- Mar 2013
Good point on the outerwalls but I was thinking of that map more westernmost and easternmost extensions because in my opinion it is even more difficult to quantify extent of Han control north and south because of the hazy borders of the tributaries that the Han definitely dominated in both those directions.The former, and I'm talking about a Xiongnu official near there, not a Han one.
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 The idea that the Xiongnu Empire is a decentralized alliance of tribes is an outdated Soviet era trope that few scholars in the past decade follows.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.
Saying the Xiongnu are not as centralized as the Mongols is not the same as saying Xiongnu were not centralized- in fact, they show many evidences of centralization and in my opinion Mongol merely continued this steppe tradition of centralization and carried it out more efficiently and on a larger scale but not entirely different.
Most nomadic confederations had some sedentary farming or industrial stations but more rarely were such places full fledged towns- in the towns that did exist it was usually a different population/culture which existed there and basically paid protection to the most powerful group in the area.
Thanks for saying the office you were talking about at Karasahr was a Xiongnu appointed there because I was a bit confused why you mentioned it in context of Han control further SW.