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IDonT
24 Oct 07,, 14:09
The Han Dynasty led a expedition to permanently defeat the Hsiung-nu (HUN) tribes that constantly plaque the Silk road. Under Generals Ten Ku and Keng Ping very a large Hsiung-nu force was defeated. During this battle, a subordinate cavalry commander, Pan Ch'ao, was ordered by General Ten Ku to attack the Hu-yen, an allied tribe of the Hsiung-nu and subdue them. Pan Ch'ao easily accomplished this task and was sent with a primary light cavalry army to advance as far as possible to the West.

This expedition was to expand the Han Empire to its furthest western boundaries. The main purpose of the advance was to drive the defeated Hsiung-nu into Outer Mongolia.

Pan Ch'ao's army was composed of roughly equal amounts of Chinese regulars and Khotan auxiliaries, all apparently lance equipped horse archers, while the Chinese were heavy lance armed horse. Along the way the Wu-sun were picked up as allies. Pan Ch'ao also forced subdued states to furnish additional horse archers for his army. This force, was a very mobile one, with few, if any, infantry.

Turfan fell without a fight. With minor opposition here and there, By 73 CE Pan Ch'ao defeated all 36 kingdoms in and around the Tarim Basin.

Probably occurring in 90 A.D., dated by subsequent events that follow this battle, dated in Chavannes' T'oung Pao, as Pan Ch'ao had defeated all tribes and lands of the Tarim Basin no one had rescinded his orders, Pan Ch'ao continued his westward drive. As Pan Ch'ao was about to skirt the northern edge of the Pamirs Mountains, the Kushan (N. India) ruler saw that, unless an action was forced, his domain would be endangered.

A force of 70,000 cavalry was sent under Viceroy Si across the Tsung-ling Mountain range to intercept Pan Ch'ao. Unfortunately, this crossing was made at the wrong place at the wrong time of the year, and many died. Seriously damaged in strength, the Kushan Army emerged from the mountains shattered - but committed to fight. Pan Ch'ao easily defeated the depleted Kushan Army, and China received tribute from the Indian Kingdom.

By 97 CE Pan Ch'ao had defeated Ansi (the Arsacid Parthian Empire). Now Han China stood, the greatest land-owning empire only second to Rome. Pan Ch'ao ordered his second in command, Kan Ying, to set forth across newly conquered Ansi, to "Ta-ts'in", the Chinese name for the Roman Empire. Pan Ch'ao only allocated a portion of the army to subdue this "additional Kingdom", Kan Ying advanced across the middle Eastern expanses towards Antioch, thought to be the capitol of the Empire. Kan Ying was eager to know of his enemy, so the Parthians began to tell him about the legiones whose men fought "bundled up like little sticks" He also heard of the might and expanse of the Roman Empire. Upon gaining this new intelligence information, Kan Ying decided that his cavalry force was not sufficient for the task, and as he had no infantry he turned around and rejoined Pan Ch'ao at Ctesiphon. He was less then two days march from Antioch when he aborted. The Chinese army made the Parthians allies, and withdrew a days march from the capital. In 116 AD., Emperor Trajanus advances into Parthia to Ctesiphon and were within one day's march of Han Chinese border garrisons. But that's the closest the two came to blows.

As a side note, 97 A.D. was the first year of the Emperor Trajanus reign. It is quite interesting to speculate on the consequences had Kan Ying pursued his objective and attacked Roman Antioch.

It was the closest contact the Han and Romans ever came. (Granted the Han army was almost complete made up of allied horse archers)

ASG
04 Nov 07,, 18:18
The Han Dynasty led a expedition to permanently defeat the Hsiung-nu (HUN) tribes that constantly plaque the Silk road. Under Generals Ten Ku and Keng Ping very a large Hsiung-nu force was defeated. During this battle, a subordinate cavalry commander, Pan Ch'ao, was ordered by General Ten Ku to attack the Hu-yen, an allied tribe of the Hsiung-nu and subdue them. Pan Ch'ao easily accomplished this task and was sent with a primary light cavalry army to advance as far as possible to the West.

This expedition was to expand the Han Empire to its furthest western boundaries. The main purpose of the advance was to drive the defeated Hsiung-nu into Outer Mongolia.

Pan Ch'ao's army was composed of roughly equal amounts of Chinese regulars and Khotan auxiliaries, all apparently lance equipped horse archers, while the Chinese were heavy lance armed horse. Along the way the Wu-sun were picked up as allies. Pan Ch'ao also forced subdued states to furnish additional horse archers for his army. This force, was a very mobile one, with few, if any, infantry.

Turfan fell without a fight. With minor opposition here and there, By 73 CE Pan Ch'ao defeated all 36 kingdoms in and around the Tarim Basin.

Probably occurring in 90 A.D., dated by subsequent events that follow this battle, dated in Chavannes' T'oung Pao, as Pan Ch'ao had defeated all tribes and lands of the Tarim Basin no one had rescinded his orders, Pan Ch'ao continued his westward drive. As Pan Ch'ao was about to skirt the northern edge of the Pamirs Mountains, the Kushan (N. India) ruler saw that, unless an action was forced, his domain would be endangered.

A force of 70,000 cavalry was sent under Viceroy Si across the Tsung-ling Mountain range to intercept Pan Ch'ao. Unfortunately, this crossing was made at the wrong place at the wrong time of the year, and many died. Seriously damaged in strength, the Kushan Army emerged from the mountains shattered - but committed to fight. Pan Ch'ao easily defeated the depleted Kushan Army, and China received tribute from the Indian Kingdom.

By 97 CE Pan Ch'ao had defeated Ansi (the Arsacid Parthian Empire). Now Han China stood, the greatest land-owning empire only second to Rome. Pan Ch'ao ordered his second in command, Kan Ying, to set forth across newly conquered Ansi, to "Ta-ts'in", the Chinese name for the Roman Empire. Pan Ch'ao only allocated a portion of the army to subdue this "additional Kingdom", Kan Ying advanced across the middle Eastern expanses towards Antioch, thought to be the capitol of the Empire. Kan Ying was eager to know of his enemy, so the Parthians began to tell him about the legiones whose men fought "bundled up like little sticks" He also heard of the might and expanse of the Roman Empire. Upon gaining this new intelligence information, Kan Ying decided that his cavalry force was not sufficient for the task, and as he had no infantry he turned around and rejoined Pan Ch'ao at Ctesiphon. He was less then two days march from Antioch when he aborted. The Chinese army made the Parthians allies, and withdrew a days march from the capital. In 116 AD., Emperor Trajanus advances into Parthia to Ctesiphon and were within one day's march of Han Chinese border garrisons. But that's the closest the two came to blows.

As a side note, 97 A.D. was the first year of the Emperor Trajanus reign. It is quite interesting to speculate on the consequences had Kan Ying pursued his objective and attacked Roman Antioch.

It was the closest contact the Han and Romans ever came. (Granted the Han army was almost complete made up of allied horse archers)

It would have been interesting, how it would have developed further. Romans relied heavily on their disciplined infantry, while the Chinese have been famous in history for their foot & horse riding archers.

troung
05 Nov 07,, 04:39
It would have been interesting, how it would have developed further. Romans relied heavily on their disciplined infantry, while the Chinese have been famous in history for their foot & horse riding archers.

The horse archers as mentioned in the first post weren't Chinese.

Triple C
05 Nov 07,, 07:13
No? I had a distinct impression that one of the most important military innovations at early Han dynasty (during Wu-Di's reign) was the adaptation of horse archer tactics and train the Chinese troops as such.

IDonT
06 Nov 07,, 14:03
No? I had a distinct impression that one of the most important military innovations at early Han dynasty (during Wu-Di's reign) was the adaptation of horse archer tactics and train the Chinese troops as such.

The western Han had two types of armies: the standing army and the frontier army. The standing army consists of an elite cadre of professionals and conscripts that are there for a total of 2 years (1 year training, 1 year in their units). The frontier armies, on the other hand, are fully professional due to their expeditionary nature. Reinforcements from allied nomadic tribes serve to bolster their numbers (similar to Ceasar's campaign in Gaul). The other difference is that the frontier armies tend to consists entirely of cavalry, due to the large distance they cover. These frontier troops closely resemble the horse archer nomads they were fighting.

At the beginning of the Eastern Han, around 24 AD, conscription was entirely abolished. Conscription, itself, was a throwback to the warring states period where large standing armies were required. With the threat coming entirely from the nomads, there was no need to have a system requiring large standing armies. In addition, the Han court were very suspicious of the militarily trained peasantry that can become potential rebels, as clearly proven by Wang Mang's usurpation of the Han throne.

The Eastern Han reached its zenith around the late 1st century AD. It had a professional military unit that are backed by barbarian auxiliary units (in similar fashion to what Rome was doing). These were the military units that were sent west towards Bactria, Sogdiana, and Parthia.

Ironduke
07 Nov 07,, 06:22
According to Wikipedia, 10,000 Roman soldiers were captured by the Parthians after Crassus lost the Battle of Carrhae in 54 BC. They were put on border guard duty in an area that corresponds to modern-day eastern Turkmenistan and northwestern Afghanistan. The Chinese captured the territory a few years later, and it may be possible that some of the Romans entered Chinese military service.

The article goes onto say:

About 18 years later the nomadic Xiongnu chief Zhizhi established a state in the nearby Talas valley, near modern day Taraz. The Chinese have an account by Ban Gu of about "a hundred men" under the command of Zhizhi who fought in a so-called "fish-scale formation" to defend Zhizhi's wooden-palisade fortress against Han forces, in the Battle of Zhizhi in 36 BCE. The historian Homer Dubs claimed that this might have been the Roman testudo formation and that these men, who were captured by the Chinese, were able to found the village of Liqian (Li-chien) in Yongchang County. There is, however, no evidence that these men were Romans, although male inhabitants of Liqian are to undergo DNA testing to test the hypothesis.[2].

A Roman inscription of the 2nd—3rd centuries CE has been found in eastern Uzbekistan in the Kara-Kamar cave complex, which has been analysed as belonging to some Roman soldiers from the Pannonian Legio XV Apollinaris:[3]

PANN
G. REX
AP.LG
This corresponds to what I've read in the East Asian History Sourcebook that's hosted at fordham.edu.

Sino-Roman relations - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sino-Roman_relations)
East Asian History Sourcebook: Chinese Accounts of Rome, Byzantium and the Middle East, c. 91 B.C.E. - 1643 C.E. (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/eastasia/romchin1.html)

gunnut
07 Nov 07,, 07:18
There's a village in western China whose inhabitants look very much European. A lot of the people in western China look closer to Europeans than east Asians. Perhaps there were many informal meetings between the cultures. Just not full scale diplomatic/war relations.

IDonT
07 Nov 07,, 14:00
There's a village in western China whose inhabitants look very much European. A lot of the people in western China look closer to Europeans than east Asians. Perhaps there were many informal meetings between the cultures. Just not full scale diplomatic/war relations.

Xinjiang was not part of China until the Qing Dynasty. Those areas were at best military protectorates during the Han Dynasty, and the Han military was there to defend the profitable silk road from maurauding barbarians.

I'm still sceptical about the Carrae Roman survivors. Remember Alexander the Great settled several thousand of his veterans in Bactria and Sogdiana too. In fact the Greek Bactrian Kingdom lasted intil the 1st century AD.

As for actual diplomatic contacts, the Parthians tried so hard to make sure that Rome and China never had direct links. They were the middleman in the profitable trade. Everytime the Han court will send an ambassador the "Da Chin" (Rome was to China) the Parthians will discourage them by exagerrating the distance.

I believe the first Roman Ambassador to the Han court occured during Marcus Auerilius reign and they probably came by India.

Zeng
09 Nov 07,, 01:51
There's a village in western China whose inhabitants look very much European. A lot of the people in western China look closer to Europeans than east Asians. Perhaps there were many informal meetings between the cultures. Just not full scale diplomatic/war relations.

Here is a reference to your post:

Lost Roman Legion in Ancient China? [Archive] - Military Photos (http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-37148.html)

Zeng
09 Nov 07,, 01:52
No? I had a distinct impression that one of the most important military innovations at early Han dynasty (during Wu-Di's reign) was the adaptation of horse archer tactics and train the Chinese troops as such.

No, it was in the Warring States Period during the reign of King Wuling (326 BC–Spring 299 BC).

Zhao (state) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhao_%28state%29)

The greatest contribution of Wu Di of the Western Han was to defeat the great Xiongnu confederacy. Xiongnu enjoyed military superiority over China for many centuries. Chinese had to build Great Wall to defend themselves since Warring States Period.

After several decades of preparation during Wen Di and Jing Di, Western Han achieved great advantage over Xiongnu confederacy economically and militarily when Wu Di took the power. Then, by taking advantage of the power struggle among the Xiongnus and through wars lasted over several decades, Western Han finally defeated Xiongnu. The anti-China faction of Xiongnu was driven west or far north. But Wu Di himself became addictive to the wars when he got old. The endless wars eventually also wore China down.

The very interesting first post by IDonT described the later wars between Eastern Han and Xiongnu as well as Parthian and Kushan Empires for the control of the Tarim Basin in Today's Xinjiang to ensure the opening of the Silk Road. The anti-China faction of Xiongnu was further driven west into Central Asia or even South East Europe.

It seems that there is debate about who are the descendents of those Xiongnus who went west, Turks, Hungarians or someone else?

The Chinese general Ban Chao (班超) who led the fights had famous saying 不入虎穴,焉得虎子 (if you don’t enter tiger’s den, how can you get tiger’s cub?).

Ban Chao was also a great diplomat. Most of his army came from local allies of China in many time. Only small number of Han Chinese army was stationed in that far away area for extended period to protect the Silk Road, which solved the logistic problem.

Ban Chao - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ban_Chao)

The pro-China faction of Xiongnu was settled in the north of the Great Wall. They revolted during Five Hu Sixteen Kingdom Period (4th to 5 th century) as one of the Hus to establish their own Kingdom. After that chaotic period, Xiongnu in China was gradually assimilated into Chinese.

Xiongnu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiongnu)

There is an urban legend saying that pure Han Chinese should have their smallest toe finger nail unbroken while Xiongnu’s was broken. Mine is broken. So, I am not a pure Han Chinese. I didn’t know any my Chinese friends have unbroken smallest toe finger nail. Therefore, there may be not many pure Han Chinese exist today.

Recently, some exciting news comes from the academic researches in China that some of the Chinese minorities may have generic link to some of the Hus in Five Hu Sixteen Kingdom Period. The DNAs of these people were compared with those of the bodies from unearthed Hu’s tombs. They found some matches.

Officer of Engineers
09 Nov 07,, 04:06
The skeptism remains. Was it the tortise or the phalanx?

Ironduke
20 Nov 07,, 07:15
There is an urban legend saying that pure Han Chinese should have their smallest toe finger nail unbroken while Xiongnu’s was broken. Mine is broken. So, I am not a pure Han Chinese. I didn’t know any my Chinese friends have unbroken smallest toe finger nail. Therefore, there may be not many pure Han Chinese exist today.
What do you mean by broken toenail?

Triple C
20 Nov 07,, 09:42
He means the little spike that splits off from the pinky toe nail, if the latter was not clipped constantly. It could snag in socks or shoes, causing great pain. A family of mine has those.

astralis
20 Nov 07,, 16:05
yeah, i as well as most of my taiwanese/chinese friends have got that. i wonder how that got passed through genetically.