MnXianb

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ Agathe Dupeyron ♥

♠ Original name ♣ Xianbei Confederation ♥

♠ Alternative names ♣ Hsien-pi ♥

♠ Peak Date ♣ 155 CE ♥ "The Xianbei were another polity from northeast China, with origins closely related ethnically and linguistically to the Wuhuan. By A.D. 155 the Xianbei had eclipsed the Wuhuan and were poised to fill the gap left by the fall of the Xiongnu polity." [1] "Subsequent to the death of Tanshikhuai, his brother came to power, followed by a nephew, and then an unrelated leader (Kebineng), but unity was ephemeral and by A.D. 235 the Xianbei broke into a series of smaller polities, eventually reemerging as the Toba (northern) Wei polity." [2]

Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣ 100-250 CE ♥ "The Xianbei were another polity from northeast China, with origins closely related ethnically and linguistically to the Wuhuan. By A.D. 155 the Xianbei had eclipsed the Wuhuan and were poised to fill the gap left by the fall of the Xiongnu polity." [3] "Subsequent to the death of Tanshikhuai, his brother came to power, followed by a nephew, and then an unrelated leader (Kebineng), but unity was ephemeral and by A.D. 235 the Xianbei broke into a series of smaller polities, eventually reemerging as the Toba (northern) Wei polity." [4]

♠ Degree of centralization ♣ [nominal; loose] ♥ "Like the Wuhuan, their political organization was not highly centralized, with leadership reportedly based on merit, although given other evidence this could not have been the only criterion. This may have allowed lesser leaders to operate relatively independently, which served to limit Xianbei effectiveness against the later Han dynasty (A.D. 25-220) in China (Barfield 1989, p. 86; Gardner and de Crespigny 1977, p. 2)." [5]

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ ♥ "This process was greatly furthered by T'an-shih-huai (136 7-181) who began to raid China in the ISO's. He occupied the lands of the Hsiung-nu who fled after the disaster of 155 and then set about creating a coalition of the remaining Hsiung-nu, Wu-huan and Hsien-pi elements to direct against the Middle Kingdom." [6]

Supra-cultural relations

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ Donghu ♥ "Before the formation of the Xiongnu empire the ancient Mongolian nomads Donghu had the great polity, maybe a complex chiefdom or a heterarchical confederation. Late in the 3rd century BC, they were headed by common chief (Lidai 1961: 16). After defeat in the war from the Xiongnu, this polity split into many segments. The Chinese ancient historians combined them in two ethnic formations: the Wuhuan and the Xianbei." [7]
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ continuity; cultural assimilation ♥ The Xianbei is one part of what used to be the Donghu polity. "When Hsiung-nu power in the steppe declined, due partly to natural internal change and partly to Chinese attacks and political machinations, among other factors, the steppe peoples who had been subjugated by the Hsiung-nu increasingly took the opportunity to establish themselves as rulers in their own right. By far the most important of these revolutions was that of the Hsien-pei, a Proto-Mongolic-speaking people who had lived in the eastern part of the Hsiung-nu realm, in what is now western Manchuria, and had been subjugated already by Mo-tun (r. 209-174 bc), the second great ruler of the Hsiung-nu." [8] "After the decisive Han dynasty defeat of the Northern Xiongnu, and the Xiongnu leadership’s abandonment of all of what is now Mongolia by 91 CE, the Xianbei occupied the old Xiongnu pastures in Mongolia. The residual Xiongnu people who lingered in the area reportedly now began to call themselves Xianbei: ‘there were still over a hundred-thousand camps of remaining Xiongnu descendants, and they all proclaimed themselves Xianbei. After this, the Xianbei gradually flourished' (匈奴餘種留者尚有十餘萬落,皆自號鮮卑,鮮卑由此漸盛)." [9]
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ Rouran Khaganate ♥
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ proto-Mongolian Donghu ♥ "The Chinese chronicles attribute the Wuhuan and the Xianbei to a common cultural sphere - that of the proto-Mongolian Donghu - and inform us that the Xianbei customs and language were similar to those of the Wuhuan (Taskin 1984: 7, 329)." [10]
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ ♥ km squared.

♠ Capital ♣ none ♥ "Fourth, as we have seen, the most powerful among the lords of the Xianbei confederation, Tanshihuai, divided his power into three parts, and having done this he established a headquarters (ting) similar to that of the Xiongnu chanyu. It was located on the shore of the Čoču River at 300 and more li (i.e. more than 120 km, taking into account that the li is equivalent to 400 meters) to the north of Gaoli, i.e. the early Korean state Koguryŏ (HHS 90.14a)." [11] " From his court roughly a hundred miles north of modern Datong he presided over an empire covering all the former Xiongnu lands, and oriented especially towards raiding Han dynasty China." [12]


♠ Language ♣ Xianbei ♥

General Description

The Orkhon Valley lies either side of the Orkhon River, in north-central Mongolia. Between about 100 and 250 CE, it was under the control of the Xianbei, pastoralists who also relied on hunting and, to a lesser extent, the cultivation of wheat, barley, and millet.[13] By 170 CE, the Xianbei empire extended 3,000 km along its east-west axis and 1,500 km along its north-south one, for a total of approximately 4,500,000 squared kilometers.[14] The most powerful Xianbei ruler, Tanshihuai (r. 136-181), divided his multiethnic empire into three parts (middle, eastern, and western); the nomadic peoples that occupied each part were ruled by the elders of the largest sites, though all elders were in turn subordinate to Tanshihuai himself.[15] Not many population estimates could be found in the literature, though Kradin provides an estimate of about 500,000 people, based on the fact that, under Tanshihuai's rule, the Xianbei army included 100,000 horsemen: Kradin argues that a total population of 500,000 is possible because all adult men were likely potential warriors, and they likely made up one-fifth of the population.[16]

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ Agathe Dupeyron ♥

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ [2,300,000-4,500,000] ♥ in squared kilometers.

"By approximately A.D. 170 the Xianbei controlled a vast region approximately 3,000 km east-west and 1,500 km north-south (Gardiner and de Crespigny 1977, pp. 29-30)." [17] This would give an area of approximately 4,500,000 squared kilometers.

"In connection with this, there are two questions to which I have no answer. The first one is how to rule over such a great territory, which is said to have extended more than 14,000 li (over 5000 km) from east to west and more than 7,000 li (almost 3000 km) from north to south (HHS 90.14a-14b). In the absence of developed means of communication, it seems practically impossible to rule over such a large country." [18] T

"Xianbei was approximately 2.3 mn km."[19]

♠ Polity Population ♣ [1,000,000-1,500,000] ♥ People. A range reflecting a similar magnitude as the estimate for the Later Xiongnu and Imperial Xiongnu Confederation.

500,000 Xianbi. "The greater part of the ethnic Xianbei tribes was concentrated in the central and eastern areas of the steppe empire. This can be confirmed by the fact that the regions of eastern Mongolia and eastern Baikal (of the ‘left wing’) were areas of traditional residence of the Xianbei."[20]

However, "the imperial confederation was multi-ethnic"[21] and by "the end of the 2nd century AD not less than 100 thousand tents of the Xiongnu took the political identity of Xianbei (HHS 90.9b)".[22] How many people to a tent? A family of 5 to a tent would add 500,000 to the total. There also were other ethnicities.[23]

500,000: 160 CE (Xianbi only?)

"The demography of the tribes was unequal. Thus, we have mentions of bu with five thousand people, several dozens thousand people, five thousand ‘households’ (about 25 thousand people), ten thousand soldiers and ten thousand tents (up to fifty thousand people); the largest had about twenty thousand ‘households’ - some one hundred thousand people (Kradin 1994; many comparative dates see in Cribb 1991)." [24] "Second, at the time of Tanshihuai, the strength of the Xianbei army reached one hundred thousand horsemen (Taskin 1984: 78). If one considers that all men were potentially warriors, and that the adult male population should amount to about 1/5 of the total population, one can assume that the total population was about half a million." [25]

♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Inhabitants. Our knowledge of the Xianbei is based solely on narrative sources and there is no data on settlement hierarchy. [26]

Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ suspected unknown ♥ levels. Our knowledge of the Xianbei is based solely on narrative sources and there is no data on settlement hierarchy. [27]

♠ Administrative levels ♣ 3 ♥ levels. "A report from around A.D. 1 notes that the Xianbei were composed of 36 tribes made up of 99 clans (Dien 1991, p. 41). Although Xianbei bureaucracy was minimal, there is evidence that they divided their territory into eastern, central, and western divisions, reminiscent of the more formal Xiongnu administrative structure, and utilized a form of organizational imposition and dual administration as the empire expanded." [28]

3. Leader - very loose control

2. Tribe leader (36 tribes)
1. Clan leader (99 clans)

Territorial organization: 3 territorial divisions and dual administration.

"Therefore, based on our knowledge of the Wuhuan, one can as- sume that the Xianbei had the following forms of social organiza- tion: family (luo) - kin or clan (yiluo) - tribe or chieftainship (bu). Most probably, luo are individual ordinary or extended families. They were united by real kinship, common household and property for the cattle. Yiluo is a territorial group including the small family groups. The clans were based on both distant real and fictitious kinship, nomads' seasonal labor cooperation (repair of wells, shear- ing, etc.), necessity to defend the fellow tribesmen and to perform common cults and rites. The highest levels bu (a word can be trans- lated ‘a camping ground’) are greater formations which could be both tribes or chieftainships and chiefdoms." [29]

♠ Religious levels ♣ 1 ♥ levels. Shamans. [30]

♠ Military levels ♣ [5-6] ♥ levels.

Nomadic polities of the Steppe usually employed a decimal system. Can we infer the Xianbi at their most highly effective must have used this system too?

1. Ruler

2. Commander of 10,000
3. Commander of 1,000
4. Commander of 100
5. Commander of 10
6. individual soldier


Bu (a sub-tribe of the Xianbi who had 5,000 people[31]

"The chiefs of bu, tribes or simple chiefdoms, fulfilled the following functions:

1. Military: organization of the battle-worthy portion of the population for raiding, and to repulse neighboring tribes' raids (see, for example: Taskin 1984: 76, 80, 325). It is not accidental that “boldest” occupied the first place among the important qualities ascribed to the most outstanding Xianbei chiefs, such as Tanshihuai or Kebineng (fl. early third century) (Taskin 1984: 75, 324, 330). One can remember that the rise of Tanshihuai began after he had dispersed the robbers attacking his nomadic camp." [32]

Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ inferred absent ♥ "This imperial confederation of nomads was not a state. There is no information of the existence of government, functionaries and other government institutions. It was a supercomplex chiefdom." [33]

♠ Examination system ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Merit promotion ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ inferred absent ♥ "This imperial confederation of nomads was not a state. There is no information of the existence of government, functionaries and other government institutions. It was a supercomplex chiefdom." [34]

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣ inferred absent ♥ "The chiefs of bu, tribes or simple chiefdoms, fulfilled the following functions: [...] Judicial: the settlement of disputes concerning the territories where nomads live, stealing of livestock, violation of customs, mutilation, murders, etc. When Tanshihuai came to power he laid out ‘law rules for disposition of cases between innocent and guilty and nobody dared to break them’ (Ibid.: 75, 330). The same duties are also mentioned with respect to his son, Helian (Ibid.: 80). One of the reasons for Kebineng's election as a chief was his equitable investigation of lawsuits (Ibid.: 324). However, it is unlikely that these actions were based on written law; " [35] Seems to have varied depending on the chief. "Judicial: resolution of disputes concerning the territories where nomads live, stealing of livestock, violation of customs, mutilation, murders etc. When Tanshihuai came to power he laid out Maw rules for disposition of cases between innocent and guilty and nobody dared to break them (Taskin 1984: 75, 330). The same duties are also mentioned with respect to his son, Helian (Taskin 1984: 80). One of the reasons give for Kebineng's election as a chief was his equitable investigation of lawsuits (Taskin 1984: 324). However, it is unlikely that these actions were based on written law." [36]

♠ Judges ♣ inferred absent ♥ "The chiefs of bu, tribes or simple chiefdoms, fulfilled the following functions: [...] Judicial: the settlement of disputes concerning the territories where nomads live, stealing of livestock, violation of customs, mutilation, murders, etc. When Tanshihuai came to power he laid out ‘law rules for disposition of cases between innocent and guilty and nobody dared to break them’ (Ibid.: 75, 330). The same duties are also mentioned with respect to his son, Helian (Ibid.: 80). One of the reasons for Kebineng's election as a chief was his equitable investigation of lawsuits (Ibid.: 324). However, it is unlikely that these actions were based on written law; " [37] Not a full-time job.

♠ Courts ♣ inferred absent ♥ It seems unlikely that buildings specialised for legal proceedings were present, considering that lawsuits were one of the many responsibilities held by bu chiefs.

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ inferred absent ♥ Lawsuits were one of the many responsibilities held by bu chiefs. "The chiefs of bu, tribes or simple chiefdoms, fulfilled the following functions: [...] Judicial: the settlement of disputes concerning the territories where nomads live, stealing of livestock, violation of customs, mutilation, murders, etc. When Tanshihuai came to power he laid out ‘law rules for disposition of cases between innocent and guilty and nobody dared to break them’ (Ibid.: 75, 330). The same duties are also mentioned with respect to his son, Helian (Ibid.: 80). One of the reasons for Kebineng's election as a chief was his equitable investigation of lawsuits (Ibid.: 324). However, it is unlikely that these actions were based on written law; " [38]

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [39]
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ markets ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ food storage sites ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Transport infrastructure

♠ Roads ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Bridges ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Canals ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ports ♣ inferred absent ♥ No water transport known.

Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ inferred present ♥ Oral histories? "the early steppe peoples would not have been a promising vehicle for the diffusion of complicated, textually based knowledge; according to the Northern Wei dynastic history, the Rouran were illiterates whose leaders at first kept records of their troop numbers by piling up sheep turds as counters but eventually graduated to scratching simple marks onto pieces of wood. Not surprisingly, there is no evidence of the transmission of Chinese military theories and texts to the West by way of the Avars, other steppe nomads, Silk Road caravans, or any other channel prior to the activities of the Jesuit missionaries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."[40]
♠ Written records ♣ inferred absent: 100-229 CE; inferred present: 230-250 CE ♥ "The main sources on Xianbei history are three Chinese chronicles: the Hou Han shu, chapter 90; the Wei shu [History of the Wei Dynasty, hereafter WS], chapter 30; and the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms]. These texts have been translated into Russian (Bichurin 1950 [1851]: 149-159; Taskin 1984: 70-86) and others European (Schreiber 1947; Mullie 1969) languages. For a long time, archaeological sites of Xianbei were not known. It is only recently that cemeteries of Xianbei culture have been excavated in China and the Eastern Baikal area (Su Bai 1977; Gan Chigeng and Sun Suzcng 1982; Mi Wenping 1994; Yu Suhua 2002; Yaremcuk 2004; 2005 etc.)." [41] "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy."[42] Kebineng's reign started in 230 CE. "the early steppe peoples would not have been a promising vehicle for the diffusion of complicated, textually based knowledge; according to the Northern Wei dynastic history, the Rouran were illiterates whose leaders at first kept records of their troop numbers by piling up sheep turds as counters but eventually graduated to scratching simple marks onto pieces of wood. Not surprisingly, there is no evidence of the transmission of Chinese military theories and texts to the West by way of the Avars, other steppe nomads, Silk Road caravans, or any other channel prior to the activities of the Jesuit missionaries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."[43]
♠ Script ♣ inferred absent: 100-229 CE; inferred present: 230-250 CE ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy. " [44] Kebineng's reign started in 230 CE. "the early steppe peoples would not have been a promising vehicle for the diffusion of complicated, textually based knowledge; according to the Northern Wei dynastic history, the Rouran were illiterates whose leaders at first kept records of their troop numbers by piling up sheep turds as counters but eventually graduated to scratching simple marks onto pieces of wood. Not surprisingly, there is no evidence of the transmission of Chinese military theories and texts to the West by way of the Avars, other steppe nomads, Silk Road caravans, or any other channel prior to the activities of the Jesuit missionaries in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries."[45]
♠ Non-phonetic writing ♣ inferred absent: 100-229 CE; inferred present: 230-250 CE ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy. " [46] Kebineng's reign started in 230 CE.
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ inferred absent: 100-229 CE; suspected unknown: 230-250 CE ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy."[47] Kebineng's reign started in 230 CE.
♠ Calendar ♣ inferred absent ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy."[48]
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ inferred absent ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy."[49]
♠ Religious literature ♣ inferred absent ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy."[50]
♠ Practical literature ♣ inferred absent ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy."[51]
♠ History ♣ inferred absent ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy."[52]
♠ Philosophy ♣ inferred absent ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy."[53]
♠ Scientific literature ♣ inferred absent ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy."[54]
♠ Fiction ♣ inferred absent ♥ "According to the Sanguo zhi [Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms], because Kebineng’s lands were near the Chinese border, many Chinese people (Zhongguo ren 中國人) fled the warlord depredations of late Han and Three Kingdoms China to join Kebineng, teaching the Xianbei how to make Chinese-style arms and armor, and even introducing some literacy."[55]


Money

♠ Articles ♣ present ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [56]
♠ Tokens ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [57]
♠ Precious metals ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [58]
♠ Foreign coins ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [59]
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [60]
♠ Paper currency ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [61]

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ inferred absent ♥ Probably absent, only mentioned for the Mongolian Empire.
♠ Postal stations ♣ inferred absent ♥ Probably absent, only mentioned for the Mongolian Empire.
♠ General postal service ♣ inferred absent ♥ Probably absent, only mentioned for the Mongolian Empire.

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ Agathe Dupeyron ♥

Military Technologies

Military use of Metals

♠ Copper ♣ inferred present ♥ Required for bronze.
♠ Bronze ♣ present ♥ "Among their weapons we find the compound bow, bronze and bone arrowheads (their arrows also contained beads that gave them a whistling effect), broadswords, short swords, lances, and maces." [62]
♠ Iron ♣ present ♥ As mentioned by Chinese chronicles: "Since the Xiongnu have fled away, the Xianbi have become powerful and prosperous, and have occupied their former territory. They can claim a hundred thousand soldiers, skilled and strong, and their ideas and their understanding are steadily increasing. Add to this the facts that our guardpasses and barriers are lacking in strength, that our prohibitions [against trade] are full of holes, and fine gold and good iron are in the hands of the enemy, while they also have renegades from Han to serve them as masters of strategy; then in the sharpness of weapons and the clash of horse they are more dangerous than were the Xiongnu." [63] Replaced the original translation of the Chinese source with a better translation, which translates the Xiongnu as such rather than as "huns" for example.
♠ Steel ♣ inferred absent ♥ By the seventh century the "Sogdians and Turkic peoples "had their own sophisticated metallurgical industries."[64] "The other peoples who were heavily involved with arms production and trade with the Tibetans were the Turkic peoples and especially the Karluks, allies of the Tibetans during the eighth and early ninth centuries ... The Karluks ... were noted by Islamic geographers as producers and exporters of iron artifacts and weapons to Tibet and China."[65]

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Atlatl ♣ absent ♥ Weapon of the Americas, extremely unlikely to be here
♠ Slings ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Self bow ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Composite bow ♣ present ♥ "Wild birds and beasts not to be found in the Middle Kingdom of China lived in the territories of the Hsien-pi, who made bows out of horns." [66] "Among their weapons we find the compound bow, bronze and bone arrowheads (their arrows also contained beads that gave them a whistling effect), broadswords, short swords, lances, and maces." [67]
♠ Crossbow ♣ inferred absent ♥ "When the stirrup, which provides a firm seat in the saddle for combat, was combined with the type of heavy armor for both man and horse that had developed in the post-Han era, and the complete ensemble became available to Xianbei warriors (armor and the crossbow having previously provided the Chinese with a degree of comparative military advantage over nomadic light cavalry), it became possible to field a truly formidable Xianbei cavalry force.1 The mere sight of over a thousand colorfully caparisoned Xianbei cavalry deployed in defense of the Southern dynasty capital in 410, for example, reportedly intimidated a powerful southern rebel army.103 Mounted Xianbei (or Xianbei- ized) warriors were able to dominate north China almost continuously from the fourth through the sixth centuries." [68] The introduction of crossbows seems to be a much later development.
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ inferred absent ♥ if they did not need to attack any permanent settlements there was no need for them to develop slow and cumbersome siege engines
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ absent ♥ First use of the counter-weight trebuchet 1165 CE at Byzantine siege of Zevgminon.[69]
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ absent ♥ Not in use until much later
♠ Handheld firearms ♣ absent ♥ "Firearms appeared in Siberia and Mongolia in the 17th century in the form of flintlock rifles. Flintlocks were the only firearms used in most areas until the turn of the 20th century." [70]

Handheld weapons

♠ War clubs ♣ present ♥ "Among their weapons we find the compound bow, bronze and bone arrowheads (their arrows also contained beads that gave them a whistling effect), broadswords, short swords, lances, and maces." [71]
♠ Battle axes ♣ present ♥ "During the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. several nomadic states of northern Iranian tribes came into being in Central Asia. In the west some Saka tribal confederations are mentioned in ancient Greek literature and Old Persian inscriptions, while in the east the Hsien-yün, and later the Yüeh-chih and the Hsiung-nu, tribal confederations are attested by the Chinese sources. ... Lively contacts and easy communications promoted the rise and spread of a fairly uniform nomadic culture in the steppe zone. The same types of horse-harness (bridle, bit, cheek-piece, saddle, trappings), arms (bow, bow-case, arrow and quiver, sword, battle-axe, mail) and garments (trousers, caftan, waist-girdle, boots, pointed cap) were used in the steppe zone from Central Europe to Korea."[72]
♠ Daggers ♣ present ♥ "Among the steppe riders a dagger was typically carried in all periods, and a number of dagger designs are encountered in the archaeological and artistic record." [73]
♠ Swords ♣ present ♥ "During the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. several nomadic states of northern Iranian tribes came into being in Central Asia. In the west some Saka tribal confederations are mentioned in ancient Greek literature and Old Persian inscriptions, while in the east the Hsien-yün, and later the Yüeh-chih and the Hsiung-nu, tribal confederations are attested by the Chinese sources. ... Lively contacts and easy communications promoted the rise and spread of a fairly uniform nomadic culture in the steppe zone. The same types of horse-harness (bridle, bit, cheek-piece, saddle, trappings), arms (bow, bow-case, arrow and quiver, sword, battle-axe, mail) and garments (trousers, caftan, waist-girdle, boots, pointed cap) were used in the steppe zone from Central Europe to Korea."[74]
♠ Spears ♣ present ♥ "Among their weapons we find the compound bow, bronze and bone arrowheads (their arrows also contained beads that gave them a whistling effect), broadswords, short swords, lances, and maces." [75]
♠ Polearms ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Animals used in warfare

♠ Dogs ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Donkeys ♣ present ♥ Coded as present, due to all the domestic animals being owned by a household, in which all males were nomadic warriors and would very likely have used domestic animals as pack animals. Although this is an earlier code for the Xiongnu, the Xianbei had taken over most of the Xiongnu lands and there is no reason why the animals would no longer be in Orkhon valley or used by an extremely similar culture: Sima's records state " Most of their domestic animals are horses, cows, sheep, and they also have rare animals such as camels, donkeys, mules, hinnies and other equines known as t’ao-t’u and tien-hsi. They move about according to the availability of water and pasture, have no walled towns or fixed residences, nor any agricultural activities, but each of them has a portion of land."[76]
♠ Horses ♣ present ♥ "Second, at the time of Tanshihuai, the strength of the Xianbei army reached one hundred thousand horsemen (Taskin 1984: 78). If one considers that all men were potentially warriors, and that the adult male population should amount to about 1/5 of the total population, one can assume that the total population was about half a million." [77]
♠ Camels ♣ present ♥ Coded as present, due to all the domestic animals being owned by a household, in which all males were nomadic warriors and would very likely have used domestic animals as pack animals. Although this is an earlier code for the Xiongnu, the Xianbei had taken over most of the Xiongnu lands and there is no reason why the animals would no longer be in Orkhon valley or used by an extremely similar culture: Sima's records state " Most of their domestic animals are horses, cows, sheep, and they also have rare animals such as camels, donkeys, mules, hinnies and other equines known as t’ao-t’u and tien-hsi. They move about according to the availability of water and pasture, have no walled towns or fixed residences, nor any agricultural activities, but each of them has a portion of land."[78]
♠ Elephants ♣ absent ♥ Highly unlikely to have existed in Orkhon Valley, let alone used for war.

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ inferred present ♥ Wooden shields mentioned by the Han for the Xiongnu.[79] Likely to have been in use by the Xianbei too.
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ present ♥ "Shields were known in all periods and, though they are mentioned in the contemporary literature, they only occasionally appear in artistic representations. They were typically made of leather on a reed frame, and a few rare examples survive." [80]
♠ Shields ♣ present ♥ "Shields were known in all periods and, though they are mentioned in the contemporary literature, they only occasionally appear in artistic representations. They were typically made of leather on a reed frame, and a few rare examples survive." [81]
♠ Helmets ♣ inferred present ♥ Bronze helmets from Iran appear to have been used by Steppe Nomads for several hundreds of years before this. Also Steppe Nomads in other polities have been found to use leather or other helmets, therefore we have coded this as present due to the extremely similar nature of the weapons and armor across the Steppe Plains. "Sauromatian bronze helmets and scale or plate armor not of local production appear in the Volga River region and southern Ural Steppes in the fifth-fourth century b.c., showing an increase in the exchange economy among neighboring communities." [82]
♠ Breastplates ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Limb protection ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Chainmail ♣ inferred present ♥ "During the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. several nomadic states of northern Iranian tribes came into being in Central Asia. In the west some Saka tribal confederations are mentioned in ancient Greek literature and Old Persian inscriptions, while in the east the Hsien-yün, and later the Yüeh-chih and the Hsiung-nu, tribal confederations are attested by the Chinese sources. ... Lively contacts and easy communications promoted the rise and spread of a fairly uniform nomadic culture in the steppe zone. The same types of horse-harness (bridle, bit, cheek-piece, saddle, trappings), arms (bow, bow-case, arrow and quiver, sword, battle-axe, mail) and garments (trousers, caftan, waist-girdle, boots, pointed cap) were used in the steppe zone from Central Europe to Korea."[83]
♠ Scaled armor ♣ inferred present ♥ For comparison, here is a description of an early warrior on the Eastern Steppe: Early Sarmatian (400-200 BCE) from the region of the Don, Volga and Urals (Eastern Steppe). “Early Sarmatian heavy-armed warrior wore a forged-iron helmet with a nose piece and cheek pieces. Scale armor of leather protected his body. He carried a twig-woven quiver for a bow and sometimes more than 200 arrows, covered with leather and decorated with an umbor, an arms belt with a buckle for crossing the belts; a richly decorated quiver hook; a long spear with a massive head and spike; a short iron akinakes sword; and iron axe. This complete image recalls a picture from a novel featuring medieval western European knights; these Sarmatian 'proto-types,' however, are 2,000 years older.”[84] "Sauromatian bronze helmets and scale or plate armor not of local production appear in the Volga River region and southern Ural Steppes in the fifth-fourth century b.c., showing an increase in the exchange economy among neighboring communities." [85]
♠ Laminar armor ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Plate armor ♣ inferred present ♥ Plate armor from Iran appears to have been used by Steppe Nomads and has been coded present in other Steppe polities for different reasons. "Sauromatian bronze helmets and scale or plate armor not of local production appear in the Volga River region and southern Ural Steppes in the fifth-fourth century b.c., showing an increase in the exchange economy among neighboring communities." [86]

Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [87]
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [88]
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [89]

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ditch ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Moat ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ inferred present ♥ "Other sites in northeast China and Inner Mongolia are connected to the Xianbei, such as sites with dwellings and burials in the Wuerjimulun River valley, east of Nanyangjianingzi, Balin Left Banner (Dien 1991, pp. 41-43; Su 1979). In A.D. 160 the Xianbei leader moved his headquarters to that of the former Xiongnu leader in the Khangai Mountains in Mongolia, although this location has not been conclusively identified. Among known sites is the walled settlement at Shengle, reportedly built in A.D. 258, just north of modern Holingol. The site was occupied by Chinese farmers under Xianbei control (Dien 1991, p. 45)." [90]
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Fortified camps ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Long walls ♣ suspected unknown ♥ km.
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ inferred absent ♥ Far too early for modern canon forts.

Phase II Variables (polity-based)

Institutional Variables

♠ RA ♣ ♥

Limits on Power of the Chief Executive

Power distributed

♠ Constraint on executive by government ♣ ♥
♠ Constraint on executive by non-government ♣ ♥
♠ Impeachment ♣ ♥

Social Mobility

Status

Elite status

♠ elite status is hereditary ♣ inferred absent ♥ No government institutions means few official positions of status. Not highly centralized and leadership based at least partly on merit. "This imperial confederation of nomads was not a state. There is no information of the existence of government, functionaries and other government institutions. It was a supercomplex chiefdom." (Kradin 2011, 199). "Like the Wuhuan, their political organization was not highly centralized, with leadership reportedly based on merit, although given other evidence this could not have been the only criterion. This may have allowed lesser leaders to operate relatively independently, which served to limit Xianbei effectiveness against the later Han dynasty (A.D. 25-220) in China (Barfield 1989, p. 86; Gardner and de Crespigny 1977, p. 2)."[91]

Religion and Normative Ideology

♠ RA ♣ Enrico Cioni ♥ The name of the research assistant or associate who coded the data. If more than one RA made a substantial contribution, list all.

Deification of Rulers

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Ideology reinforces prosociality ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ production of public goods ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Moralizing Supernatural Powers

♠ Moral concern is primary ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is certain ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Moralizing norms are broad ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is targeted ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement of rulers ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by elites ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Moralizing religion adopted by commoners ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in afterlife ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement in this life ♣ inferred absent ♥
♠ Moralizing enforcement is agentic ♣ inferred absent ♥

These data were reviewed by expert advisors and consultants. For a detailed description of these data, refer to the relevant Analytic Narratives, reference tables, and acknowledgements page. [92] [93] [94]

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