MnXngnM

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Phase I Variables (polity-based)

General variables

♠ RA ♣ Agathe Dupeyron ♥

♠ Original name ♣ Xiongnu Imperial Confederation ♥

♠ Alternative names ♣ Hsiung-nu ♥

♠ Peak Date ♣ ♥


Temporal bounds

♠ Duration ♣ 209-60 BCE ♥

♠ Degree of centralization ♣ confederated state ♥ "There were three main geographical divisions consisting of the east and west, otherwise known as the ‘‘left and right’’ kingships, with an implied third division being the core central region administered directly by the paramount leader. Within this system there were 24 regional leaders, each with the title of ‘‘ten thousand horsemen.’’ The 24 regional leaders represent a dispersed control hierarchy, probably composed of the leaders of long-standing aristocratic lineages (e.g., Sneath 2007, p. 116)." [1] "Unlike the Xiongnu, the Wuhuan maintained a dispersed set of control hierarchies, with only partial evidence for a single paramount leader." [2]

♠ Supra-polity relations ♣ ♥

Supra-cultural relations

♠ preceding (quasi)polity ♣ MnXngnE ♥
♠ relationship to preceding (quasi)polity ♣ continuity ♥ "We do know, however, that the Xiongnu polity was constructed from diverse political and economic traditions by way of the integration of distinctive Inner Asian groups." [3] "Based on radiocarbon dating, the time-span of material patterns associated with Xiongnu archaeology range as early as 400/300 BC and as late as 200 AD. It is in the nature of archaeological dating to have wide error ranges but despite this, these archaeological patterns probably precede and postdate the Xiongnu chronology given in the histories (i.e., 209 BC to c. 93 AD)." [4]
♠ succeeding (quasi)polity ♣ MnXngnL ♥
♠ Supracultural entity ♣ ♥
♠ scale of supra-cultural interaction ♣ ♥ km squared.

♠ Capital ♣ none ♥ "So far, no identifiable Xiongnu capital has been documented, although it is fairly certain that the heartland of the state was in north central Mongolia and Transbaikal, along the drainages of the Selenge, Orkhon, and Tuul rivers." [5]


♠ Language ♣ Xiongnu ♥ "The results of the last linguistic reconstructions show that, on the territory between Ordos and Syano-Altai at the end of the I millennium B.C.E. - in the early centuries of the I millenium C.E., the arch-Turkic language went around. However, the Hsiung-nu vocabulary “recorded by Chinese belonged, in most cases, to the ‘upper’ functional style of the language of appropriate social formations that, probably, has not become the foregoer of the Turkic languages but, as it is typical of such functional styles, dissipated together with the society in which is functioned” (Dybo 2007: 199, 201). In either case, it should be remembered that the Xiongnu were polyethnic and polylingual nomadic empire. According to the written sources, the Xiongnu aristocracy included the Chinese counsellors and military commanders (most familiar of them is warlord Li Ling). The racial and ethnic tolerance is confirmed by the newest archaeological and genetic data (Kim et al. 2010). If, according to data of the physical anthropology, the Xiongnu of the Central and West Mongolia are close to the cultures of the Turkic circle then the Xiongnu of the East Mongolia bear many similarities to the Xiongnu of East Baikal area and Xienpi (Tumen 2011: 370)." [6]

General Description

The Orkhon Valley lies either side of the Orkhon River, in north-central Mongolia. Between about 200 BCE and 100 CE, it was under the control of the Xiongnu Imperial Confederation.

This polity comprised several nomadic peoples from the Mongolian Steppe. By the 4th century BCE, the Xiongnu began raiding northern China,[7] where their mounted archery overwhelmed the heavily armed but relatively immobile Chinese infantry.[8] The nomads were held at bay by a combination of tribute in the form of metals, finished products, and agricultural products, and China's numerical superiority.[9][10][11] Several Chinese victories against the Xiongnu in the 1st century BCE and factional conflict within the confederacy led to the confederacy’s breakup, and a new group of semi-nomadic peoples from the Northeast, the Xianbei, took control of the region.[12]

At their height, the Xiongnu ruled over an area that included all of Mongolia, extending to the Ordos region in the south, and the boreal forests of Siberia in the north, for a total of about 4,000,000 squared kilometres.[13]

Precise estimates could not be found for the empire's population, but estimates suggest that nomads living to the north of China did not number more than 1,500,000,[14] and the best studied (but not the largest) settlement, Ivolga, likely had a population of between 2,500 and 3,000.[15] The empire was divided into three kingships: a central one, directly ruled by the paramount leader, and a "left" one and a "right" one, to the east and west, respectively, distributed among twenty-four regional leaders known as the "ten thousand horsemen".[16]

Social Complexity variables

♠ RA ♣ Agathe Dupeyron ♥

Social Scale

♠ Polity territory ♣ [4,000,000-4,200,000] ♥ in squared kilometers. "At its height the Xiongnu empire controlled a region encompassing all of Mongolia and extending south to the Ordos region in the loop of the Yellow River in northern China (Fig. 1). In the north control extended to the boreal forests of Siberia, including Tuva and Buriatia in the Russian Federation (Kradin 2005a). Based on a variety of maps and geographical information on the location of different groups, at its height the Xiongnu empire encompassed a region on the order of 4,000,000 km2." [17]

4.2m km2 maximum.[18]

♠ Polity Population ♣ 1,500,000 ♥ People. "Despite the fact that the population of Han China, according to a census taken during the middle of the dynasty, has been counted at about 60 million people as compared to the total population of nomads north of China, which is postulated as not reaching 1.5 million people, the Xiongnu still managed to withstand, and parlay on equal terms with, the Qin and Han dynasties." [19]

♠ Population of the largest settlement ♣ [3,000-5,000] ♥ Inhabitants. "The number of residents living at the same time in Ivolga is estimated between 2500 to 3000 people." [20] This is not the largest settlement, but a well-studied one. We estimate 3,000-5,000 for the largest settlement.

Hierarchical Complexity

♠ Settlement hierarchy ♣ [2-3] ♥ levels.

1. Larger walled and open-settlement sites. eg. Ivolga, Tereljiin Dorvoljin.

2. Large seasonal habitations associated with local elite activities.
3. Seasonal campsites of herding families.

"Habitation and activity sites of the Xiongnu period also show substantial differences in size, construction, and composition, in spite of the fact that to date very few of these settlements have been systematically studied (Bemmann 2011). Archaeologists have located seasonal campsites of herding families as well as larger seasonal habitations that may have been associated with local elite activities (Honeychurch and Amartuvshin 2007; Houle and Broderick 2011). In addition to these campsites, large settlements having more intensive use and significant infrastructural investment have also been investigated. One example from the Egiin Gol valley is a site (EGS 131) with an extensive wall and ditch system perched above the main river on a substantial rise. Test excavations discovered a sparse ceramics scatter and a bronze mirror imported from China, but there was little evidence for consistent or repeated occupation. The function of this site is still unknown; but, given its prominent and defensible location, it may have been for temporary protection or possibly a site for hosting ceremonial events (Wright et al. 2009: 381-382). Many larger walled and open-settlement sites have been mapped and excavated in Siberia and Mongolia as well. Some of these have planned layouts and include semi-subterranean houses, workshop areas, large central architectural structures, and very different kinds of use histories. The prominent settlements of Boroogiin Suurin in Mongolia or Ivolga in south Siberia are clearly village-like occupations where multi-resource production including farming, herding, and craft specializations was practiced (Davydova 1995; Pousaz et al. 2007). Others, such as the walled sites of Tereljiin Dorvoljin and Bayan Under (Fig. 8.4) may have been elite residences or ritual centers (Danilov 2011). This range of site structures, arrangements, and sizes suggests a great deal more functional and economic dif- ferentiation than is generally assumed of steppe societies." [21]

♠ Administrative levels ♣ [3-4] ♥ levels. "There were three main geographical divisions consisting of the east and west, otherwise known as the ‘‘left and right’’ kingships, with an implied third division being the core central region administered directly by the paramount leader. Within this system there were 24 regional leaders, each with the title of ‘‘ten thousand horsemen.’’ The 24 regional leaders represent a dispersed control hierarchy, probably composed of the leaders of long-standing aristocratic lineages (e.g., Sneath 2007, p. 116)." [22]

According to Rogers:

1. Empire - ruled by the Chanyu, supreme leader

2. 3 Kingships (Left, Right and Core region)
3. 24 regions under the command of a regional leader, commanding 10,000 horsemen

According to Kradin, the hierarchy is as follows:

1. Empire - ruled by the Chanyu, supreme leader

2. advisers and personal men-at-arms
2. 10 kings commanding 10,000 people - 4 of which are called kings or 'wang'
3. tribal chiefs or elders, commanding 1000, 100 or 10 people
4. chiefs of non-Xiongnu tribes, paying tribute

"The chanyu was the supreme ruler of the Xiongnu steppe empire and its representative in the political and economical relations with other countries and nations. His competence included the declaration of war and peace, the conclusion of political treaties, the right to obtain gifts and tribute and to re-distribute them, dynastic marriages, etc. Most likely, the chanyu was also chief commander and superior judge (Taskin 1973, 7-11). He was also the concentration of irrational power and performed the most important devotions providing the nomads with a patronage of the super-natural forces." [23] "The most highly titled relatives of the chanyu were ten superior commanders of ten thousand warriors which were comprised of four and six horns respectively20. The first four of them were called “wang” (king) by the Chinese chroniclers. Besides the chanyu’s relatives there were other noble families (clans): Huyan, Lan, Xubu, and Qiulin were among the highest Xiongnu aristocracy (Fan Ye 1965, ch. 91, 7b; Zhong- yang 1958, 680-681). The next level in the Xiongnu hierarchy was occupied by the tribal chiefs and elders. In the annals, they are mentioned, as a rule, as ‘subordinate kings’, ‘chief commandants’, ‘household administrators’, “juqu” officials21. Probably, a part of the ‘chiefs of a thousand’ were tribal chiefs. The ‘chiefs of a hundred’ and ‘chiefs of ten’ were, most likely, clan leaders of different ranks. The economic, judicial, cultic, fiscal, and military functions were considered to be responsibilities of chiefs and elders (Taskin 1973, 9-11). The Xiongnu had a particular stratum of service nobility (Kradin 1996, 152 pp.), advisers, immigrants from China and bodyguards. First of all, these are men-at-arms of the chanyu bound to him by personal devotion. It was probably the most trusted men-at-arms who obtained the title of gudu marquis (“gudu hou”). Besides the nomads, defectors from China, such as the famous Zhong Hangyue, could also be subsumed within the ranks of the administrative aristocracy. These immigrants proved to be very useful advisers, as they familiarized the nomads with Chinese tactics of military science, agricultural activities, systems of record keeping, principles of court etiquette, and administration practices (Pritsak 1954, 178-202)." [24] "Slightly lower in the hierarchical ladder was the position of the chiefs of non-Xiongnu tribes in the imperial confederation. In the scale of rank the chiefs of non-Xiongnu tribes, chiefs of dependent tribes and of territories paying tribute, were situated slightly lower than the service nobility." [25]

"The eminent Chinese historian Sima Qian gives a detailed description of the administrative system of the Xiongnu empire28. The empire under Modun was divided into three parts: centre and left and right wings. The wings, in turn, were divided into subsections. The complete supreme power was concentrated in the hands of the chanyu. Concurrently, he was in charge of the centre - tribes of the metropolis of the steppe empire. The 24 highest officials, who were in charge of large tribal associations, were in the military rank of a chief of ten thousand, and were subordi- nate to the chanyu. His elder brother - successor to the throne - was in charge of the left wing. The nearest relatives of the ruler of a steppe empire were his co-ruler, the leader and co-ruler of the right wing. They were attributed the title ‘kings’ (“wang”) as the highest title possible. ‘Kings’ and six most noble ‘chiefs of ten thousand’ were considered to be “strong” and were in command of not less than 10,000 riders. The rest of the ‘chiefs of a ten thousand’ were in fact in command of less than 10,000 cavalrymen (e.g. Zhongyang 1958, 17; Watson 1961a, 163-164). At the lowest level of the administrative hierarchy, local tribal chiefs and elders were situated. Officially, they submitted to 24 deputies from the center. Yet, in reality, the dependence of tribal leaders was limited. The headquarters was far away and local chiefs enjoyed support of related tribal groups. Thus, the influence of the imperial deputies on local authorities was, to a certain extent, restricted and they were forced to take into account the interests of subordinate tribes. The total quantity of these tribal groups within the Xiongnu imperial confederation is unknown." [26]

♠ Religious levels ♣ 1 ♥ levels. Shamans. [27]

♠ Military levels ♣ 6 ♥ levels. "The Shiji text describes a great many offices that supported rulership as well as a military-administrative decimal system of positions based on the number of horse- men a leader was responsible to mobilize, e.g., 10, 100, 1000, or 10,000, although there is some debate over the specificity of these actual counts (Kradin 2001: 208)." [28]

"All of the adult men were members of the military-hierarchical organization of the Xiongnu society." [29]

"The most highly titled relatives of the chanyu were ten superior commanders of ten thousand warriors which were comprised of four and six horns respectively20. The first four of them were called “wang” (king) by the Chinese chroniclers. Besides the chanyu’s relatives there were other noble families (clans): Huyan, Lan, Xubu, and Qiulin were among the highest Xiongnu aristocracy (Fan Ye 1965, ch. 91, 7b; Zhong- yang 1958, 680-681). The next level in the Xiongnu hierarchy was occupied by the tribal chiefs and elders. In the annals, they are mentioned, as a rule, as ‘subordinate kings’, ‘chief commandants’, ‘household administrators’, “juqu” officials21. Probably, a part of the ‘chiefs of a thousand’ were tribal chiefs. The ‘chiefs of a hundred’ and ‘chiefs of ten’ were, most likely, clan leaders of different ranks. The economic, judicial, cultic, fiscal, and military functions were considered to be responsibilities of chiefs and elders (Taskin 1973, 9-11)." [30]

1. Ruler 'chanyu'

2. 10 commanders of 10,000 people 'wang' - or kings
3. tribal chiefs and elders - subordinate kings - commanding 1000 people
4. Commander of 100
5. Commander of 10
6. individual soldier

Professions

♠ Professional military officers ♣ inferred absent ♥ The economic, judicial, cultic, fiscal, and military functions were considered to be responsibilities of chiefs and elders (Taskin 1973, 9-11)." [31] Not a specialised function.

♠ Professional soldiers ♣ inferred absent ♥

♠ Professional priesthood ♣ inferred absent ♥ Probably absent? Shamans, probably not a full-time occupation.

Bureaucracy characteristics

♠ Full-time bureaucrats ♣ inferred absent ♥ The sources provide evidence of administrative officials in the Xiongnu Empire but they probably were not full-time specialists. "The Xiongnu had many titles for the rulers of the segments within the empire confederation. In addition, there were special functionaries (“gudu hou”). The Chinese chronicles report that “the gudu marquises assist the chanyu in the administration of the nation” (Watson 1961a, 163-164). In a special work Pritsak (1954, 196-199) assorts their place in the Xiongnu political system. Nonetheless, the number of these functionaries was very limited." [32] 'The central government, which the Shanyu/Chanyu headed, was in practice run by elite officials called the Gudu marquesses, who had the responsibility of managing relations between the central government and provincial governments within the Xiongnu empire'.[33] Not a full-time occupation? "The economic, judicial, cultic, fiscal, and military functions were considered to be responsibilities of chiefs and elders (Taskin 1973, 9-11)." [34]

♠ Examination system ♣ suspected unknown ♥

♠ Merit promotion ♣ inferred absent ♥ "Only members of these corporate groups were eligible for the highest political offices, which combined political authority, divine right, military leadership, and elite endogamy (Di Cosmo 2002: 176-178)." [35]

♠ Specialized government buildings ♣ inferred absent ♥ There is little evidence of buildings set aside exclusively for administrative purposes in the Xiongnu Empire. A possible exception, in Ivolga, "one house (dwelling 9) occupied an area of more than 100 sq. m and apparently served as a administrative center." [36] Ivolga is from the 2nd or 1st century BCE. "It is synchronous with the Ivolga fortress and cemetery from East Bailkal region. All of these sites are attributed to approximately II-I centuries B.C.E. and assigned by the author to the epoch of the Western (early) Han." [37]

Law

♠ Formal legal code ♣ inferred present ♥ "The power of chanyu, highest commanders and tribal chiefs at local places was supported by strict but simple traditional ways. As the Xiongnu laws were estimated by the Chinese chronicles, the Xiongnu’s punishments were generally “simple and easily realizable” and were mainly reduced to strokes, exile, and death penalty. It provided an opportunity to quickly resolve conflict situations at different levels of the hierarchical pyramid and to maintain the stability of the political system as a whole. It is no mere chance that for the Chinese, accustomed from childhood to an unwieldy and clumsy bureaucratic machine, the management system of the Xiongnu confederation seemed to be extremely simple: “management of the whole state is similar to that of one’s body” (Sima Qian 1959, ch. 110; Zhongyang 1958, 17)." [38] "One of the most important sign of the early state is the presence of a written code of laws, which the Xiongnu are lacking." [39]

♠ Judges ♣ inferred absent ♥ Judicial work happened but it was not a full-time (specialist?) occupation. "Another indicator for an early state is the availability of special judicial manpower which was responsible for the majority of legal questions. The presence of persons who investigated disputes and conflicts was known in Chinese sources (Fan Ye 1965, ch. 79; Zhongyang 1958, 680; Taskin 1973, 73)." [40] However, perhaps this was not a full-time occupation. "Thus, for the Hsiung-nu society, only one feature of the early state (judges) can be identified." [41]

♠ Courts ♣ inferred absent ♥ This passage points to a lack of a bureaucratic justice system, which would include courts: "The power of chanyu, highest commanders and tribal chiefs at local places was supported by strict but simple traditional ways. As the Xiongnu laws were estimated by the Chinese chronicles, the Xiongnu’s punishments were generally “simple and easily realizable” and were mainly reduced to strokes, exile, and death penalty. It provided an opportunity to quickly resolve conflict situations at different levels of the hierarchical pyramid and to maintain the stability of the political system as a whole. It is no mere chance that for the Chinese, accustomed from childhood to an unwieldy and clumsy bureaucratic machine, the management system of the Xiongnu confederation seemed to be extremely simple: “management of the whole state is similar to that of one’s body” (Sima Qian 1959, ch. 110; Zhongyang 1958, 17)." [42]

♠ Professional Lawyers ♣ inferred absent ♥ This passage points to a lack of a bureaucratic justice system, which would include lawyers: "The power of chanyu, highest commanders and tribal chiefs at local places was supported by strict but simple traditional ways. As the Xiongnu laws were estimated by the Chinese chronicles, the Xiongnu’s punishments were generally “simple and easily realizable” and were mainly reduced to strokes, exile, and death penalty. It provided an opportunity to quickly resolve conflict situations at different levels of the hierarchical pyramid and to maintain the stability of the political system as a whole. It is no mere chance that for the Chinese, accustomed from childhood to an unwieldy and clumsy bureaucratic machine, the management system of the Xiongnu confederation seemed to be extremely simple: “management of the whole state is similar to that of one’s body” (Sima Qian 1959, ch. 110; Zhongyang 1958, 17)." [43]

Specialized Buildings: polity owned

♠ irrigation systems ♣ absent ♥ [44]
♠ drinking water supply systems ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ markets ♣ inferred absent ♥ Border markets are coded under Trade emporia as present. "The statesman and scholar Chia I, who died in 169 B.C., has left us with a brief account concerning the border markets: It is the border markets [kuan-shih] which the Hsiung-nu need most badly, and they have sought desperately to obtain them from us, even resorting to force. I urge your majesty to send envoys with lavish gifts to make peace with [the Hsiung-nu], using this opportunity to inform them of our decision, made not without reluctance, to grant their request of establishing large-sized border markets. Upon the return of our envoys, we should immediately open up many [markets] in locations of strategic importance. In each of these market places sufficient military forces must be stationed for [our] self- protection. Every large border market should include shops which specialize in selling raw meat, wine, cooked rice, and delicious barbecues. All the shops must be of a size capable of serving one or two hundred people. In this way our markets beneath the Great Wall will surely swarm with the Hsiung-nu. Moreover, if their kings and generals [try to] force the Hsiung-nu to return to the north, it is inevitable that they would turn to attack their kings. When the Hsiung-nu have developed a craving for our rice, stew, barbecues, and wine, this will have become their fatal weakness."[45]
♠ food storage sites ♣ ♥

Transport infrastructure

♠ Roads ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Bridges ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Canals ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ports ♣ inferred absent ♥

Special purpose sites

♠ Mines or quarries ♣ ♥

Information

Writing System

♠ Mnemonic devices ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Nonwritten records ♣ inferred absent ♥ This quotation refers to simple mark-making (not complex enough to qualify as nonwritten records) among the Rouran (considerably later than the Xiongnu), but uses the example to illustrate a general point: "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."[46]
♠ Written records ♣ inferred absent ♥ "Despite many problems in assessing the textual sources, archaeologists working on this period in the northern steppe zone are extremely fortunate to have historical accounts of the early nomads as seen through the eyes of state historians in China. Some textual information, no matter how problematic, is still better than none at all." [47] Note that Chinese written records do not count as records for the Xiongnu. "In several supercomplex chiefdoms the elite attempted to introduce written records (e.g. Hsiung-nu and Turks)",[48] but the use of the word 'attempted' here seems to imply that they were unsuccessful. "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."[49]
♠ Script ♣ inferred absent ♥ "In several supercomplex chiefdoms the elite attempted to introduce written records (e.g. Hsiung-nu and Turks)" [50] Inscriptions in Chinese found in Ivolga, probably made by Chinese immigrants or war prisoners. "In addition the archeologists found in the settlement a number of items with the inscriptions in Chinese characters. These items included, for instance, a whetstone (Davydova 1995: Table 15, 15), the inscriptions on the three sides of which have been interpreted by a Chinese archeologist Xia Nai (Davydova 1995: 37) as sui (number of years), chóu (enemy, rival, hate, avenge; this character was used as a family name) and dang (a party, administrative unit of 500 households; this character could also be used as a family name). There was a very interesting inscription on the bottom of a vessel from house 21 (Davydova 1995, Table 38, 7, 179, 3), which according to the interpretation of the aforementioned Professor Xia Nai (Davydova 1995: 28) was a representation of the Xiongnu period character Yīng, translated by him as “deserved”. No less interesting were the imprint found on the bottom of a vessel from house 50 (Davydova 1995, Table179, 1), which resembled character Zhǔ (master, ruler), an imprint of the character Wang on another vessel’s bottom, an imprint on the bottom of a vessel from house 13, similar to the character tu (picture) and the scratched inscription on the inner side of another vessel’s collar resembling the character jǐng (a well) (Davydova 1995, Table 29, 1, 179, 6, 9). Some imprints on ceramics were illegible (Davydova 1995, Table 134, 4, 179, 2, 5, 7), however they could quite possibly be the artisans’ stamps. Since even the elite groups of the Xiongnu society were not particularly knowledgeable in the Chinese writing (it would be enough to mention the well known episode with the substitution of a Chanyu stamp by the order of Wang Mang), the common nomads could hardly be more literate than their leaders. Thus we may presume that the inscriptions on items from the Ivolga were made not by the Xiongnu, but by the people of the sedentary-agricultural origin and, most likely, by the immigrants or the prisoners of war from China." [51] "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."[52]
♠ Non-phonetic writing ♣ inferred absent ♥ "Despite many problems in assessing the textual sources, archaeologists working on this period in the northern steppe zone are extremely fortunate to have historical accounts of the early nomads as seen through the eyes of state historians in China. Some textual information, no matter how problematic, is still better than none at all." [53] Note that Chinese written records do not count as records for the Xiongnu. "In several supercomplex chiefdoms the elite attempted to introduce written records (e.g. Hsiung-nu and Turks)",[54] but the use of the word 'attempted' here seems to imply that they were unsuccessful. "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."[55]
♠ Phonetic alphabetic writing ♣ inferred absent ♥ "Despite many problems in assessing the textual sources, archaeologists working on this period in the northern steppe zone are extremely fortunate to have historical accounts of the early nomads as seen through the eyes of state historians in China. Some textual information, no matter how problematic, is still better than none at all." [56] Note that Chinese written records do not count as records for the Xiongnu. "In several supercomplex chiefdoms the elite attempted to introduce written records (e.g. Hsiung-nu and Turks)",[57] but the use of the word 'attempted' here seems to imply that they were unsuccessful. "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."[58]

Kinds of Written Documents

♠ Lists, tables, and classifications ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Calendar ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Sacred Texts ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Religious literature ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Practical literature ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Literacy very low. Were there any readers of literature?
♠ History ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Literacy very low. Were there any readers of literature?
♠ Philosophy ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Literacy very low. Were there any readers of literature?
♠ Scientific literature ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Literacy very low. Were there any readers of literature?
♠ Fiction ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Literacy very low. Were there any readers of literature?

Money

♠ Articles ♣ present ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [59]
♠ Tokens ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [60]
♠ Precious metals ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [61]
♠ Foreign coins ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [62]
♠ Indigenous coins ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [63]
♠ Paper currency ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [64]

Postal System

♠ Couriers ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Postal stations ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ General postal service ♣ suspected unknown ♥

Warfare variables

♠ RA ♣ Agathe Dupeyron, Thomas Cressy ♥

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." [65]
♠ Iron ♣ present ♥ '...iron metallurgy developed in Mongolia only from the middle of the first millennium B.C.' [66]
♠ Steel ♣ inferred absent ♥ By the seventh century the "Sogdians and Turkic peoples "had their own sophisticated metallurgical industries."[67] "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."[68]

Projectiles

♠ Javelins ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Atlatl ♣ absent ♥ A new world weapon, highly unlikely to have been used here
♠ Slings ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Self bow ♣ present ♥ "The arranged military system has formed the basis for the domination of the Xiongnu in Inner Asia. The Chinese sources repeatedly mention the aggressive way of life of the northern neighbor. From early childhood, boys and youths were in training in archery and horse races." [69]
♠ Composite bow ♣ 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." [70]
♠ Crossbow ♣ present ♥ Mentioned as one of the tactical advantages that the Han had over the Xiongnu. [71] However, the Xiongnu were said to have inferior crossbows:" "Why does it take five Xiongnu to match one Han soldier? It is because their sword blades are dull and their crossbows worthless. 48" Skill with a crossbow was at such a premium that it could even lead to offices in the court." [72]
♠ Tension siege engines ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Sling siege engines ♣ absent ♥ First use of the counter-weight trebuchet 1165 CE at Byzantine siege of Zevgminon.[73]
♠ Gunpowder siege artillery ♣ absent ♥ Gunpowder not in use by the Xiongnu at this time
♠ 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." [74]

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." [75]
♠ 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."[76]
♠ 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." [77]
♠ Swords ♣ present ♥ "In the description of Hsiung-nu armament and tactics, Ssu-ma Ch’ien does not indulge in long-winded comparisons with the Chinese. His narrative is remarkably objective, and “moral” considerations are kept to a minimum. He describes their weapons (“they use bows and arrows as their long-range weapons, and swords and spears as their short-range weapons”)64 and their habits when it comes to going to war." [78]
♠ Spears ♣ present ♥ "In the description of Hsiung-nu armament and tactics, Ssu-ma Ch’ien does not indulge in long-winded comparisons with the Chinese. His narrative is remarkably objective, and “moral” considerations are kept to a minimum. He describes their weapons (“they use bows and arrows as their long-range weapons, and swords and spears as their short-range weapons”)64 and their habits when it comes to going to war." [79]
♠ Polearms ♣ {inferred present; absent} ♥ Coded present due to the following in contemporary Chinese sources: "Even with strong crossbows that shoot far, and long halberds that hit at a distance, the Hsiung-nu would not be able to ward them off. If the armors are sturdy and the weapons sharp, if the repetition crossbows shot far, and the platoons advance together, the Hsiung-nu will not be able to withstand. If specially trained troops are quick to release (their bows) and the arrows in a single stream hit the target together, then the leather outfit and wooden shields of the Hsiung-nu will not be able to protect them. If they dismount and fight on foot, when swords and halberds clash as [the soldiers] come into close quarters, the Hsiung-nu, who lack infantry training, will not be able to cope." [80] According to Nikolay Kradin, (pers. comm.) halberds were not used in this period. [81]

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. 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. " [82]
♠ Horses ♣ present ♥ "The Xiongnu conducted many battles and border raids against the Chinese. The greater mobility of the Xiongnu cavalry proved to be very effective against Chinese infantry and chariots, and for a long period of time a treaty (198 B.C.) was in effect, bringing vast quantities of Chinese tribute into the Xiongnu court (Barfield 1981; Yu ̈ 1967)." [83]
♠ 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. 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." [84]
♠ Elephants ♣ absent ♥ Highly unlikely to have existed in Orkhon Valley, let alone used for war.

Armor

♠ Wood, bark, etc ♣ present ♥ Coded present due to the following in contemporary Chinese sources: "Even with strong crossbows that shoot far, and long halberds that hit at a distance, the Hsiung-nu would not be able to ward them off. If the armors are sturdy and the weapons sharp, if the repetition crossbows shot far, and the platoons advance together, the Hsiung-nu will not be able to withstand. If specially trained troops are quick to release (their bows) and the arrows in a single stream hit the target together, then the leather outfit and wooden shields of the Hsiung-nu will not be able to protect them. If they dismount and fight on foot, when swords and halberds clash as [the soldiers] come into close quarters, the Hsiung-nu, who lack infantry training, will not be able to cope." [85]
♠ Leather, cloth ♣ present ♥ "For body covering they used fur or leather." [86] For comparison, here is a description of an early warrior on the Western Steppe: Early Sarmatian (400-200 BCE) from the region of the Don, Volga and Urals (Western 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.”[87]
♠ Shields ♣ present ♥ Wooden shields are mentioned by the Han. [88]
♠ Helmets ♣ present ♥ Leather helmets are mentioned by the Han. [89]
♠ 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."[90]
♠ Scaled armor ♣ inferred present ♥ "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.”[91] "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." [92]
♠ Laminar armor ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Plate armor ♣ inferred present ♥ Armor plates were found in house No 49 at Ivolginskoe. [93] 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." [94]

Naval technology

♠ Small vessels (canoes, etc) ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [95]
♠ Merchant ships pressed into service ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [96]
♠ Specialized military vessels ♣ absent ♥ According to personal communication with N. Kradin. [97]

Fortifications

♠ Settlements in a defensive position ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Wooden palisades ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Earth ramparts ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Ditch ♣ present ♥ "The fortified settlement of Ivolga in Russia, situated near the modern city of Ulan-Ude, is the most investigated one among them. The site was an irregular rectangle with sides equal to approximately 200 and 300 m. On three sides, it was protected by fortification works of three walls alternating with three ditches while on the fourth side the site was protected by the Selenga river." [98] "Botanical analyses were conducted at the Ivolga site complex, an important example of a fortified settlement of 2,500-3,000 people specializing in agriculture and metal production in the Transbaikal region (Davydova 1995; Kradin 2005a). " [99] Qarshi, built by Kebek of the Chagatai Khaganate is an example "typical of Mongolian and south Siberian cities from the Xiongnu period onwards."; it was "bounded by a strong wall, 4.5 m thick, surrounded by a deep defensive ditch, 8-10 m wide and 3.5-4 m deep, and had four gates. The original layout of the city (before Timurid additions) included one central fortress/palace surrounded by an open spaced designed for the erection of tents."[100]
♠ Moat ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Stone walls (non-mortared) ♣ inferred present ♥ "The fortified settlement of Ivolga in Russia, situated near the modern city of Ulan-Ude, is the most investigated one among them. The site was an irregular rectangle with sides equal to approximately 200 and 300 m. On three sides, it was protected by fortification works of three walls alternating with three ditches while on the fourth side the site was protected by the Selenga river." [101] "Botanical analyses were conducted at the Ivolga site complex, an important example of a fortified settlement of 2,500-3,000 people specializing in agriculture and metal production in the Transbaikal region (Davydova 1995; Kradin 2005a). " [102]
♠ Stone walls (mortared) ♣ suspected unknown ♥
♠ Fortified camps ♣ inferred present ♥ Based on preceding and succeeding polities.
♠ Complex fortifications ♣ inferred present ♥ "The fortified settlement of Ivolga in Russia, situated near the modern city of Ulan-Ude, is the most investigated one among them. The site was an irregular rectangle with sides equal to approximately 200 and 300 m. On three sides, it was protected by fortification works of three walls alternating with three ditches while on the fourth side the site was protected by the Selenga river." [103] These fortifications are not 'concentric' but the fourth side is protected by a river.
♠ Long walls ♣ suspected unknown ♥ km.
♠ Modern fortifications ♣ absent ♥ The Xiongnu could not have had modern, canon fitted forts at this time

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 ♣ present ♥ At this time succession was father to son. "The order of succession to the throne had changed. While the shanyu's throne had ordinarily passed from father to son (with a few extraordinary exceptions), the order from uncle to nephew had now become predominant."[104]

Religion and Normative Ideology

♠ RA ♣ Enrico Cioni ♥

Deification of Rulers

♠ Rulers are legitimated by gods ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Baldick [105] provides a comprehensive summary of all that is known about Xiungnu religion. Unfortunately, however, almost none of it is relevant to these variables.

♠ Rulers are gods ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Baldick [106] provides a comprehensive summary of all that is known about Xiungnu religion. Unfortunately, however, almost none of it is relevant to these variables.

Normative Ideological Aspects of Equity and Prosociality

♠ Ideological reinforcement of equality ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Baldick [107] provides a comprehensive summary of all that is known about Xiungnu religion. Unfortunately, however, almost none of it is relevant to these variables.

♠ Ideological thought equates rulers and commoners ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Baldick [108] provides a comprehensive summary of all that is known about Xiungnu religion. Unfortunately, however, almost none of it is relevant to these variables.
♠ Ideological thought equates elites and commoners ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Baldick [109] provides a comprehensive summary of all that is known about Xiungnu religion. Unfortunately, however, almost none of it is relevant to these variables.

♠ Ideology reinforces prosociality ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Baldick [110] provides a comprehensive summary of all that is known about Xiungnu religion. Unfortunately, however, almost none of it is relevant to these variables.

♠ production of public goods ♣ suspected unknown ♥ Baldick [111] provides a comprehensive summary of all that is known about Xiungnu religion. Unfortunately, however, almost none of it is relevant to these variables.

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. [112] [113] [114]

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