Yu.Zuev Ethnic History of Usuns
Yu.Zuev Early Türks: Essays of history
Yu.Zuev The Strongest Tribe - Ezgil
Yu.Zuev Tamgas of vassal Princedoms
Yu.Zuev Ancient Türkic social terms
N.Bichurin Hunnu, Oihors, etc
Ogur and Oguz
The Huns in Chinese annals
Synopsis of Eastern Hun history
V.S. Taskin (1917-1995)
USSR Academy of Sciences, Institute of Oriental Studies
MATERIALS ON THE HISTORY OF NOMADIC PEOPLES IN CHINA
3 - 5 cc. AD
Jie (Jie Huns 羯 匈奴)
Moscow, Oriental Literature, 1990, Print 1000 copies, ISBN 5-02-016543-3
http://www.i-u.ru/biblio/archive/sima_2/12.aspx (Biography, in Russian, find Òàñêèí on page )
First of all, for consistency and civility, this posting uses the Chinese argot Jie for a Türkic tribal name Kian or Kiyan which means “Hare” in Türkic, and is spelled Coney in English (i.g. Coney Island). The tribe Kiyan is as well known as it can go, they left documentary traces across Eurasia and across millennia. Apparently, the Kiyans in the Chinese Central Plane were a local residue, the rest of the tribe moved on far and wide to sow their seed. They also experienced all perturbations of life, in a range from a dynastic tribe to agricultural peons. Somehow, the fate had a tendency to generously reward them after every calamity. In this posting, Kiyans wear the Chinese codename Jie, and hide under transcription Qiang.
In the publications of the Chinese annals, the most interesting and useful materials are not the spotty annalistic inventory of events and titles, but the commentaries of the translators that bring the annals to our days. The offered extracts from the fifth publication of V.S. Taskin give an English translation of the Introduction section with a scholarly summary of the Jie branch of the Eastern Huns history for a period of 3rd - 5th cc. AD. Focused toward the Huns, it is a nice respite from the Chinese-centered narrations. During his lifetime work on translations of the Chinese annals, V.S. Taskin, who lived and was educated in China, observed numerous Türkic words and expressions in the Hun's lexicon, and came to his own independent conviction that the Huns were a collection of Türkic tribes, who for a relatively long period ruled a vast number of ethnically different people, including Chinese.
Jie (Chinese: 羯; Wade-Giles: Chieh; Yale: Kit3; Middle Chinese: Kiat; Japanese On: Katsu, Ketsu; Russian: Tsze ~ Öçå) in the Eastern Hun confederation had a separate pastoral rout. The literal meaning of the Chinese rendering is “wether” or “castrated male sheep”, not at all surprising for the Chinese derisive ingenuity; in Türkic “wether” is “chuv(ak)”, the homonymy of “jie”with “chuv(ak)” may not be accidental. A pastoral rout was the organizing principle in the animal husbandry society, equivalent to agricultural districts in the agrarian societies. An extended family could hold a pastoral rout for a short while, but to retain it against encroaches, assaults, and invasions, was needed a community of a number of extended families. That community was self-sustaining in providing for and protecting themselves. According to Jin-shu, the Southern Huns community of 340,000 people had 19 pastoral routs, or on the average 7,000 people per pastoral rout, or 1,000 yurts per pastoral rout. With upward of 35 horses, 100 sheep, and 2-3 wagons per family, a pastoral rout wielded over 35,000 horses, over 100,000 sheep, and 2,000-3,000 wagons. On a scale of Chinese population, 7,000 people was a negligible subdivision, but its 1,000-strong cavalry was a formidable force in an open field. Whether the Jie pastoral rout community was a Hun, Uigur, Ket, Kangar, Usun or another tribe 600 years ago is anybody's guess, in the 300 AD it was just another Southern Hun autonomous subdivision. For a period, they intercepted the leadership from the Hun's and Uigur's dynastic clans, and played a major role in the history of China. We can whine all we want about ambiguity caused by the fractionation of the Chinese ancient appellations in space and time, but the modern situation is not any better, or is even worse, because the ancient ambiguity is overlaid with a conundrum of various phonetization schemes, which are in turn overlaid with a conundrum of various conventional and unconventional spelling conventions. In that respect the scholars that work directly with the text are at an advantage, compared with the scholars who have to first wade through all the strata of later distortions just to get to the ancient Chinese ambiguity, as happened with fairly transparent term Jun/Jung = Hun converted in the Pinyin to a totally divorced Rong, or Jie for Kians. As can be seen in the V.Taskin's work, there is little resemblance between the Russian, Pinyin, Wade-Giles, and various other renditions found for the same term depicted by an ancient Chinese hieroglyph. At times, a best phonetical correspondence survived not in Chinese, but in the Japanese archaic On tradition. The Pinyin renditions that arose in the recent decades, and the B.Kalgren reconstructions appear to emanate from totally different families of the animal world.
We can only guess what happened with the other 18 Southern Huns subdivisions, what dramas fell on their dynastic clans, on their people, how they handled the transition of a female dynastic tribe of Kian Uigurs to supremacy. The whole hierarchical system collapsed in the trouble years that precipitated that transition, not only the Hunnic, but the Chinese as well. The augusts that were bestowing titles fell down, and the recipients of the titles were also swept aside. The subservient Chinese title Chanuy was discredited among its native ranks, and it was for a long time that the puppet Chanuys were Chanuys only within the walls of the Chinese courts. The alternate authority was rising from within the ranks, using a cover of the dynastic line only when it was needed. The annals describe it in the terms like “the elders rebelled”.
The Hun history that started with reflections in the Qin and Han period in the 3rd c. BC had intercepted the Hun history on the run, skipping main events of the Andronov nomads reaching the Far East in about 12th c. BC, their blending with local Melanoid, Austro-Asiatic, Dravidian and Chinese agricultural cultures in the south, and simultaneously with the foot forest hunter Tungus culture in the north, their developing into stratified composite Yin and Zhou civilizations of the 12th-3rd cc. BC that came to be called Chinese, and a coeval civilization of the nomadic steppe that came to be called Hunnic and Scythian. The popular notion that the Huns disappeared, migrated, or melted into Chinese or Mongols is totally disspelled by the contemporary events recorded in the Chinese annals, which vividly paint a panorama of the Hunnic society not only indisputably Hunnic, but also indisputably Türkic, and indisputably alive and kicking. Since the annals can't be expected to penetrate beyond their temporal horizon, the understanding of the backdrop scenery, in all its archeological, ethnological, anthropological, and linguistic resplendency should fall on the shoulders of those who enjoy the enlightenment afforded by the contemporary science. The utter confusion of the linguistics, unable to discriminate cause and effect, can be turned into productive force built on the foundation of the disciplines that provide it with realistic canvas.
The Issue 2 of the Taskin work re-translated and re-examined the records of Jin-shi, a major historical source, as listed in the table of Contents.“Sixteen States” sequence in Chinese historiography. Some details may be obtained from Wikipedia links, the contents to be treated with a fair dosage of prudency.
A reader would be reminded about a naive analysis by O.J. Maenchen-Helfen of the Western Huns etiology, they were close contemporaries of the Eastern Huns and their Jie branch addressed by V.S.Taskin. Instead of O.J. Maenchen-Helfen's wild speculations and unrelated associations, on the example of Jie the Chinese annals provide a test case with a panoramic view of the world saturated with living spirits and hosts reflected in the events of the Jie dynastic life in China.
* * *.
The posting's notes and explanations, added to the text of the author and not noted specially, are shown in (blue italics) in parentheses and in blue boxes. Page numbers are shown at the beginning of the page in blue. Bibliographic references are numbered and listed in the Bibliography Section of this posting. Where possible, the author's Cyrillicised Wade-Giles transcriptions were changed to Pinyin, to facilitate search, but because a switch to Pinyin coding frequently distorts or makes phonetics ambiguous, the phonetization of the original is generally retained also. It was noted that the annals, even composed by a single author like Sima Qian, use different expressions for the same phenomenon, in case of Huns they are interchangeably called Hu and Hunnu (Hu 胡 and Pinyin Xiongnu 匈奴), and in the references to Jie they are interchangeably called Hu, and Hunnu, and Jie (Hu 胡, and Pinyin Xiongnu 匈奴, and Pinyin Jie 羯); personal and geographical names also come in variety of spellings; where appropriate, the Chinese form is given to facilitate search and verification, and possibly catch inaccuracies in translation. The identification of the Chinese 匈奴 with the historical Eastern Huns is beyond any doubts for better then half a century, and this posting replaced all incarnations of Chinese-derived appellations with their modern appellation Hun. Where direct correspondence between the Cyrillicised Wade-Giles transcription of V.S.Taskin and their Pinyin counterparts has not been found, a putative Pinyin reconstruction used the following conventions: Ts = X or Q, Tsz = J, S = S or X, all without any systematic rules.
MATERIALS ON THE HISTORY OF NOMADIC PEOPLES IN CHINA
3 - 5 cc. AD
Jie (Jie Huns 羯 匈奴)
On the Jie ethnogenesis
This issue assembled materials relating to the nomadic tribe Jie (羯). They are selected from the “History of Jin dynasty” (Jin-shu 晉書), the authorship of which is attributed to the Tang Emperor Tai Zong (626-649), in reality it was written by a group of authors headed by a high official Fang Xuanling (房玄齡, 578-648).
What kind of people were Jie, and what was their ethnic origin? The question is not hollow, since the Soviet historical literature has no clear answer. M.V. Krukov, not touching on the Jie ethnogenesis, only noted briefly: “Most of the modern researchers believe that the Jie are from the territory of Middle Asia; to the Central China Plain they came together with the Huns” [2, p. 72], he also stresses: “In the process of “Migration of Peoples” to the territory of the Northern China in addition to the Huns, Syanbi (pl. Syanbis, like kiwi ~ kiwis), Qiangs (Tibetans) and Di (pl. Dis, like kiwi ~ kiwis) also happen to come the Jie (pl. Jies, like tui ~ tuis, die ~ dies), natives of the Western Region” [2, p. 256].
L.N.Gumilev addressed Jie in more detail, although basically referring to E. Chavannes: “Another large tribe were Jielu, who lived on the banks of the river Hey-shui. That tribe was formed of the Huns' slaves, freed by the disintegration of the Hunnic society (25-85 AD). Their main occupations were animal husbandry and hunting. They are not identical with the tribes in the West, who belonged to Beibi (Syanbi). They are not of a single race, among them were Tunhu (Mongols) and Dinlins (Tele, aka Ch. Di) and Qiangs (Tibetans), who lived with them. And that is because originally, they were the slaves of the Huns” [1, p. 28].
Based on that evidence, L.N.Gumilev mistook Jielu for an ethnonym, and states that the word, supposedly pronounced qul and in the modern Turkic languages it means “slave”, in the 6th-8th cc. it had a very different meaning: “alien” or “submitting to foreign state,” without any shade of personal bondage.
Identification of the Jielu, or quls with Jie is clearly erroneous and apparently is
due to the misreading the French transcription in the works of the Western authors. In the works of L.N.Gumilev
occasions are not uncommon. So, he reads Sima Chjie [1, p. 51] instead
of Sima Chi, Li Kung [1, p. 57] instead Lu Kung, Wan Dun [1, p. 73] instead of Wan Dung,
etc. Similarly, in our case E.Chavannes is not talking about the Jie, but about the tsy, or tszylu, about whom the
sources provide information.
In the “History of Southern Qi dynasty” (Nan Qi-shu 南齊書) we find: “Henans belong to the Hun group. During the Han dynasty in the era of Jian-wu rule (26-56 AD), several thousand of the Huns male and female slaves from different [ethnic] groups fled and hid in the Lianzhou area. In the language of the barbarians the slaves are called qy or alternatively qylu” (19, Ch. 59, p. 4-a]. Further, it says that the Henans lived to the north-west of Yizhou area, in the Lianzhou region, they were living of the nomadic pastoralism, and were subjects of Tuyuhuns, whose rulers since the Song dynasty (宋朝 420-479) received appointments and titles from the Chinese Court.
Comparing Nan Qi-shu with the stipulations of L.N.Gumilev, it turns out that tsy, or tszylu (qy, or qylu) is not an ethnonym, but the words that in the language of the barbarians mean “slave”. And an ethnonym is the word Henan (literally, “living south of the river [Huanhe]”), that arose from the fact that the escaped Huns' slaves settled on the lands south of the river Huanhe. The sources do not mention any evidence of Henans' involvement in the events that took place in the northern China during the Former and Later Zhao dynasties.
It should be noted that the historical sources are not uniform in covering the ethnic origin of the Henans. According to the Nan Qi shu, Henans included various ethnic groups, among which a most numerous was apparently the Hun group, which gave a reason to attribute all of them to the Huns. At the same time, the “History of Southern Dynasties (Nan shi 南史) attributes the Henan rulers to the Syanbis: “The ancestors of the Henan rulers come from Syanbi clan Mujun (aka Murong; Murong is a pinyin version of the Syanbi clan Mujun/Muyun). In the past, the Mujun chief Ylogan had two sons, the eldest called Tuyuhun was born of a concubine, and the youngest called [Mujun] Gui was born of his lawful wife. After the Ylogan death, Mujun Gui inherited the throne. Wishing to secede from Mujun Gui, Tuyuhun moved west to Shanlun, crossed Fuhan, went into the south-western part of Lianzhou, and came to the river Chishui, where he began to live. Those lands are located to the south of the river [Huang He], so he adopted the name of the place as the title [Henan-wan]” [12, Ch. 79, p. 9-a]. Apparently, the Henans, composed of different ethnic groups, were too weak, so the author of the Nan-shi calls their rulers Syanbis, meaning Tuyuhun and his descendants (Syanbi was a Mongol tribe that in the 3rd c. BC escaped Hun's control, and consequently retained their original culture until they conquered a significant number of the Huns in 160 AD. After that, under a common name Syanbi must be discriminated the Mongol Syanbis and the Türkic Syanbis. The tribe Toba was a Türkic Syanbi tribe [ref. P.Budberg, L.Bazin, and V.P.Yudin]).
According to numerous direct and indirect evidence, Jie were a community that owned one of the Huns'
19 pastoral routs, they were a splinter from the parental tribe Qianqui
(orig: Öÿíöçþé) that owned a pastoral rout mentioned in the Jin-shu among the 19 Huns' pastoral rout communities that lived in the Chinese territory
(i.e. inside the border walls or fortified lines; the
Qianqui is a transcription may be a derivative of
Kang/Kangar Kyankyui Kyangaoi Qiang Qu ) [20, Ch. 97,
The ethnonym Qianqui can be thought of as associated with the name of Qianqui, a Shanuy of the Southern Huns, who held this post from 179 to 188 AD [21, Ch. 89, pp. 32-a - 32-b]. The Wei-shu says: “Ancestors of Shi Le belonged to a separate Huns' pastoral rout, dispersed in the Shendan district, in the Usyan county, in the Qeshi area, after the name of which they started to be called Qeshi Hus (pl. of Hu)” [7, Ch. 95, p. 9-a]. Consequently, the ethnonym Jie is associated with the name of the Qeshi area (modern Yuyshe county in the Shanxi province) (Jinzhong Shi, Yuci 榆次区 district), and thus the Jie is only a geographical definition, not a self-name of the nomadic union.
The sources usually call the Huns “Hus” (sing. Hun ~ Hu). Still Jia Yi (201 -169 BC) in his treatise “On the errors of the Qin house” wrote about the Qin Emperor Shi-Huang: “He sent Meng Tian to the north to build the Great Wall, and hold firmly the lines along it. [Meng Tian] pushed the Huns out for 700-plus li, after which the Hus no longer dared to come down to the south to graze their horses there, and their soldiers did not dare to tension their bows to avenge the insults [18, Ch. 6, p. 44-a]. It is clear that for Jia Yi the Hus and the Huns are one and the same people. In 89 BC Shanuy Hulugu, having won a great victory over the Han troops, sent to the Emperor Wu an ambassador with a letter stating: “In the south is the great state of Han, in the north lay the powerful Hus” [4, Sec. 94-a, l. 29-b], i.e., he himself called the Huns Hus. Since Jies are Huns, the Jin shu ordinarily calls them Hu, and only in rare cases they appear under the name Jie.
In particular, when Shi Le was a boy engaged in street vending in Luoyang, he was standing and whistling by the city wall, when a Jin high official Wang Yan saw him and, startled by his appearance, said: “In my opinion, the voice and the look of this Hu's milk-sucker ... display his extraordinary ambitions.” Zhang Bing, a closest ally of Shi Le, was saying about him: “I've seen a lot of military commanders, but only with this Hu can a great cause be successfully completed.”
It is hardly necessary to cite other numerous examples that prove that the Chinese held Jie as the Huns, but we can not bypass one very important linguistic evidence which helps to identify ethnicity of the Jie themselves, and of the Huns to which they belonged. It is a phrase, uttered in the Jie language by a native of India, Buddhist monk Fotu Den, who served for Shi Le and was spreading Buddhism in China. This only phrase in the Hun language that reached us has meanings of its words and a general translation.
In 328 sparked a war between Shi Le and Liu Yao, the Emperor of the Former Zhao dynasty.
Defeating the Shi Le army at Gao-Hou, Liu Yao came to Luoyang, and besieged a town Tszinyon
near the Gao-Hou. Shi Le wanted to come to the Luoyang aid, but high officials were persuading him not to do
Then Shi Le turned for advice to Fotu Den (Buttocho 佛図澄, pinyin: Fu Tucheng; Wade–Giles: Fu T'u-ch'eng, ca. 235-348), who said in the Jie language, referring to the sound of bells at the pagoda (presumably, the transcription is correctly adjusted to the phonetics of the 4th c. AD):
According to the explanations, süčy means “army"; tiligan is “send”, “move"; pugu is Hu's title had Liu Yao, and qüytudan is “seize”, “catch". And is given a translation of the whole phrase: “Move the troops, will catch Liu Yao” [20, Ch. 95, pp. 12-b-13-a].
As I.N Shervashidze pointed out, [3, p. 3-9], there are three major attempts to interpret the text, all based on the assumption of its Turkic origin
( Pulleyblank's (1963) copy of the phrase and translation is shown in parentheses):
As can be seen, each interpreter has good reasons to link the two phrases uttered by Fotu Den with the ancient Türkic language (it works).
As was already stated, Jie appear on the historical arena in China during the period
States of five northern tribes, which lasted for 135 years, from 304 to 439 AD. At that time
the whole northern part of China fell to the power of five nomadic tribes: the Huns, Jie,
Syanbi, Di, and Qiang, which in turns were capturing the Chinese lands, creating their own
states, the number of which, by a traditional count, was 16.
The immediate cause that initiated this period was the “troubles raised by eight princes” (“War of the Eight Princes”), closely related with the power struggle raging in the court of the Jin dynasty. The troubles lasted for only 15 years, but they caused a terrible turmoil that shook the deepest foundations of the Chinese statehood, and in the end result led to significant changes in the Chinese ethnicity and culture.
In the 290, after a death of the Emperor Wu, the throne passed to his heir, mindless Emperor Hui-di. Yang Jun (楊駿) was helping Hui-di in matters of governance, he belonged to a Yang clan, the clan of the late Emperor Wu's wife. That caused a discontent for a clever and insidious intriguer Hui-di's wife, who was from the Jia clan. She ordered Sima Wei, who had a title Wenzhang, to kill Yang Jun and handed over the state affairs to a member of the imperial clan Sima Liang, who had a title Zhunan-wang. As a result, the three clans, Yang, Jia and Sima, started a bitter struggle for power. Soon thereafter, by an order of the Empress, Sima Wei killed Sima Liang, but the death was waiting for him too. The cunning Empress executed a faithful servant, accusing him of viciously murdering Sima Liang; together with him also died Hui-ti, a son of the Emperor and a heir to the throne. Then, pretending to seek a punishment for the criminal, rose eight princes of the Sima clan, who in reality fought each other in a relentless struggle for power. That feud received in history a name “troubles raised by eight princes"; to a considerable extent it has undermined the power of the Jin dynasty.
The decline of the Chinese state could naturally not affect its relations with the
neighboring nations. An armed straggle with its neighbors permeates the whole Chinese history, and it
is described in all most ancient literary works that survived to our time. A historian Chen
Yi Shaw (233-297 AD), an author of the “Records of Three Kingdoms (Sango chih), begins
of Wuhuan and Syanbis” with the words: “The Shu-ching says that [the tribes] Man
caused unrest in the Xia (China. - V.T.), and Shi-ching says that Syan-yuns (Syan-yüns, Huns)
are rampant. For a long time they have already caused disasters for the Middle Kingdom!”
[29, Wei-shu, ch. 30, p.
1-a]. In 177 AD, during a discussion on soundness of a campaign against Syanbi, Cai Yong,
a high official of the Han Emperor Ling-ti (156-189 AD), said:
“Shu-ching warns of unrest in Xia [caused by
the tribes Man and I], the Yi-Jing (Book of Changes)
talks about attacks on the [tribe] Guifan, when
the Zhou dynasty campaigned against Syan-yuns and southern barbarians in
the Jin province, during the Han dynasty happened events associated with the mountain Tyanyan and
Hanhay [location] (i.e., campaigns of the Han commander Ho Tsyuybin against the Huns. -
(V.T.). Thus, the punitive expeditions against the foreigners were happening long
Ch.. 90, pp.
However, since the ancient times, China did not fight with all numerous nomadic peoples at once, but with each one separately in different historical epochs. Fan Ye says: “Reflecting on those events, I will say:” [Speaking] of the four winds barbarians who were committing robberies, they were becoming stronger one after the other. The Huns raged in the heyday of the Han dynasty, the Western Qiangs rampaged during its revival, during the reign of the Emperors Ling-di and Xien-di one after another flourished two barbarian tribes (Wuhuan and Syanbi .- (V.T.)"” [21, Ch. 90, pp. 20-a-20-b]. Now, during the Jin dynasty, at the same time against China campaigned five different. tribes belonging to four different ethnic groups.
Another peculiarity is that previously tribes warring with China lived outside the Chinese lands, from time to time they organised predatory raids, and then returned to their native steppe. To protect themselves from the incursions of the foreigners, the Chinese used natural barriers of rivers and mountain ranges, and created immense defenses: “The Sky created mountains and rivers, Qin dynasty erected the Great Wall, Han dynasty built a fortified line, all in order to fence off the homeland from the foreign lands, distance those who has customs different from our customs” [21, Ch. 90, p. 17-b].
By the period of the Sixteen states of five northern tribes the situation has changed
radically: nomadic tribes lived not outside of China, but lived on the Chinese soil. This
allowed them to “monitor the state of control exercised by the emperors, to use favorable
situations, to see occurring discords if troubles arose that endanger the life of the
state; [in that position] would not they could gather warriors armed with whistling arrows,
and would not they violate a permanent order established the Sky!” [20, Ch. 107, pp. 11-b-12-a]. In
other words, the nomads living on Chinese soil were able to seed mutinies and advance against
China in most favorable for them time. In addition, as was saying the high Jin official Jiang Tung,
“they live within the state, not separated from it by natural
that they attack unprepared people surprisingly, capturing wealth scattered in open places, and therefore they can cause great harm, and
the injury of their violent actions is
even impossible to predict [20, Ch. 56, p. 2-b], he also metaphorically compared the
presence of the nomads on the Chinese soil with the internal organs' disease or inflammation
of the armpit.
The main reason for the settling of the large numbers of nomads in the north of China was, according to L.N.Gumilev, that “in the 3rd c. AD the aridization of the Eurasian steppe zone has reached a climax. Therefore, the band of deserts and dry steppes moved southward into the northern fringes of Shaanxi and Shanxi. Dunes began appearing in the place of the former plowed fields, and behind them were the nomads with their herds, because the desert pressed them from the north” [1, p. 10]. He also writes: “The travelers noted that the Mongolian steppe was populated extremely densely. This should be understood in the sense that the availability of the fresh water is limiting the development of the pastoralism, i.e., there is as much cattle as can be watered from the existing springs. wherever lays a puddle of water, stands a yurt and sheep are grazing. If a spring has dried up, a herder must either die, or leave his native country, because in those days a transition to artificial irrigation was technically unfeasible. Consequently, the aridization period must correspond with dispossession of the steppe nomads from the middle of the steppe to its margins” [1, p. 12].
The possibility of the natural environmental factors' impact on the migration of the nomadic peoples from the middle of the steppe to its margins could not be disputed if the aridization process has been proven, but there is no such evidence. Moreover, the hypothesis advanced by L.N.Gumilev is refuted by the records of written sources, which definitely associated relocation of the nomads not with a process of the steppe aridization, but with a policy pursued by the Chinese Court (Climatic aridization would have a global character, impacting steppes from Amur to Danube, and leaving records across Asia and Europe, not exclusively locally in China).
Initially, China did everything possible to remove their restless neighbors from her borders, their raids caused her untold disasters. In order to barricade from them, during the Qin dynasty was built the Great Wall, and during the Han dynasty was established a fortified line. However, as showed the practice, creation of the grandiose structures did not yield expected results. The defense of the erected fortifications, which extended for few thousand li, demanded a huge number of soldiers and food, which had to be freighted from the far inland areas, but this was beyond the strength of the state.
Has developed a situation described by a Han high official Chzhufu Yan (? - 127 BC):
Qin, without listening to [the advice of Li Sy], sent against the Hus troops headed by Man
Tiang, who expanded the territory [of the State ] for 1000 li, and delineated a border
along the Huanhe. The [acquired] lands consisted of lakes and marshes, did not produce five kinds of
cereals, but nonetheless from China continued to be sent recruits to defend Beihe (literaly
“Northern river”, meaning a section of Huanhe along the northern border of
the Ordos. - V.T.). For more
than ten years the sun was beating down on soldiers, and the dew was dampening the troops, killing
countless soldiers who never managed to reach the Huanhe northern bank. Was it shortage
of people, or was it shortage of weapons and armor? [No], the terrain did was not
In addition, the Celestial Empire was ordered to urgently send straw and pull [carts and boats with] grains, which were transported to the Beyhe area, starting from the Huang and Chui counties and Lanie district adjacent to the sea, and as a rule, only one dan of grain out of each 30 jungs was reaching the place. Though the men were carefully cultivating fields, food for the troops was short, and although women were spinning, the fabric for the tents was lacking. People got tired, orphans and singles, elderly and children were not able to support each other, the roads were littered with corpses everywhere, and apparently because of that the Celestial Empire had risen against the Qin dynasty” [18, Ch. 112, pp. 6-a - 6-b].
Since the protection of borders with the use of defensive structures required huge material outlays and did not bring the desired results, during the reign of the Han emperor Wu-di was used a new tactics to combat the nomads. In 119 BC the commander Ho Tsyuybin defeated the Huns in their left wing and relocated to the fortified line in five districts, Zhang, Yuyyan, Yubeypin, Liaodong, and Lyaosi, a part of Wuhuans, who were instructed to monitor the movements of the Huns [21, Ch. 90, p. 3-b]: The purpose of the Wuhuan resettlement is clear. For long, they were hostile with the Huns, and the Han emperor Wu-di, who led continuous war with them for more than 30 years, wanted to have in Wuhuans the scouts, who would warns him to the movements of the enemy. The resettlement of the Wuhuans was not to the Chinese soil, but to the fortified line, and that relocation can't yet be regarded as an appearance of the nomads within the territory of China.
The penetration of the nomads to China is connected with the Huns, and started during the reign of the Han Emperor Xuan Di (74-49 BC), when in 51 BC Shanuy Huhane came to the Chinese Court and acknowledged himself as a servant of the Chinese emperor. In response, the Han dynasty allotted to the Huns a northern part of the Binchzhou province (the northern part of present-day Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces), after which more than 5 thousand Huns' yurts appeared in the districts of that area, including Shofang district (in the present-day Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia), and became living interspersed with the Hans [20, Ch. 97, p. 10-b].
A larger migration occurred at the beginning of the Later Han. In 48 AD among the Huns split, and they divided into northern and southern Huns. To the post of southern Huns' Shanuy was raised Bi, a grandson Shanuy Huhane. Without enough power, Bi came to the fortified line with an expression of submission, and announced his desire to protect the Han borders from the raids of the northern Huns [21, Ch. 89, p. 5-a].
In the 50 AD Bi was unsuccessful in the fight against the northern Huns, and the Emperor
directed him to move and settle in the Meytszi county (south-east of the modern
Dzungar aimak in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region), in the Xihe district [21, Ch. 89, p.
The number of the Huns who turned up on the Chinese soil grew rapidly. The growth mostly occurred from prisoners captured in wars with the northern Huns, and from the defection; by the 90 AD the Southern Huns already numbered 34 thousand families with a total of 237,300 people, able to post 50,170 excellent soldiers [21, Ch. 89, p. 19-b]. These figures are of considerable interest. They firstly show that on average each family consisted of seven people, and secondly that the number of able-bodied men was approximately 20% of the population. These factors are used in further calculations.
In the Jian-an reign era (196-200) Cao Cao, a future Wei Emperor Wu-di, divided Huns into five parts, installed in the head of each part a most distinguished of them as leader, appointed Hans as troop commanders, and assigned them to monitor the leaders. At that time on the Chinese soil were a total of 29 thousand yurts. Assuming that . each yurt housed a small family consisting of seven persons, the total number of the Huns exceeded 200 thousand people.
In the early years of the Jin Emperor Wu-di reign (265 - 290), after a strong flood more than 20 thousand yurts arrived in China, and they were told to settle in the vicinity of the district town Yiyang, located 70 li south-west of the modern Luoyang in the Henan province. With the new settlers the number of the Huns increased to at least 49 thousand yurts, or to 340 thousand people. The accuracy of this number is confirmed by indirect evidence. In particular, a high official Jiang Tong said: “Now the number of the Hun's five portions reached a few tens of thousands households": [20, Ch. 56, p. 3-b].
In addition to the Hun, and the Jie that belonged to them, in the Northern China territory under a rule of Later Zhao dynasty established by Shi Le, also lived other nomadic tribes, called along with Jie and Hun “six alien tribes". In addition to the Huns and Jie they included Wuhuans, Syanbi, Di, and Qiangs. Their appearance on the Chinese soil, like the appearance of the Huns, was firstly connected with the resettlement policy pursued by the Chinese Court to use the home nomads in a fight against external enemies, and secondly in a fight with the armed incursions by the China nomadic neighbors in times of her weaknesses.
Syanbi, who belonged to the Mongolian people, consisted of the tribes of which
a strongest was a Mujun tribe, which created four dynasties: Former Yan (337 - 370),
Later Yan (384-409), Western Yan (386-394) and Southern Yan (398-410), and the Toba
tribe, which for their custom to braid their hair the Chinese called “braid-weavers”
(aka Tufa, Tofalar, Tubalar-Kergeshes, Turgeshes, Tabgach,
Ch.Tuoba; Boodberg 1936, Bazin 1948, and Gabain 1950 identified Toba as
Türkic-lingual tribe within the body of the
Syanbi, the Chinese saw them as
Syanbi. Toba likely were
among the Hunnic tribes that recognized Syanbi
supremacy in 160 AD. The Toba tradition of
braid-weavering survived to modernity among the
remnants of the Tele Teleuts).
The Toba tribe established the Northern Wei dynasty (386-556), which later was able to unite under its rule the whole North China. Di were creators of the Former Qin dynasty (351-394) and Later Liang dynasty (385-403), and the Qiangs of the Late Qin dynasty (384-417).
A happy chance allows to determine the approximate total number of the nomadic population, represented by various ethnic groups. In 304, the Hun leader Liu Yuanhay announced the establishment of the Han dynasty, and in 314, his successor, Liu Cong introduced a system of the state administrative governance. According to that system, for the nomadic populations were established positions of left and right aides of Shanuy, each of which was in charge of a 100 thousand yurts of the six alien tribes. At the head of each 10,000 yurts was installed a chief commander [20, Ch. 102, p. 6-b].
Thus, the total number of nomads was 200 thousand yurts, or 1,400,000 people. This is higher than the number of nomadic population, i.e., significantly more then the number of 900 thousand given by L.N.Gumilev with a reference to Shang Yue [1, pp. 25 - 26]. (Most likely, the difference is explained by differences in the composition of the family. Based on the Hou Han-shu, we believe that the family had seven people, and L.N.Gumilev apparently believed that it was five.) As was already mentioned, of that amount about 340 thousand account for the Huns; therefore, the remaining nomadic ethnic groups numbered approximately one million people. These calculations are of the 314 AD, a period of the greatest prosperity of the Hun's Han dynasty (Former Zhao), but in 319 AD already appeared the Later Zhao dynasty, and it is unlikely that over the past five years could have occurred abrupt changes in the number of the nomads.
Between the nomadic tribes of different ethnicities was not, and could not be, harmony
and peace. Being ruled by a powerful dynasty Later Zhao, and linked only by commonalities
of their economies, they differed in language, psychological mentality, and traditions.
Each tribe sought to throw off the power of a more successful rival, and achieve
domination for themselves. According to Fang Xuanling , in the northern China, which
comprised eight-tenths of the
whole Celestial Empire and was abandoned by the Tsznn dynasty, “everywhere around were
flying banners with dragon images, was used imperial clothing, were erected altars for sacrifices to the spirits of the
Earth and plants, were made sacrifices in the temples of the ancestors. The Hua (Chinese. -
V.T.) and I (aliens. - V.T.) were coming to the [alien] rulers, under whose
people existed. Some of them [the rulers] were seizing areas adjacent to the capital, and others owned
lands of several provinces. Expansive plans allowed them to roll up like a straw mat,
their state, and the troops sent to campaigns were giving opportunity to annex their
In the struggle for victory they were exhausting the evil power of their soldiers, people were dying of swords and arrows. The fighting between the warring states continued for one hundred and thirty-six years, but a first culprit that brought about the disasters was Liu Yuanhay” [20, Preface to the “Note on possessions”, pp. 1-b, 2-a].
In addition to the nomads ruled by the Later Zhao dynasty existed the sedentary Chinese population. To determine the number of Chinese people is difficult. In 319, the Shi Le high officials asked him to enter the imperial throne, and to create in the 24 counties with a population of 290 thousand households a Zhao state. Assuming that at that time an average Chinese family consisted of about five people, the total number of people caught under the authority of the Later Zhao has to be 1,450,000 people, i.e., the number is approximately equal to the nomadic population.
But later on the strength of the Chinese population widely fluctuated. The population certainly diminished after in 311 the Huns captured by storm the Jin capital Luoyang and, captured the Emperor Hui-ti, after which a significant number of population streamed to the south fleeing the ensuing turmoil. In the words of a high official Wan Tao, “after Luoyang fell, 6 to 7 men and women out of every 10 fled escaping the unrest from the Central region to the south shore of the Yangtze” [20, Ch. 65, p. 1-b]. The initial flight could very well continue during the Later Zhao dynasty. In addition, the population had to be decreasing because of the continuous military operations, in the course of which the soldiers of first Shi Le, and then Shi Jilong (石 季龍) slaughtered whole cities, sparing neither women nor children. On the other hand, the population could grow with a capture of new provinces and districts, and the prisoners whom Jie drove away to their land.
To determine the quantity of the settled population in such constantly changing circumstances is extremely difficult, but as was saying Jiang Tong, “In the lands between the outposts (modern Shaanxi Province.- V.T.) live over a million people, and if to roughly estimate who is more numerous and who less, it appears that Jungs (Huns) and Dis (Tele) constitute half the population” [20, Ch. 56, p. 3-a]. Following these pointers and assuming that the number of nomads and sedentary population was approximately equal, the derived figures, 1,400,000 for the nomadic population and 1,450,000 for the sedentary population, appear to reflect the reality.
The relationship between the Jie conquerors and the conquered sedentary population
were distinguished by an even greater hostility than the relationship between Jie and other
nomadic tribes, with whom, despite all their differences, they still were alike by the
commonality of the economies. The Chinese were deeply aware of the qualitative differences in
the lifestyles between the settled population and the nomads.
The continuous attacks that were threatening the existence of the state, difficult defense of the borders that required huge efforts and resources, the nomadic life incomprehensible for the settled farmers, and finally, their own higher level of culture could not fail to arouse Chinese hostility and prejudice against the nomads. That is frequently mentioned by historians. For example, Ban Gu (32-92 AD), the author of the “History of the Former Han dynasties” in the “Postscript to the “Description of the Huns"” wrote: “Barbarians are self-interested and seek benefits, they go about with untucked hair, and have the lapel closed on the left side, have a human face and heart of a beast. In comparison with [the residents] of the Middle State they have different clothes, different customs, they use different food and different drinks, talk in an incomprehensible language, live in seclusion in the steppes on the northern fringe where fall cold dews, pass over [from place to place] in search of grass for livestock and engage in hunting to maintain their existence. They are cut off by the mountain valleys and sheltered behind the sandy desert, with which the Heaven and Earth separated from the inner lands from external lands. Therefore, the wise rulers treated them as wild birds and animals, were not concluding accords with them and did not campaign against them. Concluding contracts would only force to spend money on gifts, and would end up with cheat, and the attacks would wear troops and provoke raids.
Their lands are unsuitable for farming, and the people can not be turned into servants. Therefore, the barbarians were kept abroad, without accepting them into the limits [of the Middle State], were kept distanced away, without allowing to get close, on them were not extended orders and good influence, in their states was not introduced [adopted by us] chronological system. Would they appear, they were punished and ruled over, would they depart, were taken precautions against them and were on defensive against them, would they come with tribute, appreciating justice, they were received with honors, showing courtesy. Thus, the barbarians were constantly kept on a leash, striving to blame them for unjust actions, and it was the usual way which followed the wise rulers governing barbarians” [4, Ch. 94-b, pp. 32-a - 32-b).
Finally, Jie also differed from the Chinese by their facial features. The Jie
typical exterior distinctions were deep-set eyes, thick beard and high noses. Such unusual and strange
for the Chinese appearance was a subject of ridicule not only among the common people, but also among the
highest officials. For example, a legend goes that a Jie Sun Chen, who held a high
position of a
supervisor for the affairs of the successor to the throne, was suffering from an eye disease,
and turned for advice on how to cure his eyes to his deputy Cui Yao, of Chinese descent,.
who has always despised Sun Chen, decided to play a trick on him and said: “you will be
cured if you put the eye in the
urine.” Sun Chen said: “How is it possible to put an eye in the urine!” Cui Yao replied:
“You have deeply sunken eyes, they are very easily be filled with urine.” When Shi Xuan
heard about that, and of all Shi Jilong's sons he had a most pronounced appearance of a Hu
deeply sunken eyes, he flew into a rage and executed Cui Yao, together with his sons.
A Chinaman Zhan Min (瞻闵, aka Shi Min 石閔, pin. Ran Min 冉闵), after usurping the throne, and knowing that he can not rely on the Hus, ordered to get on with killing them, “as a result half of the people with high noses and bushy beards had been killed.”
During the period of Sixteen states of the five northern tribes, the position of Jies, who according to traditional notions had to be kept away from China, has changed dramatically. They have moved to China, and their leader Shi Le rose to the imperial throne and and began ruling over the Chinese. Naturally, this situation caused an outrage among the residents of the Celestial Kingdom. Not accidentally the Jin counselor Liu Kun, urging Shi Le to switch to the Jin dynasty side, and abandon his struggle for the imperial throne, sent him a letter where he wrote: “Since ancient times, no one of the Jungs (Huns) did became an emperor, but were well-known high officials who accomplished great feats.” Indeed, turning to the history, a man from the Jungs (Huns) served as Yuyui (pin. Yeyiyu 耶奕于) served for the Qin ruler Mu-gun (660-621 BC), snd a Hun Jin Midi (134 - 86 BC) served for the Han emperor Wu-di, both of whom held the highest positions.
The Chinese-born Zhan Min (瞻闵, aka Shi Min 石閔, pin. Ran Min 冉闵) was adopted and brought up by Shi Jilong (石 季龍, aka Shi Hu 石虎), but he did not forget his Chinese origin; when he was captured by Mujun Jun (aka Murong Jun; Murong is a pinyin version of the Syanbi clan Mujun/Muyun), on a question “How you, a slave with minuscule talents, could dare to call yourself a Son of Heaven?” he replied: “Currently, when the Middle Kingdom is swept with great troubles, even you, Is and Dis with human faces but with hearts of wild animals, are trying to rebel and seize the throne, so why I, a distinguished man of our time, could not become an emperor!”
Not only a Jie on the Chinese throne caused a fierce hatred of the Chinese to his
tribesmen. There were other old reasons. Thus, the Jies grazed their cattle on
the Chinese lands, and that irritated the Chinese farmers: the vast spaces
covered with grass needed by the husbandry men were needed for the Chinese to grow grain. Not by
an accident that a high official Jiang Tong, who was aware of that
conflict, said: “The lands between outposts is fertile and
fruitful, the arable fields belong to the first tier of the highest category, in addition
saline soils are irrigated by the rivers Tszinshui and Weishui, cut with the canals Chzhengotsyuy and
Baytsyuy on them grow in abundance different types of millet, every mu of the land yilds one chung
of grain, people acclaim the abundance, there are located capitals of all the
emperors and kings, they lived here and it was never been heard of that the area is suitable for
and Dis [20, Ch. 56, pp. 2-a, 2-b].
In periods of the imperial power greater strength, the Chinese were hurting and oppressing in every possible way the alien for them Jie people. For example, the oppression reached a level that Sima Tan, a governor of Binzhou and a member of the imperial family with a title Dunin-gun, ordered catching the Hus, i.e., the Huns and Jies, and sell them into slavery in order to cover the enormous military expenditures. Incidentally, among those sold was also Shi Le, a founder of the Later Zhao dynasty. Liu Oyuan told Liu Yuanhai, a future founder of the Former Zhao dynasty and a contemporary of Shi Le: “The Jin dynasty carries on lawless acts and rules us as slaves” [20, Ch. 101, p. 3-b].
The Chinese even profaned the word “Hu” (胡) with an offensive connotation. Not for nothing in 319 Shi Le established a post of a clerk at the adviser court, one of whose duties of was overseeing that the Hus were only called “Go-jen” (literally “people of our state”, i.e., “compatriots” ); the use of the word “Hu” was strictly forbidden.
It is in connection with this hostile attitude of the Chinese to Jie a high official Jiang Tong was saying: “The desires and behavior of Jungs and Dis are different from [the desires and behavior] of Huas (Chinese. - V.T.), but taking advantage of their demise, they were moved to the lands bearing imperial obligations, there officials and people treat [them] with greed, are hurting them using their weakness, so that the feelings of resentment and hatred reached among Dis and Jungs their marrow [20, Ch. 56, p. 2-b].
It must be said that Jie themselves often aggravated traditionally hostile
Chinese attitude toward them. After establishing their authority over the settled
population, enflamed by desire to avenge the past wrongs, they slaughtered entire cities,
were committing massive looting, subjecting to mistreatment even those Chinese who were serving
for them and held
senior positions. An incident with a military advisor Fan Tan is typical, he led a
poor but honest life, for which Shi Le wanted to appoint him to a governor post in the
Zhang district. When Fan Tan came to court, “Shi Le, seeing him in shabby
clothes and tattered hat, exclaimed in amazement: “Why are you, a military adviser
Fan Tan, so poor?” The distinguish by his truthfulness Fan Tan hastened to reply: “Recently I
encountered the injustice of the Jie robbers and completely lost my property.” Shi Le
laughed and said: “Raelly you were robbed by the Jie robbers? Then, I must therefore reward you.”
The crimes committed by Jies were so egregious that in 319 AD were even promulgated special
decrees banning offending the Chinese.
In addition to spontaneous violence and looting by individual Jies, the Later Zhao dynasty ruthlessly exploited Chinese population that fell under its power, imposing on them labor and military burdens. Sometimes these duties were imposed simultaneously: was required to supply soldiers for the army, and provide them with food. The following shows the gravity of such duties. In 340 Shi Jilong, preparing a punitive expedition against Mujun Juan (pin. Murong Juan), “ordered the provinces Sychzhou, Tszichzhou, Tsiichzhou, Xuzhou, Yuchzhou and Yongzhou to collect from each household three freight wagons out of five, and two freight wagons out of four, including the households exempt from the duties, so that together with the forces existing in the E (鄂) province, the total number of troops would number 500 thousand troops, and also to build 10 thousand vessels for transportation of 11 million hu of grain and beans by Huanhe to the sea to the city Anlechen, to supply the troops assembled for punitive expedition”.
In 342 BC Shi Jilong ordered four provinces south of Huanhe to prepare necessities for an expedition to the south, and the provinces Binchzhou, Shochzhou, Tsinchzhou Yongzhou to prepare necessities for a punitive expedition in the west, and the provinces Qingzhou, Tszichzhou Yuchzhou ensure fulfillment of the plans connected with an expedition toward the east. In all provinces, every household had to put up two three freight wagons out of three, and three men out of five. In the manufacture of weapons in all provinces took part more than 500 thousand people. In addition, those bearing titles of kings (wangs) and guns, supervisors and governors of the provinces competed with each other in gaining profits, resulting that every seven households out of ten were unable to take care of their own household. Thus, for military service and labor burdens were simultaneously drafted more than half of the able-bodied population.
By the rule that existed among all nomads, every man was considered to be a warrior, and was obligated to
immediately report upon a call to the assembly point, equipped with everything need for a
campaign. Apparently guided by that rule, when in 342 BC Shi Jilong decided on expedition
into the lands south
of the Yangtze River, he issued a decree according to which every five men were
drafted for the campaign had to supply one wagon and two oxen, and every warrior had to
supply 15 hu of rice and 10 pieces of silk, a failure to bring these supplies were to be beheaded.
To provide the supplies, people were selling their children, but even that was not enough, and many
committed suicide, and so many were self-killers that according to a historian “on the trees
along the roads were hanging bodies of those who hanged themselves”.
No less severe were the labor burdens. In 342 BC Shi Jilong initiated a huge construction of the palaces, only in the E were constructed over 40 towers, and in Chang'an and Luoyang were constructed two palaces, at their construction were used more than 400 thousand people. In 344 BC for the construction of a bridge over Huanhe was expended labor equal to the work of more than 5 million people. A son of Shi Jilong, Shi Xuan (石宣) began building his palace, and then the high official Wan Lang of the Chinese descent said: “Now, in the midst of winter, when the snow piles and is frigid cold, the heir to the throne is forcing people to cut lumber for the construction of the palace, and drag it to the banks of the river Zhanshui. At the works are laboring tens of thousands of people, the people are sighing heavily.” For the construction of the wall around the Weiyangun palace in Chang'an from the provinces Yongzhou, Lochzhou, Tsinchzhou, and Binchzhou were sent 160 thousand people. For the construction of the palace in Luoyang from various provinces were sent 260 thousand people.
Numerous labor and military conscription in any season diverted the settled population from the house, undermined its material welfare and violated a well-established in China order where the public works were carried out in the spare from farming time. It said the deputy Wei Xiao, from ancient times all omniscient rulers initiated construction of the palace premises only in between the three seasons, during which farm work is done, so they do not obstruct people from doing their work. But now either the work is carried out in the days when you need to do crop weeding or seedling planting, or the labor duty is done in the months when you have to harvest, resulting in the bodies of those who died a violent death [for non-appearance at the assembly point] lying next to one another, the roads are not passable because of the sounds of grumbling, which truly can not be tolerated by an omniscient sovereign or humane ruler.
In addition, the population was obligated to pay taxes and tributes. In 314 Shi Le ordered provinces and districts to verify the actual number of households, and levy each household with a tax in the amount of two pieces of cloth and a land tax in the amount of two hu of grain. However, besides the official statutory duties were also practiced all kinds of exactions. For example, Shi Jilong banned keeping of horses, which ostensibly were in shortage for the troops, the violators of the ban were hacked at a loin in half; that way were collected over 40 thousand horses. He also took away from the population over 20 thousand oxen and sent them to the Shochzhou province.
The labor and military levies, taxes and duties, violence and arbitrariness completely
disrupted economic activities in the state, and made the life intolerable for the
Could not also avoid irritating the Chinese the massive conscription of concubines for the emperor and his entourage. Shi Jilong increased the number of ranks for imperial concubines to 24, for the concubines of the heir to the throne to 12, and to 9 the concubines of the governors of the holdings, who totaled more than 70 people, he sent officials out to all corners of the state to select most beautiful women in the age from 13 to 20 years old. The messengers collected more than 30 thousand women, of whom more than 9 thousand were torn off from their husbands. In addition, Shi Xuan, the son of Shi Jilong, drafted for himself no less than 10 thousand women. From the beginning of the draft to the delivery of women to the palaces, the number of husbands killed or committed suicide as their wives were carried away, exceeded 3 thousand people.
Customs, traditions, and beliefs
The picturesque by its ethnic composition state that existed under the rule of the Later Zhao dynasty were naturally different customs, habits, and beliefs. Describing them in more or less systematic fashion based only on the history of Later Zhao dynasty is impossible. We would only note the widespread numerous superstitions as one of the most characteristic features of the spiritual life of the era. Reading the source, it is easy to see that all most important actions of the Later Zhao rulers were undertaken only in accordance with fortune telling, various natural phenomena, unusual events, etc.
Shi Le already at birth was foretold a great future: red color filled the room, and white vapors fell from the sky. Under a mountain where he lived the grass and trees had an appearance of iron armored riders, which meant that he would have plenty of fights, the more so because as a peon working in the field, Shi Le often heard sounds of drums and signals of metal gongs. In the garden of his home grew a ginseng, covered with abundant flowers and leaves, its roots had a human form, and that promised longevity, because the roots of ginseng were considered to be a miraculous medicine that bestowed long life.
Looking at unusual features of Shi Le, all venerable elders and fortune tellers enounced that he
has an amazing appearance, and predicted a wondrous life. When Shi Le was sold into slavery,
he was unexpectedly visited by a patriarch, who glanced at him and said: “In your tangled hair
already transpired four lines, you must become a nobility and be a ruler of the people.
In the year under a cyclical sign Jia-Xu (甲戌, 314 AD)
you can take action against Wan Pentszu”, i.e., predicted Shi Le a power over the
Celestial (four lines symbolize its four
corners) and success in the fight with Wan Pentszu.
The appearance of Shi Jilong also presaged a brilliant future. When he was six or seven years old, someone who could correctly determine a future of a man by his face, said: “This boy has unusual appearance, his bones tell about his rise, he will be so noble that it is even impossible to express.”
Were also widely disseminated stories about various unusual phenomena, which were seen as omens. Once, when Shi Le was employed in the Uan county, he was captured by a patrol squad, but at that time a herd of goats has passed, the soldiers rushed after them, and Shi Le escaped. Suddenly, in front of him again appeared a patriarch, the same man who in the past has predicted to him an imperial throne, and said: “The herd of goats that just run through was me. You must become a ruler of the Central area, so I saved you”.
When Shi Jilong was going to campaign against the Jin dynasty, from the Qingzhou province came a news that a stone sculpture of a wild animal located north of the city Pinlin in the Jinan district suddenly shifted at night to the Shanshigou ravine, south-east of the city. The beast, judging by the tracks, followed more than a thousand wolves and foxes, they have trodden a path. Having perused the dispatches, Shi Jilong found out that it portended a success. His family name was Shi - “stone”, and the tabooed name was Hu - "tiger”, it meant that the stone beast was he himself; the ravine had the name Shanshigou (literally “ravine of a praise to the rock"), and therefore the Heaven is praising the clan Shi, the Stone animal moved from north to south-east; therefore he campaign in the same direction together with his troops, that was a perception of the wolves and foxes. Finally, path trodden by them have meant a future success of the campaign. That was a very typical mechanism of interpretation of clearly fictional phenomena.
However, the stories about stone not always served as a happy omen. At the same Shi Jilong on the Taishan mountain a stone was burning for eight days. In the Donghai district a large rock had blood flowing around, and it rose from the ground on its own. Between the stones In the mountains west of E emerged a stream of blood longer than 10 bu, with a width of 2 chi. The subsequent events give the omens the following explainations. The stone is a son of Shi Jilong, Shi Xuan, who killed his brother Shi Tao, for which Shi Jilong was executed him. The murder of Shi Tao and execution of Shi Xuan were only a brief episode in the history of the Shi clan, it caused no serious consequences, because the stone soon waned, and the stream of blood was small.
Some Han Qiang, a native of Chanchen in the Usyan county, found an imperial seal of
black jasper in a square 4 tsuns and 7 fens in size, with a handle in the form of a
turtle and with gilded inscription.
In connection with that discovery the high officials of Shi Jilong began persuading him to accede to the throne, supporting their petitions with the following considerations. The possession of the clan Shi is under the protection of the element of water. It should be recalled that still during the Zhou era in China arose concept about interrelationship of the events, and about a struggle of different forces of nature, reflected in the theory of Five Phases, or the five Elements (五行, pin. wuxing): water, fire, wood, metal, earth. One of the earliest treatises on this concept about the Primary elements is found in the Hung-fan chapter of the Shang-shu book. The natural phenomena are viewed as a result of the ongoing struggle of five elements, where elements are endlessly mutually destroyed and mutually regenerate each other. A philosopher Tsou Yen (336-280 BC) extended this theory to a human life and social events. He believed that a fate favors certain rulers for as long as his patronizing element remains dominant. When this element is defeated, his rule declines, and with a new element coming to domination appears a new ruling house.
When a black jasper seal was found, the black is a color of water, then the element of metal that patronized the Jin dynasty is replaced by the element of water patronizing Shi Jilong, in accordance with the will of Heaven he should become an emperor. Go on. The seal handle in form is resembling turtle, it is the omnipotent spirit of water, and the jasper is a most precious stone. So, like the turtle holding the greatest treasure, so Shi Jilong should also take the Celestial. The side of the square is equal to 4 tsuns and 7 fens. The number of fens symbolizes the seven main stars: the Sun, Moon, Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. Their favorable location, in the existing views, proves that the Sky does not oppose the ascension of the new emperor to the power. The number of tsuns indicates four directions of the world, the new emperor will rule the lands between them.
In the translated text the readers would have repeatedly met references to various kinds of divination, good and frightening omens: unusual animals (white as a rule), rare natural phenomena, etc. Some of these wonders have already been described in the ancient books (for example, still Lao Tzu was mentioning timely rains, called “sweet dew": “When Heaven and Earth are mutually interconnected, falls sweet dew” [10, sect. 22, p. 19]); the others were not mentioned before. As always, in China attention was given to the celestial objects, solar eclipses, everything was done relying on the opinions of the astrologers.
Without risking to make a mistake, it can be argued that never before in the history of China
various superstitions played such a significant role as in the Jie state,
nowhere were they described in as much detail as in the history of the Later Zhao dynasty.
In addition, for 30 years the state that only lasted for 32 years, was ruled by Shi Le and Shi Jilong, who did not receive any education. Shi Le worked as a farm peon, did street vending, was a slave, was a leader of a band of robbers, led troops involved in endless military campaigns, and without the means or time for education, remained illiterate. He was read aloud the historical writings.
A high official Liu Kun, hoping to bring Shi Le to the side of the Jin dynasty, sent him a letter, which emphasized Shi Le intelligence, but noted his illiteracy. He wrote: “Being far away, I heard that you, a high commander, attack the cities, fight in an open field, displaying everywhere your resourcefulness and wisdom. Although you are not familiar with the military treatises, nevertheless you are a best friend of Sun Wu and Wu Chi (known military theorists of antiquity. - V.T.), and about you can be said, “That who possesses knowledge from birth is above all, that who attained knowledge through teaching follows after him.”
Shi Jilong also was not in a better position. It can be said that ignorant people and ignorant rulers created a nourishing soil for the emergence and wide dissemination of various superstitions.
A most common occupation for such ethnically mixed state was hunting, a favorite pastime of Jie. Customary were encircling hunts, not only for fun, not only they provided food, but they also taught troops how to conduct military operations. For the sedentary population, i.e., for the Chinese, these hunts brought nothing but misfortune. They deprived them of the fertile land intended for crops, and caused damage to the agricultural production. For the encircling hunts was reserved a vast territory.
The levirate custom was widely spread, it is typical for many
nomadic peoples. About the Huns, and therefore about the Jie, Sima Qian wrote: “After a
death of a father they take as wives their stepmothers, after a death of an older or younger brother,
they marry their wives” [18, Ch. 110, p. 2-a]. He also described a dispute between a
Han ambassador and the eunuch Chzhunhan Yue who fled to the Huns about the benefits in
lifestyles of the two peoples. The ambassador said: “Among the Huns fathers and sons sleep in
the same yurt. If a father dies, they marry their stepmother, brothers, if
brothers die, they take all their wives.”
Chzhunhan Yue responded: “The Huns marry wives of the fathers and brothers after their death, out of fear that otherwise would cease their line. Therefore, although among the Huns has happened turmoils, to the throne always ascended people of the same clan. And in the Middle Kingdom, although they do not openly take for wives of fathers and brothers, the relatives, increasingly more remote, kill one another, and it comes to a change of the [ruling] family, which in all cases is explained because of that” [18, Ch. 110, pp. 16-b, 17-a].
About existence of the levirate among the Syanbis and Qiangs reports Fan Ye (398-445). About Syanbis he wrote: “According to their existing customs, they marry stepmothers and mate with widowed wives of older brothers, and when [the new husband] dies, the woman returns to the family of her former husband” [21, Ch. 90, p. 2-a], and about Qiangs: “After a death of a father they marry stepmothers, and after a death of an elder brother, they take the widow in wives, so their possession has no widowers and widows” [21, Ch. 87, p. l-b]. For unknown reasons, most likely at the insistence of the ethnically Chinese high officials, Shi Le banned the custom to marry wives of the deceased brothers.
Jie buried their dead so that the burial place would remain unknown. Shi Le mother was secretly buried in a mountain valley, after some time was made a sacrifice, and an empty coffin was buried south of Xiangguo. Shi Le himself was also buried at night in a mountain valley, and the burial place was concealed. In more detail the Huns funeral rites are described by Sima Qian: “For the funerals are used inner and outer coffins, gold, silver, clothing and fur coats, but kurgans are not poured, the trees are not planted and mourning clothes are not worn. The favorite servants and concubines follow the dead to the grave, and their number reaches, at the most, a few thousands or hundreds of people” [18, Ch. 110, p. 11-A].
It is of course difficult to state whether Jie followed this rite, but the
custom to not mark the burial place can be traced from them, like for the Huns,
quite clearly. It was apparently connected both with a desire to protect the grave
from looting and with a fear of the soul of the deceased, with whom the living sought to
break all ties. The deathbed decree of Shi Le is notable: “Bury me on the third day after
my death, let the officials at the court and outside of it remove the mourning garments after the
funeral, do not forbid marriages, sacrifices, and partaking of wine and meat; the
with punitive functions, province governors and district rulers must not leave their
place of duty
to attend the funerals; put me in the coffin in ordinary clothing, lay the body on a
usual chariot, do not put into the grave gold and jewels, various objects, and whatnots.”
This decree can be regarded as directed against the funeral rites of both Huns and Chinese. If the Huns, according to Sima Qian, placed in the grave various jewelry and clothing, the Chinese, as writes M.V.Kryukov, “observe mourning for the deceased, for the duration of which was forbidden to drink wine and eat meat, touch women, and even sleep on a soft bed, the officials were leaving the service. While the mourning lasted, in the new moon and in the full moon of each month were organized commemorations with offerings” [2, p. 207].
There is evidence that the corpses were incinerated, and Shi Le officially allowed this method of burial. The custom of incinerating corpses came to China from India along with Buddhism.
The spread of Buddhism in the lands under control of the Later Zhao dynasty is known from a number of testimonies. So, there is a story about Shi Xuan that he would converge with bikshuni, i.e. the mendicant Buddhist nuns distinguished by beauty, enter with them into a carnal connection, and then would kill them, cook their meat, mixed it with lamb and beef, and ate it, and also bestowed that meat on his courtiers , demanding that they tried to taste it. On the eve of his death, Shi Tao spent a night in a Buddhist temple. The Buddhist monks, shramans, for example I Jin and Fotu Den, served for Shi Le and Shi Jilong.
Amid a general decline of the culture and rise of superstition, Buddhism became closely associated with magic, close to the shaman (Tengrian) beliefs of the nomads. In his biography, Fotu Den appears not as a preacher of Buddhism, but as a magician and illusionist, performing various miracles. Fotu Den arrived in Luoyang from India in the fourth year of an era of Yung-chia rule (310) at an age, as he asserted himself, of more than a hundred years. He was nourished by air, could not to take any food for several days, divined spells, forcing spirits to carry out his orders. In his side was a hole, which he stuffed with cotton. At nights, when reading books, Fotu Den pulled out the cotton, and a light was pouring from the hole, brightly illuminating the room. During the fast, early in the morning Fotu Den would come out to the river bank, pull out his innards through the hole, rinse them, and then put them back in place. By the sound of bells on the eaves of the pagoda he unmistakably predicted the future. Learning about Fotu Den extraordinary abilities, Shi Le summoned him, and Dan Fotu fully confirmed his high reputation. He took a patra, filled it with water, ignited incenses, and conjured a spell, after which in the patra grew up a lotus covered with beautiful flowers. Such miracles came in uncounted numbers.
It remains to note that the Sixteen states of the
five northern tribes period is an important milestone not only in the history of the Chinese
ethnos. At that time significantly worsened relations between the nomadic peoples and
the sedentary populations that was trapped under their authority. Thirty-two-year reign of the Later
Zhao dynasty is a brief period, and to discern the role of the Jie tribe in the historical process
Their history is just a small fragment of the canvassed period. Nevertheless, it can be confidently stated that the offered translations of materials on the history of Jie, supplemented with information about other nomadic peoples who found themselves in the territory of the Northern China, significantly deepen our knowledge of the Chinese history and neighboring nations, provide understanding about the traditions, customs, and way of life of the northern nomads.
26. Chun-cheng. Gunyanchzhuan chzhen-i (Chun-Qiu Chronicle in Gunyan edition). Shisan jing chzhushu
(Notes and interpretations for thirteen classical books). Peking, 1957.
|MATERIALS ON THE HISTORY OF NOMADIC PEOPLES IN CHINA
3rd - 5th cc
In four issues
MATERIALS ON THE HISTORY OF NOMADIC PEOPLES IN CHINA
3rd - 5th cc
Issue 2 Jie
Translated from Chinese, introduction and notes by V.S.Tuskin
Moscow, Oriental Literature, 1990
Chief Editor R.V.VYATKIN
Reviewers V. Malyavin, J.H Mashkina
Editor Igor Smirnov, Associate Editor M.I.Novitskaya
Artist N.P.Larskaya, Art editor E.L.Ehrman, Technical Editor L.E.Sinenko, Corrector G.P.Katkov
Turned over to printing 29.09.1989. Approved for print 7.25.1990.
Format 60X90. 1000 copies. Price 3 r. 80 k.
Approved for publishing by Institute of Oriental Studies, USSR Academy of Sciences
Publisher Oriental Literature, 103051, Moscow K-51, Color boulevard, 21
3rd print plant "Science" 107143, Moscow B-143, Open Highway, 28
Materials on the History of nomadic peoples in China
GIE 3rd - 5th cc. Vol. 2, Jie. Transl. from Chinese. Moscow: Science. Chief Editorial of Oriental literature, 1990. 255 pages
With this issue we continue publication of materials on the history of nomadic peoples in China. The book includes a variety of historical evidence about nomadic tribe Jie. Translations are preceded with introduction, the texts are annotated in detail and supplied with indexes. Are analyzed problems of Jie ethnogenesis, relationships between nomadic and sedentary populations, studied customs, traditions and beliefs of the Jie tribe.
©Institute of Oriental Studies, USSR AofS, 1990
©V.S.Taskan, introduction, notes, translation, 1990
Ðåäàêòîð È.Ñ.Ñìèðíîâ. Ìëàäøèé ðåäàêòîð Ì.È.Íîâèöêàÿ
Yu.Zuev Ethnic History of Usuns
Yu.Zuev Early Türks: Essays of history
Yu.Zuev The Strongest Tribe - Ezgil
Yu.Zuev Tamgas of vassal Princedoms
Yu.Zuev Ancient Türkic social terms
N.Bichurin Hunnu, Oihors, etc
Ogur and Oguz
|9/5/2010 ©2010 TürkicWorld|