Xiongnu

Central asia people and empire

The Xiongnu (Chinese: 匈奴; Wade–Giles: Hsiung-nu, [ɕjʊ́ŋ.nǔ]) were a tribal confederation of nomadic peoples who, according to ancient Chinese sources, inhabited the eastern Eurasian Steppe from the 3rd century BC to the late 1st century AD. Chinese sources report that Modu Chanyu, the supreme leader after 209 BC, founded the Xiongnu Empire.After their previous rivals, the Yuezhi, migrated into Central Asia during the 2nd century BC, the Xiongnu became a dominant power on the steppes of north-east Central Asia, centered on an area known later as Mongolia. The Xiongnu were also active in areas now part of Siberia, Inner Mongolia, Gansu and Xinjiang. Their relations with adjacent Chinese dynasties to the south-east were complex, with repeated periods of conflict and intrigue, alternating with exchanges of tribute, trade, and marriage treaties (heqin). During the Sixteen Kingdoms era, as one of the Five Barbarians, they founded several dynastic states in northern China, such as Former Zhao, Northern Liang and Xia. Attempts to identify the Xiongnu with later groups of the western Eurasian Steppe remain controversial. Scythians and Sarmatians were concurrently to the west. The identity of the ethnic core of Xiongnu has been a subject of varied hypotheses, because only a few words, mainly titles and personal names, were preserved in the Chinese sources. The name Xiongnu may be cognate with that of the Huns or the Huna, although this is disputed. Other linguistic links – all of them also controversial – proposed by scholars include Iranian, Mongolic, Turkic, Uralic, Yeniseian, Tibeto-Burman or multi-ethnic.
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