't part of your territory, the Xiongnu controlled all the oasis states and tribes within or surrounding these deserts and hence exercised full authority over it, not nominal ones.


So Taagepera misunderstood when included all areas of Xiongnu kingdom in different times in one empire only.Therefore,Xiongnu empire in his calculation was 3 or 4 times larger than real kingdom of them.It likes we include both Jutland,Iberia peninsula and Africa in one Goth kingdom only.
Don't hide behind the smokescreen of vagueness to conceal your lack of understanding of the details. The Xiongnu at its largest under Laoshang controlled the Wuhuan and the Western region at the same time. The eastern part of the Xiongnu was under what Chinese sources called the left righteous king.
The western region was governed by what Han sources called "Rizhuwang" or the king who chased after the sun (setting sun in the west). The Rizhuwang probably roamed around Zungharia, but he also appointed a sedentary office residing near Karashar which Chinese sources called Tongpo Duwei 僮仆都尉 or "governor of slaves". The Xiongnu saw the Tarim states as its subjects and regularly collected tax from them. Rizhuwang was appointed as early as Maodun's time and only submitted to the Han in 60 BC.

2.In maximum size,Xiongnu can't have more than 300,000 to 400,000 warriors(not troop).It included all men could bring weapon.
This size is equal to Kush kingdom(250,000 warriors) who was defeated by Roman and less than a half size of German - Gallic allied of Vercingetorix(around 1,000,000 warriors).So heavenlykaghan gave a wrong information.Xiongnu army can't compare with army of Vercingetorix or even with Kush kingdom(I will say later).
3.Xiongnu's life was very barbarian.Shiji recorded that they don't have any writing system,no agriculture and no goverment.Yes.Xiongnu empire is a wrong name.Xiongnu was a tribe - allied only.
The fundamental difference is that Xiongnu soldiers were fully mounted steppe warriors, whereas Germanic and Kush kingdoms were not. Xiongnu army certainly can't compare with the likes of Kush, because they are vastly more mobile and dangerous. One only has to ask Darius' failed Scythian campaign (a much smaller steppe polity than the Xiongnu) to see the fundamental difference. Neither the Romans nor the Persians managed to successfully attack the Scythians, let alone conquer them.
Continue your line of reasoning and you might as well compare Chinggis Qan to the king of Kush as well.

4.Xiongnu didn't have a permanent army.They had warriors or militias only and their equipments were very poor,even when compare with Kush kingdom: they didn't have shield, they wore light armor only.They didn;t have any weapon except bows and swords.Their bows was a normal bow,too.In "Guilde for shooting",Wang Kou claimed that:"... When (we) shot in Han method,the force was strong.While (we) shot in Hu(Xiongnu) method,the force was weak..."
Xiongnu had universal conscription service, which is superior to a permanent army in successfully utilizing manpower. The Xiongnu bow was also more powerful than any bows the Romans ever faced.

The Xiongnu/Han Qum Darya bow found near Loulan dating from the 1st century-3rd century AD also had long ears and was the first where we have laths stiffening the ears. The Qum Darya bow also had 7 laths, Parthian bows found at Yrzi only had 4, Scythians had none, whereas the later Avar bows had 12.
The Qum Darya bow was around 140-150 cm,with two ears that had the respective length of 25.5 and 32 cm, significantly longer the the Scythian type and the Parthian Yrzi bow also only had the ear length at 22.5 and 16.7 cm respectively, with no laths at the grip, longer ears were more designed for armor penetration than the Scythian (which had no lath) or even Parthian bows.

http://image.baidu.com/search/detai...dH3Fw6ptvsj_z&e3Brir?t1=8n&gsm=0&cardserver=1

http://image.baidu.com/search/detai...v54AzdH3FrAzdH3Fdl90d0lbmc&gsm=0&cardserver=1


The Manchu bow | Fe Doro - Manchu archery
Because of the toughness these limbs can and should bend a lot more than a wooden limb which is why composite bows are almost always made with a deep reflex, have long draw lengths for their length as opposed to wooden self-bows, and come with rigid ears that help bend the limbs further.
Indeed the draw length given by the Manchu bow was 36" whereas the draw length of the long bow seem to have only been around 27-28". The big rigid ears allowed a higher degree of bending for the composite bow...



There is a catch: The rigid ears that make the high degree of bending possible also add dead weight to the construction, weight that needs to be accelerated along with the arrow. Composite bows need to make up for this. Therefore, the longer -and thus heavier- the ear, the heavier draw weight the composite bow needs to be in order to significantly start to outperform a wooden self-bow like the longbow. Once this threshold is reached, they start to outperform wooden self bows exponentially.

In another word, the Xiongnu bows, with longer ears, and 7 laths had stronger penetration power than the Scythian and Parthian bows. This is also confirmed with Roman sources been impressed by Hunnic bows.
 
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Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,588
#28
The extent of Han borders to the Caspian is based on the tribute status of Kangju I presume? Where the Kangju were holding other tribes and kingdoms as tributes of themselves? It is tenuous but has some logic- I am reluctant to say it is really a border but definitely sphere of influence no question.

The map on post 13 and 22 makes the most sense to me- nothing out of place in that map as it has lands where Han soldiers were actually present or direct tributaries where Han had sent armies. When it is s a tributary of a tributary past the furthest fringes where Han had only sent 1 or 2 armies briefly it is more questionable.

Also Karasahr do you mean, 焉耆 or 喀什 ? Because Kashgar and Karasahr are quite far from each other similar to the Talas having Han officials in Karasahr does not have much to do with the furthest western Han border.

Han control of the Tarim is widely accepted and the Taras river is also mentioned several times which is quite far north of what seems to be the western extent and dispute on the map areas. Fergana or Dayuan 大宛 is the commonly accepted border in the west where Han had direct tributaries for some time- further west like Kangju is much more difficult to substantiate other than a couple records where the proclivity of the Kangju to also ignore Han is mentioned.
 
May 2012
321
Heaven
#29
heaven:
1.Your link wrote about Manchu bow - a bow in Ming Dynasty(14th-16th),over 1000 years after Xiongnu,nut Xiongnu bow.Moreover,who did confirm impression of Hunnic bows among Roman writers?Priscus showed that it was ineffective when fighting against Roman onagers at Naissus;Ammianus Marcellinus wrote that Huns use bows as main weapon only;even Jordanes - closiet source with Huns,claimed that their bow was normal.Moreover,Historical records showed that normal draw weight of Manchu bow was 80 to 133 pounds
The Manchu bow | Fe Doro - Manchu archery
...Commonly called "Chinese bow" or "Qing bow", I prefer to call it the Manchu bow because the design was brought into China by the Manchus when they invaded the Ming empire in the early 17th century ...
...A 1736 report found that of 3,200 troops at the Hangzhou garrison about 2,200 were able to draw bows of strengths six to ten [80-133], and 80 could handle bow strengths of eleven to thirteen [147-173 pounds]… …In comparison, the 500 troops at the small Dezhou garrison acquitted themselves with honor, all of them being able to take a five-strength bow [67 pounds], 203 a six-strength [80 pounds], 137 a seven strength [93 pounds], and 85 a ten-strength bow [133 pounds] ..
2.You forgot levels of knowledge.Chimpanzee could use rocks and rocks can create fire.Why chimpanzee can't create fire with rock?Xiongnu was at very low level of management when compare with British empire and Mongolian empire.Oasis can use for controlling desert but not all tribes and nations can do it like Roman.There are some requirements for do it:
1).
There are outposts/forts that were built in inner oasis,lakes and rivers of desert.For example: Cidamus(Ghadames,Libya), Tusuros(Tozeur,Tunisia),Ghoilaia(Bu-Njem)....These construction would help protect their terrority.However,Shiji and Hanshu wrote that Xiongnu didn't have any town,they lived in their tent only.
2).These outposts need a large supplies : foods,water,construction...However,Xiongnu was a nomadic ethnic group,even they didn't have tanks or granaries for storing.So,they would die for some weeks in desert by water and food lacking.
3).Armies and governors have to know all main oasis in desert.If they don't know that they would be exhausted like army of Gallus in Arabia desert.However,many sites in 2 deserts weren't know by Xiongnu.
 

Ichon

Ad Honorem
Mar 2013
3,588
#30
heaven:
1.Your link wrote about Manchu bow - a bow in Ming Dynasty(14th-16th),over 1000 years after Xiongnu,nut Xiongnu bow.Moreover,who did confirm impression of Hunnic bows among Roman writers?Priscus showed that it was ineffective when fighting against Roman onagers at Naissus;Ammianus Marcellinus wrote that Huns use bows as main weapon only;even Jordanes - closiet source with Huns,claimed that their bow was normal.Moreover,Historical records showed that normal draw weight of Manchu bow was 80 to 133 pounds
The Manchu bow | Fe Doro - Manchu archery
...Commonly called "Chinese bow" or "Qing bow", I prefer to call it the Manchu bow because the design was brought into China by the Manchus when they invaded the Ming empire in the early 17th century ...
...A 1736 report found that of 3,200 troops at the Hangzhou garrison about 2,200 were able to draw bows of strengths six to ten [80-133], and 80 could handle bow strengths of eleven to thirteen [147-173 pounds]… …In comparison, the 500 troops at the small Dezhou garrison acquitted themselves with honor, all of them being able to take a five-strength bow [67 pounds], 203 a six-strength [80 pounds], 137 a seven strength [93 pounds], and 85 a ten-strength bow [133 pounds] ..
2.You forgot levels of knowledge.Chimpanzee could use rocks and rocks can create fire.Why chimpanzee can't create fire with rock?Xiongnu was at very low level of management when compare with British empire and Mongolian empire.Oasis can use for controlling desert but not all tribes and nations can do it like Roman.There are some requirements for do it:
1).
There are outposts/forts that were built in inner oasis,lakes and rivers of desert.For example: Cidamus(Ghadames,Libya), Tusuros(Tozeur,Tunisia),Ghoilaia(Bu-Njem)....These construction would help protect their terrority.However,Shiji and Hanshu wrote that Xiongnu didn't have any town,they lived in their tent only.
2).These outposts need a large supplies : foods,water,construction...However,Xiongnu was a nomadic ethnic group,even they didn't have tanks or granaries for storing.So,they would die for some weeks in desert by water and food lacking.
3).Armies and governors have to know all main oasis in desert.If they don't know that they would be exhausted like army of Gallus in Arabia desert.However,many sites in 2 deserts weren't know by Xiongnu.
1. Bow technology is not all about draw strength, otherwise steel prodded crossbows would be superior in all situations. The quickness and smoothness of the limbs releasing the stored energy contributed hugely to the arrow velocity leaving the bow and that is where clear improvements in design over time are seen with many small physics techniques found by trial and error to improve the release velocity of an arrow and stand up to repeated use.

2. Xiongnu actually did quite well in management with the technology they had but it certainly wasn't as centrally managed as Mongols and I have no idea what you are referring to with Romans about oases control as it was along trade routes of frontiers which is what Han did while Xiongnu did not have vulnerable fixed locations to protect- their mobility was their main protection.

Many desert oases sites change with time or labor- underground springs have to be kept clear and channelled to produce good water and somewhere like Arabia such oases are valued and fought to control. The Tarim and Gobi are not isolated like Arabia and were the crossroads of Empires who did not want to see many oases providing hiding spots for raiders and often destroyed the smaller oases when found to maintain control of the main routes.

Finally the Xiongnu were able to coordinate with many peripheral city states and we can see the Han efforts to curtail these relationships in the terms of the tribute treaties because the Xiongnu could retain their migratory protection while keeping access to the products of urban civilization and since the Han were the richest and easiest target nearby to Xiongnu for much of their mutual histories it makes logical sense to control as much as possible Xiongnu access to products from anyone other than the Han.