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

May 2012
321
Heaven
#31
Ichon: we agreed with each other in some points:
1.Xiongnu lacked necessary tools to protect effectively desert areas for a long time.For example: food,forts...
2.Roman found out good method to control deserts.However,it isn't an important point.You believed that they were good at control Arabia desert but there are 3 desert in Roman terrority: Sahara desert;Middle East desert and Arabia desert.In my opion,Sahara is the most important desert,not Arabia.You said that Arabia were harder than Gobi and Taklamakan for control,too.
3.Desert control is a difficult work.You must guarantee water and food for troops for a long time and there isn't any money return from these areas.
 
Feb 2011
6,428
#32
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.
Where did Priscus say that the Hunnic bow was ineffective when fighting against Roman onagers?
 
May 2012
321
Heaven
#33
You forgot it.
Priscus wrote that there were many Huns who died in siege of Naissus:
...When we arrived at Naissus we found the city deserted, as though it had been sacked; only a few sick persons lay in the churches. We halted at a short distance from the river, in an open space, for all the ground adjacent to the bank was full of the bones of men slain in war...
Huns used their bows while the siege:
...Men standing on the beams shot arrows against those defending the city from the battlements, and other men grabbing another projecting beam shoved the wheels ahead on foot. Thus, they drove the engines ahead wherever it was necessary so that it was possible to shoot successfully through the windows made in the screens. In order that the fight might be free of danger for the men on the beams they were protected by willow twigs interwoven with rawhide and leather screens, a defense against other missiles and whatever fire weapons might be sent against them...
However,here is the result:
...From the walls the defenders hurled down stones by the wagon load(onager) which had been collected when the engines had been brought up to the circuit wall, and they smashed some along with the men themselves, but they did not hold out against the vast number of engines...
Onagers of Roman defeated engines of Huns with their archer although it isn't easy to destroy wooden battering - tower.It is clear that Huns had to shoot during range of onagers
 
Feb 2011
6,428
#34
This is the entire quote:

P.fr.lb (One episode of this attack has come down to us.) The Scythians were besieging Naissus. This is a city of the Illyrians lying on the Danube River. They say that Constantine was its founder the same man who also built the city at Byzantium named after himself. The barbarians, being on the point of capturing a city so populous and fortified besides, were advancing with every attempt. Since those in the city were not very confident about going out to battle, the barbarians bridged the river at the southern part where it flowed past the city so that a crossing would be easy for a large number of men, and they brought their engines of war to the circuit wall - first wooden beams mounted on wheels because their approach was easy. Men standing on the beams shot arrows against those defending the city from the battlements, and other men grabbing another projecting beam shoved the wheels ahead on foot. Thus, they drove the engines ahead wherever it was necessary so that it was possible to shoot successfully through the windows made in the screens. In order that the fight might be free of danger for the men on the beams they were protected by willow twigs interwoven with rawhide and leather screens, a defense against other missiles and whatever fire weapons might be sent against them.
Many engines were in this way brought close to the city wall, so that those on the battlements, on account of the multitude of the missiles, retired, and the so-called rams advanced. The ram is a huge machine. A beam with a metal head is suspended by loose chains from timbers inclined toward each other, and there are screens like those just mentioned for the sake of the safety of those working it. With small ropes from a projecting horn at the back, men forcibly draw it backward from the place which is to receive the blow and then let it go, so that with a swing it crushes every part of the wall which comes in its way. From the walls the defenders hurled down stones by the wagon load which had been collected when the engines had been brought up to the circuit wall, and they smashed some along with the men themselves, but they did not hold out against the vast number of engines. Then the enemy brought up scaling ladders. And so in some places the wall was toppled by the rams, and elsewhere men on the battlements were overpowered by the multitude of siege engines. The city was captured when the barbarians entered where the circuit wall had been broken by the hammering of the ram and also when by means of the ladders they scaled the part of the wall not yet fallen.


Ergo, the Romans "hurled stones" against enemy rams, and enemy archers shot at the defenders on the walls. Some rams were destroyed, but not enough for the city was captured by "the hammering of the ram" and "by means of the ladders".
Where did Priscus say that the stones of the defenders were hurled by onagers as you claim? The passage says that the stones were hurled when the Scythian "engines had been brought up to the circuit wall", so if anything this implies they were hurled by hand. Where did Priscus say that Hunnic bows "was ineffective when fighting against Roman onagers at Naissus"? That's not what the passage said, that seems to be your very very loose interpretation of it, and I say "very loose" in part because Naissus was captured.
 
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Mar 2012
4,371
#35
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.
That depends on the map. I've heard of claims that Gan Ying's soldiers conquered all the way to Caspian, another one of those nonsensical wikipedia facts that cannot be verified in any primary source. Gan Ying merely brought an embassy, not an army (and wikipedia often gives the figure of 70,000, which is again completely baseless). The Kangju seem to have reached the Aral, there is too little sources on whether they reached the Caspian however, we know that to their northwest were the Alani. Han influence over Kangju is probably in the same manner as the Persian influence over the Sacæ nomads; that is nominal submission and token tribute (I am not even aware the Sacae had hostages at the Persian court, while the Kangju did have rolyalties at the Han court). Han influence over the Xiongnu was much more significant than the Kangju. Hu Hanye Chanyu visited the Han court personally in 51 BC, and again after 36 BC, later Xiongnu rulers were required to bow and even kowtow to the Han envoy. By Wang Mang's rule, the Han tried to meddle directly in Xiongnu internal affairs. First, he forbid the Xiongnu from receiving Wusun, Wuhuan, and Western region refugees, then he forbid the Wuhuan from paying tribute to the Xiongnu, then Wang Mang forbid Xiongnu rulers to have two character Chinese names. After 10 AD, he appointed all 15 sons of Hu Hanye Chanyu, in an attempt to split the Xiongnu into 15 polities. Wang Mang then send an envoy to the borders of Yunzhong county and managed to get two of Hu Hanye's sons (one of which was a lord of a fief) to come to the Han court, forcibly gave them the title Chanyu and made them stay in Changan. But by this time, the Xiongnu ruler has had enough with the New regime and decided to raid the frontiers on a large scale.


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.
The map doesn't take consideration of Han frontier in the outer great walls, although when this great wall ceased to be a boundary is not clear. The Han seem to have disbanded soldiers guarding it sometimes before Hu Hanye submitted, but its not clear whether that means abandoning the walls itself.

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.
The former, and I'm talking about a Xiongnu official near there, not a Han one.



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.

I'll beg to differ how the Xiongnu is not as centralized as the Mongols, the Shiji mentioned the Xiongnu as being more centralized than the early Han (fief system), and the Chanyu had control over all 24 of its Tumens. The idea that the Xiongnu Empire is a decentralized alliance of tribes is an outdated Soviet era trope that few scholars in the past decade follows. As for not having fixed location, that depends on where. There are a number of Xiongnu agricultural sites found, and the Xiongnu "Governor of slaves" 僮仆都尉 is a sedentary office stationed in the Western Region itself (near Karasahr) which collected tax from the Western region and oversaw their politics; it was the equivalent of the Han Protectorate general of the Western Region.
 
May 2012
321
Heaven
#36
[QUOTE="HackneyedScribe, post: 3168177, member: 9401"]Many engines were in this way brought close to the city wall, so that those on the battlements, on account of the multitude of the missiles, retired, and the so-called rams advanced.[/QUOTE]
It showed clearly that Huns archers who stood in engines had to shoot to city wall.Thank hackneye.Morver,Priscus said that Huns had to build a bridge to transport their engines cross a river.So,Hun archer shot between Naissus fortress and the bank of the river.In map,this distance is short as 100 - 150 meter only.
 
Mar 2012
4,371
#37
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] ..
I guess you are just not understanding the point that long ear bows have more penetration power. The Xiongnu bows had longer ears than Parthian bows, hence they had stronger penetration, in the same way that Qing bows were stronger than the longbow because of its longer ears.


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:.
Except they weren't. There is nothing the Mongol Empire had which the Xiongnu didn't. They were both centralized nomadic polities where the ruler can put to death any lords of regional fiefs or military commanders.

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.

You are not reading my post on the Xiongnu "Governor of slaves" 僮仆都尉 . It was a Xiongnu outpost in the Inner Oasis, that managed local affairs. The Xiongnu wasn't a pure nomadic empire just like the Mongols weren't. It's common sense that they adapt to local conditions to rule them. Nomadic people aren't intelligence lacking polities that can't grasp statecraft; they have all the mechanisms that sedentary people have but just do it from horseback and hence can manage a more mobile and larger polity.
This is the original source found in Han Shu, Chapter on Western region:《汉书·西域传》载:“匈奴西边日逐王置僮仆都尉,使领西域,常居焉耆、危须、尉黎间,赋税诸国,取富给焉。”

"The Xiongnu western Rizhuwang appointed the office of Governor of the Slaves to rule the western region, he permanently reside between Karasahr, Weixu, and Weili, collecting tax from the various states."

Also, please read up the basic history of the western region in this period before you comment, because I don't want to correct you on every single mistake because you don't do your homework. Han records clearly mentioned Xiongnu representatives in places like Loulan, Kashgar, Khotan and Turfan. Saying they had no grasp of the local geography is just an asinine remark against the face of evidence that the Xiongnu knew exactly where to go and what states were important.
 
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May 2012
321
Heaven
#38
1.It is clear that heaven don't know the meaning "tax".Xiongnu empire is an allied tribes,not a nation so they never have any kind of tax.
Cambridge dictionary:
tax: (an amount of) money paid to the government that is based on your incomeor the cost of goods or services you have bought
tribute: respect or admiration for someone, or a formal event at which respect andadmiration are expressed
税 translate in "tax" in English but ancient Chinese author didn't distinguish "tribute" and "tax".You misunderstood "tax".
Firstly,Xiongnu is a barbarian tribe,they didn't have any king of money, didn't have walled town and even didn't have a wringting system as Shiji and Hanshu claimed.Of course,they lacked mathematic knowledges or we can say that Xiongnu very bad in calculation,so collect tax is imagine of some people only,like chimpanzee can create fire.It is excess work for them- the most important tool to calculate the tax.Besides,tribes in Western region produced goods mainly for themselves,trade was very limited and they didn't have income.
2.You probably never see map of Western Region.No tribes lived in inner oasis of Taklamakan.Let's see map of researcher Tan Qixiang 譚其驤 before continue argument.

Yanqi is out of Taklamakan desert.Moreover,all Western Regions states/tribes were located in margin of Taklamakan.No state or tribe lived inside it.
Here is Cidamus(Ghadames) - a real inner oasis and Roman fort.It is around 270 km from closiest border of Sahara desert.Xiongnu and Han couldn't control oasis like it.Their armies will die soon after several months.
 
Sep 2016
535
天下
#39
税 translate in "tax" in English but ancient Chinese author didn't distinguish "tribute" and "tax".You misunderstood "tax".
Of course they distinguished taxes and tributes. Where the hell did you get the idea they didn't?
they didn't have any king of money
Taxes don't have to be paid in money and this is especially true in pre-modern era. For millennia the taxes in Europe were more often than not paid with produce and not money.
didn't have walled town
Except that, they actually did have walled settlements, as excavated at Ivolga, Mangasyn Khuree, sites along Tamir, and numerous others.
even didn't have a wringting system
You don't need a writing system to perform calculations.
tribes in Western region produced goods mainly for themselves,trade was very limited and they didn't have income.
If that was true, then the Silk Road wouldn't exist.
Here is Cidamus(Ghadames) - a real inner oasis and Roman fort
You know what an oasis is? It's a natural part of a desert where a water source and vegetation is present. It's not an achievement to build a settlement there. Just like Xiongnu the Romans were unable to station forces in huge swathes of the desert where no water source could be reliably found.
 
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Feb 2011
6,428
#40
It showed clearly that Huns archers who stood in engines had to shoot to city wall.Thank hackneye.Morver,Priscus said that Huns had to build a bridge to transport their engines cross a river.So,Hun archer shot between Naissus fortress and the bank of the river.In map,this distance is short as 100 - 150 meter only.
You are grasping at straws in more ways than one, giving very loose interpretations and no sourcing. Even if the Hunnic archers did shoot at 100-150 meters in the siege of Naissus, so what? Is that somehow supposed to mean they couldn't shoot further? Why can't they choose to shoot at close range, especially considering that their archers were protected? It says nothing about the impact of the shots either, range alone tells nothing. But I'll humor you, which map are you looking at? Please share it.
And this have nothing to do with what I asked of you. Where did Priscus say that Hunnic archers were ineffective against onagers in the siege of Naissus? Where did Priscus even mention onagers in the siege of Naissus? It only says the defenders hurled rocks when the rams reached the wall, that doesn't mean it's onagers as you claim, in fact the passage implies the rocks were dropped straight down.
 
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